Category Archives: quilting

Starry Night Quilt

I was recently asked to design a quilt for Jennifer Sampou’s upcoming Shimmer II fabric line.  I loved her original Shimmer fabrics, and the new colors are even more beautiful.

The metallic print fabrics have a wonderful balance between traditional and modern tastes, so I wanted to design a more traditional block-based quilt with a modern flair.

Starry Night Quilt pattern by Janice Ryan, featuring Shimmer II by Jennifer Sampou

Starry Night measures 51″ x 62-1/2″ and is partially paper pieced.  The piecing is simple, so the blocks go together pretty quickly.  I love the optical illusion created when several blocks are sewn together.

Starry Night Quilt pattern by Janice Ryan, featuring Shimmer II by Jennifer Sampou

The pattern will be available in June as a FREE download from Robert Kaufman, but you’ll have to wait until September for Shimmer II!

Starry Night Quilt pattern by Janice Ryan, featuring Shimmer II by Jennifer Sampou

Happy Wednesday!

The Modern Medallion Workbook

Finally, after a year and a half of planning and waiting, I am pleased to announce that I have a book coming out!

The Modern Medallion Workbook by Janice Zeller Ryan and Beth Vassalo

The book is called The Modern Medallion Workbook and my co-author is the lovely and talented Beth from Plum and June.  We are joined by nine talented contributors whose quilts are varied, yet equally breath-taking.

Quilts from the Modern Medallion Workbook

A few of the quilts featured in The Modern Medallion Workbook:
Wedding Bouquet Medallion by Rebecca Bryan, Alliance Medallion by Alexia Abegg, One Step at a Time by Melissa Richie, and Zen Medallion by Latifah Saafir.

Beth and I were quite excited to create a book featuring medallion quilts, but we were also passionate about having an in-depth workbook section. The workbook allows the reader to learn new skills, and plan their own personal, one-of-a-kind, medallion.

Migration Medallion by Janice Ryan, from The Modern Medallion Workbook

My quilt contribution to The Modern Medallion Workbook, “Migration Medallion”.


All the details:

The Modern Medallion Workbook is available for pre-order at both C&T Publishing and Amazon.  The official release date is April 20th, so you don’t have long to wait! You can peek inside the book on both websites.

The book features 11 Medallion Quilt Patterns, ranging from beginner to advanced, by Beth VassaloAlexia Abegg, Karen Anderson-Abraham, Rebecca Bryan, Kerry Green, Erica Jackman, Christina Lane, Melissa Richie, Latifah Saafir, Amy Sinibaldi and me!

Included in the book is a workbook section which provides in-depth instructions for advanced skills such as paper-piecing and curves, coloring pages and instructions for resizing and mixing borders.

Check out Instagram hashtag #themodernmedallionworkbook for more photos of the quilts.


I hope you enjoy the book.  Please let me know what you think!


New Block Pattern: Icon


Icon Block by Better off Thread

A few months ago I was asked to design a quilt block for the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month.  I’ve been really enamored by Orange Peel Blocks lately, so I came up with this fattened version:

Icon Block by Better off Thread

Icon Block

The gently curved square shape reminded me of an iPhone icon, thus the name.

If you are new to sewing curves, don’t be afraid to give it a try!  I tried to make them fool-proof to line up, and the curve is gentler than a 1/4 circle.

I was having fun making the blocks, so I ended up making an entire quilt!

Icon Block by Better off Thread

The quilt measures 48″ x 60″.   I decided to just dive into my solid scraps and use every color, but now I’m wishing I had used a tighter color palette. Here are a few other ideas for color:

Icon Block by Better off Thread

Variegated Blues


Icon Block by Better off Thread

Ombred Alison Glass Fabrics


Icon Block by Better off Thread

 I used Essex Yarn-dyed for the background, a variety of solid scraps for the main curves and low-volume scraps for the latticework sashing.

