Photographing Quilts

Headshot Photographing QuiltsBy Shayla Wolf, QM Associate Editor

Taking photos of your quilts has become an integral part of the creative process. Whether you want to share your creation with your quilty friends on social media, submit photos for a quilt show or just document quilts you have given as gifts, having nice photos is important. You put all that time, effort and money into making the quilt, and you don’t want blurry photos!

Title1 Photographing Quilts

Now, I must admit, I love taking photos of quilts. It adds another fun creative piece to the quiltmaking process for me. I am hoping this love is contagious and that some of you might catch it! Here are my best tips and tricks for taking photos of quilts.

TruckClose Photographing Quilts

I like to scout unique locations to shoot my quilts. This was an old yellow Studebaker that was begging for a quilt to be draped over it!

Use What You Have
With all the technology out there today, there are infinite possibilities for cameras. But you do not need an expensive camera to take great photos. A point-and-shoot camera or your cellphone will work just fine!

iPhone Photographing Quilts

This photo was taken with my iPhone and without a tripod or any fancy equipment.

Be Prepared
Make sure your quilt is camera ready! Trim stray threads and iron stubborn creases. These things stick out like a sore thumb in photos.

Grab any supplies you may need. Items that could be helpful are large binder clips, clothespins, clothesline, old sheets and sewing pins.

BePrepared Photographing Quilts

Here I used clips to hang the quilt to a brick wall.

Make sure your camera has an ample charge and pack some backup batteries. Be sure to turn off the date stamp feature on your camera – we don’t want anything distracting in front of your beautiful quilt!

Unless you have expensive lighting equipment, nothing beats natural light. Get outside and use the sun. Drape your quilt over a railing or pin it to fence. Be careful though! If your quilt has a lot of light fabrics, too much sun can blow out your quilt. Try shooting in the morning or on a slightly cloudy day.

DrapeFence Photographing Quilts

Here we draped the quilt over the fence in our front yard. Notice the quilt is in some shade despite the sunny day.

If you have a light-colored backing and you worry about getting it dirty, put an old sheet down first, and then place your quilt on top. Too cold to go outside? Find the room in your house with the most natural light and snap a few photos there.

InsideShots Photographing Quilts

Both of these photos were taken in my living room when the sun was shining through the windows.

Pay attention to where the sun is. If the sun is behind the quilt, it may shine through and illuminate the backing fabric and seam allowances. Keep the sun in front of the quilt or behind a cloud.

Get Parallel
To get a perfect straight-on photo of your quilt, you will need to be parallel to it. Hang the quilt vertically and position your camera in the center of the quilt. If your quilt is distorted and looks more like a trapezoid than a rectangle, your camera is either too high or too low.

MeParallel3 Photographing Quilts

That’s me! In the first photo I am straight in front of the quilt with the camera aligned in the center. In the second photo I needed a step stool to get parallel to the quilt center.

GetParallel Photographing Quilts

Even with multiple quilts, if you are parallel, you can avoid wonky shaped quilts!

Neutral Background
Choose backgrounds that will enhance your quilt. Very busy backgrounds will distract from the quilt – you don’t want that! If the background color is too similar to the quilt binding and borders, the quilt will blend in. Try to find a neutral background or a complementary color.

Backgrounds Photographing Quilts

The first photo shows a complimentary background. The Fall leaves make the orange in the quilt pop! The second quilt is pinned to the side of a barn. This background is a little busier but plays with the rustic feel of the quilt.

Be Still
Staying still while snapping photos is very, very important, especially when using a cell phone. If you have a tripod for your camera, dust it off and use it! No tripod? No worries! Anchor your elbows into your stomach and take a deep breath. Focus your camera and snap a photo. This little trick works for me on those cold winter days when I get the shivers!

BeStill Photographing Quilts

I had to be very still (and take a few blurry shots first) to capture the quilting detail on this quilt.

Capture Details
Once you have a nice photo of the entire quilt, take some shots of your favorite details. Love the texture created by the quilting? Fold the quilt and take a photo from an angle to show that. Love the binding? Roll the quilt and take a photo of the end. Love the label? Fold over a corner and snap a photo. Have a neat pieced back? Flip the quilt over and take a photo. Fussy cut an adorable fabric? Zoom in and document it. Is the quilt teeny-tiny? Add an object for scale. You can never have too many photos!

