Monday, July 8, 2013

Lantern-a-long Block 1: The Fan Lantern

Welcome to the Lantern-a-long (also known as the LAL)! If you're just joining us, feel free to join the Flickr group and post pictures of your lanterns as you finish them! There will be five lantern tutorials throughout July and August. See this post for more info on the quilt top sizes and fabric requirements, schedule (also below), sponsors, and this post for prizes.

I made this lantern quilt because I thought it would convey peace. The husband thought the dark purple background would be perfect as the night sky (and I wasn't going to say no to more purple in my life!). I need a reminder when I'm writing lesson plans or grading papers at home - to relax and realize that it's the little things. And boy, do these little lanterns make me happy. Not that it's quilted yet or anything (by the way, anyone have any machine quilting ideas?)...

Cutting the background fabric for all blocks 

Hopefully you have your jelly roll or 2.5" strips cut, and your background fabric.  All fabric for the  five lantern blocks, including the background fabric, needs to be in 2.5" strips. I folded my background fabric up into a square or rectangle (I had 2.5 yards in all), and just cut the strips like that. Then, I separated them as necessary for the quilt. Sometimes I don't take the easy way out, and it doesn't occur to me that the folding might make everything go faster!

Block 1: Fan Lantern
I made up this name - this one just keeps going. This lantern is the largest one and will use the most of your patterned 2.5" strips. This one will also probably take the longest, but it still won't be too long :) This quilt along is so easy and relaxing! You'll be done before you know it ;)

*A note - all blocks will be a different size. You will have to add background fabric to make them equal, if that's what you desire! I was going for a more modern aesthetic when I made my quilt!

I made my first version in purple, just because... well, I absolutely LOVE it, and Kate Spain's Good Fortune has some fabulous purples. Feel free to use this quilt to experiment with color - so for my second fan lantern, I combined the orange and dark blues of Good Fortune. These two colors are complements on the color wheel, which means they are directly opposite of each other. This makes them stand out quite a lot against each other.

I'm curious to see the color combinations you come up with for your blocks! I highly recommend Color Scheme Designer 3 if you'd like to try and experiment with the colors in your fabric! Go give that color wheel a whirl like I did above :)

Step 1: Lay out your lantern fabrics (you need 9) and figure out how you want them to look... this might take some time! I HIGHLY recommend taking a picture so you remember! This was taken with my cell phone.

Step 2: Cut the following:

Step 3: Important: cut each strip of background fabric in half!

Step 4: Sew together your 9 rows separately, using a quarter inch seam allowance. Your rows should look like this:

Row 1:      7.5" BF + 5" lantern fabric +7.5" BF
Row 2:      5" BF + 10" lantern + 5" BF
Row 3:      2.5" BF + 15" lantern + 2.5" BF 
Row 4:      5" BF + 10" lantern + 5" BF
Row 5:      7.5" BF + 5" lantern +7.5" BF
Row 6:      5" BF + 10" lantern + 5" BF
Row 7:      2.5" BF + 15" lantern + 2.5" BF
Row 8:      5" BF + 10" lantern + 5" BF
Row 9:      7.5" BF + 5" lantern +7.5" BF

Step 5: Press lantern fabric seams outwards, towards the background fabric. This will help them stand out on the front of the quilt.

Step 6: Lay out all of your strips again (use that handy picture!) and sew them all up, again, using a quarter inch seam allowance. I recommend doing this in parts - it's easier to handle (see third picture).

Step 7: Press THESE seams open.

Step 8: Trim up your block to 20" length, 18.5" width. You're done and you have your first beautiful lantern down! I have to admit, I think this one is my favorite design :D

Remember, if you're making a lap size quilt, you'll want to make at least two of these blocks this week (see here for size suggestions). Don't forget to link up to Flickr, and grab this button for your blog!


Tues. July 2 - Mon. July 8 - Gather supplies
Mon. July 8 - Lantern Block 1 
Mon. July 15 - Lantern Block 2
Mon. July 22 - Lantern Block 3
Mon. July 29 - Lantern Block 4
Mon. August 5 - Lantern Block 5, finish up quilt tops
Mon. August 12 - Linky goes up for finished quilt tops/quilts (open for one week)
Mon. August 19 - Winners chosen at random from the linky pool!



  1. You weren't kiddin' - these will be some quick stitches! Question: are all the lantern blocks designed to be the same width (18.5", so I'm assuming 18" finished)??

  2. Nice clear instructions. I suspect you mean a 1/4" seam not a 2.5" seam. I am looking forward to tackling this one. Nice straight stitching. Thank you. Joanne

  3. I'm IN LOVE with these fabrics. I made a quilt for a friend them them and didn't save any for myself. Gorgeous!


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