Nearly Insane – Block 61

I find this block really pretty and intended it to be my first block! In the original quilt it is really striking in solid yellow and red.  

Block 61 – not as perfect as I would wish!

It was actually tougher than it looks. I made those 16 squares using 3 different methods. A couple of them were done with tiny squares being joined diagonally to the corners of the bigger square and flipping open the inner triangle to the corner. For another two I drew foundation paper templates on printer paper. For the rest I used freezer paper foundation piecing templates. This is how they looked, ready for assembly!


Ready for assembly…
It took me nearly two hours to assemble that – there were dozens of points to be matched, and too many layers of fabric. Not so simple in a block of this size. I am not very happy with more about half a dozen of those points…wondering if I should re-do them. Perhaps later, when I am assembling them. When compared, English paper piecing (EPP) is so much more accurate and pretty!

Tomorrow, I’ll be cutting fabric for the next seven blocks and start working on them next week.  I’ll do an EPP block next, methinks! It has 4 eight-pointed stars and is really lovely! 

One more pic of the block, on point this time!


Vital Stats

No of pieces –80

Difficulty level – Moderately difficult

Technique used – foundation paper piecing with freezer paper ( fold away) method

Nearly Insane – The First Two Blocks

Finished Nearly Insane Blocks 67 & 71 – Original quilt by Salinda Rupp c.1865

It was not a very auspicious beginning for my Nearly Insane Quilt! Nevertheless, the first two blocks are done.

Block 67

I started with what was a really easy block and can you believe this is what I did?!?

I also forgot there were points to match in the centre of the pieces!

The fabric looked so pretty when I cut it out – it took me ages to do that, as I fussy cut those bouquets! I picturized it as flowers from behind a trellis. I don’t think I like it very much put together. The original block has two strong contrast fabrics. Perhaps quilting will make a difference?

Here is how it looks now.

The blocks will be all placed on point, so I will photograph them like that.

Block 67 from the quilt originally made by Salinda Rupp – popularly known as Nearly Insane.

Vital Stats

Number of pieces – 29

Level of difficulty – Easy.

Partly ( corners) foundation paper pieced

Block 71

This block was, surprisingly, a toughie! The centre flower strip finishes at 3 and 5/8″. I could not draft it on Quilt Assistant, so I traced the template from the book.

Traced the block template from the draft in book by Liz Lois

I pieced all the strips first before joining them on the block template. I quite love this!

Nearly Insane Block 71 – love this block!

Vital Stats

Number of pieces – 29 (Again!)

Level of difficulty – Easy ( If you don’t have to draft the block template).

Strips pieced first and then assembled on foundation paper.

I did mention that I am working on these blocks only two days a week? Which means you have to wait for that long to see the next block!  I bid you goodnight with a quick peep into what is cooking next Wednesday!

Coming up next!

Another look at the first two together…

Happy Quilting!


Nearly Insane – Or Totally Mad(s)

I finished drafting all 98 blocks of Salinda Rupp’s 1860s sampler quilt (popularly known as the Nearly Insane), a few days ago. 

Today I cut out the fabric for 3 blocks. 


Templates and fabric for 3 blocks are ready!
Isn’t that pretty? I am so excited! I have made a diary, where I am making note of the fabric requirement. I plan to cut out fabric and sew 5 blocks at a time.

Meanwhile, I am having second thoughts about making all the blocks of this quilt. There are more than a couple which are very similar; so, first I am making only my favourite blocks. Then, I  may seriously consider adding instead a few Midget and Dear Jane blocks. Those will have to be re-drafted at 6″. I will probably add a few blocks of my own too! Crazy, isn’t it?

Let us see how it goes…any suggestions?

Nearly Insane – Before the Beginning

Yesterday, I drafted the first 20 blocks from the quilt on Quilt Assistant free quilt software. I have Liz Lois’s book to help me – I will be needing the computerised templates, unless I am willing to sit with tracing paper and pencil! Like I mentioned, I shall try to foundation paper piece some of it, though I have no idea how I will get the paper out from under 1/2″ HSTs ( diagonal half of a 1/2″ square for the uninitiated).  

Why does this quilt fascinate so many people? Here is picture of one of the blocks from the original quilt, taken from  ‘The Ultimate Quilting Book‘. 


I zoomed in on the picture of the quilt in my book to get this right. Liz Lois has simplified this block some what, but I wanted to see the original.
 What a striking combination of fabrics and colours! I also find those missing points from her triangles utterly charming! Salinda Rupp worked without rotary cutters and our rulers and came up with this magnificent sampler quilt. She nudged some of those blocks into size, I believe, trying to fit the block into the designated 6″.

I was planning to follow her colour scheme and even collected the fabric for it, but somewhere I changed my mind…

Magnificent Obsession: Going Insane – Nearly!

I first saw this a picture of this quilt about seven years ago, and fell in love instantly.


My first encounter with The Quilt…
It was in this book…

…where i first saw it in 2008…

 …and I went back to it again and again. I later discovered that it had been named ‘Nearly Insane’ by Liz Lois, who first drafted the blocks and got together with five friends, each making her own version of the quilt. It took them 3 and 1/2 years to complete their quilt. Liz has a website for the quilt and has also published a book which contains the designs of each of the 98 different blocks that make it up. ( There are no templates, only the drafts of the blocks.)
In some ways, I have spent the last seven years honing and polishing my piecing and quilting skills, preparing for the day when I would finally be able to attempt this. Meanwhile, I bought every book which I heard or read had pics of this quilt. I lapped up everything I read online about it.  I discovered that there have been several people who have made this – there are gorgeous ones in blue and white, red and white, in lavender in yellow…

I decided to make mine in blue, yellow and green with white to offset the busy nature of the blocks. Liz Lois has not given any fabric estimate in her book, so I ordered a layer cake of Summer Breeze iii by Moda Fabrics with matching solid fat quarters.  I am not very happy, because several of the prints are pretty large, so I shall probably end up doing the blocks mainly in solids, with a dash of prints here and there.  I did have a jelly roll of buttercup yellow and a couple of fat quarters of periwinkle blue which should look good here…Or perhaps, I will order a fat quarter of each of the tinier prints – there are about 4-5 of those in the Summer Breeze collection. 

I am drafting the blocks –  which I plan to paper foundation piece to the extent that I can – on Quilt Assistant free software.  The easiest blocks have just 10 pieces and the most intricate one has, hold your breath, 229 pieces! Yes, that is right, 229 pieces in a 6″ block! I will be sharing my progress as I go along. Would you like to join me? I really am not sure if I am allowed, for copyright reasons, to share the paper piecing templates I will be coming up with…I know EQ drafts are available for free download, but I do not have EQ and am in no mood to invest in it right now.  By the way, I am not sure if I like all the blocks in the quilt and I do plan to add a few of my own! 

Here is a list of important online resources you may like to refer to, if you do embark on your own journey

1. – Liz Lois’s website for her book of the drafted blocks.

2. –  ” This blog is for fans of the ‘Nearly Insane’ quilt created in the 1870’s by Salinda Rupp…”, says the blurb.

3. – This is probably the most useful resource available to a nearly insane quilter. She has given, with pictures, a description of how she English paper pieced each block. 

4. – A yahoo group, which is not very active these days.

5. Pinterest – You can look at lots of pictures of the quilt for inspiration!

6. Flick’r  group to share pics of your blocks –

Before I go off to draft the blocks for my quilt, here is a dekko at the fabric I will be using for it! Pretty, isn’t it?

My fabric choice for the Nearly Insane quilt