Tossed 9 Patch

The other day I considered what to do with my large stash of 5″ squares.

Bin of 5″ squares from a variety of sources

It occurred to me that I might be the only quilter in the world who hadn’t yet made a tossed 9 patch quilt.

Just on the off chance you haven’t made one yet, here’s the drill.

The 9-patch block was 15.5″ with raw edges. Drawing done with Electric Quilt 8.

Start by making a 9 patch (duh). I cut a bunch of light colored 5″ patches and enough red 5″ patches for 22 nine-patch blocks, then used various 5″ squares from my bin for the four corners.  (Yes, that only got rid of 88 5″ squares. Still…)

I included some old favorites from the 5″ bin:

Blueberry fabric bought in Maine, one of the Moda wildflower fabrics, the fruit ladies from Elizabeth’s Studio, and some of my favorite metallic dot fabric.

After assembling the 9 patch blocks, I cut them in quarters, resulting in 88 blocks like this:

This is one quarter of the original 9-patch block. Drawing done with Electric Quilt 8.

When all my 88 blocks were made, I played with layouts until I had one I liked. There are a lot of different ways to cut the 9 patch block, and even more ways to lay out the resulting blocks, so it took a while.

After it was quilted, I decided on a blue and white striped border, which I cut on the bias.

And here’s the finish:

Quilt Stats:

Name: Tossed 9-patch

Designed and made by: me, though of course there is nothing new under the sun, This idea has been around forever.

Finished size: 51″ x 71″

Quilted by: Linda

Super Fans Tutorial

When I showed this quilt last week, I promised a tutorial on how to make the blocks. So here goes!

The first (most important?) step is to choose a block size for which you have a square-up ruler in your collection. This makes the whole process easier, as you’ll see.

No my ruler isn’t a trapezoid, but I had to take the picture at an angle to avoid reflections!

Then choose a couple of strips that are about 2″ longer than the square-up ruler. My ruler trims to 9.5″ (for a finished 9″ block), so I chose strips about 11.5″ long. You can either cut wedges for your strips, or join the strips and then trim the edges to make them wedge-shaped. I had a bunch of 1.5″ strips, so I did the sew-and-trim way.

Continue to add strips to each side, alternating sides. Alternating sides makes it easier to keep the block symmetrical. It isn’t necessary to use 1.5″ strips–you can use any width from about 1″ on up.

Press all seams open to decrease bulk. And when you trim seams to make a wedge, leave at least 1/2″ of width at the narrow end to avoid extra bulk when adding the next strip.

The seam that is circled at the bottom just meets because the strip was narrowed to 1/2″ at that end

The piece will, of course, tend to curve. To counteract that tendency, I sometimes add longer strips to correct for the way the edges want to angle down at both ends.

Here’s a longer strip I added to be sure the edges weren’t curving too much.

Keep checking to be sure the block is outside the edges of the ruler at both the top and bottom of each strip.

And finally comes the happy day when the block is as wide as it needs to be at the top!

From here on you can add shorter strips. Align them at the bottom of the block to start sewing. Keep checking, and when the piece is wide enough, trim all edges with your square-up ruler.

When trimming, I pick a line near the middle of the ruler and lay it along a seam near the center of the block to get everything as even as possible.

I stitched about 1/8″ from the edges

Stay stitch all edges! This is important because you really, really don’t want those seams to start coming undone, and because there are many bias edges.


You may notice that the last strips (bottom corners) are a bit wider than the others. That is done to avoid the possibility of having a seam in the block come at a corner when joining to other blocks.

Quilt Stats

Name: Super Fans

Designed and made by me, with inspiration from Pinterest

Finished size: 47″ x 65″ (5 x 9 blocks, 9″ each, with 1″ border on all sides)

Quilted by: Linda

There are 18 pieces in the sample block above. That means the finished quilt has approximately 810 strips. Thank goodness I didn’t calculate that until now!!!


Super Fans!

I haunt Pinterest in my “spare time”  looking at pretty quilts. OK, maybe it’s “procrastinating time” rather than actual “spare time”, but you get the picture 😀

After seeing a number of lovely string quilts, I was forced to make lots of string blocks and assemble them into this “super fan” quilt.

There are many similar examples on the internet. I did not use a fabric foundation, as many string quilters do.

I made no attempt to use the same number of strips in each block, and my husband points out that the blocks do vary quite a bit. All good, I say.

I used strips from my scrap bins.

Those scrap bins are filled by cutting all leftovers into uniform strips, which vary in width from 1.5″ to 4.5″. These strips are useful for many things, from tying up packages to adding just the right bit of color to some projects. They do often overflow, though.

Here are a few of the other projects made from the strip bins:

And WOO! Paducah quilt week is only a week away!!! If you’ll be there I’d love to meet you!

Meanwhile, I’ll have a tutorial next week on how I did this fan block.

