New Block of the Month 2015 – Grandma Town

Grandma Town Pic

I am so excited to introduce my new block of the month (BOM) series for 2015, Grandma Town.  This row by row quilt is a labor of love that I have dreamed of and worked on for over a year.  It is a celebration of my Iowa roots, and growing up visiting my Grandparents on their farm just west of Des Moines in Earlham, Iowa.  It is especially a tribute to my dear Grandma.

When my sisters, brother and I were little and my parents would drive us to my grandparents farm, my brother would yell, “We are going to Grandma Town!”.  It was a loving tribute that stuck.  This little quilt is full of those reminders of the farm and of Grandma, who loved to garden and loved to cook.  She made the best pies around and my favorite was the tart and tangy wild Gooseberry.  Each block is a sweet memory of my youth growing up on that country farm.

I hope you will find some shared love for your family, a cherished farm  or your own grandma in my quilt.  You can make all of these sweet blocks or pick and choose the blocks you like the most to make something special for yourself or a dear loved one.


Forget Me Not Block 1

Grandma Town BOM #1 –  Forget Me Not

In your “Garden of memory”, please give me one little spot;

To cultivate the flower, they call “Forget – Me – Not”.


Here is my first block in the Grandma Town BOM series.  It is a  dainty Forget Me Not flower and it is the first and last row of blocks in this memory filled quilt. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my Grandma and this little block is a lovely reminder of this.  It is a 5″ finished block and you will need to make 20 blocks.  Use all one color, or mix and match for a nice scrappy look.


A comprehensive pattern and directions for the Forget me Not block along with the whole BOM is currently in development.



Getting Ready for Quiltcon in Austin


I think I am starting to get excited.  The second QUILTCON is coming in February.  It will be my first Modern Quilt Guild Show.  I am going with a few of my quilting sisters from the Detroit Area Modern (DAM) Quilt Guild.  We DAM Girls! are ready to rock and have a great time in what I hope can only be some slightly warmer weather than snowy Michigan.  I thought I would share some of the fun things I have been getting, sewing and swapping to get ready for the show.


First, Jules from Procrasticraft sponsored a Quiltcon Lanyard swap.  I had not participated in a swap before, so I wanted to give it a try.  I made this cute orange lanyard, badge holder, pincushion and a few extras to send to my swap buddy, Mandy (@lotsocolour) in Australia.



 Here is what I received from Cindy (@whatsonemoreproject) from Alaska.  She sent me this treasure trove with my rainbow colored lanyard.  I received some yummy chocolates, local soap and ornaments, a cute zipper pull, soap, lip balm, hand lotion and this super awesome three zipper pouch.  I was truly spoiled.  If you have not tried some kind of swap, I now highly recommend it!  It is fun to design something special for another like minded quilter and the happy mail in return is just too awesome.



Are you joining the QUILTCON Pin Swap??  Why not?!!  I had to participate.  Here are my pins with my butterfly logo.  I have been drawing this butterfly since high school and when I decided to open up my shop, it was the obvious and most perfect choice for my logo.  I love butterflies anyway, they always bring a smile to my face.  I decided to add a few colors for some variety even thought the blue and lavender is my favorite.  Please try to find me, I would love to swap pins and meet a new friend!


Next, I made this pouch for myself with our colorful DAM.  Yes, I paperpieced it.  For those who know me, that was quite the challenge as it is not my favorite thing to do, but I sure like the way it looks when it is done.  I made it to hold my pins for the swap.


Finally, the DAM Girls ordered matching messenger bags with our logo.  But of course I had to jazz my bag up a bit. Vicki (@houseofduke1) inspired me to embroider my business name on it, a little bigger than I wanted but it is done now.  I thought the bag needed a little more pizzazz so I replaced the outside binding with a colorful print binding.  My friend, Rebecca (@rubythreads) convinced me to design a pattern for lining, so that went in there too.  You should be able to see us DAM Girls coming and going!  Be sure to say Hi, swap a pin, or join us on an adventure.

I can’t wait to soak up the classes and lectures and party down at the Moda Party.  I hope I will see you there!

Are you going??

Make a skinny selvage scarf

lmdesigns selvage scarf 1

Do you save your fabric selvages?  I started doing it just over a year ago because I kept seeing lots of clever items made with them.  I never used to pay attention to the selvages on my fabric.  They were just things to cut off so that the fabric did not shrink funny or have a little stiff edge.  I never cut them off first, I just cut them willy nilly when I needed to. I now cut them at least an inch wide so I have something to work with on selvage projects.  The giant pile is growing, so here is a fun scarf that I sewed together with some of my selvages.  It is just a little skinny thing, but it can sure dress up a top.  I think you could even make it really long, sew the ends together and make it into an infinity scarf.    Why not be frugal and use every scrap of fabric in your projects?

Skinny Selvage Scarf


lmdesigns selvage scarf 2

  • colorful fabric selvage scraps (I used about 10-12 strips at least 18 inches long and about 1 inch wide)
  • backing fabric
  • flannel for the batting
  • coordinating thread


Note: All seams are 1/4 inch.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 3

Pick out your selvages and arrange them in a pleasing order.  Then stitch them together to make your fabric.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 4

You just overlap the selvage edge and stitch it down.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 5

Then, I used my rotary cutter to cut my selvage “fabric” into strips.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 6

Then I joined the strips end to end to get the length I needed.  It also made a nice repeating pattern of fabrics.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 7

I then layered my selvage strip, backing fabric and flannel for the filler and stitched around the whole thing.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 8

I turned it right side out and slip stitched the turning opening closed.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 9

I just added some topstitching to finish it off.  Now you have a funky, frugal and colorful skinny scarf to liven up a solid t-shirt or snazz up a plain white shirt.

lmdesigns selvage scarf 10

lmdesigns selvage scarf 11

This was so much fun, that I made two more!

Do you save your selvages?  What are you making with them?

Sweet Baby Burp Cloth (Free Pattern)

burp cloth - lori miller designs

A good friend is having a baby boy and her baby shower is next week.  I wanted to stitch up something useful and I decided to make these super cute little sweet baby burp cloths.  They are soft and absorbent using soft flannel and diaper cloth.  I remember these were really handy when my son was born and you always needed a bunch of them.  I was so glad you could just throw them in the wash to be ready for another day.  This shape is what I remembered having long ago.  It is a very quick project.  Read on for my tutorial and a free pattern.

This will make four burp cloths.


  • 1/2 yd of baby print flannel
  • 1  yd of diaper cloth



  1. Using my free Sweet Baby Burp Cloth Pattern, Cut out 4 flannel panels and 8 diaper cloth panels.P1090936
  2. Layer the flannel right side up, and the diaper cloth, right side down.  Use two layers of diaper cloth.P1090948
  3. Using a 3/4″ seam, to catch all the layers, and leaving an opening for turning, stitch around the entire burp cloth.P1090949
  4. Clip the curves.P1090950
  5. Turn it right side out.P1090952
  6. Iron the burp cloth flat making sure to fold in the edges of the opening.P1090953
  7. Topstitch closely to the outer edge of the burp cloth, being sure to stitch the opening closed.P1090954
  8. Topstitch again 1/4″ away from the edge stitching.P1090955
  9. Finished!  A very cute and quick little gift.  Now to just sew a few more.  They really stitch up in a jiffy.

Do you have a “go to” handmade gift for new babies that you like to make?  Let me know.



Stitch a Paper Snowflake Garland (free downloadable)

snowflake garland - lori miller designs

Here in Michigan, we have been digging out of a pretty good snow storm today.  It has been very frosty here, but it was pretty, fluffy white snow.  I would much rather deal with these paper snowflakes from inside my warm and toasty house instead.  And the plan is to sew them together into pretty garland, so you get a little sewing and fun mixed together.

When did you last make a paper snowflake?

This would be a great afternoon activity with the kids to cut out snowflakes and drink some hot chocolate. You can even use up all that junk mail or scrap paper to make them. I love traditional white flakes, but you could mix them up with any color to make a very cool statement.

Materials Required:

  • Paper to cut out snowflakes
  • Scissors For garland
  • Your sewing machine
  • Matching thread.

Paper Snowflake Refresher

Don’t worry, if you have not made these in a while, I am including a Free Downloadable Snowflake Template to get you started again and thinking frosty crystal design.

If you don’t have a great virtual spacial imagination, it can help to use the template to wrap your head around the paper snowflake dynamics until you get the hang of it again.


  1. Using my template, cut out one of the hexagon shapes.P1050241
  2. Snowflakes are six sided — starting to remember now?  Fold the hexagon in half. (Keep your design on the outside so you can see it to cut later.)P1050243-001
  3. Fold it again in thirds.P1050244
  4. Fold it again in half so you can see the design to cut.P1050246
  5. Now, cut away the shaded part. If you are not exact, it does not really matter, every snowflake is unique!P1050252
  6. Once you have cut out the design, very carefully unfold your snowflake.P1050254
  7. Voila! A beautiful masterpiece.  Now cut out the rest of them and snip, snip, snip, until you have a pile of snowflakes. Once you’ve cut out the template snowflakes, you should be proficient enough to design your own.

Stitch the Snowflake Garland

  1. I used an all purpose white thread in my sewing machine and set the stitch length to about 3 mm.
  2. Grab your pile of snowflakes.P1050258
  3. Start sewing right through the middle of the paper snowflake, I took about 3 stitches in between each snowflake before I started the next one. Just keep stitching and adding snowflakes until you get the length you want.  That’s all there is to it.P1050259
  4. Drape a string across a window or wall.P1050263

  5. Or let them hang straight down in your front window by the door.

How will you decorate with your garland? Why not make several rows of garland to hang down your windows? Don’t forget about work! Send a strand with someone special to decorate their work cubicle or office.

What creative things are you making?