A Prairie Gathering Block of the Month - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

A Prairie Gathering Block of the Month

Welcome back to the Jolly Jabber! Today, we’re going to chit chat with Pam Buda about her newest Block of the Month for Marcus Fabrics, A Prairie Gathering. Pam brings us a wonderful blend of traditional deep reds and beige prints in this BOM, which pays a year-long tribute to women who used needle and thread to affect change. 

Q:  Tell us a little about the A Prairie Gathering Block of the Month. What were you inspired by?

A: My Prairie Gathering quilt was inspired by nineteenth century women, who quite literally had what they themselves called “quilting gatherings”. In addition to gathering together for simple companionship and to work on quilting their own work while they visited, they gathered and worked on a quilt for a specific cause; for someone special in their lives, for their community, and for their country. These “simple Prairie women”, who were for the most part uneducated and considered lower-class citizens, banded together. With needles and thread, patchwork and perseverance, they made significant and lasting changes in their community and our country. 

The Medallion style quilt was popular then and has been a favorite of mine, and in looking for something unique and different for my first program with Marcus Fabrics, I chose that style and paired it with my favorite color, Red! A two-color quilt is a traditional classic, and I’m all about tradition…but definitely use today’s modern rotary and piecing techniques! And, with my passion for early American history, I’ve included four historic anecdotal stories of how women worked together to make quilts that fund-raised for causes that effected lasting change. 

Q:  What is your design process when beginning the project?

A: In designing the quilt, I began with the center Medallion. I wanted something striking to set the tone and to have angles and points, light areas and dark areas, so it would really stand out. The center would likely be on-point for more drama, but that poses a lot of mathematical problems when adding pieced borders. But, not to worry, I took care of that nicely! 

When I was choosing the pieced borders I felt like a kid in the candy store. With so many possibilities to choose from, I did a lot of playing.  Many candidates were eliminated because the math didn’t work, and I wanted to keep the construction of blocks and parts simple enough so even confident beginners could make the quilt.  I knew fabric print and value would play a big part in the design as well. 

Q:  When you designed this fabric, did you have this quilt in mind as you chose your fabrics?

A: When I’m about to design a new fabric collection, I usually have a quilt design in mind too, and set about choosing the fabrics I would like in that quilt. It’s kind of like when you choose a pattern you like at the quilt shop, then shop for the fabrics you want for that particular quilt. When designing the fabrics for A Prairie Gathering, I considered not only color value, which plays a big part in this quilt, but also the size of the prints, and especially a great border print. The light background colors range from a light cream with what I call a “prairie dirty” finish (think aged with a ‘used patina’ on it. Nothing stayed white on the prairie!) to a warm, cozy beige. There are light tone-on-tones, and lights with reds and blacks. The reds range from a sparkling cranberry to deep, almost black/red for a bit of depth and drama. All of the prints in the collection came from my nineteenth century antique quilts and are sweet, traditional, classic prints in my “Prairie style”. 

Together, the design team at Marcus Fabrics and I worked to make the very best collection of reproduction red and light prints for this program, and I could not be happier with how they all turned out. I sincerely hope you like them too, and enjoy making A Prairie Gathering as the months go by!

Love what you see? The BOM program starts on January 2015, so sign up today! Thanks for joining us everyone!


  1. Hi! Joined BOM for this quilt. Beautiful fabrics! Do you offer a blog or tutorial for this quilt? Thx!