Little Blue Lake Quilt

Do you ever wonder how many quilts you can sew from your stash? I ponder this question a lot. My stash isn't huge but it was beginning to feel out of control. It was time to sew a scrappy quilt and use the fabrics at the bottom of my bins - you know the ones that are destined to be forgotten forever.
My fabric bins are sorted by colour and my original plan was to grab the blue bin and sew something but on a family drive inspiration struck! Instead I grabbed the blue, teal and aqua bins and sewed the quilt I'm calling my Little Blue Lake Quilt:


My very first scrappy string quilt! And why haven't I tried one of these before?  OMG this was one of the most enjoyable quilts I've ever sewn and I love every square inch of it. These fabrics may never have seen the light of day but now they are all together in a new quilt for our summer picnics.
I'm going to share all the quilt information etc. including the template I used, but first let me tell you more about my inspiration:
Little Blue Lake is located in northeast Tasmania about 2 hours from our home. The vivid colour of this lake is the result of mining that took place in this area. The high mineral content, mainly tin, gives this lake its distinctive blue colour.
Its a peaceful, picturesque spot to visit and while its the perfect picnic location, its not suitable for swimming as the water is toxic due to the heavy metals. Its also a great place for gem hunters as smokey quartz, topaz and amethyst are found abundantly.
I wanted to recreate this same serenity your feel at the lake, in my new quilt.


My brain really struggles with scrappy. I'm more of a sew one block at a time kinda gal who deliberately places fabrics and blocks in a scrappy order. I even buy new fabrics (that I like) instead of using fabrics that I've fallen out of love with, to control the end result.
I also struggle with the thought of random sized strips, so I decided for this quilt I needed to make a compromise. I drafted a template for the blocks to keep the strings equal in width but I just let go and sewed fabrics together randomly...yes, totally random!
Some of the fabrics appear once or twice throughout the quilt and others can be found more regularly, depending on the cut I had in my stash. These fabrics now have a new forever home; some were from old projects, some were those "what was I thinking" fabrics but together they look amazing!
I decided to sew my blocks on paper because I thought muslin might add extra bulk to the light weight summer quilt I wanted to make. I settled on 7" blocks (finished) set in a 10 x 10 grid (100 blocks) making my quilt finish at around 70" square; the perfect size picnic quilt for us.


Laying out the blocks was traumatic ;) No matter how many times I moved them around I still had the same fabrics laying close together. After hours of reshuffling and trying to position them evenly throughout the quilt, I stopped and just sewed them all together. In the end it turned out OK.
Because there was a lot of movement in the strips, I did leave the paper on the blocks until they were all sewn into the quilt top. Removing them was time consuming but worth the extra effort.


I quilted my Little Blue Lake Quilt with some serpentine stitching spaced at 1/2" intervals. It perfectly replicates the ripples you see on the lake when there's a gentle breeze, and once its washed its going to crinkle up beautifully.
I always use a silky embroidery thread for quilting and although its hard to see in photos, it reflects the light and glistens against the fabrics like the light twinkling on the surface of the lake.

The backing and binding fabric also came from my stash, so technically this quilt was a freebie :) I love the backing fabric, its absolutely perfect for this quilt and super pretty as well. It is light but hopefully it wont get too dirty as we drag it around over summer.
I did chose a darker binding fabric and I think it creates the perfect frame for all of those gorgeous colours.


If you're looking for something scrappy and you haven't tried a string quilt before then this might be perfect pattern for you. Grab your fabric bins and sew!
I've made up a file which includes the 7" template I used and also a template with the centre white strip only, in case you prefer sewing random sized strings.

You can download the free file HERE.

If you're looking for a tutorial on string quilts then I suggest you start at Bonnie's blog HERE.


I love love love our new picnic quilt. I enjoyed ever step of the process and there's always a sense of satisfaction when you use the last of a fabric and see it shine in a new quilt. I'm so glad I sewed with wild abandon and allowed the fabrics to play together by themselves. Maybe I can do scrappy after all :)
Inspiration can strike anywhere and at anytime, and my Little Blue Lake Quilt will always be a special reminder of that family road trip. Summer picnics just got a whole lot prettier :)


Happy quilting :)

14 comments

  1. Rose, your Little Blue Lake Quilt is so lovely! What a sweet inspiration to take the colors from your trip to ruffle through your stash to create this beauty. I've never made a string quilt, but you've got me interested!

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    1. Thanks Kathy. I love it! 😍 it was such a fun quilt to sew. It will be used heaps over tge summer, we love our family picnics ☺

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  2. This article sounded just like me! I have such trouble trying to be "scrappy" too! It's good to know that I'm not the only one that struggles with this. I love Bonnie and have followed her blog for 2 years. I guess its time for me to try my hand at scrappy! Thanks for the template!

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    1. No you're definitely not the only one ☺ i like to control how things look but in the end it worked perfectly ☺ have fun ☺

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  3. This quilt is beautiful! I love, love, love it! Such gorgeous blues all together. You did an amazing job and I bet it will get lots of good use.

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    1. Thanks Kathleen, our picnics will be pretty. Im thrilled with our new quilt ☺

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  4. It is really gorgeous. The colors are just fabulous and so calming. I love string block quilts

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    1. Thank you so much. The colours are calming, just like the lake. I see many more string quilts in the future. Such fun!

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  5. Rose your quilt is beautiful it looks just like the lake. I just love those colors! I have made a string quilt before and I'm sure it won't be my last. They are so easy.

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    1. Thanks Nancy. Yes they are so easy and so much fun. I've been kicking myself for not trying one sooner :)

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  6. I love string quilts, and this is a lovely example of how beautiful they are. Thanks for showing the pictures of the lake that inspired it, too. You did a wonderful job of limiting your color palette, which I always have a little difficulty doing, so my quilts are wildly random when I string piece, but I like that look, too. There are a lot of wonderful ways to use strings and pieces, and this is certainly an elegantly lovely example.

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    1. Oh thank you Susan ☺ I'd love to do a colourful one later. It may have taken me awhile to try one but there's no stopping me now ☺ i see lots more in the future ☺

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  7. Rose, The only word that I can use to describe your quilt is "luscious"! I absolutely love your color combination. I have a bedroom painted in a soft shade of a color that is hard to describe. It is not-quite mint but not quite aqua not quilt blue that is so calming and soothing. My hubby and I just love the color and we get complements all of the time. I think this would be the perfect quilt to use maintain that feeling of calm serenity and spiritual peace. Great job!

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    1. Oh thank you so much. The Little Blue Lake is a serene and peaceful place, and I love having a quilt that resembles such a beautiful spot. I hope you make one for yourself to compliment your bedroom - it sounds like a beautiful place to sleep :)

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