Lighthouse Quilt Along Week 1: Quilt Top Design

Welcome everyone to the first day of the Lighthouse Quilt Along! I’m so excited to share the process of making this fun and beautiful quilt with you. And finally share my finished quilt photos with you as well!

Lighthouse Quilt by Fresh Lemons Quilts : Faith

I’m really pleased with how the quilt turned out. I enjoyed working with the new Palette line by Marcia Derse so much. (More on the exact fabrics I used later in the post.)

Lighthouse Quilt by Fresh Lemons Quilts : Faith

So let’s get started!

Lighthouse QAL Week 1: Quilt Top Design

This week we are going to start out the quilt along by focusing on Quilt Top Design. This is when you are going to make 2 very important decisions:

1. Size of the quilt you’d like to make.
2. Color of your quilt blocks/top.

The blocks in the Lighthouse quilt are 8” x 8” finished. My quilt is 5 blocks x 5 blocks, meaning my quilt measure 40” x 40” finished. This is a baby size or wall hanging size. Some of you may want to make this quilt larger.

Type Blocks Finished Size
Baby 5 blocks by 5 blocks = 25 blocks 40″ x 40″
Lap 7 blocks by 9 blocks = 63 blocks 56″ x 72″
Twin 8 blocks by 11 blocks = 88 blocks 64″ x 88″
Queen 11 blocks by 12 blocks = 132 blocks 88″ x 96″
King 13 blocks by 12 blocks = 156 blocks 104″ x 96″

Tip: Keep in mind, each finished block is going to require paper piecing 8 templates. (Easy templates, but still 8 each). So if you are new to quilting, you *may* not want to jump right into a King Sized quilt with 156 blocks, which equates to 1248 paper pieced templates. I’m sure it would be stunning though!

Once you decide on what size you’d like to make, it’s time to plan your colors.

Below I’ve provided PDF download links to coloring page worksheets. Simply download the size quilt you’d like to make, grab some colored pencils and start designing.

Baby PDFLap PDFTwin PDFQueen PDFKing PDF

I’ve shaded in the background with a light grey – but this can be any color you’d like to use as the background of your blocks. (Please understand I am not able to provide all possible combinations of quilt block layouts as PDF coloring pages. If you’d like a different size quilt, you can cut and tape the templates.)

And just to get those creative juices flowing….here are some ideas. You could make a complete rainbow gradient quilt just like mine.

Lighthouse Quilt Along Design by Fresh Lemons Quilts : Faith

Or have a common color component that appears consistently throughout the quilt blocks and ties them all together.

Lighthouse Quilt Along Design by Fresh Lemons Quilts : Faith

And maybe that common color is really several shades of a color (in this case, brown).

Lighthouse Quilt Along Design by Fresh Lemons Quilts : Faith

Or maybe you just have a fabric collection that you want to use in a scrappy way as the focal fabrics in the quilt. That’s great too!

For those interested in making a quilt like mine, I used Marcia Derse’s Palette Fabric line. I just found out that the release date was pushed back a little to January 2014. If you happen to want to wait until then, or stumbled across this quilt along at a later date, do not worry. These posts and directions will live on my blog for as long as my blog is around.

Palette by Marcia Derse for Windham Fabrics

The following are the exact fabrics I used in my quilt (baby sized) and I did have fabric left over. All fabrics are from Marcia Derse – Palette for Windham Fabrics, January 2014.

Quilt Top:
1-1/2 yards of 37098-12 Chalk
1/4 yard each of: 37098-6 Mustard, 37098-13 Saffron, 37098-14 Duckling, 37098-15 Salmon, 37098-16 Cherry, 37098-17 Papaya, 37098-19 Pumpkin, 37098-21 Wine, 37098-20 Cranberry, 37098-22 Cardinal, 37098-25 Concord Grape, 37098-26 Lavender, 37098-27 Blueberry, 37098-28 Dark Teal, 37098-29 Curacao, 37098-30 Mediterranean, 37098-31 Caribbean, 37098-33 Ocean, 37098-34 Spruce, 37098-35 Mint, 37098-36 Grass, 37098-37 Olive, 37098-38 Everglade, 37098-40 Chartreuse
Backing: 2 yards of 37098-98 Taupe
Binding: 2/3 yard of 37098-10 Burnt Umber

NOTE: We will talk more in depth about fabric requirements next week.

As you can tell based on the amount of information and time put into this post, I feel very strongly that good planning going into a project will lead to a beautiful and successful end quilt. I hope you all will enjoy your week of planning and designing.

Next Wednesday we will be making a test block so that we know exactly how much fabric we will need for the paper piecing of the quilt.



  1. Reply

    Rebecca Bird

    October 30, 2013

    Yay….very excited, I have a 3 Kona stacks to choose from? Thanks for the colouring in PDF’s

  2. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    I am so excited about this, I have been itching to try something new. Only question is where I will find the time? Thanks for all the effort that must go into something like this!!

  3. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    Hi Faith! I love this desing and hope to join your qal in some way. Congratulations for the Craftsy Award – you and your blog deserve it! It’s always enjoy to visit you! Thank you for inspiration! x Teje

  4. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    Great work Faith so well organised. I have just started 2 QAL at once. I will be back for this one eventually!

  5. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    Love this rainbow of color! Magnificent!!

  6. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    Exciting!! Hope I can keep up!

