Preview of Little Quilts 4 Little Kids – Part 1

It’s that time of year again – Time to share what’s in the new book that I have been working on over the last 5 months or so.  I have been busy exploring a new territory – fun quilts for babies and little kids!  I shared a bit about my creative struggles  earlier this year, so a new subject matter was just what I needed to bring back a little of my quilting mojo. . .   It was really fun to work with fun kids fabrics, bright colors, and whimsical applique shapes.

I had several goals in mind with this book:

1.  Provide a range of styles from traditional to modern (though leaning a little bit more toward the modern).  I wanted motifs and colors schemes that would fit into any decor – and little kids rooms can be so fun!

2.  Provide a range of projects for many skill levels and time commitments.  Some of the projects are good for quick gifts and some of the projects have extra details for that really special little one.

3.  Most of all, I wanted designs that would grow with the baby – I was thinking from newborn up to kindergarten.  So, there are no rattles or ducks, no super soft baby colors, but things that kids will like right away and when they are 3, 4 and 5.


Now, onto the quilts . . . .

Because there are so many pictures to share, I am going to break this into two posts. First up, I am going to show the boy quilts (Stop back soon to see the post on the girl quilts.)

Here is the cover of the book again:

This quilt is called “Here Fishy, Fishy”.

I knew I had to have a fishy quilt in the book.  You may remember that my husband is a fishing fanatic.  He takes it the extra mile by talking about fishing in his sleep.  My favorite thing he has said in his sleep is – you guessed it – “Here Fishy, Fishy”.

That little saying was my inspiration for this quilt –  Along with my love of chevrons and anything with googly eyes.


My next quilt was inspired by all my little nephews who love cars.  They can turn anything into a road – so why not make them a quilt with a built-in road?

My nephew Ethan is testing the road for the photo shoot.  It actually kept him entertained for quite a while!

The pattern is called “Race Track”  and the fabric is Fox Trails by Riley Blake.


The next quilt is called “Oh Baby” and features my brother’s youngest –  Zachary (aka – “The Tornado”).  I really wanted to have kids in the photos of my book.  Joel thought I was crazy for wanting to attempt that because it is hard enough to get a good photo of a quilt, with all the lighting and settings just right.  Then add a kid to the mix and the challenges multiply!  I was really glad we tried, cause look how cuuuute this little tornado is!

This quilt features the kids name (obviously) and uses a charm pack.  There are also some girl options for this pattern that I will show in my next post.  The boy fabric shown is Ten Little Things by Jenn Ski for Moda fabrics.  I just love the owl fabric in the border!


Next up is Puppy Love, featuring Ethan’s little brother Abram.  He is about 4 months old in this picture and he came up with this pose all on his own!

This quilt was inspired by my Mom because she came up with the original design for this quilt.  She makes a quilt for each grand baby born in the family and this one was made for my brother’s middle boy Peyton.  Here is her version:

She used all flannels, so the quilt is super soft and snuggly.  For the book, I used a more current fabric line called Reunion by Sweetwater for Moda fabrics.

I tell ya, being a model is tough work!  I just wanted to show off my nephew again – and give you a close-up of the puppy details.  If only real dogs came with polka dot ears!


Next up is Building Blocks, modeled by my nephew Peyton.  As you can tell, he shares a room with his big brother and they are into dinosaurs.

When I saw this dinosaur print, I knew I needed to have it!  This quilt was designed with that concept in mind – when you find a perfect print that you just don’t want to cut up too much.  Then add a few 10″ squares or fat quarters in assorted colors, and you have this modern boy quilt.

Last up for the boys is “Ring Toss” (girl option shown also).  As you can see, I have run out of nephews to use for props . . . .

The quilt is quick and modern.  It features Layer Cakes or 10″ squares.  By the way, many of the quilts in the book use precuts.   When I started shopping for kid fabrics, I quickly realized that precuts are the way to buy fabric for these little quilts.  Otherwise you end up buying yardage or a fat quarter pack, and having enough left-overs for a full size quilt!

Here’s is a close-up of the boy version.  The featured fabric is called Summertime by Barbara Jones for Henry Glass.  I added a few additional prints from my stash, along with the solid grey background.

So  –  That is half of the quilts from the book.  I will show the others as soon as I have the post ready.

In the meantime, you can leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.  If you are trying to think of something to comment on, I am always curious to see which design is your favorite.  As a designer, it is fun to know what types of things people are attracted to.  You can also comment on your favorite boy fabric lines, or anything else fun that comes to mind!


To read part two of the preview, click here.



Posted in Machine Quilting, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 195 Comments


Since I last checked in with everyone, I have been busy celebrating my freedom.  My latest quilt booklet has been finished and is being printed right now.

I have been celebrating that “freedom” in several ways:

1.  I cleaned my studio.  My studio is only clean about twice a year.  Honestly, if it is really clean more often than that, it means that there is no creative work being done.  So, I love when it is clean, but I don’t feel all that bad when it isn’t!  It usually means that there are quilts in progress!

2.  In addition to celebrating my freedom from work deadlines, I am celebrating my last bit of “pre-baby freedom”.  What better way to do that, than to host a quilt retreat in my clean studio?  I have a group of quilters that I have been meeting with once a month for the last 12 or 13 years.  We meet in the evening to do handwork, have dessert, and visit.  Every so often we get together at someone’s house and bring our machines for some marathon sewing.  There are about 9 of us in the group, so we just barely fit into my studio.

All the furniture is moved out of the way to make room for tables. All of the quilts that were piled around as trunk shows have come back from shops have been neatly stacked under the quilting machine to make more room.

New Ikea bookshelves have helped me clear out some clutter and provided some much needed storage.  CD storage towers work great for organizing my fat quarters.  A few favorite quilts are displayed on long poles between the two bookshelves.  We set up an extra ironing board and were ready to go.  I had lots of fun and hope the others did too!

3.  The next week a hosted a sewing day for another quilt group that I hang out with periodically.   They are called the Qui-Knitters, as half of us quilt, and the other half of us knits.  I have been meaning to have them over for a while now, and I really wanted to get that into “celebrating my freedom”.  (I didn’t harass either group by taking their pictures)

4.  The last little celebration was a sleep-over with two of my nieces.  (The guest room where they slept will soon be taken apart and turned into a nursery).  We had a movie night and spent several hours the next morning painting and crafting.  I probably had more fun than they did, as I hardly ever get to do silly crafts like painting rocks or making tissue paper rainbows. (again, sorry – no pictures, but I had paint all over my hands!)

5.  Next, I get to celebrate my freedom by working on the nursery.  I told myself I couldn’t start the nursery until the book was done, and I actually stuck to my rule.  About that book coming – several of you have asked why I haven’t been sharing any pictures of the baby quilts that I have been working on.  In case you haven’t already guessed, the theme of the new book is:

The book arrives Wednesday, so I’ll be back as soon as I have a post put together with the rest of the projects from the book!!!  Can’t wait!!!!!

Edit:  I should clarify that Ethan is not our baby’s name.  We are keeping that a secret until he comes.  All of the quilts in the book feature names of my neices and nephews.  (It will just give me an excuse to make all of the quilts again, this time with our baby’s name!)

Posted in My Studio, Quilting | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Hallet’s Ledge

I am finally putting the last button on this cardigan.  I started it about 6 months ago.  Once I got going with it, the sweater went really fast.  I got slowed down waiting for JoAnns to get in enough buttons for me to finish it!  

Not that I was in a rush to finish it anything  –  I can’t wear it for a while anyways.  It looks relatively normal from the back –

It’s the front that has some issues

Okay, let me re-phrase that –

It’s my front that has issues – though it’s nothing that another 8 weeks or so won’t fix!  The front of the sweater itself is fine, but at 32 weeks, none of my regular clothes fit me.

