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Showing posts from 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.

A l…

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.


Click to hear "We'll Dress the House" by Alfred Burt.



We Cut the Tree holiday story 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-dema…

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…

Unlined, fold-up, shopping tote

Alisa's market tote, folded up and ready to go shopping.
Alisa downloaded Purl Soho's "Fold-up Market Tote" pattern from their website, and ordered the "Fold-up Market Tote Bundle" of three pieces of linen to make three totes as holiday gifts.

The pattern makes a large, lightweight, unlined tote with self handles that can be rolled up and tied with an attached ribbon and stored in a small space. We made all three linen totes, and Alisa liked them so much she wanted one for herself, so we grabbed a yard of fabric from her stash and got to work. We have documented our process below with slight modifications to the Purl Soho pattern


Completed market tote in cotton "Comma" for Zen Chic.









The finished bag is roughly 18x18-inches in capacity.You will need a yard of 45-inch-wide fabric for each tote. For her tote, Alisa chose Moda's "Comma" by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic (Made in Japan, 100% cotton, pattern #1513). 

Cut the selvedge edge from …

Child's apron

Child's apron, size Large (adjustable)

This project is so easy that it would make a good first, sewing project for a beginning stitcher.

Make a pattern out of paper bags or wrapping paper. Your pattern will look just like the pattern shown here in geometric fabric. Cut your pattern paper 29-inches long and 12-inches wide. Mark the 29-inch length with the word FOLD written large along one side.

Mark the other long side of your pattern with a dark marker ten-inches down from the top of the paper. Mark the adjacent top edge of your pattern at the five-inch point. Connect the two marks with a line and cut that angle away from your pattern. 

The result will be a pattern shaped like the one in the photo at the right. the top is five-inches wide; the long side is 29-inches long; the short side is 19-inches long, and the bottom is 12-inches wide.

Choose 2/3 yard of cotton canvas, twill, duck, or a large tea-towel for your apron.






For apron tie, purchase 2-1/2 yards of heavyweight, cotton, 1-inch…