  7. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    The coloring pages are fantastic. Thank you!!! The examples of the same quilt with different colors really blew my mind. Very helpful instruction.

    I’m new to quilting … do you ever label “beginner, intermediate, advanced”? It would be helpful for me to decide whether to tackle it. I’ve sewn for years so there are some intermediates that I think will be fine but the labeling helps me decide.

    • Reply


      October 30, 2013

      Hi Mary! I would say this one is probably an “Intermediate”. You should know the basics about piecing, but I will be giving a very detailed overview for the paper piecing next week. Basically photos of each step.

  8. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    This looks like a fun quilt to make! Just love the colors you chose. Thanks for sharing it with us. Congrats on your Craftsy award. I voted for you. I’m already working on the Prism quilt. Your blog is always a nice place to visit.

  9. Reply

    NJ Quilter

    October 30, 2013

    I’m excited to try paper piecing. Thanks for all your hard work on the quilt along.

  10. Reply

    Lori C.

    October 30, 2013

    Hi Faith. Thanks so much for giving us your time and creativity. This is hardest part for me…..choosing the fabrics……so I appreciate the templates.

  11. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    This will be my first quilt along, and I’m glad I’m starting with someone who is as organized as you are, Faith! OK, now I’m off to pull fabrics, which is my favorite part of any project. 🙂

  12. Reply

    shirley tener

    October 30, 2013

    I love your tutorials and Quilts.. I havent been able to complete anything this yr due to illness and family problems…..but this Grandma of 6 all under 5 is gonna catch up in 2014, next grandbaby isnt planned until 2015;…… I have a bunch of Pink to use..I dont like coloring I am more of a jumper..thank you

  13. Reply

    shirley tener

    October 30, 2013

    Do you have a Button?? I want to put it on my Blog..

  14. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    I love this new quilt and can’t wait to start. I also want to thank you. This is a Free blog, with free instructions and many hours spent researching, taking photos, writing instructions, testing and providing patterns, etc. Words are somehow inadequate to express how much I appreciate and admire bloggers like you how share time and knowledge so willingly and OFTEN. A big hug going your way and a big thank you

  15. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    I love this quilt and the Derse material. I look forward to next week!

  16. Reply

    Laura C

    October 30, 2013

    This is the first time I’ve felt brave enough to join in on a Fresh Lemons QAL! I’m a newly-confident paper-piecer (I started out shakily last year using a Badskirt Amy pattern and your tutorial!) and this pattern is so stunning, it’s irresistible. Thank you so much for offering this pattern and the QAL for free.

    Your finished quilt is stunning. You work so well with solid(ish) colors!

  17. Reply

    Lynn Adsit

    October 30, 2013

    Thank you Faith for your inspiration and your artistic abilities. I just started quilting in April and am working on my 7th quilt. I love the fabrics, patterns, and perfecting my skills. I am so excited about learning to paper piece from you.

  18. Reply


    October 30, 2013

    Thanks for having this event- A quilt along is something new for me. I am interested to see how this works.

  19. Reply

    Julie M

    October 31, 2013

    Thank you Faith for putting this sew along together! The prep work must be quite a job! I love this quilt! Cape Lookout is one of my favorite hangouts, so a lighthouse quilt has special meaning for me.

  20. Reply

    Sheri Schoenebeck

    October 31, 2013

    I’m in! Thanks so much!

  21. Reply

    Carol N

    November 1, 2013

    You are absolutely my favorite blogger! I love this quilt and was thrilled to see that it is paper-pieced–my preferred method! Thank you for being so generous with your time and talent. I can’t wait to get started!

  22. Reply


    November 1, 2013

    I’m loving this pattern, and want to quilt-along soooo badly! Unfortunately, my wrist is badly broken and I can’t. Not right now. I’m thinking of a red-white and blue quilt though. I’ll have to color it out and see how it looks.

  23. Reply

    Rebecca Grace

    November 1, 2013

    Faith, I just love how you laid out the “rainbow gradient” for this quilt. How did you learn to do that so well? Do you use design software or sketch out multiple versions on paper first, or can you just spread out a bunch of different fabrics and “wing it” as you go?

    • Reply


      November 1, 2013

      Hi Rebecca – I did create my graphic first so I knew about how many of each color to make, but then I ended up winging it. I promise, it’s reeeeeally easy. As long as you know the rainbow, you can do it. I bet even my 4 year old boy could do it. It’s that easy! 🙂

  24. Reply

    Anne Beier

    November 2, 2013

    i think you said you would provide templates for those of us that are not so good at paper piecing. Is that right?

    A new baby is coming into the family, in March. They live in Chicago. This would be perfect because it will be very different than the ones I made for the other two children.

    • Reply


      November 2, 2013

      Hi Anne – yes, I’ll be providing all the templates next Wednesday when we make our first block.

  25. Reply

    Andrea Hawkins

    November 3, 2013

    It turned out beautifully. You have a very good eye for color.
    Superior Threads offers lots of color choices — may be helpful to you. Have a nice Sunday. Love your ideas.

  26. Reply

    Anne Beier

    November 3, 2013

    You may be addressing this in your next post about the fabric requirements. Is the 2 1/2 yards of chalk colored fabric you are referring to is the gray in the background used for the baby size quilt?

    • Reply


      November 4, 2013

      Yes, the chalk was the background. The colors are the focal fabrics.

  27. Reply

    Lynn b

    November 4, 2013

    Looks like fun! I think I am in! :0)