quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Remove the Clutter and Create

I strongly believe that in order to create freely, we sometimes have to get rid of the clutter in our lives. That clutter can come in different forms: doing the laundry, cleaning the house, volunteering, helping with homework, and many times for me, cleaning up my sewing room and knocking out some unfinished projects.

When I head to my sewing machine and see small projects littered in my space, I get a little anxious. I WANT to create what I want to create when I have time to sew. The quilt or project I’m working on is THE NUMBER ONE THING, right? I don’t necessarily want to work on those other things I’ve put aside for another day. That’s why those things have been case aside anyhow.

Then I finish my project, and I’m ready to move on to something else, but I have to find inspiration. That’s when the clutter actually helps. If I knock out the little things that I have pushed aside for a variety of reasons, then I help myself in few ways:

  1. I finish a project.
  2. I get said project off the floor and start cleaning(ish).
  3. If a project is finished, then I have more space in my head to create. I’m not bogged down my the pressure to finish “other” things. This is important for me because I tend to get wrapped up in the minutiae.

Recently I finished a few projects, and put another aside for not cooperating, and I started tackling some things that have been yelling “Finish me!”

First up:  a Daisy scout vest. Just needed to sew on a few patches. It took all of 20 minutes. Done and done.


2. A seriously overdue baby quilt. A very good friend of mine asked me to make quilts for babies 1 and 2. And I had those suckers finished on time. The quilt for baby 3? Just finishing it. Awesome, except she’s 18 months old now. Hey, I was busy writing a book, y’all.


I was also struggling with how to incorporate the elephants. I’m not sure why but whatevs. It all finally came together. img_95613. And last but not least, a journal cover for a teacher. It’s part of her Christmas gift and all I can say is I hope she likes it. If not, I do, and I’ll gladly take it back.

img_9584Interestingly, another super groovy idea came into my head late one night after I’d finished round 2 with my Bejeweler, proving that sometimes the best way to get your creative going is to clean up projects and free your mind. It makes me happy.

Now if I can just finish up these projects to get to some stuff I really want to work on I’ll be set!


Two Quilts for Two Sisters

A friend of mine had baby two a year ago. As part of her shower gift, I made a quilt. My friend didn’t find out the gender of the baby ahead of time, so I couldn’t actually do anything until the baby was born.

I’m really late getting this to Z, but better late than never, right? And, of course, I had to make one for big sister. I have two boys. I have to get the pink in somehow.

Lots of Kaffe, some great Andover polka dots that I wish they’d keep as a basic (I can’t get enough of it), and some other fun, bright fabrics. I had to finish it with my favorite: a striped binding!



Lil’ Slugger

I recently finished this quilt. I made it using my All Squared Up pattern but I started with smaller squares since this is a baby quilt.

The gal I made it for had me cut up her bridesmaid’s dress to put in the quilt. It’s for her nephew. Is that a great idea or what? I think a few bridesmaid’s dresses in my closet are calling me to do the same. I mean, they’re just gathering dust.

Several of the fabrics on the front, and subsequently the back, are coordinating pieces from baby’s bedding set.  We threw in some other fabrics for color and variety, too.

I think the quilt is adorable and I’d certainly cuddle up with it on a cold day!

friends, quilt

Miss D

Judith DeRitter, or Ms. D as we called her, was the house mother for my sorority when I was in college. I loved Ms. D and visited with her daily. I always enjoyed our chats and her endless wisdom. I think she passed away a few years ago and I wish I had a chance to tell her how important to me she was during that time in my life. I can only hope she knew. Elizabeth and I were sorority sisters. The newest addition to her family, Daisy or Miss D as I’ve been referring to her, was born in October on what would have been her great-grandmother’s 100th birthday. Pretty cool that I get to have two special Miss D’s in my lifetime.

A year and a half ago I made a quilt for Elizabeth’s son when he was born. I had very little time to put the quilt together so I used Atkinson Designs Yellow Brick Road pattern. It’s quick, easy, and above all, looks really great when it’s finished. I also like that you can incorporate more than the suggested number of fabrics for variety.  Since I’m not one for always following the rules that worked out well for me.

