Free Pattern: Starry Night

Starry Night, a free pattern by Better Off Thread

I wanted to let you know that my Starry Night pattern is now available as a free PDF download on the Robert Kaufman website!

Starry Night is an intermediate level, paper-pieced project that works great with fat quarters and/or scraps!  My version was made using Jennifer Sampou’s newest fabric line: Shimmer 2 (which just hit stores this month!).

Starry Night Quilt, a free pattern by Better Off Thread

If you decide to make it, be sure to send me a photo!






Diamond Superstar Pattern: Available Now!

Diamond Superstar Block

I’m pleased to announce that the Diamond Superstar Block Pattern is finished, tested and now on Craftsy!

The pattern includes instructions, coloring sheet and templates to make both a 14″ and an 18″ (finished) block.  The block went together surprisingly quickly and easily for both me and for my wonderful testers, but I would suggest having some paper-piecing experience before trying this one.

My testers were so amazing, and they found all my little errors for me.  It’s always exciting to see what fabrics people will choose.

Diamond Superstar Block

Gesine at Allie and Me made this fun block in rainbow colors.  I love that she used different colors for the skinny strips, and that lovely red background!

Diamond Superstar Block

Christine (IG name Neeneeheeb) used a delicious shade of Kona Granite to make this very elegant and sophisticated block.

Diamond Superstar Block

I am loving this muted rainbow made by Merran (IG name 123bluejumper)!

Diamond Superstar Block

Lastly, Iva at Schnig Schnag made this breathtaking pillow from Allison Glass fabrics. She is lucky there is an ocean between us, or I’d be stealing this!

If you want to make your own Diamond Superstar block, you can purchase the pattern on Craftsy or in my shop.  If you make one and have Instagram, be sure to tag it #diamondsuperstarblock.  If you don’t have IG, send me a photo!  I always love to see what people make.





Book Giveaway!


Do you remember the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-Along I mentioned the other day?  Well, I just happen to have an extra copy of the THE BOOK: “The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt” by Lauri Aaron Hird and I’m going to give it away to one of you!

I really hate to make my giveaways U.S. only, so here is what I am going to do: if you live in the U.S, I will pay for the shipping.  If you are international, you are still welcome to enter, but you will need to pay for the shipping.  I hope that doesn’t sound tacky!

The contest will be open until Thursday, September 3rd 11:59pm EST.  Winner will be selected by random number generator. All YOU need to do is leave a comment, any comment, to enter.

Good Luck!!

Making a Right Round Medallion: A Sort of Tutorial


I promised that I would share the measurements for making my Right Round Medallion, so here they are!  These are very basic instructions.  If you don’t know how to make a particular block (HST, Economy Block and Drunkard’s Path), you will need to look up a tutorial.  Let me know if something is really unclear!


Finished Quilt measures about 73″ x 73″


Center Medallion

You will need to begin with a center medallion that is 24-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ (that’s including seam allowance).  You can use my Right Round pattern, my New York Beauty pattern, or any other pattern, as long as it is 24-1/2″ x 24-1/2″.  If it isn’t quite measuring up, just add a border around it, to bring it to size.


Border 1

This is a plain border.  Cut two strips 4-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ and two strips 4-1/2″ x 32-1/2″.  I would actually cut them each a bit longer and trim as you sew them on.  When you sew borders to your center ALWAYS lay the pieces flat on the table or floor and pin.  If you don’t, your edges will stretch and you will end up with a warped, concave medallion.

Alternate Suggestion:  If you like, you could make this border from twenty-eight 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ blocks.  YOU pick the block!


Border 2 (Economy Blocks)

Border 2 top and bottom: make 2
Border 2 Sides: Make 2

Make twenty 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Economy Blocks.

I included a paper-piecing template here, but if you’d like to rotary cut and free piece them (save a tree), here are the cutting measurements (Per 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Block):


Once you make the blocks, sew them into border strips.  The sides borders have four blocks each and the top and bottom border have six blocks each.


Border 3: Drunkard’s Path Blocks

Border 3 Top and Bottom: make 2
Border 3 sides: make 2


Make forty-eight 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Drunkard’s Path Blocks and four 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ Corner Blocks

Use this template to cut the pieces for both types of block.  You will also need to cut four strips from the background fabric measuring 1-1/2″ x 48-1/2″ (piece the strips to make them long enough and as with border 1, I like to leave extra length)

job_928 RightRoundMedallion
Corner Block: make 4

The corner blocks go together like the diagram on the right.

Once you have your blocks made, sew the drunkard’s path blocks into four border strips of twelve blocks each.  Then sew a 1-1/2″ x 48-1/2″ strip to the top of each border.  Trim the excess fabric from the sides.  Sew the corner blocks to two of the border strips (use the Border 3 images above as reference).


Border 4

This is another plain border (woo-hoo!)

You will need to cut two strips 1-1/2″ x 58-1/2″ and two strips 1-1/2″ x 60-1/2″ (again, piece as needed and cut them longer than needed. Trim as you sew them on).


Border 5: Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)

Border 5: Make 4

This is the tricky border!  You will need to start by making sixty 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ HSTs.  To do this, cut thirty 4″ x 4″ background squares and thirty 4″ x 4″ squares from your main fabrics and make those HSTs!

Next, cut twenty-eight more 4″ x 4″ background squares and cut them in half diagonally and cut thirty-two more 4″ x 4″ main fabric squares and cut those in half diagonally too.

You are going to very carefully piece each border like this:


Sew diagonal strips with a HST in the middle and triangle on the top and bottom, then sew the strips into a border. I did another pattern with a border very much like this and you can download it for free here for more information.

Once the borders are made, sew them on, stopping 1/4″ before the end of each seam.  You are sewing bias, so the border is going to look too long, but it will ease in.  Pin the middle of the border to the quilt top, pin the ends and then gently ease the rest in with it laying flat.

Once you sew the borders to the quilt top, then sew the mitered sides.


Border 6

You almost made it!  This is another plain border.

Cut two strips 3-1/2″ x 69″ and two strips 3-1/2″ x 75″.  You’ll obviously need to piece them to make them long enough.  I would cut them longer, but mark the exact length on each strip.  Border 5 was all bias, so you want to make sure you don’t stretch it when you sew the Border 6 on.  Lay your quilt top flat, pin the middle and each end and then ease in any excess fabric.


You did it!!!

Below is a diagram of how the entire quilt goes together.  You can print it out, if you like, here. assembly

Do not be surprised if your last border is a little wavy, or your center is a little concave.  Once you quilt the top, you won’t notice.  I also had you cut Border 6 extra wide, so you can true the quilt up once quilted.

Enjoy your quilt and if you post photos on Instagram use the hashtag #rightroundmedallion and tag me (@betteroffthread) so I see it!

For reference:

Economy Block Templates

Drunkard’s Path Templates

Assembly Diagram

If you want more information on making Medallions, check out my book: The Modern Medallion Workbook.

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt-Along


Have you heard about the biggest quilt-along of the year?  Angie at Gnome Angel is hosting a year-long quilt-along (say that ten times fast!) to make the epic quilt in Laurie Aaron Hird‘s new book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them.  The quilt-along begins September 28th and we will be making two 6″ blocks a week, for a total of 99 blocks.

Angie will be sharing tutorials with guest bloggers each week (I am happy to say that I will be one of them!), so you can learn all of their tricks, tips and secrets for making each block.  If you would like to join in (and you know you do), you can find out all of the information on Angie’s blog at the Farmer’s Wife FAQ.  There is also a Facebook group with almost 2000 members already!!


I have been very busy planning my Farmer’s Wife Quilt.  The quilt can be rotary cut using templates and free-pieced, or you can choose to paper-piece the more difficult blocks.  I normally paper-piece as much as humanly possible, so I have decided to challenge myself by HAND-PIECING all 99 blocks.  I really wanted to stretch my skills, and it’s soccer/swimming/ballet season (when is it not), so it should be the perfect project to work on while sitting at various sport practices.  Two 6″ blocks a week shouldn’t be bad to hand sew, right???? (I’m soliciting encouragement here.).


The printable templates are included with the book, but I am planning to use Marti Mitchell’s Perfect Patchwork Templates to cut my pieces.  She is working along with Angi to provide a list of templates that will be needed to complete the quilt (This info is also in the FAQ).  I will probably English-Paper-Piece the sharp “Y” seams.


I am still waffling on my fabric.  It’s so hard to decide!

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt Along

I was thinking of using my stash of Japanese prints along with this bundle of Modern Background Paper by Zen Chic:

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt Along

 I LOVE this combination, but I am worried that the Japanese prints are too large scare for the 6-1/2″ blocks.

My other choice is this:

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt Along

On the right is London Calling by Robert Kaufman and on the left is my collection of Liberty prints.  I thought I would use the Liberty prints and mix in some of the London Calling.  They would be paired with coordinating Kona Solids.

I am leaning towards using this combination, but I don’t know if I want to hand-piece lawn fabrics!

My third option is to simply go scrappy, scrappy, scrappy and utilize my entire stash.  I have a month to mull it over and I think I will make a couple samples to help me decide.

