Blog Tour: Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings — LIVE from Quilt Market!

{ Anna Maria in her maybe-award-winning-again booth at Spring Quilt Market }

I’m sure you’ve learned all about Anna Maria Anna Maria Horner’s new book, Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby, on all the fantastic blogs that have hosted her earlier blog tour stops. If not, well. Let me tell you. Handmade Beginnings, Anna’s second book, is filled with sewing and quilting patterns geared toward all different facets and stages of pregnancy and growing and nurturing a family. This book resonated with me on several levels: as a sewist, I appreciate Anna Maria’s classic, unfussy yet multifunctional, and always beautiful patterns. As a mother, what can I say — I got weepy reading Anna Maria’s introduction. you might scoff at the idea of making stuff for babies — who has the time? — but as Anna Maria writes, it’s not about the stuff, it’s about taking that time, about slowing down, quieting your mind, distracting yourself from the worries and the multiple unpleasantries of pregnancy. And once the baby has arrived, it’s about taking the time to replenish your resources. And when you take that time, you happen to end up with maternity wear and baby gear that kicks the butt of anything you can scanner-gun into your registry.

I have one copy of Handmade Beginnings to give away, courtesy Wiley Publishing. Because this book is like the antidote to cluttery baby gear acquistion, I would love to hear stories about boneheaded baby gear purchases — one that you made you made, or someone you know made, or maybe just a product you’ve seen that you’ve seen that you think is silly. And/or, if you’ve familiarized yourself with the book’s patterns during the tour, let me know which one you’re most excited about. I’ll draw a winner next week, Friday, May 28, 2010, around 3pm central U.S. time.

Anna Maria Horner is at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis today signing copies of Handmade Beginnings, and showing off a few new products and patterns. And her new shoes. I mean, speaking of kick-butt. The quilt on the right of the top photo is called Gathering Flowers, and its pattern, along with another pattern called the Flower Patch Pillow, will be released this summer (late July-ish). She also has collaborated with Peking Handicraft on some gorgeous embroidered velveteen pillows and other home textiles.

Though we don’t get to see it till Fall Market, Anna told me all about her next fabric collection, called Innocent Crush. She said “it’s a little bit sexy” and will be a bit of a departure color-wise for her. And each basecloth used in the collection will have its own end-use-conscious colorways. There’ll be quilting cottons, a home dec weight cotton, her voile we’ve come to love, and, for the first time — cotton velveteen (oooooooh, aaaaaah)!

And the last bit of Anna Maria news: In response to the recent flooding in her hometown of Nashville, she is the process of organizing a quilt drive, called “Rainbow Around the Block.” Details are still in the works and I will definitely be sharing them here, but if you want to participate, start planning some “mostly monochromatic” 12″ square blocks, which will be finished with donated materials and sewn up by volunteers, and finally given to families who lost everything in the floods. (In the wintertime, she noted, because nobody in Tennessee needs quilts in the summer!) Now I’m not sure if that should be with or without seam allowances, so like I said, just plan, don’t sew yet.

Huge thanks to Anna for sharing the scoop, and for gracing True Up’s pages with+ a blog tour stop! Also, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win Wiley’s huge Giveaway Package, including the book, a sewing machine (!) and 5 yard of Anna Maria’s fabric.


  1. Erin Compton says:

    I own no less than 5 baby carriers. FIVE! I had a different one for every situation. I now only use one or two of them regularly. I wish I had just gotten an Ergo Carrier from the start!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Julie says:

    I don’t have any children of my own but make baby gifts for many friends. At one point in the last three years I had 14 friends pregnant at once. I think the jacket is so cute and would love to make several for my friend’s babies.

  3. Esther says:

    I have been waiting to see the pictures of Anna Maria’s booth at quilt market. It is amazing! Thank your for posting pictures!!
    Oh and I so badly want Handmade Beginnings. It looks wonderful.

  4. Mary Helmke says:

    I’ve always used cloth diapers when ever possible…

    I really want to make the “Jacket with the Hood” darling.

  5. Kristy says:

    I’m not lucky enough to have children yet so I don’t really think that I sould be commenting on equipment that some people must find very useful.

