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Double Windmill Quilt–Free Pattern!

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Have I told you about the scrapbook I found on eBay a few years ago? It’s a collection of 1930s quilting columns by Nancy Page, Florence LaGanke, Alice Brooks and others. The columns are pasted in a book called SCHOOL LAWS OF PENNSYLVANIA 1913. When I started writing Friendship Album, 1933, I knew I wanted to make a series of 1930s-style quilts to go along with the story, so of course the first place I looked was in the pages of my scrapbook. I knew I’d found my quilt when I found this:

With the help of co-conspirator Patty Dudek of Elm Street Quilts, I put together my own Double Windmill quilt and now I want to share our pattern with you!

Double Windmill Scrap Quilt: A Milton Falls Quilting Co. Pattern

by Frances O’Roark Dowell and Patty Dudek


  • Outer pinwheel (yellow, orange, green, and blue) – ½ yard of each color
  • Center pinwheel (purple) – ¾ yard
  • Neutral (white) – 2 yards
  • Binding (purple) – ½ yard (assumes 2 ½ ‘’ cut on straight of grain)
  • Backing – 3 ¾ yards
  • Batting – 52 x 60’’ (throw or twin sized)

Block size: 8 ½’’ square

Quilt size: 48 x 56 ‘’

Preparation and cutting

Assumes pieces are cut from yardage with a 40’’ usable width of fabric (WOF). (Not all fabric cut into squares will be needed for the quilt. Put the excess aside in case a block needs to be remade or perhaps to add interest to backing.)

From the center pinwheel fabric (purple), cut the following:

  • Cut seven (7) strips, 3’’ x WOF and sub-cut each strip to thirteen (13) 3’’ squares for a total of eight-four (84) 3’’ squares.

From each of the four colors (yellow, orange, green, and blue) for the outer windmill, cut the following:

  • Cut two (2) strips, 3’’ x WOF and sub-cut each strip into thirteen (13) 3’’ square for a total of twenty-one (21) 3’’ squares
  • Cut three (3) strips, 2 ½ x WOF and sub-cut each strip into sixteen (16) 2 ½ ‘’ squares for a total of (42) 2 ½’’ squares

From the neutral (white) fabric, cut the following:

  • Cut thirteen (13) strips, 3’’ x WOF and sub-cut into thirteen (13) 3’’ square for a total of one hundred sixty-eight (168) 3’’ squares
  • Cut eleven strips, 2 ½ x WOF and sub-cut each into sixteen (16) 2 ½ ‘’ squares for a total of one hundred sixty-eight (168) 2 ½ ‘’ squares

From the binding fabric (purple), cut six (6) strips of 2 ½ ‘’ x WOF.


The Half-square triangle (HST) blocks are created two at a time following this tutorial.

1. Pair a 3″ neutral (white) square with a center pinwheel (purple) square.  Using the two-at-a-time method (tutorial), create two (2) HST blocks. Trim each HST to 2 ½‘’ square.  Repeat to make a total of one hundred sixty-eight (168) neutral (white) / center pinwheel (purple) units

2. Pair a 3” neutral (white) square with each of the 3” squares from each of the four colors from the outer windmill (yellow, orange, green, and blue).  Using the two-at-a-time method, create two (2) HST blocks from each pair.  Trim each HST to 2 ½ ‘’ square.  Make a total of forty-two (42) HST from each of the outer windmill (yellow, orange, green, and blue) fabric.

3. Each block unit will use (1) 2 ½ ‘’ square and (1) HST from each of the outer pinwheel fabrics (yellow, orange, green and blue) plus (4) HST from inner pinwheel (purple) plus (4) neutral (white) 2 ½ ‘’ squares. Following diagram, assemble block unit. Block will measure 8 ½ ‘’ square (unfinished).



4. Assemble a total of (42) blocks. Press.

Quilt top assembly

1. Lay quilt blocks on design wall (or floor) following quilt layout. You can orient your blocks anyway you want, just make sure they are consistent. There will be seven (7) rows each comprised of six (6) blocks.   Sew blocks together into rows and then sew together rows.

