A Quilty Kind of Girl

March 23, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday – Machine Applique – Part One and Day two of Easter Mini Quilt Along

So today’s post begins with some big fat excuses. First of all, I have a cold in my sinus area, that is making it a constant challenge to remain vertical. Second of all, my two oldest darling daughters are away on a school trip. That means that 98% of the chores in the house need to be reassigned. (Dear daughters, Mommy misses and appreciates you so much more than you will ever know!!) So now that is out of the way, I should tell you I did not get nearly as much done as I wanted to last night. But not to fear, I still have part one of the machine applique tutorial ready for you my quilty friends. So let’s get going k? 🙂

Hoppy Easter!

These are the letters we will be using for the applique. The letters have to be backwards because we will trace them onto fusible web then attch to the back of the fabrics.

Letters traced onto fusible web.

Place the fusible web on top of your letters and trace around the shapes. Leave about half an inch space around each letter.

The individual letters all cut away from each other.

Cut the letters apart from each other. Leave about quarter inch of paper around the outside of each one.

Experimenting with placement of letters.

Set your iron to the silk setting with no steam. While it heats, move the letters around to decide where you wnat them on the fabric. I made mine very flowery and colorful. Remember you are placing the fusible on the BACK of the fabric.

Letter attached to the fabric.

Once you've decided you like the letter orientation, press the fusible, paper side up, onto the fabric. Hold it for about 3-4 seconds then lift iron to see if it has attached. Do not hold the iron on for longer than that. If the glue overheats, it loses effectiveness.

Back side of letter after cutting out.

Cut out the letters including the centers where necessary. Leave the paper on the back for now.

A peek at the front of the letter.

Phew! Are you relieved? It's not backwards!

Applique letters after cutting out.

See how flowery and pretty they are? Carry on with this method until you have all the letters for Hoppy Easter.

Leftover scraps from charm squares.

Some of your scraps will still be usable. Toss them into your tash, or use for more letters.

This is where you can download the words for the Easter mini quilt. There is no need to reverse the letters or resize, they are ready to use. So your homework for today is to print out your letters, and trace them onto the fusible web. Press the letters onto the back of your fabrics, and then cut them all out. If you keep the paper on the back, it will protect the glue until we are ready to put these on the quilt. We still have a couple of applique designs to do, attach borders, and stitch down the applique shapes. Now don’t forget, if you have any questions, be sure to either leave a comment or email me. bradie at quiltcetera dot com.

I’ve also started an Easter Mini Quilt Along flickr group for everyone to add their photos. Be sure to join and share with us!

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

Have you been blogging along with us? Don’t forget that blogging along can earn you a chance to win $200 in long arm quilting services, so make sure to join in! I will see you all tomorrow for Day 3 of The Easter Mini Quilt Along!

Quilty Hugs,

March 19, 2010

What ‘s under my needle

Filed under: QuiltersDaily Blog Along,Quilting — quiltcetera @ 9:53 am
Tags: , ,
New York Beauty from Circle of Life

This is what I am working on right now. Eight of these will finish off the inside of my Circle of Life Quilt. I've only got a couple of weeks until Matt leaves for MQX!

This is what I spent last night working on. Each one is made from 2 sheets of paper glued together. I had to finish tracing the lines, as my printer turned a blind eye to parts of it. Then I trimmed all the excess paper away, and glued them together. Lastly, I cut apart all the arcs, as each section has to be pieced individually. Then, because I REALLY want to get this finished, I pieced 4/8 of those tiny little middle beauties.  This quilt will travel with Matty to MQX on April 12 to have a consultation with Karen McTavish. You know, the greatest womanquilter who ever lived. *wink* I’ll share more pics over the weekend, so stop by to take a peek.

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

Today’s topic on Quilter’s Daily is linty thread. Charlie shares some brillinat advice on thread choices and how they affect your machine. Make sure you stop over there and read what he has to say. ALSO, Don’t forget to Blog Along with us. It will get you a chance at $200 worth of quilting services from THE MANQUILTER! (and trust me, you will love his quilting!)

Now because I have a shopping cart full of yummy goodness over the Fat Quarter Shop, I need help clearing out some stash. I have lowered the price on the Amy Butler Charm Kits over in my Etsy  shop. From now through Sunday midnight they will sell for 10 dollars! (previously $14). So help a quilter out of her stash  invasion and grab those sweet deals while they last!

