Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sewing Room Straightening!

It's a very cool and drizzly Memorial Day Weekend here in the upper central USA, so in lieu of camping today, I've gotten after my sewing room...

Here's today's results - let me know what you think or your suggestions, please :-)  I appreciate all suggestions!

Sewing room closet...hmmmm....what could be behind the curtain?

My light-weight Janome Jem Gold with extension table and lighting to the left sitting on a 
4" table from Sam's Club with a small white cabinet/extension table with four drawers to the right with a 
Quilter's Cut 'n Press on top.  

A close-up on the right

...and one to the left

I decided to go with a blue version to cover the newly built cabinet and forego the doors (which are put to good use somewhere else)

This new cabinet holds batting, UFOs, scrap bins and backings - that's a lotta bang for the buck!

I hung up my rulers with small hanging nails alongside the new cabinet.

Even behind the door, space has been utilized.

A girl's gotta have a radio and a TV, right?  Today I was watching the 2011 Paducah quilter's DVD.  I also have DVDs from Nancy Zieman, Eleanore Burns and several fmq'ers.  The dresser that the TV and radio are sitting on is filled with yardage, AccuQuilt dies, Nancy Zieman quilting and purse-making templates and drawing materials to practice for fmq.

Do you spot the two unused cabinet doors to the left?

Lots going on over here.  Scrapbooking, lightbox, patterns, sewing box and cutting mat rest atop a wheeled metal shelving unit from Target.  There are five containers of my favorite magazines including McCall's and Thread's, among others.  Underneath are more scrapbooking supplies and knitting supplies!

I converted a small, wooden TV table ($8 from WalMart) into a pressing board.  The sewing cabinet holds my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 and also my Brother serger.  To the left is my 12x12 rotating cutting board which has come in so handy for piecing!  I don't know what I'd do without that handy board.

There's one more corner to share...

My favorite quilting books including the Freshman-Senior Year of the Harriet and Carriet Hargrave Quilter's Academy, and many more of my favorite FMQ books plus a baby quilt that needs binding resting atop several binders which need filling - I love to fill binders with free patterns I find and the largest binders will hold my FMQ examples.  These sit atop a folded down cutting table with two drawers.  The table is on wheels and can be moved to the center of the room when finishing a quilt or cutting large pieces.  The wall behind it is left bare to utilize as a design wall when needed.

After three years of quilting, this is where I am - finally!

My goal was to have a space to create, sew, draw, design, etc. and I've got it :-)

Of course, it'll never been completely finished!  Leaving a comment for me will make my day :-)

I've linked up this post to:

Happy Sewing and Creating,


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters - book review!

Having studied free motion quilting (fmq) for the past two and a half years, I am very impressed with the seemingly young-looking Angela Walters' work.  She began with traditional fmq using a long-arm, but these modern techniques apply also to home sewing machines.  This latest will release from C&T Publishing on July 16, 2012.

This book will get you ready to quilt the modern way!  To me, the Pfaff company's designs look so beautifully modern and they appeal to me greatly, but having had only the chance to study traditional machine quilting before, I felt overwhelmed.  

Impressions from International Quilt Festival 2011

FROM 2012/01/01 UNTIL 2012/06/01

“Be inspired by the Sound of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS” and enter the first CREATE YOUR STYLE Art Quilting Design Contest!

We celebrated our return to the International Quilt Festival 2011 with the kick-off of the first ever CREATE YOUR STYLE Art Quilting Design Contest for 2012 – “Be inspired by the sound of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS”. Taking inspiration from the world of music, contestants are required to design an original quilt using SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS to express their own personal design theme.

A jury of leading industry experts will judge the quilts on the creativity and uniqueness of the design, the successful incorporation of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS into the quilt, the quality of the workmanship and overall presentation. All applications must be submitted by June 1, 2012, after which a short list of 30 semifinalists will be chosen and, in the end, only 10 finalists will be selected. The finalists will be invited to attend the 2012 Quilt Festival where the jury will announce the top three winners. A substantial cash award as well as an extensive selection of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS await the winner and the first and second runners-up. In addition, Swarovski’s sewing machine sponsor for this contest, PFAFF, will award a state-of-the-art sewing machine to each of the three winning participants.

For details please refer to the Design Contest leaflet (download here).


--I can't wait to see what this year's original designs look like!  Can you imagine winning a contest like this?  I really believe that I would need to study Angela Walter's designs very seriously to be considered a contestant.

