Author Archives: Beth


Sherrie recently sent me this photo of her beautiful wall hanging based on my Sunflower block, made for a friend’s birthday. She enlarged the pattern to 43 x 26″, and says “I love using paper quilting patterns. It makes the job so much easier!”

Sunflower - paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By Number

I love Sherrie’s choice of colors, and the simplicity of the white background and borders really makes the sunflowers pop and glow. The inversion of the smaller leaf on the center block adds just a little unexpected twist – as does Mother Nature every day, every where. Lovely work, Sherrie – thanks for sharing!

Oh Baby Oh!

Who can resist sharing a photo of a sweet baby lying peacefully on a quilt? Certainly not the quilter who created it! (The quilt I mean, not baby Hailey, who was created by friends of mine :-) )


It’s the first quilt I’ve finished in quite some time now. The cheerful, bright fabric came from Moda’s Oh Cherry Oh! line, a pre-cut “Turnovers” triangles pack. It’s now out of print, as I learned recently when trying to find enough fabric for the border and backing. But E-beth Designs over on Etsy had the wonderful aqua zigzag print, which then inspired the zig-zag quilting. A quick, easy project that couldn’t be simpler or cuter.

My shiny new Ikea pizza wheel made marking the quilting lines a breeze. With a 24″ ruler, I just ran the pizza wheel along where I wanted to quilt. The pizza wheel makes a nice straight crease that lasts long enough for quilting, with no need to mess with masking tape or worry about washing out marking pen/pencil.  Child’s play!

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI)

YellowRoseOfTexas made from Rosie's Rose paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By Number

(Updated July 2014:  Sady, I learned this wonderful initiative is no longer actively soliciting quilt donations. )

Today I received an email from Suzi, who purchased one of my patterns with the idea to make a little quilt for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI).  If you haven’t come across the AAQI in your travels around the web (or even if you have already!), I hope you’ll take a few minutes now to explore their interesting and well-designed site, and consider supporting their work in whatever way you can, however small.

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New designs: Swiss Daisy and Edelweiss

Swiss Daisy  paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By NumberAdded a couple of new patterns to the shop last week, the first in admittedly quite some time.  (The day job is taking up way too much of my life lately…)  Swiss Daisy, left, grew from two quite different inspirations.  The first was a camera lens aperture:  the very delicate, overlapping metal leaves that can be adjusted to let in just the right amount of light for a photograph.

The second inspiration was Mary Ann Beattie’s extremely clever paper piecing pattern of a sunshine (apparently no longer on the web), in which she cut through the foundation during the construction to allow all the sunshine’s rays to be sewn with a single foundation unit.  This got me thinking about the possibilities of cutting the foundation to achieve certain designs, and I wondered if some variation of this idea could be used to create the camera aperture design.  A little drafting in EQ, some experimenting with fabric at the machine, and eureka!  A center octagon, framed by overlapping triangles, becomes possible to sew using a single foundation piece, with no applique.  How cool is that?

quilt layout example using the Swiss Daisy paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By NumberHaving gotten this far, I decided to develop the design into an 8-petaled flower, rather like a daisy. I found that alternating blocks of light and dark daisies yields a fascinating reverse swirling effect, a near-tessellation of larger flowers.  These larger flowers evoked for me the elusive, delightfully irregular edelweiss blossoms, flowers I have only seen for real at local nurseries but never in the wild, despite my living in Switzerland for more than 13 years.  So I named the block “Swiss Daisy”, because a cluster of these special daisies transform so easily into a meadow of edelweiss.  (Though truth be told, real daisies in Switzerland are no different than daisies in France, Germany, or Italy. :-)  )

Edelweiss paper piecing quilt block pattern from Piece By NumberBut what if a quilter wants only one edelweiss blossom, for example, for a flower sampler quilt? This possibility led me to draft the Edelweiss block, with its darker green corner diamonds suggesting leaves. Sweet! The block is effective in many color schemes, with often a more geometric than floral feel depending on choice of color or fabric design.

I love how the one design led so naturally into the second one, yet both blocks stand on their own as distinct designs with different possibilities. They share some similarities in construction techniques, though Edelweiss can only be constructed in multiple units, whereas Swiss Daisy is a true single-unit foundation pattern (a multiple unit version is also given in the pattern).  (Note:  both patterns are for intermediate- to advanced-level paper piecers.  For more images of the blocks and quilt possibilities, see Swiss Daisy and Edelweiss.)

99 Bottles

beer bottle - a free paper piecing quilt block pattern from Piece By NumberMy son and I got to singing that old camp favorite “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” (and some of its even sillier variations) while goofing around recently.   Later that day, I was trying to come up with some new block design ideas, and inspiration struck — a new kind of bottle quilt!  Drafting the bottle pattern was quite easy.  Less obvious was how to arrange the bottles to make a reasonably proportioned quilt while still incorporating 99 blocks (3 rows of 33 bottles just isn’t a useful proportion for anything but a looong table runner!).  I’m pleased with this layout.  The 99th bottle, of course, does not fit on the shelves, and so it sits on the “floor”.  I guess that’s the one that got taken down and passed around.

If you want to make your own quilt, click here for the PDF pattern plus the dimensions of the bottles, sashings and borders (but no instructions) to make a quilt about 67 x 76″.  The bottle labels are perfect for using large scale and novelty prints — fussy cut them to resemble real beverage bottle labels.  You could even add the names of your favorite beverages with fabric markers or embroidery.  I chose the same bottle green color for all the bottles, to show up on a black background while not overly competing with the labels, but of course other color schemes could work just as well.

If you make something with this block, be sure to add a photo of it to our Flickr group  :-)

EQ7 users can download the EQ7 project file here if you’d like to play around with layout ideas and fabric choices. (I had to zip it so you can download it – hope that’s not a problem for anyone.)

*clink*   Cheers!

Busy, busy!

Whew – have added several new designs in my shop! I’m  really pleased with how they turned out and can’t pick a favorite – I love them all :-) Care to take a look?

Kiriki the Frog - paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By NumberKiriki the Frog is an updated version of a froggie that I designed long ago and had published in the now defunct Foundation Piecer magazine. He looks so sproingy and happy!

(“Kiriki” is a name I thought I made up, being an anagram of “rikiki”, French for tiny, and also evoking “kaeru” and “kikker”, which are Japanese and Dutch, respectively, for frog. But googling “kiriki” pulls up some interesting results, including a 1908 film of Japanese acrobats. Once again proving that there is nothing original under the sun.)

Bluebird of Happiness - paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By NumberNext up is the Bluebird of Happiness. Did you know that bluebirds have been symbols of happiness around the world for over 1000 years, according to Wikipedia? I first learned about the Bluebird of Happiness from Laugh-In, lol. Guess that dates me.

As you can see, the pattern is also adorable in other colorways, if one prefers redbirds, canaries or even little brown sparrows. I considered adding tiny embroidered feet, but couldn’t get that to look quite right, deciding after all that simpler is better.

Turtle - paper piecing quilt block pattern by Piece By Number

This cute turtle would be terrific for a baby quilt, don’t you think? Mmmm, these sherbet pastel brights are so cheerful.  I love how the shell can be made with many different fabrics for a very patchwork-y look. Trivia: May 23 is World Turtle Day.

Am on holiday at home for another 3 days, so maybe I’ll be able to get another new design started?  Alternatively, I should get going on cutting some fabric kits for bottle quilts in time for holiday sewing – but that means getting out the ironing board.

Table for Resizing 6 inch Quilt Block Patterns

Many of Piece By Number’s patterns are provided as 6 inch (15.2 cm) blocks, so as to fit easily on standard computer printer paper.  However, you can easily enlarge or reduce patterns to the perfect size for your project with the help of your local copyshop. Also, see my post on using the latest version of Adobe Reader XI to resize PDF block patterns directly on your home printer.

The table below will help you convert any 6 inch square blocks to other block sizes in inches:

table of percentages for resizing 6 inch blocks

Click here for a PDF table to convert 6 inch square blocks to a range of popular METRIC sizes.

To resize ANY size of quilt block to whatever size you need, please see this article.

Petite Posies – a free paper piecing mini-quilt pattern

Petite Posies free paper pieced mini-quilt patternA Petite Posies mini-quilt is perfect for a cheerful little gift (think mug rug!), with the added benefit of using up some of your most colorful scraps.  Add a button or cluster of tiny beads in the center of each blossom if you wish.

Alternate Strips A and B side by side for the overall project size and proportions you want. The graphic at the upper right shows 4 pairs of A and B blocks for an 8″ x 8″ finished square, plus a tiny border all around, but you can make it bigger very easily by adding additional strips, or by enlarging the pattern pieces when printing/photocopying. Plan your fabric and color placement using the coloring page (included) before beginning to sew the blocks.

Download the Petite Posies PDF pattern here.

See my finished Petite Posies mini – blog post with photos.