Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Florabunda- Re-Post!

I have received a couple emails asking WHERE to find the Florabunda ((aka Jacob's Ladder)) quilt directions that were posted last week, and it hit me...the directions were posted SO FAR DOWN in that Bloggy Love Day post, and had so much "other" unrelated stuff, that it really needed to be it's OWN tutorial page so I could link it in the top tabs on the blog! That should make it easier for people to find, right? ((I'm already loving the block variations I am seeing cropping up! Way to go!))

So this is a Re-post for that purpose! Have my blocks gotten any farther? Nope! But Maybe today I can kit some blocks up and get a bit closer to being ready for my trip to Oregon in a week!

My love of traditional antique quilts drives me. I know it's not reinventing a wheel, but sometimes working up a traditional design can be just the outlet we need to put a purpose to some scraps that have been hanging around for a long time. And sometimes, simple units are the perfect place to show a different technique, or a technique that has been around a while, but still needs some explaining!

There is SOMETHING that I have been demo-ing in my workshops that might not be entirely new to you, but might shine a bit of light on why things go the way things go! And while I’m explaining this…I’ll give you the directions to the 9” Jacob’s Ladder variation blocks to recreate this antique quilt I showed last week! Because this quilt was found in Florida, and is made with wonderful 1940s & 1950s Florals, I’ve nicknamed it Florabunda!

Get your printer friendly version HERE!

Yes, I still love this quilt, can’t get it off my mind, and I’ve started in on the blocks! Wanna join me? Here we go! For each block you will need the following cut from two fabrics:

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(1) 2” X 21” strip of floral print

(1) 2” X 21” strip of yellow

(1) 3.5” X 9” rectangle of floral print

(1) 3.5” X 9” rectangle of yellow

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Place the 3.5” X 9” yellow and floral rectangles right sides together, and using your easy angle ruler, cut 4 triangle pairs from each set using the 3 1/2" line on the ruler. Each block requires 4. There is a bit of margin left at the end of each strip set as cushion for cutting and squaring up!

**Note** These half square triangles will measure 3.5” before being sewn into the block, finishing at 3”. You can use any method that gives you 3” finished triangle units.

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Sew the two 2” strips together. Press toward the floral strip and measure the strip set. It should be 3.5” wide. If it is too narrow, your seam allowance is too wide. Adjust where necessary! Sew the triangle pairs as well. Press seams toward the floral. Clip dog ears! The triangle units should measure 3.5". Double check that seam allowance if they are not!

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Tip #1!!

Do YOU do this? I cut the strip set in half…and then layer it with yellow on floral, and floral on yellow…so when I make my sub-cuts, the 4-patch parts are already matched with right sides together and ready to feed through the machine! This saves HUGE amounts of time..just think of all that time it takes to align the two-sies one at a time to get them lined up before sewing pairs. Give this a try! You can feel the seam lock as you lay them together.

Cut five pairs of two-sies! There will be a small extra margin for squaring/trimming left over.

Each block will use five 4 patches! ((I was cutting for two blocks at once, that is why there are more shown here!)) Each 4 patch will measure 3.5" and finish at 3" in the quilt.

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Tip #2

See the left hand pic? All my pairs are stacked the same way! THIS IS IMPORTANT! You will notice the X on the last pair in the pic on the right… "One of these things is not like the others!” and he’s wrong!

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And THIS is why!

See how they are all being fed in the same direction? Florals are leading, yellows are following. Then look at the right hand pic! Mr. No-no with the red X is heading to be fed in upside down! Can you guess why this is a bad idea?! You might think it doesn’t make a difference, but it DOES! Stick with me! I’ll show you why!

Tip #3!

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Let’s spin those seams! I know this technique has been around for a long time, but in the beginning, I couldn’t figure out WHY half of my 4 patches would spin clockwise, and the other half would go counter clockwise. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason, and it meant that when I sewed 4 patch to 4 patch, my seams wouldn’t butt and oppose any more and it drove me nuts. Are you with me?

It all goes back to TIP #2! If you want your 4 patch seams to all go around in the same direction…they have to be fed through the MACHINE the SAME when you are joining the two-sies! SERIOUS!

To get them to pinwheel like this I grab the 4 patch with the center seam going side to side as shown. A quick twist will let a couple stitches loose within the seam allowance and allow you to spin them around. Which way will yours go? Look at the TOP seam allowance to see which way it is pointing. In this case, they are pointing right, so mine will go clockwise, like this:

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Does it matter which direction they go? Clockwise or counter clockwise? Nope! You just want them all to go the SAME direction. The only time it wouldn’t matter is if you are joining all these 4 patches to units with seams that don’t need to match up. And some patterns, no matter what you try, you’ll find you have to re-press a different direction depending what you are sewing the units next to. So think it out. Of course, if you are joining all of these to plain alternate squares, you can press them any way you want because butting up doesn’t matter.

Let’s finish that block!

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Lay out the five 4 patches for each block as shown. Now, lay out your four half square triangle units for each block as shown. Remember…the yellow is the ladder down the center! All the 4 patches chain in the same direction…

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One block done! The Antique quilt above has blocks set 6 X 8 for 48 blocks. This will give you a quilt center that measures 54" X 72" before borders. As for me? I’m thinking bigger! 8X9 is 72 blocks for a center that measures 72" X 81" before borders. Do-able? Definitely! And a great place to use all those florals I have not had any clue how to use! I'm gonna be RUTHLESS!


