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Q is for Quilt: an ABC quilt

February 25, 2014


It’s Q Week in Graham’s preschool class. And that can only mean one thing: it’s time to take our ABC quilt to school!


As I pulled it out of the cabinet today, I realized that I’ve not blogged about this quilt. It’s a fun story that is worth sharing, I think.


These blocks were made waaaaay back in May 2010 in one of the bees I belonged to at the time. Each of the 11 other members made two letter blocks from the two fabrics I sent them. For example, one person made the F&S blocks, alternating which fabric was the letter and which was the background. I gave them a few resources online and in print form, but at the time there were not nearly the number of letter patterns out there as there are today. I’ve listed a few at the end of the post for anyone interested in doing something similar.


I got the blocks back right around the time we were packing up and moving from Kansas City to San Diego for our year long adventure there. I took them with me and finished the quilt top in January 2011 and gave it to my friend Angela Walters, along with a long list of words to quilt into each block.

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Then I started my pattern business and kept bumping up other quilts of mine in line ahead of this one, so it wasn’t until January 2013 that we got around to the ABCs. Eleanor’s preschool class’ Q Week was looming! I think I actually texted a photo of the preschool class calendar to Angela as my official request to quilt it! Ha!


Angela did a fantastic job working in all of those words. There are names of family members (cousins, aunts, uncle, grandparent nicknames, etc), cities we lived in at the time (Kansas City and San Diego) and things the kids were into (trucks, swimming). It’s sort of like an I Spy.


I realize some letter teaching purists might call out the fact that the letters are wonky and many of the words are in cursive- not the type that they see or learn in preschool. But I don’t care. It’s such a fun quilt to share with others. In fact, Graham’s teachers approached me about bringing it before I could even offer! Eleanor’s teachers from the year before had told them about it!


Like all quilts I make, it’s meant to be USED! I left it with Graham’s teachers this morning with instructions to keep it all week, let them sit, stand, roll and jump around on it (minus shoes!) and I’ll just wash it up at the end of the week. The teachers always come up with great games to use with it.



The backing fabric from an old Cosmo Cricket line (called Girl Friday) was the actual inspiration for the quilt. I used a coordinating stripe from the line as the binding. The Kona solids are: jade, primrose, melon, tangerine, buttercup, olive, papaya, peony, canary and aqua.

If you’re looking for letter making resources, you are in luck! Here are a few you could use:

Elizabeth Hartman’s Refrigerator Magnets

Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci

Moda’s Spell it with Fabric blog hop (happening now!)

If you have another letter making resource, please share in the comments!

Modern Applique Workbook: Blog Tour

February 20, 2014

modern appliqué workshop, jenifer dick, book giveaway, modern quilt, stash books

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Modern Appliqué Workshop, a recent Stash Books release by Jenifer Dick!

I’m fortunate to regularly see Jenifer’s work in person, as we are both members of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. It really is gorgeous work and her craftsmanship shines through in her book. These aren’t raw edges, people! Jenifer uses invisible thread for her invisible zigzag appliqué method and if you’ve never tried it, this is the book for you.

It’s that attention to detail I’ll be talking about today.

Many of the quilts in Jenifer’s book feature unique shapes that include sharp points, v-shapes or curves- shapes that add a lot to the quilt, but might make an inexperienced appliquér nervous.




That’s the magic of this book! Jenifer’s quilts are beautifully made and her tips will set you up for success, too. The book has a wonderfully detailed section on working with dull points, sharp points, inner and outer curves and deep v-shapes, including nice large, detailed step-by-step photo instructions. Jenifer is an excellent teacher and that comes through loud and clear in her writing.

Giveaway time!

Stash Books has offered up a copy of the book! International winners will receive an e-book, US winners receive a hard copy. To enter, tell me if you’ve ever used invisible thread before. I’ll select a winner on February 26th!  This giveaway is now closed. Sherry VF is the randomly selected winner and has been notified. Thanks to all who entered!

