Collaborate and Commemorate Mini Quilt/Signature Block Tutorial

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For today’s tutorial we welcome back John Adams, aka Quilt Dad, as he shares a great way to celebrate your collaborative quilting efforts.

Collaborate and Commemorate Mini Quilt / Signature Block

by John Q. Adams

Are you in a virtual quilting bee, sewing circle, or some other type of community quilting group?  Looking for a way to create a lasting memory of how much you enjoyed collaborating with others?  To wrap up our week of collaboration, I’m sharing my idea to make a commemorative mini quilt where your fellow group members can each write their name and hometown, as well as dates and any other memories, funny stories, or notable quotables from the journey you took together.  Or, you can piece this as a large block into the backing of your quilt for a lasting record of who you worked with to create the quilt together.

The pattern comprises 12 blocks, each measuring 6.5” square each.  You can make the blocks yourself and send one to each member in your group (along with your fabrics, if participating in a VQB); or, simply share this tutorial and ask each person to make their own.  Be sure to use scraps, bits and pieces of the fabrics featured in your quilt to make this block.

The 12 blocks are split evenly among 2 different block patterns, which I’m calling Block A and Block B.  So, you’ll need 6 each of Blocks A and B.  Each block is essentially a signature block, featuring a wide strip of white fabric in the middle.  This is the perfect place for your fellow collaborators to sign their name and any other information they  might want to include – such as the date they made your block, their hometown, and any message they may want to share with you to help remember the time spent working together.  Be sure to advise your friends to use a pen or marker whose ink can withstand the many washings that a quilt will endure.  Many quilters like Pigma Micron pens, but I’ve always preferred ultra-thin Sharpie markers.

Once you have collected all of your blocks, determine your preferred design for laying them out and piecing them together.  Their subtle design differences should provide numerous ways to arrange your blocks in interesting ways, each resulting in a unique piece of modern patchwork.

I arranged my blocks in a 3 x 4 layout and, although I originally intended to alternate my blocks so that the white signature strips rotated in a more traditional way (i.e. alternating between horizontally and vertically oriented from block to block), I ultimately decided on this more unique layout that would give my collaborators lots of room record their information.

Enjoy!  If you use this pattern, I’d love to see your version.  Please add your pictures to my Flickr group, Quilt Dad is my Homeboy.

Block A

Block A is a very simply pieced block.  It’s made up of only 5 components: 3 – 2.5” squares and a 2.5” x 6.5” rectangle of colored or printed fabric and a 2.5” x 6.5” rectangle of a solid white (or other light-colored fabric).  Arrange these pieces per the diagram below, and piece together.

Block B

Block B contains a few more steps, but is equally simple in its construction.  You’ll need:

  • 2 – 2.5” x 3.5” rectangles of colored or printed fabric
  • 1 – 2.5” x 6.5” rectangle of colored or printed fabric
  • 2 – 2.5” squares of white fabric
  • 1 – 2.5” x 6.5” rectangle of white fabric
  1. Begin with your 2.5” x 6.5” rectangle of colored or printed fabric
  2. Lay a 2.5” white square atop one end of the rectangle, aligning all edges and corners.  Be sure the square is sitting atop the right side of the rectangle.
  3. Stitch a seam from one corner of the square to the opposite corner, as shown in the diagram below.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 on the other end of the rectangle with your remaining 2.5” white square.  The seam on this end should be parallel to the first one sewn.
  5. Trim the corners off of your pieced rectangle with a ¼” seam and press open.  Your rectangle should now look like the one shown in step 5 of the diagram below.
  6. Arrange all of your pieces as shown.  Sew your 2 – 2.5” x 3.5” rectangles together along their 2.5” side, then join the three block components together.
We’d like to thank John for joining us during the Week of Collaboration! We hope you’ll make a special Collaborate and Commemorate block for your next virtual quilting bee quilt.