A new orange peel

I’ve made orange peel quilts at least a dozen times.

I do it the very easy way of raw edge appliqueing.

I take a fat quarter of fabric, back it with a light interfacing and then proceed to hand cut my orange peels out with a template of my own.  I usually fold the fat quarter in a way where I am cutting at least 8 orange peels at a time.

When you are cutting 324 peels, doing that will save you quite a bit of time.

I’ve not mastered sewing curves or hand appliqueing, so raw edge is the only way for me for the time being.

And here it is being basted.

I cut my background blocks 6.5″ and then sit there with Netflix on and zig zag each peel onto the square.  It’s a long process.  Usually takes  a full days work.

By using the very light/sheer interfacing, I can quilt over the extra fabric without any ordeal.  I’m not a fan of having to quilt around the peels (that is a headache on a regular sewing machine).

And until I’m able to get a long arm (some day!), these huge quilts have to be done on my regular sewing machine, so I’m concentrating more on needing it to be completed than I am on a pretty design.  A simple meander does just fine.  I have no stress, a nice quilt, and only a little neck ache from the hours spent quilting it.

This one is a king size, 108″ square so that is quite a bit of pulling and tugging for my sewing machine and my arms, but it can be done.

and voila!

For the peels I bought about twelve different fabrics in mint, teal and dark pinks and then added some scraps so that it will feature more fabrics and I used lots of greens and some lavenders as well.

The background is almost all low volume prints in creams.  There are a few that are white, but with the majority being creams, it looks a little more creamy than clean white.

Most of the low volumes are quite, but there are also a few loud ones in there for something to look at.  I like the brown dots, they are one of my favorites.

for the back, I sandwiched this aqua tile from Joel Dewberry in between a maroon solid from Free spirit.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the way I back my quilts and almost ALWAYS do multiple fabrics on them, but I don’t like the multiple fabrics to be running down the quilt.  I like them to be running across it.

This way if I have the quilt laying on the top of my bed, and I turn it down, you only see one of the fabrics.  It’s just a preference.

If you are interested in purchasing an orange peel quilt from me, see this page here.

xo, Melanie

Plus quilt

I never made a post about this quilt. So here I am. 

This was a custom order from a dear customer whom I love working with. She gives me an outline and leaves me to do my own thing. ❤️

The outline was a bedroom decorated in red, blues, greens and a vintage airplane theme. 

Most of the fabrics in this quilt were Tim holtz. I’ve only used his fabrics once before on this quilt, but I LOVE them. 

On this quilt I used many fabrics from his correspondence line, but have a look at many of his great fabrics here. 

This quilt consists of vintage planes, old maps, architectural designs, stripes and lots more. 

I love how the fabrics are all muted and dusty colored. 

This is only the second time I made this quilt called ‘positively’. Here was the first

I started with an 11″ block. And used the slash and sew method with 3-4.5″ strips to make the pluses. This really makes it easy for all your blocks to look a little differently. I then trimmed down each block to 12.5″. 

If you are interested in my Positively quilt you can find more info about it here

Memory quilt faq

Hello, all!

This post is for my memory quilt customers.

Memory rag quilts are NOT about design.  They are about your memories.

If you are purchasing one for a child, they are about you going through your child’s clothing before and after a quilt and remembering when each outfit was wore or other memories entangled during that period of your child’s life.

If you are purchasing one for a loved one that has passed away, then this quilt is really about having something to hold onto.

I am not designing you a quilt.  I am cutting the clothing you send me and putting a quilt together for you based on what you send.  If you send a rainbow of colored clothing, you will get a rainbow colored quilt.  If you send all pink and white clothing, you will get a pink and white quilt.

I do not go through and pick certain pieces that work together like I do in my other quilts.  I use what you send.  If you want your quilt to be color coordinated, then send me clothing that you have already coordinated.

how much does each quilt hold

Each memory quilt size holds a different amount of blocks and a different size block.

The biggest question I have is how many clothes to send.

