Hot Tips, My Life

Hot Tip Tuesday #20, Fabric Shadows

I was working on something pretty darn cute last night and today.  If you know me, you know I can hardly make a quilt project start to finish without at least a bit of applique.  Well, this morning I decided to use a bit of fused applique with some pre-fused gold lame’ fabric.  I dug into my basket that you may remember from this post.

Anyway, after cutting out, tracing my words and fusing the piece down (in a bit of a hurry to have some relevant hand work to work on at my guild meeting this morning) to my annoyance I noticed the lame was very thin and the layer below was very obvious, ugh!!!

It’s was so obvious, even the stitching showed.  This is actually a reenactment, the original problem child has already been disciplined!

What did I do to remedy this you ask?

Well, like I said I was in a bit of a hurry and I’d already fused the piece of lame’ down tight and stitched it too!  So, I took the pre-fused lame’ from the basket again and cut yet another piece.  I then pulled my light box back out and quickly traced my design again, and fused the new piece right over the unsightly one.

 See how nicely it turned out?  Isn’t the lame perfect for a Christmas tag? I did the stitching of the words during our meeting this morning. You can’t even tell that it’s actually two layers where the gift tag is, not even in real life where I sit, and I’m very particular.  You might even say I’m a bit determined!?!

This will be a new pattern for market soon and when I go to write the instructions for “Clare’s Christmas Puppy” (my daughter drew the dog a couple of years ago) I will write in the pattern to fuse two layers of fabric together if using thin lame like this so you don’t have the same issue that I faced this morning.  This is not an isolated case really.  I remember the first time I was faced with this scenario, it was when I created my “Bunnies in the Grass” pattern that is showing in my header above right now.  I used a white on white print originally for the bunnies and where the same fabric was layered over itself it was very unsightly!  I’ve steered away from very light applique shapes ever since.  Now you can be aware of this too. 

I just remembered the black fabric was just purchased yesterday, isn’t it cool?  It’s part of a new collection by Quilting Treasures and you know what I didn’t do?  Here’s a clue.  I gotta go, work to do…

Until next time,


Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #17, Love my applique pressing sheet

I’m reminded these days, as I busily work on new samples for spring market, that I really LOVE my applique pressing sheet.  Do you own one?

Do you know what they’re for?

Well, let me explain then you’ll want one of your very own!

You start with a bunch of these (pre-fused applique pieces).

Lay applique sheet over pattern template.  Can you see Santa?  I’m sure it’s clearer from my viewpoint.  Layer the fused applique pieces on the pressing sheet.

I usually do this on my ironing board, but my paper template is huge for this piece, so next I transfer the applique sheet with applique pieces on it (very carefully) to the ironing board.

Fuse it all together.

Peel him off the applique sheet and Santa is one piece instead of six.  And if you still don’t know why I love this, here’s what I can do with him:

I can put him here, or

here, or anywhere else I want to without juggling six pieces. 

I’m not sure where this guy will end up, but he’s all ready to fuse and stitch.

Now you know what I’ve been up to.  What have you been sewing?  Can’t wait to show you the finished product!

Until next time,


Hot Tips, My Life, Quilting Accessories I Love

Quilt-as-you-go Lap Quilt Tutorial & A Few of my Favorite Things

Being a quilt pattern designer and going to International Quilt Market at least once a year for the last six years, I’ve met a LOT of quilters; quilt shop owners and their employees, other quilt designers, fabric reps, distributor reps, notions reps, batting reps, thread company reps, and the list goes on and on. I’ve learned so much from these quilters’ experiences, plus I’ve experimented a lot myself.

This morning while mindlessly ironing my DH’s dress shirts I got an idea, (I get some of my best thinking done while doing these types of monotonous tasks, and don’t you dare tell him or he might get some of his own great ideas such as thinking that I enjoy said tasks) anyway… I thought I would list some of my favorite things and perhaps they might become some of your favorites too.

If you check out my website you’ll see a tab for “Quilt-as-you-go”.  These are all lap quilts that I’ve created using my own technique, a form of foundation piecing.  These are a few of them:

 The “foundation” is actually the batting and backing fabric cut to the size of the finished quilt, then basted together.  I like to use Sullivan’s basting spray for this.  It keeps the foundation together nicely, doesn’t gunk up my needle and there are no pins to move as I sew.  Below is a small-scale of what the “foundation” looks like basted and ready to start sewing.

The only batting I use and recommend for these quilts is Warm & Natural.  It has its own “velcro” type properties that eliminates all slipping while I sew these quilts together.

 It’s time to start sewing the strips on.  The first strip is lined up with the edge of the foundation,


The second strip is lined up on top of it, right sides together. 

 Pin and sew 1/4″ away from the inside edge of strip.  The seam is going all the way through the foundation creating the “quilting”.

Two important things to remember while stitching, 1) use a walking foot and 2) use a long stitch length.  I set my machine to the longest stitch setting (8 stitches per inch).  You’re quilting, not just sewing a seam.

 Next comes the pressing. With the strips still flat as sewn, press, picking up the iron as you work down the strip not sliding it.  I also do not use any steam, notice empty iron!

Open the top strip out, then press again.  Be sure to not slide the iron, pick it up instead.  Continue sewing strips on in this manner.Once all of the strips are sewn onto the foundation your quilting is done.  Add the binding and the quilt is finished. 


One last favorite thing I’d like to note is a finger pin cushion.  This keeps my pins with me at my sewing machine, at the iron, and at my pinning table.  This is a big time saver for these projects.

Some of the quilts have fusible applique and therefore require a bit of stitching to add before the binding.  This stitching acts as more quilting. 

These quilts truly can be made in one day, 6-10 hours depending on which pattern you choose. Several of the patterns are designed for jelly rolls and charm squares which really minimizes your cutting time.  They make great gifts because they’re not a huge time or money commitment.

If you don’t already use my favorite things, go to your local quilt shop and ask for them. Perhaps my favorites will become your favorites.

Until next time,



Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #5, Fused Scraps

With yesterday being a snow day here in the midwest, today has felt like Monday all day instead of Tuesday!  Today I went Christmas shopping and to lunch with my college student daughter between her finals.  These rare solo times spent with my kids are priceless! It wasn’t until I was making dinner that I realized I needed to post another hot tip.

The tip I’d like to share with you today has to do with my love of fusible applique.  It’s one of my favorite quilting techniques to perform and with it I get lots of scraps.  Being the frugal/creative quilter that I am, I hate to throw away the negative shapes that are left when I cut out the shapes I need for a project.  I’ve even used some of these negative shapes to start a new project before.


Look at all this beatuiful black fused fabric that is left after cutting my new cool shape out!  I removed the paper from my fused design so you can see the scraps better.

 Many years ago I started saving these fused scraps in a big Longaberger basket that was sitting in my sewing room without a purpose.

Not only have I saved fabric, it comes in handy if I need a scrap of green or black or red…  I don’t have to go to the effort of fusing a piece of fabric just for a small piece I want to add to a project.

What’s also nice is I’m putting a big basket to work, yet it looks nice nestled under a table in my living room that is adjacent to my sewing room.

 Perhaps this will spark an idea of creativity in your sewing room.

Until next time,