Sunday, April 27, 2014

Second Saturday Sampler Show and Tell Part 3

Part THREE!!!? are you kidding me? Our customers are sewing for sure. Check it out.

We love to see all the creative quilts from our customers! This quilt looks like a lot of work to make, but is surprisingly quick and easy with the Disappearing Nine-Patch pattern.

Hexagons and English Paper Piecing are so popular right now. What a creative use for just a few hexagon flowers that were made into a sewing kit.

  One of our customers shared a special hand-made birthday greeting from her grand-child. Looks like the whole family knows where Grandma likes to hang out!  That takes the word "custom" to a whole new level.
  Julie brought this beauty to show at Second Saturday Sampler. She bought the fabric and pattern on a trip to Wyoming. She liked the pattern so much she used it to set her Second Saturday blocks last year. Pattern is BQ3 by Maple Island Quilts.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Saturday Sampler Show and Tell part 2

We are so lucky to see what our customers are making.. Not to mention how great they are.

It’s so much fun making and using unique bags and totes. Donna found this pattern for a really easy “Grab Bag” in a quilting magazine (she thinks it was in the Quilts & More magazine). 

  Pam was also sporting a very fun, colorful bag. She used the “Midi Bag” pattern.

Madelyn added a touch of red to all of last year’s black and white Second Saturday Sampler alternate blocks. She knew from the start she was going to make the quilt in school colors for her grand-daughter who is attending Davidson College. Great quilt, Madelyn!  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

Today we’ll begin stitching, so start threading those needles!  (If you're joining us for the first time, you might want to review our earlier posts - this Blog Along started on April 3 and posts every Thursday). By now, you should have all twenty-four honeycomb shapes glue basted and ready to go.

Arrange your blocks as follows:
Start in the center with four floral honeycombs that will make the cross.

Add brown honeycombs for the four diagonals,

and finally, add the floral side and brown corner units.
Since this is basically a two-color block, it’s an easy block to lay out without having to audition for color placement.
For stitching, I use a milliner’s needle and Aurifil thread.  Milliner’s needles (sometimes called straw needles) are long fine needles that make it easy to “feel” the edge of the papers in the basted shapes while you are stitching your units together.  I like to use Aurifil thread because it is a strong thread, but fine enough to thread through the small eye of the milliner’s needles.  You can use any neutral color thread as you won’t be able to see the stitches on the front.  ( For photographing purposes only, I will be stitching with a lighter thread than is shown – I’m hoping you’ll be able to see the stitches better!)

If you have trouble threading the milliner’s needle, you may prefer switching to Sharps needles - they have a bigger eye to thread, but the bigger shaft makes it more difficult to avoid catching the edges of the papers when stitching.  For a nice compromise, you might want to try the Black Gold needles we sell in the shop that are applique needles, but with a slightly larger eye – a nice cross between milliner’s and sharps.  Call the shop to order.

You are now ready to start stitching. I start stitching from the center units and work out.  Place two of the units right sides together and, with knotted thread, begin stitching right at the corner.  If you don’t start and stop your stitching right at the corners, you will end up with small “holes” or gaps at the intersections of your blocks that are difficult to fix later.

If it’s awkward to hold everything together while you’re stitching and you feel like you need another pair of hands, try using a plastic-coated paper clip to hold the shapes together.  The paper clip won’t get in the way and catch your thread and the plastic coating slides on and off the fabric easily without catching.

For stitching, I use a simple whip stitch.  With your needle, you should be able to feel the papers inside the basted shapes.  Do not stitch through the papers – simply grab a few threads on top of the folded edges.  Taking too deep a stitch will result in threads showing on the right side of your work.

You will notice that my whip stitches are very close together.  This makes a tight seam that will last forever!  Caution: If you make an error, tight stitching is very difficult to remove without damaging the fabric.  If you are worried about this, simply make bigger stitches.

The most common errors made during stitching are: 
1)      taking too deep a stitch in which case your stitches will show on the right side of the work.  If this happens, you either need to remove the stitching and start over, or leave the stitching and mark over it with a Micron pen that closely matches the fabric color.  This actually works very well and masks the threads nicely.  (I’m giving away all my secrets here!)

2)       Make sure you stitch the shapes together properly.  On the honeycomb shape, all the sides are 1”, but the angles are different.  If you sew the wrong sides together, your shapes will end up at odd angles that won’t fit in the block.  I have no secrets to share with you here – there’s nothing to do, in this case, but remove the stitching and start over.

Because it’s easy to make mistakes that may need to be undone, I knot my thread at the end of each edge I stitch.  That way, if I need to “unstitch,” I can simply remove one edge of stitching without worrying about other edges I've stitched with that thread coming undone.  To make an easy knot at the end of a row, pull up a loop, run the needle through the loop twice and pull tight.  You don’t need to cut your thread after you knot – simply continue stitching along the next edge with the same thread.

As soon as you’ve stitched around all six edges of a shape, remove the paper.  Removing the papers will make your work more “flexible” so you can stitch the next units on without bending the papers.  If you punched holes in the center of your papers, simply insert tweezers in the holes and the papers should pop right out. 
If you used too much glue, you may need to loosen the edges by running the toe of the tweezers under the edges of the fabric.  For those of you who purchased the Lucy Boston Starter Pack from us, the Fashionista tweezers in your pack are perfect for this because they have long toes.

 Once the papers are loosened, they should pop right out.

Papers that have been removed are reusable. In fact, if you haven’t bent the papers or stitched through them causing a frayed edge, you should get five or six uses out of each paper.  The SewLine glue pen leaves no sticky residue on the papers, so they can be slipped right back into your bag of paper shapes with no gummy mess.

And that’s all there is to it!  Stitch all twenty-four honeycombs together and you will have your first finished block!  Look at the back of the block – if done correctly, all the papers should be removed from the center honeycombs, but papers will still remain on the outer row.
Now look at the front of the block – if done correctly, you should see no stitches and no gaps or holes at the intersection points.

If you’re hand piecing your blocks, check out Inklingo here to find out about printing precise sewing/cutting lines right onto your fabric with an inkjet printer. Or, review the hand piecing information in the “Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses” book for pertinent tips and techniques.

If you are on Pinterest, you may want to follow our “Patchwork of the Crosses” board where I’ll be posting all my blocks and also adding blocks our customers bring in to show us. Looking at blocks completed by others will give your own creativity a boost.  If you create some of your own blocks from your fabric stash, send me pictures so I can add them to our board as well!  Check out our Pinterest board here.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Show and Tell A Mania pt 1

COn Second Saturday Sampler Saturdays, we have something like a "parking lot" show and tell.  We hate for those of you who cannot be here to miss out so...SHOW and TELL (pt 1)
Carol made a beautiful version of Judy Niemeyer’s pattern “Misty Mountain Pond”. The original was done in blues and purples, but we love the brightness of the colors Carol chose.
Melissa has to make six baby quilts for babies of family and friends coming in the near future. We think she’s off to a great start with both of these quilts. The nursery for baby #1 has a carousel horse theme and Melissa found the perfect panel for that quilt – she’s just going to add an outer border and the quilt will be ready to quilt.

For baby #2 she made the cutest owl row quilt using a quilt as you go technique. So cute, and almost finished!

Danita found an old doll cradle at an antique store – all it needed was a quilt to go with it. Danita made this reproduction doll quilt from one of our cigar box doll bed kits. The antique look of the quilt will be great with her cradle.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sue Spargo in East Cobb - part 2

Sue brought some of her Circle samplers to show many of her stitches.

  Sue’s quilts are absolutely stunning with the bright wool background colors, the layers of wool appliqué and the beautiful embroidery work. These are just a few of the beautiful quilt patterns available in her books. 


Friday, April 18, 2014

We got to learn from Sue Spargo - live and in person

  Sue Spargo was the guest lecturer at the East Cobb Quilters’ Guild in March. While she was here she taught several classes which many of us attended. For those of you who were unable to attend, we thought you might like to see some of Sue’s quilts and some of the projects from the classes she taught. 


Mary Ellen took the leaf class and is getting an up close look at Sue’s stitching technique. Sue has a wonderful book called “Creative Stitches” that includes clear, concise directions and illustrations for many of her stitches.

  These are samples from the “Leaves” workshop. For this class, students were to baste leaves to the background wool and bring it to class to practice the stitches Sue was teaching – a leaf sampler project, so to speak.

  This is Mary Ellen’s sample. She attended another Sue Spargo class several years ago and made the vase center section. For this class she decided the leaves would make a great border for her former project. What a stroke of genius! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

This week we'll start working on the first block.  Here is my block - we're starting with an easy one!

  You will only need two fabrics for this block.  Here are the fabrics I used:

Finding the perfect fabrics for these blocks is much of the fun.  There is an incredible variety  available in shops today!  As we get farther along, you will discover that you begin to look at fabric differently when making your choices. Stripes work especially well as do paisleys and floral prints. Search your stash and you will probably find many beautiful high contrast fabrics that will work. As with all quilts, cotton fabric is recommended.  Whether to prewash is a personal choice, but is recommended to check for color fastness and to avoid uneven shrinking of pieces later in the quilt's life.
If you prefer, you can purchase fabric packs that will include many of the fabrics I’m using in my blocks.  Fabric packs include a combination of fat quarters or fat eighths totaling ¾ yd. in a variety of fabrics perfect for making POTC (Patchwork of the Crosses) blocks. They can be purchased on the Lucy Boston page of our web site ( and they will be automatically shipped monthly, or you can purchase packs at the shop.  (Please note:  not all the fabrics I use will be included in the fabric packs – some of the fabrics are coming from my stash!)
Once you have selected the fabrics, use the acrylic template and rotary cut twelve honeycomb shapes from each fabric.  I used only the floral part of the stripe fabric for this block, but save the remaining fabric – we will be using the blue part of the stripe in another block.
Glue baste the shapes to the honeycomb papers using the method described in last week’s tutorial.  Each block requires a total of twenty four honeycomb shapes.
Come back next week for another tutorial – I’ll be showing you how to arrange and stitch your honeycombs together.
I’m sorry for all the problems with the link to Inklingo last week.  Much as we love computers, they can be frustrating at times!  We were finally able to complete the link, so if you’d like to check it out, click here  to find out more about  printing shapes that are ready for hand piecing right onto your fabric with an inkjet printer.  Inklingo can also be used to print your own paper shapes.  Free shapes are available on the Inklingo site if you’d like to try the technique before purchasing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shop Hop Wrap Up - Quilt Parade

