Baby redwork

While rummaging through my red fabrics looking for scraps to make the apples and oranges sewing kits, I rediscovered some leftover nine-patch blocks I had made.


For an earlier quilt, I made too many nine-patch blocks.

How did I end up with too many blocks? When I laid out all the blocks for my embroidered redwork quilt , I realised that I had leftover fabric, so I thought I would use up the extra fabric and make the quilt slightly bigger.

After I had happily sewn twenty-six more nine-patch blocks and cut the white blocks to go between, I paused. I finally saw the problem with this plan: I had already bought the backing fabric for the quilt. To enlarge the quilt as I planned, I would need more backing fabric, which I did not have.

So, I set aside the extra blocks and finished the quilt without them. Even back then, I thought I probably had enough to make a baby quilt. Recently, I found those leftover blocks buried in my stash and decided it was finally time to put them to use.

The leftover white fabric had already been cut into 5 inch strips and squares, limiting how I could use it. I wanted to add some appliqué to the white squares to make them more interesting, and so I chose a heart shape, even though I am not usually a fan of heart designs, as it is an easy shape to sew.

Because it is a baby quilt, which will need a fair amount of washing, I decided to turn under the edges of the appliqué instead of using a raw-edge technique. I used freezer paper to cut and finger-press the shapes. I then pinned and tacked them down to the background fabric. On each background square, I had already traced the heart shape as a guide, using a Frixion sudoku pen that has ink that disappears when you iron it. I only made four freezer-paper templates; I just kept reusing the same ones.


The appliqué was done with four simple steps: trace, pin, tack and sew.

To save time, I sewed the appliqué by machine. I used a buttonhole stitch on my Janome, with Sulky thread on the top and ordinary cotton in the bobbin.

The finished quilt is about 41 inches square. I made it this size as I was just able to use a single fabric width for the back without any joins.


This red and white baby quilt was made with leftover nine-patch blocks.

I found the patchwork piecing easy; it was the quilting that caused me the most difficulty. I am not a terribly good quilter. I usually make enormous bed quilts and send them to be professionally long-arm machine quilted, so I have not had much practice at doing my own quilting. I think I have learned a few examples of what not to do when I next attempt to do my own quilting! Most of the problems can be traced back to my not pinning the layers together quite right before quilting. Saying that, I do not think anyone except me will notice my oopsies.

I quilted in the ditch around the borders and blocks, then also added quilting on the diagonal and just outside the edges of the hearts.

I had a long piece of leftover binding, enough for half the quilt, also from my earlier redwork quilt, so I only needed to add a bit more.

Two red and white quilts made with the same nine-patch blocks.

Two red and white quilts made with the same nine-patch blocks.


Two red and white nine-patch quilts: one with appliqué and one with embroidery.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?


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