Page 1

social UILT Q

Visit to download a PDF version of this issue.

Diagram 2


‌eat, sleep, quilt, repeat essential tips for

* topstitching and its purpose in sewing * binding a quilt with baby's name * understanding batting loft * using rayon threads in machine applique * when it's time to throw your threads away * machine applique

* PLUS * Elephant Baby Quilt Kid's Artist Case Modern Landscape Table Runner Lucky Mug Rug & Table Topper 4 Leaf Clover Pincushion Quilted Basket & Needlecase


| issue 9






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And receive our Perfection Gift Package

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PFAFF, CREATIVE ICON, PERFECTION STARTS HERE, MYSEWNET, IDT, and ACTIVSTITCH are trademarks of Visit moreSinger details and to findLLC. a dealer near you. Singer Sourcing Limited LLC.for ©2017 Sourcing Limited All rights reserved. While quantities last. Presale period starts 7/7/17 and ends 10/1/17. See your local, authorized PFAFF® dealer for details. PFAFF, CREATIVE ICON, PERFECTION STARTS HERE, MYSEWNET, IDT, and ACTIVSTITCH are trademarks of Singer Sourcing Limited LLC. ©2017 Singer Sourcing Limited LLC. All rights reserved. While quantities last. Presale period starts 7/7/17 and ends 10/1/17. See your local, authorized PFAFF® dealer for details.

editor's letter Never underestimate the power of quilting.

I'll tell you a story about an 80 year old lady who in the time lapse of 2 years has lost the LOVE of her life (husband), has battled with cancer and most recently had a stroke. All this within 2 years. This lady is comforted every day by her beloved family and despite all that's happened to her, takes great joy in daily sewing, quilting and needlework, which play an important role in her recovery. This lady is my mom, one of the strongest women I've been blessed to know and love, and be loved. Here's her latest quilt that we collaborated on together. Designed to mom's specifications, cut and measured by me, and entirely pieced by mom. The exquisite free motion quilting was done by none other than Christine Kempson Baker. It isn't the first time I talk about how quilting empowers you, picks you up, and downright comforts you. This concept isn't new, but it's important to highlight the experience of completing a quilt.

You know it, you felt it time and time again. Let me know how quilting has touched your life, and how you touched someone's life with your quilting. Post your story and pictures on our QUILTsocial Facebook page, I'd love to hear it.


follow me on QUILTsocial

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social social UILT UILT Q Q


eat, sleep, quilt, repeat

PUBLISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ART DIRECTOR Carla A. Canonico PUBLISHER, ADVERTISING SALES John De Fusco PHOTOGRAPHERS John De Fusco, Carla A. Canonico BLOGGERS/CONTRIBUTORS Christine Baker Bill Locke Allison Spence Elaine Theriault Sarah Vanderburgh GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN Carla A. Canonico Sondra Armas WEB and IT Support Alejandro Araujo WEBSITE / BLOG : Like us on Facebook : QUILTsocial Follow us on Twitter : @QUILTsocial WHERE TO GET YOUR COPY QUILTsocial is a quarterly eMagazine published by A Needle Pulling Thread. It is available free for personal use online at A limited number of printed copies of QUILTsocial are available for purchase at select quilt shops and specialty stores. Ask for it at your local shop. QUILTsocial is not available by subscription. QUILT SHOPS If you are interested in carrying QUILTsocial in your store, please email EDITORIAL Designers and other contributors who would like to be considered for future issues please email with a brief description of your work and your proposed project for the magazine. ©2017 QUILTsocial. All rights reserved. Issue #9. ISSN 2368-5913. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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All designs, patterns, and information in this magazine are for private, non-commercial use only, and are copyrighted material owned by their respective creators or owners.



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Elaine’s Quilting Tech Tips!



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Advertiser Index 53 A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine 91 Brother 90 Business Directory 67 Coats 61 Gütermann Creativ 43 Northcott 02 PFAFF 89 QUILTsocial 92 UNIQUE Sewing and Quilting 45 WonderFil Specialty Threads


issue 9

c o n t e n t s 06 Hooked on Books 08 6 features I love on the Brother NQ900 20 Comparing 5 Fairfield quilt batting types 30 Exploring WonderFil's Rayon Threads 38 Northcott’s Urban Elementz Collection 48 PFAFF passport 3.0 62 3 key weights of Coats’ Dual Duty XP thread 64 The Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q 80 A Stitch in Time Quilt 82 The Scrap Buster Tote 86 Scrappy House Placemat


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hooked on books

Walking Foot Quilting Designs

The T-Shirt Quilt Book

Lindsay Conner and Carla Hegeman Crim

Judy Gauthier

A brilliant quilter, Melissa Marginet has compiled in this golden nugget of a book, step by step diagrams and pictures to help you quilt your quilt. The designs shown can be made as simple or complex as described in clear and comprehensive diagrams. Walking Foot Quilting Designs will become for you a reference book you’ll keep by your sewing machine and quilt with confidence using its creative guidance.

Turn treasured tees into something brand new–a T-shirt quilt! Capture the memories of a special time, starting with a quick pillow project or a baby quilt made from onesies, and work your way up to bed quilts in multiple sizes. Learn the secrets to choosing shirts, centering and cutting out around a logo, working with shirts that are too small, and interfacing knit fabrics with finesse. You'll practice your skills with 8 projects ranging from simple squares to pieced stars and triangles, plus easy machine-appliquéd motifs. With beginnerfriendly designs and truly unique layouts to entice experienced quilters, this essential guide to T-shirt quilts covers all the bases.

You'll actually be hungry for more leftovers Are you swimming in fabric scraps from sewing garments, bags, and quilts? Learn to rescue and reuse fabric leftovers with 12 stunning, colorful quilt patterns for scrap lovers. Judy Gauthier teaches you her indispensable system for cutting usable squares from real, oddly shaped scraps, not just strips or precuts! Cut scraps into 3½", 4½", and 5½" squares, a magical combination for both beginning quilters and more advanced piecers, using traditional rotary cutting or Judy's fast2cut Simple Square Templates. Judy’s clever organizing and quilt-assembly tips will help you uncover hidden treasures from your stash.

Melissa Marginet

100 Pages, ISBN 978-0-9952741-0-5 Self-published

80 Pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-530-8 C&T Publishing

Rainbow Quilts for Scrap Lovers

96 Pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-461-5 C&T Publishing

Visual Guide to Free-Motion Quilting Feathers

Sew Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Mary Hertel

Carl Hentsch

Put a feather in your quilting cap Take the fear out of quilting feathers! Explore 68 modern feather designs with step-by-step guidance from award-winning quilter Natalia Bonner. Quilt stunning feathers on a variety of blocks and borders with this beginner-friendly, visual guide. Unlike traditional feather quilting, which relies on exactness and precision, Natalia’s ideas will help you break away from perfection and find creativity in your quilting practice. Use your home sewing machine or a longarm to free-motion feathers with confidence, adding a truly elegant finish to today’s modern quilts.

Pick your project then pick your block: mix and match 8 super-easy projects with 16 adorable paper-pieced blocks just for Christmas. Simply follow Mary’s clearly illustrated instructions to create fun and fresh holiday blocks. Plus, use her time-saving technique for paper piecing with less waste to create custom winter decor ranging from tree skirts and table toppers to gift bags, mug rugs, pot holders, and more. Sew by number and watch your image emerge!

Dramatic curves and angles for today's adventurous quilter Become a skilled foundation piecer with New York Beauty blocks and arcs of Flying Geese that amaze! Carl Hentsch simplifies a technique loved by many with his straightforward approach to curved piecing, foundation piecing, and simple machine applique. Stitch your way through 31 architectural block patterns, ideal for advanced beginners and intermediate quilters. Then it's time to practice on 10 full-size quilts and 27 bonus pillow projects with lively color combinations to provide movement and drama.

Natalia Bonner

144 pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-506-3 C&T Publishing



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56 Pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-528-5 C&T Publishing

New York Beauties & Flying Geese

96 pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-176-8 C&T Publishing

hooked on books

Intuitive Color & Design, Updated 2nd Edition

True Blue Quilts Annette Plog

Sarah Nephew and Marci Baker

Jean Wells gives you the assignment of your life: put away your ruler and use your inner vision to design and piece spectacular, free-form quilts you'd never have guessed you could create. In this updated edition of best-selling Intuitive Color & Design, Jean’s workshop assignments get your creative juices flowing, giving you challenges to expand your quilting horizons. Start by learning to see line and color; study the nuts and bolts of design; develop your color work and composition; and when you get stuck, there’s expert advice on problem solving. You will never see quiltmaking in the same way again.

Sew 15 Reproduction Quilts Honoring 19thCentury Designs

A new angle on classic quilt designs What can you sew with a 60° ruler and a simple, repeated shape? The possibilities are endless! Favorite authors Sara Nephew and Marci Baker are back with 20 beautifully bold one-patch quilts made from triangles, half-hexagons, diamonds and more. With their eye-catching color placement and clever pieced units like half-triangles and quarter-hexagons, no two quilts look alike. For even more variety, pick your favorite method – working from scraps or strip piecing yardage – to create an array of quilts from wallhangings to full-size beauties.

Jean Wells

112 pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-524-7 C&T Publishing

Charm School – 18 Quilts from 5” Squares

The blue-and-white quilt is one of the most desired antiques, and many can still be found in good condition. Learn the history of blue fabrics used during the 19th century, from the first production of indigo fabrics through the invention of the sewing machine, and up to the development of synthetic dyes in the late 1800s. Get inspired to design and create your own heirlooms, stitching up 15 historically accurate reproduction quilts from traditional blocks.

Wonderful One Patch Quilts

80 pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-340-3 C&T Publishing

128 pages, ISBN 978-161745-467-7 C&T Publishing

Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique

Sue Voegtlin

Block Genius

Artful Log Cabin Quilts

Mind your p’s and q’s... precuts and quilt blocks, that is! Popular designer Vanessa Goertzen puts charm squares to the test with 18 projects using precut 5" x 5" squares. Start with fresh, simple blocks and build your skills to sew versatile snowballs, stars, flying geese, and more. Using precuts from your stash or cutting your own charms from scraps or yardage, you’ll learn tips to take the guesswork out of piecing. Quilters of all types will fall in love with these quick, clever, and clean designs!

An amazing new quilting book, truly perfect for quilters of all levels…. With 201 pieced block designs, each in three different sizes (6”, 9” and 12”) with sample settings…an exceptional reference tool.” All the math is done for you!

Take the first steps to becoming an art quilter with popular teacher and best-selling author Katie Pasquini Masopust. Starting with an inspiration photo or painting, choose fabrics to create your own artistic log cabin quilts. Learn to navigate visual pathways and composition, applying easy techniques and experimenting with color. Student work is presented, showing that anyone can create an art quilt! Design and make your masterpiece with freeform log cabin blocks using this versatile method.

128 pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-281-0 C&T Publishing

144 pages, ISBN 978-1-935726-90-6 Fox Chapel Publishing

Katie Pasquini Masopust

80 pages, ISBN 978-1-61745-450-9 C&T Publishing


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6 features I love on

the Brother NQ900 sewing machine Christine Baker

You can never know what a sewing machine is all about until you have the opportunity to play with it. In this issue here are my thoughts about the Brother NQ900 sewing machine. You'll find more information about this little powerhouse sewing machine on our blog site,

Great feature 1

One feature that Jean didn’t talk about is this machine’s portability! At just 23lbs the Brother NQ900 is so easy to take along on vacation, to classes, on a quilt cruise OR like I did a couple weeks ago – to a quilt retreat!! The NQ900 is packed and ready to go

Great feature 2

The extension table on the NQ900 is not only HUGE, but it also has fold up legs so it can be easily stored or slipped into a bag to take along with the machine. Here’s the extension table slipped inside of the retreat bag that I made during my QUILTsocial posts in December 2015.

Great feature 3

The NQ900 has two LED lights which is AWESOME for when you are sewing somewhere that the lighting isn’t all that great. I really appreciated that extra light while I was sewing at the quilt retreat.

Great feature 4

The extension table legs fold up for travel or storage.

OK – all I have to say about the needle threader on this machine is WOW!!!! It’s so easy to use that I HAD to make a little video to show you. The needle threader can be used with machine needles 75/11 through 100/16.

Photos by Christine Baker



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Great feature 5

I love how this machine won’t stitch if the foot is up. If the foot isn’t down, the stop/start button glows red and the machine beeps if you put your foot down on the foot peddle. This is a wonderful feature, especially when using the free-motion quilting foot. Here’s what each color means:

All set up at the retreat

• Green: The machine is ready to sew or is sewing.

• Red: The machine can’t sew. • Orange: The machine is winding the

bobbin thread, or the bobbin winder shaft is moved to the right side.

Great feature 6

Another super feature is that you can’t thread the NQ900 when the foot is down. A little cover, called the upper thread shutter, slides over the take up lever and prevents you from pulling the thread through. If you thread a sewing machine when the foot is down, you may not get the thread between the two tension discs and when you sew, the tension between your top and bottom threads may be completely unbalanced. I see this happen a lot when I’m teaching beginner machine quilting classes so this feature would be amazing to prevent this problem from happening!

Red glowing Start/Stop button

I really enjoyed using the NQ900 machine at the quilting retreat – and everyone thought it was so funny how excited I got when I needed to thread my needle, LOL. I spent three whole days sewing on this machine and ended up piecing a lap quilt, three baby quilts and four book covers. Make sure to keep reading as we’re going to start making a baby quilt using Northcott’s new Bundle of Love fabric line and the Brother NQ900.

The upper thread shutter is closed, preventing the sewing machine from being threaded.


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Elephant applique adds a modern twist to this

baby quilt

I talked about my six favorite features of the Brother NQ900 sewing machine. Really, I could have gone on longer. The more I use this machine, the more features I find that I LOVE. But, I have a project that I want to share with you, a fun and easy baby quilt. So let’s get going! We have a family member who’s pregnant, so I wanted to make a baby quilt for her new little bundle of joy. Northcott has a bunch of new kids and baby fabric lines, so I contacted Elaine and asked if she could send me some fabrics to play with. Here is Northcott’s Bundle of Love fabrics, which is just perfect for a new baby boy! I really wanted to try out the decorative stitches on the NQ900, so I decided to do a machine appliqued design in the center of the quilt. Since the Bundle of Love fabrics feature elephants, I decided to use one of them as my design inspiration. I’ve attached a PDF with the applique design for your use, if you’d like to make your own version.

Brother NQ900

Elephant baby quilt finished size 33'' x 40'' materials • ½yd white fabric for background • ½yd gray fabric for borders • ½yd gray print fabric for applique, borders, and binding • ¼yd each of five other prints for applique, borders, and binding • 1yd backing fabric • batting 40'' x 45'' Fabrics for my baby quilt



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Tracing the applique shapes When using fusible web, trace your applique shape onto the paper side of the product. Since the elephant is such a large applique shape, I decided to cut away the center part of the fusible web so that it was only stuck around the edges of the elephant. This results in a “softer” feel to the finished applique. In order to not waste that piece of fusible web, I traced the heart and ear shapes inside of the elephant shape.

Cut your background fabric to 18'' x 24''. Arrange the applique shapes with the fusible side down onto the background, and then fuse into place. Here’s the background with the applique shapes fused in place. I can’t wait to get started stitching with the NQ900!! I found three different WonderFil threads in my stash that will work beautifully with the fabrics. that the applique shapes are fused and I’ve picked some threads for the elephant baby quilt, I’m ready to get stitching! There are so many amazing decorative stitches on the Brother NQ900 that I’m sure I’m going to have lots of fun doing my machine applique.

Positioning the shapes on the background fabric

Traced applique shapes on the fusible web

Cut all of your traced applique shapes loosely from the fusible web, and then iron each to the back of your chosen fabrics. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your chosen fusible web product. Next, cut each of these shapes along the drawn line. As you can see in the photo below, the center of my elephant shape does not have any fusible web stuck to it. Next, peel off the paper backing.

Back side of the elephant applique

WonderFil threads to match the fabrics

The fused shapes


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1” test square

When printed on your home printer, the above square should measure 1”. If it doesn’t, your printer will need to be adjusted.

Fusible applique pattern for the elephant baby quilt. 12


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1” test square

When printed on your home printer, the above square should measure 1”. If it doesn’t, your printer will need to be adjusted.


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Eye catching

machine applique with the Brother NQ900 I showed you how to prep and fuse your applique pieces to make the center of our cute baby quilt. Now we get to use the Brother NQ900 to do the machine applique!

I loaded a gray variegated thread into the top of the machine, placed a prewound bobbin of DecoBob in the bottom, and I was in business. I loved how this stitch looked on the edges of the elephant!

Let’s select a stitch! With 240 built-in sewing stitches, including 58 stitches that you can combine, it was hard to decide which stitch to start with!! Usually when I do machine applique, I use a blanket stitch because, let’s face it, my home sewing machine has a limited number of stitches available. But, after seeing the decorative stitches that Jean used on her table runner last month on QUILTsocial, I knew that this machine was going to give me WAY more options!

