Monthly Archives: June 2013

Simplicity & Complexity in Quilting

For quite some time now I’ve wanted to design a star wall hanging to teach in my piecing classes.

I wanted it to be in red & white, so it could be for Christmas, yet year round at the same time.
I wanted it to have a classic & timeless look.
I wanted it to be simple, yet striking at the same time.
I wanted it to be a design a beginner could successfully piece, yet at the same time be satisfying for an experienced piecer.
I wanted to play with the quilting & really showcase how quilting can “make” a quilt.

I do have to admit though that when I finished piecing the top, I nearly choked at how plain it was & I was afraid I really made a mess of things.

I’d always wanted to play with Lisa Sipes’ triple stitch & decided that would be perfect in the white- just enough to create texture & add to the star effect.  It did take hours upon hours of work.  But I just listened to hours of the Bowery Boys & time passed without notice. (Well, without much notice!)

In the red spaces I wanted feathers.  Over the top beautiful, formal feathers that dripped in elegance.  So I practiced & practiced & practiced my heart out, until I held my breath & just went for it.

But when I took it off the frame, I nearly choked again- but this time it was in amazement as to how beautiful it turned out!

After I caught my breath I ran upstairs to show my husband- I was so happy with how it looked!

I wish I had grabbed a picture of the corners, I did a very fun swirl there!  But it’s now hanging up at A Quilting Place to advertise for the Fall classes, so I’ll grab a photo later.

In all, this came out better than I ever imagined!  Exactly what I wanted & more.

And in the end- isn’t this why we make things?  So we can bring a vision to life, only to have it exceed our expectations.  To remind ourselves to keep pushing & keep challenging ourselves to grow.  To remind ourselves how complexity & simplicity live together.

Tuesday Tip & Goodies

The Tuesday Tip will have to be delayed again, as June is wrapping up to be a very busy month.I have updated the Classes though! Through October even!And here’s some quilting eye candy for you:

feather longarm quilting

And check out the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along over at! I’ve given a $25 gift certificate for edge-to-edge quilting services & it’s been included in the grand prize!

Tuesday Tip! Tips for Right After You Piece a Quilt

Hello!Today’s tip is about that happy moment you’ve just finished piecing the top.

Immediately afterwards, I prepare my binding.  I mean *immediately* afterwards.  Before fabric is put away, before I fold up the top, I do a quick measure, cut my binding, prepare & roll it up.

Cut Binding

I do this for several reasons-
1.  Based on some past experience, if I wait until after it’s quilted, who knows where I’ve put the fabric- honestly, who knows if I haven’t used it in something else. (I may have, um yeah, done that more times that I’d like to admit.  At least I finally learned!)
2. When I’m done quilting, the finish line end of the project seems so close that I want to apply that binding as fast as possible before I lose momentum- I mean, really- we’re talking about finishing a UFO here folks!
3. Because I had to measure for the binding, I know how big I need to make the backing.  Now when I’m out & about, I know how much yardage to look for when spying the sale fabrics.  (note, I use sale fabrics on my backings.  They may or may not match the top of the quilt.  I’m ok with this.  It gives my quilts character.  I’m also not a matchy-matchy person in real life.  My favorite quilts are the ones with the wild Hawaiian fabric for backings that don’t relate to the quilt top at all.  I should do a backing quilt show for you all.)

In chatting with my friend LuAnn about this tip earlier today, she mentioned she likes to make the binding right after piecing too, but she also (& she’s ever so clever for this!) pins a note on the quilt with the size, so she can reference it later for when she’s loading it onto her longarm, or needing a specific size for a present….  LuAnn has some great tips!

Here’s my pile o’ bindings.  Since they’re so different I can tell which goes with which quilt, but you might want to pin a note reminding you what quilt top it belongs to!

Pile O' Binding

June Classes!

I’m very excited about June’s classes at A Quilting Place!

First, on Saturday, June 15 from 8am-12 noon, I will be teaching “Better Borders & Bindings.”  This will be a great class where you will learn the correct way to apply borders as well ways to improving bindings.  Feel free to bring in your quilts that need borders!  Cost: $10

Then on Monday, June 17 from 6-9pm I will be teaching how to make a quilted grocery bag dispenser.  This is a great way to showcase that beautiful fat quarter you can’t bear to cut as well as adding some color to your pantry!  Quilted or unquilted, these work up very fast & you might be able to get a head start on Christmas presents!  Cost: $15

If you are interested in either class, call Jackie at 402.884.2096 to reserve your spot!


Tuesday Tip- Seam Ripping!

Ever have those days where you feel you’re ripping out stitching twice as much as you’re actually stitching?I hate those days.

But since those days are inevitable (sadly), here’s a tip for successful ripping.

Lay your piecing out in front of you with the stitching facing you & put your seam ripper under a stitch to snip it apart.  Repeat cross every 3 or so stitches & use your seam ripper to help pull those small threads up.

Your seam ripper should look something like this: (I apologize for the sideways photo.  I’ve uploaded this several times & no matter what the actual orientation is, Blogger thinks it should be this way.  Yeesh.)


What I don’t recommend doing is holding your two pieces of fabric apart to rip the seams.  Like this: (And yet Blogger doesn’t mess with this pic’s orientation.  I give up.)

Now I’m not saying this is the “wrong” way to rip out, just be aware that by pulling those two pieces of fabric apart to get at the seam, you have the potential to stretch the fabric, especially if it’s been cut on the bias- for example a triangle unit.

I hope that little tip helps & I hope you don’t have to rip out this week as well!

See you next Tuesday!