Paper-Pieced Blocks

A Quilt By Any Other Name

make-it-modern-e1562531223487.jpgCall this what you will, I have to admit it’s one of my favorite designs yet. It’s a modern-style quilt, inspired by folk lore.  Here in northern Montana, on our coldest winter days, ice crystals will form in the air, and the sunlight playing off of these crystals sometimes makes it appear that there are two smaller suns flanking the real sun. These reflections are called “Sun Dogs.”

Sun Dogs TitleI won’t be telling you how to make this quilt in this post, because the pattern is included in the latest issue of Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts magazine. The editors chose to call it “Stars Over Santa Fe”.  In fact, this pattern is the one I mentioned in last September’s StarStruck challenge post. I hadn’t used Island Batik fabrics for the sample quilt.

With all the open space available in this quilt, I knew I was going to send it to Tiffany Barcus at Unique Quilting and let her turn her mad longarm quilting skills loose on it. I texted her a sketch of the quilt top, and she immediately started firing back quilting design options. I love it when someone gets as excited about one of my quilts as I do. I liked all of Tiffany’s ideas, and fell in love with three of them. Since I couldn’t choose just one, I made a second quilt top, this one featuring Island Batiks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the magazine quilt, we combined the filigree quilting, with little “ice crystals” sprinkled in the open spaces. The crystals were made with an iridescent thread, so they have a little shimmer.

Filigree in Progress

For my Island Batik quilt, I chose the “mosaic” quilting pattern, which combined with the brown, blue and green fabrics, I think gives the whole quilt a little more “masculine” appeal.  I used Aurifil threads to piece this quilt, and Hobbs Warm and Natural® batting.

IB Detail 3

My friend Cheryl also made a top for Tiffany to work her magic on. Cheryl chose the concentric circles option for her quilt.


I have always loved designing pieced quilt patterns, but to be honest, my creativity stalls when it comes to the actual quilting. That’s why I am so grateful to have two longarm quilters – Tiffany and Kathy – that I know I can give carte blanche with the quilting, and they’ll do an awesome job.

If you’d like to make your own “Sun Dogs” or “Stars Over Santa Fe” quilt, pick up the Fall 2019 issue of Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts. If you don’t find it on your newsstand, you can order it from The Quilting Company.

Easy Quilts










Categories: Aurifil Threads, Easy Quilts (Fons & Porter), Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Magazines, Paper-Pieced Blocks, Uncategorized | Tags: | 4 Comments

Quiltmaker Magazine Rolls out “100 Blocks, Vol 13”


…and my block, “Wheel Around” is right there on the cover:


"Wheel Around" by Anne Wiens - 2016

“Wheel Around” by Anne Wiens – 2016

People who know me well will be surprised that I designed a paper-pieced block, because I have never been a fan of paper piecing. In fact, I used to flat-out hate it.

Then I took a class with Carolyn McCormick, who invented the Add-a-Quarter® tool. I had the original ruler in my toolbox for years, but come to find out, I had been using it incorrectly! So I don’t hate paper-piecing anymore. It’s still not my favorite piecing technique, but I don’t shy away from it when it’s the best option.

Last spring, Carolyn introduced a new Add-a-Quarter Plus®. The “Plus” is a beveled edge that eliminates the need to use a separate straight-edge to fold the paper before trimming. Follow the links for more information.

The Wheel Around block I submitted to Quiltmaker is made in four colors, but it can also be made in two-color and eight-color variations (I’m not counting the color in the center of the “wheel”.)

You will need four copies of the pattern page for each block.


Make one copy and measure for accuracy. The top and side seam lines (not the outside trim lines) should be 6″ long.

Note: The patterns in the magazine make a block that “spins” clockwise. If you prefer a block that spins counter-clockwise, use the mirror-image feature on your copier to flip the pattern before printing.

"Two color" Wheel layout.

“Two color” Wheel layout.

For the two-color wheel, I chose three shades of teal green. The lightest will go in the center. I made one copy of my pattern page and left it intact, then noted which pieces would be Dark, Medium, or Light teal. The unmarked pieces will be white. I made each of the four quarter units in the same colors.

2-color "Wheel Around" block

2-color “Wheel Around” block

The eight-color block is more complicated:


For the 8-color block, I arranged the colors, then laid out four copies of the pattern and wrote the colors for each piece right on the pattern I used for piecing.

8-color "Wheel Around" block

8-color “Wheel Around” block

So there are three options for the block itself. I’d love to see what you do with it.You can email me at or “Like” my page on Facebook to share your photos.

I have one project in the works, and a couple more on the drawing board.

I can’t show them to you now, but be watching for the Fall 2016 issue of Quilts from 100 Blocks!

Before you head back to the Quilty Pleasures blog to continue today’s tour, please leave a comment below. One lucky visitor will receive a free copy of 100 Blocks, Vol 13 from Quiltmaker Magazine, and I will throw in an Add-a-Quarter Plus® combo pack, containing the 6″ and 12″ tools!

Categories: 100 Blocks, Paper-Pieced Blocks, Quiltmaker Magazine | 145 Comments

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: