Welcome guest blogger, quilt designer, and teacher Abigail Dolinger of AbyQuilts! Read on and don’t miss the fabric giveaway contest at the bottom of the article.
Hello fellow quilting enthusiasts. I am so excited to be McCall’s guest blogger today, sharing about my inspiration for “Polka Tot” featured in the August/September 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.
What inspires you to begin a quilt? Colors, fabric, architectural motifs, elements in nature? All these sights inspire me, and another inspirational resource is my local quilt shop. When I open the quilt shop door, I’m like a kid in a candy store. All the delicious colors and bolts of fabric swirl around me as I gaze at quilt samples on display. Hunting inspiration in a tastefully decorated quilt shop never disappoints. On a trip to New York with several quilting friends last fall, I spied a “Bowtie” quilt in bright colors hanging high on a quilt shop’s wall. It called out, “Make me!” Oddly enough, I didn’t purchase fabric for the quilt that day. Instead, I purchased a Layer Cake and border fabric for another quilt I had in mind. But that quilt of perky bowties stayed in my memory.
After returning home from my trip, I saw a fat quarter pack of polka dot prints at a local shop. They reminded me of that “Bowtie” quilt I wanted to make. After purchasing the small pack, I rummaged in my stash and found several more prints with dots of various sizes. After making 5 or 6 “Bowtie” blocks of each print, I decided to place them in diagonal rows by color. And then I experimented with alternating red and orange in a row and blue and green in another row. I liked the result; the shading variation adds interest to the quilt. Two yellow fabrics alternate in the yellow rows.
After arranging the blocks on my design wall, I felt that adding black would help the colors pop. I wanted a “fun” black rather than a stark black, and a trip to my local quilt shop yielded the perfect black polka dot fabric. Incidentally, the advantage of this style of inner border is that the blocks in the outer border can be the same size as the blocks in the interior of the quilt, no matter the width of the inner border.
Polka Tot finishes 38 1/2″ square
“Polka Tot” looks vastly different than the “Bowtie” quilt I saw in the quilt shop in New York. I often find inspiration in a quilt shop; sometimes I purchase the pattern or book along with fabric and make the quilt exactly like the sample. Other times, the sample that calls out to me serves as a springboard for design. I’ll change, tweak, subtract or add to make a new quilt design that is my own.
This quick and easy “Bowtie” quilt would look fantastic in various color ways. How about Red and Blue “Bowties” on a tan background? Civil War reproduction fabrics with shirtings for backgrounds would be equally pleasing. I enlarged the block to 8” and used homespun plaids to make a manly version of “Polka Tot.” See photos and read all about it on my blog. I’m also giving away copies of the magazine and a little extra fabric!
Thanks, Aby! And don’t forget we’re offering a FREE web bonus pattern for a twin size version of this design. Download your free pattern now!
Thanks to the folks at Timeless Treasures, we are also giving away 2 prize packages of 7 bright fat quarters each to get a couple of readers started on their own Polka Tot quilts! Leave a comment below before midnight July 23, 2015 and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. Two names will be drawn on July 24 and notified by email.
This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.
We have our winners! Congratulations to Kristine Ream of Columbus, Ohio and Mhairi Murray of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Your fabric is on the way!
If you’d like to make Polka Tot and don’t already have a copy of our August/September issue, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Polka Tot baby quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.