A quilter’s journey Beyond Neutral: #makingallthequilts part 3

Beyond NeutralBeyond Neutral author John Q. Adams was thrilled to discover a quilter online—New Zealand quilter Deb Robertson—who’d decided to make every quilt in his book.

John contacted us. We contacted Deb. And as they say, the rest is history. Or in this case, a “quiltstory.”

In this third installment of her #makingallthequilts series, Deb shares four more of her Beyond Neutral quilts. If you cling to making a pattern exactly as shown because you’re afraid to branch out with your own style, read on—Deb will inspire you!

You can read Deb’s first post here and her second post here.


Deb RobertsonHi, I’m Deb and I blog at deb-robertson.blogspot.com. I have four amazing children, ranging in age from 5 to 21. This year I’m completing a double major in Media/Communication and Sociology. I’ve been quilting for most of my adult life on the premise that if you do something 10,000 times you become an expert—I’m having a lot of fun practicing! Last year I made all the quilts in QuiltDad’s book, Beyond Neutral, 16 quilts in 13 weeks.

#makingallthequilts Part 3

Having already made several quilts from QuiltDad’s book, Beyond Neutral, I decided to commit to #makingallthequilts. I had to start making some quilts that challenged me.

I’m sure everyone owns quilt books that have some patterns you love and others that don’t appeal to you as much. The thing about #makingallthequilts is that I had to make peace with the quilts that diverged from my usual style. One of those quilts is “Katmai.”
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Katmai quilt
Original version of “Katmai,” from
Beyond Neutral

I decided to make my version of the quilt with a clear contrast using Halloween prints (I drew the design sitting in yet another school lecture). I have a sneaky fondness for Halloween fabrics and I love how my version turned out.
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Deb's Katmai quilt
Deb’s version of “Katmai”

I would definitely make this again using more fabrics but still aiming for lots of contrast. This quilt is super fast to make and (like all John’s patterns) comes out at a good size (64½" x 72½").

Around this time, things in my life got a bit wobbly. I was trying to balance a huge university workload, and the pain from my worn-out hip was worsening. Still, those things didn’t stop me. In fact, they probably motivated me!

Next up was “Fox River.”
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Fox River quilt

Original “Fox River” quilt

John’s version of this quilt is lovely, and I think my version is very soft and restful.
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Deb's Fox River quilt
Deb’s “Fox River” quilt

Detail of Deb's Fox River quiltEven though the fabrics in my quilt are mainly low contrast, there are lots of little creatures in the fabrics (right). I hope it will get lots of snuggle time.

On to “Pinnacles.”
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Pinnacles quilt
Original “Pinnacles” quilt

“Pinnacles” is a really lovely quilt that’s easy to sew. However, I made some mistakes with cutting the larger pieces. So I ended up leaving off the borders. But I think it still turned out just fine.
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Deb's Pinnacles quilt
Deb’s “Pinnacles” quilt


“Fire Island” was one of those quilts that I just didn’t “get” when I first looked through Beyond Neutral, but having committed to #makingallthequilts, I pressed on.
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Fire Island quilt
Original “Fire Island” quilt

I made my version entirely from my stash.
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Deb's Fire Island quilt
Deb’s “Fire Island quilt

I LOVE it. It’s so simple, but it’s really effective. After making the quilt, I shrunk the pattern down and made myself a bag from it, and that worked well too. You could easily make this quilt in an afternoon, and it would suit a wide range of fabrics. John’s quilt includes much brighter fabrics, while mine is soft and floral. I think both are great!


Beyond NeutralSo far we’ve seen 12 of Deb’s quilts from Beyond Neutral—and there are still four more to go! Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the final post about Deb’s journey.

You can follow Deb at her blog and on Instagram (where she recently announced that she’s #makingallthequiltsagain).

Are you ready to start #makingallthequilts? Tell us what you think of Deb’s challenge to herself in the comments!
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Deb's quilts from Beyond Neutral

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6 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Deb is one of those people that never sleeps I guess. She is a good example of the "energizer bunny"…with children, hubby, school, bad hip and sewing all those quilts is overwhelming to me….they are beautiful and it’s fun to see how anothers interpretation of someone else’s art comes to life. Deb, you are inspiring and I might challenge myself to a task like this too.

    —Barbara Dolan on September 10, 2015
  • I love her challenge! I don’t know how you possibly have the time or the energy – much less both!!
    Now I need to find just that perfect book to do it myself! Hmmm, maybe "Beyond Neutral"??!? I would definitely have fun changing up the colors — as I always do!!!

    —Kathy in IN on September 10, 2015
  • Amazing. Not only did she make the quilts but they are all finished as in quilted and bound. I have a lot of UFO’s sitting around. I am not very good at getting them finished. Way to go!!!!

    —Cindy Schultz on September 11, 2015
  • I would have to comment that your versions of John’s designs but with your own fabric choices are more feminine looking then his are. Even Katmai, even though it is the least different. Fabric choice (to me) is the most important part of designing a quilt. Any design can be given a certain feel/mood with the choice of fabric. And I love your choices!

    —Bernadine on September 11, 2015
  • Love the last picture with all of her quilts on a line. How cool to make all the quilts in the book, very inspirational, but doable. How fun!

    —Kathy G on September 11, 2015
  • Well, it’s apparently doable because there is all her evidence. But I wouldn’t be up for the challenge to be completed in such a short time period: I need sleep and my family thinks they need meals and clean underwear! I think it would be good to take on those patterns that don’t necessarily appeal to us at first and figure out how to make it our own.

    —Pearl on September 12, 2015

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