Jan 162015

Yesterday I was helping a friend with a t-shirt quilt that would be a graduation gift for her son.  We decided that a few photos would make the quilt extra special and more personable.  The quilt was already set to be assembled, so we decided that we would do a raw edge applique’ to create our desired look.


I used a product called EQ Printables.  It is a wonderful product when used with an inkjet printer.  I prefer to allow the ink to dry for several hours to a few days after printing. Always remember to remove the shiny backing before proceeding.  I then heat set it with a cotton setting, no steam.  It is a good idea to then soak in cool water to remove an excess ink.  Blot dry and heat set one last time, this step will also finish the drying process.  Your photo is now ready to be applied on to a t-shirt.

(please note that the following can be used with any applique’ shape or textile.)



Steam a seam lite 2 is a really great product to position your applique’ shape.  I like it because it is double-sided and you can easily reposition your applique’ before you set it with the iron.  It has a paper side that is easy release.  this is the side that you would iron on to your photo or fabric that you choose to applique your project with.  I have a few photos, so I am going to try to fit them all on one piece.  I pressed them on to the steam a seam with my iron.







The non release side is perfect for tracing your shape of applique.  This is also the side that once the paper is removed, allows for repositioning of shape or, in this case, photo. It is important to note that the paper should not be removed until the fabric or project is pressed on to the steam a seam.

I cut all the photos apart and am ready to press on the t-shirts.





Remove the paper backing and position and reposition to your hearts desire.

once you have the desired positioning you will press in place. and we are ready for a little raw edge applique’.



The reason it is called raw edge applique’, is because it is not a finished edge.  It is not folded under, nor is it hemmed in any way.  We are applying it with a product that adheres it to a desired canvas, and will be stabilized with a decorative stitch to secure to surface.






There are so many decorative stitches, too many to list all.  The most popular are the zig zag and the blanket stitch.  If I were doing a wall hanging it would not be out of the question to not stitch at all, there is no need to because it wouldn’t be washed.  There is little chance that a wall hanging would leave the fabric.  If for any reason it did, you could merely press it back down with an iron.  Because this quilt will likely be washed many times, but likely not as often as it should ( it is being given to a college student), it is extremely important to stitch it in place.



Before I stitch my shape into place, I always iron a stabilizer on the back of fabric.  This prevents puckering and distortion of fabric and applique’.

If I don’t have a tear away stabilizer on hand, I will also use freezer imagepaper.  I iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the back side of my project. It tears away easily after the piece is completed.




It is important to be certain where you want the decorative stitching to lay on the project.  It’s a good idea to decide if you want the design to overlap the applique or follow the edge of your applique.  on my example I followed the edge, I did not want it to overlap on the t-shirt because I like using the decorative stitch as a frame when I use photos.  I also try to find a decorative stitch that fits the design of the project I am working on.  I tried using masculine motifs for this project.



I would love to hear about some of your methods, we are never so experienced that we can’t learn from one another.  Have a Happy Weekend and Quilt on my friends!

Jan 062015

I was recently talking with a friend, Norma Riehm of quiltingisafineart.blogspot.com  , regarding spray starch.  We were both involved in a mystery quilt with oh so many pieces.  We had both decided, and I must say separately, to use spray starch to keep the block shapes.  Then today I saw on Facebook that a group I belong to was having the same discussion.

I use Faultless Premium Professional Spray Starch, purchased at any discount store.  It works wonderfully and does not leave residue that many leave behind.  I was told today however, that if you aren’t careful and clean the sprayer  often it can clog.  This may seem like an easy solution, but it’s not.  My friend had a clogged sprayer. It had been a while since she had used it, she didn’t notice that the metal had begun to rust.  She went to use it and it sprayed a rust stain on her quilt back.  Fortunately she rinsed it right away and it came out.   She now uses a pump plastic spray bottle by faultless. I would like you each to leave a comment below, telling me if you use spray starch or not and why.  It will begin a great discussion and hopefully we can all learn from each other for possible uses and solutions to problems we have with starch.  The one most important piece of information I have about spray starch is that you need to spray your project and let it sit long enough to saturate the material.  If you iron it right away, you will be pressing the starch on your fabric.  What we want to do, is allow the starch to absorb into the fabric so we don’t have a residue that flakes off.  Instead we have a piece of fabric adequately starched to hold its shape.  I hope you find this helpful and drives you to leave feedback for all of us.        Quilt on My Friends!


Jan 052015

I recently finished a piece that required a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.  This was due to the fact that there were so many pieces and cuts we wanted to be sure not to lose any points and maintain an accurate size for each small block that would eventually become a part of a larger block.

I work on a Bernina sewing machine, which makes scant 1/4 inch seams fairly simple.  Our 1/4 inch foot has a guide on the side, so we can cozy our fabric right up to it for accurate seams.  I also have a needle control which moves the needle a hair or more one side or the other.  It has up to 5 slight spaces to move to the left or right.  I generally set mine 3 spaces to the right for a scant seam.



Alright, so here’s the reason we do this. Every machine has a different measurement for 1/4 inch due to the way the foot lies on your machine or the needle positioning. There are many 1/4 inch feet for a quilter to buy, unfortunately they all seem to measure that so important 1/4 inch differently.  When we are creating our masterpieces we don’t want to have one piece not match up with another, so we find a way for seam consistency. I generally dislike unsewing or as many of us refer to ripping what we sew.  Because of this, I don’t like to practice my seam on pieces from my quilt.  I try to find better ways to measure that little allowance.








I have recently started using a neat way to check your machine to see how much it, or rather the foot, is off.  I stay at hotels often, so I take the note pads they leave by my bedside.  The lines on these pads are 1/4 inch apart.  ( you can also use a note card. )  I cut off the last line and use that edge as it was my fabric edge.  I then sew and hope that the seam ends up on the line.  If it doesn’t, I make adjustments and then begin my project. Can you see how the one on the right is off considerably?  The more pieces you have in your block, the greater discrepancy this will cause.



There is tape you can use, it is sold in the sewing notions section of any fabric store, called omnigrid glow line tape.  It comes in fluorescent pink, yellow or orange.  It isn’t sticky so it won’t leave residue on your machine, it is actually made to mark your rulers.  I will sometimes use it to mark where my fabric should match up to for my scant 1/4 inch.



Whether you decide to use the scant 1/4 inch or the approximate 1/4 inch your foot may make, the important thing is consistency. Remember, it’s really just a play on words, we can call it a scant 1/4 inch or a true 1/4 inch seam.  The one thing that is certain, you need to find yours and make a note of how you get your 1/4 inch. I recently taught my granddaughter Gabby how to make a simple 9 patch.  She is 8 and enjoys quilting on one of my featherweights.  We didn’t worry about whether the seam was scant or not, we worked on consistency of the seam allowance.  Please post comments if you have something I may have omitted to add to this post or if you have any questions.   And as always…

                           Quilt On My Friends

Apr 232012

Pam is squaring up her very first quilt block

Recently, I have given lessons to many beginner quilters.  They begin by learning correct pressing techniques,  the importance of precise and safe cutting with the rotary blade, the use of all the different tools, and why 1/4 inch seam?  I always have to share when ever that last question comes up.  When I made my very first quilt, I was self-taught, and I made the quilt with 5/8 inch seams.  Not only did it drastically reduce the size of my quilt, but it added much more bulk to the quilt than needed.  LOL…(laugh out loud, not lots of love…thats another story.)  I always teach how to read a pattern, the secret is one step at a time.  So often, we read the entire quilt pattern and then become completely frazzled and overwhelmed.  I don’t want you to think this is a bad idea, on the contrary, reading the entire pattern is a good idea.  It gives you a sense of the direction you are going in making the quilt.  The next step however is take one step at a time.  When the last step is done, move on to the next.  I also never cut my borders or sashing until my blocks are made.  The reason behind this is, you don’t really know how big your blocks or your quilt will be until after it is together.  I will be giving border and sashing instruction tomorrow, so check back for that info.

