Double Slice Layer Cake


This was tonight’s finish…Double Slice Layer Cake.  At present, this is a flimsy measuring 52″ x 60″.  This is a pattern / video / tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

fresh-air-by-american-jane-modaAll you need to make the quilt top is a 10″ layer cake.  I made my quilt from a Moda Layer cake from Fresh Air by American Jane that I bought at our guild’s garage / trunk sale.  I love the 30′s retro feel to this fabric line.

This is the perfect quilt pattern for someone who is new to quilting as there are no seams to match up until you are sewing your blocks together into rows.  Even if your seam allowance is not a precise 1/4″, you have the opportunity to square your blocks to all the same size after piecing and before sewing your blocks together into rows.

This was the same pattern that my DIL used to make her first quilt.


M with her first quilt – a Double Slice Layer Cake – photo taken January 3, 2016.



Good Vibrations – Flimsy

2016_March 21_Good Vibrations by Kari Vojtechovsky_Quilts and More Fall 2014_54 x 66This is the third project that I have been working on during my vacation.  

This quilt is from from a pattern that appeared in the Fall 2014 Quilts and More magazine by Kari Vojtechovsky called Good Vibrations.

I have been holding onto a collection of turquoise, orange, and yellow batiks waiting for just the right pattern.  These fabrics remind me of the landscape in Arizona.  The Kona white background makes the colours in the batiks sparkle.  The colours in my photo are a bit off. The light in my studio in the corner of the room where the design wall resides is not the best at night.

Size: 53.5″ x 66″. 

Paint Chips – Flimsy

2016_March 18_Paint Chips by Karla Alexander_Flimsy_47 x 65This is the second project that I have worked on during my vacation.  This is Paint Chips from a pattern by Karla Alexander from her book, Stack, Shuffle, and Slide.


Last year while our guild was in Seattle for the Fourth Annual Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meet Up in August, we toured Martingale’s publishing facilities.  After the tour there was an opportunity to purchase some of the books published by Martingale.  One of the books that I bought was Stack, Shuffle, and Slide by Karla Alexander.

This quilt definitely fits the definition of improv piecing with intention.  According to the Modern Quilt Guild, “Improv does not have to be random when it comes to quilting. It is one thing to start with a bag of scraps when improvising in the sewing room, but what do you do when you’ve got an idea and want to improvise the process.  It can be as simple as transferring an image or as abstract as translating an idea.”

Using Karla’s technique of stacking squares of fabric and then slicing the squares a specific number of times and then shuffling the pieces, you end up with a simple way to sew improv blocks.  Karla’s pattern says to start with 10 fat quarters (18″ x 22″) and cut them into 20 rectangles measuring 11″ x 12.5″.  I prewashed my fat quarters which resulted in some fabric shrinkage.  When I went to cut my squares, I did not have a perfectly square fat quarter.  I ended up cutting my squares less than the 11″ x 12.5″ recommended size in the pattern.  This resulted in finished squares that measured 7.5″ x 9″ rather than the 8″ x 10″ rectangles that Karla showed in her pattern.  I felt I had less flexibility in where I made my slices on the squares because I had started with smaller rectangles to begin with.  If I were to make this quilt again, I would start working with cuts of fabric larger than a fat quarter to ensure that after prewashing my fabric I would have a large enough rectangle to start the process with.
I also eliminated the inner contrasting border.  I like the look of the squares floating on the background rather than seeing them contained by that inner border.

The fun part of this pattern is making the blocks and then playing with the blocks and other bits on the design wall.  Once you have made your decision on where everything is going to go, the assembly of the top is a bit tedious.

The following review of Karla’s book was completed by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild and gives some more insight into this book.

Reviewed by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild (Stacey Day) 
Customer rating 5.0/5.0 

I had the opportunity to review another book for the VMQG. This time around I pulled Stack Shuffle and Slide by Karla Alexander.

I am not much of an improv quilter, not by a long shot. There is something about randomly sewing things with no plan that scares me. The one time I tried I ended up with a set of fairly symmetrical blocks that looked planned. Its this reason that when I started into Stack, Shuffle, and Slide, I could not put it down. I sped through the whole thing, and re-read a couple chapters, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now, I have to be honest, I had not heard of the stack the deck technique used for the projects in the book, so I was not quite sure what to expect. What I got was a versatile technique combining structured techniques and modern improv cutting. The result is a quilt style suitable for any quilter and experience level.

Stack Shuffle and Slide patterns can be as structured or as improv as you want. The quilts themselves are very easy to customize. In fact, Karla includes tips for fabric selection and cutting ideas at the start of each. She also gives you her inspirations and why she chose to make each quilt.

Karla writes in a friendly manner that makes the instructions easy to understand. The patterns are well written and straightforward, with plenty of diagrams and illustrations to highlight key points in the techniques.

Her quilts are the perfect combinations of styles, so I am sure anyone could find at least 3 quilts in the book that they like (Go ahead, get the book and prove me wrong!) There are 15 quilts to choose from in a wide variety of sizes, and almost all of them can be increased in size by cutting some extra blocks.

The projects for the most part are simple, there are a few that are more complex, but the instructions and diagrams are well written, so as long as you are not rushing through you will be fine no matter what your skill level. The simple patterns are perfect for quick gifts or a day retreat.

Most of the quilts use smaller cuts of fabric so its really easy to pull from your stash. Prints, solids, it does not matter, as long as you keep to the suggested values you will keep the essence of the quilt design.

My favorite quilt is a toss up between Dot Dash Click and Simple Simon. Both have an eye pleasing aesthetic to them and I cant wait to start pulling fabrics to see where it takes me.

Overall I would recommend Stack, Shuffle and Slide to pretty well everyone, but especially those quilters who enjoy the improv process or have always wanted to try but get stuck, like me! I think the stack the deck technique is simple enough for anyone to learn and use, and the number of patterns included means there is something for everyone. The book is easy to read and understand, the patterns are clear and well written, and her designs suggestions make it easy to tailor the quilt to suit your own personal tastes. An A+ in all categories! 

Finished size: 47″ x 64.5″.

Check Plus – Flimsy

2016_March 13_Check Plus_Flimsy_50.5 in x 68.5 inI am on two weeks vacation.  In the past few years we have taken a vacation in the winter and headed to the sunshine.  We won’t be doing that this year.  The Canadian dollar is worth $0.75497 against the US dollar today so we have made a decision to staycation at home this year.  If I am at home, I will have more time to spend in my studio!  Bonus!

The first project I have worked on during this vacation is now finished to a flimsy.   This quilt is called Check Plus and is from a quilt pattern by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs that appeared in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Quilty Magazine.

This was a fun quilt to do. I used a stack of dotty fat quarters that I picked up at a previous year’s Creative Stitches Show. (Maybe two years ago?) I kept the pink fabric from the FQ stack out of the quilt to make this one a more gender neutral palette.

This has now been added to the growing stack of “to be quilted” tops.

Finished flimsy size: 50.5″ x 68.5″.

Stormy Housetop Quilt

Part of my Christmas (2015) present from my husband was two Gee’s Bend quilt patterns. The original quilts were created by Rita Mae Pettway and her daughter, Louisiana P. Bendolph Windham Fabrics acquired the rights to adapt the patterns from Ms. Pettway and Ms. Bendolph and asked Debby Kratovil to write the patterns. 

Over yesterday and today, I assembled my version of Rita Mae’s Housetop quilt.   This is not my usual colour palette.  The quilt feels a bit stormy to me which aptly sums up where the last half of 2015 has been for me emotionally.

I tore two of my old denim dresses into strips and used that fabric in the quilt along with quilt shop cottons–some Grunge, a Michael Miller print, a Kona solid, and a 100% cotton fabric that had a texture similar to linen.

Optimized-2016_January_03 - Norma's version of Rita Mae Pettway's Housetop quilt_Flimsy_51 x 62

My Stormy Housetop (flimsy) – 51″ x 62″

Gee's Bend_Rita Mae Pettway's Original Housetop Quilt

This is the original “Housetop – Work-Clothes” quilt made by Rita Mae Pettway in 2005.  The quilt was made from denim and cotton and measures 70″ x 84″.

According to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the housetop quilt pattern, was comprised of, “concentric squares of gradually enlarging scale. The work is a testimony to the ways in which the local environment, including its architecture and landscape, played a direct role in Gee’s Bend quilt design: although it is a variation upon a common quilt pattern, the work is also an abstracted map of the Pettway plantation. The quilter used blocks and strips to represent the former slave cabins surrounding the “big house,” the dirt roads and paths, and the river on one side and the fields on the other.”  Rita Mae also told me that the housetop pattern reflects what you see when you lay on your bed and look up to the roof of your house.  

The pattern jacket gives the following information about Rita Mae.  “She made her first quilt at the age of 14.  She was raised by her grandmother, quiltmaker Annie E. Pettway and still lives in the house that her grandfather build for the family in the 1940′s.  “Onliest thing we did after everything else was done, we sit by the fireplace in the wintertime and piece up quilts.  Me and my grandmama Annie.  She didn’t have no pattern to go by; she cut them by the way she know how to make them,” says Rita Mae.  Piecing quilts, according to Rita Mae, was done individually but quilting “we all did together.”  Rita Mae, along with her ancestors and her daughter, renowned quilter Louisiana Bendolph share a penchant for creating strip quilts in concentric squares resulting in Housetops or Hog Pens, each artist though has a unique style and variation on the theme.”

As I pieced my version of Rita Mae’s quilt, I was thinking about the two days I spent with Rita Mae and her daughter, Louisiana in October 2015 when I participated in a Gee’s Bend workshop with them.



This is a picture of Rita Mae taken October 25, 2015. She is showing us how she hand pieces her strips of cotton together to make a quilt top.

This is a picture of Louisiana, myself, and Rita Mae with the quilt top I made in class over the two days.
Gee's Bend Rabbit Lou Me HalfAnother picture of Louisiana (Lou), myself, and Rita Mae (Rabbit).