Sunday, January 31, 2010

Charity Quilt Saves The Day

It's Sunday and we're snowed in. Couldn't even get to church this morning. And I thought what a perfect day to work on finishing up some of my own projects. I, like so many quilters, have a lot of "works in progress". And even though I am in my quilting studio, quilting all day long every day, I still very rarely am able to work on my own projects. So this weekend snow day was a gift.

I fixed myself a cup of tea and took it into the quilting studio to decide what project to work on first. Should I start with the living room curtains that need binding and hanging loops? (It's very cold and those curtains are supposed to be keeping the arctic wind from blowing straight through our 100 year old windows!) Or should I work on small quilts? - binding one small quilt, quilting and binding another small quilt? (I have a small quilt exhibit coming up in a little over a month and need to get some of these finished.) Maybe I should start another small quilt that I have in mind.

I was starting to feel overwhelmed already. There was so much I wanted to do and so little time. Then I started thinking about all the other stuff I should be doing. The house looked like a tornado went through it. I really should be cleaning. Or spending time with my kids playing in the snow. And it was late morning alreay, I should get dinner started in the crock pot. My wonderful quilting day was going to crap! (And this was all in my mind) I just wanted to cry!

I decided to start with the small quilt that needed to be quilted. So I was looking for a scrap piece of batting to use. The first piece I pulled out was a very large scrap, big enough for a baby quilt. Instantly I thought of the baby quilt that a friend had made a couple years ago for charity and I was supposed to be quilting and binding it. I have been feeling guilty about not getting to this charity project for years, so I pulled out the quilt top to see if the batting would fit. It was exactly the right size for the quilt. Like it was meant to be. Immediately, I decided that I was going to finish that charity project today.

As soon as I decided that I was going to work on a project to help some one else out, all my overwhelmed feelings left. I felt calm, relaxed and very peaceful. I think the Lord was trying to speak to me - to get me to stop thinking about myself and do something to help my neighbors in need on His day!

My day went great from that point on! The baby quilt got quilted and bound - with "Jesus Loves You" quilted in the border. I got my small quilt bound, went sledding with the kids, made a delicious soup for dinner and now it looks as though only half a tornado went through the house! All in all - a great day! Praise the Lord!

Til next time -


Monday, January 18, 2010

A Quilt or a Shower Curtain?

A Simple Way to Turn a Quilt into a Shower Curtain

A very simple 9 patch quilt adds pizzazz to my bathroom. Guests who use my bathroom never fail to comment on this unique shower curtain. I specifically made this quilt to be a shower curtain. So I was prepared to do whatever was necessary to the quilt so the shower hooks would work. (I was planning to put button holes in my quilt!) My friend suggested that I try hanging it with curtain clip rings instead. They worked wonderfully.

You can use any quilt as a shower curtain by using curtain clip rings as a hanging system. The clips are available at Wal Mart, Target, JC Penny, etc. Just clip the plastic shower curtain and the quilt together in each clip. Place clips evenly across the width of the quilt.

Just another easy, simple, fun way to decorate with quilts. I hope you'll try it out sometime!

Till next time -


Monday, January 11, 2010


Okay, so I've been blogging for a couple weeks now. And I started thinking maybe I should have introduced myself in my first post. But I never do things in the right order - so I'll give you the intro now...

I'm Sonja Koch. I first stumbled into quilting 18 years ago while on summer break from college. My husband and I always spent the summers living with his parents to save on rent and because Tim worked for his Dad making the money we would live off of for the next semester of college. It was a very small town in rural Arkansas, no summer jobs available for me and not much else to do, so I hung out a lot with my new mother-in-law. Now don't get me wrong, I love my mother-in-law very much, BUT we had to find something to do together. A common interest. We tried several different things. Sewing clothes, painting sweatshirts, making stuffed rabbits. Nothing really clicked. One day we were talking about one of her dear friends, Victoria, who was a quilter. My mother-in-law mentioned that she wanted to make a quilt. I said so did I. So we bought a booklet at Wal Mart. Some fabric at Marshall's. And we dove in!