    I do, however, have heaps of friends having children and the moment and I love making them beautiful daily use things they ask for.

    As for my favourite project…I have some great bird print flannel at the moment though that I think would make a beautiful lining for the hooded jacket.

  6. please enter me! It looks like it has some fantastic projects

  7. so we added chickens says:

    I am very excited about this book. Things I found/find ridiculous: We actually tried to minimize our acquisitions with #1 and I was pleasantly surprised by the usefulness of several things we thought were useless “gadgety” gifts: the swaddler (for when he outgrew the LARGE receiving blankets but still needed a swaddle), the nursing pillow, large sun tent (great for when mom wants time in the yard, but doesn’t want to slather the little one in sunscreen yet). Useless: the ginormous stroller that went with the car seat, tiny “receiving blankets” that don’t allow one to swaddle and are too thin to use as burp cloths, the swing.

  8. Erin says:

    I don’t have a child of my own yet (hopefully one day!), but have cared for alot of my friends babies. The things I find most useless is all the gadgetty toys that people buy – most babies have one or two favourites and then are happy with boxes the toys came in, pots and pans they pull from the cupboard or leaves they find in the garden.

  9. Sarah says:

    Diaper stackers are the stupidest baby items of all time and they come in every bedding set sold for babies. Infuriating.
    I’m interested in making the Cute-as-a-button Booties from AMH’s book. Socks just seem insufficient and yet shoes seem a bit much for my 5-month-old. Especially when she’s all dressed up with someplace to go, it would be nice to have a pair of booties to complement her ensemble.

  10. Katie B says:

    I love all of AMH’s stuff! Excited about the new fabric line.

    I always think wipe warmers are silly…

  11. Anya says:

    One of the silliest things I’ve seen for babies is an electric baby-wipe warmer. Thanks for the chance!

  12. katrin says:

    Have no baby story to share yet, but would love to get the book and share some making-for-baby-stories!

  13. Donna says:

    I’m in love with the big spiderweb quilt pattern. AMH’s prints are so big that I have a stash that I have a hard time cuttign up since many things I make are tiny little patchworks and won’t do that material justice.

    Silliest baby gear – my MIL gave us a wipes warmer – have you seen these? Electric box that keeps your wipes warm so baby’s bum wont’ get shocked. particularly silly since we used cloth diapers/cloths rather than disposables and wipes, but it seemed crazy to have something plugged in all the time.

    thanks for the chance to win this great book!

    - Donna

  14. Kacie J says:

    So much to do and so much that looks cute!

  15. DebbieKL says:

    I’ve always thought wipe warmers were silly. I was given one, but never used it. I didn’t want my son to be used to that luxury!

  16. Clare says:

    Thank you for all the AMH news! Her booth looks lovely! I want to move in! :)

  17. Amy says:

    I think the biggest waste for us was having too many clothes handed down to us. The fancy stuff was unpractical, most were grown out of before even getting to wear and most baby booties just fall off. I’m intrigued by a book written by someone with so many babies.

  18. Lindsay Ramon says:

    I’m not pregnant or nursing, but I know the Mariposa Dress will be a must have when I am. I also love the Baby-in-the-Hood Jacket. Like you said, definitely better than anything you can put on your registry.

  19. Barbara says:

    I only had the basics for my boys. As they are grown I can attest to the fact that I was SHOCKED to see a cup holder on a stroller.

  20. Kama says:

    I have a 19 month old and a 4 month old, so I know a lot about the current items up for grabs at the local shops for babies. There are tons of things out there!! My mom found a cute pattern for a pacifier blanket thing and I decided to try it out with my youngest last week. It was really cute, but every time he touched the blanket, it pulled his paci out and he started crying. We quit using it after a few tries! :) I would love to win a copy of this book. Sewing is so much fun and I would love to make some of the things. I like the patchwork sleep sack. Adorable.

  21. Brookiej says:

    We had LOTS of weird things that we purchased–thankfully, we did better the second time around! I tell all my friends now that they don’t need all the things on the ‘lists’ they will get! The funniest thing was one of the mesh feeders. You’re supposed to put things in them so the baby won’t choke, but they can chew on it. HA. My girls absolutely hated the thing!

