Archives by category

A Trio of Amazing Memory Quilts

Just a quick FYI for quilters in southeastern Wisconsin, Ben Franklin Crafts in Oconomowoc is celebrating it’s 45th Anniversary this week. They have a number of exciting things planned and I’ll be there demonstrating some of the techniques from my books. For all the information please go to their website:


And now on to my topic of the week:

Earlier this year I taught for the Northwest Suburban Quilt Guild of Chicago and met a very talented member named Joyce Drenth. During show and tell Joyce shared quilts she was making for her granddaughters. I was blown away and asked if I could share the quilts and their stories in a blog post. Recently I received this note from Joyce:

“Hi, Chris, I very much enjoyed your wonderful presentation, “Quilt Tales”, to our guild. The journey through quilting was greatly enjoyed by all. After I shared my three quilts made for my three granddaughters, you asked me to email you with my story shared that evening. Now that my last little darling received her quilt, I can let ‘the cat out of the bag’ and share the images of the quilts.”

I’m sure you’re going to enjoy the quilts and their stories:

“As a 2015 Christmas present for my 5 grandchildren, I purchased some Color Me fabric, cut it into fat quarters and backed each with freezer paper for stability. I gave each of my son’s three dancing girls (ages 8, 6 and 3) a piece of the ballerina fabric and one package of fabric markers to use to color their dancers. Included in the present was a coupon for “Sewing with Grandma”. I had already started the tradition of working with the girls around Thanksgiving time to sew Christmas presents for their Mommy, Daddy, Aunt, Grandma and Godparents. We enjoy the time together learning all about creativity, sewing, safety, pride and enjoyment in giving hand-made projects to loved-ones.

Good News – Bad News!

Good News! They completed coloring their fabrics within 6 months.

Madison’s quilt back

Maia’s quilt back

Bad news! I was in the midst of packing up our home to move. So, the sewing time with grandma was put on hold temporarily.

Bad news! I had not decided on a worthy project to utilize the fabric.

Good News! My daughter-in-law had a terrific idea. She saved different pieces of clothing the girls wore throughout their early years and asked me if I might be willing and able to create a small Memory Quilt for the girls. Her wishes included the use of the clothing in the shapes of hearts. While viewing Pinterest, she saw some samples she admired, so off to the fabric store we went so that she could select the background materials she envisioned for the quilts. Chevrons in gray and white tones are prevalent among the girls’ quilts, but each was slightly different from the other sisters.

Great News ! I decided to buy some backing fabric and have the girls border their colored fabric with enough fabric to make the backs of ‘their’ Memory Quilt! So, this past February, I scheduled time to complete this task.

BAD News! My sewing machine decided that the tension setting would not respond to my ‘demands’. The April birthday quilt swirls were being outlined in 12-weight thread when my machine’s electronics decided I was not in charge. To compound this, the store to which I took my machine informed me that it would be one month before they would get it back to me!

Good News! My daughter inherited my loving mother-in-law’s rarely-used Featherweight (newly serviced) machine that she was very willing to allow me to borrow. I took it to my son’s house and all the girls got to sew on this wonderfully-memorable machine. The featherweight’s diminutive size and totally different capacity for stitching compared to my computerized machine was a true sharing moment for me as I explained only forward and reverse stitching that I grew up with in my sewing journey. A history lesson in the making!

Since all my five grandchildren are very familiar with my presents of gifting appropriately-holiday- themed pillowcases, the girls were speculating that their framed artwork would be turned into future pillowcases for their beds – but they were very surprised!

Good News Again! Each of the girls has a birthday in spring months: March, April and May. When the March birthday came, there was an abundance of smiles and memories to share. Mommy and Daddy especially remembered moments in time when the piece of clothing was worn, the location, time and age of the daughter. Since each of the girls’ clothing included a pocket or two, I decided that I would incorporate them in the ‘Memory’ theme. I asked Mommy and Daddy to write a special little ‘memory’ note to tie up into a scroll and tuck it into a pocket. I did see a few tears well up in the parents’ eyes as they were read! Such a special family moment!

Madison’s quilt front

Maia’s quilt front

Emma’s quilt front

Even though I wrote a label to each of the girls, I also ordered Story Patches labels by Rob Appell that were printed with a black sewing machine. I wanted the memory of sewing on the Featherweight to be recorded on the back of the quilt for them forever. In the QR code, I included my personal message that could be scanned for the girls to see and remember our time together through the years. Pictures I took during the sewing times reflected the projects made and the ages of the girls when the gifts were created. I also recorded a video for each granddaughter where I remembered our times together creating the projects shown in the pictures.

For the middle child, I included background fabrics from both older and younger siblings within her quilt. Who knew such a simple little fabric purchase and gift of “Sewing with Grandma” would result in a wonderfully-memorable moment in time! Serendipity!

My Label Quote:

Quilts are a journal,

Bits and pieces of fabric…

Various shapes and sizes…

With colors that come to life.

Joined together, they tell a story.

I hope this captures the quilt journey for each girl. Thank you for expressing an interest in these loving presents. I also tried to capture the essence of their quilts in their handmade cards. I always create a card for the birthdays, capturing their theme of the year. This year it was ‘A Time to Remember’.

Dear Joyce, thank you so much for sharing these wonderful memory quilts with us!


And one more thing  🙂 !

Last week I shared a photograph of a quilt made by Maria that contained barn and covered bridge blocks. This past week Cari emailed me with a photo of a quilt she made with some of those same blocks.

Cari wrote:

“After looking at your article on spacing those barn photos I thought I would send you a landscape I made this spring using three barns from that same panel. My friend has a wall of barns and wanted some texture among them and asked if I could make her a quilt. She picked out the three she wanted and I put them on a stripped background, added trees,,grass, etc. I really had fun with this new venture”.

A beautiful setting for those blocks. Great job Cari!

August 19, 2018, Kids
A Sommer Quilt

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much I love to teach others how to quilt, especially kids. When my eldest granddaughter, Hanna was 5, she made a quilt for her dolly – and sewed every stitch herself. It took her two hours and when she was done she said “can I make another one?” I love that girl  😀 !

Her little brother wanted to try it, but I made him wait until he was 6. On a visit here from Washington, Willy made a quilt for his bear. He worked on it over the course of 2 weeks and got it done. It’s not really his thing – but he stuck with it.

My great-niece Lily stayed overnight with us when she was 7. She knew her cousins had made quilts and she wanted to try it too.

Sommer (5) is my “nearby” granddaughter, and we care for her and her brother while mommy and daddy are at work every day. Last summer I said to her “Hanna was 5 when she made her first quilt. Would you like to learn how to make a quilt”. She thought for a few seconds and then replied “no thank-you”.

Well, this past Monday she was home from school with a cold. After breakfast she informed me she was ready to make a quilt.

She chose her favorite 12 squares from my charm square box and arranged them on the floor.

I set up my featherweight on the same bench the other kids used and sat her on a stool. She learned to press the pedal with her foot and quickly caught on to the idea of keeping the fabric edges along the “pad” of painter’s tape.

She kept everything in order on the floor as she sewed.

She sewed all the rows together, picked a backing, helped me pin the layers together and sewed all the way around. After turning it right side out, I marked the quilt with a sliver of soap, and she machine quilted it with a big “X”.

I knew she was enjoying herself when she exclaimed “We’re rocking this quilt grandma!”

She wrapped it around her daddy’s old Cabbage Patch Kid and gave it a hug.

And here’s one more picture of my proud little quilter.

At this point she reminded me that she won’t be 6 until March, so she made her quilt while she was 5, just like Hanna!

And here’s the other kids and their quilts. I think I’ve got this lesson down pat  🙂 .

To read Hanna’s post click here.

To read Willy’s post click here.

To read Lily’s post click here.

Before I end this week’s post, I need to add one more picture. Yesterday we had a party for Trey’s 3rd birthday. It’s a tradition in our family that I make the kid’s birthday cakes (I do prefer to make quilts – they last longer 🙂 ). So here’s our youngest with his PJ Mask cake.

I wonder when he’ll be ready to make a quilt  😛 !

February 25, 2018, Kids
A Chip Off the Old Block

My final blog post of 2017 is about two of my favorite subjects – grandchildren and sewing!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I enjoy teaching young people to sew and quilt.

You may remember a post I did a few months ago about Hanna’s landscape quilt (click here to read that post). Well now I’d like to share her long distance adventure with fusing.

I love Facetime and being able to “talk” to the kids via video. A while ago, Hanna said she wanted to make a pillow with a “critter” of some sort on it. Since she doesn’t have a sewing machine, I thought she might enjoy fusing. So I sent her a bunch of fabric and a length of Heat ‘n Bond™ paper backed fusible web. She thanked me when it arrived and then didn’t mention it again. A little while later she “called” to say she wanted to start. I’d made her a video on how to use the fusible and texted it to her, but she wanted me to talk her through it via FaceTime. I watched her set up the ironing board, we talked about iron safety, and she gathered the supplies.

She had decided she wanted to put Mickey Mouse™ on a piece of fabric and make it into a pillow. She traced her design onto the fusible web, ironed it to her fabric, cut it out, and fused it to the muslin background. She had a package of pre-cut/fused letters with which she added her name. Voilá – the pillow top was done as we spoke.

The next day I received the above pictures from her dad with the message “I think she gets this from you”; and 4 smiley faces!

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I’m pretty sure this girl needs a sewing machine!

On Hanna and Willy’s most recent visit she thought it would be fun to make pillow cases for daddy and her other grandparents for Christmas. Willy helped her pick out the perfect flannels for each of them, then she began to sew.

And she completed all three!

Afterwards we went to see Star Wars with Uncle Brad and Aunt Betsy (grandpa was home with the little ones  🙂 )

Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!

December 31, 2017, Kids
Homemade Christmas Gifts – Part 2

Last week I asked for pictures of Christmas gifts “you” were making this year. I received responses from 2 talented stitchers and I found their projects delightful. I think you will too!

Sonnalea does beautiful things with her embroidery machine. Here’s what she sent:

“Chris, each year I make my grandchildren a Christmas ornament.  I have attached the front and the back (the front of the ornaments was a Design by Sick).  

I also attached a wallhanging I made for my sisters (it’s from a Janine Babich Design).  My sister Marcele received one of these.  Merry Christmas to you. Sonnalea.”

Sonnalea’s sister, Marcele, is a friend of mine from church – and she had shown me a picture of this wallhanging the same day Sonnalea emailed it to me 🙂 .

Then I got an email from Margaret. She is a very talented quilter, and is a sewing and quilting judge at many local county fairs. Here’s what she had to share:

“For several years, I have been making new pillowcases for each of my grandchildren every  Christmas … I sent these off last week.

Last month, I gave a demo @ our morning guild meeting (Kettle Moraine Quilt Guild), using that “hot dog method”.  When we meet this week, instead of exchanging gifts as we usually do, members will be bringing pillowcases to donate to Children’s Hospital (they like to give them out to patients to keep).

Your pictures are wonderful … I will share your blog with guild members.
Thank you … Margaret”

What a great idea for a guild “gift exchange”! This was followed by a second email with more wonderful projects:

“Thought of you as I was making these stockings for our youngest grandchildren – wishing I had not left this task until after Thanksgiving.  After all … these babies were born in July & Sept.  But – stockings were sent off & are now hanging.
The overall designs were to match their older sibling’s stockings, but yet I have tried to make each unique.  Even though the cuffs are sewn on last, I did use your method of sewing the lining for Finley’s stocking … thank you for sharing your tips.

I enjoy the hand work & creativity … and if I thought our families would continue to grow, I would write up better instructions so I don’t need to figure everything out again.  Personally, I’m anxious to get back to regular quilting!”

That last part made me laugh out loud. I can really identify – I’m forever reinventing the wheel.

Thank you Margaret and Sonnalea!

I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful season and all the preparations which go with it!

December 17, 2017, Kids
Flillows and Star Wars

In honor of Star Wars day this past week (May the 4th be with you!), I decided it would be fun to do a Star Wars post. I think I’ve included a little something for everyone. Here goes:

Our son and grandsons are currently into Star Wars. In fact, for Trey’s second birthday a Star Wars theme cake was requested from grandma (I’m better at quilting, but I do enjoy decorating a cake every so often).

bb8 cake

For Willy’s 9th birthday, I decided to pick up some fun Star Wars fleece, sew it into a checkerboard throw, add a pillow pocket and voilá – a Star Wars flillow,

star wars flillow

with his initial on the pocket!

You may be confused – A Flillow??? Where did that come from? Please let me explain:

Years ago I got hooked on making Quillows. You may remember that these were a hot gift item: A lap sized quilt with a pillow pocket centered on the bottom of the quilt back. When open it was a snuggly quilt,

but with a little folding and tucking it became a pillow.

These were wonderful for keeping in the car for emergencies or an impromptu picnic. They were also great for kids to take on a sleepover because, when folded into a pillow, there was room for a pair of pj’s and a toothbrush in the pocket.

Recently I was snuggling under a “no-sew” fleece throw our daughter had gifted us many years ago,

fleece dog throw flillow

and it occurred to me that it could become a Flillow (my own invention: a fleece-quilt-pillow) by adding a pocket to the back!

It worked great! And the Flillow was born. Willy’s was the second one I made.

Now back to Star Wars:

Last year I saw a pattern on the internet for crocheted Star Wars characters. I sent the link to my Mom. She’s amazing at crocheting and reading patterns. Trey got the stormtrooper and Yoda for his birthday and Sommer got Leah and Luke (complete with light saber) for hers.

The kids love them!

So there you have it a post that contains both Star Wars and handcrafts. I hope you enjoyed it.

Do you have a quillow from the past? Do you have a fleece throw just crying to be a flillow? Let me know  🙂 !


And one last note – to view the winners from Quilt Week in Paducah, including the Viewer’s Choice awards announced after the show ended, go to:

May 7, 2017, Kids
Tutus and Soleless Sandals

Last week Sheila made an inspiring comment on my blog. I thought many of you would find it interesting, so here it is:

“Thanks for your weekly hints.  I’ve found them very helpful. Just finished laying out fabric for a number of mug rugs.  Great idea for friends instead of Xmas cards.  Will make a bunch now.  Then first week in Dec. we will deliver them.  Will take my grandfather’s string of brass bells his horses wore during the Christmas season and ring at the houses where we deliver mug rugs.”  

Thanks Sheila, for the great idea! Now on to this week’s blog post. It isn’t really about quilts, but includes ribbons, tulle, and beads. I hope you enjoy it!


This Summer, Sommer and I have had fun doing crafts. Both of the projects I’m sharing here were made with items quilters probably have on hand, or could easily find at a local craft store, and they were simple enough for a 4 year old (with help 😉 ).

The first was a tulle tutu.


You’ll need a piece of 1″ ribbon long enough to tie around a little girls waist with a big bow (set this piece aside); a roll of 6″ wide tulle in a pretty color, and a roll of 1″ wide ribbon to compliment the tulle in the skirt.