More Magic Kaleidoscopes

We had a good time at Studio Stitch with the magic kaleidoscope class. It’s always fun to see the fabric people pick and how the blocks turn out. For the first student, I managed to get both a photo of the fabric and a photo of some of the blocks:

For two students, I failed to get any pictures at all! For the remainder, I got pictures of blocks only:

I thought all the students did a great job!

And my class demonstration quilt came back from the quilter, so here it is:

Here’s a detail:

And here’s the back, showing my effort to get rid of all related fabrics!

Stats for my quilt:

Name: Sassaman Kaleidoscope

Finished size: 52″ x 62″

Designed and made by: me

Quilted by: Elisabeth Pugh

Elizabeth’s Lovely Quilts

I have long admired the pretty, colorful patterns developed by my friend Elizabeth Eastman. She agreed to an interview for this blog, so here is your introduction to her!

When did you start designing quilts? And when did you decide to sell patterns?

I designed my first pattern for Sherri McConnell–really a simple little giant block mini-quilt, which was in her booth at Quilt Market a few years ago.  Now I look at it and shudder, but our starts are always this way, aren’t they?  The next one wasn’t really an original design, but a recreation of an antique quilt, which I did in blue and white.  Riverside Sawtooth is still a favorite.  I think that was the first time I put a pattern up for sale, but then it was accepted by Simply Moderne magazine (one of the QuiltMania magazines) and I pulled it down for a while.

 Selling patterns really evolved from when I started teaching and lecturing at Guilds in my area: each guild likes to have a unique pattern they can draw from, so that’s when Home, Sweet Home was written.  From there, I would get ideas, try them out and then put them up online in my shop. And then Northern Lights was when I learned about creating medallion quilts.
The other factor in all this was the release of software from Affinity by Serif that enabled me to create a professional looking pattern.  I had wanted to upgrade from a word processing document, but didn’t want to spend the money for the Adobe software (recurring fee of 25 dollars per month).  Affinity’s Publisher was released in Beta during this time, and I became a beta tester — as I was so eager to get into the program.  (Side note: Affinity has three programs: Designer, Photo, and Publisher.  I use all three.  I think the last price I saw on them was $55 each.) Sorry to go on so long, but having the tools to create are just as important as the act of creation sometimes.  
The most recent pattern is Heart’s Garden.

Elizabeth’s quilt “Triad Harmony”

Your quilts are so bright and cheerful looking! Do you have a method for how you choose your colors? Intuition? Trial and error? Color theory? Something else?
I live in an area with a distinct light–in Southern California, which has often been written about. I think that has influenced me in my color selection.  I could describe the color choices as high contrast, clear hues, but I love a good muted palette every once in a while.  While I majored in Creative Writing in College, I did a minor in Digital Art, which included photography, etc.  When you get in the color lab and have to decide if your colors are muddy or greyed or low contrast, you quickly learn to tell the difference.  A good way to teach yourselves this is to play around with some of the free photo apps on your phone (Snapseed is a good one), and experiment to find what you like.

And yes, I have lots of bits of cut pieces — sometimes I lay it out and I don’t like it, so I try something different.

Elizabeth’s quilt “Annularity” shows her wonderful sense of color

What’s your current favorite among your patterns?

Always the most recent one.  Kidding.  I’m quite fond of Blossom, as it’s so versatile, but I also like Triad Harmony, especially done in ombré fabrics.  The most popular pattern overall is the Mini Double-Pocket Bag.

Elizabeth’s Mini-bag Pattern

And we are having a great time with the Mystery Quilt-A-Long of Heart’s Blossom.  The complete pattern will be ready Summer 2020.

I know you recently decided to quit teaching. Any plans for the time that will leave?

I decided to take a different approach to teaching, as I only want to teach Zoom classes and all the guilds are opening up for in-person.  So while the venue (guild visits) may change, teaching in some form will continue.

“Merrion Square” was the first quilt I made from Elizabeth’s patterns. It’s so cute I couldn’t resist!

You’re currently leading a quilt-along that will be a pattern eventually on your PayHip site. What made you decide to do this format?
Part of the Heart’s Garden project came about because I had time now to consider other ways of reaching out and teaching.  Many of us learn new things through what we read, and watch, and I wanted to explore that.

Also, because I’m crazy.  I had one design all mapped out, started the quilt-along, and realized I hated my original plan.  So I scrapped it, and had to re-design something I liked much better.  I can hardly wait to show it off!  Three other women have contacted me and shared their progress and I love seeing it in different fabrics and styles.  Such a treat to be a part of this!

I love this quilt design of Elizabeth’s, too! It’s called “Criss Cross”

This is barely a sampling of Elizabeth’s wonderful designs. 
If you want to see more, here’s the link to her blog:
IG: occasionalpiecequilt
And her PayHip store:
Oh! And if you go to her PayHip store, the Heart’s Garden Sew-Along is currently FREE!

Whew! A Finish!

When I posted the latest mess, shown below, I got several helpful suggestions.

