Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings
Today I’m going to take you on a little journey behind the scenes. Let’s go all the way back to a quilt’s very humble beginnings, the cotton plant.
clip_image002Cotton plant

Now this is what I call a blank canvas. What do you see: quilts, a summer dress, soft towels, or hard working jeans?

clip_image004Cotton field in Suffolk, Virginia
Two innovations that helped create the growth of the cotton industry in the United States were the cotton gin and mechanical spinners. Once cotton was easy to clean and spin, it didn’t take long for it to become an affordable and universally worn fabric.
clip_image006Picked cotton waiting to be processed

This is where the magic really begins. The cotton gin separates the plant into two products, the seed and the fiber.

Cotton seed is high in protein and oil. It’s sent off to become a variety of products from mayonnaise to rubber. Did you know cottonseed oil is on the American Heart Association list of “good foods”?
clip_image008A cotton gin, Virginia
The fiber, now called lint, is bundled into large bales. One bale could make 1200 pillowcases!
clip_image010Cotton bale

Next it’s off to the textile mill where it’s pulled, combed, twisted, and eventually woven into fabric. You may have heard the term greige goods, pronounced like the color grey. That’s the plain cloth from the loom.

How It’s Made Fabrics by Ian Collier on Youtube
Finally, our favorite fabric companies dye and print lovely yards of fabric for us to pet, purchase, and turn into quilts.
That’s a lot of people involved in the making of your quilt!
Printed Fabric Production by Avlyn Fabrics on Youtube
Grab a trip souvenir while you’re here. carries a variety of fun kits!
19” Vintage Patchwork Snowman Kit DML-201 $15.50
This pattern and kit includes an antique beehive bobbin, complete instructions for making fringed snowman, mini quilt with template, fringed trees and fringed snowman pincushion.
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by:
DML – Down Memory Lane – Nancy Hughes
Vintage Spool Pincushion Kit DML-177 $11.00
Kit includes quilted time worn fabric, 4″ tall x 3″ diameter genuine antique yarn wrapped silk spool with wood core, one jumbo button for top of pincushion and complete easy instructions.
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by:
DML – Down Memory Lane – Nancy Hughes
Star Spin Kit ROG-1014K $26.99
Kit includes all fabrics (100% cotton) for quilt top, back, and binding. Also included are batting, quilting designs, precise patterns and complete illustrated instructions.
Finished Size: 22″ x 22″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by:
ROG – Rachel’s of Greenfield
Midnight Snowman Kit ROG-9205K $15.99
Kit includes foundation fabric, iron-on transfer pattern, ALL floss to complete the project (DMC cottons), and illustrated instructions.

Finished Size: 3″ x 4″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by:
ROG – Rachel’s of Greenfield

Always sew for fun!
Carol Steely, FunThreads Designs
Posted in Fabric, Helpful Tips, patterns, Trends, Video | 2 Comments

On Pins and Needles Part 2

On Pins and Needles Part 2


Choosing the right hand sewing needle can be overwhelming. Their odd names often don’t help point you in the right direction either. Ultimately, you want a needle
that feels comfortable in your hand, glides easily through your fabric, and has
an eye you can thread. Purchasing a variety pack is a good way to give several
different types and sizes a test run to see what best suits your needs.
Needle Sizes
Hand sewing needles get smaller as their size gets larger. This is opposite from
machine needles which get bigger as their size gets larger.  As you can see in this multi sized package of Sharps, size # 1 is the largest needle and size # 5 is the smallest.


Keeping a Eye on Things
Do you cringe at the thought of threading that teeny tiny eye? Well, have no fear.
I’m going to start with some of the needles that I seem to be needing lately…easy
Split Eye/Calyx Eye – A general purpose needle with a split on the outer edge of the eye for easy threading. In my experience, when this needle is pulled through multiple layers, the thread can pull out of the eye.
SENCH™ – These needles easily load from the side so you don’t have to worry about your thread slipping out of the eye. They come in three sizes for general sewing.

Photo used with permission from Pam Turner

Spiral Eye® – These needles also load from the side and come in a variety of sizes for all types of sewing. They are made from surgical stainless steel.


Photo used with permission from Pam Turner

Here’s a little break down of some of the more commonly used needles.
Ball Point/Jersey – Has a rounded point that slips between the threads on knits and stretchy fabrics.
Sharps  – An all purpose needle with a round eye. Great for appliqué.
Betweens – Same width as a Sharps but approximately ¼” shorter. Has a small round eye that easily moves through multiple layers of fabric. Usually the choice for hand quilting.
Embroidery/Crewel Same sizing as a Sharps but they have a larger eye to accommodate multiple strands of thread.
Needles Need a Nesting Place
Gah! Needles DON’T belong in your pincushion. They will sink into the center and get
lost. Needles are best kept in lovely little needle cases. You can find a
variety of cute patterns here on to make one for yourself or as
a quick gift for a friend.

Becky’s Needle Case with Pocket Pattern TKY-311 $4.00
Designed by: TKY – Turkey Track Designs – Kim Kamlet

Love to Stitch Collection Pattern IJ-949 $9.99
Finished Sizes:
Heart-Shaped Needle Case: 4 1/2″
Rectangular Needle Case: 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Large Scissor Keeper: 9″
Small Scissor Keeper: 5 1/4″
Heart-Shaped Scissor Fob: 2″
Skill Level: Beginner
Pattern designed by Amy Barickman – Indygo Junction.
This delicate vintage inspired sewing collection would please any sewing enthusiast. Each pattern is quick & easy to sew for yourself or as gifts for your sewing friends. Personalize with a machine or hand embroidered initial and then mix & match fabrics in your favorite colors and patterns.

Heart Etui Needle case Pattern PCG-2102 $5.00

Finished Size: 5″ wide
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by:PCG-Prairie Cottage Corner-Kathie Donahue
Etui or needle holder pattern teaches freezer paper applqiue, quilting, layering and light embroidery. 

Mini Scissors and Needle Case Pattern RR-162 $9.00

Finished size: 8” x 4”
Designed by: RR-Reet’s Rags to Stitches – Rita Carl
Always sew for fun!
Carol Steely, FunThreads Designs



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Trucks, Trains and Rocket Ships – Quilts for Little Boys

Is there a special little boy in your life that needs a quilt?  In a family full of boys I am always looking for appropriate patterns for both big and little boys.  This week I found a few that will make cute quilts for the little boys in your life.  (Don’t worry, I am planning a post for little girls next month!)

My little guys love trucks and trains and tractors and bulldozers and pretty much anything that makes “big noise” as my grandson tells me.  Here are a few that you won’t be able to resist.

Just Trucks Quilt Pattern – SCN-2065


A colorful quilt for anyone that just loves trucks!
Features 12 trucks in all shapes and sizes. Purchase the border and background fabrics; use scraps from your stash for the trucks. Personalize with fun business names and slogans on the signs.
Use as a wall quilt as shown in the photo or stitch wider and/or additional borders for a larger finished size. Appliqued trucks on a pieced background. Suitable for hand, machine or fusible applique. Hand or machine quilt pattern.
Finished Size: 30″ x 34″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: SCN – Spring Creek NeedleArt – Nancy Richoux.

I Love Semi Trucks Quilt Pattern   PAD-133


Does a child in your family like semi trucks? These big, bright trucks should put a smile on the face of any semi-lover. This fun quilt pattern is easy to sew and quick to finish.
Finished Size: 48″ x 55 1/2″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Pattern designed by Claudia Lash for Presto Avenue Designs.

Dump Truck Quilt Pattern     CQ-065


This bright and cheerful dump truck quilt pattern is for all those little ones who love to play in the dirt.
Finished Sizes:
Wall Hanging: 24″ x 28″
Crib: 36″ x 42″
Lap and Throw: 48″ x 56″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Pattern designed by Lisa Muilenburg – Counted Quilts.