It isn’t my first choice to show you these pictures of my bulging belly, but somehow showing this picture, just doesn’t cut it! 

The pattern is called Hallet’s Ledge, by Elinor Brown.  It’s a download from the Twist Collective  from Fall 2010, so I have been eying this pattern for a while.  It was a really easy pattern to memorize, yet interesting enough to keep me entertained.

The yarn is one of my favorites – Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold.  It has a subtle tweed that adds nice interest to the yarn, but it still shows the texture of the stitches.  It isn’t too itchy or bulky like some tweedy-wools are.  I have probably made 4 sweaters out of this yarn and they have all held up really well (and I am kinda picky about that)

You can find the Ravely link here.

I’ll be back soon with another blue knit – this one for the baby.

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments


We’ve already been home two weeks and the time has just flown by.  It was probably not a good idea to schedule a vacation right before my book deadline, but I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly about that.  Since I have been home, I have finished quilting and binding 7 quilts, finished writing the book, and have 9 out of 11 of the quilts photographed.  So, I am almost finished.  Yeah!!!  I do my own photography and I don’t have a studio with proper lighting, so I take all my shots outside.  Right now it’s too sunny to finish up those last two photographs, so while I am waiting for a few clouds to roll in, I had a chance to get my Florida pictures uploaded.

I will warn you ahead of time that there are quite a few photographs.  I find if I don’t do a journal like this of what we did everyday, I forget what we did when and the names of the places we visited.  It would help if we didn’t try to squeeze so many locations into one trip, but having to go sit on one beach for an entire week bores me to tears!

Day 1 – We flew into Miami.  We arrived at about 6 pm, so that gave us time to quick drive over to Miami Beach, then make our way down to South Beach.  By the time we arrived, the beach was cleared out.

The huge beaches were so beautiful and I love the sound of the crashing waves coming in.  I liked that much better than the thumping music coming out of all the clubs on Ocean Drive – which was packed with people.  We drove through the area, taking in Little Havana, the Art Deco buildings and all the fancy people.  We were going to eat supper here, but went for a walk on the beach instead.  All the fancy people and loud clubs just makes me crave my quiet life at home, so we decided to move on. 

Day 2 – We traveled down to Key Largo with the intention of doing some snorkeling at Pennekamp State Park.  Unfortunately, 5-6 foot seas canceled all snorkeling or glass bottom boat trips to the reef.  Instead we laid by the beach, read books and knit.

Later that day, we drove down past Key Largo to Islamorada.  We found a beach to do a little snorkeling just off shore.  We also enjoyed a beautiful sunset.  We didn’t see much snorkeling, but at least it was calm enough on the gulf side to get into the water.

Joel snapped a picture of the bump at this beach – Proof that our little boy got to visit the Keys!  (at 28 1/2 weeks)

Day 2 – We traveled further south.  We stopped at Sombrero Beach, a suggestion from one of my blog readers.  It was quiet, beautiful and off the beaten path.   We would never have found it without the good advice!

The further south we got, the more bridges we got to drive over, including the famous 7 Mile Bridge.

 Next, we came to Bahia Honda State Park.  Several of my blog readers suggested this park and it was probably my favorite spot in the Keys.  We did some hiking to take in the views ~

Unfortunately, the winds again canceled all snorkeling in the park, but we still did some swimming.  I never lasted that long with the swimming – I thought the extra baby weight would make me more buoyant, therefore swimming would be a good thing.  But, in reality, all the waves just bounced me all over and it was even more awkward than being on land.  We had a few good laughs over my struggles and Joel compared me to a turtle stuck on my back.  It was a pretty good comparison! 

(BTW – We stopped at the park again on our way back through and the winds were down enough for us to swim on the Atlantic side.  There were several places were we could walk way out into the water on sand bars.  It was really beautiful . . ).

