quilting 4.123

Crayon Quilts

Want your gift to be a hit on Mother’s Day or Christmas? Have the little ones draw pictures as blocks with crayon quilts. Add Sashing. Present. Done. The receiver will have an original work of art that they will treasure.

So, there you have some ideas for creating your own memory quilt. Use one, two or all of the suggestions. The best thing about this type of quilt is that it is unique. And isn’t that a reason why we quilt, anyway? To create something unique.

Nine Patch Quilt Block – How to Make and How to Use

A nine patch quilt block is just about the easiest block you can make. It also has the benefit of being one of the most versatile. So, what is it and how can you use it to turn your scraps into something beautiful? Let’s find out.

What Is It?

It’s really very simple. A nine patch quilt block is made up of nine parts. These can be the same size or not. What makes the block is the contrast in values between the sections.

They will usually have light and dark value. Now, these nine sections can have all the same color like when you’re quilting a basic Irish Chain or they can have a variety of colors like the Puss in Boots block.

How to Make It

Strip Piecing is your best bet. For a standard 9 patch if you want a 6-inch block, you’ll need to cut out 3 – 2.5 inch strips of your dark or bright fabrics and 3 – 2.5 inch strips of your light fabric. Create 2 strip sets:

Dark-Light-Dark and Light-Dark-Light

Cut the strip sets 2.5-inches times the width of the fabric. Sew them in sets of the following ways to create your block:



Dark-Light –Dark

How to Use it:

Alternate with plain blocks

As mentioned above, you can create a basic Irish chain quilt. That is if you alternate it with a block of the background fabric. The main color pop and it looks like there’s a chain. Another option is just to alternate the block with a plain block of the same size.

Alternate with Half-Square Triangles

This is something really simple that can pack a punch. First, look in your stash to see what you have a lot of. It should be a dark color and a light color. Make half-square triangle blocks. Then make 9 patch quilt blocks that coordinate with these colors. It works best if they fall between the color ranges and are in the same color family. By the same family I mean brights, country colors, Civil War reproductions, that kind of thing.

You do not need the same fabric line, but you do need the same color family. You will notice that you gravitate toward a certain type of fabric and this will not be a problem.


Sashing is also an option. Don’t have a lot of time and need a quick charity quilt? It doesn’t get much easier than this. Instead of cutting 2.5 inch strips for your 9 patches, cut your strips 4.5 inches. That will finish as a 12inch block. Set 3 blocks x 4 blocks with sashing and you’ve got yourself a quilt top.

Setting on Point

You can also set this on point using setting triangles.

Tools in Your Toolbox

A nine patch quilt block is a good quilt block to have in your quilting toolbox. It’s easy, lends itself to strip-piecing and is versatile.

If you are a by-the-book quilter you can use this block. Simple doesn’t mean boring. The only limit really is your imagination.

Quilting Supplies – What you need to keep on hand

Here are some basic quilting supplies that you will need to keep in stock.

Quilting Fabric

Yep. That’s obvious.

Quilters refer to the quilting fabric they have on hand as their “stash.” Sometimes stashes can get quite high. There’s even a stash busters online yahoo group to help fabricholics.

The good thing is that you will probably gravitate toward a certain style. There are a ton of different quilt fabric lines. You can count on most to stay near their niche. Amy Butler is modern. Moda? You will probably get a traditional type of quilt. Michael Miller features more novelty fabric.

It’s good to be aware of the different types of fabric lines so that you can know where to go when you’re looking to make a specific kind of quilt. When it comes to quilting supplies, fabric is on the top of the list.


If you have a basic sewing machine, you can use good old Dual Duty. It’s what is in my machine. If you can, however, get your hands on some Gutermann thread. If you have a high end machine, it is a necessity.

As for colors, buy neutral thread for piecing. For my bright quilts, I use white thread. For my darker quilts, I like beige. Keeping your piecing thread neutral means that you can really take advantage of the big box fabric store sales on thread.

Quilt Batting

Batting can be the most confusing choice when it comes to quilting supplies. There are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself before you choose the right batting for a project. What will this quilt be used for? You can get away with a different batting for a wall hanging than one that you are hoping will become a little one’s favorite blanket. Baby quilts will probably be washed and dried a lot. You will need a batting that will hold up to all of that abuse, uh, I mean loving. Is warmth important? Would the recipient of the quilt be happier with a quilt that is backed with fleece because it would be warmer? In that case, you may be able to forgo batting all together.

And this is may seem shallow but notice how far apart the batting needs to be quilted. Do you really want to quilt every four inches? Only use batting like this for a small wall hanging.

Then again, the quilts made are for everyday use and probably wouldn’t make it past a cursory glance of a quilt judge. If you aspire to hand quilt a masterpiece or to use a long arm machine, then quilting every four inches could be the perfect batting for you.

It’s all about intended use. Once you know what kind of quilt you want to produce, choosing the batting becomes easy.

Tip – Buy the largest piece of bagged batting you can when it is on sale. You can always cut it up for smaller projects.

Quilt Labels

You can make your own quilt label with a piece of muslin and a permanent fabric pen. Write your name, the date, the intended recipient and the name of the quilt on the scrap of fabric. Then, stitch this to the back of the quilt.

There are also some quilt labels that are produced by fabric companies. The first quilt label I used was from a Christmas fabric line. I used some Wonder Under to apply it to the back of the quilt so that it stuck. Although Wonder Under is supposed to be permanent, I really should have stitched it down.

Another alternative is to sign the back of the quilt, directly mark on the quilt with again, a permanent, fabric pen.

So, there you have it – fabric, thread batting and labels. You can never go wrong stocking up on these basic quilting supplies.

Basic Quilting Supplies You Will Need

As a new quilter, you probably aren’t sure which supplies you need to have to be successful at quilting. When you look at a quilting or fabric store or online, there are what seems like a million gadgets and gizmos, all important for the quilter to be successful. How can you tell which are really imperative? Or do all quilters have everything?

Before you go off and buy anything, think about what kind of quilting you want to do. Do you have a pattern yet? Maybe a picture of a quilt you like and want to make? The type of quilting you want to do will affect which quilting supplies you will need, for example, those who are machine quilting won’t need supplies like a quilting frame. But let’s discuss the supplies you need to just get that first quilt top made.

Basic Sewing Supplies for Quilting

There are some sewing and quilting supplies that you will need regardless of whether you’re quilting or sewing a dress for your little girl. They are important to have on hand. So be sure you have scissors, pins, a needle and thread, as well as a seam ripper.

Scissors that are sharp and pointed work best. If they aren’t sharp and you have to struggle with every cut, you’ll hate them. If they aren’t pointed enough, you won’t be able to get into tight little places to cut. Some quilters also use a rotary cutter and mat to do their cutting, but they aren’t necessary – traditional scissors will work fine when you’re just learning.

Pins are a simple thing that can be a real help. Think of them as an extra set of hands to help hold the pieces together while you sew. They can help those edges stay together, and they can mark where that seam should be, or where it needs to end. The cheapest pins are the steel ones with tiny heads. A step above that are the one with the colored ball heads. They are much easier to see! Want to go a step even better? Try the ones with the flowered heads; they are a little bit longer, too. They’re a bit more expensive, but oh, so nice to work with! That’s a sewing and quilting supply that can make quilting just a little bit closer to heaven.

