Winner and Book Peek

Congratulations to Pat D!  She is the randomly drawn winner of my pattern MM612 Hang My Stocking with Care.  She submitted a comment to my question “When you are considering buying a book of quilt projects for the average price of $20, how many projects do you expect to get in the book?

Email me Pat and I will mail out your goodie.

Now, how about a sneek peek at another new design from my new book, set to release @ Oct 1st?  I thought you might like to see one of the table runners.


Here is my first table runner design.  Can you believe it?  It’s not a high quality photo, I’m sorry to say.  Rather a quick one with my phone.  But you get a good glimpse of it.  I can’t wait to put this on my island this Holiday season.

So, there’s your peek.  Just a teeny peek.  Ha!  I’m having fun doing these new sizes of designs and am very anxious to write the book and see how it’s received by all of you.

Thanks for peeking.



Spotlight of the Month

Welcome to:
Patch Abilities’ Spotlight of the Month
“where I will be shedding some light on some of my favorite creations”

Having designed more than 130 different patterns to date, one would think my creative tank is nearing empty.  Oh contrare my quilting buddies.  It’s always full, and ready to v-room v-room! 

For many of my designs, there is a backstory:  how I came up with the idea, why I chose the particular fabrics I did, etc.
I thought you may enjoy reading about some of my favorite designs and perhaps get a little peek into my creative mind and see how it ticks.

So, each month I’ll be spotlighting a small handful of my designs and telling stories.  Everyone likes a good story right?  Especially a good quilting story.

And now here is a little story on this month’s patterns.


Warm Welcome pattern is shown in a handful of different fabric choices here.

Warm Welcome was the very first pattern that started this crazy ride of Patch Abilities.  Yes, I’m going back to the very beginning.
My Mom had designed up this little 6 x 20 hanging and made them up by the hundreds in all different seasonal fabrics and sold them at craft shows.  Yes, I said by the hundreds.  I’ve asked her how many she thinks she made over those “craft show years” and she cannot compute.  I can tell you I hated shlepping these in big plastic totes in and out of craft halls all over Iowa in the 1980’s.  To this day, the thought of vending at a show gives me chills.  All of you Moms who’ve done craft shows are probably laughing at this.  I do too . … . now.

So how did it become one of my designs and how did it start Patch Abilities?  In 2002, my Agronomist position at the local Coop was eliminated, and I was forced to reevaluate what I was going to do with my life.  I also turned 30 soon after.  Not a bright time in my life.  Rather dismal in fact.  Being creative and always having liked sewing and quilting, I was at my Mom’s shop one day, just passing time and she suggested I start a pattern company and begin with this “old” design of hers.  She said people had always asked for the pattern, but there was none . . . not yet anyway.  Well, I had not a clue about how to start, run, maintain or even fathom a pattern company, but I’m a self-starter just like my Momma taught me and I dove in head first.  As I studied this “welcome” my creative wheels began to turn and soon were smoking hot.  This long skinny hanging was popular, I thought, because everyone has that thin wall space between a door and window that is too small for anything else!  Can you say EPIPHANY?!  I could think of lots of other ideas for long skinny hangings.  And my creative motor was off and running.

This pattern is one of my simplest because I use a heavy fusible webbing for the letters, so that they are just ironed in place and do not need any applique stitching to hold them in place.  I’ve always had the idea to do this up in fabrics of every season and feature them in the pattern to give folks the idea, but then again making the same hanging over multiple times is not my idea of fun.  Besides, my creative mind wont rest unless I’m coming up with new designs, not reworking old ones.  The panel shown at the bottom of this “Welcome” was one of many small panels in an older Moda fabric line.  My Mom had a hard time selling the bolt of small panels, so I did this sample and that bolt disappeared real quick.

The Warm Welcome pattern includes the entire alphabet, so you can personalize it to your liking.  In case you want to put your family name on it.  Directions are given to lengthen the hanging if your name is longer than a “welcome.”
The other 2 patterns shown above are the “Teaching” and “Nursing” patterns.  Early in my designing, I was given the suggestion many many times to do a good teaching and nursing pattern, as they were hard to find.  And so, these 2 little goodies came to mind.  On the Teaching, I chose a dark plaid that reminded me of plaid school uniforms for the border, and thought of items that immediately make me think of teaching.  The Nursing pattern was a bit trickier for me to come up with “nurse” items.  A stethescope was obvious, but filling up the space with other items took some thought.  When I came up with the bandaid, I knew I had to use a cute cartoon-like print on it, just like those used on kids to make boo-boo’s and bandaids not so scary.

So, that’s the story on these 3 designs from wah-hay back.  If you’d like to purchase any of these patterns and their respective hangers, click on the image above as it is a link to the respective online store page on my website.  If you’d like fabric kits like the image you see, you can contact my Mom’s shop.  Most of these exact fabrics are long gone I’m sure, but she makes up kits with the closest fabrics.  Here’s her website:  www.merrysstitchins.com

Being the first of many Spotlight of the Month’s to come, I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions.  Feel free to ask me questions or give suggestions on a design you would like to know the backstory for.  As a “thank you” for your comment on this 1st Spotlight, I will be giving away a set of all 3 patterns talked about here, to one lucky winner.  The winner will be randomly drawn from all comments received this week.

Thanks for peeking in on Patch Abilities.



open letter to my son on his first birthday.

While taking a little break from designing and working today, I ran across this blog post, that sums up the last year and a half of my life to a tee. I needed a few tissues while reading it and loved it so much, I’m posting it to my blog because I could not have written it better myself. Enjoy. ~Julie

fueled by diet coke

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.


View original post 1,149 more words


Little Moments

I still think of myself as a “new” Mom.  When exactly will I no longer think of myself as new?  I ask this question frequently.  I guess, some day when Lewie is going off to kindergarten, will I not feel like a “new” Mom anymore.  I’m not in a hurry to shed my self-given title though, because it keeps me on my toes and searching for creative activities to do with him – you know how when you’re new at something you’re soaking it all up.  I’m determined as a new Mom to find special ways to play with Lewie and give him fantastic experiences as a toddler.  So, this morning Lewie woke up at 5:30 am – just a bit earlier than usual – HA!  We snuggled for a while until our bellies began to growl with hunger.  A bowl of cereal and a banana and we were ready to start our day.  Our babysitter comes at 8:30 so we had a couple hours to play together.

Now comes the fun part.  This morning was nice and cool outside (a nice change from the summer heat).  We have a hot tub on our deck and I had gotten Lewie a life vest with built in swim trunks and sadly we have not tried them out before this morning.  Well, this “new” Mommy was jumping with excitement as we were getting ready to jump in the hot tub together – his first time in water beyond the bath or kiddie pool.  I am very happy to report that it was a hit!  We bobbed in the tub and he even let me lay him on his tummy and pull him around making motor boat sounds.  Such fun!  I wish I had a picture of us in the tub together, but Dad had already left for work.  I was at least able to snap a shot of Lewie just after we’d gotten out of the hot tub and closed the lid.  He was just too stinkin’ cute in this little get-up to not snap a picture of him.

ImageImageYep, I was right.  He is a cutie in his suit.  By the way, this was taken at 7am this morning.  Needless to say he was pooped out at 8 am and snoring by 8:15.

I’ll end this post with a little news flash.  Lewie will be getting a baby brother for Christmas this year.  And my pattern stuffing crew grows – ha ha!



Working on a new book?

As a quilt pattern designer, one of the top 5 questions and or suggestions (whichever way it was presented to me) I’ve been asked thru the years has been “when is Patch Abilities coming out with a book”.

Now, I must tell you that I truly do listen to all of your questions and suggestions.  Even if I don’t act on a suggestion right away, it doesn’t mean I have dismissed it as a dumb suggestion.  On the contrary, I take those suggestions and file them away in my creative memory bank.  And over my 9 years of designing patterns, I have thought about doing a book on several occasions.  Wait, back up the boat!  I’ve been designing patterns for nearly 10 years??  Holy crap!  That topic deserves a blog in and of itself, so I’ll save that for a future blog.  Hmmm, now my wheels are turning.  HA!

So, back to the original topic (because I easily get distracted).  A book.  Yes, I am working on a book.  I’ll still design single patterns, but lately I feel it’s time to step up my game a bit here at Patch Abilities Inc.  For me, that will mean working on some creative projects that have been in the back of my mind for a long time.  Projects like:  table runners, larger door banners, some designs in wool.

And so where will the book come in?  At the moment I’m working on expanding on a few of my earliest designs into table runners and larger door banners.  Some of my designs spark other ideas for me.  I have not acted on those “other ideas” before now, out of fear that my loyal followers would think I’m just regurgitating my designs.  What does fear do?  It holds us back, so I’m turning my back on that fear and I’m working on these little cuties for my new book.


As I said, I’m taking a couple of my first designs, in this case my P73 Season’s Greetings pattern, and I’m going to expand on them.  This picture is a new sample in new fabrics of my original Season’s Greetings pattern.  It measures 6″ x 22″.  It really needed a fresh new sample – especially because on the original sample, I used a heat fusible metallic ribbon, which is no longer available to me.  Besides, I like my embroidered words much better anyway.  This is not the greatest picture quality as it was taken quickly for this post, but you get the idea.


And now here is the “expanded” version of Season’s Greetings.  This is a much larger door banner, designed to hang on a 12″ hanger with over the door hooks (not shown in this photo, but will be in the book)  This measures 12″ x 34″ approximately and will be hanging on my door this Christmas.  I just love it!  My original pattern sparked this idea, along with another (a sneek for another blog post).  I think this door banner size will be just perfect for every front door and especially for folks living in assisted living homes or nursing homes.  I know there are many quilters that make my little hangings to grace the door of their family members living in nursing homes.  That makes me smile thinking that my designs are created out of love for loved ones.  Ahhh.

This door banner will be in the book.  It is not a single pattern, nor is it available now.

I’m scheduling the book to be out by October 1st of this year.  If I can stay on task and organized, hopefully I can beat my own deadline and release it sooner.

So, I’m at the end of my chattering for today and I have a question for you.

When you are considering buying a book of quilt projects for the average price of $20, how many projects do you expect to get in the book?

Those of you wishing to enter your “opinion” in the comment area, will be placed into a random drawing for a chance to win one of my new patterns “MM612 Hang My Stocking With Care”