Doodle Quilt

doodle quilt / made by rae

Another new thing I learned this year was how to make a Doodle Quilt. My friend Annabel Wrigley, whom I first met at a Heather Ross Design workshop in NYC years ago, came to Michigan in September to teach two Doodle Quilt workshops with the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild and the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild. I was excited for the chance to learn how to do this from her, as I’ve admired her doodle quilts since she started posting them on Instagram a few years ago (check out #doodlequilt for some serious inspo).

doodle quilt / made by rae

I worked on this gold quilt during the workshop, encouraged by Annabel to really go for it with the bold background color even though my initial feelings were that I should stick to white or grey.

doodle quilt / made by rae

At the end of the day, I went home and immediately made another teal one #obsessed. Clementine was also intrigued watching me do this and together we made one for her. I still haven’t finished the gold one and Clementine’s is still in progress, but the teal one is already hanging up in our front entryway.

doodle quilt / made by rae

As someone who teaches, I find taking classes that aren’t about sewing garments to be incredibly fun. To be the person in the room who knows the least about what’s going on is amusing and interesting. I know you think I’m exaggerating but remember that this was a guild workshop, so these ladies were serious quilters. I didn’t even come with the right kind of thread (not knowing enough about quilting threads), but it ended up not being an issue. When you start knowing very little about something, the feeling of figuring something out (that light-bulb moment!) is really great.

doodle quilt / made by rae

One thing I love about these quilts is that start with this random doodle and end up with something that looks colorful and bold. It’s a great way to use smaller solid pieces of fabric (scrap alert!) and being relatively small, they make great wall hangings, and don’t take as much time as a larger bed-spread-style quilt might. I also love the matchstitck quilting. It’s downright calming to sew back and forth, creating lines that are roughly 1/4″ apart.

doodle quilt / made by rae

If you’re into learning how to do this, I’d encourage you to find a copy of Modblock Magazine 2018 vol 4, as Annabel is no longer teaching this workshop (as of this writing, she has moved on to other — very exciting — projects), but she has written a great article and included a pattern for a doodle quilt in this issue.

I also consulted Elizabeth Hartman’s book, Practical Guide to Patchwork, for tips on how to do the actual quilting of the layers (we didn’t cover much of that in the workshop, as we were mainly working on completing the top).

If you love these doodle quilts as much as I do, put it on your to-sew list — it’s really fun!

Posted in quilting

Scaffold Quilt


My first line of fabrics, Fanfare, reprinted this fall and included a line of coordinating flannel solids. As soon as they arrived on my doorstep I felt they deserved their own quilt, the combination of these solid pastels seemed just right. I love plus patterns in quilts, and I wanted the pluses to run into each other a bit (inspired by this design, though I’m not sure…is that a quilt? Or a piece of art? not sure). The result is that the narrow bands remind me of scaffolding.





When it comes to making quilts, I enjoy the piecing but I am not a huge fan of the actual quilting bit (by which I mean the stitching through the layers to hold everything together), so the quilting was pretty spare: just a simple stitch-in-the-ditch type situation along the narrow bands to form an allover tic-tac-toe stitching pattern. I also like how the back turned out — four simple squares to complement the front — not too boring, but not too fussy.


As far as creating the quilt top, I think anyone with basic piecing skills could replicate this — it’s 16 blocks, and the smaller squares are 6.5″ and the narrower strips are 2.5″ wide. The final quilt is maybe about 60″ square? Dunno — didn’t measure and didn’t do the math.


Anyway, I love how modern and uncomplicated this turned out. Baby quilts are my favorite kind of quilt — pretty quick to piece together, easy to quilt (no long-arm needed, though I do use a walking foot), and they make great gifts (this one in fact is headed to a cousin’s new baby). Aren’t flannels the perfect cosy fabric?


