Bill’s Star

My friend Bill wanted a handmade quilt for his bed. I can’t argue with that. If you are lucky enough to know a quilter who will make you a quilt for your bed (or you ARE a quilter), just know that you own a treasure because there are a LOT of hours that go into making a quilt that large. (I think that you should read this post on the value of a quilt.)

Bill is a dear friend, and when his Facebook status asked if anyone knew a quilter, I was more than happy to volunteer my own skills.

Bill sent me this photo as an example of the colors he wanted. Rather than go with all solids, I found the Michael Miller Krystal prints at The Fat Quarter Shop. Ivory, burgundy, and teal (which is really more “spruce”, I think) were perfect!

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.15.57 AM

I found this pattern for a Single Star Wreath on Serendipity Patchwork. The pattern was for 6-inch blocks and a finished quilt of 42 inches. I modified the idea to make 14-inch blocks and a quilt that finishes at 98 inches on a side!


I love how the angles of the blocks give the illusion of a star in a circle.

Bill's circle star quilt

I made some huge templates to get the isosceles triangle blocks and worked with oversized half square triangles. It was a fun challenge to make blocks of this large scale.

Bill's circle star quilt

The next photo shows the color a little more accurately and you can see the quilting, which was done by Pat Cole on her long arm machine. The size of this quilt was more than I was comfortable attempting on my little domestic Bernina!

Bill's circle star quilt

I kept is simple with the back and used a single length of 108″ backing fabric with a subtle tone on tone ivory print.

Bill's circle star quilt

Bill, I hope this keeps you cozy and happy. It was joy making this for you, friend.


Custom “fill in the blank” tote

I had a request for a bag that a 3-year-old child could be involved in “designing”.

Mary wanted to purchase a bag for her daughter and have her granddaughter add some artwork to it.  She said that she had some fabric that she wanted me to use in the construction of the bag and that she would sew on some patches later with her granddaughter’s drawings.

When I went to pick up her fabric, I realized it was a heavy weight fabric, like I would use on the inside of one of my totes.

I suddenly had a brilliant idea.  I would use her fabric on the inside of the bag.

Fill in the blank tote inside

The next day, I brought selections of a few different color combinations to show Mary.  She chose the one you see in the photos, and I created a patchwork bag that included several patches of white fabric.  She could purchase some fabric markers and guide her granddaughter in adding artwork before she gave the bag to her daughter.  It would save her the trouble of sewing on patches later.

The bag includes “blank canvas” patches of various sizes, and I was sure to include one that would be large enough for a 3-year-old’s handprint (I used my 4-year-old as a model. Handy that I had one of those around!)

Fill in the blank tote side 2

There’s plenty of room for drawings on the front and more on the back!

Fill in the blank tote

The bag has a small accessories pocket for all those small things the recipient wants to find easily.

Fill in the blank tote: zipper pocket Fill in the blank tote: pocket I’ve requested a photo of this bag when it’s “finished” with the art embellishments.  This was a fun project for me, I can’t wait to see the final version.

The giant shower cap, I mean, shopping cart cover

My friend Sarah appreciates handcrafted items.  She shops on etsy (I do, too!).  Recently she was looking for a particular handmade item and she asked me if she could give me the business rather than someone she didn’t know.

While I had never made a shopping cart cover before, it seemed like something that I could put together.  I purchased a pattern, but then didn’t like it, so I ended up reading about 4 different shopping cart cover tutorials online and then just going for it.

Here it is before I put the elastic in it.  It’s basically a giant square with rounded corners and leg holes.  With a shopping cart cover you can keep it simple with just two layers of fabric (or even one, I suppose) and it will pack up pretty small.  However, Sarah requested a little bit of cushioning for her little guy.  I used two layers of quilting cotton with a layer of fleece sandwiched in the middle.  You sacrifice a little “packability” in exchange for a softer ride for baby.

This Valori Wells Karavan print is just stunning.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  The elephants and the color scheme make it appropriate for a little boy, but the subtle flower pattern in the elephants mean you could also use it for a girl.

I added a little pocket with an elastic top that should be big enough for a sippy cup.  I measured a shopping cart, so I think the placement should be right, but you just never know until you put it in the cart, and I never did.  I hope it works!

I also added a little loop that can be used to clip on a toy or pacifier.  And you can also see the edge of the leg holes in this next pictures.  This is the part of this project that gave me the most trouble.  I originally tried to close them with bias trim, but the curves made that really difficult and it wasn’t up to my standards.  I ended up ripping all that off and then just tucking the edges under and topstitching them closed close to the edge.

I made a little cinch sac to match so Sarah can roll it up and stuff it in and it will be easy to grab next time.

Here it is after I put the elastic in: you see why I think it looks like a giant shower cap (does anyone other than mother actually use a shower cap?)?

All ready to pack up and go!

Custom dance bag

My friend Phoebe asked to make a dance bag for her daughter.  “It’s time she stopped carrying that tote bag I got at a conference a few years back,” she said.  (I know the feeling; my daughter’s dance bag is something I got at a triathlon many years ago!)

Phoebe told me that her daughter loved anything purple and pink and that it might be fun to incorporate some tulle into the design.  She wanted it to be easy for her young daughter to open and get her things.  I came up with this messenger style bag.

I drew the silhouette of the dancer and when I was happy with her, traced her on to freezer paper and then cut her out in fabric.  When Phoebe mentioned “tulle”, I originally thought I might do a dancer applique and make her skirt out of tulle.  In the end though, I thought that might be too easy to snag and decided to add tulle under some coordinating fabric ribbon next to the dancer.

Since it needed to be easy for a little one to open and close, I kept the closure simple with two strips of velcro.

There is a large velcro closure pocket on the back of the bag.

And an inside zip pocket to keep any small items that might get lost.

The details of this bag are really fun.  The tulle has some glitter in it and since I had to order loops and sliders for the width of this strap anyway, I went with pink instead of the standard black.

I am really pleased with how this bag turned out and I think that a child sized messenger bag might be one of the products I offer when I get my online store up and running.  This bag is 8 x 11 x 3 inches and the strap adjusts from 18 – 36 inches so that a young person can carry it over her shoulder or slung across her body.