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spring 2015



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ditor's letter

scissors measuring tape cutting mat rotary cutter sewing machine marker thread sewing feet pins “Is it so wrong to LOVE a sewing machine?” said Elaine Theriault in one of her posts this spring. For that matter, is it so wrong to LOVE a particular brand of needles, and thread, and fabric? And so on… The very important sewing and quilting tools we use on a daily basis to quilt things together are an extension of our limbs, fingertips and creativity. As beginner sewers and quilters, we don’t really have favorites, since we have little quilting knowledge to speak of. We are introduced to the tools of the trade , and their uses, by teachers, and mentors who already have many years of sewing or quilting under their tool belt. But as we gather experience with every seam we sew, we also develop a feel for using one brand over another, until a very particular pair of scissors is the tool you can’t live without and you’ll swear it’s the best thing ever since sliced bread or should I say since the electric sewing machine! Why get giddy at a quilting retreat when they’re announcing draw prizes? You know good tools are being raffled off...and they are brand new and they will help you achieve that perfect quilt, or at least help make it happen. I remember, my mother was super ‘jealous’ of her pair of cutting scissors and still is today. She hides them in the deepest part of her large sewing tool box. They were her favorite and heaven forbid

anyone should come across them and use them to cut paper for whatever reason, or unbox a parcel! I know you’re cringing too. You might remember in the winter QUILTsocial eZine about the launch of a quilt challenge called What’s good for the gal, is good for the guy! Our expert quilters Jennifer Houlden and Elaine Theriault were challenged to create a quilt for a guy and a quilt for a girl, respectively, using the same printed fabric and the same amount of fabric too. They were also given a bio of the recipients, and other details to incorporate in the said quilts. In this issue, it’s with great excitement that we reveal not only the result of the quilt challenge, but also you’ll enjoy reading about their design process, products they used to accomplish the challenge, their musings, and eventually their awesome achievements. I’m so pleased you’ve tuned in to to see quilting and sewing products and discover more features on the Husqvarna and Pfaff sewing machines reviews. Thank you for pinning your favorites on Pinterest, you know, the place we love to visit and drool over things we’d love to make with our favorite sewing tools. Enjoy the issue.

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spring 2015


QUILTsocial Introducing!…


…for those who gather with thread and fabric to ‘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, Alessia De Fusco BLOGGERS/CONTRIBUTORS Christine Baker Nancy Devine Jennifer Houlden Elaine Theriault Kathy K. Wylie GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN Carla A. Canonico Derek Goode 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. ©2015 QUILTsocial. All rights reserved. Issue #2. ISSN 2368-5913. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. 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! 4



spring 2015

25 A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine 49 Banner of Hope 66 Business Directory 6 Country Concessions 65 CreativFestival 67 Gütermann Creativ 02 Husqvarna Viking 68 Pfaff 39 QUILTsocial 6 Ruby Pearl Quilts 29 Sew Fancy 29 The Needlework Pages 6 The Quilt Store 63 UNIQUE Sewing and Quilting

48 36

c o n t e n t s Jennifer Houlden & Elaine Theriault


Donna Housley


Prairie Points Jewelry Hanger

Cheryl Stranges


Happy Spring Banner

Jennifer Houlden


Dancing Tulips Mug Rug

Christine Baker


The Many Uses of DecoBob Thread

Christine Baker


It's Blooming Flowers!

Nancy Devine


"Waiter, there's a quilt pin in my soup!"

Nancy Devine


Only Spooling Around Runner

Revealing the quilts of the Quilt Challenge







spring 2015


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spring 2015

What’s good for the gal, is good for the guy! quilt challenge!

The time has come to unveil the results of the quilt challenge! But first, We'll walk through the last steps of the design, sewing and quilting process as created by our QUILTsocial bloggers and quilters, Jennifer Houlden and Elaine Theriault. Jennifer and Elaine have both expressed that the task of designing for their recipients has not been an easy one. Tailoring the design to the fabric AND incorporating the personality of the guy and the gal, forced them to think outside of the quilting box. For a recap of their initial steps of the quilt challenge see our feature in the Winter 2014/15 QUILTsocial issue released on February 12, 2015 on www.QUILTsocial com. Without further ado, here's the last of there quilting and design thoughts followed by the unvieling! -


materials & equipment provided by Husqvarna Viking: Designer Ruby Royale sewing machine PFAFF: Creative 4.5 sewing machine H.A. Kidd: batting, templates, and all sewing notions WonderFil Threads Northcott: backing fabric Coats & Clark: quilt top patterned fabric

Photo by Jennifer Houlden




spring 2015


good for the guy... Jennifer Houlden

paper drawn on Template

Inspiration for the block

Sewing the hour glass block together The piece on the right is the off cut and the piece on the left is for the block.

Template ready to be cut

The last time I wrote about the What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy quilt challenge I was making the first block of the challenge quilt. I’m now going to be sewing the hour glass block together, which is the second of the three blocks I’ll be using in this quilt challenge. My inspiration for this block came from my kitchen. Not the egg timer, but rather the coffee pucks for the coffee machine. They were stacked on top of each other and, I thought, oh, that’s kind of cool and would make an interesting block design. In order to get the right angle, the square would have to be cut at more than a 45 degree angle making it easier to piece if I used a template to cut the pieces.

Making the template

After drawing the block on paper, I cut out the shape and pasted it to a piece of heavy box board. Then, I cut around the paper through the box board to make the template. Remember last month when I was making templates for the Snowball Block? I recommended not using cardboard for this as it tends to shrink the more times it’s used because it’s soft and collapses on itself. The snowball block last month was based on a 5-inch square as is this hour glass block. This makes it much easier to do the math and creates even rows within the quilt, if everything is kept within the same measurements.

Cutting the pieces

To cut the pieces, place the template on the square with the straight edges of the template lined up at the edge of the square. Cut along the diagonal side of the template to create two pieces.

The two pieces are mirror images of each other.




Pieces placed right sides together with the corner over hanging.

Photos by Jennifer Houlden .com

spring 2015

I’m using a different fabric to test the cut before starting on the quilt fabric, which is in limited supply. It’s always good to use some scraps for testing to make sure everything is right before starting with the actual quilt fabric.

Pieces ready for sewing with the quarter-inch foot

Using the start/stop button to sew

Thread cutter

Unfortunately, there’s some waste with this block design, but the off cut can be used elsewhere — I’m hoping — or for another project. The piece being used is to the left and the off cut is the piece to the right.

Start, stop & speed control

and the bottom of the icon is slow, slow, slow. I want a bit faster than the slowest position and click the check mark to enter my selection.

In order to make a complete block, a mirror image of the piece needs to be cut. To do this, cut one piece with the fabric right side up and one with the fabric wrong side up. This goes for both the Eclectic Elements feature fabric and the background blue fabrics.

Sewing a test piece

Sewing the pieces together means sewing on the bias because the edges are cut on a diagonal through the square. With the IDT system engaged on the Pfaff Creative 4.5 machine, there should be no issue with stretching or distortion of the fabric. The IDT system ensures an even, smooth feed of the fabric under the foot and over the feed dogs.

Picking the foot

My choice of foot for this sewing job is the quarter-inch foot with the guide. It keeps all the pieces aligned perfectly because they’re butted up against the guide and cannot wander.

5-inch squares

If you don’t want to use the foot control while sewing, it’s easy to use the start and stop button. Simply press the button to start sewing and press it again to stop sewing. The button is found on the front of the machine beside the up and down buttons for the presser foot. I press the start button to sew and it takes off like a rocket and the seam is sewn in no time. I didn’t even have time to hold onto the fabric before I was pressing the button again to stop! I guess I didn’t check to see what the speed was set at. When I’m sewing without the foot control, I prefer to go at a slower speed because I feel I’ve more control over what I’m doing. The speed control is found on the home screen of the LCD screen. In the picture below, I’m pointing to the speed control icon with the stylet. You can tap on the icon to change the speed or hold the stylet down and a larger version of the icon will appear with a slider button. Hold the round circle with the stylet and slide it up and down to position on the speed you prefer. The top of the icon is fast, fast, fast

Squares sewn into pairs

The speed control icon is straight forward and easy to use. I did have to look it up in the manual to learn where to find it on the screen because the icon wasn’t obvious to me as “speed control”. Now I know where it is, I’ll definitely be making use of it.

Sewing the block together

I’ve been sewing the pieces together to create the 5-inch blocks for the hour glass block. Chain sewing has definitely made the process much faster. When finished, I used the thread cutter on the side of the machine to disengage the pieces from the thread and machine.

The thread cutter is found at the side of the machine. It’s a little round piece with a groove along the top to slide the thread into where it gets cut. I’ve arranged the 5" squares into piles to make it easy for sewing them into pairs. I match a light and a darker piece together in order to get some contrast within the block. Finally, the pairs are sewn together to make a 9½" block.

The hour glass block



spring 2015


Paper Piecing the Intertwined Block

And now for the third and final block of the What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy quilt challenge. This block is a little more involved and appears to be intertwined, hence the name. I’ll be paper piecing the intertwined block to ensure accuracy and perfect points.

Paper Piecing the Intertwined Block

Paper Piecing Template

Foundation template divided into sections

In order to paper piece this block, foundation piecing templates need to be created. The block once again is 9½". After drawing out the block on a piece of paper, I divide it into four sections to make it easy to piece together. The four sections are then drawn onto their own pieces of paper and photocopied. When photocopying foundation templates, make sure to photocopy them all on the same copier. You don’t want any distortion in size because each copier is just a little bit different.

Template with pieces assigned and stitching lines indicated

To make 12 blocks I need 12 of each template. I use regular computer paper to make the templates. Although you can purchase special paper for paper piecing, I find regular paper works fine.

Second piece on top of first piece

The template below has been numbered to indicate which piece is first, second and third, as well as, which line to stitch first. BG and EE defines whether a background fabric or Eclectic Elements fabric is needed. I really enjoy paper piecing and, even though it takes a bit longer to do the piecing, the blocks come out perfectly finished. I’ve gathered my tools I need for the job.

Stitch Length

I always decrease the stitch length on the machine when paper piecing to make it easier to rip the paper off afterwards. There are more holes when stitches are closer together resulting in easy tearing of the paper. Not so easy for ripping out if a mistake has been made!

Paper piecing tools

0A Foot

The stitch length is decreased on the home screen of the LCD monitor on the Creative 4.5 sewing machine. Use the stylet to touch the minus icon under the stitch length icon. The stitch length in numbers is at the top of the icon. The default stitch length is 2.5, which can be seen in the photo above in white. As the length is changed the number is seen in green. The photo below shows a stitch length of 1.5. Hooks and bars lined up to attach foot

Fabric glued to template




spring 2015

I like to glue my first fabric piece to the paper with a dab of glue from a glue stick. Then, it won’t slip or slide around on you. Make sure to glue the wrong side of the fabric to the paper. The rest of the pieces are then put on with right sides of the fabric facing each other. The second piece is placed on top of the first piece with right sides together. The key to paper piecing is to make sure to cut the pieces large enough that they will generously overlap the space to be covered allowing for the seam allowance and a bit more. I cut my pieces quite generously as I would rather waste a bit of fabric than have to recut and reverse sew. Holding the fabric and paper up to a light source allows you to see if the fabric is covering everything it needs to cover.

Sewing the fabric to the foundation paper

The quarter-inch foot with the guide doesn’t work so well for this type of piecing because the guide cannot line up with an edge. I’ve changed to the 1A or 0A foot. The center of the foot runs down the printed line, which is the sewing line. The wider foot also allows for more purchase on the paper.

Changing the foot

Changing feet on the Pfaff Creative 4.5 is fast and easy. Place the foot under the presser foot with the two silver bars lined up with the hooks on the machine. Then, press the presser foot down button to engage the foot. To remove a foot place your thumbs or two fingers at the front of the foot on each corner and push down to release it release from the presser foot column. After each piece is sewn in place, trim the excess fabric to a ¼-inch seam allowance and press. All the foundation piecing is done!

Once the sections are sewn together, it’s just a matter of putting those sections together to create the block. This can be done with the paper on or off. I prefer to take the paper off before I sew the sections together.

Changing the needle

At this point, we should change the needle before going to the next sewing project as it has probably become dull from punching through the paper a few hundred times.

Multi-purpose tool

To change the needle take the multi-purpose tool out of the accessory box. It’s a grey piece of plastic that looks a bit like an H and has a hole in one end.

Trim excess fabric to a ¼-inch

Slide the needle into the small hole at the one end. It works much better if the foot is removed. Move the multi-purpose tool up to the top of the needle. Loosen the screw to the right of the needle. You may need to use the screwdriver depending how tight it is. The needle will release into the tool. Reverse the directions for removing the needle to replace it. Make sure the flat part of the needle faces the back of the machine. To be honest, I find the tool a bit cumbersome and it’s much easier to change a needle just using your hands and holding the needle with one hand while loosening and tightening the screw with the other.

