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Meet the “Vintage Quilt Revival” Quilts: Sugar Snow

Good morning! Let’s take a look at another one of my quilts from Vintage Quilt Revival, shall we? And it might just be my personal favorite from the book.
“Sugar Snow” is a sentimental quilt for me. For the past five years, my girls have gone to a wonderful preschool at a nature center. Every winter, the whole class traipses out to a stand of maple trees on the grounds to collect the sap and eventually make it into syrup. This quilt was inspired by my visit to the maple trees with my older daughter’s class. In the time that has passed since I designed it, my older daughter finished preschool and went on to all-day grade school, and my younger daughter not only started preschool there, but is already only months away from becoming a pre-K graduate herself. Time flies like snowflakes on a gust off of Lake Michigan—which, not coincidentally, is exactly what this quilt is designed to evoke.

There’s more in the book about how I found my inspiration for this quilt and how I interpreted it into the design you see here. Inspiration is such an important part of the process for myself and many other quilters (both modern and traditional alike). So I thought it was only right to include some details about that in the book.

One of the best things about this quilt, hands-down, is the quilting, done by the super-talented and delightful Krista Withers. One of Krista’s signature quilting styles is quilting “ghost blocks” into the negative space of a quilt, and I knew that was just the thing for Sugar Snow.

Thanks for checking out Sugar Snow! Katie is up next, on Wednesday, with another one of her quilts from Vintage Quilt Revival, and you can check out my Stardust quilt right here.

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Stardust Quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival


Happy Monday! Welcome to the first in a series of posts by Katie, Faith, and myself introducing you to the quilts from our new book, Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks (which should be hitting stores in the next few weeks!). Today I’m going to be showing you my Stardust quilt.

Vintage Quilt Revival: 20 Classic Blocks

But first, a little about how the book is set up: We give you instructions for making 20 traditional quilt blocks that we felt were ripe for rediscovery. The blocks range from simple to more advanced; some are foundation paper-pieced while others are not. (All paper-piecing patterns are on a CD that is included with the book, for easy printing!)

There is also a complete project pattern for each block, along with discussions of the simple strategies we used to modernize the designs. Finally, we’ve included three very different sampler quilt patterns that use all 20 blocks.

The result is a book with 22 quilt patterns to follow if you choose. But we hope this book will also provide you with all the tools you need to design your own unique, modern quilts using traditional blocks. For example, you could swap out a block used in one of the patterns for a different block from the book, or even one of your own choosing. Or just apply some of the design concepts we talk about to your own designs. I’m really proud of how flexible this book is!

Stardust quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival
My Stardust quilt is the only pattern in the book (other than the samplers) to use more than one of the 20 blocks. This quilt uses two paper-pieced blocks, Dakota Star and Riviera, to create a striking design all its own. I think it’s a great example of how to use secondary patterns in a quilt—I love the way the lines of the blocks intersect to create a larger star.

Because of the complexity of the design, I decided solids were ideal for this quilt. I actually made sample blocks in a few different color palettes, including the one above, before settling on the color scheme you see in the book.

This quilt was the first one I made for the book—in fact, I made it almost two years ago, so that I could include it in our book proposal! As someone who is used to sharing almost everything I make, it was really difficult to keep this one under wraps for so long.

Stay tuned for more Vintage Quilt Revival quilts. Katie will be posting about hers on Wednesdays and Faith will be posting about her projects on Fridays. The three of us can’t wait to show you!

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Cartwheels Number Three


As promised, here’s my latest Cartwheels quilt finish—this time in Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park line.

• Buy Cartwheels as a PDF pattern here •

• Buy Cartwheels as a hard-copy paper pattern here •


First of all: Kind of in love with these colors right now. Second: How great is that stripy print as a binding? Pretty great.

Cartwheels for Market
And all that straight-line quilting? Not my favorite to do, but I like how it looks. And I needed to do something very different from the free-motion stippling I did on my previous two Cartwheels quilts! But now the edges of the quilt are a little wavy and won’t lie quite flat. I’m guessing it’ll flatten out after washing, but this quilt is headed to Quilt Market, so I didn’t want to wash it until after that. At any rate, it’s done and shipped off to where it needs to be for Market display later this week, so this one’s in the books.
If you’re a shop owner headed to Market, keep an eye out for this quilt—you can order the Cartwheels pattern or my other current patterns from Checker or Brewer (or directly from me, of course!).
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Bow Tie Required Quilt

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

My Bow Tie Required quilt is complete! This was such a fun collaboration with my fellow Milwaukeean, fabric designer Allison Beilke. And now you all can enjoy the fruits of that collaboration with my new free pattern!

