New designer Heather Kidd

Introducing a new designer, please welcome Heather Kidd of Stringtown Lane Quilts.

She is a mother of 3 boys, expecting her 4th child in June. Congrats to her! She lives with her family in a small town in Idaho. They enjoy the outdoors and doing things together as a family.

Heather’s mother, who is a great long arm quilter, taught her daughter to sew and now quilts all of Heather’s projects! Heather loves everything sewing and quilting. Her sister, cousins, aunts and a grandma all sew too. No doubt they all believe as Heather does; you can never have too much fabric! Heather says she has really enjoyed building her stash.

New Patterns:

Heather has provided us with more than a dozen of her designs, including several door/wall hangings and an adorable baby/toddler quilt. Her favorite technique is appliqué, which is why she started designing patterns that went with every month.


We are very happy to include Heather in our quilting community – we have lots more love and inspiration to share, and we’re confident she will be a great addition to our flock!



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2 Portofino Quilts for You

Bring the beauty of Ro Gregg’s Portofino into your home!

We have two color-packed quilt patterns for you:

 1. Portofino designed by Barb Sackel

Highlight Portofino’s a large piece of the gorgeous scenic focal print with pieced borders and sailboats. Quilt measures 38″ x 43″.

Pattern available through

2. Harbor View designed by Barb Sackel
Portofino prints go modern with strips and squares. Frame different sized pieces of the scenic print in dramatic black and add interest with pops of colorful coordinates.
Quilt measures 52″ x 68″.

Pattern available through

See Portofino fabric close-ups and read an interview with fabric designer Ro Gregg here.
See the entire Portofino collection here and ask for it at your local quilt shop.
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Produce YOUR Own Patterns!

Click here to read Part 1

Part 2

What types of patterns sell the best here at

There are two ways to answer this question: What always sells well, and what is selling well right now in 2017. Keep in mind that these are VERY GENERAL suggestions and there are always exceptions to the rule. If you have something that your friends think is great, go for it!

What always sells well:

  • Patterns with a huge WOW factor – at any skill level – many people buy patterns above their skill level in hopes that they will one day get there or have someone else make it for them. The WOW can come from the design or the color arrangement.
  • Patterns that look complex but are simple to make – the best example I have of this is our top selling pattern that sells well year after year – Take Four Placemat.

Take Four Placemat Set Pattern CF-224

  • Which also falls into the next category – Small Simple projects. These always make great gifts. They also give great satisfaction because you can whip up a small project and feel accomplished between those big projects that might take you years to finish. Even those of us with advanced skills love to make simple projects.
  • Very simple appliqué – the cuter the better.
  • Patterns that can use many styles and types of fabrics that are readily available or scraps out of your stash.
  • Patterns that show a new technique or a new easier way to accomplish an old technique.
  • Patterns that use new gadgets and notions that are popular.
  • Any fad motif such as Owls which have been very popular lately – I think it is still a good idea to jump on and ride these waves but know when to move on and don’t expect ongoing sales for years.

Right now these are selling well:

  • Bright colors are very popular as well as black backgrounds. These contribute to that WOW factor.
  • Animals – especially wild and jungle animals. One nice thing about this is that they appeal to boys and men. We never seem to have enough patterns for them.

What does not usually sell very well: Anything with a limited market. This means it will appeal to a limited audience or for a limited time. I’m not saying you shouldn’t design them, just keep in mind that many of these may sell very well when they first come out and then not so much over the long haul.

  • Complex appliqué
  • Advanced skill level
  • Seasonal except Halloween and Christmas which always sell year round
  • Fabric specific – works only with one specific fabric line
  • Geared toward one sector of the population such as one state, one age group, etc.
  • Patterns that have already been done to death – one more pattern with traditional star blocks is not really where you want to spend your time.

One thing that many of our designers do is what we here at call a “face lift”. This is where they take a pattern that they published years ago and put new fabrics in the cover photo project. This can be done by actually making the quilt or by a virtual computerized image. We will talk about images in a later post. Keep this in mind as you are creating your patterns and you will be able to leverage your work for years to come.

HUGE HINT: WRITE YOUR PATTERN SO THAT THE COVER PHOTO CAN BE CHANGED WITHOUT HAVING TO CHANGE THE INSTRUCTIONS MUCH OR AT ALL. To do this, use Fabric A, Fabric B, etc. instead of Blue, Red, Purple. Use a color chart with references to the fabric letters and then label your diagrams with those letters.