Once we have completed all the above info, we have a new problem, where so we go for our patterns?  I always suggest trying some free patterns before going out and buying books.  This way you will know the type of quilting you like before you invest.  There are strip quilts, star quilts, applique quilts, quilt as you go quilts just to name a few.  This way you may also be able to find out which designers you like as well.

I find that Miss Eleanor Burns is one of the best designers for the beginner.  Her patterns are simple and concise.  There are illustrations that are in color, and she has different color ways for every pattern.   This is helpful for those who have a difficult time imagining what a pattern would look like in color ways that aren’t displayed.  If you are on facebook, you must like Eleanor Burns quilt in a day page.  When you do, you will have access                            to a free Block of the month club (BOM)  You can get backdated blocks and then you can take a photo of it and enter it in her monthly block drawing and win a prize.  nifty isn’t it?

If you are looking for more freebies… check out on facebook the following pages:

Quilting on the Square, Quilt-Pro Block of the day ( they will email you a new block every day)  there is a place called freequiltpatterns.com , and did you know that you can google various fabric companies and go to their sites and find free patterns?

I hope this was info you valued.  If you have any info you would like me to cover, leave a comment, its easy.  go to the top right of the page and hit on the add comments, right below the services and tips and info tabs.  Also you may want to subscribe, if you enter your email you will be notified of any new posts and info .  You will also receive  discounts when using my services.

I heard a cute joke the other day…

An elderly man was talking to his children about his last wishes.  They asked his what type of service he would like. His reply was ” kids, I want you to cremate me and sprinkle me over moms favorite quilt store.”  the kids were stunned, and then he finished. ” that way I will be sure she will visit me often.”    🙂   Have a great evening and remember, there are worse things than being called and old sew and sew.



Feb 292012

When I was a little girl, my daddy always made me feel so special.  I remember when I was in 6th grade, it was our last day of school, he sent me my first roses.  He sent them to me to celebrate my last day of elementary school and the beginning of the next journey his little girl would experience.  He always loved me unconditionally and told me often that he loved me.

He would take us to Sunday school classes and have us attend church, he would come on special holidays.  When we got home from church he would have bacon and eggs waiting for us.  One of my favorite pictures is a church directory photo that was taken at United Protestant Church in Morgan Park.  It reminds me of how close we were then and continue to be today.  My father instilled in us a sense of family that we don’t often see today.  We Love deeply and laugh constantly.  Please, don’t get me wrong.   We were not without our issues, there were arguments and misunderstandings.  Stories that now bring a smile to our faces.


I remember one winter when my brothers were suppose to be doing the dinner dishes, we alternated between the girls and boys.  The boys were being boys, not doing what they were suppose to be doing.  My dad reacted and threw a salt shaker at my youngest brother, he ducked.  Good thing he did too, it would have hit him in the head and likely killed him….okay, maybe maimed him.  Unfortunately it was January, subzero temperatures that year.  When he ducked the salt shaker, it went through the kitchen window.  I’ve never seen the look of fear and impending doom on a face before, but I sure did after that window broke.  My brother was disciplined because he wasn’t hit….maybe more accurately because he didn’t stop it from going through the window.  Please don’t think that my parents were abusive, times were different.  This was a time when children respected their parents, whether it was right or wrong.  After he repaired the window we went sledding at the Zoo.


Dad would take us smelting in the spring, picnics at Chub Lake  and on the North Shore of Lake Superior in the summer months, fireworks behind the Meirhoff building on the Bay in Canal Park.  We didn’t have a cabin or extra money for trips,  we did have opportunity to build lots of memories.

