Color Box Block of the Month-The Designers’ Backstory

On-the-Ground Reporter:
Tricia Patterson, Managing Editor, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts

ColorBoxBlock 225x300 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers Backstory

Color Box
Block of the Month
Quilt and Sew Shop

The Color Box quilt, Quiltmaker‘s latest Block of the Month pieced sampler, was designed by Pat Syta and Mimi Hollenbaugh from Bound to Be Quilting. I can’t begin to tell you the reaction when we first saw the quilt in our office. Oh My! We heard a lot of “Wow!” and many “I’d like to make that quilt.” Pat and Mimi have designed several patterns for our publications.

GardenPathDaisies 150x150 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers Backstory

Garden Path Daisies
Quiltmaker July/August 2017

One of the latest, Garden Path Daisies, was published in the July/August 2017 issue of Quiltmaker. (A kit is available for this pattern too!) I love their designs. They are not just creative; their color choices are stunning and their block designs tend to have a lovely twist on tradition in a modern setting.

I thought it would be fun to get to know a little more about this creative team, their business and the backstory of the Color Box quilt design. Here are answers to the interview questions I asked Pat and Mimi. It was so interesting to learn more about them, the company they formed together and their creative spark for Color Box.

ColorBoxBlock51 150x150 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers BackstoryWhen did you start quilting? Who were you most inspired by as a beginner quilter?

Pat:  I started quilting about 26 years ago while I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. A friend asked me to join her for a quilting class. She was pregnant and wanted to make a baby quilt. Because I was doing a lot of crafts at the time  she thought I would be a perfect match to take the class with her. She made her baby quilt and my first quilt was a queen-size one for my bed. From there I took mega classes, meeting a lot of great quilters, and in two year’s time I was teaching at that quilt store. I was hooked big time. In my first year of quilting I made 5 queen quilts and quilted them myself on my home machine. I taught for about 15 years after that, until I moved to Parker, CO.

Trudie Hughes was my early inspiration, but very soon I found out she liked a “million” small pieces in her quilts.  Beautiful, but not easy for a beginner.

Mimi: I started quilting the year after I graduated from college (1984). I visited a local quilt shop with my mom in Boise, Idaho and fell in love with an applique book – Hearts and Tulips by Chris Wolf Edmonds of Truly Yours. I worked on a quilt out of that book on and off for over ten years! I finally finished all twelve applique blocks on the pattern I selected, but by that time I had grown tired of the four fabrics I selected for the quilt so I set it aside. It wasn’t until  2004 that I picked it  up again and decided to finish it because I wanted to able to show off my “first quilt”. I added some more interesting fabrics to the sashing and fell in love with it again.

ColorBoxBlock41 150x150 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers BackstoryWhy do you quilt?  What quilt designs are your favorite?  What techniques to you like to do the most?

Pat:  I think quilting stimulates my small artistic side. I totally love all the traditional patterns and do not find the “modern look” challenging enough. Some may beg to differ, but that is my side of the story. I am not a hand work person, even though I have tried some recently, I still find the machine piecing to be my favorite thing to do. My favorite block to make is the 54-40 or Fight block, as it can make so many interesting secondary patterns alone or when added with other blocks.

 Mimi:  In between starting and finishing that first quilt I worked on many other projects of all types. I found, however, that what I enjoyed the most was needle-turn applique. I find hand work very relaxing. I also like working with wool and embellishing with embroidery (I have recently completed some of Sue Spargo’s project designs. I LOVE her style!). I like the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that creating something beautiful gives to me.

ColorBoxBlock31 150x150 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers BackstoryHow did you two get together?  What is the backstory about your company?

