A little over a year ago, my mom, aunts and I made a quilt for another aunt whose husband was seriously ill. We made a variety of paper pieced heart blocks in shades of blue and alternated them with neutral squares. We finished the last block and a few minutes later she called to tell us that he had passed away.
This photo is taken on a hotel room bed. We assembled the blocks, quilted it on the frame, machine sewed the binding on, then took it with us to finish hand sewing the binding. The quilt was completed about an hour before the funeral. Losing someone is never a good experience, but I felt settled, like the work that we’d done on this quilt kept a connection alive.
I’m bringing this up now because my aunt just called asking for the pattern. Her daughter-in-law would like to make one. Since I’m going to be writing out the information, I thought I could post it here, too. Unfortunately, I can’t really give an exact pattern. We worked from several different foundation pieced heart blocks. We made finished 6″ blocks, and there are several different versions.
I prefer the freezer paper foundation piecing method because you can reuse your foundations many times. Instead of sewing through the paper, you iron your fabric to the freezer paper and fold the paper back along the sewing line. Place your next piece of fabric then sew along the folded edge. Flip the fabric and the paper forward, press, then fold back your next line. When you’re finished you just peel the paper off. I saw Judy Mathieson demonstrate this freezer paper piecing method on Simply Quilts and Betty Reynolds has an excellent tutorial . If you’re comfortable paper piecing using other methods, you can certainly do so.
I found an assortment of paper pieced hearts here, and recreated them in my EQ6 program then printed them on 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of freezer paper. The link has foundation piecing PDFs, but they will make 4″ stars. The CompuQuilt website has a free 6″ foundation pieced log cabin heart block in PDF format. Click on the following blocks to download 6″ PDF foundation piecing patterns.
You can see some of the blocks a little clearer in the photo below, or you can click here for a larger view of the center of the quilt.
Mom had an angel fabric that she worked into three central hearts.
If you prefer, you can trace the blocks on to regular freezer paper. Since you will be able to reuse these half a dozen times or more, it isn’t quite as awful as it sounds. If you have access to the 8 1/2″ x 11″ freezer paper made to go through your printer, it does make the process a lot easier. There are a couple of different brands – Quilter’s Freezer Paper Sheets by C&T Publishing, and 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets or an 8 1/2″ x 50 foot roll by C. Jenkins.
In order to keep the quilt scrappy but organized, we cut off chunks of fabrics in various shades of blue and sorted them into shoebox size bins. We had gray blues together, aquas over here, clear blues over there, etc. Buttercup and Ru helped.
After we assembled all of our heart blocks, we laid them out on the floor and placed alternating plain blocks between them. We added a couple of borders to finish it – I think the red border was 1 1/2″ and the outer border was 3″. You could make this quilt larger or smaller just by adding or removing blocks. You could also play with the layout – sashing instead of alternating plain blocks, for example.
If you don’t want to foundation piece, there are a few pieced heart block patterns out there.
Shadowed Heart Block
Patchwork Heart Quilt Block from about.com – this one gives instructions for a full quilt, too
Heart Quilt Block from BellaOnline (available in 6″, 8″ and 12″ versions)
CHD Awareness Heart Block
Good luck, and let me know if you make a heart quilt – I’d love to see it!
Here’s another freezer paper piecing tutorial. Also, you can see a clip from Simply Quilts where Judy Mathieson demonstrates the technique. Go to the Simply Quilts Video Center on HGTV and search for Mariner’s Compass (be sure to use the Video Search on the left side). You’ll see about six choices – you want the regular Mariner’s Compass, not the star. Clip 1 shows how to prepare the freezer paper and the fabrics – I do it a little differently, printing my patterns directly on the freezer paper, and just cutting of chunks of fabric as I need them. Clip 2 is the star of the show – she demonstrates how to iron and sew the pieces.