Two Tip Tuesday – Quilt Guilds and Quilt Shows

I’m so happy to be back in person for some quilt guild lectures. I was down in Branford, CT last night for their guild meeting. My lecture/trunk show was on Egyptian Tentmakers Applique. I love sharing my love of the Tentmakers’ work and my love of Egypt! A big THANK YOU to Shoreline Quilters!! With no AC we did have some red faces…mainly MINE, but it was a great evening anyway. On Thursday I’ll be doing Zoom for one of the guild’s I belong to, Thimble Pleasures. I’ll share my “Teaching the World to Quilt” lecture and modified trunk show. Photos have been taken of the quilts that usually go in person. This time they will be shared on the computer screen. Looking forward to times when all events can be in person.

Houston Quilt Market and Festival is fast approaching. About a month and a half to go! So, I thought I would show you some glimpses of the secret projects AND one of the classes I’m teaching at Festival, Done by Three. A GREAT fun Fat Quarter Quilt. Every Fat Quarter is cut the same, so that saves time and we get to spend more time sewing and arranging blocks. Some of the quilts made with this pattern are below. I hope if you are attending Festival you can take a few hours to take the Done by Three class on Saturday, October 30th from 2-5pm. I love the variety of looks with all the different fabric selections!

Speaking of Market and Festival….anyone interested in helping in my booth? Let me know! You can find my contact information on my website.

A new little tool is getting closer to reveal. I finalized the cover today! The quilt I showed you last week is made with this little gem. Below is one of the borders from the quilt. I’ll be showing the rest as we go.

Hexie border…”Balancing Act”

When sewing hexies together, we have two angled edges (not straight lines with 90 degree corners). So the pieces are “off set” so we can have nice straight lines after sewing without jumps at the seamlines. The bottom picture below shows the left seam is smooth and the right seam has a tiny jump. Not the end of the world if this tiny jump happens, but we strive for the seam on the left.

Left – notches cut with Hex tool.

Top right – notch on left side matches up, right side with white fabric not cut yet.

Bottom Right – white fabric notch cut off so it matches!! (tip #1)

When cutting off the notch with any of my “Hex-a-ma-jig tools, I suggest you set the cutter against the tool and roll the cutter to cut the notch. If you just push the cutter along this very short edge, you might hit the tool and damage your cutter blade….tip #2.

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday – Borders

When adding Borders to a quilt more often than not the easiest way, using the least amount of fabric, is to cut strips across the width of fabric. This technique does have seams. If you fabric is busy it is doubtful that you will see the seams. If your border fabric is very specific in design, you might want to get yardage for the longest side. I always buy a bit extra!

The quilt shown below has a length of 61″ BEFORE the top border was added. One and a half strips by width of fabric (WOF) is just a bit more than I need and will fit almost perfectly. The border width is 5 1/2″ so I cut 3 strips x WOF. I cut one in half and add a half to each of the other two strips. I sewed a straight seam and press it open. This worked great as it put the seam about 1/3 of the way along the side. If a seam lands in the middle of the border it is more obvious.

The top and bottom lines are showing where the top border comes across the side border. The seam is marked with an arrow to the “seam”. I like how you don’t even see the seam in the second photo!!

Instead of using a long tape measure or “regular” tape measure and measuring the full length. (It can get tricky if you don’t have a long table to lay everything flat on.) I folded my now sewn border strip in half. Half of my length of this border is 29 1/2″. Then start measuring from the fold. Mark with chalk. Put a ruler on you mark (making sure everything is SQUARE and cut. give it a try! I usually move a long tape measure carefully along the strip, it works well. But by folding the strip it really helps in making sure the measurement it correct!!

As you can see….or not see…..this is a secret project for Fall Market. I’m getting closer to showing the reveal!

So the tips is my explanations above.

#1 – Try cutting your borders across the Width of Fabric, it uses less fabric!

#2 – If you need a seam, try to make it land about 1/3 down the length, not smack dab in the middle.

Bonus #3 – Try folding your border strip in half to measure it to your length needed. It will result in less moving of any measuring device. ALWAYS make sure you measure from the fold, you sure don’t want to cut the fold and have to resew the two halves.

AND finally….YES!!! I ALWAYS MEASURE my border strips to fit my quilt!!!!!!!

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday – Cutting Hexies

Having fun with Hexies! Did you know that you can cut many shapes with Hex-a-ma-jig and Hex-a-ma-jig Jr.? Yes, you can with these amazing tools. The shape of the tools are half hexagons, shape #1. Then you can use the diagonal lines to cut triangles, shape #2. The straight lines across the tools are used to cut end pieces to finish rows with a straight end rather than the angle, shape #3. By using the “Place on Fold” line on the longest edge, you can cut full hexies and diamonds, shapes #4 and #5. And a BIG BONUS, as discussed last week, you can make “partial half hexies” instead of sewing together triangle and diamonds to create baby blocks, shape #6 and #7 (since there are different orientations). Those are the basic shapes and can be combined is many different ways to create hexie quilts.

Tip #1 – Many tools have more than one purpose and can cut more than one shape!

An “ah ha” moment happened when I need to cut diamonds for the Winter Tree-Land trees I designed last year. Diamonds can be cut from a strip rather than using the “place on fold” line on the tool on a folded piece of fabric. It saves fabric! Use the photo below to see the placement on the Hex-a-ma-jig Jr. tool on a 2 1/2″ strip. If using Hex-a-ma-jig you can do the same on a 3 1/2″ wide strip.

The photos show Hex-a-ma-jig Jr. on a 2 1/2″ strip. One side of the tool is lined up on the top edge of the fabric strip. The bottom edge of the strip is 1/4″ below the seam line A on the tool.

Tip #2 – Cut diamonds from strips using my Hex-a-ma-jig and Hex-a-ma-jig Jr.

Bonus Tip – The funky clear shapes on the tool are “True Grips” non-slip adhesives. The entire sheet of the adhesive grip dots can be used. These funky clear adhesive shapes on my tool are the cut from the area around the grip dots.

Enjoy cutting hexie shapes! Look for Hex-a-ma-jig and Hex-a-ma-jig Jr. HERE on my website.

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday – Simplify Pieced Units

I’m about to go cross-eyed with all the computer time I’ve been doing. I’m still working on the secret projects but I’m getting closer to a reveal!

So today, it is back to the basics. I am a fan of knowing good construction tips and simplifying steps if possible. A couple days ago I was sewing diamonds and triangle together. The shape, once sewn was a half hexie. Silly me, I know how to simplify that step! Next time I need that pieced unit, I will sew two strips together. A good example is a Baby Block (also called a tumbling blocks). A Baby Blocks quilt is below…

Hex-a-ma-jig Baby Blocks D.W.

The traditional construction is three diamonds sewn together into the Baby Block. To avoid a “Y” seam you can make the same block with a triangle on top of a diamond.

But with Hex-a-ma-jig or Hex-a-ma-jig Jr., you can use a strip pieced unit to accomplish this! The diagram below is three strips sewn together (medium – dark – light). Using the dashed seam lines on my Hex tools you can cut both side of the block from this strip pieced section. The blue tape on the tool is to clarify placement and to show position for the photo.

This technique saves time!

#1 – Use Hex-a-ma-jig and Hex-a-ma-jig Jr. for making baby blocks or a baby blocks quilt. Directions for this technique are INCLUDED in the tool’s instructions!

#2- Look for ways to simplify your sewing. Many times sewing strips together to form a strip pieced unit will save time!

Look for Hex-a-ma-jig and Hex-a-ma-jig Jr. at your local quilt shop. Or order directly from me at (use highlighted link above).

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday – Teachers Announced and Secret Sewing

AQS announced there teacher roster for the Daytona Beach Show next year, Feb. 23-26, 2022. YES, I’ll be there teaching (and hopefully vending). The classes have not been posted but I can tell you, one of my favorite lectures will be on the list!! I look forward to Florida in the winter and Daytona Beach is a wonderful show to go to.

Now for secret sewing. I’m busy burning the midnight oil getting ready for Fall Quilt Market and Festival. There will be a new tool and book along with some patterns. I’ve been working on the idea for over a year and excited to have it nearing completion. Last week I talked about color inspiration. This week I can show you the fabrics I fell for at The Quilted Crow. Can you say GRUNGE! I love the vibrant colors! The dots are a favorite and the stars are magical. The photo below is my purchases from Saturday. LOVE!

Now for a sneak peek at some of those fabrics in a project…

Or how about those gorgeous Christmas fabrics I have on my website?….A little dark on the lighting….

Hmmmm, what could they be? Shhhh, don’t tell if you know the secrets!

I’ve been doing a lot of piecing, BUT the samples above were sewn by a friend! Thanks Nancy S! With all the piecing we do…. How do you know if it is time to clean….my Janome and Featherweight tells me. It starts “eating” or “pulling” the beginning threads of the fabric into the needle plate when I start sewing a seam.

#1 – Learn your machine, know how to clean out the bobbin area of lint. Plus listen and look for signs that it is not performing at its peak.

