It’s the economy, stupid

By that I mean, it’s the economy patch (and the stupid in question is me…).  I’ve been making a sampler of sorts over the last few months using 9″ blocks. I got to this month’s set and thought I needed square in a square blocks…just with fewer rounds.


Hmm, puzzling over how to figure out how big that center square should be. As a friend sweetly pointed out, it’s the economy patch, stupid. I’m paraphrasing.


Ohhhh, right.

You’d think I’d remember this especially since I’ve been working on Liza’s economy patch quilt (from Country Garden Quilts) in pink. I must be working on that semi-sporadically.

Here’s the handy dandy block book I’m using for these ECONOMY patches. I come back to this book from time to time and really appreciate having it.


And here are some Kaffe-y economy patches:








Do you notice the less than crisp blocks??  Yes, that iron…. but I’m trying not to swear or grumble about it because we had to institute 25 cents a swear or grumble for the summer. I was tired of the first week of grumbling in response to requests (OK, instructions…) to do a few pages of math or to practice the piano. So, dear daughter has a grumble jar and I have a swear jar.  So far both jars are empty. We’re behaving ourselves. So far.

I’ve only been able to dabble in the sewing room this week. A little slack in the schedule caused by the invasion of summer. Needing to rectify that this next week before I lose all sense of control.

In any event, I was smitten recently by some Kaufman stripes that were being very friendly with some Kaffe prints. I spent an evening going through block books trying to find a good pairing. I can’t remember the chain of events that eventually got me to this Japanese lantern quilt on Flickr. Isn’t she a beauty?

I followed the link over to Martha’s Q Is for Quilter blog post about the quilt. Again, isn’t she a beauty?! Martha includes an image of the pattern page in her post. I decided I didn’t want to piece the blocks on point and figure that a plain alternate block with lantern top and bottom at the, well, top and bottom will get me a layout similar to Martha’s. I really like that layout.

I feel a bit like Goldilocks working out the finer points of this block. Here is one block that may be acceptable. I’m thinking I want the lantern top and bottom to be a little wider. Which will mean I need to shorten the height of the lantern’s printed strips. Or I will need to figure out if a connecting-up rectangle will work (as opposed to the connecting-up square) (makes my head hurt). So, there has been playing around. And I think I don’t want these to be quite as matchy-matchy as this first block. I kind of like the unmatchiness of the square in a square blocks above. I think that will give the lanterns some sparkle. And don’t the lanterns in Martha’s quilt just sparkle with fun?!

Anybody interested in a little pattern/tutorial once I get this worked out?



In the evenings, I have been “quilting” this:


This is a slight riff on Sarah’s Potting Shed pattern. She kindly sent it to those of us who joined in as blogs for the SEWN launch. I thought I would do an enlarged one-off small quilt. As I got the  block together, I thought, gee, I would like to have a bigger quilt of these blocks. To be continued…

Oh, and, yes, I did get the flannel animals together. Today has been the first really sticky day, so now I am truly wondering what I was thinking because now I need to put the blocks together and then QUILT the thing. The thought is unappealing at the moment.


All righty, I’m off to make some guacamole (the official food of summer?) and get ready for another round of thunderstorms tonight. Have a great Father’s Day weekend!


  1. Liza said

    Mrs S,

    This is the book that makes my life easy. It is a bunch of dull number charts and absolutely essential.



  2. Martha said

    Hi Mrs. S — Thank you so much for mentioning my lantern quilt — it’s a big deal to me coming from such an accomplished quilter! I love your adaptation of the lantern block and the fabrics you have chosen. I also like the dark quilting on the potting shed block — I haven’t done contrasting thread in a long time and you’ve inspired me to try it again.

  3. Trisha said

    I have that book too and refer to it now and again. I love that it works out so many different sizes for you. I have been meaning to go through it and pick out all of the (one size) blocks and make a sampler. Fun!

  4. Lorraine said

    I love the lantern block & would definitely love to see a tutorial happening !
    I think it could be the project I need to use my growing pile of Kaffe .
    Your economy blocks are excellent & so is that cute Potting Shed block.

  5. Stephanie said

    Lots of goodies. Love the Kaffe lantern and you potting shed block. Oh yum. I fear my swear jar would be full after the week I’ve had. But then I could take it and buy fabric.

