Aurifil Como Blue Color Builder Thread Set on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Thread Matters 2020: one-yard challenge

Today we’re excited to connect with Aurifilosopher Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts. Patricia shares simple and effective block and stitching designs that beautifully accent her one-yard challenge quilt. We love the way she highlighted the use of June’s Color Builder set, Como Blue. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and inspiration with us Patricia – we must give this a try!

If you missed the 2019 introduction of Aurifilosophy and this fun new Thread Matters series click here to read more.  Consider scheduling an Aurifilosophy Program for your shop, group or guild – learn more here.

Happy Stitching!
Karen L. Miller ~ Redbird Quilt Co.


my one-yard challenge by Patricia Belyea

Aurifil Como Blue Color Builder Thread Set on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

I challenged myself to make a baby quilt using just one yard of yukata cotton and stitched with the Aurifil Como Blue Color Builder thread set.

Yukata cotton measures 14″ to 16″ wide. That means that one yard of this special Japanese textile is less than one third of a yard of standard quilting cotton.

For my one yard, I chose an indigo and white geometric yukata cotton in the hemp pattern. With the unfinished blocks measuring 6.5″, I cut  ten blocks out of one yard.

Cutting schematic for one yard of Japanese yukata cotton

The veins in hemp leaves are stylized in this traditional pattern. To extend the nature theme of the Hemp Blocks, I made a collection of solid-colored Leaf Blocks pieced with a variety of leaf veins. All the colors of inserted vein lines match the colors of the Como Blue threads.

In progress, Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

To secure the quilt, I stitched-in-the-ditch with the mid-value Como Blue thread. Yikes! After quilting two long seams, it was apparent that the royal blue thread was too luscious. Instead of hiding in the ditch, the royal blue thread was screaming for attention. So I ripped out the stitching and proceeded with an inconspicuous 50 wt gray cotton thread by Aurifil.

Stitching-in-the-ditch detail on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Next I stitched-in-the-ditch on both sides of the inserted vein lines—using matching Como Blue threads. This added depth to the piecing detail.

Stitching-in-the-ditch detail on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Stitching-in-the-ditch detail on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Stitching-in-the-ditch detail on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

I also quilted along the indigo lines of the Hemp Blocks. Although there were 12 short lines in each block—starting and stopping with micro stitches—it was easy as the lines were right there in the fabric pattern!

Quilting detail on Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

The 5-block x 6-block quilt design plays with a checkerboard of alternating indigo Hemp Blocks and teal Leaf Blocks. The additional Leaf Blocks—in lemon-lime, royal blue, and pink—replace some of the Hemp Blocks in the structured composition.

Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

The back is made with three yards of an indigo and white geometric yukata cotton in the tortoiseshell pattern. I’ve seamed this fabric together so it becomes one piece visually. (You may notice that I’m not counting this yukata cotton in my one-yard challenge. That’s because I’m the person making the rules!)

Back of Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Designer facing detail of Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

If you’re interested in making Leaf Blocks, here are some tips:

LEAF BLOCK WITH THREE INSERTED VEINS

  • You will be working oversize until you trim the block down to its final unfinished size of 6.5″ (final size of 6″).
  • Make 7.5″ squares of solid fabric for the background.
  • Make 7/8″ x 8.5″ strips for the contrasting insert fabric. You need three strips for each Leaf Block.
  • Cut across the square of background fabric at an angle, then both sides at an angle. The angles are random and should be a little different with each Leaf Block. Prep as many of these as you need.
  • Once you start assembling, only sew one Leaf Block at a time. It is very easy to get the pieces mixed up or turned upside down.
  • Sew the two pieces of one side together with the insert strip. Then the other side. Press each seam out as you go. It will be impossible to line up the background fabric with the insert strips so just do the best you can.
  • Trim the angled edge of each side. Sew the center insert strip and press the seams open.
  • Trim to a 6.5″ square.

To make the Leaf Block with five inserted veins, follow these same instructions—only make the original oversized block 8.5″ square and the strips 9.5″ long.

Making a Leaf Block for Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Making a Leaf Block for Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Making a Leaf Block for Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Making a Leaf Block for Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Making a Leaf Block for Purity, a baby quilt by Patricia Belyea

Blue works in so many color combos. I often pair orange with blue so this baby quilt brings together a fresh palette for me. And the Leaf Blocks, that look so simple, were a fun challenge.

Next, I need to sew on a label and mail this gift to a new baby in our family!

Quilt Name: Purity (the hemp pattern symbolizes peace and purity in Japan)
Size: 30″ x 36″
Fabrics: vintage Japanese yukata cotton and commercial solids
Aurifil 50wt Cotton Threads, Top and Bobbin: Aurifil Como Blue Color Builder thread set with Navy 2784, Royal Blue 2735, and Pale Blue 2770; plus Medium Gray 2605.
Machine Needle for Piecing and Quilting: Schmetz Quilting 75/11
Batting: Hobbs Natural Cotton with Scrim Binder
Quilting: Stitching-in-the-ditch
Finishing: Designer facing

Thanks so much to Patricia for sharing this stunning quilt! 


About Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts
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Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

Designer Patricia Belyea and her daughter Victoria Stone lead Okan Arts —a Seattle-based business that imports vintage Japanese textiles for adventuresome quilters. Patricia teaches national workshops and guides textile tours to Japan. Her book, East-Meets-West Quilts, was published by Abrams in 2017.

To visit the Okan Arts website that focuses on creativity, quilting and Japan +click here

To shop for geometric yukata cottons in the Okan Arts online store +click here

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