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Sneak Peek!
Sep
16
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New Book on it's way!

I'm excited to announce that my new book, Blooming Patchwork, will be out in October! I am working with Kansas City Star Quilts on this book and I am really happy with it.  Here is one of the quilt projects in the book. It's called Star Gazing.

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What do you think?

The book has nine projects that range from table runners and wall hangings to lap quilts. All the projects are scrappy and include appliqué that can be done by hand or machine.

There is also a brief history of appliqué in America and tips to help you create you own appliqué masterpiece!

Here are a few shots of other projects in the book:

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So.... make sure you mention this post to your favorite quilt shop! Have them look for my book from Kansas City Star Quilts in October. If they go to the International Quilt Market in Houston at the end of October, they can visit me in my booth or visit the Kansas City Star Quilts booth for a closer look and more information.

This book has been a labor of love to my favorite past time .... needle turn hand appliqué. I hope you will like the finished product as much as I do!

Happy Quilting!

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Color! How do you pick color for a project?

Many quilters look at a pattern and want the exact fabric shown in the photo. Unfortunately, that is not always possible since fabric companies often print limited quantities of a fabric …. and when it’s gone, it’s gone! Those of you who are shop owners know what I am talking about! It’s even more difficult when a quilter wants the exact fabric for a quilt they have found in a magazine or book. Those quilts are often made 6 months to a year before the magazine or book is published! Oh no!

So, here’s my advice …. just go by color and not the exact fabric. You can take the photo of the quilt with you to your favorite quilt shop and look for fabrics that are in the same color family and have the same scale print as the one in the photo. For example, here’s a red fabric in a quilt:

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And here is a fabric that can be substituted. It’s close to the other fabric in color and scale of the print. It will give you the same look.

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 The print is not exactly the same, but it is on the same scale and the color is the close to the same shade as the original. 

Another thing that tends to stump a quilter is when a pattern says “chose 15 fabrics in lights, mediums and darks”. Well, that’s easier than you think! For me “light, medium and dark” is all relative based on the fabrics you chose to use. What I do is pull the main colors I want from my stash and then find different shades for light, medium and dark.

For example, here is a blue I chose.

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You may think this is “dark”. But, when you put it next to the next blue I chose, you see it can be classed as a “medium”.


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You could use it for your “dark” if your other blues went lighter on the “shade” scale. Get it? Everything’s relative! 

So, here’s the 15 fabrics I picked out for my next project. See how the 5 basic colors I chose show up in each stack?

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There you go! I hope I have taken some of the fear out of choosing fabrics for a project. Now you can go into a quilt shop and stack up bolts like a pro! Stack the up, stand back and squint!

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Happy Quilting!

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As you can see by my quilt patterns, I like scrappy quilts. Over the years, I have come up with a few "tips" to make scrap quilting easier and more fun. We can all use more fun, yes?

When you are making a scrap quilt, you are usually using at least 5 or 6 different colors of fabric for variety. But, when you are piecing your quilt top, it never fails, you get the same colors right next to each other or clumped together on one side of a block or quilt. So, here are some tips I have come up with to take care of this problem.

Tip #1:  I number the fabrics. For example, if I have a blue, purple, green, pink and gold fabric, I will number them 1 through 5. If you have 20 different fabrics, you can group them by color family and then number them. Once they are numbered, I then take a diagram of the quilt block or quilt top (you can make a copy of the block or quilt from the pattern and enlarge it if you need to) and write numbers on the quilt top pieces. As I am numbering, I make sure the distribution of the colors is even!

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 Tip #2: Are you worried that you are going to sew rows or block pieces together wrong after carefully planning the color placement above?

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As you can see by the photo above, I have the sections numbered starting with #1. Section 1 is to be sewn to section 2 and then section 3 is sewn to the bottom of section 2 and so on ..... I started doing this when I flubbed on color placement a few times when transferring pieces from my design wall to my sewing machine. I would end up sewing the wrong pieces together and not notice it until a whole border was done and I saw the same colors clumped together. Time to "unsew" then! 

