Sofa Siesta – A Free Quilt Pattern

Got scraps?  An extra jelly roll?  A fat quarter bundle just waiting to be used?  A layer cake languishing in your sewing room?  Look no further…we’ve got a pattern to help you use up some of these fabrics (so you can make room for more, of course!)


The striped blocks in this pattern use 1 1/4 inch x 10 inch strips of fabric.  Perfect for those left over jelly roll strips or layer cake blocks you are not sure what to do with!

I designed this pattern while vowing to reduce my stash and make good use of some of the skinny scraps I had on hand.  If you prefer a more coordinated color scheme, choose a 40 piece jelly roll from a single fabric line to create your striped blocks.


Sadie Sue, my Miniature Schnauzer, wanted to show you the green fabric I used for the back of the quilt.  It really shows off the quilting!


This is the perfect quilt for beginners!  It provides a lot of straight line cutting practice as well as straight line sewing and chain piecing practice.

A Few Cutting and Sewing Tips

Because of all the cutting and sewing practice this pattern provides, Sandy and I want to share a few tips with you.

How to Avoid the “Ruler Slip Problem” When Cutting Fabric

Almost any quilter can tell stories of frustration (possibly tears) when a ruler has slipped right in the middle of cutting fabric.  Yikes!  This has happened to me more often that I care to admit.  One day I was organizing my kitchen cabinets and had a “light bulb moment”…if my dishes won’t slip in my cabinet because of my shelf liner…maybe my quilting ruler won’t slip either!



I use a very small piece of non-slip shelf liner, roughly 1/2 inch x 2 inches and place it between my ruler and my fabric.  This small piece allows me to easily move my ruler around and place it in just the right location over my fabric.  Because the shelf liner is very thin, it does not raise my ruler too high above my fabric AND my ruler does not slip when cutting…hooray!  Problem solved!



Give this tip a try and let us know what you think!

Use a “Leader” When Chain Piecing to Avoid “Bird Nests”

I always us little scraps of fabric for “leaders” when I am chain piecing.  I use them to avoid having my bobbin thread get all twisted up creating a “bird nest” of thread on the underside of my fabric.


Garage Sales Are Great Places to Buy Sewing Room Accessories

I like to have a supply of leaders right next to my sewing machine.  I was using a disposable plastic sandwich container to store these little scraps (really classy!) when Sandy suggested I up my game and spring for something better.


Since Sandy is a garage sale aficionado, she bought a pedestal bowl at a garage sale for $2.00 and gave it to me for “leader” storage.  Can we all say cuteness factor + 10???  It’s a practical AND charming way to always be ready for chain piecing!


Free “Sofa Siesta” Pattern

We hope you like our newest pattern!  Be sure to send us pictures of your completed work, we always like to see how others use their stash for greatness!

You can download our free pattern by clicking on this link:  Sofa Siesta 05 02 18


We’ll also be posting this pattern on FaveQuilts, a website that provides us with a lot of  quilting inspiration.  FaveQuilts has free e-books, videos/tutorials and an entire library of free quilt blocks and patterns.  FaveQuilts has a great e-newsletter, Piecing it Together, that Sandy and I subscribe to.  This newsletter is a great way to keep up to date on what is happening in the world of quilting.  If you’d like to give it a try, you can sign up here.

Thanks for stopping by Gray Barn Designs!



Pix-elated Skull

I spent a fun weekend in Erie, Pa watching my roommate’s son-in-law run a marathon. SIL is a fast runner and the Erie race is a good one for qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The site of the race, Presque Isle state park, is lovely — I will definitely return to Erie for the beachfront, the shopping, the wine and the food.



Calm Lake Erie on the morning of the race. The weather was perfect for runners.

SIL qualified — in personal best fashion. As a former (much slower) marathoner, it was a thrill to see him cruise across the finish line in under 3 hours. (More from Boston in April!)

It was also a great family trip because one of the three cutest grandchildren on the planet was also in Erie to watch his dad race. Said grandchild may have been in grandparent overload, as all 5 of his living grands were in attendance. How many grandparents does it take to change a diaper at a marathon? Apparently three. I’ll spare you the photographic evidence. You’ll just have to trust me on this.

Between pre- and post-marathon wine samples , we picked apples so us non-runners could say the weekend wasn’t only about the wine.


We arrived after closing time at the u-pick farm, but the Rahal farm team was gracious and stayed late so these first-time apple pickers could celebrate marathon success in the orchard.

In the past, I’ve only spent limited time in Erie as we were racing out to Columbus to visit Cindy. Now it’s on my list of fun weekend trips. I’m looking forward to going again and finding more hidden gems.

On the sewing front, my pix-elated skull has finally emerged as an antidote to my pix-elated e-heart from Valentine’s day. Machine quilting to commence shortly.


It’s hard to tell from this photo, but Abe Lincoln has left the building. My sweet little boy has re-emerged from his Amish phase and is back there somewhere.

Scary Stuff

I’m feeling a little guilty because I took 2 days off from work during our busy opening season. Since I work on a college campus and classes are in session on Labor Day, I haven’t enjoyed the holiday for nearly 10 years. And, wouldn’t you know it, disaster struck on Friday, which was my first vacation day: the campus bookstore flooded due to a water line break. So my peaceful sleep-in morning turned into a social media posting fest.

The remainder of the weekend was much less stressful: I helped my mother and her best friend prep for a party and then attended said party;  did a little monster TV shopping (it won’t fit in my car, so we’ll have it drop-shipped); and I got a in a lot of reading time.

I was able to spend several hours on my Dia de Los Muertos design. I cannot tell you how many times I have ripped out rows of this tiny wall-hanging. Sometimes Most times, it seems that I spend more time polishing my un-sewing skills instead of making progress.

I must have vacation brain because I’ve measured, remeasured and stomped my feet many times and I still only have 8 rows complete.

The best part of the weekend was the last part. My son and I went for a hike today (Sunday) at Letchworth State Park aka, the Grand Canyon of the East. We haven’t been there together in a long time, and he fell in love with it, just like everyone else who visits. It’s been many years since I visited Letchworth in the summer, and it was spectacular. We made a pact to go back again soon and find more trails to explore. The fall colors can be breathtakingly, heartrendingly beautiful.


A distant view of the Letchworth gorge.


Closest he would allow for a selfie. And you don’t want to see it anyway, he’s gone full-on Amish for the duration of soccer season.

As the extra long vacation weekend comes to a close, I have my seam-ripper in hand and I’m ready to buckle down to quilting work. Pays-the-bills job restarts tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Snowflake Mini Quilt Pattern

Cindy here!  It’s January and very snowy in Ohio.  I decided to design a Snowflake Mini Quilt just for fun.  What do you think?


I used two metallic prints from Hoffman Fabrics Sparkle and Fade Line.  These fabrics have shimmery metallic details and reminded me of how fresh snow glistens on a sunny day.


I used two different shades of gray paint to stencil the word “SNOW”.  Then I machine quilted around each letter.

When I added the circles to the block, I used a few dots of fabric glue to tack them down, but fusible web or hand applique would work too!  The circles were a challenge to quilt because I had to keep lifting my presser foot and rotating every few stitches.

I am still practicing machine quilting with my walking foot and straight lines.  I decided to use Lori Kennedy’s advice about alternating areas of dense stitching with areas of minimal stitching.  I like the contrast — especially for smaller projects like this.


Like the pattern?  Give it a try and send us a picture!

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You can download the FREE Snowflake Pattern from the link below: