Still Loving Those Squares—16-Patches

17 08 2012

And, if you want to try to get rid of these 2-inch squares a little faster and are bored with the four patches, try sewing them in 16-patches.

Simple 16-patches with no sashing create great masses of semi-organized fabric chaos.

Spring Bouquet, 2003
59″ x 66.5″

A Children’s Quilt Project Donation Quilt, 2009
40″ x 48″

Add some interest in the middle, and a medallion effect is created.

Christmas 16- Patches, 2009
For son Patrick Hennessey
Photography by Sibila Savage

And . . . TA DA . .

The Simple Pleasures Series

My all-time favorite 16-patch construction is the pattern I call Simple Pleasures.  I have made this quilt more than 10 times, including two huge Christmas quilts, and have taught others, individually and in classes, to make it, too.

The pattern originated from an antique quilt owned by friend Mabry Benson, and we thought this would make a good traditional quilt to raffle at one of our guild’s (East Bay Heritage Quilters) Voices in Cloth quilt shows.  I sewed the top, using fabrics that mimicked the turn-of-the-century fabrics in the antique quilt (much harder to do back in 1997 than it is today).   [Disclaimer:  these are not 2″ squares, but 1.5″ finished.]

Simple Pleasures I, 1997
76″ x 82″
Photography by Belda Photography

The detail photo of this quilt shows the wonderful hand quilting of volunteer members of our guild.  The quilt and a large quilting frame were moved from one house to the next, and quilters would work together on the quilting.  Ah, the good old days . . . .

Simple Pleasures I, detail, 1997
Photography by Belda Photography

Using the leftover fabrics from this raffle quilt, I made two more just like this one and a lap quilt as well.  Then I started playing with wildly different fabrics.

Here are a couple of my variations on this wonderful pattern.  The first uses all vintage feed sack and quilting fabrics, as well as vintage solids.

Simple Pleasures V, 2003
60″ x 71.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

For this one I wanted to see the how this pattern would look without variation in the fabrics of the pinwheels.

Simple Pleasures VIII, 2009
60″ x 75″
Photography by Sibila Savage

The secret to this quilt is its simplicity.  It looks as though this quilt is very complicated, but, in actuality, it is made up of two simple blocks, a 16-patch and a pinwheel.  Stare at the above quilt (or look closely at the detail photo of Simple Pleasures I above) and see the blocks separate from each other.  Great optical patterns dance all over these quilts when color placement enhances the individual blocks.




One response

17 08 2012
Lily Pang


I just LOVE all these quilts !!!  they are so inspirational but yet are based on such a simple block.


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