Finish: The Phoenix Quilt 36

Today is a really exciting day because I can finally share the Phoenix quilt with you!! I’ve been practically tap dancing with impatience since finishing this a few weeks ago.


This quilt is based on a Quilt Design A Day (QDAD) pattern I made last year, and was submitted to the Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilt of the Month program. It was selected for September and the pattern has been released today on their community site (you need to be a member to get to it). Go check it out for the free pattern! The pattern includes step-by-step construction and assembly diagrams as well as a coloring sheet so you can try your own variations.


The original QDAD design.

I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts lately that I have a lot of trouble naming designs. Nothing came close to how much trouble I had coming up with a name for this quilt. It was originally destined to be named Quetzalcoatl, after the feathered serpent Aztec deity because the design reminds me of feathers and serpents (okay also lions) and has a somewhat Aztec feel to the pattern. However, I realized immediately that no one would be able to spell that and also naming things after a deity of a culture I am not a part of felt fairly insensitive.

So after many brainstorming sessions, Gillian @ codingcrafter suggested Phoenix because it reminded her of flames and also touched on the Southwestern elements of the design. I thought it was a fitting name as I feel like I’m going through a time of rebirth in my own life and I like the reference to Arizona and our recent cross country trip. And humorously, I have a lot of trouble spelling it correctly. (In my defense, I have dyslexia and that double vowel mucks me up!)

I probably could have just called this design “My Love Affair With Curves And Jen’s Templates” but that seemed overly long and kind of awkward.


When it came time to make this quilt, I had some serious reservations about the colors. I am an analogous kinda gal, and the really bold, strong colors in this made me doubt my own design. QDAD is great at forcing you to use colors you wouldn’t normally use, but this was the first time I’ve made one of the strong color combos into reality. When the fabric arrived and I saw how the slightly orangey red and the blue-green vibrated against each other I almost changed to something else, but [fortunately] I didn’t have time to order more fabric.


You can imagine my surprise when I finished the top and realized that I absolutely LOVE this thing. The strong colors against the dark grey make me smile every time I see them. And then it came time to quilt it. I wanted to do this quilt justice but also had a bad case of the “please don’t let me ruin this!” freakouts.


I have said a lot in the past that I’m not a very good quilter. I’ve spent a lot of time being afraid of FMQ, only to finally try it and realize it wasn’t really my thing. (Probably if I practiced it more than 4 times it’d be more my thing, but a girl’s gotta have her flaws.) But I’ve been working to make my quilting more of a design element and less of a hurdle that’s just for getting past.


So I sat down with Illustrator and started sketching out quilting ideas. I threw away at least 5 designs as nothing was working. I asked some other QDADers and they suggested I decide what I wanted to highlight about the design. I thought about the Aztec influence in the design, and looked up Aztec motifs and started incorporating them into the quilting pattern. It was at that point that the quilting design really started coming together.


But as the design got more complicated, the less I wanted to quilt it, so I procrastinated by making the quilting design more complicated. Not the best feedback loop! I finally forced myself to get quilting and am pleasantly happy with the results. I would like to work on making my designs more dense in the future, but it took me a week and a half to quilt this thing as it was!


And that is the story of The Phoenix Quilt. It’s currently my favorite quilt I’ve ever made, if only because of the amount I had to grow as a designer/artist/crafter to create it. And I will now hope with all my being that there are no egregious errors in the pattern!



Dimensions: 68″ x 72″
Fabrics: Front: Kona Tomato, Kona Bluegrass, Kona Pepper (Wouldn’t this make an awesome soup? Tomato soup with a twang.)
Back: Kona Pepper
Binding: Kona Pepper and Kona Bluegrass
Thread: Aurifil 1158 – Medium Grey
Time to complete: 3 weeks
Number of times I wished I had a longarm while quilting this: ~20 times/day


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36 thoughts on “Finish: The Phoenix Quilt

    • anne Post author

      Thank you for your kind words! I enjoy writing these synopsis posts because it doesn’t take me very long before I forget that most of them involved a creative journey. Instead I see the end product and think “of course I did it that way.” Hahaha

    • anne Post author

      Oh my goodness, I need to hang out with you more. <3 I really needed your kind words today so I am happy I got a chance to reread them. 🙂
      Playing with design every day for a year means that out of the ~400 designs you make (because I would sometimes make more than just one a day) there are at least a couple that are pretty good! Hahahaha ^_^

  • CraftALife

    Oh wow, this is gorgeous! You have such a fabulous color sense! It’s kinda breathtaking! Congrats on the Quilt of the Month, too! Can’t wait to get the pattern. I’m just finishing a fully hand-dyed triangle quilt that’s taken over a year, so doing this in 3 weeks is amazing to me.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I love playing with color but this was REALLY outside of my comfort zone! Part of me was even concerned I was going to end up in Christmas territory, but all that dark grey seems to have alleviated that fortunately. I would not normally finish a quilt like this in 3 weeks, but having a deadline will certainly get you moving! 😉

  • Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    It looks fantastic, and I think your quilting emphasizes elements of the design in a subtle and expansive way. I really like how the diamond shape expands and grows in the negative space, and the arcs through the red dipping into the green are super fun. Also, great name! 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Oh man, thank you for the serious boost to my quilting confidence! I used to hate quilting, but changing my thinking to see it as a layer of the design has really helped me appreciate it. And now it’s fun! Well not the actual quilting, which is exhausting and makes me want a longarm, but the design aspect of it is really challenging and rewarding. 🙂 Also thanks for the compliment regarding the name! Maybe I need to start a Quilt Name A Day challenge for myself because…seriously. Eesh.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! It’s funny because the selection process last year was actually done from submissions to be the QuiltCon Show Pattern. None of my designs were selected, but they chose a subset of the entries for the QOM. So it was a mixed bag getting the initial email, but in the end I’m super pleased to be able to participate at all! 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much, and yay for being happy with the pattern!! If you run into any issues, please please let me know! Patterns are always nail biters because people are trusting you to not waste their precious fabric. 🙂

  • Molli Sparkles

    You had me worried with your alien flora series but I can see all that curve play has led to something magical and mystical after all! And you know I’m down with these complimentary colours! Contrast me baby!

    • anne Post author

      HAHAhahahaha I’m going to make a sparkle alien flora JUST FOR YOU. 😉 I don’t know when I became a curves girl, but I can’t seem to get enough now!

  • Lisa in Port Hope

    Congratulations on your gorgeous quilt and inspiring design. And thanks for sharing how this quilt helped you develop your skills as a quilter. Wouldn’t this design be awesome with an ombre graduation in the scales?

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much for the compliment! I would LOVE to see this with an ombre gradation! Change the background to low volume and throw in some shot cottons, and it’d be a significantly different quilt. Maybe I should make the mini version, I’ve got 3″ templates as well as the 6″. 🙂

  • Jayne Willis

    I am totally in love with this one!! The colors are amazing together, but the design is even more so!! Great job on the quilting, it looks fantastic! I totally get the FMQ thing…practice is the thing…they say! Well done Anne!

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much, Jayne! 😀 I know if I practiced FMQ I’d be happier with it and I could add it to my wheelhouse of designs. But at this point I’m mostly doing these really graphic designs and I prefer the straight line look with them. With that said, at some point the need will arise for more swoopy designs and I’ll have to face my FMQ demon. ^_^

  • Linda H.

    Well Anne. Your talent as a designer really shines through this one. And I think you did a smashing job with the quilting too, picking designs that suit the quilt. We all have our different specialties, and it’s so nice that you shared this one with us.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Linda! 😀 What nice words, I really appreciate them. 🙂 I’m excited that I’ve found a way to actually enjoy thinking about quilting instead of just viewing it as a hurdle to get past!

  • Krista - Poppyprint

    I’m here after reading my MQG newsletter featuring your Phoenix quilt because I just wanted to say that it is a killer design! You did an amazing job with those curves and the colours. Congratulations on a fantastic pattern and thanks for sharing it.

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much for visiting, Krista! I really appreciate your kind words on the design, as well. 🙂 It’s been really exciting to see the reactions to the quilt. I know for some it is too bold/crazy so I appreciate people like you stoping by and passing along a vote of confidence. 😀

  • Jane S

    Great design and fantastic quilting. What do you use (what program) to model your quilt and your quilting? I really like being able to see both before any cutting is done.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! I use Illustrator for my design work. There are a lot of different tools available, and that just happened to be the one I was most comfortable with so I ended up using it. 🙂 I know a lot of people use EQ7, although neither that or Illustrator is free. There is a program called Inkscape that is like Illustrator and is free, but you’ll definitely want to look up some tutorials if you’ve never used vector drawing software before. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much, Erin! It’s such a relief to have found at least a method I can play with that will hopefully make quilting a more enjoyable process for me. 🙂

  • Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge

    Congrats on being the Pin Up Quilt for MGQ this month. This one’s awesome… though all those curves scare the bejeezus out of me. The quilting is bang on.. it doesn’t need FMQ at all. Quetzalcoatl would have suited me just fine for a name… but then again, I spent a summer in Mexico, so it was pretty familiar already!

    • anne Post author

      Hahaha Jenn, I love that, “Pin Up Quilt”. ^_^ Don’t be scared of curves! They are your frrieeeenddssssss. (I probably didn’t help, did I??) Thank you so much for the quilting love. I really want to play with quilt design more in future projects. 🙂 And we can just call the quilt Quetzalcoatl between us. I’m cool with that!

    • anne Post author

      No lie, they scared me too! Hahaha I don’t know, I MIGHT use complementary colors again, but I’m back to my analogous/color-sorted thing for a bit! ^_^