Nov 15, 2010

Ironing Board Hint

This is a top view of how I use my ironing board. By having the iron on the narrow part of the board I have more surface space to iron my larger quilt projects. Actually I keep my board this way for all my ironing.

If your left handed set your board as shown below. Sorry about the iron being turned wrong but you get the idea.

All for now. Cheers.

Oct 7, 2010

A Quilter's Experience

I've decided to squeal on myself. I'm in the midst of designing a new quilt. I cut my fabric and sewed 16 blocks before I realized I made a mistake. Wrong dimensions on a corner piece. I wont bore you with details but I did it on all 16 not just one before I caught it. The waste of fabric doesn't make me happy. The good news is all it takes is a seam ripper and a little time to reverse what I did. The lesson here is to remember the important hints such as; try one block before cutting all the fabric requirements and sewing a multiple of blocks. The seam ripper is a handy tool. I saw the neatest way to use one in a magazine once.  Just stick a small seam ripper in a spool of thread as shown in the picture below.  Great for cutting loose thread ends if your doing hand work, cutting thread from the spool it's in or using it by your machine. I wish I could remember which magazine I saw it in so I could give them credit.
Well now that I've taken a break I'm ready to tackle the sewing again. By the way I need to make a total of 64 blocks for this pattern. Sixteen blocks with errors doesn't sound so bad. Life is good.
Thanks for visiting,

Sep 9, 2010

The Neatest Quilt Site

I needed to calculate fabric for an odd pattern I was trying to create. I found this site on Google. I have had more fun playing with this fabric calculator. There's no signing in or signing up. Do yourself a favor and check it out.  Click on "Flash Quilt Calculator". I bookmarked this one as I know I'll be using it often.
Enjoy the day.

Aug 24, 2010

Sharing My Quilting Adventures

I'd like to introduce you to my newest pattern on the market, "Native Trails". I like that I only had to choose two colors for this one. Anything over five colors and I have a hard time. Not that I haven't done it. It just takes me forever.
We're still working on my book. Most of the editing is done. Now the pictures are being taken. I'm worse than a kid at christmas time. So excited and finding it hard to be patient.
I'm working on a new southwestern, table runner, design. I live in a snowbird area and this is my time of year, the summer, to create. I use the remainder of the year, when the snowbirds (friends) return to promote, teach, and present lectures. Busy as ever and loving it.
Thanks for visiting.

Aug 6, 2010

How to Make a Quilt Label

 I start with plastic coated freezer paper. This can be purchased at most grocery stores.

Step 1: Lets start with a 6" x 8" piece of freezer paper. Using a black Sharpie marker and ruler, draw lines on the paper side of the freezer paper, 3/8" to a 1/2" apart. Next cut a piece of muslin or choice of fabric used for the label a little larger than the paper.

Step 2: Layer the wrong side of fabric on top of the plastic side of the freezer paper. Using a cotton setting on the iron and the fabric on top press the two together. Note: Be sure that no paper is sticking out from under the fabric. You don't want to get a plastic coating on the iron.
Step 3: Don't seperate the paper and fabric yet. Using a permanent fabric marker write your information on the label.
A point of interest. I was just told by a woman that helps at a childrens theatre that a Sharpie, fine point, permanent, felt tip marker as shown in the photo above works great and won't wash out. This is the first time I've used it and I haven't tried to wash it. It might be worth experimenting with.
Peel the paper and fabric apart. Hold a hot iron briefly on the writting to help seal it.

Step 4: Using a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler trim the label. We trim about 1" from the writting on all sides.

Step 5: It's hard to see in the photo but fold the top and right side of the label to the back about 3/8" and press.

Step 6: Set the label in the bottom left hand corner of the quilt alligning the left and bottom edges of the label with the with the raw edges of the quilt. Pin in place. As shown in the photo above when the binding is turned to the back it covers the raw edges of the label. After sewing the binding to the back and using an applique stitch sew the folded edges of the label to the quilt back. ~
Thats all there is to it. Hoping this makes label making a little easier for you.
Till next time.

Jul 25, 2010

Christmas Tree Napkins

I found this pattern on Lyn Browns blogspot. She doesn't know the origin of it and neither do I.
If you can't print this pattern from here go to and in her search box type Decorative Tree Napkin. It should come up.
I've decided to make this as christmas gifts for my children, that have families of their own, along with a cookbook with old family recipes. I've seen these made up. They are soooo cute. It's a good way to use up the christmas fabric stash I've been hanging on to.

