Friday, January 24, 2020

Road2CA: Bad News, Good News, Best News

Bad news:  no place for breakfast in Ontario Airport at 4:12 am

Good News:  Diet Dr Pepper in the vending machine

Best News:  I was able to fit all of my gifted chocolates in my suitcases to bring home. Chocolate is the PERFECT memory of a great quilt show and great students!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

New Online Class -- Church Window Medallions (part 1)

When I'm not traveling to teach machine quilting, I film quilt classes for Annie's Creative Studio at home!

I was so excited to make the Church Windows Medallion quilt:

When my house is finally rebuilt, I will find a place to hang this beauty!

I filmed this class in two parts.  Here's the intro to part one:

Class description:

Capture the dramatic jewel tones and precise patterns of cathedral windows in the Church Window Medallion Quilt designed by Carolyn Vagts!

In this Quilter’s Skill Builders video class brought to you by Annie’s Creative Studio, quilting expert Debby Brown demonstrates the techniques to prepare and add applique to each wedge. When finished, this project looks like a beautiful stained glass window.

In this online video class, you’ll learn how to:
·               Prepare freezer paper templates for wedge applique pieces using 30-Degree Petal Ruler or the included pattern templates.
·               Fuse applique to wedges.
·               Stitch appliques in place.

Annie's Creative Studio is a subscription-based platform where you can learn from experts (like me!) how to quilt, knit, crochet, and more!  If you aren't a member yet, sign up for a free trial to watch the entire episode.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Watch It Wednesday!

My students always ask if they can watch me quilt.  Well, my studio isn't clean enough to invite you in, but I decided I could film bits of my quilting and let you watch that way.

I'm machine quilting a sample and filmed how I quilted one of the blocks.

Quilting on Jason Momoa, my Handi Quilter Forte

I used a Multi Clamshell Tool, the 3-inch side for the continuous curve and the 4-inch side for the scallops.

Subscribe to my email newsletter, my YouTube channel, and this blog so that you don't miss any new videos!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Road to California Quilt Show

I'm teaching at Road to California this week!

I bring all of the supplies for the class so the students don't have to.  That means I spend my evening hours cutting fabric for the next day's class. 

How many fat quarters long is my hotel room?  Possibly no one else has ever measured this hotel the same way!

My students are quite lovely.  Since there was nothing on their supply list, I wrote "Bring chocolate for the teacher and lots of smiles."

They brought both!

This week I'm teaching rulers on the Handi Quilter Capri (twice! Both classes are full!), a free-motion Essential Echo class, and More or Less.

And Road to California is in CALIFORNIA!!!  I left New York in a snowstorm with doubts that my flight would take off.  My reward is a week of 70*+ weather. 

I have the Best. Job. EVER!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Pandora's Box of Scraps

In my perpetual quest for a cleaner, more organized sewing room, I'm opening boxes of fabric and projects that haven't been opened in years.

I recently opened a box of 2 1/2" scrap strips.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The first thing that fell out of that box was a pile of short 2 1/2" green strips, about 4 1/2"-5" long.

I think I'll have to make a scrappy green Stepping Stones Cutie Quilt now.

What color is a good background for green?  Beige/Tan is the safe bet, but do you have other ideas?

Friday, January 17, 2020

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Stitch RIBBON CANDY

I just finished quilting this Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt on Jason Mamoa, my Handi Quilter Forte:

I pieced the top a while back using leftover strips of patriotic colored fabrics, thinking to give this to Quilts of Valor or my local police department.

When I got home from Salt Lake City last weekend, I got a text reminding me that my insulation guys were coming on Monday.  Reminding?  They never contacted us in the first place.  So, all of the filming I had planned to do on Monday and Tuesday was moved to Tuesday overnight and Wednesday, because folks aren't very happy when you film with a generator/pump right outside the sewing room!

Instead of filming, I quilted this quilt and cleaned my sewing room.  Quilting ribbon candy is a treat for me, so put a few items away and then rewarded myself by stitching some ribbon candy.  I repeated this interval for 80 blocks and all borders.  During that time, I was able to clean enough of my sewing room to allow room for a second person to stand in here.  2019 brought me a broken collarbone, a full travel schedule, a crunched house, and a few flareups;  my 450 square foot sewing room only had room for one person to stand in here -- ME!

I'm pleased with the quilt and the results in my sewing room.  I now need to quilt a ribbon candy quilt every week that I'm home.  Since all quilts are ribbon candy quilts, that shouldn't be too hard, right?

