Light and Dark Half Square Triangle Quilt

One blog that I’ve admired for a long time is Crazy Mom Quilts. It’s mostly (like 98%) about quilting and Amanda Jean’s style is just my flavor. She mixes modern and and classic quilting, uses bright candy colors and has many projects that are crazy enough that you can’t help but be impressed. Unfortunately, she stopped updating the blog a couple years ago but thankfully it still stands as a great resource for quilting inspiration and instruction.

Awhile ago I was perusing this blog and I found her “distressed quilt” which is a pretty basic quilt just made up of half square triangles. What drew me to her version was the array of colors as well as the fact that each square is one color, but half of it is dark and half is light. I just thought her version was beautiful! And, lucky for me, it would be very easy to recreate!

So I went to work making my own! I did buy a handful of fat quarters for this quilt but the majority of the fabric came from my stash. I tell you, I bought a bunch of quilting fabric forever ago to use for my La Passacaglia quilt and I hardly made a dent in it on that project. Every time I decide to make another quilt I think, “Oh, I’ll just use what’s in my stash so I can get rid of stuff.” But, somehow, try as I might, I never finish off any piece of fabric! I’m still grateful for it but I foresee a time in the future when I’ll get so sick of using the same fabric for every quilt that I’ll just donate it all and start from scratch! Okay, maybe that will never happen (I’m too frugal!), but still, I am worried of getting tired of what I have in my seemingly inexhaustible supply of quilting scraps.

As I was cutting out fabric I remembered a Robert Kaufman charm pack I had that was rainbow colors. I dug it out and I think it really saved the day. It completed the color spectrum, not to mention it included various values of each color which was great for this project.

Constructing this thing was very easy and very quick. I cut out 5 inch squares, chopped them in half on the diagonal and then paired each with a lighter version of that color. I followed Amanda Jean’s ironing instructions which are to iron seams open. I didn’t really have a set plan for how big I wanted this quilt to be, so I just kind of went with the flow of how many completed squares I ended up with. I know, not very organized. But sometimes it’s nice to have a project that demands very little. I did know that I wasn’t going for anything huge.

As I was sewing all the triangles back into squares, I decided I wanted a fluffy back. As I’m sure I mention way too often, my mom operates her own quilting business so she sees lots of different quilts. Awhile ago she told me that one thing she’s been seeing more often is people bringing their quilts to her and instead of bringing a quilting cotton back, they bring a throw blanket. A lot of them even forego the batting and just have my mom quilt their pieced top onto the soft, cuddly throw that they’ve brought in. I liked the idea of it and decided this would be a great time to give it a try.

So before I started piecing the squares together, I went and found a soft, minky throw blanket from Marshalls. It was about $16 for (I believe) a 50×70 inch blanket, so I think it was cheaper than buying minky by the yard from a fabric store (not to mention, also cheaper than buying quilting cotton for a continuous back). I might be wrong; it’s been awhile since I bought minky by the yard but it felt like a good deal anyhow.

After comparing the size of the throw to how many squares I had sewn up, I decided to make about 20 more squares to add one more row to the top and one to the side of the quilt, so that I was a little closer to the edges of the blanket (while still giving it some extra space because your back is supposed to be slightly bigger than your quilt top when you quilt it). The finished dimensions are 44×52.5 inches, so within the realm of lap quilt probably, which is just fine by me!

I took the quilt with me when we went to visit family in Utah and my mom quilted it while we were there. It’s always so hard to choose a quilting design! This time I chose one that I believe was called Gerber Daisies. It’s kind of fun and whimsical which matches the mood of the quilt top pretty well. When we returned home from our trip I spent a couple evenings binding the quilt. Again, I haven’t made a ton of quilts but every quilt I have made, I’ve ended up binding by hand. I don’t have a walking foot so the one time I tried to machine bind, I don’t even think I sewed a foot of the binding on before scrapping that idea because it was just turning out so, so bad. But I don’t mind (and maybe even really love) hand sewing so binding by hand to me is not a big deal. I machine sewed the binding to the back and then did the hand sewing to the front so that I could avoid hand sewing on the fluffy/nappy side (I’ve done it before and it’s not awful, but also not my favorite).

I’m really happy with how this little lap blanket turned out. I always, always appreciate quilting projects that are quick since most of my quilting is English Paper Piecing which is a lot of things but fast is not one of them. It was also nice to just make something and not worry too much about quality (I always want to make something that will last, but perfection wasn’t my goal here). My sewing output has slowed way down since I got pregnant and it was very nice to be back at my sewing machine, working on a project that didn’t require fitting (and subsequent tears regarding how much my body is growing. I’m grateful and excited for this baby; but sometimes pregnancy is hard). Plus, this quilt is just so happy. I love all the bright colors. My girls love that it’s rainbow-y. And Ben appreciates the fluffy back. Definite win for us all.

Pattern: Not an official pattern, just half square triangles sewed together in light/dark combos
Fabric: a mix of quilting cottons (some from a Robert Kaufman charm pack)
Cost: I spent about $40 on some fat quarters (most of which I only used about half). The rest of the top fabric was from my stash (including the charm pack). The minky throw blanket back was $16 (ish) from Marshall’s
Would I make something like this again?: Definitely. Very easy and quick to sew!

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