Category Archives: Pattern Place

Reviews of our newest and greatest patterns, available for purchase online and in the store.

Mary Jane’s “Bee My Honey”


There’s a 50-acre piece of country paradise in northern Idaho…it’s where you go to get away from technology; see how a working farm, well, works; spend time in a 100+ year old one-room school house; visit the only remaining flour mill on the Palouse, and sleep in a cozy, furnished wall tent in the middle of an orchard {nearby outhouse included!}.  It’s a place to truly go back in time, and it’s all ran by one person….Mary Jane Butters.

Mary Jane has been an organic farmer near Moscow, Idaho for the past 28 years.  She’s been featured in “National Geographic,” on the CBS Evening Show  and in many other publications.  In addition to running the farm, she also publishes a magazine and writes cookbooks.   If all of that isn’t enough, she’s managed to design a collection of fabric for Moda in her spare time.


Bee My Honey” is a bright collection of red, blue, turquoise, yellow and green bees, florals, honey combs, watering cans, and letter “B’s.”  We’ve had a lot of fun using the collection in a few fast and easy projects.


 This little hexie mat is a great way to draw attention to my favorite print in the collection…the multi-colored bees on the turquoise background.

I chose a subtle grey-on-grey dot print for the background.  I used the same fabric on the front and the back, measuring 16.75″ W x 17.5″ H.  You’ll also need a piece of batting with the same measurements.  (If you prefer your backing and batting to be larger than your top, adjust accordingly.)

Using a variety of prints from the collection, I made 24 hexies with 1″ hexie paper piecing forms.  (Hexies are measured along the straight edge, from point to point).  If you haven’t used the paper piecing method for hexies, there are many helpful step-by-step videos on You-Tube.  I made sure to fussy cut the turquoise bee fabric so I’d end up with several whole bees.  Once you’ve made the hexies and removed the papers, press lightly with your iron around the outer edge of the hexie.  Lay them out on your background fabric…I chose to position them just off center and in three rows of 8.  I left about a 1.25″ space at both the top and the bottom of the group of hexies…I didn’t want my binding to overlap the hexies.   I placed the hexies approximately 1/8″ apart.  I applied a small circle of Heat N Bond Lite to the back of each hexie to keep them in place as I worked.  Create a sandwich with your top, batting and backing.  Pin well.


Using my walking foot, I sewed around each hexie, 1/8″ from the edge.


Once the hexies are sewn on, it’s time to quilt it.  I wanted to emphasize the hexagon pattern, so I moved my needle until it was 3/8″ away from the left edge of my walking foot.  I placed the left edge of the walking foot on the outer edge of one of the hexies and quilted around the entire group.   If you have the option on your machine to stop with your needle down when you reach the point of the hexies, this process is much simpler.  Once you’ve gone around the hexies once, start again with the left edge of your foot on the quilting line you just finished and outline it again.  Continue until your background fabric is completely quilted.  I bound my completed mat with 2.5″ binding.


When I travel, I always try to visit the local quilt stores in the area.  Since I have access to so much fabric at Quilt Expressions, most of my out-of-town purchases are charm packs.  Our second project is a fast and easy way to put those charm packs to use.  You need one charm pack, one yard of background fabric, 1/2 yard binding, and a Triangle Square-up ruler  (Click here for ruler tutorial).  For our sample, we squared each half square triangle up to 4.5″.   If you have any questions on how to use the ruler, either view the tutorial link above or stop in and ask us to demonstrate it for you.  This is a great project because you can use your design wall to arrange them in so many different layouts.  Backing requirements will vary based on the layout you choose.

Our finished project measures 32″ x 40.”


