Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #3, Marking your Tools

Ever go to a quilting class or get-together and everyone shows up with the exact same tools?  Birds of a feather…

My mom taught me many years ago to use fingernail polish to mark with.  It’s more permanent than any permanent pen that I’ve found. 

You could write your name with it I guess, but just a dot (I use the same color for all my tools) and at a glance I know it’s mine.

Remember, send me a tip at and if I use it for one of my Hot Tip Tuesdays, I’ll send you a free pattern.

Until next time,


Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #2, Pressing

Have you ever started making a quilt with multiple strips sewn together and the farther you sewed the more crooked your block became?  My first quilt (first to begin, still not finished) was a sampler quilt with a rail fence block.  It’s a 12″ block, that’s made up of 4, 6″ blocks which are made up of strips.  Luckily another quilt caught my eye, I dropped the sampler to make it and so on and so on and shall we say the rest is history? Somewhere along the way I learned to press correctly and my blocks are accurate and straight.  Thank goodness I did or who knows where my quilting experience would have ended. Fortunately quilting has many tricks and techniques that can make your quilting perfect if that’s what you’re after!

What I have learned is this:

pressing with iron

After you’ve sewn the scant 1/4″ seam, take strip set to the ironing board and press it with a dry iron just as it was sewn. NEVER slide the iron down the strip as you press, but rather pick up the iron each time. Next:


Open strip set and finger press seam to one side.  Next:

With tip of iron, press seam to one side, pressing seam open with fingers and iron as you move along seam.  Most importantly don’t slide iron, but rather pick it up and move it down the strip.  Sliding the iron distorts the strips and makes for crooked strip sets.   Lastly, the test:

Lay the pressed strip set on gridded cutting mat and use ruler to check for accuracy. The strip set should be straight and measure accurately.  Too large of a seam allowance will make the strip set too small and too small of a seam allowance will make the strip set too large.  Neither of these scenarios is good for placing blocks into a quilt.  If you have trouble getting an accurate scant 1/4″ seam allowance you can try my friend Celine’s Perfect Piecing Seam Guide to help set up your machine.

Remember, if you have a tip, send it to me at and if I use it in a Hot Tip Tuesday post, I’ll send you a free pattern!

Until next time,


New ideas

Those Glorious Reds

Remember I had a plan, sort of, for those Glorious Reds a few days ago?  Well, not that the plan was all that much of a plan, but rather an idea that needed a lot more direction. To find that direction I’ve had a lot of fun playing with my Corel program that has turned into this:


Do you know how much fun it is finally having a plan so I can cut all of this?  Lots!  But let’s not forget how much work, mostly mental, it took me to get here.  In case you don’t know, we got a much-needed new computer.  That alone has been the cause of anguish that I don’t care to repeat for another seven years, that’s how old our other computer is.  The keyboard alone is the culprit of several new gray hairs itself.  I can’t seem to type keyboard anymore.  The keys are more spread out and smooth and I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet.  Even now, I’m retyping almost every word, striking the keys with a vengeance.  Something with this new keyboard makes it almost impossible for me to make a capital letter.  Perhaps I need to strengthen my pinkies?  My oldest daughter suggested I go back to the old keyboard. What?  I will not surrender to this thing that I’ve been yearning for.  I’m going to tackle this thing and win!

Well, that’s what I thought until I wanted to play with Corel a few days ago.  I installed my old program a while ago and drew a line to make sure it was installed correctly and then moved on.  Well, when I went to work on it this time, after 30 seconds or so, my computer opens a window telling me the program is shutting down.  What?  After re-opening the program several times with the same results, I went to Corel’s website and downloaded three different patches/upgrades and tried again, guess what?  Same results. With a bit more research I learned only their latest version, CorelDraw X5, is compatible with the new Windows 7, of course! I would expect no less.  So, now what?  It’s not like it would have stopped us from getting a new computer, but it’s a bit annoying.  The new program is only $700!  I can buy one on eBay though for $69.99, really?  I wonder what that really is?

So, guess what?  I’ve been back to working on the old computer, wow that monitor is miniscule!  But guess what else, the keyboard is awesome!

Until next time,


Hot Tips, Quilt Shopping Out & About

Hot Tip-Selvage Signatures in full force!

