Experimenting With Sheets

On a couple of previous blogs I shared some blocks that I am making using solid fabrics.  What I didn’t mention was that the solid fabrics came from 100% cotton sheets I purchased at thrift shops!

Why did I decide to experiment with cotton sheets? This is how it came about; I was at a thrift shop in the bed linens area looking for flannel for a design wall. It was a special 50% day, I love upcycling, bargins, and I thought purchasing a flannel sheet for about $2 or $3 was much more fun than paying full price at a fabric shop. So while I was in the bedding area I started noticing all the other sheets, all the great colors. I began looking at the tags for fiber content and saw that many of them were 100% cotton.  I have a blast working with upcycled 100% cotton plaid shirts so why not give sheets a try!

I have read a little on the Internet about using sheets in quilting, not all of the articles have been favorable. Some of the issues address the thread count and that the machine needles might break the threads of high thread count sheets.  I considered this and I also inspected the hems on many of the sheets where they have been machine stitched, no signs of fraying or thread breaking.  I’m giving it a try!

Of course I love variety and have purchased many sheets.  Let’s talk $ per yard, I only purchase them on sale days so it works out to about 50¢ per yard!


I did put the proverbial cart before the horse in this case and have completed almost two quilt tops before I decided maybe I should make a smaller sample quilt top and put it to the test.  So I cut up a great assortment into 5″ squares.
five inch squares

I made the test quilt top out of my favorite unit, half-square-triangles!  The darkest fabric is not black but a very dark blue fabric from a sheet.

Test Top

The back is also from a sheet so this entire test quilt is from upcycled sheets.

top and backing

Once this quilt is quilted this is what I am going to do to test it for durability, I’m going to toss it in the dryer with every load of drying that I do. I’m not going to wash it in my top loading washer, I never wash quilts that way, there is too much stress on a quilt in a top loading washer. I will report back on the results. I really do feel confident that these fabrics will hold up, and I will let you know either way.


Pat Speth author of:  Nickel Quilts,   More Nickel Quilts,  Amazing Nickel Quilts,  Nickel Quilts & Borders, and The Big Book of Nickel Quilts

To schedule a Nickel Quilt lecture or workshop contact Pat at the email below.

Email: pat@patspeth.com

Deli Geese Project – Block #1- Scarlett

1 Scarlett

Ok, so this is what happened.  Over a year ago I came up with a very fun technique of sewing together two half square triangle units into Large Flying Geese Units and cutting them in half horizontally.  These pieces can be used to frame an 8″ block (finished size) for some very fun new blocks.

I have been coming up with many great blocks ideas and am very excited about this technique.  My first thought was to wait until I publish this in a book before sharing this information on the Internet. That would mean a wait of at least a couple of years, because I still need to finish my block-a-day calendar before I start any new publishing project.

But I can’t wait, this is just too much fun!  So my next thought on sharing this information was just to do a couple of blogs on the technique and develop a workshop using it.  But that would have been too easy and not enough people reached.  So . . . I am going to do a 365 Block project using this new technique and new blocks!

Don’t expect a block everyday; that’s not going to happen not with my schedule.  But I am going to shoot for a block every few days. I will make each of the blocks so you will get to see all 365 blocks in a variety of fabric styles. Many will be very scrappy from stash fabrics and of course I will be using 5″ squares as much as possible!

I’m calling this technique “Deli Geese” because they’re sliced Flying Geese units! I know, too corny, but you’ll come to love them!

To get started, first you make the Large Flying Geese units following the instructions here.

Make 4 Large Flying Geese units; these measure 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished.

4 Dark Flying Geese

Measure over to the 2 1/4″ mark and cut the Flying Geese units in half. You now have Top Units and Bottom Units. Each of these units will measure 2 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished.

Dark FG cut in half

Four Top Units will frame an 8″ (finished size) quilt block and the Bottom Units will frame another 8″ quilt block.

4 top and bottom from a dark FG

Depending on how you position the Deli Geese unit, what you have chosen for your center 8″ quilt block, and how you are going to set your blocks together you might want to use just the Top Deli Geese units in one quilt and save the Bottom Deli Geese units for a second quilt.

Now for some terms that I will be using throughout this project:

Dark Flying Geese unit – the body of the goose (the larger triangle) is dark.