Pat and Mimi: We met while working together at a local quilt store in Colorado. Pat designed the shop’s yearly in-house BOM programs and Mimi proofed the patterns, later adding an applique element to the designs to give optional choices for  customers. We were both designing our own patterns when we first met, and each of us had our own small design company. Pat had designed a book with Martingale in 2002, and in 2014 self-published “Red At Night”. While living in England from 2002 to 2011, Mimi had some original quilts featured in two British quilting magazines, and also co-authored a book on baby quilts. After about four and half years of working, Pat left the quilt shop to have more time to devote to designing. It was at this point we decided to team together to bring the best of both of us to the quilting world. Since Mimi loves to applique she balances out Pat’s love for piecing.

ColorBoxBlock21 150x150 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers BackstoryHow do you collaborate on quilt designs and patterns?

Pat and Mimi: We both design and then get together to toss ideas back and forth until we come up with a pattern we think is really great. For working and for publishing we use several software tools: EQ7 and Adobe InDesign and PhotoShop. We have had to learn these programs through the crash course, on-demand method.

ColorBoxBlock61 150x150 Color Box Block of the Month The Designers BackstoryHow did you come up with the design concept for Color Box?  What is your favorite part about the design?

Pat and Mimi: Color Box was designed while we both still worked at the local quilt shop. One large wall of the shop was the “color wall”, where the fabrics flowed like the color wheel. Leveraging that idea, we made each block of our quilt design a different color, with a light, medium and dark tone in each block. We decided to tie these “sampler” blocks together in a setting that could be created individually as part of a monthly quilt-along. That led to the idea of making the quilt flow from one block to another with the colorful chain squares. We love how bright and cheerful the quilt turned out to be.

We hope you are as fascinated by the Color Box quilt design as we are. We are so pleased that Quiltmaker is giving us the opportunity to share it with you. We’ve learned the block of the month kits will be available to ship mid-August. We hope you will join us over the next 12 months to make your own Color Box quilt. You can purchase the Color Box kit here. The finished quilt measures 80″ x 106″. Each month you’ll receive a pattern and fabric to complete one of the blocks for the quilt. We also invite you to visit our website; we are Bound to Be Quilting!



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Perfect Applique Stems

Perfect Applique Stems Quilt 300x200 Perfect Applique StemsI love applique. I especially love floral applique so needless to say, I make A LOT of stems. I used to be intimidated by stems but I’ve figured out a couple of ways to make them practically foolproof.

The first method uses metal bias bars. These are available online or at your local quilt shop. For this method cut bias strips approximately 1” wide for a 1/4”-wide stem. Fold this strip wrong sides together and stitch 1/4” from the fold.

Perfect Applique Stems Stem 1 300x300 Perfect Applique StemsTrim the seam allowance to slightly under 1/8”, being careful to not clip the stitching.

Perfect Applique Stems Stem 2 300x300 Perfect Applique StemsInsert the bias bar so that the seam is along the flat side and press the seam flat.

Perfect Applique Stems Stem 3 300x300 Perfect Applique StemsI like these stems because the stitching and extra fabric give them a slightly dimensional look.
Another method I like it using the Clover bias tape maker. For this method you cut the bias strips 1/2” wide ( for 1/4” bias stems). This strip can be inserted into the bias maker.

Perfect Applique Stems Stem 4 300x300 Perfect Applique StemsPress the fabric strip as you pull the bias tape maker down the strip. The bias tape maker does all the folding for you.

Perfect Applique Stems Stem 5 300x300 Perfect Applique StemsClover now makes a bias tape maker that allows you to add fusible we to the back of your stems.

Our fiends at Fons and Porter have made this little video to demonstrate how to use it:

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Feathered Star Love

Feathered Star 1 300x300 Feathered Star Love

Bordered Feather Star web 300x300 Feathered Star LoveWhenever someone asks me what my favorite quilt block is I always say Feathered Star. I have loved these blocks since I began quilting almost 30 years ago. But, true confession, I was too chicken to try one for a long time. I finally found Marsha McCloskey’s books and gave one a try. Of course I had to add a little applique (right, click for larger image), that’s just what I do.

I loved her technique and I was even more hooked. So I made a few more! Continue reading

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Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

by Tricia Patterson, Managing Editor, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts

During the time we lived in London I noticed there was a lot more interest in the needle arts, like embroidery and knitting, compared to America. I discovered a lot of  exhibits, advertisements for university coursework and many thriving special interest groups in the U.K, all dedicated to needle art. I decided more rain, fog and cooler temperatures must make for lots of pleasant couch time watching old movies, drinking a cuppa tea and working with wonderful British wool fibers. And, all these things perked up my interest in knitting while we were there.

One day, I picked up this wild hair to locate a vintage knitting bag, one of those made of fabric with D-shaped handles that were really popular in the 70’s. There was a major resurgence of items popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the markets around London; so I started a search for one. I was surprised after a couple of months that I still had not found the vintage knitting bag I was looking for; then in dawned on me that I could just make a quilted one. One idea led to another, and I soon had a whole collection. AllQuiltedBags 300x224 Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

I’ve made bags in a variety of sizes, from 12”x 15” small project carry bags to large 18”x 24” bags to hold all the yarn for a project. These bags are perfect for using up scraps from other projects, just anything found in a stash of fabric, ribbons, buttons, etc. I’ve made bags with denim, large patches, small patches and also used leftover blocks from other projects, crazy pieced and embellished. As you can see, I love adding a large button, if only for decoration. Here are a few close-up photos of my quilted bags.

SmallPatchBag Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

A bag of small patch squares.

LargePatchBag Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

A large bag of large patch squares.

DenimBag Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

A denim bag with embellishments.

QuiltedPatchBag Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

A bag incorporating 2 blocks from another project into a crazy quilted bag.

CrazyQuiltBag Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

A bag with lots of crazy cut hand-dyed fabrics and embellishments scrappy-stitched.

These quilted bags are easy and quick to make. Here are the directions I’ve used for mine.

  1. Purchase a set of D-shaped handles (or make them if you are handy with wood cutting). You may have noticed that I have painted mine with some fun color. Buy fabric for the quilt top, batting, backing and bag lining. I generally use a muslin or less expensive fabric for the backing because it won’t show in the finished bag. A wild novelty print for the lining adds a bit of surprise inside.
  2. Determine the finished size of your  bag. Add 6″ to the finished size and make a quilt top of any design and fabric combination. Sew together the patches and incorporate lace or ribbons in the seams if desired. Quilt the top, batting and backing layers together. Then, trim all sides of the quilted fabric so they are even all around. You don’t need to bind the edges as you would to finish the quilt. Add more embellishments if you wish.
  3. Next, cut out the lining fabric, the same size as the finished quilt top.  I generally add several pockets to the lining, so I have a certain spot for my phone, keys, wallet and some sewing or knitting tools, (sunscreen and sunglasses, too). Think about how you will use your bag, and customize pockets to meet your needs!
  4. Fold the quilt top in half, right sides together and join the side edges using a 5/8” seam allowance. If desired, double stitch the seam and zigzag stitch the edges or finish them with a Serger machine to secure them.
  5. From the inside, fold the corner edges together to form a triangle and stitch across it as shown in the photograph to shape the bag bottom. Repeat for the lining.

    BottomCornerEdge 300x180 Beach Bag, Toy Bag, Game Bag, Project Bag, Grocery Bag or Tote Bag. Quilt it!

    From the inside, fold the corner edges together to form a triangle and stitch across it to shape the bag bottom.

  6. Place the lining inside the quilt top, right sides together. Leave an opening on one of the short ends (bag top), big enough to turn the piece right side out. Turn right side out and stitch the opening closed by hand or machine.If using D-shaped handles, pull the top edges of the bag quilt and lining through the handles. Otherwise, wrap the layers around the handles. Leaving at least 1” between the handle and stitching, stitch through all the layers to hold the handles in place.

Before you know it, like me, you’ll think of a reason to sew a bag for every occasion, to take to the beach, to travel to games, for your take-along projects, for quick grocery stops or simply an all-occasion tote bag. Just grab those scraps from your sewing room and…
Quilt A Bag!


