The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt-Along: Block #32 Fanny

Today I am a guest blogger for the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt along, brought you by Angie at Gnome AngelThe 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.


Welcome to my blog and my second block in the quilt-along!  When I started this 100 block adventure, I was determined to cut all the blocks with templates and then hand-sew them together.  It proved quite difficult to find time for hand-sewing.  I thought I could do it during my kids activities, but I can’t seem to sew and watch their sports at the same time!  Now, I’ve relaxed a bit and I’m making each block based on what I think the best method may be and also what my mood is at the time.


As of right now, I have 23 blocks completed and 11 more cut out (using the Marti Mitchell templates).  I am really loving the process and being able to take my time with the blocks.  I do a ton of rushed sewing for various projects, so this is relaxing for me.  I’m not working on any set time structure, because that would just stress me out!

If you feel like you are falling behind, overwhelmed by missed blocks, or just want to give up, then you are missing the point of the quilt-along!  Simply have fun, try new things and work at your own pace.  If you fall behind, just start with the most current block and do the others at a later date, when you have time. I know that I will finish this quilt someday.  I want to look back on it as a long, relaxing journey, not a sprint.


Ok, that’s enough of my lecture!  On to the block!

I decided to paper-piece Fanny.  It’s a lot of tiny pieces and I’m using Liberty Lawn in my blocks (very woodgy). By now in the quilt-along,  you’ve probably read paper-piecing tutorials out the wazoo.  I’m going to quickly go over how I organize and paper-piece such an intricate block.


First, I chose my fabrics (of course!).  This block called for three fabrics.  In general, I choose one Liberty-esque print, one textural/blender print and one geometric print .  Sometimes I switch out the textural or geometric print with a fussy-cut novelty print.  I find that this combination (Organic-Blender-Geometic) creates good contrast and keeps the block from becoming too busy.


This block as a LOT of little pieces, so I snagged three crayons from my kids and quickly marked where each fabric will go.


Then I started sewing.  I like to work on all of the templates in a block at the same time.  This way I can be lazy and walk to the iron fewer times!


Once the templates were complete, I trimmed to the seam allowance lines and then gave everything a good press with starch (I’m using a bit more starch because of the lawn prints.).  I decided to leave the papers on until the very end, but if you are using normal quilting cottons, you could remove the paper at this point. Whatever makes you happy!


Sew the templates into 5 rows.  If you left the papers in, tear away the paper from the seam allowances you just sewed.


Sew the rows together, matching your seams, then give a good press with starch (I like to do this on top of one or two layers of batting), and you are done!

Have a great week!


Quiltcon Magazine: The Ripple Effect Quilt



Quiltcon Magazine will be hitting newsstands on March 1st and I have pattern in it!  I called the quilt “Ripple Effect”:

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The pattern is fast, easy and requires absolutely no templates, curves or paper-piecing (how very unlike me!).

It’s loosely based on a mini I designed for a swap (pictured below).  The mini had TEENY-TINY pieces, so I am happy to say that the full-sized version went together much easier.

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Do you want to know how to submit a pattern for Quiltcon Magazine next year?

The MQG will send out a call for submissions later in the year, so get on their newsletter list.  Last year, it went out in September and here were the submission guidelines.  I wrote up a blurb about the quilt and then attached the PDF below with layout options.  You can see that the block has a lot of possibilities!   In my typical Gemini fashion, I couldn’t narrow the layout down to one option, but I would think one option would be fine too.

ripple (dragged) ripple (dragged) 1

Most of my designs are more modern-traditional, but I submitted one of my designs that definitely fit into the modern genre (it’s a magazine for the Modern Quilt Guild, after all!)

A few weeks later, F+W Media contacted me saying that they would like to include my quilt and pattern!  They liked option 1, 2 & 3, but requested that I don’t use blue (they already had enough of it in the issue).  I decided to go with the aqua in Option 2 (I had fallen in love with it), but I wanted to add more color.  Oh, and they wanted the quilt in their office in three weeks, which was October 30th!

Between September and October we sold our house and the move date was November 8th.  Kristi Ryan came to my rescue by quilting, binding and adding a sleeve to the quilt, then mailing it off to F+W in time to be photographed.  In the meantime, I wrote up the pattern and created the illos (and moved!).

It was all worth it and I feel very honored to be in the magazine.


I was also very happy to finally get to go to Quiltcon and see one of my quilts hanging on display.

Quiltcon: Conquering Curves Class

Conquering Curves Sampler

Quiltcon was last week and I think I’ll be recovering until March! It was four incredibly amazing and draining days of classes, lectures, quilts and community. I also had the opportunity to teach an introduction to curves class to a wonderful group of ladies.  I named the class “Conquering Curves” and each student worked on a mini sampler of 12″ blocks, beginning with gentle and tame molehills and finishing with hysteria-inducing clamshells.


