Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Halloween Blog of the Month, part 3b

OK, now on to the stitching. Mr. Pumpkinhead has the most intricate stitching so far, but no worries, I'll lead you through. Let's start with Witch.

The stitching order I used for Witch:
  1. Top of hat
  2. Top edge of hat brim
  3. Hat band
  4. Hair*
  5. Head
  6. Shirt
  7. Eyes and eyelids**
  8. Nose
  9. Bat (I used a shorter, narrower stitch for the bat)

*I decreased the width of the zig-zag stitch as I stitched the points of her hair. As you get closer to the point, decrease the stitch width one point, stitch a few stitches, decrease the width another point, stitch a few stitches. After finishing the point, start increasing the width a point at a time until you are back to your regular width. I hope you can see this on this close-up.

Each eye, eyelid, and nose combination seems to need a little different treatment. Trace the stitching path with your finger to see what works best. For example, for the witch I stitched the bottom of her left eye first. I then stitched her right eye from her nose, around the lid and back down to the nose. Lastly, I stitched the top of her left lid and then across the bottom of her eyelids.

The stitching order I used for Vampire:
  1. Right and left shoulder
  2. Right and left collar sections
  3. Right and left sides of bow tie
  4. Bowtie knot
  5. Bottom of ears
  6. Head
  7. Hair
  8. Eyes and eyelids*
  9. Nose
  10. Fangs

*For Vampire's eyes, I first stitched the bottom edge of the eyelid and then around the entire outer edge of eye and lid.

Mr. Pumpkinhead has the most applique challenges. Here is my stitching order:
  1. Shirt, right side and left side
  2. Neck, right side and left side
  3. Face #4
  4. Face #5
  5. Face #6
  6. Right side of bow
  7. Left side of bow
  8. Bow knot
  9. Face #7
  10. Stem*
  11. Mouth
  12. Eyes and eyelids (I stitched his eyes in the same order that I did Witch's)

*When stitching the stem, it is best to start along a straight edge and not at a point. You can see where I started. You will also find it helpful to decrease the width of your zig-zag stitch when you are stitching the fine points along the edge of the face. Just take a few stitches, decrease the width, take a few more stitches, decrease the width, finish the point, and then start to increase the width gradually.

Well, I hope you are having fun. I sure am! I wanted to get this posted before Nancy and I leave town to teach in Liberal, KS, this weekend, so I'm going to do a third post this month which will cover the satin stitch for the detail lines. I will (hopefully) post that next week. Next month we will work on Werewolf, Cat, and Death, leaving the Mummy for last.

This is a great time to think about your quilt's backing. We have some wonderful Halloween fabric in now or coming soon. We have posted some of it in the store and I blogged about our Quilting Treasure's Happy Halloween fabric line a couple of days ago. I'm thinking that I want the orange skeleton fabric for my backing. You will need 3 1/2 yds for your backing. Check it out to get the best selection. Please leave a comment to let me know if I am helping you, or if I need to give you more detailed information and pictures.

Until next week,


Happy Halloween Blog of the Month-Part 3a

Hello Halloween friends,

It's already June and we're on month three of Happy Halloween--my how time flies! Are you able to keep up? If not, these lessons will be here for a long, long, time. Just click on the Halloween Blog of the Month icon on the right side of the blog and bring up all of the lessons. Just remember that they are in newest to oldest order, so scroll down to the first lesson you missed and work up from there.

Meet my new friends--Mr. Pumpkinhead, Witch, and Vampire. By now you know how to prepare and fuse the applique pieces on the LSAS2. I sprayed and ironed the background fabrics with spray starch to stiffen them up so they act as a stabilizer (see last lesson). If you have a kit from us and have misplaced a fabric (darn, I know I saw that darker green fabric somewhere and how can you misplace something when you haven't even moved from the sewing machine?) or just want something different than our choice, feel free to go to your stash and choose something different--I wanted a different fabric for Witch's nose. : ) I used my lined fabrics for all of the eyes, Pumpkinhead's mouth, and Vampire's shirt and fangs.

Again, build smaller sections on your Applique Presser Sheet before combining the pieces together. If you don't have an APS you don't know how much easier life will be with one, or two, or three--three of the best investments ever!!! (I have one at each of my ironing boards).

For Mr. Pumpkinhead build 3 sections: the head wedges and stem, eyes and eyelids*, and the body, neck, and bowtie. After fusing these sections together, use the placement guide to fuse them into place. *I chose to fuse the eye section and the mouth to the pumpkin after I did the buttonhole stitching and because they were lined fabric, the previous stitching did not show through. Mark all detail lines (don't forget to mark the teeth even though the mouth is not yet fused to the head. I used my Sewline black pencil and a sunny window to see the lines--yeah I remembered this time! Fuse Mr. Pumpkinhead to the lightest background.

For Witch build 3 sections: the hat and hatband, the eyes, eyelids, and nose, and hair and head. After fusing the sections together, use the placement guide to fuse them into place. I chose to do the buttonhole on the shirt, before fusing the bat in place. Mark the detail lines and fuse Witch to the 2nd to the darkest fabric.