Our final project is a lovely table runner using the “Waffletime” pattern by Atkinson Designs.  This pattern is perfect if you have a fabric that you’d like to showcase.  The finished size is 18″ x 42.”  “Waffletime” kits are available in-store and will be available online at soonNote:  The “Waffletime” tablerunner kit is selling so quickly, we haven’t had a chance to add it to our on-line store.  If you’d like to purchase one, call or stop in today before they are gone!  (local:  208.338.8933; toll-free: 1.800.544.5839)

Some day, I hope to take a trip to Mary Jane’s Farm and spend a few days there enjoying nature and learning a bit more about the history of the area.  However, I’m so happy that, for now, I can at least spend some of my free time with the “Bee My Honey” collection.  It makes me think of Spring and the beauty that is just around the corner.

***Source of information gathered about Mary Jane and her farm: ***

Just in time for Spring…”Vintage Play”

PicMonkey Collage

I grew up on a farm in rural Idaho.  As soon as the snow melted and the days warmed, my three brothers and I spent every waking moment outside.  We invented games using whatever we could find on the farm.  We played marbles, climbed apple trees, dug in the sand box, explored the old farm machinery “graveyard,” played baseball in the empty field behind our house, pretended to play school, chased our dogs through apple orchards and corn fields, conquered mountains with those durable old yellow Tonka trucks and rode bikes for hours.  It was a great time and place to grow up.

This past October at Quilt Market, we came upon the Suz’n Quilts booth.  Fabric and pattern designer Susan Marth is the creative force behind Suz’n Quilts.  As I admired her “Vintage Play” fabric line, I was reminded of my childhood.  A panel showing a boy and girl enjoying the simple joys of childhood brought back memories of our time spent on the farm.  I’m not sure I’d consider myself “vintage,” but I sure do love her fabric collection and patterns.


Quilt Expressions has created two quilt kits using Suz’n Quilts’ fabric collection and patterns.  The first is “Vintage Play.”


Vintage Play” combines the Vintage Play panel, fabric collection and pattern book, resulting in a colorful collection of childhood moments.  The kit includes the pattern and fabric for the top and binding.  The finished size is 61″ x 77.”


My Pencil Box” combines Suz’n Quilts’ “My Pencil Box” pattern with American Jane fabrics.  It’s a great quilt-as-you-go project, or it can be quilted after you’ve finished piecing the top.  The kit includes the pattern and fabric for the top and binding.  The finished size is 42″ x 72.5.”


Suz’n Quilts’ book “Vintage Play” contains directions for six lap quilt projects, plus a bonus mini quilt.  The patterns make perfect use of the Vintage Play panel and fabric line.

Let’s add a little pink and red to all that white!

PicMonkey Collage for NL

Like most of the country, Boise has had snow for what seems like a very long time.   It’s only January, but I think that most of us are ready for it to melt and those Spring flowers to start popping up.  Wishful thinking, eh?  While we can’t do anything about the weather scene outside, we can change our inside view.  We’ve moved the snowman and holiday fabric to the color wall and found some fun ways to add a little pink and red to all of that white.

PicMonkey Collage for Blog

PicMonkey Collage

Our first new kit is made with the Alsace collection.  It’s a perfect combination of creamy white, red, pink , black and grey.  When used together with the Arcadia pattern from Mountain Peak Creations, it is gorgeous!  The quilt measures approximately 60.5″ x 72.5.”

PicMonkey Collage 2 for blog

Fabric Collection Collage

Our second kit is called “Surrounded by Love.”  It is made from the Surrounded by Love collection by Deb Strain for Moda and Anka’s Treasures’ Around the Block pattern.  The fabric collection is a mix of sweet pink, real red and crisp white.  These sweet combinations just might help us survive the rest of our dreary, wintery days.

Quilting vs Skydiving


I’ve been spending the past couple of days with some unwanted houseguests.  They’ve settled in and made themselves right at home.  I’ve tried to convince them to leave with rest, lots of Vitamin C and a few boxes of Kleenex, but they appear to be sticking around.   Since I’ve had plenty of time to sit and ponder life, I’ve reached a conclusion regarding my choice of hobbies.  It has (at least) one huge benefit over skydiving!