If you will be hand sewing, have a few sewing needles. If you are sewing the pieces together by sewing machine, have extra sewing machine needles on hand. If your quilt is one basic color – like blue, or brown – use that color of thread. If it is many colors and fabrics, like a crazy quilt, choose either black or white thread, whichever blends the best with your fabrics.

Another sewing supply you should have available is a seam ripper. I know, none of us plan to make mistakes, but they somehow happen anyway, so it helps if we can minimize the frustration they can cause by having a good tool to fix our mistakes. As a new quilter, to whom all the techniques are new, you are very likely to need to do some “reverse sewing”, so keep that handy-dandy seam ripper within arm’s reach.

Crafting Your Handmade Patchwork Quilt

To begin your handmade patchwork quilt you will require cloth. Patches can make up a fashionable, yet old-style quilt that will last for a lengthy time to come. You simply cut the pieces of your material to develop patches as well as design, stitching in simple numerical lines. If you are producing the customary handmade patchwork quilt, you will need fabrics, incorporating lengthy stripes, squares, arched shapes, and rectangles. You are able to leave out the shapes that curve if you do not care to go all the way through the steps of creating an intricate handmade patchwork quilt.

At the time of designing a handmade patchwork quilt, quilters will use patches to construct a quilt with a lot of segments, such as the quilts that resemble the Picasso arts, or else the basic quilts. Once you gather your patches, you will need to form blocks of your cloth. The blocks in crafter language include the “corn and beans,” motifs, “turkey tracks, maple leaf, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul” and so on.

Prior to commencing your handmade patchwork quilt you will have to choose the block scheme. You have the selection of the 4-patch scheme, or else the 9-patch. The patch block schemes make up grids, that fill in a variety of simple lines in numbers along with shapes. The 4-patch is one of the customary patterns used to make customary quilts, furthermore is one of the simpler quilt patterns. The 9-patch is additionally used, yet other models are made up on other geometric grids. When you learn to quilt you may wish to start with the lower block inches, you will what’s more have to know how to make up borders to perfect your quilt. Quilting for beginners need not be complicated, sticking to simple quilt patterns is the key to making this process less complicated.

The 4-patch is 4-squares factored into a numerical grid. For example, you can picture a box, draw a cross inside, and count 1-4 to accomplish the 4-block scheme. To continue to the 4-patch scheme you would have to include squares, stripes, etc. The whole idea behind the 4-patch scheme is that you can make use of a selection of patches to create a colorful quilt.

Once you elect on the type of your handmade patchwork quilt you will want to think about your schemes. If you are working the 4-patch scheme on blocks, around 4 inches, then you will want to cut your patches 2 inches in squares. The higher the scheme, the more patch inch squares you would need. For example, if you were to produce a 12-block scheme, you would require twelve patches and cut in six-inch squares. On the other hand, if you were having the 9-patch idea, choosing the 12-inch blocks then you would need to cut your patches into 4-inch squares. Now you are able to make your templates. Templates in crafter vocabulary are patterns, which are cut from heavy-duty fabrics, or materials. You must have the templates to produce an easy squared quilt, or else prepare to battle. You’ll end up with a spectacular creation and a handmade patchwork quilt to be proud of on the proviso you abide by simple quilt patterns. Keeping things easy is the secret when you learn to quilt your handmade patchwork quilt.

Learn Hand Quilting

If you are starting to learn to quilt, or an advanced practitioner of quilting you can uncover a lot of books that can help expand your skill. Quilting publications fall more or less into a few categories, and many titles abound within each one. The different types of books are how-to, pattern encyclopedias, historical, books about the joy of quilting, as well as art books.

How-to books are in all probability the most popular, in addition to being the first stop for the individual who wants to learn to quilt. They range from publications which discuss the complete craft of quilting as well as offer step-by-step advice, to books that will capture one feature of quilting and clarify how to achieve it. The instructional publications start with such fundamentals as cloth selection in addition to which accessories you’ll need and proceed through instructions for assembling the blocks of your quilt top as well as the quilt itself, down to explanations of quilting, both hand and machine. Each quilter needs at least one of these publications within their library, and commonly will manage to accumulate a number of them. You’ll find it amazing how many times you need a ready reference when you are in the middle of a quilting task.

An extra sort of book that every quilter will need to have on hand is an encyclopedia of patterns which include simple quilt patterns – huge for the starter. These books collect various different quilt block patterns and also explain the fundamentals of their assemblies. Since their aim is to cover a lot of ground, these publications are significant starting points but will not go into intimate detail. For that you will want to turn to books which feature coaching on an individual pattern. With the extensive assortment of quilting block patterns and techniques, you are able to imagine that this group of quilting books is rather extensive and stocked with titles.

Because quilting has its roots in American history, quilts and the craft of quilting have been studied in detail, and a lot of historical quilting textbooks exist. Looking at these textbooks along with seeing what our ancestors accomplished having a fraction of the equipment and supplies on hand at the moment can be a terrific source of inspiration to current quilters. Along the same lines are books that discuss the enjoyment to be derived from quilting, both in its social form (such as quilting bees) or as a solitary pursuit. Finally, there is a complete segment of quilters who have advanced the craft into art. These quilters regularly show their work in galleries in addition to museums, for example the quilt wall hanging. They publish books not just about their quilts, but the thoughts and procedures that went into assembling them. Every now and then collectors of quilts will put out publications, too. These art quilt books are as inspiring in their way as the historical quilting books.

Part of the thrill of quilting is locating books on the topic, and fortunately for modern quilters, there is a massive array of titles to choose from. Regardless of whether you are choosing to put together a handmade patchwork quilt or a quilt wall hanging, even quilted clothing for that matter, you should make sure you have a book or 2 easy to hand to help you along the way.



Once you have created some quilts you may want to starting selling them. There are a variety of different ways to do this including going to arts and craft festivals in your city, flea markets on even setting up your website. You will need to have a good stock built up and that will take some time. You can look on the internet for the local arts and crafts festival, their cost, times and locations. The local flea market is a good place to set up a booth but then again you will need to contact the local vendors to find out their costs for a booth, times they are open and any special requirements they may have for bringing in your own tables and such. You want to have a way to display your quilts such as a rack as well as some bags to put them in, and change for cash payers. And you will probably need a way to take credit cards as well. I found a great website that talks about this subject at: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/how-accept-credit-cards-garage-sale-1273.php

If you don’t want to attend arts and crafts festivals or hang out a the flea market all weekend you might want to consider getting a website and selling your products online. You create your own website using one of the free services such as: http://www.ecrater.com/ is a free ecommerce website and community with unlimited products you can add, or http://www.freewebstore.org/ is a free ecommerce webstore builder that is based out of England and limits your products to 9 or less. Just remember you will need to sign up for a merchants account with either Google pay or Paypal to process credit cards. However, you will not get a website with your own domain name. ECrater will allow you to just use their shopping cart feature by using links from your own domain website. You can always start out with a free site and when you get going you can upgrade to your own domain with a shopping cart feature built in so that you can control all aspects of your business. Try http://websforyou.info and http://blogsforyou.info when you are ready. Remember you have to have a shipping cost module added to your cart as well as collect sales taxes. The rate of sales tax is determined by which state you live in.
Finally, you will need to consider how much you are going to charge for your quilting creations. There are a variety of different strategies to consider when you want to sell you items including the cost of materials, the time spent on the project and the size of the piece and of course, the uniqueness of it as well. You can check on out this article I found at: http://quiltingbusiness.com/quilt-pricing.htm..Good luck!
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Once you have created a couple or 10 quilts you might want to consider selling them. You can give them away to friends and family members and you can even sell them for FUN AND PROFIT. After all, you will need to recoup all that money and time you spent creating your fabulous creations and what better way than to sell a few. Of course, the more inventory you can create before you decide to sell the better. And the more the make the faster you will get at making them. There are various avenues for selling your quilts and Spring and Fall are probably the better times to try and sell them. You can pay the fees for a booth at a local quilting show or even pay the smaller fees at your local Flea and Farmers Market. But if you don’t want to schlep all your inventory to any of these places you can create a website.
If you go the traditional route you will have to pay for a domain, pay for website hosting fees and setup a shopping cart. And absolutely set up a PAYPAL account. PAYPAL is a secure credit card/electronic check processing website that keeps yours and your customers information safe and secure. Check out the GODADDY website for an inexpensive website solution that will give you complete control of how you website looks like, feels like and interacts. If you are not internet or web savvy then you can even try two websites that we use in conjunction with our own Jolene’s Books and More by going to Yardsellr and or ETSY.
Yardsellr is a FREE Listing website that you can upload pictures of your items, write a description, and have all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinrest to view your listings and share them with their friends and family. There are no fees to the sellers but a small fee is added to each buyer. It is highly recommended that you have your PAYPAL account already set up before joining so you can get PAID. They also require that you get a tracking number after shipping. They have a Help section for you to read through to find out all the rules and how to’s on setting up your account and other things that you need to know. You will have to relist each item every 30 days but they don’t charge for that either. ****Yardsellr Closed Down their Selling Site March 2013******
Now, ETSY is another seller/buyer website that gives you a little more leeway in your shop. They do charge $0.20 per item that you list and a small percentage of the amount you sell. They help you get the word out and offer videos and instructions on how to list, take pictures, involve your friends, even pay a small fee to have your items featured quickly. You have to renew your items every 4 months and pay the $0.20 per item fee again. The fees are due by the 15th of the following month. That gives you a little time to list your items and hopefully make a sale or two before they are due. Read through the help sections of any site or service you decide to use. So far we have been happy with all the services we are recommending.
****Updated June 18, 2013****
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For those of us who are new to quilting we really like the YouTube quilting videos that people have uploaded and are willing to share with everyone. Some of these people even make money with these videos by participating in the Google Adsense program and linking their Youtube user account with the Adsense account. Every time that someone views their video with advertising and clicks on the “ad appropriate” content the video make gets a few pennies. Eventually they will add up to enough money to buy more materials for more quilts. Now you may not have the creative skills or equipment to make these kinds of movies but if you do you can go to our sister site and learn a little bit more about making videos: http://allaboutmakingvideos.info We have included one of the Quilting Channels with quilting tutorials you can view below. They are pretty good and a good example when making your own video.
Essential Quilting Skills & Techniques
by Missouri Star Quilt Company Quilting Tutorials
Has 12 videos in the series and are FREE to view over and over again. Great for the beginner or even as a refresher for the long-time quilter.
For those who would like to start their own business with their quilts we have found a business startup funding source that you might want to consider. It is a Flexible funding account that takes advantage of the campaigners social media followers and friends. If you don’t have a Facebook and Twitter account yet then now would be the time to start. They are a great way to find other quilters out there, show off your work and encourage others to buy from you once you decide to sell your stuff. Anyway, IndieGoGo.com is a crowdfunding website that helps business owners get funding for the business start-ups. They charge a small fee of what you collect and with the Flexible funding option you get to keep what you get as opposed to some of the other “All-or-Nothing” Crowdfunding sites. They have terrific tools for you to use and have some very quick and interesting tutorials on how to help your campaign be a success. Let’s face it we all need help finding funding for our projects and whether you are needing funds for a business or are sponsoring a special civic project this might be the place for you to get started. Please view our campaign below and read through their materials and share it with your friends and relatives. It may be the answer for a project that you are passionate about that needs a little help getting off the ground.

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Where Can You Sell Your Unique Quilts
Now that you have mastered the skill of making quilts and you have quite a few in inventory you might want to think about selling them. You have several options to selling your creations. You can attend Craft Shows, Quilting Fests, Flea Markets, Consignment Agreements with Quilting Shops but the best and possibly the least expensive way would be creating an online store and selling them directly to the public. You may have to use a combination of a few methods to get the word out on your store. We can help you with that if you like.
Attending Craft Shows and Quilting Fests
You will need to apply for a Vendor’s Space at the show, pay the fees, have your own table, chairs, be able to accept credit cards and have promotional materials ready to hand out such as business cards, flyers and perhaps some trifolds with information about your creations or even a Percentage Off Coupon that they can use on their next purchase. You will also have to have pictures of your products. Most Craft Shows require that you fill out an application before hand and include pictures of your products with the application. The fees can run anywhere from $200 to $600 per show. These are also two or three day events that you will have to be prepared to man your booth the entire time. So having a couple of partners to spell each other for bathroom breaks and food breaks will be essential.
These type of shows usually just give you a 10×10 space on the floor and you have to bring everything to display your products attractively as well as the selling stuff. The selling stuff might include shoppers bags, a small printer to print receipts or you can get one of the small carbon copy receipt books from an office supply store. Finally, you will more than likely have to pay for a Business Tax/Occupational License for the county you are selling your creations. The State of Florida requires you to collect Sales Tax on physical goods sold within the state. So, you will have to apply for a Sales Tax Number as well. These may have to be gotten before you submit your application with the shows. Check the requirements of the show on their websites very carefully to make sure you can meet the terms and are happy with them.
Showing your Quilts at these types of events should be thought of as a chance to show off what you can do. It is also a great time to meet other quilters, network, and get and share tips. If you have your promotional items ready to give out to anyone who shows interest in your work and with a website already up and running they may decide to buy from your website. You may not make any money at some of these events but it is a great place to garner interests in your work.
Flea Markets
Now selling anything at one of the local Flea Markets is about the same. You will have to pay for a booth which is probably just a couple of tables in a 10×10 space. You will have to bring your goods, your selling stuff such as customer bags, receipts and even the ability to take credit cards. Remember that these types of places generally attract bargain hunters and not so much those who would be willing to pay the price of handcrafted pieces of art. And you will have to pack up your goods every day and return in the morning to set back up again. Most flea markets are located outdoors with some spaces having a roof and the least expensive ones with no roof. However, an indoor flea market with lockable doors might be a way for you to start a small store. And the indoor Flea Markets have air conditioning for the summer and heating for the winter. You will have to pay a monthly fee for the booth but you can leave your stuff, use it as a store address, lock up when you are not there and it is less expensive than a regular commercial space. Flea Markets do generate a lot of foot traffic and that is a good thing when it comes to getting the word out about your quilts.
As with the Craft Shows if you elect a monthly booth at the Flea Markets you are going to have to get a Sales Tax Number, Collect Sales Tax from anything your sell and send them in monthly or quarterly as well as getting a Business Tax License from the County. Even if you just go on occasional weekends it is a good idea to go ahead and get the Business Tax License and Sales Tax Number. These are business expenses and are required for any business selling within the state.
To process Credit Cards for a very small fee and get a FREE sliding device you will need a smartphone, Iphone or IPad device by using SquareUp.
Selling Your Quilts Online
To sell your quilts all you need is a decent website, a social media account or two, a shopping cart and the ability to accept online credit cards. Signing up with Paypal then you can have both without any added cost. They do charge fees when you get a credit card payment. With a social media account such as Facebook and Twitter you can use one of the many online stores such as Etsy.com and Copius.com. Etsy charges $0.20 per item to list every 4 months as well as a small fee when you sell your items and Copius is free to list but charges a small fee when you sell your item.
Now we are offering small business quilters that want to sell their unique creations online a website off of our domain. Check out the Quilters Get Your Own Website for more details
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The New York Beauty block has many layout options and design possibilities. The look achieved, in a quilt made with New York Beauty blocks, will depend on fabric design and color, as well as fabric placement. Deciding on fabrics and fabric placement can be made easier by first choosing a layout…..which is a task in itself, they are all so beautiful!
So, to inspire my design process and help in choosing a layout and fabric, I started a pinterest board of
New York Beauty blocks and quilts
that I like. I find I’m drawn to layouts with bold design, circle and “s” type curves and layouts with sashing. As for color, I like NYB quilts with bright colorful fabrics, those with just two or three colors and the very scrappy looking quilts. I particularly like the use of black and white fabrics in New York Beauty quilts.
Many New York Beauty quilts are made with the same block design and fabric throughout to achieve the desired effect like this simple but stunning quilt.
While others use several block designs with fabrics in a limited color palette with very interesting results.
These quilts are great examples of the way different fabrics, colors and layouts can be used to give such unique results.
The New York Beauty Quilt Along is officially underway and I’m enjoying all the blocks being posted in the
NYB flickr pool
and eager to get started on my own. First I need to catch up on a few other project’s and that’s giving me time to spend pondering and planning my NYB blocks and layout rather than jumping in not knowing what I want my quilt to end up looking like!
Most of my fabric has arrived and again I have to wonder if I’m crazy…..but I’m loving the riot of color and the variety of print and scale they have. These are fabrics I would never have considered years ago….even if some of them had been available.
So, after spending some time with my fabric, I returned to studying my New York Beauty pinterest board to help me finish planning my layout. My fabrics include a wild range of colors, large and medium florals along with a variety of prints and scale similar to the blocks below. I love the way they look…..seeing them helps me envision how my fabrics will look.
I had already decided I wanted to include some black and white fabric in each block so they would have an element in common and provide some unity.
I think this simple New York Beauty quilt with nine circles floating on a solid background will be the ideal setting for my quilt.
The NYB Quilt Along features ten different block designs, so when I saw this simple New York Beauty quilt with nine circles floating on a solid background I thought it would be the perfect layout for a scrappy sampler style New York Beauty.
I’m going for a wild scrappy look achieved with fabric alone…..as I will use four NYB blocks of the same design for each circle rather than mixing block designs as was done in the quilt above. Block “0” will become part of the backing and blocks one through nine will make up the quilt top.
But wait……Fast Forward a few weeks…….
Since getting the fabric above(and playing with it) and finally getting around to publishing this post (that’s been in draft for a few weeks!) about my design thoughts for my New York Beauty blocks ….I bought some gorgeous batiks that I would love to use…..
The NYB QAL is well on it’s way and the blocks being posted in the flickr group are all so different and oh so gorgeous! I have yet to begin any blocks for a couple of reasons. First, I needed to finish my Sew Happy Quilt QAL top and a mini quilt for a swap, get caught up with the Bloggers BOM….and now need to finish my 3×6 bee blocks and cut charms for fabric swaps. Second, and the
main reason I believe I’ve delayed starting is that after seeing the fabulous NYB blocks being created I came to the conclusion…..I really can’t make up my mind exactly what I want do!
And I confess this isn’t the first time such indecisiveness has struck!
Welcome to A Touch of Class. My name is Jean McDonald and I will be your host at this website. I am a wife, a mother, and a quilter. My husband Matt and I have been married for 20 years and we have been stationed from Alabama to Virginia to California and back to Maryland. Currently the Coast Guard has us stationed in Topeka Kansas. We have 4 children ranging from middle school to college. In only 5 more years all of our children will be out of High School and moving on with their futures.
I began piecing 20 years ago after watching Eleanor Burns show how easily you could make a quilt in just a single day. My quilt tops turned out a little smaller than planned as I used 5/8th inch seams instead of the obligatory ¼ inch seams. My first “real” quilt was made 7 years later when I saw this beautiful quilt called “I love bears and bunnies.” Since I loved bears I was destined to make the quilt. Unfortunately, I had no idea how they got those cute bears onto the fabric. I was told that I could appliqué them on during my spare time, a commodity that I didn’t have with 4 children under the age of 5. I did finish that quilt and have since stayed as far away from hand appliqué as possible.
After moving back to the East Coast, I took some more piecing classes to meet some people and to get out of the house a little. I made a king sized quilt for my best friend and after struggling to stitch in the ditch on my Bernina, I swore that off as well as appliqué. I purchased my 1st Gammill machine in 2003 after my parents were killed in a car accident. I saw the machine as a gift from my parents. While quilting, I put into effect my parents’ life goals: my dad liked to solve puzzles and my mom liked to make things beautiful. I finish quilts by solving the puzzles presented to me by the piecers and I return a beautiful piece of art to them.
I have been quilting now for over 7 years. I use a Gammill Optimum Plus to finish custom quilts and a Statler Stitcher to complete overall quilts. I love working on custom quilts and that is why I purchased my second machine so that it would allow me the time to do what I love while being able to supply my customers with quick and reliable service.
I began my business, A Touch of Class, while we lived in Maryland and God blessed my business and allowed it to grow. Since beginning my business in 2003, I have completed over 1300 quilts for customers. It was a challenge being transferred this last time because I had to start my business over in Kansas. Just yesterday I mailed off 6 boxes of quilts to Maryland. I enjoy being able to keep up with my friends and clients through UPS. Since moving here a year ago, I have successfully shipped close to 250 quilts back to Maryland. My business has grown in Kansas as well and I find that I am making some more friends in this quilting world. It has been awesome to see how God continues to send quilts my way.
One of my goals with my business is to supply excellent service in a fairly short period of time. I have been able to turn overall quilts around in usually 2 weeks time and custom work within 6-8 weeks. I have not needed to sacrifice quality in order to finish the quilts as I am now a full-time quilter and I am no longer gainfully employed outside the home.
I have taken many classes from award winning teachers such as Linda Taylor, Cathy Franks, Marcia Stevens, Karen McTavish, and Pam Clarke. I strive to continue perfecting my skills by learning from those who have gone before me. Just like my father, I hope to continue learning more each day to become the best that I can be at what I do: quilting.
I keep Hobbs batting on hand as a service to my customers. I carry 80/20 in black and cream as well as 100% cotton. I use King Tut and So fine threads almost exclusively and I have hundreds of colors on hand. I currently carry some 108” wide backing fabrics and soon I will be carrying samples of Sew Batiks double wide backs as well that can be ordered through me for your quilt backs.
I would love to discuss your creations with you. May God bless you and your quilting endeavors. Quiltingly, Jean McDonald
I really need to get a grip on my recent obsession with 100% cotton premium quilting fabric and subsequent spending! But, I think that’s easier said than done…and I know I’m not alone in this…. which gives me a little bit of comfort! I’ve found myself arranging and rearranging piles of fabric more often than I actually want to admit to. This usually happens after spending some quality time perusing favorite etsy fabric sellers. Sometimes, on the way to bed, I glance into the sewing room and can’t resist stopping in to try out a few fabric combinations….and then ponder the possible projects and, of course, the additional fabric that would be needed.
A few days ago, in the very early hours of the morning(about 1:30am to be totally honest), while arranging fabric for another QAL starting soon, I finally admitted to myself what I had been suspecting for a couple of weeks…..I had become a fabricaholic. I struggle daily to resist buying the gorgeous fat quarter and half yard bundles I’ve been admiring online but can’t help adding them to my cart, knowing full well that I’m not really going to be able to purchase them. I guess the last thing I need to be doing is participate in a virtual Fabric Shop Hop…right?
While the urge to buy and acquire more fabric is there and relatively strong, I don’t feel that an intervention is needed at this point because finally, after over spending on fabric for a couple of months, I’m sticking to a monthly fabric budget and finding ways to trim a little money from the household budget in order to increase my monthly fabric budget. Oh…and, I’m going to make an effort to buy fabrics that are on sale at greatly reduced prices…UNLESS buying exact yardage needed for a specific project…..really. And, I’m avoiding the local quilt shop until I’ve used up the fabric purchased there the past few months. Also, in an effort to fill the void of not buying so much fabric, I began entering giveaways and now the
a Virtual Shop Hop complete with prizes. When I first started, most of the giveaways that I enter were for fabric but I soon began entering giveaways for many other items. I have actually won a couple of giveaways!
And, really……after seeing the humongous fabric stashes of so many others, through their blogs and flickr streams, I know that I am not so far gone… I am strong and have the power to resist buying piles of luscious fabrics before I need them or with out having a plan for their use…..have to keep telling myself I can do this……
What label do you go by to describe your fabric addiction?
Weather you refer to yourself as a fabricaholic, fabric junkie, material girl, textile junkie, fabric obsessed…..how do you cope? How do you curb your spending or say no to that next scrumptious bundle of fabric from one of your favorite designers or shops?
Sew and Tell – Sewing.com Newsletter – 07/01/2002
How about taking some time to air out and tidy up the ol’sewing room this coming week? While you’re doing that take a minute to think of ideas on making this special space of yours more sewer friendly, or just a little more comfortable. Jot your ideas down, and keep them close at hand. There is nothing more satisfying than having a personal workspace that is functional and welcoming.
You might be asking yourself “how can I make my sewing room more sewer friendly?” Here are some ideas for you to consider.
1) If you have a serger and a sewing machine take two tables and place them in an L-shape in the corner of your room. Place the serger on one table, and then the sewing machine on the other.
2) Get a comfortable office chair that turns and has wheels, it’s an easy way to turn from one machine to the other.
3) Make sure that the tables that your machines are on are raised to a comfortable height for you.
4) Set your ironing board up at a low height, so that when you turn on your chair from your machines, your iron is right there ready for pressing.
5) Have your cutting table set up in the same room. A large office table can be used as a cutting table. If needed, place blocks under the legs so that the table is at the right height for you.
6) Take a look to see how you could organize your sewing supplies so they are handy and easy to find.
When I mention having a “comfortable” workspace, I mean comfortable as in cozy.
Why not have a work space that is welcoming, and a place that you want to be?
I think it would be safe to say that a great many of us have a large fabric stash full of fabric we love. Why not take some of that adored fabric and dress up your work area with something like a pretty little curtain? How about a fabric skirt to go around the cutting table (creates more hiding space for the fabric stash!)? Splash your favorite color of paint on one of the walls. The ideas are limitless! Let’s take some time for ourselves, and make our sewing rooms extra special! Happy planning!
Visit us at our ‘Our Sewing Spaces’ community board
http://forums.sewing.com/[email protected]^[email protected]
and let us know what you have planned for your sewing room.
To show us what you have done with your sewing room, you can email a picture to me [email protected] for posting in the Member Talent Gallery. http://www.sewing.com/gallery/index.php