That night, we made it to Key West.  We were advised to skip booking a night at a hotel and try a B & B instead.   At the last-minute, we found a spot at the Tropical Inn.

It was a cute little place, with a tropical garden and pool just outside those french doors.  It was nice and quiet, considering all the activity just outside on Duval Street. 

We did a few of the other things that everyone says you have to do in Key West –

We tried the Key Lime Pie.  Of course I had mine dipped in chocolate and we agreed it was much better than plain version.

We ventured down to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration.

There were lots of street performers

And lots of people enjoying the sunset.

The next day we continued our check list of Key West places to visit –

The Southernmost Point (where the lady taking our picture made me turn sideways for the full effect)

We visited the Hemingway House.

I got to take pictures of the 6 toed cats.  Check out those paws!

This cat posed very nicely for me so I could get another shot of the paws.  (There are 40 cats still living at the house)

We also just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful, cottage style houses.  The Old Town neighborhood was pretty interesting.  You have quiet little houses like this just down the road from clubs where clothing is optional.  Guess which one I preferred?

My favorite was this butter-yellow house with the mint shutters. 

When we got tired of all the sight-seeing, we went to the beach at Zachary Taylor Park.  (There was a little snorkeling right off shore, but yet again the waves were pretty big and I got tired of playing turtle.)


We also stopped at Smathers Beach on our way out of town.  They Keys aren’t known for their beaches, but as you have seen, we found quite a few.  (It just isn’t like the other places we’ve been to in Caribbean – miles of sandy beaches, calm waters, and great snorkeling)

We drove the rest of the way up the Keys that night, and when we couldn’t find a hotel room anywhere, we drove all the way to Fort Meyers.  We arrived at Joel’s parent’s rental place at 1 a.m., so it was a long day!  We  played it pretty low-key the next few days –

We visited Sanibel Island  and Captiva Island.  This area was just beautiful, especially the houses. 

Joel caught a sting ray – which you can see he isn’t happy about.  Back in Minnesota, you have about 5 choices of what could be on the end of that line.  Not so in Florida!

And, our last beach of the trip – Fort Meyers Beach.

As you can see, it was a busy trip.  We fit quite a bit into our last hurrah before the baby comes!  It was good to get away one last time with just the two of us.  

Or should I say the two and 4/5ths of us  😉

Posted in Travel | Tagged | 17 Comments

Ripple Effect

We are back from our quick trip to Florida, thus the quiet blog for the last two weeks.  I still need to get to uploading those pictures, so in the meantime I will show you some projects that I worked on before I left. 

I have been in the process of taking down all my winter decorations and putting up some spring things.  I started with my mantel.

I have been adding in a lot more blue to my color scheme, in my effort to brighten up my main living space. 

I have been loving on this color for quite a while, but I have been searching for a few things to pull the blue into my color scheme.  So, I decided I needed to make a new runner for my coffee table.

The pattern is from my “On the Run” book that came out a few years ago.  It’s called The Ripple Effect.  It was inspired by all the ripple afghans my Great Grandma Anka used to make in the 70’s.  Anyone else remember that pattern?

Below is the original photo from the book


Neither runner worked very well in my living room, so I needed a third runner from this pattern.  Oh well, I love chevrons, so that’s okay.  (BTW – the fabric in the new runner is from my Artful Home collection.) 

See that pillow in the background?

It’s from Pier 1 and it’s just my colors.

 Another item that I found to pull in more blue is this rug from Company C.

Here is a better photo of it:

My last rug was over 10 years old and its black background was no longer black.  It was more “marbled”  –  which means it had been spilled on so many times and I could no longer get it clean.  It was definitely time for a new one!  Plus, it goes well with my Soulful Blossoms quilt and the other things in my kitchen.

