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Designer Spotlight -- Meet Scott Flanagan of 4th & Main Designs

How often do you find a designer, whether it's for quilting, knitting, crochet or any other craft you're interested in, and find the designer's style to be right up your alley? Of course, when you find that designer, you start looking for other patterns by him or her because you know you're going to like the designs. That's how it was for me when I was first introduced to Scott Flanagan and his company, 4th & Main Designs, many years ago.

Scott Flanagan of 4th & Main Designs.
Scott Flanagan of 4th & Main Designs.

Hi, it's Carolyn Beam here again; I'm the editor of Quilter's World magazine and the person who writes this update. Thanks for joining me as I share my thoughts about quilting with you. As always, I'd love to hear ideas and suggestions from you as well.

Before I introduce you to Scott and tell you more about him, I have selected a pattern I think will be of interest to you. This time, I recommend the Exclusively Annie's Passageway Quilt Pattern. This quilt is pieced entirely with precut 2 1/2" strips. The best part of the Passageway quilt is that it has a single block that can have many different settings, depending on how the block is twisted and turned.

Now on to designer Scott Flanagan. I've known and worked with Scott for years, but his first pattern with Quilter's World, Stretched Stars Sampler, can be found in the Spring 2021 issue on newsstands now, or the issue can be ordered here. Stretched Stars Sampler is a stellar beauty, made using precut 2 1/2" strips. Read more about it in this update and be sure to check out Scott's mini version of this quilt, made using 5" charm squares (cutting instructions can be found at the end of this update).

Scott learned to quilt from his maternal grandmother, who taught him sewing and quilting basics when he was 7 years old. His first project was a panel quilt that he still has today. Amazingly enough, his grandma let him use a rotary cutter at that young age, so that he could cut the borders without any cutting mishaps! Even so, he was in his 20s before that happened. He has sewn since he was 7, but primarily taught himself how to quilt and has been actively quilting since 2001. The one thing he required some help learning was how to bind, and he credits The Presser Foot in Longmont, Colorado, for teaching him how to bind a quilt.

Scott's inspiration comes from lots of different directions. Sometimes it comes from a fabric, like in his award-winning Illusions quilt. He loves the mix of a traditional sampler with more modern and contemporary colors and setting. In the case of this quilt, he was inspired by the Modern Background Paper fabric he used from Zen Chic for Moda Fabrics. Illusions won first place at the Nebraska state fair in 2018. He actually bought two bolts of this fabric to piece the front and back. It was masterfully quilted by his friend Nancy McNally.

Scott and his first-place-winning quilt, Illusions -- Click here for larger image
Scott and his first-place-winning quilt, Illusions.

He is inspired by color, theme or whatever strikes him at the time. Once he has an idea in mind, he grabs a notepad, a pencil, a calculator and some block-design reference books, and then sits down at his computer, opens Electric Quilt 8 and starts playing with ideas. If he's working on a project using 2 1/2" strips, he'll start picking out blocks where all the units can be made from 2 1/2" strips. His goal is to get all the units for one block out of one width of fabric strip. Even if the blocks will be scrappy, if all the block pieces can be cut from one strip, he knows the design will work out in the end. He tries to use only 36" of a strip and at least 36 to 42 strips for a quilt. As the design starts to come together, he then works on fabric and color options. He usually gets the design down to 2 or 3 colorways that he thinks will work. He often ends up making the quilt twice, especially for samplers, to show how color can affect the overall look of a quilt.

A good example is Scott's Stretched Stars Sampler, made using 2 1/2"-wide strips. This pattern is in the Spring 2021 issue of Quilter's World. His original quilt was the purple, green and gold version shown in the photo below.

Scott's original Stretched Stars Sampler -- Click here for larger image
Scott's original Stretched Stars Sampler.

In Quilter's World, this blue version is the pattern given:

Scott's blue Stretched Stars Sampler patterned in Quilter's World -- Click here for larger image
Scott's blue Stretched Stars Sampler patterned in Quilter's World.

