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The Big Book of Nickel Quilts: 40 Projects for 5-Inch Scraps

The Big Book of Nickel Quilts: 40 Projects for 5-Inch Scraps

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The Big Book of Nickel Quilts: 40 Projects for 5-Inch Scraps

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Nov 5, 2013


Here in one value-packed volume, find stunning designs from Nickel Quilts and More Nickel Quilts by best-selling authors Pat Speth and Charlene Thode. Simplify the cutting process and showcase 5" squares--or scraps from your stash--in timeless quilts.

  • Find instructions for each quilt in three different sizes--lap, twin, and queen--for triple the options
  • Get directions for using 4" and 6" squares as well
  • Achieve a scrappy look or customize quilts to your fabric collection; patterns feature batiks, reproduction fabrics, and more
Nov 5, 2013

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The Big Book of Nickel Quilts - Pat Speth

The Big Book

of Nickel Quilts

40 Projects for 5-Inch Scraps

Pat Speth with Charlene Thode

The Big Book of Nickel Quilts:

40 Projects for 5-Inch Scraps

© 2013 by Pat Speth with Charlene Thode

Material previously published as Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth and Charlene Thode and More Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth (Martingale, 2002 and 2004, respectively).


19021 120th Ave. NE, Ste. 102

Bothell, WA 98011-9511 USA

eBook Edition: 2013

No part of this product may be reproduced in any form, unless otherwise stated, in which case reproduction is limited to the use of the purchaser. The written instructions, photographs, designs, projects, and patterns are intended for the personal, noncommercial use of the retail purchaser and are under federal copyright laws; they are not to be reproduced by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, including informational storage or retrieval systems, for commercial use. Permission is granted to photocopy patterns for the personal use of the retail purchaser. Attention teachers: Martingale encourages you to use this book for teaching, subject to the restrictions stated above.

The information in this book is presented in good faith, but no warranty is given nor results guaranteed. Since Martingale has no control over choice of materials or procedures, the company assumes no responsibility for the use of this information.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.

eISBN: 978-1-60468-396-7

Original Source ISBN: 978-1-60468-395-0


Why Nickel Quilts?

How to Gather 5" Squares

General Instructions

Finishing Your Quilt

The Quilts

Jewel Box

Autumn Stretched Star

Sunny Lanes

Northern Lights

Shoo Fly

Streak of Lightning

Beach Party

Jacob’s Ladder

Idaho Beauty

Path and Stiles

Four-Patch Plaid

Millennium Star

Paducah Nine Patch

Mount Hood

Tillie’s Treasure

Shaded Four Patch

Morning Star

King’s Crown

Flying Home from Bali Bali


Pinwheels on Parade

Star and Hourglass

Woodland Clover

Stars over Mitford

Butterfly Waltz

Rocky Road to Dublin

Blackford’s Beauty

Labor Day Madness

Buffalo Ridge

Ozark Maple Leaf

Dutchman’s Puzzle

All That Glitters

Big Dipper

Arlington Square

Sugar Bowl

Brave World

Mystery Flower Garden

Dawn to Dusk

Texas Star

Churn Dash

About the Authors

Why Nickel Quilts?

Nickel Quilts was first published over a decade ago and the follow-up best seller, More Nickel Quilts , came soon afterward. Quilters all over have been using 5 squares to make these great quilts for themselves and as gifts. Yes, that’s a Nickel—a 5 square of fabric.

Martingale has combined all these wonderful quilts into one volume for a whole new group of quilters to enjoy, and the timing could not be better! The abundance of charm packs available increases the need for quilt patterns made with 5" squares.

The forty quilts in this book are timeless and will be a pleasure to make for years to come. Nickel quilts are still perfect for using stash fabrics, having the ability to bring out the best in fabrics collected over the years.

Each quilt pattern is rated by skill level—beginner, easy, or intermediate—based on the degree of piecing difficulty. If you’re new to quilting, start with a beginner quilt. If you have some quilting experience, you can choose an easy project. Once you’ve used the easy unit construction methods to make your first Nickel quilt, you’ll be ready to move on to the more challenging projects.

It has been my joy and honor to travel across the country, teaching Nickel quilt workshops and seeing the techniques in this book put to use. So, join in the fun! Cut into those stash fabrics, use those charm packs, and enjoy your adventure in Nickel quilting!


How to Gather 5" Squares

Maybe you’re new to quilting and you haven’t built up a stash of scraps yet, or maybe you just love fabric and want to add to your stash! Either way, this section will give you easy, inexpensive ways to build your collection.

Start Cutting

So, how do you collect all those 5 squares? Start by cutting strips from your own fabric collection. When fabric shopping, always buy a little more than you need for your project so that you can cut a 5-wide strip from each fabric—after you’ve tested it for color-fastness, preshrunk it, and trimmed away the selvages. Cut each strip into squares and store for future use. You’ll be surprised how quickly your pile grows with your fabric purchases alone.