Skydiving or Quilting

I have a lot of interests, but I have one favorite hobby.  I’m pretty sure you can probably guess what it is.  I like it so much, it’s now both my hobby and my job.   I have other interests, quite a few in fact.  However , the majority of my spare time is spent at the sewing machine.  As I sat at my machine this morning working on a few projects, I realized one huge benefit of sewing as a hobby.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m not feeling well.  I can’t go to work; I wouldn’t want to spread it around to others.  I can’t volunteer at my kids’ schools for the same reason.  I have no desire to go to the grocery store, shopping, etc.  But there is one thing I can do with a cold.  I can sew.  Now, imagine if I had chosen something else, let’s say skydiving, rather than sewing as a hobby.  Yes, that’s a gorgeous blue sky in the photo on the left. I’m sure there’s a fantastic view from up there of the City of Trees today.   Besides the fact that no one could ever convince me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane if I was feeling 100%, skydiving is not something I could do while sick.  But, oh, I can sew!

Airplane taggie and changing pouch

Since I didn’t have plans to skydive, I thought I’d stick with the plane theme and work on a baby shower gift.  My brother, who is a pilot, and his wife are having their first baby girl in November.   I pulled out a pattern I made several years ago and made an airplane loop toy using their colors, orange and turquoise.  I’ve made this for baby boys before but this is a first using girly fabrics.  I also made a favorite baby shower gift, a quick-change diaper pouch.  The diaper pouch holds a diaper, a flannel changing pad and a small container of wipes…just perfect for keeping all of the diaper changing supplies in one spot in the diaper bag.

well-used pattern and mail sack

I also started sewing a project that I’ve had cut out for a while.  I am making a couple of samples of the Mail Sack bag pattern for the store.  Can you tell it’s a favorite of mine by the number of pin holes in the pattern pieces?  We picked some fabric from the Art Gallery lines for both a small and large Mail Sack.  Be sure to take a peek once we have them on display!

Well, I’m going to go grab my blanket and pillow, curl up on the couch right where the afternoon sun hits it and see if I can convince these unwanted houseguests to leave.  Happy sewing!

Let’s get to know Rodi…


If you’ve been in Quilt Expressions, you’ve heard the gentle, continual hum that comes from the long arm side of the store.  We have four Gammill Long Arm quilting machines that are available to rent by those who have taken our long-arm class and a Statler Stitcher that is operated by staff only.  Keeping this beehive of activity operating smoothly is a team of talented quilters…..Rodi and Tracey.    Let’s get to know Rodi a little better.  (Tracey, you’re next!)

How did you learn to sew?

I lived with my grandparents during the summer months from when I was seven until I was fifteen years old.  In our cherished spare time, my grandma taught me and my sister how to make templates out of cardboard, then draw around them on the fabric.  Next, we’d cut out the quilt pieces with scissors.  Finally came the sewing machine and teaching us how to sew a straight line.  If my grandmother were alive today, she would love the rotary cutters and the hours they save.

My life outside of Quilt Expressions:

I am married to a great guy named Brett, and we have two wonderful children.  Brandon (soon to be 20) and Ali (who is 16…some of you have probably seen her in the store on the first Saturday of the month).  My family is the most important thing in my life.  In my limited spare time, of course, I piece and long arm quilt.  I also love to travel and spend time with good friends.  I love to read, even though I don’t seem to have much time for it anymore.  I love to play Sudoku and put together puzzles when time allows.  I also like to work on home projects.  Something about me that might surprise you is that I used to compete in triathlons.

My long arm quilting history:

I have been working at Quilt Expressions for seven years.  I took the second long arm class that Karen offered when she had the store over on Broadway a little over seven years ago.  I was hooked!  I couldn’t get enough of it.

Do you enjoy quilting others’ quilts?

Yes, absolutely!  I love seeing the different colors and patterns that people use in their quilts.  We are all so different with the colors we use.  Every day I get to see (and touch) a new quilt.  How much better can it get than that?!

