Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2 Blog Tour and a giveaway!

Scraps Inc Vol. 2

Welcome to my stop on the Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2 Blog Tour!

I was thrilled when Susanne asked me to contribute to Scraps, Inc. Volume 2.  I do adore a good scrap quilt and Scraps, Inc. Vol. 1 was simply beautiful, both the quilts and the book itself.  Volume 2 is filled with delightful eye candy and fun projects by 15 talented and unique designers.

'Sweet Emmeline" by Janice Zeller Ryan from Scraps Inc Vol. 2 (Lucky Spool)

My contribution to the book is “Sweet Emmeline”, a scrappy orange peel quilt.  I named the quilt after my daughter. She constantly claims every quilt I make as her own, so I decided to cut to the chase and just name the next one after her! (And yes, I do sing the Neil Diamond song to her and change the lyrics.)

'Sweet Emmeline" by Janice Zeller Ryan from Scraps Inc Vol. 2 (Lucky Spool)
photo by Nydia Kehnle

The quilt measures 58″ x 78″, the perfect size for a couch throw.

'Sweet Emmeline" by Janice Zeller Ryan from Scraps Inc Vol. 2 (Lucky Spool)
photo by Nydia Kehnle

 There are gobs of colors and prints in the quilt, so I wanted to keep them controlled and focused.  I chose to use a selection of dark and light tones paired together for each orange peel .  The quilt can be made even scrappier, as long as there is either color or tonal variation in the orange peels.

'Sweet Emmeline" by Janice Zeller Ryan from Scraps Inc Vol. 2 (Lucky Spool)
photo by Nydia Kehnle

The quilt is also tactile and textural with the use of metallics, linen and the closely spaced wavy quilting.

'Sweet Emmeline" by Janice Zeller Ryan from Scraps Inc Vol. 2 (Lucky Spool)

I have to say, “Sweet Emmeline” looks pretty fantastic in my new house, on my new couch.  It makes me happy every morning when I walk out and see it.


Would you like to win a copy of Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2?  Just comment below and you will be entered to win!  I will announce a winner (chose by random number generator) on Saturday, February 13th.


Lucky Spool is also offering 30% off your book if you purchase between now and 2/16.  Simply go to this link and enter the code Scraps30 at checkout.


Scraps Inc Vol. 2
photo by Nydia Kehnle

Follow the tour to see all the other designers and their amazing quilts!

Monday, February 8

Amy Smart, Diary of a Quilter

Nydia Kehnle, Nydia Kehnle Design + Photography

Tuesday, February 9

Amy Friend, During Quiet Time

Alexandra Ledgerwood, Teaginny Designs

Wednesday, February 10

April Rosenthal, April Rosenthal – The {Studio} Blog

Dorie Schwarz, Tumbling Blocks

Thursday, February 11

Erin Harris, House on Hill Road

Janice Ryan, Better Off Thread

Friday, February 12

John Adams, Quilt Dad

Kari Vojtechovsky, Craft Happy

Saturday, February 13

Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt

Kati Spencer, From the Blue Chair

Sunday, February 14

Melissa Lunden, Lunden Designs

Allison Harris, Cluck Cluck Sew

Sherri McConnell, A Quilting Life


Glad Tidings: A Free Christmas Quilt

I know, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Christmas just ended, but if you want to get your Christmas projects done by next December, the time to start is now (ha-ha!).

Glad Tidings By Better Off Thread featuring Winter's Grandeur by Studio RK

Glad Tidings is a medallion style panel quilt that I designed for Robert Kaufman using their Winter’s Grandeur 4 collection.  I made Oh Tannenbaum for Winter’s Grandeur 3 last year and I always have fun trying to figure out a unique design for around a panel.  I think I like this year’s quilt even better than last year’s!

Glad Tidings By Better Off Thread featuring Winter's Grandeur by Studio RK

The beautiful quilting is by Angela Walters.

Glad Tidings By Better Off Thread featuring Winter's Grandeur by Studio RK
Attaching the final border.

The piecing for the quilt is quite easy (and mostly strip pieced!), but it takes organization, because there are alot of subtle variations in the Irish Chain blocks. Hopefully the thorough instructions will make it all easy-peasy!

Glad Tidings By Better Off Thread featuring Winter's Grandeur by Studio RK
Two alternate colorways

Winter’s Grandeur 4 will be available in February and the pattern comes out in March.  You’ll be able to download it for free right here.  My last two Christmas quilts were also sold as kits on Craftsy, so I’m thinking you may find this one there too!


Glad Tidings By Better Off Thread

Quilting by Angela Walters

Measures: 66″ x 82″

Fabric: Winter’s Grandeur 4 by Studio RK (release is February 2016)

Simple Twist: A Free Pattern

I have two more free patterns coming your way soon at Robert Kaufman!  Both will be released in March as free downloads on the Robert Kaufman website and would you believe that NEITHER of them have any paper-piecing or templates?? That is unheard of from me!

Today I’m going to introduce you to “Simple Twist”:

"Simple Twist" by Janice Zeller Ryan for Robert Kaufman.

Simple Twist

Finished Size 56″ x 64″

Fabric: Kona Solids by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

About this Quilt:

Bill Coleman, a photographer from my hometown of State College, Pennsylvania, recently passed away and I have always admired his work. My husband and I have a couple of his photos hanging prominently in our house. I love having a little bit of home way out here in California.  Mr. Coleman’s primary subject was the Amish community and when I was perusing his online gallery I came across a photo of three quilts hanging on a line.  The quilt in the center was just so simple, bold and modern.  I was compelled to make it right away!

I had a lot of fun figuring out how the block was most likely constructed and picking out Kona colors.  I never thought I would be a fan of brown quilting fabric, but I am digging Kona Spice right now!

"Simple Twist" by Janice Zeller Ryan for Robert Kaufman.

“Siample Twist” is fun and easy to make. It measures 54″ x 64″, but since it’s only one block, you can make it as big or small as you like.

I was really sad I didn’t have a chance to quilt it before the fabric release.  We moved in November and between having strep, Thanksgiving and then a 5 day fever, I got a bit behind!  I just found out today that it has been quilted and is on it’s way to a quilt shop to be displayed!

"Simple Twist" by Janice Zeller Ryan for Robert Kaufman.


Here’s a sneak peek of the quilting.  There’s that yummy Kona Spice!

I’ll post a quick update once the pattern is available for download.  You’ll be able to find it right here.


The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s QAL: Block #26, Daffodil


Today I am a guest blogger for the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt along, brought you by Angie at Gnome Angel, The Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Mitchell.  If you would like to purchase the book, scroll to the bottom of this post for more information.  If you would like to join the 5000+ other quilters participating in the sew-along, click here.



Thanks for stopping by my blog!  Today I am going to show you how I assembled my “Daffodil” block.  For the previous blocks, I have been cutting all the pieces with Marti Mitchell’s wonderful templates and hand-sewing them together. Wouldn’t you know that my first tutorial is NOT Marti Mitchell Template friendly?!  For this block, I printed the templates from the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s CD and machine sewed the pieces together (machine, because I just moved and I needed to get this block done quickly!).

Normally I am a huge fan of paper-piecing, but I wanted to try using only templates and rotary cutting for this quilt.  I found Daffodil to be very easy to free-piece.  There aren’t even any “Y” seams!

A few notes before you begin:

• There is an error on the templates.  Once you print them out, switch the letters on template N and template I.

• My block is a mirror image of the block in the book.  If you want your block to look exactly like the one in the book, you need to place your templates so that the wrong side of the fabric and the printed side of the templates are together.

Cutting the Pieces:

Before tracing the templates, press the fabric and starch it if necessary.  Some cottons have enough sizing in them, so they don’t need to be starched.  I like to starch thinner fabrics, such as Liberty of London.


Once the templates are traced and cut out, draw in the seam allowance lines.  You don’t HAVE to do this, if you are machine sewing, but it definitely improves your accuracy since there are many odd angles in Daffodil.

I always draw in the seam allowances, since I am hand-sewing and I don’t trust myself to eye-ball a straight 1/4″ line!

Assembling the Block:


Lay your pieces out and make sure they are facing the correct direction.  You will see that there are three distinct sections to the block.  We will be assembling each section separately and then sewing them together at the end.



Follow the photo above to sew the first set of pieces together. I pressed my seams open for this step.



Next, you’ll just sew the one little seam that the arrow is indicating.  Press the seam allowances toward the pink triangle.



Sew the horizontal(ish) seams together, beginning at the top and working your way down.



Sew the three sections together and you are done.  No paper to rip off!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.  Have fun sewing!


