Baby Bump Update – 37 weeks

Can you believe it?  Only 3 weeks left to go!  I am amazed at how quickly the time has gone, yet somehow as my due date gets closer, time seems to be slowing down a little.  I am a little panicked that I am not ready yet, yet I always feel like I am waiting – and time seems to drag when you are waiting!  It will be interesting to see how the next 3 weeks go.

We had another ultrasound last Thursday and the doctor said everything looked really good.  The baby had been on the large side, so my doctor wanted to check the baby’s size a little closer to my due date.  There was talk of inducing to avoid a ten pounder.  Yikes!  Luckily, the test showed a 7 pound baby, so that talk is now out the window – much to my relief.  The ultrasound also showed his mouth busy going (like his father), followed by him sticking out his tongue at us (a little like his mother).  I am not sure quite how to read that, but we thought it was funny.   The funny part being, that Joel is always talking and once, when I was five, I stuck out my tongue at my mother.  She had sent me up to my room, and as I got to the top of the stairs, I swung around and stuck out my tongue.  To my horror (yes, I still remember this part), Mom was still watching me and saw the whole thing.  The next part, I remember well too – a bar of soap being rubbed on my tongue, with a taste that lasted all day.  I have a feeling more soap might be in my future!

The ultrasound also showed the baby head down and “engaged”.  Another step closer . . .

One of the things I wanted to do when I was pregnant, was take some pictures of the bump and of us together.  I am usually behind the camera, so I hardly have any pictures of us together.  So far it hasn’t happened, so with time running out, I talked Joel into helping me set up the camera with a timer and take some pictures.

We set the camera up on a ladder, then I would focus the camera (or try to, this didn’t always work so well), then run and try to make it into the frame before the timer went off.  Watching me try to run was the funny part – thank goodness we are a little sheltered from our neighbors!

Now, one of me . .

And Joel with Daisy (though I couldn’t get Daisy to smile for the picture.  I imagine that this is good practice for photographing kids!)

In other baby news, I have finally started the nursery.  First up was the task of cleaning out the room and closet.  The closet was full of quilts, which are now in storage bins up in the shed.  It was a little sad to pack them away, but I felt better as I started filling it back up again.  Look at all those clothes!

Can you believe that I have only bought one outfit and two hats?  Honest!  Those are all hand-me downs from the previous 5 nephews in the family.  All the hanging clothes are 3 month size and the bin below is full of six month size clothes.  This boy has more clothes than his father does!  In addition to all these clothes, we are also inherited a swing, an exersaucer, a johny jump up, a floor gym, crib, car seat and other odds and ends.  We are so blessed!

The photo below shows the color scheme of the room – blue, orange, brown, green and grey.  Joel has requested the “Here Fishy, Fishy”  quilt for the room, but with extra fish and a few bobbers.  That isn’t done yet, but the car quilt gives you an idea of the colors.

I am in the process of painting the changing table orange too, though I ran out of paint.

Joel is at Home Depot right now getting some more paint and the wood to make some book ledges to hold kids books.  I love kids books, so I can’t wait to get that feature up in the room – Hopefully soon.

So, while all the other designers are posting pictures of their exciting time at Quilt Market this weekend, I am having a quiet weekend preparing.  It probably doesn’t make for a very exciting blog post, so I hope you don’t mind!  It will be fun for me to look back on it later  . . . . . .

Posted in Family | Tagged | 56 Comments

Winners of the Kids Book

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  We had beautiful weather this weekend (after three weekends of rain), so I took full advantage by enjoying a few Minnesota sunsets up on the deck.  As you can see, it was beautiful!

It’s time to announce the winners of the new book – drawn randomly from the last two posts. 

The winner from Part 1 is: Nicole J, who commented on 5-5-12 at 3:36 pm.

The winner from Part 2 is:  Linda Tenhage, who commented on 5-8-12 at 8:08 pm.

Please e-mail your shipping address to me at and I will get your copy out right away.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

For those of you who didn’t win, many of you have asked when the book is available.  It is available now.  International Quilt Market is this weekend and that is usually when we market it to many of the quilt shops.  Unfortunately, we won’t be at market this spring, because of our coming baby.  To be  honest, I am just too nervous to travel that far with only a few weeks until my due date.  Our distributors will be there showing the book, so you can ask your local quilt shops to order the book from them at market (or call us directly to order.)

Those beautiful sunsets that I mentioned earlier allowed me to work on (and finish up) a few knitting projects.  I have a couple more sweaters ready for the new baby.  I made the first one for his three-month pictures – It’s called the “Gramps Cardigan” by Kate Oates.

I love this pattern and will probably do it up in multiple sizes, as I have time.  It’s done in a soft blue yarn called Vintage by Berroco.  It took less than two skeins, so I might have enough leftover to do a matching hat.

