July 2009

Front  :)

Front :)

Let’s admit it, the biggest challenge in quilting a quilt on your home sewing machine is all of those puckers and tucks.  Whether they are on the front of the quilt or on the back, nobody likes to have puckers in their quilt.

But, with all of the bulk of a quilt, how do you keep the puckers and tucks from occurring as you feed your quilt through your home sewing machine?

Back  :(

Back :(

During an Eavesdrop on a Telephone Conversation, machine quilting expert Pam Bauer offered her tips and techniques for beautiful machine quilting on your home sewing machine.

It all begins with basting your quilt.

Thread-baste your quilt, or use basting spray, but be sure it is basted well and all of the layers are as flat as they can possibly be.

From there, special rolling techniques will help keep the quilt pucker-free as you feed the bulk through your machine.

And then there is the foot.

Both the walking foot and the darning foot have their special talents in machine quilting, but you’ll want to know which to use for the type of quilting you are doing.

And the last things are patience and practice.  Pam suggests using 18-inch square fabric sandwiches to practice machine quilting.  While you won’t get practice with the bulk of the quilt, you will get great at feeding the fabric under your presser foot for beautiful machine quilting.

You’ll find all this and more here:


Happy Quilting!


We often talk about quilts becoming family heirlooms, but there is one quilt that goes beyond sharing the love of your hobby and the warmth and comfort of a quilt.

This special quilt is called a journal quilt.

Journal quilts are exciting because they can be free-form quilts, art quilts, or traditional quilts – whatever you want to create.

The special part of this quilt is the journal entry that becomes part of the quilt itself.  With journal quilts, the designer includes a quilt block explaining the inspiration for the project.

For the machine embroiderers in our midst, this can be a wonderful opportunity to display some of your talents for writing with thread.

For others of us who don’t machine embroider, hand embroidery or writing with a thin permanent marker might be the best way to create the journal in your quilt.

Whichever you choose, when your great-great-great-great-grandchildren are enjoying your quilt, they will be able to imagine what was going on in your life when you stitched it.

There is no right or wrong way as long as you capture your emotion in your journal quilt.

For more details about making journal quilts, visit:


Happy Quilting!


One thing quilters like to talk about more than quilting is their quilting stash – all those pieces of fabric bought because they’d be absolutely perfect for some quilt, some day.

If your stash is outgrowing its space (and whose isn’t?), there are lots of fun and beneficial ways to start putting that fabric to use.

  • Find something and make it
  • Quilt for a local charity
  • Make quilted postcards
  • Try something new

Something new could be as simple as trying appliqué when you have never done that before, or it could be that you challenge yourself to working with your stash as if it were a giant group of fat quarters.

For more ideas about how to use your stash, visit:


Happy Quilting!


Ohio Star Quilt Block

Ohio Star Quilt Block

Quilting today is not much different from quilting a couple of hundred years ago.

Granted, we have more and better tools to make our quilting much easier.

Take, for example, the rotary cutter.  Even a couple of decades ago, when I first started quilting, I cut all of my fabric using a pair of scissors.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s that I stumbled upon a rotary cutter in a quilt shop.  Now a rotary cutter or two (or three) is a necessity in most every quilter’s toolbox.

And now we use plastic rulers and templates to help mark fabric instead of wooden rulers.

What is the same about quilting is that quilters love to teach new generations their craft.  Whether the child is your own, a relative, or the “kid down the street,” it’s fun to share your skills with a youngster who is anxious to learn.

But, where do you start?

What is the right project for a budding quilter who might not know how to use a sewing machine or a rotary cutter?  Or even scissors to cut the fabric with?

Having helped quilting daughter Stephanie, her sewing teacher, and a few child quilters, I’ve got some tips to help you get started:

  • choose an easy block – one with straight seams, no curves, and not too many pieces
  • create a small project – a pillow, doll quilt, wall hanging, or table runner are great beginner projects. A small project will allow the child to complete it and get a fantastic feeling of accomplishment
  • help with the cutting and sewing – while you might be tempted to turn a child loose with a rotary cutter, scissors and sewing machine, careful guidance in the beginning will ensure safe fingers and successful, beautiful completed projects

We’ve got more tips and pictures of blocks that might be good for young beginning quilters.  In addition, you can see the quilt block that quilting daughter Stephanie made in 5th grade, when she was about 10 years old.


Happy Quilting!


If you missed the online seminar about Fat Quarters yesterday, you missed some great information.

Because we got off to a somewhat rocky start with the telephone lines, I have decided to run this webinar again on Wednesday afternoon, July 29, beginning at:

  • 5pm Pacific Time
  • 6pm Mountain Time
  • 7pm Central Time
  • 8pm Eastern Time

And then again on Saturday, August 1, beginning at:

  • 9am Pacific Time
  • 10am Mountain Time
  • 11am Central Time
  • 12 noon Eastern Time

Grab a snack and enjoy.

In this webinar, you will learn all about fat quarters, how to choose fabric and how to design a block.

In addition, using techniques I use to design my quilt blocks for other quilts, by the end of this seminar, you will understand how to:

  • draft full size templates for a quilt block
  • plan a quilt
  • figure out how much fabric you need for the patches in your quilt

and much, much more.

Rosebuds Block

Rosebuds Block

The quilters who attended on Sunday night got tons of great information about working with fat quarters as well as other fabric and quilts.

You’ll find all of the details for the webinar in this week’s newsletter.  In addition, you’ll find:

  • Tips for sewing with fat quarters
  • Penny’s Postcard Posse – Roundin’ em up for Birthdays – August 10
  • Rosebuds Quilt Block video
  • July free quilt block patterns


Happy Quilting!


Fat quarter quilt fabric pieces

Maybe you’ve stood in a quilt or fabric shop staring at a stack of neatly folded fabric tied with a satin ribbon and wondered how would I use that fabric in a quilt?

Are you confused about how to choose the right fat quarters for your quilt?

Do you know how many fat quarters it will take to make a quilt?

And, how do you design a quilt using fat quarters that won’t look like a total scrap quilt?

These are all questions that quilters asked us in a recent survey about fat quarter quilts.

I’ll admit that I have resisted using fat quarters for quilts for years – mostly because when I see a fabric I like, I like to have at least ½ yard, often more.

But, I did have a few special fat quarters I found at the Houston Quilt Show a few years ago.  And, like other fabric in my stash, I was waiting for the right time and ideas to create a quilt.

I have lost count of how many times I took those fat quarters off the shelf and spread them out, only to stack them up again and wait for inspiration for a quilt.

But, with so many quilters wanting to know what to do with fat quarters, I decided that now was the time to figure it out.

Besides, not only can you get fat quarters at a fabric shop, but Bonnie Hunter, a scrap quilt expert, told us that we can cut large shirts and get a fat quarter from the back.

So, the challenge was on.

And a challenge it was.

But, I worked through it, and I am pleased with the results.

And today is the day – Sunday, July 26 – for our Eavesdrop on a Telephone Conversation Webinar:

All About Fat Quarter Quilts

During this Conversation, you will learn about:

♦ choosing fat quarters for your quilt

♦ choosing a block design for your quilt

♦ designing the block

♦ figuring out how many patches of each shape you need for your quilt top

♦ figuring out how much fabric you need and whether you can cut all the patches you need from your fat quarter

♦ drafting a full size block to make templates to cut your fabric

and much, much more.

The fun begins at:

5pm Pacific Time

6pm Mountain Time

7pm Central Time

8pm Eastern Time

As always, it is a free call, except for any long distance charges your telephone company might charge.

Because this includes an internet presentation, you can get most of this information without calling in and incurring the phone charges.

In addition, because so many quilters are anxious for this information, I have created a DVD presentation with the information.


All members of the Eavesdropping Quilters Club will receive this valuable DVD as a benefit of membership.

And, even if you aren’t a member, you can reserve a copy of the DVD presentation.

In addition to the presentation, you’ll get 4 Bonus Gifts that will make your quilt designing easier and more fun – for quilts using both fat quarters and quilts using yardage of fabric.


Happy Quilting!


How many times have you finished a quilt top and then were stumped because you couldn’t decide what fabric to use for the back of your quilt?

If you’ve never made a quilt, this might sound like a pretty easy problem to solve.  After all, why can’t you just find a piece of fabric big enough to cover the back and finish the quilt?

Like most quilters, by the time you have spent hours making a beautiful quilt top, you want to find that perfect fabric for the back – or at least a fabric that will complement your quilt top.

Creative quilter and Musician Ricky Tims

Creative Quilter and Musician Ricky Tims

Ricky Tims is a very creative professional quilter who understands the importance of the fabric on the back of your quilt.  During an Eavesdrop on a Telephone Conversation, Ricky provided some insight into how to choose the backing fabric for a quilt.

He also stressed the importance of having enough fabric for a hanging sleeve for your quilt.

To find out more about Ricky’s ideas for quilt backings, visit:


Happy Quilting!


Do you pause for a moment before throwing away even the tiniest fabric scrap?  I do, and I’ll tell you why.

When I began quilting years ago, I kept only those pieces that were large enough to use to repair a quilt.

Then I signed up for a workshop and made a charm quilt.

Since every patch in a charm quilt is a different fabric, I saw that even tiny 3-inch half square triangles became valuable resources for a quilt.

Then I was introduced to the world of fabric postcards.

My first fabric postcard was created using a photo transfer process – choosing a photograph of my kids and me pondering a pumpkin pie.

Once I had the center done, as I added the pieced border, I realized that small 1 x 6 inch strips of fabric could be useful.  Not only that, but who wants to cut into a whole yard of fabric just to get a 1-inch strip?

Now I save even small pieces of fabric in plastic see-thru boxes (sorted by color).  And when I want to send a truly unique message to a friend or fellow quilter, I pull out those tiny scraps of fabric and create a tiny quilt – postcard size.

Interestingly, these can be sent through the mail, just as a regular postcard, although you need to attach extra postage.

A word of caution, if you attach buttons or other items that extend beyond the surface of the fabric card, you may want to enclose your tiny quilt in an envelope to protect your beautiful design.

The post office (in the US anyway) will take most any shaped item as mail, but they won’t guarantee its safe arrival when fun trinkets are sewn or glued on.

There are several different ways to make a fabric postcard, and the sky’s the limit in terms of design.

To get some ideas for your fabric postcards (or how to use your scraps), visit:


Happy Quilting!


Rag quilts are fun and easy to make.  Not only are they fun for the quilter, but often the person who receives the quilt has never seen a rag quilt before and will love the uniqueness of it.

One of the great things about rag quilts is that there are several ways to convert traditional quilt or quilt block patterns into rag quilts.

Years ago, I took a simple 5-patch quilt block pattern, enlarged each patch so it was 8 inches square and made a rag quilt.

And you can do the same thing.

Almost any quilt block will work, although simple blocks are the easiest to convert.  Once you have your block chosen, decide what size to make each patch.

Most rag quilts are made using 8-inch or 10-inch squares (finished size).

In my example, the quilt block was created by placing specific colors in 25 squares in the block. Each block in my rag quilt was 8 inches (finished size), so a block which might normally be 10 inches square, all of a sudden became a small quilt that was 40 inches square.

Of course, I could have made it even larger by increasing each block to 10 inches finished size.

This is just one way to convert a traditional quilt or quilt block pattern into a rag quilt.

Other ideas include:

* Piece your individual quilt blocks as if they were traditional blocks and then sew the blocks together as a rag quilt, creating fringe between each block.

* Create a frayed appliqué on a quilt block

* Make a strip rag quilt

To get additional details and see some examples of rag quilt patterns, visit:


Happy Quilting!


All quilters know their quilt may someday become a family heirloom. Whether stitched with love for a family member or gift to a special person, quilts have a way of finding a special place in our hearts.

A t-shirt photo quilt I made for my father

This is a t-shirt photo quilt I made for my dad

While all quilts are special, there are none as personal and meaningful as a photo or memory quilt.

Photo quilts are a wonderful way of preserving and sharing a family’s history.  If put together correctly photo quilts can last a lifetime and preserve memories for many future generations.

Cotton fabric is an excellent choice for transferring your photos.  To make sure that the fabric will retain the ink from your computer printer, you will want to pre-treat your own fabric or purchase pre-treated fabric.

Another option is to find a commercial garment printer who will transfer the photos for you.

You can create memory quilts with appliqué or embroidery, too.

Find designs to express the memories you want to recollect and incorporate them into a quilt pattern of your choice.  Or embroider messages in your quilt – either favorite sayings or your signature and date the quilt was completed.

Photo and memory quilts are perfect for anyone and everyone. They’re great for children, college kids, and adults.  They’re fun to make for other people, but you’ll want to make one for yourself, too!

To get additional details and see examples of photo and memory quilts, visit:


Happy Quilting!


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