I’ve taught many classes, but never 24 people at a time, so I was a bit nervous as to how I would juggle everyone and make sure they all received individual attention in a short, 3-hour, class.  Yes, 3 hours is short for a sewing class!  The time goes FAST.

Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts was my lovely assistant throughout the class.  She was a lifesaver and dealt with the set-up, class fees and prepping anything that I overlooked.  She also made sure I had dinner and a drink at 9pm when class ended.  Thank you Alyce!

I also want to thank Jeanne Delpit at Bernina.  She prepped all of the uber-fancy machines and made sure that everyone knew how to drive them.


Look at all of those curves!!  I was impressed that so many people brought special fabrics to use for their minis. They had a lot of faith that I wouldn’t steer them awry.

Seeing the blocks go up on the design boards made my heart happy. I love teaching quilters new skills and seeing their faces when they realize that they ARE smart enough, they ARE good enough and gosh darn-it, curves like them!


Even at 9pm, there were still smiles to be seen and no one ran screaming and crying from their sewing machine (though that would have made for a good story).


When creating a new class it can be hard to gauge just how far into the project your students will get during the time allotted. People sew at various speeds and abilities, so it was my hope that everyone would at least make it to the third block during class (which I believe they all did).  I threw the clamshell block in there as an extra challenge for anyone who was super-fast, or as homework. I was pleased to see that many of my students went right home and finished their blocks!



I had so much fun teaching at Quiltcon and now I’m sad that I decided to teach only one class.  I can’t wait for Quiltcon West in 2018!


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)

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!






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 Modern Medallion Workbook Blog Hop + a Giveaway

The Modern Medallion Workbook by Janice Ryan and Beth Vassalo

Today is the last day for the Modern Medallion Workbook Blog Hop and I hope you have enjoyed hearing from the contributors and seeing each of the quilts!  
Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 8.34.54 AM The quilt I designed for the book is called “Migration Medallion”.  I wanted to create a medallion that was light, airy and had movement to it, so there is quite a lot of negative space and flying geese!

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The quilting was done by Angela Walters.  Isn’t it gorgeous?!  She really went all out with it and added so much more movement to the quilt.


The Modern Medallion Workbook by Janice Ryan and Beth Vassalo

One of my favorite sections of the the book are the coloring pages.  You can photocopy them and color them with pencils or markers, or you can scan them to your computer and use a paint program to play with the look of the quilts.

The Modern Medallion Workbook by Janice Ryan and Beth Vassalo

I had fun playing around with “Migration Medallion” and seeing what it would look like with a tighter color palette and darker background.  I think I know what my next project is!


Would you like to win a copy of The Modern Medallion Workbook? Comment below and I will pick one winner to be mailed a copy by C&T.  International winners will receive an e-copy of the book. I’m going to be traveling all summer, so I’d love it if you could suggest a hand-sewing/ embroidery project (pattern or book) I could take with me, if you know of one!

Contest will be open until Friday, May 29th at 9pm and the winner will be chosen randomly.

While you are waiting patiently to see if you have won, check out the previous stops in the hop and you can enter their giveaways also!

The Modern Medallion Workbook Blog Hop Schedule:

May 11th: Janice and Beth at C&T/Stash
May 12th: Melissa Richie-
May 13th: Amy Sinibaldi-
May 14th: Christina Lane-
May 18th: Erica Jackman-
May 19th: Becca Bryan-
May 20th: Karen Anderson-Abraham-
May 21st: Latifah Saafir-
May 22nd: Kerry Green-
May 25th: Beth- and

The Modern Medallion Blog Hop

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.54.35 PM

Today marks the beginning of The Modern Medallion Blog Hop!  Beth and I are starting off the hop with an introduction on C&T Publishing’s Blog.  Please pop on over to check it out and enter to win a free copy of the book!

Each of our contributors will be posting on their blogs over next two weeks, so you can get lots of sneak peeks and inside information on the book.  Follow the schedule each day to meet the designers and enter their giveaways:

The Modern Medallion Workbook Blog Hop Schedule:

May 11th:  Janice and Beth at C&T/Stash

May 12th: Melissa Richie-

May 13th: Amy Sinibaldi-

May 14th: Christina Lane-

May 18th: Erica Jackman-

May 19th: Becca Bryan-

May 20th: Karen Anderson-Abraham-

May 21st: Latifah Saafir-

May 22nd: Kerry Green-

May 25th: Beth-   and

Have a wonderful week!  Happy sewing!