Foundation piecing completed

Wow! I’m really moving along with this What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy quilt challenge. Now that a new needle has been put in the machine, I can start sewing all the blocks together to form the quilt top. Paper piecing the intertwined block made for perfect points on this block and tomorrow the blocks are going to be sewn into sections to get ready for some applique. The Intertwined Block



spring 2015


Designing tools

Snowball blocks in the corners

Intertwined block through the middle

Designing Quilt Patterns Now that the blocks have been created for the What’s Good for the Gal is Good for the Guy quilt challenge, I'll back up a bit and explain how I came up with the design for this quilt. Designing the “challenge” quilt was definitely a challenge. It took time to figure out what it was going to look like, which is part of the fun of designing quilt patterns. Because the person for whom I designed the quilt has a logical thinking mind, likes engineering, and the double helix, I figured it should be a geometrical design with several different shapes in it. But, they all needed to blend together to form a cohesive and eye pleasing design. There are many different kinds of software available to help us create designs. Pfaff has one called 5D QuiltDesign Creator. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a copy, so I decided to stick with the good old standby of paper, pencil, pencil crayons, and eraser to create my design. Designing on Paper I have my blocks designed and, now, it’s just a matter of deciding where to put them in the quilt. I had already decided the snowball block would be along the outer corners of the quilt. I drew a 7 x 7 row grid on a piece of paper and then drew in the snowball blocks and the background blocks. My idea was to have the intertwined block going from the edge of the quilt to the center. I’d made 12 of them so that meant three from each edge down




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into the center. By drawing them into the layout, the piece is starting to come together. Normally, I start my design from the center and work out, but this time I’ve designed from the outside in. I love how they look a bit like a double helix when placed together – definitely the look I was wanting. The hour glass blocks will go between the snowball blocks and the intertwined blocks. I decided to place one vertically and one horizontally. Because of the angle the pieces were cut on, the blocks create the illusion of a circle in the center of the quilt. One of my favorite things about quilting is how blocks give illusions of shapes and movement within a quilt. With the design mostly complete, I can sew the blocks together in sections on the Pfaff Creative 4.5. With the IDT system engaged, I’ll be able to sew the blocks together with no problems and no pinning required. One of the best parts about the IDT system is it feeds everything through evenly and smoothly matching the seams up pretty much every time.

nine inches of the quilt. The quilt is to be 72-inches square and right now it’s only 63-inches square. The outer edge of the quilt isn’t going to be a border but an extension of some of the blocks, as if they’re running off the edge. It’s going to look a bit like this: extend the snowball blocks with a single strip to the edge of the quilt, as well as, one section of the intertwined block to create the look I’m after. Sewing the final 9 inches I start sewing the pieces together to create the last bit of the quilt and, suddenly, the Creative 4.5 whistles, stops, and gives me this message on the home screen: bobbin thread low. With the bobbin easily visualized through the clear bobbin cover, I continue to sew. I thought that clicking the check mark on the “bobbin thread low” message would be a confirmation that I was aware. But, as soon as I started sewing again, the message came up again so it had to remain on the screen.

I’ll use the quarter-inch foot with the guide to sew the blocks together into nine sections.

I continued sewing thinking that the machine would stop when the bobbin ran out. Nope, it just kept on sewing. But, the sound of the sewing changed, which alerted me to the fact the bobbin was now empty.

Designing the last 9 inches Now that the sections are sewn together and the design of the challenge quilt is almost complete, I can add in the last

Winding the bobbin Since I didn’t have a second spool of this color of thread, I decided to wind the bobbin with the machine still threaded.

Hour glass block added to design

Extension of design all the way around

Blocks sewn into sections

I took the thread out of the needle, which is recommend to prevent the needle from bending and snapping in two while the bobbin is winding. It’s never a good thing to have sharp objects flying around! Then, I thread the thread back up the left hand thread guide of the machine and through the bobbin guide at the top. Also, make sure the presser foot is in the up position.

Pieces for the missing 9 inches

Bobbin thread low message

Clear bobbin case allows me to see the bobbin easily

Reverse threading to wind the bobbin

Bobbin winding icon

Reverse button

Once the bobbin is in place, a “wind bobbin” message comes up on the screen. I clicked start with the stylet. Pressing the foot pedal does not work; it just makes the needle go up and down – I did that first. I love this feature of not having to unthread the machine to wind another bobbin. Reverse back tacking Since the bobbin ran out in the middle of the seam, I wanted to back tack to make sure nothing comes apart down the road. Normally, in quilting, there is not much back tacking done because seams are usually caught with another seam. To back tack, press the reverse button, which is found at the bottom of the machine near the presser foot. It only needs to be pressed a couple seconds then continue sewing forward.



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Applique Patterns Multiple hexagon templates

Now that the quilt top is complete or at least in sections, it’s time to add some applique to the challenge quilt. To compliment the rest of the quilt design, I thought of using the Sew Easy hexagon templates, very useful and time-saving tools to create these applique patterns. Applique shapes My main shape for the applique is going to be hexagons. I have a set of hexagon templates ranging from 1" to 5" in diameter. I’ll be using all the sizes in a variety of the Eclectic Elements fabric to be placed on the open background areas of the quilt top.

Tracing the shapes

I also have a couple other templates which I may use for some different shapes. My favorite applique method is to use fusible web which, I believe, is the fastest form of applique. Needle turn is gorgeous but, I’m afraid, the quilt wouldn’t be ready until 2020 if I had to use this method for the applique. I’ll stick to the fusible. I trace my pieces out on the paper side of the fusible with a hard leaded pencil because hard leaded pencil doesn’t smudge or get lead on your hand. You don’t want to get pencil marks on the fabric.

The Jelly Monster template

When I cut the pieces out, I leave about a ¼" of space around each one. This ensures the glue of the fusible will come to the edge of each piece when it’s cut out on the line and fraying will be prevented. Following the manufacturer’s directions, I fuse the pieces to the wrong side of the fabric. Once in your applique career you’ll fuse it to the right side of the fabric and have to start over — it happens to all of us, don’t worry you’re not the first.

The Jelly Pointer template




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Now, cut out each shape on the pencil line with a sharp pair of scissors. For these straight lines, you could use a ruler and rotary cutter. Doing it that way would definitely ensure straight even edges on the applique shapes. After cutting the shapes out, I position them on the quilt top. Once I’m happy with the layout of the pieces, I’ll fuse them to the quilt top. Below is a picture of the idea of what I want to do. Hexagons with lines going out to other hexagons starting in the middle of the quilt and moving out to the edge. That’s a lot of shapes that still need to be drawn, fused, cut and placed! Along with the solid hexagon, I also want to use this hexagon ring. I made it with the Jelly Monster template. I ended up drawing the middle section with lines and then removing the template and cutting along the lines. This was easier and much more precise than cutting in the lines on the template. I left the quilt top in sections to make it easier to stitch down the applique pieces with the Pfaff Creative 4.5. Although with the design I’m creating with the applique shapes, I’m thinking that some of the pieces will have to be appliqued in place once all the sections are sewn together. Thank goodness this machine does have a nice large throat space. It will make it much easier to sew those few remaining shapes in place once the quilt top is put together. Finding a stitch I know I should be working on the shapes, but I’ve been side tracked by all the stitches on the Creative 4.5! Trust me, the library of stitches is huge. Now, for the hard part — picking a stitch.

Lots of hexagons

Hexagon ring

Cut shapes along the line

To pick a stitch, I need to familiarize myself with how to find the stitches on the sewing machine. There is a bit of a map of the stitches on the top flip up cover of the sewing machine. It shows six different categories of stitches ranging from utility stitches in section one to hand look stitches in section two, decorative stitches in section four and much much more. Each of these sections shows subsections with even more stitch choices. Oh, this is not going to be an easy task! But, I do know I need a stitch that will cover the edge of the applique shape to ensure it stays in place and doesn’t fray. The hard copy manual shows all the stitches as well. All the stitches are found and are accessible on the LCD screen. When on the home screen, use the stylet to click on the icon that looks like lines in a book at the bottom right hand side of the screen. The pink screen of the decorative stitch catalog is now available for me to preview all the stitches. The default setting is category one, which is the utility stitches, including several subcategories, such as “essential stitches”. This is shown in the photo below.

Hexagon positioned with strips of fabric

The other categories of stitches run along the top of the screen from 1 to 7. I click on category two and now have the stylet ready to click on stitch #8, which is a blanket stitch. This is one of my favorite stitches for securing applique pieces.

Top cover with index of stitches

After clicking on stitch #8, a screen appears telling me what foot I should use, that the feed dogs need to be up, an image of the stitch, and much more. The stitch length and width can also be changed on this screen using the minus and plus arrows at center bottom. As well, if I wish to switch to another stitch in this subcategory, I can do so at the right hand side of the screen. Accessing the stitch catalog and picking a stitch is very straight forward and user friendly on the Creative 4.5. Lots of throat space on the Pfaff Creative 4.5



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a all in uares q s g Zigza


Decorative stitches on the PFAFF Creative 4.5 Decorative stitches that look manly

Since this quilt is for a young man, I wouldn’t want to be adding decorative stitches that looked girlie such as hearts, flowers and leaves. I went searching for stitches that had a more manly look to them and came up with a few that I think are interesting. I found a few that looked interesting, however they won’t work very well for securing the applique pieces because they are too difficult to place along the edge of the applique shape. I love the 'circle in a circle' motif, however, here too, it will be difficult to use for the purpose of applique. 4 variations of the blanket stitch

Adding the applique shapes

When I started with the applique shapes, I had visions of the hexagons being connected with lines of fabric. As I placed and re-placed the shapes on the quilt to get the optimal placement of the hexagons within the design of the quilt, I changed my mind about connecting them. I only wanted the shapes to be placed on the background fabric but didn’t want to use up all of the negative space. Otherwise, the quilt would be too busy and, if I’d connected each shape, the background space would be overwhelmingly busy. Instead, I did the opposite and went with the more of the minimalist thing.


TIP Placing the quilt sections on the large design wall made it easier to see what the whole piece is going to look like. Standing back at least 10 feet and looking straight at your work makes a huge difference when auditioning fabrics, shapes, colors, blocks, etc. If you don’t have the space to stand back and look at your work, then use a reducing glass to achieve the same effect. Taking a picture and looking at it on the camera or on a computer screen will give the same perspective. oking de

corative st itches

I’ve added the applique pieces to the sections I sewed together. The corner sections each have three hexagon rings arranged together in a straight line coming out from the snowball block. Arranging the hexagons this way creates the look of a linked chain. The outer edge middle sections continue the hexagon line from the snowball block, as well as, adding solid hexagons to the points of the intertwined block. Finally, the middle section has solid hexagons added around the intertwined block and in the middle block of the quilt. Keeping these pieces in sections rather than sewing the whole quilt together will make it easier to stitch around the applique pieces. There’s so much the PFAFF Creative 4.5 has to offer in decorative stitches; there are all kinds of options. I’ve only touched on a small amount of what this machine can do. If I were to go through it all, we would be here all year – well, not quite, but it’s quite extensive. See the large variety of stitches in our March post.


Sewing the applique shapes After spending a couple days going through the different decorative stitches on the PFAFF Creative 4.5 sewing machine and finally made a decision on which stitch to use when sewing the applique shapes to the What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy quilt. Certainly it hasn't been easy to choose from the extensive selection of decorative stiches. Narrowing it down to a 'manly' stitch helped, but nonetheless. "Please give a standing ovation and round of applause to the winner: The Satin Stitch!" The satin stitch is elegant and neutral, and used on the applique for this particular quilt, represents a clean and logical personality. Of all the stitches I auditioned, this one will stand up to daily wear and tear, when used daily in a university dorm.

The satin stitch

Sewing around the shapes

The next decision was choosing a color of thread to use for stitching around each applique shape. I decided on a taupe color, which blends with some of the Eclectic Elements fabric and stands out on others. All in all, I do believe it’s a good balance. The applique shapes can be seen, but don’t jump off the quilt saying: “look at me, here I am!” The stitch width was set at 3.0 and the length at 1.0 to create a fairly dense stitch. TIP When sewing a dense satin stitch do not try to push or pull the fabric along as this causes gaps in the stitching. Just let the machine feed the fabric along and the stitching will be nice and even. To help create a great looking stitch, I used an open toed foot with the IDT system engaged. I also added a leave-in fusible fleece stabilizer behind the applique shapes on the back of the quilt. These three elements allow the stitches to look their best. Once the sewing was complete on the shapes, the next step is to sew the quilt top together. I sewed the sections together row-by-row. As the rows were sewn together, other hexagons needed to be added. But, with the large throat space on the PFAFF Creative 4.5, it was easy to maneuver the quilt to stitch around those few shapes.

Satin stitch with taupe thread Stabilizer applied to back of applique shapes

Just because I like to tease, I’m only going to show part of the quilt sewn together.

Mirroring stitches

I personally have never mirrored a stitch as I have had no reason to do so because I don’t use many stitches that work well with the mirroring tool. It’s so easy to use! All you have to do is click on the mirror icons to mirror the stitch either side-to-side or end-to-end. The icon with the stylus pointing at it and the arrows pointing side-to-side mirrors a stitch-to-side. Whereas, the icon beside it with the arrows pointing up and down mirrors the stitch from end-to-end. Below is a photo of a stitch pattern that I mirrored side-to-side so that the circles are on top instead of on the bottom of the stitch pattern.



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Quilting the Challenge Quilt At this point, the quilt top is finished and ready for the quilting stage. It has been a lot of fun seeing how the the three different blocks and the applique pieces for the What’s Good For the Gal Is Good For the Guy quilt have developed and emerged into a whole entity. I love creating the individual parts of a quilt but it’s also satisfying to see it all put together. What is even more satisfying is seeing it quilted. There are few things that need to be done first before I can actually sit down and quilt.

The three layers

I already have the top layer finished and ready to go but I still need some batting and a backing for this quilt.

Curved safety pins about a fist width apart

The batting I have and I just need to cut it to the correct size. It’s 100% cotton, which is one of my favorite battings. It’s a low loft batting so will remain quite flat when quilted. If I use a batting with polyester, which has more loft, the quilt would have some puffiness to it. The backing I will create from a fabulous piece of flannel. Now, when I started the challenge way back when, the idea was to create a pieced back using some of the Eclectic Elements fabric and the backing fabric. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough of those fabrics left to create a backing. But, I do have an idea to create something else with them — shhhhh don’t tell as it’s a surprise.