I’ve been doing some re-stocking in the fabric department here at Suzn Quilts.  I used some fabric in my new pattern samples and I’ve been running a bit low.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, so…

I fell in love with some of the new Wild Rose Collection by Blackbird Designs last week.  Then Monday I fell in love with some Christmas photos that were full of nothing but reds & creams, so…

yesterday I stocked up on some much needed Glorious Reds, and a bit more of my new favorite Christmas background.  I can really get caught up in great backgrounds. To me thery’re kind of like a painter’s canvas.  They set the tone of your whole quilt. 

After I got home and checked messages from all my technical sources and got an order ready for shipping, I sat right down with my Sharpie and gave each piece of fabric their “selvage signature”.  Don’t want Mr. Murphy (Murphy’s law, you know it’s going to happen) dancing a jig when I run out of one of these and need a bit more.  This little exercise also gives me an excuse to refold and stack my new pretties.  I’m pretty sure the only reason I quilt is to use up some of the beautiful fabrics before the stacks fall over and smother my family members!

Until next time,


Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #1, Selvage Signatures

Does anyone out there besides me like great tips?  I have all kinds of quilting tips in my sewing room and in my little noggin. So, I’ve decided to start “Hot Tip Tuesday” and share them with you.

Since I know there are a lot more very good tips out there, I’m also going to open it up to you, my blog readers, to email me your tips If I use your tip I’ll send you a free pattern!

Tip #1, I don’t know if any of you have this problem, but I buy quilting fabric here, there, and everywhere and perhaps while it’s aging, I forget where I bought it. Then, when I do finally put it into a project I find that I bought a tad too little and want to buy more.  In my experience, it’s easiest to call the shop that at least at one point in time had the fabric.  Now, every time I buy new fabric, I write with a Sharpie on the selvage where I bought it and when.  I bought these two fabrics in Tennessee while on vacation with my family last summer. Yellow fabric is from Susan’s Mountain Stitches & the black is from The Cherry Pit.

This tip comes to you with a warning, it’s not dummy proof!  A year or so ago, I used a fabric that I’d labeled “EBT   ’08”.  Well, I had enough fabric, but a friend wanted some after she saw my project.  Do you know I could not, for the life of me, remember what my stupid note “EBT   ’08” meant?  It was months later that it dawned on me that I had bought it at Eleanor Burns’ tent sale in Paducah during the quilt show in ’08!!!  So, to expand on this tip, be sure to write yourself a note that you will understand more than a week after the purchase!

Until next time,


Family Time, New quilt pattern, Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

100 Blocks Blog Tour Winner

Happy Veteran’s Day to all our veterans!

It’s been a busy few days at my house, and on my blog.  My wonderful Mother-in-law helped me fold and bag patterns this week so I could get them shipped out, partly because I really needed the help and partly because she needed to be busy on the first anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing away. I have to say, everyone has said it would take her a year, not to be over her grief, but to start to be OK with it.  I’m happy to say, in the last two months, I’ve seen a calm in her that’s been missing since the untimely passing of her husband.  She’s even booked a bus trip to Branson with a friend, a huge step. Here’s to moving forward!

Speaking of moving forward, not only am I amazed by the number of people following the 100 Blocks tour, but also by all the comments that have been posted on all of the blogs participating!  So much excitement, and real soon you’ll all be able to get your hands on a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks vol. 2, one way or another.

I put all my comments into a number generator and the lucky winner from my blog is #113.  Now that is Kismet.  My favorite number is #13!  So, Michelle Clemons, if you’ll send me your address, Quiltmaker will send you a free copy of 100 Blocks vol. 2.

For the rest of you, there are still two more days of the great give-aways going on. Go to Quiltmaker’s blog for the lists of remaining blogs to visit.  Have fun and good luck!

Until next time,


Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Welcome to 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

I’m honored to be part of the second volume of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.

While vending at Minnesota’s International Quilt Market in May, I was asked to submit a block to be considered for this issue.  What an honor to be selected along with 99 other talented quilt designers. 

My block, #140 “No Ordinary Flake” is featured on page 41.

 I used civil war fabrics that I collected while in Minnesota for spring quilt market.  And by “collected” I mean Celine, Robin & I had to visit at least four different quilt shops in the Minneapolis area so I had fabric for this block submittal.  What a girl has to go through! Here’s a setting option for a 54″ square quilt.

This would make a nice sized wall or baby quilt. I like the secondary pattern made by the four patch background squares.

To make this quilt, first make 16 blocks, instructions from magazine, then add:

 Now for the really exciting part, if you leave a comment (Back at the top by the date) on my blog between now and Wednesday night you will be entered to win a free copy of this issue!   I will draw a lucky winner Thursday morning.  Be sure and leave an email address so I can contact the winner.  Also visit because they are giving away lots of other prizes, including the original signed blocks from this issue, and some of my “Best Friends” books to name only a few.

Good Luck & Have Fun!

Until next time,


New quilt pattern

Day #5, 5 New Patterns in 5 Days!

It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.  It’s been 5 days and I’ve posted 5 times.  It certainly helps that I have 5 fun, new patterns to boast about. 

So here’s #5,#171 In Season for Winter

A perky little snowman to hang on your wall, don’t you think?  These quilts at 18″ X 22″ are quick and easy to make.  You could make them as Christmas gifts, or in time to hang on your own wall as the seasons change.  If you’re like me, especially when winter sets in, I like to have quick little projects to work in my spare time.  There’s nothing better than finishing a project!

Until tomorrow, yep, don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the beginning of:


Family Time, My Life, New quilt pattern

Day #4, 5 New Patterns in 5 Days!

Well, Carol Burnett was fun.  My mom and I laughed, and then we laughed some more. They showed clips from some of her favorite shows and it’s funny that I remember them.  That’s been well over 30 years ago, how can that be?  It was fun to hear Carol tell stories of things that happened behind the scenes during that time period as well.  A classy lady that carol!

On to New Pattern #4, #172 In Season for Christmas

I love this scene on the black background, don’t you?  You can purchase all of my patterns on my website, just give a click.

Until next time,


My Life, New quilt pattern

Day #3, 5 New Patterns in 5 Days!

It’s been a great day so far. 

1.) Dropped off new pattern instruction files at the printer (covers will be done Monday).

2.) Met my BFF Kathy Sands, very talented artist, at Lota Wota Creek for lunch, show & tell and loaned her some of my pattern samples along with extra patterns because she’s headed to Columbia, MO to vend her artsy quilt paraphernalia at a quilt show this weekend.

3.) Went to  JoAnn’s and purchased this:

because my BFF Robin Koehler has a quilt, Ginkgo Romance,  featured on page 60, too cool!

Also bought this,

because another BFF Celine Perkins has a quilt, Sweet Morsels, on page 60!  Isn’t it amazing that I have such talented friends?  AND their quilts are both featured on page 60???  I just had to recheck that, I thought I made a mistake, weird!  Way to go girlfriends! And all three of us are featuring blocks in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 2 this month, remember yesterday’s post?

4.) Went to Dillard’s and bought myself a much-needed new pair of everyday shoes for winter.  But I’ll have to wear them around the house on carpet for a while just to make sure my feet are going to like them.  I tell ya, the older I get, the pickier my feet get.  Here’s hoping in a year or two I can kick myself for not buying two pair when I had the chance.

5.) Went back by printer on the way home and picked up several thousand copies of my new patterns.  Now I just have to fold them and pick up new covers Monday and get to stuffing bags.  I just made arrangements to hire my MIL Monday to help me get my order out.  OK, hire is a strong word, much more like slave labor, but don’t tell her it’s just lunch that she’s earning!

So as not to bore you anymore, here’s new pattern #3:

#170 In Season for Fall

Isn’t he cute?  He’s probably one of my favorites.  Once again, he’s a product of a Fall Crafts Open House of mine.  I dug out my original sketch of him and it was dated 2003.  I didn’t realize until now that these new patterns are products of my past open houses, again weird.  So they’re new patterns, but they’ve already been open house tested and approved!  I hope you like my scarecrow.  You can buy him on my website now.

Now I’m off to get dinner on the table and then to see Carol Burnett at the Fabulous Fox!  Can’t wait to tell you all about her.

Until next time,