Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Scraps of Inspiration

As I'm cleaning out my sewing room, I'm finding little bags of leftover bits from scores of finished quilts.

Do you bag up project leftovers, sure you'll have the perfect use for them someday?  Have you ever figured out what that use is?

Every time I find a bag of scraps, I think "What do you make of this?" and a scene from Airplane plays through my mind:

I could make something hand pieced, appliqued, scrap pieced, or a pterodactyl.

I'm open to any suggestions.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ten-Four, Good Buddy! -- a free pattern

In the latest battle in my personal war against scraps, I took aim at my bucket of 1 1/2" scrap squares.

1,600 squares later, this happened:

I named this quilt Ten-Four, because it has 10-inch pieced blocks and 4-inch sashings.  The entire quilt is 60"x60", a perfect size for gifting.

When was time to machine quilt it, I looked to some of my favorite threads:

FabuLux Midas Touch and DecoBob dark gold.  I decided to stitch a walking-foot wiggle every inch.  It was a joy to quilt and went so fast!

Do you have far too many 1 1/2" squares in your sewing room, just looking for a quilt?  Check out my free Scrappy Charity Quilts class.  The pattern for Ten-Four in included in that free class.

If you want to learn how to stitch a walking-foot wiggle, check out my free Blowing in the Wind class.  I show this same technique on simple charm square quilt.

Monday, November 25, 2019


Guilty admission:  I have the same pile of unfinished quilting projects that most quilters do.

My commitment to my Stitch Therapy 365 project and stitching one design for every project I finish has me looking through my sewing room daily, asking "What can I finish today?"  

I found a mostly machine quilted baby quilt in that stack, finished the quilting, and finished the binding.

I rewarded myself for my labors by stitching this:

It's amazing how something so tiny can make me so happy!

Isn't this the sweetest thing you ever saw?

Do you have hundreds of projects and need motivation?  Check out the Stitch Therapy 365 kit!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Guinea Pigs

As a quilt teacher, most of my classrooms are far from home or on the computer.  Before I teach there, however, I teach a local group of quilters at the Quilt Basket (my local quilt shop) and they let me work out the class with them.  They show me where the handout could have been clearer, when there is too little (or too much!) information in a class, and how I can make the class fun for all.  I'm so grateful they take their time and let me work out my classes with them!

Last weekend I taught them a free-motion class that I plan to market to quilt shops.  I made a new sample:

I stitched basic shapes:

Collectively, we decided that this would make a great full-day workshop.  So look for that in the future!  I get to make another quilt soon to see what is reasonable for half-day workshop.  

Since I finished binding this sample, I stitched another design on my Stitch Therapy 365 quilt:

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New Video: How to Machine Quilt an Apple Core Quilt

One of the most often asked quilting questions is "How do I quilt this?"

It has been my pleasure to help answer this question in person and online for over a decade.

Since Quilt Market / Quilt Festival, I have been absolutely obsessed with hand piecing.  I had fun hand-piecing these curvy apple cores with Benartex Dreamscape fabrics:

I found a new favorite thimble at Quilt Festival and have been enjoying using it, as well as the cutest pair of scissors on earth!

I pieced together 25 apple cores and arranged them with other fabrics to make a placemat.

I filmed a video of how I machine quilted this using Hedwig and FabuLux Mellow Yellows thread:

This placemat will serve as inspiration for future apple core quilts, travel as a sample, and eventually be used to keep Mom's spaghetti from her tabletop.

For me, the best part of the placemat is that I bound and FINISHED it, which means I got to work on my Stitch Therapy incentive quilt.

Day 2:

I ran to the sewing room and asked myself, "What can I finish so I can stitch one of the designs?"  A simple binding on this placemat set me right up!

Monday, November 18, 2019

New Year, New Goals, New Project

As a traveling quilt teacher, my calendar is different than the rest of the world's.  Instead of Halloween, I say "Houston."  Instead of Father's Day, I say "Vermont Quilt Festival." Instead of New Year, I say "the day after I return from Houston." 

