Put a Label On It April 29 2020 8 Comments

You have pieced, basted, quilted, and finished binding your quilt. After all of these steps in the process, and a lot of work hours, why wouldn’t you want to label your quilt? Or for any finished art work you've made?

3 Ways to Finish Your Quilt April 24 2020

One of the last steps in making a quilt is the finish, typically applied to conceal the raw edges of your quilt sandwich. This can be done by binding it or facing it. Ready to finish? Well, square up your corners, and let’s get started!

English Paper Piecing the Hugs 'N Kisses way with Iron-on Papers April 20 2020

In this video tutorial, we show the wonders of these easy to use EPP iron-on papers from Hugs 'N Kisses. They are pre-cut from appliqué paper and fuse to wrong side of fabric using a warm iron. When finished, leave the papers in your project and they will semi-dissolve when washed into soft fibers, which remain safely in your project.

Shop In the Round projects, iron-on EPP papers, iron-on appliqué paper and more projects from Hugs N' Kisses.

The Ultimate Guide to Precision Piecing April 15 2020

Precision Piecing

The Ultimate Guide to Precision Piecing by Charlotte Noll (@kirkenoll #charlottenollquilts)

Having trouble to getting your seams to match or your points to line up perfectly? Are your blocks too big or too small?  These are common problems that can be avoided with precision piecing.

Spend less time reverse sewing (un-sewing) your blocks using these tips for Precision Piecing.

1: A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way

Getting your proverbial Sewing Machine Ducks in a row before you sew will prevent a lot of headaches along the way.

  • It’s a good idea to clean and oil your sewing machine according to instructions before starting a project. Then stitch on some scrap fabric to make sure any oil residue is removed.
  • Use the correct needle for your project.  For regular quilting cotton use a new 70/10 Microtex (Sharp) sewing machine needle.
  • It is also important to use quality thread.  My favorite thread for machine piecing is Aurifil 50wt thread - thin, strong and very little lint.
  • Cut your fabric pieces as accurately as possible.  You can find tips and tricks with my Guide to Precision Cutting.
  • Use a short stitch length so the seams hold well and thread doesn’t show. Test it out by spreading the seam to check that you don’t see the thread. Don’t make it so tight that it puckers the fabric or you can never un-sew if you need to.  Every machine is different so you just have to experiment with yours.
  • Make sure you are sewing with a true ¼” seam. There are online tutorials for checking your ¼” seams. I always use a ¼” seam presser foot for my sewing machine, and I also line up my fabric with the thread guide line which I verified is very accurate.

2: Pin Away

I’m an old school Pinner.  It does take time, but I find it's sufficient if I pin at the beginning and end of a seam and anywhere where matching is needed. Too many pins can distort your piece so don't go overboard.

To match seams, this is the method I use to pin and sew:

  • Line up the seams.
  • If I really want to verify it’s lining up correctly I pin horizontally across the seam then flip to check and make adjustments as needed.
  • Put 2 pins on either side of the intersection and then remove the horizontal pin so you can sew.
  • It helps to sew with the side that has the most opposing and matching seams facing you so that you can make sure you keep them flat and open. Also watch for the seams that have points so you don’t sew the tips off.

Matching Seams

For points, I pin as described above, sewing across the seam at the points.

 Matching Points

    3: Press, Don't Iron

    Pressing the sewn seams is a very important step to achieve precision in your piecing.  While the terms are used interchangeably, pressing and ironing are two different techniques.  Ironing uses a back and forth sliding motion while pressing is placing the iron on the fabric, holding it there and then removing.  Here are some tips for pressing your piece:

    • Press the newly sewn seam to set the stitches flat. 
    • Usually I press the seams open (unless directed otherwise) to reduce bulk and avoid shadowing.
    • I use a Strip Stick to help press the longish seams open without disturbing the rest of the block. 
    • For bulky seam intersections, I use The Wacker Hammer to help flatten them if possible.
    • When a block/row is completed I like to give it a final press on a wool pressing mat or a big fluffy towel using just a little Magic Sizing or your favorite pressing spray to flatten all the seams nicely.

    4: Verify Measurements and Layout

    • At each piecing step, measure the unit to make sure it is the correct size - trim or block if just a little bit off. If it’s off by a lot then go back and check your cut pieces and stitching method. Checking at each step will avoid the finished block and quilt from being way off size and ensure that your seams match when joining units together.

    • At each stage, also step back and take pictures. This will show you how your quilt really looks. You can also change the picture to black/white to look at color values. This step is also great for recreating a layout that you liked or verifying the one you want to sew.