Details Photographing Quilts

Top Left: A quilt rolled up so you can see the binding and a few blocks. Top Right: A quilt randomly folded to feature the quilting texture. Bottom Left: A quilt folded in quarters to show a little binding detail and a peek of the cute backing fabric. Bottom Right: A close-up of the quilt label.

Add the Recipient
Did you make this quilt for your new grandson or your daughter’s wedding present? Snap a few photos with them and quilt. Bonus – it is much more fun to talk to someone while snapping photos!

Recipients Photographing Quilts

Babies, loved ones and pets all make great additions to these quilt photos.

BabyOnQuilt Photographing Quilts

I mean really, who doesn’t love a good baby/quilt photo!?

Have Fun!
Documenting your quilts should be as much fun as making them! Luckily for us, in this digital age, if you try something and don’t love how it looks, erase it and try again!

HaveFun Photographing Quilts

Try something different like draping the quilt over a sign or tree branch.

Now grab your cell phone, point-and shoot or DSLR and take some photos of those gorgeous quilts!

If you take photos of your Quiltmaker projects, be sure to share them with us! Email photos to I look forward to seeing them!

All the quilts and photos in this post are from Sassafras Lane Designs.

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For all those quilt and photographer enthusiasts, why not combine your two passions? I designed a camera quilt that appeared in our Fall 2014 issue of Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, named Say Cheese! Take a photo of your quilt from this pattern and send it over our way!

Happy Snapping!

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Join the Quilty Baskets Group, Part Two: Setting Up Your Profile

We recently published a blog post announcing a quilt community associated with our Quilty Baskets BOM quilt. A refresher: Our exclusive Block of the Month quilt begins in April with the first shipment of fabric and patterns for the first month’s quilt blocks. While you make this 12 month BOM, you can join a group of quilters making the same quilt! We have partnered with Quilters Club of America (QCA), an online quilt forum, to bring you a group specifically dedicated to quilters making the Quilty Baskets BOM.

Screen Shot 2015 03 24 at 10.17.22 AM 300x118 Join the Quilty Baskets Group, Part Two: Setting Up Your Profile

Our first blog post covered how to sign up with a free account on Quilters Club of America. The next step–setting up your profile.


Your homepage on QCA features your profile. From here, you can change your profile picture and profile settings.

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A sample profile on QCA

 To change your profile picture:

Click, “Edit my Profile”

On the new screen, click “Change Avatar.” A box will pop  up. On that box, select “Choose file.” You can then choose a picture saved on your computer to use as your profile picture. Once you have chosen a picture, select, “Use Uploaded Image.”

Once the picture has uploaded, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click “Save.”

This same page pertains information that other members on QCA can view if you fill them in. You may choose to write a bio about yourself. Further down the screen, you can optionally fill in information about your job, current location, etc. Remember, this is optional! You may choose to fill in as much or as little as you like.

Our third, and final, blog post will cover how to join the Quilty Baskets group, sharing photos and joining discussions about the quilt project. Don’t forget, our first blog post provided instructions on joining QCA!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a video on Quilty Baskets!

Happy Quilting!


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Join a Quilt Community with the Quilty Baskets Block of the Month

The time is nearly here for the first shipment of our exclusive Quilty Baskets Block of the Month Quilt. A reminder: this quilt kit is a 12 month BOM that starts in April. Each month, participants will receive fabric and a pattern for a basket block and a string pieced block. Because we know quilters are not made the same, this BOM is available in three color ways, or you may choose just to purchase the monthly pattern and make the quilt in your own choice of fabric. Oh the choices!

QMK1511 222x300 Join a Quilt Community with the Quilty Baskets Block of the Month

We are excited to announce there is a social aspect to the Quilty Baskets BOM. We have partnered with Quilters Club of America (QCA) to create an online community for quilters making Quilty Baskets. You can join QCA as a completely free member, and then join the Quilty Baskets group to converse with other quilters making the same project, discuss your progress with the BOM, ask quilting questions and share photos of your quilt project. When you sign up for our Quilty Baskets BOM, you can also join a quilt community!

We don’t want you to miss this opportunity to interact with fellow quilters as you all make the Quilty Baskets BOM. In this first blog post in a series of three, we will cover how to sign up for a free account on Quilters Club of America. Please remember, you only need a free account to join the Quilty Baskets group on the site. Our next two blog posts will cover how to set up your profile on QCA, and how to use the Quilty Baskets group. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, how to sign up for QCA!

Step One: Follow the link to

Step Two: Click on the red box that says, “Join our free community!” Screen Shot 2015 03 24 at 9.52.51 AM 300x123 Join a Quilt Community with the Quilty Baskets Block of the Month

Step Three: Fill in the requested info: a username, password and email. Then, simply click “Join now!”

Step Four: A new page will appear asking you to upgrade your membership to a paid membership. Simply click, “Continue” at the bottom of the page to decline the paid membership and continue onto the site.

You are now registered as a free member of Quilters Club of America!

Stay tuned for the next blog on setting up your profile for QCA! While you wait, check out out preview video of Quilty Baskets!

Happy Quilting,


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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Julie’s Gemstones Quilt

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of readers who make scrap quilts from Quiltmaker patterns. They share their scrappy quilt ideas here on Quilty Pleasures in order to inspire you. Read more about Scrap Squad and see slideshows of past scrap quilt projects on our Scrap Squad page.

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Today’s featured quilt is from the March/April issue of Quiltmaker, on newsstands now. Print or digital copies are also available on

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Quiltmaker March/April ’15

Pointed Prisms is a chevron quilt designed by Kari Ramsay and pieced by Hatty Brown. The fabrics are Bali Batiks from Hoffman California Fabrics.

QMMP 150400 PRISMS 506 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Julies Gemstones Quilt

Pointed Prisms, designed by Kari Ramsay, shown in Bali Batiks by Hoffman California Fabrics

If you like our original version, convenient quilt kits are available.

Today’s featured quilt is by Julie Huffman from Lenore, Idaho. We’re so happy to have Julie as a member of the 2015 Scrap Squad.

Juliecropped Scrap Quilt Ideas: Julies Gemstones Quilt

Julie Huffman

You’ll hear from Julie in her own words below.

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I am very excited to be selected for the Scrap Squad and to present my first quilt. When I first saw Pointed Prisms, I pulled out several groups of fabrics and let them simmer for a bit. I like to look at a pile of fabrics for a while to see if anything jumps out—something that doesn’t look right. The fabrics just didn’t excite me.

I also thought of my favorite fabrics, batiks, and dumped out my bin of scraps. They didn’t speak to me either.

When I thought of the word prisms, it reminded me of the dangling objects from rearview mirrors with light and color. My collection of Fairy Frost fabrics came to mind. I have had them for years and never found a use for them.

I dumped them out and counted 36 colors along with black and white. I narrowed it down to 24, eliminating the very light and the muted fabrics. While trying to decide on a background I took photos of both, and seeing them in a small window helped me choose.

backgrounds Scrap Quilt Ideas: Julies Gemstones Quilt

I could use either white or black backgrounds. I decided on white for a modern look.

Next I needed to make a layout decision. I envisioned diamonds instead of zigzags and drafted the quilt in EQ7 quilt design software. I am not proficient in the program but it’s a great tool. I even found Fairy Frost fabrics in the Michael Miller fabric library. I really liked the layout and decided this was what I wanted to do. I left the design with the same finished size as the pattern.

To cut the quilt pieces I used the 60-degree ruler by Creative Grids. I used the strip widths listed in the pattern and marked my ruler with blue tape. I measured against the templates in the pattern for accuracy.

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Cutting the small white background triangles

Because I changed the design layout I had to change the number of pieces to cut. I assembled the pieced triangle units and and the side units.

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Stacks of cut triangles ready for layout

My design wall is 7 feet tall and 8 feet wide and most of the layout fit on the wall, with some trailing onto the floor. I recommend letting the patchwork sit for awhile on the wall, to make sure the colors are balanced. My design wall is at the foot of my basement stairs and it gives a different perspective.

quilt 003 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Julies Gemstones Quilt

Blocks laid out and ready for sewing

I assembled the top in rows, the same as the pattern.

I do all my machine quilting on an older Pfaff Grand Quilter on a banquet table. I auditioned threads and chose a cone of variegated medium blue Superior Fantastico thread. It blended well and had a sheen to it. This was my first time using this thread and it worked very well. I quilted free motion feathers in the large diamonds and continuous quilting in the smaller triangles.

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Feather quilting

I pieced a backing from leftover Fairy Frost fabrics. I enjoy making pieced backs—they are sometimes like a puzzle if you’re using smaller pieces of fabric.