Notice the small autumn-color sampler quilt in the photo? Scott also designed a version using 5" charm squares. You can find the cutting for the 5" charm square version at the end of this update. Follow the instructions in the Quilter's World Spring 2021 along with the cutting instructions found here to make this version.

Here are a couple other versions made by Scott's mom and one by a friend.

Other versions -- Click here for larger image
The pink version was made by Scott's mom, Jean Flanagan, and the brown version in the middle was made by his friend Lu Ann Ehmckes.

Scott said he enjoys all aspects of the design and quilt-creation process, except for binding. He tends to get hung up at that stage. He says the only quilts he's good at getting bound are ones slated for publication.

While a lot of quilters and designers tend to have a general level of chaos in their studios while working, Scott's studio is one of the cleanest, most organized areas in his home. And if it does get messy, he tends to avoid going down there to create. He finds a clean, organized space very creative.

Scott's neat and organized studio -- Click here for larger image
Scott's neat and organized studio.

Scott's typical process is to work on only one quilt at a time. He usually sews on Sunday and Monday. He'll cut and prepare a quilt during the week, but when he sits down to sew, he can get through the whole project in two full days of sewing, no matter the size of the quilt.

I like Scott's process -- he definitely gets a lot of quilts sewn! I've enjoyed getting to know more about Scott, and I hope you have as well. You'll see more of Scott's patterns in future issues of Quilter's World. Be sure to check out his website. Here are more photos of some of his quilts and different displays around his house.

Quilts on display in front of his house -- Click here for larger image
Quilts on display in front of his house.
Quilts on display inside cabinets -- Click here for larger image
Quilts on display inside cabinets.
Quilts on display inside front door -- Click here for larger image
Quilts on display inside front door.
Sampler quilt on Scott's bed -- Click here for larger image
Sampler quilt on Scott's bed.
Scott's quilt storage -- Click here for larger image
Scott's quilt storage.

Here are the cutting requirements for making the smaller version of Stretched Stars Sampler that uses 5" charm squares. Follow the assembly instructions in the Quilter's World Spring 2021 issue along with these cutting requirements to make your own smaller version.

Mini Stretched Stars

Mini Stretched Stars Sampler -- Click here for larger image
Mini Stretched Stars Sampler.

Quilt Size: 31" x 37"
Block Size: 3"
Number of Blocks: 80

From background fabric (1 yard) cut:
236 (1 1/4") A squares
52 (1 1/4" x 2") D rectangles
28 (1 1/4" x 2 3/4") E rectangles
32 (2") J squares
44 (2" x 2 3/4") H rectangles
4 (1 1/2" x WOF) K/L strips, stitch short ends to short ends, then subcut into:
     2 (1 1/2" x 30 1/2") K and 2 (1 1/2" x 26 1/2") L border strips

From 40 precut 5" squares cut:
276 (1 1/4") B squares
28 (1 1/4" x 2") C rectangles
88 (1 1/4" x 2 3/4") I rectangles
28 (1 1/4" x 2 3/4") F rectangles
20 (1 1/4" x 3 1/2") G rectangles

From border/binding fabric (3/4 yard) cut:
4 (3" x WOF) M/N strips, stitch short ends to short ends, then subcut into:
     2 (3" x 32 1/2") M and 2 (3" x 31 1/2") N border strips
4 (2 1/2" x WOF) binding strips

There are exciting things coming up in future updates. I hope you'll stop by again to see what we have up our sleeves! Please feel free to email me at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com with your ideas and suggestions.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Take care,


Carolyn Beam

Carolyn Beam
Editor, Quilter's World magazine

Carolyn has been quilting for over 40 years. She took her first class when her oldest son was a baby and hasn't stopped since. She has traveled the country teaching and lecturing and has had many designs published in books and magazines. Besides making quilts for family and friends, she also makes quilts to donate to the fire department her youngest son works for. Carolyn is married with three grown sons and one adorable grandson.

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