    • When you have your block layout just right you want to sew them together exactly that way. These flower head pins with numbers written in Sharpie help me keep the blocks/rows organized before I sew them.  I’ve tried several methods to sew them correctly but somehow I get them mixed up unless I’m using these pins.

    Number Your Pins

    The most important tip...enjoy your fabric and the process of making quilts. If something goes wrong, you can fix it - or not. It’s all good! 

    Now that you know some tips for piecing your quilts, get to work making something amazing.

    Do you have any tips you would like to share?

    About Charlotte Noll

    Charlotte Noll

    Charlotte has been sewing since she was a young girl and made all her own clothes.  She made her first quilt when she moved to Florida in 1980 and needed something for her king-size waterbed.  She's been hooked since!  Charlotte loves fabric, thread, buttons, and beads!  She can't pass up a challenge or call for entry.  Charlotte has made many traditional and art quilts but now her eye is tracking the modern style.

    Find Charlotte on Instagram and Facebook.

    Charlotte Noll Quilts

    A Guide to Precision Cutting April 08 2020

    Whether your quilt will be entered into a show or you are making it for a loved one or to donate, accurate cutting is key to success in piecing your quilt top.

    There are three main areas to focus to ensure you have the perfect cut every time.

    How to Choose the Perfect Fabric for Your Fussy Cutting Project – 10 Expert Tips* April 05 2020

    You’ve seen those beautiful Millefiori quilts all over social media, donning magazine covers and filling books.  Those intricate designs and patterns can almost seem intimidating.  But did you know that the magic started with the fabric selection.?

    With these 10 Expert Tips*, you can create your own fussy cut masterpiece too!

    5 Tips to Pulling the Perfect Fabric for Your Quilt April 03 2020 1 Comment

    You've found the perfect pattern so now what?  It's time to choose the perfect fabric, but don't let that overwhelm you.  Sometimes, it's helpful to break it down into smaller tasks.

    With these 5 tips, you'll be a Pro at pulling fabric for this project and beyond!

    How to Set up an Embroidery Hoop for Successful Stitching October 07 2019

    Do you struggle to keep your fabric taut in the hoop? Are your stitches uneven? In this tutorial, you will learn how to bind and properly set up your hoop for the best stitching results.

    Westalee Ruler Demo by Donelle McAdams September 12 2017 6 Comments

    Here is a recorded video of Donelle McAdams demoing the Westalee Rulers for us at Spring Paducah (April 2017).  

    Donelle is a National Educatior for Sew Steady.  

    The actual demo starts at about the 3 minute mark.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GIVEAWAY IS NO LONGER VALID AS IT WAS FOR THE LIVE DEMO.

    Embroidered Holiday Ornament December 06 2016 1 Comment

    Embroidered Ornament Closeup

    Do you need a last minute gift?  Or are you looking for ideas for your annual ornament exchange?

    This tutorial shows you how to finish an embroidered design into an ornament to give as a gift or even to hang on your own tree!

    Feel free to use this poinsettia redwork design or substitute it with one of your own. 

    Finished size: 4 inches in diameter

    Materials you will need:


    • Printable, self-adhesive, water soluble stabilizer (Sticky Fabri-Solvy) to transfer embroidery design
    • 1 yard red bias tape

    Step 1: Download and print the poinsettia design

    Once you have downloaded and printed the poinsetta design, use the 1 inch guide on the printout to ensure that snowflake has printed to the correct scale.  

    Step 2: Prepare hanky linen for embroidery

    I like to line the back of my embroidery fabric as it helps to keep fabric from puckering when you stitch, and it also helps to hide loose threads.  Following the manufacturer's instructions, iron your fusible interfacing to the backside of the hanky linen.  I use Shape Flex (SF101) by Pellon.

    Step 3: Transfer the poinsettia design

    Using your preferred method, transfer the poinsettia design to the hanky linen.  For smaller projects, I like to use Sticky Fabri-Solvy to transfer embroidery designs as I can simply copy the design directly onto the self adhesive, water soluble stabilizer using my home printer.  Once the design has been printed onto the stabilizer, I cut out the design leaving a border and then stick it directly on the front of the hanky linen, centering it as needed.

    Step 4: Embroider the poinsetta design

    Once the design has been transferred, embroider as desired using the recommended stitches or your favorites.

    Take the finished piece out of the hoop and rinse the water soluble stabilizer off in warm water.  Once dry, press with a warm iron from the back of the embroidery.  Set aside.

    Step 5: Bind the hoop (optional)

    In addition to being decorative, did you know that binding your embroidery hoop also has other benefits?

    Binding your embroidery hoop before you embroider helps keep stitches even and well-formed, keeps fabric from slipping and taut for longer and provides extra protection to your project from the rings of the hoop.