Close up of stitching on the elephant

For the elephant’s ear, I decided on a stitch that looked like a slanted blanket stitch – #12 in the Utility Decorative Stitches group. This stitch needed the same foot, so no need to switch it out!

The open top cover showing the stitch selection chart

So, I decided on stitch #25 in the Utility Decorative Stitches grouping. Once I made my selection, the LCD screen showed me what the stitch was going to look like, AND which foot I should use – the N foot as shown on the left side of the screen.

LCD Display for Utility Decorative Stitch #25



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LCD display showing settings for Utility Decorative Stitch #12

Here’s a close up of the stitch done with Fruitti #FT02 which is a blue and yellow variegated thread. Doesn’t it look awesome?

Close up of stitching on the elephant ear

Since I’m such a blanket stitch nut, I decided that I better try out the NQ900 blanket stitch too! This stitch is #20 in the same group as the above two stitches and again uses foot N.

Here it is stitched on the outside edge of the balloon heart. I used Tutti #TU30 for this stitch and really like how it looks on the green checked fabric!

Here’s a close up of the butterfly antennae – doesn’t that look great?

Close up of stitching on the heart shape

After stitching down all of the edges of the applique shapes, the next job was to stitch the antennae of the butterfly and the string for the balloon. I used an erasable marking tool to draw these lines onto the background fabric.

Closeup of zigzag stitched antennae

In total, I used six different decorative stitches to finish the machine applique on the quilt. I quite like how the quilt is progressing and can’t wait to start putting on the borders! Next, we’ll add all of the borders, and start machine quilting with the awesome Brother NQ900!

The butterfly antennae drawn with a Frixion pen LCD display showing the settings for Utility Decorative Stitch #20

I wanted to mimic the look of hand embroidery, so I decided on zigzag stitch #10. The LCD screen showed that I needed to change to foot J, so I did that and then loaded a black thread into the top of the machine. I shortened the width and length of the stitch by pressing the “-” buttons under the width and length indicators on the screen.

Completed stitching LCD display shows the settings for Utility Stitch #10 – zigzag


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Jumpstart your free quilting on this elephant I hope you enjoyed seeing how I used many of the decorative stitches on the Brother NQ900 to machine applique the center of our baby quilt. I really loved how each of the different stitches looked on the applique shapes! We’re going to add the borders to the center panel!

motion baby quilt

Adding the borders 1. From the inner border fabric (gray), cut 3 strips 1½” x the width of the fabric (WOF).

From these, cut two strips that are 1½” x 24” and sew these to the sides of the inner panel. Press towards the borders. Cut two strips of the inner border fabric that are 1½” x 20” and sew these to the top and bottom. Press. 2. From each of your six border fabrics, cut one strip 5” x the WOF. Cut one section from each that is 5” x 15”, and cut each of these in half to make two 2½” x 15” strips. Randomly sew these together end to end with a mitered join to make the binding. 3. From the remainder of each strips, cut 5” wide rectangles that range in length from 3” to 6”. Randomly sew these rectangles together to make one long strip that is 5” wide. 4. From this long strip, cut two inner borders that are 5” x 26” and sew these to the two sides of the quilt. Press. Cut two inner borders that are 5” x 29” and sew these to the top and bottom of the quilt. Press. 5. From the gray fabric cut four strips that are 3” x WOF. From these cut two side borders that are 35” long and sew these to the two sides of the quilt. Press. Cut two borders that are 34” long and sew them to the top and bottom of the quilt.

Layer the quilt The next step is to layer the quilt top with batting and backing. I used an adhesive spray to stick my layers together, but you could pin or hand baste if you prefer. The Brother NQ900

Piecing is a breeze! The Brother NQ900 is great for piecing too! The ¼” quilting foot with guide is great for sewing accurate ¼” seams and the Thread Cutter Button is GREAT for when you’re chain piecing!!

The ¼” quilting foot with guide



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Quilt top with batting and backing layered

Prepping the machine for free motion quilting When you want to free motion machine quilt, you need to drop the feed dogs on the machine so that they won’t be trying to move the fabric in one direction when you are moving it another direction. The feed dogs on the Brother NQ900 are dropped by sliding the Feed Dog Position Switch located at the back of the machine.

For the background of the applique design, I decided to do a large meander throughout. I’m so used to machine quilting on my Gammill that I’m a little rusty doing free motion on a home machine!! As you can see, my stitches are not all the same length, but as I tell my machine quilting students, developing skill in machine quilting is all about practice, practice, practice!! The large extension table on the machine made the quilting experience quite enjoyable!

I decided to quilt straight lines across the diagonal of each of the blocks in the pieced border. The walking foot worked really well, but I did increase the length of the stitch so that it’d be closer to what I’d stitched with the free motion foot. The knee lift came in VERY handy for doing this border as I could raise the foot, swing the quilt around and not have to take my hands off of the quilt!

Quilting diagonal lines across the border squares Dropping the feed dogs

You also need to attach a machine quilting foot or darning foot. The quilting foot for the Brother NQ900 is great and makes free motion machine quilting super easy!

Changing to the quilting foot

Now that the quilting foot is attached and the feed dogs are down, the machine is ready for quilting!

All ready for free motion quilting

Close up of the machine quilting

I did a little loop-de-loop design in the first narrow border.

For the final border, I decided to just quilt parallel straight lines all along the border. The quilting guide on the Brother NQ900 walking foot was great for keeping my lines an equal distance apart!

Loops in the inner border

For the next two borders, I wanted to try out the walking foot on the machine. It was easily attached, and after I raised the feed dogs with the switch on the back of the machine, I was ready to try it out.

Using the quilting guide on the walking foot

The quilting is done! Now that the baby quilt is quilted, all it needs is a label and binding!! Since taking the machine to the quilt retreat a couple weeks ago, I’ve been piecing like crazy!!

Walking foot


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It’s written in the binding! Bind a baby quilt with baby’s name I showed you how great the Brother NQ900 is for piecing and machine quilting our Elephant Baby Quilt. Now I’m going to use more of the machine’s decorative stitches to sew down the binding and make the label for the quilt.

Making the label

I drew lines on my label parallel to the folded edge, and used them to guide the machine as it stitched. The machine automatically stitches reinforcement stitches at the beginning and end of EACH letter, and leaves a thread in between the letters in the words.

In order to use the decorative stitches on the Brother NQ900 to sew down the binding on the front of the quilt, I first sewed the binding to the back of the baby quilt, and then folded around to the front.

Back in November on QUILTsocial, I shared with you my new favorite way of making fast and easy permanent quilt labels. On that label, I just hand wrote the information with a permanent marker, but since this awesome machine can embroider letters, I decided to use the same method but make an embroidered label. When I first looked at the character stitches on the Brother NQ900, I thought that I would stitch each letter individually, for example, I would set the machine to stitch an “F”, it would stitch, then I would set it for an “A” and it would stitch that letter. BUT, after reading the manual I realized that I can program up to 70 patterns or characters all at once!! So, using the stitch guide on the top of the machine, I programmed in the words “Welcome to the Family”. You can see that on the LCD screen, the machine shows the last six characters that will be stitched, so you can check your spelling, and the foot that you attach, the “N” foot.

The embroidered label

Folding the binding to the front of the quilt

I used small scissors to snip the threads between the letters stitched with the Brother NQ900.

Next, I selected a stitch to use for securing the folded edge of the binding. I decided on Utility stitch #68 which looks like one of the cross stitch designs. The LCD screen shows me to use the “N” foot.

Snipping the threads between the letters

Stitch selection for decorative stitches on the binding

I pinned the label to the back of the quilt.

After stitching that design for a while, I decided that I really wanted to use more than one stitch to go all the way around the quilt, so I checked out the stitch guide and picked Decorative Stitch #12 which looks like a snowflake.

Finished label

More binding stitches

LCD display showing the character stitches selected



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Here are the snowflakes stitched on the binding.

The finished Elephant Baby Quilt is all done and ready for the new addition.

The snowflake decorative stitch on the binding

I kept stitching my way around the quilt, changing the stitch every six inches or so, when all of a sudden I thought – “OMG – why am I not stitching WORDS onto the binding???”. Since I don’t know what the new baby’s name is going to be, I decided on the word “BABY” repeated over and over with a heart in between. Just think, if the baby had already been born, you could stitch his name, birth date and birth weight on the binding. How cool is THAT??

Settings for the words stitched on binding

Here are the words that I stitched on the binding. I did find it a bit harder to keep everything lined up nicely when I was stitching the words, instead of just one of the other decorative stitches. But I found that if I stitched a bit slower and paid close attention it worked quite well!

The finished Elephant Baby Quilt

Christine Baker “Baby” stitched on the binding


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Comparing 5 Fairfield quilt batting samples Which one is for you ?

Allison Spence

I've always wanted to collect a selection of batting samples and do some testing on them. This week I'm going to focus on 5 battings from Fairfield. I received 5 batting samples: 3 polyester battings, a cotton/polyester blend batting and a cotton batting. I spent some time stitching and washing and want to share my results with you. A batting sample cut and measured at 12"


I began by cutting 14" squares of each of the batting samples and drawing 12" squares on each sample. Then I conducted some very scientific experiments! Each day this week I'm going to highlight and compare the 5 battings under a variety of considerations. Photos by Allison Spence


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I'll be looking at the 5 battings with these points in mind. 1.


What materials are used in batting and how does that affect the project? How does the thickness or the loft of the batting affect the quilting process and the finished quilt?


How does pre-washing and washing after quilting affect the finished quilt?


How the amount of quilting affects the finished look of the quilt in relation to the batting.

Let's take a brief look at each of the batting samples that I received. Poly-Fil Extra-Loft is a 100% polyester batting and can be quilted up to 4" apart. The information on these packages is very helpful for choosing the right batting for each project.

Poly-Fil Extra-Loft batting from Fairfield

Poly-Fil Low-Loft is also a 100% polyester batting. The package doesn't say what the stitching distance is but the website recommends a stitching distance of 2" – 4" apart. Poly-Fil Project Fleece is another 100% polyester batting that can be sewn up to 4" apart. This batting is recommended for a variety of quilting and craft projects.

Poly-Fil Low-Loft batting from Fairfield

The Fairfield family of cottons, Quilter's 80/20 batting is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. Recommended quilting distance is 2" – 4". It has been needle punched to keep the layers firmly together. And the last batting I tested is the Soft & Toasty. This batting is 100% cotton and can be quilted up to 8" apart. It also is needle punched with a light scrim to give it stability.

Poly-Fil Project Fleece from Fairfield

In this feature I'll also take a look at why we like the battings we do and give some hints on when to use each one.

Quilter's 80/20 batting from Fairfield

Soft & Toasty batting from Fairfield


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The benefits of cotton batting, how to pre-wash it and how to quilt it I'm focusing on the 2 cotton battings: Soft & Toasty and Quilter's 80/20.

Quilter's 80/20 and Soft & Toasty battings from Fairfield

I wanted to do some simple testing of the battings. I cut 14" squares of each batting and then drew a 12" square with a permanent marker.

I remember my 2 very first quilts. When I bought the batting for these large twin quilts for my daughters, I was told that I had to pre-shrink my batting. The directions were to fill my bathtub with warm water and immerse the batting. Let it sit for a while and then squeeze out the excess water. I thought I'd save some time by "washing" the entire 5 meter length at once. Well, I felt like Lucille Ball and her infamous grape stomping episode! I spent a good half hour stomping on the batting in my bathtub and then trying to pull that wet length of batting out of my tub and finding a place to dry it! Things are much easier now. I recommend the following procedure to pre-wash cotton battings. Fill the washing machine with water. Unfold and submerge the batting in the water and turn the machine off!


DON T AGITATE! 12" square marked on a 14" piece of batting

I soaked the batting pieces in a tub of warm water for an hour. I then squeezed out the excess water and placed them in the dryer with a large bath towel. I allowed the dryer to run until the battings were still damp. I then spread them flat on the bath towel to finish drying.

Pre-wash batting in warm tap water to pre-shrink



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Allow the batting to soak for a while and then spin the moisture out. The batting can then be tossed in the dryer with a large towel to get most of the moisture out. Lay the batting on a flat surface to finish drying. If you agitate the batting, you'll end up with a tub full of fluff! The benefits of cotton battings Cotton battings have a few clear benefits. They're made mostly with natural fibers. Cotton battings 'breath' and therefore can be warm in winter and cool in the summer. They drape well and are ideal for bed quilts. Cotton battings tend to be heavier than polyester battings and for those of us who like the weight of our quilts, cotton battings are ideal.

Personally, I like cotton battings for their natural materials. I have a few allergies and cotton batting assures me that I won't have any sleepless nights. Soft & Toasty is a natural cotton quilt batting

Soft & Toasty natural cotton batting from Fairfield

Soft & Toasty is a low loft natural cotton batting. The package states that the batting won't beard, shift or gather and can be stitched up to 8" apart. What in the world is scrim? The batting has been needlepunched onto a very fine scrim. Scrim is a very thin stabilizer that the batting material has been needlepunched to. When looking at both sides of the batting, the scrim side will appear firmer and flatter. The non-scrim side appears and feels softer and loftier. The scrim also helps the batting from becoming distorted.

The Fairfield website has the following information about Soft & Toasty. Soft & Toasty™ batting is the perfect 100% natural cotton quilt batting for all of your quilts and crafts. You will get the same strength and warmth you expect from similar battings at a very affordable price. You can use it to create everyday quilts and crafts or award winning masterpieces with confidence.

• • • •

Low loft 3 oz per square yard Quilting distance: 8" Ideal batting for clothing

If you choose not to pre-wash your batting, the quilt will take on an antique look once it has been washed.

Batting that is made up of more than one fiber has the added benefit of giving the quilter the best of both worlds. Cotton is a natural fiber and breathes more than polyester, but it does show creases from the folds of the quilt. Cotton/poly batting blends give the breath-ability and weight of cotton and the polyester fibers help to keep the creases to a minimum. The Fairfield website gives the following information. Quilter's 80/20™ is a super-soft needle punched quilt batting that is preferred by hand quilters for its easy needling and smooth drape. The 80% cotton and 20% polyester blend yields a beautiful antique look and is an ideal batting for clothing. Weight: 3 oz / square yard

Soft & Toasty batting quilted and washed

Quilter's 80/20 batting is 80% cotton and 20% polyester Quilter's 80/20 batting quilted and washed

• • • •

Low loft 3 oz per square yard Quilting distance: 2" – 4" Ideal batting for clothing

The following image shows the quilt washed after being quilted. There's some shrinkage from washing the batting which gives some nice texture to the quilt. Quilter's 80/20 batting from Fairfield

Both of the batting samples shrunk once they were quilted and washed. There's a little less texture on the Quilter's 80/20 sample, but both battings quilted beautifully and I'll certainly be adding these battings to my quilting toolbox. The advantage of the polyester in the Quilter's 80/20 is added thickness or loft. I'll go into more detail in this feature. Keep reading as I'll look at the 3 polyester batting samples I received from Fairfield.


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The characteristics & benefits of polyester batting Poly-Fil Project Fleece batting

Fairfield Poly-Fil Project Fleece

I'm pleased to report that I didn't have any issues with any of the polyester battings. As you can see below, the washed piece is pretty square to my 12" ruler. The other 2 polyester batting samples were the same.

Poly-Fit Project Fleece is a needlepunched batting. Needle punching is when thousands of little needles "felt" the fibers together. The advantage of needlepunching is that the fibers won't migrate or pull apart in the completed project. Look carefully, there's a definite right side and wrong side to a

Sample of a polyester batting that didn't shrink in the wash

Polyester battings are preferred when you know a quilt will be "used and abused". There's no worry about polyester battings shrinking in the wash and quilters can be assured of long lasting quilts despite many years of little [and big] kids dragging their blankie around with them. Polyester battings will also drape nicely for great cuddles. It's also the preferred choice for preventing creases when quilts are folded. Some quilters will use a double layer of batting, a cotton on the bottom for weight and stability and the polyester on top for texture and to reduce creasing.



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Fairfield Poly-Fil Project-Fleece quilted sample

needlepunched batting. Project Fleece is ideal for projects that need a bit of stability. So craft projects and garments lend themselves ideally to the use of Project Fleece. Project Fleece is also great in table runners, place mats and other project that require very little texture. The Fairfield website has this information about Project Fleece Poly-FilŽ Project Fleece™, a low loft, needlepunched batting is a multi purpose insulating craft material perfect for quilt batting, garment liners and crafts. It will give your quilt a flat appearance and its felt-like texture makes it the perfect craft batting.

• • • • •

Multipurpose insulating craft material Perfect for quilt batting, garment liners and crafts Recommended quilting distance: 2” - 4” 100% recycled polyester needlepunched batting Proudly made in the USA, unconditionally guaranteed

The quilted sample remains soft and flexible.

