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National Park Fabric & Summertime Fun

I am a big fan of all the “parks”. At any given time, I have one pass to either our state park, national park, or national forest. They are all so amazing. That is why when I saw these prints, I thought to myself I need to make something with them. You guys check out this line created by Anderson Design Group for Riley Blake Designs called National Park. I just love the posters! However, I think my favorite fabrics are the ones with the patches. The concept is a lot of fun because it includes trail signs, topographic maps and park names. They have a few different panels: large ones that have all the national park posters included on one panel that would be perfect for that back of a quilt, and there are also oversized poster panels.

National Park Fabric Quilt

For this quilt, I used a pattern by Amy Smart and it is called Summer Bunting Quilt. I think the pattern really lends itself to National Park fabric. There are times when I pick a quilt pattern and then pick the fabric but there are other times when a fabric picks a quilt. I couldn’t find a more perfect pattern that says fun, summer, and open air. In my mind, I see crisp cool breezes making the bunting flags dance with a star-filled night sky. Campfires cooking marshmallows for the evening snack as kids are pointing out all the national parks they have visited on the quilt that is warming them. Replaying the memories of those trips in their minds.  

I love the colors! At first glance, the National Parks fabric line has a lot of blacks, deep greens, and rich browns in its base, but the posters and patches are full of a spectrum of colors that really complement that dark colors and pop out of them as well. That is why when I started planning this quilt, I wanted to pull the light colors in the fabrics to brighten it up. Reversing it. Making the dark colors pop out of the light colors. Then I went in and added the smaller posters to a dark background, having those flags stand out and the posters pop out of the quilt.

I loved the idea of bunting flags being in a kids’ camp at a national park and ran with it because I wanted to incorporate the National Parks pillow panel into the quilt top. I decided a stamp would be the perfect way to add it. Thinking of a kid writing a letter and mailing it home. I created a tutorial on how you too can turn a panel into a stamp for a wall hanging or incorporate it into your quilt top. Click here to go to that tutorial. The tutorial creates a stamp larger than the area needed in this quilt. It gives you an even space around the whole stamp, so it is pleasing to the eye as a standalone project.

Adjustments to the pattern

  • I turned 8 bunting flags into full bunting flags without the strip in the flag. I did this because I added a small poster (pinking raw edge) to the top of the flag.
  • Adding a Collector of Stamps block took out 8 bunting flags. Click here for that tutorial.

How to figure out how much to trim of the horizontal edges

Measure a full bunting row. You will want your stamp row to finish at this measurement. Mine measurement was a little off because I had a cutting error. LOL. Let’s blame it on late night quilting. Measure the three spaces, six bunting flags, Collector of Stamps block and two bunting flags. Add them together. Subtract the seam allowances. Take that number and subtract it from the full bunting row. To keep the stamp centered, divide the measurement in half so you can trim both edges.

Equation: Six bunting flags + stamp + two bunting flags= ( YM ) – 1″
(your measurement – seam allowance (two seams added together should be 1” if using ¼” seam))

(YM – 1″) – (full bunting row measurement) / 2

Sewing the vertical edges together

Because that pattern is a little more whimsical and all the edges of the flags don’t match up, I eyeballed it. Here is a way to do it that is slightly more exact. Find the two centers. Fold the six bunting flags in half vertically and put a pin at that point. Fold the stamp in half vertically and put a pin at that point. Place the two pinned points together, RST. Pin and sew seam first. Iron seam open. Trim the excess fabric off the top and bottom of the stamp. Pin and sew the two bunting flags to the rest of the row. Follow the rest of the pattern.

To finish it up, I free-motion quilted it with swirls. This adds some movement in the quilt and reminds me of breezes or water running down a river; all things that you might see at a National Park. I am so happy with how this quilt turned out!! I hope you enjoy it, too. You can get the fabric used in this quilt at your LCS or online (below is a list of the Riley Blake Designs and Penny Rose fabrics used in this quilt). When sharing pictures of projects that use the National Parks fabrics use #nationalparkfabric. If you are sharing pictures with Amy’s pattern use #summerbuntingquilt. And if you want to share pictures of my stamp project use #collectorofstampsquilt.

Happy Quilting Everyone!!

Fabrics used:

  • National Parks Pillow Panel Florida
  • National Parks Posters Black
  • Bee Basics Heart Yellow
  • Bee Basics Polka Dot Green 
  • Bee Basics Stitched Flower Teal
  • Bee Basics Polka Dot Turquoise
  • Bee Basics Stitched Flower Aqua
  • Bee Basics Gingham
  • Blue National Parks Signs Dark Brown
  • National Parks Signs Green
  • National Parks Patches Black
  • National Parks Patches Lt Brown
  • National Park fabric Word Print Black
  • National Parks Word Print Cream
  • National Parks Map Brown 
  • Winterberry Flurries Black
  • Triangles Tone on Tone White

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