Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 9


We’re back on schedule with the quilt-along this week with Block #9:

Block #9, the Squares Within Squares block, by Nancy Cabot, published in the Chicago Tribune on August 1, 1936.

Block 9 Squares Within Squares Block


Background fabric, cut 6 – 2 3/4″ squares.

Accent fabric 1 (lightest – yellow/green in diagram), cut 3 – 2 3/4″ squares.

Accent fabric 2 (medium – dark green in diagram), cut 3 – 2 3/4″ squares.

Accent fabric 3 (darkest – bright green in diagram), cut 4 – 2 3/4″ squares.

squares within squaresSquares Within Squares Block Diagram


1. Lay out 2 background squares and 2 Accent Fabric #1 squares for first row; Lay out 1 background square, 2 Accent Fabric #2 squares and 1 Accent Fabric #1 square for second row; Lay out 2 Accent Fabric #3 squares, 1 Accent Fabric #2 square and 1 background square for third row; Lay out 2 Accent Fabric #3 squares and 2 background squares for fourth row.

2. Join into rows; Press seam allowance to right on first row, then press to left on second row, etc. TIP: Pressing rows in alternating directions will allow your seams nest together snugly.

3. Join rows to make Squares Within Squares block.

Our finished blocks, side by side:

Block #9 - Squares Within Squares Nancy Cabot Quilt Block

Remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!  Come back Friday for a fun holiday table runner pattern; perfect to whip up as a last minute hostess gift!

Happy quilting,

Doris & Trina

Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 6


It’s November already–the air has gotten cooler and the days shorter. We just had warm comfort food; meatloaf, baked potatoes and pumpkin pie… and now we’re ready for a nap! But first, Block #6, the Cross Block:

cross quilt block row house creations building foundations sampler

Cross Block Diagram

Block 6 Cross Block, Farm and Home, Feb 15, 1915

From Jinny Beyer’s Book: “Eight pieces of the dark and 17 of the light goods, compose this block, and when a number of them are put together a very pretty effect of five-square and eight-square crosses is brought out. The order of the colors may be reversed. These blocks should be sewn together without strips of cloth between to produce the intended design.” Farm and Home, Feb 15, 1915


Background fabric, cut 17 – 2 5/16″ squares.

Accent fabric, cut 8 – 2 5/16″ squares.


1. Lay out background and accent squares as shown in Cross Block Diagram.

2. Join into rows, join rows to complete block.

TIP: Press seam allowances one direction in rows 1, 3 and 5, and the opposite direction in rows 2 and 4. This will make your seams nest together snugly for better matching corners.

Building Foundations QAL Block 6 Cross Quilt Block

We hope your blocks are coming along, and you like how they look; remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy quilting,

Trina & Doris

Building Foundations Sampler QAL — Block 4

Building Foundations Sampler QAL button

Block #4 is Broken Dishes, by Ruby McKim, 1931. (Jinny Beyer’s book).

broken dishes

Broken Dishes Block Diagram

One of our favorite traditional blocks; there are so many different looks you can get from this one simple block! (You can see two of our favorites, here and here.)


Background fabric, cut 2 – 5 3/8″ squares.

Accent fabric, cut 2 – 5 3/8″ squares.

ASSEMBLY: Making Your HSTs:

1. Draw a diagonal line on all background squares.


2. Sew a scant ¼” on either side of the drawn line. Cut apart on the drawn line and press to the darker fabric.  



TIP: Square-up/trim your HSTs to 5″ square before moving onto step #2.

2. Lay out 4 HSTs as shown in the block diagram above.  Join into pairs, join pairs to complete one block.  TIP: Pressing to the dark fabric allows you to easily “nest” your seams (as shown at left in photo below) to achieve perfectly matched points:PicMonkey Collage

And here are our finished blocks:

Building Foundations Sampler Quilt A Long Broken Dishes

How are you doing with your blocks? As you finish them, share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy quilting,

Trina & Doris

AQS Show: Mums for Melissa

It’s here! AQS Week in Des Moines, this will be the American Quilter’s Society’s largest (to date) quilt show–and Des Moines, and the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild have the honor of playing host!


