Today is the beginning of the Calico Rose Quiltalong, and it is all about deciding on  fabric and CUTTING.


First you should choose a size to make:  SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks.  Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time.  It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks.  Finished size about 72″  square; LARGE:  This is the size of the original Calico Rose.  It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks.  Finished size 96″ square.

Quick Note:  If you are planning on using 2-1/2″ squares as your base,  a SMALL will finish at 64″ and a MEDIUM at 96″.  A large would be 128″ square, but I don’t recommend that–most quilting frames won’t hold one that size. The number of cuts you need for each size will be identical to the 2″ quilt, but you will need more background fabric.  Please plan accordingly. Using the quantity suggested for the next size up should work.  I hope.  But you might want to get an extra yard just to make yourself feel better.

Another quick note:  Some people have wondered why there isn’t a 4×4 or 6×6 (or any other number) block layout option.  You are free to make one, of course, but the final look will be different.  The symmetry comes from having odd numbers.


1. A lot of scraps.  Some should be at least 4″ square  for the points of the stars.   (Read 5″ square if you are using 2-1/2″ squares for your base.  Yes, I can hear you thinking…”I can use my charm packs.”) You can have a set color scheme (blues), controlled scrappy like the original (blue, yellow, green), or anything goes.  I am an “anything goes” person this time.  It is hard to judge how much scrap you need, but, unless you are a very new quilter, it will not be anything close to all the scrap you have. Just get a big pile–several double handfuls at least, especially for a large quilt.  Sort through.  Make piles.  Remember former projects and friends and favorites.  Rejoice in the abundance.   This is supposed to be FUN!


2. Background fabric.  I am (no surprise here) using white.  You can use any color, but keep contrast in mind.  I recommend a single color for the background.  One less variable. You will need 1-1/2 yards  for SMALL, 3 yards for MEDIUM, 5-1/2 yards for LARGE.  I have calculated generously to allow for the inevitable error.  Hopefully this will work for you.


1. Cut small colored squares.  You need a lot of 2″ squares.  For SMALL:  cut 300 or so, MEDIUM:  approximately 800, LARGE: about 1500.  Some of these are the centers of the star blocks and some are for the border.  Just cut along–you don’t need to do it all at once.  You have time.  You will have some left over, but that is seed to grow a future quilt.


2. There will be more cutting of fabric as each step comes along.  But, for now just get those little squares ready for the centers of the star blocks.  Set the rest of your fabric–colored scraps and background fabric, too–aside.  Clearly label it “Calico Rose Quilt” so you don’t accidentally cut it up for a different project next week.  🙂


3. Wait in eager anticipation for the next set of directions.  They will be out Friday, April 10.

Thanks for joining in. Let me know how this goes.

21 thoughts on “CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Fabric and First Cuts

  1. sounds so much fun..i can cut the 4″ squares as all my 2’s are cut…and I am using white on white for the background..already have that but in a piece…maybe by April 10 I will have a few of my UFOs finished…what fun…thank you!!!!

  2. Oh, you are so sweet with all that information on the 2.5″ squares. Thank you! I’m not worried about background. I have a pile of WOW that I’ll work from for this and for Film at Five, so it’s all good. I am starting with my stash of batik squares. I’ll get an estimate of how many I have. There are tons more batik scraps that can be cut up. I love that yours are piled in that peach basket! (or whatever kind of peck or bushel it is)

  3. This will be awesome!!! Going to start cutting out squares tomorrow 🙂 Will be fun doing this along with you and everyone whose joining in! Thanks for working out all the quilt sizes and info…You’re Awesome! Enjoy you’re week 🙂

  4. I love a challenge and I have some 2 1/2 and 2 inch scraps but need to cut many more for this. Look forward to it. Thanks for sharing.I am doing Wedding Dress block Quilt

  5. I am looking forward to my first quilt along. I have lots of 2 1/2″ squares already cut and lots of scrap if I need more.
    Thanks for taking the time to create this quilt along.

    1. I am sorry about the picture quality. The camera and the situation weren’t the best. I may get better pictures when it is back from the quilter, but for now what I have is what I have. Is there something specific you want to see? Maybe there is a better view on another shot.

  6. I haven’t been able to get signed up, don’t know why it didn’t work for me, or if it did work & I am signed up, I don’t know that. Please confirm if I am signed up or not. thank you. ps can hardly wait for apr 10 installment.

  7. I had so much fun cutting 2.5 sqs, couldn’t stop. In order to count what my average amount do sqs were, I made a pi o e about 1″ tall, then counted it. Came out to be 67 sqs per inch. Then I got into the cutting, using a bunch of small pics of fabric I wanted to incorporate & before I knew it, I had over 800, with different I still wanted to use. By the time I forced myself to stop I was already @ over 1500 sqs of about 90 different fabrics. So looking forward to April 10. My 1st quilt where I am actually following a pattern, or plan. So exciting!!!!!!!! All previous work, was sort of flying by the seat of my pants. No spectacular results, but reasonably acceptable for use. Lol

    1. There are many “shortcut” methods, like strip piecing, that you could use. I created the pattern, however, to use small scraps cut into small squares. Feel free to modify the pattern to match your fabric. If you have larger pieces that you could cut into 2″ strips and sew into rows of four, go right ahead. You could create a random look by mixing and matching those rows.

  8. HI There. I just have to jump aboard this train. It sounds really exciting, and I
    do love the pattern. I just decided that this is the next little quilt I need to
    make. I know I am late, but all the directions are still posted, and I plan on cutting my little squares today. What do I have to do? Oh, this is going
    to be such fun. Thank you so much.

  9. Hi I was wondering how many months this will take. I have a birthday gift needed in August. No problem if it takes longer.

  10. Thinking of joining in, better late than never..did the Film at Five and gave it as a Christmas gift..this one would serve well for this Christmas..will got in search of your progress and see if I can catch up!

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