Quilt Blog

Quilts are for Giving

Quilts are for living

Quilts are for giving

Quilts are for lasting memories

Of cherished times

Of every day

On display

Quilts are for enjoying

Giving and receiving

Now in the moment

Not hidden away in chests of hope

Quilts are for

Warming hearts and souls

Wrapping others in kindness



By Shannon Melius of Quilt Shop Quilts


I read a recent article about a Shop Checklist for the new year, but I inadvertently read it as a STOP checklist and it got me thinking about New Years Resolutions. Resolutions are often things we are going to start doing in the new year, with great aspirations and then by the middle of January you have not made progress. Why not? Because you have not gotten rid of something else to fit the resolution into your new routine. You need to STOP something else first. Hence, a STOP checklist.

Here’s an example. I really want to be more organized about my grocery shopping and not go 4 to 5 days a week. So my STOP checklist item is is STOP going to the grocery store so often. But how do I get there and still eat what I want when I want it. Start planning out the meals ahead of time and buy the ingredients in one or two trips per week. Keep a running list of staple items you have depleted. Buy them as you need them on the days you are going to the store, don’t go just to get one or two items. And don’t go to the store to buy things you won’t need till next time you make that dish 3 months from now. Before going to the store, double check if you need milk, orange juice, bread, or toilet paper. As we have all learned this past year, make sure you have enough toilet paper.

Here’s a more relevant example for you quilters. I go to the quilt shop to see what’s new and often buy something I have no idea what I am going to make with it. By the time I figure it out, the fabric is discontinued or out of stock and I need more for the quilt I envisioned. STOP going without a plan. Look through your stash. Look through your patterns or pattern books. Revisiting what you already have is kind of like shopping!

Plan your next projects before you go to the quilt shop. Bring some of your fabric stash with you to match to other fabrics. This way, you will feel the thrill of new purchases AND knowing what project they will complete. I’ll bet you even get started on that project sooner too – probably the same day. Don’t worry too much if your stash fabric isn’t right for the new quilt. You now have all the fabric you need to start your quilt and that stash fabric was just inspirational fabric you still have to work with again.

As an alternative or if you are new to quilting and don’t have a big fabric stash, if you do go to the quilt shop just to get inspired, buy enough of that special fabric to make the backing of a quilt. That way you will have enough for almost any project and the quilt store will be happy too. This is the STOP buying too little fabric checklist item. If you really love the fabric, it can go in multiple quilts and you will be happy. Make one to give away and make one to keep for yourself.

What’s on your STOP checklist for this year?

Find which quilt size is “Just right”

What size is your Queen size quilt? In quilt pattern design, sometimes the blocks just do not work out to the right size for a standard bed size. Adding borders to fit is usually the default fix, but often the extra borders can detract from the main quilt elements and just look “tacked on.”

Everyone’s preferences are different for how they want the quilt to look on their bed. Do you want it to hang just to the mattress? Do you want it to completely cover the mattress and box springs? Do you want it to go to the floor? In commercial bed covering language these are often termed comforter, coverlet and bedspread.

Then there is the pillow tuck. Do you want no pillow tuck (pillows or pillows shams on top of a quilt that goes to top edge of mattress), a short pillow tuck (usually add about 10 inches to length) or a full pillow tuck (usually add about 20 inches). Watch out for what this does to the look of the pattern in the quilt!

A queen mattress is 60 x 80 inches. A typical coverlet adds 12 inches to each of three sides for the “drop”. A typical Comforter adds about 16 inches to 3 sides. And a typical Bedspread adds about 21 inches to 3 sides. See the tables below for common dimensions of queen quilts with and without pillow tucks.

So, what is the right answer for you? You will need to ask your inner Goldilocks. And go measure your bed. Bed quilts and large lap quilts from Quilt Shop Quilts for sale at my Etsy shop here.

What is your “Just Right” quilt size?