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Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

By Tricia Patterson, Managing Editor, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts

I returned to work this week after an awesome 10-day vacation with my granddaughters, Morgan (age 12) and Lily (age 8). As usual, I called them before they traveled to Colorado to get a list of things they wanted to do during their time with us. Morgan said to me, “Gramma, I’m ready to learn to quilt.” Oh, be still my heart. I’ve been waiting to hear those words. I immediately started to plan an approach to teaching the girls something I’ve had a passion for, and enjoyed, my whole adult life. I was so looking forward to the day I could spend time quilting with them. I know many quilters, grandmothers, mothers, fathers and brothers who want to share the heritage of quilting with young kids. I’d like to share with you what I learned from my experience teaching my kids.

#1. Set realistic goals.

GirlsSewing 300x177 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Lily and Morgan sew focused!

At the onset, I had a couple of goals for the girls. I wanted them to experience the artistic aspect of creating, learn the process involved with quilting and develop a beginner skillset for piecing a quilt top. I knew I didn’t want to focus on them making perfect seams. That can come later. I did want them to fully engage in the experience. Morgan already had some experience with using the sewing machine so I knew she would not need the handholding Lily would require learning how to sew. I set up my regular size travel machine for Morgan to use and I purchased a small beginner machine for Lily, one I thought would let her easily use basic sewing functions, as well as provide some safeguards for a beginner (like the curved front edge of presser foot to avoid a finger prick).

#2. Start at the beginning. Let the kids create their own quilt design.

I get a lot of satisfaction from designing quilts. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to construct a design and love to see my designs come to life. I wanted to share the same experience with the girls. So, I started by asking the girls to design their own quilt. I did give them some guidelines. Lily had to use 12” patches in her quilt, in whatever color layout she desired. I figured these large patches would be the easiest for her to piece. I guided Morgan to keep her design simple, with clean straight lines and a minimum of matching points. I gave them graph paper for them to start drawing their design. At one point, Morgan wanted to see how changing colors would affect her design, but she hesitated to take the time to hand draw multiple iterations. Morgan’s a very technology-savvy gal so I introduced her to Electric Quilt. I showed her a couple of the features for designing blocks and placing them into a quilt design. I admit, I was very impressed how quickly she picked up EQ and created a few different layouts all by herself before making a final decision on the one to make.

LilyDesign 150x150 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Lily’s Quilt Design

MorganSketch 150x150 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Morgan’s Sketch

MorganEQDesign Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Morgan’s Design in Electric Quilt

#3. Let the kids pick out their own fabric.

We calculated yardage requirements (Morgan was excited that math is part of quilting.) and with designs in hand, we made a trip to the quilt shop. The girls have helped me select fabric before. They knew the process. I showed Lily where she would find all the colorful prints and tone-on-tones I knew she liked. Morgan had decided she want to stay with solids and tone-on-tones for her design. Then, they were on their own. They gathered fabric bolts, shared their designs with the shop keepers and identified the amounts of fabric they needed. I let them know I was there for consultation and would provide some advice, but other than that, the choice of fabrics was theirs to make.

#4. Keep sewing directions simple and safe and the techniques minimal.

LilySewing 225x300 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Lily at work

I’m with the group of learning theorists that say we best learn, particularly as an adult learner, when we are interested and learn as we need to know something. Generally, I kept this approach with teaching the girls quilting. I’m also a minimalist at heart. I shared the steps of the process with them as they needed to apply them. I described and demonstrated a procedure, let them practice and left them to it, checking occasionally to make sure they were on track. I did cut out Lily’s block patches, not ready for her to take on the risks of tackling the rotary cutter.

LilySample 104x300 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

One of Lily’s sample strips

As I mentioned, Lily had not sewn on a machine before so I knew I had to teach her how to use the machine, and make a straight ¼” stitch. My goal for her was consistency. So, we started with a folded piece of fabric and the direction to start the machine, sew to the end of the fabric and stop the machine. She made four samples. I told her she would be ready to sew her quilt’s patches together when she could sew 4 straight lines, getting as close to ¼” as she could. It was funny when after our breaks her first line of stitching was very crooked and she chose to practice a couple lines of stitching on her sample strips before going back to patch sewing.