The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

“DIY Block Design” Blog Hop

DIY Block Design devices

Have you seen the “DIY Block Design” e-book yet?  My good friend, Alyce, of Blossom Heart Quilts has published an e-book which makes designing your own quilt blocks so easy! Here is my honest to goodness review of the book:

Alyce Blyth has created a gem with “DIY Block Design”.  The clean, easy to navigate layout and clear, conversational writing make this book a must-have for any budding or seasoned quilt designer.  Presented in workbook format, “DIY Block Design” has beautiful illustrations, graphically appealing and accurate charts, and handy formulas so you can be designing your own quilt today, no matter what your skill level.  As an experienced quilt designer, I love having all the calculations done for me in an easy to reference, consolidated guide. I know I will be referring back to the charts and formulas again and again. For beginning designers, the step-by-step workbook format is straight-forward and concisely presented.  I will definitely be suggesting (or insisting!) that my quilt students purchase this book. 

Alyce is doing a month long blog hop with guest posts from new designers attempting their first block design and experienced designers sharing their favorite tips.  You can find the full schedule at the bottom of this post.


When Alyce asked me to share my design process, I wasn’t really sure where to start!  Each block and quilt I design has a unique process, depending on my inspiration, and how traditional or modern the design is. I do get asked quite a bit about the tools and computer programs I use when I design a pattern, so I thought I would go over each one briefly.  If you have any questions, please ask!

Disclaimer: When you design a block, you really don’t NEED anything other than graph paper, a pencil and, of course, “DIY Block Design”! This list will come in handy if you want to take it a step further, or design patterns for other people to use.

Tools I Use For Quilt Design:

A Sketchbook:  I like to carry around a small sketchbook and pencil, so I can draw anytime I have a free moment.  I prefer to use plain paper rather than graph paper when I am first brainstorming, so that I am not limited by a grid.  I figure out how to make my design work as a quilt later.


A Camera Phone:  Whenever I see inspiration, I take a photo.  I like to keep these on my desktop in a folder, so I can look through it when I want to be inspired.

EQ7: EQ7 (Electric Quilt) is quilt design software.  I tend to use this for more traditional block-based designs.  I love being able to design a quilt or block in EQ7, because I can easily play with various fabrics and see exactly what the finished product will look like.  EQ7 will also give you templates, cutting measurements and fabric yardage, but you still need to do the math and check everything.  I find that EQ7’s calculations are often inaccurate (This is not a fault of the program.  It’s just that not all blocks will fit standard computer calculations).


Adobe Illustrator:  I still need to learn all the ins and outs of Illustrator, but I love that I can design a quilt in EQ7 and then pull the blocks apart in Illustrator to create construction diagrams.


These blocks were designed in EQ7 for my Spring Bouquet Quilt, and then “pulled apart” in Illustrator so I could show other quilters how to construct the blocks.

Adobe Photoshop:  I think most quilt designers prefer to use Illustrator over Photoshop, but it is what I learned to use in grad school, so I stick with it!  I love that I can draw up a quilt without being constrained by a grid, so it comes in handy for a non-traditional design.  I can also load an inspiration photo into Photoshop and draw a design right over the photo.  You can do this in EQ7 also, but it needs to work within a grid.



For Example: I wanted to design a block based on a Viewmaster Reel.  I uploaded a photo of a reel into photoshop and drew my design lines on top of the photo.   I used this computer sketch to develop my templates for the Viewmaster Block. 

Adobe inDesign:  I use inDesign to write up the actual pattern and layout the illustrations. I learned how to use inDesign myself after watching a few of Adobe’s instruction videos.  I find the program to be very intuitive and I don’t know what I did without it!

A pattern laid out in inDesign

Money-saving Tip: I get all my Adobe products through a monthly subscription.  If you are a student or teacher, or know a student or teacher, you can get a subscription for $19.99/month.  You are allowed to download the products to two computers, so you can each have access to the products.

Thanks for stopping by!  I’m in the middle of a move right now, so please check back.  I’ll be blogging more once I am settled in from moving!

Here is the rest of the blog hop schedule:

October 1 – Let the games begin!

October 2
Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
Christa @ ChristaQuilts
Angie @ Gnome Angel

Week 1: Inspiration

October 7
Ros @ Sew Delicious
Leanne @ Sewn By Leanne
Amy @ And Sew We Craft

October 9
Jennie @ Clover & Violet
Jane @ QuiltJane
Melissa @ My Fabric Relish

Week 2: Sketches

October 14
Jen @ Faith And Fabric
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts

October 16
Sandi @ Crafty Planner
Anne @ Play Crafts
Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts

Week 3: Making

October 21
Joy @ Quilty Joy Joy
Linden @ Vine Lines Quilting
Cassie @ Cassandra Madge

October 23
Keera @ Live Love Sew
Janice @ Better Off Thread <—— You Are Here!
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts

Week 4: Finishes

October 28
Kelly @ A Place Of My Own
Abby @ Color Bar Quilts

October 30 – Linky opens!

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.