The main thing I can say to you is that if you want to have a serious business, design for the market, not just for your own tastes.

Watch for more posts coming soon including topics such as:

  • Copyright
  • Images
  • Computer programs
  • What does for designers
  • And much more!

Nancy Dill, President

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It’s Ugly Sweater Time!

Did you know that Santa is having a Ugly Sweater Christmas party! Santa and his reindeer are all so very excited about getting ready for the holidays! Quilt Doodle Designs makes it easy for you to get ready for the holidays too with their Ugly Christmas Sweater pattern. It’s never too early to work on a little Christmas project. All you need is some scrap Christmas fabrics, or a fat quarter bundle of your favorite holiday fabric and a free afternoon. They make quick gifts and are adorable paired up with a mug and some chocolate.

 This is a fun pattern and would make a wonderful afternoon workshop for your quilt shop!

QD2-141 ‘Ugly Christmas Swaters by Quilt Doodle Designs

Button Kits are available from Just Another Button Co.

 Pin your sweater body right sides together onto your batting. I like to use batting scraps for these types of projects.

Sew a 1/4″ seam….

Remember to leave an opening so you can turn it right side out.

Don’t forget to clip corners before you turn your sweater shape right sides out

The super fun part is decorating your sweaters. Trace all your design pieces onto your heat n bond, iron onto the wrong side of the fabric scraps and cut out.

A Christmas Ornament ugly sweater.  Isn’t it cute and it’s not even done yet!

I got one of each design put together. I’m now ready to do my applique stitch.

I used a dark brown thread from Aurifil. I use the same color thread for all of my mug rugs just for ease of getting them all done quickly without changing thread colors. What’s great about this step is that you are appliqueing and quilting your mug rugs all at the same time. So easy!

After all my mug rugs are appliqued, it’s time to camp out in front of the TV for some hand work. As you can see, I have lots of threads to clip. I’ve put together a button pack for you thru Just Another Button Company with all the embellishments for the mug rugs. The pack contains enough buttons to do one of each design plus some extras… I added some snowflake buttons too. This slick button kit is also available in my Etsy Store.

Shhhh, this one’s my favorite..

Another super fun thing you can do with these is make a bunch and sting them together to make a garland! All you need is some red and white baker’s twine and some decorative clothespins.

Use this link to purchase the Ugly Christmas Sweaters pattern from

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Mushroom Kit BS3-110K $9.00

You asked for it….YOU GOT IT!!!

There is now a kit for the mushroom video (pattern included).

No prior experience necessary!


Now you can enjoy this new past-time that will bring out the creative side of you!  Working with wool is relaxing, fun and addictive!

Be sure to look for my other kits available (patterns sold separate)

Peeking Pumpkin Mice BS3-102K

Sweet Owl BS3-105K

Stacked Coffee Cups BS3-108K

Goldfish BS3-105K




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How to Bring MORE Fabric Home From the Quilt Show


With the International Quilt Festival taking place next month in Houston (November 2nd-5th.), we are all thinking about finding ways to bring more fabric home from the quilt show. Here is how to bring more fabric home from the quilt show.

Outsmart everyone- How to Bring More Fabric Home From the Quilt Show

Next time you are cleaning out your closet, think twice before you toss out those old clothes. Now that the airlines are limiting the amount of luggage you can take and making it more expensive to pack heavy items like fabric, a little advance planning can help you beat them at their own game. Whether you are flying or driving, getting that extra suitcase (the one you bought while out of town at the show) past the eagle eye of your significant other and payer of the credit card bills, will no longer be necessary.

quilt show

Here’s the plan: Take all those almost worn out or out-of-date clothes and save them in a box labeled “travelling clothes”. These are the clothes you wear on the plane or in the car because they are all broken in and comfortable. So what if they were on their way to the rag bag – you’re never going to see those people on the plane or in the rest stops again anyway. Keep your goal in mind and your priorities straight!

Now if you are working at the show setting up and taking down booths, you can use some of those old clothes as work clothes too. Nobody cares how ratty you look on setup days. OK, so now you have packed as few nice wardrobe items as possible only for the days the show is actually open, leaving as much room as possible for fabric and goodies to bring home. But it’s never enough, is it? Until you ditch all those old clothes you didn’t want any more into the nearest Salvation Army bin or dumpster at the hotel and voila! More room for fabric!

Here is a handy planning chart you can take to the show:

1 pr. bikini panties = 1 fat quarter
1 pr. granny panties = 3 fat quarters
1 bra A-C cup = 1 fat quarter
1 bra D+ cup = 2 fat quarters
1 pr. socks = 1 fat quarter
1 t-shirt Sm.-Lg. = 3 fat quarters
1 t-shirt XL+ = 1 yd.
1 pr. jeans/sweatpants = 2-3 yds.

Do you want more great ideas like these delivered to your inbox? You can sign up for our newsletter here! 


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Poppies, Poppies, and More Poppies

Welcome Reeze Hanson to the Blog.

I have been designing patterns for Northcott Fabrics for the past 2 years and love getting to see the new fabric lines as they come out.  This month I have completed three new patterns for their beautiful new line of Poppy themed fabric called In Full Bloom by Deborah Edwards.

Poppy Picture Window

The first pattern uses running yardage of poppy flower blocks surrounded by a funky border.  I call it Poppy Picture Window.

Poppy Picture Window Quilt Pattern
This is a smaller throw or lap size quilt, 38″ x 44″. It is an easy pattern for a confident beginner since the only pieced part is the border. You could put any panel or large scale print inside the border.

Starlight Poppies

Starlight Poppies is a larger lap quilt, 52″ x 52″ which is appropriate for an intermediate quilter, although I think a confident beginner could do it if they can do set-in seams.

Starlight Poppies Quilt Pattern

Yup, there a few set-in seams in this pattern, so you may want to brush up on that technique before you tackle this one.  But the vivid colors and poppy prints make it worth the effort.

Amazing Poppies

The last one is called Amazing Poppies and is an intermediate level pattern, although it is all just squares and rectangles with quick corners. The challenge is making sure you have the fabric oriented with the stripe in the correct direction.  The pattern provides complete instructions and illustrations for assembling the quilt.

Amazing Poppies Quilt Pattern

This pattern uses just two fabrics in the quilt center.  A poppy flower strip and solid white.  It was fun to design and make.  At 48″ x 56″ it is a bit too big for a wall quilt but great for a throw or sofa.

The In Full Bloom fabric will be shipping to your local quilt shop this fall.  Ask for the fabric at your LQS.  All three patterns are available for purchase in either a paper pattern or downloadable on the website.

Thanks for taking a look!


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How I started into this Crazy New Exciting World of Wool Needle Felting!

By Barb Sackel

You all know how much I love quilting, but after 350 quilt, bag, etc patterns I needed to shake things up a bit. So by accident I found Wool Needle felting.

There are many tutorials on regarding 3D sculptures and thanks to Sara Renzulli at Sarafina Fiber Art, I made many.

Phineas and his farm.Donkey, Owl and Pigs from Sarafina Fiber Art.
Halloween Tree guarding his pumpkins! Mouse, Gnome and Pumpkins from Sarafina Fiber Art.
                                                                  Deer from Sarafina Fiber Art                             Bunny inspired by Sarafina Fiber Art

From there I started playing with Wool Needle Felting in 2D format. Took a class from Sarafina Fiber Art for the fox and learned Wet Needle felting for the background. She taught us layout and gave us a picture to follow. This is where I really started blending the fibers.

This was my first 2D piece.

So I started to play. And while I was trying different things, my style of using the felt emerged.

I discovered that while I love 2D what I loved even more was adding texture to the piece. This was my original second piece using lots of different locks and silk. I even gave it a binding looking edge. A few more pieces and my style was born.

I use 1” cut pieces of Roving and do a lot of finger blending to add a huge library of colors. I blend these colors and add lots of texture to my pieces. On my original wool paintings below, the Lion’s mane and the Giraffe’s eyelashes and mane are loose and fluffy.

At this point I knew I wanted to share the techniques I had created. So I invented Wool Painting By Number!

You take the ready to use numbered image in the pattern and just cut out pieces in sequential order and add the wool as I show in full colored pictures. It is that easy.

Plus, for your convenience, I have made 3 Videos to explain the tools needed, how to make the background and making the Mushroom below to show how to manipulate the fiber. These can be found on

My first 4 patterns are ready and I have made kits for all of them, again, for your convenience. I hope you try this new and exciting medium. You are bound to fall in love as I have.