Here is a complete row laid out and ready to be joined:

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I use the sheets of the little square Avery stickers (#5418 Multi-Use Labels) to number my pieces.


Tip #3: Another thing I use these stickers for are "directional" arrows. As you can see by the units above and looking over my pattern diagram above, the triangles face different directions based on which side of the quilt they are on. In order to keep me straight, I draw a little arrow on one of the small stickers and place it at the top of a row so I know which way is up.

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Well, it's the end of the month already! Where is the summer going? Hopefully, the summer weather stretches into fall in my neck of the woods (not likely, but one could hope!)

Now to my topic for today. Everyday items in the sewing room. I like to think I am an innovator, however, some of these ideas have come from my quilting friends or from students. These are some ways to make your sewing days easier and more fun.

The first idea keeps your snipping scissors close at hand. I know when I am stitching and need to snip threads, sometimes, I can not find my scissors that I just laid down! This tip uses a command hook attached to your machine to hang the scissors. Pretty genius, huh? And, since command hooks can be removed easily, there is no permanent damage to your machine.

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I have to admit, this is not my idea. But I found that it was so useful, that I did it myself as you can see above.

My next ideas deal with fun ways to create storage with everyday items. Those pegboards that you often see in garages really come in handy for hanging rulers and other tools.

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I use this coffee mug holder for hanging my scissors and rotary cutters. I found this coffee mug holder at a local thrift store for $1.00!

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I found these sewing machine cabinet drawers at some local antique shops (for not much money either!) and I use them to store things next to my sewing table that I may need while sewing. Seam ripper, threads, extra bobbins and needles, etc.

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The final thing I want to show you can be fun for decorating or for storing things you need but don't use often. I use these mason jars to store buttons and perle cotton threads that I use occasionally. Also, one of the jars is full of old sewing notions I inherited from my mother-in-law. It's kind of a fun display and a tribute to her.

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So, are there any everyday items you use in your sewing room? Share those ideas. It's always fun to learn new things from other quilters!

Happy Quilting!

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New Pattern!
Jul
02
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Ready for sale! My new pattern #220 Delightful Seasons.

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This pattern includes instructions for the 20 x 26" wall hanging base and the four seasonal panels. The panels are 12" and feature wool appliqué and embroidery on a pieced fabric background. If you like, you can substitute black wool or woolies fabric for the panel backgrounds.

Find further information on the pattern here.

I hope you like this fun seasonal pattern to dress up your home! If you like it, tell your favorite local quilt shop owner about my website!

Happy Quilting!

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Congrats to LaNetta Barnes! She came up with the name "Crisscross Cabin" for my quilt. Using her suggestion, I named the quilt "Crisscross Cabin Blooms". She will be receiving a pack of my patterns for a prize!

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Great name .... I think it fits!

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Have you ever wondered how someone "names" a quilt? What goes into that decision? Well ..... I can take out the mystery, at least for me. It's off the cuff! Sometimes a quilt name will just come to me the minute I see the finished top. Sometimes, I labor over a name for days. That is the reason why I am doing this post. Stick with me until the end because I am going to ask for some help in naming my newest pattern.

I named this quilt "Paper Chain" .....

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.... because when I stared at the top long enough, the blocks began to look like those paper chains I used to make in grade school. It helps that my long-arm quilter chose a circle pattern to bring out the design.

Other quilts I have named are obviously drawn from the quilt pattern. I have several quilts with stars in them and so I named them things like "Scrappy Star Parade" or Star Shine Runners". A bit uncreative, huh? This one was a little more creative: It's called "Strippy Stars"......

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I combined the fact that I used only 2 1/2" strips for the quilt top and then added appliquéd stars.

I got a bit more creative on this one called "Basket Banter" .....

