Quilt Block Basics · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Quilt Block Basics — The Hardworking Rail Fence Unit

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday!

We’re getting close to the end of this series on the Basics of Quilt Blocks — just one more post next week and we’ll be moving on to other topics. I originally called it a mini series and expected it to be maybe 3 posts, but I am having so much fun with it, that it ended up turning into a much longer series. Personally, I love any idea that inspires me to play with my EQ8 software and to go through our VRD Rose Card Pattern Catalog and look at all the patterns with fresh eyes. I hope you’ve gotten a lot out of this series too.

If you’ve missed any posts in this series or if you just want to visit it again down the road, I added the series to the right side of the blog for you, right beneath the 2022 Basic Quilting Skills Series.

What’s our Quilt Block Basics unit for today??? RAIL FENCES!

Quilt Block Basics — Rail Fence

Rail Fences — YAY!

Whether you like 2, 3, 4, 5, or more logs, Rail Fence units and blocks are workhorses in the field of making quilt blocks (workhorse and field….get it???). Sigh…… I know, I know. I’ll stop here before I go overboard with the farm puns and cliches. I’m sure you’ve heard them all before anyway.

Sew, what’s a Rail Fence? You newbies might ask.

For the purpose of this series, we’re going to focus on 2 and 3 Rail Fence units with equal sized logs and finished squares. Keep in mind, though, that Rail Fence blocks can contain more than 2 or 3 logs, logs do not necessarily have to be the same width, and finished blocks do not have to be square.

Rail Fence units can stand alone as individual blocks or can be successfully combined with other basic block units to make even more quilt blocks. Rail Fence is the strong, silent type that fades into the background allowing others to be the stars of the show, but without Rail Fence, something would definitely be missing.

Rail Fences can be created with other methods when making quilt blocks. Sometimes a Rail Fence is actually a secondary design or a happy accident.

If you are getting the impression that I really like Rail Fences, then you are correct. One of the very first quilts I ever made from a pattern in the book, The Weekend Quilt by Leslie Linsley. That was the book that made me want to make quilts!

My quilt was a Rail Fence double-sized quilt will 4 shades of blue. I was sew proud of my piecing! It was the first time I’d sewn strip sets together and then cut them into blocks. At the time I didn’t know how to machine quilt yet, so I sensibly tied my quilt with white crochet thread and I used it for years on my bed.

Let’s take a look at some quilt blocks featuring Rail Fence units.

These 9 blocks are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blocks with Rail Fence units.

How to Make a Rail Fence Unit

To make a traditional 2 log Rail Fence unit, first you need to know the finished size of your unit. So, let’s say our unit will be 6″ finished. To figure out what dimensions to cut our pieces, we will divide our finished size by 2 (6 divided by 2 = 3). But we need to cut our logs the same width of our finished unit, so we will need 2 logs 3″ x 6″ — BUT WAIT! — we need to add our seam allowances before cutting. That means we need to cut 2 logs 31/2″ x 6 1/2″. Then simply sew the 2 logs together along one long edge. Voila!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2-log.jpg

To make a 3 log Rail Fence, instead of dividing the finished size by 2, we will divide it by 3 (6 divided by 3 = 2 and we need to add our seam allowances, too). So, we will need to cut our logs 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. Decide in which order to sew your logs (whether you decide to use 2 or 3 fabrics in your unit) and sew the 3 logs together along the long edges.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 3-log.jpg

A Few Simple Rail Fence Quilt Ideas for You

Here are two simple Rail Fence quilt designs using 2 different color combinations. But just imagine what you could create if you used multiple blocks, added more colors, etc. WOW!

Time to take a look at my curated collection of Rail Fence VRD Rose Card Patterns!

Features a skinny center log.

Get Ascot HERE

Uses a 5 log Rail Fence block.

Get Basket Case HERE

4 log Rail Fence blocks.

Get Beatrice HERE

Get Bits and Pieces HERE

Get Bride’s Dream HERE

Get Bunny Hop HERE

Both 2 and 3 log Rail Fence blocks!

Get Busy Bee HERE

5 log Row Fence blocks.

Get Chutes & Ladders HERE

Rail Fence blocks turned on their sides.

Get Cobblestones HERE

Get Dapper HERE

Slightly elongated 3 log units.

Get Firecracker HERE

Get First Night HERE

Unique configuration and controlled colors make such an interesting design.

Get French Braids HERE

Get Fruit Salad HERE

See how the Rail Fence units recede?

Get Gridwork HERE

Get Infinite HERE

Get Inglenook HERE

Get Jubilee HERE

4 log Rail Fence blocks.

Get Limelight HERE

Get Melinda Jo HERE

Get Native HERE

Get Panama City HERE

Get Playdate HERE

Get Polka HERE

Very clever color placement!

Get Positive Sign HERE

Love Melissa’s scrappy traditional Rail Fence design!

Get Rail Fence HERE

Thin center log.

Get Ripple Runner HERE

Fat center log.

Get Royal Sunset HERE

Another fat center log.

Get Saratoga HERE

Get Scallywag HERE

Get Shadow Dancer HERE

Stack up those Rail Fence blocks!

Get Snow Ruby HERE

One of my favorite Rail Fence variations!

Get Social Climber HERE

Get Specks of Color HERE

Get Spin Cycle HERE

Skinny center logs.

Get Split Charms HERE

Get Standing on the Corner HERE

Get Sugar & Spice HERE

Get Tumblebug HERE

Get Vienna HERE

Get Village Glade HERE

Fat center logs.

Get Waterside HERE

Get Winter Garden HERE

Stack ’em up!

Get Zelda HERE

That’s another wrap! Time to sign off and get back to making quilts………in my dreams, anyway. LOL!

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Quilt Block Basics · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Quilt Block Basics — Square in a Square and NEW VRD Rose Cards for May 2023

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday!

Before I forget I want to wish all you Moms, Grandmas, Aunties, Cousins, Step Moms, Pet Moms, Dads, Caregivers, Teachers and ANYONE who has touched the life of a child a very special Mother’s Day.

Thank you for everything you do everyday. Although you might not get a thank you or an acknowledgement, those little everyday things mean more than you will ever know.

Quilt Block Basics — Square in a Square

This week we are going to talk about the Square in a Square unit.

You may also know this unit as the Diamond in the Square quilt block.

Often, you will see this unit combined with other quilt block units to create really cool quilt blocks. The unit usually has an unpieced square in the center, but sometimes you will see that center square filled in with a pieced unit or block, which makes Square in a Square not only a unit, but also a frame.

Why am I telling you all this? Just food for thought if and/or when you are designing your own quilt blocks!

Let’s take a look at some Square in a Square blocks.

I find the Square in a Square unit to be a very good tool in my designer’s quilt toolbox because it can really add a lot of POW to a quilt block. Wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s take a couple minutes and play with this unit. Only a couple minutes, mind you, or I might get lost in Electric Quilt 8 all day. Seriously, I’m not kidding….

Here is our single unit again:

Here are 4 units together in a 4 Patch block:

And here are 9 units together in a 9 Patch block:

You can see how complex looking the 9 Patch version (our Kansas Star block from above) is, just by repeating the Square in a Square unit. And I added another color just for fun, which can add a whole other dimension. Do you see the star in the middle?

Let’s play with our color placement now. Same block, 3 different ways!

Now let’s go crazy and add a few other Quilt Block units that we’ve already explored — HSTs, Hourglass, and Flying Geese.

MUST. STOP. NOW. Or else I’m going to forget all about writing the rest of this blog post and keep playing in my EQ8 for the rest of the day. LOL!

How to Make a Square in a Square Unit

This unit is a breeze to make.