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Pieced backing

I bound the quilt in red to give the edge a pop of color. I haven’t made a label for the quilt yet but I will.

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Finished quilt – Gemstones until I come up with a better name!

This is Gemstones—unless I come up with a better name. Do you have any suggestions?

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Crafter Spotlight: Patricia

Today marks the final crafter spotlight to celebrate National Craft Month. If you’re just joining us, be sure to go back and read our features on Sandra, Shelley and Lavonna.

Today, we are celebrating Patricia and her Quilt of Valor.

 Crafter Spotlight: Patricia

“I made this ‘Quilt of Valor’ for my son-in-law and it was his Christmas present in 2014.  I had no pattern but got the idea for the star block from a quilt I saw in a catalogue.  I love English paper piecing and applique and used both techniques in this quilt.  I also hand quilted each block and each section of the border, then put everything together with sashing.  This procedure made it possible to have a second quilt on the reverse side.  I also hid the label on the front side.”

 Crafter Spotlight: Patricia

“I have been doing needlework since I was 5 years old.  I learned a lot of from my mother.   I made my first dress at the age of 12.  The first quilt I made was for my first grandson and the second quilt was a memory quilt for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  Sewing and needlework of all kinds have been my passion most of my life  I’ve specalized in alterations, wedding gowns & formals and, now, quilts.  The aspect I love most is the designing.”

We love Patricia’s Quilt of Valor and her courage to design her own quilt! Patricia’s submission and the warmer temps reminded us-it’s never too early to start on your patriotic quilts and wall hangings. Our two favorites? Star Spangled and Independence!

DPMQP140808 231x300 Crafter Spotlight: Patricia           DPQMP15411 231x300 Crafter Spotlight: Patricia

We hope you have enjoyed our crafter spotlight series to celebrate National Craft Month. Just because the month is over doesn’t mean you have to stop submitting photos of your quilts! We love seeing your hard work and quilt designs. And, if the quilt comes from a Quiltmaker pattern, it could be featured in the magazine!



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Machine Quilting: 1 Block, 3 Ways!

In every 2015 issue of Quiltmaker, we picked one block from one quilt to quilt 3 different ways. This is such a fun way to show how you can quilt a block lots of different ways, and none of the quilting is very hard!

In our Jan/Feb ’15 issue of Quiltmaker, we picked a block from Sew Many Geese, a pattern designed by Monique Dillard. This beautiful quilt is made from rich batiks and many, many! Flying Geese.

QMMP 150200 precut 506px Machine Quilting: 1 Block, 3 Ways!

Sew Many Geese by Monique Dillard

The blocks in this quilt just scream for creative quilting, don’t you think? The following blocks were quilted by Hatty Brown on a Handi Quilter, but you can easily quilt them on a domestic sewing machine. Contrasting thread was used so you can see the quilting, but you will probably want to use matching thread.

The first block shows crosshatch quilting. Using the patchwork as a guide, quilt straight lines diagonally both ways across the quilt block. You can mark the lines using a ruler and a marking tool, or you can lay painters tape down and follow the tape. This is easy to do and very manageable under your machine.

Crosshatch Quilting Machine Quilting: 1 Block, 3 Ways!

Crosshatch Quilting

This block is quilted with curves and loops. You can quilt gentle, continuous curves through the Flying Geese, going from point to point. The loop quilting in the blue patches are just easy-flowing loops-don’t worry about making the loops the same size or going in the same direction, just keep it easy and flowing.

new curves Machine Quilting: 1 Block, 3 Ways!

Curves and Loops

The third block is quilted with straight lines in the blue patches and loops in the Flying Geese. Use a ruler and marking tool to mark the straight lines or lay down painters tape and follow that for the straight lines. To quilt the loops in the Flying Geese, start at the point of the top left (blue) Flying Geese. Quilt down a few stitches, quilt a loop to the left, then a loop to the right, then travel down to the next Flying Geese and continue quilting the same. Then flip your block around and start at the point of the green Flying Geese in the other column. Don’t worry about making the loops the same size-that will just make you crazy. Just relax, lower your shoulders, and quilt nice, easy loops.

Lines and Loops Quilting Machine Quilting: 1 Block, 3 Ways!

Lines and Loops

You can visit our Youtube channel to see a video about machine quilting these blocks.

You can also download a free PDF showing the 3 quilting examples above, as well as some blocks to practice your own doodling and creativity.

I hope these blocks have inspired you to try your own machine quilting! Don’t be afraid to doodle and practice and have fun! Take a breath, relax your shoulders and get quilting!

Quilt happy!


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Quilting Fabrics: “I Would Never Do That”

I love teaching quilters. A day in the classroom with like-minded souls brings out the best in me. We learn, we laugh and we have fun.

neverdothat11 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

I love teaching quilters. This was one of QM’s Block Party events.

But occasionally a student will say something that baffles me. It’s usually about combining quilt fabrics. Let me give you a little background.

neverdothat3 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

I combine fabrics in unusual ways to build interest. This block is a little ugly by itself.

I use a lot of weird, strange, unlikely and ugly fabrics in my quilts, and I use them together with beautiful, elegant, popular fabrics that everyone loves.

neverdothat2 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

I’m working on this scrap quilt right now. The ugly block looks right at home when it’s together with other “interesting” blocks. Click the photo for a free tutorial from badskirt.

I’m not afraid to be different or to make something that doesn’t appeal to others.

neverdothat4 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

I made this Merry Go Round quilt several years ago from a McCall’s Quilting pattern.

When I show my quilts at guild meetings, I sometimes get blank stares. I’m okay with that because I make quilts that I love and that’s what matters to me.

neverdothat5 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

This little basket quilt features a rather unusual collection of Christmas-like fabrics. Click the photo for a free tutorial.

Even when I make a quilt that’s totally planned and of just one color, I keep it interesting. See my Scarlet Spin for Quiltmaker, below. I am easily bored with just a few fabrics so I use many, many fabrics instead.

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Scarlet Spin by Diane Harris for Quiltmaker’s Jan/Feb ’14 issue

My students will often come to class with a nicely matched set of just a few fabrics, something like these.

neverdothat6 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

A nicely matched set of fabrics

There’s nothing wrong with matching fabrics.

neverdothat7 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

There’s one focus fabric, and the others fabrics are based on that one.

But since my strength is in using many fabrics, if you’re in one of my classes, I’ll try to help you see the possibilities—how you can add more quilt fabrics in various shades, in different scales, in other values.

neverdothat8 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

These are fabrics I might offer as possibilities to spice up the quilt.

I come prepared with a big stack of quilting fabrics from my stash, which is healthy enough to share. And this is when I hear the most perplexing statement from a student:

“I would never do that.”

She says it with absolute certainty, like it’s death or taxes.

“I would never do that.”

And it’s all I can do to keep my jaw off the floor. Because I can’t imagine stating with certainty that I wouldn’t try something different on a quilt, or experiment with adding more fabrics, or venture into unknown territory because you never know what might happen.

neverdothat10 226x300 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

Beth Helfter started out with this quilt pattern…

For me, all of the magic happens when I am willing to play and to try something different. Quilting would hold no interest for me if I knew exactly what the quilt would look like before I started sewing.

Words like new, interesting, odd, quirky and unique are what make the world go ’round for me, whether it’s quilting or something else.

And my goodness, what is the worst that can happen? I see the possibilities as:

• You waste a quarter-yard of fabric (that’s about $3 worth) making a test block

• You use up precious quilting time (this is absolutely true; it’s always more time consuming to be creative than to copy)

neverdothat9 216x300 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

…and ended up making this quilt for the QM Scrap Squad.

• You feel frustrated because you no longer have a clear plan (again, absolutely true; it’s the price of being an artist)

• The quilt police actually show up (what a great story you’ll have for your friends)


But what is the possibility of payoff?

• You end up with a more interesting quilt

• You have the satisfaction of making something totally unique

• You exercise your creative muscles, which leads to more creative thinking, more adventure and more unique quilts

Because we’re all wired differently, some quilters need more of an up-front plan than others. It is harder for these people to veer off in an unexpected direction. And that is totally okay. Even in my “be brave” scenario, they might decide to stick with their original plan, which would be fine. As Lori Holt says, “You are the boss of your own quilt.”

But I would encourage you to try and let go a little. Because if you never play, never experiment and never ask “what if,” you’re missing out on most of the fun.

