Marmalade Circles Quilt

I am oh so thrilled to be back at the Moda Bake Shop today.  Get the fresh bread out of the oven and slice it up….I’ve got some sweet marmalade to share.  It is everything you would expect it to be!



This fabric totally appeals to the closet girlie girl in me.  When you live with a bunch of men it doesn’t pay to be too feminine.  They are like horses in a flower garden…they trample and eat what they like and leave you with fertilizer.   Don’t misunderstand me, I love my three sons, and husband, just like I love my three brothers and five nephews.  The world needs a few good men and I am proud of mine.  I’m just saying that they don’t appreciate pretty and having it around the house is an exercise in futility.  Thus I am a closet girlie girl.  However, this fabric all but rips that door off the hinges. 

Marmalade brings back summer days spent baking cookies and watching old movies.  I’m thinking of all of the great romantic comedies of the early studio system.  Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire especially come to mind.  Those movies made me want to sing and dance until my throat was froggy and my feet blistered.  They made me want to wear dresses with swirly skirts and stay out late dancing under the stars, dreaming dreams that only little girls can conjure up.  They made me want to share the adventure with my GIRL friends.  What better way to do that then to share my sweet Marmalade Circle quilt with you.

1 Layer Cake
3 3/4 yards background fabric  (I used Bella Snow # 9900-11)
3/4 yards tangerine (I used Marmalade #55050-13)
3/4 yards raspberry (I used Marmalade #55050-12)
1 yd accent fabric (I used Marmalade #55051-17)

3/4 yards binding  (I used the aqua stripe, Marmalade #55054-17)
5 3/4 yards backing (I used the grey floral, Marmalade #55050-16)

4 – 6 sandwich sized zip lock baggies


“Marmalade Circles” is created by using one block in a 3 x 4 grid and some really fat sashing.  Its construction is basically that of a nine-patch block.  There are NO circles, pieced, appliqued or otherwise.  This quilt is perfect for a beginner who is ready for a bigger quilt and wants to wow their friends without pulling out any hair, or teaching the kids new words.  (You know the ones I mean.)

Cutting Instructions:

Marmalade Block

Marmalade Block: (12 blocks, 41 pieces each, for a total of 492 pieces)  That sounds daunting.  I don’t know about you, but I hate cutting out a million pieces…so instead of having a bunch of little squares to cut out and keep track of we are going to cut some strips, create strip sets, and then cut pre-assembled pieces.

This block has 5 big pieces in it.  Those we will cut as is.

The rest will be in these four sets.

Initial cuttings:

  • From accent fabric: (12, 4″ squares; 2, 2″ 22″ strips; 4, 2″ x wof strips for a total of 18 pieces)
    • Cut 2 5″ x width of fabric (wof) strips
    • Cut 12, 5″ squares from strips.  Place squares in a baggie.
    • Cut the remainder of the second wof strip (aprox. 5″ x 22″) into two 2″ x  22″ strips 
    • Cut 4, 2″ x wof strips
  • From background fabric (48, 4″ squares; 10, 2″ x wof strips of 58 pieces)
    • Cut 6 5″ x wof strips
    • Cut 48, 5″ squares from strips  Place squares in a baggie with the 5″ accent squares.
    • Cut 11, 2″ x wof strips
  • From raspberry fabric (4, 2 “x wof strips)
    • Cut 4, 2″ x wof strips
  • From tangerine fabric (4, 2″x wof strips)
    • Cut 4, 2″ x wof strips

Strip Sets:

