You’ll Love Carol’s New Club, Its Backstory, and Our Giveaway!

This month, we introduce “It’s Not a Square” an exciting new program we know you’re gonna love! It’s a 12-month Club by reproduction expert Carol Hopkins, with AMERICAN SWATCH BOOK prints by Judie Rothermel. Best of all, we timed the fabric production to coincide with Carol’s new book, The 4″ x 5″ Quilt Block Anthology: 182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics (Martingale, March 2017).  We chatted with Carol to uncover some of the interesting backstory that led to this exciting Club concept:


  • The rectangular shape of the blocks is a big feature of the book. What brought that about?

I’ve been a part of a block exchange group for about 25 years.  Four of us had just finished a year-long exchange of 6” weather vane blocks and were looking for an easier, and less time consuming, block.  We decided to frame a 3” x 4” rectangle with a 1” border—easy cutting, two fabrics, done!  However, on her way home from our lunch meeting, Linda Koenig had a brainstorm which she followed up on with a note to all of us, suggesting that instead of just framing a plain rectangle, we create designs that would fit inside a 4” x 5” rectangle.  She tempted us by enclosing a set of four blocks she made and we jumped in, not realizing just how challenging it would be to come up with block designs that weren’t square!CarolHopkins

  • Your new book is titled, “The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology: 182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics”. How long did it take to amass such a variety of designs, and how did you know you were “done” at 182?

We each agreed to design four blocks a month for a period of nine months.  Since we make identical blocks for each person in the group, that meant we each sewed 16 blocks a month.  That’s a lot of sewing, but the good news is, we each had 16 new blocks at the end of the month!  When Linda showed our blocks to members of another group she belonged to, they, too, decided to design blocks; however, they did not exchange blocks.

AmerSwatchGiveawayAt the end of nine months, 182 different blocks had been created.  The quilt on the cover of The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology, contains all of the blocks designed by the two groups, and was made by Linda, who, sadly, passed away shortly before the book went to press.  Other quilts in the book and its companion on-line photo gallery vary in size from wall hangings to bed quilts and showcase a variety of fabric designs and colors.

  • Tell us about the color palette – any special significance?

In our block exchanges, my group always uses fabrics that look old–Civil War reproductions, pink-and-brown prints, blue prints with shirtings, plaids /checks/stripes, and red-and-green combinations.  Linda suggested the 1880s color palette of red, blue, black, pink, and shirtings because it was one that we had not used before.

While we were able to select fabrics from our decades-old personal stashes, I was concerned that there was not a fabric collection in the marketplace that captured the look of the blocks in the book.  Martingale’s Chief Creative Officer and I approached Pati Violick from Marcus Fabrics about the possibility of asking Judie Rothermel, the pioneer designer of reproduction fabrics, to create a fabric line in our color palette.  Thus, the collaboration between a book and fabric company emerged, and I had the rare opportunity to help curate a collection of 22 prints from Judie’s personal collection of antique fabrics that resulted in the AMERICAN SWATCH BOOK line.

CarolBlogGuideBlocksI’ve taken the book and fabric collaboration a step further to create the It’s Not A Square Club that will debut in quilt shops this summer.  Using the American Swatch Book fabrics, The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology book, and detailed monthly block guides, club members will make six different blocks a month to create a 57” x 78” sampler quilt of 72 rectangular blocks.

  • CarolSpoolsAside from quilts, how do you see quilters using blocks of this size and shape, either individually or grouped together?

I envision quilters using individual 4” x 5” blocks for things like mug rugs, purses, fabric postcards, and even pockets on clothing.  A grouping of just a few blocks could make unique doll quilts, basket liners, table runners, wall hangings, or mini samplers.  One of the most fun things I can think of is getting a group of friends together to work on blocks for themselves or to swap with other quilters.  The book includes tips and guidelines to help you set up a block exchange or organize a club.


AmerSwatchGiveawayLooks like one you’ll want to add to your project list this summer!  And to get one lucky winner stared, we’ve again teamed up with Martingale to offer this book-and-fabric bundle. To enter the random drawing, subscribe to our blog (at right), and tell us in the COMMENTS what you would love most about making this quilt… Comments received by next Wednesday, April 12, 2017 are eligible for the drawing…  Go!

96 thoughts on “You’ll Love Carol’s New Club, Its Backstory, and Our Giveaway!

  1. I would love so much to make this quilt, the colors and the designs are really different from anything I have ever done. I would like to gain more experience.
    Thank you for the opportunity!

  2. The idea of making different blocks for this quilt would intrigue me. It will help my quilting skills. Thank you for the fun!

  3. I love the variety of blocks to make but I especially LOVE Marcus Fabrics! Great to work with, love the colors!! One of my favorites to work with!
    lstangl482 at aol dot com

  4. I already read your blog! I would make the book quilt if I win the fabric and book.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. I already subscribe to the Marcus blog. I would love to use the fabric bundle to make the rectangular blocks sampler quilt on the front of the book. Thank you for this opportunity!
    ljbisme at msn dot com

  6. The idea of rectangular blocks is really interesting. I always seem to be drawn to civil war reproduction fabrics and Judie Rothermiel’s are lovely. If lucky enough to win would be great but expect to get this book and fabric, can’t resist.

  7. The fabrics make me want to dive right in! I like the idea of rectangle shaped blocks but can imagine they were hard to design.

  8. I think it would be fun to make blocks that aren’t squares. Something very different.

  9. I love that it reminds me of sampler quilts my great grandmother and grandmother made when I was young. I love the sampler looks and the lovely Marcus fabrics which are always so nice to work with ! thank you!

  10. What I would love most about making this quilt is how many different things I would learn, so many challenging blocks!

  11. It looks like a quilt that would have a story behind it. I love the vintage look and ‘feel’ it gives off. My first thought is it came from a wagon train journey across the great lands years ago and then has been handed down. And the thought of the nights it would of kept a family warm in their wagon…. It is so anti traditional of the typical square blocks no matter what their size that draws me in. Not to mention I love, love, love small blocks made into a big quilt.

  12. I would love to play with the reproduction fabrics and create the rectangle blocks in the book.

  13. I would love a chance to work with those repro fabrics–so far, I just can’t seem to get the “look” of a real Civil War quilt! I love the little house block on the cover of the book. Squeeeee!

  14. I would love to make this quilt because I love sampler quilts – and this one looks like a sampler with a twist! Thanks!

  15. I’ve made a lot of Civil War quilts and this is similar but different. I like variety. Something new and challenging.

  16. I would love making a block that isn’t square for starters. Then, I love reproduction fabrics (I have some of Judie’s in my stash) and that bundle shown with the book is just so pretty! I think it would be interesting to make some rectangle and some square blocks to put together into one quilt, starring the reproduction fabrics, of course.

  17. I’d love the variety of blocks, pink, and attempting civil war fabrics!

  18. I would love the variety of fabrics used in the quilt. Scrappy quilts are my favorites – and the scrappier, the better!

  19. My quilts have to be a variety or else I get totally bored with it. Love the look of this books. Thanks

  20. I have quilted for quite a few years but the blocks look quite different and unique. Making them would be a challenge and rewarding.

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  21. I love the variety of blocks…so many that I’ve never seen before. I’m also a huge lover of Civil War reproduction fabric. 🙂

  22. Love the rectangle blocks too!! But the fabrics have melted my Heart!! Have never made a Sampler quilt before! How fun!
    Thank you for chance to win your give-a-way too! 😀

  23. I would love the challenge of a block that is not square! And the joy of using those lovely fabrics!

  24. Love the fabrics from the 1880 to 1890s. Especially the brown and pink combos.

  25. I’ve been eyeing this book for a while now. The blocks are so cute! Would be so neat to be chosen!

  26. what I would love most about making this quilt is the variety of blocks that are in it
    Love to keep trying new blocks -it makes it all the more interesting !!

  27. SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING NEW and old at the same time!!! I have become so excited over making these blocks in the size and shapes they have with the fabric! It looks just like something I have waited for to come along! But quilting can get expensive, so winning would be nice, too! 😉 I can’t find the place to sign up for the blog (it says ‘to the right’, but I can’t find what the comments is referring to). Thank you so much for this new book on old-time looks!

  28. This quilt definitely makes you think outside the box (or square). The fun part is the challenge to do a block each week, perhaps along with friends or guild members.

  29. I love reproduction fabric, and combined with rectangular blocks this sounds really something worth doing.

  30. I was excited about this book when I first heard of it! What a fun idea! I think I may pull out the graph paper and see what I can come up with:)

  31. The 4×5 blocks are unique, very much out of the ordinary, which would make it so fun and intriguing to construct.

  32. I love all scrappy quilts and patterns and especially repo fabrics so this would be just perfect for me!

  33. I already have the book & started making the blocks. FUN,FUN,FUN!!! I love the size & variety of patterns. Using my old shirtings & many of my fabrics match those in the book. I also decided to add brown to th e red, black pink & blues. I know none of the quilt shops in my area will carry Judie’s fabrics which is very unfortunate. These little blocks would also look great in batiks & 30’s. Carol & Linda did an excellant job with this book. So sorry that Linda couldn’t enjoy how many people will love this book.

    • Just the size of the blocks has piqued my curiosity but also I have many of these fabrics in my stash and I’m looking forward to putting them together. What a great idea those ladies had.

  34. What I would love most about making this quilt is using the wonderful Marcus fabrics! They are always top quality to work with and I’d enjoy every moment of cutting, piecing and sewing the blocks together to make a beautiful quilt!

  35. I Love making sampler quilts and it is always interesting to see a new technique.

  36. I like quilts with a lot of variety. This has that and smaller blocks so its perfect.

  37. There is just something cute about working on little blocks and they don’t require alot of fabric and time!

  38. This book/quilt idea is awesome! And I love the fabrics.. I’m getting a little weary of BRIGHTS..

  39. I love the colors and love the ide of making all these fun new blocks! And I love reproduction fabrics!
    Jenny in Florida

  40. Awesome colors Would be a nice change from square blocks. Different can be good!

  41. I think the variety and ability to vary the colors in fabrics would be a lot of fun making this quilt. Thank you for the chance to win.

  42. What’s not to love about this new club. The combination of Carol and Judie are fantastic, a lovely new line of fabric and a new way to make quilt blocks. I love everything about it and would really love to win!!

  43. For starters, I really like the colors. And then I like that it’s something a little different. Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. Love the idea of the rectangular blocks & the colors used. Judie Rothermel rocks with reproduction fabrics. Carol Hopkins makes the cutest little repro quilts. The 2 together = wowza! Doubt any “local” quilt shops near me will have this club. BUT, if I could win the bundle of fabrics & book, perhaps, as a former shop owner, I could introduce this to one of the 3 guilds I’m a member of. Fun!!

  45. I think I would enjoy the challenge of breaking out of the “box” or square. Working with repros would be a plus!

  46. I love the rectangular blocks and the small size! I have a few online quilting friends that I’d like to organize a swap with!

  47. What fun it would be to make something other than a square! Add to that a new line of reproduction fabrics and it’s a winner for me.

  48. I love small rectangular blocks that make up rectangular quilts. The fabric line is beautiful, as are the colors, and I would love to win the package. Thanks for the opportunity!

  49. I love the rectangle blocks! Having a passion for reproduction fabrics and sampler quilts is a perfect fit. What a delight to make the blocks in this book. Thank you!

  50. This would be a great stash buster. I’d enjoy making the rectangular blocks as well.

  51. I love reproduction fabrics, both Civil War and 1930s. They are the only fabrics I purchase! Having a bundle of American Swatch Book would be delightful! Since every quilt book I own is a Civil War quilt book, I’d love to add “The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology” to my collection! Thank you for publishing the back story and for making this give away possible!

  52. Rectangles oh what fun something that is different, a challenge and making them small too. To bad the book isn’t out yet, would be line to purchase at the Rosemount, Illinois show.

  53. Just the overall technique of this quilt would be fun to make!! Awesome giveaway! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  54. I’ve never made a sampler quilt in 25 years of quilting! Would love to work with these beautiful fabrics and the rectangular designs. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  55. I am pretty new at quilting, so I would love doing this quilt so I could stretch my learning. Thank you for the chance to win, have a great day!

  56. Well, these are adorable! I think the color scheme is perfect for the veteran’s quilts I have been making. Thanks for the inspiration!

  57. I love the 1880’s color palette used. I like the rectangle block rather than usual square. The block setting is so pleasing to me. Great quilt!

  58. I love off square blocks.It seems I am always adding to the length cause I just don’t like square quilts. Until this year I haven’t wanted to make BOM type quilts but I am already doing several and loving them. So I can’t wait to try Carol’s. Thanks.

  59. I enjoy making different blocks – and not the same one over and over. This would be fun!

  60. OH MY GOODNESS – I love Carol Hopkins! I love Linda Koenig! AND I love Judie Rothermel – not to mention anything Civil War. I can’t wait until the book, fabric and Club come out. I would like to make a quilt in memory of Linda, a very talented quilter.

  61. I am really looking forward to making this quilt. The blocks can be used for many things in addition to making them into a quilt. I envision a notebook cover for my journal and mug rugs, and a table runner!

  62. Everything….the blocks are uniquely rectangles, it’s a sampler quilt, it’s Judie Rothermel’s fabric, and, best of all, Carol Hopkins co-authored the book and designs this Club is based on. Can’t wait!!!!

  63. I would learn a variety of techniques while making the blocks in the quilt. It’s always good to learn something new!

  64. I love the variety of blocks available and the fact that they aren’t square. Looks like there would be some challenges for me to overcome in them and some learning experiences, too!

  65. My favorite quilts to make are samplers, so this book would be perfect for me. I get board cutting and piecing the same block over and over, so all the different patterns would be so much fun to do. I also love those style fabrics. Thanks!

  66. I love little blocks and these fit that! The colors are wonderful and are a bit of a departure from what I usually do with my repros…I generally tend to go dark. Love these softer colors!

  67. I love this idea. It’s going to be fun to create blocks that aren’t square. I like the setting on the cover, too. Great job!

  68. What a treat! Love the small rectangles and “something new”! Thanks for the chance!

  69. It would get me ‘out of the box’. All my blocks have been square, not rectangle.

  70. I love having a different sampler project to work on and I’ve already started.

  71. This would be a new experience for me color wise, love that the blocks are rectangles.

  72. Our group is looking forward to doing the blocks in the Anthology. There are 6 of us and we all love Civil War Reproductions. One of our members knew Linda and it is meaningful for all of us to do this quilt. Look forward to seeing the fabrics.

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