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  • Nicola


Edit: All of the posts & tutorials from 2018's Spellbound Sew-along can be found here.

I've finished my Spellbound Sampler Quilt at long last. I've really enjoyed hand quilting it over the past few months, although it was frequently put aside while I tackled Christmas gifts and magazine commissions. After stitching around the motifs I chose a zig-zag for the individual block backgrounds, echoing the border. When it came to binding I chose a delicious coral stripe from the fabric collection I used for my quilt: Sundrops by Corey Yoder for Moda. I do love a red binding.

My next challenge was to fake a late autumn photo-shoot in early spring. Cue our trusty beech hedge and some much-longed-for sunshine: January has been a cold, dark month in Shropshire this year.

My Spellbound Sampler will be coming to the Festival of Quilts with me this summer and then it will be gifted to a dear friend who absolutely loves Halloween.

In the meantime I've had a few queries about the materials required for making the whole quilt, so here’s a summary...


To make the Spellbound Sampler Quilt you will need the following:-

1 Layer Cake for the blocks

1 yard light contrast for the block backgrounds

yards dark contrast for the block backgrounds

1 yd of white for the border and Moonlit Bat block

1 yd dark border fabric

yds backing fabric

½ yd binding fabric

62” square piece of cotton batting

Dark grey & cream embroidery floss

¼” bias tape maker.

{Optional items are a Dresden ruler and Triangle-in-a-square (Tri-recs, Peaky & Spike etc.) ruler}

A few notes about choosing colours...

The colour palette Corey chose for Sundrops - corals, ochres and greens tempered by soft greys and charcoals - was an inspiration for this quilt. Your favourite autumnal Layer Cake will work just as well although I should mention that Corey has designed a 'sister' collection to Sundrops called Pepper & Flax which will be in shops this Spring, although you will need to add some Coral fat quarters. But I digress...

I first divided my Sundrops Layer Cake into brights, lights & darks. From my brights pile I chose three shades of coral for my Pumpkin and Toadstools and a warm yellow for my Gothic Gatehouse Windows before selecting five prints for the Dresden fans. From my lights I set aside one light grey print for the Gatehouse walls and two greys for the Wise Owl before choosing seven prints for the Dresden fans. Finally from the darks, individual off-black prints were chosen for the Raven, the Bat and the Gatehouse roof. That still left twenty Layers to cut the smaller pieces from, so I had plenty of fabric.

My moodboard for the Spellbound Sampler, photo credits in rows from top left:

Pinterest; Deerhouse blog; Eleanor Pritchard Studio; Pinterest;

Vanessa Bowman; Katherin's Anticipation on Ravelry; Martha Stewart; Coastal Living;

Mary Fedden; Pinterest; Edward Hamilton Bell; i gigi;

Fig Tree Quilts; Vanessa Bowman; Nirav Patel Photography; Martha Stewart

If you have a cupboard groaning with autumnal fat quarters you could easily make up a unique bundle from your stash to replace the Layer Cake. I'd suggest 5 bright prints (including three oranges and a yellow), 5 lights/low-volume prints, 2 light grey prints and 1 dark/charcoal print. So that's 13 in total...lucky for some.

Some extra help with techniques...

I've written about the Dresden techinque I used for this pattern here and there is a detailed photo tutorial for the Triangle-in-a-Square method I used for the obtuse angles (on the Gatehouse, Moth and Birds) here. But if there's a new technique in the pattern that puzzles you, or you're just plain stuck, please contact me. I'm always ready to help. In fact I've written a few blog posts - including this one - as a result of a customer enquiry.

And a 'few' pictures...

Gothic Gatehouse


Moon & Star


Merveille du Jour

Moonlit Bat


Wise Owl



You can find a specially discounted PDF Pattern bundle for the blocks here and my blog post with the free setting instructions here.

And if you're looking for a smaller project, a Happy Wanderer bag can be combined with any of the Spellbound Sampler blocks. I used some jewel-toned Liberty scraps to make a 'Batpack' (sorry...) for trick-or-treating, but you could use the Moon & Star block to make a sleepover bag, the Wise Owl to keep watch over your binoculars and favourite birdwatching guide, or how about a Toadstool bag for foraging on long woodland walks?

Having said farewell to misty Autumn mornings for a while my thoughts are now turning to brisk Spring days by the sea and a bright, new stack of fabric that’s calling my name...

Nicola xx


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