  1. Anonymous3:55 PM EDT

    Bonnie, you are so good to us. Two post today. I really miss it when you can not make it for a day. It is amazing what all you get done. About this quilt when I read how it comes together the first time I was amazed how simple it is and yet I had not seen it. Keep quilting! BTW I will check out your fitness app -thanks. Dorothea

  2. Thanks for the dedicated post for this tutorial. Awesome tutorial too! I love the way you explain all of your time saving and organizational tips. I need reason to follow the rules. They have to be logical or I ignore them, lol.
    I just had the thought, Jacob's ladder would be an excelent quilt for my great nephew, Jake! His baby quilt was one of the first quilts I made. A few years ago his mom called me and ask if Jake could get a quilt for his twin bed, now that he's in school. I told her No! She hung the first quilt on the wall and the boy never got to sleep under it. Quilts are like hugs. This post has changed my mind. I guess it would be a little mean to punish young Jake for his mom's mistake. Thanks for all you do for us. The patterns, the tutorials, the classes, and the attitude adjustments, lol.
    Blessings, :o)

  3. I got started on this the other day...48 cut out, 9 blocks done so far. It is so sweet and cheerful! And it's great to get to use up some of these florals. And the yellows too for that matter! Thanks again for a great project, Bonnie!

  4. Bonnie, Thank you so much for another wonderful pattern. Hope you have fun at the
    Sister's Outdoor Quilt show. I had hopes to maybe see you there this year....but life got in the way and we won't be able to make the quilt show. Looks like the weather is going to be perfect for the show.

  5. I'm using green pinks and reds...and having a blast! Not sure what size I am going for and playing with some funky border ideas...all fun. tHanks!

  6. I loved that blog entry so much that I never made it beyond Floribunda! I made one...did 1" cross-hatching quilting and just need to sew down the binding.
    Beautiful pattern!

  7. bonnie, hope you realize how much we all appreciate your selfless generosity in posting all the patterns you have for so long

  8. Thanks Bonnie- another great tutorial. I will post a pic of my antique Jacob's ladder that I re did adding some new blocks and changing the setting. Like your old one I did not add any borders because a lot of the old ones were done that way. It is my all time fave quilt! your directions make it a lot easier to do another one...

  9. Really enjoyed your post and tutorial. I am going to make this one. Just need to see what I have in my fabrics to get started. Thanks for the pattern.

  10. I like the simplicity of this pattern and even though I am dead tired - I actually managed to cut out and sew segments for 2 blocks tonight. Thank you so much! And because of you... I already had 2" and matching 3.5" strips all cut from a few years back. I remember you saying then that you needed to come up with a pattern for those 3.5" strips because they didn't always play nicely with the other sizes. One thing though - for the triangle units the **Note** says they finish at 3" and that makes sense because with the Easy Angle you cut the strips 1/2" bigger than your finished size of the triangles and you used 3.5" strips. But then they finish at 3" and my 4 patches finished at 3.5". Not sure what I did wrong, but I will try again tomorrow - I always fiddle around with 1 block at a time until I get all the measurements right before cutting an entire pile of fabric - I am sure I will sort things out another day when I am not brain dead! I am anxious to figure it out because I really do love the finished quilt. Thank you for your very detailed directions! Cheers! Evelyn

  11. I keep thinking how pretty this would be in pinks and black. May have to try it.

  12. I need another project right now like I need a hole in the head but when I saw the original post and your antique quilt it was love at first sight!

    I bought some yellow solids yesterday (I like that this is not a color I would normally work with) and look forward to diggin' through the stash and finding fabrics to make these up, no fuss, no muss, no hurry. Love it and thanks for the update!

  13. Bonnie,
    Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. I just fell in love with it when you first posted a pic of it. I started one, not sure how big it will get but I am using a solid green instead of yellow and using florals also. I am calling mine My Garden Quilt, since I am also an avid gardener. I just cleaned my sewing studio, and was wondering what to do with the florals that were given to me years ago. What a wonderful solution! Thanks again.

  14. I just opened up the bag with yellow fabrics to sort--looks like I will be joining you on this Jacobs Ladder. It is turning out to be really ugly, but in that good way.

  15. http://kleinmeisjequilts.blogspot.com/2011/07/florabunda.html
    top is completed!

    1. saw your quilt..not ugly at all. I used to say there are no ugly fabrics only ugly neighbors.

  16. The 3.5" strip is for cutting with the EASY ANGLE ruler..if you are doing any other method, plan on 3 7/8" --- METHODS are different!

  17. Finished it, Bonnie!!
    Here are pix:
    Thanks AGAIN for a super quilt idea!

  18. It seems such a lovely quilt and I am hoping to do it when I feel better and have more time on hand. Having to rearrange my workroom urgently because it is such a mess and I don't know where what is. **** Thanks for your tutorial, It seems staight forward and logical.

  19. Gosh I love the antique quilt almost as much as I love yours! I am going to make this as a baby quilt out of 1920's fabrics. Thanks for the easy tutorial!

  20. Thank you Bonnie, for re-posting this. Now to check through the stash.

  21. Or I have a question my friend, that wonderful border U did last night, When or are you going to post the directions for that one! I"m sure Ill probably try to figure it out, But.................Please when you get back for RI, that would be great!

  22. Hi Bonnie, I am glad to get your website from Karen Lieberman. I am sure going to try out this pattern...with much love and hugs to you Bonnie and Karen too.

  23. Hello Bonnie, Was this quilt not meant for a border? I'm currently piecing the blocks, and not ready to add borders yet, but was wondering if I should? Or was it meant to stand alone? Thank you ever so, Debra in Ma.

  24. Hey Bonnie! I'm thinking about making this quilt out of teeny tiny scraps I have tucked aside instead of strips. What are the measurements of the squares in the four patches? I know I should be able to figure it out but my math skills aren't working.... Thanks!

  25. I am on my third "floribunda"!!


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