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Moose on the Porch Quilts Blog

  • Amish Country

    It may be a little late to post about Spring Quilt Market. Lots of great pictures and information has been posted. I had the great fortune to drive to Market and had a wonderful experience on the way home that isn't out-dated. A couple years ago, I met Ruth from the Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I have written a few patterns for Ruth, including:

    Faith and Family


    Heavenly Star Bed Scarf / Table RunnerMPQ125BedScarf

    and Dahlia Star.

    MPQ123DahliaStarI am also working on developing more patterns for her this year. Because that was such a fabulous experience meeting Ruth, Machelle Preston, my partner in craziness, and I took the opportunity to stop in the Amish communities of Berlin, Ohio and Shipshewana, Indiana.

    Here are some pictures from the countryside we visited.



    There is something about a farm that is so peaceful. How is something that takes so much work so relaxing?


    We drove through the Berlin (pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable) on laundry day. Loved seeing the wash hanging out to dry.



    With the morning fog lifting, this picture turned out a little fuzzy. I couldn't help playing with it.



    I love a good rocking chair!


    We don't see rolling countryside like this in Utah. I was mesmerized.



    This fabulous barn quilt was on the side of a Little Helper's Quilt Shop. They sold smaller ones in their shop.




    What trip wouldn't be complete without pictures of a horse and buggy. The buggys in Ohio were not covered. The buggys in Indiana were enclosed.


    The juxtaposition of the buggy and the semi was interesting.


    It might be nice to take a horse and buggy to the quilt shop, but I think the novelty would wear off quickly.


    More barn quilts. Are they still called barn quilts when they aren't on a barn?



    This has nothing to do with the Amish, but I actually caught the picture of the giant windmill blade driving down the road! Three of them went by. It was impressive.



    I love a good road trip. Stopping in these two Amish communities and meeting people along the way was the highlight of this trip.

  • Ninja!




    At Fall Market last year, I saw Ninja's Don't Sweat by Lily Gonzales-Creed for Windham. I have a nephew who is all boy and all ninja. I knew I HAD to make a quilt with that fabric. It was just too fun.

    The quilt I came up with is Ninja! My favorite part is the fabric with ninja masks hiding in the middle of the ninja stars.





    This pattern debuted at Spring Market in Pittsburgh this year. While I love the ninjas, I thought the pattern would also look fun in different fabrics too.

    ninja alternate


    The pattern is now available on my website:

  • Friday Funny: When Pigs Fly

    I have been out of commission for a while. First, helping my mother who has cancer.

    mom chemo

    She is doing fairly well currently. We are hopeful.

    Then, my big news, is that my new book to debut at Market is currently at the printers.

    SH sm cover


    I have been working day and night for weeks now to have it ready in time. I will post more on this later. Needless to say, that now it is done, I hope to return to the land of the living.

    Today, I just wanted to share a video I just watched. This is in honor of Moda Lissa who often shares Friday Funnies. This video is a presentation Sandra Boynton made at TEDxYale. I love TED talks, but they are generally not known for being funny. Sandra Boynton is one of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators. She can't help but have a unique perspective on life. I have "liked" her on facebook just to see her comic interpretations of life. I hope you like it!


  • Tutorial: My Favorite Three Seam Skirt

    With five girls, I have made my share of skirts. A year or two ago, I acquired a serger. This is where the skirt sewing began. After a few tries, I came up with this ultra fast skirt. It involves only three seams and no hemming! I have made dozens of these skirts.

    In fact, one Sunday morning the little one was whining about not having anything to wear, and I didn't want to deal with it. Instead of helping her find clothes, or getting upset at her sisters for not helping, I made her a new skirt to wear to church. They really are that fast!

    Here are some pictures:

    First, the four year old in her skirt made from Riley Blake Unicorns and Rainbows --

    MPQ 3 seam skirt 2a


    and the six year old in her skirt made from Riley Blake's Sunny Happy Skies --

    MPQ 3seam skirt 1a


    and the eight year old in her Rocket Age skirt from Riley Blake --

    MPQ 3 seam skirt 3a


    I love that last picture!

    Would you guess that there may have been ice cream involved as a bribe for smiles? Would you also guess that not long after the above picture was taken, the eight year old broke down and did not get ice cream. (Well, she didn't get to pick her own ice cream. She got to share with me.)

    Here's the link to the tutorial:

  • How I Write a Pattern Part 1

    Today I designed a quilt on a bus ride. Because this isn't a super secret project, I thought it might be interesting to share the process of designing a quilt. I will do a series of posts as I make this quilt.

    I planned to make a special quilt for my mother, so I took my graph paper notebook along on my bus ride. After some time spent doing what I lovingly call "scritch scratch", I came up with an idea. Ideas germinate in different ways, but I love my graph paper notepad to sketch my initial thoughts.

    This quilt began with this image:


    I designed this image to go on a shirt for my mother. She starts chemo Tuesday. While we often see pink ribbons for cancer, her cancer is represented by lime green. Green has always been her favorite color. Anyway, when I created this design for a shirt, I knew I would also want to put it on a quilt - of course!

    The next thing that I wanted to include on the quilt were hand prints from each of the grandkids. Some of the grandkids are far away, so the way I got the handprints quickly is by having my brothers and sisters trace the handprints and scan them to me. I will trace them on fabric. My sister came up with that idea. I thought it was genius!

    The ribbon wreath will fit on a 12" finished square because I wanted it to be the same size as the shirt image so I didn't have to pay an extra screen fee. It isn't as big as I had originally planned, but I made it work. The handprints will be on an 8" finished square.

