Tips & Tutorials

  • Revisiting Continuous Curve Machine Quilting

    Revisiting Continuous Curve Machine Quilting

    Back in June, I shared a step-by-step tutorial for Continuous Curve Machine Quilting with a Walking Foot. This quilting pattern has been a favorite of mine since I first learned it almost 30 years ago. The version I shared was (and is) a fantastic beginner-friendly starting point, but I thought you might be ready for […]


  • Choosing Thread for Machine Quilting – Let’s have some fun!

    Choosing Thread for Machine Quilting – Let’s have some fun!

    How do YOU decide what thread to use when you machine quilt? Do you have a go-to favorite? Have you ever played with any other options? My go-to thread is 50wt. Aurifil cotton – the same thread that I use for piecing my quilts. It’s strong, colorfast, easy to work with, reliable, and has just […]


  • Continuous Curve Machine Quilting with a Walking Foot

    Continuous Curve Machine Quilting with a Walking Foot

    Continuous Curve (also known as Orange Peel) quilting has been around a long, long time, but its gentle curves are still one of my favorite ways to add a lovely soft texture to a quilt. It can be done by hand, with a walking foot, or with a free-motion foot; but the stitching path may […]


  • FREE Project – Origami Drawstring Bag

    FREE Project – Origami Drawstring Bag

    I have a quick and easy photo tutorial for you today – along with some fun photographs from when Connor and I taught this project in the Kids Make It, Take It classes we used to offer through Lakeshore Sewing. Not only is this delightful, giftable little bag useful and appealing for all ages – […]


  • FREE Project – Festive Holiday Coasters

    FREE Project – Festive Holiday Coasters

    Hello again, everyone! As some of you know, I went through a cancer scare this fall, and had my hands more than full with doctor visits and subsequent surgery a couple of weeks ago. But I am thrilled to report that my final biopsies came back negative & I’m getting my groove back! I have […]


  • Machine Quilting with a Serpentine Stitch

    Machine Quilting with a Serpentine Stitch

    I’ll say one thing about the global pandemic: I think I’ve done more sewing and quilting in the past year and a half than in the previous 10 years! Seriously, my sewing machine has been a lifeline, and the connections I’ve made through sharing my work – and enjoying everyone else’s work – on Instagram […]


  • Finishing Spree! Quick Bindings That Mimic the Look of Hand-Sewn

    Finishing Spree! Quick Bindings That Mimic the Look of Hand-Sewn

    I like to have lots of different projects going at different stages at the same time, so I always have something interesting to work on. But sometimes there’s a bottleneck, and I have a bunch of projects that are all at the same step. That’s what has been happening to me lately – a pile-up […]


  • Finishing Spree! Finish with a Facing

    Finishing Spree! Finish with a Facing

    My sewing machine has been getting a workout! I’ve been in full-on production mode with even more projects than usual in-progress at the same time. As I’ve been working, one of the techniques I’ve been exploring is different ways to finish the outer edges of my quilts. I always finish my utility quilts (bed quilts, […]


  • Wicked Weaver & My New Favorite Product

    Wicked Weaver & My New Favorite Product

    The October Java Batiks box from Cotton Cuts and the Midnight Bite Sew Along (#MidnightBiteSAL) from Lillyella Stitchery offered me a fun opportunity to go outside my comfort zone this month. The Midnight Bite pattern bundle has 3 sizes of each of two different patterns – a bat and a spider. I opted to make […]


  • Finishing Spree – Take Wing, Foundation Piecing, & Mixing Quilting Methods

    Finishing Spree – Take Wing, Foundation Piecing, & Mixing Quilting Methods

    Foundation piecing (also called foundation paper piecing) is a great technique for achieving precise piecing and sharp points even with tiny pieces and fabric edges that are not on-grain. For this method, the pattern is printed (or traced) onto foundation paper. This paper acts as both a stabilizer and a stitching guide while the block […]


  • Finishing Spree – Flange Binding by Machine

    Finishing Spree – Flange Binding by Machine

    What is a flange binding? It’s a great no-hand-sewing option for finishing quilts with a sturdy double fold binding while adding a fun design element to the outer edges of your quilt. With only a few exceptions, I’ve always bound my quilts by sewing the binding to the front of the quilt by machine, and […]


  • Finishing Spree – Quilting with Decorative Stitches

    Finishing Spree – Quilting with Decorative Stitches

    Now that I’m participating in at least four new sew-alongs over the next few months, my finishing-spree is more important that ever! This time, I’d like to share yet another machine quilting option – quilting with the decorative stitches that are built into your sewing machine. My observations & recommendations:


  • A Comfy & Easy-to-Make Pillow Lounger

    A Comfy & Easy-to-Make Pillow Lounger

      I love to sit on the floor with William (age 3) and Emilia (age 1) and play, but I sure don’t love trying to get up again. Nor am I impressed with how hard the floor feels after a while.  Given that and also knowing how much fun the little ones have falling/jumping/snuggling into pillows, […]


  • Experiments in Binding – Changing the Width

    Experiments in Binding – Changing the Width

    In a previous post, I started experimenting with sewing quilt binding on the back of the quilt and then bringing it around to the front and appliquéing it down by machine (instead of sewing it to the front of the quilt, wrapping it around, and hand-stitching it on the back of the quilt). I felt […]


  • How to Sew a Decorative Pillow Cover with an Invisible Zipper

    How to Sew a Decorative Pillow Cover with an Invisible Zipper

    I’m planning to put my new Baby Lock Jazz through its paces by testing how it performs while making a series of different projects. I’m starting with decorative pillow covers with invisible zippers. If you’d like to make a pillow cover of your own, here is what you’ll need: square pillow form to cover (or […]


  • Experiments in Binding – Bringing the Binding From the Back to the Front

    Experiments in Binding – Bringing the Binding From the Back to the Front

    In my last post, I started a sewing/quilting experiment by doing things a little differently than I normally would.  (1) I sewed the binding first to the back of the quilt (in the past, I’ve always sewed the binding to the front first) (2) I purposely planned to have the binding finish at 1/4″ wide […]


  • Experiments in Binding – Sewing the Binding to the Back of the Quilt First

    Experiments in Binding – Sewing the Binding to the Back of the Quilt First

    I’m ready to bind my newest incarnation of Cascade from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. I’ve always bound my quilts by sewing the binding to the front of the quilt by machine, and then wrapping the binding around to the back of the quilt and sewing it down my hand.  I love the look; but unfortunately, it is […]


  • A No Hand-Sewing Method for Adding a Hanging Sleeve to a Quilt

    A No Hand-Sewing Method for Adding a Hanging Sleeve to a Quilt

    The quilting on my newest Colorwash Bargello quilt is finished! It actually only took me about 2 1/2 hours cumulatively to complete the all-over free-motion quilting, but I had to break the time up into smaller increments so as to not overtax my body  –  taking into account MS, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, chronic […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Free-Motion Quilting!

    Colorwash Bargello – Free-Motion Quilting!

    This is the eleventh in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I am following the pattern for Cascade, the most beginner-friendly pattern from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. I’ve layered my quilt top, Hobb’s Heirloom Fusible Batting, and backing fabric, and fused the layers together.  It’s a little unusual, but when I use fusible batting, I […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Choosing Thread for Free-Motion Quilting

    Colorwash Bargello – Choosing Thread for Free-Motion Quilting

    This is the tenth in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I am following the pattern for Cascade, the most beginner-friendly pattern from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. The quilt top is complete, and as I discussed in my previous post, I’ve decided to free-motion quilt this project.  I’m raring to get started!  I’m leaning […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Machine Quilting Options

    Colorwash Bargello – Machine Quilting Options

    This is the ninth in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I am following the pattern for Cascade, the most beginner-friendly pattern from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. The quilt top is complete, and I’m considering my options for machine quilting the quilt top, batting, and backing together. There are no rules about how best […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Measuring & Sewing the Borders