Wow, it has been a while since I posted. I guess I actually was retired! Or maybe just tired. I had lots of time to think over the last year. 30 years ago this month, I started my corporate career as a young scientist at a big company, not knowing what my future held. I never would have predicted where it took me. I did very much enjoy my evolving and unique career and was proud of what I accomplished there. But 2 years ago, it had run its course and I was ready for something new.

Yes, I am definitely retired from corporate life and still very happy with that decision. It has afforded me more time to spend with family and doing lots of things I didn’t have time for when working a corporate job. I have completed a lot of quilts which can be found on Etsy for sale and I have given some quilts away and made some charity quilts. And I have made lots of fabric masks and given them away. I am still designing quilt patterns and now have hard copy versions available on Etsy in addition to the PDF download versions.

In “retirement” I realized that my to do lists that I mastered in my corporate career no longer had firm deadlines in a solo entrepreneur role. Without deadlines, they are simply a list with no strong drive toward action. I’m ready to change that and get back into this quilting as a business. Not full time, but enough to keep me busy and happy and providing value to my followers. Watch for a more regular blog and some new patterns coming very soon. I will be reaching out to independent quilt shops in the near future to sell some of my newest patterns. So look for me in your local quilt shop, or better yet, ask them to carry my patterns. I look forward to engaging with you more in the coming year.

What quilting challenges are you facing during this Covid-19 pandemic?

Am I Retired? June 30, 2019

Am I Retired?

Contemplating retirement

Before we get to the Birthday Sale….

As I near my next birthday, I am still contemplating the question of whether or not I am retired. Last year, I voluntarily left my place of employment after 28 years. I was definitely “tired” after 28 years, but was I retired? I wasn’t yet 55, I had started a business in 2016, selling my quilts on Etsy. Then I moved into selling quilt patterns. But while I was still working the corporate job, I did not put a lot of effort into the quilting business and relied on passive sales. I was pleasantly surprised to even have some sales, to tell you the truth. For this scientifically minded entrepreneur, it was an experiment.

To me the term retirement has some finality associated with it. You are done with your career. You are ready for the rocking chair. That’s not me. So, am I semi-retired, working part time? Am I early retired? But I’m still working in my quilting business. So I am not sure what to call myself.

E-seed Express at Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center

I signed up for a summer class at the Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center, the E-seed Express Entrepreneur Training Series. Problem solved. I am no longer retired; I am a student! I am having a blast and am learning a lot about running a business rather than a hobby. My business is so much easier than what some are planning. A few of my classmates have even filed a patent. Way to go, fellow students!

So, what am I after my class ends? I would love to remain a student with all that potential, hope, and future ahead of me, but all that studying? Been there done that. Maybe I’ll figure it out in July when Mom visits; she can help me out again with what I want to be when I grow up. I think the point is not to grow up entirely. Stay young at heart and enjoy the moment. Make special moments to remember. Give the gift of yourself to others, in whatever way you can.

Birthday Sale

Did I mention it’s my birthday this week? So, here’s my gift to you. Give yourself a gift of a quilt or quilt pattern. Keep it for yourself or give the quilt away to a special someone. Note that quilts ordered this week will not be shipped until July 8. I am out celebrating! All week long. Quilt patterns are digital downloads, so you can get those immediately.

Use this coupon code on my Etsy site for 15% off your purchase through July 8, 2019: BIRTHDAY15

Check out the quilts and quilt patterns and let me know which is your favorite in the comments below.

Favorite Quilts and Quilt Patterns

This is my best seller quilt pattern so far.

This is my favorite quilt this week, because it looks like a big cake for my birthday! This one will be a pattern in my shop soon.

UFOs no more! June 26, 2019

Quilt UFOs Event a success!

UFOs no more!

Charity Baby Quilts UFOs

We had a very productive Quilting UFOs event last weekend with the Sheboygan County Quilters Guild! I finally got the labels on a couple of baby quilts to be donated to Sinai Samaritan Hospital Neonatal Unit in Milwaukee. Our quilting guild donates over 200 quilts per year in a typical year.