Billsville Express Quilt Pattern     BAD-202


Hop on the Billsville Express and let your imagination take you anywhere! Here comes Overall Bill on the Billsville Express. All Aboard! This is an adorable applique quilt wall hanging pattern from Betty Alderman Designs. The perfect quilted wall hanging for the little train enthusiast. A super quilt pattern for a little boy or little girl.
Complete pattern directions and a stitch guide are included.
Finished Size: 32.5″ X 40″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Pattern designed by Betty Alderman Designs.

Train Quilt Pattern     CQ-068


Choo Choo, All aboard for dream land! Wrap your little one is this bright and friendly little Train quilt pattern as they travel to the land of dreams.
Finished Sizes:
Wall Hanging: 24″ x 28″
Crib: 36″ x 42″
Lap and Throw: 48″ x 56″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Pattern designed by Lisa Muilenburg – Counted Quilts

I love Trains Quilt Pattern     AV-132


This quilt pattern is for the train lover, young or old. The I Love Trains pattern gives you the opportunity to use up a lot of your colorful scraps.
This quilt pattern is compatible with the AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter and contains optional instructions for its use.  Don’t have a GO!? Templates are included with the pattern.
Finished Size: 48″ x 59″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Pattern designed by Alison Vandertang

Rocketman Quilt Pattern     BHQ-104


Space-themed growth chart. Quilt pattern contains templates reversed for fusible applique.
Finished Size: Approximately 18″ x 36″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: BHQ – Bear Hug Quiltworks – Lisa Alley.

Outer Space Adventure Quilt Pattern     LYTM-101


A rocket blasts off and makes its way through deep blue space, past stars and colorful planets. Applique astronauts and aliens alternate with patchwork “star” blocks to create a whimsical border. This quilt pattern is perfect for any little astronaut!
Finished Size: 44″ x 55″
Skill Level: Intermediate
Designed by: LYTM – LYTM Designs – Janice Holden.

Rocket Man Quilt Pattern     FCP-019


Send your little astronaut’s imagination off into space! This quilt pattern is designed with fusible machine applique in mind. Full sized templates are included.
Finished Size: 60″ x 60″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Assumes the quilter already has a good working knowledge of quilting and applique skills.

Pattern designed by Sindy Rodenmayer – FatCat Patterns.

Next time you need to find just the right pattern for your little man, perhaps one of these great designs will work.  All — and many more — are available on

Happy Quilting

Reeze L. Hanson, Morning Glory Designs

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On Pins and Needles Part 1

On Pins and Needles Part 1

Are you “on pins and needles” when it comes to, well, pins and needles? Do you give them any thought at all? They’re our smallest tool but have the most important
job. Without pins holding our fabrics in place, we’d have a terrible time creating our lovely projects.

left to right: metal, pearl, glow in the dark,
plastic ball, no-melt flat, glass, quilting
When we head to the store to purchase pins the first thing we’re often drawn to is
the wonderful colors and fun shapes. But to find the correct pin for the task, you’ll
need to consider the pin’s anatomy and the project you’re working on.
Anatomy of the pin

Head should be picked based on the sewing task.

  • Metal Flat Head: Small solid metal pin. Great
    for handwork and pinning appliqué pieces.
  • Plastic Ball: Colored ball, pearl, and glow
    in the dark. Sized for many different purposes. Plastic ball may melt if
    pressed with high heat.
  • No-Melt Plastic Flat Head: Extra long, fine
    pin with a flat head for eyelet, lace, lofty and loose woven fabrics.
  • Glass Ball: Thinner, sharper pin with a glass
    head that won’t melt.
  • Quilting: Longer pin for holding thick layers.

Shaft diameter should not leave large holes in your fabrics.

  • .5mm – fine to lightweight fabrics
  • .6mm – medium-weight fabrics
  • .7mm to .8mm – medium to heavy fabrics
Shaft length should provide ease of handing for your project.
            Short: 1/2” – 7/8” for detailed handwork and close pinning on appliqué and trims
            Medium: 1 1/16” – 1 5/16” for multipurpose work
            Long: 1 1/2” – 2” for quilting and thick layers
Point should glide easily through the fabric without snagging the threads.
            Sharp for most woven fabrics.
            Ball Point is slightly rounded for knits.
Proper Way to Pin
Oops, I could have “heard a pin drop” after that headline. How to pin will often
trigger a debate much like “to wash or not to wash” fabric.
In class, I teach pinning parallel in the seam allowance when cutting a pattern.
Pins will be close to the cutting line, but you won’t accidentally hit them and
ruin your expensive scissors.