    You may bind both rings but in the case of decorative binding, I decided to only bind the outer ring.

    To bind your hoop, you will wrap the bias tape at a 45 degree angle along the edge of the ring starting at one side of the hardware. Wrap the bias tape around once, wrapping over the starting point.  Stitch a few stitches or use a glue gun to secure the end.

    Continue wrapping , overlapping as you go.  Be sure to wrap the bias tape tightly and evenly.

    When you arrive to the other side of the ring, trim away any excess bias tape and tuck the end under.  I used a binding clip to hold the end tightly in place while I applied glue with a glue gun to secure the end.

    Binding a Hoop

    Step 6: Mounting the ornament

    After you have bound the embroidery hoop, take the finished embroidery and put it back onto the hoop, creating as tight of a finish as you can.  Make sure the hoop screw is at the top if your design is directional.

    Turn the hoop over and trim the excess fabric to within 1 inch of the edge of the embroidery hoop (Fig a).

    Using the inner edge of the inside hoop, trace a circle on the cardboard square.  Cut out the circle and drop it into the back of the hoop (Fig b) to protect the back of the block.

    Secure the excess fabric by finger pressing over the top edge of the inner section of the embroidery hoop onto the cardboard.  Use a glue gun or Roxanne Glue Baste to hold in place (Fig c).

    Finally, Using the outer edge of the hoop, trace a circle on the felt square.  Cut out the circle and glue the felt in place over the secured fabric and cardboard to hide the raw edges of fabric.

    Finishing Hoop

    Step 7: Finishing the ornament

    To finish the ornament, take your holiday ribbon and tie a simple bow at the top of the ornament around the hardware and use an ornament hook to hang.  You can also create a loop instead, using the ribbon, in order to hang your finished piece on a tree.

    Embroidered Ornament

    You can use this method to finish and mount virtually anything from fabric to embroideries to decorate a room or a wall or even a tree!

    Sashiko Snowflake Napkins November 21 2016

    Sashiko Snowflake Napkins

    Need a last minute gift idea this holiday season?  These Sashiko Snowflake napkins are a quick and festive way to warm your table for the holidays or to give as a gift to the hostess.

    Materials you will need:

    Sashiko Napkin Supplies

    Step 1: Download and print the Sashiko Snowflake design

    Once you have downloaded and printed the snowflake, use the 1 inch guide on the print out to ensure that snowflake has printed to the correct scale.  For ease of transfer, cut out snowflake in a 6 inch by 6 inch square.

    Step 2: Draw reference and stitching lines on the navy fabric

    Using your ruler and marking pencil, measure a 1 inch seam allowance and mark reference and stitching lines on each side.

    Sashiko Napkin - Step 2 Sashiko Napkin - Step 2

    Step 3: Prepare to transfer design

    Secure your navy fabric to a flat surface using painter's or masking tape.  Starting in one corner, lay the transfer paper face (chalky) side down using the lines you just marked as a reference.  Next, lay the snowflake design on top of the transfer paper.  The snowflake design should be facing up.  Secure the design with tape.

    Sashiko Napkin - Step 3

    Step 4: Transfer the snowflake design onto the navy fabric

    When I transfer designs using the transfer paper method, I like to use a different colored ink pen (or pencil) so that I know where I have already traced.  Because Saral transfer paper can be used over and over again, I choose 4 different colored pens, one for each corner.  Apply steady pressure when tracing the snowflake.  Repeat for each corner.

    Sashiko Napkin - Step 4

    Sashiko Napkin - Step 3  Sashiko Napkin - Step 3

    Step 5: Hand embroider the snowflake design using Sashiko stitching

    Sashiko is basically a big running stitch.

    To start, thread your Sashiko needle (a Chenille needle will do) with Sashiko thread (Perle Cotton looks nice as well) and secure it with a quilter's knot.  Try to start and stop your stitching on the borders.  When coming to the end of a piece of thread, you may choose to weave the loose end of the thread to previous stitches on the backside instead of using a knot.

    Bring the needle through from back of fabric on the line you want to stitch.  Insert the needle about 1/8 inch in length away along the line to create first stitch.  Bring the needle out from the back a stitch length away and continue along the line.  You can also weave your stitches in and out of the fabric to make several stitches at once.

    Running Stitch Diagram

    Stitch all four snowflakes as well as the border lines. 

    Step 6: Trim edges and pin

    Because the stitched fabric may shrink or pucker as you stitch, it is necessary to trim the finished piece down.  Place the navy fabric right sides together with the backing fabric and trim approximately 1/4 inch on each side so that you are left with a 12.5 inch square.

    Pin all four sides in place, leaving approximately 2 inches on one side to turn the napkin right side out.