  • Unit 1a
    • Gather
      • Accent fabric – 2 wof strips and one 22″ strip
      • Background fabric – 2 1/2 wof strips 
      • Raspberry fabric – 2 1/2 wof strips
    • Sew strip sets, along long edge of fabrics, in that order.
    • Iron seam allowances toward accent and raspberry fabric
    • Cut sets into 48, 2″ x 5″ units.  (About every 4 cuts check to make sure your edge is still square by aligning the lines on your ruler with a seam.  Square strip sets as needed.)
    • Place in a baggie
  • Unit 1b
    • Gather
      • Background fabric – 3 wof strips
      • Raspberry fabric – 1 1/2 wof strips
    • Sew strip sets, along long edge of fabrics, background, raspberry, background
    • Iron seam allowances toward raspberry fabric
    • Cut sets into 24, 2″ x 5″ units.
    • Place in baggie with Unit 1 a pieces
  • Unit 2a
    • Gather
      • Accent fabric – 2 wof strips and one 22″ strip
      • Background fabric – 2 1/2 wof strips
      • Tangerine fabric – 2 1/2 wof strips
    • Sew strip sets, along long edge of fabrics, in that order.
    • Iron seam allowances toward accent and tangerine fabric
    • Cut sets into 48, 2″ x 5″ units
    • Place in a baggie.
  • Unit 2b
    • Gather
      • Background fabric – 3 wof strips
      • Tangerine fabric – 1 1/2 wof strips
    • Sew strip sets, along long edge of fabrics; background, tangerine, background
    • Iron seam allowances toward tangerine fabric
    • Cut sets into 24, 2″ x 5″ units.
    • Place in baggie with Unit 2 a pieces.

Sashing block: (17 blocks, 11 pieces each for a total of 187 pieces) Oh yes…we’re doing strip sets again.  Who wants lots of little pieces to get lost?!

Sashing Block (Fred)
As we did with the Marmalade blocks, the big pieces will be cut as is.

The rest will be cut from two sets.

Initial Cutting:
  • From background fabric (4, 3 5/8″ x wof strips)
    • Cut 4, 3 5/8″ x wof strips
  • From raspberry fabric  (3, 3 5/8″x wof strips)
    • Cut 3, 3 5/8″ x wof strips
  • From tangerine fabric (2, 3 5/8″x wof strips)
    • Cut 2, 3 5/8″ x wof strips
  • From layer cake (34, 5″ x 10″ rectangles)
    • Select 17 pieces from layer cake
    • Cut each piece into 2, 5″ x 10″ rectangle  (Be sure to confirm the 10″ side.  Pre-cut fabric can vary a little bit in their sizing.)
    • Fold gently in half and place in a baggie.

Strip Sets:

  • Unit 1
    • Gather
      • Raspberry fabric – 2 wof strips
      • Background fabric 2 wof strips
      • Tangerine fabric – 2 wof strips
    • Sew strip sets, along long edge, in that order
    • Iron seam allowances toward tangerine and raspberry fabric
    • Cut sets into 34, 2″ x 3 5/8″ units.
    • Pull 18 units out, gently fold, and place in a baggie marked Fred
    • Put remaining 16 units, gently folded in a different baggie…..marked Ginger.
  • Unit 2
    • Gather
      • Raspberry fabric – 1 wof strip
      • Background fabric – 2 wof strips
    • Sew strip sets, along long edge of fabrics; background, raspberry, background
    • Iron seam allowances toward raspberry fabric
    • Cut sets into 17, 2″ x 3 5/8″ units.
    • Pull 9 units out, gently fold, and place in the baggie marked Fred.
    • Put remaining 8 units, gently fold in the baggie marked Ginger.

Setting Squares: (6 blocks, 1 piece each for a total of 6 pieces)

  • From layer cake (6, 10″ x 10″ slices)
    • select 6 pieces from layer cake.  These remain whole…so pick your favorites!

Border: 

  • From background fabric
    • cut 8, 6 1/2″ x wof strips

Binding:

  • From binding fabric
    • cut 8, 2 1/2″ x wof strips

You have now finished more than half of the work.  Take a break.  Have a cookie.  Put your feet up and relax a minute or sixty before you start sewing things together.

