The Dancing Magic Squares Quilt

This is a long outstanding project – a UFO (unfinished object) in quilting lingo  – finished!

This 100″x110″ quilt is made up entirely from scraps of muslin and cambric left over from sewing my salwar-kameezes. Other than, of course, the border, for which I bought fabric separately. Most of these are hand-block prints; there are a couple which are hand-woven fabric and one which is hand-embroidered too!


I used only leftover scraps from sewing my dresses (salwar-kameezes) to make this quilt – other than the border.

This was an easy one to piece. I arranged and cut the squares, stacked them up row wise and cut across them, using a cardboard template. I don’t exactly remember what I did ( it was five years ago!), but it involved slipping a piece from the top of one row to the row immediately below it…I must dig out that method and share it, perhaps!

The ‘stack and whack’ method was used to cut the pieces.

To quilt the blocks, I first used a cardboard template to draw the semi circles. This did not work very well, because this is such a huge quilt! By the time I would get to the blocks, the lines would get rubbed off! I finally held the cardboard template down in place and quilted around it! This seemed to be much easier than the hours it took to draw and re-draw the semi-circles.

Made a thin cardboard template and sewed around it to get those perfect semi-circles.

One thing good that I learnt from this quilt was that I can stipple! Other important learnings were:

1. Use only good quality thread. The amount of money you spend on it quite offsets the amount of time you need to deal with thread breakages and tension problems!

2. Deal with a thread breakage right then and there, burying off the offending threads before you bring up the new thread. Otherwise you face the prospect of having to deal with tangled threads. This is really the case where ‘a rip in time saves nine’!

3. I keep forgetting this, but when the machine starts behaving strangely or the thread tension starts going off, do check to see if the bobbin is running out of thread! Does it happen to you also that the lower thread tension needs easing just before the thread runs out? The bobbin thread sensor on my machine has gone off and I have had to do a lot of ripping because of this.

4. Never again such a huge quilt on my little Hasina! I will stick to quilt-as -you-go, wherever possible!

I can stipple now!

After I ‘finished’ the quilt, I discovered unquilted portions, which I am not in a hurry to amend. I had also started quilting between the ‘petals’ of the 4-petaled ‘flower’, but I got bored! I had decided I would rip out those portions, but again, I am not doing that.

Oh, I forgot to mention the binding! I did not have enough of any one fabric for the binding and was undecided which colour it should be! So, I made scrap binding joining all the scraps of teal and blue fabrics used in the quilt. I cut them into 2.5″ wide strips, joined them and cut them diagonally to get this!


The scrappy bias binding !


The binding – took a long time to make, but worth it?

So here is my dancing magic squares quilt, the first quilt that I am going to keep all for myself!

Author: Mads

In alphabetical order: daughter, mother, painter, philosopher, poet, quilter, seeker, wife...

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