Quick Charity Quilts series--One Block Quilt Top
Whenever I'm asked to make a quilt for charity, I usually go straight to a set of patterns I know almost by heart. And while I've made many of these go-to patterns a half dozen times, I've always wanted to come up with an even faster approach for making charity quilts- a signature charity quilt if you will. Something that takes only an hour or so for the top- so I can get right to the quilting and binding and so the quilt can then get to its new home as soon as possible. On the flip side, I still want the quilt to be good quality and beautiful in spite of its simplicity and I want to be proud of the design.
Inspired by so many of the quilt backings I've seen online and during Show & Tell at our monthly MMQG meetings, I came up with a "One Block Quilt Top". Now, this is truly a minimalistic approach- and I'm sure you can find ways to add a few more blocks or set them a little differently to add complexity and achieve a different look. Most charity quilt requests are for twin size quilts or slightly larger, so I designed the One Block Quilt Top to be 70"x90", but of course you can always modify the size to accommodate the fabric pieces you are working with (and as a side note, my design might not be the most suitable for an actual bed spread since the placement of the featured block could complicate how the quilt hangs over the edge of the bed).
I started by raiding my extra block bin for a block I wanted to use in my quilt. I didn't make the one pictured below. It was part of a huge bag of scraps I purchased a few years ago at the Textile Center's annual garage sale. I really like the sweet calico-esque prints- though they aren't in colors that work with my home and I wasn't sure how I would be able to use them so I stashed them away along with extra blocks I've accumulated over the years waiting for just the right project. If you don't have a collection of stray blocks like this, you can of course make a new one in any style you choose.
After you have selected the block that will star in your quilt, the next step is to determine how much extra fabric you need in order to turn it into a quilt. But before you can take that step, you need to decide how you want to set the block in your quilt. I did some quick sketches to make my decision but if sketching isn't part of your process, you can certainly use a design wall or just lay the block out on the table in a variety of ways until you like what you see. I chose to use a thin border (2") of contrasting fabric before setting my block in a natural colored horizontal stripe- but there lots of other options too.
With that decision made, all that is left is to determine the fabric requirements for the rest of the top and sew it together. Here is a final sketch for the quilt top I chose to make including all of the yardage and piece measurements required to assemble it. With a little massaging, you can use this basic template to create a whole different look by setting the block on point, altering the placement of the strip the block is set in or even adding a few more stray blocks in need of a good home until you come up with a signature charity quilt of your very own.