    Sashiko Napkin - Step 6

    Step 7:  Sew napkin together and turn napkin right side out

    Using a 1/4 seam, sew all four sides together leaving an approximately 2 inch gap to allow the napkin to be turned right side out.  Trim the corners on the diagonal to reduce bulk.

    Once sewn, turn the napkin right side out using a pointed tool such as a chop stick to shape the corners.

    Gently iron the napkin from the back side (so as not to crush the embroidery). IMPORTANT NOTE: read the instructions carefully for the brand of transfer paper that you are using; otherwise, the transfer lines may heat set.  You may need to wash your napkin before ironing.  You can iron the transfer lines left by Saral transfer paper as they do not heat set.

    Top stitch with a 1/8 inch seam allowance, if desired.

    Repeat steps 1-7 for as many napkins as you would like to make!

    Sashiko Napkins

     Happy Holidays to You and Yours from Me and Mine!

    Sashiko Napkins with Snowman

    Decorative Hoops September 15 2016

    Decorative Hoop Tutorial 

    Have you ever wanted to try English paper piecing but didn't want to commit to making a large quilt?  Or do you have some leftover rosettes that did not make the cut in your finished Millefiori quilt?

    This tutorial shows you how to finish a small piece that can be used as home decor or even given as a handmade gift!

    Feel free to use this pentagon design or substitute it with one of your own.  Embellish it as much or as little as you would like.

    As shown:  Decorative hoop features V and Co. ombre fabric with a splash of Inked fabric set on chambray.  Embellished with Sue Spargo's Eleganza Perle cotton 8 (EZM25 Clambake).  

    Finished size: 12 inches in diameter

    Materials you will need:


    Step 1: EPP block - Cutting and basting

    Using paper pieces as a guide and adding 1/4 inch seam allowances all around, cut (30) pentagons from the pink fabric, (1) pentagon from the orange fabric and (20) diamonds from the yellow fabric.  You can also use acrylic cutting templates to simplify the cutting process.

    Baste all pentagons and diamonds with your preferred basting method.  For this project, I chose to glue baste using Bohin's glue stick.

    Step 2: EPP block - Stitching

    First, stitch (5) sets of unit A and (5) sets of unit B.  For unit B, I first stitched the pentagons together as shown and then added the diamond pieces.

    Pentagon Petal Units

    After you stitch units A and B individually, then join one unit A with a B unit until you have sewn (5) A/B sets.  Take one A/B set and add unit C (orange pentagon).  Working clockwise, you can now add the remaining (4) sets of the A/B units to complete the block.

    Pentagon Petals decoded

    Step 3: Appliqué the block

    Before appliquéing the block to the background, you must first remove the paper pieces.  I like to first press the block with a light spray starch to help set the EPP shapes and flatten the block before removing the papers.  I press the block once again after removing the papers.

    You can leave the diamond tips, but I decided to trim the tips of the diamonds that extended out of the block.  When trimming, you must leave 1/4 inch seam allowance to fold and press under so that you have a finished edge when appliquéing.

    Trimming edges

    Next, center the block on the 14 inch square of background fabric and pin around the edges with small appliqué pins or secure into place with a few dots of Roxanne Glue Baste.

    Hand appliqué the block into place taking care not to distort the block as you stitch.

    Step 4: Embellishing the block

    Temporarily put the completed appliqué block into the embroidery hoop.  Add decorative stitches using embroidery floss or perle cotton, as desired.

    I used a chain stitch to outline the EPP 'flower'.  For each pink pentagon, I used a running stitch and for the orange pentagon, I outlined it with a stem stitch.  Finally, in the center of the orange pentagon, I added a lazy daisy stitch.

    For more ideas on decorative stitches, check out Sue Spargo's book Creative Stitching.

     Embellishment for Pentagon Petal

    Step 5: Mounting the block

    Take the finished piece out of the hoop and press.  I decided to wash my piece before mounting as I wanted to give the petals of the 'flower' additional texture.  

    Once pressed, put the block back onto the hoop, creating as tight of a finish as you can.  Make sure the hoop screw is at the top if you want to use it to hang your finished piece.

    Turn the hoop over and trim the excess fabric to within 1 inch of the edge of the embroidery hoop (Fig a).

    Using the inner edge of the hoop, trace a circle on the cardboard square.  Cut out the circle and drop it into the back of the hoop (Fig b) to protect the back of the block.

    Secure the excess fabric by finger pressing over the top edge of the inner section of the embroidery hoop onto the cardboard.  Use a glue gun or Roxanne Glue Baste to hold in place (Fig c).

    Finally, Using the outer edge of the hoop, trace a circle on the felt square.  Cut out the circle and glue the felt in place over the secured fabric and cardboard to hide the raw edges of fabric.