Yep, a complete pattern to make this quilt is now available on Craftsy, free of charge. Click here to download the pattern. It’s a fun and very beginner-friendly pattern! And to bring mid-century modern cool to your pad, click here to check out Allison’s fabric line, Business and Leisure, available in four colorways and multiple scales from Modern Yardage.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

If you’ve been hanging around this corner of the blogosphere for any length of time, you know I’m not much of an improv girl. Wonkiness doesn’t come easily or naturally for me. But when Allison asked me to design a pattern for her Business and Leisure line, I took one look and just knew some wonkiness had to be involved somehow. I mean, it would have been borderline tragic to create a pattern for this line that had all straight lines and right angles.

So I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet. But of course I didn’t want to go too crazy-improvvy on this thing, since that is definitely not my thing. In the end, I think I came up with a good compromise. This design is wonky and improvisational, but within a definite structure, which I love.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

The bow tie blocks were inspired by Allison’s amazing Mad-Men-esque prints. And you guys, these blocks are genuinely fun to piece, even for a wonky-phobe like myself. In fact, they’re kind of addicting. The pattern includes complete instructions for making the bow-tie blocks, of course, and you can also come back on Thursday when I’ll be posting a full Bow-Tie Block tutorial right here.

I complimented the bow-tie blocks with some wonky squares and wonky frame blocks. They’re made in a bit of an odd way in order to give them that floating appearance without too many seams, but again, it’s all 100% beginner-friendly.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!
For the quilting, you might remember that I was attempting something new: Boxy, straight-line free-motion quilting. Wow, I found this quilting style very difficult to pull off. It’s challenging to get sharp corners with a free-motion-quilting foot—you have to pause for just a beat or two, or you won’t get a corner at all, and pausing is not something you normally want to do during FMQ! It’s usually all smooth and flowy, while this style was all herky-jerky and kind of robotic. Then there was the matter of keeping the lines from curving, another difficult task. Last but not least, I was trying to keep the lines either perfectly vertical or horizontal—no angled lines allowed. Yeah, right! That last part proved to be the hardest to master. By the time I quilted this entire quilt, I had the sharp corners down pat, and my lines weren’t curving anymore—but they sure weren’t straight 90-degree angles either. LOL. Oh well—again, I think the wonkiness suits the quilt, so I’m calling this quilting style a success and moving on.

Bow Tie Required - the back

You’ll have some pieced scraps leftover from making the bow tie blocks, so I incorporated those as one long strip of wonky diamonds on the quilt back. This pattern gives you such an easy way to make a pieced back, since you have those scraps ready to go, whether you use them in this project or not!

Bow Tie Required - the binding

The final touch was the binding—the Limbo print might become one of my favorite binding prints ever! It’s perfection. I cut this binding on the straight-grain, but Limbo would be a great bias-binding print as well, since the stripes would end up angled. So many fun possibilities!

I want to thank Allison for giving me the chance to work with this fabulous line, and hope you all will check out her work, as she is an incredibly talented designer. She’s got plenty of other collections available at Modern Yardage as well, including her gorgeous new “Autumn Harvest” line. And when you’re done with that, head over to Craftsy to download Bow Tie Required!

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Another Cartwheels Quilt

Another Cartwheels quilt

A new twin-size version of my paper-pieced Cartwheels quilt pattern is now available for your viewing pleasure in the current issue of Quilt Magazine.

Buy Cartwheels as a PDF pattern here

Buy Cartwheels as a hard-copy paper pattern here

cartwheels2This version of Cartwheels is made in Joel Dewberry’s new line, Bungalow. I’m usually not a big fan of autumnal color palettes, but this line takes fall colors in a direction that I love—they feel like autumn, but they’re still bright and fresh.
Another Cartwheels quilt

And if you’re looking for a fabric line with lots of stripes, this is the line for you. I used all those stripes to my advantage by creating radiating lines in the Cartwheels blocks.

Another Cartwheels quiltI always love seeing my patterns with completely different color choices than the first time around. In case you missed it, the original Cartwheels was a baby quilt in gray, pink, and yellow, with the color placement in a careful pattern. So this version looks like a whole different animal! I think the randomly-placed colored blocks work just as well as the more structured placement of the original.

Another Cartwheels quilt

Chevron Baby Quilt


Baby nephew Jack’s chevron quilt is all done!

