Archive for Tips & Tricks

New Christmas Stockings are done.

I noticed that this pattern, Stocking Sweet Stocking, has been listed in the top 3 best selling patterns for months at one of my distributors.  So I thought, “Maybe I should make one.” LOL

While the pattern uses the very popular tool, LIL TWISTER, I decided to give Marti Michell’s newest tool, TESSELATING WINDMILLS, a chance, and I LOVE IT!

You can see Marti’s video demonstration here:

Marti video

If you have the LIL TWISTER, go ahead and use it, maybe.  I almost can’t endorse that, as Marti’s tool doesn’t waste any fabric or the time, since you are just cutting and sewing once!


I started with a MODA CHARM PACK, CHERRY CHRISTMAS by Aneela Hoey. 






I followed the instructions that come with Marti’s tool, using the 4″ line and added border squares. 

It cuts & sews just like a 4-patch, making it easy for beginners too.


        Fluffy doesn’t seem to care if a quilt is fully assembled or not! LOL







I was able to cut TWO stocking fronts from this resulting mini-quilt.  







Twice as good as suggested in the pattern using the Lil Twister tool which creates slightly smaller squares.

The Tessellating Windmill tool has 8 sizes marked on it.  So I was able to use the 3″ line for the cuff, which yielded the same size called for in the pattern.

 A coordinating fabric looks good on the back.

 The stocking is larger than my family has used in the past, but not too big.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow. 

Changing tools wasn’t hard, as I just skipped those steps, following the instructions with the Tessellating Windmill there, and came back when I was ready to start quilting the fabric.

I can see why this pattern is a “best seller”!


New Cell Phone Wallet

One of the nice things about living in the middle of Kansas, is our proximity to so many other places!  We’re just about 7 hours drive from Boulder Colorado, and so, with a 3 day weekend ahead of us, we sped off into the sunset on Friday evening.

But, I needed a handy wallet/carrier for my new cell phone/camera before we left!  I couldn’t risk clutching it in my hand for an entire trip.  So here was my “quickie” solution.

First I selected two pieces of fabric (just happened to have some extra Shop Hop batik lying around the sewing room) and ironed them together with Fast2Fuse in between, which has just the right amount of stiffness for the shape of my bag. 

Fast 2 Fuse fuses two pieces together. Very handy! Great body.

Next I wrapped a piece of scrap paper around the phone, and marked the shape I thought I wanted.  I added seam allowance and a bit more, then folded the paper in half before trimming to size so it would be symmetric.  I laid that on top of the fabric sandwich and cut.

Ready to cut fused body/interfacing/lining sandwich with custom pattern.

I need a secure pocket for my credit cards, driver’s license, and cash, so I cut a 2-layer pocket.  I attached one side of a zipper to the top edge and used the 2nd piece to finish the other 3 edges and attached a strip of velcro to the pocket before stitching the pocket to the inside front of the bag.  I placed it just close enough that the 2nd side of the zipper would be partially covered with the binding around the edge, that would be applied later.  I took a tuck at both lower corners to create some depth for the cards.  I should have made the pocket a smidge bigger, as it is a tighter fit than I’d like.  Just have to carry less cash! :)

One side of zipper applied to top of pocket. Other 3 sides finished with pocket lining before being stitched to bag.

After the pocket is attached, the other side of the velcro is stitched to the underside of the flap.  I folded the fabric around my phone and marked where the lower edge should be.  Then I stitched bias around the outside edge, through 2 layers on each side, and 1 layer where the fold-over flap started, from lower corner to lower corner.  I wrapped it to the inside and topstitched in place.

Cord slides into stitched loops (sewn under binding) and gets knotted at proper length, then trimmed. The seam you see here is only because I was using scraps, and stitched two together to get a bigger piece. “Make do!”

 I like my finished bag!

If you don’t want velcro’s top-stitching to show, you should remember to attach velcro before you fuse 3 layers together in step 1. I don’t mind.


Pocket with zipper for inside security.

I was happy to have it with me on our hikes, as the phone’s camera is so good.  Me on the right below, see it peaking out under my shirt.

Me hiking the Boulder Canyon Trail with Lily, Francis and Randy.


And I’m certainly glad I had my camera phone handy when we got to what seemed like the Top of the World on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  What a gorgeous day and fun trip!

Continental Divide summit on Trail Ridge Road, between Estes Park and Grand Lake Colorado.


Random Sewing

“Random” sewing is harder than it seems, at least for some of us!  In addition to loosening up with a glass of wine, or in this case, a pitcher of margaritas, here’s a more often used “crutch” – put all the fabrics in brown paper bags, draw from them in no particular order, and stitch whatever comes out unless it is the same as one of the last 2 previous pieces.

My quilt has actually come along pretty well. It is still supposed to be a “secret”, but I am really pleased with how it has turned out, and will be unveiling the completed quilt soon. :)

When the machine quilter came to pick it up, she made me look at lots of quilt pattern options! Oh my! I think we’ve picked some good stuff though, so stay tuned!

Fluffy gave her big fluffy stamp of approval by spending the past two days curled up in my Shop Hop Quilt project box! LOL