A pile of binding

The backing is a single fabric in lovely blue flannel by Northcott Fabrics, which will be warm and cozy to the body.

Sandwiching the quilt

The fabric sampler

I’ve rearranged my studio and put some tables together so I can sandwich the three quilt layers together. Once the layers are all layered smoothly, it’s time to do a whole lot of pinning. I’ve made sure that the backing and batting are 2-inches larger than the quilt top all the way around. It’s always a good plan to have these two layers larger just in case there is any movement of the quilt layers. There’s nothing worse than having a section with no backing or batting.

Thread choices




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I prefer pinning to spray basting even though it does take longer. If you pin well, there should be minimal movement of the layers while quilting. TIP Place pins about a fist width apart — this will ensure optimal pinning for minimal movement.


I like to make the binding before quilting the quilt to have it all ready to go and I don’t accidentally use the binding fabric for something else. I decided on one of the feature fabrics for the binding — stripes in blue and tan. This fabric is going to look super framing the quilt. Plus, it looks great with the backing fabric that it is lying on. When I calculate how many strips to make for the binding, I keep it simple. All I do is add the measurements of each side together and add an extra 20-inches to ensure overlap for sewing the ends together. then, I divide by 40. Not exactly an exact science but it works for me and there isn’t all kinds of convoluted measuring or matching involved. For this quilt that’s 72" on each side, I rounded up to 80" (this will include the extra 20" I normally add), multiplied by four to get 320" and divided by 40 which equals eight strips of fabric. Easy peasy!

Picking a thread

I made a little sampler of some of the feature fabrics and the background fabrics to test a couple of threads. I did both straight stitch and free motion samples with each thread. Because all the fabrics are a bit different, it’s hard to get a thread that will blend into all the fabrics. I don’t want the thread to stand out because I feel the design is the focal point of this quilt, not the quilting. My two choices of thread are a variegated blue or a variegated gray. I’ve decided on the blue for the background and, most likely, the gray for the feature fabrics. But, I may change my mind when I start quilting the feature fabric and go with a variegated brown, since many of the blocks have a brown tinge to them.

The denim 'corner' pocket sewn on the backing is a great detail. It proves to be very useful for holding cell phones, iPods, chocolate (?), whatever floats your boat during those difficult university days. Quilting the quilt

The large throat space of the Creative 4.5 is going to make the quilting so much easier. Another bonus is the great lighting on the machine — four LED lights really light up the work area. This will help me to see the blue thread on the blue background. TIP Rolling the quilt makes it easier to maneuver the quilt within the machine. You can even secure the roll with bicycle clips so it won’t unroll — these clips are used to secure your pant leg from getting caught in the chain. I’ve put the open-toed decorative foot on the machine so I can see where I’m going with my stitching. Make sure to also pick a foot that's compatible with the IDT system. The system needs to be engaged while quilting to ensure that the three layers of fabric move smoothly under the foot and over the feed dogs.

Open-toed foot in place ready to quilt

Quilt rolled and in machine

TIP Always start quilting from the center of the quilt working out to the edges. This will ensure any movement of the layers towards the edges of the quilt rather than towards the center where unwanted bulges could remain from the movement of the quilt. I’ve decided to do straight quilting on the background fabric. My reason for this is that I think that if I do a free motion design it will take away from the actual design of the quilt and the feature fabrics. Plus, to me, the straight lines are much more masculine than a free motion design and, since it’s for a young man, I’m going with my gut feeling. Check out my earlier posts here and here on, for a complete tutorial on free motion quilting, and ideas for free motion quilting designs. I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do in the feature fabrics yet, but I’m leaning towards some echo quilting of the shape of the feature fabric in the block.

Making the labels

One alphabet option

I have to say that I’m not the best one for putting labels on my quilts, but this quilt will have a label because I have an embroidery machine to make a label! The PFAFF Creative 4.5 also has an embroidery component — an awesome one at that. I need to add a phrase to this pocket. As well as another phrase on the backing and then of course the label with the name of quilt, who made it, and so on. To make these labels, I can choose from several different alphabets within the software of the machine to embroider phrases. If I wasn’t happy with any of those fonts, I could download one from the computer to the machine to use. Lots of options.



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After working on the challenge quilt for months, it's a great feeling to get it finished. It's an even greater feeling to see how all the details in the making of the quilt come together to pull off the challenge. With the leftover fabric, I made 3 cushion covers matching the quilt.


The 'intertwined' quilt block, geometric applique shapes, the straight line quilting and the binding, give a crisp and masculine feel to the quilt. But, let's not forget the cozy flannel backing, the special denim pocket, the label and embroidered words, is what makes this quilt heartwarming for a young man off to university.

Intertwined quilt block

I hope you've enjoyed following this challenge as much as I've enjoyed creating it. - Jennifer Houlden Hour glass applique quilt block

Label on quilt





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Straight quilted lines




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good for the guy...

Constellation Quilt

Is it wrong to a sewing machine?

In this update on What’s Good for the Gal is Good for the Guy quilt challenge, my heart is all aflutter as I think how easy the embroidery element of this quilt is, thanks to the Designer Ruby Royale. Is it wrong to LOVE a sewing machine? As I’m typing this, the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale is busy working on the challenge quilt and I’m as nervous as the mother of a new born child! Well you’ll see by the end of the post what’s happening. Sort of. I don’t want to divulge too much information – I know Carla is dying to see the quilt but I’m going to make her wait until it’s absolutely complete. I’m so excited.

Quick tutorial on borders

The two border strips are joined on the diagonal. Note the pencil line from the two intersections. Pinned for stability.

Sewing a border on a quilt can be a tricky thing. I’ve seen people measure out the border length and then add an inch in case they’ve made a mistake! Some just sew on the border and hope for the best. I’ve had to cut out inches of excess fabric in a border that someone else assembled. It isn’t fun. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to properly put on the border. You want that border to be flat, you want the two sides to be equal and you want the top and bottom to be equal to each other. Corners should be 90 degrees. Are you ready?

Trim the seam to 1⁄4" seam allowance and OH – there go the selvedges! Don’t need them any more. Press that seam to one side and you can cut off that dog ear if you like.

difference to cut them parallel to the selvedge and it takes a lot more fabric. However if you don’t want seams in the borders, then you’ve no choice but to cut parallel to the selvedge. Unless the border is wider than 61⁄2" (my standard border size), I join the border strips on the diagonal. And don’t throw those cut off triangles away. Nope – I use them to make hour glass blocks. And soon I’ll have a scrappy hour glass block quilt. In the photo, you can see that I have NOT cut off the selvedges. By overlapping the strips this way, it is much easier to see where the intersection of the two fabric pieces is and that is where I start and end my seam. Next up – measure the quilt through the center. I like to put the longest border on first. I don’t bother taking averages, but you can if you want. That just takes too much time! Cut two pieces that are the same length as that measurement from the center of the quilt. I use a tape measure, a small cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter to make this an easy process. It also helps if you have a table that you can lay that strip on to get a more accurate measurement. Make sure you carefully move the measuring tape out of the way before you cut!

STOP THE PRESSES – I just heard the Designer Ruby Royale’s beautiful song alerting me that my embroidery is FINISHED! I’m afraid to look.

Now you’re going to find the center of that border strip and the center of one side of the quilt. Pin at both ends and in the center.

We’ll look in a minute – let’s get back to the tutorial.

I am not a pinner. It takes up too much time (I use a quilter’s awl instead), the pins get on the floor, you can’t find the pin cushion – you know how that is. BUT I do pin borders on. I want my borders to lie

I cut my borders from selvedge to selvedge. I don’t think it makes a huge


om offs fr m cut o r f e ad cks m rs . lass blo s on borde g r u o m H a e s nal diago

good for the gal... flat and you cannot achieve this by just sewing the strips to the side of the quilt. When you’re pinning the border, you’ll likely have to ease the border on one side of the quilt and then have to ease the quilt on the other side. Sometimes, I have to ease the top half of the border and then ease the bottom half of the quilt. That’s why we “force” the quilt to be the same length by adding those two borders strips that are cut the same length. Makes sense right? Bottom line – pin the borders. If you get your quilts quilted by a long-arm quilter, they’ll love you and they can tell if you pinned those borders or not. Something else to ponder: Remember how I positioned those pins with the head sticking out? Well look at what happens when I start to sew. I love using the Quilter’s 1⁄4" Piecing foot P for getting a nice 1⁄4" seam. Notice that I shifted my fabric just slightly to the left of the edge of the foot. That allows me to get the scant 1⁄4".

Let’s do some applique

Now that I have borders on one section of the quilt, it’s time to get the applique done before I get everything sewn together. I changed to the Open Toe Applique foot so I could see exactly where I was going. This is especially handy if you have tight spots to get into and going around corners. Notice how my needle is in the background fabric on the extreme right of the stitch. Technically, my needle could have been one stitch closer to the applique fabric but let that be our secret! You want 99 percent of the applique stitch to sit on the applique piece. The needle just skims into the background on the right hand side to ensure that the outer edge of the applique piece is covered.

Photos by Elaine Theriault

Elaine Theriault

Rip rip rip

I do aim for accuracy in my piecing and I find that using the quilter’s awl instead of pins makes a big difference. It does take a bit of time to get used to it! I’m careful with my cutting, pressing and the scant 1⁄4" seam allowance. But sometimes – well those darn seams don’t match up. Now Measuring the length of the border strips. I know – you’re thinking that this seam isn’t so bad, but because of it’s position and coloring in the quilt – this was a big deal. So I ripped it out. Just one inch on either side of the intersection. There was one last section that was haunting me. I struggled with this small but critical section of the quilt. It has been on the design wall and I have stared at it for days. I cut pieces for it – first they were not big enough, One end of the border pinned (note the way the then they were too big. Then I sewed them pin is placed – with the head sticking OUT) together and I still wasn’t happy. My daughter (about the same age as the recipient) came into the studio and she said NO – you can’t leave it like that. Drat! That’s what I was afraid of. So that means I have to get the stitch ripper out and replace a couple of pieces. Thankfully they are small and I won’t be wasting any fabric. But just when I thought I was almost done! I have to confess that I’m not a big planner. I find it difficult to follow the instructions in a pattern, I find it hard to write things out so others can follow. But if you gave me fabric and said – make something. Oh yes – but it has to ‘come to me’ as I work. I’ll rarely plan something out completely before I start. I like to dive in and see where the project takes me. That’s what happened in this challenge.

Hold your breath!

I have been watching Jennifer’s design (for the guy) with interest. (By the way Jennifer… thanks for letting me have the ‘Gal’.) If you haven’t checked out what Jen is creating – you should! Our designs are so different, but then our recipients are very different people.

The other end of the border is pinned

The center is pinned (I moved my pin slightly so you could see my pinch press to mark the center).

Pins in the rest of the border



spring 2015


I have been focused on the machine embroidery this week and my intention, almost from day one of this assignment, was to incorporate some embroidery into the design. Quilter’s awl

So – I figured out what I was embroidering. I so want to tell you, but it won’t make sense until you see the entire design. Let me just say that I put words on the quilt. Yes – I hooped the quilt top (held my breath) and hit start! As you could tell earlier in this post – the embroidery is done. And the results…………….

Protruding pins are easy to remove (I am right handed)

I can’t tell you. Not yet. But let’s just say that I have a huge smile on my face. No – I’m grinning like a Cheshire cat. The embroidery turned out exactly how I imagined it. I’m thrilled. I’m doing the happy dance! I think you get the picture.

A not so nice seam intersection

And thank goodness for the Royal hoop (360 mm by 200 mm) because I was able to do all the embroidery with one hooping. I was worried, because I’m not the best at hooping fabric especially if I have to line it up, but one hoop was all I needed! I feel like I cheated a bit because my design is quite basic, but there are a number of subtleties within it that I think are very special. I hope the recipient feels the same way.

Sometimes I even use my quilter’s awl to wick those pins out of the fabric so I don’t sew over them.

I even have my Dad hunting down something for the quilt and he lives in Saskatchewan. Patience – all will be revealed in due time.

Much better seam intersection

I still have to quilt the quilt… well first I must replace those unruly parts! Working with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale has made all these embroidery projects a snap. Like I said – I don’t do a lot of embroidery, but I had no problems figuring out what needed to be done and where. And I want to find something else that needs to be embroidered. What can I say – the Designer Ruby Royale has made me look like a real professional and I didn’t really have to do much! Really? Is it wrong to LOVE a sewing machine? Applique using the satin stitch




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Getting ready to do machine embroidery on the quilt top

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Spring fun

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Machine quilting Free motion quilting – to some it's a bad word, to others it's freedom! Let's explore free motion machine quilting on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale. I’m going to show you how easy it is to do free motion quilting on the Ruby Royale and I’m throwing in a few related tips along the way. Basting the quilt The first step is to baste the three layers together. I laid out the backing (wrong side up) on my work tables. I love to use the 505 basting spray because it's fast and easy. However, I do not like the over spray which leaves sticky residue on surfaces and has to be cleaned up. Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale

Keeping that in mind, I decided to try a different way of using the spray. Instead of using a light steady stream of the spray, I spot sprayed and those three layers were basted together perfectly and NO RESIDUE and nothing to clean up! Yes, I just went spritz – spritz – spritz and that was enough to hold the quilt together. A can of basting spray will go VERY far when used like this. I kept checking the back of the quilt as I quilted to make sure that there were no tucks or wrinkles. It was perfect and I didn’t have to make any adjustments. Nothing to clean up – I like that. More time for quilting. One of the other reasons I like the 505 basting spray is that while it has a bit of a smell, it's not over powering and since I didn’t use a lot, the smell dissipated rather quickly. Quilting gloves A pair of quilter’s gloves are very useful for getting a grip on the quilt and helping to move it around. As you can see, my gloves are well used. They do NOT look that black in real life. The lighting did something to the color. Oh my – perhaps they need to be washed!

