What’s Next to Your Machine?

sewingkit2What do you keep next to your sewing machine? This neat wooden cigar box is parked next to my BERNINA. Where once there were smelly cigars are now rows of colorful bobbins. Best recycling of a cigar box ever! You’ll also see my machine oil and cleaning brush so I can care for my favorite machine. And the inevitable seam ripper is handy too.

Do you have unusual ways of organizing your sewing area?

Finished and Fabulous!


It was a real thrill to see JoAnn again at the Savannah show last week. She had been in my Zen Doodle class last year and brought her finished quilt into to show me. JoAnn designed and made this quilt by starting with a small doodle or sketch. Then she made a pattern for herself from the sketch and translated it into fabric through the miracle of fusing.


Check out her wonderful machine stitching. Using her BERNINA, she added free-motion work as well as decorative stitches to outline shapes. Wow! I am so impressed by JoAnn’s artwork. Thanks for sharing it with us JoAnn!

International Quilting Weekend Kick-off!

TQSLogoNewAre you fans of famous quilters, Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims? Then you know all about The Quilt Show, the web TV show that they host. This weekend, March 20 – 22,  they are celebrating International Quilting Weekend by opening all of their shows from the first nine series– shows 100-1513.

This means that, for three special days, everyone will have the chance to view over 200 episodes of The Quilt Show, featuring some of the quilting world’s leading artists, for FREE. (Sometimes I just watch cause I’m lonely in the studio.)


Ricky and Alex at their best.

And there are prizes!!!! This year’s sponsors are contributing over $5000 in prizes, including the Grand Prize, a BERNINA 550 QE. (Love my BERNINA!) Other prizes you have a chance to win are:

  • Innova – Have your quilt professionally quilted ($500 value)
  • Superior Threads – five $100 gift certificates
  • RJR Fabrics – a Delicious Selection of RJR Fabrics
  • AccuQuilt – GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter
  • Missouri Star Quilt Company –  $500 in Quilter’s Cash plus signed copies of Volume 1 of Block Magazine and Man Sewing Swag

And, as long as you’re looking for something fun to watch on The Quilt Show, check out my episodes #303 and #1009. Yes, I have episodes. They are free as are so many other terrific shows.

Machine Stitching: Free-Motion and Free on Fridays!


appstitch10A fused art quilt has lots of organic shapes that need free-motion stitching. And the beauty of free-motion stitching is that you can easily adapt your stitch designs to those shapes. For example, the spool has stitchery across the face of the spool that echo the fabric’s lines and the idea of thread wound around the spool. Different patterning is used on the top and bottom of the spool using that same thread.

appstitch9After the free-motion work is complete, the edges of the shapes are stitched too. My BERNINA has a great blanket stitch I used around the iron to give it a finished look. Would you like to make an iron of your own? Then please click here for a free pattern for an iron quilt called Pressing Matters. Enjoy!

Machine Stitching: From the Center Out

appstitch6The quilt is always stitched from the center out. But another important part of getting a flat quilt, is to press the quilt top frequently after stitching sections. Press the back too.

appstitch7I’ve stitched the orange fabric out to the different elements in the design (like the paint brush) and now its time to stitch them. Another good thing about free-motion stitching is that you can add definition to areas of the design like the lines on the tip of the brush. Here you see me using the BERNINA Stitch Regulator, perfect for doing exacting work like that needed on the brush tip.

Machine Stitching: Curly Fries!

appstitch4My BERNINA 750 QE is all set up and ready to free-motion stitch the quilt top. Stitching will start in the center of the quilt with the quilt edges folded up so it’s easier to grip. You’ll see the orange fabric stitched up to the paint brush. Later, free-motion stitching is added to the paint brush and then I’ll continue quilting the orange fabric.

appstitch3This is one of my favorite quilting designs, Curly Fries and Bananas.  The sets of curves and spirals vary in size according to the fabric shapes you’re stitching around. This flowing stitch has lots of potential working around organic shapes as well as building pattern in open areas.