For Vampire build 3 sections: eyes, eyelids, and nose, head, inner ears, and hair, cape, shirt, collar and tie. Mark the detail lines and fuse Vampire to the 2nd to the lightest fabric.

We are ready again to do the buttonhole stitching. It might be time to change your needle--we have been doing quite a lot of applique. I noticed that my needle had a little fusible goo residue on it, so I cleaned it off. These 3 characters are slightly more complicated than the previous ones, but I know that you can handle them. I'll give you more hints and tips in the next lesson.

I'll also be posting or sending you an email because we are getting in the most wonderful Halloween fabrics that would make great backings for this wonderful quilt. Halloween fabrics can sell out fast and I want you to have the best choice. Check out the blog from May 29th to see the Happy Halloween fabric that we have designed for Quilting Treasures. This fabric will be in soon and I'm having a hard decision about which print I want for my backing.

See you soon,


Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Halloween fabric from Possibilities & Quilting Treasures

Our newest line of fabric, Happy Halloween from Quilting Treasures, is full of ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night...this scarily fun collection will make spooky Trick or Treat bags, accessories and quilts for your favorite goblins! Coming to Great American Quilt Factory soon,, just in time for making lots of Halloween treats.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Happy Halloween
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where in the world was Nancy?

As most of you know, Judy and I were at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh recently. Nancy was to be in Ohio for her nephew's wedding, but............................she kept popping up, not wanting to miss her first market in a bazillion years. She of course, helped me with our Quilting Treasures Schoolhouse presentation where we debuted our two new fabric lines, Artifacts and Happy Halloween, but she was a lot less talkative than normal.

She got plenty of sleep every night, and woke up totally refreshed and ready to go--hair and makeup perfect--gee whiz, when I wear my lipstick to bed, it never looks that good in the morning.

She had a great time at the Quilting Treasures dinner, although her choice of wardrobe was a little unusual and doesn't that look like red wine and not white zinfandel?
Hmmmm--Cranston Print Works President, George Schuster was also wearing the same suit and tie.

Nancy, Judy, and I ordered lots of beautiful fabrics, although Nancy wasn't as quick to give her opinion as usual.

Janet and Elliot were on their way out of the show when Nancy ran up to get a last minute pic. You can tell from their smiles how great Spring Quilt Market was!

Here's Nancy and Judy with our Benartex friends.

Nancy wanted to tell Mother Superior about how much we like her threads, but Mother Superior was having an out of body experience.

We got a chance to ham it up with Mark Lipinski, although he was on the hunt for his parents and son. Thanks Mark, for the Kodak moment!

Our last trip on the May Quilt Market Free Shuttle and Nancy still has that sparkle in her eye and that beautiful smile. She was so happy that she could be in two places at the same time.
Well, another Spring Quilt Market is over. Good times, lots of laughs, great friends!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Quilting Answer Book

Barbara Weiland Talbert will be here at Great American Quilt Factory in Denver on Saturday, May 23, autographing copies of her new book. This book is a real treasure trove of questions and answers covering everything from choosing fabric, to battings and bindings, and lots, lots more. Barbara is a noted quilting and sewing author, columnist, editor, and designer. Visit her at or come in Saturday (10-12) and try to stump her with your quilting question. The book is well worth the $14.95 cost, especially if you are a late night stitcher and can't quite remember how to attach that binding.

On another note, Judy and I had a great time at Quilt Market and spent lots of money on pretty fabrics, great patterns, inspirational books, and the newest notions. Packages will be arriving everyday, so come by to see what is new. Although Nancy said she was in Ohio for her nephew's wedding, she was cited several times around the market. Stay tuned for Where In the World Is Nancy?

Happy Stitching,


Monday, May 11, 2009

And the winners are....

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your nice comments about our books! So many of you could not pick out just one--and I agree. When we do a trunk show, I am constantly saying "and this is one of my favorite quilts from one of my favorite books".

We've had to discontinue a few books recently and it is always hard to say goodbye to them. We are not reprinting Super Simple Triangles, PS I Love You 3, and Home for the Holidays. If you have these books, hang on to them. If you are interested in them, contact your favorite quilt bookseller as soon as possible. We are totally out of Trianges, but we have a few copies of PS 3 and Holidays with slightly damaged covers that we are selling for 20% off. Call and ask for Chris if you are interested (303-740-6206).

Now, drum roll please.........................................................

The winners of autographed copies of our two newest books are:

Ann whose favorite book is PS I Love You (no longer available)

chickencindy whose fav is Wildflower Sampler

J-Kel-R who couldn't pick between Super Simple Squares and More Joy to the World

Congratulations to all 3 of you! I'll email Ann and J-Kel-R to let them know, but I don't have an email for chickencindy, so chickencindy give us a call or email me at


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Halloween Blog of the Month, Part 2b

Hello again,

It's time to do the applique on these 3 blocks. I have a few hints for you. Blanket stitched fusible applique does not usually need a stabilizer, because the fusible web basically becomes a stabilizer. But, if you are having trouble with the stitch puckering, try using spray-on starch to help stiffen the fabric. I learned this method from Sue Nickels, an incredible applique artist and author. Before you bond your shapes to the background, spray starch the background and iron until dry. Apply several coats until the background is very stiff. Works great!!

