The Modern ‘Traditional’ Cathedral Windows

Prisma Fun in the Study!
Time now to give the study area a makeover. Changing the beige furnishings for a bright modern turquoise green ( it looks more like aqua in these pics; it isn’t!) contrasted with black and white modern prints…

Cathedral windows, again, and using the traditional method too! ( I made a small table runner almost five years ago using this method and did a tutorial in two parts…) This time, I had made up my mind to stitch the blocks entirely by machine, but I finally resorted to hand sewing the few stitches in the centre (after folding in the background square)after getting very wonky results by machine on the first few! There are more learnings from this quilt, I will share them soon. 

I also added a contrasting white square inside the second fold of the background turquoise, so that the white popped out of the ‘petalled’ window ‘frame’. I am sewing cushion covers in the reverse colour scheme to place on a bench sitting across the room from this table. The tops are ready, the covers will be sewn once I am back from my summer vacation. ( I am getting away on Wednesday morning to the cool, green Himalayas for a week; far, far away from my dusty city which seethes at 45 degree Celsius!) 

The process is tedious, but I love the end product!

The table was 58″ x 14.5″  so I worked on a 3 x 15 configuration of blocks just under 5″. For that I began with 10″ squares. However, after sewing, the final quilt turned out to be just 45″ x 13.5″! Is it because I haven’t ironed the final quilt flat? 

The solids are Umaid Mills poplins and the print, if I remember correctly,  is Cosmopolitan by Benartex.

Something old (Hand embroidery 1979 on wall), some things ( miniquilt with machine thread sketching and table runner -2017)new!

Did you notice, my Palat! miniquilt is framed? Till I find an appropriate place to hang or place it, it rests on this table.

It is framed between two sheets of glass so that back is also visible!
The Palat! mini quilt

I love to hear from you all, so do tell me what you think of my modern ‘traditional’ cathedral windows! 

Cathedral Window Patchwork Maths – How Many Windows? 

The number of ‘window panes’ in a traditional cathedral window quilt is not the same as the number of background squares. It is many, many more! So how do you know how many fabric squares to cut? Here is the Arithmetic!

Caution: Loaded with primary school level Arithmetic. Read at your peril ( or if  you plan to make a traditional cathedral window quilt).

There are plenty of tutorials which tell you how to make a traditional window quilt, including mine, here. There are also tutorials which tell you, given the finished square design, how big your background fabric square and window (pane) square should be.  For example, if you want to finish with a 5″ square, your background fabric should be 10.5″ square, and the window fabric 3″. This is the tutorial I referred to for measurements for my current project.
However, did you know that the number of window squares you need are not equal to the number of background squares in your quilt? What was that again? Well I was working with these 3×3 patchwork pieces, and I cut 9 window patches for each. The result is here for you to see!

There are three blank ( white) window ‘panes’ in each. I should have cut 12 window (black and white) squares for the centre windows. If I wanted the printed fabric in the (half) windows on the edges, I would have had to cut 12 more squares ( which I would have folded diagonally and attached to the ‘frames’).

Things get even more complicated when you are working on a larger quilt.  If you are working with, say, 24 squares and making a 6×4 or 2×12 or 3×8 quilt, you would now have guessed that you need more than just 24 window squares.  But, did you know that the number of windows is different for each one of these? And none of them is 24.

So how does one do the Math? If you are one of those people who just can’t wrap their head around figures, well…I guess there is nothing to be done but to cut the fabric in batches as you go along. It is impossible for me to make a chart here with all the possible block configurations!

For the others, here is the way it works!

The Arithmetic

All you need to know is

– the total number of background squares you are working with and

– the configuration of your quilt. What is meant by configuration?  If the total number of squares is 36, you could be joining them in a 6×6  or 4×9 or 3×12 configuration.

It does not matter what the size of your squares is.

Step 1. Multiply the total number of squares in your quilt by 4. If my quilt has 36 squares, I will get the figure of 144.

Step 2. Calculate the number of ‘half’ window panes at the edges. This is equal to the total number of squares at the edges (perimeter).

If my quilt configuration is 6 x6, the total number of half window panes is  6 + 6 + 6 + 6 = 24

If my quilt configuration is 4×9 , the total number of half window panes is 4 + 9 + 4 + 9 =  26

If my quilt configuration is 3×12, the total number of half window panes is 3 + 12 + 3 + 12 = 30

If I plan to add a ‘pane’ fabric to these half window panes, I need to cut these many squares in addition to the rest I will be cutting. ( Like mentioned earlier, these will be folded diagonally and attached to the window, with the diagonal fold at the edge. )

Step 3. Subtract the number of half window panes from the figure obtained at Step #1. This result is divided by 2 to get the number of full window panes for the centre!

