In response to many requests for more information about my STATE FLOWER QUILT project, here's a little background and some links for getting started on a quilt of your own.
Last fall (2009), I decided to redo an old quilt pattern that I had in my collection. I redrew all the flowers and updated the design with new lettering and the two-letter postal abbreviations for each state, reprinted it all--and began stitching. The small flower blocks were so pretty that I wanted to share them with everyone across the 50 states! So . . . I started stitching. And blogging. And sharing the blocks as each was completed.
As I finished a block, I posted it to my blog and included a bit of history along with the pattern for you to print and trace. Some of the flower colors may have changed over the years, but I tried to include updated information for each one. Refer to the specific flower post if you're not sure.
The order of the blocks was random, compiled from reader requests. Go to STATE FLOWER QUILT LIST to find the blog post for a particular State.
Finished blocks and free patterns are also on my flickr page. Click on the link badge here on the blog (in the left side-bar) to find them.
Or use this shortcut: FREE QUILT BLOCKS ON FLICKR
- Block images should be approximately 4 x 4-inches, as designed for a 6.5" quilt block. This allows for a 1/4" seam allowance, with a finished block size of 6 x 6-inches.
TO PRINT FLOWER BLOCK PATTERNS: LEFT-click on the pattern image to open it in flickr. From the drop-down menu on the upper left side of the page, select the ACTIONS tab; then select VIEW ALL SIZES. Choose MEDIUM 640 (640 X 556) for the 6-inch block size. (Some of the newer blog entries will open directly to this size.) RIGHT-click and choose "Print Picture" from dialog box.
TRACE the design directly onto your fabric by using a light table or taping the pattern to a sunny window. Use a pencil (lightly...it will not wash out), or a washable fabric marker, or a permanent ink marker like an ultra fine-point Sharpie in either blue, brown, or red. Using black is OK if you are good at covering your lines with stitching.
TRANSFER PENS and pencils work well for some people. I've used both and can tell you there are pros and cons for each. Basically, just trace the lines of the pattern and stamp to your fabric with a hot iron. I prefer using tracing paper as opposed to just tracing the paper pattern. Always do a test run first. This will help determine the heat setting and time needed to get a good imprint as this can vary depending on fabric content, etc.
If using this method, remember you must reverse the design before tracing!
1. Reverse the design by turning the pattern over on a light table, window or other light source and trace it with a dark pen or pencil.
2. Trace over the reversed image again, this time onto tracing paper.
3. Stamp as you would an ordinary transfer, with ink side down on the cloth. (Follow the directions provided by the pen product you use, and follow the guidelines from your test run.)
From my "Category Cloud" in the sidebar or through the Archives you can access all the blog posts for each flower under 'State Flower Quilt'.
The most recent posts will come up first, keep scrolling down and going back (click previous at the bottom of pages) to see them all. The Maine Pinecone and Tassel was the first block.
TO PURCHASE THE PATTERN: For those who want to work faster, the entire pattern is also offered as a FREE PDF download, and as an iron on transfer.
Find them on the PatternBee website here: STATE FLOWER QUILT PATTERN
Stamping Blocks: I prefer to stamp multiple blocks at a time, as a larger piece of cloth is sometimes easier to work on than a tiny trimmed square. A trimmed square may also become distorted from the stretch and pull of an embroidery hoop. Frequent handling may also cause the edges to fray. It is important, when making a quilt, that the blocks remain square so that they fit precisely when pieced together and I think using a larger piece of cloth helps to eliminate these problems.
Cut a piece of fabric about 30" x 16". This size will leave a little margin around your grid. I made a cardboard template 6.5 x 6.5 and traced around it with a pencil to form a grid of blocks 2 by 4. You can use a ruler to mark out the squares if you prefer. Next, center a flower block in the middle of each square and stamp them. (If you are tracing, you can use the same "grid system".) After the embroidery is finished on all the blocks, set aside and repeat with another 8 blocks. Once all blocks are embroidered cut the blocks apart on the lines. This will ensure that the edges are sharp and the piecing will go smoothly.
The original pattern comes with a mitred border piece. To me, this seems like a lot of work when lattice strips could be used much more easily than all those mitres. Mitres that have to come together precisely. An alternating colored block could also be used, or the blocks can be pieced without borders or blocks like this one.
ERRATA---Unfortunately, it happens. Please note corrections:
- NORTH DAKOTA - PRAIRIE ROSE . . . missing "I" in prairie. If you ordered iron-on transfers please contact me if you need the new transfer, or if you did not receive the updated PDF.
- OKLAHOMA - MISTLETOE . . . rose mistletoe?? -- omit rose; it should be mistletoe.
OK. That's it so far. . . to be continued as the quilt takes shape!
NEW:: Quilt Diagrams are now available! Choose between six different layouts for size and style options.
Just download the PDf and print the diagram of your choice. Then use it as a placement guide as you stitch the blocks together.
You can see more photos of the finished quilt here on the State Flower Quilt Show page.
"On Point" Lay-Out Option: