Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quilts for Han Thomas and Hunter

My latest quilt project turned into two baby quilts, almost overnight. With the birth of my grand nephew, Han Thomas in Beijing, China, just before Christmas came the desire to make a special quilt to honor his dual heritage. And, we soon discovered another baby--grandson Hunter--would be born in May of this year. He made his debut last night at a whopping 9 pounds 11 ounces. I can't wait to see the little (big) guy! But I digress.

The inspiration for Han's quilt came from a sweet little doll quilt I bought years ago in an antique shop. The block is a simple one--somewhere I think I saw it named as Mr. Lincoln's Platform--but I'm not completely sure that it's accurate. Need to check it out.

It's really easy to make lots of these blocks in any size--just cut and piece two light or white strips to opposite sides of a colored strip and then crosscut into blocks. I used 2"-wide strips for my block and cut them from fat quarters of blue prints that I had in my stash. After stitching the 3 strips together with 1/4" seams. I cut the strip units into 5" squares that finish to 4 1/2" in the quilt.

I chose blue prints for the quilts--blue for boys, after all. For Han's quilt, I wanted to honor his bicultural heritage. His mom, Cindy, is Chinese and his dad, my nephew Tom, met her when he moved to China to teach English to toddlers. So, I used red sashing and to border Han's quilt, I chose a yellow-background juvenile print so that the red, white, and blue of the American flag and the red and yellow of the Chinese quilt would be represented in the finished quilt.

For the backing on Han's quilt, I used a blue-and-white ticking stripe, also from my stash,  and then made a really special label for the back with my favorite baby pictures of Han, plus an American and a Chinese flag. I arranged all of these photos in a Word document on my computer and then printed the page onto a piece of fabric prepared for Inkjet printing. Just follow the package directions to print and set the inks before using the printed fabric in your quilt. You can find lots of inkjet printing supplies at

When I finished Han's quilt, I wrapped it inside out with the label showing so that it was the first thing Tom and Cindy would see when they opened the gift. When I machine-quilted the quilt, I stitched in the ditch of all of the seams and did a serpentine stitch in the sashing and borders. Even though I was careful to prepare the quilt for machine quilting, I had a few unwanted "tucks" in the lining. I covered up the worst of them with the large page-size label! Clever me! I didn't take time to "fix" the others. They just weren't that noticeable.
I had good intentions of finishing Han's quilt after Christmas, but with work on our house taking priority, I didn't get back to it until early April. Han's quilt has a hanging sleeve on the back so that it can be used as a wall hanging.

Finishing Han's quilt and sending it off was just the encouragement I needed to make Hunter's quilt so it would be ready to welcome him when he was born. I had many blue-and-white strip units left over from making Han's quilt--more than enough to make an "all-American red-white-and-blue quilt for Hunter. (It was easy to get carried away sewing my blue strips to the white-on-white prints I had in my stash when I started Han's quilt, so most of the work was already done!)

Although the blocks were the same, I used a blue print for the sashing. I varied the border treatment and quilting.

 I made a special label for Hunter's quilt, too, using clipart for the visuals since I couldn't incorporate any photos. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

Here's a shot of both quilts together. I used the same fabric for the binding on both quilts but I cut it on the bias for Han's quilt and on the straight grain for Hunter's. Hunter's doesn't show well in this shot, but it looks just like the red-white-and-blue inner border that you see in the photo.

I'm happy to report that with the exception of the yellow print on Han's quilt and the backing for Hunter's quilt, I used only fabrics already in my stash!

I hope you're enjoying a sewing project today. If you are looking for other quilt patterns appropriate for a baby, check out my quilt patterns at  

Keep smiling and sewing!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Dirty Iron—On No!

I love my Velocity Iron with built-in steam generator—but not when the soleplate is gunked up with black residue from fusibles and leaves it behind on my latest project!

Dritz Iron Off Hot Iron Cleaner to the rescue. It's been my #1 favorite notions item for over 30 years—and remains so to this day—that and fusible web.They do go hand in hand--fusible web speeds up my sewing, but it often leaves behind invisible residue that eventually turns black and ends up on my project.