If my quilt configuration is 6×6, the total number of half window panes is 24. If I subtract this from 144 , I get 120, which I divide by 2 to get 60! So that is the number of window fabric squares I need!

For the 4×9 configuration, I get 144 minus 26, which is 118 and the number squares will be 59.

The 4 by 9 configuration. Ignoring the 26 brown half squares at the edges, can you count 59 window squares in the centre, including the 12 left blank?

For the 3×12 configuration, it will be 57 squares in the centre and 30 ( half) squares at the edges. Check this out!

57 window panes in the centre and 30 half panes at the edges…

Not so complicated, right? Let us crosscheck this with my 3×3 cushion cover!

Cross-checking the Calculations
Here is my cushion cover, with the nine blocks in a 3×3 configuration.

The red lines mark the background blocks in a 3×3 configuration

Had I added the black and white printed fabric to the half windows at the edges,  I would have needed 12 squares ( folded diagonally into half) for those.

The number of panes at the edge are equal to the number of blocks along each of the edges totaled together.

As for the centre squares, I subtract 12 from 36 ( total number of background squares multiplied by 4) to get 24 and halve it to get 12!

That is 12 printed fabric window squares needed for the centre panes ( marked in lime green).

But I had cut only 9 black & white printed squares.

Not enough fabric squares to cover all the windows?!

Explains my 3 missing squares quite neatly, doesn’t it?

Where did those 3 blank squares come from?!

I hope I have been able to make some sense. Remember to bookmark this post if you plan to sew up a cathedral window quilt anytime. It will make more sense then, I am sure.

Indigo Station

My mystery indigo project is finished and I am quite proud of it! 

This is what I began with…

The sofa seat in its grey avatar…
Under this badly fitting, really loose, grey cover was this…

…The grey cover was removed to reveal this rusty orange inside.

This sofa seat has seen several avatars before this and has an ignominious past, but that story will have to wait! What is relevant here is that I thought it needed a fresh new look! Encouraged by my successful transformation of a couple of folding wooden chairs a couple of weeks ago, I embarked on a much more challenging project now. 

Quilted fabric to give a new look to old canvas backed chairs!

The Irish chain block has been on my bucket list for ever and that is what I decided to use for this. The only problem was I had no idea how one went around making new upholstery for a sofa seat and the net wasn’t particularly helpful. I would have to make and use my own pattern. As it was going to be a loose cover, one would not need to be very accurate. 

Making quilted fabric and then cutting and sewing it to fit the seat was not an option, because then it would be impossible to ‘match’ the blocks. Each ‘panel’  in my ‘quilt as you go’ project would have to be designed to fit in with every other, blocks and corners matching. I would need the two sides, the seat plus overhang, the back rest, the rear besides the two strips for the front of the arms:

These are the basic measurements…

The good news was that most measurements were such that a 7.5″ square would be a great unit to work with. The piecing was quick and the panels came up in no time. 

The piecing of the four panels in progress…
For the rear of the seat, I decided not to do any piecing, I would use a yardage of the printed fabric. For the quilting, I followed the print of the backing fabric and yet it took much longer than I had anticipated. However, it has a wonderful texture, so all the time was well worth it! 

The heavy quilting was tedious but adds great texture!

Finally the panels were done and stitched together. And then I got stuck! 

What do I do with all that fabric and the loose ends?
How on earth did one deal with that? There was so much fabric and I had no idea how to stitch it in place. So I fitted the cover inside out over the seat. I took a needle and thread and just gathered all the extra fabric into one big dart/ seam. It worked! My quilted sofa seat cover was ready, except for one thing. It seemed to be hanging loose all around at the bottom. 

The solution was inspired by what had been done in the old, grey sofa cover. I sewed a doubled up strip at the bottom edge and pulled a string through it. ( The string also came from that old cover!) 

The string at the bottom edge.
This ‘stringed’ portion goes under the seat. 

So here we are, all done!!

The back…
The right side…
The left side…

And the seat finally in its corner, all dressed up in its new clothes! 

A friend had suggested the name ‘Indigo Express’ for this project, but I think ‘Indigo Station’ describes it better! What do you say?