Secret Sister Quilt


Every year some of the ladies at my church draw names for a “secret sister.”  We’re supposed to do something or give something, send a card, etc. to our sister at least once a month.  I absolutely love it!  I’m a big gift-giver, and I have so much fun picking up or making little things all year long for my sister.


This year I Shannon, a friend who I had really been wanting to get to know better.  She was close to my age, so I had tons of fun with her.  I tried not to make too much since it would give it away, but she figured it out partway through the year anyway.  Oh well.


Last year was the first year we did secret sisters, and I made a lap quilt for mine.  Last year I used some bee blocks since I didn’t know my sister’s taste all that well.  This year, I had a better idea what Shannon liked and had seen her decorating colors.  I had plenty of the butterfly fabric in the perfect colors (it came from the epic $1/yard sale at my local quilt shop, and I had purchased the rest of the bolt), and Shannon has a more modern style, so I went with a herringbone pattern in solids on the front.  I think she would have loved chevrons as well, but I wanted to give it a little twist.

This quilt is lap size, about 70” square.  I kept the quilting simple, and to make it easy, I followed only some of the seam lines, so the back has a chevron pattern.  I love how less dense quilting makes such a soft quilt. 


I wrapped it all up and made a “custom” label for the back.  I really need to figure out a better way to label my quilts.  This just looks a little tacky to me…but it was all I had to work with, so at least it’s labeled.


I’ve already given it to her, and she really seemed to like it.  I’m already looking forward to planning a quilt for my new secret sister.  Can’t wait to find out who I get this year!

Joy’s Baby Girl Quilt


This is the baby quilt I made for my friend, Joy.  She should be having a little girl at the end of December (or at least they’re hoping for that for tax purposes!).  She and her husband have tried for a long time to get pregnant, so this is a long-awaited baby.


I almost always make baby quilts for my friends’ babies, and since that kind of takes away the element of surprise, and since she’s a good friend, I wanted her to choose exactly what she wanted.  That was a good idea in theory, but Joy is so easygoing that she liked most things I showed her.  She did seem to love this Robert Kauffman Urban Zoologie bird print, though, so I built off that.


The front pattern is a simple brick style, and I used 4”x8” bricks.  I saved a good portion of the bird print for the backing as well and filled in with coordinating prints on the front.


I love the colors in the bird print, but I think my favorite part about this is the quilting.  I wanted to do something different than just as stipple.  I thought about a floral pattern, or a grid pattern with the bricks, but after browsing pinterest, I stumbled upon an idea I’m sure I’ll use again in the future.  I saw a picture of cricut/scrapbooking words with long curly tails like “adorable,” or “love,” and I thought it would be cute for a quilt.  This quilt already had “lines” built in.  However, when considering the words, I wanted it to be meaningful, so I ended up choosing a Bible verse from 1 Samuel 1:27– “For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of him.”  There have been many prayers and lots of waiting for this little girl, and I thought it was fitting.


The verse isn’t overly noticeable amidst the swirls and flowers I quilted to fill up the space, but if you look for it, it’s there.  Joy will know it’s there, too, and I’m so glad I thought of that instead of simple swirls or flowers.

I finished it off with a new (homemade) label—I’m so looking forward to ordering some woven ones, but I want to be sure I order exactly what I want, so I’m waiting a bit.

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I also made Joy these matching burp cloths, just so she would have a surprise.  She pinned a set like this the other day, and they’re such a quick and easy project (for whatever reason, I find them so fun to make!).  I grabbed a big package of cloth diapers from Target, so I’ll probably be adding a set of these to most of my future baby gifts.


An Old Project


I was just going through an old SD card and found some photos that I never posted.  Last year some of the ladies at our church drew names for “secret sisters.”  All through the year we give them little gifts or cards, etc., and then in December, we had a reveal party where we got to guess and find out who our secret sisters were.


I decided to make a throw quilt for my secret sister.  I used blocks from a flickr swap I participated in for a few months.  It ended up creating a sampler quilt in the perfect size for a throw.

It’s not my favorite quilt ever, but I’m not really a fan of sampler quilts.  However, I was happy to use up the blocks that were just laying around, and it made for a fast finish, which was important since I was down to the wire.


This year, I have a new secret sister, and I decided to do a throw quilt again.  This time, though, I have a better sense of my sister’s style, and I’ve made a herringbone pattern out of solids.  I just have to finish the binding, and another Christmas project will be complete—after that, only three major ones to go!


