Category: Quilting (Page 1 of 6)

Posts include quilting techniques, how-to’s, and more.

Meet the Calico Needlers

The Calico Needlers Quilt Guild meets in Saint Peters, Missouri at the St. Charles Library. This day-time guild meeting starts bright and early at 9:30.

Even so, the room was filled with friendly quilters.

The Calico Needlers Quilt Guild is a fun group of quilters!

Everything about this event was smooth sailing! I am grateful for their kind welcome and hospitality and the ease of setting up everything from technology to hauling my wares!

For starters, each guild program presentation begins with selfies of the group. I am currently without my selfie stick, so disregard the mop of gray at the bottom of these pics!

image of Calico Needlers
It’s always a “Good Morning” when it starts with guild!

Likened to eating dessert first, we had the program straight away.

Image of Calico Needlers
Enthusiastic quilters!

In Our Quilting Journeys, I challenge quilters to ponder their own journeys.

Take a quiet moment, maybe over a cup of coffee or tea, to think about who has influenced your quilting journey.

First, many quilters have family quilters who either directly or indirectly expose us to the craft. In other words, “we get it honestly”!

Furthermore, our quilting journeys are influenced by many things, like shops we frequent (they choose what we see), friends, emails, sales, free shipping offers, retreats, and even Show and Tell!

There’s never a wrong reason for making a quilt!

As expected, much of the program is dedicated to sharing my quilting journey, which I often refer to as a “very curvy quilting journey”. With the newest curve in my journey being repeat pattern design, I remembered just days before the presentation a big influencer on the latest curve of my journey: Tula Pink.

Several years ago, at the Fall Paducah Quilt Show, fabric designer Tula Pink was the featured guest. We were fortunate to get tickets to “An Evening with Tula”. When Tula began her talk, she announced she was going to tell us the process of how she designs fabric. I guess I had been thinking about it back then because I took out pen and paper and made notes. She mentioned she uses Adobe Illustrator, a vector software for digitizing her designs.

Later, when I needed to update my laptop, I told the computer guys I would be getting Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t have a clue what it was or how incredibly powerful and involved this software was. But it was in my Tula notes!

Sometimes we are surprised by the memories we gain by quiet reflection.

The power point/trunk show continued with pattern quilts and what influenced me to make them.

The Calico Needlers meeting continued on, with business and pleas for volunteers – a common thread amongst guilds. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stick around for Show and Tell, my favorite part of any guild meeting! But I must say these quilters were most helpful and gracious to me as a speaker. Aren’t quilters the best?

While in the area, I made a stop to Batiks Plus and, eureka, I found a gem!

Hidden away, under another bolt of fabric was this bolt of Crystalia, the Hoffman digital spectrum fabric used in my original Phoebee pattern! Phoebee is the gal that started it all and helped me discover how to use BOTH beautiful sides!

See more about Designing for Hoffman Fabrics HERE.

Read more about Phoebee HERE.

A special note of gratitude to the quilt holder gals! You did a great job!

Finally, a big thanks to my new friends in Saint Peters!

Remember to enjoy YOUR quilting journey, Karla

Spoonflower How-To

Discover Spoonflower’s fabric and home decor!

Spoonflower’s fabrics and home decor are so stimulating, I liken it to walking into Hancock’s of Paducah (or any fabric warehouse) for the first time, without a clear quilt plan or shopping list! There’s so much to choose from -it can be delightful AND overwhelming!

Where do you start?

This is an overall guide to Spoonflower’s fabrics and home decor. I’ll explain what it is and how it works. You will “walk in” with an overall idea of where to go and what to do!

First, let me say that Spoonflower.com is not a difficult website to navigate. It’s just that, as creatives, we imagine ALL the possibilities when encountering a new product or venue. When you consider there are thousands of designs that can be printed on a variety of products, THAT can be overwhelming!

Because there are so many possibilities with Spoonflower, I think it’s helpful to wander in with some idea of what you will see.

spoonflower's fabric and home decor
Example of traditional designs.