Machine quilting gloves

505 Basting Spray



Backing taped to the work surface in preparation for basting


spring 2015

Prepping the Ruby Royale I installed the Open-Toe Free Motion Spring Foot on the Ruby Royale. Then I selected the appropriate free motion technique. In this case, Free Motion Spring Action. Next up – load the quilt beneath the needle and pull up the bobbin thread. Ready, set, quilt! Notice that for the design that I was quilting, I started at the bottom of the quilt and worked my way to the top. Sometimes, it's easier to see the design that way. If what you have just quilted is behind the needle, it's hard to see where to quilt. When you’re doing your practice stitch outs – try starting at the top, then try starting at the bottom. Which direction is easier to see and quilt? Just in case you are wondering about my thread – I was using a cone of thread so it was sitting on an external thread stand behind the Ruby Royale. I placed the Ruby Royale in my sewing cabinet, making a nice flat surface to work on. I have the extension surface on the left hand side (it’s under the quilt) and you can see as I was pulling the quilt towards myself, the quilt is very nicely supported by that extension surface. You absolutely need something to support the quilt on the left. Otherwise, you will struggle to support the quilt. For some reason as I was quilting, I kept hitting the screen and I was afraid of changing a setting. It was easy to set the Lock Screen function so that it didn’t matter how many times I touched the screen, no changes were made unless I wanted them. I love this feature. It’s brilliant! The design Let’s talk about the design. I’ve been contemplating confessing this to you and I finally wrapped my brain around the fact that I need to fess up. It's (was) a good learning experience for me and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake.

The quilt that I chose to “practice” on is the one for the What’s Good for the Gal, is Good for the Guy Challenge. That was my first mistake. It would appear that QUILTsocial has become my confessional. While I’ve done many hours of free motion on a domestic sewing machine, I’m out of practice. I’ve been quilting smaller items on the domestic sewing machine or quilting on a long arm. So if I'm out of practice, what possessed me to pick this one to experiment on? Obviously – I was having a delusional moment! Let’s just say that I wanted an overall design of vines and leaves on the quilt. Note the word OVERALL. What do I tell my students? Break up the quilt into sections – it’s harder to do an overall design on a domestic sewing machine. It can be done, but it’s harder.

Select the appropriate free motion technique

The other thing I tell the students – think about density. I love dense overall quilting, but NOT on a lap or bed quilt. Guess what size my challenge quilt is? Yep – a lap quilt. I think that makes three strikes against me! As if all that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve always had trouble quilting leaves. Don’t know why – just happens. Do you see where I'm going with this?? Anyway – I did practice on paper. I was very happy with my doodles. The leaves were wonky – just like leaves are, I was able to travel around the design – no problem.

Practice doodling the quilting design on paper

I did a test stitch out sample on fabric and yes – I was good to go. And then ………….. As I was quilting, I checked the tension of the stitching – yes – looks good, I checked the back for tucks – yes that looks good as well. The consistency of the stitches – not perfect, but not so bad considering my lack of practice on the domestic sewing machine. Open Toe Free Spring Foot on the Ruby Royale



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However my common sense ran completely out of the window when it came to density. I realized that the quilting was way too dense for a lap quilt. I didn’t like the density at all. I spent a week ripping out the quilting. GASP! (I have totally wiped that week from my memory bank!) They say that negative experiences like this are character building. Hmmm – let’s just say that I built a LOT of character as I patiently took that quilting out. Yes – the quilt was almost done when common sense took hold of my brain. In order for all of us to learn and become better free motion quilters, here are some tips to help you with your free motion quilting – especially choosing a design! Tips for successful free motion quilting Density – this is a personal taste, but I love very densely quilted quilts. If the quilt is to be used as a table runner or wall hanging, dense quilting is great. But a too densely quilted lap or bed quilt doesn’t drape well and isn’t cuddly. Think about the end use of the quilt as you contemplate the density of the stitching you’re planning.

Ready to start quilting

Overall designs – while overall designs are great and can be expertly done on a domestic sewing machine, be careful. The area in which you’re quilting (around the needle) is small so it's harder to get that sweeping motion for a loose design. It can be done, but be very careful. Check often – are you happy with it? Quilt in sections – it is super easy to break a quilt down into sections (visually – not physically) and then quilt section by section or block by block. So you need to consider how you can do that on your quilt. My problem was – I didn’t want to break it down in sections.

Quilt is supported on the left by the extension surface of the quilting table

Practice – doodle your design on paper before you start to quilt. Do you have the flow? Can you travel from motif to motif? Try to doodle in the size you need on your quilt. Too dense, not dense enough? Thread – pick your thread colors wisely. While the thread doesn’t have to match exactly, the more it blends in, the more any mistakes are disguised. Busy backings – a busy backing will disguise a whole multitude of sins. The good news I’m happy to report that although my quilting skills were a bit lacking – I had no problem working on this size of quilt on the Ruby Royale. There were no skipped stitches and the stitches were well formed - a bit too well since I had to remove them all! The Ruby Royale was a lot of fun to quilt on. Another question that I frequently get asked is how to deal with the bulk of the quilt under the arm of the sewing machine. We tend to think of how much space we have to the right of the needle. In this case, the Ruby Royale has 10" of space.

Quilting design from the front




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By pushing the quilt UP, I still have 10 inches of space to the right of the needle

However – we forget that we also have lots of room in the HEIGHT of that space. As you’re quilting, if you push the quilt UP – you’ll still have the entire space (10") to work. There is slightly over 4" of clearance between the bed of the Ruby Royale and the top of that space. That's a lot of space to push a quilt up into.

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The second piece of good news Because the quilting design that I wanted was very specific, I quilted the What’s Good the Gal, is Good for the Guy challenge quilt on the long arm. Would I try another quilt on the Ruby Royale? You bet – the sewing machine did NOT let me down. My lack of skill for this type of design needs some work. Next time, I'll try a smaller piece and break the design down – just like I used to and had much success. There's ample space to maneuver a quilt on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale. No skipped stitches, excellent tension, and the ability to lock that screen, made the quilting job easy.



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spring 2015


7 Quilting design elements to add personality

Here you can see the chalk line which allowed me to match up the next row

Seams are pressed away from the mortar (sashing) to make them recede from the bricks (focus fabric)

The house built into the bricks

Time for a ‘tour’ of the design process and elements and the inspiration behind it. Here are 7 quilting design elements to add personality to this quilt:

the guy and I was working on the quilt for the gal.

•• incorporating the interests of the recipient into the quilt top (duplicating bricks and mortar and the house) •• quilting the vine •• adding a jean pocket to remember a beloved family member and clever label •• using embroidery to ‘say what you need to say’ on the quilt top and backing •• add special tags •• making the story of the quilt special by incorporating a little history •• using a forgiving quilt backing

Although I never met the recipient of the quilt, I was provided with a few details of her likes which includes things that are vintage, rustic and countryside scenery. She’s studying architecture and is highly creative. She would love to live in a real functioning tree house, or a house in the forest.

If you’ve been following QUILTsocial, you know that Jen was working on a quilt for




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You can check back here for more details on the challenge.

Hmmm – I was getting a recurring theme here – houses! I also thought about some of the other requests – no traditional borders, try to highlight the theme fabric. That was a lot of information to decipher and come up with something creative.

The design

I wanted to keep the elements in the quilt simple. I also wanted the elements in the quilt to be subtle. And somewhere in the quilt, I wanted a house. We had received a package of 10-inch squares of fabric to work with. Not a lot of room for error and I really wanted to showcase the fabric by not cutting it up much. Hmmmm – I could make the quilt look like a brick wall and incorporate the subtle elements onto the wall. Yes – that would work, and I proceeded to cut the 10" squares into “bricks” that were 10" x 5". Absolutely no waste from the fabric pieces. Although I do have a few bits left over which I’m making into another project (a gift for Carla) which you’ll see in an upcoming post.

Next up was to add some mortar to the mix. It was very difficult choosing a color – I wanted to keep it neutral to help highlight the focus prints, I wanted it to be somewhat realistic and I eventually went with a gray. So now that I had the mortar color picked out, I had a couple of other issues that I had to take care of that involved piecing and pressing. Although real bricks wouldn’t have exactly matched up from row to row, I wanted my bricks to match. So I used a chalk pencil to mark where the seams for each row should go in order to have the bricks in alternating rows line up properly. Next up was the pressing. If you look at the mortar on a brick house, you’ll notice that it recedes from the surface of the bricks. In order to replicate that look, I had to press the seams away from the mortar to make it recede from the bricks (focus fabric). That meant I had to press the seams back against all those cross seams. This is the opposite to how I would have pressed it, but I was going for a certain effect and so those seams were pressed that way. I like to use steam when I press so it wasn’t a big deal, and I was very happy with the end result. A very very subtle effect, but it’s something that I would notice (hey – I like small details!) Do you see how flat my seam allowances are? A little steam will do wonders!

The house

I had been pondering how to incorporate a house into the bricks. Initially, I was going to put a small house into one (or several) of the bricks, but after chatting with a very creative thinker (Tish), she suggested that I build the house bigger with the bricks. I looked through the fabric pieces and YES – there was a way to make the house fit that approach and so the house was built into the bricks. That created a new dilemma – how to maintain the mortar pattern through the house. I wanted the house to be subtle – but if I had used the gray fabric, the house wouldn’t have been noticeable at all as all the prints are very busy. So I changed the color of the mortar so that the house would be more noticeable. But then what to do with the sides of the house? No design effort goes off without collaboration. My daughter (who is the same age as the recipient) and I were discussing the mortar (sashing) and we both agreed that the gray had to be incorporated to make the house noticeable. I won’t tell you how many times I had to measure and remeasure to get those pieces replaced. Don’t forget to add a quarter inch seam allowance – DUH! The windows and doors were cut from one of the fabrics in the line Tim Holtz (Eclectic Elements) and fused in place. Then outlined with a satin stitch. I’ve had discussions related to the stories that people dream up about their quilts. Do they think of everything

Abandoned house near Spinney Hill, Saskatchewan

before the quilt is made or do they make the story up after the quilt is done? I do a bit of both. I really have a hard time sitting down and planning all the details out – I just let it happen which has driven everyone I work with absolutely crazy. As I sat back and looked at this house, I realized that it reminded me a great deal of an abandoned house from the area that I grew up. So I phoned mom and dad in Saskatchewan and asked them to photograph the said house. I think they enjoyed the assignment even though they had to make three trips before they got the pictures – no batteries, dead batteries – you see, my technology issues are genetic! I learned the history of the house which has been abandoned for a long, long time (50 years) and I’m going to include a picture of the house and the story with this quilt.

The poem

If you have been following my story on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale, you know that I love words on quilts. I wondered how I could incorporate words onto this quilt. I happened to be reading a book called Art Quilt Maps by Valerie S. Goodwin. Hey – she has used words on some of her art quilts, not embroidered words, but words nonetheless. She often incorporates Haikus, which is a style of poetry. I’ve been known to write poetry in my time so I sat down and wrote out a Haiku.



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Once I was happy with the text, I placed the quilt top in the embroidery hoop and hit START. It’s moments like these that you hope everything goes well. There was no turning back. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when that part was completed. Again, I wanted this poem to be subtle. Almost like I didn’t want it to be seen unless the observer ‘felt’ the words. It was hard to choose a color of thread that would completely blend in, but I’m happy with the results. And for someone who doesn’t do a lot of embroidery, I hooped it pretty straight!

Haiku embroidered on the quilt front (top left hand corner) Author: Elaine Theriault

The quilt back We were also given instructions to make the back more than just a plain back. I was using a flannel from the Man about Town flannel collection from Northcott Fabrics. It’s a gorgeous fabric, mottled enough to be a great backing concealing a multitude of sins. I embroidered a message on the back. I had to be careful where the message went so that when the quilt was layered, the message was in the right spot. Again – I went for subtle and chose a thread color that stood out, but not too bright. The quilting As you know from yesterday’s post that I struggled with the quilting. Not because of the Ruby Royale, but my area of expertise or lack thereof. I had a vision and I wasn’t able to execute it on the domestic sewing machine. The picture of the vine on the brick wall was my inspiration with the addition of leaves. After removing all the quilting, I did the quilting on the long arm and I was pleased with the results.

Machine embroidered message on the back of the quilt

The label and the pocket We were also asked to incorporate a denim pocket onto the back of the quilt. The pocket was from a pair of jeans that had belonged to a family member who had since passed. I thought of the pocket and the label many times over the course of making the top. I had this vision, then I had another and when the time came to attach the pocket, the design just happened all by itself. At first, I was going to make a tag and incorporate it with the pocket. So I took a piece of fabric and ran it through the ink-jet printer to get the tag.

Inspiration for the quilt design

Quilting on the bricks and mortar

It’s very easy to do this – I first designed and printed the label on paper. Then carefully taped (very well) a piece of fabric over the writing on the paper. Then reprint the label using that piece of paper with the fabric taped to it. And voila! – you’ll have printing on your fabric. TIP I only use black ink (ink-jet only) for this purpose as colored inks are not permanent unless treated. Now I had to embroider a message onto the pocket. ACK – that pocket is too small to hoop but I used a sticky stabilizer and stuck the pocket to the stabilizer.




