From the Mixed Up Files of Maryland Quilter

Today I am going to share a secret, maybe two. Do you know I have 6 children? When people ask me how many children I have and I tell them, they always give me a funny look, and I’m sure they want to ask me “Why so many?”  but are too polite to ask. Today I will share reason number 9 why I have 6 children. If you want to know the top 8 reasons, you should follow my blog, I’m sure I’ll reveal them sooner or later.

I really, really love children’s literature. I also really, really love reading bedtime stories. I’ve been happily snuggling up with a child most every night for 25 years, reading from children’s classics to Disney favorites to yard sale finds.  Whatever book they dragged to bed for me to read, I’d usually indulge them. One summer the girls and I read the entire Little House on the Prairie series.  We read the Hobbit when my boys were young.

One of my favorite themes in children’s literature is the resourceful children who solve mysteries and live in tree houses or in boxcars or museums.  I guess I had those favorite characters in the back of my mind when I was designing the felt playsets for Maryland Quilter.  The whole set isn’t finished yet, but this week I introduced four new characters, Matilda and her dog, Ginger, Scruffy the Camel, and Astrid the Ostrich.

This is Matilda and Ginger:


This is Scruffy and Astrid:


They are both available as patterns in my shop, here.

And, to answer the question directly, the number 9 reason I had 6 children was to have 25 years of bedtime stories:) That’s a very good reason.


How Do You Decide What to Design Next?

I’m already thinking of Christmas. I don’t really want to, because it is July and 90 degrees, and it is disorienting to imagine snow and cold. Last year I didn’t think of Christmas until September and it was too late. All of sudden the weather turned crisp and tons of ideas for Christmas projects tumbled in my mind along with Halloween ideas and I ran out of time. I wanted to have my shop stocked with patterns and gifts for the holidays, but it didn’t happen.

So… this year I’m starting early. I can’t force myself to create anything red or green or too Christmasy yet, but I’m making toys. They are very inexpensive felt softies that are addictive to make and hard to pry out of children’s hands.

This is how my design process worked:

1. Create an incredibly easy to make, really fun toy. No sewing machine needed, no experience required.

2. Limit the materials needed to a minimum.  Make the pattern inexpensive, too!

3. Make it interesting, with removable parts, lots of accessories.

4. Give it a story and keep adding lots of playsets.

The first pattern set is Kasi the Elephant:



Kasi the elephant is available as a digital download for only $2.99 in my shop

Her pattern includes Kasi, Blanket, Bale of Hay, Watermelon and Food Basket.

Matilda, her friend, is the next pattern I’m working on. She should be available with accessories this week, maybe (hopefully) tomorrow.