That is very difficult question to answer since clothing is different sizes and cuts, but I can tell you how many blocks each quilt holds and hopefully that will help you decide on how much clothing to send.

small baby memory quilt – (49) 6″ blocks

crib size memory quilt – (48) 7″ blocks

Lap quilt (adult tshirts only) – (36), (42) or (49) 10″ blocks (this quilt has block amount options)

Large throw (most popular size) – (120) 7″ blocks

Twin size – (130) 8″ blocks

Full Size – (120) 9″ blocks

Queen size – (132) 9″ blocks

how your baby clothing is cut

I don’t have many issues that arise using adult clothing.  From adult clothing I can almost always get more than one block from each piece.  The only obstacle that will hinder that would be a zipper.  I won’t use a zipper on any block.

Most obstacles come from baby or small children’s clothing, so we will go there next.

The item above is common item in baby clothing. I see them in almost every box of clothing I have for a memory quilt.  Sometimes instead of buttons there is a zipper.  They both mean the same thing.  It means I can only use the back of this piece of clothing on your quilt.  It will render one block.  You can count this item as one, if you count.

This is another item that I see often.  Most of the time I can get two blocks from this type of clothing.  Front and back.  Assuming it’s not super tiny.

Many times on baby items that have buttons or a zipper down the front of it, there is also a little motif or design off to the side.  Sometimes that motif is around the collar or chest area and sometimes that motif is down near the waist of the clothing.

If it is near the waist when I cut it, it will look like the above image.  since it has zippers, snaps, or buttons I can’t use it straight on, so I cut it in a way to keep the zipper out of the block.  It ends up with a seam in the block.  Still looks cute, but I want you to be aware of how it looks.

If that motif or design is at the chest, 9 times out of 10, I can’t use it.  If that is the case, I will end up only using the back of these items in your quilt.

In the onesie above (another common baby item) we have a very skinny onesie and it doesn’t quilt meet requirements for the block size.

That’s okay.  When that happens, I can still use your clothing, I will just applique it on to the correct size block and it will look like the block in the picture below.

This item above will only count as one.  The reason is that it has snaps in the back.  Which means I will only use the front of this clothing.

Here is another piece of clothing that has buttons, so I can’t use the front.  But it has little motifs at the chest and pockets at the waist.  On this item I could include the pockets, but not the motif at the top.

Here is another example below of the how the blocks will look that can come from an item of clothing similar to the above one.

The item of clothing below will work for most of the smaller block quilts because I will cut towards the bottom (out of the way of the buttons) and will get two blocks from this one.

If you order a larger quilt, I would only be able to use the clothing for one block and it would be the back of the clothing.

Here is another example of the motif at the chest that I cannot get on a block.

However, I can cut the motif out and applique it if you insist.

Above is a block that I got with a seam running down it.  If those seams are a problem, be sure to send enough clothing so that I can avoid them OR leave a note in your box stating to avoid seams.


Notes are a good way to let me know if there is something particular on the clothing that you want.  You can use safety pins to pin your note to each piece.

However, you do not need to pin a note on each piece of clothing pointing the obvious out.  Such as the item below.  I’m going to cut out those flowers and fit them on your block.  You do not need to leave me a note telling me you want the flowers.  Or applique, or name, or anything in the very center of your clothing.  It’s obvious.

If there was a stain and you want me to avoid it, that would be a reason to leave a note on the individual item.  Or if something was on the back that you want on the quilt, that is a good reason to leave me a note.

what items are okay and not okay to send

I’m happy to mix materials, sweaters are fine to send along with thin tshirts.

There are only a few items that I do not want to see and those items are : underwear of any kind, swimsuits, socks, and hats of any kind or anything silk.

Please do not send those items.  I will not use them.

If you have thin receiving blankets, or swaddles or any blanket really, I can use that in your quilt and it goes a very long way as far as how many blocks I can get from them.

Feel free to be creative with what you send.  I can also use fitted sheets, pillowcases, bed skirts, boppy covers, towels, or even fabrics that you have around your house.

if you send too little or not enough clothing

After this post it might still be difficult to decide how much clothing to send.  You can leave a note in your box of clothing letting me know that you would like unused clothing returned to you.  If you have unused clothing and you do not leave a note, those items will be donated.  If you want them returned, you will be responsible for postage.