Grab a copy of the book online now or order an autographed copy of Modern Appliqué Workbook  directly from Jenifer. Be sure to enter the drawings at each of the blog hop stops, where each host has a different chance to win a copy:

Feb. 10: Bonnie Hunter @ Quiltville

Feb. 11: Amy Smart @ Diary of a Quilter 

Feb. 12: Angela Walters @ Quilting is My Therapy 

Feb. 13: Debbie Grifka @ Esch House Quilts  

Feb. 14: Tammie Schaffer @ Crafty Tammie 

Feb. 17: Casey York @ Casey York Designs 

Feb. 18: Deb Rowden 

Feb. 19: Melissa Thompson Maher @ Generation Q magazine 

Feb. 20: Shea Henderson – That’s me!

Feb. 21: Diane Harris @ Quiltmaker Magazine



DIY “I Spy” Valentines!

February 6, 2014


It’s Valentine time and my kids are pumped about their Valentine’s Day cards this year. Last year, Eleanor drew up her own and I scanned, scaled, arranged and printed it out. That was fun. But this year, both kids are into I Spy books and I have been storing this idea away for the perfect year. My friend Sarah made one with her daughter once and the image has stuck in my mind since- “I Spy” valentines!

It’s incredibly easy. Here’s what you need:

– a camera (duh)

– approximately 20-2000 teeny tiny little trinkets and toys

– a platform of varied levels (we grabbed books with a pink or red spine)

– fabric or paper for a background

– a kid who loves to arrange, rearrange and re-rearrage

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This is one instance where I was actually glad my kids have tons of little trinkets!

The kids came up with some of the items on the list and I added others.  InDesign was used to arrange the photo and some text, but any photo editing program will work. I set the dimensions to print as a 4×6 photo (printed via mpix) and we will put them in A4 envelopes. We printed several extras to mail some to friends and family in addition to passing them out to their classmates.

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An early Happy Valentine’s Day from our family to you! If you make one of these, please share. My kids would love to hunt down items on your list!

Oliver + S (and a doll) Christmas Dress

February 1, 2014


Back in November, Eleanor tallied up her piggy bank cash, visited the bank to count her coins and took a trip to the American Girl store to pick out a doll. I have vivid memories of my parents having me pay for my own Samantha Parkington doll (which I still own!) and knew I wanted Eleanor to do the same. She came home a proud owner of a Kit Kittredge doll and I promised her I’d make her and her doll matching Christmas dresses.

I knew I wanted to make Eleanor’s dress from The Library Dress pattern by Oliver + S and thanks to the ever helpful fabric-swatch-mailing and phone consultating with Diana at Pink Chalk Fabrics, I knew I wanted to make it from Robert Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Pepper  for the main dress and In the Beginning Modern Solids in Slate for the sash.  Eleanor would have been a picky pants about buttons down the back of the dress and I wanted to put an invisible zipper in the dress instead. I’d done one in the Fairy Tale Dress I made last Christmas and loved how it turned out. Lucky for me, Liesl shared a very helpful reader-written post for making that change.

Oliver + S doll dress, doll library dress, american girl, liberty jane dress pattern

Eleanor was delighted with her new dress and wore it several times at Christmas and since then, too. She even begged to wear it to school last week for the 100th day of kindergarten.

Oliver + S doll dress, doll library dress, american girl, liberty jane dress pattern

To make the doll dress, I modified this kimono dress from Pixie Faire patterns. I axed the apron and used sleeves from another doll dress pattern I had so that I could lengthen the sleeve and eliminate the gathers at the top seam. I also skipped the binding on the bodice and instead sewed it much like Eleanor’s dress, with two layers sewn together to make each of the overlapping pieces. I added the trim at the top and bottom of the sash and ended up chopping off a few inches from the skirt width because I wanted the pleats to mimic the real dress. I really love how it turned out, though I am highly annoyed that I didn’t notice that the pleats point the wrong way on the doll dress front. If I hadn’t already finished the edges of that seam and if it hadn’t been the wee hours of the morning, I might have fixed it. Oh, well!

I have a feeling that many, many doll outfits are in my future!

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