Finish: 49 73

I’m really excited to share my latest finish with y’all! This is the most technically challenging quilt I’ve ever made, and (probably related) has taken the most time to complete. For the last couple of years, my aesthetic has been pretty minimal and graphic, which was heavily influenced by my QDAD (Quilt Design A Day) practice. At the beginning of the year, I joined an improv bee (#beesewcial on Instagram) and it’s had a pretty significant impact on my personal quilting style as a result. It’s always exciting and a bit scary when my aesthetic starts to shift, and it’s really reignited my passion for quilting this year. But dang it’s a lot slower than those minimalist quilts I was making! 😉


If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@playcrafts), you’ve seen this quilt come to fruition. The fabric was kindly donated by RJR Fabrics in return for them getting to hang the quilt in their booth at Quilt Market in Houston. When they approached me, I’d already been playing with a design and they were happy to let me run with it.


The design of course, has a story. Two weeks after I signed the paperwork at my new job and found a place to live in Orlando (but before we’d actually moved), the biggest mass shooting in the US to date happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I wept for my new home, and wondered how I would fit in to a place where such a thing could happen. But the way Orlando responded gave me hope; there was no hesitation to help, no backlash that many of the victims identified as LGBTQA, that many were Latinos.


Now that I’m here, I can say that Orlando is one of the friendliest places I have ever lived. Getting to know people here, so many of them were affected by the shooting in some way. As I listened to their stories of loss and rebuilding and hope and sadness, I mourned with them and wished I’d had the chance to know the people they had loved and lost. With the stories in mind, I began working on this design.


The design is an abstraction of the skyline of Orlando as often depicted, with the city’s lights reflecting in Lake Eola. There are 49 light squares/blocks, one for each of the victims killed in the shooting. Losing someone leaves such a hole where their presence used to be, and I tried to reflect that in the way I created this quilt. While there’s traditional piecing used in this quilt, the majority of the light blocks were pieced in using inset corners. The process requires cutting away the background to make room for the square you are piecing in, and piecing it in whole. In a way, I was attempting to take the holes left by those who had died and patch them with light. If only it were as easy to do that in real life.


This quilt truly was a labor of love in so many ways. It’s a quilt of loss, but also a quilt of hope. It’s a quilt for my new home and my new friends. But mostly it’s a quilt for the 49 people who unfairly lost their lives and the light they left behind.


Title: 49
Dimensions: 58″ x 84″
Fabrics: RJR Cotton Supreme Solids – Goldenrod, Lemon Chiffon, Banana Cream Pie, Tourmaline, Harlequin, Gingko, Mandarin, Oriole, Tangerine Dream, Yum Yum Yam, Saffron, Bordeaux, My Valentine, Scarlet Letter, Moulin Rouge, Bandana, Beach Coral, Sunset Ruby, Caviar, Night, Indigo, Slate, Navy, Denim, Blue Bayou, Turks & Caicos, Riviera, Notting Hill, Cove
Design: Improv, inset corner tutorial I used can be found here
49 squares: For those who are counting (I know you’re out there), I’m including the lightest blue squares in the count. The reason for that will be shown at some point after I get the quilt back from market


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73 thoughts on “Finish: 49

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I want to do more of this sort of thing, but I’m having trouble narrowing in on colors I want to play with. The problem with liking all the colors, I suppose.

  • pam

    it really is a beautiful quilt, and the story makes it even more so! It makes me love it even more. Welcome to Orlando. Although you may not feel so happy about it this weekend.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! And thank you for the welcome. 🙂 The hurricane ended up giving us mostly a miss, thank goodness, so I can continue loving it here! 😉

  • Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    Wow, Anne, this is so stunning and I loved getting to know more about the story and mindfulness behind the process and quilt creation. Seeing your style evolve has been inspiring to me, and I am always going to be a fan of any art that comes from such a measured, thoughtful, and purposeful place. I am so glad that moving to Orlando has gone so well for you (it is 180° from my FL experience, honestly… but I was working in a very strictly conservative male dominated area, so, yeah, it was different (go home and cook in your kitchen where you belong different)). I really wish I were going to be at market; getting to see this in person would be a real treat. Congratulations on the finish and I hope you stay safe through the storm.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Yvonne. I’ve been watching YOUR style progress and evolve as well and it’s been an awesome journey so far. 😀
      One of the reasons I was so worried about moving to Florida is that in general, their political leanings do not match well with mine (I’ll just leave it at that.) But it turns out Orlando is its own little bastion of sanity and has a very different feel from the rest of Florida. Which, thank goodness!! I even went to an auto parts store yesterday and the guy didn’t treat me any differently than Eli who was there with me.

  • kitty

    The quilt is as beautiful as is the emotion that materialized into this powerful beauty. Congratulations on the new path you’ve found to express your creativity!!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! I feel like I still have a lot to learn and areas to grow, but I think that’s a good thing. It’s what keeps me from getting bored! 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! I will probably enter it into shows (although there are a few places where my construction isn’t as good as I would hope) so maybe it will end up somewhere convenient to you? 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Jess! I held off sharing the story because I wanted to make sure the design stood on its own, if that makes sense. 🙂 I feel so fortunate that people have responded so well to it!