If I cut all your clothing and you have not sent enough, I will notify you letting you know.  You will have the option of sending more clothing OR I’m happy to add in fabrics to finish up your quilt at no additional cost.  Many times the memory quilts look really great with fabrics.  You will be allowed to choose colors.

how to send your clothing


After you purchase your quilt, you will receive an email from me stating where to ship your clothing to.  It is ESSENTIAL that you put the name you ordered your quilt under on the OUTSIDE of your box.  Not a note on the inside, but on the outside.

If your mother in law purchased this quilt for you under her name and you are shipping the clothing to me, then it needs to be her name on the outside of the box, not yours.

If I get to your order and have no box (I usually send an email) of clothing for you, I will push back your order 30 days until I do.

I cannot tell you how many times this has happened since I started making memory quilts in 2009.

Many have worried that their clothing had been lost in the mail when all along they had shipped under a different name or a postage store was the only name on the box I could find.

USPS is by far the cheapest shipping method and I have tried many.  I do accept UPS and Fedex packages as well.

However, you do need to make sure that however you ship, you do not add ‘signature confirmation’ to your shipping method.  I may miss the delivery, and your package would be returned to you, costing you more shipping fees.  Both UPS and Fedex are too far for me to drive to.  So please just skip the ‘signature required’.

embroidered names

I do not do machine embroidery, but I can still put a name, message or picture  on your quilt.  I call them message blocks and there is an option to add one to your quilt before you add your item to your cart.

Did you receive my box of clothing?  Did I send enough?

Memory quilts are my best sellers in my shop, and I have MANY boxes of clothing waiting for me to start on.  My production time is usually around 60 days, so these boxes tend to sit awhile (safe and sound) until I’m ready to work on your order.  But there are lots of them.

I do not open them until I’m ready to work on them.  I would not want anything to fall out of them or get mixed up with another’s clothing, so I DO NOT OPEN THEM.  When I am ready to cut your clothing and start your quilt, I go get your box and open it for the very first time.  Therefore, I cannot tell you if you have sent enough clothing until I begin your order.  If this is frustrating for you, then please send more than enough clothing, I’m always happy to return it if you send too much.

It’s best if you save/get your tracking info from when you ship your box of clothing to me so that you can know that I have received your box.  It’s very difficult and time consuming for me to have to go and search the 30+ boxes I always have to let you know if your clothing has arrived.

backing options

Each quilt comes standard with oatmeal colored natural cotton backing.  It rags beautifully and matches everything.  It still sales better than all the other options.

But for those of you who want something different there is an option before adding your quilt to your cart that you can upgrade to:

dyed backing-  which just means that I’m going to take that beautifully soft natural cotton and dye it a pretty color.  Almost every color under the sun is available except black.  It’s only a little bit extra to have dyed backing

or minky backing-  minky is incredibly silky soft.  It also will make your quilt very heavy, thick and warmer.  Sometimes the minky is not dimpled the way it is in the pictures below, it sometimes comes smooth.  Either way, it’s incredible.  It is an upgrade so it does costs a bit more.

do you only make memory quilts in the rag style?

For years this has been my only method, however things are changing.  If you wish to have a memory quilt in the more traditional style, please email me.  The prices are substantially more than the rag quilts, but if you want to let me know the design you had in mind, i’m happy to give you a quote.

If you have any other questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask.  You can find all my memory quilts here.

(this post may be edited and/or updated randomly)

A trippy quilt beginnings

Do you know that feeling when inspiration hits you? And your excited and cannot get your ideas started fast enough?

Not everything I make starts with this feeling. Some projects have a bit of it. And some projects I just want to finish. And then some projects I am jumping up and down, rubbing my hands together and giggling. 

That’s the feeling I have with this quilt. 

