Longarm Quilting with Cuddle minky & Hawke [Sew Together Tuesday]

Last March, my bosses at Shannon Fabrics asked me to cut my travels short and come home. I was pretty sure my workload would decrease and I’d be able to finally spend some time learning to longarm quilt, so I bought a small Grace Company Q-Zone Hoop Frame and Q’Nique 15R from CaliQuiltCo. I’ve worked with Tayva many times and she was just starting to sell the machines, so it was an easy choice on where to buy one.

Fast forward a few months and the reality began to set it that not only was I not going back on the road, I wasn’t going to have any less work to do! Sew Together Tuesday had gotten some momentum and suddenly I was busier than ever. So the whole set up sat immobile for months. Then I had a bunch of quilts to finish and not enough time to do the design, piecing and quilting. So I asked Hawke to help out.

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Missing Horseshoe Bend {American Travels Quilt Series}

If you are looking at this picture and thinking “That’s not Horseshoe Bend,” you’d be right. It’s nearby, but this certainly isn’t it.

On our road trip last August, Hawke and I were heading north around the eastern side of the Grand Canyon. It was our third day on the road and we were heading toward Zion National Park; we didn’t have reservations anywhere and wanted to get to our next sleeping spot as early in the day as we could. We were making good speed, but as with all road trips, a bathroom break was needed, so we stopped at what looked like a rest stop. Turned out it was for a hiking trail and the fellow at the gate explained that it was just a 20 minute hike if wanted to do that after using the bathrooms, but we demurred and he let us through to use the facilities then hit the road again.

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Dignity Quilt {American Travels Quilt Series}

In Chamberlain, South Dakota there is a sculpture of an indigenous woman that stands 50 ft. tall along Interstate 90. For years now I’ve wanted to “someday” see it in-person. She carries one of my favorite quilt designs, a Lone Star quilt, billowing behind her and she towers over the hills and the Missouri River. The pictures I had seen were amazing, but as with most places, the pictures can’t do it justice.

Hawke and I were almost to the end of our week when I realized that our path toward Omaha would take us directly by her. We had to stop.

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American Travels quilt series

I used to spend almost half my time on the road, traveling the United States while teaching at quilt shops and conventions. Over the past year, that work travel stopped and it was a shock to the system. To all my systems.

We started weekly sewing classes on Facebook Live, so I kept on teaching (albeit it in a completely different way) and I was happy to finally be eating homemade food rather than restaurant food.

But one of the biggest revelations after months of lockdown was just how much I had loved the side benefits of seeing this country, learning its history, trying local foods and stopping at roadside attractions. I’d learned a lot in the three years I’d been a traveling sewing/quilting teacher.

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How to glue baste and machine stitch quilt binding

Truthfully, I always prefer a hand-sewn binding, but sometimes deadlines get the best of me and I have to take the faster route. I was able to finish four of the six quilt in the American Travels series by hand before I shipped them off to Accuquilt (they’ll be on display through March and April!), there were two more than had to get stitched on by machines. I thought I’d share my method with you since it works pretty well for being second best.

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How to Make the Buddy Bear [Sew Together Tuesday]

This week on Sew Together Tuesday, we tackled stuffed animals again. The first we did was Ellie the Elephant, a pattern from Funky Friends Factory. It’s a pattern I’ve taught quite a few times (and made at least a dozen of them), but it’s more complicated than some beginners might want to take on. The Buddy Bear from Melly & Me, on the other hand, is perfect if you haven’t really sewn stuffies or are new to sewing with Cuddle®.

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This week on Sew Together Tuesday, we tackled stuffed animals again. The first we did was Ellie the Elephant, a pattern from Funky Friends Factory. It’s a pattern I’ve taught quite a few times (and made at least a dozen of them), but it’s more complicated than some beginners might want to take on. The Buddy Bear from Melly & Me, on the other hand, is perfect if you haven’t really sewn stuffies or are new to sewing with Cuddle®.

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Studio Re-Organization v2.5

When I moved into this space two years ago, I brought along my Pfaff 130, the big cutting table, my ironing station, and a bookshelf. Since then… well, let’s just say that stuff has accumulated, projects have been started, machines have been brought in. It’s been a doozy of a couple of years!

Soon after settling in, another artist/resident was getting rid of some big grey melamine tables from a graphics design studio. They were the perfect height for standing and sewing (which is my preferred method for most projects) and they perfectly fit the space below my window. It seemed ideal. Until they weren’t.

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Making Pom Poms with Luxe Cuddle fabric

There are lots of tutorials for making pom-poms with yarn, but using plushfabric is a whole other look and is super sweet for all sorts of projects.

For this project, I used Luxe Cuddle Seal Snow, polyester thread, and a little hunk of Fairfield World’s Royal Silk stuffing for this one. I’ve also used Luxe Cuddle Sherpa and Luxe Cuddle Llama with good results. You can watch the video and/or follow the steps below:

  1. Trace a 4″ circle on the wrong side of the fabric using a felt tip pen.
  2. Cut out circle using short blade scissors or a sharp artist knife (such as the OLFA SAC-1).
  3. Shake off the extra Cuddle dust. Give it a flick or two.
  4. Using a long sewing needle and polyester thread, sew a basting stitch around the entire perimeter of the circle. Each stitch should be about 1/4″ long and 1/8″ to 1/4″ away from raw edge.
  5. As you reach the end, pull the thread up a little and push in a handful of stuffing, then pull the thread up tight.
  6. Holding it tightly, knot the end.
  7. Take some big stitches across the end, forming an asterisk and pulling tightly, then knot at least twice. Push needle though the other side of the pom pom and clip thread.

I made three of these for our Sew Together Tuesday project: the Whimsy Winter Bench Pillow from Kimberbell Designs. It turned out pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself.

Give it a shot. Make some for your tree or as a garland–either would be super cute!

Happy sewing,

How I Used Jersey Knit for a Quilt Binding

When I started Allison’s t-shirt quilt, I had no intention of doing a jersey knit binding. I assumed I would back it in Cuddle® minky and probably bind it in Luxe Cuddle® [here’s how that’s done]. But then I got it back from the long-arm quilter and you know about those best laid plans and all…

I decided spontaneously to bind with the jersey knit instead, so then I had to figure out how to do it. I’d done enough binding with Cuddle®, which is a plush knit, that I new some of how it could work, but it was a whole different beast than both cotton binding and Cuddle® binding.

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Not Your Grandma’s T-Shirt Quilt

I’ve been meaning to tackle a t-shirt quilt for a while now, so when Allison asked me if I’d take on a stack of tees from her husband and make them into a quilt, I readily agreed. I figured I’d make the standard style: cut out the logos to a specific size, then add sashing. Seemed simple enough…

But the tees she sent had all sorts of varying sizes of logos and it seemed so wrong to cut them all out the same size and lay them out in a grid.

So out went the old plan and in came the improvising. Ta-dah!

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