A Tale of 2 Sides of a Tote Bag…and a Quilted Border Design

April 19th, 2014


This is one side of a quick tote bag that I’m making as a sample.  I’m finding that people just don’t realize how easy it is to add a trapunto layer to either quilting or applique projects, so I’m developing a quick class (i.e. 3-4 hrs) to walk them through the steps and this sample is an example of something you could whip up pretty quickly with a design like this one.  Here are a couple shots of this side of the tote before I’d done anything other than outline zones of the wreath with invisible thread.  Remember, this wreath had an extra layer of batting behind it before it was placed into that final quilt sandwich:
I echo-outlined the wreath a few times with a dark blue polyester thread to give it more definition and also to add a halo of color surrounding it, then started my background quilting:
(That is a green polyester thread I’m using.  Again, my personal preference is to use threads that have a bit of  a sheen.  This helps make your quilting “pop” a bit and is an easy way to add just a bit of flare to your quilted works.)  Once done, I did my S-I-D quilting along seam lines with invisible thread and then went to create my border design.  This is a really simple border and it adds a nice elegance to your quilt, so I’m going to outline how I do this:
1.  Using a temporary marker (i.e. soap sliver for me), mark a line at the center of each border and also a miter line at each corner.
2.  Beginning at the center of one side, stitch a heart or a teardrop shape.  the goal here is to create some type of symmetric shape that curves out toward its middle and then tapers at the base, as you need a shape like that to “play off” as you begin adding plumes on either side of it.  In the photo below, you can see that I did a “loopy heart” or one where there’s a loop where the 2 heart “humps” join.  Know that a plain heart will work just as well, I was just in a  “loopy mood:”
The needle will be at the top, or point of the heart, and this is where you’ll begin to add the rest of the border design.  I use that “bump-back” method of feathers when I stitch this and I begin on one side and sequentially add plume after plume until I reach the corner.  Here’s a shot of one side once it’s done:
(BTW, I forgot to mention that I also marked a temporary line 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric.  That is to keep me out of the area that will ultimately become binding.)  Next, you do the exact same thing on the opposite side of the heart:
You are going to do this on all 4 sides.  When you get to the corners, use that miter line as the “kissing line,” or place where the plumes from 2 sides will come close to joining but won’t quite join.  Here’s a closeup of a corner:
…and here’s a better shot of the center block background quilting/border union:
The wreath for the opposite side of the tote is a little more complex; this one is one of my favorite wreath designs:
It’s very hard to capture the 3-D texture of these trapuntoed wreaths in still photos, so I’m not sure the whole point of this process is made clear here.  I think it’s one of those things you have to see in person.  I think what I’m going to do for the class is hand everyone a block with the wreath already stitched on it, so all he/she will have to do is define the zones with invisible thread.  I think this could be a fun class…any thoughts?

Final Spring Celebration Sale Days!

April 16th, 2014

Hello Quilting Friends!

The final days of our spring celebration sale is an additional 17% off all thread! Don’t forget that we also have free shipping to US customers and additional discounts for our international customers, so we are talking about some huge savings! Just enter the discount code: Thread 17% at checkout!

Remember that each and every retail purchase that you make in our store is being tabulated to count toward a gift certificate you may use for a future purchase. This is our way of thanking you for being a loyal customer. Please make sure you are logged into your account when making a purchase to properly track your points.

Let’s take a look at just some of our thread lines, if you don’t see a thread you’re looking for in this newsletter, you cansee if we carry it by follwoing this link: THREADS


Superior Magnifico



Magnifico consists of four main strands of thread. Each of these four main strands consist of 48 high strength micro-strands. Two 48 micro-strands are twisted together into Set A. Another two sets of 48 micro-strands are twisted together into Set B. Then Set A (total 96 micro-strands) and Set B (total 96 micro-strands) are twisted together to make the final product. Magnifico is a thread made of 192 high-sheen, high strength micro-strands. The result is a strong, bright, beautiful 40 wt. thread ideal for quilting and embroidery.
  • Ideal for embroidery and quilting.
  • High-sheen allows the thread to reflect color vividly and clearly.
  • Unlike many other high-tenacity trilobal polyesters, Magnifico is ‘heat set’ in processing which eliminates shrinkage.
  • Magnifico consists of 48 micro filaments x 4 ply (2 ply x 2 ply), for a total of 192 micro filaments resulting in spectacular sheen and strength.


