Barn Dance Quilt

Barn dance quilt

Barn dance quilt

I was going to call this quilt pattern Square Dance but then I realised that I already have a quilt called that, so it is now officially the barn dance quilt – even though the quilt blocks are floral!  I just felt that the blocks reminded me of people whirling around in a dance.  The quilt measures 54″ square and I have used 1.1/2 yards of cream fabric, 3/4 yard each of yellow and pink fabric and 1/2 yard each of blue and green fabric.  Given the colours that I have used, I think I can see this as a beach or picnic quilt.




Quilt block one

Quilt block one

Cutting requirements for quilt block one

2.7/8″ squares:  thirty two each in yellow and cream

4.7/8″ squares:  sixteen each in cream and pink

2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ rectangles:  thirty two cream

Quilt block two

Quilt block two

Cutting requirements for quilt block two

4.7/8″ squares:  sixteen each in yellow and cream, eight each in pink and green

4.1/2″ squares:  eight cream, eight pink

2.1/2″ squares:  sixteen green

2.7/8″ squares:  eight each in green and cream

You will also need five 3.1/2″ strips of blue fabric for the border

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

For both blocks, make half square triangles with all the 2.7/8″ and 4.7/8″ squares.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line to produce two half square triangles.  Press the seam allowances towards the dark fabric and trim the corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Layout for quilt block one

Layout for quilt block one

Sew the squares in pairs

Sew the squares in pairs

Make quilt block one

This is the one that made me think of four people whirling around in a dance.

Lay the patchwork squares out as shown in the photo.  This is classified as a five patch block but the differing sizes of the patches mean that it is not quite as straightforward as five rows of five.  Sew the yellow half square triangles together in pairs – two of them with the squares side by side and two of them with the square beneath them.  Sew the two large pink half square triangles in pairs.

Complete the two halves of the quilt block

Complete the two halves of the quilt block

Now you can sew the squares together across the rows.  The simplest way is to make up the two halves of the quilt block and then sew the two halves together, so you need to sew rows one and two to each other first and then add the rectangle.

You will need eight of these blocks.

Quilt block two layout

Quilt block two layout

Make quilt block two

Lay the patchwork squares out in three rows of three.  The pieces in this quilt block are almost all the same size so this one is more straightforward to sew together.

I forgot to take a photo of the green four patch unit in the bottom right corner of the block, but it is made with two 2.1/2″ green squares and two green/cream half square triangles.  You need to sew these together first.  Then the rest of the block can be made by simply sewing the squares together across each row and then sewing the rows to each other.  You will also need eight of these blocks.

Rows one and two of the quilt

Rows one and two of the quilt

Assembling the barn dance quilt

The main feature of this quilt is the green diamond formed in the middle of the quilt, so that’s the easiest way to describe the layout of the blocks.  The blocks are laid out in four rows of four.  Row one is made with quilt block one at each end and two of quilt block two in the middle.  Rotate the central blocks so that the two green triangles form a larger green triangle as shown.

Row two has two of quilt block one in the middle with a quilt block two at each end.  Place the end blocks so that the green triangles continue the diamond shape, extending the green to the edges of the quilt.

Final two rows of the quilt

Final two rows of the quilt

Row three has two of quilt block one in the middle again and one quilt block two at each end.  These are rotated so that the green triangles point down from each edge towards the middle.

Row four is the same as row one but with the green triangles coming to a point at the bottom of the quilt.

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

Barn dance quilt border

Barn dance quilt border

Barn dance quilt border

Obviously I couldn’t stop myself adding some blue to this quilt pattern, so I have used 3.1/2″ blue strips for the border.  You will need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the barn dance quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found towards the bottom of the beginner quilting page.

Here’s the video:

Long arm quilting machine

Long arm quilting machine

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I bought a longarm quilting machine recently.  It arrived in lots of boxes and I foolishly believed the instructions that said it would take two to four hours to put it all together.

Eventually, I had to call in a friend to help me put it all together.  Then I felt slightly intimidated by this huge thing dominating the room. It was suggested to me (thank you, Carole) that the machine and I would become better acquainted if I named it – so it’s over to you:  can you help me by suggesting a name for my longarm.  I would love to see your suggestions – just leave your ideas in the comments section below and I’ll let you know next week which one I have chosen.