    I began working with 22 - 8" handprints and 1 - 4 ribbon wreaths as needed. My first thought was to border the handprints to make them 12" and put them together. That idea didn't even make it onto paper. I started sketching with the idea of doing something besides framing each handprint. I started with an assymetrical frame.

    I liked that idea, but I was having problems because I only had 1 yard of a pansy print because my mother likes little purple pansies. The other problem is that now the quilt is getting pretty big. My 3 brothers ended up around 6 feet tall, but the rest of us are fairly short. I want her to take this quilt to her chemo treatments, so I don't want it huge.

    How could I make it smaller? Ah! Some of the handprints are little. I decided to take all the little kids and trim those down to 6" finished squares. That now gave me fourteen 8" squares and four 12" squares each made up of 3 or 4 handprints. I needed two extra 6" squares. I could cut them from the pansy fabric.

    Now I have room to play. (Warning: my playing often involves math.) I started by putting the ribbon wreath at the center of a large star. I like stars. With a 12" center, the stars measure 24" x 24". That means it is the size of four 12" blocks. I was aiming for the size of the quilt to be about 60" x 72". That means either a 5 x 6 layout with no border or a 4 x 5 layout with a border. With four blocks from the star, fourteen large handprint blocks, and four small handprint blocks, that gave me 22 blocks. Not a great number. It's too big to use the 4 x 5 layout.

    Now I need 30 blocks to make a 5 x 6 layout. I need eight more blocks. After more scritch scratch, I decided to add another ribbon star (4 blocks) and 4 small stars in each corner (4 blocks). BOOM! I knew I was done.

    This is what my graph paper looks like:

    scritch scratch

    Let the math begin! As part of the scritch scratch, I wrote down the size of each piece, how many strips of fabric of what size I would need, and basic cutting instructions for me. My colors are lime green, purple, and some shade of blue. It always cracks me up how awful my sketches are in the beginning. It takes a lot of "fiddly" time in front of a computer to make this scritch scratch turn into a pretty pattern.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 sometime in the near future!

  • The Secret to Resolutions

    My secret to New Year's resolutions is twofold.

    First, I call it a goal. No one keeps New Year's resolutions, but a lot of people reach their goals. It sounds silly, but I think the mind shift is important.

    Second, set stepping stone goals and act like you have already reached the first goal.

    One example of this is a goal I made this year. (It actually started last fall because goals don't start on January 1st.)

    IMG_20140203_130956My goal is to run three times a week. This is reasonable in the summer, but I am a wimp when it gets cold. So I made stepping stone goals. My next goal was to run once a week. I have never ran through the winter, so I knew even once a week would be hard. So my realistic first stepping stone, I can for sure do that, goal is to run more than last winter.

    Well, I went running last fall after when I normally do, and bundled up warmer. Boom, first goal reached! I assumed that I could meet my first goal, so I did! It was a no brainer. The next part was harder, but because I was already succeeding, it was easier to keep trying. I have had setbacks-getting sick and an extra cold winter, but if I went once in a week, I met my second goal that week.

    Now I have been running once a week for a few weeks now, and twice a week for two weeks (but I also played basketball, so I count that). I am calling this a win! My rreward was an early birthday present, the running shoes pictured above. Today was my best run this year!

    I don't always reach my goals, but that is my self talk that helps me reach them sometimes. Sometimes is always better than never! What do you do to help achieve your goals?


  • Downton Abbey Block of the Month Pattern

    I suppose it's confession time. I haven't actually watched a single episode of Downton Abbey yet. I enjoy shows of that nature, so I don't really know why I haven't felt inclined to watch it. I have enjoyed watching the excitement over Andover Fabrics new Downton Abbey fabric line.

    A friend of mine, Machelle Preston, has designed a block of the month pattern using Downton Abbey fabric.

    downton abbeysmall

    The pattern uses pieced blocks, applique, and stitchery. This pattern is now available at my website, so you can stitch away while watching your favorite show!

    Just for fun, here's the same quilt using Moda's reproduction fabric:

    ladies of the manor orig small

    Whether you make it using Downton Abbey Fabric, reproduction prints, or a different fabric, you can get the pattern here or ask for it at your favorite quilt shop!

    CTC108Ladies of the Manor2

  • Possible Best Trade Ever

    Yesterday was a great day for several reasons. Mainly because it was sew day. Sew day, of course, is always a great day, but yesterday was even better! My friend, Marion (, somehow received a garbage bag full of Joel Dewberry fabric. I haven't convinced her to share with me yet! In this bag was a pair of lounge pants cut out. Marion was going to cut up the pants to make a pocket for a bag!

    Fortunately, I saved the pieces by offering a trade. She gave them to me in exchange for a fat quarter she could use for a pocket! It was a Flea Market Fancy fat quarter, but not my favorite one. Then Marion even sewed the 5 seams for me! This morning I serged, heamed, and elasticized it.


    Now I have a fabulous pair of lounge pants that are exactly my size! It was meant to be!  Best fat quarter I ever spent!

  • New Trend - Glitter Fabric

    I have noticed a new trend, glitter fabric.

    I have seen glitter fabric in the past in Christmas fabric and some basics. Perhaps it is just me, but it seems that it is spreading it's wings and appearing more places now. Here are just a few that I have seen recently.

    Michael Miller Glitz:


    Riley Blake Hollywood:


    Timeless Treasures Dreaming in Pearle:


    Andover Enchantment:


    Northcott Artisan Spirit Shimmer:


    Moda Multi Metallics:


    What do you think of the metallic or glitter fabric? I've never thought much about it. I'm sure that means by daughters will love it! The owls are still sticking around, will the glitter?

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