LilyPatchAudition 300x266 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Lily used the bed to audition patch placement

Lily auditioned her fabric placement using the tried-and-true bed. She sewed her block patches together into rows and I re-sewed some of the jagged seams. And, I sewed the rows together because the amount of fabric in two rows was a bit of a challenge for her to manage. Morgan already had a little experience with using the rotary cutter so I reviewed safety precautions with her and demonstrated the technique for cutting her patches. We talked through the size and number of patches she needed to cut from her fabrics. I showed her how to make triangle-squares and turned her loose. As she came to the next steps of piecing her blocks together we talked about how she would join the blocks and then the rows. I showed her a method for perfectly matching seam intersections. I didn’t drive her to make sure all of them were absolutely perfect; rather relied on her natural desire to make them as perfect as possible. I introduced her to the seam ripper, a quilter’s best friend.

MorganDesignWall 225x300 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Morgan *loved using the design wall

And, I also introduced her to the design wall. She loved it! It helped her organize her sewing. She could play with the layout to satisfaction. And, she could see the progress she was making.

Unfortunately, the girls had to return home before we could get to the quilting. They did finish their quilt tops. I gave them several books to look through so I could get an idea of the motif they would like for their quilt. They chose a direction for the quilting and I dropped the tops off at the long arm quilter yesterday. When I get them back the girls will be ready for their final lesson, hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt. I can’t wait to see what they think about their efforts then—their first quilt completed.

MorganQuiltTop 300x271 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Morgan’s Quilt Top

LilyQuiltTop 300x254 Kids are Quilting: 5 Things are Learned Teaching Kids to Quilt

Lily’s Quilt Top

#5. Offer assistance, but let them do it on their own.

My biggest discoveries with the kids were that it was very important to let them make their own decisions with every step, to offer assistance not direction, share the construction concepts, tips about techniques but not to hover over them. They benefited from demonstrations and short practice. It’s important to create an environment that the kids own, with a consultation-oriented approach that encourages them to think about what they need to do next. And, let it be OK to make mistakes. Morgan and Lily’s first quilts aren’t perfect; but they are beautiful and I know they enjoyed the experience of making them. The quilts are their own to be proud of. That’s what counts for any quiltmaker. And, I can’t even begin to describe my great pleasure of quilting with them. We talk a lot about the next quilting generation at the Quiltmaker and McCall’s Quilting office. We ponder over how we can contribute to sharing our passion for quilting and incite new generations of quilters. It’s great fun for me to have something special I can do with my grandchildren. I’m excited, and honored, to pass on a bit of our quilting heritage by sharing with the next generation in our family.

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Dresden Plates…the Perfect Take-Along Project!

This time of year I am on the lookout for projects I can take with me when I travel. In the last few years I have become positively addicted to Dresden Plates! I love applique but sometimes I don’t have the energy to prepare a big complicated block. Dresden Plates are scrap friendly, easy to make and fun to sew. Continue reading

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Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

It’s the end of a long week and you’re ready to unwind with some quilting time. What will you make? Professional quiltmaker and sewing pattern designer Jemima Flendt (Tied With a Ribbon) has a fantastic new book that’s filled with ideas! Weekend Quilting, as it’s appropriately titled, features 16 quilt projects you can create in just a few days or less.

weekend quilting Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

“Knowing that time spent sewing is a luxury these days, I believe that the time you do spend sewing should not only be enjoyable but productive,” Jemima writes in the book’s introduction. “With that in mind, the quilts and projects in this book were designed for you to create over a weekend. Many of the projects can be made for your home or as a gift. With everyone leading such busy lives these days, taking the time to make something by hand should be treasured because each ‘perfectly imperfect’ stitch has been made with purpose and care.”