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So, we come to the reason for this blog post. I need help in naming one of my newest patterns! I have been drawing a complete blank for the last two days! I am posting a photo below and would like you, my fellow quilters, to offer up some name choices. I will take comments for the next week (either here or on my Facebook page) and then I will choose a winner. The winner will receive a pack of my newest patterns!

So .... here it is .....

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Have fun and Happy Quilting!

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Strip Happy!
Jun
01
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I was doing a bit of cleaning in my fabric closet today … rearranging and putting away fabrics and scraps like strips and small pieces for appliqué. This is a photo of the inside of my fabric closet showing my labeled bins. 

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It’s a pretty good system. I have my fabrics separated by size (1/8s, 1/4s, 1/2s and yards) and colors. Some colors share a bin is I don’t have a lot. I actually think I need more space! Oh no!

At the bottom of my closet is a basket chock full of bags of 1 1/2” and 2  1/2” strips.

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When I get down to a small section of fabric left when I am cutting out a project, I always cut the remainder into these strips if the piece is less than 1/8 of a yard. I can pull out one of these bags of strips and have some fun!

What can you do with these strips you say? Besides the obvious, Log Cabin blocks, I have used these strips to make borders for orphan blocks (those “test” blocks you have lying around) and before you know it, you have a small table topper/candle mat!

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This one uses 1 1/2” strips to make three extra borders around this star block. It’s a fun little project and makes a great gift.

Another uses for these strips is to add pieced borders onto larger quilts to make them bigger. You can make a piano key border or a checkerboard border like these shown. 

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You can also make flying geese borders!

Finally, I’ve used these strips for pieced scrappy borders. I use the 1 1/2” strips on wall hangings or table toppers and I use the 2 1/2” strips to make double-fold binding for lap size or larger quilts.

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This photo shows a flying geese border and a scrappy binding from 1 1/2" strips


With all the strips I have collected over the years …. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of binding. Either that or I can make hundreds of Log Cabin blocks!

So, use up all that fabric! Save those strips and you will never be without a project. Here is a table runner I made entirely from  1 1/2” and 2 1/2” strips.

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 It’s called Scraps All Over. You can get a free copy of this pattern here. Enjoy!

Happy Quilting!

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I love to display my quilts around the house but when the spring rolls around, I think about cleaning those quilts.

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I want to display them and I want people to use them. However, I worry about how to clean them if they get dusty or dirty. The methods you use to clean your quilts can be personal choice based on how important the quilt it to you . These tips I am sharing are what works for me.  These tips are NOT for antique or family heirloom quilts. It’s best to consult a textile preservation expert for those quilts that are very old with weaker seams and fibers.

Cleaning and Airing

For wall quilts that can collect dust or cobwebs, use the soft brush attachment for your vacuum cleaner on the low suction setting and brush across the surface.

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Do not use any kind of attachment that has moving parts like a pet hair attachment. Those moving parts can possibly catch on the fabric or the seams and cause damage.

If the wall quilt has picked up a musty smell or another smell from the room it is in, it can be aired out by placing it outside (in a shady area) on a clean sheet.

For  cleaning large quilts, lay it out on a flat surface and vacuum with the soft brush attachment. They can also be aired out using the same method as a wall quilt.

Do not shake quilts like you do for rugs since that can weaken seams.

Washing

If you pre-washed your fabric before making your quilt, washing it should be a less stressful experience. Hand-washing is best, but if you wish to machine wash, pick the gentlest cycle (usually “delicate”) and  use a gentle detergent such as Orvus Quilt Soap.

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A quilt should be air dried so no more stress is put on the seams or stitching. I have put quilts in the dryer for about 10 minutes on “air” dry (no heat) to get some of the dampness out. Once that is done, I lay it out on a flat surface to air dry.  Never hang a quilt from a clothes line. That will cause additional stress to seams and stitching. Also, do not ring it out! Be very careful moving the quilt from the washer to the dryer (or the area where it will be air dried).

