Free quilt pattern: Daffodil Punch

April 13, 2021

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In Iowa, the end of March can be tumultuous with snow, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes. This year, spring tip-toed in with mild temps that quickly coaxed daffodils from their winter sleep. Crisp green leaves and sun-yellow flowers burst through the bleak, bare soil to herald spring’s arrival.

As I strolled our neighborhood on a particularly gorgeous morning last week, the contrast between those perky petals and the dull grey earth surrounding them was striking—so much so that it inspired a quilt I’ve called “Daffodil Punch”—and we’re giving the free pattern to you!

A jelly roll of black and white fabric was perfect for creating the “dirt rows” from which my daffodils would emerge. The strips are sewn together on the long ends, then joined into a tube (similar to making a bargello quilt) then sliced apart to make fast strip sections.

If you’re not into black and white, choose a jelly roll with your favorite colors, and change the ‘flower’ to anything you want! The quilt goes together quickly, so you can create a different quilt for every season if you like.

I recently spied some fun fabric designed by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic for Moda. Something about those big asterisks grabbed me and whispered, “buy me!” Naturally I had to have some of the companion fabrics as well so it wouldn’t be lonely in my stash. 😉 It didn’t even make it to the shelf in my sewing room—suddenly instead of asterisks I saw daffodil centers.

To fussy cut the fabric so that the motif would be the same for each flower, I used Omnigrid Glow-line Tape to mark the block’s unfinished size on a square ruler.

I centered the design in the opening and trimmed two sides. Then I rotated the ruler and aligned the tape with the freshly cut edges so that I could trim the remaining two sides.

If it’s difficult to see the design you want or if other parts of the fabric are distracting, you can use card stock to create a viewing window. Draw the unfinished size of your shape on the card stock and then cut it out. Once you find your motif you can draw around the inside of the frame to mark your fabric for cutting.

The star points come out really crisp when you make them from rectangles and squares instead of trying to manage the bias edges of cut triangles. The pattern shows you two ways to accomplish that—by marking the fabric squares or by marking your sewing machine. Personally, I prefer the speed of marking my sewing machine. Before you panic and think I’m talking about tattooing your machine with a Sharpie, I’m talking about something far less permanent—painter’s tape!

This trick makes point-to-point sewing easy, accurate and speedy. It works for blocks as well as for sewing sashing or binding strips. Place a ruler under your presser foot so that it is aligned with the needle (use the edge of the machine bed or markings on the throat plate to ensure that it is ‘square’ to the needle. Then put a strip of painter’s tape on the machine’s throat right next to the ruler so that its edge is directly in front of the needle. Stop the tape just before your feed dogs.

Now as you sew, guide the opposite end of the block along the painter’s tape as shown below, and you won’t need to mark a thing!

Even though I’ve been a freehand longarm quilter for nearly three decades, I could never accomplish many of the intricate, perfect designs that are now possible with a computerized quilting system. It’s astounding! Though my favorite way to quilt is still with my hands doing the guiding, the APQS Quilt Path lets me have the best of both worlds.

I discovered a pantograph from Urban Elementz designed by Apricot Moon called “Tinker” that was a ringer for my fussy-cut asterisk fabric.

I laid out the design in rows on Quilt Path and then nestled them together to cover the whole quilt. I loaded the quilt sideways so I could get more quilting done with fewer rows.

Grab yourself a jelly roll and a couple yards of your favorite colors and make a spring garden quilt that you can enjoy any time of year—even if an April snow covers up your daffodils!

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