The format of the book is really fun. Each chapter focuses on a different quilt block or technique. Chapters include: The Nine Patch, The Half-Square Triangle, Flying Geese, The Pinwheel, Equilateral Triangles, English Paper Piecing, Appliqué and Foundation Paper Piecing. Jemima walks you step-by-step through creating that chapter’s block or technique before showing you how to apply the lessons to different quilting projects while you build upon your skills.

While these projects are designed to be quick-and-easy, they certainly aren’t boring. In fact, they are positively stunning and should appeal to a wide range of quilting styles. There’s also lots of variety with full-size quilts, mini quilts, table runners and pillows.

Here are some of my favorite designs in the book:

weekend quilting 4 Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

Hearts on Fire Quilt

Hearts on Fire Quilt: Half-square triangles are used to create this stunning heart quilt, one of the larger projects included in the book. The design finishes at 60 1/2” square.

weekend quilting 3 Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

All About Hex Pilow

All About Hex Pillow: I just love this hexagon pillow. Use English paper piecing and fussy cut coordinating fabrics to create one for your home. Finished size is 22 1/2” square.

weekend quilting 1 Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

Avenues Mini Quilt

Avenues Mini Quilt: House blocks are always so much fun to make. Use coordinating prints or make it super scrappy. This foundation-pieced quilt finishes at 17 1/2” x 19 1/2”.

weekend quilting 6 Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

Summer Breeze Table Runner

Summer Breeze Table Runner: Decorate your summer table with this beautiful runner featuring sweet pinwheel blocks. The finished size is 18 1/2″ x 50 1/2″.

weekend quilting 5 Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

Star-Filled Skies Quilt

Star-Filled Skies Quilt: Jemima shows you how to turn flying geese blocks into star blocks to create this stunning quilt. The finished size of this design is 48 1/2″ x 60 1/2″.

wknd quilting 2 Weekend Quilting with Jemima Flendt

Blooms Mini Quilt

Blooms Mini Quilt: The unique circular shape of this mini quilt really makes this design stand out, and the appliquéd flowers and leaves are lovely. The finished size is 18″ square.

Weekend Quilting also includes chapters on quiltmaking basics and finishing techniques. And, you’ll also find helpful tips and tricks throughout the book on working with precuts, sewing on the bias, adding a personalized touch to a finished piece and more.

Ready to start creating? Weekend Quilting is available to purchase in our online shop. Order your hard copy now, or download the digital edition and get started today.

Happy (Weekend) Quilting!

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Free Red, White and Blue Quilt Patterns

Looking for patriotic quilt patterns? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve gathered together five of our favorite red, white and blue patterns for you. And… it gets better… they’re all free! The first three patterns are all included in our Free Summer Quilts ebook, while the other two are available as individual free downloads. These patriotic patterns are perfect for infusing some red, white and blue into your quilting for the Fourth of the July or anytime of the year. We have throw quilts, a table runner and a mini quilt, so there’s plenty of variety for you. Of course, some of the patterns are also perfect to make for a veteran you know or to donate to an organization like the Quilts of Valor® Foundation.

red white and blue free quilt pattern star spangled Free Red, White and Blue Quilt Patterns

Star Spangled quilt pattern

Star Spangled quilt pattern: Light up your kitchen table with shining stars this summer. Each block on this red, white and blue table runner designed by QM content director Carolyn Beam is one half of a star. The finished size is 11 3/8” x 34”, but it’s easy to make in any length you want — just add more blocks/setting triangles to each side.

red white and blue free quilt pattern star harbor Free Red, White and Blue Quilt Patterns

Star Harbor quilt pattern

Star Harbor quilt pattern: Nestle beneath a starry summertime sky with this lovely throw quilt designed by Eileen Fowler. Two different star blocks set on point create a unique secondary design. The finished size of this quilt is 58 1/2” x 72 1/2”.

red white and blue free quilt pattern picnic Free Red, White and Blue Quilt Patterns

Life’s a Picnic quilt pattern

Life’s a Picnic quilt pattern: Simple blocks paired with patriotic machine embroidery create this festive quilt designed by Kim Hanson. The quilt finishes at 61 1/2” x 61 1/2”.