Tools, Wool, Kits and Patterns can be found at



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Produce YOUR Own Patterns!

Part 1

Wow, that is adorable! You should make a pattern for that! Ever heard that from your friends and fellow quilt guild members? Well, that’s exactly how I got started. Twelve years later I am the owner of the largest distributor of primarily quilting patterns in the country. My business was built by helping very small businesses to get their patterns to market. We represent approximately 250 designers in the US and other countries and our website contains over 10,000 different quilting and sewing patterns plus notions. All because I listened to my friends.

So in this series of blog posts, I am going to help you to gain the confidence to get to a point where you are brave enough to email me your great pattern idea. needs a constant inflow of new patterns to stay relevant to our customers. We are always looking for more designers with great new ideas for designs.

Here is my story of how I got started which I hope will inspire you to do the same. It all started with my first pattern, the Chameleon Purse


Back in the early part of 2005, the purse craze was on. Everyone was going purse crazy. We all wanted a purse to match every outfit. Pattern designers jumped on board like crazy and came up with hundreds, now thousands, of patterns for those of us who sew to make our own unique purses. I wanted a purse to match every outfit but as a mother of 2 young children with a professional job as a CPA, I had no time to change my purse out and no desire to go searching for my stuff in different pockets. So I designed a purse that I could change the cover in under one minute without ever moving the stuff inside. I spent many hours and days perfecting the design until I came up with something fairly easy to make. I was doing this for myself with no intention of it every going public. When I showed it my friends, they were all crazy about the idea and said I should make a pattern to sell. I had no idea how. They suggested I talk to our local quilt shop owner, Linda, who had published some of her own patterns and would know what to do.

Linda was indeed very willing to help and impressed with my pattern. She wanted to carry it in her store and invited me to show it off at my own little table during an upcoming shop hop. So I got to work and got the pattern ready to sell. I was honored to be asked to autograph the first copy I sold to my friend Peggy. Linda recommended a book called Publish Your Patterns that told me all I needed to know to get started. Later I will tell you the story of how I ended up being the sole publisher of this book – what an exciting ride I have had in this industry! This book is now only available in downloadable format on our website. I will soon be going through it for a second time in 10 years to make updates.

This book is a good first place to start but certainly not a requirement. As I said, it does need some updating. Designers are always welcome to email me with questions any time at and be sure to visit the “Info for Designers” link at the top of my website.

Part 2 will talk about what types of patterns sell the best.

Watch for many more installments of this blog post for up to date helpful information. I hope to see your pattern ideas soon!

Nancy Dill, President


Click here to read Part 2

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Joining us today on the blog is Kathleen Khosravi of Olive Leaf Quilts

Toile fabric, with its bucolic country scenes in contrasting colors, is quintessentially French. It fits squarely into the French provincial style. You may therefore be surprised to learn that it did not originate in France. Rather, it was part of the “Indienne” cottons that were imported from India in the sixteenth century. The cloth was an instant success because it was not only beautiful, but lightweight and washable as well. Its triumph was so complete that in 1686, King Louis XIV placed an embargo on the importation of all cottons because they were such a threat to the French fabric industry.

Of course, peoples feelings about the fabric did not change just because it was outlawed by the king. In fact, the quest for it continued to flourish, albeit…quietly.

The ban was lifted in 1759, and French manufacturers realized they should be creating toile patterns themselves. French toile fabric began in the town of Jouy-en-Josas, hence the expression, toile de Jouy. Toile fabric from India was block printed using wood blocks. Production began in France this way as well, but it didn’t take long for the clever French to adapt it to copperplate printing methods, which were new technology at the time. This created sharper, more precise renderings on fabric. In other words, it got better!

So, while the French did not invent toile fabric, they certainly perfected it!

As a collector of French fabrics, I have gathered some beautiful examples. The quilt above, entitled “Etoile,” meaning “star,” was designed to feature a collection of toile fabrics. Black and red fabrics generate lines that intersect diagonally and create checkerboards that move across the quilt. It was created using two traditional blocks, the eight pointed star, and the snowball. Combining these blocks in an alternate setting creates a strong overall design that displays different toile fabrics and provides areas to showcase quilting.


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