What is your favorite type of fabric and your favorite pattern?

I definitely go for the bold and brights, most of the time.  And so far, my favorite pattern is “Spin Cycle.”  My second favorite quilt pattern is not really a pattern but a wonky way of creating blocks so every quilt is different.

What inspires you?

I was inspired on a recent trip to Seattle when we went to the Chihuly showroom.  His colorful glass works of art inspired me to try to make a “Chihuly” quilt.  I am still working on how to do it, but someday I will.  Also, the modern quilts inspire me and makes me want to both design and sew a few.

5 things I’d like to tell you as a long arm quilter:

1.  Make sure both the quilt top and back are square.

2.  Your quilt back and batting need to be at least 4″ larger than your top on all sides.

3.  It helps if your borders aren’t wavy and full.  If you need help on how to put on borders, we will definitely help you!

4.  Make sure your seams are as flat as possible and well-pressed.

5.  Be sure to remove all of your selvage before using your fabric.  The selvage is woven much tighter than your fabric and won’t shrink at the same rate.

High Street by Lily Ashbury for Moda

Large Collage High Street 2

Have you ever walked into a quilt store and your eyes just seem to be drawn to a fabric display?  Do you have a favorite line of fabric that you can imagine using in just about every imaginable way?  For me, that line is High Street by Lily Ashbury for Moda.  When it first came in to the store, I was drawn to the bright colors.  I imagined it together with a crisp white.  I love quilts with bright colors set amid a whole lot of white.  However, now that we have our samples made, I love it with Moda grey.

High Street Quilt

Remember that challenge issued by Karen in my last post?  Well, I did it!  The quilt is finished, thanks to a few extra hands.  Della prepared the back and binding for me and the very talented ladies at the store quilted it.  Flowing through the High Street display is Quilt Expressions’ original pattern “Cake and Ice Cream” made with a High Street Layer Cake and yardage of Moda grey.

Three pillows High Street

Della’s challenge was to make a set of pillows using Quilt Expressions’ original 1-2-3 Pillow Pattern.  There are several pillow samples already in the store, but these are my favorite!  Aren’t they gorgeous?!  Making a set of these for myself has been added to my sewing to-do list.

Fat Quarters High Street Better

If you’d like to start a collection of High Street, the easiest way is to start with some of our precut fat quarters or one of our fat quarter packs.  The packs include ten fat quarters with a nice mix of the prints available.

With the holidays and gift-giving time approaching, imagine a fun, frilly apron, a bright Mail Sack, a set of placemats and napkins, a little girl’s skirt, or a quilt made with High Street all wrapped up for a lucky person (or for yourself!).

Shopping List:

Fabric – visit Quilt Expressions and search for “High Street”

Cake and Ice Cream Pattern

1-2-3 Pillow Pattern

Mail Sack Pattern


The winners from our “Cozy Cabin” post are Betty Shumaker, Suzi Warner and Barb N.  Please send us at email at and provide either a mailing address or let us know that you’ll be by to pick up your Cozy Cabin pattern.   Thanks!   ~Katie

“Whatcha doing?”

DSCN4342When I posted my first “Whatcha Doing?” post, I had so many fun projects to work on and lots of time for sewing.  See this photo on the left?  That’s where my spare time has gone these past few weeks.  Between being on vacation, getting the kids back in to the school mode, and trying to get 650 fundraiser packets ready and out the door, I had a very long three and half weeks where I wasn’t able to sew.  Not one single stitch!  Finally, I just had to make something!

Mail Sack Collage

Do you have a favorite bag pattern?  I do…and this is it!   The Mail Bag from Pink Chalk Studio is so incredibly versatile!  I try to spend one Saturday morning a month at the Farmer’s Market.  The bags that I wear on my shoulder always fall down my arm when I lean over to look at something at a booth.  I came upon this pattern and decided to give it a try.  It comes in two sizes, mini and large.  I’ve always made the mini, and it holds everything I need to carry with me.    It’s a cross-body bag, so it stays put.  I’ve made so many of them that I’ve honestly lost count.  It’s great for traveling; this particular bag is on it’s way to Romania in October.