    Finishing decorative hoop

    You can use this method to finish and mount virtually anything from fabric to embroideries to decorate a room or a wall.   

     Pentagon Petal finished


    Bury Your Threads With Ease July 19 2016 1 Comment

     Bury Your Threads With Ease

    If you are like me, you could live without having to bury each and every one of those threads that remain after you're done quilting.  But alas, it's one of those necessary evils.

    After many requests, we recently started stocking Tulip Easy Threading Needles.  These needles come in assorted sizes and are perfect for burying threads.  Simply pop the hanging thread into the slot at the top of the Tulip needle.  The thread will stay securely in place while you bury the thread. 

     Easy Threading Needle - Closeup

      But what if you don't want to spend the money on specialty needles, or if you don't have time to wait for them to arrive in the mail?

      Here is a simple but effective trick I learned while taking a longarm quilting class earlier this year that will help you clean up your sewing projects in no time at all.

      Step 1: Thread both ends of a new piece of thread through a large sewing needle

      Any generic sewing needle will do, but a larger eye is better to aid in the threading of the needle.  You will also want to use a thread color that contrasts with the color of the quilt that you are tidying.  The thread should be approximately 12-14 inches long.

        Bury Your Thread With Ease - Step 1

        Step 2: Place the newly created loop around the thread that needs to be buried


         Bury Your Threads With Ease - Step 2

        Step 3: Insert the needle through the batting but not the backing material and pull the needle through the layers

        That's right!  The looped thread in the needle will magically pull the other thread through along with it! 

        Bury Your Threads With Ease - Step 3

        Step 4: Gently tug and snip threads off at the point where they were carried through the top fabric

        The threads will slip back under the fabric and hide themselves.

        Bury Your Threads With Ease

        If you decide to bury each thread as you move across the quilt, store the threaded needle safely on your shirt or shirt pocket.  It will be right there when you need it again.

        Otherwise, save all of those loose ends until you are finished quilting, taking care not to catch your needle on the hanging threads or to sew over them.  Then, sit back in your favorite chair and carefully groom your quilt while watching TV or socializing with family or friends.

        Once you have neatly tucked away each and every thread, you are now ready to move on to the best part - binding the quilt!

        Do you have any tips or tricks for hiding your threads? 

        Rice Heat Therapy Bag May 17 2016

        Rice Heat Therapy Bag


        Eight arms are better than two to sooth your muscles and calm your mind!

        I found the perfect use for my Octopus embroidery by iHeart Stitch Art...a rice heat therapy bag that is not only useful but stylish too!

        A quick and easy gift to make for someone who needs a little TLC.

        Materials you will need:

        • 8-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch linen embroidery square (you can also fussy cut some of your favorite fabric) - I stitched the octopus with Sue Spargo's Eleganza Perle Cotton 8 EZM17 Inked
        • 16 x 8-1/2 inch strip of coordinating fabric (shown Rice in Navy from the Bluebird collection by Cotton & Steel)
        • 1/4 yard muslin or scrap fabric for heat therapy bag lining as well as rice bag
        • 2 pounds rice 
        • essential oil(s)
        • cotton thread (polyester thread may catch fire in the microwave)

        Heat Therapy Bag material list

        Step 1: Cut and prepare fabric for liner and outer bag

        Liner - Cut 23-1/2 inch x 8-1/2 inch strip of muslin.

        Outer bag
        • From coordinating fabric, cut (1) 5 x 8-1/2 inch piece and (1) 11 x 8-1/2 inch piece.
        • Sew fabric strips on either side of linen embroidery using 1/4 inch seam.

         Heat Therapy Bag - Step 1

        Step 2: Sew outside bag to bag liner

        With right sides together, sew 1/4 inch seams on both short sides to create a continuous piece of fabric or tube.

        Heath Therapy Bag - Step 2

        Step 3: Press seams open

        Hang fabric on the end of your ironing board in order to press both seams open.  Turn tube right side out.

        Heath Therapy Bag - Step 3

        Step 4: Add 1/2 inch top stitch to the shorter strip on the fabric tube

        Heath Therapy Bag - Step 4

        Step 5: Fold bag and pin into place

        With right side up, measure 1-1/2 inches into the shorter fabric strip.  Fold and pin into place.

         Heath Therapy Bag - Step 5

         Heat Therapy Bag - Step 5b

        Repeat for longer side, measuring 1-1/2 inches into strip and then folding over.  Longer side should overlap shorter side by approximately 1 inch.  Pin into place.