I'm getting ready to pack my bags for Quilt Market in Minneapolis and need to press the hems on a brand new pair of pants. When I opened the drawer where my supply of this fabulous cream should be—alas it wasn't there. Off to the store I went. I couldn't find Iron Off on the notions wall without some help—the packaging has changed since I last stocked up. Now it's in a nice soft plastic tube—easier to use! And, the price has gone up a bit, like everything else. But, no price is too high when there's a brand new pair of white pants waiting for a press!

I use a sponge to apply Iron Off to the soleplate—not too close to any smoke alarm (ask me how I know) and when the gunk is gone, I run the iron over a stack of paper towels and shoot some steam through the vents to make sure there is no residue—before I use the iron on something else. Works like a charm!! Give it a try! I buy several tubes at a time--when there's a good sale on notions or I have a coupon to use.

I'm off to Quilt Market tomorrow. I'll keep you posted on anything exciting that I find as I walk the aisles (my feet hurt already!).
Keep Sewing and Smiling!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Let's Go Shopping--The Store is Open!

Great news! Now you can shop online for all of my patterns for tote bags and quilts. (No more snail mail orders means you'll have your patterns faster.)You'll find all of my patterns at

Included are a few quilt patterns and placemat patterns that are only availble at my online store as PDF downloads. Make your purchase, download, and you're ready to sew--well maybe you'll need to go fabric shopping first. OH JOY!

Perhaps you'll choose my popular
Quilt your own fabrics to make this great self-lined, zip-top carry-on. It features pockets inside and out--two are zipped to keep your travel documents secure. It fits easily in the plane's overhead compartment and it's the perfect tote to load to the limit with your fabric finds from any shopping expedition. Use it to carry supplies for sewing or quilting class.

I hope you'll check out my brand new, very hip Sew 'n' Go Hip Bag. It's a wonderful alternative to a handbag and very chic-looking in prints or solids, quilter's cottons or fashion fabrics.

Any way you cut it, you'll probably want a whole wardrobe of these little bags to mix and match with all your outfits. The Best News? You can make one in two hours or less--I can finish one in an hour if I have everything on hand!

 And, if you are looking for a special quilt to stitch up for a sweet baby, Barnyard Babies is just the ticket.

Applique the "babies" using your favorite method and set them with assorted pastel sashing and cornerstones for a sweet crib quilt that makes a wonderful wall hanging for baby's room.

Altogether, there are 16 patterns on my online shop, so have fun shopping!

Keep Sewing and Smiling,

Introducing TWO New Patterns!

I'm so happy to introduce the two newest patterns from Jo-Lydia's Attic, making their debut at International Quilt Market next week. I've spent the past two weeks finalizing the patterns and opening my online shop so now you can order and pay for my patterns online--no more snail mail required. Visit to see all of my current offerings, including some fun quilt and placemat patterns.

The Sew ’N’ Go Hip Bag...For Safe Travel & Shopping!

It’s a hip little bag on an adjustable belt, designed for safe travel and shopping and it's a great alternative to a handbag; wear as a small shoulder sling, too.

Tuck in your eyeglasses, ID, money, and other small items for hands-free comfort and safety.
Stitch up a wardrobe of these bags in your favorite prints. The bag works great in fashion fabrics, too. Think silk, suede--even velvet! It’s lovely in solid colors too for a more sophisticated look!

I love my pink one in pink silk duppioni, but the printed one will work great with all the pink and black outfits in my combination. I can't wait to use them at Quilt Market in Minneapolis next week.

FEATURES include:
* Pleated front expands for your necessities.
* Flat back hugs the body.

* Hidden zipper closure keeps everything safe inside.

* Ten-page pattern includes full-size pattern pieces to trace.

* Illustrated assembly directions are easy to follow.

* Make a Hip Bag in two hours or less.

The Quilted Workbag...
was inspired by a vintage sewing bag. It’s a roomy shoulder tote, perfect for your embroidery, quilting, sewing, knitting, or crochet projects. It's a wonderful soft bag that you can use for your everyday purse or tote, too.


* Inside hanging pockets for eyeglasses, cell phone, cosmetics, and more!
* How to quilt your own double-sided fabric for the bag shown
* Instructions for making a soft lined bag, too.
* Use quilting cottons or decorator fabrics.
* For a dress-up bag, choose silks or other fashion fabrics.
Retail: $10.00

Be sure to visit to see my other popular patterns for tote bags and travel accessories.
Retail: $10.00