I did make a couple of adjustments to the pattern (I have a hard time sticking to patterns!).  I like to cut a strip of coordinating fabric about 3″ x the width of the bag body pattern piece.  I double it over, wrong sides together, press and add it when I’m sewing the yoke to the body.  And, of course, I also have to make a fabric flower, attach it to a pin and stick it on the bag.  (Don’t tell my daughter that I raided her button collection!)

Utility Apron Collage

My next project was a much-needed utility apron for work.  This was a quick one-hour project.  It took me longer to drive to Quilt Expressions, look at fabric, decide on the “Mama Said Sew”  line and then drive back home than it took to put it together.  It is the perfect apron to hold my cell phone, a pen, and a note pad.

There I was feeling pretty good about finally sewing and finishing two projects so quickly, and then along came a challenge from Karen that  I had to accept!  So now, I have new project to work on…and fast!

High Street In Progress Collage

I have one week, that’s it…just one week, to start and finish our “Cake and Ice Cream” quilt with a High Street layer cake.   Whew!  Once it’s complete and I’ve recovered from a marathon sewing session, I’ll post some photos of my progress on my Super Six and the table topper I’ve started with a Boo Crew charm pack.   Happy Sewing!


I always love to hear what others are working on.  It gives me ideas and inspires me to try new things.  What projects(s) are underway at your house?


Cozy Cabin

Cozy Cabin Bad Weather

When the skies look like this, I know that these beauties at the top of my to-do list are going to have to wait to be planted.  The thunder is rolling, and the house is dark, even with the lights on.  There’s just one place I want to be…

CC quilt with magazines

…cozied up with a warm, flannel quilt, a couple of new quilting magazines and a cup of hot coffee.  Does it get any better than that?

CC Full Quilt

Our just-released August Stashbuster pattern is perfect for those dark, stormy evenings.  “Cozy Cabin” is made from soft flannel and is 90″ by 90.”  It’s the perfect size to throw over your bed when the nights get cool, and I think it would work just perfectly for one or two, snuggled on the couch with the magazines and coffee I mentioned earlier.

CC Triple Closeup

Our “Cozy Cabin” kit includes the pattern, plus fabric for the top and binding.  You will need an additional seven yards of fabric for the back.  Did you know that you can save 10% off the regular-priced backing fabric  for this quilt if you purchase the backing at the same time as the kit?

If you’re interested in just the pattern, it can be purchased either at Quilt Expressions or here.


Have you been joining in on our “National Sewing Month Question of the Day” event on Facebook?  We’re having a lot of fun getting to know each other.  To give you a just a sample, here’s today’s Question of the Day:   Do you enjoy sewing from a kit?  Why or why not? 

As a “thank you” to our faithful blog readers, I’ll be entering the name of each person who answers our “Question of the Day” on this post before 5 p.m. on Friday, September 13, 2013 in a drawing for one of three “Cozy Cabin” patterns.  One entry per person.   If you’re not a follower of us on Facebook, click on over and “like” us.  There just might be a give-a-way there soon!


Neighborhood Association

According to Wikipedia, a neighborhood association is “a group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood.” To me, however, neighborhood association has a different meaning.

neighborhood assoc happy valley

Neighborhood association is the relationship you have with those who live next to you.  Do you chat on the front yard as you’re doing yard work?  Have a get-together on your neighbor’s deck?  Meet on the corner to start your morning walk together?   Chat on a blanket as all of the kids gather to play in the cul-de-sac?  That’s neighborhood association.

Park Neighborhood Assoc

It’s the events that are held at your local park.  Music, food, kids’ sports, fitness walks, the playground….anything that brings you together.

