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Sunday, 28 November 2021

A long time in the making – the Positively Square quilt

I shared the first tentative pics of the making of this quilt back in September 2020, but the inspiration for it is lost in the mists of time. I do remember being motivated to play around with plus blocks when Curated Quilts did a callout for their Plus edition, but the actual specifics of this one are long gone...

Maybe I was on a roll with the denim, as the Laid Back quilt had just come out and I was working on the pattern for the pouffes – there's nothing like a bit of pattern-writing procrastination to get the creative juices flowing!

I turned the underside of the spare room bed into a design wall during lockdown.

Construction of the Positively Square quilt is fairly straightforward (most of my patterns are) and I've written it for both denim and conventional quilting fabrics as well as for with bias tape and without.

I sandwiched my version by tying and then added red hand quilting to match the bias tape (as you can see below), before finishing it off with big-stitch binding in dark blue thread on red fabric.

But enough of my version, let's take a look at what my testers have done with the pattern. I love it when quilters take my patterns and really make them their own, and honestly, I was blown away by all the variations these guys came up with.

First up we have Diana's (@dianavandeyar), which uses solids in a palette that is pure Diana – unexpected but perfect! I'm a big fan of brown and that peachy pink is an all-time favourite. Diana took her own approach to colour placement and layout, but if you're a bit nervous about that kind of thing, the pattern will give you guidance.

Julia's (@cactusflowerfabrics) quilt top below uses a mix of patterns and solids. What I really like in this quilt is the way the blocks move towards being totally solid from top left to bottom right.

The pattern uses a mix of dark and mid tones on light as well as light and mid tones on dark, but of course you can get a similar effect using patterns versus solids, and mix it up a bit as both Diana and Julia have done.

Next we have Amy's (@amyjakobs). While Amy used a tonal approach with the denim, she switched it up by adding the odd green block (also a brilliant approach if you ran out of denim!) and then randomly used green bias tape over the edges of some of blocks (rather than just the corners).

Amy's denim Positively Square quilt with the odd green block

Then we have Vicki's quilt (@vpquilter). She's taken another path entirely and instead of alternating between the solids and patterned fabric to make the blocks, she's always kept the patterned fabrics forming the plus shape and then mixed up the background colours of each block which gives the quilt a completely different look.

Last, but not least is Melissa's (@hovdemelissa). I confess to loving her quilts-in-the-wild pics. There was clearly a bit of wind, but it just adds to the charm of them. Go check out her Insta feed to see the rest. Melissa has made her quilt from upcycled denim, but then used a mix of different coloured pre-made bias tape that she inherited. She was worried that some were different widths to others, but I don't think that matters in the slightest – it's a great overall effect.
Bravo testers! They're such a fabulous bunch of quilts to have showing off the versatility of this pattern – thank you! 

If you have a go at this one, make sure you tag pics with #positivelysquarequilt on social media so we can see the approach you take – I hope you have as much fun with it as my testers and I did.


  1. Such a great variety! Always my favorite part about quilting - putting your own spin on a pattern.

  2. This is a really effective pattern, Tara! Personally, I love your denim one best. The pops of red, along with your gorgeous stitching, is wonderful. The only sad thing is that you make me regret having given away dozens of blue jeans before we moved. I have certainly realized that a number of items I no longer have should NOT have been down-sized away. Your pattern testers did a good job of making your pattern look versatile. I hope you sell lots of this great design.

    1. Thanks very much Linda. I know that feeling of regretting giving stuff away... It happens to me all the time and usually just after I've let stuff go!

  3. Love the hexie quilt - Will you have a pattern available? I hope so :)

    1. Yes Susan, there will be a pattern! I'm in the middle of writing it and testing out one of the other sizes. Sometime during March / April it should be ready.