Sunday, August 11, 2019

Flying Swallows Quilts

I have always drawn the most inspiration from vintage and traditional quilt patterns. Flying Swallows is one of those. There are several variations of both pieced and appliqué blocks, but I'm talking about the one based on an 8 Pointed Star, as seen here by one I created in 2002 for Quilt Magazine.

Flying Swallows, 2002
Unfortunately, this was part of that group of 30 quilts stolen in 2005 while I was on an 8 day teaching tour. It's kind of hard to teach and present a trunk show without your quilts, but my husband FedExed  a slide show that I was able to use (a very poor substitute!)

I have designed a few digital quilts since then for a few fabric companies. Here's one I used for Blank Quilting in 2008:

Flying Swallows using the Fun Dip Collection
Then I created one using the Jamestown Collection by Windham in 2018:

Flying Swallows for Windham Fabrics
Now, I want you to go back and look at the centers of these quilts. Notice in the first one, that black fabric resembles a crab that is anxious to jump out and bite you with its claws! It's the placement of the fabrics.

In the last two, I changed out the colors of the background for those diamonds, and now you see a pinwheel (without those crab claws!)

Last week I pulled out two unfinished Flying Swallows quilts (we all have UFOs; I just have several for each idea!). I finished the smaller one and I'm a little disappointed that those crab claws are back! Only this is an anemic crab.

Flying Swallows, 2019
I used two different colors for the "swallows", but probably should have used that red you see in the background for the center pinwheel. I'm going to try this one more time.

My diamonds are rotary cut from 2-1/2" strips in the quilts above. I have all the parts for ANOTHER Flying Swallows quilt using 3-1/2" diamonds. I took all the end triangles off the swallows units and am auditioning fabrics for the center pinwheel. I don't want another one with the crab claws.

I'll keep you posted. I'm planning to make this a new workshop, but not sure if there's going to be an interest in such a vintage pattern. Maybe I should work this up in "modern" colors - ie, solids with a Kona Snow background.

Here's a page of the way it's put together. Does it look too hard? Remember: no templates; all rotary cut AND no set-in seams.


  1. I would love a pattern for this great block. Always wanted to make one. Funny how these secondary patterns show up.

    1. I'm working on the pattern for the larger size. I have samples; as you can see in the digital image, the work is done. Just need to tweak the words!

  2. Me tooo, love the way this is put together, so would like the pattern also.

  3. I'm working on the pattern for the larger size.

  4. I don't recall ever hearing of this block or seeing one before. I like it. On your last sample I had to go back and really look at it to see the crab with its claws. It doesn't pop out like the black one. (Actually, I didn't see the black one until you pointed it out:-)). I think it is how looks at it or where one's focus is--kind of like an optical illusion.

  5. I love this one. Not that I have the time to quilt right now but I would love to do one of these. Thanks for posting them.

  6. Great quilts! I would love this pattern as well!

    1. Well, I guess I better get busy! Thanks for your interest, Susan. I think I’ll make this quilt one more time in some modern looking fabrics - and in a bigger size.

      I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by.


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