Friday, March 15, 2019

Memories of a Masterpiece - A Finish . . . . .

If you're a regular follower of my blog you know my most favorite quilts are red and white quilts.  I usually make one red and white quilt each year.  When this Red & White Quilts book was announced by Martingale I immediately preordered my copy, and that was based on the cover quilts alone. 

When I received my book and was able to see all the patterns I was not disappointed and knew this would be a book I would use for several upcoming projects.  But one quilt stood out above all the others, Memories of a Masterpiece by Lisa Bongean.  I knew I would make this quilt first. 

Lisa's quilt finished at 76" x 76" and is made up of 3,272 one inch finished half square triangle units.   Lisa used a tone on tone red print and a cream background fabric with tiny red dots.

I love this quilt but the vintage vibe is not my style so I decided to change it up a little to maybe give it a more modern feel.

First off, I used solids for my red and white fabrics. I went with my favorite red, Christmas Red by Moda.  It's a nice bright red.  My next change was to increase the size of the hsts.  Mine finish at 1 1/2", I went 1/2" bigger.   And lastly, since my hsts were larger, I made my quilt top smaller, which meant I only needed 2,296 hsts.

To make my hsts I used the Easy Angle ruler.  I cut my triangle units 1/8" larger and squared them up after piecing.

When I started this project I had the notion of just piecing my hsts until I couldn't stand to piece  anymore, then take a break, making this a project to stretch out over the year.  

 I started making my hsts the beginning of February during a very cold weather stretch when the only thing to do was stay in and sew.  In 4 days I had 1,400 finished hsts.  

Once I had enough hst units to work with I started piecing the quilt top.   I also trimmed 100 to 200 hsts daily.

To make this process easier I set up a trimming station on the kitchen table, allowing me to trim units throughout the day and in the evening while watching TV.  I think getting such a big jump on the volume of hsts the first few days, then cutting back to just a 100 or so a day  kept me interested in continuing with the project and not stopping due to hst overload.

The center was a breeze and a delight to piece.  It felt so good to start taking hsts out of the basket while putting more in.  I pressed all my seams open for this project.

The outside border units came together, slowly.

I just had to take my time and live with the fact that not all my points were going to be perfect.  I did some resewing but not a lot.  I found that my sewing machine was happier and the seams better aligned when I used a bigger stitch length.  I usually drop my stitch length down a couple from the factory preset since I always press my seams open, so the thread doesn't show through.  I just went with the regular length for this project.

I pinned each seam on both sides of the seam.

And in what really seemed like a relatively short period of time I was done, no break required.  I found this to be a relaxing project, it was just simple pinning and sewing.  And as I mentioned earlier, the weather was my best friend, there was nothing else to do but sew and listen to books.

This is lifetime quilt number 243
The pattern is Memories of a Masterpiece by Lisa Bongean from the Martingale Red & White Quilts book.
The fabric is Moda Bella Solid 9900-16 Christmas Red and 9900-98 White.  I prewashed the fabric (the color catchers picked up no red during the wash), dried it in the dryer, then soaked it with starch and let it dry on racks. 
My quilt finished at 90" x 90", the pattern finishes at 76" x 76"
I did not add the outer row of geese, I was happy with the 90" size and loved the fresh look without them.
There are approximately 5,141 pieces in this quilt top.
My husband says this top makes him dizzy.   

My top may not have the wow factor of Lisa's quilt, but I think it makes its own statement, it packs more punch due to the bright red, is more me, and I could not be happier with it. 

For the backing I'm going with this fabric,

it's Red on White Blossom by Christopher Thompson for Riley Blake.

If you love this quilt pattern, but are intimidated by the volume of pieces or perceived work, don't be, it's not a hard pattern to piece, you just need start, and before you know it, you're done.  Like my friend Vicky always reminds me, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."  Just take that first bite.

Next up, I need to make a baby quilt, I'm really looking forward to working on a smaller, faster project.  That may be my theme for the next several projects.


  1. Oh it still has the WOW factor, Thelma!! Stunning work and take care.

  2. Incredible and I loved reading about it and following on Instagram.. a masterpiece.

  3. A wonderful finish and WOW! Congrats for completing this beauty.

  4. Another heirloom quilt for sure Thelma! I always enjoy reading about process too. I press my seams open as well. I love the idea of having a project to stretch across a few others.

  5. WOW!! I've seen your progress on Instagram and to see the completed quilt is amazing!!

  6. That is just amazing! I've been following your progress on IG. Really, really gorgeous. I think the larger HSTs make the quilt pattern stand out more. Bravo!

  7. WOW. It certainly does make a statement. Beautiful.

  8. That is an amazing accomplishment! I cannot even fathom making that many HSTs!

  9. what a beautiful quilt! Good for you! I cannot look at it for very long because it will trigger a Migraine, but it is a beauty and something to be proud of!

  10. What an amazing quilt! You provide so much inspiration. Thank you.

  11. Just lovely! It inspires me to give it a try.

  12. in a word - INTENSE - and waaaay cool!!! it does make me a little dizzy if i stare at it for too long, but nothing i can't handle if you decide you don't want it - bwah ha ha!!!

  13. Bravo!! I saw the original quilt at Road to California, and yours is such a beautiful version of that. Totally impressive. Congratulations!

  14. It's great but I'm not that patient or precise!! Very impressive Lois


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