Fall is nearly upon us here in the Midwest. It's one of my favorite times of year - cooler days, brightly colored leaves, apples, and all things pumpkin. Life is good here in the fall. A couple of weekends ago the September/October issue of Midwest Living magazine arrived in my mailbox, and after reading through it I couldn't get the idea of a fall quilt out of my head. Yes, I have quite a few other projects that need to be finished, and yes, I have two classes coming up very quickly that I need to prep for, but we really need a fall quilt, don't we?
Enter the super quick and easy St. Louis 16-patch block. I've no idea why it's called the "St. Louis 16-patch", but that's the name popping up all over the internet, so let's just go with it!
I had several almost-FQ-sized fall themed scraps in my stash from some projects I made a few years ago. And I supplemented those scraps with this cute and more contemporary stack of FQs purchased at the recent Madison, WI quilt show.
These blocks are so easy to make: cut four equal width strips from each scrap or FQ, pair two matching strips with two other matching strips of a different fabric and sew them together as shown below. I cut my strips at 3.5" width by about 16"-18" length. You can cut your strips any width you choose - I think the standard is 2.5" for this block. But that yields only an 8" finished block, and I needed mine to be bigger (so I could finish the quilt faster!), so I cut my strips at 3.5" to create 12" finished blocks.
I pressed all the seam allowances to the darker fabric, and then cut four 3.5" width pieces from each strip set. The larger piece on the right is leftover. Why is it that making scrap quilts always yields MORE scraps?!
Flip pieces one and three and you've got your 16-patch layout! Sew these together to make one complete block.
These blocks are an excellent project to have around for times when you've only got 15 or 30 minutes here and there for sewing (or when you've got a bunch of projects in progress that you really don't want to work on - "avoidance sewing" coined by my pal Venus de Hilo). After you've chosen the fabrics and decided on the width you want to cut your strips, there really isn't too much thinking involved until the final layout. This would also be a great retreat or sew-in project.
Two FQs (or large scrap pieces) yield two blocks. My quilt has 35 blocks and will finish at 60" x 84" - almost big enough for a twin bed and generously sized for napping or movie-watching on the couch on those chilly fall weekends :)
And as for the newly generated scraps...
They have been repurposed into a table runner!
I'm delivering the quilt top to the long-arm quilter tomorrow, and hopefully it will be back in early October - the height of beautiful fall weather!