Cheyenne’s Quilt


Just a few months ago, I posted about a pillow I made for a friend who had lost a baby around 16 weeks.  Another friend was pregnant and due around the same time as the first friend (we all go to church together and know each other well).  As her due date approached, everything was going well.  I saw her and talked to her Sunday morning, the day before she was scheduled to have a C-section.  Everything was fine and normal until that afternoon.  The baby stopped moving, and they went to the hospital and couldn’t find a heartbeat.


Honestly, although I felt so much for my friend and her husband, I know I don’t have the slightest idea what losing a child must feel like (and I pray I never will).  Cheyenne, their little girl, looked perfect, and no one knows even know why this happened.


Anyway, aside from trying to help my friend and support her in other ways, I decided to make a quilt for her with her daughter’s name and birthdate on it.  I made this one a large lap size, and I used colors that I thought would go well in their living room.  She has a dark brown couch and decorates with neutrals.  I’ve had this fabric (Chrysalis by  Moda) for a while now.  I loved how it is girly without being so girly that they couldn’t use it in the living room.  For whatever reason, the butterflies also seemed nicely representative of Cheyenne to me.



I chose a simple design, both because I thought my friend would like that and because I wanted to finish it on a quick time frame.  I had expected to be making a very different baby quilt.  The pictures aren’t great because I finished this late at night right before I went to spend the day with my friend once her husband went back to work.

I know posts like these aren’t exactly uplifting, but it’s important that we acknowledge losses like these.  I’ve wondered in the past if gifts/quilts like this might only serve as an unwelcome reminder of something sad, but honestly, I think I’ve realized that a person who has experienced a loss like this doesn’t need a reminder—they think about it all the time anyway, even if sometimes it’s in the back of their minds.  So I’m hoping this brings a tiny bit of comfort amidst the pain.

Jodi’s Quilt


I finally have a new finish to share!  My good friend Jodi had a birthday today, and I’ve been working on this quilt all week as my gift to her.  It was a down-to-the-wire finish.  In fact, it came out of the dryer slightly damp, so I had to wait until the afternoon to take it over to her.


Jodi’s tastes are a little more traditional than mine, so I had a little difficulty choosing fabrics for her.  I had started a rainbow colored disappearing nine patch quilt, and I briefly thought of using those for her, but I didn’t really think they fit her too well, so I chose something else.  I started with the sage/rose flower print and just added colors and fabrics that worked with it.  Her bedroom is a mossy green and dusty rose, so hopefully this will be a good fit.  It’s a queen size quilt on the larger side (which I like for bed quilts).


I was surprised at how quickly this quilt came together.  The pattern is a simple one, and I chose it because she had pinned something similar on pinterest.  It took me a couple days to cut and piece the top, and then the quilting was finished in another two days.  I spent an evening binding the quilt in front of the TV (one of my favorite parts of a quilt!), and that was that.


For the quilting, I chose a floral pattern that I thought would fit well with the fabrics.  It’s not as fast for me as stippling, but I really like the finished look.  I do find that I have to be more careful with filling in the gaps as I go along quilting.  It’s easy for me to work myself into a corner or leave an empty spot if I’m not careful.  I used  damask tone-on-tone print for the back, which is a little more interesting than just a plain fabric back.


This is the first larger quilt I’ve finished all year, and it has definitely put me back in the mood to work on bed sized quilts again.  Up next I have a Christmas gift quilt for my in-laws (if I finish it now, there’s less stress later!), a quilt I want to make my mom for Christmas, and a full size UFO quilt I’ve had on my shelf from a bee I was in a couple years ago.

I’ve been pulling UFOs off my shelves lately and have really been itching to finish them as well as clean up my shelves and use up some of my more special scraps that I have hanging around in baggies.  I see a lot of little projects and baby quilts in my future.

Quick Baby Boy Quilt


Whenever I need a quick baby quilt pattern, I almost always turn to Oh Fransson’s charm squares tutorial.  It’s a good way to use up scraps or charm packs, and it’s fast and easy.  It’s also pretty universally appealing.  It’s easy to switch out colors and fabrics to suit a particular person’s taste.