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Choosing the lettering was easy as pie using the built in fonts on the Ruby Royale. No need to bring up a computer program – ALL of the printing on this quilt was designed directly on the Ruby Royale Embroidery Edit screen. It just doesn’t get any easier than that. The flexibility in this area is phenomenal. And when I think of what I used to have to do to get lettering – well I shudder at that complicated process. Before I hooped the pocket, I marked the center lines of the pocket so I could center it in the hoop. Notice the chalk lines are lining up with the center notches on the hoop.

The label printed onto fabric which is taped to a piece of paper

Then it was easy to use the on-screen tools to center the words and position them just right. Embroidered designs can be a bit rough on the underside. Since I wanted to keep the pocket usable, and therefore soft to the touch, I applied a lightweight fusible to the underside of the pocket to cover up the back side of the embroidered message. As I was working on the lettering for the pocket, I changed my mind about the tag. I would incorporate the wording as if it were a tag right into the stitching of the pocket, and let’s not forget the trademark label that I put into things that I make! I was going to have to hand stitch the pocket/label elements to the back of the quilt and I certainly did not want to have to handstitch that denim pocket down.

Pocket hooped on sticky stabilizer

So I stitched everything to a leftover piece of the backing fabric. Everything was top stitched with the Ruby Royale and then the background of the pocket/label was trimmed down and hand stitched to the back of the quilt. If you didn’t know that detail, you may not realize it unless you look closely. The busy backing is great camouflage for that kind of thing. One more note about quilting designs I frequently have discussions with customers about the style of quilting designs. Should it be overall or should it be custom? In this case, I didwn't want any of the elements to be highlighted and my inspiration of the vines would add to the feel that this was a brick wall. The following series of pictures shows detail of the quilting over the various elements and you can see that not once does the quilting detract or interfere with the design elements.

Stitching out the message for the pocket

Choosing the appropriate, and in this case, very neutral threads makes the quilting design part of the quilt. It adds to the total look and feel of the quilt, but doesn’t steal the show! And there you have it. What an interesting project. I love a challenge and this one certainly was challenging. But I am very happy with the end result. It was exciting to use the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale to make this quilt. The embroidery was easy regardless of the surface I worked on, the lettering was easy to select and everything was built into the Ruby Royale. Be inspired to add character to your quilts. I hope you enjoyed a tour of my 7 quilting design elements to add personality to your quilts.

Lightweight fusible interfacing on the underside of the embroidered pocket



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There's a definitely an anticipated thrill when revealing the quilt I designed for the What's Good for the Gal, is Good for the Guy challenge. Although I've never met the recipient of the quilt before the quilt was done, the few details of her likes which include things that are vintage, rustic and countryside scenery. She is studying architecture and is highly creative. She would love to live in a real functioning tree house, or a house in the forest. Hmmm – I was getting a recurring theme here – houses! I also thought about some of the other requests – no traditional borders, try to highlight the theme fabric. That was a lot of information to decipher and come up with something creative. I wanted to get a picture of the quilt at an abandoned house and this is the only house I knew of that was close by. So yes – there I am on the corner of a very busy intersection wandering around with camera and quilt in hand trying to find some good shots.

The pocket – a great place to put a note (or in this cases, pictures)

Thank you for following along during my designing, quilting and my many musings in the creation of this exciting quilt! I hope I've inspired you to quilt outside the box and most especially, to tailor the quilt design to the recipient to experience absolute success! - Elaine Theriault

You know – you've seen people doing weird things on the side of the road and you think "what the heck are they doing?" Now you know – it usually isn't mindless wandering – there's usually a good reason. But this is a gorgeous house and I'd love to see the inside. Alas the big NO TRESPASSING sign on what used to be the front door was enough to deter me and get those pictures taken quickly.

Quilting on the embroidered poem

e ng me hav i t t le r o f Jen – "Thanks ure I would have ilt. I'm s e Guy, the Gal qu h something for th it l." z come up w working for the Ga fun but I had



Quilting on the message on the back



Points jewelry hanger

Donna Housley

Prairie Points are not just for quilts. In this project, they have been used to decorate the strap that keeps things in their place in this cute jewelry hanger. 36

skill level intermediate finished measurements 11½" x 22" [29 x 56cm] including the elastic loop materials 24" [60cm] cotton for front, back and lining fat quarter for strap fat quarter for Prairie Points 2" [5cm] of ¼" [6mm] elastic 1 pkg Unique double fold bias binding Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra 14" x 28" [35.5 x 71cm] HeatnBond Vinyl 22" [55cm] invisible zipper Heirloom 5⁄16" [8mm] Rinse Away basting tape all purpose thread 40 wt Sulky rayon thread Microtex needle size 70 or 80 depending on the thread you are using child size plastic hanger (no wider than 12") suggested notions Clover Fabric Folding Pen Clover Wonder Clips quilter’s ruler 18mm cutter Heirloom Air-erasable marker Heirloom Teflon pressing sheet Heirloom Sew Smooth fabric glue stick cutting instructions From fabric cut: 2 – 4" x 10" for prairie points 2 – 2½" x 10" for strap 1 – 13" x 20" for front 1 – 13" x 13" for lower back 1 – 13" x 6½" for back top 1 – 13" x 16" for lower back lining From Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra cut: 2 – 2¼" x 9¾" 1 – 12½" x 19¾" 1 – 12½" x 6¼" 1 – 12½" x 1½" 1 – 12½" x 12¾" From HeatnBond Vinyl cut: 2 – 14" x 14" for pockets

instructions the strap sewing machine set up: regular sewing foot cotton or all-purpose sewing thread top and bobbin Microtex size 80 needle

making continuous prairie points 1. Draw a line lengthwise down the centre of a 4" x 10" strip. 2. On one side of the centre line, draw a line every 2" from the centre line to the outside edge. 3. On the other side of the centre line, draw one line 1" in from the centre line to the edge, then draw lines every 2" offsetting the lines by 1" from the lines on the opposite side. See Diagram. 4. Cut on each of these 2" lines up to the centre line. Cut away the 1" piece from each end. See Photo 1. 5. Use the Fabric Folding pen and mark a 45⁰ line on each 2" piece. Fold wrong sides together and glue down with a fabric glue stick if necessary. 6. Use the Fabric Folding pen and mark a 45⁰ line across the fold. Fold and glue if necessary. The strip will have points on either side. 7. Fold the strip in half lengthwise. You now have a 8" to 9" strip of Prairie Points. 8. Repeat with the second 4" x 10" strip. finishing the straps 1. Fuse the 2¼" x 9¾" pieces of Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra to the back of the 2½" x 10" strap pieces. 2. The straps can be finished in a point or left flat. If pointed edge is desired, use a quilter’s ruler with a 45⁰ mark to cut one end of each strip. See Photo 2. 3. Measure 1½" back from the point and mark with a pin. Align the straight edge of one of the Prairie Point strips along the straight edge of the strap fabric. Holding the points in place with Clover Wonder clips makes this very easy. Baste in place. See Photo 3. 4. Repeat for the other side of the strap. Loop a 2" piece of ¼" wide elastic and pin to the tapered end of the strip with the loop facing the centre. 5. Lay the 2nd strap piece, right sides together, to the strap with the prairie points (the prairie points and the elastic are sandwiched inside). Pin in place or better yet use the Clover Wonder clips again!!

1 2

3 1"

2" 1"



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Note: Remember that the strap will be hanging down the centre of the back so keep that in mind when designing your embellishments. 5. Mark the top centre of the Lower Back. Using this mark as a guide, lay the strap on the back fabric with the raw edges together. Baste in place. 6. With right sides together sew the Lower Back Lining (along the edge with the Soft’n Sheer) to the top of the Lower Back piece. Press seam toward the lining. 7. Along the edge of the 1½" piece of Soft’n Sheer fold the lining to the back (wrong sides together). Press the fold. inserting the decorative invisible zipper 1. Place double sided basting tape on the right side of the Top Back and the Lower Back along the folded edges. Remove the paper and finger press the zipper in place right side up along the upper back. machine set up decorative stitch foot rayon thread top and bobbin Microtex size 70 or 80 needle

6. Use a ¼" seam allowance to sew around 3 sides of the strip leaving a 3" to 4" opening along one of the long sides for turning. Do not sew the square end closed. 7. Trim seam and clip corners (run the Fabric Folding Pen along the stitching line) then turn right side out. 8. Press and neaten the square end if necessary. Set the strap aside. hanger back 1. Fuse the 12½" x 6¼" piece of Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra to the back of the 13" x 6½" Back Top. On the lower edge of the back top, fold ¼" of fabric to the wrong side. Press in place and set aside. 2. Fuse the 12½" x 1½" piece of Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra to the back of the 13" x 16" Lower Back Lining along the top edge. Set aside. 3. Fuse the 12½" x 12¾" piece of Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra to the back of the 13" x 13" Lower Back fabric. 4. Be as creative as you like with the Lower Back. Embroider, free motion, use fabric paint or markers, appliqué or just leave plain.




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2. Open the zipper and stitch it down with a decorative stitch. Close the zipper. Line up the Top Back and Lower Back strip, remove paper and finger press the zipper in place. Open the zipper and stitch the second side. If you’re using a dense stitch float a piece of tear away stabilizer under the zipper to avoid puckering. Note: If the needle gets gummed up with the adhesive from the basting tape put a drop of Sew Smooth on a cotton swab and wipe the adhesive off the needle. Not only does it clean the needle but it will lubricate it as well. hanger front create Heat n Bond Vinyl yardage 1. Remove the paper from the back of one of the pieces of vinyl and lay it with the sticky side up on the ironing board. Scatter threads and small bits of fabric on the vinyl. Remove the paper from the other piece of vinyl and lay it on top (sticky side down) of the other piece. Use the paper peeled off from the vinyl, or a Teflon pressing sheet, to seal the vinyl closed. Never allow the Vinyl to contact the base of the iron. 2. From this piece of decorated vinyl, cut 3 strips 13" x 4". Bind one 13" edge of each strip with double fold bias tape using a decorative stitch. Set aside. 3. Fuse a 12½" x 19¾" piece of Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra to the back of the front fabric. Measure up 11½" from the lower

edge and draw a line with an air-erasable marker across the width. Place the top of the first pocket on this line. 4. Add a decorative feature to the top of the Front. When designing the embellishment remember you will be adding a button. machine set up regular sewing foot cotton or all-purpose sewing thread top and bobbin Microtex size 80 needle 5. Stitch across the bottom of the pocket. Lay the second pocket so that the top of the pocket is overlapping the stitching line of the last pocket. Stitch the bottom and repeat for the 3rd pocket. To create smaller pockets stitch 1 or 2 lines from the top of the binding to the bottom edge of the pockets. assembling the jewelry hanger 1. Place Front and Back right sides together. At this point you may need to trim so that the back and the front are the same size. 2. Lay the hanger along the top edge of the back. Trace the top edge of the hanger on the wrong side of the Back with an air-erasable marker. 3. To avoid an everlasting hole, use Clover Wonder clips instead of pins, to place the back and front right sides together. Slightly open the zipper. 4. Starting ½" from the centre top (where the hanger goes through) stitch on the line drawn along top, then sew down the side, across the bottom and up the other side with a ¼" seam allowance. Then sew on the line again at the top stopping ½" from the centre, leaving a 1" opening. Note: If your hanger is a bit smaller than the 13" width of the fabric you may want to use a bigger seam allowance on the sides to make sure your hanger is “square". 5. Trim the seams, cut off excess zipper, clip the corners and turn right side out. Insert the hanger. Fold up the pockets and bring the strap around the bottom of the hanger and measure for the placement of a button. Sew button in place. Note: If it’s necessary to press the finished hanger do not press the vinyl, use the Teflon pressing sheet.  

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Good for the Gal Quilted by Elaine Theriault

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Cheryl Stranges

skill level intermediate finished measurements 27¾" x 29¾" [70.5 x 75.5cm] materials fabric 15" x 15" [38 x 38cm] sun background fabric 12" x 12" [30.5 x 30.5cm] sun fabric and additional fabric needed for sunrays 9½" x 15" [24 x 38cm] printed cotton for nest background 9" x 12" [23 x 30.5cm] printed cotton for Happy Spring block 12" x 16" [30.5 x 40.5cm] solid cotton for chick embroidery block 2½" wide assorted jelly roll strips to frame each block subcut jelly roll strips for inner blocks: •• 1 – 2½" x 12" •• 1 – 2½" x 15" •• 1 – 2½" x 24" 4 additional 2½" x 30" strips to frame project fusible web strips for jelly roll strip placement 32" x 32" [81 x 81cm] cotton quilt batting or INSPIRA® Sew Soft Fusible Batting 32" x 32" [81 x 81cm] cotton backing piece 2 – 12" x 12" [30.5 x 30.5cm] pieces of felt for felting flowers sewing feet used embroidery foot ¼" piecing foot free motion foot general sewing foot topstitching or stitch in the ditch foot with guide software Husqvarna Viking® Decorate for Easter Embroidery Kit #920395096 Pfaff ® Cushion Creator #482 for nest Pfaff ® Felted Elements Mini Collection #483 Pfaff ® Felting Embroidery Kit

Instruction photos by Cheryl Stranges.

PFAFF Creative 4.5™Sewing/Embroidery Machine All embroidery designs 6D Embroidery Software INSPIRA ® Stabilizers INSPIRA ® Machine Needles INSPIRA ® Scissors Robison Anton Embroidery Threads Hoops

needles INSPIRA® Microtex needle size 80 or 90 INSPIRA® embroidery needles INSPIRA® quilting needles threads assorted colours of Robison Anton 40wt Rayon thread for topstitching assorted colours of Sulky 30wt Blendable threads for topstitching and piecing other marking tools cutting tools including rotary cutter, cutting mat, and Inspira appliqué scissors assorted embroidery hoops for felting Happy Spring, nest, chick and egg embroideries SewSlip sheet for free motion appliqué pressing sheet INSPIRA® fusible web for sun appliqué INSPIRA® Aqua Magic for embroidery felting INSPIRA® Aqua Magic Plus for embroidered eggs INSPIRA® Water Works for embroidery felting INSPIRA® Fast & Easy Tear-A-Way for nest embroidery and sun Circular Attachment tool for sun assortment of wool roving to add to felting bits and pieces of yarn remnants for nest

3. Set up the circular attachment tool on the sewing machine and placement into the centre of the 12" x 12" sun fabric. Set the circular attachment tool to desired circle size. See instructions with tool. 4. Stitch a straight stitch in circular motion. Use appliqué scissors to trim away the excess fabric from the 12" x 12" sun fabric when circular stitching is complete.

Circular Attachment tool

instructions Sun and Rays

Note: Finished sun size is approximately 10" x 10", work with a larger piece and cut to sun size as desired. 1. Place INSPIRA® Fast & Easy Tear-A-Way behind the 15" x 15" sun background fabric. 2. Determine the sun’s location on the sun background piece and place the 12" x 12" sun fabric piece (will be cut to 10" x 10" later) on the top of the background fabric.

Duck billed appliqué scissors



spring 2015


5. Choose a wider appliqué stitch or satin stitch to stitch over the previous circular stitch using another thread colour. Tear away any excess stabilizer. 6. Create sunrays simply by drawing them out on the back paper of a fusible web, see fusible web instructions. Press all sunrays using the appliqué pressing sheet. Use a straight stitch to do raw edge appliqué around each sunray. Sunshine cut around edges

TIP It’s always important to use stabilizer behind all of the decorative stitches.

Wool Roving on Felt

Felting Flowers and Spring Chicks

Embroidery Felting Preparation 1. Load embroidery on the embroidery machine screen. 2. Prepare the embroidery hoop with 1 layer of Inspira® Aqua Magic 3. Place the felt pieces on top of the Aqua Magic, and an assortment of wool roving on top of the felt. Last place a layer of Machine Felting on right side Inspira® Water Works on top of this.

Sun Rays cut

TIP It’s best to do a machine baste around embroidery area before beginning the embroidery. 4. Install the felting kit & felting needle to the embroidery machine. See kit instructions. When using the felt kit there’s no thread used until it stipulates embroidery stitches using thread. The actual felting that is occurring in this procedure is evolving on the underside of the hoop. Not the right side like we are used to with machine em- Nest with egg placement broidery. Once the felting is complete, any embroidery stitching will be done using normal embroidery set up. 5. When the piece is complete, remove the hoop from the embroidery machine and take the felted piece out. 6. Cut around the perimeter of each embroidered flower, leaving excess felt. 7. Soak and rinse away excess stabilizer. Trim close to the embroidery using Inspira scissors. These are ready for placement on Embroidered nest the fabric.


Embroidered Chicks

Note: These can be embroidered before or after the quilt is assembled. 1. Place the stabilizer in the hoop, then place the fabric on top and machine baste the fabric into position. 2. Load the chick design onto the embroidery screen, duplicate and mirror image. Embroider each just as an outline design omitting the fill in stitches.




spring 2015

Happy Spring lettering

Embroidered Eggs

Note: These wonderful eggs can be stitched together to give a 3 dimensional look or left flat as one design. 1. Place two layers of Inspira® Aqua Magic plus in the hoop. 2. Load the embroidery design. For a single flat egg, use a 60wt bobbin thread and a 40wt rayon thread. If a 3 dimensional look is preferred, use the 40wt rayon in the thread and in the bobbin as this enables see-through egg. It’s very lacy looking and great for placing the eggs in a ‘nest’. 3. Load the embroidery onto the screen of the embroidery machine and stitch out all of the eggs. They can be done in a variance of colours. Have fun with it! 4. Once the embroidery is complete, see stabilizer instructions for washing the stabilizer away. Let them dry. Stabilizer has a tendency to stiffen thread, so if a stiffer look is preferred, don’t soak or rinse as much.

The Nest

4. The strips are added and then raw edge appliquéd. Use a fusible adhesive to fuse into place first and then stitch. The fusible adhesive will prevent them from fraying. 5. When all of the 2½" inner borders are completed, place the outer borders. A thin strip of fusible adhesive is used just along the inner edge of the long strips to prevent them from slipping when free motion stitching. 6. Set the machine to a free motion setting, and use a SewSlip sheet to free motion with co-coordinating thread each section sitting on the batting piece. A free motion foot works very well for this. Topstitch any areas that require stabilization.

Finished Edges

1. Place the quilted top and batting on the backing, and cut the backing to allow at least 1½" to 2" of backing around all outer edges of the top and batting. 2. Fold the edge up to the cut edge of the banner, press. 3. Fold one more time to the banner surface and press. Pin into position. 4. Stitch into position using an edge stitching foot. The needle position may have to be adjusted according to the edge. Stitch all around banner.  

1. The nest fabric is hooped with Inspira® Fast & Easy Tear-A-Way and embroidered with 40wt Rayon thread. This design is meant to have the cutwork needles used in the design; however, it was just stitched out as a straight embroidery design with no cutwork for the sample. 2. When completed, tear away any excess stabilizer. Use remnants of yarn to create a small nest on top of the embroidered nest. Add the embroidered eggs, and stitch or glue using fabric glue.

Audition and piece


Cheryl Stranges

1. When all of the blocks are completed use the quilt piecing foot to join the sun block to the nest block, then the Happy Spring block to the felted flower block. Join the two large components to each other. Press all seams. 2. Audition the jelly roll strips for placement and cut them to size. 3. Use the picture as a guide for placement, stitch the embroidered eggs on centre strip and on the nest, and then stitch the nest on the other strip.

Product & Event Specialist

Happy Spring ...eggs

3. Remove the fabric and stabilizer from hoop, and then tear away the excess stabilizer. 4. Clean up all of the edges of block. 5. Add the felted flowers by machine stitching or using fabric glue.


Dancing Tulips

M u g Ru g

Jennifer Ho


G! N I T L I U Q HAPPY The Dancing Tulips Mug Rug is the third in a series of four seasonal mug rugs. Jennifer's 2015 mug rug challenge started January 5th with the first of 52 which can be seen on her blog A selected few are included in this feature purely for eye-candy and inspirational purposes. 44




spring 2015

picking fabrics Flowers are a breath of fresh air in the spring, and tulips, being one of the first to bloom, can be seen everywhere. The yearning for this flower inspired the Dancing Tulip mug rug.

This mug rug was done in spring colours purple and yellow, which also happen to be complementary colours. Three purple fabrics were used from light to dark. The lightest one is also used for the background and the darkest for the binding. Add in some yellow and green for the flowers to create a bright and cheerful mug rug to brighten any desk or studio this spring.


To help determine the value of the fabrics take a picture of them and turn it to black and white – this will result in a grey scale image which shows how light or dark the fabrics are, making it easier to put them in order from light to dark.

skill level intermediate finished measurements 9” x 12¼” [23 x 30cm] materials 12” [30cm] fabric A (light purple batik) – for rail fence block and background 4” [10cm] fabric B (medium purple batik) – for rail fence block 6” [15cm] fabric C (dark purple batik) – for rail fence block and binding 12” x 14” [30 x 35cm] fabric D (dark purple) – for backing 12” [30cm] square fabric E (yellow batik) – for flower 6” [15cm] square fabric F (green batik) – for leaves & stem 12” x 14” [30 x 35cm] low loft batting such as 100% cotton 10” [25cm] fusible web such as HeatnBond Lite Neutral coloured cotton thread for piecing such as grey or beige Orange/Yellow coloured thread for stitching flower – variegated or solid colour Thread for quilting rail fence area instructions Notes: •• read all instructions thoroughly before starting to cut and sew •• all seams are ¼” unless otherwise specified •• all pieces are sewn together with right sides together unless otherwise specified •• pin strips as needed •• chain sewing will speed up the construction process •• press all seams towards the darker fabric

Background – Fabric A Cut ONE 6” x 12½” Binding – Fabric G Cut ONE 2½” x WOF (strip) making the rail fence blocks The rail fence block is made up of the 3 purple fabrics. The strips will not all be the same length as fabrics are not always manufactured at the same length. This is okay as the strip set will be squared off once it’s made. TIPS When sewing strips together, alternate the direction in which you are sewing to help reduce any distortion of the strip set. For example, sew strips A & B in one direction and then when you add C to A & B, sew in the opposite direction. When pressing long strips such as these, set the seam then start in the middle and press to one end. Return to the middle and press to the other end – this will help to reduce any warping of the strips. 1. Sew fabric strips A & B together. Make two (2). 2. Sew fabric strip C to fabric B on the unit from step 1. Make two (2). Each unit will measure 2” x 20”. 3. Square off one end of each unit from step 2 and then sub cut into sixteen (16) 2” squares.

abbreviations WS – wrong sides WST – wrong sides together WOF – width of fabric Rect – rectangle Sq – square RS – right sides RST – right sides together

cutting instructions All measurements include a ¼” seam allowance and are based on a 40” WOF. Press all fabrics prior to cutting. Fabric A Cut ONE 1” x WOF strips sub cut in half for 2 – 1” x 20” pieces Fabric B Cut ONE 1” x WOF strips sub cut in half for 2 – 1” x 20” pieces Fabric C Cut ONE 1” x WOF strips sub cut in half for 2 – 1” x 20” pieces Note: There’s no need to trim the selvedge edges off on these strips.

Three fabric strip sets sewn together


Mug Rug

Challenge QUILTsocial


spring 2015


4. Sew the squares together to create a design such as in the finished mug rug or play with the squares and make a different configuration. Sew together in groups of 4. Press seams so they will nest together. Make four (4) total. The units will measure 3½” square. 5. Sew the squares from step 4 together. The unit will measure 3½” x 12½”.

lead will not smudge onto your hand or fabric. 3. Once pieces are drawn, cut pieces out leaving some white space around each

Template under Teflon sheet

appliqué tulips

Pieces drawn on fusible

Group of 4 squares to form a block

For this section fusible web is needed. There are many different manufacturers of fusible

one. They can be grouped on the fusible if going on the same colour of fabric. Do not cut on the line at this time. The pieces will be cut out on the line once they have been fused to the fabric. 4. Place pieces on the wrong side of the fabric – yellow for the petals (pieces 4, 5 & 6) and green for the leaves & stems (pieces 1, 2 & 3). 5. Fuse the petals to the fabric as per manufacturer’s directions for the fusible web being used.

flowers total. 4. Fuse the petals together on the parchment paper or Teflon sheet. Make sure to also cover the pieces with parchment paper when fusing them. Once the piece has cooled peel the whole flower as one unit off of the Teflon sheet. Nothing sticks to Teflon so this works like a charm to build the flower on and the piece can then be put on the background as a whole unit. 5. Arrange flowers on the background piece with stems touching the bottom

TIP Make sure to cover the pieces with a Teflon appliqué sheet or parchment paper so as not to get any glue on the iron.

Rail fence section completed

web. Use fusible web that has paper on at least one side to trace the template pieces.

6. Cut each piece out with sharp scissors – the cutting can be a bit tough going

Making the Flower Pieces 1. All templates are reversed. Outline the tulip with a dark permanent marker to enhance the shapes; this will make tracing easier through the fusible web paper.

Two tulips built on Teflon sheet

of the piece. Fuse in place using Teflon sheet or parchment paper. 6. Sew the background piece to the rail fence unit. The stems and leaves will

TIP Placing the template sheet on a light box or against a window will help to see the lines making it easier to trace the pieces. 2. Trace three of each shape onto the fusible web – 6 shapes in total for a total of 18 pieces. The dashed lines mean that that piece slips under the piece beside it so make sure to add that section into each corresponding shape. Leave approximately a ¼” space around all the pieces to make it easier to cut each piece out. Make sure to number each piece with its appropriate number for ease of placement. TIP Use a hard leaded pencil for tracing, as the


Shapes fused to wrong side of fabric

through all of the seams. Building the Flower 1. Place the parchment paper or Teflon sheet on a flat surface. Place the template under the paper or Teflon sheet with the wrong side of the template facing up. This will allow placement of pieces easily to build the flowers. 2. Lay out the pieces using the template as a guide. Piece number 1 is a leaf. 3. Continue all the way around until all of the pieces are in place. Make three

Flowers fused to background fabric

be sewn into the seam allowance. The unit will now measure 9” x 12¼”. quilting & stitching 1. Baste the three layers together either

Instruction photos by Jennifer Houlden.




spring 2015


Tulip Template

Trace 3 of each shape to make 3 flowers.



The template is reversed.

Background sewn to rail fence piece

curved safety pins or basting spray. Pick threads for stitching and quilting. TIP Place basting pins approximately a fist width apart for optimal coverage and securing of layers. Always pin from the centre of the quilt out to the edges.

3 1


2. Stitch around the raw edge of each applique shape with either a blanket

Layers pinned together and thread selection made

stitch or satin stitch. Satin stitch was done for the sample with a stitch width of 2.0 and a stitch length of 0.4. Or use a preferred stitch. This stitching also serves as the quilting. 3. Quilt rail fence section with straight line quilting or free motion quilting. binding Trim and square off quilt. Cut binding

Stitching and quilting complete

as per instructions and use preferred method to bind the quilt. ď ¨

Quilts by Jen has many great free tutorials that will help with the picking of fabrics, value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

Other mug rugs by Jennifer including the Maple Leaf and Snowflake mug rugs below from our fall 2014 and winter 2014/2015 issues.




spring 2015


The many uses of

DecoBob thread

Christine Baker

Not just for the bobbin!

DecoBob Available in 36 colors in 2187yd (2000m) spools and 6500yd (6000m) cones.

Throughout many of my previous posts I’ve used DecoBob in the bobbin when I’ve been testing out the different types of WonderFil threads that were sent to me. Lucy Garvin from WonderFil recently sent me a chart that highlighted the many uses of DecoBob thread, so this week I’m going to show them to you!

Getting the details

In case you missed my previous posts that mentioned DecoBob, it’s an 80 wt cottonized polyester. DecoBob creates high definition for any quilt stitch and it’s great as a bobbin thread for machine embroidery. It can also be used as the top and bottom thread for quilting, quilt construction and all purpose sewing, including button holes. Since it’s so fine, it’s also excellent for hidden stitching.

Pre-wound bobbins! One less step for you!

Pre-filled bobbins of DecoBob from WonderFil

DecoBob comes on spools and also in prewound bobbins. The thread is tightly wound on high quality AS bobbins, which are re-usable. Unlike most other prewound bobbins, DecoBob prewound is free of any chemical adhesive to ensure unhindered delivery of the thread. This also avoids the build up of undesired residue (dried adhesive) in both the bobbin case and machine. Since the tension in the bobbin is so consistent, it makes stitches regular and even and minimal bobbin tension adjustment is required. The thread is so fine, it reduces build up of bobbin thread to enhance sewing results. Because of its high tenacity, it works well even with heavy top thread. The matte finish also blends well with most fabrics.

So many ways to use this thread

Here’s the chart that Lucy Garvin sent me. As you can see, it gives lots of great tips, such as what size of needle to use and what stitch length will work best.

What we’ve done so far

In my previous posts I used DecoBob in the bobbin when I couched threads and machine quilted using Mirage thread from WonderFil, and I used it for thread painting with Tutti and Konfetti. Lucy tells me that she loves to use it as the top and bottom threads for machine quilting and also for hand stitching the back of her bindings. With all this research, I’m starting to get some ideas of what I can work on and ways to show off the many uses of DecoBob thread! z

DecoBob chart




spring 2015



fabric ational yed in harity mbers hallenge.


Visit our booth a

e of banners by th View a display ings e for Charity W d a m rs e n g si e each CHA D rg)for their outr o s. g in w y rit a h Banners of Hope (www.c . are small fabric banners with program inspirational messages that are on ti c ru st n o “C e th displayed in hospitals, shelters and in e m ti e m so d Spen our locations that greet members n construct ycharity a c u o y re e h w Zone” of the public in times of challenge. Hope. own Banner of used in to a craft show near you! beComing n a c t c je ro p is al Learn how th te loacdisplay to promoVIEW ss of banners by the CHA e n si u b r o re o your st re o Designers m ourage cts. causes and enc ric in their proje b fa se u to rs e consum ENJOY some time in the “Construction Zone”

booth #1654

where you can construct your own Banner of Hope. Offered at some of our events.

OH how this project can be used in your store, .org/BLEARN www.craftandhobby business, guild or community group to promote

local causes and encourage more consumers to use fabric in their projects.

For more information on events in 2015 visit

Banners courtesy of Paula Jones, Ana Araujo, Kelly Goulder, Susan Pyrcz Weckesser.


Leaves made with Shiva Paintsticks and a freezer paper stencil

) It's Blooming Flowers Painting, thread painting


quilting Christine Baker

encils ense p t k In nd ing a stitch d n a freeh e with d a m rs flowe Cone

Paintsticks and foils

Flower shaded with Prismacolor artists pencils





spring 2015

Finish up some quilting projects... Time to finish some UFOs

Like many other quilters, I’ve a “few” unfinished objects (UFOs) kicking around my quilting studio. Some are big projects and some are small, and some will never be finished! But, the ones I really wanted to work on were the samples that I made in Elaine Quehl’s Surface Design course. For three Fridays in a row, my friend Nellie and I traveled to Ottawa to spend the day learning how to use many different surface design products. My class samples were just begging to be finished with thread painting and quilting. I figured what better way to highlight the many uses of DecoBob thread from WonderFil than to finish up some quilting projects?

Tons of surface design techniques

Each day in our class we learned two different techniques and got to play with different products. The first class had us working with Shiva Paintstiks and foils. The second class we used Prismacolor Artist Pencils and Caran d’Ache Neocolor 2 Water Soluble Wax Pastels (yes, that sure is a mouthful!). The third class, was my absolute favorite and Elaine taught us the ins and outs of using Tsukineko Inks and Inktense pencils.

Peony painted with Tsukineko Inks

Although I had a set of the Tsukineko Inks that I’d bought over a year ago, none of the little bottles had even been opened! Elaine showed us how to dilute the ink with aloe vera gel to get different shades of one color in order to paint a flower on fabric. Then, we got to try out the Inktense pencils to shade in a free-motion thread painted sketch. These amazing pencils look and feel like pencil crayons, but when you spray the fabric with water the colors pop and get brighter and more intense! Immediately after the class, Nellie and I headed to the closest art supply store to buy our own sets of Inktense pencils!

A class of high achievers

Everyone in our class was so creative; it was amazing to see what everyone did with the same products. Elaine has pictures of all of the class samples up on her blog. Her website also lists her future classes and lectures. I encourage you to check out everything that she has to offer!

Tutti, Fruitti and Spagetti threads to match the tulip

What to stitch first?

After looking through all my samples again, I decided the tulip I made using the d’Ache Neocolor 2 Water Soluble Wax Pastels was my first order of business. Once I got out the WonderFil threads that I had on hand, I couldn’t believe how well they matched my tulip – it’s like it was meant to be!!



spring 2015


Thread painting with DecoBob

Finishing up my Caran d’Ache Neocolor 2 Water Soluble Wax Pastels Tulip

To paint my tulip, I traced the photo onto PFD (prepared for dying) white cotton fabric and then used the wax pastels to shade in the different colors. Once finished, I used a paintbrush to paint water onto the fabric, which caused the wax pastels to bleed into each other causing a watercolor effect. It was so fun! Now that the tulip is dry, I’m going to use my Tutti, Fruitti and Spaghetti threads to do some thread painting with DecoBob in the bobbin.

Thread painting and free motion embroidery basics There are lots of videos online that show how to do free motion stitching, thread paint, and embroider. In my posts back in September, I talked about some videos that I found on YouTube, but here’s one more that’s very good.

Starting with the background

Since the lines of stitching in the background would be fairly straight forward, I decided to use my green threads to do that stitching first and then work my way to the more complicated shading of the tulip. I dropped the feed dogs and put on my free motion quilting foot. I did some sample stitches on a scrap piece of fabric to get my tension just right and then started to stitch on my tulip background. Since my fabric had been treated with polymer medium (to prevent the wax pastels from rubbing off on my fingers), it’s fairly stiff and I don’t need to have a stabilizer on the back.

Start with the medium tones of threads

For my tulip, I stitched with the medium tones of threads first and then added the darkest and lightest threads at the end.

Make sure to raise your foot!

One thing to keep in mind when you’re changing thread colors often is to make sure you always raise the foot of your machine before threading. This ensures that the tension discs are open when you pass the thread between then and will ensure that your tension is always correct. If you find that your tension is suddenly not right, the best thing to do is to re-thread your machine.

Stitching the background

DecoBob thread to the rescue

Since the DecoBob is such a fine thread, even lots of stitching on the front of the piece did not cause a great build up of bobbin thread on the back of the piece. Even though the DecoBob in the bobbin prevented a build up of threads on the back of the piece, once all the stitching was done, the fabric was a bit rippled just from all of the threads on the front. A quick press with the iron, a pressing cloth and steam made the fabric lay nice and flat!

Close up of stitching on the tulip




spring 2015

Pressing using a pressing sheet

Artwork worthy of a frame

Now that my thread painting with DecoBob is complete, my tulip’s finished. I quite like it and decided to frame it. I found a nice frame with a mat included, popped it in and voila! one of my UFOs is finished! z

Finished thread painting on front of tulip

DecoBob on the back of the tulip

Tulip in the frame




spring 2015


Machine quilting with





I’m going to head to my sewing room to do some machine quilting with DecoBob thread on my next UFO – my painted peony.

Squaring up the peony using two rulers

Squaring up the fabric The first job is to square up the fabric the peony is painted on. When squaring up fabric and quilts, I like to use two rulers. My large 16" square and my 6" x 25" long ruler. By butting them up together, you can cut a multiple of sizes making sure that the corners are a 90º angle. Adding the borders The stitching that I’m going to do on the peony is much less dense than what I did on my tulip, and I want to have it serve as quilting stitches too, so I’m going to add the borders and layer the quilt before stitching. I want the emphasis to be on the flower, so I’m going to use pink tone on tone fabrics for the inner and outer borders. The inner border is cut 1½" to finish at 1" and the outer border is cut at 4" to finish at 3½". Since Lucy mentioned how well DecoBob works for precision piecing, I’ve decided to try using it in the top and bobbin to sew on my borders. Layering the quilt Once all of the borders have been added, it’s time to layer the quilt with the batting and backing. I talked about this process in my QUILTsocial posts back in June. Whenever I am basting a small project like this, I always use 505™ adhesive spray.

Using DecoBob to sew on the borders

Picking the threads I have some Tutti and Fruitti threads that match my peony beautifully, so I’m going to use them to do the machine stitching and embellishing on the flower petals and leaves. I’ll use the DecoBob in the bobbin to make sure there isn’t a lot of thread build up on the back of the quilt. Embellishing the peony with machine quilting To do the stitching, I put on my free motion quilting foot and dropped my feed dogs. On the first stitch, I bring up the bobbin thread from the back and do a few stitches in place to lock the threads in place. Then, I follow the contours of the petals and stitch the veins with the medium-colored threads first. Next, I re-thread the machine with the darkest thread and then the lightest thread. Finally, I change to the green threads and stitch the leaves and stems. I really love the effect that the green variegated thread has on the stems. One thing to watch when changing thread colors often is to make sure that you always have your machine foot up to make sure the thread passes between the tension discs. This ensures your upper thread tension is consistant.

Quilt basted with 505 spray




spring 2015

Closeup of machine stitching on the peony petals

Picking threads for the peony

Machine quilting with DecoBob Since I want the focus to be on the flower, I want the quilting in the background to blend in with the fabric. DecoBob, because it is so fine, will work wonderfully for this! So, I thread the machine with DecoBob on the top and in the bobbin and start quilting the background. As I quilted, I noticed the top thread looks like it’s tighter and tighter. All of a sudden, there’s a huge crash and my needle looked like this: Practice what you preach I realized that I hadn’t followed my own advice and, in my haste to get quilting, forgot to put the top DecoBob on the thread holder instead of leaving it on the top thread pin. Since I also forgot to put a WonderGuard on the spool, the slippery threads slid off the spool and wrapped around the thread pin. Once I got the WonderGuard thread guard on the spool and put it on my thread holder off the machine, things worked much better!

Closeup of machine stitching on the leaves

I used DecoBob to to do the quilting in both the white background and in the outer pink border. As you can see the thread blended in well with both! I used one of my variegated pink Fruitti threads to quilt the skinny inner border.

The bent needle

DecoBob on the thread holder

The completed machine quilting on the wall hanging



spring 2015


Sewing the binding and making a hanging sleeve with


Trimming the edges of the quilt

Making the binding Usually when I’m making binding for my quilts, I try to use a thread that matches the fabric, so when I press the binding seams open, I won’t notice the stitches. I’m going to use my DecoBob thread to sew the binding strips together. I talked about how to make quilt binding on QUILTsocial. As you can see from the photo, the stitches that I did using the DecoBob are invisible! The only thing you have to watch when using this thread is that you need to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Binding seams sewn with DecoBob

Making the hanging sleeve Many of the quilts I make are intended to be used as wallhangings, so I’ve got a pretty good system that I always use when making the hanging sleeves for these quilts. Here's my step-by-step visual guide to making hanging sleeves.

Step 1 Measure the width of the quilt.

Step 4 Sew the ends of the hanging sleeve using DecoBob.




spring 2015

Step 2 Cut fabric strip 6" x the width of the quilt.

Step 3 Fold over the short ends of the strip twice and press.

Step 5 Fold the hanging sleeve in half lengthwise and press.

Step 6 Center the hanging sleeve on the top back of the wallhanging with the raw edges aligned and pin in place.

Now to sew on the binding Now that the sleeve is pinned onto the back of the quilt and our binding is made, we can sew it onto the quilt. Working from the front, align all of the raw edges of the quilt and binding and sew the binding to all four edges of the quilt. For most of my previous projects, I stitched the binding to the back of the quilts using a decorative machine stitch. This is an easy and fast way to get a binding sewn on, and is especially good for quilts that will be washed a lot (such as baby quilts). But, this quilt will only be hung on the wall and I want to stitch the back of the binding by hand. In the past I have always used cotton thread that I’ve matched to the color of the binding. But, for this project, I’m going to try using DecoBob for the hand stitching. I try to use a double strand of thread when stitching down binding, just to make it that much stronger, so I’m going to cut off a long piece of DecoBob and knot the two ends together after threading my needle.