I really, really love how this quilt looks. It was inspired by a beautiful similar quilt by Cynthia of Hyacinth Quilts, but I changed up the color placement a bit and added more vertical strips in the middle of the chevrons. (So I guess this that maybe makes this more of a herringbone?)

What I did not like was the actual work of piecing it. Ugh, those chevrons! I found that I had to stop and trim the sides of my chevron strips every time I added another strip, and I had to make sure the seam was lined up with the 45-degree angle on my cutting mat as I trimmed. Otherwise the 45-degree angle of the seams got a little wonky and it wasn’t exactly on the 45. Sew I had to sew a seam, stop and trim. Sew a seam, stop and trim. I’m sure there’s a more efficient way to do this, but I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around it! If I make this pattern again, I might try paper-piecing it in sections instead.

Chevron baby quilt

But the end result is exactly what I was envisioning—maybe even better. So it was worth all the work.

One of the things I like the most about this quilt is how the solid gray and white herringbone design that covers most of the quilt almost functions as negative space. Technically, I don’t think it would really qualify as such, but that gray-and-white background serves many of the same purposes that negative space would. But it’s just a little more interesting. And it gives the design a whole lot more movement. I love it.

Chevron baby quilt

It seemed to take ages to piece the top, but then it took all of an hour to quilt it. I just quilted in zig zags following the lines of the chevrons. Simple and soft for a baby quilt.

The white binding was a difficult choice for me—since it’s a baby quilt, I wasn’t sure white was the most practical color for the binding. But with all the white bordering all the gray, green and blue chevron pieces, I just couldn’t imagine this quilt with anything else. The binding feels like it’s an extension of that white background, and that’s how it should be, I think.

Chevron baby quilt

My sister-in-law is a veterinarian, and baby Jack is sure to grow up surrounded by animals, so I was determined to get more animal prints onto the back. As a result, the back is kind of a hodge-podge of mismatched animal fabrics. I know I’ve never been big on novelty prints, but I thought I had a lot more animal prints in my stash than I actually do! These two were purchased especially for this quilt—the adorable dachsund print is from Cloud 9, and the porcupine print is from Lecien. Soooo flipping cute. (And doesn’t the zig zag quilting look great on the back, too?)

So this one’s off to Jack for him to enjoy now! But you all should definitely stop back by here tomorrow, because after all the discussion of FriXion pens in Wednesday’s post, specifically about whether their ink really does come out of quilts, I decided this quilt would make a perfect test case. I ironed it, I washed it, I put it in the freezer, and I took pictures every step of the way! I’ve already posted lots of pictures of my tests on Instagram, but I’m also going to do a post tomorrow rounding up my findings for all those who are interested in these pens as quilt marking tools.

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Diamond Tread Quilt

Diamond Tread quilt

My Diamond Tread quilt is complete! And the pattern for this quilt is now available as well! Woot!

Click here to buy Diamond Tread as a PDF pattern

Click here to buy Diamond Tread as a hard-copy paper pattern

I created this design a few months ago for my post on the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool blog hop. I was excited about the block that I came up with using the Design Tool—but not so excited about the 9 million half-square triangles an all-over design would have required. I realized that this type of design is where negative space really becomes your friend. : ) It looks great, and it rescues you from making so many HSTs that you start seeing them in your sleep. Who wouldn’t love that?

Diamond Tread quilt
I was so in love with the resulting design that I had to drop everything and make it immediately. When I blogged about it, someone suggested in a blog comment that this design resembles the diamond tread pattern that is sometimes stamped into metal. Sure enough, that’s exactly what it looks like to me. I also like how the long, narrow section of Diamond Tread blocks looks a little like a tire track. So “Diamond Tread” was the perfect name for this pattern.

I was pleased with this design right from the start, and I love the finished quilt even more, so I’m extra thrilled to be making the Diamond Tread pattern available now too. The PDF version of the pattern is now for sale via my pattern shop and Craftsy.

Diamond Tread - All-Over design

This 8-page, full-color pattern is perfect for beginners, since it’s just half-square triangle units and squares. As always, I’ve included plenty of diagrams and illustrations to take you through every step in the process. And of course, I know not everyone is as big a fan of negative space as I am, so my pattern includes full instructions for two design variations: One variation features the negative space (as shown in all my quilt photos on this post), while the other is an all-over pattern, shown in the digital mock-up above. One pattern, two designs, three sizes (Crib, Lap, and Twin)—how’s that for bang for your buck?

