Versailles Block

Welcome to Week 6 of the Summer Sampler 2018 quilt along!

This week our magic carpet transports us from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Australia to the Château de Versailles in France, about 14 miles southwest of the center of Paris.

Lately I’ve been inspired by squares and rectangles. I’m drawn to their simple, stable, bold, and rugged appearance. Sewing with them is a joy due to the ease with which the pieces fit together.

I also have a weakness for black and white. Is it any surprise that when I saw a photo of the entrance courtyard of the Chateau de Versailles, it would grab my attention immediately?

The photo by Dennis Dolkens shows off the striking black and white marble pattern on a sunny day. [Used with permission.]

A little fact about me is that I studied French for most of my childhood years and visited the Château de Versailles on a trip with my 8th grade French class! I checked with my mom and friends who were on that trip and asked if they had any pictures of me at Versailles, but alas, no one could find any. But my lifelong bestie, Martha, recently unearthed this picture of us with Notre-Dame de Paris in the background. Martha looks cute, but what was I thinking with that sweater and rainbow beret? LOL

Now that I’ve surely made you smile, it’s time for a Versailles block construction tip: follow the pressing directions in the pattern. The rule of thumb is, press toward the colored fabric, away from the background fabric, whether that’s “in” or “out”, and your seams will nest. There are three intersections in this block.

This was my first block, made in a spectrum of purples. The inside-outside qualities of the squares and how they fit with the rectangles to form a new, larger square inspires me. All the strips in the block are the same width, which is fun!

Influenced by the two-color courtyard, I made two more blocks, in two colors each, one neutral (grey) and one bold (yellow):

If you, too, are a fan of squares and rectangles and have taken pleasure in making this block, you might fancy my next pattern coming out in late July, called “Cabin”. 

To view more progress shots, you can find me on Instagram @quiltaposy. To see what my pattern testers are doing with the pattern, feel free to peruse the #cabinquilt hashtag. I also have a few patterns listed in my shop which you are welcome to check out.

And if you haven’t yet joined, it’s never too late to join the Summer Sampler 2018, which you can do here.

Versailles pictured with Water Well by Katie of Swim Bike Quilt

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey to France with me!

Make Your Mark Quilt

One day while browsing the floral department, I was struck by the irregular beauty of handwritten dash marks on a piece of pottery, which sparked curiosity in me about how I could convey a handwritten dashed look with pieced fabric. To achieve this organic look, I used scissors for the strip sets, then squared them up with a rotary cutter. It was fun exploring color and value in my fabric selection. The blocks remind me of being at the stationery store as a kid, testing out the markers in a wide spectrum of colors on the sticky notes provided. This quilt showed at QuiltCon 2018 in the Modern Traditionalism category. The pattern is available in my shop!

Made by Karen Lee
Quilted by Christina Lane
66” x 66”
July 2017 – October 2017

Rebuilding Quilt

A friend going through a trying circumstance in her life inspired me to make this quilt. It’s about dealing with the disappointment of a broken dream and daring to believe that things will get better when we pick up the pieces to rebuild. Showcasing the scraps in the margin, rather than hiding them in the design of the quilt, simultaneously draws attention to the brokenness as well as the hope of these pieces taking on new life as building blocks for future endeavors. Choosing to hope and build again after devastation takes courage. The aim of this quilt is to honor the struggle and to celebrate the act of bravery. This quilt showed at the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Made by Karen Lee
Quilted by Christina Lane
75” x 63”
March 2017 – August 2017

Bending Petal Quilt

I started this piece in a class on making inset seams and complex curves taught by Stephanie Ruyle. The thin orange branches which go out from the stem are 1/16″ thick inset seams. The orange stem, the lighter blue background, and the yellow petal were all pieced using Stephanie’s method for curves. It was a fun challenge trying to mimic the thinness of the inset seams in the stem using the curve technique. For the echo quilting, I took a few passes of contrasting orange thread to create a glowing effect and left the petal unquilted and puffy from the wool batting. Bending Petal showed in the Small Quilts category at QuiltCon 2018!

Made and quilted by Karen Lee
22” x 16”
April 2017 – July 2017


When drafting this quilt I imagined designing a Native American trading blanket in quilt form. The design features four motifs common to trading blankets and quilting: flying geese, bars, crosses, and chains, as well as horizontal and vertical symmetry in both the piecing and quilting. For the palette, I selected neutral, earthy, wintry colors as the backdrop for the pops of Pantone Greenery, representing daffodil shoots poking up sporadically through the soil and snow, heralding spring. These random bursts of color represent the only asymmetry in the otherwise symmetrical quilt! This quilt showed at the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Made by Karen Lee
Quilted by Christina Lane
70” x 58”
January 2017 – April 2017

Light Boxes Quilt

Brimming with inspiration but needing to start somewhere, I made this little piece of wall art upon returning home from QuiltCon 2017. The creative limit I set for myself was to use the scraps leftover from my Fallen Petal quilt, without cutting into any new yardage. Only having a small pile of scraps to work with since I had planned my yardage requirements carefully made the experience especially exciting creatively! I would venture to say that in every case the “make-do” moments made the piece more interesting and appealing. I quilted the piece in coordinating lavender and yellow thread.

Made and quilted by Karen Lee
18” x 21”
March 2017

Fallen Petal Quilt

Inspired by block A-7 of the renown Civil War quilt by Jane A. Stickle, I enlarged the block, iterated it four times in a grid, and added a drop shadow. Next, I incorporated a “fallen petal” concept into the design, symbolizing a petal falling from a flower passed its prime. This theme harkens back to still life paintings of the past which depict skulls, hourglasses, and flowers dropping their petals, prompting us to ponder life’s ephemeral nature. My mom’s current battle with cancer reminds me daily of life’s fragility and that I’m edging closer to the veil myself. Fallen Petal was published in the July 2017 issue of Klude Magasinet and in Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century. This quilt showed in the Modern Traditionalism category at QuiltCon 2017 and at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Made and Quilted by Karen Lee
62” x 62”
May 2016 – June 2016