My favorite method uses a large square and 4 smaller squares, so I don’t have to worry about working with fiddly triangles and stretchy bias edges.

But, how do you know what size squares to cut???

Math…….math…..math, of course! There is a nifty little formula to figure out the sizes of squares needed. You can also find cutting charts too, but what’s the fun in that???

  1. You need to know your finished size. So let’s say I want a finished size of 6″ for my unit.
  2. Next you need to add 1/2″ to your finished size and that is the size of your large center square. So, if I want a finished block of 6″, then I need a 6 1/2″ square for the center.
  3. For the 4 small squares, you will need to divide the size of the finished unit in half (6″ divided by 2 = 3″) and add 1/2″ (3″ + 1/2″ = 3 1/2″). So for a 6″ finished block, I need to cut 4 squares 3 1/2″. Easy Piezy! (Maybe you’re wondering why I add the 1/2″? The 1/2″ is what you add to a finished size to account for your seam allowances. We add 1/4″ for each side which equals 1/2″ in total needed for seam allowances.)

Okay, what about an 8″ finished unit or block? I would need to cut 1 large square 8 1/2″ and 4 small squares 4 1/2″.

What about a 2 1/2″ finished unit? Then I would cut the large center square 3″ and the 4 small squares 1 3/4″.

Cool, huh???? Quilt Math never fails to amaze and amuse me (wink, wink).

So, let’s make the block now:

  1. Layer a small square right sides together in one corner of a large square. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Sew on the line. Repeat for the opposite corner. Cut 1/4″ away from each sewn line. Press open.
  2. Repeat with the other 2 opposite corners.

I do want to take a moment to point out that you can get a Square in a Square look by using different units like HSTs, Flying Geese, and more. Just something to think about….

But wait! There’s more….

If you aren’t completely sold on my method, you have other options —

There is a cool Creative Grids ruler, you can find it HERE.

It’s Sew Emma has even created Square in a Square foundation papers in both THREE INCH and FOUR INCH sizes.

Next let’s check out my Square in a Square curated list of patterns!

Square in a Square VRD Rose Card Patterns

This clever quilt actually uses Hourglass units to achieve a Square in a Square.

Find Downtown HERE

Like Downtown, Duffy uses a different unit (Flying Goose) to create the look of a Square in a Square block.

Get Duffy HERE

Hidden Gems uses HSTs to achieve the look of Square in a Square blocks.

Get Hidden Gems HERE

Again, this one uses HSTs to get the Square in a Square look.

Get Indigo Bay HERE

Point of View uses 4 Square in a Square units in each block.

Get Point of View HERE

Raspberry Cream uses HSTs, too!

Get Raspberry Cream HERE

Sky Diamonds uses HSTs with a quick Flippy Corner to make a really unique Square in a Square variation.

Get Sky Diamonds HERE

A Square in a Square variation with pieced corners.

Get Square Box HERE

I am including Twisted in my list because you get the affect of Square in a Square blocks with the Pinwheels, although it actually uses Y Block units.

Get Twisted HERE

I’m including this one because you get the Square in a Square affect on point — it uses HSTs and careful color placement.

Get Underground HERE

The large center Square in a Square unit is made with HSTs.

Get Whiplash HERE

Winchester uses HSTs to get the center Square in a Square unit.

Get Winchester HERE

A fun list of patterns, isn’t it? Don’t forget that when you order Rose Card patterns on the Villa Rosa website, it’s always free shipping for patterns. Always.

New Villa Rosa Designs Rose Card Patterns for May 2023

Moving on, do you know what day it is????

It’s the first Thursday after the first Friday of the month, which means NEW PATTERNS! YAY!!!

Here are the 5 regular patterns for May. Aren’t they great? Some nice variety in patterns and interesting options, wouldn’t you say?

Bubbles by Sugar Pine Quilts uses a fun bright collection of fat quarters and a background fabric.

31 is a new vertical panel quilt with a fun border. Join me in wishing VRD designer Molly Cook a Happy 31st Birthday this month.

Tiramisu is a very cool quilt featuring either 12 or 20 fat quarters. You get to decide which size of quilt you want with this one.

Happy Thoughts is my latest throw quilt pattern and it uses a focal or theme fabric and coordinating 5″ charm squares.

Tres Leches looks as yummy as its name! This quilt uses yardage.

You can get all 5 patterns HERE for the special price of $8.95. Yep, and the shipping is free.

And here’s my new Table Runner Rose Card Pattern for May called Fly Away.

When I was designing and then later making this runner, I kept thinking about the movie, Fly Away Home, so in homage to that great movie, I named my runner Fly Away. By the way, you can find the movie HERE.

Well, I guess that does it for me this week.

Please spend time with the ones you love this week end for Mother’s Day. Wouldn’t a quilt be a nice gift to show your loved one how much you care??? Just sayin’…………..

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Quilt Block Basics · Rose Cards · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Quilt Block Basics — Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs)

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I hope you’re ready to dive right back into our Quilt Block Basics mini series! This week, we’re going to talk about Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs). So, what exactly is a QST?

A QST is made up of 4 triangles sewn together into a square. Those are Isoceles triangles for you math people out there. LOL!

You might have heard of this as an Hour Glass unit. Barbara Brackman, quilt historian extraordinaire, and Electric Quilt call it Four X. What other names have you heard this unit called?

I guess in a way, you could even consider it to be a type of a Four Patch, but calling it a QST helps to differentiate it from the classic Four Patch, below, which is made up of 4 squares.

Let’s look at some quilt blocks with QSTs! Some are old favorites and some may be new to you.

How to Make a Quarter Square Triangle

  1. Layer 2 squares the same size, right sides together.
  2. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner.
  3. Sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the line.
  4. Cut on the drawn line and open each unit to make 2 HSTs. (What????? HSTs???? Wait — we’re not done yet!)
  5. Layer the HSTs right sides together so that the light triangle is on top of the dark triangle and vice versa.
  6. Draw a diagonal line from corner to opposite corner, perpendicular to the already-sewn seam.
  7. Sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the line.
  8. Cut on the drawn line and open each unit to make 2 Quarter Square Triangles!

You may have noticed that I didn’t include any measurements for cutting the squares. Well, that was intentional. Just like HSTs, there is a magic math formula to figure out the size of squares you need to cut based on what your desired finished size will be (no charts to lose!).


And the magic number for QSTs is…..drum roll please………1 1/4.

Yep, that’s it. Add an extra 1 1/4″ to your finished size and your QSTs to get the right size.


If you want 4″ finished QSTs — then cut your squares 5 1/4″.

Want 8″ finished QSTs? Then cut your squares 9 1/4″.

What about 1″ finished QSTs? Cut the squares 2 1/4″.

That’s it, folks. Isn’t quilt math delightful?

Seriously, I would have loved geometry way back when if my high school geometry teacher had taught me quilt math instead of writing proofs to prove a square was “squarular”. Sigh…….yes, I know — that’s not really a word, but in my humble opinion, it should be……..triangles are triangular and rectangles are rectangular so why aren’t squares squarular????

Okay, enough of that! Don’t get me started on the vagaries of the English language. LOL!

Instead, let’s look at some great Villa Rosa Designs Rose Card patterns that feature QSTs.

QST VRD Rose Card Patterns

Get Baby Cakes HERE

Get Diamond Daze HERE

Get Downtown HERE

Get Kristin HERE

Get Tropicana HERE

This is a super short list compared to the HST list I curated a couple weeks ago, isn’t it? You can find the HST VRD list HERE if you missed it.

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Go forth make QSTs! Lots and lots of QSTs!

