Raise The Bar - the turquoise ombre one

I'm so excited to share the second pattern in the Bar Quilts series, Raise The Bar. This pattern is the first one I designed, even though I ended up releasing Spinning Top first.

In keeping with the style of the series, this is a very simply but striking big block quilt that makes the most of yardage leftovers and lets feature fabrics shine. You could say minimum fuss with maximum effect. This pattern is beginner-friendly and quick to sew up and makes for some very satisfying sewing time.

The Raise The Bar quilt pattern is now available in the shop.

 Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - beginner-friendly courthouse steps big block quilt in turquoise ombre, held up outside in a spring forest

Multiple sizes

The pattern comes in three sizes - pillow, baby and throw. I've made the throw in this turquoise ombre fabric pull of Robert Kaufman Kona solids. I've been on a bit of an ombre kick lately and love using solids to make up various ombre collections. 

The Kona colours used in this sample are Ultra Marine, Jade Green, Candy Green, Pond and Ice Frappe. The background is Kona Snow.

Not a fan of square throws? Check out this tutorial on how to turn the square Bar Quilts patterns into a rectangular throw or a twin size quilt.

 Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - turquoise ombre quilt scrunched up

Behind the name

Raise The Bar is a nod to tradition with some hidden meanings. The pattern is a traditional Courthouse steps block, but blown up to make a good sized throw and really show off those stripes. The name of the pattern is both a play on words with the term "bar" for the legal profession as an institution, but also the fact that it looks like a bar being raised and lowered.

Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - turquoise ombre quilt

I was debating which way the ombre should run, but decided to place the darkest shade on the outside of the quilt. I thought it would make it look like the steps are going up towards the center, like they would on an actual courthouse, but it turns out depending on the day it appears to go up or down. It must be a trick of the light, or maybe some days I'm more tired than others.

Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - beginner-friendly courthouse steps big block quilt in turquoise ombre

Quilting decisions

I decided on simple straight line quilting for this one, but didn't want to just follow the lines. With the design creating the look of triangles, I decided to follow that with an X across the center, creating echoing lines out towards the sides.

I love how the resulting design reinforces the optical illusion of the center of the quilt receding, while the darker lines at top and bottom appear to be closer.

Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - beginner-friendly courthouse steps big block quilt in turquoise ombre

Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - turquoise ombre quilt on an old barn wall

The Bar Quilts series

Raise The Bar is one of four quilt patterns in the Bar Quilts series that is being released this year. They are all bold, striped patterns that are easy to make and  a quick, satisfying project for the limited sewing time a lot of us have these days.

You can find all four patterns here:

Raise the Bar
Spinning Top
Staccato
Bar Code (coming August 2021)

Raise The Bar modern quilt pattern by Penny Spool Quilts - beginner-friendly courthouse steps big block quilt in turquoise ombre on a wood stack

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