2. Final quilt top will measure 48 ½ ‘’ x 56 ½ ‘’ unfinished.

Piece together backing fabric to form a piece 56 x 64 ‘’. Baste. Quilt as desired. Join binding strips and press in half. Attach to quilt using your favorite method.


Finished Quilt:


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Welcome to the Quiltfiction Podcast!

First Time Here?

If you haven't listened to the earlier episodes of Friendship Album, 1933, you should start from the beginning of the story!

If you like quilting stories, then I’ve got some good news: The Quiltfiction Podcast is up and running! We’re going to begin with Friendship Album, 1933, a work of historical fiction by me, Frances O’Roark Dowell. Friendship Album, 1933 is not available in bookstores, in case you’re wondering, although it might be one day. Right now the only way to experience the story is via this podcast–and I really hope you’ll tune in!

Let me give a you a brief introduction. The idea for Friendship Album, 1933 came to me after reading Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World Fair: The Sears National Quilt Contest and Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition by quilt historians Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman. I’ll write more about the Sears National Quilt Contest in a later post, but suffice to say that with its $1,000 grand prize (nearly $20,000 in today’s dollars), a lot of women were inspired to enter the competition.

Five such women make up Friendship Album’s circle of quilters:

Eula, whose family has been forced by hard times to leave the farm and move into town, where she doesn’t know a soul and is pretty sure she’ll never fit in…

Bess, a widow of one year, who shows up at the first meeting as a way of avoiding duty on her church’s altar guild and her neighbors’ constant condolences…

Dorothy, a woman trying hard to keep peace in her home and her sewing scissors away from the lively young grandchildren who’ve just moved in…

Then there’s the bee’s youngest member, Florence, living the life of a bored socialite after being jilted by her fiancé. Can starting her own quilt business turn her life around?

And, finally, Florence’s sister-in-law, Emmeline, who’s fresh out of material for her weekly quilting column and hopes to find inspiration in this odd collection of quilters.

When the group members hear about the Sears Quilt Competition, they all make plans to enter, although for different reasons, not all of them to do with the prize-money. In Friendship Album, 1933, we follow the characters in their own lives as well as when they gather together to sew.

Here’s a fun fact: I’m still working on the novel as the first episode drops on iTunes! This is a bit scary for me, since I’m essentially reading from a first draft and have to stay way ahead so that we don’t run out of episodes (so far so good–I’ve written close to 200 pages). But it also provides some opportunities. Maybe I’ll ask listeners for help with a street name or ideas for patterns. If a listener has feedback, she can leave it in the comments and I might end up incorporating her suggestions into a later draft.

I’m going to use this space not only to introduce new episodes and collect comments, but also to give you background on the story, share patterns and recipes, and talk a little bit about the writing process. I’d also be happy to answer questions, so feel free to ask!

Doing research has been one of the most enjoyable parts of writing Friendship Album, 1933. Not only is the 1930s a fascinating time in quilting, it’s also a wonderful period to kick around in if you’re interested in old cookbooks, graphic design, fashion, home decor, and the domestic arts. I’ve created a Friendship Album, 1933 Pinterest board, which I hope you’ll come visit (and send suggestions for!). You’ll find it on the Quiltfiction Pinterest page:

If you enjoy the first episode of Friendship Album, 1933, I hope you’ll not only subscribe via iTunes, but tell your friends about it and share the link on your social media platforms. I’ll be back next week with a new episode, so stay tuned!

Subscribe on iTunes

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A Conversation with Author Marie Bostwick

Tune into the May episode of Quilt Fiction to listen to an interview with one of the queens of quilt fiction, the fabulous Marie Bostwick!

May 2024 Show Notes

Marie Bostwick!

If you’ve listened to this month’s episode, you know what an utter delight Marie is! Have you read her two newest novels yet? You’ll love Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly and The Restoration of Celia Fairchild

For more about Marie and her books, visit her website.

Check out Marie’s First interview with Quilt Fiction!

Interview Spoiler Alert! Spoiler alert: around sixteen minutes into the interview, we’re talking about the way a story you’re working on can surprise you. Something happens that you weren’t expecting at all. Marie talks about a character in A Thread So Thin, one of the Cobbled Street Court series, and she accidentally reveals an important plot point. So, if you haven’t read the book yet and don’t want to know what happens, go ahead and fast forward through that part of the interview!

To keep up with Marie’s latest news and sample her delicious recipes, sign up for her newsletters! 

Our May Sponsor and Giveaway!

Big thanks to Maywood Studio for sponsoring the May 2024 episode of the Quilt Fiction podcast. Maywood Studio is a wholesale textile manufacturer and leading fabric supplier for the quilting and craft industry, and these fine folks are providing an amazing treat for one lucky listener this month: a 21-piece fat quarter bundle. Franny’s Flowers is a cheerful fabric collection inspired by vintage printed cotton feed sacks from the 1930s and 40s. Reminiscent of farm life and country living, these designs honor the memory of a long-time employee who was passionate about collecting period fabrics. A percentage of the proceeds from fabric sales are donated to the American Cancer Society. The Franny’s Flowers Quilt is available to view and download for free at

Block of the Month: Tree of Life

May’s block of the month is the Tree of Life block, aka the Tree of Paradise aka  The Tree of  Heaven (which was the tree that grew in Brooklyn for all of you A Tree Grows in Brooklyn fans). I picked this block in honor of Esme Cahill’s North Carolina roots. The Tree of Life quilt block is the emblem for NC Folkife Institute, an organization that I volunteered with for many years. Whenever I see the block, I think of pine trees, of which there are many in my part of the state.

If you want to learn more about this block, Barbara Brackman has a great YouTube video (link in the show notes). Barbara Brackman video:

If you want to make a Tree of Life block or quilt, pop over here for a free pattern!

Field Trip!

If you happen to be in North Carolina this summer, I recommend visiting the “Layered Legacies” quilt exhibit at the NC Museum of Art,  which will be up until July 21, 2024.

Books I mention in the podcast:

What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Machiko Anoyama. Here’s the publisher’s description:

The Many Lives of Mama Love by Lara Love Harden

Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Margaret Goes Modern and Other Stories by Frances O’Roark Dowell

June Audiobook Sale!

Get 50% off of the audio versions of Friendship Album, 1933 !

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A Conversation with Author Jennifer Chiaverini

A busy schedule of travel and teaching has made me a little late with this month’s newsletter, but I know you’ll forgive me when you learn that April’s podcast guest is the one and only Jennifer Chiaverini! Not only that, but we’re doing a giveaway of her latest novel, The Museum of Lost Quilts!

We actually have two great giveaways this month. One lucky winner will win Jennifer’s new novel, and another lucky winner will receive an amazing fat quarter bundle that includes an Aurifil thread collection from this month’s podcast sponsor, String & Story, the quilting education company with a mission to guide more quilters around the world to quilt with confidence.

The deadline to enter is May 15th, 2024. Head on over to for your chance to win!

Obviously, The Museum of Lost Quilts is Quilt Fiction’s book of the month. As for our BOM, I’ve selected the vintage Crosses and Losses. I thought about going with the Lost Ship quilt block, since it had the word “lost” in it, but the Crosses and Losses is a simpler block, and I like to keep things simple around here. I found the Crosses and Losses block via the Fresh Lemons Quilt blog (click the link for a tutorial). I also hope to do a how-to video, but as you may or may not have noticed, I’m a little behind on my how-to videos.

Faith Jones of the Fresh Lemon Quilts website says she found the Crosses and Losses block  in a Ladies’ Art Company catalog. I went looking for more info on the Ladie’s Art Company  and came across Connie Chunn’s website dedicated to the topic. You can find pdfs of some of the vintage catalogs on the Quilt Index site.

Just a reminder, if you’re looking for more quilt fiction, check out the Quilt Fiction Story Guild and the Quilt Fiction Shop, where you’ll find my books and audiobooks!

See you next month, when our podcast guest will be the marvelous Marie Bostwick!