What’s a Rocking Novelty quilt you ask? Well, the sashing around the block “rocks”and the block is a novelty print cut to showcase the image on the fabric.
I first got the idea for doing this from Sharyn Squier Craig’s book Twist and Turn. In this little book, she shows you several ways to create “rocking” sashing for your blocks. For most of her quilts, the blocks are all the same size, and then she adds the sashing.
Twist’n Turn by Sharyn Squier Craig
Her samples look a lot like this quilt which I made out of Block of the Month blocks from the Calico Whale. I challenged myself to finish the twelve blocks and then use the scraps left over to create eight more blocks. Other Block of the Month participants gave me their scraps, and I was able to do it! Some blocks are smaller. For those blocks, I added larger sashing, so that they all ended up the same size. Then, I pieced them together in a traditional grid format.
This quilt measures 60″ by 75″. There is actually one more row to the quilt, that you can’t see. Using this type of sashing is a great way to make a bigger quilt top, and also make that quilt top look fun.
You can see that the upper left corner block is smaller, but I just added a larger sashing to make it 15″ by 15″.
This is one of the blocks I added. One way to make a small block bigger is to use it as the center block for a star.
I made this Rocking Novelty quilt for our oldest son, Fletcher, when he was just a wee tike. Call me strange, but I love a good novelty print. And to justify buying them, I make these quilts. A good novelty print, in my mind, is one you can cut up and still have white space around it.
This is one of the first quilts I ever completed. I see now that my use of color and print has dramatically improved!
I am including this close-up so everyone can see exactly what my quilting looked like when I started. It looks like every other beginner’s work.
Here is the pieced back of Fletcher’s quilt. I like it.
How do you make a Rocking Novelty Quilt? It is very simple. There are three basic steps. First, you must rock the block.
Pick out your image and cut it out. Be sure to leave at least 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around your image. Then select a sashing fabric. I usually go for something that really contrasts with the novelty print background. Cut strips of that fabric between 2″ – 3 1/2″ wide. You can go bigger or smaller if you like. Stitch those strips around the novelty print. I like to stitch the top and bottom first and then the sides. But you can work your way around the block if you like that better.
Place your block on your rotary mat so that it square with the lines on the mat. Take you rotary ruler (my favorite one is 4″ by 16″) and put it at a WONKY angle on top of your block. If the top of the ruler goes to the right like in this example, the block will rock to the left. If the ruler leans to the left on the first cut, the block will rock to the right. I like to make sure that I have at least a 1/4″ seam allowance of my sashing fabric left after the cut. See in the lower right corner of my novelty print? I have made sure that there is enough fabric for a seam allowance. Make the cut!
Rotate your block on the cutting mat. Line up the bottom edge of your block with a line on the cutting mat. Line up your ruler so that you make a straight cut. The ONLY wonky cut is the first one. Now, make your second cut.
Rotate your block again. You now have two straight sides to your block. Line those two lines up with lines on your rotary mat. There are some quilt shops that might fire you for doing this, but don’t be afraid. Be bold and make the next cut.
And finally rotate it one last time, and make your final cut. Always remembering to think about leaving at least a 1/4″ for the seam allowance.
I like it!
Can you find that cute little black cat in Max’s quilt?
This one hangs at the Quilt Zone as a class sample. Yes, I do teach this class on a regular basis, and I would love for you to take it. For the class sample, I decided to use one contemporary print–in this case a Dr. Seuss fabric. If you don’t have a monster stash of novelty prints you can buy a panel of something you like.
I have always wanted to do one of these quilts where you showcase a collection of novelty prints–say teapots, or flowers, or things with wheels, you get idea.
Next, you must fill in the spaces between the rocked blocks.
I have put these Rocking Novelty blocks on the design wall in a manner I like. The next step is to start filling in the empty spaces.
Two things for you to notice here. One, is that the hamburger was not a square or a rectangle when I cut it out. I made it into a square by adding extra sashing fabric. Two, you can fill in empty spots with pieces of fabric OR with left over blocks like I did here. If you don’t have left over blocks make some!
Do you see how the polka dotted fabric starts on the left side and goes 3/4 of the way around the little airplane block? I call that a snake.
Here is another good example. I added more fabric to the bottom of the fish block and then I added the flying geese which Trudy Koszarek gave me. I wonder if she remembers doing that?
There is that cat again. And the polka dotted fabric. If I like something it often makes an appearance in several quilts.
Here is a finished Rocking Novelty Quilt. I made this for my good friend Amy’s son Aidan. I wonder if I will finish it in time for him to give to his son? That is about the pace I am moving at.
And finally, you must build the sections that become the quilt.
Here is the finished quilt. It looks crazy and chaotic, but there really is a method behind this madness. I will show you. This quilt has three long sections. Can you see them?
Here is a handout I created back when I first started teaching Kitchen Sink Quilting. Basically you add or subtract fabric until the area is as big as you want it to be. The easiest method for doing this is three straight columns–just like a row in a traditionally pieced quilt.
Here is the upper left corner section of the quilt.
Here is the lower left corner.
And here are those two sections stitched to each other. I have now completed one full column of the quilt.
Here is the top part of the middle column.
And here is the bottom half of the middle column.
This is the middle section pieced.
Can you see the sections now? This is the top right hand section.
And this is the bottom right side section.
This is the third and final column.
Once I have pieced the sections together, I often add a border to the top and bottom of the quilt to make it longer and more rectangular shaped. I also like the idea of borders just on the top and bottom. I think it is fun.
If you have any questions, please let me know. And if you make a Rocking Novelty quilt, I would love to see it.