Slip and slide? New technique for Stack the Deck quilts (+ giveaway!)

From Stack, Shuffle, and SlideEight-time author Karla Alexander has amassed quite a few quilting fans through her topselling “Stack the Deck” books—and if you ask those fans, the reason is simple: her Stack the Deck method is fast and fun! Now she’s back with a new twist—actually, it’s more of a shuffle—for a perfect balance of carefree cutting, simple sewing, and color control.

If you love Karla’s Stack the Deck method, or if you like the popular stack-and-whack approach to making quilts, this “Slip ’n’ Slide” system puts color and value placement back in your hands—which can be a challenge with common stack-and-whack designs. With this approach, you simply stack and slice your decks of fabric; then slide your colors into place.

In this excerpt from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide, Karla explains how her new method works. Scroll down to see just a few of the 15 super-cool quilts you can make, with many included for beginners!


Karla AlexanderWith my eighth book, I’m introducing a new concept I call “Slip ’n’ Slide.” I still make blocks with a wide variety of strip widths and colors, but with my new method, I have full control over color and value placement. Controlling the fabric placement opens the door to a bunch of new designs. If I want a block to read light to dark, or if I want to isolate dark in only one spot, I now have that option.

All the projects in Stack, Shuffle, and Slide use my Stack the Deck technique. You stack fabric squares or rectangles, all right side up, into a fabric “deck” and then slice the deck into various shapes.

Stack-the-Deck method

The shapes are then shuffled and each layer is sewn back together.

This method gives you the advantage of using many different fabrics without having to mess around with a lot of math or odd-shaped templates. If you want to make more blocks than the pattern calls for, you can usually start with the same number of squares or rectangles as you would like completed blocks. This makes it fun to check out your stash and rediscover a few favorite pieces of which you have only a small amount left. As long as you can cut the fabric into a square or rectangle as required in the quilt pattern, you can usually use it. What a great option!

Just like in my previous books, the instructions for each quilt will guide you through the specific stacking, cutting, and shuffling process. But this time around, instead of the random color placement that results when you shuffle, you get to decide what color goes where. When you sew each layer, you will always keep the color order the same (unless directed otherwise), but the strips of each color will be a different width from layer to layer. It’s easy and it’s like magic!

Here’s a look at some of the quilts from the book.

Quilts from Stack Shuffle and Slide
Beginner quilts:
“Gold Rush” (left) lets the fabrics do all the work. It’s entirely possible to cut and piece this quilt in one afternoon! In “Wren Rails” (right), your darkest prints will always be on the outside edges of the block and the lightest will always be in the center.

Quilts from Stack Shuffle and Slide
More beginner quilts:
“Rendevous” (left) goes together effortlessly because it’s made from just two simple repeated units; I sprinkled hints of orange and blue for sparkle. The construction of “Simple Simon” (right) is also easy. Rails of unequal sizes step down across the quilt top, creating a design with geometric charm.

Quilts from Stack Shuffle and Slide
Intermediate quilts:
“Hang Ups” (left) could be considered a stash quilt as far as the flags are concerned. Once you get the “hang” of sewing the flags, it’s a very simple quilt to make. In “Loosely Woven” (right), one colorway leads gracefully to the next; preview your choices from a distance and make sure they move smoothly from light to dark.

Quilts from Stack Shuffle and Slide
More intermediate quilts:
One morning I got up and began working on “Shattered” (left), and by the end of the day, it was almost done. Only three color choices are needed. Choosing fabrics for “Paint Chips” (right)—which is inspired by my paint-chip collection!—is a breeze. Simply choose a variety of solids in contrasting colors.

I encourage you, as always, to find your own path and create your own journey. May your quilting energy be renewed and refreshed with each new project you create from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide. Enjoy!


Stack Shuffle and SlideHave you tried a Stack the Deck or stack-and-whack style quilt? How’d it turn out? Tell us about it in the comments and you could win a copy of the Stack, Shuffle, and Slide eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Wanda, who says:

“I have never saw, or made anything using the Stack the Deck methods or books. They sound great, the new book sounds like it would be a lot of fun. I will put it in my list. Thanks for the chance to win one.”

Wanda, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!




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