I'm weird for working like this.  Is anyone else weird in this same way?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Sew Exciting -- Handi Quilter Academy

Have you been to Handi Quilter Academy yet?  It's about longarm quilting and so much more!

I've been teaching there for years and years and I can't imagine that I'll ever voluntarily stop!

It's fun and food and friends and ... quilts, quilters, and quilting!

There are rooms and rooms full of sewing machines, longarm quilting machines, and computerized longarm quilting machines.  There are lectures, demonstrations, and more.

I'm teaching many "New to Handi Quilter Academy" classes:

1.  Spiral quilting using a walking foot

2.  20 Ways to Use the Multi Clamshell Ruler (with a great handout!)

3.  Layered Quilting -- a fun free-motion quilting technique

4.  Don't Just Eyeball It -- learn how to attach borders and piece backings accurately

5.  My, What a Big Quilt You Have!  -- how to quilt a large quilt on a stationary longarm or home sewing machine.

Head to the Handi Quilter Academy website, browse the classes, make your list, check it twice, and make plans to come to Utah in June!!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tree Versus House -- Four Months Later

Some of you may not know that my house was crushed by a tree in mid-September. 

Guest room (second floor):

Kitchen ceiling (first floor):

Crack across entire house (second floor):

One tree did all of this damage.  Giant beech:

The trunk would have cleaved the house in two:

The good news:

1.  We were not home when this happened.
2.  Our children are grown and live on their own.
3.  We have no pets.
4.  My sewing room wasn't damaged at all.  PHEW!

While I was teaching in Houston in late October/early November, we finally had the roof (joists, beams, etc.) replaced:

I was sorry/not sorry to have been out of town while this noisy work was taking place.

Once I returned home, though, I got to babysit the tree guys for a few days as they removed the offending tree and several of its friends:

Watching professional tree guys work is a lesson in physics.  I have tons of videos and photos because I have grandsons who love trucks and machines.

This week marks four months since the tree damaged our home.  And we finally have insulation:

I can only show you views of the ladders because:

1.  I don't climb ladders
2.  The last time I went into the attic I breathed something awful and ended up with vicious particulate pneumonia.  So I will only see my new insulation if someone else goes up there and takes photos. 
3.  Yes, it's warmer already.


Maybe we can work on a chimney, ceilings, walls, floors, siding, a deck, and other minor things soon.*

We expected this to take about a year to repair.  We're right on schedule.
*soon = maybe later or maybe later than later. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Enjoying 2020

One of my goals this year is to have more fun.  I'm looking into vacations, events, and other fun outings to place on my calendar at regular intervals.

One I'm really looking forward to it a cruise in April:

I will be teaching a Cutie (fat eighth quilt) class on one of our at-sea days and the rest of the time cruise will be spent enjoying the weather, the quilters, the food, and the excursions.

Do you have a goal of "more fun in 2020"?  If so, contact Gail Miller and sail with us!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Dottie -- an ongoing project

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh when the steel mills (pronounced "stihl mills" locally) closed and the city suffered 70% unemployment.  My family was hit by the economic downturn and I grew up knowing the value of a dollar.  That is probably why I can't throw any fabric scraps away.

Every time I make a Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt, and that happens more frequently than you might imagine, I end up with leftover scraps from the strip piecing.  I have bags and Bags and BAGS of these 1 1/2" square pairs.  I'm sewing them together alternately with a 1" pink circle hand appliqued on a 2 1/2" square of scrappy white fabric and this is happening:

I can not commit to finishing this quilt in 2020, but I do commit to hand-appliqueing the circles in the evening in between my Bloom blocks.

Leave a comment telling me I'm insane to attempt to make a 60"x72" quilt out of leftover 1" squares.  It will serve to confirm my suspicions.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

28 Days to Better Free-Motion Quilting!

Today is an exciting day!  I get to announce a fun new online series of machine quilting videos on

28 Days to Better Free-Motion Quilting

"Welcome to a four-week special event hosted by Angela Walters, featuring instruction from Bluprint’s top quilters. From simple scribbles to full-on feathers, gain the skills you need to free-motion quilt like a pro in just a few minutes a day. Your program includes lessons, templates, worksheets and more. Enroll on your own schedule, then see how fast your FMQ improves!"

Since some of the lessons are taught by me, I'm blushing just a little.  The program is designed so that you can gain confidence and become a better free-motion quilting by practicing one new skill a day at your own pace.

Sign up at Bluprint to join today!

Friday, January 10, 2020

My Brush with a Celebrity -- Angela Walters!

While I was at Houston Quilt Festival last fall, I ran into the fabulously famous Angela Walters and we got to chat.

Since she has a magical life where a team carrying cameras follows her everywhere, We chatted on camera and it showed up in her new season of True Up.

I'm in episode 5, in case you want to subscribe and watch Angela as she travels the world and quilts.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Quiler's World Magazine -- I'm a COVER GIRL!

I write a machine quilting column for Quilter's World Magazine and I'm on the cover of the latest issue!

ok, at least my NAME is on the cover.

The gorgeous quilt on the cover was designed by the amazing Nancy Scott of Masterpiece Quilting.  Winter is just starting here and that quilt has me longing for spring!

Did you know that there's more to a magazine than the cover?

Inside, there's a blurb about one of my Annie's Creative Studio classes:

and my article about Creative Crosshatching:

Subscribe to Quilter's World Magazine, ask for it at your local quilt store, or check it out at the newstand.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Scrappy Placemat with Wavy Walking Foot Quilting

I recently finished a scrap quilt made from leftovers of a yet-to-be-released Cutie Quilt Pattern, but it didn't use up all of the scraps from that quilt.  I gathered the remaining scraps and pieced them together in the style of Victoria Findlay Wolfe until the fabric ran out.  It was just big enough to make a placemat for my mom:

When I make placemats for Mom, I give myself permission to play with the machine quilting.  I've played with straight walking foot quilting and wavy walking foot quilting and alternating rows of each, but on this project I switched between straight and wavy quilting in the middle of a row of stitching:

I think I'm in love with this stitching, and the Mellow Yellow FabuLux thread only adds to my joy.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Snowy Days Table Set on Annie's Creative Studio

New York experiences cold, snowy, dark January days so I was tickled to make the cheery and bright Snowy Days Table Set for my latest Annie's Creative Studio episode.

Here's the preview:

Episode description:

Do you want to quilt a cheery snowman to brighten your table? This wonderful winter table set offers three projects in one!

In this Learn, Make, Create! episode brought to you by Annie’s Creative Studio, quilting expert Debby Brown demonstrates the techniques to create the Snowy Days collection to melt away the winter blues.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to:
·               Make half-square triangles.
·               Piece mug rug base together.
·               Embellish Snowman face with applique nose and machine-stitched mouth
·               Complete the Snowy Days Table Set

Annie's Creative Studio is a subscription-based platform where you can learn from experts (like me!) how to quilt,
knit, crochet, and more!  If you aren't a member yet, sign up for a free trial to watch the entire episode.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Bloom -- an ongoing project

I considered pulling out one UFO each day in 2020, but decided that would be too depressing.  Instead, I'm pulling out a long-term project and committing to finishing it in 2020.

Project #1 -- Bloom

This is a free pattern on Lori Holt's blog.  I purchased her templates and used my scraps of "happy" fabric."  Yes, I keep a box of scraps that is full of fabrics that make me happy.  Each piece is a fun memory.  I'm hand-appliqueing this because I'm able to use my hands currently.  I stitch at night when I sit with my husband (thank you Daylight lamp) and also in hotel rooms (thank you son for the travel light you bought for me for Christmas).  

Do you love Lori Holt like I love Lori Holt?  Do you have a long-term project that you'd like to dig out and finish this year?

Friday, January 03, 2020

Got Gingham?

Did you know that pattern designers still admire other pattern designers?  One of my heroes is Lori Holt.  I've never met her, but I've also never met a quilt of hers that I didn't want to make.

I received a few more of her quilt books for Christmas (Amazon wishlists work!) and fell in love with her Gingham quilt block and quilt.

I modified the Gingham quilt block in Farm Girl Vintage and turned it into a Postcard:

I have some thank you notes to write, and I shall write them on gingham!

In Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage 2 book, she wrote a multi-sized pattern for a Gingham Quilt.  Sadly, I need a gift in a hurry for a sick relative, so I quickly made a red gingham quilt:

This 54"x66"quilt is made from Benartex Superior Solids fabrics.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I can't wait to quilt it.

If you want to make one, too, I put together a kit for you.  This will likely be my go-to gift quilt for a while.  It's quick and inexpensive and fun. 

Thursday, January 02, 2020

January Serviettes

I put away my Christmas Serviettes on New Year's Eve and needed something for my January table:

Do you want to build a snowman?

If you do, I have kits available.

I imagine using these whilst warming myself with soup this month, and also whilst sipping hot cocoa (with marshmallows, naturally).

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year!

Last night was the last night that I was able to use my Christmas Serviettes:

I had so much fun stitching along with Hugs 'n  Kisses Advent Mystery Stitchalong for the month of December:

and finished enough to bring to my son's house for our Christmas celebration:

My children's families kept their napkins and will be able to use them each Christmas.

I finished the rest of the Serviettes and have put them away for next season.

Fortunately, Hugs 'n Kisses has more stitchery plans for this year because my fingers are itching to continue stitchin'!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Cotton Cuts Mystery -- part six

I'm tickled to be part of Cotton Cuts Mystery Quilt Blog Hop!  I received clue six in the mail.

The fabric selection for #TeamNicole is printed on fabric.  It was super easy to identify which pieces were which by reading the instructions and matching the pieces with the fabric letters.

I followed along, step by step, and pieced Clue 6A. 

The directions told me which way to press the seams, so piecing this together was a snap!

The directions include the little labels to put on each piece so that the clues are easy to find when it is time to assembly the mystery quilt!

I pieced this during the Christmas season at a time when my energy was at an all-time low.  I can't tell you how satisfying it was to piece this quilt together without having to cut it out first.  I simply sat, fed the already-cut pieces through my sewing machine, and listened to a good audio book.  What a delightful afternoon!

Another rave about Cotton Cuts:  they support employment for the intellectually challenged and for those with other disabilities.  Read more about their mission HERE.

To further support this mission, Cotton Cuts will raffle off the finished quilt made piece by piece by designers like myself.  If you'd like a chance to win this quilt, enter the raffle HERE.

Thanks for following along on my adventure today.  For more quilty goodness, subscribe to my newsletter.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Gifties -- Christmas Serviettes

Now that Christmas has passed, I can show you the gift I made for my daughter-in-love:

Because every family needs a dozen bright green Nightmare Before Christmas serviettes.

I used fabric left from their Bullseye Cutie Quilt and my Serviette pattern.  She was thrilled and will be wiping her dainty fingertips in style for the forseeable future.

Yay for another finish!  But there are leftover bits calling to me to use them in another project:

Will these triangles become another Pterodactyl Quilt?

Spoiler Alert:  yes.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Straight pins, Safety pins, or Wonder Clips?

Which do you use?

I recently filmed a class about this question for Annie's Creative Studio:

Here's a preview of the class:

Pin it. Clip it. Stitch it! It's always fun to learn about new tools and also to see which ones your fellow quilters prefer to use.

In this Quilt & Sew Tips episode brought to you by Annie's Creative Studio, quilting expert Debby Brown reveals the benefits and drawbacks of using straight pins, safety pins and Wonder clips to secure fabrics while piecing.

In this episode, you'll learn how to:
  • Consider which options work best for you for holding fabric together.
  • Review a variety of specialty straight pins.
  • Use fabric clips in a new way.
Annie's Creative Studio is a subscription-based platform where you can learn from experts (like me!) how to quilt,
knit, crochet, and more!  If you aren't a member yet, sign up for a free trial to watch the entire episode.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Evolution of a Scrap Quilt -- Pterodactyl One

When it comes to snow days, I'm still a child.  This week's predicted snowstorm turned into an ice storm, which was still a good excuse to stay in my PJs and play in the sewing room.  This was the result:

I started with the leftovers from a recent (super-secret) project:

and I asked myself, borrowing from the movie Airplane "What do I make of this?"

Since the movie quote is "I can make a hat, a brooch... a pterodactyl" and since I am not making a hat or a brooch, I make must be a Pterodactyl.

I pulled out some white fabric and prepped to do some applique:

My husband and I are looking forward to the release of the final Star Wars movie and watching all of the previous movies.  I finished this applique block during our movie binge, so it was time to make some decisions.

What will this 12" block turn into?

I bordered it with leftover yellow and added the leftover Drunkard's Path blocks:

I still had a few blocks left and some scraps of fabric, so I pieced together another border:

And the final quilt is 41" square (and photographed on the ice on the remains of my deck):

This quilt is going to be so fun to quilt!  The name of this quilt is Pterodactyl One.  I have bags and Bags and BAGS of quilt leftovers.  They will become Pterodactyls, too.