Phoenix Fire and Ash: The pattern

Phoenix Fire and Ash: The pattern

It’s finally here – the downloadable .pdf instructions for putting together this quilt!


Download the .pdf through this link: A Color Story. Then read on

The instructions are as short and sweet as a wordy girl like me can make them. You could put this quilt together with not another word of information, but I have developed my own method of distribution to make sure all the fabrics are evenly scattered and represented throughout the quilt. This method will only work if you’re using 12 unique fabrics or can divide your fabrics evenly by some other feature (light vs. dark for example). It certainly isn’t the only way to do it!


There’s nothing random about my version of this quilt! You have to work at moving things around in a way that will keep the fabrics distributed throughout the quilt. If you were working in a monochromatic scheme this might not be very important. In my case, true random may have left me with lots of one color in one section and lots of another in a different section. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t end up with the same fabrics touching or leaning heavily to one color. Of course, as I’m talking through this with you – the thought occurs to me it would be pretty cool to force the opposite of even distribution. It might create a bit of a gradient effect!

The first thing I did was separate my 5″ squares into 12 stacks. Since I purchased fabric for this quilt, it was pretty easy to separate – I had 12 unique fabrics. Here’s what they looked like when they were starting squares:

PhoenixPattern (7)

It just so happened that for the fire side I had six solids and six patterns. I decided the solids were my “base” fabric that I would use to create an even distribution. As you can see, there were more patterns than solids for the ash side. I matched them up as closely as possible by value and kept a mental list of the six I had selected for “base”. It doesn’t really matter what they are, you just gotta remember.

PhoenixPattern (6)

Here’s where the magic happens. I lined them up in two rows and spread the first “base” to each of the other fabrics. That created six 2 patches. I moved to the next “base” and repeated the cycle until I was out of squares. This one really needs an image to drive it home so here you go!

PhoenixPattern (5)It looks so complicated with all the arrows! It really isnt. Once you get in the groove, they fall right into place and you’ve matched them up with the widest distribution possible. Just another little trick I’ll mention – Any stack of directional fabrics I had, I turned each square in the stack 1/4 turn. In the end, it gets them pointing in all sorts of different directions.

I did you a terrible disservice and failed to take very many pictures after this step! It’s ok though, the following step just gets repeated each time you cut and sew back on the edges. The gist here, mix them up! You see how I’ve separated them again by their “base” fabric.

PhoenixPattern (4)

Ready for the big secret? Turn every other stack upside down and grab a small random number from the top of the remaining stacks and move them somewhere near the middle or the bottom. Now you can start with five of the first “bases” and pair them with one of each of the two patches on the top of the stacks all the way down the row. Then grab five of the next “base” and pair it up with top 2 patch for the other five “bases” on the row. Keep going until all the 2 patches have been matched up. Be sure that that you pin the “base” fabric to the opposite fabric. The four patches you’re left with are even distributed with no two fabrics touching one another. If you continue to use this “base” matching through the rest of the piecing, you will maintain quite a distribution and never have two fabrics touch!

I will tell you – I didn’t keep my bases straight on the ash side. It seems like somewhere in there I just lost track of which ones were “base”. In the end, no big deal. There’s just a few places where the same fabric butts up to itself. In some ways, it is more interesting than the fire side because it creates a few new shapes that wouldn’t be there otherwise. See! You just can’t lose with this quilt!


That’s all Folks! This indeed concluded Phoenix’s story. I hope you’ve enjoyed this WIB format. I love feedback, feel free to tell me what you like or didn’t like as well as any suggestions for the next project. I do plan on using the format again late this year or early next for a monster of a quilt that I think you’re really going to like! Also – ask questions if you have them! I promise, I’m happy to make changes to the instructions to help clarify it for you or any one else that might come along. Love you guys – thanks for cheering me on!

If you’re new to Phoenix or would like a refresher on the previous posts, be sure to check this handy index!


  1. You’ve thought of every detail with these great posts. That’s a handy tip about mixing up colours for a random look.

  2. Thanks for sharing your distribution method. I love the way the colours balance across the tops 🙂

  3. Loved your format here. That picture is priceless, that quilt is loved for sure:) Can’t wait to see what you have in store???

  4. Great way to get a random look. Wonderful instructions, as usual.

  5. Oh wow there is a method how to mix the colors. Pretty cool!

  6. Love that it’s double sided – but with so much contrast more like two quilts in one. Very clever!


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