Piecing Instructions:

Marmalade block:

  • Gather baggies with 5″ squares, 2″ x 5″ raspberry units, and 2″ x 5″ tangerine units.
  • Raspberry corners
    • Make 24 blocks by sewing together three raspberry units as depicted in the illustration.  Be careful….it is easy to get the corners in the wrong place.
    • Iron seam away from the center unit.
  • Tangerine corners
    • Make 24 blocks by sewing together three tangerine units as depicted in the illustration.  Again, be careful to get the corners in the right place.
    • Iron seams away from the center unit.
  • Block
    • Make 12, 14″ blocks (this measurement is the actual size of the block.)
    • Gather all corner blocks, and baggie with 5″ squares.
    • Sew 5″ background square to all 5″ accent squares.
    • Iron seam toward background square.
    • Sew 5″ background square to other side of accent squares, parallel to the seam you just sewed.
    • Iron seam toward background square.
    • Sew 5″ background square to all raspberry corner squares.  Be sure to orient the raspberry corner so that the diagonal line of raspberry squares goes from bottom to top toward the background.
    • Iron seam toward background square.
    • Sew tangerine corners to side of background square parallel to raspberry corners.  Be sure to orient the tangerine corner so that the diagonal line of tangerine squares goes from top to bottom away from the background square.
    • If you are assembling the block correctly you should have parallel rows of tangerine and raspberry in opposite corners.

Sashing block:  Don’t ask me how I know this….but you have to be very careful here….unless you like unpicking.  The placement of tangerine corners matters!

You have two baggies marked respectively Fred and Ginger.  They have essentially the same bits in them.  Fred has a few more…but they are the same units. 

  • Central section Fred
  • Gather baggie with 2″ x 3 5/8″ units labeled Fred.
    • Make 9, 5″ x 10″ blocks as depicted in the illustration above.
    • Be careful to get the corners in the right place. Red goes in the upper left and lower right.
    • Iron seams away from the center unit.

  • Central section Ginger
    • Gather baggie with 2″ x 3 5/8″ units labeled Ginger.
    • Make 8, 5″ x 10″ blocks as depicted in the illustration above.
    • Be careful to get the corners in the right place.  Tangerine goes in the upper left and lower right.
    • Iron seams away from the center unit.
Sashing Block (Ginger)

  • Block
    • Gather Fred and Ginger sections
    • Randomly sew a 5″ x 10″ layer cake piece to the long edge of each 5″ x 10″ pieced section.
    • Iron seams toward layer cake.
    • Randomly sew second 5″ x 10″ layer cake piece to remaining long edge of pieced section.
    • Iron seams toward the layer cake.
Quilt Center:
  • Gather 12 Marmalade Blocks (Marmalade), 9 Fred Blocks (Fred), 8 Ginger Blocks (Ginger), and 6 10″ x 10″ layer cake (L.C.) slices.
Design Wall
It is design wall time.  A design wall is a space dedicated to the display of quilt blocks in order that you can play around with their arrangement.  If you google “design wall quilt” I am sure you could find a bazillion entries on how to make one….okay, maybe not a bazillion…but there will be a bunch.  If you don’t have the space, time, or inclination to build one there are many options.
For many years my design wall served the co-function known as floor.  Then I got a bazillion pets and kids and it didn’t work very well anymore.
Next option – a large bed.  Lay your blocks out on top of your bed.  You do have to make the bed first…but leave the pillows on the floor.  You need the space.  My bed is on the first floor…my sewing stuff on the second.  By the time I got my blocks arranged and transported they weren’t in the same arrangement any more.  If this is your situation – take a quick snap of the arrangement with your cell phone.  Refer to the photo when you go to put your blocks together.
My favorite alternative is to pin my blocks to a shower curtain or window dressing.  (I don’t recommend trying to stick your blocks to the louvered blinds….it gets a little messy.)
However you do it, find a place to lay your blocks out and play with their arrangement.  Arrange them in a 5 x 7 grid, alternating Marmalade and Sashing blocks…..hmmmm….let me show you….
  • Arrange blocks as illustrated in the diagram above.
    • Note
      • All Fred blocks are turned 90 degrees from the Ginger blocks
      • All Marmalade blocks have a raspberry corner oriented to the upper left.
      • All raspberry pieces connect on a diagonal with all raspberry pieces.  They run from lower left to upper right across the quilt.
      • All tangerine pieces connect on a diagonal with all tangerine pieces (except in the center of the Sashing blocks) and run from upper left to lower right across the quilt.
      •  All four corners of the center have Marmalade blocks in them.
  • When you are happy with it, take a picture with your phone to use as reference.
  • Sew your blocks together one row at a time.
    • If you have ironed the pieces as I suggested along the way, the seams of the Marmalade blocks and those of the Sashing blocks should snuggle together nicely.
    • Iron seam allowances toward Sashing blocks.
  • Sew the rows together to make your top.
    • When piecing long rows I find it helpful to keep my needle in the down position.  This helps to hold the weight of the quilt and keep it from sliding off of the table.
    • If you have ironed the pieces as I suggested along the way, the seams of the Marmalade blocks and those of the Sashing blocks should snuggle together nicely.