The back  – 

You can find my Ravelry link here.


The next one I finished up is hardly blog worthy because it is so simple, but I was just using up leftover yarn.  I made my first sweater for myself about 7 years ago out of this yarn, and had been hanging onto the leftover skeins ever since.

The pattern is called the Easy Raglan Sweater from the “Baby Knits Book” by Debbie Bliss.  The book is full of really cute projects for babies, including several that will probably be worn by my little boy!

I added the stripes to the pattern, in hopes that I could draw in a few more colors to coordinate with a matching hat.  I made the puppy hat below for my nephew Zachary, using the two brown yarns in the sweater.  I hope to make another puppy hat with my leftovers, to complete the “dorky hand-made” look 😉

I learned a valuable lesson adding those stripes – I should have added them above where I divided for the sleeves.  By adding them below the sleeves, I had about 24 tails to weave in.  Yuck!  (and super bulky under those arms).  If I had done the stripe above the division, I would have had only 6 tails to weave in.  It’s one of those lessons you learn when you change the pattern!  (or have no foresight)

You can’t really see it in the photos, but trust me,  it’s a total mess from the inside!  Lesson learned…..

You can find my Ravelry link here.

I’m off to go hang out by the curb and wait for the UPS man.  My new fabric is supposed to show up any day now and I am (im)patiently waiting!


Posted in Family, Knitting | Tagged | 14 Comments

Preview of Little Quilts 4 Little Kids – Part 2

Time for the rest of the preview on the new book!

For those of you who missed the first part, you can click here to see the boy quilts from the book.

Let’s start off the girl quilts with “Baby Blossoms”.  This quilt is made with a charm pack of Sophie by Chez Moi and some yardage of the brown, blue and red.

The design features easy techniques for making the dresden-type flowers (requiring no templates) and the hexagonal sashing.

The second quilt is the girl option for the “Oh Baby” pattern.  (You already saw the boy version, which was photographed with my nephew Zach and the Ten Little Things fabrics).   The girl version features the addition of some ric rac with the name, and two fabric options.

The Kara quilt features a charm pack of Taza, along with some yardage of the gray.

The Addilyn version is perfect for fat quarters, as the pieces are kept large.  It’s a good way to show off some larger-scale prints, which is something I am often looking for in a pattern.

Ring Toss is another one that I have already shown with the boy quilts.

Here is the close-up of the girl version – Done up in Whimsy (the line that Mom and I did together last summer).

Next up is “Baby Cakes”. 

 This photo features Aubrey, my husband’s niece’s daughter.  She was a perfect little “prop” for the book – she smiled and posed perfectly and we had the shot in less than five seconds.  She even helped pick out her dress and shoes, pointing out that the polka dots on the shoes matched her dress  –  and the quilt too, I might add.  (We also tried to have her little brother in the book.  He was going to be on the cover, but that shot is going to make it into a future bloopers blog post instead.  More to come on that later . . )

This quilt features three different fabrics lines from Bonnie and Camille.  I couldn’t decide which one to use, so I used Ruby, Bliss and their newest collection, Vintage Modern.  The pattern is Charm pack or Layer Cake friendly.

This quilt is called “Cutie Pie” and was made for my niece Abi.

Our nieces Abi and Kara weren’t able to be in the book with their quilts, as they live 3 1/2 hours away.  I am going to show them off a bit anyways!  Here they are all dressed up last weekend at a family wedding.  So sweet . . .

Just a couple quick notes about the quilt – The quilt features 2 1/2″ strips, along with a few scraps for the applique.  It’s perfect for gifts as it goes together really quickly.  You could even make it using the popular quilt-as-you-go technique.  The fabrics shown are from the Simply Sweet line by my fellow Henry Glass designer Barbara Jones.

I had hoped to get a boy version of this quilt done in time to be included in the book, but that didn’t quite happen.  Can’t you just image the fishy appliques from the cover quilt instead of flowers?   Or the car applique from “Racetrack”?

Last up is my favorite of the girls quilt.  I am loving all the cute owls on everything lately, so I had to include an owl quilt in the book.  My niece Addi is the cute little model in the photo.

Here’s a close-up of the quilting and the fabric.  The fabric is Summer Song by Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake.

Even though this quilt looks so girly – it can easily be made for a boy too.  My Mom is in the process of making the boy version below.  Just by changing up the fabrics and leaving the flower out of the owl’s “hair”, it totally looks boyish!

That’s it for the rest of the quilts.  I hope you enjoyed the preview!  The book was delivered here last Wednesday and is arriving in quilt shops now.

I will again leave the comments open for you to have a chance to enter to win a free copy of the book.  I will name the winners from this and the last post in my next blog entry.  Again, I am curious to see which of the designs you like best!

Posted in Family, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 184 Comments

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