Want to make the variety in your collection of squares grow even faster? Plan a cutting bee with a few friends and swap strips. In addition, many quilt shops and mail-order catalogs offer packets of 5 squares. Don’t forget to check out all those Internet fabric-shopping sites, too. Not only can you buy fabric packets online, but there are also dozens of online groups of quilters interested in fabric trades. Fat-quarter trades are wonderful. Did you know you can cut twelve 5 squares from one fat quarter? Use some in your current scrap project and put the leftovers away for another quilt.

If you aren’t able to access the Internet, look through your quilting magazines for postings from quilters who want to participate in fabric trades—or you can post a message yourself, asking for fabric trading partners. When you trade with others from different states and countries, your selection of squares becomes that much more varied and unique. If staying a bit closer to home is more your style, then start a trade with your local quilt guild or your smaller sit-and-sew group.

A Few Trading Guidelines

You may find it helpful to have a few guidelines for organizing a fabric trade. Begin by enlisting a friend or two to help out.

Select the type(s) of fabric the group would like to trade. For example, you could begin by designating a color, or a type of print, such as stripes, stars, paisleys, florals, or plaids. Or, you could decide to swap fabrics that represent specific time periods—1800s or 1930s reproduction fabrics, for example. Some swappers even go so far as to designate the manufacturers whose fabrics they want to swap (this is great for quality control).

Decide how many times per year you want to trade. If you’re trading with guild members, you could schedule six trades per year so participants can drop off packets one month and pick them up the next. Midway between your regular meetings, get a small group of volunteers together to organize the fabric into sets for pickup. Those who may have missed the drop-off meeting can still participate at that time if they drop off their fabric.

Determine how many squares you’re going to trade. That number will depend a lot on the size of your group. You may want to ask people to sign up first to get an idea of the number of participants you’ll have. Be sure to let them know that they can submit multiple trades. As an example, in our guild each person brings 72 squares, or 36 pairs, for one trade, and as long as there are at least 36 trades turned in, no one receives any duplicates. We’ve discovered that trading the 5" squares of fabric in pairs makes it easier to create a wider range of blocks and frees up the design elements of your quilts. It is also faster and easier to lift a pair of squares off a pile rather than trying to separate one square at a time.

Make sure everyone understands that all fabrics must be 100% cotton and that they must be preshrunk and tested for colorfastness before the swap. Selvages must be removed before you cut the strips.


Add a piece of muslin when washing fabrics, especially reds and other dark colors. If the muslin turns color, you have a fabric that is bleeding.

Remind all participants to trade fabrics they would like to receive. Depending on who is involved, the fabrics you receive might not be ones you would have personally selected—but that’s what makes scrap quilts so interesting.

Ask participants to stack their trade in twos, turning every other pair of 5" squares an eighth turn. This makes lifting the pairs of squares off the pile go much faster. Place them in a gallonsize plastic bag with the participant’s name on the outside.

Plan a party! Pick a day to get together and trade the fabrics. Think about having a potluck lunch or dessert party. Most important, have fun. Remember, anyone who comes to help with the swap gets to fondle the fabric first! It’s nice to have a large space for setting out the trades. Ping-Pong tables are great. Count the number of trades turned in and mark as many places on the table with slips of paper. Beginning at one end, place one pair of fabrics on each slip of paper. When the first stack runs out, start on the next stack and keep going until all of the fabrics have been traded. Place one traded stack back into each reusable bag to take back to the next meeting.

Once you have a wonderful stack of 5" squares, half the work—the cutting—is already done! Just select the squares for your blocks and start sewing. Once you see what a big time-saver this method is, you’ll be wishing you’d started trading a long time ago.


(Based on 40" of usable width after preshrinking)

¼ yard = 8 squares

1 fat quarter = 12 squares

½ yard = 24 squares

¾ yard = 40 squares

1 yard = 56 squares

What about Other Sizes?

If you have been trading something other than 5 squares, don’t worry. The chart below gives the unfinished size of the various units you can make for the quilts in this book. (The 5 square unit dimensions are included for your reference.) You can follow the same methods in the unit construction section, but just be aware that because the block size will be different, the measurements in the illustrations will not match your unit measurements. You will also need to recalculate the yardage for sashings, borders, and backing when you substitute squares of a different size.

General Instructions

Look to this section for the basic tools and techniques used to make the quilts. Chances are, if you’ve got scraps, you’ll already have everything you need on hand.

Taking Stock of Your Sewing Tools

Before you start your first Nickel quilt, make sure you have the following basic tools:

B.S.K. (Basic Sewing Kit): Our B.S.K. consists of thread,

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