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Welcome to the home of the Questioning Quilter.
My goal is to inspire quilters and advance the art of quilting. 
My newsletter has a new disappearing pattern in every issue:

If you enjoy watching tutorials of my quilts, please visit my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/questioningquilter

Here are the links to some of my tutorials:

Piece ‘O Candy:
A Disappearing Churn-Dash
https://youtu.be/dk0ayZU_11c
Top of the Stairs Disappearing PinwheelTop of the Stairs:
A Disappearing Pinwheel
https://youtu.be/MLHNvfbHW5U
Celtic Rose:
A Disappearing Pinwheel
https://youtu.be/4xt8_mpbRIc
Double Vision:
A Disappearing Hourglass
https://youtu.be/MSQfB1wwrRU
Moroccan Tile Quilt
Moroccan Tiles
Disappearing Hourglass
https://youtu.be/twK-hloqxOY
Christmas Trees
Disappearing Grecian Square
https://youtu.be/8VXM1n1-Mfo
Lattice Diamond Quilt
https://youtu.be/QHKdCAUpdYM

I have a post about Disappearing Blocks which includes information about initial block size.
disappearing hourglass blocks
I am also starting a series of newsletters with new versions of disappearing blocks and their associated quilts.  a series of disappearing hourglass quiltsThese go along with my zoom lecture and workshop.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t. The Magic of Disappearing Blocks.

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Here are some of my older posts

Many mini mini quilts

Mini Mini, Micro Mini and Teeny Tiny Quilts.
What they are and what to do with them.

Highlight project for the article Quilts from Crumbs.

Quilts from Crumbs, making beautiful quilts with the smallest scraps

Aside from teaching and creating,
I write periodic (once or twice a year) educational articles on quilting.
What am I supposed to do with all these scraps? part 1
Using Contrast to add Depth to Scrap Quilts. part 2
Color Concepts in Scrap Quilts. part 3
What is the best batting for a potholder?

I also have an informational newsletter with content you can’t get anywhere else.  Subscribes also get the free pattern for this quilt as well as access to the archive of previous newsletters.

Contact me to come to your guild, group or store to present “Every Last Crumb, an Adventure in Scrap Quilting.”

Previous Thoughts and musings


March 21, 2018

Here it is, my second question has been posted “What Am I Supposed to Do With All These Scraps? part 1 

Have you ever started on a project that seemed like it would be pretty easy only to find out, once you got into it, that it was more of a monster?  Well here I am, more than 2 months since my last article.

Scrap Bin
Cut and organized scraps

I knew that this topic would have to be broken up into multiple pieces and that is where I made my first mistake.  I knew that the first part would be how to cut and sort the scraps (see the blog), and subsequent parts would give examples of quilts made with those cut up pieces.  I am trying to get people to sign up for my newsletter (because if I ever want to get published in a “real” magazine they want to know how many subscribers I have).  To do this, I promised a free pattern.  That seemed easy enough (famous last words).

I took 2 1/2″  and 5″ blocks (made into 1/2 square triangles) and laid them out on my design wall (shown below).  I asked my husband to pick which one he liked the best.  That was my second mistake, because he asked if I could use that pattern to make a queen size bed spread.  Sure, I thought.  Why not.  I would just take notes and photos of the quilt top as I created it, then use that information to make a pattern.  That was my third mistake.  I got so busy making the pattern look pretty, that I added too many rows and my quilt is longer than the standard queen size batting.  Not a problem for me, I bought the batting off a large roll and I always buy extra.  BUT, not good for a published queen size pattern.  I decided that the only fair thing to do was to offer the pattern in 3 different sizes, Lap, Queen, and Queen Plus.  I only made the Queen Plus, but I ran all the calculations and included all the measurements for the other sizes.  You can see by the picture that it is only a quilt top at this point.  If I had to wait until the bed spread was quilted, this article would have to wait another month.  LOL.

Crumb Potholder

I still want to explore what we can do with all the pre-cuts that we have made.  Each of these will get their own article.  Next month I will explore how to use color and contrast to make your scrap quilt even more beautiful.  I will use the various sized “charm” squares that I cut.  After that, I will experiment with various types of string/strip quilts.  After that, I want to share with everyone all the fun of crumb quilting.

My biggest problem is that for every project that I start, I find myself asking more questions. I guess that is good, it will keep me writing for some time to come.

Sign up for the newsletter and get the pattern for the Jacob’s Ladder Quilt shown above!   

