Thursday, November 19, 2009

Look what's in the January 2010 issue!

The January 2010 issue of American Quilter (on newsstand December 8th) is chocked full of wonderful articles and patterns…and some surprises! Joanne Winn teaches you how to use your machine’s embroidery module to quilt fancy feathers, while Gail Valentine reviews six efficient methods for making half-square triangles. You’ll be amazed at the first installment in a new series of articles by Iris Frank about remarkable larger-than-life quilting projects. And did you know that you can dye fabric with steel wool? Beth Wheeler shows you how in her article on rust dyeing. Tattooed quilters? You might be surprised at who is sporting quilter “ink” nowadays. There are colorful patterns ranging from easy to challenging, including the spectacular cover quilt by Gail Garber. All this and more await you in the January issue! Not an AQS member? Join now so you don’t miss a thing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pieced Batting - Part 2 of 2

(Submitted by Marje Rhine, technical pattern editor for American Quilter magazine)
Want to use up small leftover pieces of batting? I like to join them for use in doll quilts and wallhangings, but needed a quick method for joining the pieces so they would lie flat without a bump, instantly giving away the secret that they had been pieced. I tried butting straight edges of the pieces together then stitching together with a zigzag that catches both pieces. This worked OK but the batting tended to stretch as I sewed (photo left).

I've come up with what I think is a better method. Layer the batting, right-sides together (or same-sides together) along the straight edge (photo right). Using a short and narrow blind hemstitch, sew the pieces together. The straight lines of the blind hemstitch should run just along the raw edges of the batting with the occasionally right-left stitches catching both pieces. Open up the batting and pull slightly. The stitching should hold the length of the seam and almost disappear both visually and to the touch (photo below).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cottage Bliss

"Cottage Bliss" is a good description of my three-day mountain cabin retreat with quilting buddies at a YMCA camp in Estes Park, Colorado, last weekend. Music, friends, sewing, scenic hikes, great food, and spectacular weather made for a memorable event. Other than missing our group members who couldn't attend, it was pretty much perfect.

But Cottage Bliss is also the name of a darling quilt shop in Estes Park that sells gifts, music CDs, books, and other trinkets in addition to fabric and notions. As you enter the shop, the sales clerks (gracious hostesses!) offer up herbal tea served in china cups while you shop - blueberry was the flavor on the day my group visited. The tea was followed by chocolate and snacks - what a welcome! Soft but interesting music plays throughout the building and in addition to fabric and thread, I bought a wonderful CD by Anne Murray that I hadn't heard before. Because the shop is relatively small, fabric selection isn't expansive, but what's there is quite nice. On the lower level is another small room jammed to the ceiling with fabric and notion bargains. All in all, this is a must-visit shop if your travels take you to Estes, and all shop profits go to charity. For more information, visit

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pieced Batting - Part 1 of 2

(Submitted by Marje Rhine, technical pattern editor for American Quilter magazine)
Because I make a lot of quilts, I have a lot of leftover batting that I hate to throw out. The small pieces are great for hot pads and placemats. I also use them for padding in packages to be shipped – much better for the environment than styrofoam peanuts. The large pieces of batting can be pieced together by hand to use in bed-size quilts. A little preparation ensures that the pieced batting will stand up to normal wear and tear on a quilt. First lay the batting pieces on a rotary cutting mat, overlapping by about 4”, and rotary cut a gentle wavy line through both pieces.

(That way, the quilting will not match the batting cut line and and quilting stitches are more likely to catch both sides of the cut in many places.)

Remove the small excess pieces, line up the pieces along the curve, and hand stitch cut edges together with large stitches. To make sure the stitching will hold, run a thread in each direction.
In the next post, I'll show you a great way to join smaller pieces of batting for doll quilts and wallhangings.