Monday, April 27, 2015

Southern Charm- Quilt Shop Fun

I just love visiting North Carolina in April.  At home, in Western New York, the tulips are struggling to come up but here the Azaleas are already in bloom.

I took a break this week from cuddling with my new twin grandchildren and visited the Lone Star Mercantile on Highway 401 in Fuquay-Varina (near Raleigh).

I have visited this shop before and was impressed with the selection of quilting, punchneedle, stitchery, and rug hooking supplies.  They also have a really nice selection of traditional quilting fabrics.  Early American antiques and reproductions create an interesting decor and offer shoppers more goodies for purchase.

You may remember from past posts that I am a lover of wool and wool applique projects.  The Lone Star Mercantile offers a lovely selection of wool and patterns for wool.

In addition, there are pretty embroidery patterns and an entire wall of hand over dyed floss.

These beautiful variegated fibers had me drooling.  Here are a few that I just had to have..

I loved the selection of patterns and books.

The beautiful displays and samples are inspiring and the staff is attentive and helpful.

So...if you are in the Raleigh area, you will want to visit this lovely shop.  Check them out online at  You will love it!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review- Graphic Mixx by Atkinson Designs

The very first table runner that I made years ago was a design by Atkinson Designs.  Since then I have made many projects designed by the very talented Terry Atkinson.  Although I have been a pretty traditional quilter, I decided to expand my horizons with some modern quilting.  My goal was to make baby quilts for my new twin grandchildren.  I chose Atkinson Designs book, Graphic Mixx.

The book has patterns for ten quilts, five pillows and ideas for using the blocks for runners.  This combined with Atkinson Designs' excellent instructions and illustrations make this book a winner in my opinion.  One of my favorites in the book is the Graphic Mixx Sampler that is shown on the cover.  It combines each of the designs in one lap quilt which can be made to fit full, queen or king by adding borders.  Because each of the segments is constructed separately, I am thinking that the combinations could be limitless.  In addition, the book has tips for adding blocks to make your quilt larger, excellent general quilt making instructions for the novice, and info for making backings and bindings.

My daughter-in-law chose the fabrics and loved the Corn Rows pattern so we were off and running.

This pattern can be made in baby, lap, twin, full and queen sizes.  Obviously, we opted for the baby size.  It sewed up beautifully.  I decided that I liked the size and look of the quilt top without borders so I didn't add them.  We made the quilts identical except our little girl, Magnolia, has coral in hers and our big boy, Jackson, has yellow in his.  Here's how they turned out.....
Jack's Quilt
Maggie's Quilt
I quilted Maggie's with swirly hearts:

And Jack's with swirly stars:

I love how they turned out and am planning my next project from this cool book.  


Friday, April 17, 2015

Ruffled Quilt- A different twist on a fun pattern

Before Christmas, I bought a neat book from Leisure Arts called Christmas Sparkle by Mary Jane Carey from Holly Hill Quilt Designs.  The book is full of fun patterns and ideas for embellishment that include a runner,a pillow, wall hangings, a stocking and my favorite...  The Ruffled Split Rail Fence Quilt.  I had plans to make this for Christmas but ran out of  time.

A few weeks ago, while visiting a favorite quilt shop, I discovered these fun fabrics from those talented ladies at Cotton and Steel.  I especially loved the one with the lions.  I didn't have a plan for the fabric but I just had to take some home with me.

The pattern is quite easy to make...what's easier than a split rail fence?  I made the ruffle using the ruffler attachment on my sewing machine.  If you don't have a ruffler, you might want to consider one. It is one of my favorite attachment/feet. The pattern is well written with clear directions and great illustrations. I just love the ruffles!  Wouldn't this make a cute quilt for a little girl?

It was fun deciding on the quilting.  Feathers are quilted in in the rail fence rows....

With curves in the narrow border...

And diamonds in the outer border.

All in all, I am pretty pleased with the result.  I may even try one in Christmas fabric!  Moral of this story?  Don't be afraid to think outside the box when choosing a pattern for a project.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Binding Made Easy with The Brilliant Binding Tool

One of my resolutions for 2015 was to improve my quilt bindings.  I thought that this was a more attainable goal than say... running a half marathon or giving up chocolate.  Seriously, binding has been hit or miss for me since I began quilting years ago.  I have tried many techniques and most of them worked....some of the time.  I don't want to think about how many times I have been frustrated with the results of that final quilting step.

In January, while doing my annual (should be monthly!) sewing room clean up, I came across a tool that I purchased last fall. I brought it home, put it in a spot with other rulers and tools and promptly forgot that I had bought it.  (Does this sound familiar to any of you?)  I decided that this was the time to give it a try.  It is called Brilliant Bindings by Wendt Quilting.  The copyright date is 2007 but I had never seen this tool until I saw it in a demonstration.


The packaging claims that this acrylic tool will help quilters make bindings with perfect mitered corners and no fuss end seams.  I am happy to tell you that this is one tool that lives up to its claims. I have used it on at least six projects and my bindings have never looked better.

The step by step instructions include directions for preparing double fold straight of grain and double fold bias bindings, sewing binding to the quilt, mitering corners and finishing the binding ends.  The color illustrations are very helpful in showing the use of the tool.

I found it easy to make, position and sew the binding following the instructions.
Using the handy corner mark on the tool makes marking the corners easy to miter.

The "Flip Flop" corner method results in beautifully mitered corners.

Other features of this clever tool include a 45 degree angle and markings for making the joining of the ends.  

 Check out this tool and view a video at

This is one tool that I will be keeping track of from now on!