Basically, Spoonflower is a print-on-demand fabric shop. Artists create design swatches. You find the one/ones you like, choose the type of fabric you want it printed on and place your order.

Pretty straight forward, right? It is. However, when you “enter” Spoonflower, you can see thousands and thousands of designs, it’s easy to get distracted. (You think you want frog fabric but you’re suddenly engrossed in pages and pages of beautiful florals.)

artistic nature
Example of “artistic, nature” designs.

So here are some basics to remember when you visit Spoonflower so you can stay on track:

Let’s start with fabric. There are categories, color, and fabric types.

Examples of categories include Style (Traditional, Modern, Nautical, etc.), Animals, Nature, Occasional, Holidays, etc.

Twelve color categories include numerous swatches in each to really pick the colors you are searching.

When it comes to fabric types, hold on to your hats! Spoonflower prints on 24 different types of fabrics! Examples are Canvas, Performance Velvet, Jersey, Organic Sweet Pea Gauze, Chiffon, Performance Linen, and my favorite, Organic Cotton Sateen! That’s just seven of the twenty-four!

Keep in mind that artists upload their designs for you to choose to print. There are thousands of artists uploading lots of designs!

Fill-a-Yard is a great option!

Fill-a-Yard is a great way to get many different designs in one yard of fabric. When you choose this option you first pick the designs you want. Next, choose the template. Do you want two half-yards or 12 dinner napkins?

When you find designs you like, click on the designer’s shop to see more. You can “favorite” what you like so you can go back to see that designer’s newest work.

What about home decor?

Spoonflower’s home decor is divided into four categories: wallpaper, living and decor, dining, and bedding.

Wallpaper: Choose from Prepasted Removable (smooth), Peel and Stick (woven), or Non-pasted Traditional (pebble).

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BUBBLES Wall Paper by Creative Bee Studios

Living and Decor: Order pillows, blankets, curtains, or wallhangings in your favorite designs!

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Bubbles pillow on Spoonflower

Bedding: Options include duvet covers, sheets, pillow shams, and lumbar throw pillows.

My designs on Spoonflower, like Seashore Friends Fabric Collection, are hopefully just a beginning point for my adventure into design work.

Image of Bubbles Quilt and Fabrics
Bubbles Quilt and Fabrics

Now head over to Spoonflower.com and have a ton of creative fun!

Enjoy your quilting journey, Karla

What is Quilting Heritage?

Quilting heritage might mean something different to each of us quilters. However you define it, I’m betting you consider it a good thing!

It began several months ago when my oldest daughter assisted me at a guild program I presented. This was Paige’s first guild meeting. I think that was a big influence in determining a quilting heritage for her. She told me afterward she loved seeing all the women in one room come together with a passion and excitement for quilting.

In reflection, both of our daughters enjoyed attending quilting camps when they were young. Since then, they’ve each had their own individual experiences with sewing. Our youngest, Jacquelyn, sewed theatre costumes in college and a few other projects. Paige has sewn several costumes, including an Elsa costume from Frozen. Because their sewing interests were more varied and more difficult than I consider quilt piecing to be, I hadn’t thought much about them taking an interest in quilting. At least not for a few decades!

You never know what will trigger someone to make a quilt!

So when Paige helped me set up my program which includes an integrated power point and trunk show with more than 45 quilts, plus patterns, kits, and shirts to sell afterward, I didn’t expect it to be a big influence on her. Learn more about products and programs HERE.

Next thing I know, she and her friend take a trip to Hamilton, Missouri, home of Jenny Doan and Missouri Star Quilt Company! They each buy some layer cakes and get together to start laying out their quilt plans. They haven’t yet discovered all the many variations of quilt blocks they can make with layer cakes, but that’s okay! They totally enjoyed making their own quilts from the 10-inch squares.

Image of Quilt

All by herself!

Paige is not one to do anything small. (See Her Role, Our Town, My World for a look her opera background.) So when she told me she put this quilt top together because she decided she needed to carry on the quilting tradition, she also informed me she wanted to quilt it…on my longarm. She never even looked twice at this machine, all these years!