red white and blue free quilt pattern homeland Free Red, White and Blue Quilt Patterns

Homeland Mini quilt pattern

Homeland quilt pattern: Easy triangle-squares are arranged as a stylized American flag complete with stars and stripes in this mini quilt. A free web bonus from McCall’s Quilting, the pattern is based on a design by Candy Hargrove. When choosing fabrics, look for prints in each of the three color families that incorporate colors from the other two in order to maintain a controlled scrappy look. Finished size is 26 1/2” x 31 1/2”.

red white and blue free quilt pattern american independence Free Red, White and Blue Quilt Patterns

American Independence quilt pattern

American Independence quilt pattern: This free traditional quilt pattern from Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting was designed by Karen Witt. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a nice pattern to create with reproduction fabrics. The design finishes at 66” x 90”.

Explore more red, white and blue quilt patterns in our online shop.

Happy Quilting,

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Santa’s Crossing: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Hello Quilting Friends, my name is Wendy Sheppard. I believe this is my first time guest-blogging on Quiltmaker’s blog.

santas crossing a visit with wendy sheppard style 236x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy SheppardI thought I would start by sharing just a little about myself. I live with my little family in northern Virginia. Despite the frantically paced lifestyle, we love all the historical connections associated with this area. I design and make quilts for magazines as well as fabric companies, at home and abroad. I have a great passion for domestic machine quilting, and document some of my tried and true tips on my website I have also authored a couple of quilting books for Landauer Publishing, with a new one due out in October 2017. I call myself a happenstance quilter in that I never thought I would be involved with sewing or quilting in any form or fashion, but here I am. For the rest of my “quilty” beginnings, be sure to check out page 70 of my Santa’s Crossing pattern in the July/August issue of Quiltmaker.

QM1708 COVER 500 221x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Quiltmaker July/August 2017

I am very excited to have Santa’s Crossing featured in the latest issue of Quiltmaker. This was a fun quilt for me to design using Moda Fabric’s Snowfall fabrics designed by Minick and Simpson. For the quilt design, I decided to come up with something snow-related to match the name of the fabric line, thus the snowflakes. Each snowflake is made of four quarter blocks separated by sashing pieces and cornerstones. I thought “layering” the different snowflakes might give a fun visual effect by bringing a complete “snowflake” forward, and only letting part of another showing in the background.

And of course, no two snowflakes are alike. I colored my snowflakes in three different colorways, but I think it would be really neat to have all the snowflakes colored differently from each other for a totally scrappy look! How about a completely scrappy red/white or blue/white look?

And I really like that Quiltmaker has added coloring pages to the projects featured in the magazine so that you can personalize the project by deciding your own colors before attempting the project. I look forward to seeing the different versions of this quilt.

santas crossing a visit with wendy sheppard flat 248x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy SheppardThere are some 1½” pieces, which I know can be tricky to handle. When dealing with narrow or small pieces, I always make sure I press-starch my fabrics with a dry iron before cutting. The starch gives the fabric a little stability, as well as accuracy during the cutting process. That in turn translates to accurate piecing if one is careful to sew ¼” seam allowance for the pieces sewn together. I also use a fine thread (50wt by Aurifil) for piecing. The fine thread doesn’t “eat” into my narrow pieces, which can cause the size of my blocks to shrink. By doing these small workarounds, my blocks end up measuring 13½” x 13½” raw edge to raw edge, or as close as possible. In making the blocks, I only finger press when adding the different 1½” strips to the “X” units. I wait till after all the 1½” strips are added before I press with a dry iron to make sure my blocks are flat. That seems to cut down on wonkiness when making a log cabin typed block with narrow pieces.