I bought myself a New Year's present -- a new stitchery kit with 365 daily patterns

I saw this quilt at Helen's booth in Houston and simply had. to. have. it!!!

Since my calendar is weird, I won't finish this quilt in 365 days.  Instead, I plan to stitch one day's design every time I finish a project.  Hopefully this will inspire me to finish up UFOs that have been languishing in my sewing room for far too long!

This incentive project is already hard at work.  I finished this little test quilt:

I saw leftover bits of pre-fused fabric from a top-secret project and started thinking (always dangerous.)  "What would happen if...?" 

So I gave myself a few hours to see what would happen if I--

--ran the pre-fused Benartex Fossil Fern fabrics through my Sizzix die cutter and made a bunch of one-inch circles?  And then drew 2" squares on a yard of gray fabric?  And then rolled a die to determine how many circles I would place in a grouping?  And then fused the circles to the fabric?

-- threaded Hedwig with FabuLux Cuddle, added my ViviLux, and used my walking foot to stitch along those chalk lines?

--used the "bacon (wiggle)" stitch to stitch through each fused circle?

--machine bound the quilt using Cuddle and a blanket stitch?

Well, this fun little quilt is what happened.

It'll stay with me for a while, be used as a sample or a springboard for a future "what if?" project, and then given away as a baby quilt or a wheelchair quilt.

Since I started and FINISHED this quilt, I rewarded myself by stitching Day 1 of my sampler.

Do you have a big goal and need daily rewards for the work?  Do you want a new project for the New Year?  Do you just want to play along?  I brought home several of these Stitch Therapy 365 kits and they are now available in my shop.  Shipping is free!

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Thankful Bowl of Cherries

Over the summer, I rolled out of bed while sleeping and broke my collarbone.*  If I could have scheduled this accident at a worse time, I'm not sure how.  No orthopedic surgeons are working the Friday after a Thursday 4th of July here in the States; they are all enjoying a long weekend as proper people do.  I, however, needed to see an orthopedic surgeon and was desperate.  I stopped in my rheumatologist's office and begged to see her assistant.  Since she's new and I rarely visit my specialist, we haven't met in person; we've spoken on the phone and I think she's quite lovely.  I introduced myself to her with "I left a quilt for you in the office last week.  Did you get it?"

"Yes," she said.  "I love it!  My boyfriend loved it too and asked me if I could get one for him.  I told him that it probably didn't work that way."

After our discussion, she helped me find an orthopedic surgeon who would fit me in that day.  I cried tears of gratitude and asked what her boyfriend's favorite color was. 

His favorite color is green:

I spent all of the 4th of July making two Bowl of Cherries quilts -- an orange one and a green one.  I knew that it would be a while until I had two hands again and was able to machine quilt the top, but I decided on the spot that this green quilt would be a perfect thank you gift for my doctor's assistant.

And it was.

The moral of the story is:  Bribe your medical team with quilts in case you need a favor on a holiday.
*I thought that was the most bizarre thing that could happen.  My house, however, said, "I can beat that" and proceeded to be crushed under a falling tree.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Toasty Toes

I love my job!  I have the best work subject (quilts), best colleagues (quilt industry professionals), and clients (quilters).  One of my online friends took a class with me in Houston and she gave me a pair of hand knit socks.

The temps dipped into the 20s this week in New York and I can happily report that these warmed my cold tooties right up!

Thank you a million times, Pauline!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Autumn Mug Rug -- online class

As we're expecting our first snow today, I'm enjoying a warm cup of tea on my new pumpkin mug rug that I made when I filmed a class for Annie's Creative Studio:

I'm a fall gal; I could wear sweaters and boots all year long and adore the smell of fallen leaves.  If you want to enjoy autumn with your coffee/tea every morning, check out my new class:

Prepare your table or workspace for fall with these fun Autumn Mug Rugs!

In this Learn, Make, Create! episode brought to you by Annie’s Creative Studio, quilting expert Debby Brown demonstrates how to make the festive fall Pumpkin Mug Rug. As an added bonus, the pattern download also includes the Black Cat and Autumn Leaf Mug Rugs.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to:
•             Use a childhood product to baste fabrics together.
•             Easily turn a small fabric stem right side out.
•             Machine stitch raw-edge applique.
•             Free-motion quilt vines.

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, November 11, 2019

Why is My Thread Breaking?

When machine quilting, do you ever have trouble with your thread breaking?  It happens to all of us; I've written about it before.   And I've written about it again, this time in Quilter's World Magazine:

I'm tickled that I share the pages of this magazine with my friend Robin Koehler:

She designed a super-cute quilt in this issue and is an amazing teacher.  I keep suggesting that my guild should bring her to speak and teach a workshop.  Your guild should should do this, too!

Ask for Quilter's World Magazine at your local quilt shop, look for it on the newstand, or subscribe now! 

Friday, November 08, 2019

A Bowl of Cherries... Orange You Glad?

When I made an orange Bowl of Cherries Cutie Quilt for my daughter-in-love, I didn't expect the number of "I'm going to steal that quilt!" comments I'd get.  Since rotary cutters aren't allowed in prison (just my guess), I decided to keep quilters on the right side of the law and make this orange quilt available for all.  Legally.

Orange You Glad Cutie Quilt kit is now available in my online shop, and the sample quilt is available for purchase, as well!

Happy quilting!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Houston Quilt Market / Quilt Festival 2019

This was my 14th year in Houston for Quilt Market / Quilt Festival and I can honestly say that it was the best one ever!  Part of it was because I finally figured out how to prep for all of my classes without over-stressing (hint: take a day off to cut my fabric when I get to the convention center) and I also figured out that it's ok to pass on evening fun activities in favor of rest.  Quilt Market was great, Quilt Festival classes were great, and spending eleven days with the quilt world was WONDERFUL!

I love that I get to travel with my quilting friend Teri Lucas.  She brings me cake.

Fortunately, there is a FedEx inside the convention center in case someone (not me, surely!) buys too much to carry home

Standing in line for the restrooms makes me want to commandeer the men's room to help all of us poor women out!

I caught the hand-piecing bug while I was in Houston.  It's highly contagious.  I plan to spread it to you so watch for it!

I visited with the fun folks at Bluprint.  It was weird to see my Bluprint machine quilting classes on their televisions every time I walked down that aisle (close to the food court so lunchtime was interesting).

Are you a member of Bluprint?  Consider a Free Trial!

Quilting friends are a huge part of Quilt Market and Quilt Festival.  I've been privileged to call Angela Walters a friend for nearly a decade and it was fun catching up with her.  On camera, even!

Oh, and did you you know that there were quilts in Houston?  This hugely amazing blue and white quilt exhibit took my breath away!

The next Quilt Market is in Pittsburgh, PA in May and then we get to enjoy Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in Houston again next October.  It seems so far away and I know from experience that it'll be here in a snap!

Friday, November 01, 2019

Gripping Your Quilt for Machine Quilting is a Cinch!

I regularly film for Annie's Creative Studio and am so excited to share a recently released episode!

In "How to Grip Your Quilt for Machine Quilting," I demonstrate and discuss a variety of products that are designed to help you get a grip on your machine quilting.  (See what I did there?)

Class Description:
Love to machine quilt, but find that you tire easily while holding your quilt under the needle? Finish projects without the fatigue!

In this Quilt & Sew Tips episode brought to you by Annie’s Creative Studio, quilting expert Debby Brown highlights a number of tools to help you hold your fabric securely as you piece and quilt your textile masterpieces.

In this episode, you’ll learn about:
·               Three types of specialty gloves.
·               Two types of gripper pads.
·               How to make machine-quilting easier.

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.