Your Very Own Vortex Quilt

Remember my puny Vortex quilt? Here is one on a grand scale (72" x 72")
My fellow quilting teacher, Erin Underwood, wowed me last summer where we taught together at the MAQ retreat. (Mid Appalachian Quilters, Emmitsburg, Maryland in July) She had this AWESOME quilt on display and I immediately rushed over to her table and after gasping and stuttering, asked her how she did this. Remember, I have fallen in love with the red and white Vortex quilt, ca 1900, as you can see below:

Vortex Quilt, ca 1900, maker unknown
Erin developed her own ruler in partnership with Creative Grids (so you know it is accurate) and a pattern to recreate this historic - and mind blowing - quilt. It is all straight seam sewing - honest. I saw the seams "up close and personal."
Erin Underwood's 15° ruler, 24-1/2" long for fans - and the VORTEX
This companion ruler allows you to create all the wonderful patterns in the Fan-Tastic Fan series. Perfect for all sorts of Fans, Dresdens, large trapezoids and triangles. Creative Grids calls it the "15-Degree Triangle Ruler" and with a 24-1/2" length, the possibilities for creativity are endless.

Why am I sharing this? Do you know how many emails I got Thursday about my own little red and white vortex quilt? I absolutely NEVER even imagined it would garner that much response!!! And, and, and - so many people wanted to know how to make it. Mine was made with a regular, 20 wedge Dresden Plate ruler with an 8" height. Just a little taste of Vortex. But, YOU can have a BIG taste using her ruler.

My simple vortex quilt
Take a visit to Erin's web site: Erin Underwood Quilts
Make sure you see ALL of the patterns she designed to use with the ruler: Fan-Tastic Fan series
Check out that ruler: Creative Grids 15-Degree Triangle Ruler
See her other patterns: Erin's Patterns
And check out her Trunk Shows and Workshops (she lives in MARYLAND, just about on the Delaware border - so bring her to your guild!)

And, Jinny Beyer has kitted her fabrics for making this quilt using Erin's ruler:

Jinny Beyer has kitted this pattern in 3 colorways
Visit Jinny Beyer's site to check out the kits: Optical Illusions Kit

Well, I hope you have been inspired. Now you have a source for your own Vortex quilt if you want to go beyond the small one I created with my 8" high ruler (which I sell, btw).

I am writing up the pattern for my own little Vortex quilt using my small Dresden Tool. It will be included in my pattern that features the other two quilts that were shown in my Dare to Dresden posting on Thursday. I'll keep you posted.


  1. thank you for this post -- I have been interested in making one of these vortez quilts for a while and all the old pattens I have seen make it look nearly impossable. I'm going to follow the links and probably order that book and ruler sooon.

  2. Thanks for sharing the info about the Vortex quilt and the source for the ruler.

  3. I certainly feel inspired by the vortex. I've cleared my sewing area and tomorrow is the day for having a go.

  4. I couldn't imagine that there is a 24 inch ruler in other shape than rectangle! Very helpful! Thank you for the information.

  5. I bought that ruler! I was looking for a smaller Dresden ruler, and it was the only one my quilt shop had in stock. Now I know where to look for patterns. Thanks for sharing.

  6. spectacular quilt! thanks so much for this great post!

  7. Gosh what an amazing design and such a clever gadget for making the vortex too!
    A stunning design.

  8. Your vortex quilts are amazing. Thanks for sharing ... :) Pat

  9. Wow! Her quilts are just amazing. Thank you for the info Debby.

  10. I love that that there may be a way to recreate the design in the 1900 Vortex quilt. However, none of the recreations have "rows" that feature progressively deeper quadrilaterals moving from center toward edge. To my eye, that prevents the recreations from having the same effect as the original. My eyes say that failure prevents the emergence of the petal shapes my eye sees in the original. Is that just me?? Our brains do see things in different ways, so maybe other people don't see the petals I see in the original.

    1. You are correct..I see the whirling petal shapes in the original only.

  11. OH gosh Debby! I am SO sorry, I just rechecked my comment under this post of yours and found as I was afraid I would. I never thanked you for the pattern to make my own Vortex quilt. (hopefully)

  12. I agree with Dora about the original quilt and the curves. I have drafted a pattern with a compass and am almost done hand piecing a red and white Vortex quilt with the motion seen in the original. Not easy, but much more striking

  13. I agree with Dora about the original quilt and the curves. I have drafted a pattern with a compass and am almost done hand piecing a red and white Vortex quilt with the motion seen in the original. Not easy, but much more striking

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