Category: Favorites (Page 2 of 3)

Image of Quick Trip Quilt

Tropical Trip/Quick Trip by Eleanor Burns

Get a taste of Karla’s favorites when it comes to all things quilting.

Find Karla’s favorites here – from her most beloved quilts to her highly recommended quilting tools.

All the best things.

Karla shares her quilt show pics as well as best summer reads, recipes, retreat checklists and a whole lot more!


Find quilt magazine reviews, tool recommendations, and summer books (and quilts) recommendations.

Quilters who are favorites.

Read blog posts about top quilting names and winners in the quilting world. Do you love to see a quilt author break into the Hallmark movie genre? Find that here, too!




Totally Cool Quilting Tools

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I learned about some totally cool quilting tools at quilt retreat – thanks to friends who like to share!

For the first year EVER, I had my retreat projects planned, cut, packed, and ready-to-go to retreat one whole month before we left. What I didn’t plan for were some unexpected opportunities to pop up! I had not brought two totally cool quilting tools that became highly necessary. The new opportunities took priority over all that great planning of mine! But, who cares!

I didn’t even get my projects out of their neat, organized cases!

Me, under duress

First, you can see the outcome of these opportunities in the following link:

One Block Quilts

Next, in spite of all my planning, I wasn’t prepared!

While shopping for fabric one day, Justin (Hancock’s of Paducah), who understood the concept of using both beautiful sides of fabric, suggested we collaborate on some quilts!

Image of Hancock's of Paducah sign

While I was super excited about this opportunity, I hadn’t brought the right rulers to do the tasks at hand. Back at the cabin and with only a few days to vet my ideas, this led me to ask (frantically), “Does anybody have a squaring ruler?”

The Tucker Trimmer ruler became my new best friend!

These new projects included lots of half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and flying geese. I quickly fell in love with this ruler! Thank you, friend, Nancy, for introducing me to this trusted sewing tool! Click HERE or on the picture below to see more of Deb Tucker’s tools.

Image of Ruler on Block
Notice I #usebothsides of the fabric in this block?

Here’s another view of the ruler.

Image of quilting tool

The second tool I find indispensable I borrowed from friend.

Retreat roomie, Peggy introduced me to the LEDGLE Rechargeable LED Book Light.

Image of Quilting Tool
LED Light

What makes it so great for me are the re-positionable arms which let you guide the light to any angle. It rests around your neck so it is hands-free and perfect for hand-stitching in a dimly lit room. It also works great for reading in bed or even walking back from the neighbors or feeding the dogs in the dark! You set the light to shine where you want it and it stays until you move it. And best of all, I’ve used mine every day for more than a week and I still haven’t charged it once! Click HERE for link to book light.

To conclude, these two totally cool quilting tools saved my retreat and collaborate on two new quilt patterns with Hancock’s of Paducah!

Take One: Cool Tools for Quilters

Do you love quilting tools, gadgets, and gizmos? Once a month I’ll be featuring a new (to me) cool tool.

Here’s a new ruler I ran across a few months ago on my travels. I finally pulled it out and decided to learn how to use it.

It is called the “Quick Curve Ruler” by Sew Kind of Wonderful (click HERE)

I practiced with some scrap fabric, marked my ruler as indicated in the pattern directions, and off I went! It was fun to watch the curved piecing literally “come together”.

There are numerous quilt patterns available which use this ruler. Here’s the one I used. Stunning quilt, isn’t it? I love it when my brain can’t quite find one simple design, but jumps around to the various secondary patterns in a quilt.

Here’s my first try at a mix a fabrics. As you can see, I have a few bumbles for my first block, but it was fun to make! I do suggest using a fine marker to mark your ruler for better accuracy.

I think this quilt is now on my bucket list! What’s on your bucket list? Do you have a favorite specialty ruler?

See my Cross-over Quilting Tools (click HERE) post to learn about using the Brother Scan N Cut for quilting.

Shop Creative Bee Studios #usebothsides quilt patterns and kits HERE!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring – are you listening?