Dark Flying Geese Unit

Light Flying Geese unit – the body of the goose (the larger triangle) is light.

Light Flying Geese Unit

Deli Geese Unit – used when referring to either the top or bottom unit from light or dark geese.

Top and Bottom Light and Dark

Top Units – Top Deli Geese unit

Top Units

Bottom Units – Bottom Deli Geese unit

Bottom Units

Are you ready for the first block?

Here it is, block number # 1 of the Deli Geese Block Project!


1 Scarlett

I’m calling it Scarlett and the next one will be called Rhett.  Since this method makes Top Units and Bottom Units I’ll be working in sets of two for the blocks.

Scarlet uses:

A – four Top Units from Dark Flying Geese units

B – four 2 1/4″ squares

C – four 4 1/2″ squares

D – eight 2 1/2″ squares added to C with the connecting corner method that can be seen here.

1 Scarlett

This block will measure 12″ at this point and finish 11 1/2″.

Something to mention on this block and many others in this Deli Geese Block Project is the points of the triangles in the Deli Geese units do not always line up with the points of the units in the center of the block, they are not suppose to! Isn’t this great?!

Close up with circle

Next block in the project will be #2 the Rhett block using the Bottom Unit.


Pat Speth author of:   Nickel Quilts,    More Nickel Quilts,    Amazing Nickel Quilts,  and  Nickel Quilts & Borders

This information is copyright protected

© 2013 Pat Speth
All rights reserved.
This pattern/design is for your personal, non-commercial use only.
You are not allowed to mass produce this information.

Email: pat@patspeth.com

Large Flying Geese from Half Square Triangles

I have a project in mind that is going to use many large Flying Geese units made from Half Square Triangles.  I’m using two half square triangles that have been squared up to 4 1/2″ containing different dark or medium fabrics to make my large flying geese units.


Press one to the dark and one to the light.

HST Units with arrows

I’m going to arrange these into dark flying geese units for now.

Arranged for Dark FG

But you could also arrange the units to form light flying geese units.

Arranged for Light FG

When sewing these units together, place the unit pressed to the light on the right and the one pressed to the dark on the left.  Then when sewing these units together, your sewing machine will help nestle the seams by forcing the top seam into the bottom seam.

Large FG Unit with pressing arrows

I sew them together and press the seam open to reduce the bulk. I have used these large flying geese units before in several quilts and enjoy making them.  This large flying geese unit measures 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished.

Units Sewn Together

A while ago I started looking at these units in a new way and decided to play around with them by cutting them in half.  Now I have Top Units and Bottom Units that measure 2 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished.

FG Unit Cut in Half

Coming up in my next blog I will reveal what I am going to do with these new units!


Pat Speth author of:  Nickel Quilts,    More Nickel Quilts,    Amazing Nickel Quilts,  and  Nickel Quilts & Borders

This information is copyright protected

© 2013 Pat Speth
All rights reserved.
This pattern/design is for your personal, non-commercial use only.
You are not allowed to mass produce this information.

Email: pat@patspeth.com


Rock Valley Quilters and the Pieced Borders Workshop

It’s my Pieced Borders workshop for the Rock Valley Quilters in Janesville, Wisconsin.  This group has just completed the warm-up units, Half Square Triangles and Four Patches, and are ready to move on to more great units that can all be made from 5″ squares of fabrics!

Workshop participants

Before they get started on the next unit I bring everyone up to the demo table and walk them through the construction process.  In this staged photo (I’m normally caught with a really unattractive expression on my face while I am talking) I’m pointing out many fun borders they can turn their Hourglass units into!

Demo Table

How I love pot luck lunches!  A shortage of counter space and an abundance of food required transforming this ironing board into a dessert table.

Overflow of goodies

I am looking forward to seeing some fun Pieced Nickel Borders from this group in the future!


Tri County Quilters and the Half Square Triangle & Four Patch Workshop

Setting up a workshop with the Tri County Quilters for a special event they hosted in Cranberry, PA.  I’m ready to get these quilters hooked on making some fun scrappy Nickel Quilts!

Set up in progress

Today’s workshop is Half Square Triangles and Four Patches, with fifteen different quilts to choose from.  Yes, all fifteen quilts can be worked on in this workshop!