Pinning perpendicular for machine sewing works best. The fabric lays nicer, the pin can
be placed right where it’s needed, you can sew right up to the pin before removing it, pins are easy to see and pull out, and if you accidentally miss a pin chances are it will clear the machine needle.
If you were to pin parallel for machine sewing you wouldn’t be able to sew close
enough to the pinned seams before removing the pin. This would leave too much
of a chance that the seams will shift before being sewn.
Pinning perpendicular for hand sewing allows the fabric to gather nicely in your hand.
The pins fall gently into the folds of the fabric with less chance of stabbing you.


“To the Point”
  • Always toss out dull or bent pins.
  • Never sew over pins.
  • Don’t leave a pin in the fabric for long periods of time. This will create permanent holes.
Pin Worthy Fun

Until we meet again, I’ll leave you with a bit of fun. I think you’ll be amazed at how graphic designer Christophe Thockler used his pins and thread for this VIDEO!

Favorite Place by Black Books

  Always sew for fun!
Carol Steely, FunThreads Designs
Posted in Helpful Tips, Helpful Tools, Notions, Techniques | 5 Comments

Baby Quilts

Love is a newborn baby!

It’s no surprise that quilters love to make baby quilts. More and more of us are or are becoming grandmothers! And once the grands all have their first quilt the older kids are demanding a new one. I think that is why the median age for quilters is 64! We are in the business of making quilts for our children, grandchildren, and often the children of friends, neighbors. . . . well you get the picture.

It might be a hard task but there are just so many cute patterns that are hard to resist that some quilters make them to have on hand “just in case” a baby comes along in need of a quilt.

Here are a few ideas to get you started thinking about baby quilts.  Applique, cute, traditional, modern, artsy — there is something to thrill any new mother here.

Turtle Tots Quilt – SWD508


The Turtle Tots quilt pattern features 10.5″ turtle blocks, which are used to make a cute children’s or baby quilt.
Finished Sizes:
Turtle Tots: 40.5″ x 50.5″
Art Quilt Scape: 19″ x 47″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: SWD – Southwind Designs – Annette Ornelas.

And what could be cuter than this spring themed bunny quilt with the pinwheel border?  This would be a perfect way to welcome a springtime arrival.

Spring Baby Quilt – QA 115


Fat quarter friendly, fusible web applique and lots of fun to make, this little quilt pattern is suited to a nursery wall hanging or crib quilt. The fabric used in the cover photo is “Bunny Tales”, a Feedbag reproduction line by Darlene Zimmerman, along with pastel Kona solids. Both lines are by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
Finished Size: 50″ x 58″
Skill Level: Intermediate
Designed by: QA – Quilting Affection – Tina & Diana Dillard.

Shelby’s Woobie Quilt Pattern – BHQ107


Fat-quarter friendly baby quilt pattern. Full-sized alphabet, numbers and other characters are included in the quilt pattern, reversed for fusible applique.
Finished Size: Approximately 36″ x 42″
Skill Level: Just Learning
Designed by: BHQ – Bear Hug Quiltworks – Lisa Alley.

Animal Crackers Quilt Pattern  – BHQ117


Easy piecing and applique for a baby quilt, perfect for a gift. Quilt pattern includes full-sized applique templates including alphabet, numbers and other characters that are reversed for fusible applique.
Finished Size: Approximately 40″ x 40″
Skill Level: Just Learning
Designed by: BHQ – Bear Hug Quiltworks – Lisa Alley.

Abby’s Elephant Party – RCQ588


Come join the party with Abby and her elephants. Momma elephant quilt pattern measures 77″ x 90″. Baby elephant quilt pattern finishes 48″ x 56″. Each quilt pattern uses fusible web applique for the elephant images. There are two sizes of templates, momma and baby. Both are actual size. This quilt pattern is named after a brave little girl named Abby (7 years old) who has had heart problems since birth. Her favorite animal is an elephant.
Finished Sizes:
Baby Throw: 48″ x 56″
Twin: 77″ x 90″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: RCQ – Ribbon Candy Quilt Company – Margie Ullery.