    LOVE Anna Maria. Enjoyed the LIVE view from Market too…someday!

  22. May says:

    Thanks for blogging about the show!

  23. PeachRainbow says:

    I love her cute patchwork sleeping bag!

  24. Jessica says:

    Love the blog tour. I can see different projects from the book with each blog post!

  25. Tabitha O. says:

    Pretty much all ‘stuff’ for babies is just plain useless in the end…they just want us lol…what a weirdo I was as a new parent lol….LOVE how the couch turned out in her booth and the shoes are divine thanks for the pic!

  26. Mary P says:

    I’ll preface this with: I do not have a child, so I don’t know for sure that this is silly. But–I can’t help that think those massive strollers with the pull out carseat thing are so great. I mean, the whole stroller is 5 times the size of the little baby. It just seems like it takes up too much space in your house, pushing it around, in your trunk, and I’ve seen people with them on the subway and it is just massive! I think I’ll probably be a baby-wearer if/when I have children.

  27. Brittany says:

    I could probably write a book about all the useless things, but we never used the baby bathtub. They make those things with spa jets and spray attachments…basically nicer than my bathtub, and even though we were sensible enough to just get the base model it never got used. Thanks for the chance to win such a great prize!

  28. Hanna says:

    I think the wipe warmer is a little silly. Also, I don’t like all those plastic, noisy toys that the baby will get bored with in about two minutes…
    Wonderful book, love the giveaway. Thanks for the chance to win!

  29. Caroline says:

    Anna Maria’s new book is fabulous. I just saw a copy of it yesterday – as a mom of 2 it’s definitely filled with practical and smart baby designs and things for Mom. About time someone did a book like this!

  30. Casey says:

    I managed to avoid buying anything that would never get used! I’ve seen a thing for warming baby wipes, I think that’s completely ridiculous! what a strange thing to need

  31. Kelly says:

    This book is so sweet-I hope I win it! I am in love with the patchwork sleep sack and want to make one for every baby I know.

    As for silly baby items, I have to go with the diaper stacker. Or maybe the wipes warmer. They just don’t seem that useful to me…

  32. Annie says:

    I’m just writing to say how much I LOVE Anna Maria Horner! Her shoes are amazing! I didn’t think there would ever be a line I love more than Garden Party, but the new pics are fabulous. Lucky you to be experiencing it all in person!

  33. Karen says:

    I agree with whoever said the baby wipes warmer…it seemed like I was the best mom in the world to not put those “horrid” cold wipes on my baby’s bum…yeah it lasted all of a month and just took up valuable space in the nursery lol!

  34. Rachel says:

    I don’t have any kids (yet – we’re praying we will soon!), but do have one baby gift story that always makes me laugh.

    When I was in grad school, I had a friend in school with me who was a bit older and married to a professor at another college (both very scholarly academics). They found out they were having twins! So, a bunch of us pooled money together to get them some gifts. We found out where they’d registered and went to the store only to find out that their registry consisted of only 20-30 items and all in singular quantities! So, they’re registered for ONE three pack of onesies in all the sizes, ONE pack of blankets, ONE pack of socks, etc. We bought most of what was on the registry as well as some additional onesies and outfits and went back and told him that we thought they’d probably need some additional items, but he said they didn’t want to get too much since they had a small place. After the babies were born he commented that he hadn’t realized the babies would go through a couple outfits a day and was so happy that people had bought them more clothes than they’d registered for! It was a priceless comment!

  35. Sarah says:

    I think baby mobiles are silly. They take up space and in reality it scares the baby and collects dust. The baby would much much rather be looking at his mother anyway;)

  36. Ashley O. says:

    I think Diaper Genies are a complete waste of space and money!
    I am super excited to try the little jacket in this book.

  37. Those shoes DO kick butt! But then, so do her fabrics! I love her Sixth Times the Charm baby quilt in the book.

    My worst purchase was a brand new umbrella stroller than fell apart almost immediately. My best purchase was the ugly looking umbrella stroller that I bought second hand that looked horrible but was a real work horse — vacations, shopping, the zoo, etc.

