For Christmas, my wonderful family got me a Pfaff Ambition 620sewing machine, and it finally arrived in MAY! (Apparently, during COVID, the demand for sew machines increased exponentially.) The arrival of my new machine coincided with the release of Sarah Gordon’s Forage quilting cotton collection, and it felt like a sign to embark on my first quilting adventure. I decided to make the Hunter’s Design Studio Faster Fourteen quilt.
Described as a quilt ‘easy enough to make in one day’, this pattern uses 14 fat quarters and is comprised entirely of squares, rectangles and half-square tringles. I’d learned how to make HSTs from Kate, and so – confident in my ability to stich a straight, quarter inch seam – this seemed like a good place to start!
A Fan Favorite
Spoiler-alert! This pattern is as straight-forward as Hunter’s Design Studio promised. I had such a good time making it that we decided to use this pattern for the large project in this season’s Fall 2021 Quilting Cotton Swatch Set. Elizabeth whipped together this Fall-Time Faster Fourteen using our swatch collection, and we totally love it!
If you’re a Swatch Subscriber (or a quilter interested in subscribing!) here are a few inside thoughts Elizabeth and I had when putting these quilts together.
The pattern tells you to incorporate an an even mix of light, dark, patterned, and solid (or near solid) fabrics. This is, I think, good advice. My quilt was on the lighter, busier side whereas the collection we created for the Swatch Service has a better balance of these four qualities, and I think it shows in the end result.
The first step is to divide your fat quarters into two different piles, keeping pattern, color, contrast, and brightness in mind.
Elizabeth organized her piles like so:
While mine looked like this:
In the interest of speed, the pattern directs you to stack your fat quarters on top of one another and cut blocks A through G like so:
Because my personal cutting board is on the smaller side (and because I was worried about making a mistake) I cut my blocks one at a time. Elizabeth stacked hers and was able to cut them just fine, so whatever works for you! However, something that we both did (and that I highly recommend) was to increase the size of blocks A, D, and G by a half an inch. These three blocks are used to make your half-square triangles, and cutting them oversized made it easier to cut accurate HSTs later on.
I also wrote the adjusted, oversized dimensions for these three blocks right on the instructions so that I wouldn’t get confused.
Stacks on Stacks
Remembering which size block corresponds to which letter (A through G) becomes important when it’s time to lay out your quilt top. So, I recommend labeling each stack with their letter so that you’re not scratching your head later!
Half-Square Triangle Assembly
The Faster Fourteen pattern gives you the option to lay out your quilt top before sewing your HSTs so that you can mix and match your fabrics even further. But I found it easier to simply pair the triangles that best complimented one another and sew them together.
To accurately cut my HSTs down to size, I used the Tucker Trimmer & Tucker Trimmer III for all except the largest ‘A’ units which were too big for the tool. To straighten/cut down these large units, I used the diagonal on our big store cutting mat and that worked fine.
Laying Out Your Quilt
The most important thing to pay attention to when laying out your quilt top is even distribution. You don’t want to overload an area with one type of fabric. So it’s good to lay everything out, walk away and then come back with fresh eyes. Of course, I did this only to wake up the next morning and find that my cat had spent the night frolicking amongst my carefully laid out units! Ah well, next time I’ll use one of our flannel Design Walls.
It should also be noted that you will have a few random units left over. This is just, as the pattern says, “so you have extra to play with” – you didn’t make a mistake!
Sewing Your Blocks
The trickiest part of this pattern is assembling your quilt top. Because the blocks are irregular, they have to come together in a specific order. (This is demonstrated in the pattern.)
So, to keep on track (and to keep myself from accidentally flipping anything upside down), I risked further feline interference and left my quilt top laid out on the floor. Then, when I finished a block, I’d put it back in its spot and move on to the next block. This slightly minimized the number of times I had to use a seam ripper!
The Blocks Aligned
There are two places in this quilt where one triangle in a HST is purposefully placed next to a square of the same fabric. This creates the illusion of a different shape and helps to make the pattern look more complicated. The trouble is, it’s also really noticeable if these units don’t line up! So, particularly when sewing these blocks together, you may want to pin and check as you go that everything is as it should be.
The only pressing directions included in this pattern are in regards to the half-square tringles. The pattern tells you to press to the “darkest side of each block”. I applied this directive to the entirety of my quilt top and ended up with seams that flip flopped back and forth. So, to avoid this, I suggest pressing your seams open when sewing the larger blocks together.
Binding, Backing, and Borders
The Faster Fourteen quilt features a small inner and a large outer border. For both Elizabeth’s and my quilt we used a fabric not part of the original fourteen for the inner border. I used a complimentary purple, and Elizabeth used the Supreme Solid QC in Bronze which is also included – along with the 14 other fabrics used in this quilt – in the Fall 2021 Swatch Set.
She used the same bronze quilting cotton for a binding, and – to make this quilt even more autumnal – selected the RK Shetland Flannel in Kale for the backing!
Meanwhile, I backed my quilt with the AMH 108″ Honorable Mention QC in Turquoise (the same fabric Madeline used to make Kate’s Michelle Dress!), and bound it with the Hexy Quilt Binding in Rainbow Peacock from Satin Bee!
We had the talented Vida, of Sew Fly Quilts, quilt Elizabeth’s Faster Fourteen and she did a beautiful job!
I quilted my version on my new Pfaff and (with the exception of an accidental wrinkle on the back that I’m NOT going to show you) I think it turned out pretty well!
You Can Make One Too!
Fall-Time Faster Fourteen Quilt Kits are now available for purchase on our website. Plus – if you like this collection – you still have time to subscribe the our Fall 2021 Swatch Set which includes the pattern and fabric needed to make Kate’s Turkey Time Table Topper! (Seen below.) You can also click here to see all the fabrics I used when making my Faster Fourteen quilt.
The Faster Fourteen pattern was a great way to dip my toe into the world of quilting, and now – of course – I’m hooked! I can’t wait to see how inspiration strikes next.