Are you planning to join in?  It’s going to be a fun year!

Diamond Superstar


Last week, I finished the 18″ version of my newest paper-pieced block.  I also chose a name:

Diamond Superstar!

I’ve been busy perfecting the templates for both the 14″ and 18″ block and I’m hoping to release both in PDF pattern form very soon.


My daughter immediately claimed the block as her own (as she does with all of my sewing) and asked for a pillow.  I have to say, I’m pretty jealous, but it looks better in her room!

Spring Bouquet PDF Pattern

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 10.12.20 PM copy

I am happy to announce that I FINALLY have finished the Spring Bouquet Sampler Quilt Pattern!

This one was a doozy to write and I am really excited to share it.  The pattern gives step-by step instructions and templates for making ten different blocks of increasing difficulty.  I have broken the cutting measurements down by block, so you can choose to cut all the fabrics before sewing (I think my hand would fall off), or select and cut fabrics as you sew each sets of blocks.  In the end, you will have an 84″ x 84″ Queen sized quilt top.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 10.12.49 PM
Sample Pattern Page

It’s the perfect project for skill building.  You will make half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, flying geese, sew curves and do simple paper-piecing (I have provided links to my curve and paper-piecing tutorials, if you need extra help, but I am always here for advice and to hold your hand!)

The featured fabric is Bella Caronia’s Spring Bloom and it was my inspiration for designing this sampler in the round.  I wanted to create a quilt that looked like a bouquet of flowers, or an arial view of a beautifully landscaped flower garden.

I also mocked up a few other color ideas, to get your creative juices flowing:

job_828 Spring Bloom

Scrappy Rainbow.  You could make this one with bits from your stash.


The colors in this mock-up along with the quilt blocks remind me of Mary Blair’s art. I’m thinking of making this as a 1/3 scale wall-hanging.

job_885 Spring Bloom

Choosing one color, or one fabric for the “flowers”, gives it a bold and entirely different look.  The yarn-dyed linen in denim makes it more of a cozy, casual quilt.

I am selling the pattern for $5 over the weekend.  You can purchase it from my Craftsy store, or from Big Cartel.

If  you make this quilt, be sure to share a photo with me and give feedback.  I strive to make patterns that are clear and easy to follow, so I love to hear if there are any issues.

Have a great weekend!

Kaleidoscope Block

This past week, I’ve been having fun working on a new paper-pieced star pattern. As of right now I’m calling it Kaleidoscope, but I am trying to think of a more unique name (any ideas??)


This is a 14″ x 14″ block I made from Kona Cottons. How could I NOT make a rainbow version??!


This one is also 14″, but made from fussy cut stripes.  I believe those are Michael Miller Clown Stripes. I’d love to make an entire quilt of these blocks with a different colored stripe and matching polka dots for each block.


This is the start of an 18″ version of the same block. Do you think I included enough cats?


And because I am impatient, here is an illustration of what the finished block will look like.  I love that the 18″block allows for fussy-cutting a variety of adorable prints.

I plan to include templates for a 14″, 18″ and 22″ block. The various sizes should work well for quilt blocks, mini quilts and center medallions.



Right Round Medallion Quilt Finish

Is it really the end of summer already?  School starts next week for us!  My family spent five weeks driving across the country (twice), and visiting my family back East.  We saw the Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater, Amish Country, Las Vegas, hiked waterfalls, scaled the Rockies (in a car), swam almost everyday, fished, caught lightning bugs, and stalked the neighborhood ice cream truck. I’d say it was a pretty good summer!

Passing through Hays, Kansas

Now we are slowly getting back into the normal routine and I’m finally finding time to sew again.

Just before we left town, I finished my Right Round Medallion and I am so in love with it.  I still need to get up the courage to wash it and put it out on the couch.


The center medallion is my Right Round Pattern and  I just made up the borders as I went along.  I am happy to give general dimensions for the blocks here on my blog, if anyone is interested, but I am not planning to release a pattern.

Originally, I thought I would write up a pattern, but I really just improvised and made the quilt for fun. As much as I love it, I am not happy enough with the scale of some of the borders to make it into an official pattern.


After angsting for about a month, I ended up doing my same old meander on the quilt.  I feel a little bad for not branching out, but I just love the overall texture a meander adds without distracting from the design of the quilt. Plus, it’s quick!  I love designing and piecing quilts, but the quilting for me is a necessary evil.  If I could just keep my quilts flat and smooth and well, quilt-less, I would.  Then it would’t be a quilt though, would it!


Have a great week! I’m going to attempt to catch up on my blogging now that I have more time, so check back!