PicMonkey Collage farmers market

Neighborhood association is your local Farmer’s Market, where you go to buy fresh produce, flowers and locally made goods.  It’s where you go each week with a list in mind of what you need, but you always factor in a bit of extra time to chat with the neighbors you see there.

Neighborhood Assoc quilt

Last month’s Stashbuster pattern was “Neighborhood Association.”  Each block contains multiple houses ~ stacked on top of each other, next to each other, as close as can be.  It reminds me of a colorful neighborhood hillside ~ each house has it’s own personality, but, together, they make up a place where people gather to spend time with one another.

Neighborhood Assoc quilt 2

Have you started a collection of fat quarters without a project in mind?  This might be the perfect quilt for them.  The pattern calls for twenty fat quarters plus 2/3 yard for sashing.  The completed size is 52.5″ x 72.5.”  It’s also recommended that you use a Quilt in a Day Flying Geese Ruler.


Click here to visit our website to purchase both the Neighborhood Association pattern and the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese Ruler.

Leave a comment and let me know:   What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?  We bought our house a couple of years ago, and I love that we’ve met enough people that most everyone gives a friendly wave and a “hello” as they pass by.

How’s that Super Six coming along?

PicMonkey Collage

I’m so glad you asked!  If you’re just joining us, back on this post I decided to try to make a quilt using a pattern.  I chose Quilt Expressions’ “Super Six”, which calls for six one-yard cuts of fabric.    The quilt is going to be for my daughter, who is almost nine.  She loves the color pink, so I knew that there had to be a lot of pink involved.  Let me start off by telling you that choosing my fabric is always the hardest part for me, and I think I spent more time on that than I have on any other step so far.

The first fabric that caught my eye was the white floral print in the photo on the left.  I wondered around the store, picking up a bolt here and there that matched, but I was having a hard time finding a stripe that worked with the other five fabrics.  I finally found the stripe in the photo, but I just wasn’t happy with it.  And there simply was not enough pink! Then, I saw the “Crazy Daisy” collection from Benartex.  It was perfect!  I had wanted something that would grow with her, that wasn’t too little-girly.  I chose three from “Crazy Daisy” and three other prints that went well with them.  Here’s what I finally settled on:


Aren’t they gorgeous?!  There is enough pink to satisfy my pink-lovin’ daughter and enough other colors (orange!!) to mix it up a bit.  Whew!  The hard part was over.

PicMonkey Collage cutting

After pressing my fabric, I started cutting.  This part made me a little nervous.  You see, if I’m making a quilt without a pattern, mistakes can easily be turned into a happy accident.  I can tell myself that that was how it was meant to turn out.  With a pattern, that doesn’t work out so well.  This pattern, though, includes a very detailed cutting diagram that is the same for five of your fabrics.   See that picture on the top right?  Those are all of the scraps left over after cutting five yards of fabric.  I was amazed!  I was able to get exactly what I needed with very little waste.  I laid out the pieces in piles according to where they’d end up in the quilt (blocks or borders) and got ready to put my blocks together.  (That last photo on the bottom right is just because I love how they look all piled up and ready to assemble.)

PicMonkey Collage nine patch

I learned something about myself while assembling the 20 interior blocks.  I love making nine-patch blocks!  I don’t know which part I enjoyed more…matching the fabrics up so that no two blocks were the same or the finished product.  And the backs can be just as pretty as the front!  The part of me that loves to organize  must be the part that appreciates that.


So, after just a couple of hours of cutting and sewing, this is what the quilt top looks like.  The interior 20 blocks are complete, and I have the first border attached.  I temporarily let go of my need to have total control and let my daughter choose the placement of the border pieces.  (This is my way of letting you know that I’m very aware that some of the border pieces sit right against an interior block with the same print….my daughter’s version of a happy accident.)


I have just two more steps before the quilt top is complete ~ check back in with me soon!

Links to products mentioned in this post: