The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and make their own scrappy versions to inspire you.
The featured quilt from the May/June issue is Ladder of Success, designed by quilting legend and early QM editor Judy Martin. We’re pleased to feature Judy’s design as part of our 30th anniversary celebration.
Today’s featured quilt is by Bonnie Stapleton from Powhatan, Virginia. She blogs at institcheswithbonnie. You’ll hear from Bonnie in her own words below.
Ok, I’ll admit it—it took me a long time to warm up to Ladder of Success. When I first received the instructions I printed it out in black and white. I loved how the Four Patches ran diagonally through the quilt.
But, really, all those squares? All that piecing? Me? I told myself I would just make a smaller version than the original twin.
I found a group of bright stash fabrics that spoke to me and played nicely with each other. I grabbed pieces of different bright whites for the background.
Then I decided to draw it in EQ7. I tried, and tried. I am definitely not that good with EQ but eventually I succeeded. It was time well spent because I really understood the units and their placement. And as a bonus I am a bit more competent in EQ.
I was sure I wanted to make a baby quilt or at most a lap quilt. Ha! In the end I made a twin—nearly as large as the original.
On the Four Patches I decided to “swirl” the seam so there would be fewer layers of fabric in the centers. This involves taking out a couple of stitches so that each of the four seam allowances points in a different direction.
Once I got the first group of units and blocks together I realized I needed to keep the rows organized. I really didn’t want to mess up the colored blocks I had spent quite a bit of time arranging.
I pulled out these great little safety pins with letters on them. They stayed on until I got the center completely finished.
When the magazine arrived I realized there was a colored print border that I hadn’t noticed on my black and white copy. Back to the stash.
I found one fabric that really made the quilt shine. I cut borders #1 and #3 from this print. I auditioned a variety of colors and sizes of Four Patches for border #2. I tried using the various fabric from the quilt center but—oops—it didn’t hang together.
I tried purple 2.5″ Four Patches and I didn’t like them either. Like Goldilocks, I felt the 1.25″ purple Four Patches were just right.
I took the top on a field trip to my friend Sharon’s house, where she was binding a quilt. Sharon uses up her odd-ball bobbin bits while she attaches the binding to the quilt. Really? Don’t the odd ball colors show through?
Not really. I decided to try it on this quilt, and I used most of these bobbins up. The only drawback was changing bobbins often, but I was happy to free some up for other threads.
I had to wait out a couple of rainy days before I could take a picture. How do you get good pictures of big quilts? My back fence works well but I still didn’t get the whole thing.
So, on to the lawn with a black watch dog.
I went from being lukewarm about this quilt to loving it. Funny thing is, I don’t even own a twin-size bed!
Another great job by this Scrap Squad member! I think we should celebrate with a giveaway.
I have a copy of the May/June issue (includes the Ladder of Success pattern) and some Dritz Quilting Row Marking Safety Pins.
Leave a comment below by midnight Sunday, May 27, explaining how you keep your rows organized. We’ll announce a winner here next week. The winners are Sheila and Sandy! They have been contacted by email. It was fun hearing about everyone’s systems—or lack thereof! This Dritz Quilting product is widely available. Please check your local quilt shop or craft store. The official name is “Row Marking Safety Pins.”