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Be adventuresome with these fabulous quilt patterns from Quiltmaker:

DPQMP1514 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That


DPQMP1527 Quilting Fabrics: I Would Never Do That

Pointed Prisms

Subscribe to Quiltmaker


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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Keri’s Fragments

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a small select group of readers who make scrap quilts from QM patterns. We share their creations on Quilty Pleasures to inspire you to make scrappy quilts from the fabrics you already own. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Keris Fragments

Today’s quilt is from Quiltmaker’s March/April issue, on newsstands now. You can also get it directly from us in print or digital format.

QMMP 150200 cover 5001 231x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Keris FragmentsToday’s featured quilt is Fragments by Janice Averill. The original is made in Forest Frolic fabrics from Timeless Treasures.

QMMP 150400 FRAGMENTS 5061 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Keris Fragments

Fragments by Janice Averill. Fabric: Forest Frolic from Timeless Treasures. Batting: The Warm Company.

If you like this version, we have time-saving quilt kits. A digital pattern is also available.

But today’s Scrap Squad member has taken it in a different direction, which is another exciting possibility.

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Keri Blankenship

Keri Blankenship is from Cornville, Arizona. You’ll hear her quilt story in her own words below.

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How exciting! I get to share my version of Fragments by Janice Averill as my first Scrap Squad assignment. The Scrap Squad gives us lots of freedom in how we approach the pattern and fabric options. Number one on the list is to make it scrappy and make it your own. I set out to do just that.

The Fragments pattern included perfect graphics for cut and paste. I made several enlarged copies then with my glue stick and scissors in hand went to work exploring options.

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Making the design my own

I fell in love with the medallion that appeared when I turned the blocks to the center.  The final pattern modification uses four 24” blocks turned corner to corner; 8 sections; and 4 corner blocks borrowed from the 24” layout.

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Medallion layout

To avoid getting stuck in the original color scheme, I copied the pattern in black and white. Looking at the values only, it was clear that there is one dark and one medium for the main colors with five light to medium-lights to fill in the rest.

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Values are more defined in a black and white copy.

Circled in bold on the front page are the words, “Precut Friendly” and there at eye level on my shelf sit three 24-piece strip rolls that have been waiting for just the right quilt. It is the perfect starting place. I particularly liked the floral prints with purple, teal and green.

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A strip roll includes coordinating colors and makes a great starting point.

Changing the orientation of the main blocks changed the pattern that developed when the sections were added. Four of the sections needed a slight tweak to keep the flow of the main color. To keep track of the changes, I used an enlarged pattern of the block layout, adding my own cryptic for colors and notes of changes.

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Working layout page

I used QuiltCalc, a free Android phone app from Robert Kaufman, to estimate fabric requirements and the block count for this version of Fragments.

Color coded non-adhesive vinyl applied to your ruler helps streamline the cutting process.

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Vinyl non-adhesive tape applied to ruler to mark cutting lines

As the pieces were cut, they went into a flat cardboard box labeled with the color code corresponding to the pattern layout. A snip of fabric on the label also helps to keep track.

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Keep the pieces organized

Before cutting all the pieces, I auditioned some different options.

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Option 1 – Light path with dark centers

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Option 2 – Switch lights and darks

I settled on option 2 and sewed two blocks. Once on the design wall, the blocks were okay, but they needed some kick to set apart the center medallion. The coral pink on both corners of the block dominated the quilt and moved the focus from the center. Adding the floral did the trick, even if it meant some un-sewing to modify the original blocks.

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Center block – note the floral corner

Janice mentioned that her inspiration came from a rug she spotted in a flea market. My design reminds me of the woven Navajo rugs of my childhood. I titled this version of Fragments “Scattered to the Four Winds.”

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Completed top

This quilt cried out for the kind of movement produced with free motion designs. Because my free motion quilting skills can best be described as promising at best, this one went to a nearby longarm quilter, Jody Gagnon.

My vision was a fluid design emphasizing the wind moving away from center. This meant a new challenge for Jody. Longarm quilting is edge to edge, but she agreed to take on the challenges of a design that seemed to come from the center. We settled on thread color and price and then Jody went to work.

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Using a template helped Jody keep the quilting moving in the desired direction.

Her design was perfect. Using a template as a guide, she created the image of wind moving in tongues and swirls from the center out.

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Success! The quilting pattern appears to move from four swirls in the center out to the edges.

The final result lives up to its name, Scattered to the Four Winds.

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This first assignment reminded me of some quilting truths.

  • Changing layout and fabric choices creates challenges. It is important to have a map (layout) to follow.
  • If you are using the original layout, take the time to code it to match your fabric. Using graph paper and colored pencils or fabric swatches works well.
  • Be flexible. The design may be better for some minor changes that don’t show up until blocks are on the design wall or even sewn together. Become friends with your seam ripper.
  • Know when to stop. There are always options in color or layout. Don’t get lost in the possibilities.
  • Meet with your longarm quilter and take the time to discuss options for design, thread, price, batting, and backing.


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Crafter Spotlight: Sandra

It’s the third installment of our Crafter Spotlight. Each Thursday in March, we are shining the spotlight on individual quilters to celebrate National Craft Month. If you would like to be featured, send an email to! Today, it’s Sandra’s turn to be featured.

“ My grandmother, a designer dressmaker, was my mentor. I did not actually get into quilting until 2009 when I decided to make a quilt for a new granddaughter. After following instructions room a cute crib quilt kit, I began my passionate journey into the quilting world.  Only quilts have that extra, tactile 3-dimensional quality, and I have found myself totally hooked on each and every step of the process since then. I have made a number of baby quilts, lap quilts, table runners, bed runners, pillows and lots of placemats for family and friends since then, some from kits and some from my original designs. I get inspired by the natural beauty of Canada, love style, colour and design and strive for an eclectic look, mixing traditional and antique with modern and contemporary.”
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Sandra shared a quilt she made from a quilt kit by Nancy Mahoney. Whiskey and Old Lace appeared in the July/August ’13 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

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The quilt kit is for a strip pieced, one block throw quilt. Sandra modified this and made a quilt with 4 rows of 6 country lane variation blocks. Sandra made this quilt to be a coverlet for her queen size bed. She loved the vintage fabrics and how it added some life to her “rather bland” room (her words, not mine!) And for the quilting? Simple, but elegant.

We are such fans of Nancy Mahoney at Quiltmaker. If you are interested in some of her designs, take a look at Star Spangled Banner from our newest issue of Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, and Twisted Logs.

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Happy Quilting!


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The Paper-Pieced Home Blog Tour & Book Review

If I wasn’t living with the biggest Ohio State fan known to man and had our house to myself, I would choose to decorate every square inch with projects from The Paper-Pieced HomeInstead of hand painted signs with a large O adorning my walls, I would have these delicate and fun paper-pieced projects framed in cool, funky colors. One can dream…

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The Paper-Pieced Home, by Penny Layman, was inspired by Penny’s love to paper piece objects from her home. In fact, that is how she learned to paper piece. She has compiled a book that covers paper piecing from start to finish. The first two chapters discuss all the supplies you will need for paper piecing and the skills you will need, from y-seams to fussy cutting.

The fun begins when Penny walks through how to make different paper-pieced blocks that coordinate with each sector of the house. Her personality and retro style shine throughout. This isn’t a computerized voice talking about paper-piecing. This is your best friend teaching you to paper piece and having a glass of champagne along the way.

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My favorite part? The fabric! Oh, the fabric. Textile prints, 70′s prints, geometric prints. They pop off the page.

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To be completely honest, paper piecing scares me. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes practice. But, I have faith in this book. The diagrams are detailed, a very important piece of the puzzle in paper piecing. I think my biggest problem will be choosing which block to start with, and convincing my sports fan that these need to be displayed!

Screen Shot 2015 03 18 at 10.59.40 AM 300x233 The Paper Pieced Home Blog Tour & Book Review

Don’t just take my word on this book. The Paper-Pieced Home is enjoying the spotlight on a blog tour through many well-known and trusted quilting blogs. This blog tour is packed with giveaways, more quilters’ reviews of the book and real quilters making the blocks from the book. Save this blog post and check each new page!

3/16       McCall’s Quilting

3/17       Love of Quilting

3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner

3/18       Quilty Pleasures

3/18       Imagine Gnats

3/20       Verykerryberry

3/21       Artisania

3/23       Where the Orchids Grow

3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt

3/24       House on Hill Road

3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced

3/26       Pink Penguin

3/26       A Happy Stitch

3/27       Bijou Lovely

3/27       Two Little Banshees

3/27       Charise Creates

3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles 

3/31       Poppyprint

3/31       One Shabby Chick

3/31       During Quiet Time

4/06       Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting

Go forth and paper piece!


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