Diamond Tread pattern cover

Pattern Stats
Name: Diamond Tread Pattern
Skill level: Easy
Finished sizes: Crib (45″ x 60″), Lap (52-1/2″ x 75″), Twin (76″ x 90″); two design varitations
Price: $8.99
Available: My pattern shop and Craftsy

Diamond Tread quilt
Hope you all enjoy the pattern. Have a wonderful Tuesday—see you back here tomorrow for WIP Wednesday!


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Bloom Bloom Pow: Finished Quilt!

It’s time! Time to finish your Bloom Bloom Pow quilt and show it off! : )
Bloom Bloom Pow - doneI’m so pleased with how this quilt turned out! It really did come out exactly how I pictured it. That doesn’t happen all that often. : )
Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 9.22.48 PM
And I want to thank everyone who quilted along with me! It made it even more fun than it would have been. And I am SO very impressed with the Bloom Bloom Pow quilts you guys have come up with! Here are just a few of the gorgeous quilts that have popped up in my Flickr group recently:
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
Top done
Top is pieced

Close up of my quilt

As always, I love seeing how a pattern of mine served as a jumping off point for others’ creativity. : )

Thank you again for making this quilt-along so much fun. Enjoy your Bloom Bloom Pow quilts!

Quilt-Along Posts:



Silent Auction Quilt

So, remember the Spoonflower fabric I made with self-portraits of the kids in my daughter’s kindergarten class? Remember how I said I needed to use that fabric to make something for a silent auction, but I didn’t want to make a quilt?

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

Well, of course, I made a quilt.

I considered a lot of other options, including pillowcases, a big pillow for a reading nook, a tote bag, etc. The problem was I had to make one large item that would entice people to bid high. Somehow, pillowcases or a tote bag just didn’t sound like something people would be willing to pay a lot for, even if it was plastered with their kid’s face! In the end, my husband was the unlikely one who talked me into a quilt. He said, “As much as I jokingly complain about all the quilts we have in this house, I do think people like them—I mean, who can’t use a nice quilt?” Thanks, honey. : )

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

Of course, I spent so long trying to decide what to make, by the time I bit the bullet and committed myself to a quilt, I had exactly two days to make the thing, from start to finish. Ah, why do I do these things to myself??

But anyway, this is what I ended up with. I think it turned out really cute, in spite of being extremely rushed.

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

Since I was working under such a tight time frame, I knew I wanted a simple design and a nice easy pattern to follow, so that I wouldn’t have to think. : ) Faith’s Lemon Squares pattern was perfect! It allowed me to feature some nice big squares of the kids’ fabric. I supplemented the kids’ print with some colorful fabric from my stash that coordinated with the little artists’ palettes.

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

On the back, I used a nice big piece of the print, to show off all those great drawings. (FYI, some of these pictures were taken before the quilt was bound.)

The quilt ended up selling for $250, which I think is wonderful considering that it was a class project and therefore had a limited pool of bidders—only the parents of the other 20 kids in my daughter’s class would be interested in it, after all! I doubt a pair of pillowcases would have gotten even close to that much. And it fetched the highest price of all of the classroom projects (every class had its own). So I’m proud and happy that I could help raise some cash for the school, and I saw the high bidder walking out with it at the end of night, practically hugging it, she was so happy to have won it. That warmed my heart. : )

P.S. Just wanted to note that Heidi of Fabric Mutt has a blog hop starting today called “Girl Friday Sews”—all tutorials designed to freshen up your work space. I love stuff like that! Plus there will be giveaways, of course. : ) So head over there to follow along, and come back on Friday for my tutorial for a fabric-covered memo board!


Cathedral Square Quilt

Chicopee Square Quilt

I’ve got another magazine quilt pattern out there! This is “Cathedral Square,” and on newsstands now in the April/May issue of Quilt Magazine (and now for sale as a stand-alone pattern – click here to purchase).

Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a PDF pattern

Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a paper pattern

Cathedral Square quilt

You might remember my Cathedral Square block, which originally appeared in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks special issue. Same design, new fabric—and a lot more of the blocks. : )

Chicopee Square Quilt in Quilt Magazine

I think the design translates well to Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee line. I love the rich, bold colors in this line! The plaids are some of my favorite prints in the line, and think they serve really well here as neutral frames for the bright, fun four-patches.
Chicopee Square Quilt
This quilt was quilted for my by Cindy Fenske, who is a fellow member of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild. She came up with the fabulous quilting design, which included swirls in the negative space and a fun vintage-y pansy in the middle of each four-patch.
So pick up a copy of Quilt magazine—I found one at Barnes & Noble. This issue focuses on color, so there are lots of bright patterns to peruse, including a six-pointed star pattern. Enjoy!