Sanctuary SAL by Susan Ache

We’re so thrilled to share a Friday surprise with you today! Susan Ache, our favorite cross stitch queen has crossed over to embroidery and pulled a magnificent embroidery SAL together in record time. Truth be told, this one had been planned for Summer, but in light of needing to find new ways to create our own private sanctuaries, she’s releasing it all early, giving us the gift of self care in the form of stitch therapy. Think of it as home-schooling for grown-ups and this your daily creative time. Grab your supplies, find a quiet corner, put on your favorite tunes, and calm your nervous hands with the Sanctuary SAL.

Hi again to everybody it’s Susan Ache (yardgrl60 if you are on Instagram).  I hope you are staying in and following your area guidelines for this pandemic. As a quilter, it seems like I have always trained for staying in and social distancing myself, so this isn’t anything new for me. As a Floridian, stocking up on food isn’t new either with the hurricanes that come barreling through, but at least we have the added pleasure of having electricity through this health scare.  

This summer I’d planned be all stealthy with a mystery stitching program — the Summer Stitch Along. I was so excited to keep my ‘secret’ and actually not spill the beans before it was time. The planned launch date was the first day of Summer — pretty snazzy, right? Of course, when you have to plan ahead, you also have to get it all finished ahead of time. Well, as I was working on finishing my project, listening to the news advising us all to stay in, I thought that this might be the perfect project for doing just that. Who knows, with enough outcry from all of you amazing stitchers out there, I may just come up with another mystery project for you later.

For now, let’s focus on this — the Sanctuary SALI am not even going to make this a mystery… I am going to reveal it all today and then give you the instructions, albeit by the seat of my pants! Now, understand something, I don’t write quilt patterns, so you may get pictures with notes and arrows… but you will understand it, I promise! It will be easy and you have the visual references on hand. Of course you can always contact me or Aurifil if you are totally confused.

There is something wonderfully enchanting about a red work embroidered quilt. It’s in the simplicity of stitching and the simplicity of block construction… it just melts my heart. I plotted out 48 little motifs to stitch on 4” blocks. We’ll turn those 4″ blocks into full quilt blocks which we’ll then assemble into a quilt. I promise you that the quilt is a super simple construction.

Blocks 1 – 4

So, let’s get started with the embroidery and worry about the details of the quilt block construction later… how’s that? I’m sharing the first 4 embroidery motifs today and Aurifil will post 4 new ones every other day from now until April 11! Patterns will be available on Aurifil’s Free Patterns page and they’ll be sharing via Instagram & Facebook stories. Of course any time they post an update here or via the newsletter, they’ll share direct pattern links to make it as easy as possible!

Let’s dive in! To get started, you’ll want to find your base fabric. I happened to have some Moda Bella Solid Off White on hand for mine. Ultimately, if you cut strips from selvage to selvage, you’ll need a 30” width of fabric. Cut three 10” wide   strips. Cross cut 10” to create a total of twelve 10” x 10” squares. This, of course, is if you plan to use the same background for all 12 blocks. But really, it’s not the time to have to think of going out, so just use what you have in your stash. Mixing backgrounds does make a quilt look vintage and quaint at the same time. You do you and choose what you love best!

Grab one 10” x 10” square, your favorite marking tool (I use a Micron 01 Brown), and a ruler. Draw a line down the center of the fabric both horizontally and vertically and then draw a 1/2” border line along all exterior edges of the block. Repeat this process with the remaining 11 blocks. The embroidery pattern itself will be placed within a 4” square. This newly marked block gives a 4.5″ square to work with (seam allowance) plus an inch on the sides to account for the little bit of raveling the fabric will do around the edges while handling it so much. When it comes time to trim you can just cut on the lines to create four 4.5″ blocks from this one 10″ x 10″ block.  

Using your favorite method for tracing, center and transfer each individual pattern onto one marked 4.5″ space. I chose to tilt and turn a few of mine, so that is why they are not centered on the pattern page. You are welcome to play with them on your own fabric and put them exactly where you want them!  

Next, you’ll need to decide if you’d like to play with just one color ( mine was 2 strands of Aurifloss #2255), play with a variety of reds, or even go crazy and play with tons of colors. You can see my quilt and now it’s up to you to decide what you would like to see on your own quilt.  

With this SAL, it’s important to remember that you likely have all of the supplies you’ll need right in your own home. If you don’t have everything, use what you have now and replenish later. Or, reach out to your local quilt shop to see what supplies they may have in stock and find out if they are offering phone sales & curbside pickup. Perhaps they’ve even got an online shop that you can utilize! This quilt was designed to create something for you to pass the time… something to calm your mind, occupy nervous hands, and add a bit of joy into your life. There is no deadline or ideal timeline. It’s not meant to cause any kind of stitching anxiety. I’m sending the patterns at lightning speed only because I want to give you easy access (and I’m excited to see your stitching progress popping up on Facebook & Instagram!) I really do hope you’ll just enjoy the process and go at your own pace.

If you do plan to stitch along, please use the #aurifilathome & #sanctuarySAL hashtags. We want your projects to be seen so we can all cheer you on from our own personal spaces.  

I’ll be back in a few days to give you some details on the actual quilt blocks. Big hint– I used 24 reds and 30 backgrounds… so start hunting your stash!

Happy stitching everybody and enjoy your own personal quiet time.

Thank you SO much Susan!! We simply can’t wait to get started! What colors will you use? We’re including some recap details below to keep things easy and simple!

— Aurifil will post 4 new motifs every other day from March 20 through April 11 following the schedule below
— PDFs will be posted on Aurifil’s Free Pattern page in the Sanctuary SAL section
— Blocks will be shared and promoted via Aurifil Instagram & Facebook Stories & Shares
— We’ll look for progress images in #AurifilatHome & #SanctuarySAL

March 20 – 1, 2, 3, 4
March 22 – 5, 6, 7, 8
March 24 – 9, 10, 11, 12
March 26 – 13, 14, 15, 16
March 28 – 17, 18, 19, 20
March 30 – 21, 22, 23, 24
April 1 – 25, 26, 27, 28
April 3 – 29, 30, 31, 32
April 5 – 33, 34, 35, 36
April 7 – 37, 38, 39, 40
April 9 – 41, 42, 43, 44
April 11 – 45, 46, 47, 48

Click here for access to download all PDFs.

InstagramSusan’s Book
A love of color makes it easy for Susan to grab inspiration from her native Florida surroundings. With no grand idea other than knowing she wanted embroidery and nine patches in her first quilt, a new world opened up to this mom of now five grown children. Being self taught with many hours of reading about the makings of a quilt and quilt blocks has made this an a lifelong passion. Susan is always searching for new and fun ways to show off as many colors as she can in a quilt. Most of her quilts are a creative impulse from trips to the garden center, a photograph, or browsing through paint chip selections. “I really never see just the quilt, I seem to see the quilt in the room that it belongs in”.  Working in a quilt store for years helped Susan to pursue that passion of color and the fabric inspired life she enjoys while constantly striving to make her next favorite quilt.


  1. On my heck! How fun!! I don’t have any aurifloss, but I do have some red embroidery floss. Now, to finish my housework…Thank you for this! Stay healthy 😷💛

  2. I am not finding the patterns to trace. Help please! I love the quilt ! Red and white is my favorite combination! Thanks

  3. The patterns seem to have stopped after the second post. I have the first 8 blocks finished and I would love to continue. Please advise.

  4. Have embroidery patterns 17-20 been posted today, March 28th as listed on the release schedule?

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