  • Ruth

    That is gorgeous and the background behind it makes it so thought provoking too. When I saw it in my feedly list it first reminded me of flying over somewhere remote and you see the odd few lights on below and you wonder – who on earth lives there, those below not knowing you can see something of them from up above. Having read the story behind it, it really does show how we interact and affect each other and a person’s loss touches more than you think.

    • anne Post author

      Ohh I know exactly what you mean about flying over some smaller town and wondering about the people who live there. It’s so true that we touch each other in ways we could never expect, a small word here or there can have a big impact on someone else’s life. Annddd now I want to make a quilt about that. 🙂

  • AmyScrapSpot

    The story behind this quilt is terribly sad but what you made from it is so wonderful.
    The design of it is FANTASTIC!!
    We need more people like you in this crazy world. People that care and want to try to make it better, even if you only can in a lilttle way.
    Beautiful work!!

    • anne Post author

      Wow, thank you so much! I think most people DO care, but often feel helpless. I know I feel that way a lot, anyway! I wish I had the answers, but instead I have a quilt. 🙂

  • Jayne

    This became so much more than watching your progress on IG! The story behind a quilt is what brings them to life, and you also honored each and every Pulse victim. I love this quilt. I keep looking closer and closer at it. I certainly draws me in. Did you do partitial seams as well as the inset corners? You should be very proud of this quilt! So well done Anne!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Jayne. <3 You really DID look at it closely, yes there are a few partial seams. But the vast majority is inset corners. Some pieces had 2 or even 3 of the corners inset. I never attempted all four. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Man, thank you. <3 It always makes my heart happy to hear someone call me an artist. ^_^ Sad, hopeful kind of describes my general outlook on life. lol Thank you for the kind words and I'm so happy my work touched you in some way. <3

  • Jenny

    Your conceptualization is so thoughtful. I enjoyed reading about it, and it shouldn’t go without saying that the quilt is beautiful. I hope it hangs somewhere in tribute.

    • anne Post author

      I’ll probably enter it into shows, but it doesn’t have a permanent home chosen, yet. I’m sure the right place will come along, though. It always does. 🙂

  • Rahel

    Found your blog. Now I really have a new impression of quilts (I only knew oldfashioned versions). I love the designs!!! and I love the way you get inspired for your quilts. Keep going :)!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Rahel! If you want some inspiration and help getting into improv quilts, I highly suggest The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. It is a fantastic book for getting started and providing prompts.

  • Ginny

    I loved this from the beginning watching it come together. It is an amazing finish! It reminds me of stars or fireflies but the true story behind it is so much more important.
    (And I am loving your new quilting aesthetic!) 🙌🏻

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Ginny! I am super inspired by both stars and fireflies, so it makes me happy that my quilt caused such cool connections. 🙂 I feel like I’m still finding my way with this new aesthetic, but I am loving the experimentation!

  • Karen Schulz

    amazing. I love it and love your blog. Don’t often comment but this is so special it is worth it. Thanks for posting to blogger. So many people assume everyone does instagram but some of us don’t!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Karen! I really appreciate the kind words. 😀 Instagram is so much easier to post to than a blog, I understand why people have moved there. But I really miss the long form writing so I’m trying to still update my blog while I can. 😀 Thank you for reading!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Rachel! It felt like it took FOREVER to finish it. 🙂 But some things are worth the extra time, I suppose!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Christine! It was a hard story to share (partially because it was just really hard to put the maelstrom of emotions into words that made any sense), so I really appreciate that it’s being received well. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Lisa! The story was really hard to get out into words that made any sense whatsoever (making sense of the emotional mire isn’t easy sometimes), but comments like these make me feel like it was worth it. <3

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Julie! Sometimes it feels hard to do such a thing justice, so I tried to focus on my own story instead of trying to make something worthy for other people. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I’d actually never heard of inset corners before, either! But I knew what I wanted to do (sew some blocks together to look overlapping without adding extra seams) and google searched until I found what I needed to do. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Rejanne! <3 It always takes me a bit to recover from the "meaningful" quilts, but they always end up being my favorite. 🙂

  • 2bleubirdzsssing4u

    I somehow missed this post while we were on a trip. I really like this one. I think you’re moving in a good direction. One thing about your quilts is they are not like anybody else’s and they are all so different. I think I love modern quilts more than ever all the time and it’s because of people like you.

    • anne Post author

      Wow, this is the best compliment I’ve ever received, thank you so much! <3 Improv is still challenging for me (which means I really enjoy it, but also means I'm producing a lot slower because the challenge is both mental and technical) but I feel like I'm starting to get closer to finding my voice artistically if that makes sense? I'm sure it's a moving target, but I always get excited when I feel a step closer. 😀

  • Karen

    I just saw your quilt mentioned by Yvonne at quiltingjetgirl. Your quilt is so beautifully designed and dedicated. You may be new to Orlando, but I can see that you have already become part of the community with your love and respect. 49 leaves me overwhelmed and speechless. Thank you.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Karen! I really appreciate your kind words. I have really fallen in love with the community in Orlando. I don’t know that it feels like “home” yet? But maybe it will get there. 🙂

  • Melody Moore

    The quilt is dazzling, and the story behind it is so intense. Wonky squares are my favorite quilt theme. I understand when you say the squares within the blocks are inset, but how are they secured? By some appliqué technique like machine appliqué, or by hand, like needle turn? Also, I see your layout in progress on your design wall, but how do you join the blocks? Do you cut away the overlapping parts, or just leave them multi-layered?