I’ve had this orange baby print in my stash for several years now, and I’m just completely tired of it.  I bought a lot when I found it because I thought it was cute, and it was on the red tag section at Joann’s.  It’s a good quality brand that’s also sold in quilt shops, so i have no qualms about its durability, but I’ve just grown tired of the print after using it in several quilts, and it’s definitely baby-specific, which is why i think it’s hung around so long on my shelf.  I got the pale green fabric in some sort of a remnant scrap bag somewhere along the way, and it fit well with the colors, so I was happy to use it up, too.

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I quilted with a simple stipple design, and due to the simplicity, I think I had this quilt completed, except for the binding, within three hours—not bad!


I hand stitched the binding, since that’s my preferred method, sewed on a label, and she’s ready to go.  This quilt makes me smile—I love the happy colors, and only a fellow quilter can understand the joy of having *JUST* the right amount of fabric for a project and being able to clear a little space on the shelf for the latest and greatest new fabric that will be added into the stash!

Baby Girl Monogram Quilt


I found these quilts on the Riley Blake website a few months back and have been itching to find a time to use the tutorial.  The hard part about this quilt is knowing the baby’s name before a baby shower.  I tend to give my quilts in advance of the birth—never good to take a chance like that, even if they think they have the name all picked out.  You just never know.


Anyway, I knew my friend, who was having a baby girl, would love the style of this quilt—chevrons, monograms, pink and gray…and since it was her second baby, there wasn’t a shower for her.  So, I went as far as I could go without knowing the monogram and then finished it once she named the baby.  It was a super fast quilt since there was hardly any piecing.  However, I did find that the applique and circle part took some time.  The hand quilting and quilting along the chevrons also wasn’t fast, but that was a choice I made, and I wasn’t in a particular hurry anyway, so it didn’t really matter to me.


I added the colored hand stitching just to spark it up and give it a little inerest.  I think it would have still looked good had I just continued to follow the chevrons with machine quilting, but I’m a sucker for brightly colored hand stitching.

I also quilted a free-motion, drawn-on-the-fly floral pattern along the pale pink stripe.  I wasn’t sure if I liked it after I finished it, but I decided I didn’t hate it, so I left it.  The mother told me she loved it, though, so I’m glad I did end up leaving it.


I used a Michael Miller pink bird print for the back.  I got this on one of my LQS’s epic $1 or $2/yard sales a year or two ago.  The mother really likes birds and owls (and pink), so I thought it was a good fit.  It ended up matching her room perfectly, and the mother hadn’t bought a bed set or quilt/blanket yet, so it couldn’t have worked out any better.  I often give quilts expecting them to be the carry-around blankets for use in the car or as a play mat while away from home, but I feel really honored when one is used as part of the bedding/baby room.

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Anyway, I was thrilled with how this quilt came together.  It’s a brilliant design/tutorial, and I’ll definitely repeat this one again.

My New Little Nephew’s Quilt


My sister-in-law is pregnant with her first baby (so excited!), and she asked me to make the quilt for his bedroom.   She decided on neutrals with pops of navy, and the inspiration room she found on Pinterest is loaded with cute accents like deer antlers (that will be my brother-in-law’s contribution), driftwood, etc.  It’s going to be a really stylish room—kind of a nice deviation from cartoonish, bright kid colors.

Beth saw a quilt I had made with scraps from this quilt.  It was all mishmashed together from scraps.  I would sew random pieces together, cut it, and sew it up again.  I threw in the navy just for fun.  She really liked that design, so I chose a bunch of different neutral fabrics, including linen for some textural interest, and started piecing away.  I was really happy with the top but had a really hard time deciding how to quilt it since it was so crazy on the top.

I googled a bit, finally coming down to either straight line quilting or organic line quilting.  I don’t often do either—I’m much more of a free motion girl.   I stumbled upon Crazy Mom Quilts’ post about her troubles with straight line quilting (can’t find it again to save my life) and decided I’d rather go the organic route.  Armed with her advice from her mistakes, I thought I would have this baby finished in no time….um, NO.  I ended up with a total mess, exactly like she did:



I saw the fabric getting wavy as I was going along, but like an idiot, I thought it would work itself out and come out fine after a wash, so I pressed on until I had the whole thing quilted.  After I pulled it off the machine and really looked at it, I decided I just couldn’t live with it.  Not only was it all puckery, but the quilting actually made the pieced front looked curved instead of squared.  Admittedly, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.  I’ve been getting better at letting go a bit, but this was beyond what I could overlook.  It’s really hard to settle for mediocre (or awful!) quilting when you just love the top to begin with.

