Category Archives: Pattern Place

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

These Autumn Days


“How beautifully leaves grow old.
How full of light and color are their last days.”
-John Burroughs

Autumn is that time of year here in Idaho when the long, hot days of summer have ended and nature starts to prepare for winter.  The sound of children playing in the neighborhood ends at seven, rather than ten.  Windows left open during the day are closed as the sun lowers in the western sky. The highs no longer hover near the century mark; we go from 60 to 80 and everywhere in between.   The nights are cool, the mornings brisk.  With afternoon comes the scent of sun-warmed leaves, and the colors…oh, the colors.

The City of Trees in autumn is a sight to behold.  It starts gradually, just a slight hint of color around the edge of the leaves.  Then, suddenly, it’s reds, yellows, oranges, and fading green everywhere.

Those that live here try to enjoy each and every moment; we know that winter will soon start to bite at autumn’s heals. But for awhile, we enjoy the most glorious color display nature has to offer.


“Stash Stars” brings together all of the gorgeous colors of autumn.  We’ve combined an assortment of Kona solid fabrics and Atkinson Designs’ original pattern.  The kit includes the pattern, plus fabric for the top and binding.  Click here for more information on “Stash Stars.”

Dottie by Moda


One of the perks of working at Quilt Expressions is being able to chat with the customers as you work on their order.  We love to hear about the projects they are working on, the techniques they are using and their favorite fabric collections.  To hear our customers tell it, Moda has introduced a long-lasting favorite.  Moda’s Dottie collection is full of soft, bright, and bold colors in three sizes of dots.  They are a great addition to other collections, add a fun touch as a quilt back, and look great together as a group in a Dottie quilt.


We combined Dottie’s bright dots with Bits ‘n Pieces’ Big & Little pattern to create this fun 39″ x 47″ quilt.  The variation in the size of the dots, along with the bright colors, is quite eye-catching.  Give it as a newborn gift; babies love the dark and light contract.   The quilt also makes a fun gift to a toddler or young child…it’s perfect for cuddling on the couch on a chilly Fall evening.


Delta Windows, one of our newest Quilt Expressions’ original patterns, is a fantastic way to showcase Dottie.  Columns of color cascade down from large to small, surrounded by crisp white.  This pattern also works well for showcasing one of your favorite fabrics.  Finished size:  84-1/4″ x 96-1/4.”

I love to use fabric in my decorating.  Adding fabric to embroidery hoops is a fast and simple way to add a fun pop of color to a child’s bedroom, a classroom or while decorating for a party.

If you’re hanging the hoops on the wall, trace around the smaller hoop (the one without the metal screw), adding about 1/3 of an inch.  Cut out and lay the fabric circle on top of the smaller hoop.  Place the large hoop on top of the fabric and push it down.   Check to make sure that none of the raw edge is showing.  If it is, remove the large hoop, trim the circle and try again.  Tighten the screw, and you’re finished!  If the hoops will be seen from both the front and the back, layer two pieces of fabric, wrong sides together, when tracing the circle.  Continue as above, and you’ll end up a double-sided Dottie hoop.



Big & Little Dottie Kit  (while supplies last)

Big & Little pattern

Delta Windows pattern

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.