    Colorwash Bargello – Measuring & Sewing the Borders

    This is the eighth in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I am following the pattern for Cascade, the most beginner-friendly pattern from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. I’ve picked out my border and am ready to sew it on. When I first started quilting many, many years ago, I would just lay my border strip […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Auditioning Borders

    Colorwash Bargello – Auditioning Borders

    This is the seventh in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I am following the Cascade pattern from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. The body of the quilt top is complete, and now it is time for the border.  When I teach quilting classes or workshops, I usually caution class participants to wait, […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Sewing the Vertical Rows

    Colorwash Bargello – Sewing the Vertical Rows

    This is the sixth in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I’m following the Cascade pattern from Colorwash Bargello Quilts. We’re on the home stretch! The vertical rows have all been numbered and are ready to sew. Just like before, I start with a small piece of “header” fabric in my […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Laying Out the Vertical Rows

    Colorwash Bargello – Laying Out the Vertical Rows

    This is the fifth in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. Now that my loops are all cut from the strip-pieced tubes (see previous post), I’m ready to open the loops up and lay out  the bargello segments that form the vertical rows. This is exciting, as it will be the first […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Cutting the Bargello Segments

    Colorwash Bargello – Cutting the Bargello Segments

    This is the fourth in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. Once you have your fabric sewn into tubes, it’s time to cut the bargello segments. There is a cutting chart for each project in Colorwash Bargello Quilts. I’m following the chart for Cascade here and am cutting my segments 1 […]


  • Colorwash Bargello – Sewing & Pressing the Strip Sets

    Colorwash Bargello – Sewing & Pressing the Strip Sets

    This is the third in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. Once you have your strips cut (each pattern in Colorwash Bargello Quilts tells you how many strips to cut – Cascade requires 2 strips of each fabric, each strip 2″ x 20-21″), it’s time to sew them together. Note: the […]


  • Making a Bargello Quilt – Fabric Selection & Arrangement

    Making a Bargello Quilt – Fabric Selection & Arrangement

    This is the second in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. I spend two entire chapters discussing selecting a palette of fabrics and using color, value, and visual texture to help arrange them to maximum effect in my book Colorwash Bargello Quilts.  I won’t try to repeat all of that here, […]


  • Making a Bargello Quilt – Cascade

    Making a Bargello Quilt – Cascade

    This is the first in a series of sew/quilt-along posts about making a bargello quilt. For a little more background information, you can check out my previous post, Colorwash Bargello. For this series, I’ll be referring to the Cascade pattern from my book Colorwash Bargello Quilts.  If you don’t have the book or would rather […]


  • Celtic Quilt to Celtic Pillow – Sewing Machine or Serger

    Celtic Quilt to Celtic Pillow – Sewing Machine or Serger

    The Celtic True Lovers’ Knot has been appliquéd, quilted, and trimmed, and is now ready for the binding. This would allow you to use the completed piece as a wallhanging. I did consider a wallhanging – I especially liked how it looked when I hung it on point –  but I already have several of […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Adding Additional Texture with Machine Quilting

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Adding Additional Texture with Machine Quilting

    This is the tenth in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then fused onto background fabric. For this project, I added […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Top Tips for (Invisible) Machine Appliqué

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Top Tips for (Invisible) Machine Appliqué

    This is the ninth in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then fuse-basted onto background fabric. You can choose to appliqué the […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Preparing the Quilt “Sandwich”

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Preparing the Quilt “Sandwich”

    This is the eighth in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then fuse-basted onto background fabric. You can choose to appliqué the […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Adding Borders

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Adding Borders

    This is the seventh in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then fuse-basted onto background fabric. You can choose to appliqué […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – “Basting” the Appliqué Design

    Making a Celtic Quilt – “Basting” the Appliqué Design

    This is the sixth in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then fuse-basted onto background fabric. The fabric tubes have been […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Pressing the Bias Tubes

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Pressing the Bias Tubes

    This is the fifth in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then fuse-basted and machine appliquéd onto background fabric. The strips […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Sewing the Bias Strips