Poly-Fil Extra-Loft batting

Poly-Fil Low-Loft batting

Fairfield Poly-Fil Extra-Loft batting

Poly-Fil Extra-Loft is a bonded batting that's quite thick with a loft of up to ½" thick. It's the perfect batting to use when you really want to see texture. Fairfield Poly-Fil Low-Loft batting

Poly-Fil Low-Loft batting is a very light, low loft batting. It's 100% bonded polyester batting which means that fibers with different melting points are passed through a warmer and some of the fibers melt and fuse the rest together. The low loft batting is easy to hand stitch and is perfect for lightweight projects and baby quilts. The Fairfield website has this information Poly-Fil Low-Loft® quilt batting sets the standard for all other 100% bonded polyester battings. It is a favorite among machine and hand quilters. It will retain its loft wash after wash and dries quickly, making it ideal for lightweight quilts and baby quilts. Hand quilters love that it is the easiest batting to needle through and accentuates tiny hand stitches. Weight: 2 oz / sq yd

• • • •

Low loft 2 oz per square yard Quilting distance: 2" - 4" Felt-like texture

Fairfield Poly-Fil Low-Loft batting quilting sample

The batting is easy to stitch through, although I recommend caution when stitching through this thicker batting. You may find that the fabrics will slide as the foot moves across the surface. The Fairfield website has this information Poly-Fil Extra-Loft® batting is a bonded polyester quilt batting with a medium loft that creates a more pronounced relief when hand quilting, making it perfect for beginners. It has an even give in both directions and is appropriate for hand or machine quilting, Trapunto and tied quilts. Great for all quilting and crafting projects. Weight: 3.5 oz / sq yd

• • • • •

Breathable – ideal for bed & baby quilts Easy to needle by hand or machine Recommended quilting distance: 2” - 4” Washable and non-allergenic Proudly made in the USA, unconditionally guaranteed

Keep reading as I'll look at loft and when to use it in your project.

Fairfield Poly-Fil Extra-Loft quilted


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batting loft & which to use for your quilted project

5 battings from Fairfield

3 samples of loft in batting

I pre-washed the battings and quilted them and then washed them again to see the finished results.

Some battings are considered low loft. They're quite thin and will not have much definition from the quilting stitches. These are perfect battings to use for wall hangings or table runners. These battings would be approximately 3⁄16" thick. That's just over an 1⁄8" thick. The Project Fleece and the Low-Loft batting both give a loft up to 3⁄16". The Project Fleece has been needlepunched and appears more compact or felted.

I'm going to focus on loft. What it is and why quilters think it is important. Let's look at batting loft Loft is the thickness of the batting and gives you an idea how fluffy or thick the quilt will be once it has been quilted. The picture below shows the Project Fleece, Low Loft and Extra Loft battings, left to right.

Geese quilted with Project Fleece



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Some battings are considered high loft which will show the stitching definition as well as be fluffier or thicker. High loft battings would be approximately ½" thick. Many quilters will use a higher loft polyester batting for whole cloth quilts where the quilting stitches are the main feature.

Extra-Loft batting from Fairfield

Loft is a personal thing for quilters and sewers. A low loft batting would be ideal for garment construction or projects that require stability without any extra thickness. Soft & Toasty and Project Fleece are ideal for place mats and table runners and the wide variety of bags that we tend to make. Remember that the Soft & Toasty is a cotton fabric and when washed, will tend to shrink and make your project pucker. The puckering effect is a great look if that's what you're looking for.

A little bit of texture from Quilter's 80/20 batting

Extra-Loft is perfect for when you want the quilt stitches to really show! Next up, I'll share with you why I like each batting and how I use each of these great battings from Fairfield.

Stitch samples and journal covers with a low loft batting

Low-Loft is a good choice for a quilted project that doesn’t require anything special. Baby quilts are a good example of quilts that can make use of low-loft batting. Quilter's 80/20 batting is also a good choice of a low loft batting. Again, like Soft & Toasty it will shrink a bit when it is washed but you'll have less puckering and texture because of the polyester content. Once this baby quilt is washed and dried it will become a soft and comfy blankie.

Dense quilting and Extra-Loft batting


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4 questions to ask yourself

when choosing batting for your quilt project I've been taking a close look at 5 batting samples I received from Fairfield. I did some testing of the effects of washing before quilting and after. I quilted samples using each of the different battings to see how they stitched out. I've looked at the 3 polyester battings; Project Fleece, Poly-Fil Low-Loft and Poly-Fil Extra-Loft.

I know the cotton batting will give a flat, minimal texture finish to the quilt and the cotton/poly will have a bit of texture once the quilt is quilted. Remember these quilts will have a much different look once they are washed! After conducting my pre-and post quilting washing experiments, I think I'm going to be expanding my selection of battings for myself and my customers and start using some polyester batting. So, why would I choose a poly batting? I would choose a polyester batting for projects where I want to have texture and when I know that repeated washes won't affect the texture of the quilt. The Poly-Fil low-loft batting would be a great go-to choice. I think I'll certainly keep some of the extra-loft on hand for the special quilting projects when I want to see all that great texture from quilting. I have a whole cloth wall hanging to quilt at some point this year. The texture I get from quilting this batting will be fantastic and I know that as this quilt travels with me to show it will not get any distracting creases.

3 batting samples from Fairfield

I also reviewed 2 cotton battings I was sent; Quilter's 80/20 and Soft & Toasty.

Below are two samples of densely quilted quilts. The yellow sample uses a single layer of Fairfield's Extra-Loft batting. The blue sample uses a single layer of wool batting. Both have been washed to remove the markings I made during the quilting. Notice the blue sample is a slightly bit puckered. Not that I don't like it, but some of the quilting gets lost. Unlike the yellow sample using the polyester batting, the texture is all batting and thread! I can see more extra-loft batting in my quilts in the future!

Soft & Toasty and Quilter's 80/20 battings from Fairfield

Why use one batting over another? Batting choices are personal. Often we stick with something that we're already familiar with. I usually have the same 2 battings in my studio available for customers to choose for their quilting projects. I've stuck with a cotton/poly blend and a cotton. Pretty boring I know.

Extra-loft batting vs. wool batting



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I would choose the low-loft batting for baby or kid quilts that I know will be getting a lot of wear. Polyester battings cost less than natural fibers like cotton. So, for my giving quilts (charity) I'll probably choose to use this batting. Here's a picture of an older quilt [25 or more years]. It has been well used and washed a lot. In some areas the fabric has disintegrated, but the polyester batting is still going strong!

Fabric disintegrated, poly batting lasts

Package over Roll? Most stores that you visit to purchase batting will have packages available. The packages are conveniently cut into a variety of sizes for easy sale and use. Sizes are available from baby or crib size [36" x 45"] to king size [110" x 110"]. I would recommend that you open the packages well before use, especially the cotton ones. If you choose not to pre-wash, lay the batting flat and give it a mist of water from a spray bottle. The batting will relax from it's tight roll and will be much easier to quilt.

What's the bottom line? As I've already said, batting choices are personal decisions. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide on which batting to choose for your next project. 1. What is the purpose of this quilt? Will it be a baby blankie, a wall hanging or an art quilt? 2. Are there any allergy or material preferences? A polyester batting won't work for someone who prefers all natural fibers. 3. What batting is available to me? Can I wait until I can order from my local retailer or does that quilt have to be done right away for gifting? 4. What effect do I want for the finished project? Do I want the finished quilt to be smooth or textured like an antique quilt? You can be assured that whatever batting you choose to use your quilt will turn out wonderfully. Just remember to give some thought to the desired finished project, and it will help you decide which batting will be most appropriate. I enjoyed this batting study. I'm off to my local retailer to order some batting rolls!

Allison Spence

Some of the battings are also available in rolls or bolts for those of us who use a lot of batting! Personally, I prefer the rolls of batting when I can get them for my own use. I can then cut exactly the amount I want off the roll and not have any batting waste. But then again, I'm always looking for scraps of batting for smaller projects. My advice would be to start by purchasing a package of batting to see how you like it and then you can invest in a roll. You'll need to talk to your local store to get them to order a roll for you. It may not be something they carry as part of their regular stock.


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Why WonderFil’s rayon thread is a clear winner for your creative stitching Allison Spence I was first introduced to WonderFil's threads way back in 2005. They have done a great job of meeting the needs of sewers by providing the threads in spool sizes to meet our needs. The rayon threads have long been my favorite to stitch and quilt with. I know I can choose the size of spool to meet my needs. WonderFil has also made these threads affordable with very reasonable pricing. It’s easy to build your stash and have the right color at your fingertips!


WonderFil’s rayon threads are available in a number of different weights. In this article the focus is on three finer weights. One thing to remember is that as the thread weight number gets smaller, the thread gets thicker.

3 spool sizes of Splendor

Splendor is the 40wt rayon embroidery thread. The finest of the 3 we’re going to focus on this week. This thread gives a lovely sheen to any project. It’s available in 164yd [150m] spools as well as 1094yd [1000m] and 5000yd [4572m] cones. With 342 solid colors and 31 variegated colors available, you’re sure to find the perfect match for any project. Splendor is great for decorative stitching, machine embroidery and thread painting. For more information on how to use this thread, check out WonderFil’s Hints and Tips page. WonderFil has created over 25 thread packs containing 10 spools of coordinating Splendor threads.

10 pack of rayon thread

Mirage is the 30wt rayon thread. It’s a little bit thicker than Splendor and all 40 colors are random dyed variegated threads. Random dying means that each of the colors in the thread will be different lengths. They’re available in 875yd spools and 3000yd cones. These threads are wonderful for use in embroidery, quilting, thread painting and embellishments. For more information on how to use Mirage thread, check the Hints and Tips page. Accent is a 12wt rayon thread and is the thickest thread that we’re looking at in this article. There are 40 solid and 20 variegated colors available on 437yd spools. Although Accent is only available in a single spool size, there’s still a lot of thread on that spool – enough to last you for quite some time!

2 sizes of Mirage

Any stitching with Accent shows up really well! The thread is quite thick but can still be used in the machine as well as for hand stitching and embellishments. For more information on using Accent, check out it’s Hints and Tips page.

A spool of Accent thread

Photos by Allison Spence



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How to use the threads I love to use Splendor thread for satin stitch or button hole applique stitches. The smooth reflective thread gives a lovely sheen to any project.

Satin stitch with Splendor

I do a lot of machine quilting with Mirage because I love the shine and the gradual color changes of the variegation of the thread. Some of the color changes are subtle and some are very vibrant. When I really want the stitching to show I use Accent! I use it with my machine’s decorative stitches and I also free motion quilt with Accent for spectacular effects!

Quilting with Mirage thread

I’m going to spend this week showing you lots of ways you can use WonderFil’s rayon threads in your quilted projects! Read on to see how great these threads are for thread painting.

Quilting with Accent thread


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Thread painting adds wonderful texture to fabric printed photographs I reviewed three different WonderFil rayon threads – Mirage, Splendor and Accent. I thought I’d share a simple project that showcases these lustrous threads! Last summer I visited my daughter. We went camping for a few days and lazed around in the sun on a dock in the lake. While there, I snapped a few pictures of the scenery with my phone. Later, when I looked at these quick shots, I was fascinated by the reflection of the trees and sky in the smooth, clear water.

Another view of Klein Lake

I thought that one of these pictures would look great as a little quilt to send to my daughter as a memento of our time together. The little quilt wouldn’t need a lot of piecing, just some thread accents.

A photo of Klein Lake

What threads to choose?

I started playing with the threads in my boxes and decided to experiment and do three mini quilts with three different weights of thread. I tried to choose different weight threads that were similar in color to show how they affected the printed image. The trick with thread painting is to avoid being too “matchymatchy”. A thread color a bit lighter or darker adds shading to the image and helps it to stand out or to recede. The amount of stitching is a personal decision. As you can see, my three miniquilts had minimal thread painting, but I could have added more if I wanted to.



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Stitching the photos

This is a very simple process. First, print the photograph to fabric. I stabilized my fabric with sheets of freezer paper. Next, I layered the printed photograph with a scrap of batting and a backing. Using my darning foot I simply stitched along areas that I felt needed some enhancing.

Stitching Successfully

As you can see, the 40wt Splendor thread from WonderFil creates just a bit of texture to the quilt. You have to look closely to see the stitching. From a distance the threads don’t really show, but there’s something about this little quilt that pulls you in.

When I did my second sample with 40wt Mirage thread it showed up more on the fabric photo because it is a bit thicker and variegated. The light seems to bounce off the various images in the photo giving the quilt some real definition. Accent is the thickest thread at 12wt and really adds a lot of visual texture to the quilt. I used both the solid and the variegated threads in this quilt. Because this thread is so much thicker and shows up so much more, I found that I didn’t need to add as much stitching to this quilt, especially in the water.

Thread painting with Splendor

Thread painting with Splendor – detail


The little quilts were finished with simple borders and another layer of batting. I stitched in the ditch along the seam of the border and used a pillow turn backing. It's facinating to see this quilt evolve quilted with WonderFil’s rayon threads.

Thread painting with Mirage

Thread painting with Accent

Thread painting with Mirage – detail

Thread painting with Accent – detail


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Comparing 3 weights of rayon threads in machine embroidery Ok I showed you how wonderfully WonderFil rayon threads look when thread painting on photographs printed on fabric. Now, we'll take a look at how nice they work for machine embroidery.

Here are a few of the samples that were stitched with the Splendor Retro Pack of thread.

I recently had the opportunity to use a couple of different embroidery machines to experiment with these rayon threads. When I visited with my first friend, we spent some time playing with her new embroidery machine. We chose 3 simple designs and combined them into a lovely floral arrangement which I knew would give the rayon threads an opportunity to shine. For the different samples, I tried to choose thread colors as similar as possible in each of the three weights of thread.

Retro pack of rayon thread

My second visit was to a friend with a PFAFF Creative 4.5. Again, we had fun choosing a simple design that would show the thread well so that we could easily compare them.

Machine embroidery with Splendor rayon

Machine embroidery on a PFAFF Creative 4.5

Working with 40wt rayon thread

I started with WonderFil’s Splendor. The 40wt rayon thread is available in three sizes and with over 300 colors, there’s a great variety to choose from. WonderFil has a number of theme packs of ten spools of thread. I chose to use the Retro pack as I just loved the colors. The solid colors of the threads show up in the design quite nicely.



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Machine embroidery with Splendor rayon thread

Machine embroidery with Mirage rayon thread

Working with 30wt Rayon Thread

My next stitch out was with Mirage. Mirage is the 30wt thread and is available in random dyed variegated colors. I love how the colors change and how every color segment is a different length as this adds lovely texture to the embroidery. Because the thread is a bit thicker, the design stands out from the fabric a bit more than with the Splendor.

Working with 12wt Rayon Thread

The final embroidery stitch out was with Accent. Accent is a 12wt thread and is available in solid as well as random dyed variegated colors. For my samples I combined both of the solid and variegated threads.

What’s the bottom line?

The bottom line for machine embroidery is to use the weight of thread that you like the most! I love the 40wt Splendor thread for most of my machine embroidery. It gives a lovely satin stitch and with the huge number of different colors that WonderFil has in their line of Splendor thread it’s easy to do some lovely shading!

Machine embroidery with Mirage rayon thread

I’ve always liked using the great colors of 30wt Mirage thread for my machine stitching. I think for embroidery though, that I would choose designs carefully to make sure that I liked how the variegation stitched out. Despite being a very thick thread, the 12wt Accent thread still looks great as an embroidery. I’d use it when I want the embroidery to really stand out. Again, I would pay special attention to where the color changes occur. I love that I can combine solid and variegated colors for even greater effects! Using a wide satin stitch looks fantastic!

Machine embroidery with Accent rayon thread

I’ve had so much fun experimenting with these wonderful threads to do machine embroidery!

Allison Spence

Machine embroidery with Accent rayon thread


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Machine embroidery using rayon thread

makes for a very pretty make up case Prepare the pattern

There are times when we hunt for a little gift to give to a friend, so it’s always nice to find a quick and easy pattern to make yourself. These great little bags can be made any size and with any fabric to meet your needs. Make some ahead of time and you’ll be ready for any special occasion!

These bags can be made in any size for a wide variety of uses. I like this size the best because it will fit inside most purses and can still hold a lot of bits and pieces. Use the diagram below to draw out your own pattern.

Sewing the zipper

Sandwich the zipper tape between the top edges of the bag/batting and the lining fabrics of the front of the bag. Pin in place. Make sure the right side of the zipper faces the main fabric of the bag. Sew through all layers. A zipper foot really helps to get close to the zipper.

I used the samples that I machine embroidered with WonderFil’s rayon threads earlier in the week to sew these lovely bags. Here are the supplies needed to make one bag:

Sandwich the zipper tape between the bag layers.

Fold the zipper tape towards the lining fabric and stitch a narrow zigzag or straight stitch along the fold line. This is called “understitching” and keeps the lining from getting caught in the zipper.

WonderFil rayon embroidery threads

materials • Two fat quarters of coordinating fabrics • Zipper to match – 9” (23cm) or longer • Thread to match • Low loft batting – I always save my batting scraps for projects just like this

Zipper bag pattern

Using your pattern cut one front and one back from each of the following: main fabric for the bag, lining and batting. I like to use a bit of spray basting to hold the main fabric and the batting together. I can then treat the main fabric and batting as one piece.

Understitch lining to zipper tape

Repeat these steps with the pieces of the back of the bag. Pull the zipper tab to the middle of the bag. Use a short zigzag stitch to secure the side of one end of the zipper tape together. Repeat with the other end of the zipper and trim even with the bag sides.

Cut pattern pieces



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The top of the bag layers will naturally fold along one edge of the zipper when all of the bag layers are smoothed together. Stitch across the side of the bag through all layers from one edge of the zipper tape to the other.

Clip the corners then turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining and press. Sew the opening in the lining closed with hand stitches or a straight stitch on your machine.

Stitch across zipper

Clip the corners

Stitch across the end of the zipper

Sewing the side and bottom seams Fold the bag with right sides facing and the bottom edges matching. One side (the back) will be longer than the other. Sew the bottom edges of front and back main bag together. I used the width of my sewing foot. Line up the bottom edges of the lining with right sides together and sew them together leaving an opening along the bottom edge of the lining fabric.

Sew the side seams of the outer bag and the lining separately, stopping at the end of the previous stitching.

Enjoy your little zippered bags or share them with your friends.

Allison Spence

Sew the side seams Sew across the bottom edges of the bag and the lining

Little zipper bags


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Northcott’s Urban Elementz Basix fabrics

make a clever kid’s artist case I hope you'll be as excited about this project as I am. I'm using the extra piece of fabric panel left from Urban Elementz Basix Collection, Northcott Fabrics and mixing some of their Colorworks solids with the dots. I designed The Little Artist Tote with you in mind, surely you have a little artist in your midst... To start the project, you'll need to make a panel consisting of 10 strips 2½” x 14” sewn together and trimmed to the 13" x the width of the panel. For the strips I used the fabric from the Urban Elementz Basix Collection as I linked above.

table and mark the center on each of the long sides with a pin. Lay the larger pocket tube on the cover with the seam side down – seam lined up with the pins. Repeat with the second pocket tube, layer it on the first pocket tube, lining the center seam up with the pins. Pin in place.

Pocket tubes pinned in place on the artist case cover

Adding the binding

Turn the artist case over with the stripe side up.

approximately ½” of the raw edge. Press. Refold the previous side folds and press again. Top stitch along all four sides of each handlle as close as possible to the edge, stitching the open side first, followed by the remaining sides. To fold the handle into the “U” shape, see the photo below. Once the handle is folded, press well.

The folded handles

Once the handles are folded and pressed, stitch as shown in the next photo to secure the shape.

There are ten strips and the pins on the side should be lined up between strip 5 and strip 6.

The 13” long panel

Our next step is to cut pocket panels for our Little Artist Tote. Cut the following fabrics: • Fabric 1 – 13” x 32” (for pocket 1) • Fabric 2 – 13” x 24” (for pocket 2) and two rectangles 5” x 10” (for handles) • Fabric 3 – two strips 2¼” x width of fabric (for binding) Take the first pocket fabric, fold it in half, right sides together to make a rectangle 13” x 16”. Stitch along the long raw edge with a ¼” seam allowance, making a tube with the pocket fabric. Turn right side out, center the seam on one of the sides of the tube and press. Repeat this step for the second pocket fabric. Lay the striped artist tote cover right side/striped side down on your work

Stitch in the ditch between strips 5 and 6, stitching through all layers to attach the pocket panels to the artist case cover. Make your binding from the 2¼” strips of Fabric 3 the same as we did yesterday. Machine stitch the binding all around the artist case on the front side then turn the folded edge to the back and hand stitch in place.

Adding the handles For the handles, fold the 5” x 10” rectangles of Fabric 2 in half to make a rectangle that is 2½” x 10”. Press on the fold. Open the rectangle and fold the 10” raw edges towards the center fold line, with both raw edges aligned along the fold line. Press. Fold once again with the folded edges aligned. Press again.

Topstitching secures the shape of the handles

Next we need to attach the handles to each end of the artist case. The handles will be sewn to the inside of the case. Place the handles so that the short ends are aligned with the edge of the binding that has been hand stitched to the inside of the artist case. Make sure that there is an equal distance between the each end of the handle and the sides of the case.

Open both of the short ends to fold in

placement of handles on the inside of the artist case; ready to be stitched



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Attach the handles to the artist case by stitching in the ditch along the binding seam on the front of the case (through all of the layers). On one of the inside pocket panels, draw a pencil line dividing the pockets into two equal sections. Stitch on the line through all of the layers starting on the center seam of the artist case, stitching towards the top of the largest pocket. Be sure to lock your stitches on both ends.

Dividing the pocket into two sections

The finished case

Truly, this has been a wonderful project that really does turn fabric scraps into a clever kid’s artist case. The pockets are large enough to hold coloring and story books. The smaller pockets can hold a smaller book, crayons and coloring pencils. This fun project really does highlight the wonderful dots from Northcott Fabric’s Urban Elementz Basix Collection.

Completed case, measuring 10” x 13” closed

Lots of space for the little artist – the case measures 20” x 13” when open.

Bill Locke


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How to applique

a modern landscape table runner material/cutting list

• blue polka dot fabric – cut three strips 2½” x 12”

• blue solid fabric – cut five strips 2½”

To each of the 12” ends of the blue center panel, add one of the 9¼” x 12” dark green rectangles.

x 12”

• dark green fabric – cut two rectangles 9¼” x 12”

• light green fabric – cut one rectangle I'm not sure what it is about the Northcott Fabric’s Urban Elementz Basix Collection, that makes me think of spring. Obviously the colors, but it's more than that. The dots give it that extra play that's guaranteed to revitalize the decor of whatever room it will ultimately be placed in. Whether the fabric is made into a quilt, a table cloth, or as I'm going to make here, a runner, it will feel fresh like spring all year long. When I looked at the blues and greens in this collection I immediately thought about a wonderful sky and a welcoming meadow. I’m going to turn some of these dots and some beautiful solid blue fabric from Northcott’s Colorworks collection into a modern landscape table runner.

14” x 12” orange fabric – 3½” x 22” purple fabric – 2½” x 12” black fabric – 1½” x 6½” fusible adhesive of choice for appliques – ½ yard (my personal choice is Heat n Bond Feather Lite) • threads to coordinate with the light green, orange, purple and black fabrics.

• • • •

Sewing the background

To begin the project, start by sewing together the seven blue strips. Stitch these together along the 12” length, alternating colors as shown in the photo below, usi ng a ¼” seam allowance. The blue strips will be the center of the table runner and will represent the sky.

Dark green rectangles added to the blue center panel

The template on the next set of pages, is the landscape shape that is used for the ends of the table runner. Take note that the template is in two pieces in the picture below. You’ll need to cut and join the template pieces by matching up the dashed line on each piece. Once this is done, trace the landscape template to the paper side of your fusible adhesive. You’ll need to trace two, one for each end of the table runner.

I’m one of those designers that believes that we need to lose the fear of coloring outside the box, make some of our own rules and have a barrel of fun with our projects in order to truly enjoy our creativity. Let's get started! Landscape templates traced to the paper side of the fusible adhesive

The blue strips stitched together, alternating the fabrics



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Fusing the landscape shapes

1. Cut out the two landscape shapes, leaving a little extra of the white fusible outside of the drawn lines. 2. Lay the shapes on the wrong side of the light green fabric, shiny side down. 3. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fuse in place using a hot iron. 4. Allow to cool. 5. Cut out both shapes directly on the drawn lines. 6. Peel off the paper backing from the applique shapes and lay one of the green landscape shapes on each of the dark green ends of the table runner as shown in the photo below. 7. Fuse the landscape appliques in place with a hot iron.

Landscape appliques added to the table runner ends

Adding flowers

Here's what the runner looks like using all 3 components of Northcott's Urban Elementz Collection: Urban Elementz, Urban Elementz Basix, and Urban Elementz Appliques. You'll notice I added decorative stitches to give the pieced strips an appliqued look to it.

1. Trace the flower shape, the large flower centers and the small flower center templates to the paper side of your fusible adhesive. You’ll need to trace six of each template. 2. Leave a little space between each of the shapes as you trace them. 3. Cut out all of the shapes, leaving a little extra of the fusbile adhesive paper outside of the drawn lines as per what we did with the landscape applique. 4. Lay the shapes, shiny side down on the wrong sides of the fabrics – six flower templates on the orange fabric, the large flower centers on the purple fabric, and the smaller flower centers on the black fabric. 5. Use a hot iron to fuse all of the applique templates to the fabric. 6. Cut out all of the shapes directly on the lines. 7. Peel off the paper backing from each piece and position the applique shapes on the ends of the table runner as shown in the photo below.

All I need to do is add more machine applique, finish my flowers and then quilt it.

Next, add a little color to our table runner. With all of these beautiful dots in the Urban Elementz Basix collection, Northcott Fabrics has made sure that we have lots of lovely options to choose from!

Flower appliques positioned on the end of the table runner Landscape applique added to both ends of my table runner

Machine or hand stitch along the curve of the landscape applique with a blanket stitch, using a thread that coordinates with the fabric.

Now that the top of the runner is all fused, I’ll be using a blanket stitch on my machine to stitch around each of the applique shapes, and then quilt my table runner to get it ready for the binding. Ready for more machine applique

Machine blanket stitching on the landscape applique


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A Modern Applique Table Runner template

Table Runner Templates


Š 2017 Bill Locke - Bill Locke Designs



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Bill Locke Designs


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Fussy cut no more!

Using precut and prefused applique shapes Bill Locke

Let's discover the wonderful concept of precut and prefused applique pieces using fabric from Northcott’s Urban Elementz collection. The typical way to make our applique pieces, tracing the design shapes to the paper back side of the fusible adhesive, cutting out the paper shapes, leaving a little of the white paper outside of the lines. Then, fusing the shapes to the wrong side of the fabrics and lastly removing the paper backing and fusing the applique shapes. With this special product, the applique shapes are all prepared for you. These applique pieces have been prefused and precut; all you have to do is fuse them to your project. There are a wide variety of packages to choose from in Northcott’s Urban Elementz Applique series.

Applique shapes from one package are laid out as per the design idea on the package

Each package of appliques comes with a project idea for the pieces. Daisy Dotz – Small, has a pattern for a 12” x 12” finished project that would make the most adorable cushion. Of course, once the cushion has been appliqued, adding a border to the cushion from one of the coordinating fabrics is going to give it even more pizzazz as all quilters know the magic of easy borders! An important note is that the appliques don’t necessarily have to be used on cotton fabric. You can use these on canvas, burlap, or even wood!

Prefused applique packages

Prefused appliques allow us to be creative and less task oriented.

When you use the applique pieces, once you have positioned the pieces on your project correctly, you must permanently fuse the appliques in place. It’s suggested that you use a pressing cloth to press the shapes in place. I like to use the cotton/hot setting and I always use steam for my appliques. The steam really helps set the adhesive on the back of the applique pieces. After you fuse your applique pieces, you must let your project cool before handling. If you find that the applique pieces didn’t adhere correctly, simply press again. Sometimes, I find that turning the project over and pressing from the back side also helps to set the adhesive, especially if some of the applique pieces have been layered.

The applique shapes are created in the various fabrics within a collection, the beauty of it is that the fusible adhesive is already on the applique pieces, and each of the applique pieces already precut. All you have to do is lay them on your project, and with a hot iron, fuse in place.

To finish off the appliques, I suggest machine stitching around each of the pieces with a blanket stitch.

I opened one of the packages and laid out the pieces to show you how easy it is to play with these. It took me just a couple of minutes to arrange the pieces as per the photo on the packet. This is going to be a fun!

I’m thoroughly impressed with the packaging, the directions and the overall quality of the applique pieces. These Urban Elementz Applique shapes by Northcott are definitely on my buyer list for my own customers, and me of course.

The applique pieces shown above are from the Daisy Dotz – Small package. All of the applique pieces are prefused and ready to apply to your project. Just peel off the paper backing, place on your project, and press with a hot iron.

Remember, although a pattern is included with each of the packages, you can create your own. These applique shapes would be great for placemats, mug rugs, cushion covers, table runners, and a wide range of happy designs for quilts. Photos by Bill Locke



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How to use precut and prefused applique shapes for your quilting projects Using the Daisy Dotz – Small package, let's delve into the details on how to use fusible appliques from Northcott’s Urban Elementz Applique collection. The end product is a summer cushion with that cute bird, and flowers. Cut the 4 pattern pages on the dotted lines and match them up. Tape them together as directed to get a 12” square design. Cut a piece of 12” x 12” solid white fabric for the base the appliqued cushion, and lay it over the 12” design square. The design shows through the white fabric and acts as a guide for each of the applique pieces. I used a tiny piece of tape to hold the white fabric in place on the paper design.

Four pattern sections included in the prefused applique packet

White background square is laid on top of the paper design



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Applique design sections are taped together to complete the 12” applique design template

Remove the paper backing from the applique pieces and place the pieces in their appropriate spot on the white background fabric, following the design underneath. This was so much fun. Normally, at this point, I would machine applique the first pieces with a blanket stitch, and then continue to add the layers of the other pieces because it can be easier to applique the first pieces then fuse the other pieces on top as you layer. But, for this project, I decided to do as per the instructions and lay all of my pieces and fuse everything at the same time to complete the panel. Of course, I couldn’t wait to see the complete design coming to life.

Placing the applique shapes in their appropriate spots on the design

What a beautiful promise of summer to see these wonderful colors, the flowers, and the bird. A totally adorable project. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these prefused appliques from Northcott’s Urban Elementz Applique collection, and can’t wait to do another!

One of the great things about the appliqued pieces is that when you place them on your background fabric, you can simply press with your finger and the pieces will adhere lightly in place, which keeps them from moving. I took the whole piece to my ironing board and ironed the pieces lightly to fuse them a little, then removed the appliqued cushion top from the paper design, and fused everything in place. I also turned it over and pressed from the back to be sure that everything was well fused.

Happy Stitching! All of the applique pieces are now fused in place.

I decided that I wanted to add a border to my cushion since I wanted to create a 16” x 16” decorative cushion for a summer display. To finish the cushion, I used a 2¾” border. Cut two strips 2¾” x 12” and add these strips to the 2 sides of the appliqued square. Cut 2 stripes 2¾” x 16½” and add those to the top and bottom. Now all that's left to do is machine applique the pieces, add a backing, and complete the cushion top. I love it.

Bill Locke Appliqued cushion top with border added


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PFAFF passport 3.0 delivers on stitch selection

Sarah Vanderburgh

It’s one thing to create something with beautifully designed fabric, it’s a totally different adventure to create the design yourself! One of the ways I enjoy designing fabric is experimenting with the stitches on PFAFF’s passport 3.0. There are 100 stitches built in to the passport 3.0 with most having the option to adjust the length, width, or position of the stitch. I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my stitch play. My go-to playground for stitch play? Selvages!

PFAFF passport 3.0

PFAFF passport 3.0 stitch review pullout

I have a tutorial on my blog for making fabric from selvages and that’s the basic method I used to create my selvage piece. I made my piece 8” tall x 9” wide. However, instead of using the machine’s straight stitch and thread that blends with the selvages, I’m changing my stitch with each selvage I join and I’m going bold in my thread choice!

Selected selvages ready for stitching

I took this opportunity to use up some of my selvages that don’t have the white line or dots on them. In this way the stitches will be the main feature of the fabric. There are different categories of stitches to choose from on the passport 3.0: utility stitches, quilt stitches, needle art stitches, satin stitches, and decorative stitches.

Closeup of PFAFF passport 3.0 stitch review pullout

Photos by Sarah Vanderburgh



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Several of the utility stitches and the quilt stitches engage the IDT system with the presser foot to ensure even feed of the fabric under the needle. It’s recommended to use stabilizer under your fabric when using the decorative stitches; I usually don’t when I’m sewing selvages as there are already two layers of material. This time I’m making a second stitch sampler with stabilizer to see how the stitches compare when I make adjustments to their length or width.

All of these buttons are easily accessible right on the front of the passport 3.0. I find I get into a rhythm and really enjoy trying out different stitches because the machine is doing most of the work and I just get to play! Push down to release the presser foot from the PFAFF passport 3.0; presser foot released.

Presser feet included with the PFAFF passport 3.0

Stitching the samplers Second stitch sampler layered with stabilizer

I started with stitches at the top of the pullout card and went down. To select a stitch I pressed the number keys to the left of the LED display. Then I pushed the “i” button beneath the display to find out the recommended presser foot to use with the stitch.

Before stitching, I pressed the needle down button to keep the needle in the fabric whenever I stopped sewing.

I also used the Start/stop button to sew the stitches instead of using the foot peddle. I like doing this for this type of project because for several of the stitches, the needle goes in different directions to stitch. By using the stop/ start button I can focus on feeding the fabric straight under the guide and leave the actual stitching to the machine. I also lowered the speed of the machine which is easy to do by sliding the speed control down to about halfway. The machine is much better at stitching at a consistent speed than I'm!

Pressing “i” button to display presser foot recommendation

Changing the presser foot

Picking the stitches is easy and they’re all ready with automatic preset sizes – which you can change! You can adjust the stitch width or position, and the stitch length. A yellow light goes on to show you that you’re changing one of the presets; if you go too far one way or the other, the machine beeps and prevents you from adjusting any further. I like this feature because it lets me know that the passport 3.0 has built in safeguards so I can’t get into trouble by making the machine do something it just can’t do. This makes it safe for someone like me to play and try new things.

The yellow warning light

I got so into my stitches that I didn’t take photos of the process! Instead I was taking notes of which stitches I picked and what I adjusted. Take a look at my two stitch samplers on the next page!

Needle down, start/stop, and speed control on the PFAFF passport 3.0

There are several presser feet included with the passport 3.0. To change the presser foot you push down on the foot to release it from the presser foot holder. Pick the presser foot that you need and once it is lined up with the holder you just push up – you’ll hear and feel it pop into place.


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I used the preset stitch sizes on the selvage sample, but I adjusted the sizes of the different stitches that were done on the fabric with the stabilizer. By making those adjustments, the same stitches can really look different! See the picture below that I took with the notes:

PFAFF passport 3.0 stitch samplers



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You can see that I went systematically through the stitches and took note of what kind of adjustments I made. I selected stitches that went in a fairly straight line to make sure that I covered the edge of the selvages when I was sewing. For the most part, I pushed the limit when I adjusted the stitches. You can see that the heart stitch – number 97 – ended up looking nothing like a heart with the adjustments made. I thought others, like stitches 40 and 45, still looked quite nice with the adjustments that were made.

If you like, you can write your stitch notes directly on the sampler and keep it for reference. I’m going to keep this photo for reference as I have plans for these samplers! Experimenting with the stitch selection on the passport 3.0 has given me even more ideas. I hope it’s inspired you to play too!

Stitch samplers with stitch notes

Create a mug rug using passport 3.0’s decorative stitches One of my favorite symbols is the shamrock, a promise of good luck. I’m going to add it to my stitch sampler and make it into a mug rug. I used three hearts to make my shamrock. To make the heart template I cut out half a heart shape on a 2½” square of paper folded in half on the diagonal. If you don’t want to make your own template, I included the template for the heart and the stem in this feature. My green fabric was also cut into 2½” squares. I folded a fabric square on the diagonal then tucked it into the folded heart and cut around the template as in the picture below. I repeated this step with the other two squares of green fabric to make a total of 3 hearts. I lined up the stem on one of the rows of decorative stitches, then placed the two side hearts on top. The final step was to place the third heart on top of the edges of the other hearts.

Stitch sampler turned into lucky mug rug

I used black as my thread color to boldly outline the shamrock. Stitch 27 is the machine blanket stitch on the PFAFF passport 3.0. Before stitching, I pressed the needle down button. As I worked

my way around the shamrock there were points where it was easier to keep going in the opposite direction. Lucky for me, Stitch 28 is the reverse blanket stitch! I lifted the presser foot to pivot my fabric then pressed the needle down button to raise the needle, selected Stitch 28, then pressed the needle down button and continued stitching. To finish the mug rug I cut backing fabric the same size – 8” x 9”. Then I switched to the 0A presser foot, put the two fabrics right sides together and sewed around the edge leaving a turning gap.

Folded fabric tucked into template

Shamrock applique pieces pinned in place


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Using machine blanket stitch to attach applique to background

Using red topstitch guide on presser foot 0A

I snipped the corners then pulled the fabric through the gap, pushed out the corners and pinned the gap closed. I used the red 1⁄8” guide mark on the 0A presser foot to top-stitch around the edge, closing the gap securely inside the stitching.


1” Test block


I made my other stitch sampler into a mug rug too. For this one I used matching green thread to secure the shamrock appliques. Making two mug rugs doubles my luck – and gives me the opportunity to gift one to a friend!

The PFAFF passport 3.0 makes me feel lucky every time I sit down to sew – every project stitches up great! I hope you'll make this lucky mug rug too, make some tea and celebrate all your blessings while using the lucky mug rug.

1” Test block



1” Test block

Lucky Mug rugs templates Two lucky mug rugs



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Get more quilting fun in







ling Thread




kn itt in g a Hor se shoe Weddi ng Stole



quilting in red & white knitting c r o c h e t i n&g


linen yarn



Redwork projects



H appy!e


Visit to order


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Create your own luck with a four leaf clover pincushion A shamrock can be added to items in your sewing space to make it a set – maybe even increase your luck in managing your stash or finishing projects! This pin cushion is the perfect mate to the Lucky Mug Rugs made from the stitch samplers I created with PFAFF’s passport 3.0. Here's how to make this lucky four leaf clover pincushion. I made many different projects using PFAFF's passport 3.0 and finding that I really don't have to think about what I'm doing with the machine to get great results. This allows me to focus on my creativity! This machine sews precisely and has great features that help me quickly complete projects with fun details and professional looking topstitching. I decided it's time to make something for my quilting space and settled on a pincushion. I seem to be one of the only quilters I know who doesn't have many pincushions, so now is the time!

Making the pincushion materials

• one 6” square of fabric for the top • one 6” square of fabric for the bottom • 4 – 2½”squares of green fabric for the hearts

• stuffing for the pincushion To make the four leaf clover, I used the same heart template used for the Lucky Mug Rugs, but cut out four instead of three. I then pinned them to the top 6” square of fabric.

I used stitch 27 to machine blanket stitch the pieces to the background square. I used the needle down button and IDT system with presser foot 1A to stitch. I also adjusted the speed of the passport 3.0 which helped me stay on the edge of my fabric and get even stitches. I started in the middle and sewed in a figure 8 to sew around all the hearts in one go.

To make my template I cut out a heart on a 2½” square of paper by folding the paper on the diagonal. My green fabric was also cut in 2½” squares. I folded a fabric square on the diagonal then tucked it into the folded heart and cut around the template.

Stitches on the passport 3.0

When I was done the blanket stitching I switched back to stitch 00 and changed to presser foot 0A. Then I sewed this top piece right sides together to the bottom fabric, leaving a turning gap in the middle of one side. Then instead of having a pillow-like pincushion, I decided to box the corners to make the cushion more 'square'. Lucky pincushion on passport 3.0



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Folded fabric square inside of paper template

To box the corners I lined up the 1” square grid of a quilting ruler at one corner and trimmed the inch away with my rotary cutter.

Then I sewed a ¼” seam at each corner.

Ruler lined up on edge at 1” mark

I trimmed all the remaining corners too.

Corner sewn with straight seam

All four corners squared

Believe it or not I recently purged my bits of batting so after turning the pincushion right side out, I resorted to stuffing my pincushion with wool bits that I purchased a few years ago. Use what you have on hand to stuff your pincushion, then hand stitch the turning gap closed.

Then I separated the front and back of the pincushion and then pushed them back together making a straight edge, nesting the seams.

Stuffed pincushion

I’m really pleased with my lucky four leaf clover pincushion and the time I spent making it with the passport 3.0. I hope you make some time to create a little luck with decorative stitches and shamrocks for your sewing space.

Straighten edge and nest seams.

Top view of lucky pincushion


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Using charm squares to sew a lucky table topper materials • four 5” charms of one fabric • three 5” charms of a second fabric • four 5” charms from green fabric • one fat quarter for backing – choose a backing fabric with a different theme to make it reversible for use on several occasions. • one 14 x 14” square of batting

Making the applique shapes

To make my hearts I cut out a heart template from a 5” square of paper. I folded the paper on the diagonal and cut out my shape. Then I folded one 5” green charm in half on the diagonal and tucked it inside the paper template and cut it out.

Lucky table topper

I repeated these steps with the three remaining charms to make a total of 4 green hearts.

After making the lucky pincushion using PFAFF’s passport 3.0, I thought I’d keep the luck rolling and add a table topper to my decor – decorated with a lucky four leaf clover, of course! I wanted to make this table topper the easiest way I could think of, so of course precut fabrics came right to mind. I didn’t have a charm pack on hand, so I decided to make my own charms from my stash. But instead of using lots of different fabrics for the background, I chose to cut my charms from two fabrics. Then I picked a fun, bright green to make my four leaf clover look happy and lucky!

Making the applique hearts

Materials required for table topper



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If you don’t want to make your own heart templates, follow these directions: • Print and cut out the template on the next page. • Trace the template onto wrong side of fabric – or simply pin the fabric and paper template together. • Cut out on the line to make one fabric heart. • Repeat with the three remaining charms to make a total of four shapes.

Next, sew the rows together. This is where I really appreciate the PFAFF passport 3.0. I use the needle down button so the needle is always in my fabric when I stop sewing and since I can trust it and the IDT system to feed my fabric evenly under the needle, I don’t use pins! I find myself only pinning now on long sides of projects – like sewing the rows of a quilt together – and that’s it!

I lined mine up with the diagonal corners.

Assembling the top

Cut two of the charm squares in half on the diagonal once – they’ll be the diagonal sides of the topper.

If you’re using two different fabrics, alternate them in your layout. See the photo below for the layout that I used for my topper. If you’re using a variety of charms, move them around until you’re happy with the arrangement remembering that the middle one won’t really be seen.

The centers of the hearts lined up with the triangles on the sides

Sewing without pins

I used one pin in each heart to keep them in place for machine blanket stitching. When you’re pinning the applique pieces in place, make sure they are secure but that there is enough room to move the presser foot easily around the pieces while stitching.

Press the seams away from the center row. Pin the hearts to the center of the topper. As you can see in the following pictures, there are two different options here – either line up the centers of the hearts with the centers of the side squares, or line them up with the center of the triangle sides. Hearts pinned in position Table topper charm square layout

Sew the charms together into rows, pressing the diagonal ends towards the center square on the top and bottom rows. On the middle row, press the seams away from the middle charm.

Center of the hearts lined up with the squares


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Then I changed my top thread to a shade of green and chose stitch 27 on the passport 3.0 – the blanket stitch – to applique the hearts to the topper. By choosing the blanket stitch I know I need to change my presser foot too. When I pushed the “i” icon under the LED display, the display changed to show that the recommended presser foot for the blanket stitch is 1A.

I started stitching around the edge of the clover leaf, lining up the red guide on the foot with the edge of the green fabric.

Red guide on the presser foot lined up with edge of fabric

Using charm squares made quick work of putting together this table topper and the passport 3.0 helped me securely stitch the clover leaf in place. Next, let's add some decorative stitches to our table topper.

Presser foot 1A

I attached the 1A presser foot and the IDT system was engaged! I love using the IDT system – it reassures me that my stitches will come out evenly which is really important to me when I’m using decorative stitches.

Lucky Table topper

Make 4

Template for Lucky tabletopper by Sarah Vandenburgh


1” Test block

Make 4 58


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Using PFAFF’s passport 3.0 stitches to add charming details to a table topper Let's finish up the Lucky Table Topper by adding some decorative stitches using PFAFF’s passport 3.0. To start, trim the excess ¼” off of the edge of the square sides of the topper with a quilting ruler, so that they match up with the edges of the triangular sides. Repeat on all four square sides.

Now the topper is ready to be sewn together using the envelope method. I could have trimmed the batting and backing even with the topper and then pinned the layers together – but I didn’t! Instead, I put the batting on my cutting mat and the backing fabric right side up on top of it. Then I placed the topper on top, right side down, with one edge lined up with the other two pieces. Next, I pinned around the outside edge of the topper, marking my turning gap by putting in two pins where I’m supposed to stop sewing.

Circle guides on presser foot

Then I lifted the presser foot and turned the topper. Perfect alignment!

Using presser foot guide to turn corner

I used the basic stitch 00 and the needle down button. I used the reverse stitch button at the beginning and end to secure the sides of my turning gap.

Once I had sewn all the way around to the spot where I had put the two pins (to mark the spot for turning) it was time to trim all the excess backing and batting. I lined up the ¼” on my quilting ruler with the stitched line.

I found the sewing guides on the presser feet really helpful for finishing this topper – sorry in advance for a lot of closeups, but for me, this is the part I like to see. What’s different about this machine? How does it make it easier, more precise to sew my seams? In this case, the circle in the outside edge of the presser foot helped me turn the corner. I lined the circle up with the edge of my topper.

Trimmed table topper

Layers pinned together Trimming the square edges of the table topper

Then trim the ‘dog ears’ from the diagonal sides.

Trim the dog ears


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Turn by pulling fabric through the gap. I finger pressed the gap closed and used a pin to secure it.

I approached the the white/black background fabric I had the idea to change my stitch! So I did :)

I changed back to a black thread and lined up the red outer marker on the 0A presser foot to topstitch 1⁄8” from the edge.

I switched to stitch 90 in the white/black background, then continued to alternate stitches as I progressed around the topper. To change the stitch I pressed the needle up/down button to lift it out of the fabric, then I selected the stitch. I pressed the needle down button again and continued with the new stitch until I got to the next background change. Last but not least, I echo quilted ¼” away from the shamrock with black thread and the basic stitch 00; this required changing back to the 0A presser foot. I used the ¼” dash guide on the presser foot to help me keep a consistent distance away from the shamrock as I went around. I used the reverse stitch button at the end of my stitching to secure the threads before lifting the needle and cutting the threads.

Using the presser foot guide for topstitching

After that I really wanted to use some of the decorative stitches I had played with earlier in the week.

I’m really happy with how my lucky table topper turned out. I think it’ll hang out in my sewing space for a little bit!

I started stitching on the silver/white fabric with stitch 86, lining up the red guide mark with my topstitching. As

Lucky table topper and pincushion Decorative stitches beside the topstitching

Sarah Vanderburgh



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Echo quilting around the clover leaf

The lucky table topper and pincushion made with the passport 3.0 will brighten your sewing space and might even encourage you to make and finish more projects this month! Using the PFAFF passport 3.0 has made me feel really lucky! The features of the machine make it easy for me to bring my ideas to life with accuracy in a short amount of time. I’m already thinking about what’s next :) Good luck in your quilting adventures!

cr eativ

100% cotton thread A fine, strong, high quality sewing thread for hand or machine sewing, no matter the stitch type or fabric. Gütermann 50 wt. Cotton Quilting thread is made of long staple 100% Egyptian mercerized cotton; it’s versatile and gives seams a natural character. • Suitable for hand or machine sewing; the perfect thread for your quilting projects • Larger cone sizes are excellent for long arm quilting machines • Available in 100m, 250m, 400m, 800m, 3000m and 5000m spool lengths • 186 stunning solid and variegated shades • Ideal for ornamental stitches, decorative seams and embroidery • Soft and supple with tear and abrasion resistance • Colorfast: fade resistant to UV rays and multiple washings

Look for Gütermann threads at your favourite fabric, sewing and quilting store! 61

3 key weights of Coats’ Dual Duty XP thread & their benefits Annette Millard

Each thread has specific properties and purposes, it’s important to know what they are when considering thread.

If you’re like me, I enjoy a visit through history to know how products were created, how they evolved and used over the years and the story of Coats & Clark families twisted in history to make quality cotton threads is a fascinating one. Let’s take a closer look at the Dual Duty XP threads offered today for your sewing creativity.

Due to Coats’ continued inventiveness, innovation and dedication to quality, Dual Duty XP thread is core-spun using modern technology for consistent tension and fabulous stitches. This means that smooth, long, multi-filament fibers are tightly spun as a “core”, then wrapped and twisted again with spun polyester to create a single strand. Two or more of these core-spun strands are then twisted together to make the high-strength, beautifully fray-resistant Coats thread you count on. The General Purpose weight is exactly what you need while you’re zigzagging and sewing through several layers. But, you’re not always sewing thick layers, so let’s take a look at all 3 weights of Coats Dual Duty XP. Coats Dual Duty XP General Purpose Thread . . . the thread you’ll use most for machine and hand sewing.

• Available in 114, 229 or 457 meter spools. • Easily find just the right color for your project Coats Dual Duty XP All Purpose Thread

Coats Dual Duty XP Fine Thread

– General Purpose 114m has the widest color range available, including Fashion Brights, Color Tints and Multi-Colors. • Perfect for all fibers and fabrics – quilting cottons, knits and wovens. • Use a size 70 to 80 needle. Coats Dual Duty XP Fine Thread . . . the thread you’ll use for sewing sheer magic. • Solves your longing for pucker-free seams in light-weight fabrics. • Strong, yet the perfect weight for lingerie, bridal, silks, organza and sheers. • Excellent for Machine Embroidery. • Use a size 60 to 70 needle.

Coats Dual Duty XP Heavy Thread . . . the thread that makes bold, heavy stitching fabulous. • Heavier and stronger than General Purpose or Fine. • Great for creating bold accent Buttonholes, Cording and Topstitching. • The right choice for interior and exterior upholstery fabrics. • Use a size 100 to 110 needle. Coats Dual Duty XP Heavy Thread



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4 hints it’s time to throw your sewing threads out What we sew with, makes a difference in our project, whether it’s purely practical, such as altering a garment, or a more creative one. It’s sounds wasteful to contemplate throwing away sewing thread, but when you make something with your sewing machine, or hand stitching, good quality threads, and threads that are stored properly will enhance your work. While I was working in a sewing store, a customer came in steaming mad because the thread kept breaking on her brand new machine. Since thread choice is key to successful sewing, I asked what kind of thread she used. Her answer? “I don’t know. I inherited this box of thread that had been stored in the attic years ago”. When I explained that old thread may not be good thread and cheap thread is the worst, it was a big revelation. She eventually bought new thread and came back later to thank me. Thread can last for years if it’s stored properly, but exposure to direct or sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures can compromise its integrity.

Fresh new threads enhance your creative as well as your practical sewing projects.

Pamper yourself this month and go through your thread box with the following in mind. 1. Test your ‘old’ threads. Take a 38 – 45cm piece of thread, hold one end in each hand and pull on it until it breaks. If you feel some resistance, it’s probably okay, but if it breaks easily, it’s time to say goodbye. 2. Look at the color of a few meters of your old threads. Do they start out light, then get darker? This is thread that has been discolored by light exposure and it’s probably time for it to go, too. 3. Consider tossing thread with just a few meters left on the spool. It’s unlikely that you’ll actually have enough to use on a project when you need that color, so it’s really just clutter. 4. Banish any ‘5/$1 bargain’ or thrifted threads and replenish your supply with fabulous new threads.

The only time it’s good to trap your thread! Here’s my favorite thing about Coats thread – the trap spool! The only time it’s good to trap your thread!! On the end of each spool, you’ll find a little slotted ‘trap’ to lock the end of your thread in before you store the spool or you can lift up the trap, wind the thread inside and snap it closed to secure the thread. You know that exasperating, knotted, wild mess that you call your thread box? Gone! Sewing bliss at its best! Happy Sewing!

Coats Dual Duty XP thread

Annette Millard Photos by Annette Millard


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Physical features of the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q Elaine Theriault

Physical Features The Sapphire 965Q has an Interactive Color Touch Screen where all the information you’ll need to sew is right at your fingertips.

Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q

There’s a stylus conveniently located on the side. The stylus makes it easy to select the functions on the screen, although the tip of your finger works just as well.

Look at the back of the Sapphire 965Q. There’s the accessory box to hold the 12 Snap-On Presser Feet that come with the sewing machine. If you’re going to be working on some small, hard to get at projects, it’s easy to reduce the size of the sewing machine bed, by removing the accessory box to reveal the free arm. However, the more exciting feature about the back of the sewing machine is what’s missing. No presser foot lever. I’ve been using machines with this feature for several years and I absolutely love it. I was working on some very fiddly little bags a couple of weeks ago and it required two hands just to hold all the bits in place. I simply tapped on the foot pedal to lower the presser foot and started sewing. This is a must have feature on any sewing machine!

Interactive Color Touch Screen

One of the things that I love about the touch screen is that whatever stitch you choose will appear in real size right on the screen. The actual stitch length, the width, or whether you want the stitch to be mirrored end to end or side to side, you get to see all the details on the screen. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do a stitch-out on a scrap before you start on your project, but seeing the stitch on the screen can save a couple of steps.

The Interactive Color Touch Screen and the stylus


Photos by Elaine Theriault


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The accessory box and no presser foot lever on the back of the Sapphire 965Q

However, the first thing I did upon unpacking the Sapphire 965Q was to remove the accessory box and install the extension table. This is an extremely practical extension table. Notice how the front edge is curved. Whether you’re piecing something long, like a border, or short, like components of a block, there’s no sharp edge along the front for your project to get caught on.

Plenty of space on the bed of the sewing machine to keep block pieces handy

Function panel

The other thing that’s nice is that software upgrades can be done via the USB port on the side of the sewing machine.

The two leftmost buttons on the top row are for controlling the speed. There are five speeds on the Sapphire 965Q. While I use the foot pedal to control the speed for regular piecing, I may want to adjust the speed for other tasks.

There’s also a ruler (inches and centimeters) along the bottom so if your project has lots of different sized pieces and you need to be picking up the appropriate one, it’s easy to use that ruler to measure the pieces and get them in the correct spots.

Built-in USB port

Extension table on the Sapphire 965Q

The other thing that’s nice about the extension table is the amount of room it provides for keeping your block pieces handy. There’s 9¾” to the right of the needle and that, combined with the space in front and to the left of the needle provided by the extension table, means there’s lots of room for keeping your block pieces handy.

The Function Panel is on the front of the sewing machine. The various features included on the Function Panel helps with the operating functions of the sewing machine. Things like Speed, Needle Stop Up/Down, Sensor Foot Up/ Extra Lift and Sensor Foot Down/Pivot (these are used instead of the presser foot lever), Start/Stop, Reverse and FIX (to anchor the end of a seam).

Five positions for speed control

If you want to read more, check out our post about sewing machine speeds and when to use the foot pedal. I’ll chat about a few more of the features on the Function Panel later in the next pages.


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There are three LED lights on the sewing machine that illuminate the needle area. The lights have a long life expectancy so it’ll be a long time before you have to worry about changing them.

There’s also a built-in needle threader. I must admit that this is a feature that I rarely use, although if I’m having trouble to thread the needle, I’ll use the needle threader. I’m fortunate in that I can still thread the needle by eye. For the most part, I sew all of my projects with gray thread so there aren’t many times when I need to thread the needle. However, I was working on a multi-thread colored project a couple of weeks ago and the built-in needle threader was very helpful and saved a lot of time!

Three LED lights to reduce eye-strain

All the built-in stitches are shown on the flip-up lid of the Sapphire 965Q. While all the stitches are listed in the manual and are included in the stitch menus that can be viewed on the Interactive Color Touch Screen, it’s handy to have them all visually in front of you when you’re looking for something. I was looking for the blanket stitch and there are two different ones on the Sapphire 965Q. It was easy to identify the one that I wanted by looking at the stitch diagrams on the lid. The diagrams clearly show the number of stitches in each stitch.

Looking at the flip-up lid made me think of how people set up their sewing machine to sew. I’ve always sewn with the flip-up lid open. No idea why. But many people sew with the flip-up lid closed. I have to keep my hands to myself when I’m teaching a class and see the lids closed! Does anyone have thoughts on that?

The foot control is big and with my new found trick of keeping it in place, I’m not having to search for it under my sewing station. Nor am I sitting on the edge of my chair because the foot pedal has wandered away. This alone has made sewing much more comfortable which is good because I’ve been putting in some long days at the sewing machine.

Perhaps I should take some time one blog post and talk about the ergonomics of your sewing station. The important thing to remember is, make your environment efficient and comfortable and you’ll enjoy sewing more and you’ll be able to sew longer.


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User’s Guide for the Sapphire 965Q on a tablet

I noticed while reading this User’s Guide, that there’s a lot of great little tips. Not just tips, but WHY you should do something a specific way. I like that. Nothing better than someone telling you to do something, AND explaining why it’s important that the task be done that way. This User’s Guide has a lot of those gray areas covered. That covers the main physical features of the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q sewing machine. Those physical features make sewing easy and help to make our projects look professional.

Large foot pedal


While there’s a physical User’s Guide that comes with the Sapphire 965Q, you can also go high-tech and download (for free) the User’s Guide to your tablet. No danger of losing the User’s Guide!

Needle threader

I should mention that it’s very easy to keep this outdoor mat tidy. A quick pass with the vacuum and all the threads were gone. Stitches on the Sapphire 965Q are shown in the flip-up lid

The last thing to discuss today is, you guessed it! The User’s Guide. I know that we think we know everything there is to know about a sewing machine. I mean how complicated can it be? I used to think that way, but after reading the User Guides of the sewing machines that I’ve reviewed, I can honestly say that I’ve learned a LOT. Not just about the sewing machine, but I’ve learned some sewing techniques or tips that I never knew.

Dual Duty XP® combines superior strength & durability with a smooth finish for trouble-free sewing. DUAL DUTY XP® The "Xtra Performance" All Purpose Thread.

World’s leading thread company for over 200 years.

15-020 © 2015 Coats & Clark. All rights reserved. Coats & Clark is a registered trademark.


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Key tips on sewing your binding by machine and thread choice Welcome back to another tips with the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q. Did you change your needle? I’m always amazed at how we try to prolong using consumable items like a needle. Compared to the cost of the fabric we buy, a needle doesn’t cost much. But sew with a bad needle? You’re asking for trouble! While I’ve been sewing for many years (we don’t need to say the number out loud, but it’s been a long time – OK – over 40 years!), I’m always learning new things. Some of them are things that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know and some are things that I know how to do, but not how to do them well. When I first started to quilt, it was against the “rules” to sew a binding on a quilt by machine. I still don’t like sewing the binding on completely by machine but the number of samples that I have to make means that I don’t have time to hand stitch the bindings in place. I still hand stitch those quilts which are special. That means that I’m on the hunt for new techniques and tips on how to sew the binding on better. I’ve even signed up for a class to see if I can glean any more ideas. So the other day I had to sew a binding on by machine and I was contemplating what to use for thread. I’m currently using the straight stitch, although I do know people prefer one of the applique stitches (blanket stitch) and I use matching thread. The matching thread on the top is easy to use, but if you miss on the back and your binding is significantly different color than the backing, the stitching will show and I don’t like that. Yep – I’m picky! I start by installing the walking foot on the Sapphire 965Q. The extra set of feed teeth provides more stability along the edge of the quilt.



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Using the walking foot to sew on a binding

The extension eliminates drag on the quilt

Sew the binding to the BACK of the quilt the same way that you would sew it onto the front if you were going to hand stitch it in place. I use one of the openings on the walking foot as my guide, but if in doubt, sew six inches. Remove the quilt from the sewing machine. Fold over the binding. Is it in the correct position? Does the quilt fill the binding? Does the binding cover the stitching line on the front of the quilt? If not, now is the time to correct the seam allowance.

Then you flip the quilt over and using thread that matches the binding and a straight stitch (length set to 2.5 or 3.0), stitch the edge of that binding in place.

As for the color of thread? Technically it doesn’t matter at this point as in a perfect world, all that stitching will be hidden.

Use a line on the walking foot for a guide for the seam allowance width

Notice how that quilt and binding just slide up the extension table. There’s no drag, no pulling as there would be if the edge of that table was square.

Stitch the binding on the front of the quilt

Corners are a bit tricky, but after doing them a couple of times, you’ll have no problem. One of the features on the Sapphire 965Q that helps on the corners is the Extra Lift on the Sensor foot down and Pivot function. This is on the Function Panel on the front of the sewing machine. When I turn the corner with the binding, I need the extra lift (and the automatically lowering of the feed dogs) makes it easy to get the extra height of the binding corner under the presser foot. Then while I’m holding all that in place, I can use the foot pedal to start sewing. No need to manually lower the presser foot. It’s all automatic. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The invisible thread doesn’t show up on the quilt backing nor the binding Sewing the corner on the binding

Another feature that’s great when sewing on the binding or even going over lumpy seams is the Exclusive Sensor System. This technology means the presser foot is constantly sensing the thicknesses of what you’re sewing and adjusts the presser foot pressure and helps to keep the fabric feeding smoothly. Did you notice that I didn’t mention what kind or color of thread that I used in the bobbin? Well, it was always the bobbin thread that I had trouble with. Since you are sewing on the top of the quilt, you can’t always predict what will happen on the bobbin side. Most times, the stitching ends up on the quilt, but occasionally, the stitching will end up on the binding. If the thread matches the backing, but not the binding, it becomes noticeable. So as I was getting ready to stitch the second line of stitching, I had a thought. I have some pre-wound bobbins of invisible thread. I had purchased them for my longarm, but I’ve never used them. Would they fit the Sapphire 965Q? Matter of fact, they fit perfectly. Yes, I was a bit hesitant to put them in the sewing machine, but I’ve used polyester prewound bobbins before for applique so why not pre-wound invisible thread.

Straight stitching on the binding

Here are the bobbins I used. Now I bet you’re wondering why I can use a bobbin from the longarm in the domestic sewing machine? Well, there are four basic sizes of bobbins and as far as I know, sewing machines/long arms use one of those four sizes. It just so happens that my long arm and my domestic sewing machines use the same size bobbin. The L bobbin, which is the ones that fit the Sapphire 965Q, is the most common bobbin size. And it also is a bobbin size that’s used in some longarm quilting machines. Who knew?

However, if you want to wind your own bobbins using invisible thread, here are a couple of tips.

• Wind the bobbins at a SLOW speed.

If you wind the invisible thread at a high speed, the invisible thread will compress the plastic bobbins and you may not be able to remove it from the bobbin winder. • Fill the bobbin only half full. Again, invisible thread is sort of stretchy and filling the bobbin can result in compressing the plastic bobbin or breaking it. • Use a good quality, fine invisible thread. Some of the original invisible threads were like fishing wire. I’m feeling a whole lot better about sewing my bindings on by the sewing machine. I may try using invisible thread on the top in addition to the bobbin and try using a blanket stitch.

Pre-wound bobbins of invisible thread

The joys of sewing. There’s always something more to learn! I hope you enjoyed that tip on the binding and if you have tips for perfecting sewing the binding on by machine, please share them. I’m still experimenting. The Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q has such an amazing feed system, that is super easy to get that binding on by machine.

The end result?? I’m very happy for two reasons. One the thread doesn’t show on the back of the quilt and second, I found a home for those pre-wound bobbins with invisible thread.


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5 tips for topstitching and its purpose in sewing It's a few days now with the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface with what this fabulous sewing machine can do! I’m going to explore topstitching. What’s the purpose of topstitching? I found this definition of topstitching on the internet – “make a row of continuous stitches on the top or right side of a garment or other article as a decorative feature”. However, I’d strongly consider that topstitching is more than a decorative feature. Topstitching provides a nice finished edge on whatever you happen to be sewing. Let’s check it out and you’ll see what I mean. The little basket that I’m using in this post is a free download that you’ll find in the Resource Section on the Northcott website. Fabrics used are from Northcott’s Toscana collection. There’s also a surprise included with the pattern to put in the basket. Be sure to download the pattern below and follow along.

Topstitching Handles

There are many ways to make handles for bags and baskets. I like to use a heavy interfacing for my handles rather than batting. I find the interfacing makes the handles sturdier and looks more professional than if softer batting is used. It’s a personal choice, you decide. Because I use the heavy interfacing, I cut the interfacing ½” narrower than the fabric for the handle. The excess handle fabric is folded over the edge of the interfacing and the handle is folded in thirds, not fourths as is commonly found in patterns. This does present a challenge in how to close up that seam on the back and here’s where the top stitching plays not only decorative role, but it’s functional as well.

Basket handles are folded in thirds

You can see that my opening on the back isn’t at the edge of the handle. My first line of topstitching is to close that opening. This opening is on the back of the handle and so I do the first line of topstitching from the back. You can get real scientific about it and measure so both of those openings are in the exact same spot, but if you’re using matching thread, it’s not a big issue. FREE PATTERN • Happy Thoughts Calendar Tiles by Elaine Theriault for Northcott

Northcott Canada 101 Courtland Avenue Vaughan, Ontario L4K 3T5

Northcott USA 1099 Wall St. West, Suite 250 Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

Northcott’s downloable pattern to make this amazing little basket!



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Once the first line of stitching (used to close the seam) is complete, I flip the handles over and do the remainder of the topstitching from the front of the handle. The nice thing about the Sapphire 965Q is that you’re going to get a beautifully formed stitch on the back and the front so doing this flip technique for the topstitching shouldn’t be a problem.

I do a row of topstitching along the outer edge of the handle and then I do as many rows as I feel is appropriate for the width of the handle. I don’t mark, I don’t measure, although I do use the presser foot as a rough guide. When I first started to sew and quilt, I would spend hours ensuring that everything was perfectly lined up. The rows of stitching had to be exactly spaced and perfectly straight. I’ve learned over the years that one must evaluate the purpose of the finished item and then determine whether the extra time required to have every stitch absolutely perfect is worth it. I do aim for accuracy and I do aim to make my finished items pretty, but I don’t aim for perfection. Nothing would get completed if that was the case. We have to learn to take it easy on ourselves, this is our hobby and we should be enjoying it, not ripping things out because of some small variances. That is the best advice I’ve learned over the years. Now I can enjoy sewing and quilting and I don’t rip nearly as often. Having a good sewing knowledge base and an excellent sewing machine like the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q help me succeed in making my finished items look amazing.

Topstitching the basket handles

In the example below, you can see that the handles have four rows of topstitching. You can’t tell which ones were done from the back and which ones were done from the front. They’re not perfectly straight, the lines are not 100% perfect. I’m OK with that. Remember what I just said. If the item isn’t an heirloom, and not entered in a major quilt show, then think about the time involved to get those lines perfectly straight and perfectly even. I’d rather be stitching than ripping!

You’ll notice that when I was topstitching the handles that I used my regular presser foot. You can see that some of the stitches on the wrong side are not as nicely formed as the stitches used in the line to close the seam. I was going through a lot of layers and this was about the time that I needed a new needle. See how important those needles are. I could have made a new handle to make everything look 100% perfect, but I think it’s important to show you what happens when you don’t keep sharp needles in the sewing machine. I also used a regular Microtex needle and because of the layers, I probably should have moved to a Topstitch needle. Hey – we’re all learning together! Topstitching the bag edges

The handles and the lining are now sewn in place and the bag turned right sides out. It looks terrible. All puffy and lumpy and not very attractive. Let’s see how topstitching can turn this lumpy mess into a very cute little basket.

better than the wrong side and we want this stitching to look its best. In many instances, you need to stitch from the top side in order to get the stitches exactly where they need to be.

Sapphire 965Q set up as a free arm to facilitate the top stitching

In addition to removing the extension table, I used the Sewing Advisor to change the weight of the project to Woven Heavy. Selecting this feature will change the tension to better suit my project. It also lengthened the stitch to 3.0. If there are many layers, you want a longer stitch and the Sewing Advisor takes care of all those details for you. I also changed the needle. I’ll be going through many layers of fabric and the regular Microtex needle that I was using isn’t going to be happy going through all those layers. I choose a Topstitch needle, Size 14 because of all the thicknesses.

The front of the topstitched handles

The basket is turned right sides out

I’ll be stitching along the edges of the basket, so this time I’m using the Edge Stitching Foot.

Edge Stitching Foot

The back of the topstitched handles

I’ve removed the extension table from the Sapphire 965Q as the basket is small and it’ll be much easier to stitch using the free arm. Topstitching should also be done from the TOP or the front of the item. It’s not that you can’t topstitch from the wrong side, but the top (right side) of the stitch is usually slightly

Sewing Advisor is now set to Woven Heavy


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You can see in the photo below how the flange on the Edge Stitching Foot is going to keep me stitching at a consistent width all around the top of the basket. The other thing that is very important is to bring up the bobbin thread through all layers of your project. This will prevent a nest of thread from happening on the underside which isn’t pretty and it’s hard to clean up. In instances like this, I won’t use the scissors on the sewing machine to cut my threads. That way the thread tails are long enough that I can pull them through to the top. Some parts of me are old school as I rarely use the scissors on the sewing machine.

It’s advisable to go slow over these very thick spots. If you don’t, you may end up with a broken needle in the off chance that the needle flexes and hits something it shouldn’t. The quality of the stitching will be better as well. The Exclusive Sensor System Technology that I talked about earlier this week helps enormously as you do this row of topstitching. In some parts, I’m going through many layers and in others, not as many. The Exclusive Sensor System Technology automatically and continuously senses and adjusts to provide even feeding along that entire seam. This ensures that the stitch length is consistent. And now we have our basket with the topstitched edge. It looks much better than it did prior to the topstitching, but let’s see if we can give that basket a bit more shape.

Bobbin thread is brought up through all layers of the project to prevent nesting on the wrong side

Ideally, you don’t want any of the lining fabric to show on the front. So that requires either a good press with an iron if you can get inside the basket to make that happen or you have to constantly roll the edge of the basket while you’re sewing to keep the lining on the backside and not appear on the front. In the photo below, I’m about to go through all the layers at the side seam of the basket. The topstitch needle made this stitching no big deal.

Basket with a topstitched edge around the top

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Tips for topstitching

To recap, here are some key tips for beautiful topstitching:

• • • •

Use a longer stitch length Go slow over the extra thick areas Use a top stitch needle When you get back to the beginning of the row of stitching, move the project slightly forwards or backwards so you’re stitching in the same holes as the topstitching at the beginning. Just for a few stitches to lock the ends of the seams.

Topstitching on the upper edge of the basket

Getting ready to topstitch the corners of the basket


The corners of the basket have been topstitched

This time, I’m going to topstitch the corners. Start by making sure that the lining is well tucked into the corners of the basket. Then fold along one corner so the side and the front (or the back) are on top of each other. Then top stitch down the side seam to give the basket more definition.

Getting ready to top stitch through all the layers at the side seam


There’s a lot of thicknesses in the corners, particularly at the top, but if you go slow, you’ll end up with nice stitching. I use my FIX function to anchor the top and bottom of the line of stitching.

Here’s the finished basket with the top and the four corners topstitched. It looks a whole lot nicer than the original basket when it was first turned inside out.

Storing partially used needles

We’ve talked about needles in the past and the fact that you should be changing needles on a regular basis. But if I’ve just used the topstitch needle to stitch the top and the four sides, there’s still a lot of life in that needle. What do I do with the needle? I wouldn’t put the needle back in the plastic needle case as then I’d have no idea which needles are partially used and which are new.

Here are a couple of options. Mark off sections on a piece of fabric and write the type and size of the needle in each section. Insert the needle and then when you want a topstitch needle, you can start by using the partially used needle.

Use a piece of fabric to store partially used needles

I used to use a tomato pincushion, but I found that some of the needles were getting embedded deep into the pincushion and well, no way to get them out. So I must find something else. I hope you enjoyed these tips for topstitching. Topstitching is such a useful technique and it can take anything from a lumpy, bumpy looking project/ garment to something polished and professional looking. And there are many features on the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q that help to perfect the topstitching techniques. I have the neatest little project to share with you. It's something to do with storing those partially used needles.

Tomato pincushion used to store partially used needles


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Making a sewing machine needlecase using the Sapphire 965Q embroidery feature When I was topstitching and sharing my ideas for storing the partially used needles, it hit me that I need to make a needlecase for those partially used needles. Simple to make and totally practical. Follow along as we make a needlecase for sewing machine needles. You can customize it for hand needles or leave it generic. Gather the supplies

Prepping the pieces

I’m using my outer fabric (the two quilt blocks) as my guide for size. If you’re using something from your stash, the size is approximately 7½” x 3¾”. Cut one piece from each of the outer and lining fabrics. You also need to cut one piece of fusible fleece that is ½” smaller on the length and the width. In this case, 7” x 3¼”.

I’m using Northcott’s A Stitch in Time fabric collection for the needlecase. I fussy cut two quilt blocks from one of the fabrics to use as the outer fabric and a coordinate for the lining. I found some felt in my stash for the insert. You don’t need much, those quilt blocks are approximately 3¼” square.

Fuse a piece of fusible fleece to the wrong side of the outer fabric

Pieces for the outer part of the Sewing Machine Needlecase are trimmed and ready for next step

Sewing the outer section of the needlecase

Supplies for the Sewing Machine Needlecase

I decided to use some fusible fleece inside the outer cover. This isn’t necessary, but I like my projects to have some body to them, so I dug out my resealable bag of fusible fleece scraps and found a piece that was a perfect fit.

Place the right sides of the outer fabric and the lining right sides together and using ¼” seam allowance, stitch on all four sides, leaving an opening (about 1½”) along one side (not at a corner) so you can turn the project inside out. In my case, I sewed along the edges of the quilt block.



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Cut away the corners of the project. You can see in the photo that I not only clip the corners away, but I grade down the side seams as well. This helps to reduce the bulk in the corner once the project is turned inside out.

Trimming the corners down to reduce bulk

Turn the project right sides out. I used a point turner to help poke out the corners. Make sure you do that job gently as with the clipped corners, it’s easy to go right through the corner and that isn’t a good idea. You can also use the point turner to run along the edge (inside the project) to help get a smooth edge. Press well. Sewing the lining and the outer fabric together along the outer edge of the fabric square

Leftover bits of fusible fleece stored in a resealable plastic bag

Place the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the outer fabric. It was cut ½” smaller so the piece should fit just inside the seam lines. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece to the project, making sure it’s well adhered. A hot iron and steam are often required.

You can close the opening by hand stitching, but I like to use the ¼” strips of fusible web. I cut a small piece and insert in the opening and fuse in place. Works for me and simple!

A point turner and a roll of ¼” fusible web to finish off the outer section

Pop up safety message on the Interactive Touch Screen

Second pop up safety message regarding the Stitch Width

Here you can see that the Stich Width Safety is now off. I have put the all-purpose throat plate on the sewing machine and I’m ready to program my lettering.

The finished cover of the Sewing Machine Needlecase

Making the insert

I could simply have inserted a piece of felt inside the cover of the needlecase and be finished. However, I wanted to customize the insert to make my life easier. If I put the partially used needles in the case with no labels, I won’t remember which needles are in there. Plus, there are built-in alphabets in the Sapphire 965Q and I thought this would be a good time to give them a try. I cut two pieces of felt approximately 6¼” x 2¾” for the double sized insert page. I’d been sewing with the single hole throat plate and when I attempted to select a non-straight stitch, I got a popup warning message. This is so awesome because even though I know to change the throat plate if you’re focused like I tend to be when I sew, you don’t always think all the steps through when you switch from one technique to another. No danger of broken needles with this Stitch Width Safety feature.

Single hole throat plate

I removed the single hole throat plate and I got a second pop-up warning message as you can see below. So even though the single hole throat plate had been removed, I still had to deactivate the Stitch Width Safety. While the Sapphire 965Q is intuitive, it makes sure that I know what I’m about to do before it deactivates that stitch width safety. I like that the Saphire 965Q asks me – “do you really know what you’re doing?” Stitch Width Safety is no longer engaged


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There are five built-in alphabets in the Sapphire 965Q. I choose the Block alphabet for my project.

I’m going to use the START/STOP function instead of the foot pedal for my stitching so I lowered the speed. This will allow me to keep my lettering somewhat straight and in the right place. Again, this is a needlecase, strictly for my personal use. If something is a bit off, I’m not likely to care. But if this project were super important, then I would take the time to position the lettering more accurately.

Using the STOP function will stop the stitching after ONE complete stitch sequence, which in this case is 14. That’s a very important thing to know. Since I’m not using the foot pedal, the sewing machine will start sewing when I hit the START/STOP function and it will stop on its own (after it stitched one complete stitch sequence) because the STOP function has been selected. Super neat feature and very practical. Takes the guesswork out of where to start and where to stop.

Built-in Alphabet menu

It’s easy to program the lettering, with separate menus for Upper Case, Lower Case and Numbers. You can see on the Interactive Touch Screen below the first part of my lettering which is the word “Topstitching”. I decided that I would use the Sapphire 965Q to write the type and size of the most common needles that I would use. As I was prepping this project, I realized that despite the fact that there are many different sizes and types of needles, I really only use a few different ones. I created a space for each of the needles and sizes that I use. You’ll see which ones in a minute.

Speed control set to mid point

The other function that I’m going to use is the STOP function. This is different from the START/STOP. You can see that I have the FIX and the STOP function engaged.

The stitch sequence repeats endlessly.

Function panel with FIX and STOP engaged

I’ve done the first row of lettering which was the word “topstitching”. Now I want to add the needle size. I programmed 14 into the Sapphire 965Q. If I don’t use the STOP function, I’ll get a continuous row of 141414141414

Only one stitch sequence appears on the Interactive Touch Screen

Temporary programmed lettering



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I used a contrasting 40-weight thread so I could read my lettering. A little bit heavier to help define the lettering. I used a topstitch needle because the thread was a bit heavier than I would normally use. It’s a good idea to do some stitch outs so you can gauge the size. After this stitch out, I realized there wasn’t enough room to put the name and the number of the needle side by side. Again, I wasn’t going for perfection here, but practical and relatively quick.

To finish off the insert, I wanted to stitch the two pieces together back to back so they created one insert. I used the overcast stitch A10. Here’s another instance where seeing the stitch on the Interactive Touch Screen, the exact way it will stitch on the fabric is very helpful. I can see that this stitch is opposite to the way I want it to stitch.

The outer edge of the overcast stitch was actually on the outer edge of my two insert pieces, but it worked beautifully and now my two insert pages are in fact one.

Insert sections are now sewn together

Center the insert page on the inside of the cover of the needlecase.

Stitch outs on a scrap Insert section layered onto the outer section of the Sewing Machine Needlecase

I sewed from the back of my needlecase so I could get that seam somewhat centered. Default setting for the overcast stitch A10

Stitching the lettering on the felt insert

I simply touch a button to mirror the stitch side to side and you can see what happens to it. Now I’m ready to join the two pieces together.

After evaluating which were the most common needle types and sizes, I ended up with four “pages”. I stitched them so they can be placed back to back in the needlecase. Customize your needlecase with whichever needles you commonly use or make one for your hand stitching needles. In my instance, this is strictly for my partially used needles, so there should only ever be ONE of each type and size in the needlecase.

Top stitch the two sections together

Side to side mirrored overcast stitch A-10

Lettering is complete on both sections of the insert.


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And now I have a cute little needle case for the partially used needles. It has locations for all the needle types and sizes that I use. Guess what? The piece of fabric and the tomato pincushion that have been in my sewing machine needle box forever are going to be history! I LOVE my new needle case.

Isn’t that just the cutest little project. I’m thrilled with it. While I was making this one, I also prepped another outer section which I think I’ll customize that one for hand stitching needles. That wraps up this review of the Husqvarna Viking Saphire 965Q. I had so much fun and I hope you did too. Not only that, but I hope that you learned a sewing technique or tip along the way. If you make a needlecase, let me know. I’d love to see what you make.

Elaine Theriault

the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q



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Q U I LTs o c i a l b l o g g e r s

Sarah Vanderburgh

Christine Baker

Sarah loves to play with color and quilts are her playground! A selftaught quilter, She's been designing her own quilts for almost 20 years. She's inspired by happy fabrics, selvages, traditional blocks and nature. She's also a wife, mother, and elementary school teacher, and enjoy drinking coffee on my front porch in northern Ontario.

Christine has been designing and publishing quilt patterns for the last 10 years under the business n ame Fair f ield Road Desi g ns . Her patterns range from fusible applique and piecing to felted wool applique and punchneedle. You can see all her patterns on her website.

Bill Locke

Elaine Theriault Elaine made her first quilt at the tender age of 13. The urge to quilt resurfaced when her daughter moved from a crib. The rest is history – she now teaches several days a week, makes quilts on commission and quilts for others on the long-arm.

Allison Spence

Quilter/Stitcher, Designer, Teacher, Blogger, with a passion for all that is "stitchy", Bill's goal is to share that passion with as many people as possible through designs that inspires a great sense of creativity. He has a wide range of informative and exciting lectures, trunk shows and workshops. As well his designs offer various sewing and quilting techniques including regular and foundation piecing; hand, machine and wool applique; catering to all levels. He creates and has a world of fun in his Montreal studio, Studio Bill Locke.

Allison began teaching sewing and quilting while working at a sewing machine dealer in Calgary, Alberta. She also owned her own fabric store and sewing school for 6 years where she had the wonderful opportunity to teach a wide variety of classes to many sewers, young and old. She now has a studio and classroom in her home and does customer quilts. She teaches in her studio, locally and in North America. Allison has a very, very supportive husband, 2 daughters and granddaughter close by.


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Stitch in

Time 1



table topper


Center blocks layout 80


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skill level intermediate finished measurements 34” [86.5cm] square materials fabric • 1 strip of quilt saying blocks – Fabric A (21330-69) Quilt sayings ™™ Cut FOUR blocks. The squares are approximately 5” square – do not add seam allowance. Cut them on the line between the light and the dark sashing. • 5⁄8 yard – Fabric B (39300-69) Stonehenge blue (Coping strip, Border 2 and Binding) ™™ Cut ONE strip 1” by WOF. Sub cut two pieces that are the same length as the quilt saying blocks. (Spacer for center block) ™™ Cut TWO strips 2” by WOF (Coping strip) ™™ Cut FOUR strips 1½” by WOF (Border 2) ™™ Cut FOUR strips 2½ by WOF. (Join on the diagonal and press in half wrong sides together for the binding.) • 3⁄8 yard – Fabric C (21332-34) spools of thread (four patches – Border 1) ™™ Cut THREE strips 3½” x WOF • ½ yard – Fabric D (39305-68) Stonehenge light (four patches – Border 1, Coping blocks in Border 3) ™™ Cut THREE strips 3½” by WOF ™™ Cut ONE strip by WOF. This strip needs to be the SAME width as the border cut in Fabric E. ™™ Cut that border first and then cut this coping strip border the same width. (Coping blocks in Border 3). • ¾ yard (or enough to get FOUR sewing machines) – Fabric E (39356-11) Border 3 ™™ Fussy cut FOUR borders – (four sewing machines are approximately 24” in length). ™™ Cut ¼” beyond the light background above and below the sewing machines for the seam allowance. You may want to leave a bit more than ¼” on the top of the sewing machines as this is where the binding will be attached to the table topper.

™™ Cut about ½” beyond the left and right edges of the sewing machines for seam allowance. The sewing machine part of the border will measure about 24” x 4¾”.

• 1 strip of quilt blocks – Fabric F (3935711) Cornerstones – Border 3 ™™ Fussy cut FOUR squares adding ¼” seam allowance beyond the quilt square edge. The quilt squares are approximately 33⁄8” and with ¼” seam allowance on all four sides, they will be approximately 37⁄8”. other • rotary cutter • cutting mat • ruler • pins


Assembly Center block 1. Arrange the blocks for the center. They were each rotated one quarter turn to make the table topper non-directional. Insert a 1” strip of Fabric B between Block 1 and Block 2. 2. Insert a second 1” strip of Fabric B between Block 3 and Block 4. Press to Fabric B. 3. Measure the length of the Block ½ combination and cut a 1” strip that corresponds to that measurement. 4. Sew the 1” strip between the Block ½ and Block ¾ combinations. Block should measure approximately 10” square. Coping strip 1. Using Fabric B add a 2” strip to two sides of the center square. Press away from the center. Add a 2” strip to the remaining two sides. Press away from the center. 2. Center the center blocks and trim to 12½”. Border 1 (Four patches) 1. Make three strip sets from Fabric C and D. Sub-cut the strip sets into twenty-four (24) 3½” sections.