At least two quilters decided on the Path and Styles quilt that is in my More Nickel Quilts book. This version contains batiks with a fall color theme, perfect for this time of year!

Path and Styles

This version is a lot like my quilt, very scrappy with many warm toned fabrics.

Path and Styles 2

Idaho Beauty is also in More Nickel Quilts, and was selected by three of the quilters in today’s workshop. This first block is really scrappy and a great example of what your blocks are going to look like if you are working with light/background fabrics that have a lot of texture in them.  This is a good block to use those fabrics in, the block is bold enough and the half square triangles are large enough to utilize those fabrics and still see the overall design of the block.

Idaho Beauty 1

The block below has a color and fabric choices similar to my quilt.

Idaho Beauty 2

This quilter has selected a palette of blues and browns to work in.

Idaho Beauty 3

This is Sunny Lanes from my first Nickel Quilt book.  A great quilt to use every fabric in!

Sunny Lanes

I’m looking forward to seeing the finished quilts!


Allentown Crazy Quilters and Pictures from Idaho!

The Crazy Quilters Guild in Allentown, PA had two Nickel Quilt workshops, and in the first one I was too busy to even get my camera out.  Since I teach several different quilts in each workshop I have a lot to cover and this involves a lot of dashing around the room helping everyone. Who knew that the training I had as a waitress back in my high school days would come in so handy in my teaching?

In the Half Square Triangle and Four Patch workshop I did manage to take a few pictures before we started to pack up. This is a block from the Texas Two Step quilt that is in my Amazing Nickel Quilt book.

Texas Two Step

Blocks by two different quilters for the Jewel Box quilt that is found in my first book, Nickel Quilts. These gals chose Christmas fabrics like in the quilt I made. Will they have them done by Christmas?

Jewel Box 1

Jewel Box 2

Below are two blocks for the Sunny Lanes quilt that is also in the Nickel Quilts book.  This workshop participant chose a monochromatic color scheme and I think it’s great!  My quilt was very scrappy and used every color possible, one of my sample blocks is shown in the upper right of the picture.

Sunny Lanes

Allentown quilters remember to send me pictures of your quilts!

The quilters from the North Idaho Quilters have sent pictures of quilts from a workshop earlier in the year.

In the picture below the quilts are from left to right:

South Dakota Star – an individual pattern

Star and Hourglass block – in More Nickel Quilts

Star and Crown – an individual pattern

Prairie Gems – in Amazing Nickel Quilts

Idaho quilts 1

Now for the second half of the room in the picture below, the quilts from left to right:

Prairie Gems – I know it’s a repeat but it’s worth showing twice!

Star and Hourglass, this time a red and green variation – in More Nickel Quilts

Tillie’s Treasure – in Nickel Quilts

Star and Hourglass

Idaho quilts 2

Great job quilters! I love to see the quilts, thank you Julie for sending these pictures!


Beach Cities Quilters and the Half-Square-Triangle and Four Patch Workshop

Last weekend I was with the Beach Cities Quilters in Mission Viejo, California.  Their workshop was on Half-Square-Triangle and Four Patches. Fifteen quilts can all be worked on in this workshop!  Before the day was over, I did manage to take a few pictures.

These are units ready to be sewn together for the Jacob’s ladder block.  The quilt is in my More Nickel Quilts book.

Jacob's Ladder

Blocks from two different Market Square quilts.  The Market Square quilt is in my Amazing Nickel Quilts book.  There were so many bright and fun fabrics being used in this workshop; some were from charm packets and others were stash fabrics!

Market SquareMarket Square II

A Sunny Lanes block from my Nickel Quilts book is being made in a controlled palette of greens.

Sunny lanes

These are Northern Lights blocks found in my Nickel Quilts book.  These blocks are a little scrappier than mine and they look great!  It’s a good way to use single charm squares or to alternate busier prints with blender prints.

Northern Lights

This photo shows blocks for two different Northern Lights quilts.  The blocks on the left started with 5″ squares and the ones on the right started with 6″ squares.  Yes, you can use the same unit construction techniques, no matter what size square you start with!  If starting with a larger square, your units will just be larger and your finished blocks will be larger.  A great way to make some charity quilts!

Northern Lights II

Remember, Beach Cities Quilters: I love too see pictures of the finished quilts!