Natalie’s Baby Quilt

It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve written a blog post. But I hadn’t realized just how long it’s been until I went searching for the post I wrote about William’s baby quilt. Well, William is now 4 years old and has a beautiful baby sister named Natalie, who is 4 months old. Talk about time flying by…

I wanted to make a quilt similar to William’s quilt, but I wanted it to look a little different. So to coordinate with Natalie’s nursery, I pulled pink and coral and lavender fabrics from my stash. Of course I had to add a few new fabrics, including a crazy cat print so the family’s cat Cole would be represented.

I cut 25 WOF (width of fabric) strips 2 1/4″ wide from all the fabrics. Then I cut each strip into two or three varying lengths. I made a big pile with all the strips and stirred them up. Using the basic process for making a jelly roll race quilt, I sewed the strips together in random order (note the ends of the strips were sewn straight across and not on the diagonal as William’s quilt).

I quickly ended up with a sewn rectangle about 35″ wide. Next I worked on the pieced letters for Natalie’s name. I made the name section 7″ x 35″. The letters are about 4 – 4 1/2″ tall. I followed the basic techniques in Tonya Ricucci’s book Word Play Quilts.

I cut across the rectangle about 10″ from the top and inserted Natalie’s name. Then it was time for quilting and binding.

Here’s Natalie on her new quilt. Those curls…those rosy cheeks! She’s playing with a little coordinating taggie toy I made with leftover fabrics and ribbon loops. I think she likes it 🙂

Invitation to a “Precut Patchwork Party”

I am so excited!  My new book for Creative Publishing International is now available – Precut Patchwork Party.  It takes awhile to edit and publish a book so it’s always such a thrill to see all the projects I’ve designed finally come together.

Precut Patchwork Party CoverI am a big fan of precut fabrics.  All those strips, squares and fat quarters, in yummy colors and prints, packaged like little gifts, are hard to resist.  I often pick them up with absolutely no idea of how I will use them.  They are just too pretty not to take them home.

There are lots of patterns available for making quilts with precut fabrics.  But I wanted to explore other things you could make with them so this book features all sort of projects…everything but quilts.

I designed a group or home decor projects – pillows, placemats, tablecloth, tea cozy, even a headboard and a lampshade.  HomeDecAnd I also designed a variety of accessories, wearables and gift projects – bags and totes, child’s dress and skirt, baby gifts, aprons and more.

AccessoriesWearablesGiftsI’ve included lots of basic information and tips, as well as my favorite sewing techniques, such as fabric rick rack and pom-pom trim.

BasicsThe beauty of working with bundles of precut fabrics is that they are coordinated by color or theme or designer collection and all the fabrics work well with each.  Mix and match as you like.  You really can’t go wrong.  And sewing with precuts is really easy – lots of straight sewing.  All the projects in my book utilize the standard sizes of precuts so you can get started right away with very little time spent cutting fabric (not everyone’s favorite part of any sewing project).

The projects in this book are perfect for a new sewist as well as someone who has been sewing for awhile.  They all are constructed with very basic sewing techniques.  Anyone who makes quilts and wants to do something new with their stash of precuts will find inspiration.  So next time you can’t resist buying those beautiful bundles at the quilt store, know that there is a lot you can make with them, other than your beautiful quilts.

Consider this post to be an invitation to the party!  No need to RSVP.  Just check out Precut Patchwork Party on Amazon, grab some precut fabrics and have fun.  Make something for yourself or your home or a gift.

My HQ Sweet 16 is Home Sweet Home

I have never called myself a quilter.  I like to design quilts.  I love the mixing and matching of colors and patterns and the sewing together of pieces.  But I have never liked the quilting part.  My mom was an expert hand quilter and my home is full of beautiful quilts she made for me, each one lovingly hand quilted with thousands of perfectly even little stitches.

My mom’s perfectly even hand quilting stitches

But the patience for hand quilting I did not inherit from my mom.  I’ve tried machine quilting, but was never happy with my attempts at free motion machine quilting.  Oh, I have made small quilts on my sewing machine, but the quilting was limited to straight line stitching, stitch in the ditch and anything super easy.

Over the years I have noticed long arm quilting machines whenever I have visited trade or consumer shows.  They looked very cool and I would sit (or stand) at the machines and try them all out.  But I just couldn’t justify investing in one.  After all, I wasn’t a quilter.  I love sewing and thread, but did I really need another machine that sews?  Let’s see, how many “sewing” machines do I have here…there’s my faithful workhorse Pfaff that sews through anything (I have to confess that I did get the one with the computerized machine embroidery unit that I never really got the hang of despite several lessons.), my 30 old Bernina that needs a little repair work, two Elnas (one was my mom’s and one was mine – between the two of them there are probably enough parts for one machine that will work), a serger, an old treadle that was my husband’s grandmother’s (in case the power goes out and I have to sew?) and then my husband’s favorite sewing machine, the Embellisher for needle felting (“You realize that you just bought a sewing machine that doesn’t use any thread, don’t you?”)  That makes 7 sewing machines.

As you can tell by the title of this post, sewing machine number 8 has joined the group.  I am now the proud owner of an HandiQuilter Sweet 16 mid-arm quilting machine.  On the last day I was at spring Quilt Market in Kansas City this past May, at the very last hour of the show, I had time to spare and found myself in the same aisle as HandiQuilter.  Debby Brown was sitting at the HQ Sweet 16 demo machine and recognized me from a local show I had attended in NJ earlier in the year.  So I sat down and sewed and we talked and then I heard “the voice”.  You know, the one inside your head that makes you do things like eat chocolate chip cookies or say yes to the dress.  But this time is was my mom’s voice, and she was telling me to “get it!”.

My mom passed away at 95 3/4 years old this past March.  She loved to sew.  Over the years, It was a creative outlet for her.  She sewed everything from my Halloween costumes to draperies to my wedding dress to the patchwork quilts she pieced together but always hand quilted.   As she got older, sewing made her feel like she was doing something useful.

So thanks to my mom’s advice, my HQ Sweet 16 is now home sweet home, and I am a quilter. 

Granted, I have lots to learn, but I am so excited.  My plan for the summer is to “play” as much as I can and practice, practice, practice.  I am sure there will be much improvement over these first attempts.

My first attempts at free motion quilting on my HQ Sweet 16.  I can write my name!

My mom would have loved this new machine.  Thanks for helping me make the decision, Mommy.  You’ll always be the voice that guides me.  Love you.  Miss you.