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March 6, 2018

My Blog is behind schedule because my husband liked the sample layout so much he asked that it be made into a bed spread.  Here are some of the layouts I considered with the scraps that I cut.  Please click on any of the images to see the full size layout.  You will have to wait till the blog comes out to see which one will turn into a queen size bed spread.  By the way the pattern for the winner will be included in the next newsletter.

Jacobs Ladder layout 3
Jacobs Ladder layout 1
Jacobs Ladder layout 6
Jacobs Ladder layout 5
Jacobs Ladder Variation 1
Jacobs Ladder variation 7
Jewel Box sample layout
Jacobs Ladder Variation 2
Jacobs Ladder variation 8
Jacobs Ladder Variation 4

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Jan- 2018

My name is Brita Nelson and I recently retired and decided to devote my time to sharing my love of quilting and the quilting arts with others.  The first thing I did was to create an “Introduction to Quilting Class”, designed for the absolute beginner.  All you need to do is be able to use a sewing machine and sew a straight line.  In this class the students make a beautiful pot holder they can take home and use.  Information about how to take this class or have me come to your organization to teach is on the Classes page.

While practicing making the pot holders for this class, I started wondering what I could use instead of the standard cotton batting.  I also wondered if the fancy “Insul-Brite” insulated batting actually works.  You could say that this was my first Question and first blog post.  What is the best batting for a pot holder?

I know that there are a lot more questions out there and I am hoping that you will share some of your quilting questions with me and together we can find answers.

79 Replies to “Home”

  1. Good evening Brita, hope this finds you well.
    I just saw your Emerald Isle disappearing pinwheel block. Just wondering do you have a quilt pattern
    telling how many blocks you would need and the yardage of the quilt fabrics”
    I really like that pattern. You are a wonder. Keep up the great work/
    Brenda

    • This pattern is for free for people who have subscribed to my Newsletter. The form is on every page of my website, just enter your email address. In the confirmation email there will be a link to the newsletter archive which has links to all of the patterns/newsletters.

      Once you are subscribed, you will receive a new pattern (which goes with that month’s video) every month or so.

      Let me know if you have any questions or I can be of any other assistance.

  2. Love your Disappearing videos! Stay Strong may be my favorite because of all the arrangements. Prefer lots of arrangements even if it means less videos.
    Your willingness to share is appreciated.
    I am block slicer from way back!
    Liz in Houston

  3. Thank you so much for the patterns and ideas of different layouts. I love the Disappearing Pinwheel Quilt, i am going to make this with 3rd variation of the patterns. I love weeping willows and have just planted one in our front yard. I am not gong to tell my husband but make it a surprise. I will make it a king size also and see if I can make the blocks bigger. Again thank you, you are very talented and I love watching your turtorials.

    • I love the idea of a surprise quilt for your husband! That is wonderful. I hope that you will email me a picture of the quilt when it is done with permission to share it on my website and YouTube Community.
      Thanks so much for being here!
      Brita

  4. I found you AND immediately subscribed because I was told about you by Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilts. You are amazing! I love your blocks and techniques. Then there is your teaching style and pleasant personality to go with it. Thank you for ALL you do. You are an inspiration to beginning and advanced quilters. Please keep up the great work you do! Know that you are appreciated!

    • Just got here by Jenny Doans recommendation and I am so glad. Thank you for sharing those beautiful quilting tutorials and especially the Variations. I love how they inspire me to experiment because i am really not fond of just following a pattern. And thank you for calculating different sizes this is the real gift for a Quilting beginner with math issues:)

  5. Brita!! I just FOUND you!! What an amazing tutorial for the dream catcher?? quilt. I’ve been searching for it so I can watch again but haven’t found it yet. Wow, just wow. I can hardly wait to give it a try. Red, white, and blue it will be because I’m a volunteer quilter for Quilts of Valor Foundation.

    • Hi Cathy,
      I am sorry but I used a pattern out of a book of paper pieced patterns I purchased a long time ago. I don’t even remember the name of the book.

      The crumb fabric will look good with any pattern that you use.
      Let me know if there is anything else I could do to help.

      Brita

  6. I just purchased the pattern for “Making Magic: A Disappearing Block Sampler Quilt (39′ X 39”).
    My computer refuses to accept the download, even when I override the protection process. Is there another way this pattern can be sent to me?

    • Hi Jae,
      That is a good catch about the cutting distance from the center seam. The truth is that the blocks that I designate as “Charm Pack Friendly” don’t require that the block be cut into EXACT thirds. I used 1 3/8 on the YouTube video because that is closest to 1/3. I used 1 1/4″ on the website because that is an easier measurement for new quilters. Either cutting place is fine, so long as the whole quilt is cut this way.