Rainbow Quilt

If it seems quiet around here on the blog, there’s a good reason: I’m in the midst of flitting back and forth between what feels like a million projects at once: a new pattern, sewing projects for a blog series coming soon with this good friend of mine, another project that I can’t talk about (!!!), and making various decisions of one kind or another. Meanwhile I’ve been puttering away on this lovely project (first previewed here last fall) while watching back-to-back episodes of Gossip Girl on Netflix {dies a little bit from embarrassment}:


When I say this quilt is lovely, I mean SO lovely and soft I literally can’t stop staring at it. I swear, this thing GLOWS.



It took all of my willpower to remove it from my lap where it had been snuggled up with me for hours and hours while Blair and Serena went to Paris, when Chuck went missing, when Charlie showed up, when…(WHAT? You can’t seriously tell me you’re going to watch it. That would be embarrassing. For you.)…anyway, I was saying, it took all my willpower to finally walk it into the kids’ room and spread it out on Clementine’s bed. I really wanted to keep it. But I’m an adult now, and I’m letting it go. She’ll probably leave it behind when she goes to college and then it will be MINE, ALL MINE. Right?



So, here’s the rundown on this quilt: the fabric on the quilt top is all from either Far Far Away (double gauze) or Far Far Away III (linen sheeting) by one of my favorite designers, Heather Ross, making it one of the softest quilts I have ever felt. Seriously, Quilting Cotton, I am about to break up with you forever. Frankly, you suck compared to double gauze. OK, I really, really shouldn’t say that since Heather is about to debut her new quilting cotton line with Windham next week at Quilt Con. Let me rephrase: I will need to be re-wooed. And you’d better be soft this time, I am so totally serious. Can we talk about this issue some other time, though? I really want to focus on this quilt right now.


I used Red Pepper Quilt’s “A Quilt Without Binding” tutorial (basically you sew the front and back together right sides facing, and turn the whole thing right-side-out through a hole, but please do yourself a favor and go read the tutorial before you attempt this on your own; Rita gives some really useful tips) and did the actual quilting with purl cottons (from Purl!) in straight lines. I love that they came out just uneven enough to really make it look hand-made. Also: the stitches create a rainbow on the back. LOVE.





The back of the quilt is shot cotton, another one of my current favorite substrates of all time. Also: VERY SOFT. Love it. Can’t really find it for sale anywhere right now, but I bought it at Sew Mama Sew; lots of local shops carry it, though.

OK, just a few more shots for you of the quilt on Clementine’s bed, and yes, I did make a matching scrap quilt for Bee-Bee.





Clementine loves to tuck Bee-Bee into bed before she climbs in right next to her, and both she and Bee-Bee are uber-cute in their matching quilts, to be sure. OK. Do you love it?? Because I do.

Posted in quilting

Baby Boy Quilt + Pants

I’ve had no less than nine friends and family members give birth to boys in the past year. NINE. Can’t think of a single baby girl though…why is that?? What is up with the baby boys?? I would be lying if I said I was able to make handmade gifts for all of them, but I did manage to finish and gift this little boy quilt last week:

Happy Drawing

Happy Drawing

Happy DrawingHappy Drawing
This ladder quilt was inspired by this quilt on the Cloud 9 blog, which in turn was inspired by this post by Lu Summers. There’s a tutorial for Michelle’s version on the Cloud 9 post, mine is a bit simpler but if there’s enough interest I could probably post some instructions for this version as well. I used my “cheater bindof method” for this quilt, super easy and — extra added bonus! — because I quilted all the way to the edge of the blue backing with white thread, it created a cool stitching pattern along the side bindings.

Happy Drawing

Baby quilts are so fun and quick to make. I like that it’s rectangular so that it could be potentially used as real bedding once little Baby M is old enough in addition to the usual nursery decor or play-blanket functions.

Oh and of course I had to make a cute little pair of Big Butt Baby Pants too!!! Love the little frogs on this print. That Ed Emberley is a genius.


{Fabric in this post: Happy Drawing by Ed Emberley for Cloud 9, stripes are Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House, blue and white Moda Bella solids for quilt backing and sashing}

FINITO! Storytime Squares Quilt in Far Far Away II

It’s finished (first shown in this post)!!! I’m so geeked about how this turned out!  I’m calling it my “Storytime Squares Quilt.” I may change my mind about this later but right now I am selfishly hoarding this one for myself. Me, me, me. Elliot saw it right before he went to bed yesterday and said, “Is that for ME?” and when I said, “NO it’s for your MAMA!” he said (and picture the cutest pouty face and puppy dog eyes here) “But I really, REALLY like it.” So I caved and said he could sleep with it for one night. Turned out he was just messing with me and wanted the other three quilts that are already on his bed instead. Little stinker!

So just in case you wanted to make one of these yourself, I’ve made up a quilt sheet that shows you how to make the quilt top as a downloadable PDF.  You can download your own free copy right here by clicking on this image:

Please note: You may not email, photocopy, sell, or distribute this PDF in any other way. Please link to this blog post (but not directly to the PDF) if you would like to share this with others. Thanks!

Finished Dimensions
46″ square

Materials needed:
eight fat quarters of printed fabric (I used Far Far Away II by Heather Ross) or 48 – 5.5″ squares
2 yards of 54″ wide solid fabric for sashing and backing
cotton or bamboo batting

If you’re using the printout and want to use FFAII, you’ll have to match up the fabrics I used in the picture above since I forgot to label them on the printout. Campy! ACK, just realized it’s also upside-down! Extra Campy!!!

Other notes on making this quilt:

  • I actually used 100% linen for the sashing and backing which ended up being a bee-atch to quilt with. It’s seriously woobly and slidey-all-over-the-placey. So if you decide you are insane enough to use it too, may I suggest using a spray starch on it (Magic Sizing was recommended by a reader in a previous post and is a buck for a can at Target) both before you cut your pieces and after you piece the quilt top together.
  • Cut your backing square out before the rest of your sashing (50″ square minimum, but you can cut a 54″ square the width of your fabric and still have enough for the rest of the sashing)
  • I used a single layer of bamboo batting for the center
  • I used a plain square of linen for the backing
  • I also highly recommend using a SAFE temporary spray adhesive (I used Sulky) to attach the layers before quilting them together. There was a comical Charlie Chaplin-type moment after I spread the backing on the floor and sprayed on the adhesive when I got both hands stuck and tried to use my feet and then realized my feet were stuck too. It was dicey for a bit, but I’m happy to report I no longer have a giant piece of linen stuck to my body.
  • I used a walking foot on my sewing machine for the quilting.
  • To quilt the layers together, I stitched in the ditch around each section of squares and then drew four quilting lines 1/2″ apart between each section with fabric marker before quilting it up.
  • I drew my quilting lines for the outer section just slightly less than 1/2″ apart so that there would be space at the edge for the binding to fold over.
  • I used my Cheater Bind-off Method (there’s a tutorial at that link) for binding off the quilt. It worked perfectly since the line of stitching I used for the binding lined up just right with the other quilting lines!

How about it? Do you guys have other quilting tips you’d like to share? Let me know what you think! I’m feeling very much like a Real Quilter here but I’m sure there’s much more to learn.

Posted in quilting

Quilt in progress

Far Far Away II Quilt, originally uploaded by madebyrae.
Just couldn’t resist showing off this quilt. I’m quite smitten with it so far. The fabric is Far Far Away II by Heather Ross (I think I may have mentioned her once or twice on this blog…?) and the sashing is a rather uncooperative 100% linen whose beauty makes up for the trouble. I just love the muted palette of this line!
UPDATED: Just noticed that my friend Laura (we met at Vermont Sewing Weekend) has a boatload of FFAII in her etsy shop Mira and Westie so if you’re in need of some FFAII you can get it there (as well as a number of other fantastic sewing shops)!