Jul 2, 2010

Sharing My New Web Site and Quilt Pattern

I just had a new web site designed. The woman did a great job as she filled in the bee wings with one of my designs. If you have a chance check it out at
This is my newest pattern. "Feather Dance". It's a 15-1/2" x 39-1/2" table runner. I had fun with this one. Although I must admit I have fun with most of them.

We're into our typical Arizona summer heat. Yesterday was 110 degrees. Needless to say I'm thrilled that my hobby keeps me indoors.
Thanks for visiting.
Till next time,

Jun 6, 2010

Quilting Strip Piecing and Cutting

In the quilting world strip piecing is where you sew strips of fabric together to create a strata. It can be from two to a number of strips. Then you crosscut the pieced strip into sections of units needed. The picture below shows how I cut a pieced strip. Square up the edge. Set the acrylic ruler at the size you need to cut. In my picture it's 2-1/2". Line up the seams of the pieced strip with horizontal lines on the ruler. Don't use the edges of the strip pieced to line up the ruler. At times the edges are not straight due to pressing, stretching, as you can see in my picture. Using the seam lines as a guide keeps it squared. When the units are sewn to a block or another unit the edges seem to square up just fine. Give it a try. It works.

Thanks for visiting.

May 29, 2010

Great Quilting Tips

The following tips are some that I've collected over the years. These are from many sources such as books, the internet, or my quilting buddies. I would like to thank all that share their tips with others.
1- Take your favorite quilt book to an office supply store, like Staples, and have them put a
spiral binding on it. It's great to be able to open it flat or fold it back. Last time I did it the cost
was less than $3.00.
2- If you have to remove stitches and some holes remain dampen a Q-tip with warm water and
rub it over the holes. Watch them disappear.
3- To keep thread from tangling around pins while appliquing pin from the wrong side of your
4- Cut and piece one practice block before cutting fabric for the entire pattern.
5- Use the color code on fabric selvedges to coordinate your colors.
6- Store glue sticks in the refrigerater. This keeps them firm and they last longer.
7- Instead of cliping curves use Pinking Shears to trim them.
8- Use a music stand to hold your instructions. I found one at a garage sale.
9- Attach a towel rack behind a bedroom door. Fold your quilt over it when not in use. I must
confess this works better with smaller sizes such as twins. I use my rack to hold my queen
size chenille bedspread. It's not as bulky as a quilt.
I've ran out of tips so I'll close for now. If you would like to share some of your tips contact me at I promise not to put you on a list or keep your email on file.
Till next time,

Apr 7, 2010

Quilt Binding; A Mitered Corner Trick

While at my quilt group meeting a member shared this nifty trick with me. I was so excited about it I had to share it with you. In the sample I used green thread to make it easier to see in the photos. This continuous binding was cut on the straight of grain. It's not necessary to cut on the bias. After attaching the binding by machine turn the binding to the back of your project. Hand stitch the binding to the backing fabric. When you come to a corner stop stitching right on the machine stitching line. The pencil in the picture points to the stitching line referred to. Take a back stitch at this place.

Run the needle inside the binding, traveling to the point shown in the pictures below.

Holding the needle bring it in toward the center of the quilt. It will create a miter. Tack it down and continue down the next side working toward the next corner.

After sewing the binding on I went back and whip stitched the corners closed.
Try it and let me know what you think.
Enjoy the day.

Mar 5, 2010

How to Attach a Square End Binding

For this demonstration I'm using a pieced block as a quilt. A walking foot is recommended to attach the binding.
Step 1. Measure the length of your quilt. Add at least 3" to this measurement. Cut two strips of binding 2-1/2" wide by your measurement length. Example: If the length of my quilt is 30 inches I would cut two strips of binding 2-1/2" x 33". Press binding strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Note: Binding is always attached to the long sides first. If the quilt is square then attach to any two opposite sides. With quilt facing up lay a binding strip on top of the quilt, with at least a 1" tail of binding extending beyond both ends and matching raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the quilt. Sew together using a 1/4" seam. Repeat with the opposite side. Don't trim ends yet.

Step 2. Press binding out over the stitching, away from the quilt.

Step 3. Trim the binding even with the quilt.