If I am unsure of a quilt’s colorfastness, like if I did not pre-wash fabrics, I throw in a couple of Shout Color Catchers.

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 I have washed several quilts with these and have had no color bleeding. This is just from my experience though … if you are worried about your quilt, you may want to do a color-fast test. A quilt that is just displayed and not used very often only should need washing once a year. It’s best not to wash quilts too often, even though they are not antiques.

Storing

If you want to store quilts that you are not using or displaying, the best way to do this is to fold them with acid-free paper between the folds to help prevent creasing and wrapped in a clean white sheet.

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Try to find a storage area that is not in the basement or the attic where there could be extreme dampness or temperatures. Placing wrapped quilts under a bed will work well. If want store a quilt flat, a bed in an unused bedroom is the best. Lay the quilt flat on the bed and cover with a sheet. You can store several quilts this way.

So, I hope these tips have helped! Let’s get started on that spring cleaning!

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Congratulations to Trena J who wins an issue of the 100 Blocks magazine and to Maureen who wins the pattern pack from me. I hope you all enjoyed the tour!

Come back and visit!

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Jan
10
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Hello to my quilting friends! Blog Info If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may see a bit of a difference. On the blog home page, the tag list and tag cloud to the left look a little empty.  Fear not!  My old blog posts from the last three years are still on my site. Simply click on a year under the "Archive" tab to the left and pick a month to see blog posts from that time. However, if you click on one of my recent blog posts, the tag list and tag cloud fills in. This is another way to access old posts. In the coming months, I plan to choose some of my most popular topics and repost them so they will be easier to access. Now on to where you come in ..... topics! What would you like to see me discuss on the blog, besides my new patterns and books? My posts are usually on topics that pop into my head while I am busily sewing.  Things I think would interest you, my readers. But, if there is something specific you want, let me know! Fun time! On to some fun ..... Got some extra fabric lying around? I thought this was pretty funny.  From my early driving days I have always wanted a VW Bug. When I saw this photo, it combined a Bug with another favorite thing of mine .... fabric! I know we all have some scrap fabric lying around .... I guess this is one use for it! Have you seen odd things covered in fabric? Do you own any odd things covered in fabric? If so, I'd love to see it! On a smaller (definitely smaller) scale, I have a cutting table that is loaded with 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" scraps that are left over from other projects.   I often keep these scraps bagged up by size and color to use for scrappy binding on future projects or to add additional scrappy borders. It's fun to experiment. I am currently working on a new design that will use only 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" strips. Come back and see what I come up with. What to you do with your leftover scraps? What is too small a piece for you to keep? I would love to hear your views on this topic. Snuggles and I are waiting ........ Happy Quilting!

Jan
02
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The new year has started off very cold where I am. I'm looking out the window expecting a polar bear to come strolling down the street! But, it's winter, so I guess there's nothing I can do about it. Best way to deal with it? ...... quilt! I have a new pattern in the spring 2014 issue of  Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine that is on news stands very soon. The issue will ship to subscribers in early January. Here's the cover of the magazine: I am excited about my project because it's my first pattern that includes wool appliqué. Here's a "sneek" peak ..... It's a project that can be a table topper or a wall hanging. I love how it came out and am excited for you to see it in the magazine. Now here's a chance for you to win a free 1 year subscription to Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine! Leave me a comment giving me your New Year's resolution for quilting in 2014. I will choose a winner among my commenters. You can leave the comment here on my web site or on my Facebook page.  I look forward to hearing everyone's New Year's resolutions!  Happy Quilting and the new year to everyone!

