Ann The Gran Community

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Quilting Hows and How To's
  • LaRueSews-Quilts-All Wrapped up

    LaRueSews-All Wrapped up

    Writing this BLOG for Ann the has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.  It has taught me that I can expand myself and my knowledge far beyond the things I have done before.  I have learned that I am indeed a writer, if given a topic.  The computer has become my friend, rather than my antagonist.  I have made a few friends, from Alabama to Australia.  Also, through machine embroidery and, I have learned a new craft.  ME has become another LOVE to me, second only to quilting.

    Please don’t forget me.  I’ll be around.  I will have a new avatar that will signify that I do all kinds of sewing and needlework.  Look for it and my Blogging name, LaRueSews.  When you see me again, I will be an Guest Blogger.  I’ll be back, but not for a few months. ;o)  Also, if you are on Facebook, check out LaRueSews-Sewing and Quilting Tips and Hints.  It's just beginning and needs all of your Tips and Hints.  Help me and all the members by joining and leaving your ideas to help us become better at our craft. 

    This week I am posting the final part of the LaRueSews-Quilts BOM.  For anyone who has not read this BLOG before, I will sum it up.  In August 2009, I began a Block of the Month for the LaRueSews-Quilts  During the previous months, I had asked the readers how I could best help them in their desire to continue quilting.  The only requests I received were Block of The Month.  While I felt inadequate to fill the requests, I used the beginning quilting computer program called Quilt Design Wizard to plan a Sampler Quilt.  Since then, I have posted at least one block each month for my readers to use as a guide to make a sampler quilt.  I have now posted all of the blocks.  You can go to the left side of this BLOG and find the Archive with all postings for this BLOG.  August 2009 began the BOM. 

    In this BLOG, I will post the requirements for the borders.  If you have questions about adding borders to your quilt, try going to this Google search for help. You may email me at with any questions about quilt construction.

    This LaRueSews Block of the Month Contest is for your BOM quilt top.  No need to have it quilted and finished.  But it must have borders.  If it IS quilted, all the better.  Kudos to you if you get it done. ;o)

    Borders for LaRueSews BOM

    First border, Blue-2 ½ inch width.  Cut the width by the measured length of each side.

    Second border-1 ½ inch width.  Cut the width by the measured length of each side.

    Third Border-3 ½ to 4 inches.  Cut the width by the measured length of each side.

    The BLOG readers were offered the opportunity to make the quilt and enter it in a contest for the LaRueSews BOM Quilt.  At first, I wrote some tentative rules for this BOM contest.  As time has passed, I have learned through time and experience that those rules needed to be adjusted a bit.  This is how it stands right now;  Only the quilt makers who submit an entry will vote on the quilt of their choice.  Votes will be taken at  All other communication concerning this LaRueSews-BOM should be sent to,  Please follow these instructions to be sure that your quilt is entered.  Please be sure that you are proud of your entry and the photo you have made of your quilt.  It will help you win!

    --Quilts may be entered in the LaRueSews BOM contest by submitting a picture to

    –Entries must be received no later than July 16, 2010. 

    - All quilt tops received will be posted to a special Gallery and a link will be sent to those who have entered.

    –All voting will be done during the week of July 16 through July 23, 2010.  Email your votes for First place and runner up to

    -Winners will be announced July 30, 2010.

    --I will post a “READY TO VOTE” and a “HERE’S THE WINNERS” blog at the specified times.

    Two prizes will be awarded:

    1ST Place:  $30 Ann the Gran store credit

    Runner Up:  $20 Ann the Gran store credit

    Each person who submitted a completed quilt top for the contest may choose One Free Embroidery design from Morango Branded designs.  You will be emailed instructions for your selection when your entry is received.
    Good luck to all who have entries.  Get them posted in the Gallery.

    Stitches to you,

    A little extra, just for YOU.

    Since this, is a quilt contest.  I am posting some rules that I found on eQuilter Forum that are guidelines for quilt judges.  Take a look if you are entering a quilt.  It will help you make your quilt a winner.
    Some rules below may not apply since this will be a quilt top only.  Use them only as a guide.  It may be a good reference if you ever plan to enter a quilt in a show.

    Thanks to eQuilter Fabric Passion Forum for the use of this article found on that Forum

    Rules for Judges from eQuilter Forum

    Tuesday, March 18, 200812:59 AM

    [Fabric Passion Forum:] Digest 31278 - 31292

    I have participated in shows (and occasionally won prizes) and recently was asked to speak at a guild regarding entering quilts in shows. You commented that some of the winning quilts "were not attractive at all” .... well, keep in mind that some of the criteria are quite subjective, something that you may like may not be to a judge's taste and vice versa!!