Ms. Walter's book; however, divided into three sections, will motivate, instruct and inspire you to branch out into the new world of modern quilting.  Through the use of many color photos, you will see how her designs can work for wonky, strip, square and quilts with negative space.  Her blog is  Her new book is a very interesting and worth-while addition to the quilting world!  

Are you ready to "branch out" into modern quilts?  What is your opinion?  Please leave your comments here. I truly appreciate the time you take to do this.

SewCalGal is hosting Angela Walters in July!  I can't wait!!  If you haven't joined the 2012 FMQ Challenge yet, you can still do so...just check it out HERE.

Happy Memorial Day 
and Best Wishes,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Magazine Reviews galore! Two magazines you NEED

For me, interactive magazines are what makes a magazine worth purchasing, reading and utilizing.  Here are two excellent examples for us quilters:

1.  Sew News June/July 2012

This is great!  If you use a machine to do your quilting, "Sew News" can be a great way to expand your sewing machine techniques and there are some articles directly pertaining to quilting, too.

Interactive is what this magazine is all about!

Join the sewing district forum for free....there's so much variety, great tips, free patterns and you can see  the work of others for inspiration and share your hard work!

You can win prizes for your project(s):

You can 'meet' interesting people: (specializing in clothing for B, C and D cups) (from Kansas)

(There's an app for that!)  Block Tool App for Android
C&T's Quick and Easy Quilt Block Tool App available at

"Tablet Sleeve" project:  On pg. 24 of the June/July 2012 Sew News issue, you will find a great project made with two 8 1/2 x 11" pieces of wool felt, one fat quarter and one piece of cotton quilting fabric, a button and a hairband for your new tablet, plus instructions for tablets of different sizes!  What a great present for a graduate!!

You can download the pattern from

Great tips from editors - the best one from this issue is the advice to forego fusible web for applique and to use glue stick instead!  Grab the issue to read why...two of the editors have 'nightmare' stories to share with you so you can avoid those pitfalls!!

2.  "McCall's Quilting" July/August 2012

This magazine ROCKS.  Here at RocknQuilts, we like things that rock :-)

Did you know that McCall's Quilting is going on the road??  They're bringing sixteen reader-favorite scrap quilts to locations across the US for us to see first-hand.  For more info, visit

"Ask...we'll answer"
This is a great way for new quilters to learn from the pros and get a set of pretty charm squares if your question appears in print!  E-mail them at
I was impressed with Debbie Law's question via fb:
She asked, "What was the biggest boo-boo or blunder you've ever committed when making a quilt?"  There were a dozen answers dealing from cutting errors to fusible web messes, etc.  All valuable to learn from!

You can visit
They offer contests, online groups, and bonus patterns; you can vote for the Quilt Design Star of 2012, download free instructions for the Ireland BOM quilt blocks to commemorate the McCall's Quilting Tour of Ireland in June 2012 and lots more!

Do you enjoy quilt-alongs?  A division of McCall's Quilting is hosting a quilt-along.  Download the FREE preview pattern for 'Westward Journey' at, then click on bonuses, then click on McCall's bonuses.

There's a new, four-part series quilt-along for 2012 called Sugar Roses, too.  If you purchase this issue now, then you'll have the first of that four-part series!

McCall's has kits for almost every quilt, but you always have the option of utilizing your own fabric stash!

Christine Barnes offers valuable information about color Value on pgs. 33-35.  Her website is or you can order a copy of her newest book called "The Quilter's Color Club" by C&T Publishing 2011.  See how you can let Value do the hard work and make your quilts look fabulous!

Sometimes we need quilts in a hurry - illness, Project Linus, etc., so McCall's has a special issue called "America Makes FAST Quilts" 2012.

Hexagons can scare new quilters, but once you see the videos available at, you'll never be petrified again!  Make hexagons EASILY - no kidding!, click on videos, click on Partner Product Features, click on Hexi-Flower Foursome from pgs. 44-47 June/July 2012.

I've been cutting scraps into 2", 3.5" and 5" squares and was thrilled to see the PERFECT Scrap Quilt on pgs. 84-86.  It is called "Nine-Patches in Paradise", uses 2" and 5" scrappy squares in darks and lights and is wonderfully colorful and cozy!

Of course, they can't leave you without something of historical value and this is a wowza moment...Blazing Star from the 1920s-30s is featured on the inside back's just beautiful AND there's a FREE pattern for that, too!  Just visit 

....and for my readers who enjoy free motion quilting....

FREE 81 Tips on Free-Motion-Quilting PDF file:

Hope you found something useful today!