We are excited–because our new pattern, Mums for Melissa is being featured in a demo in Booths 1003-1005 by Denise of the Iowa Falls Sewing Machine Co.–you can visit their booth to purchase our pattern.


Denise paid us the best compliment, she called to order more patterns and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me how awesome this pattern is?” Seriously, does it get any better than that?! She told us she thought it was a snowflake quilt waiting to happen (We Know!) and/or a sunflower quilt waiting to happen (Great idea, Denise!) — so many ideas, so little time.  So stop by and see Denise at booth 1003-1005! Tell her Trina & Doris said hello!

Chrysanthemum Mums for Melissa Modern Quilt

Living History Farms, a living history museum complex in Urbandale (a Des Moines suburb) will be hosting a vintage quilt show, also October 2-6.  It’s always worth a visit!

Also, on Wednesday, a new exhibit opens at the State Historical CenterThe Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st Century America. It will hang until January 31st. This exhibit is traveling from China, but consists of contemporary American Quilts.  Des Moines is the only U.S. city that will host the full exhibit.  I’ll be finding time next week to pay a visit to that one, I think…

Des Moines is a great City in which to be a quilter!  We also happen to be home to Meredith Corporation, publishers of American Patchwork & Quilting, and all of the Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications.  Just outside of Des Moines, in Winterset is the home of the Fons & Porter Love of Quilting publications.  We are also home base for a major publisher of quilting books, Landauer Publishing.  We have more than one active & thriving quilt guild, a Modern Quilt Guild chapter, numerous quilt retreat opportunities, a handful of great local quilt, fabric & yarn shops, and really friendly people! Like we said, Des Moines is a great place to be a quilter.

Are you planning to be in Des Moines this week?


Happy Quilting,

Trina & Doris

Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 3


We are keeping the blocks at the beginning of this QAL simple, but I promise they will become more involved as we progress. Just wanted to start out kind of easy to “trick you” into making the blocks, and then later you will be thankful for the easy blocks! 😉

Block #3 is White House Steps, by Laura Wheeler, published in Paris News, 1933. (Jinny Beyer’s book).

We both used four fabrics for this quilt block, I used three shades of pink and the background fabric.


Background fabric, cut 4 (C) – 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles, 4 (E) – 1 1/2″ squares, 4 (F) – 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles, 1 (G) – 3 1/2″ square.

Pink 1, cut 4 (D) – 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles, cut 4 (E) – 1 1/2″ squares.

Pink 2, cut 4 (D) – 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles, cut 4 (E) – 1 1/2″ squares.

Pink 3, cut 4 (A) – 1 1/2″ x 3″ rectangles, cut 4 (B) – 1 1/2″ x 2″ rectangles.

Layout block as shown:

white house steps quilt block assembly


1. Start with center, join 2 pink and 1 background E squares; 2 pink D rectangles and 1 E background square. Repeat to make second set of each. Press each seam carefully.

2.  Join strip of 3 E squares to the G square; repeat on opposite side of G square. Press.  Join the D/E strips to each side of center, press.  Continue adding sections in this manner for two outer rows.

Voila! Our finished blocks:

Block 3_ White House Steps Quilt Block

Join us, invite your friends, and share this on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… the more the merrier!  And, remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy Quilting,


Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 2

Thanks for all of your interest in our new quilt along!

Building Foundations Sampler QAL button

One question came up about how much background fabric we recommend. You are probably going to want at least 5 yards; see the bottom of this post for a more detailed answer.

Our latest block is a block known by many names; “Box Quilt Pattern”, Ladies Art Company 1897, “Box Car Patch”, Nancy Cabot, Chicago Tribune, 1934, and “Contrary Husband”, Kansas City Star, Nov 1938. (Jinny Beyer’s book).

Cut 1 – 3 ½” square for the center.