UPDATED AGAIN: Wow! Laura’s offering a 10% discount on Far Far Away II to my readers, for all custom orders just mention “RAE” with your convo request, good through November 30! Go to: Mira and Westie to see the fabrics.

Posted in quilting

Guest Post: Andrea makes the Simple Modern Baby Quilt…bigger!

Today I’m so pleased that Andrea of Knitty Bitties is here to talk about her latest quilting experience!  Andrea and I have been friends (virtually) for almost two whole years, and you know online years are like dog years.  She’s helped me out in a pinch (she can pattern test at the drop of a hat), her sewing is absolutely flawless and I’ve always been jealous of her ability to pump out multiple versions of beautiful handmade things for her shop in no time (while I always get distracted after one or two, which hrrmm maybe explains why her Etsy shop has been a huge success while mine has just fizzled out. hee). She also loves colorful fabrics, so she’s a girl after my own heart. Add to that that she is truly one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. I hope someday I’ll get to meet her in real life (and that goes for so many of you, by the way)! Here’s Andrea:

Hi Everyone

Well you all know that Rae is a super cool cat and she was sweet enough to ask me to write a guest post for the “Celebrate the Boy” extravaganza. I was tickled pink, er blue?, and said sure. Then I thought about how horrible I am at formulating sentences that make sense to anyone over the age of six. And my grammar … well let’s just say that my love of … probably says it all.

So, first … a little about me :). I’m our household CEO, CFO and every other C-O. It’s a pretty small company, just me, my husband and our 6 year old boy :). I have a BA in Graphic Design though I’ve never used it formally. Instead I worked as a project manager for a national bank until I had my son. Since then I’ve loved spending my days raising him up and having more time to be creative. Three years ago I started really sewing and haven’t stopped since. Two years ago I started a little shop on Etsy to support my fabric habit and maybe set a little aside to help our family budget. I love talking fabric and patterns, designs and color … a nice big glass of iced tea and a fresh plate of cookies would make it perfect!

I also love peanut butter, running, baking, reading, napping, pizza, movies, knitting and shopping … not all at once though and not necessarily in that order :).

{Simple Modern Baby Quilt, Image courtesy of Oh, Fransson!}

In perfect timing with this month’s theme, I just finished my first BIG quilt for my son. It was part of a ‘robot’ room re-do for his 6th birthday (which was last Saturday). I used Oh Fransson’s Simple Modern Baby Quilt Pattern and modified it to fit his full size big boy bed.

It only took me 14 months to complete the quilt from the time I ordered the fabric. But that wasn’t the pattern’s fault. It was because I got scared. A full size quilt? What was I thinking?!?!

I wasn’t too sure how I would quilt a quilt that size, but I read a lot of good tips (which I’ll share) that made it a relatively painless process.

So come on over to Knitty Bitties to read the full review and enter yourself in the giveaway.


Yep, the pattern designer herself, Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson!, has sweetly offered to giveaway THREE copies of this pattern to three lucky readers. To be entered, stop by the pattern review post and leave a comment.


Thanks Andrea! It’s always fun to see new ways to use great patterns like this one and get tips and inspiration.  And thank you to Elizabeth for the generous giveaway! 

Only TWO MORE DAYS left of this amazing month of Celebrating the Boy.  See what Dana’s got up her sleeve:

Bowtie Baby Quilt

Clementine’s quilt is finished…got the last of the binding put on the other day, by machine of course and then handstitching all the places I missed. I am such a campy quilter it’s not even funny. Having never had any formal training in the quilting dept, I cheat in every way imaginable. Although I found a very helpful tutorial on applying binding in a recent issue of Sew Hip, which I purchased at JoAnn (of all places) a couple of weeks ago. When I got home I sat for a good half hour reading it going, “Oh…oh!” as I discovered how Real Quilters apply binding. Enlightening. Which brings me to question number one: what other sewing magazines do you guys like?