  • Measure the length you’d like the tutu and double that number. Cut 12 pieces each, of the tulle and the skirt ribbon, at that length.tulle tutu
  • Clamp the waist ribbon to a table at each end, or tie around chairs.
  • Fold a length of tulle in half and place around the child’s wrist.tulle tutu
  • Pull the tails under the ribbon and have the child grab them above the ribbon.tulle tutu
  • Now have the child simply pull the ends through the loop to make a “knot”.tulle tutu
  • Repeat for all the tulle and ribbon pieces, alternating as you go.

    tutu proud

    too-too proud!


The next week Sommer’s little brother, Trey, pulled something out of one of my drawers. It was a trip down memory lane, as my grandmother made these “soleless sandals” for me when I was in High School.


The second pair he grabbed came from the Sew We Go adventure Wendy and I made to Alaska. As we were preparing for our cruise of the Inside Passage, Wendy’s sister Heidi offered to share a beading project. We were thrilled, and it ended up being another version of this fun foot jewelry.

A-cruise 025

My grandmother’s were crocheted, but Heidi’s were made with strung beads. She was kind enough to bring all the supplies and a bunch of us had a great time making them.

I put them on and Sommer wanted a pair of her own. So I found some elastic thread and beads in my studio and she was off. She preferred working on the floor and spread out all the supplies. Then she began to put the beads onto the threaded needle:

kids foot jewelry

kids foot jewelry

Just watching her technique makes by back hurt, but she was content and finished her first one:

kids foot jewelry

Then, 4 beads into the second one, she pricked her finger. No blood, but the tears flowed freely and her “drama queen” side kicked into gear. She wanted me to finish it, but I remember my mom making sure I finished a project myself, to learn perseverance. So we put it aside, and the next day, with a little bit of encouraging, she jumped back on the horse – and here are the results:

Soleless sandals for Grandma and Sommer

There are many Youtube videos with lessons for “how to make foot jewelry, or toe thongs”. Here are just a few: ,

Please let me know if you make any for yourself, or share them with a child. I’d love to see pictures!

August 21, 2016, Kids
From Thread Tails to Gnome Home

Last year the small challenge at the Milwaukee Art Quilters was entitled: “3-D Abodes”. As I noodled on what to create, I glanced at a bag of thread tails given to be by a long arm quilter. It was a wonderful mix of colors, and I had been adding to it for a year or so. So here come the “what ifs”!

What if I sandwiched the mass of threads between black tulle and free motion quilted it into a new “fabric”?

create fabric from thread tails

What if I embellished it with beads, and I got out that thread spinner I purchased and never used, and made more embellishments?

spin threads into ropes

What if I combined it all into a “gnome home”?

So I jumped in, layered, quilted and shaped the mass of threads into an abode by sewing a bunch of darts and pleats into the created “fabric”. Once embellished it looked like this:

I admit it’s weird, and I had to sew many arcs of plastic tubing to the inside to get it to stand up – and that was rather temporary. So, once the challenge was unveiled and photographed, I took it home and thought seriously about just throwing it away. Instead I tossed it on a shelf, and ignored it for months. Then one day Sommer asked me about it. I put it on the floor and she had a blast putting daddy’s old Star Wars figures in it. Problem is – it kept collapsing.

gh play

Once I realized it was a new favorite toy, I needed a fix, and it came in the form of a plastic jug. With a little glue and stapling it is now stable, and Princess Leia loves it!

gh jug save

So does Princess Sommer!

gh princess Sommer

If you know of a venue to exhibit the 3-D Abode challenge pieces, please let me know. It is a fascinating group of fiber art structures and we’d love to have them seen and enjoyed!

January 31, 2016, Embellishing Kids
Coordinating a Baby Quilt

My niece, Rachel, is expecting in October and this past weekend was her baby shower. Three weeks prior to the event I realized I hadn’t made a quilt (the story of my life lately). I went through my stack of crib sized UFO’s, but nothing seemed right. Rachel was registered at Buy Buy Baby, so I went to the store registry listed on the invite and discovered that all the nursery items had a jungle theme and are from the Lambs & Ivy® Peek-a-Boo Jungle collection (please visit their website: – their designs are delightful!). The jungle animals on the crib sheets and room decor were adorable. I thought it would be fun to make a quilt that coordinated with them.