      The reason that the 4 1/2 and 5″ blocks are not included in the big chart, is that the big chart is for blocks that have to be cut in EXACT thirds. The math for how far to cut from the center is the unfinished size of the Hourglass divided by 6. For a 12″ block that comes out to 2″ from the center. For a 4 1/2 HST, the hourglass would measure 8 1/2″ so you would need to cut 1.416666″ from the center seam. I don’t have that marking on my ruler. Many of the other Disappearing Hourglass and Disappearing Pinwheel won’t work if cuts don’t create perfect squares. I hope that this makes sense.
      Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Brita, love your inquisitive approach to quilting and watch every YouTube video multiple times. You are a great teacher and an inspiration to many to think outside the block (what if). So glad I discovered you last year. Excited about your book!

  7. OMG. I was browsing through YouTube videos to try and find a quilt block pattern that inspired me to start another project. I found your video on the disappearing pinwheel. Absolutely, love it!!!! Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to getting your newsletter and seeing all that you have to share with your sister quilters.

  8. I have been a fan for a few months. Currently working on the button and bows version. Love, love your talent. Am a fan. Thank you for sharing your talents.

  9. I stumbled on your YouTube channel while looking for new and different quilting channels. YOU popped up and I’ve been a fan ever since. Shared you channel with all my quilting buddies too.
    Problem is I’m very impatient. I. (like I’ll bet so many others), check constantly to see if you’ve dropped another video..
    Just love your content and how many ways you can use ONE block and make so many different quilts.

    • Hi Jackie,

      Thanks so much for watching and sharing with your friends. That has to be the greatest compliment I can get. I wasn’t able to make a video for October, but I have finished filming and and currently editing my November video. I am hoping to post it on Sunday (Nov. 27). I look forward to seeing you then.
      Brita

  10. Just found you on the internet. I am wondering if you do lectures for guilds.
    I am from Common Threads Quilting Guild in Parma, Oh. About 50 Members.
    We meet on the 3rd Monday at 6:30pm at All Saints Episcopal Church on Ridgewood Dr
    Our doors open at 5:30 & program begins at 6:30
    with refreshments & business meeting after.
    I am interest in The programs on Scrap quilts & disappearing blocks. Would love to have you
    if possible.
    Thanks Carole J Wooten

    • Hi Carol,
      I sent you an email directly, but I wanted to let you know here. I would love to do a lecture for your guild. I live in the greater Philadelphia area and prefer to drive. Anything within a 500 mile radius (which you are) is good. If any guild is further away than that, contact me because if you are near somewhere we might already be traveling, it is an easy thing to make a detour.
      Please send me an email at brita@questioningquilter.com
      Brita

  11. Brita, I have watched your videos since I discovered them on youtube. I only wish you had more than One a month. You are terrific. Love everything about your teaching. looking forward to much more inspirational videos.

  12. Thank you for doing what you do! So inspirational with fabric. This last video where the spool doesn’t match- I burst out laughing (midnight, hubby jolted awake…๐Ÿ˜‚) when you said Someone out there…I try very hard to resist fretting about “perfect ” corners. Sigh. Please keep creating!

  13. Hello Brita, Thank you so much for sharing these fun videos and ALL the info… Oh, I hope you do, do a book on your quilting blocks and whatever else you want to share… Looking forward to the newsletters, videos and your book… Eva/Emma< nickname

  14. What a great idea to teach the disappearing block technique! Your approach and teaching style are spot on. You have certainly inspired me. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Hi Brita,

    I absolutely love your uncomplicated technique of explaining your disappearing blocks! I enjoy how you โ€˜flickโ€™ through the variety of options and colour coordinations. Keep up the good work and I wish you great success in your future projects.

    TinaElizabeth

  16. Hi I just found you on UTube and I think your just lovely! I simply love your way of doing things and I was delighted with the blue and white disappearing stair climbers block quilt.
    I have subscribed to you your newsletter and liked you.
    After ten yrs of taking care of my 96 yr old mom she died on last Monday 1/24/2022. I too am retired now and can go back to my quilting. I would love the July 2021 pattern of that climbing stairs quilt you offered, how can I get it.
    Thank you for sharing your talent.
    Jeanne McNicholas

    • You can get free patterns for all of the videos by subscribing to my newsletter. The form is on every page of my website, just enter your email address. In the confirmation email there will be a link to the newsletter archive which has links to all of the pattern/newsletters.