In the lane, snow is glistening…

Want to experience some old style Christmas? There are a couple of ways here locally (Southeast Missouri) and in towns all across the nation – and if you can’t find one near you, grab a Christmas themed book – the one I’m sharing includes quilts, a Christmas Walk, and antiques in a quaint wine country town.

Celebrated author and creator of the popular Colebridge Community and East Perry County novel series,  Ann Hazelwood provides insight into a new community with her Wine Country Quilts series. I am currently reading Lily Girl’s Christmas Quilts (2nd book of the new series) and was fascinated to learn that the real town, Augusta, Missouri (upon which the series is based), is having a Christmas Walk (as depicted in the book), and the author, Ann Hazelwood, will be signing books at this Stone Ledge Antiques shop (I wonder if it looks like Lily’s) starting at 7 tomorrow night! Learn more about Ann’s books HERE. Take a stroll on the Candlelight Christmas Walk tomorrow night – find more information HERE

Image of LIly Girl's Christmas Quilt Book

A beautiful sight- we’re happy tonight.

Stone Ledge Antiques during the Candlelight Christmas Walk in Augusta, MO.

Another opportunity  for an old-style Christmas experience is to take the driving tour of country churches in rural Southeast Missouri counties of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, and Perry. You are encouraged to tag your steeple-chasing buddies for this self-guided tour and travel the beautiful country-side to these decorated country churches where you’ll find music, warmth, treats, and the real meaning of Christmas. This tour begins today at 2 p.m. The tours run both today and tomorrow until 9 p.m. Learn more HERE.

I hope you’ll find joy and take a break from rush of the season by going walking in a winter wonderland.

Need a last minute gift for the quilter in your life?Shop #usebothsides quilt patterns HERE.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14.

Exploring Quilty Box

I’ve been intrigued by Quilty Box (click here) for some time now.

The combination of

a) them featuring Tula Pink and

b) me learning about the first-time discount was what it took for me to finally subscribe. I want to share my discovery with YOU!Image of Box

I remember as a teenager subscribing to a make-up club. It was so fun to get different products in the mail to try each month. I figured, what could be better than make-up? Fabric, patterns, notions, thread, and more, all mailed in a cute little teal and brown box and delivered to my mailbox!

Options: They state there is a Quilty Box for everyone – and there is!

Classic:  This is the original box which features a different artist each month, 2 yards of fabric, a spool of thread, pattern,  one or two notions or tools, and a mini-magazine. The price is $48.00 but if you prepay, you can get discounts on that monthly rate.

English Paper Piecing: In partnership with, this box includes a pack of 5 x 5″ fabrics, thread, templates and paper pieces for the pattern, and a mini magazine. This starting price is $34.99 with discounts applied for prepayment.

Mini: Inside this little package you’ll find a full-sized pack of 5 x 5″ fabric and a small spool of thread, the mini-magazine, three patterns, a mini-pattern, and an English paper-piecing pattern all for $23.99 (with discounts for prepayment).

First-time discount? Receive $10 off your first box!

So what are my thoughts about Quilty Box?

I loved it! It was so fun to get in the mail. I saved my box to open until I could give it my full attention! My box came with eight fat-quarters of Tula’s new line. This was especially fun because when we heard her speak this fall in Paducah, she explained how she designed that line of fabric. Also inside my box was Aurifil thread, a cute pattern for zippered pouches which I would actually love to make, zippers for the bags, and large piece of Soft and Stable for the bags. The Bundles of Inspiration magazine is high-quality and  I’m looking forward to reading it cover-to-cover. It features an article about Tula, several patterns, history and how-to’s for English paper piecing, and more!Image of Box Contents

Need a gift for a quilter friend? Send them a Quilty Box!

Shipping is free in the USA.

One thing you need to know about Quilty Box is that your order begins an automatic subscription. You can easily and promptly cancel your subscription with a simple email to . I did it and received an email confirmation of the cancellation immediately.

So why did I cancel my subscription? ONLY, ONLY, ONLY because I am already overwhelmed with projects, new patterns designs, my Etsy shop, and my teaching/program schedule! If I were wanting a fun way to treat myself, get inspiration, and learn about the latest in the industry, I’d definitely continue my subscription!