One of the favorite parts of Shop Hop is seeing all the quilts from each of the shops. Here’s a little parade of quilts for those of you who were unable to attend the Shop Hop this year. Each shop started with a celebration kit (a set of 10” squares) and came up with their own pattern. Our pattern at Little Quilts was for a Disappearing Four-Patch and we made two different quilts to show how versatile the pattern is! The first quilt we made with Charm Packs (5” squares) in Reproduction Colors.
The other quilt was made with 10” squares using the Georgia batik fabric designed especially for this year’s Shop Hop and solid colors. The best part about this quilt was it only took twelve blocks to make a large lap-size quilt! Kits are available for both of these quilts or the pattern is available as a free download on our website,

We hope you’ll enjoy these quilts from some of the other shops, too.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

Sorry about the problem we've had with the link to Inklingo.  I think we've finally got it fixed!   Check out Inklingo here .  Once you get to the Inklingo site, you can read all about Inklingo and get some free samples to check it out.  Inklingo can be used to print right on your fabric or you can use it to print your shapes on paper.

What's the Point? You will see

Thank you for bringing this quilt in to show us, Beth. It’s jaw-dropping beautiful! Beth pieced and quilted this quilt from a Judy Niemeyer pattern called Prairie Star.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Patchwork of the Crosses

There are several ways to stitch the beautiful Patchwork of the Crosses quilt.  Lucy Boston stitched her quilt by hand using the English Paper Piecing method (using paper shapes), but you can also make the blocks with simple hand piecing (using a running stitch by hand).  I am using the English Paper Piecing method for my blocks, but hand piecing works equally well.
English Paper Piecing Method:
Following is a quick lesson on preparing honeycomb shapes using a glue pen. 

Honeycomb pieces can be made using the traditional method of basting the fabric to the template shapes, but I find using the glue pen is faster and more accurate.  This is especially true when shapes are being fussy cut – if the fabric on your finished shape doesn’t  look like it’s centered correctly, it’s a simple matter to lift up a glued edge and recenter the paper.

To begin with, I like to punch a hole in the center of all my paper pieces.  This will allow me to remove the papers with ease later on in the process.  One evening of “punching” in front of the television is all it takes to punch an entire bag of papers.  If you purchased the megabags of shapes, allow several evenings to avoid hand cramps!

Use the acrylic honeycomb template to cut your fabric.  Since the template is just like any of your other acrylic rulers, you can easily cut the shapes with a rotary cutter.  You may feel more comfortable using a small rotary cutter rather than a large 60 mm cutter for this since the acrylic templates are small.
Or, if you’re afraid the template will slide during cutting, simply trace around the template with a pencil. . .

 and cut on the line with an embroidery scissors. 

I use both methods of cutting. . . if the piece is not fussy cut and can be cut out of a strip of fabric, I use the rotary cutting method.  If the piece requires accurate placement of the template, as in fussy cutting, I feel more confident using the trace and scissor cut method.
 Once the fabric is cut, center the paper piece and finger press one of the long edges of the fabric over the paper.

Using the glue pen, start gluing from the fabric seam allowance edge, across the paper template, and continue across the other fabric seam allowance edge.

  ***Note!  Use a thin bead of glue!!!  Eventually you will be removing the papers from your shapes and too much glue will make this more difficult.  Use the minimum amount of glue to just hold the fabric edges down.

Glue the opposite long edge next.  Always glue opposite edges for the first two sides – it will help keep the paper from shifting.

After gluing the long sides, it’s an easy matter to glue down the short sides using the same technique.  Make sure the fabric folds snugly around the paper piece.

When you’re finished, you will have a neat looking shape with all edges glued around the paper shape.

 Sound easy?  It is!  You will be able to make many shapes quickly and easily using this method.

Hand Piecing Method using Inklingo:

With the hand-piecing method, you need to trace cutting lines and stitching lines.  You can make templates of the honeycomb and square shapes from the “Patchwork of the Crosses” book, trace the shape on your fabric, and cut ¼” from the line.  Or, you can use Inklingo.  Inklingo is a downloadable shape collection that allows you to print shapes on freezer paper backed fabric using an inkjet printer.  It precisely prints both the cutting lines and the stitching lines.    
If you'd like to try some free Inklingo shapes watch the blog for details of how you log in to the website using our access code.   Inklingo can also be used to print the honeycomb and square shapes on paper if you'd like to make your own template papers instead of buying them.