Patchwork Sleep Sac with Voile and Anna Maria Horner

Patchwork Sleep Sac

What do you give your best friend when her fourth kid is born, another friend is making and giving her the first quilt she ever made, and she is the type of person who hates extra stuff in her house? That was the challenge I had recently. I did not want to usurp our other friend's efforts nor did I want to contribute to the accumulation of baby stuff, but I still wanted to make something. In the end, I settled on the Sleep Sac from Anna Maria Horner's lovely book, Handmade Beginnings.

Anna Maria Horner Handmade Beginnings

With no flannel in the stash for the inside I went shopping. Then I went through my voile stash to make the patchwork front. It was a family effort. My kidlets worked on the layout of the patchwork and helped press as we go. This is the softest thing ever!

Conveniently, I had some bias binding in the pink already made. When Anna Maria's instructions suggested finishing it by hand like a quilt binding I decided to up my game. Some big stitches in beautiful Valdani floss instead. (Note to self, do that more often.)

Hand Stitched Binding with Valdani Thread

Next time I give this gift - there will totally be a next time - I would add about 3'' in length to the pattern. The new baby is 6 weeks old and nearly too long for this. It's also possible I will be making a second version for her. If not, her stuffies or dolls will be very cuddly in the future. 

Amanda Jean Made Me Do It

Seven years ago I made a leap. I was recuperating from my stupid knee injuries and thinking a lot about life, about what I wanted to be when I grew up. At that time I started emailing another blogger a bit more. One day we decided to take our relationship to the next level and talk on the phone. It was like being a teenager all over again, chit chatting for hours as I lay on my bed and ignored my family. Now I consider her a good friend, a professional colleague, and a quilty inspiration.

No Scrap Left Behind Binding Triangles

Amanda Jean Nyberg now has a new book. It is out now and I jumped on board to help her celebrate. No Scrap Left Behind is her perfect book. She is extraordinarily frugal and saves everything. This book takes that mentality and applies it to all your fabric. She does so with useful tips, storage ideas, and completely inspiring quilts. 

To celebrate the release of the book Amanda asked us to not only blog about the book but to also make something from it. Back when we were writing Sunday Morning Quilts she got me to save my binding triangles. Those little bits we cut off when joining binding strips. I hadn't exactly been throwing them away, but they got dumped in with the rest of my colour sorted scraps. In our discussions writing the book we agreed on sorting by colour as well as pulling out strips/strings and snippets. She took it to the next level with those binding triangles. So I started putting mine aside. They filled a jar. Then overflowed the jar. After that they filled a bowl. Just as I was thinking it was time to do something about them No Scrap Left Behind comes out. It was meant to be.

No Scrap Left Behind Chain of Diamonds

There are two quilts in the book that I could have done, Remainders and Chain of Diamonds (not to mention Up, Up, and Away from Sunday Morning Quilts). I chose Chain of Diamonds because it reminded me of a sketch I once made myself from a store window I once saw. Plus, I had a lot of colours in my overflowing jar and bowl.

I'm not going to lie, this was an intense make. Made more so by me doing it over the last 2 weeks while I was sick (and my kids). I counted, there are 1709 seams in this quilt! But the good thing is that they are all small. 

No Scrap Left Behind Small Piecing

To keep the project a lot more manageable, I suggest turning this into one of two things. Make the blocks as leaders/enders. That is, prep your background squares and keep them next to your machine with the triangles. At the end of a seam when you are working on something else sew a triangle on instead of cutting your thread. Or, turn this into a Morning Make project. Spend 10-20 minutes a day and slowly but sure the blocks will come together. 

Regardless of how you do this I would totally recommend this quilt. It was fun, it has great impact, and it makes excellent use of those scraps!

I went from a full platter (once I unsquished them from the jar/bowl) to barely a third. I even had to cut a few extra scraps to round out the selection. Now I just might have to make something else to use the rest of the triangles! For a change from my instinctual mix of low volume fabrics for the background I went all the way to the other end of the spectrum. Black prints, including many from my Tag collection, played together. As I made blocks it was a lot of fun to think back to the quilt where the scrap came from. So many memories.

No Scrap Left Behind Binding Triangles

Thanks for being a good friend all these years Amanda Jean. And for continuing to be such an inspiration to quilters everywhere.

I'm happy to be giving away a copy of the No Scrap Left Behind to a lucky reader, courtesy of C&T Publishing. Trust me, you want this book! Please leave a comment below, including your email: nameATserverDOTcom. I can't auto reply through my blog so I need your email to get you your prize. US winners get a hard copy of the book, International winners will get a digital version.


No Scrap Left Behind


Make sure you check out all the other bloggers sharing their projects from the book:

Monday, April 24th Mary Kolb

Tuesday, April 25, Lee Monroe

Wednesday, April 26, Sandi Hazelwood

Thursday, April 27, Bernie Kringel

Friday, April 28, Erin Cox

Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves

Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney

Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison

Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske

Friday, May 5, 

Giveaway Winner was Sue, comment 190/226. Thanks to the Random Number Generator.