Fast forward a few months (10 or so, but we aren’t counting) and Elizabeth found out she was having a girl.  She chose a great palate for Miss D’s room. Pink and green. But sophisticated with black and white ticking so she could grow into it. Elizabeth asked me to incorporate the fabrics she was using in the nursery. Together the fabrics looked great for the room but to make a quilt I needed at least one piece of fabric that incorporated ALL those colors. Alas, an afternoon digging through my stash and a quick trip to my favorite quilt shop and I had a quilt.  At least the parts for a quilt. I found a great Oriental fabric that incorporated all the colors in the fabrics Elizabeth had given me and a few others so the quilt would really sing. And sing it does! I love this quilt! Seriously. It’s going to be painful for me to give it away. But I can visit with it from time to time, I suppose. lol.

I made the top and put on the border but it needed something. So I ripped out the border (where would I be without my seam ripper?) and put in the small ticking inner border. I sort of had no choice but to do it that way. I hadn’t ordered enough fabric for the back and I really didn’t want to go back to the quilt shop to buy more fabric for the border. It turns out that the small black and white ticking accent was perfect! It’s subtle but really adds just the right amount of zip! I used the ticking for the bias binding, too. It’s nice to carry that pattern out to the edges of the quilt, though sewing the ticking down through the minkee, especially in the corners, was a bit of a challenge.

I normally don’t back quilts with minkee but Elizabeth had me put minkee on the back of the quilt for Elliot and  we wanted to keep an even playing field since children can be so darn particular. Minkee really is nice on the back of quilts for kids since it’s so soft and lovable. Plus I found the perfect minkee – lime green with darker green dots. I couldn’t resist! Because I had minkee on the back of the quilt I chose to tie it, and since I’d tied Elliot’s quilt….

I tied the center of the quilt with pink perle cotton. Then I ran out! Argh! So I tied the outside border with white perle cotton. I tied in the center of each white chrysanthemum so it’s a little less obvious. Necessity really is the mother of all creativity!


I hope Elizabeth and Daisy like the finished product!



friends, quilt


I gave birth to Q Man 6 weeks before my friend gave birth to her daughter, Miss A. Of course, I made a quilt for Miss A. Well, technically I’m still making it. I gave it to my friend at her shower. In February.  I took the unfinished top back from my friend the other day (Indian giver!) so I could attempt to get it finished before her daughter goes to college. Seriously. It’s taking forever but time is an extremely limited commodity right now.

Little Mister quickly grabbed the quilt from the bag. He ran around with it like he was wearing a cape. It was pretty darn cute.

Then he got bored

And I snapped a few detail shots while the gettin’ was good!

Not the greatest photo, but you get the idea – wrinkled corners and all.

Since I have been trying to talk about the process here’s where it all started. My friend has some wallie art in her daughter’s room. It was the inspiration for the baby quilt. Here it is*:

So the wall art was the starting point. Once I decided to make a tree I needed it on a background. I didn’t want to put the tree on a solid piece of fabric. I wanted more depth. I have a friend that (I think) makes some really cool quilts. I love how she pieces her backgrounds and they were the inspiration for the background of Miss A’s quilt. I drew the tree (several iterations, really) and all the other parts** on newsprint before copying and pasting them onto the background.

Yellow seemed like the obvious choice to me.  Miss A’s room is brightly colored and I wanted the reds, pinks, greens and blues to show up against the background. No pink overload.  I used Steam a Seam Lite to fuse everything. I just love how you can get all your parts to stick to the background and move them a little, too, before deciding on the final placement and ironing them down. I’m pretty pleased with how the quilt looks so far. Just need to add a few things – like the bottom border!

* yes, I took the photo from the website. Going into baby A’s room to snap a photo of a tree decal while juggling four or five schedules is a feat nearly impossible

** thank you Pottery Barn for having such great and easy modern forms in your repertoire that I could use for inspiration for the butterfly and owl. The wren, well, that was all me.