Please leave a comment to let me know if you subscribe to Sew News or to McCall's Quilting....
thank you!

All the Best,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

20 fantastic, fun tips for things to do while re-cooperating from surgery!

Here's twenty suggestions for what to do from your recovery bed from my sister-in-law Lynn - these are from the fun Hallmark card she sent me - Yes, she cared enough to send the very best!!!  :-)  I'm getting a little silly now that I've been home bound for six days...please forgive me!

The card reads:

Rx  Doctor's Orders:  20 Fun Things to do while you're Recovering from your Operation
Signed:  Dr. Rusty Scalpel (Oh, my!)

1.  Pick a foreign accent and talk in it all day.  (My sis-in-law suggests Chinese to me - I speak English and German!)
2.  Make a Halloween costume out of your bedsheets.  (Hey, you got a sewing machine!, she says)
3.  Answer an ad on how to make BIG money at home.  (Perfect!)
4.  Learn the Morse code.  (My DH was in the military, so I guess he could teach me!)
5. Build a fort out of tissues and toilet paper rolls.  (My 10-year-old DS would love this!)
6.  Practice to become the World's Fastest Remote Control User.  (I can learn this from my DH, too!)
7.  Name the 50 states; now try their capitals.  (My sis-in-law writes:  No problem - you're a teacher!  My DH and I tried it and I couldn't remember the capital of Rhode Island - embarassing!)
8.  Become a ventriloquist.  (Now there's a challenge - can you imagine what the students in my classroom would do if I could throw my voice and pretend to the principal in the hallway?!?  It could make it worth all the work!  LOL)
9.  Make a macaroni sculpture.
10.  Sell your macaroni sculpture on eBay.  (This would be more impressive if it were cooked first!  Do you remember that someone sold a really long McDonald's frozen french fry on eBay for quite a sum?)
11.  Teach yourself to levitate.  (I really hope I'm not in bed THAT long!)
12.  Say the alphabet backward.  (I got four letters and then had to give up - can YOU do this?!?)
13.  Practice exotic bird calls.  (Now that would take some time...)
14.  See how long you can go without blinking.  (I could challenge my friends and family, too!)
15.  Gargle "The Star-Spangled Banner" (then my sis-in-law suggests going on America's Got Talent!)
16.  Plan how you'd spend the money if you won the lottery.  (My sis-in-law wants to let me know when I win!)
17.  Make puppets out of empty pill bottles.  (This could work for me, I'm crafty!)
18.  Call a talk show and say you're a space alien.  See if anyone notices.  (My sis-in-law writes "Don't mention you're related to us! - which is exactly the first thing I'd do!)
19.  Draw happy faces on your toes.  (Now there's a happy thought, but I'd have to get someone to do it for me 'cause I can't bend over!!)
20.  Concentrate on feeling better soon - now there's one I'm working on!  :-)  Thanks, Lynn!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Magazine review "Quiltermaker's 100 Blocks" vol. 5

Having not previously purchased a '100 Blocks' edition of Quiltmaker magazine, I was curious to know what was inside, so I bought a copy at my local B&N.  What a pleasant surprise it was!  This is the beginning of something big, so plans are in the works to obtain the first four volumes.

Besides one hundred beautiful quilt blocks in four variations, this special issue, released annually, also  includes Sewing and Yardages for crib-sized, twin, queen and king-sized quilts in framed hourglass settings.  (I also thought this would work fabulously for including a few machine-embroidered 12" blocks, too.)  There are many ideas for 12" blocks including an octagonal-shaped table topper using five 12" blocks and four triangles; a table runner using twelve 12" blocks laid out six by six; a wall hanging using the following configuration:  A B A
                      B A B
                      A B A
or one block on point surrounded by triangles and borders.

The four sections include something for every quilter:
1.  applique (14)
2.  foundation-pieced (8)
3.  mixed technique (22)
4. pieced (56)

The back of the magazine includes not only the paper piecing foundation papers, but also techniques, stitch diagrams, beading diagrams, finishing techniques, tester's gallery in full color, quilting design recommendations for both blocks and all-over quilting, plus 40 Tips for Tip Top Quilts.  (I love the tip for using and re-using clear Contact Paper to transfer quilt designs for machine quilting!)

Sign up to connect with Quiltmaker in several different ways!

and last, but not least.... - just in case!

Plus, if you're a pattern designer interested in submitting a block for consideration in a future issue, please email Carolyn Beam for submission guidelines and deadlines.