March 18, 2010

An update on thread weights and seam allowance

Thanks to all of you who took time to comment and contact me regarding thread weights and piecing! It seems that quilters have many ways of making their own piecing successful. I heard so many ideas and suggestions, I just had to post again and share some of them with everyone.

Anne Walker pointed out that she uses a straight stitch plate when piecing.


This type of sewing machine plate is exclusively for sewing straight lines.


This plate could be used for straight stitch or zig zag, due to the rectangular shaped opening for the needle.

Anne had an excellent point about moving the needle position. When using a straight stitch plate, the needle must make it’s descent into a small hole. Therefore one must be very cautious about moving the needle position. If the needle were moved to much, it would impact with the needle plate, causing the needle to break and potentially injure you. As you can see from the second picture of a needle plate, it has a wider opening, to allow the needle to move right or left when stitching a zig zag, or other decorative stitch. So if you need to adjust your needle position quite a bit, you would be wise to stick with the second type of needle plate.

Now that you have the low down on needle plate safety, I want to share an idea for using 40 wt thread for piecing. One quilter mention that she prefers to use 40 wt as it is a very sturdy thread. If you find that 40 wt is the thread you love and have the most of in your stash, then try adjusting your needle position to allow more room for the thicker thread within the seam allowance. Sew out some sample seams, press them open and measure the fabric to make sure the thread doesn’t steal valuable space within the seam. Adjust your needle and gauge your presser foot accordingly to come out with an accurate 1/4 inch each and every time you are using a different weight thread for piecing. Make a note of the adjustments you need to make for all your favorite threads. This is a handy trick for quilters that like to match their thread color to the fabric they are piecing. After all, who’s only got one kind of thread in their stash? Not me!

Also remember that accurate pressing helps your measurements stay on track. If you haven’t pressed the fold in the fabric entirely open, then you will certainly see a shortage in your measurements.

Have you seen today’s prompt on Quilter’s Daily? How do you plan to celebrate National Quilting Day? This Saturday, my friend Christine and her family will be joining us for a BBQ! Although as I peek out the window, I’m hoping the snow that’s falling will quickly melt before Saturday! If not, we’ll just have to find another way to grill those steaks! I’m fairly certain I’ll get some stitching time in, as I have two quilts with deadlines on my agenda. One is pretty easy, the other… not so much! LOL But a challenge is always a good thing. I hope you enjoy your National Quilting Day, whether you are stitching or shopping, either sounds like great fun to me!

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

Don’t forget to Blog Along with us! It’s a lot of fun, and it will get you a chance at winning $200 in long arm quilting services! What a prize!!

Quilty Hugs,

PS. Have you subscribed yet? It’s easy to get A Quilty Kind of Girl updates straight to your inbox. Simply enter your email address in the top right hand corner of the page.

March 17, 2010

My Oldest Work In Progress

Today’s Quilters Daily Post is about your oldest Work In Progress Quilt. Julie shared hers first, and I really had to look hard for mine! It was really buried!! My oldest WIP has got to be this bargello kit. I’ve had it since Christmas of 2007. So far I’ve put in about two hours per year. If I keep it up, in 15 years, I’ll have a gorgeous new quilt!

WIP Lightning Strikes Bargello

These are the remaining strips to be put together. See that swatch page? Really glad I made that!

A strip set from the Lightning Strikes Bargello.

20 fabrics make up this beautiful queen size quilt. (Just pretend it's nicely pressed OK?) The kit contained 17 meters of fabric! That's a lot of seams people!

Lightning Strike Bargello Quilt

This is the pattern for these fabrics. My kit is not so floral, but a lot more asian fabrics.

I am really hoping to get this one finished really soon! I’m hoping Matt will quilt his awesome feathers all over it, and we’ve talked about it a few times but still no decision. I guess we’ll see when it’s all finished.

Speaking of Matty and quilting, did you know that Matt is giving away TWO long arm quilting gift certificates? and that each one is worth $200?! WOW!! You have two ways to enter:
1)Visit Manquilter to find out what you have to do.
2) Visit QuiltersDaily and Blog Along with us! That’s it. That’s all! Sew Easy!

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

How To Blog Along

    Pick a daily topic from Quilters Daily.
    Blog your response to the topic.
    Put the Quilters Daily button on your blog and link back to Quilters Daily.
    Go back to QD and leave a comment with your blog URL.
    Do it NOW!! You could win BIG!

    Oh! and Kate Spain is giving away some pretties over on her blog too. Tell her Bradie sent you. (Just kidding, I’m trying to feel important. :P)

    PS! Julie is having a giveaway too! More Moda baby!

March 16, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday – What is YOUR thread weight?

After spending some time stitching on another machine, I quickly realized that something was different. I took a close look at the thread, which seemed really large. I inspected the thread cone and found the thread was a 35 weight. I normally use a 50 wt thread for piecing, so I was interested to see how the different thread weights would affect my piecing.

I chose one brand, Aurifil, in four different thread weights. I stitched out an identical sample in all four. I used the same fabrics for every sample, and used 50 wt thread in the bobbin. The following pictures document the results of my experiment in thread.( Click on the images to see a larger picture.)

Four samples of Aurifil Thread.

Here are four samples of Aurifil thread. Starting on the left is 50 wt, 40 wt, 28 wt, finishing with 12 wt on the right.

Four cones of Aurifil thread in various weights.

These are four cones of Aurifil thread, same color, different weight.

Sample of 50 wt thread.

The seam allowance of the 50 wt thread measures exactly a quarter inch.

The 50 wt thread sample after pressing.

Perfect! the 50wt thread has delivered exactly the result I want, a size of 3.5 inches.

Sample of 40 wt thread.

The seam allowance of the 40 wt thread measures exactly a quarter inch.

The 40 wt thread sample after pressing.

Hmmmmm. Looks like the 40 wt sample has come up a hair short of 3.5 inches.

Sample of 28 wt thread.

The seam allowance of the 28 wt thread measures exactly a quarter inch.

The 28 wt thread sample after pressing.

The thicker 28 wt thread has finished quite a bit short.


The 12 wt thread sample after pressing.

The thickest thread, 12 wt, has come up the shortest. Almost 1/8 of an inch! It would only take 8 patches for the quilt to finish a FULL inch short.

Sample of 12 wt thread.

The seam allowance of the 12 wt thread measures exactly a quarter inch.

Isn’t it interesting to see how the thread affects the piecing? When I first began sewing and quilting, I would buy my thread from the bargain bin. The cheaper, the better! Looking back now, I laugh at myself, who was willing to spend $16 for a meter of fabric, but only 99 cents for a spool of cheapo thread. I did not learn anything about the weight of thread until I worked in a quilt shop. As I replenished the shelves with tiny little spools, I had plenty of opportunity to examine each and every weight of thread.

Here are some tips for using threads according to their weights:
50 wt – ideal for piecing. Also good to use in the bobbin when quilting with a heavier top thread.
40 wt – beautiful for quilting or top stitching.
28 wt – for quilting when you really want the stitching to show. Also ideal for hand quilting.
12 wt – perfect for hand quilting, applique and top stitching on garments.

Anytime you use a thread heavier than 40 wt on your domestic machine, it is wise to switch to a size 16 top stitching needle. The larger eye on the needle will allow the bulk of the thread to travel without fraying.

Do you have any experiences to share about thread weight? Comment below to share your experience!

Quilty Hugs,

March 10, 2010

Storing Works In Progress

Filed under: QuiltersDaily Blog Along,Quilting — quiltcetera @ 9:51 pm
Tags: ,

Today’s question on Quilter’s Daily was How do you store your Works In Progress?
Here’s a few pics of mine….

Storage bins for WIP

I choose to use shoe box containers with lids for my WIP. I have a bad habit of cramming other 'stuff' into bins, so a lid is good for keeping out the riff raff!

The bird cage where I keep soon to be used precuts.

In an attempt to protect my precuts from unneccessary abuse, I keep them in a pretty little bird cage where they get to be the showcase.... until I chop them all up!

These are my bins for storing fabric.

These wire bins are for my yardage, all arranged by collection and project.

This is a side view of the wire bins.

This bin is full of 'next on my list' projects. Notice the French General Rouenneries right at the front?

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

How do you like to store your WIP? Come visit Quilters Daily to share your ideas, and see what other quilters are doing!

Quilty Hugs,

March 9, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday – Piecing Flying Geese Units

After trying three different ways of making Flying Geese units, I have concluded that this is my absolute favorite. The advantages to this method of piecing flying geese are:
-making four flying geese units at once.
-no waste of fabric.
-it’s very accurate.
I must tell you that I did not discover this method piecing flying geese. I was first introduced to this method while making my Moda Greenpiece quilt last year. I have been so excited ever since, I seriously can not shut up about it!

To make four flying geese units as shown in this tutorial, you will need:
one square for background fabric measuring 7 1/4 inches,
and four squares for geese fabric measuring 3 7/8 inches.
You will also need a ruler handy, pins, and a marking pencil.

Small squares to be made into Flying Geese Units

Small squares to be made into Flying Geese Units. These pictured are 3 7/8 inches.

The geese in the flying geese units.

Begin by laying out the small squares 2 at a time.

Marking the squares for Flying geese piecing.

Lay a ruler diagonally on the square and mark with a pencil from corner to corner.

The background for the flying geese units.

This fabric is the background for the flying geese units. Pictured is a 7 1/4 inch square.

Placing the geese on the background for stitching.

Place one small square in one corner of the large square lining up the raw edges.

Placing the second geese on the background fabric.

Place a second small square in the opposite corner lining up the pencil lines and the raw edges.

Placement of pins before sewing.

Place a pin at each corner, and one in the center to hold all the patches in place.

Close up of the pinning.

A better close up view of the pins holding fabrics in place.

Placing the flying geese unit under the presser foot for sewing.

Use the pencil line as your quarter inch guide and stitch on the left side of the marked lines. Turn patch around and sew on the other side of the pencil line as well.

A close up of both stitching lines.

This is how your patch will look once both seams have been stitched out.

Use a ruler to cut the patch in half.

Place a ruler on the pencil line and cut the patch in half.

The large flying geese unit cut in half.

This is what your patches will look like once you have cut in half.

Half way through making flying geese units.

Press seams towards the darker fabric.

Adding the next sqaure to complete the flying geese units.

With one of units you've created, place another small square in the corner lining up the raw edges. Make sure the pencil line runs through the midle of the two peaks. Pin in place.

The two seams after stitching again.

Sew down both sides of the pencil line, like you did in the previous step.

Using a ruler to cut the final stage of the flying geese units apart.

Line up the ruler with the pencil mark and cut the half unit into quarters.

This is how your quarters will look after cutting in two.

Press seams towards the darker fabric, and trim the little doggie ears that hang off the edges.

Four quick pieced Flying Geese Units.

This recipe yields four flying geese units. These are now ready for piecing into any quilting project. Each unit will measure 6.5 by 3.5 inches.

Give this a try the next time you are making a star block. I’d love to hear what you think.

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

Have tutorials of your own to share? Visit us over at Quilters Daily to share your quilting tutorials with other quilters. Have you discovered other tutorials on the web? Feel free to stop by and share those as well!

Quilty Hugs,

PS. Subscribe to A Quilty Kind of Girl today so you will never ever miss a single Tutorial Tuesday. 🙂

March 8, 2010

Shopping for quilt fabric

I’ve noticed that any time I get near a quilt shop, there is this burning, aching sensation to spend as much money as I possibly can on quilt fabric. I like to stroll around and look at everything once before I make any decision or commitment. Check out what’s new, browse over the sales, look at all the artsy stuff (until I remind myself “Girl, come on. You don’t have a clue.”) and leaf through the books and magazines.  There is always something that draws me back. For the most part, it is usually an entire line of quilting fabric.

I absolutely love quilt fabric collections. L-O-V-E. I will look at them, pet them, count how many bolts are in them. Then I will wander around for a minute or two while I quickly calculate just how much a meter of each is going to cost. Sometimes I get so startled by the total, I just walk out the door. I find it’s easier to be reasonable from a distance. This also gives me the opportunity to save up if I really, really have to have it. Plus it gives me the chance to sleep on it, which is usually when I dream up the idea of how to use said fabric.

I rarely splurge on random pieces fabric since I quit working at the Quilt Shop. I like collections because they work together. They support one another, they were designed to be used together. It’s like a predetermined success story with the happiest of endings. I will however,  go a huntin’ if I have a UFO in need of something special. Or, fingers crossed, if I didn’t buy enough yardage in the first place!

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

This makes me curious how other quilters like to shop. Are you a quilt kit buyer? Or do you like to build your stash? Do you walk into the shop, pattern in hand, ready to  select fabrics for your next project? I think one of my favorites, is a woman I worked with at the shop. She personified the phrase “Will work for fabric” and would generally take home hundreds of yards each week. I would love to visit her home, she says she literally has her own fabric store! Make sure you visit Quilters Daily to read other bloggers stories about fabric shopping.

Speaking of shopping, I was browsing online shops the other day. I’ve got this on my wish list, and I’m just waiting for the yardage to arrive. Just a few clicks, and it’s mine, mine, mine! Have you had a chance to peek at my Amy Butler charm kits on etsy? 40 five inch sqaures with batting, all ready to become a reversible charm pack purse.

Just a reminder that tomorrow is Tutorial Tuesday so be sure to subscribe (at the top of the page, on the right hand side). You don’t want to miss it do you?

Quilty Hugs,


March 4, 2010

Quilts for my kids

With having so many children, quilting for kids is quite a tall order. I still owe 3.25 quilts to my kids. lol How does that work right? Well the .25 is a quilt that is in need of binding, since it just came off the quilt frame yesterday. Today though, I will show you 2 of the quilts I’ve made for my precious babies. 🙂
This first one is a quilt I made a year ago for our youngest son, Ziggy. I am pleased with this one because it used to be a completely different project that I had abandoned. Since the colors were boyish, and I had accidentally found out I was having a boy, I dug it out and salvaged it. I am proud to say that I purchased nothing to finish this quilt. It was completely from my stash!

Zig's Pinwheels Quilt

This is the quilt I made for Ziggy when he was born. It was completely from my stash!

This next quilt is Sophie’s. I fell in love with the kit when we visited a quilt shop in Salmon Arm, BC. The fabrics are from Michael MIller’s Dick and Jane line.
Sophie's Dick and Jane quilt

This is Sophie.

This is Sophie.

The back of Sophie's Quilt.

The back of Sophie's Quilt.

I made the back of this one out of all kinds of scraps I had. Another successful stash reduction. I like the back almost as much as I like the front!

Quilters Daily Blog AlongHave you made any quilts for kids? I’d love to hear about them, or better yet, even see them! Blog about your quilts for kids and come share your blog url over at Quilters Daily. Michele Foster has already shared her quilts for kids, so pop on over and take a peek. Super cute!

Quilty Hugs,


PS. Scoot on over to my website and buy the pattern for Ziggy’s Pinwheels, it’s perfect for beginners, and you can whip it up in no time flat!

While you’re here…. Don’t forget to subscribe in the upper right hand corner of the page!

March 3, 2010

A Quilty Kind of WIP

My red and white quilt.

This is my messy studio table with piles of the red and white quilt.


This is your little peek at my red and white quilt. I planned the design for this one a while ago, but got busy with several other things. Now I am determined to get it finished ASAP! I nearly stayed up last night to finish, but decided it was better to start fresh today rather than make stupid mistakes. I have three rows left to put together, then attaching the nine rows. This is a big accomplishment for me, because I NEVER do scrappy type quilts. Seriously, I pick a line of fabric and I make a quilt. So all these fat quarters came from a fabric exchange I did over at Quilting Friends a couple of years ago. I really wanted to put them all together in one project so I kept them together and waited for inspiration. Finally…. it arrived!

Now that I’m nearly finished this quilt, I am planning to use the pattern again and make another one of Rural Jardin. I think I may need a French General intervention cause it’s getting a little obsessive. I can hardly wait for the Christmas line to come out!

Quilters Daily Blog AlongIn other really exciting news, Julie Herman has joined us as a blogger over at Quilter’s Daily. If you stalk follow Julie like I do, then you know how talented and fun she is. I am totally thrilled to have her working on the site with us. Make sure you get on over there, and tell her how much you love her latest quilt. WIP is Julie’s creation and she will be sharing her Work in Progress with us each Wednesday, motivating the rest of us to share our WIPs too. So open up your dusty ol’ blog, grab the camera and take some pics of YOUR WIP and blog it BABY!

Quilty Hugs,


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