2. Using two sections for each fourpatch, make a total of twelve (12) four-patches. 3. Sew two (2) four-patch units together twice and add to the top and bottom of the center square. Watch the orientation of the four patches. 4. Join four (4) four-patch units together twice and add to the sides of the center square. Watch the orientation of the four-patches as they should be alternating. Table topper at this point is 24½” square. Border 2 Using Fabric B (1½”), add the third border. Side borders should measure 24½” long and top and bottom border should measure 26½”. If your top is a different size, adjust your border lengths accordingly. Border 3 Using Fabric D, add a length to each end of all four sewing machine borders to make the sewing machine borders 26½” long, centering the sewing machines in the border. If your border needs to be a different size, adjust your border lengths accordingly. finish Using leftover scraps, add Fabric B to two adjoining sides of the small quilt blocks. Trim them to create a square that measures the same width as the sewing machine border. Adding fabric to only two sides will help prevent skinny borders on all four sides which adds a lot of bulk. When joining the cornerstones to the border, place the corner of the block where the fabric has been added to the outside of the table topper. Add two sewing machine borders to the top and bottom of the table topper. Add a cornerstone to each end of the remaining two borders. Sew the last two borders to the table topper.

Elaine Theriault Fabric Collection: Northcott Stonehenge A Stitch In Time by Deborah Edwards


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The Scrap Buster Tote



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Brother THE Dream Machine 2 XV8550D Embroidery, Sewing, Quilting, & Crafting

If you’re a quilter I’m pretty sure you have scraps! Totes are ideal for scrap-busting. Actually totes are one of those projects that can be done in a morning or afternoon, depending on your sewing and quilting abilities. Not that there’s any rush, but totes are great last minute gifts that can make family and friends so happy, so fast! Try this quick method of quilting as you go, using THE Brother Dream Machine 2 - XV8550D along with the MuVitTM foot and laser positioning marker will help make your stitching through multiple layers of fabric a breeze!

skill level Intermediate finished measurement 16” x 14½” [40.5 x 37cm] time required 3 hours materials fabric • assorted scraps – a big pile of them so you have lots of selection! • 2 pieces each 18” x 20” low loft batting • 2 pieces each 28” x 20” utility fabric - this can be any fabric you’re not fond of as it won’t be seen at all • 2 pieces 2” x 25” Peltex #70 or equivalent stabilizing product • 5⁄8 yd lining fabric for tote • 2 pieces 5” x 25” fabric for bag handles notions • thread and wound bobbins • pins • rotary cutter and supplies • marking tools • ruler • spray baste (optional) • Wonder Clips equipment • Brother’s THE Dream Machine 2 XV8550D • zigzag foot “J” foot (included with THE Dream Machine 2) • MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed foot (included with THE Dream Machine 2) • iron and ironing board


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Getting started • Gather your scraps. Don’t disregard any scrap no matter how small. If you have a very small scrap, piece it together with a larger scrap. The smallest scrap used in this sample was a 1½” x 1½” piece. • It’s a great idea to incorporate small orphaned blocks in this project. • Sort scraps into lights and darks so you can have a balance of contrasting colors. Creating the scrappy fabric for the bag 1. Cut two 18” x 20” pieces of utility fabric and batting. 2. Layer utility fabric right side down and place batting on top. You may wish to spray baste the utility fabric to the batting. 3. Select a scrap and place it right side up in the center on batting. 4. Stitch the first scrap in place by stitching straight lines back and forth over the scrap. You can vary the distance apart you stitch the lines or you could use decorative stitches or free motion stitching if you like. 5. Lay a second scrap right sides together along one side of the first piece you just quilted and sew with a ¼” seam allowance, as in Photo 1 6. Finger press the piece in place and then stitch down. TIP Stitch in the opposite direction of the first piece to add interest.


7. Continue as in step 5 adding scraps around the outside of center piece. 8. Use a variety of colors, sizes and shapes of scraps. Photos 2 & 3 9. When both pieces of batting are covered with scraps trim each piece to 17” x 15” using a rotary cutter. Photo 4 Handles 1. Determine desired length of tote handles. The handles on the sample are 20” long. 2. Center piece of stabilizer in middle of handle fabric. 3. Fold one edge of handle fabric over long side of the stabilizer. 4. Fold under ¼” along one opposite edge of long side of fabric to create a clean edge. 5. Fold second edge over stabilizer and press in place. Use Wonder Clips to hold fabric in place. 6. Attach MuVitTM foot to your Brother Dream Machine and activate laser positioning marker. 7. Stitch several lines of stitching on handle. Photo 5 8. Repeat for second handle. 9. Position one of the handles on top of one of the bag fronts. 10. With right sides together, align end of handle with top of bag, and edge of handle 4” from each side of bag. Stitch in place ½” from top edge of bag. Repeat for other side of bag front. Photo 6



It makes a great gift bag when gifting other things with it !



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Instruction photos by Lynn Swanson

Lining with pocket 1. Cut two pieces of fabric 17” x 15” for lining – set aside. 2. Stitch 2 fabric scraps 2” X 6” right sides together, leave a 2” gap on one side for turning. If a pocket on each side of the bag is desired, do this step twice. 3. Position one pocket on right side of lining fabric centered horizontally and placed 4” from the bottom edge of the fabric. 4. Stitch on three sides of pocket – leaving top edge open. 5. Place 2 pieces of lining right sides together and stitch on three sides of lining, leaving top edge open, and leaving a 3” gap along the right side of the bag. Use a ½” seam. 6. Create a box corner by aligning the side seam and the bottom seam of the lining: find the center point on each side of the seams and pull outwards to form a point. Mark 2” from the point and stitch across. Repeat for the other side of the lining. Photo 7

4 5

Assembling the scrappy tote 1. With right sides together stitch the left, right and bottom seams of the bag. 2. For best results use the MuVitTM foot. 3. Create a box corner (as in step 6 above). 4. Place the scrappy bag and the lining right sides together matching side seams. 5. Ensure the handles are tucked in out of the way. Use wonder clips along the top edge to hold in place. 6. Stitch all around the top edge of the bag. 7. Turn the bag right side out pushing lining to the inside of the bag. 8. Top stitch top of bag.


Lynn Swanson Brother Educator Western Canada


Fill it with your favorite things! QUILTsocial



Scrappy House Placemats

It’s time to play with your sewing machine! Since we so often go to our sewing rooms with a specific task or project in mind, we often forget to make the time to experiment. But did you know that the very best way to get the most of your sewing machine is to play with different stitches and techniques that you have never used? Why not try decorative threads, decorative stitches, using twin needles, and/or placing multiple threads through the eye of one needle? You just might land on a technique or look that becomes a fast favorite for your subsequent projects. 86


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Cut 1. Placemat Tops: 4 pieces using outline of Half Diamond ruler from top fabric (fat quarter) 2. Inner Top and Bottom of placemats: 8 pieces measuring 3” x 9½” from fat quarters 3. Placement sides: 8 pieces measuring 3” x 13½” from fat quarters 4. Back fabric: 4 pieces measuring 16” x 20” 5. Cotton quilt batting: 4 pieces measuring 16” x 20”

2. Prepare first set of scrappy strips. Working from the top left corner, lie a strip of fabric down on Sulky Totally Stable right side up along the diagonal line, pining at the top to secure. Lay the remaining strips of fabric down in the one direction until the Sulky Totally Stable sheet has been covered, leaving a small gap between strips and securing only one side.

Tear 1” strips across the WOF from the 6 Fat Quarters skill level intermediate finished measurement 13¾” x 16½” [35 x 42cm] materials Makes 4 placemats fabric • 6 different fat quarters for front • four 10” x 12” pieces of Sulky Totally Stable • four 16” x 20” pieces of cotton fabric for backing to match front • binding (optional) • four 16” x 20” pieces of cotton quilt batting needles • Schmetz quilting needle size 75/11 • Schmetz twin needle 2.0 • Schmetz top stitch needle size 80/12 notions • assortment of Sulky 40wt rayon thread • Gütermann cotton or sew all thread • Sew Easy ½ Diamond ruler • cutting mat • ruler • cutter • scissors • glass head pins • water soluble marking pen

TIP Don’t throw out any of the scraps as you can you use the shorter pieces. Creating the scrappy weaving center 1. Prepare four 10” x 12” sheets of Sulky Totally Stable: Working on the shiny side and starting at the upper left hand corner and lower left hand corner, draw two 45˚ guidelines across the 12” as in picture below. Repeat for all sheets. Pin Sulky Totally Stable sheets shinny side up on ironing board, using 4 glass head pins to each corner will be useful. Do Not Iron!

3. Prepare second set of scrappy strips: Lay the second set of strips perpendicular to the first set of strips, at a 45˚ angle. Use the second line as a guide, pinning only one side as you go.

4. Weaving the scrappy strips: To weave, fold back the second set of strips.

Sew Easy ½ Diamond ruler


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1. Beginning at the upper right hand corner, fold back every second strip of number '1s'. Lay the first strip from the second (diagonal) set on top. Then, fold back the first set of strips onto the strips just placed. Next, fold back the opposite strips of (every other) from the first set.

3. Embellish woven pieces with experimental stitches: Carefully bring woven pieces to the sewing machine. Add a running stitch around the outside edges to firmly secure in place. Play with various threads and needles! Try a top stitch needle, twin needle, and decorative threads. Embellish by working with stitches on your machine that you haven’t used before. Use each piece as an opportunity to try something new; be bold and remember that the only way to truly learn your sewing machine is to play. Note: If the Sulky Totally Stable is no longer adhering to the fabric it can be re ironed over and over again.

TIP Snug the second set of strips in place as you go.

Place on your table & enjoy! Use the triangular top for a cool glass of iced tea or a hot drink.

Cathy McClean



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Continue this weaving method in rows until the Sulky Totally Stable is completely covered. 4. Assemble placemats: First, thread machine with Gütermann Cotton or Sew All Thread, Schmetz 75 Quilting Needle, and ¼” foot. Stitch the 3” x 8½” bands to the top and bottom of the woven fabric. Square off. Stitch the 3” x 13½” bands to the sides. Square off (if needed). Stitch the ½ diamond to the top. 5. Cut batting and backings to fit. TIP You do not need to go right to the corners as the square will be trimmed to fit. 2. Finish scrappy strip piece: Once done step four, double check the weaving to make sure there are no errors (gaps). Iron and steam in place, removing the pins as you go. Carefully turnover and iron the back to secure. Repeat steps two through five for all four pieces.

finishing Option 1: Make a sandwich with placemat front to placemat back with right sides together and batting on the back. Then, sew all the way around leaving a small opening to turn right sides out. Turn right-side-out and slip stitch opening shut. Option 2: Sandwich as you would for a quilt and bind. Stitch in the ditch.

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and there's so much more! QUILTsocial

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Country Concessions 1 Dufferin St, Cookstown, ON L0L 1L0  705.458.4546 or toll-free 1.888.834.4407   Visit our lovely and unique quilt shop in the quaint village of Cookstown. We have over 7000 bolts of cotton fabrics plus a wide selection of patterns, books & notions. You will be so glad you came for a visit. Gitta's 271 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga, ON L5G 1G8  905.274.7198    Gitta's, named after owner Gitta Al-Basi, nestled in the east village of Port Credit, is the place where stitchers meet with their stitching friends, shop for stitching supplies and see the new stitching designs from Europe and the United States. Hardanger House 4708 52 St, PO Box 1223, Stettler, AB T0C 2L0  403.742.2749 or toll-free 1.866.742.2749  Patterns from Canadian, American and European designers, linen and evenweave fabrics from Zweigart, DMC pearl Cottons, Caron Collection threads, and all the related stitching accessories are kept in stock. Many additional items can be special ordered. Haus of Stitches 626 Main Street, Humboldt, SK  S0K 2A0  306.682.0772 or toll-free 1.800.344.6024  Our one of a kind store offers everything you need for sewing, quilting, knitting, rug hooking and needlework. Authorized dealers for Janome and Elna. Heartfelt Fibre Arts 42 Industrial St, Toronto, ON M4G 1Y9  647.920.3616    Canadian Fibre Arts supply store specializing in high-quality, unique fibre and tools for all of your knitting, felting, rug hooking and stitching needs.



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Pine Ridge Knit & Sew 17477 Hwy 2 PO Box 68, Trenton, ON K8V 5R1  613.392.1422   We have knitting machines by Artisan and Silver Reed, embroidery machines by Husqvarna/Viking & White. Sewing notions and supplies, books and software. Hands-on lessons and classes. Wide variety of yarns, threads, dress and pant zippers. Rosalie I. Tennison, Quilt Appraiser Certified by American Quilters’ Society 2005 Newmarket, ON  905.953.1441   What if something happens to your treasured quilt? Do you have written proof of its value for your insurance company? Get an appraisal now. Ruby Pearl Quilts 500 King St W, Suite 8, Oshawa, ON L1J 2K9  905.436.3535    We are your full service source of professional quilting equipment, products, & courses. Led by 44 years of sewing experience & more than 20 years of quilting experience, we have the experience necessary to help you push your hobby to the next level! Ruti's Needlebed 10 Thomas St, Mississauga, ON L5M 1Y5  905.821.9370   Mississauga's Finest Quilting and Knitting Store!! Come see our huge selection of yarn, fabric, supplies, sewing machines and knitting machines…a local store for all your quilting, sewing, knitting needs! We offer a wide variety of classes.

The Stitcher's Muse 99 Commercial Street, Nanaimo, BC  V9R 5G3  250.591.6873     A divine little shop with supplies for all your hand stitching needs! Friendly, knowledgeable, helpful staff. Cross stitch, canvaswork, needlepoint, embroidery, counted thread, lace making and more. Books, patterns, fabric, threads, tools. The Yarn Guy 15 Gower St, Toronto, ON M4B 1E3  416.752.1828 or toll-free 1.800.836.6536    See us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter! Knitting machines, sewing machines, repairs, parts for Passap, Studio, Singer, Silver Reed, Superba, White. Sewing notions and supplies, books, ball yarns, coned yarns, TAMM yarns, Paton's yarns, Bernat yarns, Phentex yarns, Bernat kits & crafts. Ultimate Sewing Centre 191 Bloor St East, Oshawa, ON L1H 3M3  905.436.9193     For all your sewing needs be sure to call Durham’s largest one stop shop: Janome and Elna Sewing Machines, Sergers, & Embroidery machines, over 3000 bolts of first quality cottons, Floriani Embroidery supplies, the latest notions, books, & patterns, year round classes, and so much more! Upper Canada Quiltworks PO Box 64, Brockville, ON K6V 5T7  613.345.3956 Fax: 613.342.3327  Visit us online for a wide selection quilt patterns and books. Techniques include felted wool, fusible appliqué, punchneedle, rag quilting and printing photos on fabric.

Luxury in every detail Introducing THE Dream Machine 2. Enhanced, fine-tuned and graced with refined new features giving serious enthusiasts like you, an incomparable sewing, embroidery and quilting experience. Dream big!

INDUSTRY FIRST INNOVEYE® 2 TECHNOLOGY - For precise positioning. It’s like having a built-in camera and scanner.

ENHANCED MY DESIGN CENTER - New design capabilities to make your projects unique, all without a PC.


LARGE LCD SCREEN - 10.1” built-in high definition LCD.

EXCLUSIVE DISNEY IS IN OUR DNA - Only THE Dream Machine 2 has the magic of 166 Disney embroidery designs built right in.

Visit your Brother authorized dealer, or go to to discover more.

INSPIRING CREATIVITY FOR GENERATIONS Photos are for illustration purposes only. The XV8550D shown in this ad has been manufactured by Brother Industries, Ltd, under a licensing agreement with Disney Enterprises, Inc, through which Brother has permission to use Disney images. The embroidery designs built into this embroidery machine are for personal use within the home only and may not be used for business or industrial purpose. Brother and its logo are trademarks of Brother Industries, Ltd., Japan. All specifications are subject to change without notice. All registered trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective companies. The Best Buy Seal and other licensed materials are registered certification marks and trademarks of Consumers Digest Communications, LLC, used under license. For award information visit ©2017 Brother International Corporation (Canada) Ltd. 1, rue Hôtel de Ville, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Québec, H9B 3H6. ©Disney 04/2017 - 92171


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Canada’s most trusted notions brand

is getting a makeover! Our new UNIQUE® brand packaging

is as beautiful and practical as our ne products!

Find all of your favourite UNIQUE® Sewing and Quilting products in more alluring and informative packaging. With lifestyle images showing application suggestions and detailed instructional diagrams, it has never been easier to nd and use the products you need to make your very best work.


Look for UNIQUE® Sewing and Quilting products at your favourite fabric, sewing and quilting store!

QUILTsocial | Issue 9  

Here's another informative and unequivocally fun issue filled with leading edge quilting and sewing products to explore. We're working with...

QUILTsocial | Issue 9  

Here's another informative and unequivocally fun issue filled with leading edge quilting and sewing products to explore. We're working with...