Border:

  • At this point the top measures 60″ x 84″.
  • Gather the 8, 6 1/2″x wof  strips of background fabric that you cut earlier.
  • Sew 2 sets of 2 strips together along the 6 1/2″ edge creating 2, 6 1/2″ x 80-ish” pieces.
  • Sew these to the short sides of your quilt center.
  • Iron seam allowances toward the border.
  • Trim excess squarely with quilt.  To do this align the inch markings on your ruler with the seam and the straight edge with the edge of the top.  The ruler should be resting on the quilt top with the body of the quilt to one side and the extra border sticking out to the other.  Trim the extra off.
  • Sew 2 sets of 3 strips (2, 6 1/2″ x wof and 1 overage from border already attached) together along the 6 1/2″ edge creating 2, 6 1/2″ x 100-ish” pieces.
  • Sew these to the long edges of the quilt center.
  • Iron seam allowances toward the border.

Layer and quilt as desired.

Bonus information:  I chose to give my quilt rounded corners.  I think it complements the faux-curves in the piecing.  If you want to do this too you need to make bias binding and mark the curve on your quilt.

Bias binding isn’t hard to make…the fabric gives more along the bias and will allow you to maneuver curves more easily than straight edge binding does.
  • Cut your strips at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge.
  • Lay your fabric out flat!  Folding it will result in strips shaped like “V”s.  Cool, but not much good for binding.
  • Look at your ruler…a 45 degree angle is marked on just about every ruler I’ve ever seen…look for the marking.  Align the marking on your ruler with the selvedge of your fabric.  The body of the ruler needs to be on top of the fabric.
  • Cut your strips the width you like…I used 2 1/2″ or 2 1/4″ if I am short on fabric.
  • Sew the strips together skinny end for skinny end…just like always.
  • Iron wrong sides together along  the length of your binding.
  • Ta-done!  You now have bias binding.
To mark the rounded corners,
  • Find a round object around your home that fits the corner the way you want it to.  I used the top of my thread box.
  • Trace the shape onto the top of your quilted project before you attach the binding.
  • Trim away the excess fabric (the square corner).
  • Attach binding to quilt as normal.
  • You don’t need to do anything special with the corners, just guide your binding tape around the curve and keep going.


1 Twin sized bed quilt (71.5″ x 94.5″).  The perfect place to dream after dancing the night away.

Before you pass out from dancing all night, please take a picture of your quilt and add it to the Tops to Treasures group on Flickr.

Cindy Sharp
{topstotreasures.blogspot.com}

Cindy Sharp

Longarm Quilter at Tops to Treasures
My brief bio -A transplanted Yankee, and happy Texan Cindy works from her home in North Texas where she lives with her family.She started piecing quilts over 20 years ago and opened her long arm business, Tops to Treasures, in 2006.Since then she has quilted over 1,000 quilts.As a pattern designer, Cindy's goal is to write directions that encourage quilters to grow in their skills, and have fun. Her patterns are based on traditional designs, often with a modern twist.

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