I was inspired by violet of stitchery sewist shop. She is currently making a trip around the world quilt that could stop traffic. (See her Instagram page here

I have been wanting to make a trippy quilt since I first started noticing quilts. So forever. 

My colors are shades of purple, gray and yellow. 

I’m using this pattern. And it’s SO easy! And it busts scraps like nobody’s business!  Which are all good things in my book. 

I’ve been just making a block at a time. Here and there. They are fairly quick though. 

I’ve also got scraps all over the place. I’m digging looking for strips that are long enough. And trying to dig through my scrap baskets before or ping my drawers and pulling out the half yard. I’ll be saving those for last resort. When I’ve completely run out of scraps to use. It may take awhile. 

I also put up another design wall (aka batting pinned to the wall) in my daughters room. She’s off to college so it should be fine. 

I like to watch my blocks coming together this way. It keeps me going and excited. 

But back to the trippy quilt…

There are two tips that I wanted to mention that I’ve noticed while making these blocks:

-after you have cut your ‘loops’ and you have seam ripped the first one. And now you seam rip the second and so on, seam rip at the block that is on top of the last column you have done. This will keep things in the correct order.  

-and lastly. Before seam ripping. Look at your loops and decide which fabric is your boldest and use that for the one single diagonal row in the block(middle diagonal). That fabric needs to be on the bottom of your first column. 

Happy sewing!

💜, Melanie 

Week 1 of the sky quilt

Are you joining in on this whole #100days100blocks?  If not, you are missing out on how much fun we are having.

The blocks so far have been incredibly easy.  We are not talking about the kind of quilt blocks that take an hour to make.  We are talking 15 minute blocks, some even shorter.

They are easy blocks.  They are all from the book The City Sampler by Tula Pink.  They all measure 6.5″.  No paper piecing, no templates.  Just simple rotary cutting with fabrics from my scrap bin.

SOME of the pieces are as small as 1.5″ so what I’m doing to make sure I don’t make any mistakes with cutting, or sewing or even pressing, is that before I even cut my scrap of fabric, I give it a good starching.  It makes all the difference when working with smaller pieces.

I’ve mentioned already that I am basing each of my blocks on the color of that particular day.  So far there has been quite some variations.  The blue days are usually pretty similar, but the gray days vary quite a bit.  I’m waiting on a rainbow day, or a storm day.

I’ve been tempted to take my sky picture at sunset some days, but then I don’t.  It somehow doesn’t feel quite right.  So I’ve been taking my sky picture each day between mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

If I’m keeping a record of the sky, it might as well be a fair record, an accurate one.

This sky idea came from Lea Redmond and her sky scarf.

And the whole point for me is to put a little more meaning into the quilts I make.  It feels kinda like looking at a piece of art that I love just because it’s pretty, and then finding out this whole secret/story about it that you had no clue of.

When the quilt is finished, someone might say how pretty it is, and I’ll say, It’s not just pretty.  It’s a record of how the sky looked for 100 consecutive days in the year 2016.  That’s cool to me.

Each day when I make the block, I log the details of the day.  The temperature, the cloud coverage, even a few highlights of my day.  Nothing that takes up too much time that will make me quit (sometimes I do that when I get overwhelmed).  I’m keeping it simple.

This is just another part of my pledge to make more thoughtful and meaningful quilts.

And every quilt has meaning.  We spend hours at it.  Days.  We put such hard work, patience into each and every quilt.  So why am I just randomly choosing fabrics because I think they are pretty?  That’s the part I want to  change up a little for me.

One time I made this quilt for a customer.  It was a great quilt.  Pretty.  While I was working on it, and I was cutting the yellow solid fabric for the back and had sewn two pieces of the yellow together to make it big enough, I realized that at some time I had cut a huge chunky square out of one of the ends.

I felt like we always feel at one of those times.  Angry at myself for not looking the fabric over more carefully.  Frustrated.  I took a deep breath, pulled a print fabric out, cut it into a square that would fit and then Y-seamed it into the backing.

My customer loved the quilt.  And she even contacted me to say that she loved the unique way I did the backing.  Which made me laugh and so I told her the story and then she told me that she loved it even more because of that.