Dec
17
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Have you bought a pattern recently, or made a quilt, that is just made of rows of blocks? Are you making a quilt that you would like to make bigger, but don't want to make more blocks? Here's an idea .... add borders! Whether they are just plain borders or pieced, they will add another dimension to the quilt and make it larger. I myself love to add pieced borders to frame blocks and to also make a quilt bigger. If you want to do this for a quilt you are planning, purchase a little more fabric than the quilt requires and use that to make pieced borders to add to your quilt. Here's a quilt I made. In the photo, I have cut out the border so I can show you a before and after. Now, here is the same quilt with the pieced border added. I first added a tan strip border and then added a simple pieced border made up of strips of squares. Here's a close-up of the border: Here is another quilt with an interesting pieced border. Rectangles of colored strips and black strips. Kind of fun! This one uses a black strip border and then color strips in a "piano key" pattern to add fun to this quilt. Finally, here is another option for a pieced border. Take an element from the block and use that to create a pieced outer border. So, these are a few ideas. Use your creativity to make your quilts bigger. Of course, you can make more blocks to make it bigger and then also add a pieced border. I think these borders not only add size, but they also add some interest to the quilt itself. The above quilts are four of the many lap quilts I have designed and can be found in the "Everyday" section on my web site. Happy Quilting!  

Dec
10
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I noticed it's been awhile since Snuggles and I have been here on the blog. Like everyone else, I guess I have been busy with the holidays ... especially getting ready for Christmas.  It's been snowy and very cold here but I have managed to get most of my decorating and shopping done. Now it's on to the home made gifts. Are you looking for a last minute gift for that friend or family member who doesn't quilt? Look no further than your own stash of UFOs! This little candle mat started as a test block or "orphan" block and was just laying around in my stash. All I did was dig through my 1 1/2" strips and added three borders to the star block and there you have it! This simple candle mat took me just an afternoon to finish! Another fun way to whip up a gift is to dig through your stash of 1 1/2 and 2 1/2" strips and make this fun table runner I call Scraps All Over. You can download a free .pdf pattern here. So, go dig through your closets or wherever you have your quilting supplies stored. Look for those single blocks and gather those strips. Put on the Christmas music, brew some hot chocolate and get to work! Other News: If you would like to receive updates from me when I have a new pattern or book on the market, click on the "join newsletter" link in the sidebar and sign up. I do not send a lot of e-mails out (I don't like that either!), just when I have something new to share. Do you like to buy patterns and download them immediately? Did you know that some of my patterns are available on the Craftsy web site here at my store? Check it out! You may find something you like! After the new year, my blog will be updated. The old blog format is outdated and has to be replaced. Only problem is I will lose many of my old posts unless I transfer them manually after the new blog is running.  I will be going through old posts and will add back those that have some good information like appliqué instructions, etc. So, if things look different after the new year, don't panic! I'll be working to add back some good information during the spring as well as continuing to add new posts. In the meantime, keep up with me and Snuggles on Facebook. So, I'm off to hunt through my UFOs ..... Happy Holidays!    

Nov
18
2 comments
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I've been thinking about bucket lists lately. Do you have a list of things you would like to do before you are unable to do them or before your life is over? I have lists that include places I would like to travel to, activities I would like to do, etc. But ..... I also have a bucket list for quilting! First on that list is to visit the many quilt museums and quilt study centers around the country. I have never been to Paducah! Have you? I would love to visit there and also the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln Nebraska (photo below)makes the top of that list. Second on the list is the type of quilt I would like to make ... either my own design or someone else's pattern. This is a type of quilt pattern I shy away from when designing. One with curves (oh my!) or "Y" seams (yikes!). I would love to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt .... hopefully for one of my kids one day .... in the way distant future (no rush, guys!!)   Or how about a Lone Star quilt? I've always found this quilt pattern quite intimidating! So, that's just a small portion of my quilter's bucket list. Share with my your bucket list! Let's get the conversation started! Happy dreaming!

 

Pattern designs on this web site are © 2014 and the property of the designer, Dorothy Eisenman and Snuggles Quilts.
Written permission is required to copy and/or distribute copies of these designs whether or not you profit from it.

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