Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I love my "Crosswalk" pillow-top in batik

I love this Missouri Star Quilt Co. Quilt Snips Mini Tutorial of the "Crosswalk" block

I made a sample out of leftover strips from a "Sumatra Batiks" jellyroll (2.5-inch strips) by Blank Quilting, and a piece of buttery gold sheeting. 

I liked the block so much I added a few borders to make a 21-inch square and made a pillow top out of my sample block:

  • I hand quilted the block with batting and a lightweight backing.
  • I pressed some iron-on batting to a 21-inch square of leftover sheeting for the back of the pillow cover.
  • Using a cording foot, I covered 2/5 yards of 1/4-inch cording with left-over strips of the batik prints,
  • and, using a zipper foot stitched the cording to the quilted pillow top.
  • With right-sides-together, I sewed the quilt top and the pillow back together around all edges, leaving a 12-inch opening on one side to turn the pillow cover. 
  • I turned the pillow cover, inserted a 20-inch pillow form purchased from Jo-Ann Fabric and stitched the opening shut.

Pillow top made by Linda Theil using Missouri Star Quilt Co. "Crosswalk" Quilt Snips Mini Tutorial -- Dec. 2016

A longer form of the "Crosswalk" tutorial is available at "The Crosswalk Quilt" by Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tissue cover reprise

For a quick holiday project, make these cute facial tissue covers that everyone on your gift list will love!

Whip them up in a jiffy using my directions for "Easy Facial Tissue Cover" on Appleton Dance

You need only two, six-by-eight-inch contrasting scraps for each cover. The red, Scottie dog print I used, above, is from the "Storybook Christmas" line by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics.

Fill the covers with pre-packaged facial tissues such as the Kleenex brand "go packs" pictured here.

These also make a great, easy project for beginner sewists.

More tissue covers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

We Cut the Tree holiday story available from Blurb

We Cut the Tree by Linda Theil available from Blurb

I wrote We Cut the Tree in 1984, the year our family moved to Howell, Michigan from our native home in southwestern Pennsylvania. The story is told from our eldest son's point of view, and chronicles the annual live-tree capture from our family's earliest Christmas holidays. The story was first published as our holiday greeting card that year.

I published the story, again, on this weblog as a Christmas greeting in 2010.

Two years ago, I began to create photographs to illustrate a small hardcover edition of We Cut the Tree that may be ordered from the print-on-demand publisher, Blurb.

I used Tinrocket's Waterlogue application to create a dream-like appearance to the illustrations and used Blurb's online software to lay out the 20-page, picture book.

The book is dedicated to our late husband and father, Stephen A. Theil, Jr. The cover features an image of a tiny drum that decorated holiday trees of his childhood.

Hardcover and softcover editions are available as print-on-demand from Blurb. A free ebook is also available; order a free ebook of We Cut the Tree by clicking on this hotlink: We Cut the Tree free, ebook edition.

You may preview We Cut the Tree by clicking on the cover icon here:

Order a free ebook of We Cut the Tree.
Free ebook,
Other editions,
AppletonDance publication 2010,

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Install LED lights on your sewing machine

I gave a workshop on how to install LED lights on a sewing machine at the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild Quilt Day on November 19, 2016. Here is the information I shared:

Sewing machine with retrofitted LED lighting strip. Photo courtesy of Inspired LED.
You may purchase a light kit that will allow you to outfit your sewing machine with a strip of bright LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. Kits are available online and at some quilt stores. We have purchased our Inspired-brand kits on Amazon at a cost of aproximately $30 per kit. Other brands such as Bonlux, that we also tried and liked very much, are also available from Amazon. 

The kits we purchased are designed for use on all sewing machines; they are complete lighting sources that can be used in any situation that requires illumination.
The kit includes:
  • a strip of LED lights backed with adhesive that may be trimmed to any size needed,
  • a plug and converter that is used as the source of power for the lights,
  • an adhesive-backed switch that is used to turn the lights on and off, and
  • two adhesive-backed clips to hold the wires in place on your sewing machine. Note: the Bonlux kit does not contain wire clips, but you can use Command brand cord clips to control wiring.
LED retrofit lighting kit. Photo courtesy Inspired LED.
All the materials are easy to use and assemble with plug-in connectors as shown in the photo.

If you choose the Inspired LED brand, you may also purchase an extra switch-and-converter kit to use with the excess length of lighting provided. This expansion kit may be used to install the excess strip of lighting on a second machine.

The web-site for the Inspired brand of LED sewing-machine, lighting kit has an excellent video demonstrating the exact method for installing the LED lighting on your machine. See video link below.

The process is as follows:
  • Measure the length of lighting needed to apply to the underside of the arm of your machine; cut to length, remove paper backing from adhesive strip and install on the machine arm.
  • Remove the paper backing from the adhesive strip on the switch and apply to a convenient place on your machine. (I installed mine next to the machine on-off switch.)
  • Plug the light strip into one of the receptacles on the switch. (For the Inspired LED brand kit, the receptacles are on the bottom of the switch.)
  • Plug the converter into the second receptacle on the switch.
  • Plug the converter and wall plug into the wall receptacle.
  • Flip the LED light switch to turn on your LED lighting.
The only tricky part is cutting the light strip in the proper spot across the copper connectors -- a process that is clearly shown on the instructions that come with the kit, and in the on-line video instructions.

More information is available on the Inspired LED website
Also, more photos and first-hand information is available in blogger Abby Glassenberg's excellent post, "Enhance your Lighting with a Sewing Machine LED Light Kit" on her While She Naps weblog.