The Finch Quilt is now available for instant PDF download! Click here to get it.
This pattern comes in five different sizes: crib, lap, throw, twin & queen.
In August 2016, I was really just getting into quilting as a more serious hobby. I was making more quilts, networking online with other quilters and pattern testing, and generally trying to get an idea of ‘my quilting style,’ when I noticed a post by Rachel of Stitched In Color announcing a 30 Days of Quilt Design Challenge. The gist: 30 days over a 3-month period to just sit down and sketch some designs. They didn’t need to be fancy (pencil and paper only was fine), they didn’t need to be complicated (though they could be!), they didn’t need to be truly original (how do we interpret ‘original’ anyway?), but the point was just to try something new. It seemed like a great idea to get those creative juices flowing! And so I participated, and completed, at least 30 sketches in those 90 days. It was an awesome experiment! Not every design was good - heck, a few of them were pretty terrible - but there were a handful that I was excited about, and this was one of them.
Originally titled Evolution, this design started with an on-point center square, and then I just kept sketching outwards, allowing the design to evolve as I worked in small sections. It didn’t take long to draw and while I liked it, I wasn’t in love with it right away.
Flash-forward about 18 months, flipping through old sketches for ‘new’ inspiration and BAM! I suddenly loved this design! But I wasn’t loving the title. A chat with my husband about what to rename it led to a discussion about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and how the study of finches of the Galapagos Islands aided the development of this theory. All those half square triangles in different colors might look like finch beaks, and just like that, The Finch Quilt was born!
Some of you may remember I began writing this quilt pattern in May 2018 (and sharing it on Instagram), and even sent it out to some wonderful pattern testers (you can see a few of their versions at the end of this post), but then hit a bit of a creativity slump and took most of the summer off from sewing and designing. I was still determined to get this pattern out and into the world so I dug back in at the end of 2018 and got it wrapped up this winter! The up side of the pattern delay? I was able to get this fun shot of the first Finch Quilt, a lap size, out in the snow ;)
You can’t go wrong here - with eight colors in the quilt, you can go crazy with color! Rainbow fanatics rejoice! Choose from a favorite fabric line, a favorite color palette, or just blindly pick some scraps from your stash - you’re bound to end up with a winning combination. To get the best results when choosing a variety of colors for your Finch Quilt, select 1-2 dark, 1-2 light, and 3-5 medium color values.
Cotton & Flax Fabric
For this lap size, I decided I would use part of a fat quarter bundle of Cotton & Flax Arroyo fabric (that I’d been hoarding) to create a well-coordinated but multi-colored quilt. I’m so happy I finally used these gorgeous fabrics! After several rearrangements of color and print selections, I finally settled on eight prints to use along with a bright white solid background, which would allow the linens to really stand out.
Oh, did you notice I mentioned Fat Quarters? Yes!! The crib, lap & throw size can all use FQ or FE cuts, and even the twin and queen sizes can use a few FE or FQ too. It’s scraptastic!
For the backing I wanted to choose a fabric that would coordinate well with the linen prints but didn’t match exactly. I didn’t want to take away from the beauty of those designs! As much as I love working with solids to make quilt tops, I don’t usually like using them as much for quilt backings, but I had some of this Widescreen in Fog print leftover from another project and had just enough to back this lap size quilt! I love that it is a nearly-solid fabric (so that it doesn’t conflict with all of the prints) but it still has a textured look that adds visual interest in a way that a true solid wouldn’t be able to do.
I just can’t seem to quit a good crosshatch quilting, like I did here, and here, and two here, and… ! But for this one I decided to forego the additional set of lines and left it after the first round of diagonal quilting. Taking care to intersect the squares evenly, I spaced these 3.5” apart using some favorite quilting go-to’s: a stitch length of 3.5 and Aurifil 50wt in Natural White.
To achieve this look using Arroyo fabrics:
Fabric A: Twist Mango
Fabric B: Arcs Jungle
Fabric C: Spotty Seafoam
Fabric D: Spotty Indigo (similar: Twist Indigo)
Fabric E: Arcs Rose
Fabric F: Spotty Plum (similar: Diamonds Plum)
Fabric G: Twist Berry
Fabric H: Arcs Dusty Blue
Background & Binding: Kona White
Backing: Widescreen Fog
Batting: Quilter’s Dream Batting
Thread: Aurifil 2021
Dear Stella Fabric
In case you’re really struggling with the idea of mixing so many colors together in one quilt top, this design also lends itself well to a minimal palette too. I usually like a quilt with fewer fabric choices (many of my quilt patterns use only a handful of colors), so I totally get it! Stick with just two colors instead, and you’ll be just fine. If you’re looking to include a fun pop of color but can’t commit it to the quilt top, add a contrasting color on the backing or binding instead!
I’m so happy I decided to hand quilt this baby size Finch Quilt. I used size 8 Perle cotton and big stitches just offset of the seams to hold this fluffy little quilt sandwich together. Without a real quilting plan at the start, I just kept stitching line after line, then decided to add a little pop of color to the quilt top to match the backing! So there are just 6 lines of quilting that use a mustardy-yellow floss instead of the grey, and I love the results.
Other Colorways & Styles
The pattern comes with several color suggestions and a coloring page so that you can imagine all the ways to make this quilt. Want additional inspiration? Just look at these awesome versions made by my pattern testers! You can also follow #TheFinchQuilt & #VBQpatterns on Instagram so that you'll always see the latest colorway being worked on.
The Finch Quilt pattern is available in the shop!