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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

Cathedral Square Pattern Now On Sale

Cathedral Square quilt

My third (and final) pattern release of the summer is now available—Cathedral Square is ready to go!

• Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a PDF pattern •

• Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a paper pattern •

Cathedral Square started as a block from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks special issue, Vol. 5. Since then I’ve made two quilts from this block. The one above was for the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks blog hop ….

Chicopee Square Quilt

… and here’s my larger lap-size version, made about a year later for Quilt magazine.

Cathedral Square quilt

This is a fun design because it lends itself to so many different layout options. Both versions seen here—as well as the pattern itself—feature a layout with staggered blocks. (Staggering blocks is one of my favorite design modernization tricks.) But you can click on the 100 Blocks blog hop post to see several more possible layouts using this block. My pattern can be easily modified to use any of those alternate layouts.

Cathedral Square quilt

To make this pattern, you need to be okay with Flying Geese. Just saying. : ) To that end, the PDF version of this pattern includes two different methods for making your Flying Geese units—you can piece them traditionally using a special four-at-a-time method for speed and efficiency (a great choice since this pattern calls for a lot of geese), or you can paper-piece them for greater accuracy. So there’s an option no matter what your comfort level with geese! But keep in mind, the Flying Geese paper-piecing template and instructions are a special bonus for the PDF version of the pattern only. The hard-copy paper version does not include the paper-piecing templates—that version only includes the traditional-piecing method. So if you want to paper-piece your geese, you’ll definitely want the PDF version of this pattern.

Other than the geese, this pattern is pretty basic—the smaller squares are strip-pieced, while the four-patch units are just your standard patchwork piecing. Those four-patches are a great way to show off some favorite prints.
Chicopee Square Quilt

You can buy Cathedral Square from my shop and Craftsy.

I’m also starting to get distributors lined up for my paper patterns, so look for them in your favorite brick-and-mortar quilt shop very soon. If you don’t see them, please ask for them! : ) (Shops: You can also email me directly to order wholesale.)


Sparkler Quilt – Pattern Now Available!

Sparkler quilt - pattern now available

Just a quick post to say that my Sparkler quilt pattern, which was originally published in the Spring 2013 issue of Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts, is now available as a stand-alone pattern.

• Click here to buy the Sparkler quilt pattern as a PDF •


This design is based on a traditional block that is usually seen as a tessellating pattern, but I’ve switched things up with bright solids and reversed-out color pattern to freshen it up.

And yes, this quilt is easy! No, really! It totally is. It’s made with strips, squares, and a few half-square triangles (made in a very easy way with no trimming or squaring up required). Super beginner friendly, I promise. : )

The pattern includes instructions to make the quilt in two sizes, Lap size (60″ x 84″—the original size as featured in the magazine), or Crib size (45″ x 63″), a size which has not been published until now. As always with my patterns, there are plenty of full-color illustrations and diagrams to help you along each step of the way.

Sparkler quilt
The Crib size uses fat-eighths and the Lap size uses fat-quarters, so it’s pre-cut friendly as well! And of course, I can’t neglect to give the wonderful Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful credit for her amazing quilting! Jenny is so talented! (And she’s just starting a quilt along of her Metro Medallion tutorial—go check it out.)

The pattern is now available as a PDF in my shop and at Craftsy.

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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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WIP Wednesday: Ready, Set, QuiltCon


So many exciting things in the works around here! Most of them don’t directly involve sewing, but still. : )

For one thing: QuiltCon! I leave bright and early tomorrow! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. I’ve been watching all the prep work going down via Instagram. That, plus the negative-10-degree wind chill we had here today, makes me want to leave for Austin right this minute! Although, since I’m not even close to being packed, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not.

Anyway. In addition to getting ready for QuiltCon, a major WIP is getting underway today at our house: We’re remodeling two of our three bathrooms. When we bought this house, we knew it would be a full redo, and that it would take us a long time to get to all of it. More than eight years later, these two bathrooms are among the last things on the list!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I have a special treat for you all today: The ultimate bathroom “before” pictures, taken before we moved into the house eight years ago. These pictures were taken during our walk-through right before we closed, so please note that the knick-knacks and foofaraw are totally not mine.

Powder room:

Downstairs powder room - before

Behold the glory of the seashell-shaped sink. A seashell-shaped sink in a stained, fake-marble countertop, with the most outrageously overdone and tacky faucet since Versailles got indoor plumbing.

Upstairs guest/kid bathroom:

Upstairs bathroom - before

Sadly, this picture doesn’t adequately capture the fact that the flowered wallpaper was also ON THE CEILING.

We’ve obviously made a few minor changes since these photos were taken. : ) Things like taking down the wallpaper from the ceiling. (That was a fun couple of days.) But you guys, I’ve hated that seashell sink for eight years! Seashell sink meets dumpster today. And I arrive in Austin tomorrow. That’s a pretty good week in my book.

Oh yeah … I did some sewing too. : ) These blocks are for my new pattern, which will hopefully be out in the next few weeks.

Can’t wait to see some of you in person at QuiltCon. For those who won’t be there, I’m sure I’ll be Instagramming like crazy, so you can follow the action there, and I’ll be back with a full report on the blog next week.

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Summer Sampler Series Anthology

Summer Sampler Series Anthology

Taking traditional quilt blocks and making them fresh and modern is all the rage these days. So if you’ve been wanting to make a traditional-to-modern sampler quilt, or if you’re just looking for a source for killer block designs, the Summer Sampler Series Anthology is now available!

For those of you who are newer to my blog, I co-hosted the Summer Sampler Series quilt-along in the summer of 2011 with Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts and Katie of Swim Bike Quilt. At the time, modern quilters were just starting to take notice of traditional blocks as a great source of design inspiration. (The Farmer’s Wife Sampler was huge around that time.) So in the Summer Sampler Series, we showed people how to make 12 traditional quilt blocks in modern, bright fabric. And here we are, a year and a half later, with a whole category of the Quilt Con show dedicated to “modern traditionalism,” so I don’t think this niche is going away any time soon!

Summer Sampler Series

Now, Faith, Katie, and I have gathered up all of our Summer Sampler Series tutorials, paper-piecing templates, inspiration, and more into one convenient package: The Summer Sampler Series Anthology. This 86-page(!) PDF includes step-by-step tutorials for making all 12 blocks, the paper-piecing templates, and some exclusive PDF-only content, such as a mini-lesson in value and color placement.

Summer Sampler quilt

I can tell you from personal experience that the Summer Sampler Series is a fantastic skill-builder for beginning and experienced quilters alike. Among the skills you will learn (or practice) when you make the blocks in the Series are: Half-square triangles, flying geese, bias piecing, paper-piecing, piecing equilateral triangles and diamonds, hourglass units, and string piecing. You’ll come out of this one skilled quilter, I promise!

Summer Sampler Series

You can purchase the Summer Sampler Series Anthology from any of the following sources:
• Craftsy
• My pattern shop
• Faith’s pattern shop
Katie’s pattern shop

Teachers, shop owners, and guilds: Would you like to teach the Summer Sampler Series as a class, or run it as a block-of-the-month series? Purchasing copies of the Summer Sampler Series Anthology for all of your participants gives you full permission to teach the series publicly, and we offer discount pricing on the purchase of four or more copies. Email Faith, Katie, or myself for more information.

And of course, all the block tutorials will remain available online for free—this PDF is for those who would like the convenience of having it all together and more easily accessible. Happy piecing!

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WIP Wednesday: Colorful Progress


Got WIPs? You know I do. : )

Summer Sampler Series Mosaic block First up—more Summer Sampler! I’m teaching all of the Summer Sampler Series blocks over the next few months as part of my “Modern Sampler” class at a local quilt store. I’ve got a great group of ladies in this class and I’m so looking forward to making this quilt again with all of them. And in solids this time around! The block above is the Mosaic block.

Making progress on a baby quilt
Finally made some progress on this very overdue baby quilt. My design was completely inspired by Adrianne’s incredible “Rebel Amish” quilt.

Bundle for my next pattern
And I’m itching to dig into this little stack, which is destined for my next pattern quilt. : )

You’ve got WIPs too, right? Whatever you’re sewing, link it up here. Just remember the rules:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?

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Sparkler Quilt

My newest quilt pattern, Sparkler, is now appearing in the Spring 2013 issue of Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts! Yay!

Click here to purchase Sparkler as a PDF pattern

Sparkler quilt
I’m so happy to finally be able to show you this quilt! The unbelievably beautiful quilting was done by the talented Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful. I didn’t give her any requests when it came to the quilting, I asked her to do whatever she saw fit—and I’m sure you’ll agree that she knocked it out of the park. This is hands-down my favorite quilt right now, and Jenny’s quilting is the reason why. You can read more on her blog about how she decided to quilt it.

Sparkler quilt
“Easy quilt” is definitely an apt description of this pattern. It’s just straight-line sewing and some half-square triangles. The entire quilt is made up of one very simple traditional block that is often seen as a tessellating pattern. But rather than tessellate it, I used a single background color and reversed out the colors for half of the blocks, giving the design a whole different look (and making it far easier from a color-placement and planning perspective!).

Sparkler quilt - the back
(the back)

My version is done entirely in Cotton Supreme Solids from RJR Fabrics, a collection of beautiful, rich colors. I chose cool greens, blues, and purples and graduated them diagonally across the quilt. It would be fun to see this pattern done in warm colors or in the full rainbow as well. Quite a few of the colors I used are available on Amazon: Including Electric Green, Raging Rose, and Riviera Blue.

Sparkler quilt
And can I just say how thrilled I am to see that there are several modern quilts in this issue of Easy Quilts? The issue also includes quilts by Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter and Corey from Little Miss Shabby, along with several others of a more modern bent. It’s nice not to have the one lonely modern design in a sea of traditional patterns!