We knew nothing about quilting. Not even enough to know that the pattern I had chosen was challenging even for experienced quilters. My first quilt was a blue and white Drunkard's Path called Leaping Frogs. I made templates out of cardboard and traced each piece onto the fabric. Cut them out with scissors, and tediously sewed the curved pieces together. I loved every minute of it. So much so, that my second quilt was also a Drunkard's path. Between the two of us, we made 6 quilts that summer. We were both hooked.

Summer ended. College started back. Back to the books. But the quilting bug had bit me. I sewed quilts every chance I got. I graduated, got a job at an accounting firm.

Did taxes and audits by day - Ugh!
Made quilts at night - Ahh!

By this time, my husband and I were ready to start a family. I wanted to be able to stay at home with our kids. Quiting my accounting job was no hard decision, but being a one income family was not an option either. I needed to find something I could do from home.

Making quilts and selling them at our area craft fairs was what I wanted to do. But the closest machine quilter that I could find was near my mother-in-law - four hours away. Surely I was not the only quilter in my area who didn't want to hand quilt every top. That was the little spark that started my business - SoSews Quilts.

I bought a longarm quilting machine the next week. And dove in! For the past 15 years, I've been machine quilting tops for many wonderful quilters in the NW Arkansas area. A few years ago, a lady came to me looking for someone who could turn her kids high school and college t-shirts into memory quilts.

That was the start of SoSews T-shirt Quilts. Now I get to use my love of quilting to help people turn their memorable t-shirts into a unique quilt that they will treasure for a lifetime. How cool is that!

Til next time -


Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Man Quilts


Winter has officially arrived here in Arkansas. The temperature is 1 degree outside. Inside is only slightly warmer. In fact, I just warmed my fingers up over the heater so that I could keep typing. Winter is my least favorite season - but I always try to find something to like about whatever weather we are having. One of my all time favorite winter things happened a few nights ago...

Surprise Snow!
When you wake up in the morning to unexpectedly find the world covered in bright, clean snow. Everything is so beautiful, peaceful and quiet. I love it!!

So now that snow is here, I dug through my little quilts for my snowman quilts. They are now hanging on the doors of my quilting studio.

This first snowman I made 12 years ago. It is the only thing that I have hand quilted ever! (Not that surprising for a professional machine quilter) The reason it is hand quilted is because I was expecting my second child and was on bed rest. I needed something to do with my hands. My daughter was overdue by two weeks, so I had plenty of time! Although - I've never taken the time to add a face. lol

This next snowman was made by one of my customers and donated to our guild's little quilt auction. I quilted it for her and loved the little quilt so much that I bought it at the auction.

I really loved the quilting on the snowman - even if I do say so myself.

The next one is a work in progress. Now that I've dug it out, maybe I will get on finishing it. Maybe?

Hope you enjoyed the snow - I mean show. The little quilt show that is.


Monday, January 4, 2010

T-shirt Quilts

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone had as wonderful of a holiday season as I did! A white Christmas, my family all together, a lot of sleeping in. Very relaxing and refreshing. But alas, the wonderful Christmas/New Year's break is over -- Although I have quilted sporadically over the past two weeks, the time has come to really get back to work. Nose to the grindstone, actually work everyday. I am very thankful and feel truly blessed to have a job that I love, love, LOVE! So you will hear no complaining from me.

Now that Christmas is over and I can't ruin any one's surprise, I would like to share some of the t-shirt quilts made by SoSews Quilts that were given as Christmas gifts this year.

All five of these quilts were made for a lady who recently lost her husband. Her husband loved wolves and Mickey Mouse - and his large collection of t-shirts and sweatshirts reflects it.

These quilts are a wonderful way for her daughters, granddaughter, and god-daughters to remember him.

Some of the shirts had very large designs which didn't fit into the normal 15 inch square. We worked around that, no problem.

These quilts are just a little more custom than usual!

Because almost all the t-shirt designs in this quilt were over sized, it is sewn together in a random layout - no sashing, no borders. Very unique.

But honestly, the way I sew the quilt together isn't what makes the quilt special. It is all the wonderful memories these quilts will bring back - now and for many years to come - of the husband, dad, grandpa & god-father that they all loved.
That is why I love my job. God bless you ladies!