Charity Place Mats UFOs

This year’s additional charity is making place mats to be distributed through Meals on Wheels. They will be displayed at our annual show in September, then donated. A very worthy cause, and a great way to use up those orphan blocks or leftover strip pieces. I made a couple of checkerboard place mats.

Civil War fabric quilt UFO

A civil war quilt top I have been working on for several retreats finally received its final two borders, ready for quilting. I was half a yard short for the backing fabric for what I wanted to use, so still figuring out what to do for the backing. I do have some leftover blocks I could add to the back.

Inspected By #8

I completed the top from a class our guild hosted with Joan Cain a few weeks ago on “mosaic quilts”. I am still deciding if it is done or whether to add a pieced border. What do you think? The class was a blast, as was Joan’s lecture for our guild in the evening. Joan is a great teacher and a very entertaining speaker.

Wondering what that little white tag is for in the lower left of the quilt?

Well, we labeled each block with a number pinned to roughly the middle of the block with flat head pins. I am sure Joan instructed us “Do not sew over your pins!” Well, I didn’t, but I did sew over the paper label! Sewed it right into the seam. It is block number 8. I think I am going to add “Inspected by #” to the tag and leave it in the quilt.

Love Kaffe Fassett Fabrics!

And I finished quilting and binding on two more Kaffe Fassett quilts, soon to be added to my Etsy shop. The first of three Kaffe Fassett quilts sold earlier this month.

All in all, a great UFOs weekend with friends. I took the opportunity to take my machine in for its annual service after the event, so no “travel quilting” for me for a bit. I do have two more machines at home, so no worries. But I think I might just need a backup to my backup. After listening to Joan Cain’s talk, I might just invest in a Singer Featherweight. They are certainly lighter than my Janome 6700, with which I love sewing. What’s your experience with Featherweights? Leave a comment below.

Full moon and UFOs! June 19, 2019

This week we had a full moon and UFOs later in the week. It’s definitely going to get weird. Or hopefully just get done! A UFO is an UnFinished Object in quilt terms. My quilters guild is having a UFO event this weekend to help get our quilt projects done for the annual show, complete some baby quilts for donation, and share some fellowship, encouragement, and lots of laughter along the way.

15 ladies meet at the church and sew, sew, sew all day long for three days. We close up shop in the evenings and leave all our stuff for the next morning. It is so nice not to have to repack all your stuff in the car. If you forgot something, odds are one of the other ladies has it and is more than willing to share. Though most of them live close by if they need to run home.

I thoroughly enjoy these sewing days with friends. After the last UFO weekend, I came home all excited to show my husband what I had made. He nodded approvingly at the quilt tops I had completed, then said, “I thought you were supposed to finish quilts at a UFO.” Darn it all, I had no answer for that. I had taken projects to start, not to finish. After a while I decided the projects I had started were UFO’s in my head (heard that before?). And I finished the top, doesn’t that count?

Well, I knew that was not going to fly this time. So I am taking quilt tops to quilt and bind. If I get those finished, I’ll maybe start something new. So, pictures coming next week of Finished Objects, stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy this “quilt” I designed in Electric Quilt (EQ) today to showcase the full moon and UFO for the week.

For those techie EQ users, I made the moon and UFO as “motifs” in Blocks, then set them on a Custom set quilt with a black fabric background, then added the text and rotated it. Remember you can’t add motifs to layer 1 (unless you edit the Quilt Worktable options). Maybe I’ll even make this little quilt.

How many UFOs do you have? What is stopping you from completing them? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Father’s Day June 16, 2019

Happy Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day. How did you celebrate? I designed a new quilt pattern. It’s not quite ready for the big reveal yet, but stay tuned.

My Dad was the recipient of several special quilts.

When Mom and Dad retired, they bought a new house with enough room for a baby grand piano. Neither of them played, so they got an attached electronic player piano gizmo with discs with various types of music that magically played the piano to classical, ragtime, jazz and other genres.

