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Stack n Whack Fabric

QuiltingCoach Penny

Stack and whack quilts are so much fun to create. They are full of motion and imagery that traditional quilts just don't have.

You may have heard them referred to as kaleidoscope quilts because of the unique image the pieces create. They really do have a kaleidoscope effect.

The key to creating a good stack and whack quilt is in the choice of fabric.  After all, it is the fabric that creates the illusion of movement. To choose a great fabric for your stack and whack project, here are a few selection tips:

  • Look for a fabric that has a large pattern. The bigger and bolder the pattern, the better.
  • Pay attention to the repetition of design in the fabric. Spotting the repetition is a key factor in stacking your fabric for cutting. Once you recognize the pattern's repetition in the fabric, you can cut several rectangles to layer (or stack) them appropriately to begin your stack and whack project.
  • Don't overlook the possibilities. You can probably get more than one stack and whack design out of your fabric. One Robert Kauffman print that features a cabin, water and flamingos actually resulted in three very different stack and whack quilts.
  • Don't make it harder than it is. Making a stack and whack quilt is just like making any other quilt you have made. You follow a pattern, cut your pieces, and sew them together following the pattern. Don't obsess over the concept itself if stack and whack is new to you.
  • In a way, it's just a fussy cut. When it comes down to it, the stack and whack quilting technique is just a fussy cut - only potentially less fussy. When you cut your stack and whack pieces, it is not so important to get an entire design into the quilt pattern. Remember that it is an element of your printed fabric that will create the appearance of movement. Having an entire element of your printed fabric design is not the goal of stack and whack.
  • To keep your fabric lined up for perfect "whacking," iron it first. Adding starch when you press your fabric will help the rotary wheel slice right through several layers.
  • Don't layer more than four pieces of fabric at a time. Layering more tempts fate as far as one layer slipping just a little out of place.

It is always recommended to try a smaller project if you are beginning a new quilting skill. So, why not make your first stack and whack project be a wall quilt or a pillow? An even smaller stack and whack idea is to create potholders. Each holder would be about the size of one quilt block. This small project would allow you to try out several various patterns and cuts of fabric. The smaller projects are always a great way to demonstrate to yourself how the process works. You will see how the fabric comes alive with movement simply by the cuts you choose.

If you would like more information about Stack and Whack quilting, the technique was created and perfected by Bethany Reynolds. You can learn more about the technique at her website, Bethany has written several books with full size stack and whack patterns. If you are one who likes to quilt on the go, it is possible to do this with the stack and whack technique as well. If you haven't heard of quilting on the go, it's a technique in which you add your batting and backing to your top pieces as you sew them together. So, once you have finished piecing a block, it is also quilted with it's backing even in place! For more information about taking your stack and whack along with you, visit


© 2011-, Penny Halgren. This article courtesy of You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and the author name and URL remain intact.


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·  Stack-n-Whack Quilts
·  Stack-n-Whack Quilts
·  Stack and Whack Quilts
·  Stack-n-Whack Quilts
·  Stack 'n Whack Lesson 6 - Borders and Finishing the Stack and Whack Quilt
·  Stack 'n Whack Lesson 5 - Sewing Blocks with Sashing Together, Quilt as You Go Style
·  Stack 'n' Whack Quilt - Lesson 4 - Sewing Pairs of Blocks Together Quilt as You Go Style
·  Stack 'n' Whack Quilt - Lesson 3 Layering and Machine Quilting
·  Stack, Whack, Sew and Trim - Lesson 2
·  Stack 'n' Whack - Lesson 1 The Fabric and the Block
·  Stack 'n' Whack - Lesson 1 The Fabric and the Block