Again, I had to add some more blue into this room as well.  Actually, this is my excuse to show you this sign again.  Many of you have asked where I found it.  I got it at Hobby Lobby several years ago.  I was there recently and they still had it, along with about 50 other really cute wall signs.  (I’m just warning you – it’s a dangerous store)

I have had fun “freshening” things up a bit. 

Next up, my dining room??


Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Something Blue

It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  The ice is officially off the lake!

I left to teach a retreat last Friday afternoon, with the lakes fully iced over, and came home on Sunday to see the ice off the far side of the lake.  By this morning it had receded as far as the big island.  Now there is just a bit left by shore, which was when this picture was taken.  It’s isn’t very pretty, as now some rain is moving in, but it is one step closer to this:

Ah . . .  . summer!  The great thing is, the ice is off the lake about a month ahead of it’s usuall time, so we should be seeing summer early this summer.  In fact, the weather this winter has been crazy.   It was 76 degrees here yesterday!  (It is state basketball tournament time, so typically we have a big snowstorm right around this time)

Now, onto something blue – and I didn’t mean the lake – I finished my first baby sweater.

I chose a very simple sweater, as I didn’t want to put too much time into a newborn size sweater that may not get worn very much.  I had it finished in under a week, which is record time for me (considering I usually do adult size sweaters). 

I chose the pattern “Baby Sophisticate” by Linden Heflin.  I really like the simple details of the rolled collar and Raglan sleeves.   It has a bit of a little-old man look to me, but I have noticed that all the baby patterns that I have picked out have that look.  Kinda funny, considering I just publically teased Joel about dressing like an old man and now I am going to do the same to his son!

I made a little hat to match the sweater.  I love baby hats, so I may have to do a hat for each sweater I make.  (which may cause this baby to hate me, as kids don’t often like to wear hats).  The pattern is called “Leftover Sock Newborn Hat” and you can find the ravelry link here.  The little knot at th top is supposed look like a little umbilical cord.  I think it’s a cute little detail for a newborn hat.

The yarn is called Fantasy by Dark Horse Yarns. It’s super soft and cuddly – I wish you could feel it.  I bought it to match Joel’s eyes.  I’m hoping his genes are dominant in the eye department!

Posted in Family, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Other Coat

I’m glad to hear that my last posts got a few laughs.  I ended up with only one person wanting to join my support group, though I think many of you understood what I was getting at.  I hope that you all know that I was only half serious about Joel’s coat and was just looking for a chance to tease him a bit.  He can really dish it out, so he has to take it once in a while too 🙂  I think after seeing him sewing on his own buttons, some of the ladies thought he could do no wrong.  He kept up with the comments coming in and took great joy in pointing out how many of you liked his coat!

I have to admit this isn’t the first time I have been wrong about his coats.  A few years back, I bought him a coat off the clearance rack as a practical joke.  I am always teasing him about his old man tendencies and I thought this was the perfect old man coat (and yes, I realize that I am the kettle calling the pot black here.  I didn’t know anyone else in college that quilted!  And back then there was a huge stereotype that all quilters were of  . . .  um . . . advanced age.  Plus, there are all those homemade sweaters!).  Turns out that he loved the coat, and kept it.  Again, shows you how much I know about fashion. Now, everywhere he goes, he gets compliments on the coat.  To top that off, last week he had a big motorcycle dude, with a shaved head, goatee, and tattoos offer to buy the coat off his back!

Before I go, I have a favor to ask.  Joel and I are heading to Florida for a few days of vacation before the baby comes.  We are going to be spending 3 days driving the coastal highway from Miami down to the Florida Keys.  We are looking for any advice on fun things to do down there – from good places to stop for food, snorkeling, beaches, sunsets, catamaran rides, other activities or even places to stay.  Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!   I am just hoping I am not to pregnant to enjoy it!  I am just entering the third trimester and this is my view of the world. 

Joel assures me that I still have feet, but I guess I am just going to have to take his word for it.

Posted in Family, Travel | 23 Comments