Monday, January 30, 2012


I don't think you can ever have enough little bags.  Quilt a sandwich that measures 15x 9 then cut to 14x 8 1/2 . Insert zipper and do paper bag corners. Just in time for a friend's birthday dinner tonight.
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Saturday, January 28, 2012


I tell my students I have quilting guidelines, not rules. As you progress on your own journey, you will adopt your own guidelines. Here are a few I'd like to share as I wrap up my month as Miss January for the FMQ Challenge.

1. Quilt in a creative environment. Hang your favorite pieces where you can see them while you work.

2. Have a quilting plan, but be flexible. I preview the quilting pattern on a piece of upholstery vinyl using an air erasable pen holding it over the top. If I don' t like it I erase it and try another pattern.

3. Don't rush. It creates body tension and makes you tired. You can't do your best when you're tired and it's no longer fun.

4. Don't practice......quilt those tops as you finish them. You will have completed quilts and better FMQ skills with each one.

5. Learn to listen to your machine. It will tell you when something isn't right.

6. Don't buy cheap thread. It will not perform well and you will have wasted your time.

7. Keep chocolate on hand. It makes everything better.

I want to thank everyone who recently became a follower. I especially want to thank those 30 or so people who have been followers for the past 2 years and comment on my work. We all need encouragement. I really like questions. Sharing knowledge is important for all of us to learn. I look forward to the other 11 ( real) experts and their tutorials on SewCalGal. Happy Quilting!!!
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Just returned from the Big Apple. New York is an exciting city, even in 19 degree weather. Seeing a fresh snow fall is always magical. I will be wrapping up my month as Miss January soon, by the end of the week I will give some hints that have worked for me. Happy Quilting!
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

FROM PAPER........

Often designs start with a question.. How can I use the heart leaf motif in a block?
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This would be very pretty in a half square triangle block using the seam line as the spine..

Thursday, January 12, 2012


To revisit spirals. Everyone is really enjoying the spiral in the leaf suggestion. This is a jelly roll pieced using the 1600 method except I used 55 strips and 2 1/2 inch spacers to connect the strips. It gives a nice lap size. So I wondered about various sized spirals including huge ones ( larger than a big platter). Still no marking and not turning the quilt, just taking your time and overlapping when you feel like it. I started in an empty space and continued spiralling until I had the size I wanted and started another . Try it !

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Sunday, January 8, 2012


My first week as "Miss January" has been wonderful. I have met many bloggers who are really wanting to learn/improve their FMQ skills. It is my honor to help you on this quest . Not to mention the new blogs I have found ! Just how many items can you have in your favorites list? Early on in my teaching career, I discovered something very important. You will always learn something as you teach and students can inspire the teacher also. I haven't done a leaf quilt in a while. This one is fused with Misty fuse, then thread quilted (the leaf part only) using a water soluble stabilizer on the back. (no batting). After soaking the stabilizer off, I used a thick towel to soak up most of the water. While it is still damp I used water color pencils to color in and shade the veins, and add some color to this solid green fabric. I then ironed it dry and quilted the whole  leaf piece ( batting and backing ) The Grey/ black background is quilted separately. I will hand attach the leaf quilt to the background quilt. I want to thank all of you for this inspiration. Life is sooo good!
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Friday, January 6, 2012


Now that you've had a week to practice the basic heart shaped leaf, lets try something new. The easiest way to increase your stitch repertoire is to make slight changes to a particular stitch. Adding what I call an "element" changes the personality and appears totally different. This element is a simple spiral that is created instead to the vein. Spiral in the corner leaving enough room to spiral out.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Basting the quilt is THE most unglamourous part of quilting, in my opinion, but extremely important. Have you considered thread basting all or part of the quilt? Machine quilters usually think of pins, but if you have a very large top, thread basting can prevent quilting headaches. It decreases the weight and that in itself will prevent tension problems for the machine and muscle tension problems from moving all the weight. I use cotton thread that contrasts with the top. Use a zig zag stitch about 2 in long and as close as you feel comfortable with. Keep in mind you are basting, not quilting. You want to be able to pull the thread out easily when you need to so space it out similarly to pinning. Use a long or curved needle. It does take longer than pinning, but it gives you time to think and finalize your thoughts on quilting designs or your next project or what to fix for dinner. I usually listen to a book on tape and the time flies. It's a good thing.
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Monday, January 2, 2012


The response to the FMQ Challenge has been incredible. I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments about the tutorial and my work. I could not have done this without my friend Nell Walker. She is amazing. I would also like to take this opportunity to answer some questions.

1. What machine did I use in the video?

I have the older Juki TL 98E. It is really fast and powerful.

2. What batting did I use for the Tree sample?

I used Warm and Natural. I love the way it performs while quilting and how it holds up in the quilt after years of use.

HAPPY QUILTING And remember.........It's not a quilt until it's quilted.
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Sunday, January 1, 2012


New Years Day....A time to celebrate... the possibilities...of a fresh start. My grandmother use to say," It's ok to reflect on the past, just don't dwell on it." Well, here's to all of the quilters in blogger land. The best year ever in your quilting life. Start with visiting Insights from SewCalGal where your's truly is "Miss January". What ever your goals are for the new year, start today. Make every minute count. And by all means, HAVE FUN!