  38. Jackie says:

    The gift I got 2 of and was not ultra-thrilled about was the kitchy sets of piggy banks, 1st curl boxes, and 1st tooth boxes. Are people really into ceramic box collections these days?? It’s the thought that counts :)

  39. Laura Tawney says:

    I love the diaper bag pattern in the book – very functional. I really think that baby wipe warmers are very silly! Thanks for the opportunity to win her book. I have several grandchildren and more on the way and it would be very well used!
    Laura T

  40. Susan says:

    The silliest thing I’ve seen that you can buy is a “teepee” which is a little cone made of fabric that you can put over a boy’s bits so if they wee it doesn’t go everywhere. With two boys I either used a towel or was really quick. Susan

  41. Jenny says:

    Baby wipe warmers….seriously a waste of electricity. I cannot wait to try the little wrap-style dress and the 6th time’s a charm quilt. Thanks for the giveaway!

  42. Patsy says:

    I’m a grandmother and love sewing for my 5 grandchildren and would love to win Anna Maria’s book. I haven’t quilted in a long time – probably not since she was a twinkle in her father’s eye, but I love what I see of her work and am inspired by it. Hope I’m the lucky one !

  43. Erin says:

    Oh my goodness! I was in a boutique-y store and saw a set of “Winkie Hats” that were for boys so they didn’t pee on you when you were changing them. We had a good laugh about that and wondered how many of them they sold. Thank you so much for the chance to win this book (with much more practical items for baby and family)!

  44. Emily says:

    This is such a great blog tour, I have loved seeing all of the great photos in Anna’s new book, and would love to get to try out all of the projects she has included in it.

    I have to say one item I was quickly disgusted with was the fresh food feeder. It is a mesh bag attached to a ring that allows babies to gum their food without getting any of the big pieces in their mouth. Nice idea to prevent choking, but the gross part is getting the leftovers out of the bag when they are done, not fun at all.

  45. kate says:

    the day my best friend found out she was having a boy, i promptly made her a set of “weewee wigwams”. the simplest thing ever, and i giggled all the way through it. she opened the silly little gift at a restaurant, where our waitress and her (male) coworker were absolutely beside themselves at the cuteness. i felt a little sheepish admitting to what they were, but they sure got a kick out of it!

  46. Em says:

    Would so love to win this book!! Her booth looks gorgeous and should win :)

  47. Mama Mel says:

    I would LOVE to win her book!!!

    I never understood the whole purpose behind the diaper genie thing, and specifically did NOT ask for one for my shower. Everyone I knew that had one, had a nursery that smelled like baby poop! Who wants that? I would just take all the poopy diapers to the outside trash. Maybe it takes a little bit more time, but I would much rather have a fresh smelling house, thank you. ;)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  48. CraftyRachel says:

    One of the most special times in my life was crafting while expecting our son. Plus, we got tons of use out of the sweaters and bootees I made!

    For us, the most useless baby item was – believe it or not – bottles. I breastfed and when I had to go back to work part-time at 4 months, he only took the bottle (even with breast milk) occasionally, and eventually, not at all. Thankfully he didn’t starve, and by the time I went full-time, he was old enough to drink cow’s milk from a cup!

  49. Ali says:

    I would love to win the book!

  50. Tammy says:

    Would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, to have this book. I am mother of 1 year old twins and have finally found the time again to sew.

    FYI, for those who hate the mesh bags/feeders, I tried fruit in them once and understand the difficulty of cleaning them. BUT, I did find a GREAT use for them…I put an ice cube in them. They love them, especially when they are teething. It’s like a popcicle without the sugar and the ice doesn’t slip out of their hands and you don’t have to worry about them choking on the ice.

    I did come across something silly though for a baby, the mamaroo it makes sense, but at that price (200.00)… Your baby is better off being held or put in a sling. Lots of things can be put “on hold” so your baby(s) can be held. That time in their life passes so quickly as I have found out, and they just turned one.

    See the following link: