This Just In: Baby Born, Quilt Finished, Mystery Solved! (+ a Giveaway)

1-Giveaway IconI’m a little later than usual getting this Friday post together, but I have a very good reason. I’ve been . . . quilting!

Earlier this summer, I shared photos of a quilt top I had made during my annual quilting getaway with buddies Joen Wolfrom and Alex Anderson. Here’s how it looked then.

Quilt top (36" x 54") made by Darra Williamson
Quilt top (36″ x 54″) made by Darra Williamson

Well, the baby for whom the quilt was destined has arrived (a boy!), and I’ve been busy the past two weeks wrapping up the quilting, binding, and other finishing touches.

For the quilting, I found the perfect shade of lime-green thread, which I used to stitch a simple, overall wavy pattern. While the thread, MasterPiece by Alex Anderson or Superior Threads, is designed for piecing (it’s my personal piecing favorite), I found it worked very nicely for quilting too, both in the needle and in the bobbin.

Baby Quilt_detail_quilting

For the backing, I found a terrific print, designed by the Malka Dubrawsky for Moda.

Baby Quilt_detail_backing_2

When it came time for the binding, I was stumped. My original plan was to try the darker gray Cherrywood hand dye that I used in the quilt, with the lime-green Cherrywood as Plan B. Then, upon seeing the finished quilt top, the wonderfully exhuberant Eleanor Levie suggested that I “go wild” with a bright orange binding. I gave it a go, but it was just a wee bit too much. (I thought about scaling back to a bright orange “crumb-catcher” piping, but that wasn’t right either.) Then . . . inspiration! I went back to the original dark gray hand dye, and inserted little bits of colored print here and there to add a some spice.

Baby Quilt_detail_pieced binding

Here’s the finished quilt, bound, washed (to remove the basting spray I used to secure the layers for quilting), and lacking just the sleeve and label. Yippee!

The finished quilt!
The finished quilt!

Now for the mystery. When I first showed my quilt top back in June, I mentioned that it was inspired by a quilt I had seen on Pinterest. As I feel very strongly about giving credit when I use or adapt someone else’s idea, I searched in vain to find the source before the post went live, but no luck. Not to be deterred, I continued my sleuthing, and persistance finally paid off: I found both the original design and the designer. The pattern is called Chain Linked, and it’s one of many created by the talented Amy Smart. (You may already be familiar with Amy via her combination website/blog, Diary of a Quilter.)

Here's the design that inspired my quilt: Chain Linked, by Amy Smart.
Here’s the design that inspired my quilt: Chain Linked, by Amy Smart.

So, how about a giveaway? Consider this: When it came time to put the binding on my quilt, I opted for squared, rather than mitered corners. It’s not a technique I use very often, but it seemed just right for this square-centric pattern. Leave a comment telling us whether you typically square or miter your bindings by midnight (PDT) Friday, September 6, and you’ll be “in the pot” to win a copy of Amy’s Chain Linked pattern. I’ll announce the winner in my September 24 post.

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching.


Two-for-One Basket Blocks…Easy, Easy, Easy (+ a Book Giveaway)

Last time I posted, I previewed one of the quilts in Cuddle Me Quick: 11 Baby Quilt Designs, my brand-new book, co-authored once again with my friend, Christine Porter. Chris and I are very excited about our “new baby” and look forward to meeting in Houston next week to promote the book at Fall Market. (More on that later.)

Hot off the press!

In this post, rather than just a photo, I’d like to share the quick-piecing technique that I  used to make the little baskets in A-Tisket, A-Tasket, another quilt from Cuddle Me Quick. This fun-and-easy method lets you make two sweet little Basket blocks at once, saving you time both cutting and sewing. (FYI: Want to make the entire quilt? Complete yardage amounts, cutting, assembly, and quilting suggestions appear in the book, along with the technique described below)

A-Tisket, A Tasket, 38 5/8″ x 44 1/4″, designed and made by Darra Williamson, machine appliqued and quilted by Chris Porter.

You’ll love this technique. It’s soooooo easy! The following instructions yield two 4″ x 4″ finished blocks, the perfect size for using those charm squares you’ve been saving.

1. Cut one square each, 5″ x 5″, from three different fabrics. Determine which square will be the basket bottom, the handle, and the background.

Step 1: Cut three 5″ squares.

2. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for the fusible, prepare the handle square for fusing. Use the handle pattern in the Pattern Library to make a handle template. (Be sure your printer is set to print the pattern at 100%; no scaling.) Cut the handle from the prepared handle square.

Step 2. Prepare the handle for fusing.

3. Fold the background square from corner to corner in both directions; unfold and fingerpress. Using the foldlines as a guide, center the handle on the background square. Fuse the handle and finish the edges as desired. (I used a straight stitch here for demo purposes; Chris used a machine blanket stitch in contrasting thread for the blocks in the quilt.)

Step 3. Fuse the handle; secure with stitching.

4. Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the wrong side of the appliqued background square. Draw a line 1/4″ from the original line on both sides. Place the marked square right sides together with the basket-bottom square. Sew on the two outermost lines.

Step 4. Sew on the two outermost marked lines.

5. Cut the unit apart on the center diagonal line.

Step 5: Cut the triangles apart on the center line.

6. Press the units open and voila! Two identical Basket blocks. Trim the blocks to 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ if necessary.

Chris used a decorative machine blanket stitch to finish the basket handles in A-Tisket, A-Tasket.

To further celebrate our new book, I’m offering an autographed copy as a giveaway to one of our See How We Sew readers! Leave a comment by midnight (PST), November 8, telling me why you’d like to own this book, and you’ll be entered into the random drawing to win. I’ll announce the winner in my 11/20 post.

Meantime, we’ve got a winner for the Lark Crafts book, Creative Quilting with Beads, from my September 18 post. And that winner is…fleurette! Please email your snail-mail address via, and I’ll get your book on its way.

Finally, if you plan to be at Market: Chris and I will be doing a 30-minute Schoolhouse on Friday, October 26, at 1:20 pm in Room 352D; we’ll have a doorprizes for a few lucky attendees. We’ll also be doing demos and signing books at the Martingale & Company booth (#264), Saturday, October 27, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. Do stop by and say hello!

‘Til next time, happy stitching!

Friday Photo: A “Duckie” Preview from Darra’s New Quilt Book!

Rubber Duckies, 34 3/4″ x 43 1/4″; designed and made by Darra Williamson,; machine appliqued and quilted by Christine Porter.

Rubber Duckies is one of 11 original baby-quilt designs from my newest book, Cuddle Me Quick, co-authored with my friend, Christine Porter. It’s brand new, published on September 10, 2012 by Martingale & Company. I’ll be signing copies at Quilting in the Garden this weekend, and all 11 quilts will be on display. See you there!

PS: If you can’t make it to QintheG, you can see all the quilts on the Martingale & Company website.