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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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Homefront Diaries: A Work in Progress

In this month’s episode, I’m sharing a work-in-progress with you, From the Homefront Diaries of Lorraine Shatterbuck. I seem to be writing a lot in diary form lately–I’m also writing Diary of a Mad Quilter, a contemporary story about an avid quilter.  Both of these diaries, by the way, are available to read for free on the Quilt Fiction website. You can listen to the audio version of Diary of a Mad Quilter by joining the Quilt Fiction Story Guild for as low as $6 a month.

We’ve got three great sponsors for today’s episode: Suzie Quilts, Fat Quarter Shop and Denyse Schmidt Quilts! Our sponsors have provided some really nice things for this month’s giveaway. We’re doing two giveaway bundles for March–the first one includes three patterns of your choice from the Suzie Quilts pattern shop plus a Hip Hop Hooray  Layer Cake from Fat Quarter Shop. The second giveaway bundle is a year-long membership in Denyse Schmidt’s Patchwork Panel Club, and this one is big–we’re talking a $165 value! Among other things, you’ll get four different fabric panels delivered to you throughout 2024. Each panel features nine mix-and-match fabric designs from the DSQ fabric archives printed on luxuriously soft, high-density quilting cotton and is over two yards of fabric.

March 2024 Block of the Month

The March 2024 Block of the Month is the Stars of Stripes block first published in Aunt Martha’s Work Basket and reprinted in newspapers across the country beginning in 1941.

Stars of Stripes block

March Book of the Month

The Quilt by Gary Paulsen, which is one in a trilogy of books that are based on Paulsen’s grandmother. The main character in The Quilt is an unnamed  six-year-old boy, but this isn’t a sweet and cozy story. Even though the narrator is very young, this is a book for older, more mature readers. I think a thoughtful sixth grader might get a lot from it, and mature 7th and 8th graders even more so. In a way, I think the readers who might get the most from this are adult women.

The Quilt takes place during that time Paulsen lived in Northern Minnesota when he was a young boy. In the story, he travels with his grandmother to a remote farm, where a much older cousin of his is close to giving birth. Her husband is fighting in the war, and she’s tending to the farm by herself. Shortly after the boy and his grandmother arrive, the cousin, Kristina, goes into labor. With that,, the women of the community arrive. The labor is long, and while the women wait, they work on a quilt together. It’s a quilt made up of scraps, each one telling a story about a family member’s life, and the women tell the boy all the stories that the quilt contains.

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A Conversation with Author Sandra Dallas

Hello, My Dears!

A new year of Quilt Fiction fun has begun! We’ve just dropped the February Quilt Fiction Podcast episode, which includes  a wonderful interview with novelist Sandra Dallas. While Sandra has never set out to write quilt fiction per se, she’s clearly got a heart for quilts. In novels such as The Persian Pickle Club, Alice’s Tulips and The Diary of Mattie Spenser, quilts and quiltmaking are central to her characters’ lives. In this episode, Sandra talks about her own days as a quilter as well as some of the quilts that she’s collected over the years. 

We’re doing two giveaways to celebrate this month’s podcast! The first is from February’s Quilt Fiction sponsor, Oliso, home of cutting-edge fabric tools tailored to the needs of quilters and sewists. Oliso has generously provided a TG1600 ProPlus autolift iron, the M2Pro travel iron, and a fabulous ironing board cover for one lucky listener to win. 

Our second giveaway is a copy of The Persian Pickle Club, which is our February Book of the Month. If you haven’t read The Persian Pickle Club, you’re in for a treat. If you have, you’ll enjoy it just as much the second time around!

You have until March 1st, 2024, to enter to win one of these two great prizes!

Not only do we have a Book of the Month, we have a Block of the Month! For February, Block of the Month is “Rocky Road to Kansas,”  a paper-pieced block you’ll need a pattern for–and we’ve got a free pattern pdf on our website that you can download by clicking here. New to paper-piecing? We have a how-to video up on the Quilt Fiction YouTube channel. (Note: This is my first-ever how-to quilting demo, and it’s a little goofy.)

One of our February projects is overhauling the Quilt Fiction website to make it easier for you to navigate. We have SO much content that it’s taken us a while to get it all sorted out. There  are free audio stories, and we’ve got the ongoing online  World War II Diary, From the Homefront Diaries of Lorraine Shatterbuck. You can listen to the first five chapters of Friendship Album, 1933, for free as well. If  you ever have a question about how to find something, please don’t hesitate to email us at

I want to remind you that if  you want quilt fiction audio stories in your email box every week, along with access to a huge archive of quilting stories available to members only, you can sign up for my patron supported Story Guild podcast. For only $6 a month, that’s a lot of fiction! If you’re not ready to make a commitment, try our $10 a month membership, which you can cancel at any time.

Thanks so much for being a part of the Quilt Fiction community! I hope you enjoy this month’s podcast episode!


P.S. Did you get your copy of our free pattern, Eula’s Hen House


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24 | Diary of a Mad Quilter

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