Crown of Thorns Quilt–Finally Finished!

So I finally finished quilting Crown of Thorns, the same quilt Dorothy made to enter the Sears “Century of Progress” Quilt contest. (Is it weird that I think Dorothy is real and really made the quilt? I get that way about my characters sometimes.) Here’s how it turned out:

I hate it when people show you something they made and then immediately denigrate it. So let me start by saying I like the overall design of this quilt. I like the pink and white blocks and the sawtooth border. I think Crown of Thorns is a beautiful traditional block.

But the fact is I don’t have the skills to machine quilt a quilt this large. I thought because I was doing straight-line quilting, I could pull it off, but a lot of the lines are erratic. And there was one section that kept pleating, no matter what I did. It’s about two feet long and a foot wide, and it looks really bad. Maybe I should have quilted it differently, or done the lines on the diagonal instead of straight up and down. I don’t know. I’m going to get out all of my machine quilting books and study up so I can do better next time. I’m also going to rewatch Jacquie Gering’s Craftsy Classes on quilting with a walking foot.

My friend Patty, who does all my quilt math for me, very kindly worked up an abridged Crown of Thorns pattern to share with you. I think she’s planning to eventually put up a full pattern on her website, Elm Street Quilts, and I’ll let you know when she does. ETA: Here’s a link to the post that Patty put up; not a full pattern, but musings on the design.

(Speaking of Patty, she and my friend Kristin are doing a hand-piecing QAL in the new year. I can’t wait! For more information, check out their websites. Patty’s is linked to above, and Kristin’s is SimpleHandmadeEveryday. I hope you’ll sign up–it’s going to be big fun!)

The Crown of Thorns block looks more complicated than it is. If you give it a try, I hope you’ll send me a picture!


Crown of Thorns Quilt–Abridged Pattern

Directions by Patty Dudek

Ingredients for the Block

Each block requires 16 HST (half-square triangle), 5 background squares and 4 primary fabric squares. For a block size of 10 ½ ‘’ (unfinished), you’ll need the following:

  • (5) 2 ½‘’ squares of background fabric and (4) 2 ½ ‘’ squares of primary fabric
  • (8) 3″ squares of background fabric and (8) 3‘’ squares of primary fabric

Using this tutorial and your 3″ squares, create 16 HST and trim to 2 ½‘’.

Following the block diagram, assemble your Crown of Thorns block.

The Crown of Thorns blocks featured in the quilt in Friendship Album, 1933 were set on point and each Crown of Thorns block was offset with a 10 ½ ‘’ square from background fabric.

Setting triangles and end triangles will also be needed. Subcut a 15 ½ ‘’ squares into four triangles to create the setting triangles. Subcut a 8’’ square in half to create the end triangles.



Assemble your quilt top in rows as shown below.


Consider multiple borders for your quilt. Perhaps a inner and outer white border with a middle sawtooth border.



  1. I think it is just beautiful the way it is!!! It shows you are like all of us, human. Wonderful job on the book also. I am so enjoying it. I would like to think there was a Dorothy that made this quilt too. I am also attached to your characters!!!

  2. Perfection is sometimes over-rated. It’s a lovely quilt. I appreciate your willingness to share a quilt that has visible flaws. We all have quilts that are “less than.”

    1. Author

      Thanks, Maureen–I dream of a quilt show where all the quilts on exhibit are first quilts or “less than” quilts. Don’t you think that would be fun and inspiring in its own right?

  3. Your quilt is beautiful!! Dorothy would be proud! I am so enjoying your book . Thanks for sharing!

  4. LOVELY QUILT …. it looks lovely on the bed…. classic two color quilt … will keep you warm … as I have said in the past … FINISHED IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. Your finished quilt is better than my 6 unfinished UFOs.

  5. You did an amazing job! It’s tricky to handle really large quilts. For future reference, whenever I quilt a quilt like this, set on point, I first “anchor” it by quilting in the ditch along the major diagonal seams, to form a large diagonal grid, based on the size of the quilt blocks. I start at one corner and work my way across the quilt, so as to keep it smooth as I go and can push any fullness across the quilt. Then each of the blocks is secure and I can add additional quilting anywhere on the quilt. One other tip: if you baste it with the less stretchy length of the batting & backing going lengthwise, that seems to help prevent distortion (meaning the length of the grain is on the longest side. The least stretchy direction of the materials is parallel to the selvage.) Keep up the great writing AND quilting!!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for the advice, Christa! I’m going to be re-reading your books before I begin quilting my next quilt, that’s for sure!

  6. I love your quilt. Thank you for sharing and all I see is the love you put into your quilting not your book.

  7. I love that quilt and know Dorothy would be honored to know that you made one like hers that she entered in the Sears contest. Your quilt looks so soft & inviting to snuggle under. I don’t see any flaws in your quilt…only a quilt of beauty. I’m my worst critic when it comes to my quilts but I’ve found over the years that after they are washed a lot of those flaws that I saw just seem to disappear. I’m so enjoying your podcast & look forward to each episode. I hope you just keep writing & adding on (like the Harry Potter books). Unfortunately, I was never much of a reader throughout my life but I sure like it when someone reads to me.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Nicki–it’s nice to think that Dorothy would appreciate this quilt! Thanks, too, for listening and commenting on the podcast. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon! One of the most enjoyable things about doing this podcast and making quilts to go with is is getting to immerse myself in another place and time.

  8. Frances, I’m thoroughly enjoying Friendship Album. The characters are interesting, and the stories delightful and human – we can all relate to loss, longing, and the daily stresses of life. Cheers!

  9. I am still a beginner at machine quilting. The is a huge learning curve to doing it well. I don’t have a fancy machine. i have use of my daughter electric machine, but i have mo walking foot for it, but I can drop the feed dogs and have a darning foot for free motion quilting. The last quilt I did on my treadle machine by adjusting the presser foot to a low pressure for straight line quilting and even lower pressure for free motion and it worked OK. The front is fairly good and only the back has some
    really funny spots.

  10. Hi Frances, I have been listening to your podcast for a long time. I love listening to you and now LOVE Quilt fiction. Thank you for putting your podcast out there and also thank you for Quilt Fiction. It is a wonderful story.
    I love your Crown of Thrones and it is fun to see it now, ( I remember you mentioning it many times on your podcast.) Even though your quilt looks beautiful, I know the feeling of not being completely satisfied with the final product.
    So to let you know I just got a brand new Long Arm machine a few months ago (October 2018). I wish I would have know that you needed Crown of Thrones quilted because I would have quilted it for you. So remember that next time. I am still practicing on the Long Arm and I can’t make enough quilts to practice on. Which by the way are coming out beautiful.
    I hope to give Crown of Thrones a try in the near future. Looking forward to hearing the rest of Friendship Album.

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