Slice-shuffle-slide with a Stack the Deck quilt pattern (+ sale!)

Along the quiltmaking road, many of us encounter “stack-and-whack” or “Stack the Deck” quilts—but have you tried making one? It’s a fun, liberating way to experience the unexpected. There are a lot of different ways to stack squares, cut them apart, and sew them back together.

Karla Alexander introduced her stack-slice-shuffle-and-sew technique in Stack the Deck in 2002, which she devised as a way to create Crazy quilt blocks. The concept is fairly simple: cut squares to a given size and stack them, slice them as instructed, and then shuffle the pieces before sewing them back together.

Scrappy Crazy Quilt Sampler
From Stack the Deck Revisited: “Scrappy Crazy Quilt Sampler”

But that was only the beginning. Over the course of six more Stack the Deck books, Karla expanded on the technique, introducing new ways to play with color and different ways to cut the stacks.

In her most recent book, Stack, Shuffle, and Slide, Karla revealed the secret to controlling color placement (hint: it’s all in the slide). A Stack the Deck quilt pattern is no longer limited by random fabric placement. Now you are in control.

Let’s look at some of the innovations Karla has introduced in her books.

Stack a New DeckIn Stack a New Deck, Karla looked beyond Crazy quilt blocks and applied the technique to other traditional blocks, such as Log Cabin. She also started to play with curved piecing.
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Quilts from Stack a New Deck
“Garden Path” and “Aunt Bessie’s Kaleidoscope” from Stack a New Deck

See all the projects in Stack a New Deck >

Stack the Deck RevisitedThe plan for Stack the Deck Revisited was to use new fabrics to remake the quilts from the first book, which was in demand but no longer in print. Karla tried to stick with the plan, but she soon found herself having so much fun and getting so caught up in the possibilities that she couldn’t help introducing a few new ideas and variations. The result is a collection that’s even more exciting and innovative!
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From Stack the Deck Revisited
“Roll of the Dice” and “Figs and Ginger” from
Stack the Deck Revisited

See all the projects in Stack the Deck Revisited >

Dynamic Quilts with Easy CurvesOnce she saw how much fun her students were having with curves, Karla couldn’t wait to design a book’s worth of projects for them. Whether cut freeform or with a special ruler, curves add energy and excitement to quilts.
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From Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves
“Bounce” and “Split Seconds” from
Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves

See all the projects in Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves >

Stack, Shuffle, and SlideIn her latest book, Karla unlocked the key to controlling color placement. In a lightbulb moment, she discovered that by introducing one more step—the slide—she could keep certain colors where she wanted them within blocks. The results are amazing!
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From Stack, Shuffle, and Slide
“Loosely Woven” and “Paint Chips” from
Stack, Shuffle, and Slide

See all the projects in Stack, Shuffle, and Slide >

What will she come up with next? Only Karla knows that, but we’re sure it will lead to exciting quilts!

Intrigued? Ready to jump in and give it a try? Pick up a copy of one of the books above.

What new piecing technique have you tried recently? Tell us about it in the comments.

11 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Nothing new on my home front. The only thing new for me it to actually get something done.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on June 1, 2015
  • Well nothing new on my quilt wall, still working on color combos. Some of the projects in the books look like fun and some look a little scary for me–time to get on the bandwagon and try something new. Cheers!

    —Carol on June 1, 2015
  • I’m fortunate enough to know Karla Alexander as she belonged to our Mid Valley quilt Guild in Salem, Oregon and lives in Salem. Karla has spoken at our guild a few times and are in process of getting her back again to explain her new process. Love her books and different ideas…and have made a few quilts with her techniques…will be trying out her new book now…

    —Jeanette S on June 1, 2015
  • Confession time…. I’ve been quilting for 18 years and have only just made a block with an inset seam! The good news is that the quilt I’m working on requires 56 blocks with an inset seam, so I’m not at all scared of them now 😀

    —Kayt Deans on June 1, 2015
  • I have been trying weaving and joining another piece before the seam is completely finished, inserted section. Not too much fun keeping the pieces at bay and trying to use left overs. Did find more fabric as I have arranged my new sewing room.

    —Linda Christianson on June 2, 2015
  • I would love the "Seems like Scrappy" book! Lots of fun quilts to try.

    —Ann Z on June 2, 2015
  • I participate in two monthly swaps/challenges: Block Lotto and Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Both of them provide inspiration and an opportunity to learn something new. I’ve owned two of Karla’s books for years but I have yet to make anything from them. Guess it’s time to start.

    Nann on June 2, 2015
  • Actually, after 27 years of quilting, and many more of garment making, I am working on my first hand pieced project–about 90″x90″! Blocks turn out to be 18″ unfinished, and my favorite shape: hexagons. I have enjoyed applique since I started quilting, so hand piecing is not really a big step. But something different. AND, I’m finding they are like potato chips!

    —Whiskers on June 2, 2015
  • I learned how to make flying geese. Yuck! They can fly away and never return.

    —Diana O. on June 4, 2015
  • I unfortunately haven’t done any work since Oct 2013. A postponed move and farmhouse with no space for me to work are hampering my efforts. Once the attic is renovated into my dream work space, then I will get the backlog cleared.

    —Ocotilla on June 5, 2015
  • I was at a quilt shop this morning and someone brought in their Paint Chips while I was there. Pretty neat!

    —Suzanne on June 5, 2015

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