Love the black & white background you used! It's nice to read how you became friends with Amanda Jean too. :)

Everyday Skirt in Juxtaposey by Betz White

Every day skirt by Liesl and Co.

Don't mind me, I'm just over here pretending it is spring.  Despite the recent snow on the ground I am feeling decidedly spring-like in my new skirt. Betz White's new fabric for Riley Blake, Juxtaposey, is the perfect fit for this time of year. The Everyday skirt by Liesl and Co is also a perfect fit for me. As soon as I saw the fabric and Betz asked if I wanted to play with it I knew these two beauties would be perfect for each other.

It is wonderful to see Betz White designing fabric again. She has a really strong, interesting sense of colour. Between her ornament patterns, eco-throws, and bags she also has a great eye for what looks good. 

Juxtaposey calls on textile design from around the world. Betz brings together motifs from different traditions, highlights her love of wool in the collection itself and with the llama featured throughout. It is one of those fabric lines with something for everyone. This floral immediately called out to me. 

Juxtaposey by Betz White for  Riley Blake

I will admit, I was hesitant about using quilting cotton with this Everyday Skirt pattern. I've only ever made it with rayon. As my butt is already big, would the gathers of the waist make it worse? Turns out, nope. That's because my butt is already big. The not a full skirt, not an a-line of this pattern just seems to work for me.

If it would ever stop snowing I will happily put this skirt into heavy rotation in my spring and summer wardrobe. My daughter asked for one as well. I'm all for cute, but that's a bit much! No, Juxtaposey is all mine. Well, at least in this house. You can get it yourself in stores now.

Every Day in Juxtaposey Fabric

Disclosure: Riley Blake provided me with the fabric to make this skirt. I purchased the Every Day Skirt pattern myself from The Workroom.


All The Sundays

Sunday Morning Quilts A Month of Sundays Denyse Schmidt

All The Sundays

70'' x 70''

An oh so special quilt is finally finished. I wasn't impatient or anything, but as soon as the last stitches went in the other day I realized how much I wanted this quilt to be done. Only so that it could be real, that it could be a thing I used and loved.

The first bits of piecing in this quilt started years ago. I was teaching a Slab class, the technique popularized in my book with Amanda Jean, Sunday Morning Quilts. In my prep for the class I grabbed a bunch of scraps from making the quilts in A Month of Sundays. They were handy, that's all. I had no specific plan. So I made my samples for the class and that was that. A bit later I was reading Denyse Schmidt's book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspirations. Her Shoeman's Puzzle quilt grabbed me immediately.

I'm not sure when the moment was that I decided to combine all these influences into one quilt, but it happened. And it was love at first sight.

Slabs and Low Volume and Shoeman's Puzzle

It wasn't an easy quilt to make. I made freezer paper templates to keep me on track. Those didn't come into play until after I'd made slabs though. The templates were totally necessary to keep lines as they should be, especially important with all those angles and bias edges. Of course, then there is the removing of the paper. Thankfully there are only 3 seams in each block, about the easiest paper piecing you can do.

The quilt top sat for a year and a half in the closet, keeping a dozen other quilt tops company. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do to quilt it and was willing to wait until the right idea hit me. Or, the right person to do it for me. 

Last summer I met Dara from Stitched Quilting Co. Turns out her MIL lives a few blocks away from me. We had a few visits and chatted quilting, dogs, and mothering. Well a couple of months ago Dara messaged to say she had an opening in her long arm schedule and delivery ready, if I had a quilt to go. Seeing as my Quilts Under Construction list is quite long I wasn't about to turn down the opportunity! This quilt made the cut precisely because I didn't have a plan for it and I already had a wide back purchased and ready to go. After a frantic evening of pulling papers and a few repairs I got it to Dara.

Stitched Quilting Co Free Motion Quilting

With so much solid expanse in the whites/creams of the quilt top this needed a special touch. Dara gave it just that! Such custom, detailed work. So much attention to detail. There are secondary and tertiary patterns in this quilt top and her quilting highlighted them. I'm thrilled with the outcome.

For the backing and binding I chose to go back to my dear friend Amanda Jean's fabric, Good Neighbors. She had a wide back fabric in that collection. And the orange dot was absolutely perfect for the binding. Conveniently I'd just ordered a half yard of it, the perfect amount. And lucky for me, because neither are available anymore!

Good Neighbors Fabric Crazy Mom Quilts

My husband will happily tell anyone that we have a ridiculous amount of quilts in our house. He is very obliging if we are asked for donations or gifts. Little does he know that this quilt will never leave my hands. It represents so much to me, not to mention that I think it is absolutely beautiful. I will always think of friendships, how my career has grown, and the history contained in some beautiful fabric.