Step 4. Measure the width of your quilt including the attached binding. Add 3 inches to this measurement. Cut two pieces of binding this length. Attach both short sides in the same manner as the long sides. Press binding out over the stitching, away from the quilt. Do not fold binding to the back. This will be done in step 6 and 7.

Step 5. Trim the four binding ends even with the side binding as shown in photo below.
Step 6. Fold both long sides to the back first and using an applique stitch sew it to the backing fabric. NOTE: Always fold back the first two attached bindings. In this case whats described as the long sides. This prevents any raw edges on the ends.

Step 7. Fold the top and bottom (short) sides to the back. Use an applique stitch to sew the binding to the backing fabric.
I don't use this method for scalloped edges or mitered borders. In these cases I would use the continuous binding method.
Why not give this a try. Make a little sample to test my instructions. This really works well and I've never had problems with wavy edges. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at
Happy quilting and enjoy the day,
~ Joan ~

Feb 9, 2010

Simple Applique Technique

In my last post I said I would have pictures of our annual Ajo quilt show. My friend took the pictures and will get them to me soon, I hope. I'll post them as soon as I get them.

For the following applique block you will need:
Two different color squares of fabric 7" x 7" each. I used pink and yellow.
One 6" square of light weight fusible webbing.
Instructions: Start by choosing an image for the center of your block. I used a star. Any simple image will do.
Trace the image on the paper side of the fusible webbing making sure it's centered as shown in the picture.
Center and fuse this image to the back side of one 7" square using an applique sheet to protect your iron. I used the pink square. Note: This will be your background color. See the picture below.
Cut the center of the image out being careful not to cut outside the traced line as shown below.

Remove the paper backing from the fusible web. Set your second 7" square facing up on your ironing board. Place the cut out (overlay) star square on top of this square right side facing up and edges even. Using an applique sheet press the two to fuse them together. Keeping the image centered trim the block to the desired size.
I like to machine buttonhole stitch around the image. I used black thread to show the stitching. I usually use the same color thread as the top fabric. In this case the pink.
This would be fun to try in different flower shapes. Or maybe different baby blocks with animal images. If you google "clip art images" or "easy images" you might find something to your liking to trace.
This is a quick and easy method. I don't have to worry about turning under points. I don't know that I'd recommend this for quilts that will be laundered often but for a wall hanging it would be great.
If something is confusing to you or if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me.

Jan 10, 2010

Quilting News and a Hint

Shown in the pictures below are the February Quilter's World magazine and my pattern on page 65. I just couldn't contain my excitement so I'm sharing it with you.

Now for the hint. I was cutting a dark fabric with a busy pattern the other day and found it hard to see the edge of the fabric through my ruler. After squinting and holding my breath trying to line up the edge I finally realized if I cut from the wrong side of the fabric I could see it much better. If you have a hint you'd like to share please contact me at . I promise not to pester you. I will even delete your contact after I read your email. The only thing I ask is if you would allow me to share your hint on my blog. Let me know if you want your name mentioned or not for sending the hint to me. As always thank you for visiting.

Jan 1, 2010

Catching Up and Sharing Christmas

Between a major accident that totaled our car and the holidays I've neglected my blogging. We are very blessed in that our injuries were not life threatening and we're on the mend.
It's a little late but I wanted to share my Christmas ideas and decorations with you. This is our tree in all it's glory of 18 inches. The quilt was a flower pattern I found in a magazine last year. The reds cinched it for that poinsetta look.

This 17" square wall hanging was made using a novelty print and attic window blocks. It's hard to see but the border fabric print is Christmas lights. The right bottom corner is wrinkled from being stored. I have to confess at being lazy and not pressing it flat before I photographed it. It really is perfectly square. Whats Christmas without gingerbread people? This girl and boy gingerbread wall hanging meaures 13" x 24". I taught this in a class one year. I embellished with baby rick rack for the icing on the arms and legs. Buttons were used for the eyes, nose, and on the boys chest. It was a quick and fun project. The last picture below shows my "Photo Ornaments" that were published in the December 2009 Crafts and Decorate magazine. They measure 3-1/8" x 4-1/8".
Needless to say their too big for my tree. I think I'll pin them to a ribbon next year and create a garland to hang over my door. I guess I don't have to wait for Christmas I could use them anytime in a wall grouping. As always I thank you for stopping by. I look forward to sharing the new year with you.