Donna’s Caribbean Vacation

QM scrap squadB3 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and create their own scrappy versions to inspire you.

QM10113 Donnas Caribbean Vacation


This quilt is found on the cover of the Jan/Feb ’13 issue of Quiltmaker.

QMMP 130200 DENISE 450flat Donnas Caribbean Vacation


It’s Caribbean Vacation, designed and sewn by Denise Starck, QM’s Graphic Designer. It was quilted by Hatty Brown. The fabrics are Dear Stella.

Today’s featured quilt is by Donna Hanley from Cincinnatus, New York. You’ll hear from Donna in her own words below.

DonnaHanley11 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

Donna Hanley from Cincinnatus, New York


It seems impossible that our time as members of Quiltmaker’s 2012 Scrap Squad is coming to an end and that it has actually been a whole year since we made our first quilts. What a wonderful experience this has been!

One of my favorite websites is Bonnie Hunter’s quiltville. Last year, I made Bonnie’s Orca Bay Mystery quilt in beige, brown, turquoise and lime green. Much to my surprise, I loved that color combination. I guess that I didn’t get enough of it since I decided to use it again in this quilt.

Once I chose colors, I needed to decide on what to use for the center focus square of each block. Again I turned to Bonnie for inspiration and opted to use her method of string piecing with a variety of beige fabrics in strips that were cut from 1″ to 2″ wide.  Her suggestion of using phone book pages as a foundation works perfectly and saves money, too.

After cutting the paper 5½” x 5½”, I placed the first strip diagonally down the center.

CVString1 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

Then I added strips to both sides of the center strip until the paper was covered.

CVString3 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

That got trimmed to 5½” x 5½” and then the paper was removed.

CVString4 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

To complete each block, I also needed these strips:
1 turquoise strip @ 36″ x 1¾” subcut into  20″ and 16″
1 brown strip @ 20″ x 1¾” subcut into 16″ and 4″
1 green strip @ 24″ x 1¾” subcut into 20″ and 4″

CVBlock1 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

From these I made the following strip sets:
20″ blue/green  subcut into 4 @ 3″ and 4 @ 1¾”
16″ blue/brown subcut into 4 @ 3″ and 2 @ 1¾”
4″ brown/green subcut into 2 @ 1¾”

CVBlock2 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

As I laid out each block for sewing, I really had to pay attention to make sure the center square had the same orientation in each block.


CVBlock4 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

As each block was placed on my design wall, it was rotated a quarter turn to give the following effect for the center squares:

CVtop Donnas Caribbean Vacation

A plain border just didn’t seem to work for this quilt.

CVBorder2 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

I decided on a beige first border cut at 1¾”, followed by a blue/green checkerboard border that repeated the same measurement used in the small squares in the main block.  I intended to have a wider final border of brown, but decided instead that I liked the idea of finishing it off with just a brown binding.


CVBorder3 Donnas Caribbean Vacation

I quilted in the ditch around the blocks to anchor the layers. Then I searched my collection of quilting stencils and found a feather pattern to fit in the string pieced squares. It was a nice complement to all the straight lines in the quilt.

IMG 1891 Donnas Caribbean VacationAnd here’s the final quilt:

CV whole Donnas Caribbean VacationIsn’t this a wonderful piece? It’s easy to see why Donna wanted to use this color recipe again. It sparkles! If you have yet to try Bonnie’s phone book string piecing, give it a shot. It’s so much fun.

Please join me in thanking Donna for a job well done as a member of the 2012 QM Scrap Squad.

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6 Responses to Donna’s Caribbean Vacation

  1. Martin says:

    Extremely WOW..! excellent work done. I like this it’s truly interesting and beautiful.

  2. Regina says:

    Love how the string pieced blocks add some subtle movement without being overpowering – nicely done!

  3. Nice use of scraps! Love the paper piecing idea. Great end project, love the colors!!

  4. Wonderful version. I really like your string pieced blocks in the center. Nice job.

  5. Excellent second use of newspapers! The colors look great and I like the MODERN spin to the repeated block motif.

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