Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Bow Ties No. 1

Finally! After watching lots of wonderful 'black & white + one' quilts pop up on Instagram, I was able to clear the schedule for my own participation in the Black and White Challenge with the Quilt Improv Studio. The guidelines are pretty simple, and the time-frame generous, quilts not being 'due' until May 16. First up was sharing your fabric. My 'plus one' to add to my black and white was Kona Pickle.

Random note: several weeks ago, I found out that unbeknownst to me, my grandma made bow tie quilts back in the day. I've been itching to dabble with the bow tie block ever since, and the challenge felt like a good time. I had in mind how I might make them improvisationally, but then browsing through Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking, I saw she had included a liberated bow tie block, so that sealed the deal. I set in making blocks out of 2.5" squares of all three colors.

Choosing a layout for my blocks required some design wall play. Alot of the more traditional layouts would call for more of a 'background' than I was interested in. Luckily, I tried arranging them in such a way that I only needed setting triangles, and making those black let the whole design float in a way that appealed to me. Plus I really like the secondary designs that were created, though I didn't over-think their placement as much as maybe I could have.

At any rate, on to quilting! I was able to find a backing in stash that in my mind, 'fit,' and not just in palette. Bow ties on the front; martini olives on the back. What's not to love? Remember Midwest Modern by Amy Butler? Well this is Martini in Mustard. Considering this was one of my most cherished old favorites, I hesitated only slightly before cutting it to size. I have a couple of large-ish scraps, so hopefully they can find their way into another project soon.

For quilting, I revisited an oldie but goodie from the AQS blog: 25 Nine Patch Quilting Designs. It apparently doesn't have a name, but it's a combination of angled lines, which I stitched with my walking foot using black thread.

I gotta say, black solid fabric really attracts the lint! Even after 'cleaning' it several times with my lint-roller, it still felt messy. I finally went ahead and threw it in the wash. Not sure that even helped much, but it did add the expected crinkle.

Finishing at 26" x 26", this was an enjoyable first go at those bow ties, and I expect I'll explore with them again.

#quiltimprovstudio #improvblackandwhite


  1. I love what appear to be the extra extensions of white at the top and bottom of the quilt based on the layout you chose. And seeing the finished piece, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have guessed that it all started with the bowtie block. How wonderful to learn that your grandma made bowtie quilts; have you had the opportunity or ability to see any of them at all (fingers crossed someone in the family has a quilt left somewhere)?

    Re: black attracting lint, oh man it really does. I did learn something new about batting recently, though. Some battings are needled or punched creating a right and wrong side. The wrong side is best put toward the backing which can help reduce this effect on the front of a quilt for darker fabrics. It isn't a cure all, but a help (and again, not all batting is made this way).

  2. Oh wow. I've got a big hunk of black. Maybe I need to try something like this.

  3. I really like it and especially notice some of the "rings" that are formed in a secondary pattern. very fun

  4. At least I do not see the lint... but I see a great piece of art. I definitely like the way you made this bow tie quilt and it gives inspiration to also start an improve quilt with an "old-fashioned" block. The added yellow is such a win for the quilt.
    You can see I love this really is fun to see it develop.

  5. Love this Debbie! The black set-in triangles really make the whole design float. And Martini is indeed a perfectly appropriate backing for a bow-tie quilt. 😀

  6. Debbie, Your little abstract bow tie quilt looks so great! You’ve taken that bow tie block to the next level. I really love black and white with one other color. A quilt of the nature is on my long list of quilts to make. I love your choice for a backing and the quilting is perfect too.

  7. I do really love this little one! I love how it's a traditional pattern, but it's not traditional at all! love it!