Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bento Box Quilts

This year I started making quilts again after a long break from sewing.  I still have a huge stash of fabrics from the 1980's and 90's, and some of the new colors and patterns are tempting also.


In the summer I made a baby Bento Box quilt for my grandson, TJ.


And, I just completed a bigger version for one of my sons.


The name Bento Box comes from Japanese lunch boxes that have partitions.  The quilt pattern is simpler to piece together than it might look:


First, basic log cabin "courthouse steps" blocks are built, half of the blocks having dark centers, and the remaining with light centers.

Then, all the blocks are cut into quarters, and kitty-cornered sections are switched out and replaced with their light or dark counterparts.


For me, learning how to free-motion machine quilt was a fun adventure. It took a lot of practice, but I feel it was worth it.  I like how the curvy meandering lines of stitching seem to soften and unite the overall look of these patchwork quilts.


Sometime I might like to try a modified Bento Box quilt for a postmodern look.  :D

30 comments:

rainfield61 said...

It must be feeling so warm in the winter.

tom sullivan said...

Nice stuff! Your photo of the large quilt seems to "mess with" my perception.

betchai said...

oh, i did a quilt project in my class with my other classmates before and i love it, however, have not tried it on my own. your quilt is beautiful, always a nice gift.

Julie said...

These are really beautiful!!! I really love the baby one! Of course, having TJ for your model helps a lot, too! :) I had never heard of a Bento Box quilt before!!! Pretty neat!

Gaelyn said...

These are awesome! I'm amazed you can free form without a long-armed quilt machine.

Martha Z said...

Very nice Diane and I am impressed by your free form quilting. My neighbor takes her quilts to be quilted by someone else. Not only is it expensive but it seems a shame to go to all the work of piecing and not be able to claim the entire project as your own.
The few quilts I've made I quilted by hand. I enjoy it and can do it while listening to NPR, a change from the cross stitch I usually do

angryparsnip said...

wahahahahahahahahahah...
I first saw Bento Box and
I thought is Diane in Japan too ?

I have never seen that quilt design before but (I don't know quits) I am thinking I should learn it my Japanese Family would love it !

What a super fabulous job you did ! Love the colors.

cheers, parsnip

Stephanie said...

Beautiful! You must have spent lots of hours doing it. Congrats in completing. Your bento pattern is so different from what Corrine, my other blogger friend did. Check out her blog...
http://corinnejansz.blogspot.com/2010/10/update-patchwork-project-lilys-colors.html

Btw, I love to order bento food/set... nice!

Magpie said...

Way beyond my abilities. I love the colors and patterns of fabrics though.

cieldequimper said...

Ahhh gorgeous! Mine are still in the making, the hand quilting is taking aaaaages!

Allison said...

I am in awe. I can knit, but I get so frustrated sewing that I only mend when I have to. BUT I love all things quilted, and this is just wonderful! My compliments!

Amin said...

Hello!Very beautiful baby!

Amin said...

Beautiful job!

***Icy BC said...

Gorgeous quilts, Diane, and Tyler Jet is so adorable. He is growing so much..

Tracy said...

Gosh those are lovely! Are you taking orders? :-) Seriously though, I envy people who can sew. I've never had the talent or patience.

clairz said...

This is a wonderful post, and so inspiring! I'm serious, this might send me off in a whole new direction. I knit a lot but have made only one 9-patch quilt. I love this pattern and the possibilities.

Next time you make a quilt, could you photograph the free-form machine quilting process? I'm sure that there is a more organized way to do it than the way I did. It was quite a struggle, and I'm glad that there were no witnesses!

Loree said...

Beautiful. I am so hopeless at sewing.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Gorgeous, Diane.... I LOVE quilts --and have several in my home (although I don't quilt myself). I have a good friend in Colorado who made some for me through the years... I even have a flannel quilt --which is wonderful in this weather!!!!

Love yours... The one you made for one of your sons is so different.... Bento Box, huh???? I don't think I have seen that before. Gorgeous.

And that precious grandson looks adorable on HIS quilt... Bet he'll have several from his Grammy through the years.
Hugs,
Betsy

Amin said...

Beautiful post!

Janie said...

Your quilting work is beautiful! I'd love to learn to do that someday.

Luzia said...

Ohhhhhh, the quilts are very nice and professional. I have done twice in the 90`and know how much work is it. They are a great gift for your family members! I wish you a lot of fun with your new (old) passion. Hugs from Luzia.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Great stuff!

OMG! I'm melting looking at your son!!!

B xx

Brenda's Arizona said...

Wow, lovely quilt, Diane! I am impressed! Is your sewing machine a 'special kind of machine', or a regular sewing machine? I'm longing to try a quilt... you are motivation.

Diane AZ said...

Brenda, You can make a quilt with a regular machine, but an older machine might only be able to manage straight line quilting. That would be fine the the first few quilts. But for curvy free-motion lines I used the Singer Confidence Quilter.

Annie said...

This is really exciting for me to see Diane. I've just started up quilting and this looks like an interesting project with clean lines. I like that there are no triangles.

Ayie said...

i love your pattern and the colors you used, lucky baby!

Thérèse said...

Such a good way to use time... I like to piece together but less the quilting part.
A nice way to get dizzy with Bento Box quilting, no?

sandy said...

I am impressed!

Lindy MacDuff said...

Gorgeous quilt and very nice color and pattern choices.

Thérèse said...

How beautiful! The baby seems to be enjoying the softness of his own quilt.
I wish I had known you befpre for the quilting part, preferring the piecing part and hand applique. But would you have done it for a quilt made by someone else?? :-)