        Heath Therapy Bag - Step 5c

        Heat Therapy Bag - Step 5d

        Step 6: Sew bag together and flip bag right side out

        Using 1/4 inch seam, sew both sides of heat therapy bag.  You may also wish to serge each seam or to use an overcast stitch for additional reinforcement.

        Turn heat therapy bag right side out.

        Heat Therapy Bag - Step 6

        Step 7: Prepare essential oils.

        Put rice into a bowl and add essential oils as desired.  I chose to use eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil for a cool and refreshing effect.

        Set aside.

        Heat Therapy Bag - Step 7

        Step 9: Sew rice bag

        Use remaining muslin fabric (approximately 20 x 8-1/2 inches) to make the rice bag.

        Fold in half and using 1/4 inch seam, sew the three open sides together leaving a 3 inch opening on one of the sides. 

        Turn muslin bag right side out and fill with rice.  I used a piece of paper to create a funnel in order to pour the rice directly into the bag.

        Stitch the rice bag closed.  I shook the rice to one side and machine stitched it closed but you may hand stitch as well.

        Heat Therapy Bag - Step 8

        Heat rice bag as desired (approximately 1-2 minutes) in microwave and place into the linen heat therapy bag for use.  Store rice bag in linen heat therapy bag when not in use.


        How to Fold a Quilt on the Bias April 11 2016 3 Comments

        How to Fold a Quilt Tutorial


        If you are like me, you fold your quilts in pretty rectangles and stack them to store them or lay them on a bed or couch much like the picture above.  But, did you know that overtime, if you continue to fold your quilts on the straight of grain, fibers will break and eventually cause permanent damage?

        I was recently reminded of this as I prepared the studio's sample quilts for long term storage now that quilt show 'season' is over for the first half of the year.  As the months passed, I began to notice wrinkles that became harder to iron out before hanging in the booth each show.  Worse yet, I saw some beautiful competition quilts that hung with unsightly creases down the middle that could have been prevented.

        Fortunately, the girls in my quilt guild shared a simple technique that will save you a lot of grief down the road.

        This tutorial will focus on how to fold a quilt on the bias to preserve your beautiful quilt that took months and a small fortune to make.

        The Timepiece Quilt used in this tutorial measures 56 inches by 70 inches, but this method can be used on any size quilt.

        Step 1: Lay your quilt on a bed, table or other flat surface.

        How to Fold a Quilt Tutorial


        Step 2: Fold the lower right corner up toward the center of the quilt making sure the fold is on the bias.

        It doesn't matter with which corner you start as long as the fold is on the bias.

        How to Fold a Quilt - Step 1


        Step 3: Fold the lower left corner up toward the center of the quilt making sure the fold is on the bias.


        How to Fold a Quilt - Step 2


        Step 4: Fold the top left corner down toward the center of the quilt making sure the fold is on the bias.


        How to Fold a Quilt - Step 3


        Step 5: Making sure the fold is on the bias, fold the top right corner down toward the center of the quilt.  

        Your quilt should now look like an envelope.  You can stop here if the quilt envelope or package is the desired size.  Continue on to Step 6 to make the quilt bundle smaller.

        How to Fold a Quilt - Step 4


        Step 6: To make the bundle smaller to fit on a shelf or perhaps in a mailing box or package, fold the quilt envelope up on itself parallel to previous fold lines.


        How to Fold a Quilt - Step 5


        How to Fold a Quilt Tutorial


        Now your quilt is ready to stored or to be shipped, and any wrinkles can be removed with the light touch of an iron!

        I would love to hear from you have any folding or hanging horror stories?  Do you have a preferred technique for storing or shipping your quilts?

        How to Tie a Quilt March 08 2016 5 Comments

        All Squared Up - Tie Quilt close up

        There are three types of quilting:  machine quilting, hand quilting and hand tying.  This tutorial will focus on how to hand tie a quilt.

        Hand tying is a quick and easy way to finish a quilt and to give a vintage look.  It is a good method when no batting is being used or when using extra thick batting that is difficult to quilt any other way.  The hand tying technique can be used on all quilt tops, pieced or whole cloth, and is good for beginners (or seasoned quilters who have way too many tops to quilt!). 

        To hand tie a quilt, you will need:

        • Yarn, embroidery floss, Sashiko thread or Perle cotton 5 or 8 depending on the final look you would like to achieve
        • Any needle with a large eye and sharp point.  I like to use either a Chenille size 24 or a Sashiko needle
        • Marking pencil.  My favorite is the Sewline mechanical pencil
        • Scissors
        • Ruler
        • Basting pins or basting spray
        • Thimble (optional)

        Step 1: Baste your quilt with your preferred method.

          I chose to pin baste this particular quilt, but you could spray baste or machine baste as well.

           Tie Quilt - Basting

          Step 2: Determine placement for the ties and mark accordingly.

          Reference your batting packaging to find the optimum spacing for quilting, typically 4 inches to 10 inches apart. You can either place the ties at equal intervals (e.g. every 5 inches), use the existing quilt design to help guide placement of the ties or a combination of the two.

          I used a white Sewline mechanical pencil to mark an 'x' on the dark quilt top fabric where I wanted to make a tie.  The ceramic lead gives you clean lines that are easily removed with the attached eraser or a damp cloth.

          For this project (All Squared Up), I spaced the ties 6 inches apart using the pieced blocks as a guide.  

          Tie Quilt - Marking

          Step 3: Thread your needle.

          Now, thread your needle with approximately 20 to 24 inches of thread for tie quilting.  For this particular project, I used traditional Sashiko thread as I wanted did not want the sheen of embroidery floss or Perle cotton.   

           Tie Quilt - Threading Needle

          Step 4: Create the ties.

          Start tying in the center of the quilt and move out. This helps keep the layers from shifting during the tying process. 

          Insert needle through the three layers of the quilt on the spot marked 'x' and then back up approximately 1/4 inch from initial spot.  Leave a small tail roughly 3 - 4 inches.

          Repeat in the same spot to reinforce.  Cut thread leaving a 3-4 inch tail.

          Follow Step 4 for each spot marked 'x'.

           Tying a Quilt

          Step 5: Double knot all ties and trim as desired.

          Once I knotted each tie, I trimmed all of the tails to 2 inches.

          Tie Quilt - Trim

          But I didn't stop here!  To add additional visual interest to the quilt top, I decided to add big stitch, straight line quilting to the borders at a flower motif in the four corners.

          Big Stitch Quilting - Flower Motif

          The quilt top is now ready for binding!

          Just remember, hand tying a quilt is not as durable as fully quilted quilt so wash sparingly!

           All Squared Up - Tie Quilt

          I would love to hear from you … have you ever hand tied a quilt?

          Cutting Tutorials - Hex N More Ruler February 09 2016 1 Comment

          If you haven’t noticed, I love Jaybird Quilts and the Hex N More ruler is no exception!

          This specialty ruler cuts four shapes in four sizes (all sizes listed are finished sizes; however, pieces will include ¼” seam allowance when cut):

          • Hexagons (2”, 4”, 6”, 8”)
          • Half Hexagons (2”, 4”, 6”, 8”)
          • 60° Triangles (1”, 2”, 3”, 4”)
          • Jewel (3”, 6”, 9”, 12”)

            And these can even be cut from strips!

            Currently, the Hex N More can be used for 15 Jaybird Quilts patterns: 

            If you already own a Hex N More ruler or you would like to see the ruler in action, check out these great tutorials by Jaybird Quilts:

            Hex N More tutorial

            Cutting Tutorial: Hexagon

            Cutting Tutorial: Half Hexagon

            Cutting Tutorial: 60° Triangle

            Cutting Tutorial: Jewel


            Give one a try!

            And the Hex N More even comes in a mini size!  Too cute!

            Do you have a favorite specialty ruler?

            Working with Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 Fusible Web January 05 2016 8 Comments

            I was so excited when Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 by the Warm Company came back last year (and even better than ever) after being temporarily unavailable in the marketplace.

            When I could no longer get Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, I tried other fusible webs.  Having learned to do fusible appliqué with Steam-A-Seam, I struggled to use the other brands. Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is unlike other fusible web. A tacky coating on both sides of the web allows it to temporarily stick to the appliqué material and temporarily adhere the appliqué to the project. The entire piece will stick in place and is repositionable until pressed with an iron. This allows you to play with your design and to ensure proper placement every time!

            Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is so easy to use:

            TRACE AND TRIM:

            Trace your shape on the grid side of the fusible web. If you want, you can now print directly on the grid side using an ink jet printer! Then cut around the shape leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch of extra fusible web and paper all around the shape.


            PEEL AND STICK:

            Remove the plain paper on the back side of the fusible and stick it to the wrong side of the fabric.  Quickly pass your dry iron securing the web to the fabric.



            Cut Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and fabric together along the traced lines.


            Peel off remaining paper liner (leaving web with fabric) and stick appliqué in place, repositioning as desired.


            Press in your desired position.  Don't worry about over heating...Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 can take the heat!

            The resulting bond is strong and permanent.  Also, when sewing, the fused appliqué will not gum up your needle.  Did you know that the protective parchment paper liners can also be used as the perfect stabilizer?  When finished, your piece can be machine washed and dried.

            It’s no wonder why Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is the #1 most loved brand of double stick fusible web on the market!

            What are you waiting for?

            Give Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible web a try in your next appliqué project or with one of the appliqué kits available at Red Thread Studio (My Kimono Girls Quilt, My Kimono Girl Cushion, My Elephant Quilt, My Dandelion Wish Quilt, Shoal Shark Quilt, Feathered Elegance QuiltTropical Madness Table Runner).

            Finger Pin Cushion December 07 2015 7 Comments

            Finger Pin Cushion

            Do you love to hand piece or hand appliqué?  This finger pin cushion is the perfect pin cushion to hold your patchwork and/or appliqué pins while sewing.  It is the perfect size, very comfortable to wear, and super easy to make.  I bet you can't just make one!

            I learned about this clever pin cushion from Jen Kingwell when she came to Red Thread Studio in October for a trunk show and a two day workshop.

            For this project, you will need:

            • 3 inch or 3.5 inch square of fabric - the pin cushion will sit on your pointer finger.  For larger fingers, I recommend the 3.5 inch square
            • Fiberfill or polyfill
            • Craft awl or other pointed tool (chopsticks work great!)
            • Needle, thread and scissors

            Finger Pin Cushion Supplies 

             Step 1:  Fold your 3 inch or 3.5 inch square on the diagonal

            I chose some fun purple stripes from Jen Kingwell's Gardenvale fabric line.

            Finger Pin Cushion Tutorial

            Step 2:  Stitch both open ends of the triangle leaving a one inch gap on one side for turning and stuffing the cushion

            You can hand sew, but I chose to machine stitch to provide extra durability.  In addition, you would normally select a thread color to match your chosen fabric.  For illustrative purposes, I used black thread to show the stitching line and the one inch gap.

            Finger Pin Cushion Tutorial

            Step 3: Turn fabric right-side out

            Your craft awl or pointed tool will prove useful here to push the corners out.

            Finger Pin Cushion Tutorial

            Step 4:  Fill finger pin cushion with fiberfill or polyfill

            You will want to firmly fill the pin cushion so that the pins don't poke your finger; however, you don't have to completely pack the side corners as these will be used to form the ring shape.

            Finger Pin Cushion Tutorial

            Step 5:  Fold the two loosely packed corners or points over and overlap to fit finger.  Stitch in place

            You can adjust the size of the finger pin cushion by overlapping the corners more or less as needed.

            Finger Pin Cushion Tutorial

            And voilà!  You are now ready to put pins in the cushion and stitch away.

            I would love to hear from you.  Do you use pin cushions when hand sewing?  

            Sashiko Thread Management November 09 2015

            Are you struggling with how to manage your Sashiko thread?  I recently did a demonstration at the QuiltWeek - Chattanooga show on how to manage your thread and thought my readers would also benefit from this easy tutorial.

            Step 1: Removing thread from packaging

            Cut the thread package open being careful not to cut any thread accidentally. Gently slide the paper wrapper off your bundle of thread. (Tip: Authentic Sashiko thread will have Kanji characters on the paper wrapper.)

            Sashiko Thread Management: Step 1  Sashiko Thread Management: Step 1

            Step 2: Locate center of thread loop

            Feel around until you find the place where the thread doubles up on itself to form the larger loop.  It will have a small string wrapped around the strands of thread.  Hold your thread at that center point.

            Sashiko Thread Management: Step 2

            Step 3: Shake

            Once you have found the center, hold from that center point and shake your thread out carefully so that you don’t disturb the loops of thread (if needle, you can detangle gently as if running fingers through your hair).  You are now holding the larger continuous loop of threads.

            Sashiko Thread Management: Step 3

            Step 4: Cut the loop of threads

            Cut the loop at the end opposite where the thread is tied around your bundle.  It may be easier to lay your loop down to do this.  You will now have a group of threads approximately 36 inches long.

             Sashiko Thread Management: Step 4

            Step 5: Tie strands

            Cut two pieces of thread, approximately 5 inches each.  Tie one 5 inch piece of thread at the top of the loop where the the thread doubles up on itself.  Set the other 5 inch piece to the side.

            Be sure to tie tight enough to keep the threads together nicely but not so tight that one thread cannot be removed when needed.

             Sashiko Thread Management: Step 5

            Step 6: Braid your thread

            Find a volunteer to hold the top of the skien where just tied.  If you do not have a volunteer available, use the presser foot on a sewing machine to hold the thread tightly.  Take the thread and divide into three equal parts.  Braid or plait the thread and use the last small piece of thread to tie the end of the braid to keep it from unraveling.

             Sashiko Thread Management: Step 6

            Using this method of cutting your Sashiko thread will make your thread much easier to manage and to take with you on the go.  I would love to hear from you … do you have a favorite way to manage your Sashiko thread?