MSRP $6.00… price after sale discount $4.83


Superior Bottom Line


Designed by Libby Lehman 60 wt. lint free polyester quilting, embroidery, bobbin, binding, and applique thread.

MSRP $7.99… price after sale discount $6.43



Isacord is the thread of choice for maximum productivity and the highest quality embroidery among the largest embroidery houses. At nearly twice the strength of rayon thread, Isacord is the smoothest running and most reliable polyester thread produced. It has been engineered from the finest raw materials to provide just the right amount of elasticity to allow for high speed running without looping or puckering while virtually eliminating thread breaks.

Isacord is available in 1,000 meter (1,093 yards)  mini-kingspools featuring a unique snap down base for clean and easy storage. Isacord is 40wt./2 ply. 

MSRP $5.89… price after sale discount $4.74





2  ply, 40wt., 120d, 1,100 yards of beautiful, strong, and colorful polyester thread. Mini-King Spools are ideal for any type of machine. This thread is bleach resistant with a Super Bright Shine!

MSRP $4.99… price after sale discount $4.02

Signature Pixelles 

Pixelles is a 30 wt Decorative Trilobal Polyester Thread. 500 yards

MSRP $6.95… price after sale discount $5.59

Sulky Blendables


Blendables® These exciting new multicolor threads are a masterful blend of different colors within the same range of tone and intensity, with random, subtle color changes every 2-1/2 to 5 inches! No thread has ever done that before. They will add excitement to your quilting and everything else you do. They’re made of the highest quality, long-staple, 100% Egyptian Cotton and come in 84 colors in both 12 wt. and 30 wt. snap-end King Spools. They’re so ideal for quilting, thread lace, bobbin work, thread painting, red work and decorative embroidery; you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. Fortunately, you don’t have to get along without them anymore.

MSRP $6.49… price after sale discount $5.23

Wonderfil Invisifil



100wt Cottonized Soft Polyester Tone on tone InvisaFil virtually disappears. InvisaFil is perfect for stitch in the ditch, Top & bottom thread, bobbin thread for delicate machine embroidery, use as top and bottom thread for couching, lace designs, hand & machine appliqué, quilting, longarming, and excellent for fine fabrics.


2500m = 2,734 Yard Spool


MSRP $12.00… price after sale discount $9.66

YLI Variations

3-ply  40wt T-40 100% Extra Long Staple Mercerized Egyptian Cotton. 

MSRP $7.95… price after sale discount $6.40 

Spring Celebration Part 2

April 14th, 2014

Hello Quilting Friends! 

The second “celebrate spring” sale is 17% off all fabric! Also don’t forget that we have free shipping to US customers and additional discounts for our international customers, so we are talking about some huge savings! Just enter the discount code: Fabric 17% at checkout! This sale begins immediately and will run until Wednesday April 16, 2014  at 9:00 am EDST. The next sale will begin when this one end,s so stay tuned!

Remember that each and every retail purchase that you make in our store is being tabulated to count toward a gift certificate you may use for a future purchase.  This is our way of thanking you for being a loyal customer.  Please make sure you are logged into your account when making a purchase to properly track your points.

We have a very large selection of gorgeous fabrics, so remember that this is only a 2 day sale and start making your selections now! We have many different ways to browse through fabrics, such as by vendor, color, designer and much more.  You can check out our selection here: FABRIC

Check out some of our beautiful batiks below…

Stars Kiwi Batik by Avlyn Fabrics

MSRP $9.50… price after sale discount $7.65

LN-2-7002 Sangria by Bali Fabrics


MSRP $9.30… price after sale discount $7.49

Blue/Green Pine Sprig Mix Batik
by Batavian Batiks



MSRP $11.50… price after sale discount $9.26

Foliage Navy by Benartex


MSRP $9.20... price after sale discount $7.40

6668 Orange by Blank Quilting


MSRP $11.60… price after sale discount $9.34

Splattered Fuchsia Batik
by Fabrics That Care!



MSRP $10.00… price after sale discount $8.05

Purple Texture 0105 by Galaxy Fabrics


MSRP $9.50... price after sale discount $7.65


Hoffman 839-73 Ocean

MSRP $10.00price after sale discount $8.05

Batik Essentials BE16-5B by Island Batiks

MSRP $11.50 price after sale discount $9.26

Cream Sponged Batik by Print Concepts, Inc.

MSRP $8.78… price after sale discount $7.07

Teal Stylized Mums Batik by Robert Kaufman

MSRP $13.20… price after sale discount $10.62

Lime Green Texture Batik by Timeless Treasures

MSRP $10.80… price after sale discount $8.70

Blue Splash by Wyndham Fabrics

MSRP $10.00… price after sale discount $8.05

A Trapuntoed Feathered Wreath Card

April 13th, 2014
I have a friend at work who is leaving in a week.  Don’t you hate getting attached to folks and then seeing them go?  I love what I do for work and  I also really like most of the people I work with, so I’m  in a win-win situation.  That kind of makes it extra hard when someone retires or leaves for whatever reason.  Anyway, I wanted to do something special for this friend so I thought I’d make her a quilted card with a  trapuntoed section.  These are pretty fun to make and always seem to be appreciated since they are, in effect, a mini quilt.  The construction is much the same as with a regular quilt except that down the road, we’ll throw in an extra heavy stabilizer to make the quilted card fairly rigid. 
To start, throw a piece of scrap batting behind the block that you’re going to quilt.  This is only a 12 in square block, so I’m not even basting them together, just placing them one on top of the other:
That is a scrap of Hobbs Tuscany wool batting and if you want a lofty trapunto layer, wool is the best way to go.  If I were stitching this wreath freehand, I’d flip this over and start stitching.  I’m trying to save myself time, though, so I just placed the fabric/batting layer in the center of a piece of hooped stabilizer so I could get the wreath portion done quickly on my embroidery machine.  Here is an early shot of the wreath with the first few sequences stitched:
 …and here it is, still hooped, as I’d just finished stitching the whole wreath:
I removed it from the hoop and flipped it over, cutting away all the excess batting and  stabilizer that fell outside the wreath area.  Here is what the back looked like at this point:
Remember, this process of trapunto is just like doing it by hand, or without an embroidery machine.  Don’t be confused by seeing that layer of stabilizer.  If that stabilizer is messing you up, look at this cross section shot and you’ll see that there really is a layer of wool batting underneath the wreath:
Now if this were a regular quilt, the next step would be to layer this top into a quilt sandwich with a full layer of batting and a backing fabric.  We’re making a quilted card, though, so we’re going to be quilting this onto a piece of Timtex interfacing/stabilizer.  This is a heavy duty interfacing that will make our quilted card stiff.  Most people would place this wreath block directly onto the Timtex, but I don’t do that.  When you quilt Timtex, the texture is fairly flat, so you don’t get the full impact of the quilted design.  So, I always layer a piece of batting on top of my Timtex layer and this will help us create a really luscious background of quilting to surround our wreath!  I placed a layer of Quilters Dream Select mid-loft polyester batting on top of my Timtex.  In the shot below, you can see just how flat everything looks when it’s first laid out on top of the Timtex.  Remember, that wreath has a layer of wool batting underneath it as well, but you wouldn’t know it at this stage:
I loaded  some invisible thread in my top needle and some purple thread in my bobbin, and I started outlining just outside the innermost circle at the center of the wreath. Once done, I started outlining the outermost circle of the spine zone and you can see the 3-D texture of the wreath just beginning to emerge:
Yummy, yummy, yummy…and we’ve just gotten started!  Before I go any further, I want to make sure you’re seeing the most important part of this.  When you go in to do the outline stitching w/invisible thread, the whole point of this round of stitching  is to select portions or zones of your design (in this case, a wreath) that you want to poof out.  The one thing you don’t want to do is to outline everything.  (This is because it will just serve to lessen the trapunto effect-aka flatten the wreath-and you’ll lose out on creating these secondary effects.)  In the case of a wreath like this, I want that entire spine zone to read as one unit, so all I want to outline are the innermost and outermost circles of the spine zone.  Next up are the plumes.  I went in and outlined the edge of each plume, but I deliberately stayed out of the inside of the plumes, as that would just flatten them.  Working in this way also helps to “highlight” the hyperquilting inside of the plumes.  Once the wreath had been outlined with invisible thread, I switched to a solid magenta rayon thread in my top needle and stitched 3 rows of echo outlines outside the wreath.  These echo outlines will do 2 things:
1.  They flatten the area just outside the wreath, making the trapuntoed wreath appear even more protuberant; and
2.  Collectively, those lines of echo quilting create a halo of color surrounding the wreath.  This will look cool when your wreath is seen from a distance.
The last quilting step is to add some background quilting.  Here you can see the project with some early “plumify it” quilting in the background area:
quilted card k
Once the whole fabric block had been quilted onto the Timtex, here’s what the back of the card looked like:
We can’t give a card like this!   We need a place to write a note, so we need to “clean up” the backside!  Find a piece of fabric that you’ll be able to write on (i.e. know what color ink you’re going to use and find a fabric that will allow your note to be seen), and fuse that fabric to a piece of fusible web like Wonder Under.  Peel the paper backing off and then fuse the fabric to the backside of the card like this:
(Notice how the “ghost” wreath appears…I kind of like that!  All that’s left is to trim the edges and then finish the 4 sides with a satin stitch.  (Tip:  do 2 rounds of zig zagging for the best result.  The first round is a looser zig zag and the last round is an actual satin stitch.)  Write your note on the back and then you have a unique going away card for your friend!

Lost and Found…and a Give Away!

April 4th, 2014
I am going through what seems to be a never-ending purge in my sewing room.   It is so gratifying to get rid of stuff that’s not being used and I think I’ve given away at least 75 yards of fabric and all kinds of crafting supplies in the last 2 months.  I came upon a bunch of light blue and white print fabrics that I’d totally forgotten about and they must be at least 15 years old.  This is just some of them:
I have given away so much on Freecycle that I was starting to feel guilty, like I should MAKE something out of some of this stuff!  (I mean, I bought all this at one time with a specific vision in my head for how I’d use it, so shouldn’t I hold myself accountable to use some of it for SOMETHING?!)  Anyway, I somehow felt I should make at least 1 quilt from this blue/white fabric grouping.  I did something that was a first for me.  I got our my trusty Sizzix Big Shot Pro and used it to cut 9 1/2 inch fabric blocks.  (Sizzix had a big sale last year and I lucked out and got a 9 1/2 inch square fabric die for only $10!  Can you beat that price?!!)  In no time at all, I had a stack of blocks that were all identical in size:
…and then I cut some white square blocks in the same size:
It’s funny because I use my small Sizzix Big Shot all the time to cut applique shapes but I’ve never cut fabric for piecing before.  I have to say that this is a really fast and convenient way to get your quilt pieces cut FAST!  Anyway, I wanted to make a quilt I could whip up pretty quickly because I’m really only making this quilt because I’ve guilted myself into it, and on top of that, I’m really not into pastel colors at all.  So, I decided to make a quick chevron quilt.  This is really easy to make if you start with squares.  You place right sides together and then stitch all along the 4 sides using a 1/4 inch seam like this:
Then, lay the stitched block on your cutting table and carefully cut along the diagonal twice, as below:
In as quick as a wink, you’ve got lots of these blocks ready to use:
…so just press them open and you have (4) quarter square triangle blocks for each pair of squares that you started with.  Pretty darn cool and pretty darn quick!  Here’s a mock up of my Chevron quilt on the design wall.  I may still add 1-2 more rows vertically and I will likely add a small border as well:
I’m psyched because I’ve always wanted to quilt a chevron quilt top and now I’ll have the chance.  I still have many of those quarter square triangle blocks left over and there are all kinds of things I can do with them.  Here are a couple of giant – sized stars:
Now I’ve gone from having all this fabric I didn’t want to having all these etra blocks I need to do something with…I can’t win!  And did I forget to mention that there’s a give-away?!  I am unearthing so much stuff that I just won’t ever use so I thought maybe I should give some stuff away on my blog.  Here’s today’s offering: many, many of spools of variegated rayon thread, great for machine quilting and/or machine embroidery:
That’s a lot of thread!  I remember buying the lot of thread on ebay but I’ve never touched it so perhaps you might be able to use it!  All you need to do to enter the give away is to leave a comment to this post, telling me what kinds of things you’d like to learn about threads, any type of thread.  Post your comment by midnight, eastern daylight savings time, on Fri 4/18/14, and you’ll be entered into the drawing.  Winner pays for shipping but the thread is free!