We at Sewing.com would like to thank Bernina for sponsoring this month’s newsletter. We’d appreciate the communities support by clicking on the URL below to see what is up and coming at Bernina.
Introducing a Bernina that’s Microsoft® Windows® Powered!
Click here and be the first to see it!
NEW CHAT NIGHT, MONDAYS (10-11pm E.T.) Grab a cup of tea, pull up to your computer, and chat with Lois. Lois is one of our long-time members here at Sewing.com, she’s wonderful company, and really knows her sewing. Come and meet Lois, starting Monday July 8th.
CAREER IN SEWING – Let’s welcome Kathy Embry, the owner of Sewingsupplies.com.
How many people are fortunate enough to work at their hobby? Until high school, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then, I found out that I could get a degree in Home Economics! Little did I know that, at age 39, I’d end up running my own website, “teaching the teachers” how to teach sewing, and teaching fashion classes at two local colleges!
At age 21, I jumped into retail with a vengeance, only to realize that I hated it! I returned to graduate school which gave me the opportunity to learn about desktop publishing, assist a fashion photographer and shoot a video. All of this experience led to my first job in the sewing industry, with Bernina of America, as a Marketing Assistant.
Four years later, I left Bernina, but continued to freelance in the sewing industry. In 1996, I was chosen by the Home Sewing Association to open Suddenly You’re Sewing, a sewing school specializing in teaching beginning sewing skills. From 1999-2002, I continued to teach home sewing skills at my own school, Kathy’s Sewing & Design Studio. In order to keep sewing alive, I once again teamed with the Home Sewing Association in 2001 to teach their “Trained Educator” program. We teach experienced sewers how to teach beginning sewing skills. We’ve certified over 150 individuals to teach sewing!
A long-time dream of mine was realized in January of 2000 when http://www.sewingsupplies.com , my on-line sewing supplies catalog, was launched. I wanted to develop a website that all sewers could go to for their basic sewing supply needs; a website that would keep the pricing reasonable and the selection current. As much merchandise as possible is offered in “bulk” (without packaging); I cut the interfacing and elastic, measure the trims, and count the pins – so my customers can save! I even carry items that the big chains don’t. Customers can call me for items that are “hard to find”. Sales tripled after the first year and are still going strong 2 ½ years later – I must be doing something right!
I don’t have one, two or even three jobs – I have a career in sewing that I love. Every day is different and challenging. I get to teach aspiring fashion design students, future home sewing instructors and help sewers purchase the sewing supplies they need. And, at the end of the day, sewing is still my hobby!
PROJECT – Get ready for the beach! We’re making a round bottom beach bag with a drawstring. What an easy project to make! It will delight all beach goers, young and old. Make it bright and bold, or just plain crazy using one of the many novelty prints that are available. My young daughter also uses her beach bag for sleepovers and for dance class. This bag is wide and roomy.
Here is a list of things you need to make a bag.
1) 7/8 yards of medium weight fabric with a fun print (or whatever you like).
2) 7/8 yards of 41” wide iron-on interfacing of medium weight.
3) 1.6 yards 1/4″ round cording
4) Thread to match fabric
1- Cut one piece of fabric 16 1/2” x 38”, this piece will make up the side walls of the bag. Mark and cut this piece so that the 16 1/2” length runs with the selvage, and the 38” length runs across the width of your fabric (selvage to selvage). Now cut one 16 1/2” x 38” piece of interfacing.
2- For the round base of the bag, cut one 12” diameter circle out of the fabric, and another out of the interfacing. **See below for making a circle.
3- Take both interfacing pieces; trim away 1/4″ of interfacing from each side of the rectangle, and from all the way around the circle. Center the round piece of interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric circle and iron on. Center the rectangular piece of interfacing on to the wrong side of the fabric rectangle and iron on. Please follow the manufacturer’s directions for your iron-on interfacing.
4- Place the 16 1/2” x 38” panel of fabric right side down on your table, with the
16 1/2” measurement running vertical, and the 38” measurement running horizontal. The 16 1/2″ lengths will be sewn together to make up the side seam of the bag, mark these lengths with an “S”. Now choose one of the 38” lengths as the top of the bag, and mark it with a “T” and the other 38” length with a “B” for the bottom of the bag.
5-With the fabric rectangle still facing down on the table, fold the top edge of the panel down 1/4″ (to the wrong side of the fabric) and iron, then fold down another 1/4″ iron, pin , and then topstitch this double fold down.
6-With a long, wide, zigzag stitch, stitch around your fabric circle. Do the same on the fabric rectangle but just zigzag down one side, across the bottom, and then up the other side.
7- Fold the fabric rectangle in half, right side to right side, match up the sides, and pin. Now place a mark on the seam line 1 3/4″ down from the top edge, and another 2 1/2″ down from the top edge. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, start sewing from the top of the bag (make a few stitches, backstitch) and sew down to the 1 3/4″ mark, stop, backstitch, and cut you threads. Start sewing again 1/4” below the 2 1/2″ mark, backstitch to the 2 1/2″ mark, and now continue sewing the seam all the way to the bottom edge.
8-Press the side seam allowance open. Your rectangular piece of fabric is now a tube.
9-Turn the tub inside out, and fold the top of the tube down 1 1/2” (towards the wrong side of the fabric), iron, pin, and topstitch 1 3/8” from the top edge. You now have a finished casing for the drawstring!
10-Place your fabric circle right side up on a table. Take the fabric tube, which is still turned inside out, and stand the tube up (bottom edge down) on top of the fabric circle. Match up the edges of the circle and tube, pin the circle to the bottom of the tube with right sides of fabric together. Sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
12- Turn your bag right side out. Thread your cording through the slit in the side seam near the outside top of the bag. When you are done, bring the ends of the cording together, and tie a knot close to the ends of the cord.
14 You are finished! You now have another wonderful project done for you or that special someone.
** To make a paper template for the circle, you’ll need at least a 14”x14” piece of paper, a 10” piece of string, and a pencil. Place a dot in the middle of the paper. Anchor one end of the piece of string to the dot with a thumbtack (don’t push thumbtack down all the way, the string has to be able to rotate around the thumb tack). Measure and place the pencil tip 6” away from the center of the thumbtack; tie the free end of the string around it. Now keeping the string taut, rotate the pencil all the way around the thumbtack while drawing a circle. The circle should measure 12” across.
1) Monsterpatterns.com
Recommended by one of our members! I’ve had quite a few members enquiring about old patterns, and there has been some luck in finding some of them at Monsterpatterns.com. So if you are looking for old/hard to find patterns be sure to give this site a try.
2) Priscilla’s crochet-free patterns index
Here is a wonderful site for all of you who love to crochet. Lot’s of fun free patterns from baby items, to home decorating. When you get to the page you’ll need to scroll down a bit to find the patterns. Wonderful stuff!
Have you found an exciting website lately that you would like to share? Please let [email protected] know.
1) Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using Any Pattern! by Patty Palmer, Marto Alto, Marta Alto, and Barbara Weiland
Learn the Palmer/Pletsch approach to pattern fitting. This type of pattern fitting doesn’t use the usual methods of pattern fitting like using body measurements, or fitting muslins. Doesn’t this sound interesting?
2)Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer
Have you ever wanted to know more about Couture sewing? This book explains the different techniques of couture sewing. The book has gotten a thumbs up from those who have bought it.
If you have a favorite book and would like to share it with us at Sew and Tell, please send the name of the book, a brief description and why you like it to
[email protected]
E-mail Sheryl for
Click Here To See Scans Of Blocks Swapped In Round One
Click Here To See Scan Of Blocks Swapped In Round Two
RULES…Please read carefully and print a copy for reference.
Due Date: Very important! The blocks must be in my hands by August 27, 2001. Blocks will be swapped and mailed back by September 4, 2001.
Fabric: Must be first quality, pre-washed and ironed 100% cotton batik, hand dyed, or Benartex Fossil Fern
No fabric look-alikes or other substitutions!

Butterfly Wings: Must be made entirely of batik or hand dyed….no other choices
Butterfly Body: Must be made entirely of batik or hand dyed…no other choices
Background: Can be either batik, hand dyed or Benartex Fossil Fern
There are NO color restrictions
You may use embroidery floss to embellish your butterflies, but no other fabrics, ribbons, etc. Please do not use markers for antennae or other embellishment.

Pattern: You may use any butterfly pattern you choose — appliqué, paper pieced, traditional pieced.

You may also add a flower or leaf to your block if you choose to do so (such as a butterfly perching on a flower or twig or leaf, etc). If you enlarge a paper piecing pattern, please enlarge it to only 8″ and add framing to make the block the correct size.
Appliqué may be either machine or hand appliqué. If you choose to do fusible appliqué, the edges *must* be secured with satin stitch or
buttonhole stitch that compliments your butterfly. Neat, close zig zag that well secures the edges will be accepted….ONLY if done with invisible thread. Otherwise….Zig-Zag will NOT be accepted.
No paint to secure the edges. Fussy-cut appliqué butterflies will not be accepted
Size of block: 10″ finished (10-1/2″ unfinished). Please measure your blocks carefully. We want everyone to love what they get in return.

Number of Blocks: We are swapping in sets of 5. Make 6 of each block,
keep one for yourself and send 5 to the swap. You may send 4 sets of blocks for a total of 20 butterflies. Each set must be different. In other words, in a group of 20 blocks, you must use at least 4 different butterfly fabrics and patterns. You may not use the same pattern for all your sets.

Packaging: Please put a label with each block (self stick is ok — NO pins!). Do not put the blocks in individual bags. They will be removed from the bag for swapping and the bags will be discarded.

The reason for this is so I can easily check block size and
construction details. Put all the blocks into ONE large Ziploc baggie with “to” and “from” information on the baggie in case there is a tear in the outer mailer. I prefer that you use the free Tyvek mailers at the post office for both sending them to me and for your return. Put the same postage in *stamps* on your return mailer as you used to mailto me. The post office will not accept metered postage on the return envelope. Please mark the outside of both envelopes with “# Butterfly”.
Please do NOT turn new, unused Priority mailers inside out to avoid paying the Priority fee. I will NOT use them to return your swapped blocks. You will have to send me a different mailer if you choose to do that. I do however encourage you to recycle used Priority mailers. I am not your conscience, but I am my own. I will not be a party to postal fraud.

Insufficient return postage will delay your swapped blocks
being returned to you

“If I Ever Open A Shop…”

First, let me
introduce myself as being a humble quilter. I took my first class from Joyce
Selin at the Village Quilt Shop [as many of you did] in 1994, and my first
completed quilt was donated in 1995 to the Georgia Quilt Project as a gift quilt
for the 1996 Olympics [my quilt went to the flagbearer of Nepal]. I was a
litigation paralegal and then a self-employed medical transcriptionist and never
had any interest whatsoever in opening a retail shop. That is, until I went on
my usual monthly shopping trip to VQS a couple of years ago and the thought
occurred to me when I walked in the door, “If I ever had any kind of shop, it
would have to be like this.” Little did I know that Joyce would announce her
retirement in 2002 and I would indeed open my very own shop. But, here I am!
And, thankfully, not alone. I am honored to be surrounded by a warm and
knowledgeable staff, five of whom formerly worked at the Village Quilt Shop.
Together, QE’s staff represent more than 100 years of quilting experience, with
each having a specialty and personal interest not like the others, and I am
blessed to have each and every one associated with the shop.

This has been a whirlwind experience, from learning of Joyce’s retirement in
April 2002, to signing the lease in July, to laying the nine-patch tile floor in
August, to opening the doors and hosting our Grand Opening in October 2002.

Creating QE’s inventory has been a challenge and represents an eclectic blend
of 19th and 20th Century reproduction fabrics, contemporary prints, homespuns,
children’s novelty prints, a large assortment of monochromatic hues, Hoffman
watercolor and hand-painted batiks, subdued and bright florals, Cleo’s hand-dyes
and holiday prints, to name a few. We stock a wide variety of books and
patterns, and we are happy to place special orders if you need something which
is not in stock. Don’t live near Stone Mountain? We’re happy to ship items, too.

Of particular personal interest to me is being involved in the local
community. If you are in a group that needs a meeting place, our classroom is
available to you, at no charge. If your guild is selling raffle tickets, please
send us a photo and tickets, and we will be happy to sell tickets at our
checkout counter. If your guild is having a show, please send us relevant
information. If your child’s school, church, or Scout group would like to take a
quilting class, we would love to have them learn at QE.

Thank you for visiting our web site. It is my hope that Quilting Essentials
will become a mainstay in the lives of both beginning and advanced quilters, as
well as your home away from home. I hope you will visit soon, and often.

Laurie Wragg – Owner



· Scant ¼ inch seam. Most patterns call for a scant ¼ inch seam.
Smaller seams, especially those not secured on the edge of the quilt, can pull
out when stretched on a long arm quilting machine. Secure exposed edges of

· Press seams flat. It is best to press as you go, but regardless, you
need to press the seams flat before sending the quilt to be quilted. Un-pressed
seams will result in imperfect quilting. We will press if we must but will
charge you our maximum hourly rate to do so.

· Clip loose threads. Loose threads will show through the light fabrics
in your quilt after the quilting is done.

· Square the quilt top. Quilt attaches to leaders that roll. A crooked
edge will result in a twisted quilt. We recommend scalloped edges be cut after
the quilt is quilted. Tell us if this is the plan and we will work

· Pin a note to mark top if quilt is directional. Marking the back if
it is directional is also important. This is not necessary if there is no

· Embellishments such as buttons, beads, ribbons etc. should be added
after the quilting is done.

· We cannot “quilt out†bulges from over large borders or blocks. Check
blocks before piecing together to make sure they match. Measure quilt in three
inner places before cutting border and average the measurements. Do not sew a
longer piece to the edge and then cut off the extra, or ease in a border that is
what the blocks should have added up to. The extra fabric will fold
over and bunch under the quilting machine.

Backing and batting:

· Busy fabrics on back tend to hide machine starts and stops. Custom
quilting always requires many seam ends. Edge to edge quilting is more
forgiving but will still show when the bobbin thread runs out.

· A ½ inch seam is recommended if your backing is seamed. Many people
now piece the back of their quilts. This is suitable as long as you realize we
cannot guarantee the back will be centered on the top.

· Remove selvedge edges from seam before sewing. Selvedge edge has a
different stretch than the rest of the fabric and will result in a pulled look
if left in the seam.

· Backing of quilt must also be squared.

· Batting labeled as appropriate for machine quilting is needed. Some
batting, especially polyester loose weave, will pull too much on the

· Backing and batting must be 4-6 (6 preferred) inches larger than quilt
front. Backing and batting attach to the leaders at top and bottom and to clips
on the side of the frame. Extra fabric is needed to do this.

· Do not use sheets as backing. Sheets do not stretch the way quilting
fabric does, and they are more closely woven which wears out the needles faster.

· Do not baste backing, batting and top together.


Take two talented people, one retirement, a late life marriage and a large house
near Pioneer Trail. Mix well, add enthusiasm, and what do you get? Quilts.

Penny Burroughs got hooked on quilts when she acquired an unfinished quilt in
the log cabin pattern made by her great grandmother. “I was intrigued,” she
said, and learned to add the batting and the backing. “Then I went into scrap
quilts and took lessons.” Soon she was skilled enough to begin teaching others.
She led classes in Maine, then in Arizona, and now at Tahoe, all the time
continuing to hone her skills by taking lessons as well.

Bill, a retired real estate broker and developer, got interested in quilting
soon after he got interested in Penny. His specialty soon became operating the
quilting machine. Now he and Penny own two of the 14 foot devices, each in its
own room. “If you want to do something creative, you can make a quilt top and
have someone else do the quilting,” Penny said. That’s where the machine comes

Quilts are made up of three layers: the decorative top fashioned from small
pieces of fabrics in a geometric or free form design, the middle layer of cotton
or synthetic batting to provide warmth; and the backing, usually a plain fabric
in a color that complements the top or in white.

In making quilts entirely by hand, crafts people often tie the layers
together with hundreds of bits of string or yarn. They may, instead, sew them
together by hand, often making the stitches into decorative patterns. The
quilting machine duplicates that tedious handwork, sewing the layers with
decorative stitching in any design desired, smoothly and evenly with no bunching
or lumping of the inner batting. Learning to run the new, improved second
machine has become Bill’s latest fun thing to do.

The demand for his work is strong and growing. Quilting is big, Penny says,
particularly with the proliferation of stores such as Sierra Tahoe Fabrics,
where Penny conducts classes. “People find out quilting is really relaxing.” she
said. She also teaches at a store in Placerville, and on Wednesdays at the South
Lake Tahoe Senior Center. Her students range in age from 10 years old to folks
in their 80’s.

“And people are becoming more productive” Bill adds. “They can see an end to
their project” when the final, difficult step is taken over by the machine.”

It may surprise some to learn that quilting is growing in popularity with
men, who the Buroughs say sometimes comprise half the classes. “We recently went
to a quilting conference in Duluth,” Bill said. “There were five thousand
quilters there. Quilting is huge.”

Penny likes to work with beginners. Many want to follow a standard design,
down to fabrics and colors. “As you progress, you tend to choose your own

Quilting is not just for making bedcovers. Penny and Bill’s living room has
quilted wall hangings and table runners. A quilted back pack lies on a coffee
table; Penny explains that all the materials to make it are available as a

“Every quilter has his or her UFO’s” Penny said. “That stands for UnFinished
Objects.” She has a few of her own, she said, stashed in closets and

The next venture for the quilting Burroughs is to offer “Quilting Camps.”
Penny says it will be a chance for a small group of women to get together” and
spend all weekend in our pajamas just quilting.” It’s a girl thing, she said ,
Bill said, chuckling, that he and the dogs would find someplace else to spend
that weekend.

And maybe Penny will get around to some of those UFO’s (He, He, He!)

E-mail Penny and Bill at [email protected]


So you’re ready to get started with your
first quilt but you have no idea where to start. Below is a list of some basic
quilting tools you will need to get started in your quilting

1) Sewing Machine

It goes without saying, but if you are
going to hand stitch your quilts you will not need a machine.

There are many brands of sewing machines
on the market. I personally love my Janome 4800 and Janome 6600. But to start
off, remember, you will need a machine that can sew straight stitches. You don’t
need tons of different stitches until maybe later, maybe never. It all depends
on the level you want to take your quilting. You will want to make sure of two
things. One: does your machine have either a 1/4″inch foot attachment or marking
for the 1/4″ inch? This is the most popular stitch in quilting. Two: does your
machine have a walking foot?The walking foot allows you feed bulky items through
or even machine quilt.

2) Rotary Cutter

Whoever invented a rotary cutter was
brilliant. When I took my first sewing lesson (back when the dinosaurs roamed),
there were only scissors. UGH! If you ever use scissors for long, you understand
how your thumb will hurt from the pressure of the finger holes. You don’t
experience that with a rotary cutter.

You will definitely want a
rotary cutter
, because it quickly lets you cut your strips, blocks,
etc. You will save a ton of time and energy than if you use scissors. Don’t
forget a rotary cutter sharpener. There are a few on the market for you to
choose from.

There are many sizes and varieties out
there in rotary cutters. You will soon find the ones that work best for you. For
me, I prefer the Olfa Rotary Cutter, 45mm. What I found when I used the smaller
(28mm) is that I didn’t have as much control. But when I used the 60mm, I found
it to be too big and bulky and still didn’t have as much control. I like the
Olfa because the blade retracts automatically, less chance of cutting

What I would suggest is that you go to
your local quilt shop and ask them to try their rotary cutters. You don’t need
to cut fabric, just feel it in your hand and practice on their cutting mats.

3) Rotary Mat

Rotary mats are great for cutting out
your projects. They protect the surface you cut on and they are made of
self-healing material, which means they don’t make grooves. They also
help keep your blades sharp, which means less time sharpening
your rotary cutter or replacing blades.

When I use my mat, I turn it over and
use the back side without the numbers. I do this because I have found some mats
don’t have straight lines. For convenience I use a large one at home, it is 36â€
x 24†. You probably will want a smaller mat for classes. Choose a size that fits
easily into your quilting tote if you will be taking classes (recommended).

4) Rotary Rulers

What can I say about rotary rulers?
Without them, you wouldn’t be able to cut and square your projects or create
special blocks and quilts. They are used to grip your fabric and a act as a
guide for your cutters, also a place for your hand to rest so you don’t cut your

At home I keep a 6†x 24†Ominigrid ruler
around for most projects. This ruler is great for cutting out your bigger pieces
of fabric. I use a 15†Omnigrid square for squaring up blocks up to 15†. I also
use this for squaring up my quilt after it has been quilted. A small 6 ½†square
ruler on my cutting area makes it easier to square up or cut smaller pieces.
With these three rulers, you will be able to cut most projects.
If you only buy one, I would strongly suggest the 15″inch square. You can do
most projects with this one ruler.

5) Iron & Ironing

Most of us already have an iron and
ironing board. Chances are what you already have will work just fine. Just
remember as you iron any of your pieces to press with an up and down
, instead of ironing back and forth. If you use steam, be very
careful you are dealing with raw edges of fabric and bias edges. Be gentle with
your strips, blocks, and fabric.

There is a brand new iron to hit the
market. It is a mini iron by Dritz. You can adjust the handle so you can get
into tiny spaces and press the smallest of areas. This iron is priced at $39.99,
but I have found Amazon has some for as low as $25.89. So if you are in the
market you can check it out here. This is a great deal. Petite Press Portable

If you do have to purchase an iron for
home, look for one that is fairly heavy. I use Rowenta and it has some heft,
which is great for helping with the pressing. There is also a specially designed
ironing board for quilters called a Big Board. This is square without the
narrower end and makes it easier to press fabrics and your quilt tops and even
has grid lines to make sure your strips and blocks are lined up correctly.

6) Fabric Scissors & Paper

I know it sounds crazy. But you really
will want to have two different scissors. If you cut your paper with your fabric
scissors, it makes them dull. So you will need one pair just for your
quilting projects and one pair for your paper cutting projects

I would advise marking these scissors,
either with a tag, or permanent marker on the handle or blade so you will know
that you use these for your paper projects ONLY. For quilting projects, I
recommend Gingher scissors. These stay sharp forever and are true

7) Pins &

When I started quilting I really didn’t
realize there was more than one type of pin available. But, wow, they have every
kind imaginable. You will want long straight pins. I like the
ones with the flower heads. They lay flat on your fabric and are easier to avoid
melting them with your iron. If you will be ironing your pins, you will want to
get glass head ones. They will not melt on to your work. Don’t forget the pin
cushion. There are millions of them out there or you could make your own.

When you are sewing with a machine,
there are many sizes of needles to get. Make sure to get the ones recommended by
your sewing manufacturer. I find Schmetz 75/11 Universal needles work great for
most of all the projects. If you are planning on sewing thick or bulky fabric
you will want to get a Jeans needle. For metallic threads you will want to use a
Metallica needle. So for whatever material you are sewing other than cotton,
make sure to use the right needle for the project. Follow your sewing machine
manufacturer’s directions.

More tools listed here:

After you get your quilting
, the next step will be to find an easy quilting pattern that
appeals to you.


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