Nann suggested removing the borders and moving the blocks back to their original positions. I liked the idea of just removing the borders and sort of starting over, so that’s what I did.

The interesting thing is that this quilt was square without any effort. I hadn’t thought of quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) as a good way to get a square quilt, but apparently it was in this case, at least!

Quilt Stats

Name: Bauhaus II

Pattern: Bauhaus by Brigette Heitland

Made and quilted by me

Finished size: 44″ x 44″

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!

Oh Boy, NOW What?

So, I loved the Bauhaus quilt pattern by Bridgette Heitland.  Here is my top finished, waiting to be quilted.

I changed a few blocks just for fun, and re-arranged them, but it’s basically still Brigitte’s design

It looked to me like a perfect quilt to do Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG), so I pulled more fabric and got started.

I really didn’t like these fabrics as well as the brighter colors I used for the previous version, but it was fun to quilt the blocks individually.

After I got all the blocks quilted separately, I arranged them on the design wall.

But when I started joining blocks and adding borders, things went sideways!

Now what? I could remove the quilting and the borders, but I’m thinking I’ll just “redesign” the block arrangement! I know for sure those two striped blocks can’t be left next to each other like that!!!

A friend reported she had a shot of whiskey when she finally finished one of her projects. I’m pretty sure I’ll need one somewhere along in here!

Any ideas for this “slight error” (other than alcohol)?


Some Finishes–Not All Mine!

Two of the ladies who took the shirt making class earlier this year have finished their shirts and allowed me to have pictures.

I love both these shirts! They each did a great job!

In other news, I got this quilt back from the quilter and did the binding. It’s made with Charley Harper fabrics to go with the hand made Charley Harper tiles on my fireplace.

With regard to the Charley Harper fabric: It is very high quality. It’s the only fabric I’ve ever seen that was all printed exactly on grain! You can see from the designs why this is important, but it’s a rarity. Here’s a closeup of one of the blocks and the binding.

And here’s a closeup of the tiles in the fireplace surround so you can see why the quilt needs to go in the living room! These Charley Harper tiles are from Motawi Tile Works.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Charley Harper Love

Design: Modification of Elizabeth Hartman’s Rapid City

Finished size: 52″ x 66″

Made by: me 

Quilted by: Walker Quilt Co.

Classes Coming Right Up

Studio Stitch is moving down the street for a better location, so all these classes will be at 1616 Battleground Avenue, Suite D-3 (Greensboro, NC). There’s a bakery in the same shopping center, so I think everyone is looking forward to the move!

In March I’ll be teaching my Easy Kaleidoscope Quilt. It’s like stack-n-whack only easier. In addition to learning to make the quilt so no two blocks are alike, we’ll set the blocks on point. Here are a couple of samples:

And here’s a close-up of some of the blocks in the blue one:

In April I’ll be teaching Better Binding Painlessly, which is always popular. It’s mostly about binding a quilt entirely by machine, though the techniques can be used for a more traditional binding with the back hand sewn.

In May the class will be a cute bag made from a shirt. The larger the shirt, the larger the bag!

June’s class is another stash-busting scrap quilt, made much easier with the use of the right tools!

If you’re in the area, consider joining us! To obtain more information, go to the Studio Stitch website and subscribe to the newsletter. That way you’ll be the first to know when registration opens for each class.


Into the Quiltalong Vortex!

Yes, I’ve been pulled into the quiltalong vortex along with so many others!

It started when someone at MQG recommended the Urban Trek Quiltalong.

Photo of an Urban Trek quilt from Pinterest, no attribution available

There are a lot of good videos on techniques used in the Urban Trek quilt, so I signed up to watch the videos. However, I don’t intend to make the quilt.

Then one day when I was “between projects”, I got an email about a “Night Sky” Sew Along from Jaybird Quilts. What’s a quilter to do? The quilt is beautiful!  I checked with my quilty friends and one agreed to sign up with me. Yes! Here’s my progress so far:

Yes, just one block. And no, this isn’t the week to sew; I’m supposed to be just cutting everything.

However, I learned the hard way that it’s best to make one block before committing to the whole quilt. And with this one, even my buddy who loves lots of pieces is thinking her quilt will be made smaller than originally planned! Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s complicated. However, the videos are helpful and the pattern illustrations are excellent.

Then I found a list of quiltalongs. One of the offerings was a quilt called “Bauhaus“. It’s from Brigitte Heitland, whose Zen Chic designs are among my favorite fabrics.

The original quilt by Brigitte Heitland.  Image from

OF COURSE this appealed to me, so I signed up! Here’s my progress so far:

I changed a few blocks just for fun, and re-arranged them, but it’s basically still Brigitte’s design

No, I didn’t really follow all the directions.

And here’s why I don’t usually do Quiltalongs: I get impatient and want to do the whole quilt, not just this week’s segment. At this point I’m “supposed” to be selecting my fabrics 😀  I still need to add the outer border, but the blocks are done.

So, what quiltalongs have you been pulled into?