Friday, February 1, 2019

Turnabout Patchwork - Modern Shoofly Block

Teresa's Flying Rainblow quilt on the cover of her book! 
     I am so very happy to share my version of Teresa's "Flying Rainbow" quilt, from her terrific new book, Turnabout Patchwork.  (click here to purchase, if you don't win my giveaway - details at the end of the blog!)  If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome!  I like to share the good, bad and sometimes funny aspects of making quilts, and this quilt had all of them! 
     This blog hop experience has been a delight from day one.  Teresa was very organized, and communicated often and well!  I chose to do a version of her Modern Shoofly block, the "Flying Rainbow" quilt that is on the cover of her book.  I love her version, but didn't want to copy it.  One of the things I love about quilting is how the same pattern can look so different with different fabric choices.   Give the same pattern to ten quilters, and you will get ten very different quilts! 
     Now I have a great big stash of fabrics.  I had in mind a children's "tossed" sort of print for the background, but didn't have enough of a that type of fabric in my stash.   Although I try to support my local quilt shops, I was browsing the internet, and found a  'Dear Stella Moonlight Circus Animal' print on sale (under $5 a yard!) and thought it would be perfect.  It looked like a nice blue background, which I liked a lot.   There was also what I took to  be a companion print,  'Dear Stella Moonlight Merry Go Round' also on sale.  I thought that would be perfect for the border, and the backing.    I ordered just enough of the tossed print for the background, and enough yardage of the other for the backing and border. 
     The tossed circus animals were perfect, and I had some bright chartreuse Kona solid in my stash that picked up some of the accent colors in the print.   I wasn't sure whether to use only the chartreuse for the triangles, or to also use white.  I sewed up a few small blocks to put on my wall to decide.   
Traditional Shoofly block with just chartreuse

Traditional Shoofly block with both white and chartreuse.  I like how the white made the unicorns pop! 
     I liked the energy that using both the white and chartreuse gave to the dark fabric, so worked out a plan for the shoofly block that had colors in opposite corners before doing the cutting!
     This is an easy pattern with good instructions, but my problem with easy patterns sometimes is that I forge ahead, and forget to check the details.  I wanted to make one block as a sample, and at first sewed the pieces together the wrong way. 

The triangles are pointed in the wrong directions!  
     Then when I redid that sample, I had totally messed up a corner.  In all honesty, in a bigger quilt, or on one for myself for watching TV, I'd probably let this go, but I wasn't going to have a decapitated corner on a quilt in an international blog hop!  
     Last year, I had purchased a Bloc_Loc ruler that I had used only once.  I pulled that out, and used it to square up all of the half square triangles before putting the shoofly block together.  It worked like a dream!  All my points turned out pretty well, although some are tucked under the flange.
     After those minor adjustments, the shoofly blocks came together quickly, and I just worked by way through the "turnabout process" block by block without any further problems.  
Getting started with the blocks on the design wall.  This design wall is really working out for me! 
All of the shoofly blocks done!

     I really love how the center part turned out when the blocks were all sewn together!    
     I had decided to do a border a bit wider than Teresa's instructions had indicated, because the 'Merry Go Round' fabric had two rows in its pattern, and I like a bigger border.  
     However, it turned out that the blue backgrounds in the two fabrics were NOT the same.  Arrggghhh!  The Merry Go Round fabric was slightly more muted, and a tad lighter.  I thought it still might work if I put a strip of orange in between the pieces.  I had a small amount of Tiger Lily Kona in my stash. Since I was already enlarging the border, I decided to try a flange to add a color separation without adding any more width. I had never made a flange before, but it was pretty easy. 

    While I really liked the flange, once I put the borders on, I didn't like it.  It really just didn't work for me.  The color difference, which I think is clear in the picture below, was still pronounced even with the flange divider, and I also didn't like the busy-ness of the pattern itself.    Honestly,  I was so disappointed.   
     And, I was worried, because it was the holiday season, I was busy with family, and I needed to finish the quilt before my spring college semester started.  The tossed 'Circus Animal' print was still available online, so I ordered up some yardage, and crossed by fingers that it would arrive in time!  Luckily,  it did.
     I carefully picked off the old border, put on a new one (keeping the flange), and got the quilt all pinned and quilted.   I was much happier with this version.  
      I used a big loopy overall quilting, almost bubbles, in a yellow green Aurifil thread that went well with the chartreuse Kona.  I did have to break up the quilting between the center panel and the border to keep the flange from getting sewn.   I bound the quilt with the remainder of my Tiger Lily Kona.  The deep orange picks up the little tigers in the fabric. 
Close up of the quilting
   The 'Merry Go Round' fabric did not go to waste.  I used it for the back, and experimented with a glue stick to match the pattern when piecing the back from three separate pieces.  (Since I had cut it up for the border, I didn't have quite enough for just a two piece back!).  I cannot believe how well that technique worked. Honestly, would you see the seams if I didn't point them out?  Three pieces come together at that point!  I am unabashedly proud of this part of the quilt!  The glue appears to have washed out when I washed the quilt. 

     I love this little quilt.  What a great experience working with Teresa, experimenting with some new techniques, and ending up with a great piece!  
     I know it is hotter than blazes in Australia, where Teresa resides.  We are in the middle of the polar vortex here in the Buffalo, NY area!  
Brrrr, cold and windy!  
        GIVEAWAY!  I am able to give away a pdf copy of the book, so please leave a comment  below, and I will be picking a winner at random after the blog hop ends!  
    ETSY SALE!  Also, for the month of February, my subtly sewing themed collage art work is on sale for 30% off in my ETSY shop.  Please take a look!  
     Thank you, Teresa, for inviting me to take part in this blog hop! 
    Thank you, readers, for taking a look at my blog.  Please come back often.  I have a Snug Harbor Quilts facebook page, and can be found on Instagram @snugharborquilts!  

Here is the Blog Hop Schedule - please check them all out! 

January 30 - Quarter Snow Ball

     Sweet Bows
     Sun Dunes

🌟🌟🌟February 1 - Modern Shoofly

     Flying Rainbows
     Flying Butterflies
     Flying Flags
     Flying Confetti

February 2 - Half Square Triangles (HSTs) and squares

     Rose Garden Star
     Diamond Star

February 4 - Striped Fabric Block

     Xs and Os

February 6 - Coordinated Strips

     Diamond and Crosses
     Knots and Crosses

February 8 - Double Disappearing Nine-Patch

     Holiday Trellis
     Stepping Stones
     Two for One
Take care,


  1. Job well done! We learn so much more from our mistakes than our sucesses. You did very well on that backing I am impressed.

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  3. Great job, love this playful quilt. I always enjoy your posts, thanks for sharing the process... how disappointing that your fabrics had such a colour difference. Freezing here in London Ontario as well..keep warm and quilt on! :)

  4. I love this pattern! You did a great job. Stay warm!

  5. I love how you made it work!
    I have made Teresa's four seasons of the heart and love how this technique works!

    1. I like the technique, too! This was fun! Thanks

  6. Gretchen, I always love your work but best of all I love how you are not afraid to try something and if it doesn't work out as planned you either rework the plan or rip it out and try again. You go girl. Keep up the great sharing.

  7. Love your quilt - the orange flange and changing the border fabric really made the quilt perfect! Speaking of perfect, the way you matched your border-turned-backing is amazingly perfect!!!

    1. Thanks. That glue stick backing method is a game changer for me!

  8. Clever use of tossed triangles to add interest to the novelty fabric. I like this pattern idea for my stash of children's fabric.

  9. The Circus animals fabric is so sweet and the flange and the chartreuse are perfect accents. I love the Flying Rainbow.
    Carol Andrews

  10. Some quilts do try to get the better of us but glad you got it finished. It looks great

  11. Gretchen I’m very interested in how the glue process is done for the quilt backing! I’ve never seen or heard of that technique. I loved the orange fabric it really made the tossed print pop. Keep up the fantastic quilting I really love reading your blogs ��

    1. I'd be happy to do a demo at guild or show you anytime! Thanks!

  12. I love the orange flange you used. I agree with you that the first border was Not working. It's so nice to have someone show us what hasn't worked instead of just what did work, without any trouble, and everything turns out fantastic. Good job.

  13. Love the visual impact of the flange! Thanks for all of your fabulous photos of the quilt in progress.

  14. I love this pattern! You did a great job.

  15. Hi Gretchen! So glad you're enjoying the "blog hop". Thanks for sharing and taking your friends on the journey with you. I loved your interpretation of the quilt and fabric choices. Will we see any more quilts from the book replicated by you?

    1. Very possible, but not on this blog hop! One was all I could manage (and just got it done in time!) I like the technique, and there are lots of possibilities for using up scraps!

  16. wonderful fabric you used for this quilt. A fun quilt for any child.

  17. I love your quilt. I've really liked the quilt block since seeing the cover of the book, but could not picture if I would still like it with a print for the background. You're quilt showed me and I definitely like it.

  18. Thanks. I'd recommend a "tossed print" because it does get further "tossed" in the process!

  19. I'm always happy to read about other quilter's mishaps and how they fix them! Very useful info to keep in mind. I think it turned out simply adorable!

  20. Gretchen, I love the "pop" of color, lending a 3D effect.

    Thank you for explaining your Journey in the process of making the quilt.
    I also am very interested in the Glue process.

  21. Like your quilt! It is so cheery. Stay warm!

  22. Your quilt is so sweet! Love the way it turned out. Thanks for sharing your process!

  23. I love the quilt. It turned out wonderful.

  24. The orange flange is a great design element! A fun version for sure.

  25. I really like the dark background and using only 2 solid colors for your quilt. It's nice to see different interpretations on the pattern. cknapp3636(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

  26. This quilt is beautiful! The 2 different colors really do fly in this quilt - love it. Great choice of fabric.

  27. Love your version. Interesting technique.

  28. Love this pattern. Your colors and quilting are fabulous, as always, Gretchen!

  29. I love the pattern as well as your choice of background fabrics. Lovely!

  30. What a fun interpretation. Love it.

  31. I love the block variations and how the fabric choices produce a totally different looking block and quilt. Beautifully done!

  32. Thanks for talking about your “flubs” you solved them! I love the final quilt.

  33. Hello fellow New Yorker :) (I'm over in the Catskills & also "enjoying" the cold burst of temps (insert eye roll, hahaha). I really like that you added the flange between the quilt blocks and the border - it gives it an extra special touch.