  17. Hi, my name is Elisabete. I’m from Brazil. I love Patchwork. I am happy that your guild decided to have a workshop. Tank you very much. By

  18. How can I receive a copy of the pattern for the disappearing pinwheel. I just found you on the utube at five am and think it is a breath of fresh air. Thank you for thinking out of the box

    • You can get free patterns for any of the videos by subscribing to my newsletter. The form is on every page of my website, just enter your email address. In the confirmation email there will be a link to the newsletter archive which has links to all of the patterns/newsletters.

  19. Good morning Brita, just saw one of your videos on YouTube. I loved your showing all the different variations. Thank you for sharing with all of us and will keep on watching! Keep up the great work. โ™ก

  20. I’m a beginning quilter. Your instructions are so clear and easy to understand. I love your patterns!
    Thank you so much for giving me confidence.

    • I love helping beginning quilters. I am so happy that you find these patterns easy to follow.
      If there is anything I can do to help you on your quilting journey, please let me know.

      Brita

    • Hi,
      I love helping beginning quilters, welcome to the addiction opps, I mean club.
      I am glad that you find my patterns easy, I do hope that you try them. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you on your quilting journey.
      Brita

  21. I just tripped on your YouTube channel. Just wow. I have always loved disappearing blocks but OJ My….you have just taken it to the next level. I thought when I found the disappearing rail fence block I had seen it all. Nope you just opened the possibilities of many many different layouts with just a simple block.

    • Hi Ann, I am so happy that you found my channel. I am hooked on the disappearing blocks it is wonderful to find another addict. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I would love to see your disappearing rail fence (brita@questioningquilter.com). I am never ceased to be amazed at how many disappearing patterns there are.
      Brita

    • I am so happy that you find my videos helpful. That is what I am going for. I am excited for new quilters and would like to help you in any way I can. Thank you for the kind words.

  22. Hello Brita,
    I just happened upon your YouTube video this morning about disappearing nine patch blocks. I love it!! I’m checking out your website and more of your videos. I’ve already become a Subscriber and look forward to seeing all your ideas. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Keep up the good work!

  23. I enjoy watching your videos. The block you showed that looked like a mirror image could be called “Reflections”. I look forward to seeing how it “disappears’.

  24. I wonder if you sell a pattern for the Quilter’s Questioning Demo (time of 2:18) on that video. It looks black and white and you stated that block didn’t have a name. I would love to make that quilt.
    Thank you.

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed your zoom presentation to our guild, Quilters Guild of Parker County. Will definitely try some of the disappearing block quilt designs if I can ever decide which ones!

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed the presentation and I am happy that your guild decided to have a workshop. I look forward to seeing you there.
      Brita

  26. Are you available for our Guild meeting zoom lecture on July 8th, 1 pm Pacific Time? You were recommended.
    Thanks,
    Jane Szabo
    Oregon Coastal Quilters Guild
    Program/Workshop Co-chair
    Oregoncoastalquilters.com

  27. Brita
    You presented the most useful, imaginative and easily duplicatable lecture on 4-patchs for my guild last night. It was fun to listen to and you were very personable. Thank you for sharing your talent.

    I signed up for your newsletter and will be looking into your website for patterns.

    God bless you & safe travels to you

    Dawnn Reid
    Omaha, NE

    • I am so glad that you like my quilt “Never Ask an Engineer.” Unfortunately, I don’t have a pattern for it. It is based on an optical illusion by Baingio Pinna.

      My husband found it in a newspaper article years ago. I scanned the image, enlarged it and had it printed at Staples. I taped it to a glass door and traced the image onto the gray background fabric. I hand appliqued all the little white and black squares to the gray background, I then hand quilted it.

      I asked Mr. Pinna’s permission to use his image (only necessary if you plan on entering it into a show) and he said:

      “Yes, of course, you have my permission. You can find more in the two following links, if you like:”

      http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Pinna_illusion
      http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Watercolor_illusion

      The image is figure 12c, half way down the page on the first link. I hope this helps.
      Brita

  28. Hi Brita, Is there a pattern for the quilt that is pictured above? It is the black and white circles on gray. Looks very illusional!! Love it. Thank you!

  29. Hi Brita, I’ve read all through your site. I hope it is a big success. The investigation of the batting/temperatures and charting of same made me smile all the way to my heart – so like your family. I enjoyed them all and believe they are at peace now. Lynda

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