Icon Block by Better off Thread

The stripy sashing is Robert Kaufman Railroad Denim.  I was asked if the denim is bulky, and it is not at all!  It’s a lightweight fabric and was quite nice to work with.

It you are interested in purchasing the block pattern, you can find it in my pattern store and on Craftsy!

Modern Rainbow Blog Tour + Giveaway!


Today, I am going to review Rebecca Bryan’s new book, Modern Rainbow, share a project I made using the book and host a giveaway!



I think anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a thing for rainbows.  When I heard that Rebecca Bryan had a book coming out called Modern Rainbow, I flipped out just a wee bit (ok, a LOT bit).  I have admired Rebecca’s work for a long time and she contributed a lovely quilt to my book (more on that this week).


Modern Rainbow was published by Stash Books and it is clear, concise and full of wonderful eye-candy.  I love that Rebecca organized the quilts into Modern/Traditional, Modern, and Improvisational patterns.  Within each section is a variety of skill levels and techniques for every kind of quilter.


Here is a selection of my favorite quilts from each section:

11097, Byran, SP15

Modern Traditional: Irish +

I love how simple the Irish + pattern is,  yet there is complexity in the choice of fabrics. This would be a fun quilt to pull fabric for and would be a fantastic exercise in contrast and value.


11097, Byran, SP15

Modern: Huckleberry

Huckleberry is one of those quilts that I am in complete awe of and wish I had designed myself.  It would look fantastic hanging in a sewing studio, and the way Rebecca pieced the hexagons is genius (you’ll have to get the book to see how she did it!).


11097, Byran, SP15

Improvisational: Rainbow Remix

I think Rainbow Remix is my very favorite in the book and someday MUST be pillows in my house.  The quilt reminds me of Gee’s Bend in Technicolor and I adore the saturation and freedom of each block.


I decided to make a mini version of Ducks in a Row.  Here is the version from the book:

11097, Byran, SP15

and here is the version I made:


The quilt is cut using templates, so I printed all of them at 50% and then redrew the seam allowances as I traced them onto template plastic (you always need to adjust the seam allowances back to 1/4″ when you change the scale of a template).


I decided to organize my fabrics so that the colors would transition from one hue to the next within each column. I think it took me longer to choose and organize my fabrics than to cut and piece the quilt!


The varying sizes of triangles also provide a great opportunity for fussy-cutting those favorite and precious fabrics from your stash.

Rebecca’s instructions were very easy to follow and she provided alternate sizes, so you can make any size from crib to king.  I did 11 rows of 5 ducks each at 50% and my finished quilt measures 25″ x 24″.



Now it’s your turn!  Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite quilty color scheme is (and no, it doesn’t have to be rainbow…you can make these patterns from any colors you desire!).  I’m going to giveaway one copy of Modern Rainbow to a lucky reader!

If you live in the US you will be mailed a hardcopy and if you live elsewhere, you will receive an electronic copy.  

I’ll choose the winner randomly on Friday, April 10th.  Good luck!


Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog hop for inspiration, interviews and sneak peaks of the book!

March 23rd            C&T/ Stash Books
March 24th            Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt
March 25th            Generation Q Magazine
March 26th            Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane
March 27th            Sally Keller of Sally’s Angel Works
March 30th            Amy Garro of 13 Spools
March 31st             Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy
April 1st                  Rebecca over at Craft Buds
April 2nd                Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness
April 3rd                 Sarah Craig of Confessions of a Fabric Addict
April 6th                 ME!
April 7th                 Beth Vassalo of Plum and June
April 8th                 Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
April 9th                 Giuseppe Ribaudo @giucy_giuce
April 9th                 Shannon Brinkley of Bottle Tree Quilts
April 10th               Rebecca Bryan at Bryan House Quilts

Have a great week!

Free Block Pattern!


I’m excited to share a free block pattern with you over at Blossom Heart Quilts!  I designed the Wanta Fanta block for Alyce’s Bee Hive Series and here is how several blocks look together:

Wanta Fanta Block by Better Off Thread for the Bee Hive Series

It’s partially paper-pieced, but no curves to sew!

