Isabella's Whimsy

handmade with love

Plus Quilt: Baby Boy – or How to Find Delight

on September 14, 2015

I delight in Plus Quilts!

Take a quick look here or here to see if you do too.

Because of this ongoing desire for a Plus Quilt I determined to make one for the before-end-of-year reopening of Isabella’s Whimsy on (Don’t know what Etsy is?  Click here.) There are a few different styles of Plus Quilts, and the style I like the best is made with squares and rectangles (not completely with squares). I also think 3″ (finished) squares will work very well for a baby quilt; 4″ or 5″ probably would look good to me also, but for my first Plus Quilt I wanted to have 3″ squares as the base size. Also, I wanted the Plus Quilt will be in boy colors.

Thank goodness for internet searching.  I had a lot of questions, even after selecting the style and base-block size.  I looked at color selections, read tutorials and process descriptions, and picked up as much info as I could.  I looked at and learned from these sites especially:

Reannalily Designs (dot) com  shares cutting guides and a worksheet based on 7″ squares and accompanying rectangles.

I like the variety of colors in Happy to Craft‘s Plus Quilt. Ms. Happy used 2 prints and 5 solids.

Gemini Stitches has made a tutorial for a lovely Plus Quilt Table Runner based on a 2.5 base block.

A very helpful site is For the Love of George.  Ms. Love-of asks you to register, then she provides a free Plus Quilt pattern in three sizes with suggested layout options.

I started my serious planning with Option 1: 9 fabrics with a random layout. There was only one difference from the Layout Guide to the number of squares I wanted in my Plus Quilt; all I needed to do was draw in one more column on the right hand side and I was good to go. (Oh, and her base square to cut is 4″ where mine is 3.5″ but that didn’t matter too much.) Of course that one little change meant I had to do some math to adjust a few of the pieces from squares to rectangles

So, wanting to use as many fabrics from my stash as possible, I pulled enough to make a stack of nine fabrics in blues, greens, and grays.

This is what I came up with –

DSCF1384 Then I used this planning sheet from For the Love of George, scissors, tiny scraps, and glue.  It was fun to match up my fabrics with the layout guide.

1st and only planning sheetImmediately you say, “Hey where did that orange come from?!” Well, I decided Plus Quilt Baby Boy needed a little more energy. And then you also say, “That stack of 9 fabrics looks like it has more…” And you are correct! I didn’t have quite enough gray for all I needed, so I added a couple of blues.  I also really wanted to use that cute little ABC print, but it also needed more, so I added another print that blends.

DSCF1386So, the initial stack of 9 turned out to be 13, and there is one more surprise coming later.

I wanted to keep an eye on the color values as I went into the layout phase, so here are the swatches arranged by value: top row is 5 light, 3 dark; bottom row is 5 medium (some of them were a little tricky for me to categorize). The next pic shows a black and white copy suggested by more experienced quilt designers as a method to check for value.

Colors by ValueDSCF1394 - Copy

I laid out the cut pieces, but I wasn’t as happy with it as I wanted to be.  I did another black and white check for light, medium, and dark values in the placement.

1st try1st try (2)After playing around, I came up with another layout that isn’t very different (after all, the layout guide I started with was awesome!), but I got more feeling of delight from it.

3rd tryAnd Delight is what I was going for.

Follow-up next week with the finished quilt and any lessons I learn along the way.

Oh, do you see the “surprise” green and white chevron fabric that found its way in?




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