Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kick off! - One Block Wonder Quilt Along

Welcome to the kick off of the One Block Wonder Quilt Along!  I hope you have had a chance to gather your supplies and start thinking about what kind of quilt you might like to create.


Before we get to the mini-interview, I would like to mention a few things.
  • First, there is still plenty of time to join in.  Just join the Flickr group and gather the supplies.
  • Time - a couple people have looked at the schedule and worried that there wouldn't be enough time to complete a top by the end of October.  Let me reassure you, there is!  
    • We are using one fabric
    • cutting 6 pieces with each slice of the rotary cutter makes for extremely efficient cutting time
    • all straight line piecing (no Y seams)
    • the longest part of the process is deciding how to group and arrange your hexagons
    • You only have to finish a top and there is no size requirement to link up to the QAL
  • This QAL is very beginner friendly because of all the reasons listed above!

Blue OBW at park

A mini-interview with Maxine Rosenthal, co-author of the One Block Wonders books.

When and how did you start quilting?

I started quilting when Penny McMorris was on Public TV. She was sewing on a featherweight machine and it didn't look too hard. That was in the mid 80's. Besides I wanted a quilt. I also joined a local quilt guild, which gave me much inspiration and instruction.  

How did you meet Ms. Pelzmann?

I met Joy in a quilting class at Minnesota Quilters, our state guild. She asked if I made my quilts using a computer. She was shocked to find that I just did it on the fly, designing on a wall, then sewing it together.

How did the two of you come up with the idea of the One Block Wonders technique?

I came up with the idea of the One Block Wonder technique because I though I loved kaleidoscopes, they always looked like a bulls-eye on a background and I wanted to eliminate the background. When I began doing these, I called them Kaleidoscopic Watercolor.

I know where the summer goes by Cathie Ugrin
"I know where the summer goes" by Cathie Ugrin at the 2012 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach
Just about every major quilt show I attend has an example of your OBW technique.  Do you have a favorite one that you have seen in exhibition and what was the original fabric like?

I love all the quilts that I see at exhibits. It makes my heart sing to know that people are using this technique and producing such fantastic ART!!!  These quilts follow my mantra - they should look hard and yet be easy.

What is the biggest tip you can give with regard to the stacking and cutting process?

The biggest tip I can give anyone is to have fun. These quilts have so much going on that it hides inaccuracies well.  Precision is elusive, I do though, aim for accuracy, but it is only an aim.

When I made my quilt, I found the seams a little bulky where the triangles met to form hexagons, do you have any tips for getting them to lie a little flatter?

Be sure to press all your seams open, even when sewing the long columns together. That will distribute the bulk the best.

I ended up just doing a simple stipple for my quilting design, do you have any other quilting recommendations?

All your work has gone into the quilt top and its design. You do not want the quilting to outshine this gorgeous design. You are so right, the simplest quilting is the best.

To you travel and teach your technique?

I have traveled all around the states giving lectures and classes. I always tell my daughter that people actually pay to hear me talk. A little fact that our children need to know.

Your One Block Wonders book was published a while ago, what have you been working on since, and do you have anything new to share with my readers?

My favorite is Escher. I tried to incorporate his ideas of impossible structures in the third book. Now that I am a grandmother, I am making more baby quilts. I consider these the very best 'I Spy' quilts, where I use the original fabric as the border so that he can find where each kaleidoscope comes from. I am still fascinated to see what each different piece of fabric will produce.

How does it make you feel that your OBW technique is still getting attention?

I am thrilled to find that the OBW technique is still being used and in quilt shows around the country. C&T has put out a new calendar with one of my quilts on the cover!!!! 

Thank you for asking me to be a part of your blog/quilt along.

And thank you, Maxine, for joining us today for our kick off post!

I just love Maxine's mantra of creating quilts that look hard and yet are easy.  I also like her idea using this technique with a novelty fabric to create I Spy quilts for her grandchildren.

There is also another Flickr Group devoted to OBW quilts, in case you need some additional inspiration.  I will see you back here next Thursday for a ridiculously long post about fabric selection tips.

If you have any questions about the quilt along, or even some you would like me to pass along to Maxine, please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Wow, what a great interview! Thanks Jen!

  2. Good start! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great interview! So excited to get started!

  4. I'm really excited for the post on fabric selection _ I think that will be the hardest part.

  5. Oh! I think I have this book, and some fabric I'd bought to try it out - long, long ago! I have to see if I can find those and maybe I'll be able to join in - super pressed for time, but I have the stuff, so why not try??!!

  6. How I wish I could put away my UFOs and join in... but I'll happily follow along and ooh and aah appropriately! Next year...

  7. This is exciting. I'm trying to use my stash so I'll be using probably a few different fabrics but in similar hues/colors. It'll be fun to see if this makes a huge difference in the look.

  8. Isn't this exciting? I was going to make one of these quilts a few years ago and have some fabric, a ruler (although I couldn't find it last time I looked for it) the book and now here's a QAL. Just what I need. :-)

  9. I'm relly looking forward to seeing these grow

  10. Will be watching from the sidelines and oohing and aahing along with the rest!


I LOVE comments, they make my day! I may not always respond, but I DO read them...always.

Have a Super Sparkly Day!