Dad was always our advocate.  We always knew that he would fight for us.  He had a saying, “Always tell the truth, it only ever has to be told once because it is always the same.”  The first movie he ever took us to was Bambie, all through our life he used a line from the movie to convict us.  If he heard us talking about someone , he would say “Remember what thumper said?  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  He taught us to be honest, our integrity was something no one could ever take from us.


He seemed to get softer as we got older. On my wedding day I was standing outside the church door with him.  He turned to me and said ” you don’t have to go through with this, we can turn and walk out that door right now.”  I told him I had no reservations, he opened the door and we began our walk.  I turned to look at him, he was sobbing as we walked down the isle.  I was Daddy’s little girl and I always will be.  Amazingly enough, he fell as in love with my husband as I did.  No longer with reservations, but Dad was happy that Dave was who I chose to spend my life with.  Actually, quite often he would take Dave’s side over mine…. guess it was the good old boys club.

He certainly loved his grandchildren, they were everything to him.  He had so many songs that he sang to each one of them.  I love to hear them sing those same songs to their own children today.  It was so obvious how he felt about each one of them, he said it with his eyes they just lit up when he was with them. Zachery was his first grandchild, they really had a special relationship.  I am so thankful that I had a father who raised me to cherish people and not things, to give more than I take, and to treat others better than I deserve to be treated.  He taught me so many things, but he didn’t teach me how to live without him.  March 1, I remember my Daddy.  It has been three years since I last heard him say “I Love You baby” , which by the way is the last words he said to me.

On the valentine’s day before he passed, he had purchased a necklace and a pair of earrings for mom, and two cards. He gave her the necklace and one of the cards.  The year after he passed, I gave her the earrings and the second card.  In the end, his handwriting had gotten difficult to read, what wasn’t difficult to read was “I will Love you Forever” .  I thought this would be her last valentines gift from dad, she did as well.

When my father passed away, I asked mom for his clothing.  It took me nearly two years before I would know what to do with them. Just before Valentines Day before the second anniversary of his passing, I had a great idea.  One last gift to mom from dad.  I made mom a quilt out of his clothing.  I did not wash them, I wanted his scent to still be on them.  When I gave the quilt to her, she was consumed by emotions.  All of the big stars are his favorite shirts.  It was a gift of love and healing.  I felt like I had an opportunity to visit with dad one more time as I constructed this quilt of love.  I have since made four additional quilts from his clothing.  I made a quilt very similar to this one for my husband on our 25 wedding anniversary.  He was so touched, my dad had become a father to him.  He misses him dearly.  There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t hear his wisdom, see his smile or hear that mischievous laughter.  He was loved by all who knew him.  He accepted you where you were, and was a true and loyal friend.  One of the Raleigh Street boys.  I will post a few more photos, just for fun.  Today I dedicate my blog to my first love, my Daddy!  Thank You for everything you were to me, I look forward to the time when we can see one another again.  I miss you so very much.


Feb 162012

manchester mansion

Today I have spent my time loading a complex and beautiful quilt onto my long arm.  It has taken hours listening to the quilt, telling me how it wants to be quilted.  Oh sure, I hear your laughter, you are thinking Kelly is a bit crazy. But seriously, if you look at a quilt for a bit, you can sense what it needs for quilting.  I have never been one to over quilt, I like a nice suptle feel to my quilt, so this has been a difficult decision.  The quilt is called manchester mansion, it was a pattern put out in 2005 in quilt designers magazine.  Do you have a quilt that you took your time listening to before you quilted it?  If you do, please post a photo, I’d love to see it.


Feb 122012
Kristi made this quilted pillow for a friend who comments on how she liked it. This is true selflessness, isn’t that the definition of a quilter?

Now and then I create a quilt that really tells its own story.  Approximately 3-4 years ago, I made such a quilt.  This quilt was made from scraps and told a love story.   I brought it to a favorite salon, that I frequent for massage, for show and tell.  My young massage therapist, Kristi, was absolutely facinated with it.  We began to talk about the aspects of quilting and the great reward, as well as therapy that finishing a quilt brings to the soul.  Kristi  had an old machine that belonged to her mother, she had difficulty sewing with it, so I suggested she try a machine that I had in storage at home.  The machine was a Janome 4800 computerized machine with so many stitches that I think Kristi was a little overwhelmed.  She thought that the fact that it had the entire alphabet in 3 fonts was not too shabby either.  After I saw her reaction, I could not help but simply gift her this machine.  It was indeed one of the best investments I can say I have made in years.  This young mother has created so many beautiful quilts, pillows, and misc items.   It warms my heart each time she brings in another show and tell item, and the best part…. she gifts most of them.  What a treat to have watched the birth of  a quilter.  She was kind enough to send me some photos via email so I thought I would share them with you.  I am sure you will appreciate them as much as I have.

Isn’t this a fun quilt? I think this may have been her second

She prefers quilts with a kick, no boring quilts from this girl.

isn't this a great backing?

kristi has an eye for putting colors together



This is a story book quilt, inside each frame there is a storybook character



isn't this backing delicious?



































Amazingly,  she definitely took it upon herself to research and learn. Her first stop was the internet.  Here are the blogs she 







How many seasoned quilter forget to put labels
on their quilts? This was impressive 

 Kristi also found very quickly that she liked certain designers, and she has consistently found new exciting fabrics to make her quilts.

Her favorite designers are….

Heather Ross

Anna Maria Horner

Laurie Wisburn

I am really proud of this young mom, who by the way is due to have a baby boy any day now.  She is a real inspiration.  I hope her story will inspire others to put the fear of something new aside, the world is your palate.  It amazes me how many different and unique styles I see as I instruct quilting classes, and how inspired I become by my students.

I want to give a special thanks to Kristi and her husband Casey for organizing the photos and sending them my way.  And I would also like to publically wish them the best on the birth of their new son Ezra.

Leave a comment to encourage Kristi.  If you feel inspired by her work, let her know.  If there is something you

this is such a fun pillow, it has a trick which make applique really slickKristi made this quilted pillow for a friend who comments on how she liked it. This is true selflessness, isn’t that the definition of a quilter?
Jan 022012

More and more machines carry an assortment of decorative stitches. 

These stitches can change the look of domestic machine quilting, applique, embellishment or binding.

A great idea is to take a fabric sandwich, two pieces of fabric sandwiched around a piece of batting, and stitch rows of various stitches to see what your machine can accomadate for you.  Now, adjust the width selector and do another row.  Do you notice how that may change your stitches?  Now fool around with the length dial, again you will see a change.  These stitches can be used to give your quilt your own sense of style, you don’t have to get stuck in the rut of a straight or zig zag stitch.  When you applique, try a decorative stitch other than satin or blanket stitch.  You will be amazed at the wonders you can accomplish.  It is your quilt, don’t be afraid to try something new for you. Once you are comfortable with the stitches, try different weight threads.

If you have additional ideas on stitches, be sure to post it in the comments so we can share it with others.

Jan 022012

Did you finish a UFO this year? 

How long did it take you to finish it?  What it makes it so hard to finish some projects and not others?  If you finished one, post a photo. you can send it to my facebook page and I can post it if it doesn’t post for you.  I really want to hear about it. 

My unfinished Fabric object of the year is a stained glass quilted wall hanging of the nativity. It consists of three seperate wallhangings. I will post it as soon as I fiqure out where to hang it.    The reason why it took so long to finish?  I kept getting side track by projects my children and grandchildren wanted me to do for them.  Such a sense of accomplishment.  It is so beautifully stunning.

Your Turn….

Dec 252011

On the twelfth day of christmas, my true love sent to me,
twelve prewound bobbins
eleven scissors snipping
ten yards for backing
nine ladies sewing
eight maids a mending
seven simple patterns
six micron pens
Five Spools of Thread
Four size 12 needles
three rotary blades
two pressing sheets
and a seam ripper with ergonamic grip.

Merry Christmas!

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