By the way, I hereby reserve the right to order Quilty Box again!

 In fact…maybe (on behalf of my readers), I should really order at least one of each TYPE of Quilty Box – so I can report back, of course. What do you think?

Here is my Tula Pink version of Aria (expressive music heard in opera – she’s a “singer”…) Quilt Patttern. See Vintage Machine Quilt Pattern for more information.Image of Pink Sewing Machine

Shop Aria and 22 more #usebothsides patterns  in my  Creative Bee Studios Etsy shop.


Quilt Author Meets Hallmark Christmas Movies

I just love it when two of my favorite things come together! Best-selling quilt author Marie Bostwick’s book, The Second Sister, is being filmed now as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie! Image of The Second Sister Book

The movie is titled, “Christmas Everlasting” and premieres November 24th at 7 p.m. central.

While I enjoy a number of  quilt-themed (and not) books and series, I’ve often referred to Marie as “My Favorite Author” – mostly because her witty comments and clever nicknames for her family members are endearing and inspiring. (I’ve often thought we could be best friends if we were neighbors, but in reality, I’m one of many fans who exchanges about two minutes of conversation with her once a year (if I’m lucky) at book signings.)Image of Signed Book

Of course, I love her books, even those not completely engrossed in the quilting themes and I read each one more than once! I suspect Christmas Everlasting will be another staple during the holiday season!

Click here to read here about her “on set” experience!  Image of Patti LaBelle and Marie Bostwick

How cool is it that she made quilted gifts for the actors? See more pics and posts on Marie’s Facebook page! (Yes, that is Patti LaBelle!)

Image of Marie and Actors with QuiltImage of Marie Bostwick and Tatyana AliHere’s a list of some of my faves by Marie Bostwick:

Standalone Books:

The Second Sister

The Promise Girls

            Just in Time

Cobbled Court Quilt Series:

A Single Thread

A Thread of Truth

A Thread So Thin

Threading the Needle

Ties That Bind

Apart at the Seams

Too Much, Texas Series:

Between Heaven and Texas

From Here to Home

Marie has also written three historical novels and three novellas in Fern Michaels Christmas Anthologies.

Mark your calendars and hit “record”!

Subscribe below to get a weekly post delivered to your email. Stay tuned for more #usebothsides reveals!

Shop patterns HERE!



Sunrise Quilts

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Sunrise with a quilt, locusts, birds, and coffee.

The morning was crisp and the air wet. Steam was rising off the pool water. It was definitely a sunrise quilt kind of morning!

The sun hadn’t peaked over the ridge yet, but the birds were singing from all directions. I could still hear some lingering locusts in the woods. I grabbed my favorite “pool quilt” and a cup of hot coffee in my favorite mug. My bible opened to Psalms. Image of Dawn by the Pool

My days always go better when I start them this way. It’s one reason I love summer so much!

Everything about the day is better. The challenges, the frustrations, even the joys and opportunities-gets put into perspective when I consider the majesty and power of God and the unbelievable sacrifice of Christ on my behalf.

Snuggling in a quilt you love is good, too.

This favorite sunrise quilt was made using Misty Fuse fusible web and Leaves Galore rulers. The best part for me is the background fabric. It looks like the bottom of a pool when the sun is shining.

Image of Quilt by Pool
Read Summer Quilting HERE.

This sunrise quilt is not show worthy.

However, the imperfections are completely taken over by the colors, the sparkling water fabric and the softness of the snuggles.

Image of Quilt with fusible web
Water Colours

A time to sew.

There is a bible app on my phone that gives me a new scripture each day. I chuckled when I read that there is “a time to sew”, think it should be “sow”.

Then I realized it was from a later verse in the chapter and my version usually used the word “mend”. Of course, I’m thinking, “how appropriate”. Yes, I needed to hear this message.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (7) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 

Ecclesiastes 3:1,7 KJV

Furthermore, there is a time to keep silence.

Enjoy YOUR quilting journey.

SHOP more than 50 patterns that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric at 

South Dakota Quilts & More

Our visit to South Dakota was nothing short of breathtaking!

Overall, the visit to South Dakota included stops in Chamberlain and Custer. What I didn’t expect to see were quilts everywhere!

First, we saw a huge quilt monument, quilt shops, a quilt in a musical, and quilts at our bed and breakfast. What more could a quilter ask for?

A quilter-friendly visit.

Our visit to South Dakota happened because our youngest daughter was hired by Black Hills Playhouse in Custer, SD. We knew little about the playhouse or South Dakota, but planned our visit right away when we learned of her opportunity. She would play the role of Laurey in OKLAHOMA!

I had no idea the South Dakota visit would be so quilter friendly!

Image of Dignity Statue
Image of Dignity's Quilt

Dignity in Chamberlain, SD

Dignity is a 50-foot-tall statue in Chamberlain, SD, to honor the cultures of the Dakota and Lakota people. She represents courage, perseverance and wisdom. Made from stainless steel, Dignity wears a Native dress from the 1850s and holds a star quilt made from 128 stainless steel blue diamonds. Dignity was designed by artist laureate Dale Lamphere and gifted to the state of South Dakota by Norm and Eunabel McKie. Learn more about Dignity HERE.

The Quilt Shop

Just down the road from Dignity in the city of Chamberlain is The Quilt Shop. In addition to several rooms filled with bolt after bolt of beautiful fabric, is the main room featuring a mix of Native American art, jewelry, beads, quilt patterns, kits, laser pre-cuts, panels, and more fabric!

The Badlands.

No South Dakota visit is complete without a trip through the Badlands. The landscape is diverse and amazing.

Image of Badlands, SD
The Badlands, South Dakota

Bison galore!

Image of Bison
A partial herd of bison “greeted” us when we entered The Black Hills.
Image of Bison Statue with Quilt

There were bison statues all through the town of Custer, too This one is sporting a quilt.

Check out this bison following us on the road (view is from inside our Tahoe).Image of Bison on Road

The Black Hills Playhouse

Taking this long of a trip to see a show, we didn’t see it just once, we caught it three times! We didn’t stop smiling, even to the end of the third show!

Image of Black Hills Playhouse
Click here for more info on BHP.

It’s amazing that this quaint theater tucked in the hills has such a dedicated following, especially when you see the roads people travel to get to it! At least the first three shows were sold out. The energy level of the cast was high, the performances perfected, the direction was unique and solid (not that I’m an expert at ALL, but I know what I like) and the SOUND…I could hear every word. It was a wonderful experience. Everything you would expect from a professional playhouse.

Image of Curly and Laurey
Curly and Laurey played by Lukas Ptacek and Jacquelyn Kiefner
Image of Ado Annie and Star Quilt
Ado Annie – “I’m just a girl who cain’t say no!” Played by Josey Miller.

See  more incredible photos by Sage Studios Professional Photography on their Facebook Page HERE or go to their website HERE. He really captured the moments and the energy-even the rice toss the moment before the lights went out at the end of the show.

More sights on the South Dakota visit.

The star quilts took on significance for the Sioux and Assiniboine when buffalo was pushed to near extinction and hides and robes were no longer given as honors. Also known as the Star of Bethlehem, the pattern is also featured in quill work, bead work and paintings.

Image of Mt. Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
Image of Crazy Horse Mock Up
Mock Up of Crazy Horse Memorial

We got to spend part of one day with our daughter and took in Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore!

Image of Kathy and Ernie
Owners Kathy and Ernie, Dakota Dream

Last, but certainly NOT least to share about our trip, was the warm welcome we received at Dakota Dream Bed & Breakfast & Horse Hotel. Kathy and Ernie were delightful hosts and, I’m telling you, they thought of EVERY thing to make our stay special! We highly recommend! Even after day three, I was still finding little things they did to provide all the comforts, well, beyond OUR home!

Learn more about Dakota Dream HERE!

Image of Breakfast Plate
Every breakfast was a work of art.
Image of Quilt
Kathy’s a quilter, too!
Image of Matt and Karla at Dakota Dream
Me and the hubbs.

Read about Tanka, the bison skull quilt and Dakota, the Southwest turtle quilt inspired by the visit to South Dakota.

Shop more than 50 Creative Bee Studios Quilt Patterns!


Enjoy YOUR quilting journey!

How do YOU Quilt Week?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Quilt shows are like Disneyland for us.

In which land of the quilt show park do you like to hang?

Quilt show lands.

Firstly, do you map out a plan for conquering the whole “quilt park”? Secondly, do you stick to your plan? Or are you more of a “go with the flow of people and see where we land” kind of quilter?

Quilt show park passes.

Overall, here’s my generalizations of the types of visitors to quilt shows.

  • The quilt study. This quilter’s priority is to carefully see and study each quilt entered, reading the program notes as they go.
  • The land drover. This quilter needs to see each section, floor, and adjacent activities within the entire city hosting the show.
  • The vendor supporter. This quilter must hit all booths and find all new tools of the trade!

How do you conquer the quilt show challenge?

Initially, our little group starts with a plan. In the same fashion, we often change our plans!

Individual priorities.

That said, some of us are students, some are shoppers, some want to see it all!

Against the crowd.

Apart from our differences, we generally agree to go against the crowd. By that I mean, we first go to the furthest “lands” in the park. Once the crowds have cleared from the park entrance, we go see the mainland (winner’s circle).Some years we really study the quilts. There are some years that we REALLY shop the vendors.  Other years we’ve taken classes. Some years we throw our plans  out the window and just go!

This was a big quilt show year for me.

At the time of this writing, more than 10 of my quilt patterns and quilts were featured in Hancock’s of Paducah for Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky. Needless to say, I spent a good deal of my park time in this establishment!

Free pass.

Moreover, to celebrate, any friends who posted their photo with one of my patterns or quilts and #usebothsides was entered into a drawing for a free pattern of their choice.

And the winner is…

(drum roll and scroll down)

Quilt Show Week in Hancock's of Paducah
Rose, Pepita, and Emily hang in the distance.
Image of Quilts Hanging for Quilt Show Week
L to R: Sally, Kate, Lily, Belle, Phoebee, Something’s Brewing, and Fiona hanging at Hancock’s of Paducah!
Karla Kiefner with patterns at quilt show week in Hancock's of Paducah.
That’s me looking at Phoebee and Pepita patterns hanging in Hancock’s.
Image of Hancock's Post
Fiona was a featured quilt in Hancock’s of Paducah Facebook Promotion.
Image of Honey Pot

Finally, all the names went into the honey pot and the winner is Cindy Spaeth! Congrats, Cindy! Pick out your pattern, girl!


SHOP more than 50 quilt patterns that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric HERE.

Learn how to use both sides HERE.

Favorite Binding Tool

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

My favorite binding tool isn’t made for binding.

In fact, my favorite binding tool is more of a seamstress tool, really. I’m not even sure what it is called. It’s a ruler and a gauge. There are several reasons I keep this tool right next to my machine at all times.

Movable Marker

Firstly, most of these types of tools have a marker that slides across the measurements. It’s snug enough that when you set it at, say 1/4 inch, it stays. The extended points above and below the ruler aid in measuring seam allowances.

Since it is important for finer quilt bindings to have the back and front of the binding to be equal size, this marker helps “gauge” the size you need your seam allowance to be.

Additionally, the market can assist you to know when to stop stitching at the corner. Just match the marker to your seam allowance!

Thin, straight edge.

Secondly, these rulers/gauges are very thin. In addition the top has a nice straight edge. Together, this makes for a great corner folding tool for your binding application. Furthermore, thicker rulers add bulk to the folded binding. This can cause looseness in the binding corner fold.

Image of favorite binding tool

Happy Endings

I recall my early years of quilting when I’d refer to my Happy Endings book each time I came to that part of the quilt-making process. Making a quilt took me so long that I’d forget how to do binding by the time I came around to it again! Even though I understood the technique, there would be so much time in between bindings, that I couldn’t remember how to do it. 

Image of Quilt Binding

The test of time.

While trying to get the end my stitching to the exact size of my seam allowance, I’d use this familiar tool which I’d inherited from my mother-in-law and mostly used by her in garment construction.  One brand calls it a “Rule ‘n Gauge”. In addition to providing a precise measurement, I use the straight edge of this little tool to give me a perfectly square fold for my binding corners. While any straight edge will do, this favorite binding tool is readily available and has that has passed the test of time. 

The tradition stands.

In conclusion, after making more than 50 quilt patterns (that use both beautiful sides of fabric), I no long have to look up how to attach quilt binding! I use the Rule ‘n Gauge each and every time!

Before you turn that binding, try adding prairie points! It’s a fast, easy way to hang your quilt! Learn more HERE!


Enjoy your quilting journey!

For more quilting tool ideas, see Totally Cool Quilting Tools and Take One: Cool Tools for Quilters and Better Bias Binding.

Fabulous Quilting Tools

Here are the three best quilting tools!

Are these the three best quilting tools EVER, in the whole world? Okay, maybe not. However, if you are making quilts using fusible applique or even broderie perse, THESE ARE THE THREE BEST

Anyone who quilts knows you gotta have tools…and the right tools can really make quilting fun!

I’ve been sharing  tips of the trade when it comes to working with value and auditioning fabrics for my latest patterns, which use both sides of one focus fabric.  Now I’m going to share the three top tools I’ve found and grew to love while making these patterns.

(drum roll)

Karen Kay Buckley Scissors

Image of Scissors

They cut like a dream. The edges are serrated which makes them seem to grab and hold on to the fabric as you cut, rather than pushing it away from you. I have made many of these #usebothsides quilts and cut many, many paper-fused appliques with them – and quickly, too. They cut today as well as the first day I bought them. I highly recommend them. They make cutting enjoyable, even under deadlines. I use the blue handled size.

Soft Fuse Premium

A few years ago, I wandered upon Misty Fuse. I liked that it looked almost like a spider-web and, once fused, it felt like it wasn’t even there. It works great for projects where you use rulers or die cutters and you don’t need to trace patterns–because there’s no paper on which to draw.

Image of Logo

Enter…Soft Fuse Premium , a paper-backed, but thin, web-like fusible which quilts like a dream. Soft Fuse  doesn’t make your applique stiff or hard to manage and it quilts like a dream (kinda like Karen’s scissors cut). I highly recommend it.

Roxanne Glue-Baste-It

Temporary Basting Glue

Image of Glue Bottle

Last, but not least, Glue-Baste-It with this micro-applicator tip is the bomb–and life-saver when it comes to whipping out quilts! This has saved me many times! It gets into tiny places, dries clear (really, it does, except maybe on Lame – but how often do you applique with that?), and it  lasts forever! I still have a teeny, tiny bottle from 15 years ago (from the Sewing Basket) by my machine and it still works great (but doesn’t have this fancy applicator tip).  So, why do I need this product? When I’m cutting flowers for Colorful Petals or Colorful Wings, I don’t cover  my entire piece of fabric with fusible but I might see a flower I really want in my quilt. Rather than set it aside, I keep it in my pile and put a dot or two of Glue-Baste-It on it when I place it on my quilt. It holds the flower in place just as though it was fused, until I quilting it down. Likewise, if I’m quilting a long the edges  of my applique and find a spot not adhered fully, I don’t plug in the iron and wait for it to heat up to reheat the fused fabric -I just dab a dot of this glue and keep on stitching! It really is a great product to have on hand.

Do you NEED these products to make #USEBOTHSIDES quilts?
Image of Three Quilts
Colorful Petals Quilt Patterns
Image of Three Quilts
Patterns available at
Image of Cauldron Wall Hanging

Nah, but having cool tools is part of the game of quilting, right? If nothing else, put them on your wish list for Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas…the countdown is on and a new pattern is coming SOON! Stay Tuned.

What’s your favorite quilting tool or product? Let me know!

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Image of Cat
This is Mungojerrie (named after a cat in the musical, CATS), checking out the Roxanne’s.
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