Now I need to add a disclaimer. I made my own versions of these designs for my own personal use, to go with the other pieces purchased for baby Caleb. Please be aware of copyright!

I used my Repliqué technique to create the animal blocks. I added Caleb’s initial and set these squares with 9-patch blocks. What fun! Next it was time to quilt. About half way into the quilting I realized there was a problem. Can you find it?

Caleb quilt quilting - mistake

I decided to go with the Amish adage “Only God is Perfect”, and continued quilting. (In case you didn’t find it, one of the 9 patch blocks is turned)

While Wendy and I were in Portland last month we visited the Rose Gardens. They were spectacular.

Caleb roses 1 Caleb roses 2

In the gift shop we both had to purchase new “free motion quilting gloves” – so I decided to give them a try (can you believe some people actually use them for gardening?!?).

Caleb quilt quilting gloves

They are oh, so pretty, and they work great too!

I put fleece on the back of the quilt, and turned it to the front for the binding, just like I did for my granddaughter Rainee’s quilt. It really is soft and squishy – just right for a baby!

Caleb quilt back

Outline and spiral quilting from the back

I finished quilting it just as Trey got up from his nap.

Caleb quilt - Trey

I think he approves 😀 !

I presented the quilt to Rachel at her shower and she was very excited! It is such fun to give a gift we make ourselves. I just wish I’d taken a picture of her with the quilt. Maybe in a future post 🙂 !



August 30, 2015, Kids
Turned Binding

Our youngest granddaughter, Rainee, lives in Washington State, and she just turned 3. I decided she needed a new snuggly quilt (with only a short amount of time to make it). I asked Sommer to help me pick out “I Spy” type fabrics once again. This time I cut 9″ squares and pieced them together. I also thought it would be fun to Repliqué her initial in one of the blocks using the technique from my Snuggle & Learn book.

turned back to front binding

A number of friends have been backing their kid’s quilts with Minky fleece recently, and it sounded like the perfect choice. Sommer loved it’s softness! I also wanted to turn the back to the front for a soft edge, as opposed to a traditional binding. While backing and finishing the quilt, it hit me that this would be a good topic of the week, so here are some of the things that worked for me.

*  When laying out the Minky backing, I smoothed it on the work surface, but didn’t stretch it at all. In the past I’ve had pucker problems if I stretched it (even a little).

* I made sure the backing was at least 3″ larger than the quilt top, and I chose not to use any batting.

*I smoothed the top onto the wrong side of the backing and safety pinned it well. Then I free motion quilted it (this also helped to not stretch anything) – in my favorite spiral pattern.

turned back to front binding

* Once the quilting was complete, I trimmed the backing 1 ¼” away from the edge all the way around.

turned back to front binding

*Then the fun of turning began. Step 1. Begin on a long edge and fold the raw edge of the backing up to meet the raw edge of the quilt top. Then bring the fold up to the top and clip or pin.

turned back to front binding

2. Do this all the way off the next edge.

turned back to front binding

3. Bring the folded outside edge up to the raw edge of the quilt top, gift wrap style, creating a miter.

turned back to front binding

4. Fold the new raw edge of the backing to the raw edge of the quilt.

turned back to front binding

5. Then bring the folded outside edge up to the top and clip or pin.

turned back to front binding

6. Continue all the way around and then machine stitch in place with a decorative stitch.

TB miter stitched

Voila – a quilt with a snuggly soft back and edge!

turned back to front binding

The day Sommer helped me pick the fabrics for her cousin Rainee’s quilt, she noticed my fish bowl full of scraps. She hadn’t played with it for months and asked if I could bring it down off the shelf.