Another tip for taking care of the loose threads is to pull them to the back (pull up on the bobbin thread or pop the top thread into a self-threading needle and stitch to the back). Pop all loose threads into the needle and slide the needle under several stitches and then clip. The back looks much neater and there is no chance for renegade threads to be seen from the front.

Check out how neat the Bat looks when most of the threads are treated this way.

Now for the stitching order for the Bat:
  1. Left and right wing (stitches will be on the black fabric and not very visible)
  2. Line between inner & outer left ear (stitches will be on the black fabric and not very visible)
  3. Line between inner & outer right ear (stitches will be on the black fabric and not very visible)
  4. Outer edge of ears and head section
  5. Bottom of head
  6. Eyes and eyelids
  7. Teeth

The stitching order for Mrs. Monster:

  1. Left and right bolt
  2. Hair stripe
  3. Hair
  4. Left edge of face from bottom of neck to hairline
  5. Right edge of face from hairline to bottom of neck
  6. Collar
  7. Eyes and eyelids
  8. Nose

The stitching order for Mr. Monster:

  1. Left and right bolts
  2. Forehead hairline
  3. Head, starting at left neck edge stitching all the way around to right neck edge
  4. Top edge of v-neck
  5. Shirt, starting at left shoulder stitching all the way around to the right shoulder
  6. Eyes
  7. Nose
  8. Unibrow

Congratulations! We have 5 blocks almost finished. I will demonstrate the satin stitch for the detail lines next month. If you have any questions, please comment below or contact me at

Next month we will be working on the Pumpkin, Vampire, and the Witch.

For now, Happy Stitching!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy Halloween Blog of the Month, Part 2a

Happy May everyone and welcome to month 2 of the Happy Halloween Blog of the Month!

Well, I did some calculating and decided that in order to have this quilt made in time for Halloween we need to make 3 blocks each month. This month we will be working on Mr. and Mrs. Monster and the Bat. These blocks are a bit more complicated than the first two, but I'll walk you through it. Feel free to ask questions (click on comments). Chances are if something is unclear to you it is unclear to someone else.

I like to consolidate my pieces when I'm drawing the patterns. By squishing pattern pieces closer together and placing smaller pieces inside of larger pieces you will use much less LSAS2. You can see how I did this on Mr. and Mrs. Monster. Keep any large unused pieces of LSAS2, like those around Mrs. Monster, in a zip-lock bag to be used on another block.

All of the bat pieces are such strange shapes that you can't do too much squishing. Do not draw any pieces inside of the Bat's tummy, because I have a special hint that I learned and modified this week to help us press down large shapes such as the ghost's body from last month.

As we did last month, cut the shapes out leaving about 1/4" on either side of the penciled line, except for the smaller pieces and the bat's tummy.

For the bat's tummy or any other large piece, cut the shape out with the 1/4" on either side of the penciled line, except, leave the paper attached in a few places. You can see that I left the inside shape attached for about 1" at the top and bottom of the shape.

Keeping the shape together will help you press the LSAS2 down without distorting the shape. Press the shape carefully making sure not to press the inner part. Cut the inner LSAS2 away when you know that you will not distort the shape.

Bond the fusible shapes to the fabric. If you don't like the fabric we chose, feel free to choose something from your own stash. I used the wrong side of the aqua fabric for Mrs. M's bolts because I wanted them a little lighter than her face. Remember to line your light fabrics. I used lined fabric for all the eyes, Mrs. Monster's hair stripe, and the Bat's teeth. Depending on how dark the background fabric is, you might need to line other fabrics.
Build smaller sections on the Applique Pressing Sheet before combining them together. For Mr. M bond the eyes, nose, and eyebrow as a section, the shirt and v-neck as a section, and the bolts, head, and hair as the final section. This makes it easier to complete the face accurately. Be sure to mark the detail lines using a lightbox or a sunny window before bonding the head to the background fabric-notice that I forgot this step. Mr. M is bonded to the darkest fabric.
Again, build 3 sections for Mrs. M on the Applique Pressing Sheet--the eyes, lids, and nose for the first section. Bond the hair stripe to the hair for the second. The bolts, face, and collar make up the third section. Mark detail lines before bonding to background. Oops, forgot again. Mrs. M is bonded to the 2nd to the lightest fabric.

The sections to build for the Bat are the eyes and lids for one section. The second section consists of the tummy and the wings. The third are the ears, inside ears, and head. After assembling them all together, add the teeth, and mark the detail lines-yes, I forgot again. The Bat is bonded to the lightest background.

Okay, we are ready to applique. Stay tuned, because I will have more hints in Part 2b.
These blocks are soooo cute and pretty darn easy!
PS, It's not to late to work along with us and have a wonderful quilt ready to display in October. Patterns and kits are still available. Click on the HH Blog of the Month logo on the sidebar to see all lessons.