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Just Quilty Stuff · Quilt Block Basics · Quilt Play · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Quilt Block Basics — Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Before I dive right into HSTs, I want to show off my completed Helix quilt top. Yes, I finished it! I really like the finished top, although I wish my points had turned out better. What do you think?

I didn’t have enough background left to add side strips, but that was okay, it will be fine as long as I’m careful when I sew the binding on because I don’t want to cut off the triangle points.

Quilt Block Basics

Lately I’ve been feeling very creative — maybe the change in the weather? I’ve been churning out new quilt designs on my EQ8 (Electric Quilt) software and I will never have enough time to make them all, I’m afraid. While I was working on all these new designs, I started thinking about the smaller units that make up quilt blocks and I thought — AHA!!! That’s a great topic for the blog!

So, welcome to a new VRQ mini-series, all about the smaller units that make up our favorite quilt blocks.

The first unit I want to talk about is the Half Square Triangle.

Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

Half Square Triangles or HSTs are one of the most common building blocks for a pieced quilt block. Sometimes you see HSTs called Triangle Squares or Half Square Triangle squares or blocks. I like to keep things simple when I write instructions and I consistently use Half Square Triangles or HSTs.

You can find HSTs in simple blocks such as:

Or in more complex blocks like:

One of my most favorite things is playing around with the parts of my blocks to create new block designs when I’m designing. I like to change colors, switch lights and darks, and change the orientation of the units within a block in order to create something new and different. EQ8 makes this sew easy to do.

To show you what I mean, let’s play with the Mosaic # 17 block, which is all HSTs and gives us lots of room to play!

Let’s change the orientation of the HSTs:

Now let’s add another color in the mix:

Let’s try change the orientation, too:

Okay, okay, I’d better stop here or I’m going to lose my writing focus and create another stack of quilt designs I will never have time to make! LOL!

I think you can see how much fun it is to play with HSTs. Imagine what happens when you add other building block units with the HSTs………but that is a post for another day.

Half Square Triangle Assembly

There are many different ways to make HSTs — just check on YouTube, Pinterest, or your favorite quilting magazine.

I am going to show you my favorite method here — this is the method I use in my quilt instructions.

  1. Layer 2 squares together, right sides together (RST).
  2. Draw a diagonal line from 1 corner to the opposite corner.
  3. Sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the drawn line.
  4. Cut the HSTs apart on the drawn line. Open to make 2 HSTs.

I bet you noticed I didn’t use any dimensions for my fabric squares. That was intentional. As I’ve said many times, quilting is all about math (check out my ode to quilting and math HERE).

HSTs are no different! You can use this construction method to make any size HST. You just have to know a teeny tiny magical math secret!

To figure out how big to cut your squares, you need to add 7/8″ to your finished dimensions! Really, that’s all you need to remember. You don’t need to refer to a cutting chart, you just need to remember 7/8″. (Please note that 7/8″ may not work for all HST methods.)

Here are some examples:

I want my HST’s to finish at 3″, so I need to cut my squares 3 7/8″.

5″ finished? Cut 5 7/8″ squares.

12″ finished HSTs……….cut 12 7/8″ squares.

Easy peasy! YAY MATH! Thank you, Mrs. Hank (my high school math teacher)!

HST VRD Rose Card Patterns

We have a wonderful collection of HST pattern sin our VRD catalog. It’s a L O N G list, so hang in there until the end of the post.

Here’s my curated HST list:

Get the April Showers pattern HERE

Get the Baby Zip Ties pattern HERE

Get the Bat Dance pattern HERE

Get the Be Unique pattern HERE

Get the Beatrice pattern HERE

Get the Blizzard pattern HERE

Get the Carnival Glass pattern HERE

Get the Chop pattern HERE

Get the Columbia pattern HERE

Get the Crossed Paths pattern HERE

Get the Diamonds pattern HERE

Get the Domino Five pattern HERE

Get the Drayton Hall pattern HERE

Get the Elementary pattern HERE

Get the Estrella pattern HERE

Get the Fa La La pattern HERE

Get the Falling pattern HERE

Get the Fernanda pattern HERE

Get the Friendship Hearts pattern HERE

Get the Giggles pattern HERE

Get the Hanover pattern HERE

Get the Hidden Gems pattern HERE

Get the Hole in One pattern HERE

Get the Illumination pattern HERE

Get the Indigo Bay pattern HERE

Get the Jardena pattern HERE

Get the Malaysia pattern HERE

Get the Maple Grove pattern HERE

Get the Mountains pattern HERE

Get the Movie Star pattern HERE

Get the Nana’s Aprons pattern HERE

Get the Notches pattern HERE

Get the October Sky pattern HERE

Get the Optic pattern HERE

Get the Orange Waves pattern HERE

Get the Painted Moon pattern HERE

Get the Party Girl pattern HERE

Get the Party Girl Remix pattern HERE

Get the Peppermint & Holly pattern HERE

Get the Pinwheel Picnic pattern HERE

Get the Pride pattern HERE

Get the Rainbow Road pattern HERE

Get the Raspberry Cream pattern HERE

Get the Rebound pattern HERE

Get the Remember Me pattern HERE

Get the Salt ‘n’ Pepper pattern HERE

Get the Salute pattern HERE

Get the Serengeti pattern HERE

Get the Silver Star pattern HERE

Get the Sisterhood pattern HERE

Get the Smidge pattern HERE

Get the Smudge pattern HERE

Get the Snow Goose pattern HERE

Get the Solar Flare pattern HERE

Get the Spaceman pattern HERE

Get the Spiritualized pattern HERE

Get the Square Box pattern HERE

Get the Star Rail pattern HERE

Get the Starfire pattern HERE

Get the Stars N Stripes pattern HERE

Get the Sunny Day pattern HERE

Get the Tower Bridge pattern HERE

Get the Twinkle pattern HERE

Get the Underground pattern HERE

Get the Waverly pattern HERE

Get the Whiplash pattern HERE

Get the Whirlpool pattern HERE

Get the Wild Rover pattern HERE

Get the Winchester pattern HERE

Get the Winter Sun pattern HERE

Get the X Ray pattern HERE

Get the Zig Zag pattern HERE

Get the Zip Tease pattern HERE

Get the Zipper pattern HERE

I hope you enjoyed this VERY extensive list of HST Rose Card patterns. Thanks for suffering through the whole list (wink, wink).

As I was gathering them from the VRD catalog, I was struck with the enormous amount of creativity and innovation shown by our VRD designers.

Kudos to all of the VRD designers! You rock!

Well, that’s it for me for this week.

Take care until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

VRD Helix Rose Card Quilt Tutorial

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Whew! We had some crazy weather here in NW PA over the last week end. Hail, heavy rain, wild wind gusting into the 60s [MPH]…..trees down all over the place in my area, but luckily no serious injuries. Our electricity was out for over 24 hours, a friend of mine just got her electricity back on on Wednesday — it went off on Saturday!

I personally found the lack of electricity, no running water, and zero Internet very difficult — I hadn’t realized how much I took those things for granted. It’s not a bad idea to have a “lights out” crate with things to do in such as case. Not too mention extra batteries, water, lanterns, nonperishable food, blankets, etc.

Dear friends, I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and sound.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a tutorial, so let’s make a quilt!

I’ve been wanting an excuse to do Molly’s Helix Rose Card pattern. From the first moment I saw this pattern, I was intrigued. I told my good friend Mary Lee about Helix (I knew she would love it!). DANG! She bought it before I did at one of our two local quilts shops, Homespun Treasures. I was so jealous — I had only seen it online when I blogged about the new patterns in February — so I made up an excuse to go to the quilt shop and get one for myself (not that I really need an excuse). LOL!

You can buy the Helix pattern HERE.