I’ve posted pictures previously of various grandkids playing with the scraps, and she had so much fun I had to post a few more! She had a blast pulling and throwing.

sommer scraps 6-15bWhen she tired of plopping them on her head, she took aim at me.

Sommer scraps 6-15c

Then she laid on the floor and did a bit of scrap swimming.

Swimming in fabric scraps

She’s big enough now to do a good job of picking up afterwards – so it’s fun for both of us!

July 5, 2015, finishing Kids
Hanna’s Patchwork

You may remember when Hanna and Willy were here for Christmas, Willy finally got his turn to sew and he made a doll sized quilt for his stuffed animal (to read that post click here). While he was sewing, Hanna was planning her next quilt (that’s my girl!).

She’s definitely interested in quilting and during their visit she accompanied me to a guild meeting, and ran my computer slide show while I presented a lecture for Common Threads quilt guild.

lecture with HannaOne afternoon, at the beginning of their visit, we took my fishbowl of scraps off the shelf and the kids had a blast causing it to “rain scraps” in my studio (I’m one of the kids  😀 ).

h studio fun4

But in the next picture I realized that examining the scraps was more fun than throwing them for Hanna (Willy’s moving so fast, he’s just a blur behind Sommer).

h studio fun 3 wheres Willy

She touched, chose, arranged, and chose some more while Willy was quilting, and when he was done she asked if she could have a turn. She laid her chosen scraps in an arrangement that pleased her and then started sewing. It was a crazy quilt sort of way to do it and every so often I would rotary cut the edges straight so she could continue. She made a number of “chunks” from her favorite scraps.

Hannas patchwork 1

But time wasn’t on her side and all too soon, it was time to return to Washington. I told her we could put her pieces in a special place and she could work on it again on her next visit. She said she had a better idea – I could finish it for her!

On the long plane ride back from taking the kids home, I came up with a plan. Last year grandpa and I bought the kids Kindles for Christmas. They brought them on this trip, wrapped in a kitchen towel. Hanna’s birthday is on January 21st, and I decided a quilted Kindle sleeve would be the perfect place to use her pieces. I made an outside rectangle from the majority of the pieces, and the inside was made up of leftover flannel from the bed quilt I’d previously made her, with more of her pieced units in the “flap”.

Hannas patchwork 2The layers were quilted, then it was folded and stitched into a sleeve.

kindle holder inside

Lastly, a button and loop for were added for closing it up.

kindle holder It’s ready and in the mail to Hanna for her 9th birthday!

kindle cover finishedWilly’s birthday is in March. I’d better get going on a sleeve for his kindle too!

A Yo Yo follow up!

After last week’s post Eleanor sent me this picture:

Eleanor yo yo flowersHer guild made yo yo flowers for the centerpieces at a quilting luncheon (thanks for the picture, Eleanor).  This reminded me of a post I did a few years ago about fabric flowers and I thought I’d share that link, just in case you’re interested:

January 18, 2015, Kids
Merry Christmas and Quilts

This week has been an exceptional blessing for me. I flew out to Washington on the 13th to bring my oldest grandkids back to Wisconsin for a Christmas visit. Hanna (8) and Willy (6) are a joy to be with and we are having so much fun! Just before they arrived I finished Sommer’s quilt – and it’s wrapped and ready for her. This is the front:

Sommer's modern quiltAfter last week’s post, I chose to quilt the rest of it with different sized circles and spiraled around all of them. Then I “wrote” her a special message in the borders. Here’s the back (the “I Spy” side):

I Spy quilt backCan’t wait to see her response.

Once Hanna and Willy arrived, Willy reminded me that it was his turn to make a quilt. He was definitely wigglier than his sister, and grandma had to pay close attention to where his fingers were when sewing, but he picked out all the fabrics himself and stitched every stitch. Boy – was he pleased, and grandma was too!

Willy's quiltHe wanted to show the back too!

quiltmaker Willy back blog

Hanna and Willy helped Sharon and I “Ring and Sing” for the Salvation Army this year. We made a lot of people smile.

ringing and singing 2014 blog

We’ve been reading the Christmas story with the kids every night – and Willy is quick to shout “Happy Birthday Jesus”. This is the real reason for the season. Knowing that our Savior lives and is preparing a place for us in heaven is the greatest gift of all!

Today (Sunday) is the day we celebrate Christmas with all the Wisconsin relatives and tomorrow I take the kids back to spend Christmas with their family in Washington. What a blessing (and a very busy time!)

Wishing you a blessed Christmas, from my family to yours!

Kirsch Christmas 2014 blog



December 21, 2014, Kids
Hanna and Willy’s I Spy Quilts

My two older grandchildren are now 8 and 6. You may remember Hanna from the quilts she’s made with me when they’ve come to visit from Washington (to read those previous posts, click here).

This was the year I decided to make them both “I Spy” bed quilts. So, I brought all the cut up “I Spy” fabric squares, batting and backing to Paducah and quilted all the 6″ squares. I blogged about that in a post last April (to read that one, click here  🙂 ).

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.18.58 PMI’ve been working at these quilts steadily, using Sharon Pederson’s Reversible Quilts technique, and I highly recommend her book (her blog is:

Once all the blocks were quilted (with “W’s” on Willy’s and “H’s” on Hanna’s), I laid each of them out in a pleasing arrangement. The backs of the squares were laid out to form a checkerboard on the back of the quilt. I then separated them into rows, and began stitching the rows together, using narrow strips of fabric to cover the seam allowances. The strips for the top side were folded in half lengthwise and the strips for the back were left flat.

The first step was to stitch both strips to the top and back of a quilted block.

Willys rqayg first stitching

Next, the back strip was sewn to the adjacent block.

Willys rqayg second stitchingThen the blocks were opened up and the top strip acted as a flap which was folded over the seam allowances. This was stitched down with a decorative stitch (sorry the fabrics in the blocks has changed. I forgot to take a picture of this step for the blocks above).

Willys rqayg sew flap Here’s a picture of Willy’s quilt laid out and in progress (my granddaughter Sommer loved this part and “helped” me by crawling all over the squares and telling me what she “spied”):

I Spy - quilt as you go

You may have noticed that I threw a few 12″ squares into the mix for fun. Actually, after putting all the 6″ squares together, I must admit that making both quilts just from 12″ squares sounds very appealing. But, they’re all together, bordered and bound. Here’s Hanna’s from the front:I Spy quiltAnd from the back.

Hannas quilt back

I often say in my classes that whenever I think I’m hot stuff, the Lord humbles me. I was clipping along on Hanna’s quilt and pretty pleased with myself. Then, after all the blocks were together, I flipped it over to find that my checkerboard had not turned out as well as planned. You can see that the 12″ blocks interrupt the pattern, but that doesn’t cover up for the fact that some of the rows are just plain wrong. Or are they? I’ve decided that this new pattern is pretty and I’m sure Hanna will love it!

Here’s Willy’s from the front:

Willy's I-Spy Quilt

And from the back.

I-Spy back

His checkerboard is better, but still not perfect.

I quilted the borders with words – a special message for each child that came from my heart. I’m hoping this will guarantee they’ll have to learn to read cursive!

So, two weeks ago, I was able to fly out to Washington to deliver the quilts to the kids. What a joy – and they really did love their quilts. We stayed together in a motel, swimming and doing lots of fun things. Here they are with their quilts the first night:

New quilt Hanna New quilt Willy

and on their beds at home (Miss Kitty liked Hanna’s quilt too!)

Hanna, kitty and quilt Willys bedWilly made me promise to teach him to make a quilt the next time they come to Wisconsin. I can’t wait!!!


September 14, 2014, Kids Travel