Hand stitching the back of the binding

Time to watch a movie Lots of people hate sewing on bindings, but I also know many people who absolutely love it – I have to say I’m somewhere in the middle on this topic. It’s a nice, thoughtless activity to do while watching a good show on TV. So, I put on a good movie to watch with my family and got my hand stitching done. After finishing the binding, I also stitched down the folded edge of the hanging sleeve. The finished product I’m happy to say that my second UFO is now finished! Thanks to WonderFil, I was able to finish my peony quilt using all of the threads left over from previous projects. Sewing the binding and making a hanging sleeve with DecoBob gave me great results and I’ll use my DecoBob threads for these jobs over and over again. z



spring 2015



Waiter, there’s a quilt pin in my soup So, a diner calls over the server and says: “Waiter, there’s a quilt pin in my soup.” No, it’s not a joke; there’s no punchline. It’s the reality of anyone who uses a table where family and friends gather to indulge in the passion for quilting. From now on, guess what’s not coming to dinner? Pins. I’m no longer using the dining room as a cutting and design surface. Dinner guests are, in a word, relieved.

A bit of history here: I’m a life-long maker of stuff. I have made room for making for as long as I can remember. By the time I was 16, I had a machine that did zigzag stitches and a sewing area in the family’s recreation room. When I moved out on my own, I had turned my machine into a portable dynamo that could create anything, anywhere, at anytime. Back then, I was sewing clothes, making curtains or cushions to disguise the ever deteriorating condition of my sofa bed. Most of my sewing stuff had to fit into a corner of a closet, in a plastic storage tote. Then, I discovered quilting and other creative sewing. My collection of stash fabric and notions exploded. I know, I don’t have to explain. By then, we had our first house. It was small and had few multipurpose areas. The kitchen also became my sewing room, and the kitchen table often played host to my creative pursuits. That’s when I discovered the necessity of a magnetic pin wand. I needed to pick up errant pins before the sock clad feet of guests and family members found them. There was mention made of giving up creative pursuits for lack of space. I would have none of it, and did my best to avoid the unwelcome dinner pins. Fast forward to now. Finally, I’ve a sewing space that’s almost all my own. Technically it’s a den, but really, it’s a poorly insulated, over-the-garage bedroom. But, it also has almost floor-toceiling windows. My sewing studio is sort of cold in the winter, and way too hot in the summer, but it’s all mine. If it has any real flaws at all, it’s that there’s no room for a cutting table — or so I thought. Enter the Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from H. A. Kidd, part of a range of sewing furnish-

Folded up, the Studio Collection Design table is a compact marvel.




spring 2015

ings available at participating retailers. The collection includes not only this amazing table, but also a space-saving sewing cabinet featuring sewing machine storage, a design surface, and a fold out serger platform. The Studio Collection table is thoughtfully designed and well made. Fully extended, it’s a 36" x 591⁄2" cutting, layout, and design surface. Casters make it easy to wheel it into position and the locking mechanism means it won’t roll away. Folded away, it measures 13" x 36". That’s like a sofa table or a bookshelf. I can see this appealing to those who are downsizing or, like I once did, trying to find creative space in a tiny first apartment. When you aren’t designing or cutting out, you can artfully arrange a vase or a bowl of potpourri on it and congratulate yourself on your interior design sense. This table is not only sturdy, but the 36" height means you don’t have to bend and strain your back. It has a wipeclean laminated surface. Bonus features, like a tool caddy/scrap bin that clamps to the table legs, or an ironing surface that turns the table into a sizable ironing board, can be purchased separately. The family is surprisingly dismayed by this clever new addition to the studio. “You mean you’ll be cutting everything up there too?”, the dear husband asked. “That was about the only time we saw you when you were spending the day sewing.” This is the same guy who complained loudly about the pins. Just sayin’…

And the answer to the comment: “Waiter, there’s a quilt pin in my soup”… “Not at my dining table, Bud!” z

Only Spooling Around

Nancy Devine

No spooling, we’re sewing a table runner... Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from H.A. Kidd is a welcome and space-saving addition to any sewing space. But, when folded up and not working, it’s a bit plain. We’re quilters and this just won’t do. So, no “spooling”, we’re making a table runner! Let’s make my Only Spooling Around table runner. It fits the folded table, and makes it just a little bit more special. Spool blocks are considered beginner blocks. They’re not difficult to put together, but they’ll put you through your paces in terms of cutting accurately and sewing perfect 1/4" seams. If you’re a regular reader of QUILTsocial, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of rules. However, in this one case, I have to tell you, the Spool Block is unforgiving to quilt scofflaws like me. But, they’re so darned cute, I force myself to behave like a rule abiding quilter. Many quilters like to use striped fabric for the center of the block to suggest lines of thread. Not me, I love polka dots. I also like to use brown batiks for the “wooden” parts of the spool. I think it suggests a patina of age on vintage wooden spools. Lastly, I like to sash the spool block, top and bottom, in a neutral print. I found a soft batik dot that compliments both the polka dots and the darker batiks. For each spool block, you will need: Cutting mat Rotary cutter Ruler 1 4" x 4" Polka Dot Square 2 2" wide by 4" long brown strips 2 2" wide by 4" long side beige strips 4 2" x 2" brown squares 4 2" x 2" neutral squares 2 1 1⁄2" wide by 7 1⁄4" neutral sashing I cut enough pieces for five blocks. It takes a while, but, on the bright side, the Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from H.A. Kidd provides a clever, flexible cutting surface.

Playing around with the designing table, creating a spool block. QUILTsocial


spring 2015


Once the patchwork pieces to make spool blocks are prepared, we'll need the following to put them together. sewing machine, fitted with 1/4-inch patchwork foot chalk marker small quilting ruler scissors curved micro tweezer snippers seam pressing tool Gutermann sew all thread in cream

Start the blocks by piecing the middle of the spool.

First, change your machine needle. I use Patchwork and Quilting needles for almost all my work. They’re very sharp and leave a very small hole in the fabric when piecing. They’re durable enough to handle the quilting phase of the project. Use a new one for each new project. The spool block begins with the center block. Attach two neutral sides to each side of the colored square. With right sides together, place one beige square and one brown square together. Pin. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other, using the chalk marker. Sew along the marked line. That small corner can easily get caught up in the feed dogs of your machine. I use a scrap of fabric to start sewing just ahead of the unit I’m about to sew. Like magic, the little corners do not get caught.

To create corner blocks, place one light square and one dark square right sides together. Pin. Draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to the other.

Using a 1⁄4" seam allowance, trim away one diagonal side of the square. Use the seam pressing tool to press the seam toward the dark fabric. Take care to press, not pull, the tool along the seam. This is essentially a seam on the bias, so it will stretch if you aren’t careful. Use an iron to press the seam fully, but don’t use steam — it will also ease out the bias. Repeat this corner step three more times. Make the spool top and bottom by attaching the corner pieces to the brown strips. (see photo for placement)

Strategic pinning will help the corner blocks align properly to the top and bottom of the spool block.

Pinning is really important when doing this step. I’ve found that putting a pin just before and just after where the “thread” seams meet the corner seams really helps keep everything neat and even. Again, the quilting rules dictate that everything lines up if the block elements have been carefully cut and pieced. Give yourself permission to do the best job you can. If you are just a bit off, that’s okay. I’ve found the more I do a block, the better I get at piecing it together. If you don’t like one, just set it aside. You can turn it into a greeting card or something. Try again, practice makes perfect. And, if you find some of your blocks are a bit wonky, strategic placing of sashing and borders help fool the eye into thinking everything is perfect. Shhh. That'll be our little secret. When you’ve pieced the top and bottom of the spool, press all the seam allowances toward the center of the block.

Here are the elements for each spool block.




spring 2015

Attach the sashing strips to the top and bottom of the spool block. Each block should measure 7" x 81⁄2".

Quilting the

Only Spooling Around

table runner

No foolin’ — our spooling, stylin’ runner is almost finished!

Attach sashing strips between each spool block.

I used two colors for the center “thread” on the spool block, so I alternated colors. Cut six (6) sashing strips, 2" x 8 1⁄2". Attach sashing vertically between each block of the table runner. Press with steam. Along the width of fabric, cut two 11⁄2" strips. (I found it easier to tear these two strips.) Attach the strips along the entire length of the runner. Press the seam toward the center. Cut two pieces of fabric, 101⁄2" x 14". Attach these to either end of the runner. Press the seam allowance open. While the the Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from H.A. Kidd offers a very long cutting and design surface, the same can’t be said for my stash of batting. I didn’t have a long enough piece of batting, so I attached the extra bit using the zigzag stitch as shown in Elaine Theriault’s earlier post on QUILTsocial.

It’s easier to tear the long border strip than to cut it.

Echo quilt the spool on the table runner.

Use binding clips to attach the binding to the table runner.



spring 2015


The finished table runner now decorates my Studio Collection space saving design/cutting table in my sewing space. When it’s folded up, it takes up less space than the bookshelf it replaced. And, it’s way more useful!

Baste the layers of the quilt sandwich together using 505 Adhesive.

Once you have a long enough piece of batting, make a quilt sandwich. Spray baste the layers together using 505 Reposition Fabric Adhesive. Attach your machine’s walking foot according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Position the walking foot edge to the edge of the spool, echo quilt along the spool. Then, stitch in the ditch along the vertical sashing. Set your machine up to free motion quilt the side panels. Cut four 2" binding strips along the width of fabric. Join the binding strips together (see photo). Press the binding strip away from the runner. Turn the runner over and fold the binding strips to the back. Use Wonder Clips to hold the folded binding in place. Press the fold, taking care not to melt the clips with the iron. Slip stitch the binding to the back of the runner. Well, we’re done quilting the Only Spooling Around table runner. It can now decorate the Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from HA Kidd. My table has a great new outfit for when it’s just being a decorative part of my sewing space. z




spring 2015

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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!



spring 2015


QUILTsocial bloggers 64



Jennifer Houlden

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

Nancy Devine

Nancy Devine is a devoted user and collector of remnants, scraps, and vintage buttons. She lives in Aurora, Ontario, and can often be found working on her latest project, and playing around with her vintage (and much loved) Bernina machine. Find more of her work and musings on her blog.

Christine Baker

Christine has been designing and publishing quilt patterns for the last 10 years under the business name Fairfield Road Designs. Her patter ns range f rom f usible applique and piecing to felted wool applique and punchneedle. You can see all her patterns on her website.

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. Elaine Theriault


spring 2015




spring 2015



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spring 2015

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100% cotton thread 100% cotton thread A fine, strong, high quality sewing thread A fine, strong, high quality sewing thread forfor hand or machine sewing, no matter hand or machine sewing, no matter thethe stitch type or fabric. stitch type or fabric.

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Look for Gütermann threads at your favourite fabric, sewing and quilting store! Look for Gütermann threads at your favourite fabric, sewing and quilting store! 67

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Maximum Maximum Control. Control. Complete Complete Quilting Quilting Independence. Independence. THE THE SPACE SPACE TO TO MAKE MAKE IT IT PERFECT PERFECT Complete any size quilting project Complete any size quilting project with with 16” 16” of of throat space and 8” of vertical space throat space and 8” of vertical space

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project project with with the the included included 36” xx 30” 30” table table passport 2.0 36” ™ TOTAL CONTROL Ask for PROFESSIONAL SIZE WORKSPACE THE MAKE IT POWERFUL AND Ask for details! details! Great Packages PROFESSIONAL THE SPACE SPACE TO TO MAKE IT PERFECT PERFECT POWERFUL AND PRECISE PRECISE SIZE WORKSPACE Great Financing Financing Packages Set your preferred speed the SetTRUSTITCH your preferred speed on on the color color Available OAC. PFAFF, PERFECTION STARTS●HERE and POWERQUILTER are trademarks of KSINto Luxembourg II, S.á.r.l. expectations ©2015 KSIN©2013 Luxembourg II, S.á.r.l. All rights reserved. is a trademark of Handi Quilter, Inc. HERE, IDT (image), KSIN Luxembourg All rights reserved. PFAFF, PERFECTION STARTS Complete any quilting project with Made meet your of speed OAC. PFAFF, PERFECTION STARTS HERE and POWERQUILTER are trademarks of KSINto Luxembourg II, S.á.r.l. ©2015 KSIN©2013 Luxembourg II, S.á.r.l. Allany rights reserved. TRUSTITCH is a trademark ofquick Handi Quilter, Inc. HERE, socialsize spring 2015Available KSIN Luxembourg All rights reserved. PFAFF, PERFECTION STARTS IDT (image), touch screen, with access to the UILT Complete any size quilting project with You’ll have ample support for size Made meet your expectations of speed CREATIVE, PERFORMANCE, EXPRESSION and PASSPORT are trademarks of KSIN Luxembourg II, Ask for details! touch screen, with quick access to the You’ll have ample support for any size CREATIVE, PERFORMANCE, EXPRESSION and PASSPORT are trademarks of KSIN Luxembourg II, Ask for details! with up 1,500 stitches per 16” stitch counter, calculator, and diagnostics and precision precision withwith up to to 1,500 stitches 16” of of throat throat space space and and 8” 8” of of vertical vertical and project the included 36”per x 30” table




QUILTsocial Spring 2015  

FREE issue of QUILTsocial Magazine! Featuring a full 68 pages packed with tips, projects, and quilting know-how! Take it all off!! This iss...

QUILTsocial Spring 2015  

FREE issue of QUILTsocial Magazine! Featuring a full 68 pages packed with tips, projects, and quilting know-how! Take it all off!! This iss...