Hopscotch Maze Quilt Pattern SEQ-103


This is a quick and easy “no fail” quilt pattern for a beginner, that is the perfect size for a baby quilt or a play mat. A charm pack and solid yardage is all you need.
Finished Size: 39″ x 39″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: SEQ – Jackie Berdych – Sew Excited Quilts.

Sweet Dreams Quilt Pattern – CTG-029


Easy quilt pattern for the beginner. Easy four patch blocks and star & moon blocks to delight any baby and mother.
Finished Size: 48″ x 60″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Desgined by: CTG – Cottage Quilt Designs – Rochelle Martin.

For dozens of other great pattern ideas check out “Baby Quilts“.  I know I will be shopping — and sewing — for babies this spring, with a new grandbaby girl on the way this March!!

Reeze L. Hanson,  Morning Glory Designs

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Iron Out the Details

Iron Out the Details


I’ve gained a new appreciation for irons after picking up a few for my mantel. Did you know that thousand year old paintings have documented the Chinese using metal pans filled with hot coals to smooth and prepare silk?

Irons got their name because they were mainly made from the metal iron. Flat Irons or Sad Irons were heavy, simple shapes often weighing 5 – 9 pounds. They were hot to handle, had to be reheated often, and collected soot from the fireplace.  Although using these irons was difficult at best, the name Sad Iron comes from Old English meaning heavy not because of the way they made women feel.


The 1800’s saw new innovations in an effort to improve on the Sad Iron’s flaws. Box Irons came with slugs that could be heated in the fire then inserted inside the iron and Self-heating irons could be filled with coal. Self heating irons are still being produced and used in many countries today.


In 1871, a then 19 year old Mrs. Potts patented the Cold Handle Sad Iron. The simple idea of a removable handle revolutionized the iron industry.


In 1882, Henry Seeley patented the first electric iron. Since most households lacked electricity, these were far from a “hot” item at the time.

By the late 1800’s, irons were being fueled by kerosene, ethanol (alcohol), and natural gas. If that description doesn’t scare you, take a look at the photo below. Yipes!!


Rest for the Weary

All that hard work made the arms tired, and hot irons needed a place to rest. Trivets were originally hand wrought by blacksmiths and later mass produced by casting. They were both functional and decorative.


Photo used with permission from  Carole Meeker,

I’m Feeling “Sew” HOT, HOT, HOT

Today the “hot topic” is traveling with our irons. Our biggest worry is how to get that iron to and from classes and retreats. Why not whip up a handy combination hot iron carrier and ironing mat to impress your friends.

Finished Size: 20” x 28” laying flat (fits all standard and small irons)
Skill Level: Intermediate
Pattern Designed by: Nancy Dill

If you need something more compact, the bootie style hot iron covers might just what you’re looking for.

Hot Iron Holder Pattern KB-16

Pattern Designed by: Kay Buffington

Don’t forget about your hot curling iron!

Finished size: 15” x 7”
Designed by: Kay Buffington

If you want to be the “hottest” guest at the party, make the hostess a handy set of hot pads. They’re a great place to showcase your piecing. Set includes double ended mitts that become a trivet at the table, 8” square and circular hot mitts, and a hot pot handle cover.

Finished Sizes: 
Double-Ended Mitt: 7.75″ x 29″
Pot Handle Cover: 3.5″ x 6.5″
Square Mitt: 8″ Square
Circle Mitt: 8″ Diameter
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner 
Designed by: IJ – Indygo Junction – Amy Barickman

Pressing Spot and Iron Tote

iron cover

Price: $10.00
Product ID : HHQ-7313
Designer: HHQ – Hedgehog Quilts – Terry Albers
Always sew for fun!
Carol Steely, FunThreads Designs
Posted in Helpful Tips, Helpful Tools, Notions, patterns | 4 Comments

Sewing for Tweens with Fat Quarters!

Are you looking to bring new customers into your shop?  Have you considered the Tween sewist?

As a sewing instructor, my students, girls aged 9 – 13  would ask me – “Ms. Ellen, why can’t we find patterns to sew clothes like the ones you teach us?”  I looked around and they were right – there are not many patterns with the simple, clean lines that they want.  My students love how sewing lets them express their own creativity and style.

The new Sewing Guidance for Young Ladies Pattern Series is designed just for Tweens.  They are fun, modern and uncomplicated with lots of illustrations.  Most patterns have only 2 -3 pieces and they stitch up fast.  Girls draft their own pattern pieces based on just a couple of key body measurements.  This means a great, customized fit every time.  All of our patterns are kid tested!  There are a variety of skill levels ranging from absolute beginner to intermediate.  Here are three of my designs.


In 2016, we will include more tops, skirts, pants and shorts along with the hugely popular zakka items for accessories and bedroom like totes, scarves, pillows and of course, quilts with Tween-style.  Parents are happy to spend money on a productive pastime that builds a lifelong skill.

The New Year is a time for re-imagining.  What about including a few amazing Sewing Guidance Tween workshops in your shop’s class offerings? Create a customer that will come back to you for many years!

See all of Ellen’s patterns and products HERE on

Ellen Brown

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Pincushion Ponderings

Pincushion Pondering

Photo used with permission from Carol Steely

Pincushions. What is it about them that seem to draw us in? We use them, display them, make them, swap them, and collect them. Do you ever wonder “why a tomato”?

Mello Mushroom Pincushion Pattern AK-164 $6.50
Designed by: AK-Annie’s Keepsakes-Vicki Clontz

 Pincushions have been referenced as far back as the middle ages. The predecessor of today’s pincushion went by strange names like pimpilowes, pyn-pillows, and pin-poppets.  They were made from fine fabrics and often decorated with delicate hand embroidery.

Grandma’s Silver Spoon Pincushion Pattern
DML-182 $12.00
Designed by: DML-Down Memory Lane-Nancy Hughes
Prior to 1835, pins were handmade and very expensive. Husbands would designate a line in the family budget for their wives called “pin money”. This was an allowance
she would use to purchase pins, cloth, and other personal items. As you can
imagine, the pincushion was not only a utilitarian place to store pins but also
a place to put ones pins on display.
In December of 1835, Dr. Robert Howe invented a pin making machine. In no time, the Howe Manufacturing Company was turning out about 70,000 pins a day. Once pins were massed produced pincushions became a commonly purchased trinket and popular sewing necessity.

Ready Pincushion Pattern IJ-856 $8.99
Designed by: Amy Barickman-Indigo Junction

But how does the ever popular tomato pincushion fit into this story?
During the Victorian Era, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house would repel evil and bring prosperity. Of course, tomatoes weren’t always in season and didn’t last very long.  Being clever and resourceful, ladies would make their own out of cloth. Eventually this powerful mantle trinket became the perfect place to show off their lovely little pins.

Tomato Pincushion Pattern AK-172 $6.50

Designed by: AK-Annie’s Keepsakes-Vicki Clontz

I know you’re thinking, “so how does its companion strawberry play into all this?”
Well, the nickel coating on early mass-produced pins would flake off causing the pins to rust. Creative tailors and seamstresses would use a bag of emery grit to clean their pins. Today we have a cute little strawberry attached to our tomato pincushion that serves that same purpose.

Why not browse the fun pincushion patterns here at and start your own collection or swap party today.
Always sew for fun!
Carol Steely, FunThreads Designs


Posted in Fun!, Gift idea | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Baby it’s Cold Outside so Make it Quick

When the cold weather comes it is time for an indoor project that we can complete quickly.  Some people like to make a snowman or winter scene, others dream of a warm tropical vacation.  No matter where you dream of being, here are some QUICK PROJECTS to fill the cold afternoon or evening when you want something new to do, but don’t want it to take all winter.

First, here are some tips to finding quick and easy quilt project patterns.

  • Squares and rectangles are faster and easier to piece than triangles, and way easier than curves.
  • Choose patterns with large applique pieces that can be fused and machine stitched.  Those will go much faster than traditional applique.
  • Look for small projects such as table runners, placemat, wall quilts, or lap quilts.  They will take much less time than a bed size quilt.
  • Choose a project that has large pieces and less cutting, so you can get right to the fun sewing part.
  • Use your stash – jelly rolls, charm packs, fat quarter bundles, scraps and yardage you already have.  This saves shopping time and gives you a great sense of satisfaction.
  • Finish a UFO.  You already started it so why not finish it?  If you only want to work on it for a little while you can put it away and bring it out next time you want to do a quick project.  As I often say when people complain that they have had a pattern for a long time but haven’t started it, “it won’t go bad in the bag!”

Want a new project?  I have gathered a few ideas you might like to try.

Here is a quick pillow project you could complete in a day or two.  These would look great in any decor and could give you a leg up on Holiday gifts for next year.


Holiday Pillows Pattern LCQ-419 $9.00

Celebrate the season with this appliqued pillow cover pattern. Quick and easy to complete with fusible applique. You will want to make all 4. Makes a great gift giving idea.
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: LCQ – Little Quilt Company – Gary/Kim.

Want to use up some of your scraps or stash fabric.  How cute is this quick quilt project?


Little Whirlgigs Quilt Pattern CQ2-174  $6.00

This quick little pattern alternates 3 different triangle blocks with a simple fabric square. Small size pattern; one page front & back instructions. Fabrics are from the Flying Geese Collection by Evonne Cook with P & B Textiles/Washington Street Studio.
Finished Size: 30″ x 30″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: CQ2 – Clothesline Quilts – Evonne Cook.

Here is a project which could use one of those fabulous fat quarter bundles you have been saving for a cold winter day.  Guess what?  That day is here!  Unwrap that baby and cut it up!


Pallette Quilt Pattern BHQ-127  $9.00

Quick and easy baby quilt pattern.
Finished Size: Approximately 50″ x 50″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: BHQ – Bear Hug Quiltworks – Lisa Alley.

I bet you have some beautiful fabric you fell in love with and just can’t bring yourself to cut it up.  Here is a project that lets the fabric do all the talking, and is oh so quick to make.  Now that fabric can be on you wall, table or sofa, instead of hidden in your stash.


Cottage Rose Set Quilt Pattern LR-102

A delightfully quick Cottage Chic quilt pattern that’s low on the piecing and blooming with charm. This quilt pattern features the Bella Fabric Collection designed by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush Studio
Finished Sizes:
Quilt: 80″ x 85″
Hanging Headboard: 55″ x 52″
Skill Level: Intermediate
Designed by: LR – Lacey Hill & Ro Gregg.

Table runners make great quick projects.  And they look fabulous in any setting.  Here is a pair -runner and placemats – that are beginner friendly and very modern.


Running Blocks Quilt Pattern FD-704  $9.00

The Running Blocks quilt pattern includes both a simple and easy to piece table runner, and four placements. This attractive, primarily two-fabric design has a small accent border. These quilts make a fun and quick gift for a house warming or any occasion. This is a great beginner project. Quilt pattern includes easy to follow instructions and helpful diagrams.
Finished Sizes:
Table Runner: 16″ x 41″
Placemats: 12″ x 18″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: FD – Friendship Designs.


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Quilting Resolutions for 2016

As quilters we always make resolutions each year. We want to get all those UFOs completed, or start a new project we have been saving, or even make a quilt for a shelter or Head Start or Project Linus. We have such good intentions.

We are often thwarted from those plans by life’s little priorities which keep us from doing what we planned. This post is dedicated to finding time and resources to help you meet your 2016 quilting goals.

One way is to refresh your skills (or gently remind yourself of what you may have forgotten) by watching some videos. Here are a few to get you started.

Learn about different kinds of quilts.

Learn about quilt fabric.

Learn to make that perfect 1/4″ seam.

Next, you need to find some time in your busy schedule. Here are a few suggestions that other bloggers recommend.