Cut 8 – 3 ⅞” squares from a print and a background fabric, or like Doris’ uses four different fabrics and a background to make 8 half square triangles.

Draw a diagonal line on all background squares.

Sew a scant ¼” on either side of the drawn line (diagram 2). Cut apart on the drawn line (diagram 3) and press to the darker fabric (diagram 4).


Layout the half square triangles and center square as shown. Sew the rows together pressing row 1 and 3 to the right, and row 2 to the left. This will make your seams lock together when sewing rows together.

Here are the finished blocks we made:

Remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy quilting,

Trina & Doris

It’s a Quilt-Along!

Building Foundations Sampler QAL button
Today is the start of our Building Foundations Sampler Quilt Along!  (The name comes from our business tag line; which is “Built Upon Classic Foundations”.)

I love sampler quilts! I made a Dear Jane quilt and it is by far my biggest piecing achievement! The sad part is, I can’t have it on the bed because our 60 pound dog sleeps with us. He can sleep on any other quilt in the house, but I draw the line with my Jane quilt!

So I am going to build a sampler quilt (and make a King size quilt that we can use!) and I’d love it if you made one along with me!  (Grab the button above for your blog or FB page). Every other week, I will introduce a new 9″ block with instructions.  Doris and I will both make a version and share the photos here.

I set up a Flickr group for those in the QAL to post pics of their own blocks as we go:  For those that share blocks in the Flickr group, there will be some giveaways along the way. 🙂

Join us, invite your friends, and share this on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… the more the merrier!

Happy Quilting,






















QAL Questions, Answered:

One question came up about how much background fabric we recommend. I purchased 3 yards to make sure I like the fabric that I chose and plan to buy 5 more off the same bolt of fabric. (Doris purchased five yards of white off the same bolt). This is my word of caution about using white (which I totally love). If you are using white make sure it is the same white, (brand and color) keep it away from your other whites. All white fabric is not created equally, and it may look alike today, but “trust” me, it will not wash or age alike. Take a look at some aged quilts, not even antiques with an assortment of white fabrics and you will find the white are not the same color of white & some look transparent. Doris found this out the hard way, with a laundry catastrophe, about three weeks ago. ;-) -TK

Can I use scraps? You bet–we LOVE scrappy quilts, and some of our blocks are scrappy, but our background remains consistent. However, if you have a bunch of light scraps, say shirting prints, that you want to use for your background, you could definitely cut your background from the scrap bin, too!  Or use a different background for each block–just keep contrast and value in mind, and you’ll make a great looking quilt! -DB

Mums for Melissa – Our Chrysanthemum quilt pattern is HERE!

As many of our followers know, this pattern has been a long time coming.  I first made this quilt for a friend’s 40th Birthday, in April 2010.  I chose this block because the Chrysanthemum is a symbol of love and friendship.  Then it was featured again on my blog and in Quilty Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013 issue:

Quilty Magazine Meet a Modern Quilter Doris Chrysanthemum Quilt

Well the wait is over, we have it ready!  It is hot off the presses and available in the shop!

Mums For Melissa Chrystanthemum Quilt Front CoverFINAL copy

I wanted to make this a pattern back in 2010, when I made this first version… which is based on the Chrysanthemum block, first published via mail-order in the 1930s:

chrysanthemum quilt

But the on-point strips in the block held me up.  I couldn’t come up with a non-paper-pieced way of showing how to easily construct the block.  Eventually it was moved to the back burner, where it stayed until earlier this year.  After a LOT of requests for the pattern following the release of the Quilty feature, Trina and I decided to revisit it.  We were playing around in my studio one Saturday and Trina kept fussing with the Chrysanthemum block while I was chain piecing, and all the sudden a light bulb struck — we had it!  Perseverance paid off!

Mums for Melissa Chrysanthemum Quilt on Lake Superior

chrysanthemum quilt detail Mums for Melissa

After we had it made, and the instructions close to complete, we had to name it.  All of our patterns to date have retained part of the traditional block’s name in the pattern name.  We just couldn’t commit to the name Chrysanthemum, because it’s tough word that is for some people a tongue twister.

Chrysanthemum Mums for Melissa Quilting Detail Modern Quilting

The friend I first made it for, Tonya, seemed natural to use, but it didn’t quite fit with the name variations we tried out.  In 2010, the same year I made this quilt for Tonya, Trina lost one of her dear sisters, Melissa. When one of us suggested Mums for Melissa, we knew immediately we had the name!

Melissa died far too young; her memory lives on with her family, especially among her tight-knit sisters.  She will always be loved and missed by her family; and this quilt is dedicated to her memory.

Chrysanthemum Mums for Melissa Modern Quilt

Summer Days

Thanks to all of you who have purchased our Fox in a Box pattern, the response in the first two weeks of it’s release has been outstanding! A little boost to keep more patterns coming for you eager quilters!

Summer in Iowa arrived (Winter just went away; somehow we seem to have skipped Spring this year…) and with that is time spent outdoors, with family, and gardening and yard work! I have to share this photo of Trina’s lovely flowers, in a planter along the walk to her front door:

Trinas Flowers 1

Such a pretty combo.  My windowbox planters look pretty weak by comparison; which is why I’m not showing any photos of those here today.  We are in a “new to us” old house, and every day is a surprise with what blossoms in the flower beds.  Earlier this wintery Spring I was pleasantly surprised to find yellow irises blooming (so cheerful and pretty – they made my week!):

Yellow Irises

Our coming pattern features a flower theme, too – but I’m going to hold off another week or so before sharing photos of it… However, in keeping with the theme of sharing color variations of our patterns, I wanted to show you this One Big Cabin and Modern Fortune baby size quilt on display at Quilting Connection in Ames, Iowa:


My husband and I happened to be in Ames last weekend and stopped in to pick up a quilt.  It was fun to walk in and see these hanging prominently at the front of the store.  The kit for their Modern Fortune quilt is very similar to our cover quilt, but the One Big Cabin kit offers yet another, more “woodsy” look:


Tomorrow is the last day of the 2nd Annual All Iowa Shop Hop… I made it to TWO shops this year (only to ONE last year!).  This year we had Iowa fabric available; I’m hoping it hasn’t all sold out as I am fairly certain I need to buy some — I am an Iowa native after all!

Until next week…

Happy Quilting,

Doris (& Trina)

Cabin fever!

We’ve shown you a few customer variations of our One Big Cabin quilt pattern before, today I want to share a few more! When we sold the pattern to the owner of Merry’s Stitchins in Jesup, Iowa (on a visit to the shop, we showed her samples of our quilts and provided patterns for her inventory) she immediately said she wanted to make a shop sample of One Big Cabin without the applique.  She even started choosing the fabrics for it while we looked around her wonderful store… Her’s was the Dr. Seuss version I showed you last week.

Our friend, Wendy, went to a retreat last month at Merry’s Stitchins, saw Merry’s fabulous shop sample and decided to make her own non-applique version for the newborn daughter of one of her coworkers.  This is Wendy’s quilt top:

ONe Big Cabin Non-applique Baby Quilt

The backing for this quilt was the same floral print on the front, only the back was flannel – super cuddly!  Such bright, happy colors for a new baby girl!

Prairie Point Quilts, in Shawnee, Kansas carries our patterns, too, and recently sent us this photo of their shop sample of One Big Cabin:

One Big Cabin baby quilt shop sample from Prairie Point Quilts in Shawnee Kansas

It looks like they used mostly batiks, and I love the soft, earthy look they lend to this quilt…

Nothing gives us fuel to keep creating, quilting, and marketing our work like seeing someone else’s vision for our patterns!!!! NOTHING!  So, keep ’em coming, if you make a quilt from one of our patterns, please email us a photo, send us a link to it online, or upload it to our Flickr group – we look forward to seeing it!

Happy Quilting, 

Doris & Trina