My love affair with OBW quilts actually started with a Stack-n-Whack class at Overbrook Quilt Connection. What's the difference between OBW and SnW? The OBW was designed by Maxine Rosenthal. The SnW technique was designed by Bethany Reynolds. They are close cousins - the quilts, not the designers (grin). Both are kaleidoscope quilts. Both start with layers of fabric cut in exactly the same place. OBW usually have 6 layers and SnW usually have 8. OBW are cut in equilateral triangles; SnW are cut in wedges or 90 degree triangles. OBW are usually put together without a background, SnW utilizes a background fabric. You can get books that feature both techniques.
The SnW class I took at Overbrook Quilt Connection a million years ago was wonderful, although I am sorry that I don't remember who taught it. Here is what I do remember: my friend Bobbie and I used the same focus fabric with different backgrounds - I used yellow, she used green. The teacher warned us not to get our fabric mixed up, but one look at my area and you could tell by the mess that it was mine. Bobbie's fabric was nicely trimmed and stacked and mine was all over the place. There was no way we were going to mix up our stacks of fabric!
My next one was a OBW. My son James wanted a black and green quilt, so I decided to make him a OBW (see the first pic in the post). After looking for just the right fabric for a month or so, I finally found a cool tropical flower print in Colby Kansas. I bought 6 or so yards - enough for the 6 repeats of the pattern plus some extra for borders. After cutting the triangles and putting together the half hexies, I set aside all the blocks with the bright red, yellow, orange and yellow flowers. So James' quilt was mostly black and green and I had plenty of leftovers for a bright tablerunner.
One of the things I love about SnW and OBW is that you can use fabrics that you wouldn't normally put in a quilt - or at least fabric that I wouldn't normally use. You could even use "ugly" fabric! Check out some of the fabrics before I stacked and cut, and then the resulting hexagons. Pretty amazing, yes?
Western Belt Buckle fabric
The other thing I love about OBW is that the technique is fairly simple. You just layer the fabric, cut strips and then triangles, and then sew 2 sets of 3 triangles together to make 2 half hexies. The hardest part is laying the hexies out in a way that "flows".
The third aspect of OBW that thrills me is that you have a million options when it comes to the layout - you can add tumbling blocks, solid strips, make the layout asymmetrical, or any number of other creative options.
I am going to be teaching One Block Wonder quilts at Mea Bernina sometime in the future. I've taught 2 classes already and people want more. So check out the website for upcoming classes and come play with OBW quilts with me!
Just writing about OBW makes me want to go down to my studio and play with my pretty OBW fabrics!