The blocks for Santa’s Crossing are really quick to make if you first lay out all the pieces required on a design wall or floor. This preparation helps simplify the process, which makes the quilt top a fun one to construct.

santas crossing a visit with wendy sheppard thread 300x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy SheppardIt’s a pleasure for me to visit with you and share a little about making my quilt, Santa’s Crossing, on Quiltmaker’s blog! I hope you enjoy making this quilt for Christmas this year. If you want to have this quilt around for the entire winter season, Moda’s Snowfall fabrics give the perfect balance for the Christmas and winter palettes. In case you are wondering, I will have my Santa Crossing quilt out for Christmas, AND winter later this year.

I hope to visit with you again — till next time!

Quiltingly yours,


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10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Summertime has officially arrived, and there are so many fun summer-themed quilts we can make to capture the summer spirit: from beach-inspired designs to patriotic quilts and more. Here, we’ve gathered together a few of our favorite summer quilt and quilt block patterns for inspiration. We’ve even included a couple of free quilt patterns for you!

smooth sailing quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Smooth Sailing quilt

Smooth Sailing quilt: Pieced sailboats and stars, framed in a log cabin block silhouette, create this nautical quilt designed by QM content director Carolyn Beam. Included in our Reader’s Favorites ’17 issue (on newsstands soon), it’s a great summer quilt for the living room or a sea-themed nursery. And, it’s perfect for scraps! The finished size is 58” x 70”.

flying glory quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Flying Glory quilt

Flying Glory quilt: What’s a summer quilt list without a little red, white and blue? Patriotic designs are perennially popular summertime designs, and this flag-themed wall quilt from our current Aug/Sept ’17 issue is a beauty! Designed by Paula Stoddard, it’s easy to make using our fast Flying Geese technique. The design finishes at 36” x 24”.

lemonade quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Lemons into Lemonade quilt block

Lemons into Lemonade quilt block: Sit back and relax with this super-cute and refreshing block designed by Jennifer Ofenstein for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 7.

summer skinnie quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Summer Skinnie quilt

Summer Skinnie quilt: Remember our QM Skinnie series from a few years ago? These seasonal wall quilts designed by Margie Ullery were quite popular. The Summer Skinnie design features sun, sand and beautiful bright colors — pure summer fun! It’s also a great project for using up scraps and leftover 2 1/2” strips. The finished size is 10” x 24”.

by the sea quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

By the Sea quilt

By the Sea quilt: Create clamshell-type curves in this stunning twin-size Log Cabin quilt from quilt design legend Judy Martin. All you need are blues and lights from your scrap stash for the beautiful waves of color. The finished size of the design is 76″ x 88”.

Lifes Better At The Beach quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

*FREE PATTERN* Life’s Better at the Beach quilt

*FREE PATTERN* Life’s Better at the Beach quilt: Here’s a fat-quarter friendly sampler all beach lovers will want to make. Traditional and paper foundation piecing are used to create eight different “beachy” quilt blocks and machine appliqué completes the letters. The wall quilt was designed by Angie Milligan. The finished size is 36” x 48”.

lotsa pops quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

*FREE PATTERN* Lotsa Pops quilt

*FREE PATTERN* Lotsa Pops quilt: Who doesn’t love an ice-cold popsicle on a hot summer day? Lisa Schafer’s baby quilt is a free pattern published in support of Project Linus, an organization that provides handmade blankets for seriously ill or traumatized children (click here for more free Project Linus patterns). The quilt finishes at 38″ x 38″.

hang ten quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Hang Ten quilt block

Hang Ten quilt block: Surf’s up! Have a little summer fun riding the waves when you make Margie Ullery’s adorable Hang Ten block from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 11.

red rockets quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Red Rockets quilt

Red Rockets quilt: Celebrate the start of summer with bursting rockets in a scrappy assortment of reds, whites and blues. Fast fusible applique teams up with easy pieced borders to create a stellar show on Margie Ullery’s design. Finished size is 14″ x 28″.

flip flops quilt 10 Fun Summer Quilt Ideas

Summer Flip-Flops quilt

Summer Flip-Flops quilt: This playful quilt designed by Carol Burniston features bright and happy prints and a Log Cabin block border. The quilt finishes at 52” x 62”.

What are you planning to quilt this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Quilting,

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