I dove into my stash of fat quarters to find the perfect fabrics for Helix — deciding on a scrappy collection of blues, greens, and turquoises with a white on white floral background. One thing I really love about our VRD patterns is the ability to actually use the fabrics in my stash without having to run to the quilt shop every time I turn around — which is not a bad thing to do by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, I can jump right into my project right now. Besides, when I shop in my stash, sometimes I find things I had forgotten all about and I get excited about another idea or project before I’ve even finished the one I’m working on.

Quilting, for me, is never boring!

Okay, so my fabrics are gathered and I’m ready to go!


I layered a couple fat quarters on top of each other for cutting, but if you are not comfortable with that, go ahead and cut each fat quarter individually. Making a quilt is not about who finishes first — it’s about the journey (unless you are participating in a Jelly Roll Race).

Here you can see my fat quarters (FQs) stacked up and I am ready to make my first cut. I just cut the top edge straight and I’m ready to find the right measurement on my ruler so I can cut the strip.

Here I have cut my wide strip.

Next I am going to cut large squares from my wide strip. I will get 2 squares from each strip. But wait….there’s more! (You know I LOVE saying this!) We are not done cutting our squares yet!

Time to cut these big squares in half diagonally. I had to switch rulers because my ruler wasn’t long enough so I grabbed my 2.5×18 ruler for cutting diagonally.

Don’t move those triangles — we are still not done cutting!

With my diagonally-cut triangles still together, I am going to cut on the other diagonal too — that way I get 4 smaller triangles from each block. Caution — these smaller triangles each have 2 bias edges, so treat them gently and handle them as little as possible to minimize distortion and stretching.

TIP: Do you see that blue, green, and turquoise leafy print triangle on top of my triangle stack in the 3rd photo? That was my “inspiration” piece for selecting the other FQs for this quilt project. I often choose a fabric with multiple colors in it to pull together fabric from my stash or scraps. Heck, I even do that in the quilt shop. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to gather a group of fabrics together for a project.

In addition to the FQ triangles, you need to cut some background — triangles, squares, and strips.


Hmmmmm. I think we’re finally ready to do some sewing. Yay!

Let’s take 2 print triangles and lay them side by side, one pointing down and one pointing up.

Now let’s flip the right side triangle (leaf print) on top of the left triangle (blue tonal), right sides together (RST). Line up the edge with about a 1/4″ of the blue tonal peeking up above the leaf print and the leaf print should be overhanging the blue tonal about a 1/4″ at the bottom. Pin to keep them from sliding if you want to, but I find if I do the layering right at my sewing machine, I don’t need to pin them together.

Sew along the edge with your 1/4″ seam.

Don’t forget to trim the little overhanging triangles (around here, we call them “dog ears” [don’t ask me why…..]). Practice doing this as you go along so you don’t forget. Open the unit. Nice!

I don’t recommend pressing if you can comfortably avoid it — these triangles have 2 out of 3 bias edges and you don’t want them to stretch and distort. Better to wait until you have all the triangles sewn together into a row before pressing.

Pick another triangle and lay it next to the unit we just sewed together.

Flip that triangle over on top of the second triangle with RST. Line up the edges and slide the top triangle down a little bit so you see about 1/4″ of the triangle underneath peeking out above the top triangle and the top triangle extends about 1/4″ beyond the bottom of the triangle underneath.

You might be scratching your head and wondering what’s up with this silly “slide it down so you see about 1/4″ of the triangle underneath peeking out above the top triangle and the top triangle extends about 1/4″ beyond the bottom of the triangle underneath” business. I have 2 words (kind of) for you — 1/4″ seam. Sliding the top triangle down 1/4″ accommodates the 1/4″ seam we sew with so that the pieces will line up straight. Don’t believe me — try it! Lay your triangle as exactly on top of each other as you can and sew them together with your 1/4″ seam.

Aha! Told you so!

Sorry, not sorry — I don’t get to say that very often…….

Okay, let’s get back to our project.

Sew the triangle to the unit with your 1/4″ seam. Trim the dog ears and open the unit. 3 triangles done………5 million to go!

Sew a total of 11 triangles together to make half of a Helix row.

Yay! Now let’s lay out and sew small white triangles to each end of our triangle strip.

Looking good!

Time to sew 11 more triangles together. Don’t forget to cut off those dog ears. Then sew background triangles to each end.

Here’s the tricky part next — we are going to sew the 2 half rows together to make one Helix row. Yikes! Grab your pins, because you’re going to need them.

I found this part very challenging — I was all thumbs lining up the 2 rows. I crossed my fingers (and my toes, too) and hoped that I had lined things up well enough and that my points would meet. Pin heavily — you will be sewing over seam intersections with a lot of bulk and your fabric is going to want to shift.

Ugh…..I am not pleased with how my points lined up (or didn’t), especially on one of them where I wasn’t even in the ballpark! I might have to do a little unsewing to correct this section.

I pressed the row after sewing it all together. My seams were willy-nilly all over the place on the back instead of nestling neatly like they usually do for me. Frustrating.

I pressed the long center seam open to help reduce the bulk.

Repeat these steps to make a total of 7 Helix rows.

Here are 2 of mine so far.

Look! Look! Look! I got all 7 of my Helix rows done. They are completed, but I am not 100% happy with how they turned out. I even tried another method of sewing the triangles together, but that didn’t make things any better — it must be me (frowny face here).

My suggestions to you are to sew slowly and line things up carefully — this project requires a good deal of accuracy for everything to come out well.

Here are my rows hanging off my fabric storage cubes.

The next step is to sew one square to an end of each of the 7 Helix rows. I do really like the colors, even if the piecing isn’t fantastic……

These squares work to offset the rows once we assemble them with the background strips, which just so happens to be our next step.

Now let’s add a background spacing strip. You will have to piece strips together to get the correct length — I cut 1 strip into 3 equal pieces and then sewed a 1/3 piece onto the end of a full width strip. Then I measured through the center of a Helix row and cut my strip to that measurement. Next I matched the ends and the centers of my Helix row and my background strip, pinning everything in place.

I sewed the strip to the Helix row using my 1/4″ seam. Then I pressed my seam towards the background strip.

Now to sew more Helix rows and background strips together!

Here are my first 2 rows sewn together with a background strip in between. So far, I am pleased with the fact that my rows are the same length, even if I mangled my triangle points here and there. Sigh…..

Let’s sew on more rows and background strips! Woohoo! I am on a roll!

Too bad I am not going to finish this quilt top before this blog post has to be finished. Sorry, folks, I’ve been working on it for three days, but I didn’t realize how long sewing the triangles was going to take me. I would have started it sooner, but we no electricity over the weekend.

I promise to add a photo of the completed top ASAP. By the way, I think I might add background strips on the sides of the quilt top if I have enough background left. I have found through previous experience that I do not like triangle points at the outside of my quilts (because I chop them off with the binding).

Well, that’s it for me — it’s after midnight (EST) now and I am getting tired. Time for bed….

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Sleep. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Helix Update

Yay! I finished the quilt top a few days later. Now to layer, quilt, and bind it. And, of course, add a label!

Blog Hop 2023 · Panel Quilts · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

VRD Bella Vista Panel Quilt Tutorial and Finally — the VRD Blog Hop Grand Prize Winners!

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

What have you been up to this past week?

Another week has zoomed by and I am not getting anything accomplished! Or at least it feels that way. We’ve had some lovely February weather here in northwest Pennsylvania and I’m getting those “Spring into Spring” feelings when I want to clean, sort, and organize everything! Hah! I wish I could find an extra 2 hours in every day to get started on that ginormous undertaking, but I do need to sleep at least a few hours every night. You would think working from home, I’d have so much extra time to work on stuff, but sadly that is not the case for me. ARGH!