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Sewing the Bias Strips

    This is the fourth in a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting bias strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes, which are then machine appliquéd onto background fabric. Your strips are all […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Cutting the Bias Strips

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Cutting the Bias Strips

    This is the third of a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. The lines that form my Celtic and Celtic-style knotwork designs are formed by cutting strips of fabric and sewing them into tubes. The first thing to decide is how wide you want your finished tubes of […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Fine-Tuning the Design & Preparing the Background

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Fine-Tuning the Design & Preparing the Background

    This is the second of a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. One of the first things you need to do is finalize your design choice and fine-tune it, if necessary. If you are using an original design or using a design from a source other […]


  • Making a Celtic Quilt – Selecting Fabrics

    Making a Celtic Quilt – Selecting Fabrics

    This is the first of a series of posts that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a Celtic Quilt. We’ll be creating the True Lover’s Knot, one of the beginner-friendly patterns from my book, Celtic Quilts: A New Look for Ancient Designs (pp. 36-29). Along the way, we’ll explore how to make […]


  • Infinity Scarves – Sewn with a Serger or a Sewing Machine

    Infinity Scarves – Sewn with a Serger or a Sewing Machine

    Infinity scarves are one of my favorite sewn gifts to give or to receive – easy to make and easy to wear! The continuous loop means no worrying about the scarf sliding out of position or the scarf ends being blown right off your body in a passing breeze. There are many Infinity Scarf tutorials […]


  • Folded Fabric Ornaments to Sew – Tutorial, Part 2

    Folded Fabric Ornaments to Sew – Tutorial, Part 2

    More Christmas in July! In my last post, I gave a step-by-step overview of the process of making the triangular ornament shown in the photo. I first stumbled across these lovely and unusual fabric ornaments on a post by Katrina, a sewist in New Zealand, at  katrinastutorials.blogspot.com. The links below will take you to my saved […]


  • Folded Fabric Ornaments to Sew – Tutorial, Part 1

    Folded Fabric Ornaments to Sew – Tutorial, Part 1

    Christmas in July! It’s not just an excuse for a sale – it’s when many of us start (if we haven’t already) sewing holiday gifts for our friends and family members. I first stumbled across these lovely and unusual fabric ornaments on a post by Katrina, a sewist in New Zealand, at  katrinastutorials.blogspot.com. The links […]


  • Fun with Fabric Paints

    Fun with Fabric Paints

    Getting started: It’s important to think about how you expect to use your fabric.  If you intend to create “art cloth” to mat and frame like a painting, or to serve as the main focal point of a quilt or wall hanging, your needs may be quite different than they would be if you intend […]


  • Quick Tips for Making Color Theory Work for You

    Quick Tips for Making Color Theory Work for You

    Do you ever struggle with something you are creating, just knowing that something is off or missing, but not sure what it is? Both from personal experience and from that as a long-time instructor, I find that quite often this has to do with color and value choices. Color theory to the rescue! But sometimes color […]


  • Mosaic Fabric

    Mosaic Fabric

    I’ve always been fascinated with the interplay of color, value and visual texture of mosaics, especially those created by artists such as Sonia King. Back in 1997, a book called Machine Embroidery: Stitched Patterns by Valerie Campbell-Harding was published by Quilters’ Resource Inc. The cover photos fascinated me – mosaics in fabric! There wasn’t a […]


  • Free-Motion Quilting – the fun stuff!

    Free-Motion Quilting – the fun stuff!

    Free-Motion quilting is one of my favorite – and occasionally dreaded – parts of quiltmaking. Favorite, because it allows me to play with color, line and texture; occasionally dreaded, because I sometimes (fortunately not nearly as often I used to) start to over-think everything and become stressed out. But one of the good things about […]


  • Machine Quilting FAQ & Top Tips

    Machine Quilting FAQ & Top Tips

    Here’s another post dealing with FAQ – this time specifically related to using a sewing machine for quilting. For the time being, I’m avoiding the topic of which threads I recommend; we’ll save that for another day! Do you work by hand or by machine? The short answer is both. I almost always use a […]


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