Why I LOVE This Quilt featuring "Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes" designed by Charles Cameron
Today we launch a brand new RECURRING feature on this blog called “Why I Love This Pattern” where quilt designers, quilt fans, and Heather (me, the founder of Quilt Pattern Mart) go deep on a favorite quilt pattern and quilt. Sometimes featuring personal stories, sometimes going behind the scenes of the design and making process, sometimes exploring cool techniques, and sometimes combining all of those things together!
Along the way, I hope you will love getting to know some of our designers and getting previews and peeks at the patterns available for purchase on QuiltPatternMart.com!
First up is Charles Cameron (also known as @feltlikesweets on instagram – and like, me too Charles, me too) – who is an engineer by day but has always loved exploring his creative side away from work. He is based in North Carolina where he lives with his wife and two daughters, and he joined Quilt Pattern Mart with his first pattern “Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes” in July of 2021.
“Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes” by Charles Cameron
Why I love this pattern…
Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes was the first quilt I ever made; I started it as a sewing project not knowing that it was going to become a quilt; not actually knowing how a quilt was made.
I had become inspired by several improv quilts that kept popping up in my Instagram feed. One in particular was a wonky plus quilt by Jill Fisher (@Pieladyquilts), and I found myself experimenting with ways to replicate the look of her graceful, ‘dancing’ pluses.
I tried several different methods of making wonky pluses (and have a few doll blankets’ worth of experiments) before landing on a method that used strip piecing and trimming of blocks after construction to achieve this improv-y look. The bent boxes were also born by iterating through several methods of constructing a finished 5-inch quilt block starting from warped center squares. After amassing 120 blocks, and while keeping a spreadsheet of the 3-color combinations so as not to repeat, I figured that I had enough to make a decent sized quilt.
The layout of this quilt also holds a secret. If you look closely, the blocks are arranged so that the background colors are mirror images of one another: the magenta to the blue, the red to the green and the peach to the yellow. I love the effect that it creates, even though it may not be obvious at first glance (pic below includes the quilt "Orange Creamsicle" by Michelle Wilkie ).
I’m an Engineer by training, so the fun part for me when writing this pattern was to devise and concisely describe a method to efficiently ‘mass produce’ blocks, each with slight variations from one another, while using just a handful of subunits and traditional piecing techniques. The pattern also gives the sewer several options for color/pattern mixing as well as block layout. I call the method “semi-improv” which generates the look and feel and play of improv but allows for the use of a ruler at every step.
Since making this first CCBB quilt and publishing the pattern, I have made three other versions. The original CCBB has been published in Curated Quilts, Issue 14, Pluses, was juried into QuiltCon Together, and hung proudly at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in 2021 (next to a Jill Fisher quilt!), and at my local quilt shop, Cary Quilting. CCBB is the highlight of a lecture that I’ve given on semi-improv techniques. I love seeing the diversity of CCBB quilts on Instagram, #crookedcrossesquilt
(picture by Gail DeMartis with Jill Fisher's quilt "Jagged" in the center)
(Can you find crooked crosses in this gallery of Quiltcon Together quilts?)
(Double bonus points for the other 4 quilts you can buy patterns for on QPM)
Thank you Charles for telling us about your journey with "Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes!" I think my favorite part is the spreadsheet for color combinations!!! BUT I am decidedly not an engineer, and although I see the efficacy in that process, I'm not sure that it would work for me!
This series should appear about once a month, so look forward to the next installment of "Why I Love This Quilt. . . "