The unusual solid backing with a print at one square corner of it had meaning.

Of course it was a symbol of my mistake, a happy mistake, or overcoming a problem.

Regardless, it got me to thinking.

Thank you for reading along!






The kitty quilt completed

It’s been a week since we took my daughter off to college. So many emotions. 

On one hand i’m very happy and excited for her, on the other I am so sad to see my baby go. 

She’s not even that far away, but the house is quieter and I find myself even missing all the little arguments we have on a daily basis. 

I finished this kitty quilt for her before she left. 

I wanted to show off my favorite parts. 

This was not a planned quilt. This is a quilt that over a few months I made blocks here and there. I didn’t worry about sizes of the blocks, I’d planned on making everything fit Later with bits of fabric. 

Instead I just worked on a block. Some were patterns and some were original ideas. 

When I hand a handful of blocks finished I arranged them and started slipping low volume where I couldn’t get blocks to match up. 

So here we go in favorite parts. 

My daughter picked out the backing fabric   I call this a dark mint, too much green to be Aqua. It’s a jeni baker fabric and I am just in love with the color. 

The binding was my choice. A black on white scallop fabric from art gallery fabrics that I’ve used many times as binding. 

The above fabric that the purple kitty is within is my favorite fabric throughout the quilt. It’s Lizzy house from her whisper collection. I just love it. 

The fishbone above. I have used this exact same fishbone in three different quilts now. 

I originally cut WAY too many pieces for an addition on a traveling quilt I worked on last year.   Then in January when I finished the last month of the beehive quilts, I used it in a mini quilt as an extra little gift. And here it is finally again making its appearance in my daughters quilt. 

That’s kinda cool I think. Like a signature of mine of the time. 

I’m not sure where these tumbling cats on yellow came from, but I laughed when I ran across them in my stash. I don’t remember buying them, but there they sat waiting for me as if they were meant to be. 

The dotted cotton and steel fabric with the kids playing in the wind and umbrella. I love this fabric. 

I originally purchased it last year when I was building my low volume stash up. Then I used it in my grandmothers 90th birthday quilt. I still had more of it so I thought I’d use it in my daughters as well. Kinda like another signature of the time and a link between both their quilts. Maybe that sounds silly, but it felt meaningful to me. 

As did this. That fabric that my finger is on above was part of my grandmothers fabric stash that she gave me. I was thinking I’d put some of it in every quilt I make for us. 

I’ve already spoken of this selvedge in an earlier post. It was perfect for my daughter raven. She wants to be a cat lady. 

And the finished pictures. 

It now lives in her dorm room and I hope it lasts and stands as a reminder of what she was obsessed with during this period of her life. And that people is obviously kitties. 😻. 

I’m starting to see a pattern of mine with fabrics. I like scrappy quilts, but even if they are not all different colors, if the scraps all match or are similar colors. I like using eighty different pieces of fabric in a single quilt. 

When I cut say low volume, I pull out almost all my low volumes and cut some from each one. So I’m seeing the same fabrics or mostly in each quilt I make from a given time frame. I love that. 

Kinda like a signature of the stash at the time. 
💜, Melanie

Kitty quilt almost done

I have been working like a mad woman. I don’t like rushing, it stresses me and I end up making mistakes. 

But my daughter leaves for school this Saturday and I wanted her to have it before she leaves. 

I made a few more of the little kittens and I found this cute selvedge I wanted to somehow include. 

And I stumbled upon this whiskers block below and just had to make it. It’s a whopping 15″. 

We also made the dreamcatcher for the dorm room. 

And one more silhouette block. 

I was trying to decide between the fabrics below for the border. 

We ended up going with the black. 

I had put uneven borders on it trying to get it to measure the size I was trying to get to and I didn’t like the look so I sewed up some Dresdens to add to the borders. 

I ended up changing the places that I have them in on the above pictures. 

We are really thrilled with it. Even though there were many moments when I hated it. 

Now to quilt and bind and wash. 

💜, Melanie