I want to start with my studio because it kind of looks like a fabric store/flea market threw up. I totally serious here. One of my local quilt shops hosts a “fabric yard sale” every year and I think it’s time to get signed up for it! I wasn’t planning on it this year because of a few time conflicts, but now those conflicts have been postponed, so I am calling today to get my space reserved. Even with less time than usual to prepare, this will inspire me to do some purging in my fabrics and such.

What do you do when your studio gets taken over by fabric, notions, patterns, books, rulers, scraps, and everything else?

VRD Blog Hop Grand Prize Winners

Okay, you’ve all been waiting to hear who won the 2 Grand Prize boxes from the Blog Hop.

Drum roll please………….

Congratulations to:

Joy from Oregon


Charlene from Georgia

Here’s a photo from the blog hop showing some of the fun quilting goodies in the boxes:

As for the rest of the prizes, they are being shipping out this week, so if you are a winner and you haven’t received your prize yet, you should have it shortly.

Wow! I think I’ve gone through 3 rolls of tape preparing all the packages! But you know what? I smile while I put on the labels because I know how much each winner is going to enjoy their prize from the Blog Hop.

VRD Bella Vista Panel Quilt Tutorial

Recently, I decided to make a special quilt for a cousin of mine who is having some rough times. I knew I wanted to use a panel because panel quilts go together so quickly, so I thought I’d give our new Bella Vista pattern a go.

This is a fabulous pattern for those horizontal panels. Sometimes it can be hard to find a pattern that uses this type of panel, so Bella Vista is a great pattern to have up your sleeve. It also works with ANY style of horizontal panel and can work with different sizes, too, as long as you measure as you go instead of cutting everything out first.

Don’t want to use a panel? You could replace that section of the quilt with blocks, appplique, or even a novelty fabric. Just keep in mind, you might have to do a little math. Yay math! Love math!

You can buy the Bella Vista pattern HERE.

Looking for a panel to jump-start a new project? You can go HERE and check out Villa Rosa’s large selection of panels.

Let’s get started on our quilt project!

So, the first thing I did was gather up my fabrics. My cousin loves eagles so I chose this flying eagle panel and a coordinating eagle print along with a light grey (I decided not to use the medium grey you see in the photo) texture, red tonal, and a blue tonal for the binding. My plan will be to back this quilt with fleece to make a cozy quilt for my cuz, so it will be like wrapping him up in a warm hug when he needs one.

Quilts are one of the BEST forms of therapy for folks going through tough times in their lives, wouldn’t you agree?

You all know how much I love The Quilts of Valor Foundation and the impact they are making one quilt at a time. To learn more about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, go HERE.

My cousin does not have a military background, but he loves red, white, and blue and is very patriotic, so an eagle quilt will be a good fit for him.

Now I have all the fabrics ready, it’s time to get going on this quilt project. The first thing I’m going to do is trim off the selvedges on the panel. This panel is bigger than the dimensions of the panel in the pattern, but I don’t really need to cut it down. Instead, I will measure as I go before I cut my fabrics.

Here I am cutting the red strips for the first border.

Next I measured the panel through the center horizontally. Those who know me won’t be surprised when I share this little Lazy Quilter hint about measuring. Tehehe……

I don’t use a ruler or a measuring tape. Nope, not at all to measure when I’m putting a quilt together. Instead I use my fabric or border strip or whatever I’m sewing together in order to get the right measurement. I’m a pretty consistent quilter, so this works well for me. I will say that this technique may not work for everyone, so use it at your own risk. LOL!

I folded my panel in half horizontally and laid it on my flat surface. I smoothed it all out nice and flat with the edges even. Then I gathered up my border strips which were already sewn end to end to make longer strips. These will be sewn to the top and bottom as per the directions.

I carefully laid the border strips out along the folded center. Then I smoothed the strips and lined up the edge of the strip to the edge of the panel. I usually put a pin at the edge to keep things from sliding around. Finally, I took a deep breath and cut the border strips to the width of the panel. I repeat this process all over again for the side borders, too, except that I use the vertical center to measure with, instead of the horizontal. I hope this makes sense…….

Now let’s sew the border strips onto the top and bottom of the panel.

Let me tell you how I do that, too, because I have another little trick up my sleeve.

First, I find the middle of the panel and the middle of the strip, match them up, and put a pin in the centers. Next I smooth the border strip along the edge of the panel and pin the outside, matching up the edges of the strip to the panel edges. I also put a pin at the bottom outside edge of the strip in a horizontal fashion (see this trick in the photo below on the left side). This helps to keep the strip square to the panel. Such a simple little thing can really make a difference. I learned this tip from an experienced quilter when I a beginner.

Then I add some more pins between the center and the ends before I head to the sewing machine.

Here is the panel with the first red border sewn onto all four sides. Don’t you just love the cool framed and matted effect of the printed borders in brown and navy around the edge of the panel.

So far, so good. Let’s keep moving.

I cut my second border strips using the light grey fabric. Next, I sewed 2 strips together to make a longer border strip. I decided to sew my border strips together with a straight seam instead of doing a diagonal seam for this project. It’s quicker and has less fabric waste, but mainly the tonals will hide the straight seam. I like to press my seam open to reduce the bulk. (I did the same with the first red border, but didn’t do a photo of it.) Take a look at the last photo in this group and you can hardly see on the front side of the border strip where I sewed the seam.

Now to measure the grey border strips against the panel just like I did above with the first red border. Time to pin, pin, pin. Then sew, sew, sew. Oops, sewing over my pins………

Here’s the quilt so far with the first red border and the second grey border on all four sides. Looking good!

Now I’m going to add the third border, which only goes on the top and bottom of the quilt.

You know, if you wanted to, you could sew the next borders together before sewing the border strip sets to the top and bottom of the quilt center. Just sayin’…….

Anyway, let’s add the top and bottom red borders.

I can’t believe how big this quilt is getting to be! It will be a really nice size when it’s finished.

I think for the eagle print border strip and the last red border, I am going to sew the strips together and then sew the border strip sets to the top and bottom of the quilt center. I wish I would have done this when I sewed the previous red border to the top and bottom (as I hinted to all of you, above, which was really after the fact). I think it would have been a bit easier. Did I mention this quilt is getting big? LOL.

I had to be careful when I was sewing the eagle print strips together into a longer border strip because it is directional and I didn’t want my eagles flying in different directions. There’s just something wrong with eagles flying backwards……

Then I had to watch when I was sewing the outer red border strips to the eagle print border strips because of the eagle print’s directionality — I really didn’t want my eagles flying upside down when I sewed them to the quilt center.

So if you are working with a directional fabric, take your time and double check placement before you sew, that way you don’t have to rip out your stitches.

Okay, the border strips are sewn together and now I need to sew them to the panel quilt. Again, I have to make sure I’m sewing the right border strip set to the right part of the quilt, or my eagles will be belly up. Deep breath….here goes!

YAY! All the eagles are flying straight and true! I am so relieved about that.

(Psst. In the bottom right corner of the above photo, you can see prizes in priority mailers getting ready to be mailed — they took over my comfy chair in my studio!)

Here’s a couple more photos of the finished Bella Vista top. I headed outside for these photos, even though it was a bit breezy. I just love to see quilts swaying in the breeze on a clothesline on a nice day, don’t you? Right now I can close my eyes and smell the clean fresh outside smell of quilts (and laundry) hung outside to dry on a breezy spring or summer day. Ahhhhhhh.