The blocks for this quilt are unbelievably easy…there’s a trick to doing them quickly so you don’t have to cut any triangles. Which I don’t have time to show you right now. I will say though that I started with 42 seven inch squares, half of which are white, and made two blocks at a time. The final size of each square is 6″ so you can use a yard of fabric to back it. The finished size is 36″x42.”

The bow-tie design happened accidentally; I was trying to do a pinwheel quilt but got confused and ended up with bow-ties. Then I thought I was being pretty original until I saw this cute pattern from Sometimes Crafter and realized (duh) that there’s really nothing new here. I still like it.

Fabrics I used: Lizzy House’s Red Letter Day, Anna Griffin’s Riley Bunnies, and Alexander Henry mushrooms and numbers.

I used a triple row of stitching along the vertical and horizontal lines mainly so I could use my presser foot to quilt it but maybe also so they would cover up those seams which may not have landed exactly where they were supposed to…*ahem*.

This quilt has alot of WHITE. Perhaps the reason this is now so clear to me is that I accidentally got chocolate on it. In more than one place. Hmm. I’m pretty sure this is a Quilting No-No, and I do not recommend. In my defense, immediately prior to the commencement of quilting I took a trip to the Holland Peanut Store (was visiting West MI for T-day) to procure seafoam, which apparently does not exist on my side of the state. Enough said. So that brings me to question number two: are there other places where seafoam can be purchased besides Holland, Michigan? And if not, has anyone ever made it successfully?

Here’s Sporty Spice With The Hair taking it out for a spin:

Now I need to go throw it in the wash.

Posted in quilting

Fairy Tale Quilt

Too many things to blog about, too little time. That really sums up how I feel right now as time with two hands free is so hard to come by. I’ve got a purse pattern in the works (ack, why can’t I do that faster??), a new dress for Mexico I want to show you, a baby quilt that’s almost finished, and then the other day in a moment of inspiration/insanity at Fields in Holland (Michigan), I bought swim material. For a swimsuit. For me. Yes friends I have completely lost it.

And I wish so badly that these pictures weren’t so grainy, but I’m just going to barrel ahead with this post anyway and not obsess about it. HURRAH HURRAH I am finally finally finished with Elliot’s fairy tale quilt!!!

I figure I have about six more months before he decides he’d rather have Star Wars sheets (overheard during book reading: “Wuke faw in Jabba’s twap!”) than his mama’s choice in bedspreads, so I’m glad I got this finished now. Not to mention how excited I am to have the real estate free in my sewing closet. Boy howdy.

He loves the fairy tale pictures (Gingerbread Man, Wizard of Oz, and Jack and the Beanstalk) and has been pointing to the various figures and animals and talking about them.

It was started last year (I posted a preview pic here, those Rocket PJ’s still fit him by the way) with Superbuzzy fabric that was ordered maybe a year before that, so unfortunately as far as I know you really can’t get any of this fabric anymore. The checks are Moda and the stripes are old IKEA fabric.

The pattern for this came from Amy Karol’s Bend the Rules Sewing, which my dear friend Giedra also used to make a quilt for her toddler as well. I totally stole the idea from her, so now we both have BTRS quilts for our toddlers. You can see a preview of hers here, it’s so cute with owls and turquoise…and we were just talking about these the other day, which is what motivated me to finally finish. So thanks, G!

Mine’s slightly different than the book pattern in that I added 12″ of chenille to the edges. This really explains in a nutshell why it sat in my closet for so long. The chenille was kindof a nightmare to work with, compounded by the fact that all of the fairy tale fabrics are mid-weight canvas (that’s why you’ve seen them here and here before), making this a puckery disaster. I salvaged it…but NEVER AGAIN I TELL YOU. Just learn from my mistakes, will you? Use quilting cotton for quilts. And nothing else.

Oh and I also wanted to show off a closeup of the vintage Irmi lamp that I refurbed (cleaned up, retouched paint, rewired) and now lives in E’s room:

The ferris wheel winds up and plays “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” I love it.

Posted in quilting