There’s something to be said for the fearless energy of youth.

While I did suggest she practice a bit, she didn’t stick to the loops and swirls I suggested for the beginner. She wanted to make pumpkins and cats – and she did!

image of quilting heritage

The fearlessness of youth is amazing!

Image of Paige quilting

And just like that, she’s a quilter – and so is her friend!

Image of Paige holding quilt

Quilting heritage is alive and well!

Seashore Friends Collection One

Delight in the happy colors of summer as we take a first look at Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One.

Firstly, you’ve seen the main character of this show (the Seashore Friends Pattern Collection), Bubbles. (See Uncork the Bubbles for more Bubbles fun!)

Image of Baby Whale Quilt
Bubbles is made with both sides of “Paint Pots” by Kaffe Fassett.

Secondly, you know he’s got some beach-loving “supporting characters”, Pinky and Sally.

To begin, each character started from a focus fabric and an idea. This is a case of the fabric driving the quilt!

Each quilt was made using both beautiful sides of the focus fabric. For each character, the fabric sparked the idea for the quilt design.

Pinky Quilt Pattern
Pinky is made with both sides of fish bones on pink.
Image of Sally Quilt Pattern
Sally is made with both beautiful sides of a seashell bouquet motif.

Now, you’ll see how these friends take center stage in this new pattern collection.

So, how do you combine these very different characters into one pattern collection?

Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One
Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One

With colors, motifs, happiness and love!

Granted, that might sound corny, but it’s very true! When you put in lots of hours on an idea (or many ideas), you get connected, right? It happens when making quilts, for sure. Some quilts are hard to give away because of the “soul” we’ve invested in them! (Not to mention time.)

Therefore, it’s the same with pattern collections. Here’s the headline fabric:

Look for the colors and elements that connect each fabric in Seashore Friends Pattern Collection One.

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Whale Tail Stripe fabric coming soon to Spoonflower!
Image of Dancing starfish
Dancing Starfish & Seaweed Fabric at Spoonflower

Finally, from bubbles that can make Bubbles, dancing starfish, whale tails, sand dollars, and seashells, these designs perform together!

Watch for encore productions of Seashore Friends – New collections premiering soon!

More Quilt Guild Fun

Two quilt guilds in one week makes for a lot of quilting fun!

I believe quilt guilds are a natural breeding ground for fun and creative people. Last week, I was the fortunate gal that got to visit two quilt guild meetings!

To start, let’s head to DeSoto, Missouri. The delightful and clever, Merle Deneke, accompanied me on this trip. (More about Merle in a bit.)

We arrived on Main Street of this quaint town about and hour and a half before my program was to start. Delightfully, the meeting of the Grace Way Quilters Guild meeting is held in a quilt shop!

Cottage Grove Quilt Company is a treasure inside this adorable town. Visit their website HERE. Better yet, take a trip to DeSoto, Missouri and meet the owner, Christy Zawodniak!

Check out Christy’s Facebook Live each Thursday night at 7 p.m. Central Time!

Image of Quilt Guilds
Grace Way Quilters Guild (See Merle’s vintage watering can?)

After setting up (and a bit of shopping), the program began. Now if any of you know Merle, you know she can read an audience and she can be, well, I don’t know, a ham? (Love you, Merle!) In addition to sporting her vintage watering can as a purse, she modeled merchandise like a pro! See Merle’s Bouquet below (see her watering can?).

Merle's Bouquet Quilt as shown at quilt guilds
Merle’s Bouquet is made with both beautiful sides of one focus fabric!

In all seriousness, thank you for your help, Merle!

After the presentation and a short break (so they could shop), the guild meeting continued. Meanwhile, Merle and I began the task of rolling almost 50 quilts and packing the patterns and merchandise. During this time, it’s fun to listen and observe the guild. This group was chatty and enthusiastic. They seem to have lots of activities within their guild. Also, if their Show and Tell is an indication, they are a prolific group!

A hearty thank you to the Grace Way Quilters Guild and to Patty for getting me there!

Read about the Twilight Stitchers Quilt Guild HERE!

Next stop is in Farmington, Missouri at the Threads of Friendship Quilt Guild.

Threads of Friendship is a larger guild in a larger town. Like their name, they are very friendly! My friend, Linda, invited and arranged for me to speak. Between her and the friends I’d met in Desoto (also members of this guild), I felt like I knew them from the start.

Image of quilt guilds members
image of threads of friendship

For this presentation, I had the privilege of introducing my eldest daughter, Paige, as my assistant. This was her first-ever guild meeting.

Image of Paige and Karla

Later, Paige told me she loved watching the quilters interacting with one another, all coming together with a common passion. Once again, we could hear the interaction during Show and Tell and the business meeting to know this guild is very supportive both within the guild and in their community. Many of these wonderful quilters visited with me and Paige throughout the evening.

A hearty thank you to Linda and the Threads of Friendship Quilters!

If you’ve never attended a guild meeting, I suggest you seek one out. Find the meeting the suits you and that you can embrace! Guild members have a special connection in this wonderful world of quilting!

Embrace your quilting journey!

Embracing the Journey

In all things life, embrace the journey.

It’s not just about quilting skills, but the older I get the more I cherish my past experiences and embrace the journey I’ve been on. Do you keep proof of where you began?

Many of us, I’m sure, miss our days of guild meetings and live programs. One of the main messages of my programs to quilters was for them to reflect on their past and recognize how far they’ve come – to truly enjoy their quilting journey. In addition to experience and maturity, there are lots of influences in our lives that change our outcomes.

I bet you know someone who said they could NEVER quilt, right? My answer (sometimes silently in my head): all you need is a willingness to fail.

For me, to embrace the journey, I try to look at the good, bad, and…yes, ugly! I definitely have those in my collection of quilts! Some great ideas that just don’t quite make the cut. Do you look back at quilts you thought were just grand and laugh as you hide them away? I do. Wow.

But you know what? It’s this way for all things in life, I think. The older I get the more I realize that I could do what I’m doing if I didn’t start somewhere with the desire to learn and a willingness to mess things up!

Recently, I took a bit of my own advice. I pulled out some sample fabrics that I had printed on Spoonflower, framed them in embroidery hoops and hung them on my work wall right over my computer desk. It’s a little painful. These fabrics are absolute rejects. Colors are off, design are just…bad. White lines show the “repeat” was off. They are what they are!

I’m hoping with determination and lots of hard work, I’ll soon have hoops filled with successful designs.

Now I’m in the middle of a fabulous repeat pattern design course and I’m learning to fix all of those things. If you’ve ever been interested in repeat pattern design, I highly recommend following Oksana at Okscania HERE in Spoonflower or also on Pinterest.

Here I share my fails with you my friends. I hope soon I can share some beautiful fabric designs. We will see!

Image of fabric in hoops
My work wall includes a Spoonflower swatch guide, about 10 clipboards for keeping up with sales, inventory and quilt patterns, clues for Adobe Illustrator, UPC codes for more than 45 patterns and much more! Now the fabric hoops add history and perspective, if not beauty!
Image of magnetic pouches made to embrace the journey
These are a couple of ruler pouches made with the fabrics shown above.

See the Merry fabric above? She’s from the red truck quilt pattern. See more about her HERE.

Watch for new swatches, hopefully coming soon!

As always, you can shop Creative Bee Studios Quilt Patterns HERE! New patterns being added all the time.

AQ Magazine Review

AQ Magazine, also known as American Quilter, features a stunning black and white quilt with a splash of mint green on it’s cover. Get a review of this issue right here.

As you read on the cover of AQ Magazine, their motto is: Discover, Inspire, Create.

You’ll likely enjoy the first article in this issue is called, “Give Your Quilt a Bath”! It gives you step by step guidance on how to bathe a quilt that just can’t go into a washing machine. I found the specific instructions (with illustrations) from how to submerse to how to remove the quilt very helpful.

Inside AQ Magazine, you’ll also find seven “irresistible” quilt patterns, some “how-to” articles, and features by contributors. The seven quilt patterns include three “easy”, three “intermediate”, and one “challenging”.

American Quilter is a perk of membership with AQS (American Quilter Society), but is also available on the newsstand. This March 2021 newsstand issue is $6.99.

You’ll find a feature display of MJ Kinman’s “Bourbon Diamonds” which is as interesting as the quilts are beautiful. You might recall the exhibit featured at The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky in 2020.

One regular contributor, Gail Garber, discusses the use of color versus contrast with many photo examples.

I hope you find this review of AQ Magazine helpful. Because I’ve found American Quilter to be a high-quality publication, I started with this issue. I can say from a personal standpoint, the company is delightful to work with. I’ll leave a few pics of Merle’s Bouquet here. It was a lot of fun to have her featured in this quality magazine!

Image of AQ Magazine Cover
Image of Quilt in AQ Magazine
Image of Quilt and Focus Fabric
Merle’s Bouquet Pattern and Focus Fabric Kit

Look for more reviews and new patterns coming soon!

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Better Bias Binding

Some quilters use bias binding all the time, for everything. I understand it is a cleaner finish, molds to the edge of the quilt, and provides more fibers on the edge of the binding. For all of these attributes, I must admit, I don’t use it all that often.

Bias binding, for me, is something I consider when I want to use a bias stripe or if I’m binding a quilt with unusual edges. Since those two things don’t occur all that often for me, I usually need a refresher on bias binding before I begin cutting.

I liken it to the first two steps in paper piecing, when I haven’t done paper piecing in a while. Mastering those first two pieces can take me the LONGEST time. Once my brain grasps it, I’m good to go – but it takes me some time.

Since I AM from the Show-Me state, I do like a good tutorial. It doesn’t have to be a video, but I usually like pictures. How about you?

Image of cutting bias binding

So if you are need of a refresher in cutting and using the bias binding, here is what you’ll learn:

  • How to cut bias strips
  • How to cut one continuous bias strip
  • The difference between single and double bias

Check out these tutorials about bias binding on Pinterest:

Need a fast straight binding solution for your quilt? Check out Lickety-Split Binding HERE!

How about using bias of a stripe for a flange?

Here’s a glimpse of a new pattern made from an old pattern coming soon! Here I have laid out the pieced top and auditioned an outer flange and bias binding. The bias flange is accenting the center of the quilt.

Image of bias binding and flange
Image of Tree Wall Hanging
SHOP JOY and all the #usebothsides patterns in my Etsy shop – Click HERE

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Watch for the new quilt pattern (shown above) coming soon!

A Look at Modern Broderie Perse

Discover Modern Broderie Perse – a combination of new techniques and lovely traditions.

Use both beautiful sides of floral fabrics in many creative ways!

But first, what is modern Broderie Perse?

Image of Broderie Perse Traditional vs Modern

There’s a long history of Broderie Perse with origins dating back to the 17th Century in Europe. See more information about Broderie Perse HERE .

Fabric artists would cut around the artwork on fabric, often using subjects like flowers or birds, and hand applique them to their quilt work. Usually you’d consider this work to be exquisite, heirloom quality. Many hours of hand-stitching was involved in this method.

Fast forward to today’s modern Broderie Perse…

Today’s quilters have so many options and opportunities for quilt-making, most tend to make more quilts – and make them quickly – rather than spend hundreds of hours on one. How about you? Do “life events” (graduations, weddings, babies, etc.) push you at times towards faster, more “do-able” quilt projects?

Merle's Bouquet Quilt
Merle’s Bouquet quilt pattern

So what is Modern Broderie Perse? The basic concept of using floral (or other) motifs on fabric is still the same. You cut around the motifs and attach them to your quilt. Here you can see a variety of ways to use the motifs of your fabrics in a modern way while getting the traditional look and feel of Broderie Perse.

Christmas Quilt Modern Broderie Perse
Noelle Quilt Pattern

As you can see below, Flora is a quick project. The happy sugar skull is made with the reverse while her floral crown and binding are made from the front of the fabric. The key to making Broderie Perse modern is the use of fusible web and combining the edge finishing with quilting.

I recommend using a lightweight paper-backed fusible for these quilts. You’ll usually start by applying the fusible to about fat-quarter or smaller piece of fabric. Use a good pair of serrated scissors to cut around the motifs. Depending on your project, you might cut groupings of flowers all in one or partial flowers. You’ll see on some projects, I’ll use a bird, bee, or other motif from the fabric in the design. How many pieces you need to cut will depend on your focus fabric and your project. Once you arrange your Broderie Perse pieces on your quilt, you’ll fuse them with an iron – like you would a fusible template project.

See more examples of both traditional and modern Broderie Perse HERE.

The second element of making your Broderie Perse project quickly is securing the fabric to the quilt with your quilting stitches. This involves a doodling or tracing movement in your quilt, which is very free-form and forgiving. You can follow the motifs to add dimension to your Broderie Perse.

Image of Modern Broderie Perse Tropical Sunset
Tropical Sunset Quilt Pattern

Broderie Perse is a great way to add some pizzazz to your applique projects. Doing it a modern way makes it fast and easy!

A Quilter Who Inspires

Behind every quilter is a quilter who inspires them.

Maybe it’s a grandmother, mother, aunt, uncle, neighbor, or friend. Maybe the quilter is someone you’ve never met but viewed on Instagram or Pinterest or read about in a magazine. While quilting inspiration is everywhere…the tiles of a building or the view of a garden…those who inspire us can turn our likes into passion.

Is there a quilter who inspires you?

Here is one quilter who inspires me: Kathy Doughty. I met Kathy once, very briefly in Houston at quilt market. (I’m certain she does not remember me.) I was very familiar with her work and sought out her booth.

Image of a Quilter who Inspires
Kathy Doughty

I used to say that I’d love to live in a house I could get lost in (with twists and turns and secret stairways). Well, I’m kinda the same way about quilts. I’ve mentioned before that I love and appreciate all kinds of quilt styles: traditional, modern, primitive, one- color, two-color, appliqued, pieced…etc….

But the quilts that really spark my interest are quilts I can get lost in!

Kathy Doughty is a quilter who inspires me because I get lost in her quilts. Your brain can’t grab the full story of her quilts at first glance. When you look at Kathy’s quilts, you are drawn back in to study, to make sense of the design. You have to ponder the quilts to figure out how the fabric motifs and colors work together.

It’s not obvious, like, for example, in my grandmother’s two-color lilac and white quilt. While I cherish everything about the family heirloom quilt, it tells me it’s whole story at first glance. It’s very calm and peaceful.

When Kathy was interviewed for American Patchwork and Quilting magazine (June 2017), she responded to a question about fabric and color choices with,

“I like to make quilts that have secondary patterns and are not digestible in a glance.”

Kathy Doughty

I just rediscovered this article when going through old magazines, wondering why I’d kept this one- THIS is why! Kathy is unafraid of color and pattern, but she has a healthy respect for design. Maybe one reason Kathy inspires me is because her ability to combine color and pattern to the degree she does still alludes me. I guess something achieved wouldn’t be very inspirational, would it?

Kathy has a number of books that feature her vividly and interesting quilts. I keep her books handy, where I see them often. Just opening these books to revisit the quilt photos gives me inspiration to try new combinations, new colors – to step out of my comfort zone, and expand the horizons of my own little quilting world.

Kathy Doughty’s shop, Material Obsession, is located in Australia. Here’s the link to her shop – check it out!

Kathy is also a fabric designer and, as you might expect, her designs are vibrant and full of interest!

Here is her latest fabric line: New Vintage!

To see another quilter who inspires, click HERE for “Quilt Week Faves”

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