I mentioned above that my plan was to back this quilt with cozy fleece. When I put fleece on the back of a quilt, I do not use batting because it makes the quilt too heavy and too thick. I will most likely machine quilt it simply, probably with a large meander. I have learned over the years, that when quilting fleece, it’s not a good idea to cross over lines when you are machine quilting because fleece stretches and the cotton fabric on the front of the quilt doesn’t stretch like that. I definitely don’t want bunchy areas and pleats on the back of my quilt.

I’ll have to head over to one of my local quilt shops so I can use the tables in the classroom to layer and pin this quilt. Of course, I’ll probably do a spot of shopping while I’m there…………. Sorry, not sorry.

Well, that’s it for me for this week.

Take care and I’ll see you all next Thursday!

Until then —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @ VRD

Panel Quilts · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

VRD Splendor Panel Quilt Tutorial

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day last week. Did you get a chance to make the Talking Turkey Quilt block yet? If you didn’t stop by and read last week’s post with my cute Thanksgiving turkey block tutorial, you can find it HERE.

On another note, I just finished making the quilt top for the Villa Rosa Designs Rose Card pattern, Splendor, so thought I’d share another panel tutorial for you. Then beginning next week for the rest of December, I’m going to blog about Christmas-y quilty fun things, but we’ll probably go back to tutorials again in January when you are all itching to start some new projects.

This is Splendor. It is an AWESOME pattern — who knew you could take a panel, some fabric for sashing, and a handful of fat quarters and come up with a quilt as big as this one turns out. It’s an incredibly clever pattern by our VRD designer, Molly Cook, and uses the whole fat quarter to build the sections around the quilt. I was so amazed to see how slick everything went together and how nicely everything fit.

LOVE LOVE LOVE this pattern! If you don’t have it, you need to get it! You can buy the Splendor pattern HERE:

Great quilt, huh? I can already see visions of sugar plum quilts using the Splendor pattern dancing in your head. Don’t you just love how the panel is offset? Isn’t that unique? And everything truly goes together like magic!

Let’s get started!

Splendor Panel Quilt Tutorial

Time to gather up your panel, sashing, and fat quarters. I had this great winter panel in my stash and thought a blue and white version of Splendor would be fun. I grabbed the blue tonal for my sashing and then “shopped” in my blue fat quarter bins. As a final thought, I added the white on white fabric from my yardage drawer to represent the snow. Looking back, though, I think I could have skipped the white on white and just went with shades of blue, but that’s okay. I think the quilt will still turn out just fine. Let me know what you think once you’ve seen how the top turned out down below.

I did end up swapping out the light silvery blue fabric you see in the photo because when I opened it up to cut, the fabric had some fading. I didn’t think I could cut around the faded areas and have enough fabric to cut the pieces I needed so I found a replacement. No worries.

Next you need to measure your panel, because panels come in all different sizes these days. My friend Mary Lee and I were just talking about this. 24″ x 42″ used to be the standard size for panels, but now they come in 36″ x 44″, 44″ x 44″, and everything in between!

So take the time to measure your panel. You may need to trim your panel to the size noted in the pattern. Or if your panel is a bit narrower, you may need to add a bit to the sashing so your center ends up the correct size. If you don’t want to trim your panel, you can also adjust the size of the sashing if needed.

I can’t stress enough how important these measurements (for the panel plus the sashing) are. This is what makes the whole quilt work so if your measurements are off, you will have problems sewing the sections to the center of the quilt. Isn’t it better to take your time right now and get the measurements correct right up front? You know the saying, “measure twice, cut once?”

Once you’ve measured your panel and decided whether you need to trim it or add a little extra to the sashing, then it’s time to cut out your sashing strips. My panel was a bit too narrow so I ended up adding a half inch all the way around to the sashing in order to get the correct size. Then I was ready to sew on the sides and the top and bottom.

Tricia’s Tip: When I add borders to a quilt, I take my time. First, I find the center of both the side of the quilt and the border strip. Then I match my centers and pin (see the lime green circle in the photo). Next I pin the ends and I add a pin perpendicular to the edge of the quilt/border in order to keep things all nice and square (see the red circles in the photo) — I do this at both ends of the border. Finally, I add pins spaced between the middle and each end. Sounds like a lot of work, but it really helps me to keep my borders straight. Who wants borders that stand up and wave?

Here is my panel with the sashing around it. I love how the mottled blue really brings the color out of this mostly monochromatic panel. It reminds me of winter here in Pennsylvania.

Let’s keep moving! I promise you, this is the fussiest part of the quilt. Once you get the right measurements, it’s a breeze from here out.

Time to cut out the pieces from the fat quarters. Follow the cutting diagram in the pattern. If you feel comfortable, you can stack a couple fat quarters together to reduce some of your cutting, but it’s perfectly fine to take your time and cut each fat quarter individually.

Something to think about — as all fat quarters are NOT cut a true 18″ x 22″, it’s not a bad idea to have an extra coordinating fat quarter around just in case you can’t get all four rectangles out of each fat quarter or in case you make a cutting mistake. Extra fabric are not bad words in my vocabulary. Besides, it will go into another project……..someday……..

So the next thing to do is to sew each group of rectangles together into strips. There are a couple options here:

  1. You could organize your fabrics and keep them in the same order in each section — wouldn’t it be cool to organize your pieces from light to dark or dark to light?
  2. You could sew your rectangles together and make sure that each section has a different arrangement of fabrics, making your quilt look scrappy and relaxed.

I chose to do the second option (big surprise to those of you who know me!!! LOL!), which takes a bit more time, but I really like the finished result. Either option will turn out great, so just pick one.

I sewed the pieces together for the right side section first. I just did it randomly at my sewing machine. Then I pressed the seams, folded the pieced strip, and found the center of the strip. Next I folded the sashed panel and found the center on the right side of it. Finally I matched up the centers, pinned the pieced section to the sashed panel, and sewed them together.

After I got the right side section on and I pressed it, I laid out the pieces for the left side. Pinned. Sewed the rectangles together. Pressed.

I was totally excited when I realized how fast the sides went on the sashed panel. Like magic!

I did find I’d somehow made a mistake when I went to match up my centers and pin my left side section to the sashed panel. My pieced section was too long. Huh! What was going on here?!?

I reread the instructions and looked closely at the cover quilt and diagrams. After a couple minutes, I went back and remeasured only to discover I had cut each of my pieces a half inch too big, so of course the pieced section was too long when I went to pin it to the panel.

What do you think I did?

I matched up my centers and ignored the excess fabric sticking out beyond the sashed panel. I pinned and sewed like normal and then I trimmed the excess off of each side with an acrylic ruler and my rotary cutter (with a cutting mat underneath), making my left pieced section flush with the sashed panel.

You might notice in the photo that my top and bottom rectangles on the left side are a bit narrower than the other rectangles. But that’s okay. Everything will still fit together great and I really doubt it will make much difference in how the quilt looks in the end because of the different-sized pieces all around the sashed panel.

I wouldn’t have even mentioned my oops, but I like to point out my mistakes and how I handle them. Sometimes my mistakes are just happy accidents — or good things in disguise. It helps to share my mistakes with other quilters so they don’t do the same thing I did. Just ask the members of my Friday group (BIG Shout out to Gail, Mary Lee, Robin, Sherry, Gaynel, Missi, Deb, Anita, Jean, Donna and Kim).

Now it’s time to sew the top and bottom sections together. Again, I did each one separately to make sure I liked my random fabric placement — I didn’t want any fabrics to be touching the same fabric in another section of the quilt.

So here it is — my completed Splendor quilt top. What do you think?

This was definitely a FUN and FAST quilt project and I hope that you will give it a try! If you’ve made Splendor before, I’d love to see your pictures. You can email them to me at tricia@villarosadesigns.com or post them on our Facebook page.