So, after talking it through with my husband and my mom, I decided to rip it all out and do something else.  I decided to hand quilt in the end, and I’m so happy with how it turned out.  (I did learn quite a bit about non-free-motion quilting, and I plan to do a separate post on that soon.)

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I think the hand quilting adds a special touch, which is nice since it’s for family.  I make so many baby quilts for friends or really for almost any baby gift I give, and it’s nice to do something a bit more special when it’s for a baby who will be special to me!  It also makes for a much softer quilt, which is nice for a baby.  I’m hoping it will actually be used in the crib once he’s past the SIDS stage.  I’ve used the baby quilt I made for my son in his crib with him since he was about a year old, and he loves it.

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I’ve been finding it hard to get a good full-quilt shot since the weather has been so icky in the midwest.  Another obstacle to a good wide shot:  my son has learned how to photobomb.


I brought a bunch of fabrics to my sister-in-law’s house for her to choose from.  I just love the ones she picked out.  The gray Faux Bois on the back is from the Les Amis line by Patty Sloniger.   When we were choosing fabrics, there was still plenty available online (my piece was too small for the back).  By the time I got around to ordering a month later it was all sold out—almost EVERYWHERE.  I finally found some at one online shop, but it was the only one I did find in about ten google pages, so I think I really lucked out with that.  I’ve learned my lesson on waiting to order!

The binding she chose was a wood grain print from a Kate Spain line.  I used up my last bit of this, which is unfortunate since I loved it so much, but at least it was for a good cause, and it really looks great along the edge.

Once the baby is born, I’m going to have a friend embroider a quilt label for me with his birth information on it.  I’ll hand stitch it on to the back afterward.  I think the personalized labels really add a special touch when it’s for family.

Girls’ Twin Quilts

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I just recently shipped these two matching twin quilts off to their new home.  These were ordered a couple of months ago for a girls’ room.  They were custom made, and I love the fabrics chosen.  The walls in the girls’ room are pink, and I think the aqua and white front will balance it out nicely while still being quite girly!


The front is a simple chevron design with a cute tree patterned fabric with an off-centered pink stripe on the back.  I quilted in the ditch along the seams to accent the chevrons.  I also made two standard flanged shams to match.  I’m quite happy with the way these turned out, and I hope my client will love them, too!


I’m always relieved to finish a project—I feel stressed when I have a deadline.  However, I’m also always nervous about it traveling safely.  Here’s hoping FedEx handles it with care!


A Quilt for Baby Joseph

After a LONG blogging absence, I’m back with my most recent project.  My good friends recently had a baby (right after they moved to Alaska!), and they’re coming back to visit family in February.  I’m helping to throw a shower/meet the baby open house, and this is what I’ve made for the gift:

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This is a very simple pattern made of 5” squares—I used this pillow by Crazy Mom Quilts as inspiration.  I think it makes such a beautiful pillow cover (I’ve remade it several times to give as children’s birthday gifts), and I thought it would translate well into a baby quilt, too.  I do like how it turned out, so I’ll probably remake this at some point in the future as well.

If a baby is already born or named, I always like to personalize the quilt somehow—it just seems like it makes it more special.  So, I printed off his name, traced it onto fabric with a water-soluble pen, and free-hand embroidered it.  I love how this font is modern and boyish looking since it’s so clean and simple.


The fabrics are from the Max & Whiskers line by Basic Gray for Moda.  I bought them on clearance sometime last year without a real plan—I just thought they were cute!  I think they suit the mother’s personality well, and they looked boyish to me while still being unique and not something you’d usually see in a baby quilt.   When I bought them, I didn’t even realize they were part of a children’s line with dogs and cats—I don’t actually have any of that feature fabric in this quilt, but perhaps that’s why these prints looked childish to me in the first place.

To add a little interest, I threw in some teal Echo and a cute orange X print by Denyse Schmidt that I picked up from Joann’s on the red tag rack.  Honestly—I do love my friend—it just happened to work out that most of this fabric was on sale!IMG_8203


I quilted this with simple straight lines to make it nice and soft and bound the quilt in the same orange print since it was the best contrast with the rest of the fabrics.  I’m totally in love with this quilt—I just hope the parents and baby love this one as much as I do!