Design It! Red & White Quilt Challenge

SewCalGal is hosting a quilt design challenge as part of a Year of Red & White Quilt Challenges. You can read more information about this design challenge and the Year of Red & White Quilt Challenges at SewCalGal’s blog. I encourage you to check out the “Year of” post for a video of the “Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts” show displayed in New York City in March of 2011, sponsored by the American Folk Art Museum. Red and white quilts have been a popular theme in quilting for a very long time, and it’s wonderful to see so many of them (615!) in one place.

If you’re interested in designing a quilt for this challenge, you still have a little time. You do NOT have to use EQ to design your quilt – you can use other software or draw it by hand. This is a design only challenge, so a week is plenty of time to create something wonderful! The next challenge is a “make it” challenge, so if red and white quilts appeal to you, you can create your own. Check out the many ways you can participate in these challenges, either by entering or by viewing the entries.

Here is my entry in the Design It! Red & White Quilt Challenge:


When I thought about a red & white quilt, I knew it had to be graphic and it had to work in just two colors. Though we can use different shades of red and white or red & white prints, I knew the design would show better in a linky thumbnail if it were created in solids. I went through my EQ folders looking for something original that I hadn’t shared yet, and came across Sherlock. Yes, I’m talking about Benedict Cumberbatch (which, seriously, is the most awesome name!) and Martin Freeman. Any fans out there? (Silly question, I know.)

I have a habit of noticing shapes and designs on television shows that prompt me to grab a paper and pencil or even fire up my laptop and open EQ. As I was watching Sherlock, I noticed the wallpaper behind their sofa. I paused (isn’t the ability to pause a show wonderful?!) and sketched out the design. I honestly don’t remember if the original design had the stars in it or not. Here are the first two designs in my Sherlock file:

Sherlock 1 Sherlock 2

The first is kind of dumpy looking, while the stars in the second open up the illusion of circles. I like the second, but I knew I wanted just two colors, so I changed it to red and white and adjusted the size of the squares so the points lined up. Here’s the result:

Sherlock 3

I liked it, but I felt it was maybe too simple – not “designed” enough. It is, after all, just a repeated block with pieced sashing. One of the easiest ways to edit a design is to eliminate parts of some of the blocks. I whited out the red rectangles around the outside edges and then, on a whim, whited out the center red rectangles as well. When I put the two images side by side, I definitely preferred the edited one. In the first red and white quilt I noticed tumbler shapes, while the second seemed a little more delicate, almost like a snowflake. The points were more visible without completely losing the circle illusion. Here they are again side by side:

Sherlock 3 Sherlock

This quilt is actually quite easy to construct. The most challenging aspect is the extended triangles, but once you learn the technique it isn’t difficult. As part of the Design It challenge, Island Batiks will choose one design and provide fabric to make it, and maybe even share the free pattern on their website or more! Wouldn’t this look awesome in batiks?!


Anyway, to be eligible for that prize I need to provide the following information: The quilt finishes at 62″ square. It requires 3 1/2 yards of white fabric and 1 3/4 yards of red, plus 1/2 yard for the binding and 4 yards for the backing.

Don’t forget to pop over to SewCalGal and check out the other design entries… and enter one of your own!



  1. I love the story behind your design and also what you have come up with – the points of these stars are very cool.

  2. Nice design. The Tri-Recs ruler will make those Star blocks easy! I see quilts in many of the Shows I watch too. I have a SVU quilt in my sketches to make ‘someday’. I don’t remember reading to put the sizes in the post. Oh well, I am making my design for ME in scrappy so Batiks aren’t my choice.

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