Before I go, here’s a fun video tour at Quilt Market recorded by Jaftex, just click the link below:


Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

A Thanksgiving Turkey (Quilt Block) For You!

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Huh! It just occurred to me that our weekly Thursday blog post will happen on Thanksgiving Day!

I was planning to return to my Panel Quilt series, but then I thought it would be fun to design a little project just for Y-O-U as a Thanksgiving gift, because we here at Villa Rosa Designs couldn’t exist without the loyal support of you, our enthusiastic VRD fans and supporters. We are sew thankful for you.

Image by Freepik

What are your traditions for Thanksgiving? Do you cook a big family meal? Go out for Thanksgiving dinner? Watch football? Attend or watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Do you celebrate alone or with a big boisterous family? Do you celebrate at someone else’s home or does everyone come to yours? Do you get a head start on your holiday shopping?

Thanksgiving is generally a small quiet affair with my family. Sometimes we cook and eat in, but in the past we’ve gone out, too. Usually there are just three of us but occasionally my sister and her family will stop by later for pumpkin pie. Depending on which teams are playing football on Thanksgiving, I usually find a little time to get some quilting in while my family is cheering on their team.

My favorite Thanksgiving holidays have been spent at my Aunt Helen’s house with my many cousins and their families. My Aunt’s house is usually bursting at the seams with people and dogs. Squabbling, laughter, enough amazing food to feed an army, and lots of good conversation and memories. Football on the television in the living room. Sometimes cards or board games after dinner at the kitchen table. Good times and new memories in the making.

All of these warm fuzzy feelings and memories made me want to design a special Turkey Quilt Block as a way to say “Thank You” to all of you! I was inspired by Lori Holt’s Tom Turkey Quilt Block tutorial, but I created my own turkey block, based on a humble Nine Patch because I wanted my Talking Turkey block to be happy and plump.

My Talking Turkey block finishes at 16″ high by 22″ wide.

Below is my sample Talking Turkey block. Isn’t he a handsome fellow????

Now that you’ve seen how yummy this block turned out, let’s get started on the tutorial!

Talking Turkey Quilt Block Tutorial


12 assorted charm squares (5″) for the feathers/body

1 fat quarter for the background

1 fat eighth brown for the head/neck

Scrap of red for the wattle, approximately 2″ x 5″


Background: 3 5″ squares, 1 4 1/2″ square, 3 2 1/2″ squares, 1 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle, 1 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle, 1 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle, 1 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle , and 1 1/2″ square

Red Scrap: Trim to 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

Brown: 1 2 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ rectangle, 1 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle, and 1 2 1/2″ square

Making the Block

Step1. Trim 9 assorted charm squares down to 4 1/2″ and sew them together into a Nine Patch block.

Step 2. Layer a print 5″ square right sides together (RST) with a background 5″ square. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Sew 1/4″ away from both side of the drawn line. Cut apart on the drawn line. Press units open to make 2 Half Square Triangle blocks (HSTs). Repeat to make a total of 6 HSTs. Trim your HSTs to 4 1/2″ if needed.

Step 3. Sew 3 assorted HSTs together into a row with the top point to the right as shown.

Step 4. Sew the remaining 3 HSTs together with the top point to the left as shown. (You are making a mirror image of the unit in Step 3.)

Step 5. Sew the HST unit from Step 3 to the top of your Nine Patch block.

Step 6. Sew a 4 1/2″ background square to the left end of the HST unit from Step 4. Then sew the HST strip to the right side of the Nine Patch block.

Step 7. Layer a background 2 1/2″ square RST on the end of the brown 2 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner to the opposite corner. Sew on the line. Trim away the waste piece 1/4″ beyond the sewing line. Open and press.

Step 8. Layer a background 2 1/2″ square on the other end of the brown 2 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner to the opposite corner. Sew on the line. Trim away the waste piece 1/4″ beyond the sewing line. Open and press.

Step 9. Layer a background 2 1/2″ square RST on the end of a brown 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line from the bottom left corner to the opposite corner. Sew on the line. Trim away the waste pieces 1 /4″ beyond the sewing line. Open and press.

Step 10. Layer a background 1 1/2″ square RST on the end of a red 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line from the bottom left corner to the opposite corner. Sew on the line. Trim away the waste pieces 1/4″ beyond the sewing line. Open and press.

Step 11. Sew a background 1 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ to the Step 10 unit. Then sew a 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle to the bottom of the unit as shown.

Step 12. Sew the brown unit from Step 9 to the end of the unit from Step 11.

Step 13. Layer a brown 2 1/2″ square RST on the end of a background 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line from bottom left corner to the opposite corner. Sew on the line. Trim away the waste pieces 1 /4″ beyond the sewing line. Open and press. Then sew the unit on the right end of a background 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.

Step 14. Sew the units from Steps 8, 12, and 13 together to make the turkey head, wattle, and neck.

Step 15. Sew the front of the turkey from Step 14 to the back of the turkey from Step 6.

Voila! A plump and yummy Talking Turkey block for you to enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

As per our Copyright for Quilters post last week, I give you permission to use my original Talking Turkey quilt block for personal and commercial use, as long as you provide proper attribution that I am the designer of the Talking Turkey quilt block.

Add a narrow border, quilt and bind for a little wall or table quilt.


Until next Thursday —

Eat. Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Panel Quilts · Quilting Partners · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

VRD Hillside Charm Quilt Tutorial and the NEW November Rose Card Patterns

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

After talking about our VRD Rose Card patterns featuring quilt panels a couple weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to do a series of Panel Quilt Tutorials for you. You can find the Panel post HERE.

There’s no way I would be able to do ALL of the Rose Cards I featured in the Panel post, but I thought it would be fun to do some of my favorites. I hope these Panel Quilt tutorials will inspire you to reduce your own stash of panels by making quilts — what an unusual thing to do with fabric, right???

So let’s make Hillside Charm! I just really love this Panel pattern — it looks great with whatever panel and fabrics you use. Don’t have 5″ charm squares? Cut fat quarters, scraps, or even yardage into the number of squares you need. Want to make it bigger? Add another border? Want it smaller? Don’t add the extra border. LOVE LOVE LOVE Hillside Charm! You can buy the pattern HERE.

Right now we even have some great Hillside Charm kits for sale on the website — Halloween, Christmas and more — so check them out HERE.

Before we jump into the tutorial, I have to do a SHOUT OUT to Hoffman Fabrics and a big thank you to them for providing the fabrics for this Hillside Charm Quilt. The collection is called Wading with Water Lilies. Isn’t it beautiful? In addition to the gorgeous digitally-printed panel and coordinates, I also used some of the basics from the 1895 Watercolors collection and 885 Dot Batiks collection.

YAY! We have the panel and some of the coordinates on the website. You can find them HERE. Grab them now because when they’re gone, they’re gone!

The gorgeous panel. Just look at the amazing array of colors that digital printing can create!
These are the companion fabrics.
Here are the accents I used from 1895 and 885.

Now you’ve seen the fabrics, lets get to the tutorial!

Hillside Charm Tutorial

The first thing I did was trim the panel to the dimensions listed in the pattern. Sigh……I really hated cutting anything off this amazing panel but if I wanted to make the quilt, it had to be done. So I did it. I also cut out the squares and the strips. The pattern actually calls for a pack of charm squares, but since I didn’t have an actual charm pack, I went ahead and cut the squares I needed. I won’t have as much variety as I would have with a charm pack, but it will still be beautiful. Sometimes, less is more.

