Birmingham Library Quilt Pattern


Birmingham library quilt

Birmingham library quilt

The Birmingham Library quilt pattern is actually based on the paving outside the library where there are some lovely designs.  I have chosen one of the patterns for this quilt.  I’ve used 2.1/2″ strips so that you could use jelly roll strips to make it, and I’ve used fabrics from my stash.  So the quilt pattern ticks lots of boxes:  easy quilt, no triangles, jelly roll quilt and scrap quilt.

No quilt kit this week partly because I only used scraps but mainly because I’m having a sale:  17% off across everything until next Thursday (8th Oct).  No coupon required:  just click here.

Birmingham library paving

Birmingham library paving

When I was selecting fabrics, I tried to choose blue (dark) fabrics, pink (medium) fabrics and yellow/white (light) fabrics.  I don’t think that I quite achieved this because I kept thinking ‘ooh that’s pretty’ rather than looking more carefully at whether it was a dark, medium or light fabric.  That’s why I’m showing you the digital version of the quilt as well as the real one.

The quilt measures 68″ by 56″, using nine quilt blocks which are 20″ by 16″ finished size.  There are two different blocks and you’ll need six of the basic block and three of the alternate block.  Although I used lots of different fabrics from scrap, the overall fabric requirements are 1.1/2 yards of blue, 2 yards of pink and 1.1/4 yards of light fabric.

Completed basic and alternate quilt blocks

Completed basic and alternate quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the Birmingham library quilt

These are all 2.1/2″ wide strips, so I’ll just give the lengths here.

Blue fabric:  thirty 4.1/2″, twenty four 6.1/2″, six 8.1/2″, six 12.1/2″, eighteen 16.1/2″

Pink fabric:  twelve 2.1/2″, seventy two 4.1/2″, twenty four 6.1/2″, twelve 8.1/2″

Light fabric:  twelve 2.1/2″, twenty four 4.1/2″, twelve 8.1/2″

For the borders you’ll need to cut six 2.1/2″ strips each in pink and in light across the width of fabric.

Basic Birmingham library quilt block

Basic Birmingham library quilt block

Basic Birmingham library quilt block

Lay the strips out in eight rows for the central area, with a 16.1/2″ blue strip on either side.

Rows 1 and 8:  4.1/2″ pink with 6.1/2″ blue on either side

Rows 2 and 7:  8.1/2″ pink with 4.1/2″ blue on either side

Rows 3 and 6:  4.1/2″ light with 6.1/2″ pink on either side

Rows 4 and 5:  8.1/2″ light with 4.1/2″ pink on either side

Add the sides last

Add the sides last

Sew the strips together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  Finally sew a 16.1/2″ blue strip to each side of the block.  You will need to make six of this block.

Blue fabrics for the alternate blocks

Blue fabrics for the alternate blocks

Alternate Birmingham library quilt block

The alternate block is for the middle row of the quilt.  This provides the same design, but shifted so that the blocks are not all in straight columns.  To make it more clear, I’ll show you the build up as the different fabrics are added.  Basically the blue strips are in the middle of the block rather than the edges.

Add the pink strips

Add the pink strips

The pink strips are then placed at each end of the blue strips.

Alternate Birmingham library quilt block layout

Alternate Birmingham library quilt block layout

Finally the light fabrics are added on the ends of the middle four rows.

So the final layout is:

Rows 1 and 8:  16.1/2″ blue with 2.1/2″ pink on either side

Rows 2 and 7:  12.1/2″ blue with 4.1/2″ pink on either side

Rows 3 and 6:  8.1/2″ blue with 4.1/2″ pink and 2.1/2″ light on either side

Rows 4 and 5:  4.1/2″ blue with 4.1/2″ pink and 4.1/2″ light on either side.

Sew the strips together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The blocks are now 20.1/2″ by 16.1/2″ and you’ll need to make three of these.

Assembling the Birmingham library quilt

Rows one and three

Rows one and three

Row 2

Row 2

The blocks are sewn together in three rows of three.  Rows one and three are made with three basic blocks sewn together.  The second row is made using the three alternate quilt blocks sewn together.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the quilt borders

Add the quilt borders

Birmingham library quilt borders

I didn’t use scraps for the borders, choosing instead to have each border made from one fabric only.  The first border is made with 2.1/2″ strips of light fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 60.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides.

For the second border I used 2.1/2″ strips of pink fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 64.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 56.1/2″ for the sides.

Birmingham library quilt

Birmingham library quilt

That completes the top of the quilt.  Here you see the actual quilt – I love it even though I think the design shows up better in the digital version.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

Off to London this afternoon to meet up with a couple of school friends – who would have thought that we’d still be in touch after all these years!  Don’t forget to take a look at the fabric sale!

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  1. jean evans says:

    Thanks Rose for the latest quilt pattern which is most welcome to time starved people like myself as you say ‘no triangles!’ Thought I was the only person who took photos of flooring and tiles! Anyway hope your trip to london was enjoyable lovely to hear from you

    • Thanks, Jean. I always feel slightly odd when I go into an ancient building with my gaze fixed firmly on the ground while others are gazing up at the ceilings! I do look at the ceilings as well, but they’re not my priority!

      • Dear Rose and Jean – when we visited Venice a few years ago I took photos of some simply splendid marble floors in churches, etc. I was so impressed with them. Unfortunately they seem to have disappeared or I could share them with you. I was so overwhelmed by the patterns produced so long ago. . Perhaps I can use this as an excuse to go back again.

        all best Janny

        • Hi Janny. I’ve been told that Venice is wonderful for everything, floors included, so it’s definitely on my bucket list. You obviously loved it there, so yes I definitely think that you should treat yourself to another visit.

  2. Marilyn Larkin says:

    Hello Rose,
    Enjoy London, so many places to go, so much to see. My best primary school friend and I are still close, and I left England in 1964. We keep in touch and share each other’s special moments but; have only seen each other twice in all that time. I’ts always like we were never apart when we do meet. Hope the sun keeps shining. I love the quilt; wonder if the paver had a quilter for a mother?

    • Hi Marilyn. I always think how lucky the younger people are, because they’ll always be able to keep in contact with each other through facebook and such like, but we didn’t have that option when I left school. There are some people I would love to get in touch with again but can’t.

  3. Gorgeous Rose, love the vibrant colours, wish I lived nearing, but I have to fly 24 hours before I hit London, hahaha!

    • That would be an awfully long way to come to see Birmingham library! I’m sure that you have some lovely floor designs where you live!

  4. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose.
    Another great quilt.Love that you are getting ideas from your surroundings. Glad you had a great trip. It is great to be with old friends and catch up on doings. Finished my Christmas quilt. Now on to the next one.
    ‘Have a great weekend and Happy quilting.

    • Thanks, Sandra. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t started on my Christmas sewing yet – it’s going to be a major rush for me this year!

  5. Bronwyn Hughes says:

    Good morning from Melbourne Rose! It’s such a glorious morning here and really warming up! I love your Birmingham Library quilt pattern and colours. I taught myself to do patchwork quilting by reading lots of wonderful books from our local library whilst I was recovering from a stroke. Since then I have made many beautiful quilts. Enjoy your London visit and friends!

    • Hi Bronwyn. It sounds like you get a lot of satisfaction from your quilting – libraries are such amazing sources of inspiration, aren’t they? Hope you’ve recovered fully from your stroke.

  6. Hi Rose another delightful pattern I have been waiting for one using bigger pieces and this fits the bill. It is really quite lovely all I have to do is niw choose some colours.

    • Hi Lesley. I was quite pleased with the simplicity of the quilt – and the fact that I used up many scrap fabrics.

  7. Sheila Lymn says:

    Hi Rose ,what a lovely and very clever idea for putting your new abode “on the map ” !I am so very pleased you are enjoying your move and finding different parts every time you go out ,
    have a nice weekend and love to Samantha,
    love and hugs Sheila xx

    • Thanks, Sheila. Birmingham is certainly proving to be a great inspiration – as well as just being an interesting place to live.

  8. I really enjoy when you feature floor patterns and walkways etc. I might give this a try, but in a less scrappy version. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Kathleen. I was aware that my quilt was a bit too scrappy – that’s why I gave the digital image as well. I was a bit carried away by the beauty of some of the fabrics when I should have concentrated on their colour more.

  9. Love this and a great one for scraps.
    Also could be made larger without much trouble.
    Thanks, Rose and have a lovely week-end and enjoy your time with friends.

  10. What a beautiful quilt! So cheerful and colorful. I love it. Nice that you can meet with your school friends. I still see friends from the 1950’s. Young one day and old the next. That’s how fast time flies. Keep up the good work. Just watching you put things together brightens my day and I look forward to next week.

    • Thanks, Claire – you do say the nicest things! When I first met up again with a group of my school friends, I found that some I didn’t recognise and some were still easily recognisable – even after 50 years!

  11. I like this pattern. I think it will be doable for a beginner like me. Thanks.

    • Hi Susan. Most definitely a good one for a beginner. It comes together very quickly as well because the blocks are so large.

  12. Gail Brasser says:

    Think I will give this one a try like the idea of using up some scrapes

  13. Dear Rose – what a joyful looking quilt, so happy and colourful. I will definitely have to have a go at this. I hope you have a lovely day in London. No doubt you will come back full of inspiration for a multitude of quilts and I, for one, are looking forward to seeing the results.

    all best Janny.

    • Thanks, Janny. The M25 seemed to be at a standstill in both directions – I’m glad that I don’t make this trip too often! Don’t know about quilt idea hunting – tomorrow I am putting up picture hooks for my daughter!