  • give yourself 15 minutes a day to quilt.
  • keep your sewing space tidy so when you have a few minutes to sew you can spend it sewing and not cleaning up your space.
  • if you have favorite shows you like to watch on TV, turn them on while at your machine, or doing handwork you want to complete so you can watch and sew at the same time.
  • plan regular sew days with friends, your local quilt shop, your small group or bee. Sometimes just a few hours of concentrated sew time is all you needed to complete a project.
  • plan to attend a quilt retreat. Guilds and shops offer them at reasonable prices. Look on the internet to find other opportunities. I get more done at a 3-day retreat than a month at home.

Finally here are some great projects to help you get organized, to make the most of your sewing or retreat time.

Every quilter ought to have one (or more) of these handy thread catchers.  Make a second one to keep in your travel bag or to give as a gift to someone you you sew with.  They will thanks you like crazy.


Thread Catcher Plus Pattern MD-CT31 $8.50

Keep yourself organized while working at your sewing machine. The thread catcher plus not only keeps the sewing area free of pesky threads, but has a spot for every notion you need while you create an heirloon quilt. A fun little quilt pattern that can be done in just a few hours.
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Designed by: Marlous Designs – Marlous Carter.

If you need something to carry your machine to class or retreat here is a great project to get you organized.  Make a tote to carry your machine.


Sewing Machine & Extension Table Tote Pattern ABQ-168   On sale for $6.50

Show off your amazing sewing skills and your organizational skills all at the same time! Carry your portable sewing machine to classes and retreats in style. Pack the multiple pockets with your foot pedal, cords, books, fabric, notions and sewing tools. Open the drop pocket to easily access everything. You can even pack your sewing machine extension table in this unique new bag.

Finished Size:

Your bag will carry a machine up to 19″(L) x 13″(H)x 9″ (D). Pack an extension table measuring up to 19″ x 13″ with folding or removable feet. It snaps into place right behind your sewing machine.

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Pattern Designed by Brenda Miller for Among Brenda’s Quilts

Here is a great way to get organized:  with a Rollie Pollie Organizer.  These will hold all your tools at home or at class.


Rollie Pollie Organizer Pattern CND-119  $9.00

The Rollie Pollie is an all-purpose organizer featuring 4 detachable, zipped pouches that all roll up into a secure little package. Hang it up using your choice of a d-ring or grommet and fold it flat for compact storage when not in use. Hook and loop strips hold the pouches and flap securely in place. A convenient side handle makes for easy carrying. Perfect for cosmetics, sewing and craft supplies, jewelry, toys, and gift giving. The pattern has computer generated illustrations and metric as well as imperial measurements. Pattern includes instructions for 3 sizes.
Finished Sizes:
Small: 8″ x 4 3/4″ x 5″
Medium: 9″ x 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
Large: 10″ x 5 3/4″ x 6 1/2″
Skill Level: Intermediate
Designed by: CND – Cozy Nest Designs – Sarah Gido.

Here is a great project to take with you when you are shopping for fabric or project materials.


Clipboard Organizer Pattern NDD-141  $9.00

A big pocket for all the flyers you pick up and places for everything you need to take notes and exchange business cards. Optional shoulder strap.
Use the Quick Fabric Tube Turner for this pattern.
Finished Size: 9 1/2″ x 13″
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Pattern designed by Nancy Dill for

And how about a tool apron to keep everything within reach wherever you wander.  Longarm quilters will want one of these.  And what a great way to use orphan blocks!


Tool Apron Pattern BS2-278  $9.00

Did you ever say to yourself, “Where did I put my scissors now?” or “Where is my seam ripper?” Well now you can be organized with this great apron pattern and have everything right at your fingertips. Throw in a tape measure, some mints, your phone, and your MP3 player and you’re ready to work!
Finished Size: One size fits all
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Pattern designed by Barb Sackel of Rose Cottage Quilting.

Want more great projects to get you organized. had lots of them.  CLICK HERE to view more great ideas, or type ORGANIZE into the Search box to get started on your journey to make this the best quilting year ever!  Good luck.

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