Next I sewed the side strips on to the panel. Then I sewed squares to the ends of the top and bottom strips before sewing them into the panel. It’s already taking shape. I’m really excited about this quilt — it is going to be really gorgeous!

Time to sew my charm squares into strips for the next border. I just had to make sure not to sew 2 of the same fabric side to side. Easy peasy.

Here you can see that I took the time to pin the pieced charm square strip to the framed panel. This is an important step because I don’t want my quilt to be a funny shape. Nope, I like ’em squared up as much as I can as I go along. And one of the best ways to do that is to match your centers and your ends and pin generously.

Yay! Let’s sew the pinned charm square side borders on. Sigh….I must admit I hate removing my pins as I sew and I am guilty of sewing over my pins. Mea culpa.

Here are the pieced charm square borders added to the sides. I am so excited how this quilt is coming together.

Now let’s add the top and bottom charm square pieced strips. Pin, pin, pin. Sew, sew, sew. I really like how the pieced border is giving the look of Four Patch blocks in the corners. Tricky, tricky!

More side borders to add. This time I have to be more careful with the placement of the squares so that I don’t accidentally line up 2 of the same fabric, especially since I’m not using as much variety as a charm pack would provide (although, nowadays there are lots of duplicates in a charm pack because fabric collections are a lot smaller than they used to be).

Here are my last borders — the top and bottom pieced borders. Now you can see the rectangles of the blue/green marbled fabric at each corner, mimicking the inner blue/green marbled inner border. Cool detail!


I can’t wait to see your Hillside Charm Quilts! You can email your Hillside Charm photos me at tricia@villarosadesigns.com and I’ll share them on the blog and Facebook.

Thanks for sewing along with this tutorial. Stay tuned for another tutorial next week.

Wait! I can’t go yet without showing you the NEW November Rose Card patterns.

Check out these awesome new patterns. If you attended Quilt Market or Festival last week, you already had a sneak peak. Lucky you!

Oh look! Another Panel quilt! You can buy the November set of 5 Rose Cards HERE for $8.95.

This is my new table runner, Baskets, for this month:

You can buy the Baskets pattern HERE.

As always, shipping is free.

I hope you find a little time to get sewing because the Holidays are right around the corner and if you are like me, you have a long list of quilty gifts you want to make even though you know you’ll never get them all finished. The New November Rose Cards could help you jump start your holiday sewing! Just sayin’….

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Panel Quilts · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

VRD Hypnotized Quilt Tutorial

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I was so excited after last week’s post about Panels and our Villa Rosa Rose Card patterns that work for panels, I just had to play with my stuff! I decided to go ahead and get the top done for Hypnotized, using my adorable Halloween Gnomes,. Who doesn’t love gnomes???? I just had to, I didn’t want to wait until next year, although I might not get it quilted and bound until next Halloween.

If you missed last week’s Panel Post, you can find it HERE.

Here’s the Hypnotized Rose card pattern:

You can buy the Hypnotized pattern HERE.

Let’s get started with our tutorial!

The first thing you need to do is to cut out your pieces. I used this adorable Halloween Gnome novelty fabric from Northcott instead of a panel. The cool thing about quilt patterns made for panels is that you can usually substitute a novelty print as long as you cut it to the right dimensions.

YAY! GNOMIES! (That’s what my sister, Tracy, calls them.)

I did not cut the pieces for the inner and outer border out yet. I like to wait until I have the center of the quilt made because sometimes my measurements don’t exactly match the measurements given in the pattern.

If this happens to you too, don’t cut the border strips until you can measure your quilt center. That way you can cut the border strips (and piece the strips together if needed) to your specific measurements, not someone else’s.

Remember when we talked about the “perfect” quarter inch seam allowance? Go HERE if you need a refresher. There really isn’t one. Basically, everyone’s quarter inch seam is a touch different, either a bit smaller or bigger than that elusive quarter inch. Anyway, as each of us use a slightly different quarter inch seam, the dimensions of our quilts are going to be slightly different too. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

So sew with your best quarter inch seam — accuracy is more important than a perfect quarter inch seam in most cases — and measure your quilt before you cut the borders.

Let’s keep moving!

After you’ve cut your pieces, sew strips to the sides of the small square. Then sew strips to the top and the bottom.

You know, I photographed every step of this process, but for some reason all my photos are not on my iPad. Methinks my cat Griffin might have deleted photos when he was painting on his iPad cat painting app.

A cat that paints? No, that’s not strange at all……. What’s strange is that he scratches at my iPad (covered with a protective screen cover) and gets out of his painting game and into other apps somehow. Kids….

Anyway, sew strips to the sides of this block and then add the strips to the top and bottom. Voila! This is your center square. Make 1. (Sorry for the EQ images, but the photos are gone!) Silly Griffy!

Now sew strips to the side of your other 8 squares. Then add the longer strips to the top and the bottom. Make 8.

Here are all my blocks ready to go. Aren’t they fun???

Wow! This quilt is coming together fast. Now to add some background rectangles to our quilt blocks.

Sew a background rectangle to the top of a Framed block. Make 3.

Please Note:  If your fabric is not directional, you can skip adding background rectangles to various sides of the Framed square blocks.  Instead, sew background rectangles to one side of each of the 8 Framed square blocks.

Sew a background rectangle to the bottom of a Framed block. Make 3. (Sorry, these photos are gone, too.) Argh….Griffin…….

Now sew a background rectangle to the left side of a Framed block. Make 1.

Lastly, sew a background rectangle to the right side of a Framed block. Make 1.

Whew! That was a little confusing, I know, but now we get to put things together!

Sew 2 top facing background rectangle units with a bottom facing background rectangle unit in the center. Then sew a long background rectangle to each end of the row. Make 1 row.

Make the bottom row pretty much the same as the top row, above, but reversed — sew 2 bottom facing background rectangle unit with a top facing background rectangle unit in the center. Then sew large background rectangles to the ends of the row. Make 1 row.

Now for the middle row — sew a right facing background rectangle unit, the single center block, and a left facing background rectangle unit at the end. Make 1 row.

Next sew the 3 rows together.

Isn’t this quilt top adorable so far? The orange frame in the center block really pops, don’t you think? Can’t wait to get the borders on next!

Now sew the inner border strips to the sides of the quilt center. You’ll probably have to piece the strips so they’re long enough. Add the top and bottom inner border strips, piecing them too.

Almost there! It’s time to add outer border strips to the sides — piece those border strips carefully, please. Finally! Our last step for the top — sew on the top and bottom borders, piecing your strips.

Houston….we have a problem!

I just discovered I don’t have enough border print fabric to sew borders on all 4 sides of the quilt.

Whatever can I do???

Why, just add borders to the top and bottom of the quilt! Good solution on the fly. That’s how I roll.

Yay! Mission accomplished — adorable Halloween Gnomies quilt top completed before Halloween! (Sorry the photos of the quilt as it gets put together aren’t very good — I am limited on space for working with larger quilts, so here I’m hanging the quilt top on a clothesline strung in the basement. Hey, we do what we have to do, right?)

What do you think?

As I write this post, I’m crazily packing my stuff to head to International Quilt Market in Houston, TX. I haven’t been to Market since 2019 — before the Pandemic. I’m really excited as this will be my first time being part of the Villa Rosa team.

If you’re headed to Market, stop by the booth, we are Booth #747, right behind the center Info booth on the main walkway. VRD is also doing 2 Schoolhouse lectures on Friday, Oct 28th. If you’re headed to Quilt Festival, Villa Rosa Designs will have a booth there, too. We’d love to say “hi.”

Sigh….Back to my packing.

Stay tuned — next week’s post will be all about my Quilt Market trip. The sights, the sounds, the food….

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD