Quilting with fat quarters (+ giveaway)

Hunter's Star quiltRegina Girard has 22 nieces and nephews, a grandniece and grandnephew, and two children of her own. Regina is Martingale’s Production Manager, and in the 13 years we’ve worked together, I’ve watched in amazement as Regina—the only quilter in her family—lovingly produced quilt after quilt for birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, and best of all, new babies.

But even with a long list of family quilts to make, Regina is always one of the first to cheerfully volunteer to design and make a quilt for one of our staff compilation books. In fact, she often makes more than one. (I think she can’t help herself.) She’s even been a cover girl, her gorgeous “Hunter’s Star” (above) gracing the cover of the bestselling book A Baker’s Dozen.

Quilting with Fat QuartersSo it didn’t surprise me that Regina agreed to design a quilt (or two) for our latest book, Quilting with Fat Quarters. After all, who can resist fat quarters? As Karen Soltys says in the book’s introduction, “Who among us hasn’t had a shopping incident involving fat quarters?” I know I have, and my growing stash of fat-quarter fabrics is just one reason I’m so excited to introduce this new collection of great quilts from the staff at That Patchwork Place.

I have no idea who cut the first fat quarter (if you know, drop me a line—I’d love to find out who that clever person is!). If I had to guess, I’d say it was a savvy quilt-shop owner who first realized that a half yard of fabric cut in half widthwise yields a much more practical piece of fabric than a standard quarter-yard cut. After all, a nice chunky 18″ x 21″ is much easier to work with than a long, skinny 9″ x 42″ piece. It’s the same amount of fabric, but with oh-so-different possibilities.

Fat quarters are, well, everywhere! Virtually every quilt shop has these sweet little irresistible pieces of fabric tucked into baskets and bowls, enticingly stacked in boxes, or rolled and tied with ribbon. You can buy them in coordinated bundles or build your stash one quarter at a time. I know quilters who collect them as souvenirs when they travel, some who trade them with friends, and others who give them as gifts. My small quilt group uses fat quarters as the prize when we play Left, Right, Center. They’re nearly as common in a quilter’s sewing space as a rotary cutter and ruler.

So, what can you do with a fat quarter? Maybe the question should be what can’t you do with one? Fat-quarter quilts can be simple, like the rectangles in Robin Strobel’s quilt “Not Manly Enough,” shown below.

Or more elaborate, like the graceful traditional-appliqué quilt “Knockout Roses” by Nancy Mahoney.

Whether you challenge yourself to use only fat quarters, as Abbi Barden did in the stunning cover quilt, “Heat Wave”; use fat quarters plus a single border fabric, as Tracy Overturf did in the aptly named “Sherbet Punch”; or combine fat quarters with several unifying fabrics, as Adrienne Smitke did in her delicious quilt “Confectionery,” there’s a pattern here to suit your fabrics.

"Heat Wave" from Quilting with Fat Quarters "Sherbet Punch" from Quilting with Fat Quarters "Confectionery" from Quilting with Fat Quarters
“Heat Wave,” “Sherbet Punch,” and “Confectionery”

Like batiks? Thirties prints? Civil War reproduction fabrics? We’ve got you covered there, too.

"Ray of Light" from Quilting with Fat Quarters "Retrolicious!" from Quilting with Fat Quarters"Remembering Chancellorville" from Quilting with Fat Quarters
“Ray of Light,” “Retrolicious!,” and “Remembering Chancellorsville”

Fourteen quilters in all contributed the 17 original designs in this fabulous collection. What an abundance of creative talent we have here at Martingale, and what generosity! I’m so proud to be a part of this group. I know that the next time we put out a call for quilt designs, there will be just as many eager participants. And I’d be willing to bet Regina will be the first in line.


What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with fat quarters? Share your story in the comments and you could win a copy of the Quilting with Fat Quarters eBook! (You can also purchase the book here, and if you do, you can download the eBook for free right away.) Good luck!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing to win a copy of the Quilting with Fat Quarters eBook! The randomly chosen winner is Kathy, who said:

“The best fat quarter fun for me is playing a swap game once a year with my special quilting friends. We meet somewhere in the mid-west and come from Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconson and Illinois. Two years ago it was ugly blocks that needed to become a block for last year. We sure had some interesting results!”

Kathy, we’ll email you a special coupon code for your free eBook. Congratulations!


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