There will be a block party August 2-4th in Williamsburg, VA for classes and sessions from the magazine's staff and the quilt block designers - see details at and details for the 2013 block party!

and there's a magazine featuring blocks from volumes 1-4 beautifully placed into eighteen gorgeous quilts:

Back issues available from or by calling 877-269-8024
Volumes 4 and 3 are available either digital or paper, but volumes 2 and 1 are available in digital format only.

More from the Quiltmaker's Blog:

Do you have plans to create a quilt using these blocks?  Please let us know here at RocknQuilts!

It'd be great to make a 12" block to quilt for the SewCalGal 2012 FMQ Challenge!

All the Best,


Monday, May 21, 2012

New "Quilty" Magazine - Fun, Beginners Projects & lots of great tips!

I'll bet you've heard of the name "Fons" before if you're familiar with the quilting world.

Mary Fons is the editor of a new quilting magazine for complete beginners and for those who are looking for something modern & fresh.  I picked up a copy of the very first issue of "Quilty" at my local B&N and thought I'd give my readers a review.  The magazine costs $5.99 USD, very comparable to other quilting magazines and is filled with thirteen projects to create, plus lots of advertising ranging from Babylock, Fons & Porter, Gammill and more.  It's not overly-advertised, though. is the website to check out and of course, there's a fb page!  

What's great for new quilters is that the magazine features easy-to-make quilts, color theory, longarmer information, rookie information, Modern Quilt Guild info, essential tools for quilters, a quilter's quick glossary, tip top techniques and quilty boot camp!

Evony Love - you may have heard of her from accuquilt or youtube - is a contributor in this first issue of Quilty.  She talks about how to avoid wavy borders and if you have them, how to correct them, plus offers a Beginner Level 2 Quilt called "Schoolgirl" featuring corner stones and sashing.

Advice for how to locate your first local quilting class is given, plus reasons to take one and tips from Carol Doak on Quilt Class Do's and Don't.   If there's no local quilting classes in your area, you can check out - the online quilting school.

Tip Top Techniques are not only have color pictures and recommended tools, but also feature links to video tutorials, for example:

Marianne Fon's is also a contributor to Quilty of the Quilts of Valor Foundation - check these out: and A 12-year-old quilter   ...and her granddaughter Rebecca Fons is producer of Quilty and a proud, rookie quilter!

Interested in sharing your expertise with new quilters?  They are looking for Tip Top Tips for the Tip Top feature - create a 3 to 5 minute video of yourself sharing your tip, upload it to your computer in .mov or .mpeg4 format - you can even use a smartphone to create your video!  Print, complete and mail the submission form, upload your video to and comlete the talent release and e-mail it to - this is all explained very well on pg. 94 of the first release of "Quilty - Fresh Patchwork + Modern Quilts".

I enjoyed my copy immensely and plan to get another!  This will be a great tool for me to use with my teenage daughter :-)  Thanks, Fons family!


Quilt Show! (Quilting by Embroidery Machine)

Please enjoy the 'show' from

Baby boy quilt

Race car quilt

ABC quilt

Twin bed state quilts

Peek-A-Boo quilt

Sunbonnet Sue and Fisherman Fred

Embroidery machines can duplicate free motion quilting designs for a perfect look.

Kenny from says:
"Stitcher Lorrie has been emailing me about a quilt that she made for a show in Paducah KY in April. I've been going nuts wanting to see it, and she just sent in pictures!! It's a Montana Sampler quilt, and it features a smashing variety of embroidery designs that are based on traditional quilt blocks ( to see 'em, click the link on the left side that says "Quilts," then click around that category for a while. It's big. Immense. Really, there's a lot of cool stuff in that category). Lorrie, this is stunning! I'm overwhelmed by the beauty, the precision, and all of those stitches and thread changes. Wowza -- congratulations on this amazing accomplishment!"

Safari Silhouettes

Delft Blue quilt top

A Wise Old Owl

John's Wish List

"What Little Boys Are Made Of"

Quilt As You Go method using embroidery machine with batting as stabilizer

Breast Cancer Awareness

Monet-style quilting with machine embroidery lillies

Cup 'o Java wall hanging (I believe this belongs in my kitchen!)

Eighteen little monkeys jumping on the bed!

and I had to share this because it's absolutely amazing - a sheer wedding dress train covered with machine embroidery using water soluable stabilizer...amazing!

I love how personalized these are!

Hope you enjoyed the show,


For more pictures of items created with machine embroidery, please visit 


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