What about the machine needle? If you start hearing a “thunk, thunk, thunk” when the needle goes into the fabric, it is time to change the needle. OR Have you hit a pin? I always remove my pins so I don’t sew over them. However, there are times I do leave the pins in if it is a tricky or curved seam. If I need the pin to stay in, I very s…l…o…w…l…y sew over them to be sure I don’t hit it. Or pull them back so just the tip is in the seam line. Usually you can feel a bur if you did accidentally hit a pin. Best advice…

#2 – Change your needle with each new project! Or if one of the above mentioned happens while you are sewing.

I’ve been known to leave a needle in way too long. Go ahead, change that needle! I’m going to be more aware of this in the future!

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday on Wednesday

Tips will be short and sweet today. Where do you get color combination inspiration? I love looking at nature. Some of the photos below are different seasons…all the better!

#1 – Look to nature for color combinations.

#2- Look at how many different variations of a single color there are in the clouds, leaves and flowers!

Color your quilting from nature!

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday – How much fabric?

Fabric shopping, yes please! I LOVE to shop for fabric. I like putting quilt ideas together and that includes choosing fabric. Often, I find a fabric or group of fabrics and then decide what to do with them later. If I have a quilt in mind and a “look” I’m going for that is another way to pick fabrics. But what about if you have no clue what quilt you want to make….how much fabric to purchase? I over estimate!! What is the worst that can happen? You can add it to your stash. You can use it as part of a pieced backing (my favorite).

Buying fabric for the border? Get the length of your longest border. I usually get 3 yards for a large quilt. If I’m also using it somewhere in the middle of the quilt, I’ll get 4-5 yards. Definitely the higher number if it is also the binding.

For the background? 4 yards. If the quilt has a lot of open space, I might up that to 6 yards.

Other fabrics in the quilt? 1/2 – 1 yard of several fabrics or a BUNCH of Fat Quarters.

If you love it??? I’ve been known to buy 6 yards!! Um, the rest of the bolt….sure!

Fabric companies now print limited quantities per fabric line. Some lines are kept around for a couple years others for more. We do see a change in colors, so keep that in mind if you have a favorite.

I’ve given several tips in making choices and yardage strategies. Go forth and BUY FABRIC….

in quilting,


P.S. Houston International Quilt Festival has opened class enrollment!
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Two Tip Tuesday – Christmas in July

I have watched many quilt shops advertise their Christmas in July sales. Have you been Christmas fabric shopping? Did you know my Winter Tree-Land is still on the AQS Blog as a free pattern. You can get to my pattern HERE. Be sure to check it out as you grab up some Christmas fabric deals. I still have Christmas fabric on my website! Use code JULYDEAL to get 15% off the gorgeous Holiday Flourish fabrics. The discount is only on these Christmas fabrics until midnight Eastern on July 31st. The Winter Tree-Land pattern items are below!

#1- Christmas in July sales are a great time to get started on your Christmas sewing!

#2- Support your Local Quilt Shops and Designers!

in quilting,


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Around the Block – US Tour – week 52 – Illinois

The final week is here for the US Tour! Today we have Illinois. A state I’m fond of because it is where my husband was born and raised. I’ve spent many days visiting family in this state! From large cities to farmland! You can find the block HERE designed by Dragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio. It has been a fun TOUR. I hope you have enjoyed it.

My Louisiana block KIT is still available on my website. Be sure to get yours before they are gone. The US Tour block patterns will be available free for a limited time.

in quilting,


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Two Tip Tuesday – another challenge revealed

As promised, I have a couple photos of the second Challenge for another guild I belong to. This week you get to see my Red and White Quilt for the Thimble Pleasures Challenge. ONLY Red and White fabrics could be used. I found some embroidery blocks that I did YEARS ago. The border fabric has been with the embroidery blocks just waiting to be used. The red fabrics are from my stash. I had a lot of reds to choose from!! The fun with using red, they all go together! Plus, in my opinion, the more the merrier!

My Red and White Quilt is below. I named it “Old-time Playtime”. I’m so happy to have these blocks in a quilt! We have a rule that our challenges can’t be any larger than 36″ square. So mine is 31″ x 36″.

In working with red fabrics, as I said earlier, I like to use LOTS of different fabrics. Also, I just reds from darker (almost burgundy) to lighter/brighter true red and even tipping to the orange/red. It sure adds to the movement around the quilt and it is happy and not solid and flat!!!

#1 – When making a quilt with a color theme…try a variety of fabrics in that color family! Look on a color wheel if you need inspiration.

I did a different background fill in behind each “Redwork” embroidery child. Outlining the embroidery also helped to highlight the children.

#2 – This challenge helped me move an unfinished project (UFO) into the DONE stack. Even though the embroidery blocks are probably 20 years old, they still made a wonderful small quilt.

in quilting,


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