Behind the Quilts: Quilter’s Compass Pattern Design & How We Get Inspired

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We see the sample hanging in the local quilt shop or the pattern in the most recent magazine and we think I have to make that! So we buy the pattern and the required fabric, as listed on the back of the pattern. We get home and eagerly open the pattern to get started only to discover the pattern seems like it’s written in another language. We get confused and frustrated and we make mistakes, leading to buying more fabric. Eventually we might shove the pieces to the back of the closet in an effort to avoid thinking about it or we might forge ahead, making guesses as to what the next step will be. Or maybe you get to the end of the project and while it was frustrating, it wasn’t that bad until you realize the pattern had you buy a whole yard more than you really needed to make the quilt.

We’ve all been there, and we hate that, too.

That’s why we work hard to ensure our patterns and instructions are very explicit and straight-forward. Even Barb’s retired engineer husband, George, can understand them and he’s not a quilter! In fact, that’s why we consult with him when writing our patterns.

Husband of Quilter’s Compass owner Barb, George helps ensure our QC patterns are well-written, thorough and mistake-free!

Meet George. Hilary fondly refers to him as our shop cat because he’s friendly and loves visiting with people. On the plus side, he sheds less than cats do, so it’s better for our cat-allergic customers 🙂

George spent his working life as a research engineer and was considered one of the best in his field.  He is now retired and whenever he is able, he helps us in areas where he has far more experience and expertise, putting his web management knowledge to good use on our website. His technical writing and math skills are kept sharp by ensuring our customers get the clearest instructions possible when they buy a QC pattern.

Barb, owner of Quilter’s Compass and designer for the QC pattern line

Most of you already know Barb. She tends to do more of the behind-the-scenes work here at Quilter’s Compass to make sure everything is running smoothly, but when she does emerge from her office, she always has a few new ideas. She is the brains and creative drive behind all of our patterns and she finds her ideas and inspiration in a variety of places.

Sometimes it’s the fabric that speaks to her. Many of you have seen her quilt “Dreaming of August” hanging in the classroom and some of you have purchased the pattern and made the quilt. Barb’s inspiration for that quilt was the hazy grey-blue fabric in the border. She saw it and it reminded her of hot, hazy late summer days at the cottage on Shell Lake when the grass is starting to dry and turn yellow and the leaves are just starting to lose their green coloring. She paired it with a flannel back and uses it in the cold winter months when all she wants is to be back at the cottage in August.

“Wild Irish Rose” was also inspired by the fabric choice.

Most of you are familiar with the inspiration behind the Barn Quilts. When she first moved to the area, Barb was fascinated by the quilt blocks adorning barns throughout the county. She spoke with the two women behind the movement and an idea was formed: a block of the month sampler quilt featuring the barn quilts of Green County, Wisconsin. The first barn quilt was so popular that it’s being repeated this year. We also introduced a second block of the month and are planning to release those patterns toward the end of this year and design a third barn quilt sampler.

We received the nicest compliment last week. We opened for a few hours on Sunday because a group of women at a retreat wanted to stop in on their way home. As they were shopping, they were telling us about how some of the ladies at the retreat with them were talking about our quilt patterns and how they’re the best instructions they’ve ever received in a pattern.

It takes our team many, many months to design, write, test, edit, test again, and publish our patterns, so to hear that all of the work pays off when a customer had an easy time understanding the instructions makes it all worth it. We truly enjoy the satisfaction of knowing we are making it easier for quilters to do what they love simply by providing solid directions.

So stay tuned, quilting world, because Barb has a whole folder of quilt designs on her computer, just waitimg to be written, tested, edited, tested again, and published.


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