  6. fabricpile said

    Glad to see you aren’t wilting in the heat. LURV the work that’s going on Chez Schmenkman. And GAZPACHO is the official food of summer–but feel free to put a dollop of guacamole on top. You’re welcome.

  7. belinda said

    Well, I’m just crazy ga-ga for your economy blocks…..AND the potting shed…wow! I’ve seen several little versions of the lantern…I always thought
    it interesting and would consider doing one!!

  8. Joan Callaway said

    Love your Kaffe economy patches!

  9. pam said

    wow I love it all. Love your version of Sarah’s block, and of course all the other things as well. And that’s my fav book there, and the other two, now all available in one book! Anyway, why doesn’t your blog remember me anymore?

  10. Ibby said

    The economy blocks are just awesome and so is the Potting Shed block! I love the way you put fabrics together. Thank you for posting the lantern quilt. I ADORE it. The old fabrics are fabulous and so are yours.

    Are your strips for the lanterns 2″ wide finished and the top and bottom 1″ finished? I kind of like the proportion that you have in the picture. I have it in EQ right now with the alternate “top/bottom” blocks and it looks good…at least to me.

  11. Katy said

    nice book – I think I might have to go searching for that one.

    Love the economy blocks in kaffe, and the lantern and the animals. Oh heck. I love it all, as usual.

    Why do girls grumble so very much? Our summer hasn’t started yet, but I can already hear the grumbling, it’s there bubbling under the surface just like the start of an earthquake.

  12. lily boot said

    Breathtaking! All of it! Those Kaffe blocks are gorgeous – argh that square within a square block stumps me every time. It requires an unreasonable amount of geometry! And the lantern quilt is beautiful! We’re so alike dearie – I too sit there squinting away at photos trying to wiggle out the pattern. And I loathe putting things on point so am completely with you on the arrangement. What you’ve suggested makes sense to me. But I too wonder whether the top and bottom need to be wider but shorter. Hmmmm .. not sure. The applique is bee-yoo-ti-ful. You have such a talent with that needleturn and your quilting is marvellous. As for the elephant – there’s just too much prettiness about in that Schmenkman home! Enjoy your summer weekend! 🙂 much love.

  13. Brenda said

    Yes please to a tutorial.

  14. Nedra- Cactus Needle said

    I just finished with the Wasatch Shop Hop. Quite a few stores had some Kaffes at 50% off. I purchased a lot of backs, and as many 1/2 yard cuts as the budget would allow.

  15. MichelleB said

    So much loveliness in one post! Those Kaffe blocks are yummy. Love the lanterns. And that potting shed quilt! My goodness. It’s just fabulous.

  16. maria said

    Fantasttic work. I particularly like the potting shed quilt. It looks great in those fabrics.

  17. aneela said

    Oooh I do love a good stab at economizing! creatively of course!!
    I’d also LOve a pattern/tutorial or anything else you might happen to care to post about pieced lanterns!

  18. Linda said

    I loveeeeee your elephant block where do I find one for myself it is soooooooooo cute! and your colors are perfect!

  19. Linda said

    Ooopssssssssss forgot to hit notify me of any comments on the elephant. I knowwwwwwwwww its a blonde thing.

  20. Great, I love those books too! And don’t those really simple Economy style blocks often get over looked for something more detailed… yours are great!
    The lantern block looks fun, if a tutorial transpires, I know I would appreciate it. Thanks, Carolyn

  21. You have beautiful quilting stitches.

  22. Linda said

    I loveeeeeee your elephant ,gifaff and hippo” I can ‘t waittttt too see what you are going to do with them” they are just wayyyyyyy too cute!

  23. Jeanine said

    I recently heard about that book from one of my guild members. I’ve been trying to get my hands on that book. So far it’s looking like I’m going to have to purchase it used. It’s out of print. Oh and yes a tutorial would be fun.

  24. Nanette said

    Such lovely pictures and projects. One of my very first quilts and one that I made several of was this square in a square block. My points are awful in it. Just awful. But I still love my fabric and keep telling myself “it was a first quilt!”. Too bad I’m not extremly better. But I’ve been wanting to make this again, too.

  25. Judi said

    Please do a tutorial. I love it!

  26. Chammer said

    Your Lantern Blocks are terrific…..I just love the combo of colors. Kaffe is so much fun. I would very much like a tutorial….I look forward to it. Thank you.

    The Potting Shed quilt is beautiful………..thank you for sharing your work with us..
    ~ Cheryl

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