Monday, December 21, 2009

Time for baking, not quilting

Over the weekend, my mother and daughter (in the photo) joined me for a fun afternoon of Christmas cookie baking. One cookie tradition in our home is the making of pizzelles, a southern Italian cookie that is quickly baked in an electric "press" similar to a waffle iron. Made of flour, sugar, butter, and flavorings (we prefer anise), these crisp, lacy confections just melt in your mouth. And they are so light and pretty, I'm sure they can't have many calories - especially the broken ones where all the calories have leaked out. If you'd like my recipe and the name of my preferred pizzelle maker, just e-mail me at
By the way, my daughter also designed the adorable Play Date quilt pattern, recently published in the January 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine.
Whether your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or just New Years, I wish you a lovely holiday season and sincere good wishes for happy quilting (and baking!) in 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Round quilt hanging sleeve

(Submitted by Gail Garber,
Here are instructions for making a sleeve to hang Cartwheel Constellation (the cover quilt pattern from the January 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine) or any other round quilt. This method will work with even small round quilts.
Calculate 1/8 of the diameter of the finished quilt. Then determine the width of the quilt this measurement (1/8 of diameter) below the top. Cut a strip 8-1/2" wide and 2" longer than this width measurement. Hem each end and then stitch into a long tube, wrong sides together. Press seam toward one side, centered along the back of the tube. Position the tube a distance of 1/8 of the finished quilt diameter down from the top of the quilt, at the center. Slip stitch in place.
I use this method when hanging all circular quilts, positioning a sleeve close enough to the top to evenly bear the weight of the quilt, but not far enough below the upper edge to allow the top to flop over. I then insert a very thin piece of molding, about 1" longer than the sleeve. This is placed on two small nails that extend out of the wall just far enough to hang the molding. Generally, the quilt top will stand up nicely against the wall. In those rare instances where it still wants to flop over, I insert one tiny straight pin through the quilt and into the wall. Another option is to sew a small tab near the top of the quilt on the back side and pin that to the wall.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

UFOs? Get your guild in gear!

Seems like my editorial in the January 2010 issue is a subject very close to home for many readers. Lil Koster of Wilmington, Delaware wrote this note, which she gave me permission to share:
"I just read your editorial in the January 2010 issue of American Quilter and it brought a smile to my face. I thought I was the queen of UFOs - my 20th wedding anniversary is next May and I still haven't finished my wedding quilt. The blocks have languished in a plastic box for many years...maybe I'll finally get it assembled and finished for my 25th! And I have so many 'UFOs yet to be started' that I came up with a name for them: USOs (UnStarted Objects)!
My quilt guild, Brandywine Valley Quilters, has a biannual show, and we started a UFO challenge to inspire members to finish theirs. We give award ribbons to the oldest UFO by a single maker, oldest UFO completed by someone other than the original maker, most UFOs completed, most unique reason for the delay in completion, and most deviation from the original plan. If this helps even one quilter finish a UFO, it's a worthwhile idea! We're hoping to encourage more completed UFOs for our 2010 show, the theme of which is 'Something New from Something Old: Decades of Thread Stories.'
I thoroughly enjoy each issue of American Quilter. The magazine gets better with each passing year! I appreciate the mix of articles and projects, which appeal to a wide range of interests. They have helped me expand my quilting horizon - I have evolved from piecing and hand quilting traditional quilts to landscape collages, embellishments, and machine quilting. Who knows what my future will bring -probably even more UFOs!"