The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilt Pattern Writing with Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill, Podcast Episode #21

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Quilt Pattern Writing with Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill, Podcast Episode #21

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Sheri from Whole Circle Studio about designing and writing quilt patterns. Check out her website right here.


Sheri and I shared a fun collaboration last week! She pieced an awesome mini version of Road Work and sent it to me for quilting. Click Here to check out our collaboration.



Sheri has a bachelors degree in graphic design and one of her professors said - what do you like, what do you love, what do you care about? This is how Sheri finds inspiration in the world and is constantly paying attention to the things that catch her eye.

After her initial inspiration, she uses Adobe Illustrator and does several layouts based on her design idea. Then she will work with the math of quilting to figure out what works best.

Sheri really wants the patterns to be as clear as possible with tips and diagrams. She will then test it and get her husband to proofread before it goes to testing.

She tests all her patterns with three different quilters that are each at different skill levels to double check that it makes sense and there aren't lots of questions about the quilt construction. Sheri usually gives quilters three weeks to test and create the project.

Sheri found her quilting testers through Instagram and keeps a spreadsheet of potential quilters for testing. She does not pay for testing, but does send the pattern and sometimes materials to the quilters testing her patterns.

One of the struggles with quilt pattern design is working with prints, which can quickly go out of stock and never be printed again. For this reason, Sheri tends to use solid fabrics or prints that will be reprinted.

Sheri offers PDF versions of her patterns on her website and has nine patterns available in print versions as well. Sheri prices her patterns according to how many pages it requires to print, plus the packaging materials and her time to with the highest price $12 retail.

Sheri offers multiple sizes in all of her patterns except Aperture so you can pick the perfect size to make. This adds a little more time and effort and she does end up making multiple versions of the same quilt, but it's worth it so quilters can make the right size for themselves.

Make sure to check out her most popular Buzzzz quilt pattern! This is so cute!


Now let's check in with what we've been up to the last two weeks!

I've shared two new quilting designs that are both easy to quilt on your home machine. Fanfare will be a great choice for quilting blocks and open spaces in your quilt. Click Here to find the Fanfare quilting tutorial.

Clouds is funny because I can see the search terms used on my new website and since we switched in 2015, that has been the most searched term for a quilting design so here it is! You can now quilt clouds on your quilts! Click Here to find the Clouds quilting tutorial.


I've also shared a free quilt pattern this month using the beautiful fabrics included in this month's Quilty Box. This month's box was curated by Alex Anderson so we received 10 fat quarters of her new fabric RJR Mirage.

I loved these prints and really wanted to use them together in one quilt so I grabbed 10 solid fat quarters and pieced up a bunch of nine patches and then poof! made them disappear to make a Disappearing Nine Patch quilt.

Click Here to find this free Disappearing Nine Patch quilt pattern.

This month I've played musical podcasts with Stephanie Kendron, the host of the Modern Sewciety podcast. You can find Stephanie's episode for Hello My Quilting Friends right here and learn about her and how she creates her podcast episodes.

Then I was on Stephanie's podcast Modern Sewciety episode 121 last week. In that interview I talked a lot about business, how I make videos, and how I work with Josh and Dad to run the business smoothly. I'm not ashamed that I make a living from quilting because this is what allows me to share new designs, free quilt patterns, and this podcast with you!

Another new video that was shared this week was on quilting Heart Paisley on the Grace Qnique sit down longarm machine. I created this series because a lot of quilters were curious about these machines and how they differ from home sewing machines and I was curious too.

I've been quilting lots of different projects for these videos and a wide range of quilting styles too. Now this series is completely question driven so if you have questions about quilting on a sit down longarm come and ask in the comments and I'll make a video just to answer your questions.

But I'm not only quilting on the longarm, I've also been putting in a lot of quilting time on my home machine using a walking foot.

Throughout the month of May I've been working on a new quilting workshop on walking foot style quilting on a real quilt.

I took Mega Pinwheel Star Quilt and designed a simple quilting design, basted, and quilted it on my home machine in less than two weeks! And I filmed videos of every step along the way so you can learn how to use your walking foot to quilt real quilts too.


Now I have a beautiful giant star quilt to cuddle with on the couch and I'm thrilled by how this quilting workshop turned out. I really put my walking foot through it's paces and shared every step to quilting a real quilt on a home machine.

Make sure to check out this new Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop coming out tomorrow and learn how to make this beautiful star quilt from start to finish with me!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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