I was still on my first sewing machine, a Singer, when I decided to make a watercolor piano quilt for their retirement to go with the new piano. I bought all kinds of black background flowered fabric, 6 inches at a time, to cut into very small squares. The fabric cutters at the many stores I visited probably despised me. Then I started laying things out on a too small design board, to at least get the piano part designed. And then bought more fabric for around the piano, again 6 inches at a time. Really, this was worse than putting together a puzzle with all the pieces turned upside down! There is no “wrong” arrangement, but you need to stand back from it many times to see the piece that “stands out” too much.

I invested in a “peep hole” used for your front door, for under $2 at the time. Looking through this the correct way makes your quilt appear smaller without having to stand two rooms away. This way you can see your “stand out” fabrics more easily. This was before cell phones! Today, taking a “quilt selfie” does a similar job, but I think the peep hole still works better.

The quilt was finally ready to be sewn together. My trusty Singer made it through the piecing before starting to make some very bad groaning motor sounds. Not good, that retirement party was coming up soon! So off to the sewing machine store I went. I bought my first Janome sewing machine. What a beautiful purring motor, and a ¼ inch foot, and all kinds of fun accessories. I machine quilted the piano quilt with a meandering design with different colors of thread in different parts of the quilt. With such a busy background, my mistakes just blended in. I think it turned out pretty good. It still adorns the wall in front of the piano.

Someone asked me what the hardest part of this quilt was. I answered:

“Giving it away!”

This is still one of my favorite quilts.

I had all kinds of flowered fabric left from this quilt.

I have “loaned out” the fabric stash, yardage and small squares, to two quilting friends who were looking to do something similar and were having trouble finding the black background florals. Even after they each made a quilt, I still had fabric left. I made this black and gold quilt from this continuing leftover fabric, and I still have fabric left!

This Purdue colors, black and gold quilt (49 x 49) is available for sale on my Etsy site in the Wall Hanging Quilts category, though it would make a suitable lap quilt too. Does your dad have a birthday coming up? Kids off to college at Purdue?

Best wishes to all the fathers out there on your special day.

Note: My piano quilt was inspired by the cover of the book “Watercolor Impressions” by Pat Magaret and Donna Slusser. Thank you for your inspiration!

Remember: Quilts are for Giving

My very first blog post June 11, 2019

I have enjoyed my quilting business on Etsy for a couple of years now. Online selling has its perks; it’s awake 24/7 taking orders. Etsy takes care of the customer payments. Customers who have purchased my quilts seem genuinely happy with their purchase, but there was something missing. I realized recently while reviewing my business plan, that there is not much interaction with the quilters and quilt lovers I am trying to reach. So, I am diving headfirst into the social media scene to reach more of you and inspire you with quilt patterns, quilts, and other notions.

What better way to start a new quilting blog than with an original quilt poem. Yes, I really did write this myself. It conveys what makes quilts special to me. I hope it also resonates with you.

Quilts are for Giving

Quilts are for living

Quilts are for giving

Quilts are for lasting memories

Of cherished times

Of every day

On display

Quilts are for enjoying

Giving and receiving

Now in the moment

Not hidden away in chests of hope

Quilts are for

Warming hearts and souls

Wrapping others in kindness



By Shannon Melius of Quilt Shop Quilts

OK, now go back and read it again more slowly. Then share it with your friends, that’s what I did. Please sign up for email alerts of new blog posts and happenings at Quilt Shop Quilts at the bottom of this page. I plan to have posts for quilters and non-quilters. Thanks for joining the quilting journey.

You can see all my items for sale on this website, with an easy link to Etsy to complete your purchase. You can purchase both Quilt Patterns and completed Quilts from my Etsy Shop. Thanks for stopping by.

This is my latest pattern “Fibonacci Weave” which started from a challenge from the Northeast Wisconsin Modern Quilt Guild. 3 half yards of fabric make a reversible modern quilted table runner: top, back and binding. I hope you like it. It would make a great quilt kit pattern for your local quilt shops. You can purchase the pattern here.