Check out Alyce’s blog for more information on the block, and her series (with lots of free block patterns!).  You can download the pattern here.

“Black & White” Blog Hop

I’m really excited to be today’s stop on Jennifer Sampou’s Blog Hop for her beautiful new line of fabric, Black & White.  I am sharing the day with Angela Walters, so be sure to pop by her blog where she discusses the quilting for my Black & White quilt.

I have been a long time fan of Jennifer’s fabric designs and I have quite the collection of quilts using her past lines (click the links to see my other quilts): Shimmer, Color:Full, Studio Stash and now Black & White…

Storm At Sea copy

Designing a value-based quilt has been on my to-do list for awhile, so I jumped at the chance to design something for Black & White.  A traditional Storm at Sea block seemed like to perfect way to show off the variety of shades and patterns in the fabric line.

I love the warmth the subtle taupe tones add to the fabrics and look at that amazing quilting by Angela Walters!  I have also been using those dots in every single project I make.  I adore them!

I recently received EQ7 and it was a ton of fun to upload the fabrics into the program and play around them with them.  I don’t think I could have designed this quilt without the ability to play around with the fabrics so freely.

If you are interested in making your own Storm At Sea, the pattern is available for FREE at Robert Kaufman, or you can purchase a kit, which includes the pattern and Black & White fabrics to make the top, at Keepsake Quilting.

And now for the prizes!

On Jennifer’s Blog:

Win a FQ bundle of the entire Black and White line!  Stop by Jennifer’s blog for details on how to enter!

On my Blog:

Win this Taquito FQ pack of Black & White fabrics.  All you need to do is leave a comment telling me what you would make with Black & White!  I’ll pick a winner by Random Number Generator on Tuesday evening.

On Instagram:

Win a Taquito FQ rollup and “Elephant and I” Pattern. Enter to win by re-posting any Blog Hop projects and tag #blackandwhitefabrics and #jennifersampou
My Instagram handle is betteroffthread, so be sure to find me and repost my project!
Stop by the other participating blogs for inspiration and more giveaways!


January 23 JenniferSampou.comRobert Kaufman Blog
January 24 Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson-Sew Kind of Wonderful blog
January 25 Teresa Coates- Fabric Depot
January 26 Amy Gibson- Stitchery Dickory Dock
January 27 AnneMarie Chany- Gen X Quilters
January 28 Casey York- The Studiolo
January 29 C&T Publishing – Stash Books
January 30 APQ- All People Quilt
January 31 Angela Pingel
February 1 Angela Walters / Janice Zeller Ryan
February 2 Sarah Sharp
February 3 Dritz- Make Something
February 4 Nicole Daksiewicz- Modern Handcraft
February 5 Liesel Gibson- Oliver + S
February 6 Christopher Thompson / Natalie Barnes
February 7 Jennifer Sampou Wrap up
February 9 Jennifer Sampou Announce Winner. Must have comment in by February 9th on my 1/23 opening blog post.

Have a wonderful week!!

Gaggle of Geese Pattern!

IMG_4Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese016

I finally have my Gaggle of Geese pattern available for purchase!

Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese

It measures 44″ x 44″ and would look great on a wall, or as the center medallion for a bed quilt.  The pattern includes step-by-step instructions and printable templates, plus a coloring sheet to plan out your quilt.

Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese

The quilt will take a fair amount of time to make, but it really is not difficult.  You should have some paper-piecing experience, or check out my paper-piecing tutorial.  This is pretty basic paper-piecing, so beginners can surely do it.  Also, you will need to sew set in circles, but they are large and not scary at all (I promise)!  I have provided instructions for sewing them.

It’s the new year, so it’s time to learn something new!

Gaggle of Geese Quilt Pattern, a rainbow circle of flying geese

My 5-year-old son wanted to pose with the quilt, so this will give you some idea of scale.  He asked me to hang it in his room, but I think I want it somewhere more prominent (sorry Liam).

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern, you may go to MY STORE and you will receive the PDF via email, or if you are non-EU, you may purchase from Craftsy.

Have a Happy New Year!

Lone Star Bed Quilt

I dream of waking up and finding all my quilt tops quilted and bound.  I seriously need to spend a week on my mid-arm just quilting.  I love piecing, but sadly, the actual quilting scares me! I feel like I should be pushing myself to try something fancier than a meander, but I’m afraid I’ll ruin my quilt.   I keep moving on to the next project, rather than brave the mid-arm.

Lone Star Quilt by Better Off Thread

I pieced this quilt top a bit ago for my bed and it’s one of the larger quilts I have made measuring 74″ x 88″.  The fabric is Color:FULL by Jennifer Sampou and I love the saturated colors and large scale prints.  The scale is perfect for these giant Lone Star panels

Lone Star Quilt by Better Off Thread

Ever since I made my Scrappy Lone Star Tutorial, I’ve been wanting to make a bed-sized one. I decided to arrange the colors, rather than going scrappy and I also added 1″ sashing between each diamond.

Lone Star Quilt by Better Off Thread

I think my favorite part is the triangle border on each end.  I’m a bit obsessed with borders right now (and yes, there is a random thread in the photo.  I like to keep it real here.).

Hopefully I’ll have a finished quilt to show soon!

Fundraiser Update and a New Quilt

First, I want to thank everyone who purchased patterns to support my friend, Jennie, and her children.  We managed to raise $725!!  Quilters are certainly an amazing bunch and Jennie is so thankful for everything.


I was recently asked to design a quilt for Robert Kaufman using Jennifer Sampou’s amazing new Black & White Fabric Collection.  I have been wanting to design a quilt using gradient value, so I was really excited to work with these fabrics.

Storm At Sea Quilt by Better off Thread using Jennifer Sampou's Black and White Fabric Collection

Storm At Sea by Better off Thread. 65″ x 80″

I decided to use a simple, traditional, Storm at Sea block and use value to create the pattern. It was a lot of fun to figure out!

Storm At Sea Quilt by Better off Thread using Jennifer Sampou's Black and White Fabric Collection

I am loving all of Jennifer’s nature-inspired prints: feathers, birds, butterflies and the dot is softer and slightly more organic than your usual polka-dot.

Storm At Sea Quilt by Better off Thread using Jennifer Sampou's Black and White Fabric Collection

The quilting was done by the ever-amazing Angela Walters.  I don’t have a proper close-up of the quilting, but if you are going to be at Quilt Market, be sure to stop by the Robert Kaufman booth and check Storm At Sea out (send me some photos, too!).

The pattern will be a FREE download on the Robert Kaufman site beginning in November.  I’ll let you know once it is available!

Block o’ Cats

I’m in a quilting bee with a delightful group of gals where we make either an entire 12″ x 60″ row or a large 24″ x 24″ block every two months.  Adrianne asked for cat blocks for her month and I found this image on Pinterest that I wanted to try to recreate:

Cat Quilt Block by Better Off Thread

Pinterest is great for inspiration, but this photo didn’t have a source.  It looks like someone took a photo of maybe an older quilt book (If anyone knows where this quilt is from, I would love to know).

I went back and forth about how best to construct the block and I came up with this sample:

Cat Quilt Block by Better Off Thread

Don’t look to close, though.  I was in such a hurry that the seams aren’t perfect!

There are partial seams, but it actually goes together pretty easily.  The hardest part is figuring out what fabric to place where.

I then pulled a selection of fabrics in Adrianne’s color scheme and here is the block.

Cat Quilt Block by Better Off Thread

It measures about 24″ x 24″ and I decided to remove the bodiless legs from around the perimeter of the block.  I think I need to shorten the cats legs about a 1/2″ the next time I make this block.  It would be the perfect size for a floor pillow and I’s like to make Emmeline one using cat fabric (in all my free time).

If enough people are interested, I’ll post a free tutorial!

Have a great Monday!