    The state guild that I belong to (Colorado Quilt Council) has a judging committee and they use a full-page form when they judge a show. The entrants get a copy of this form when their quilt is returned, and it is very informative. Many of the other shows that I have entered in only return a one or two line comment from the judge, not nearly as helpful. Even CQC's biannual contest - their own show - the feedback in the past has been very limited (because they don't use their judging committee, since the judges are also members and are entering their quilts, so they can't be the judges).

    Having said that, here are some of the things that are detailed in CQC's form: - Piecing: Precise general construction; comers and points match; stitches do not show; thread color is appropriate

    - Applique: Securely attached without puckers; curves are smooth and points are sharp; stitching is even; dark fabrics don't shadow under light

    - Hand quilting: Stitches are even and consistent, front and back; no visible knots or backstitches; no pleats or bubbles on front or back

    - Machine quilting: Tension is balanced; stitches are even and consistent; stops and starts are not obvious; no pleats or bubbles or distortion of top

    - Amount of quilting: Sufficient and appropriate for design of top and batting type; consistency maintained throughout.

    - Borders: Construction well executed with straight seams; no ripples, puckers, or stretching; comers precise.

    - Finishing: Binding is well executed and consistent width; stitching is secure; comers are square; edges are straight; batting extends to outer edge of binding

    - Special techniques: (Embroidery, tying, embellishments, beading, overlays, trapunto, photos, etc.) Secure, neat, and effectively executed

    - Visual impact: Line, shape, color, texture, and value effectively used to produce an interesting, balanced, and well-proportioned design.

    - Quilting pattern: Complements the top design, fills the spaces well.

    - General appearance: Neat and clean; no visible markings, lint, soil, pet

    hair, odor, or stains; no obvious distortion or sewing problems.

  • LaRueSews-Quilts--Major Project Finished!

    Some of you may remember that I have been working on a complicated project.  I called it my "1,000 year project" when I began in 2003. Well, I am 993.5 years ahead of schedule. I finished it after having surgery on my hand in March.  Here it is:  Indigo Sunset.

    Indigo Sunset

    This time I am posting the last three blocks of the LaRueSews BOM. I am bringing the news that LaRueSews-Quilts will be ending after the next BLOG comes out. The last two years (almost) have been a roller coaster for me. The first six months were a great learning experience. Since I was nearly computer illiterate, posting a BLOG was one of the most trying times I can remember. With posting a BLOG for the first time, I was also dealing with TRYING to post a BLOG via Dial-up internet service. I can never forget how difficult that was! I am still amazed that Greg and I could get it online at all. The next nine months were much better, and I felt like I might go on for a long time. Then, I realized that I was coming to the end of my personal knowledge of Quilting. For the whole first year, I was writing about things that were in my head and from my own trials and challenges with quilting. I was drawing on the things I knew from being a member of a Quilt Guild for more fifteen years, and from a lifetime of watching and doing the process of making quilts.

    By the time I asked all of you last year what you wanted me to write about, I knew that I had to find some other way to write this BLOG. I was no longer drawing on my own knowledge, I had to study, and do the things I wrote about. By that time, it was becoming an effort to find things of interest to write about. You have probably notice that LaRueSews has become shorter and farther apart. The longer I stay with it, the harder it has become. So, my dear friends, there will be just one more LaRueSews BLOG after this one. That BLOG will hopefully show the finished quilt top including borders. I still have to make the last three blocks that are in this BLOG, and add borders.

    So get sewing! Finish up so that you can post your quilt photos on the Gallery for all to see.

    These are the last three blocks: Sawtooth Star, Flying Goose Variation, and Lost Ships. The Lost Ships block is a bit tougher, but i know you are up to the challenge. You may notice that the Lost Ships block is printed upside-down, because the ships “sails” are down instead of up.

    The quilt program did that, I couldn’t change it. Click here to download the block images for printing.

    This is the program generated illustration of the blocks.  You may assemble them this way or any way you wish.

    These blocks and many more are in the Quilt Design Wizard program, available on the AnnTheGran Shop.

    I'll be back with you one more time as LaRueSews-Quilts.  Look for me as a guest Blogger sometime in the future.  I just might learn something new to write about!

    Stitches to you,


  • LaRueSews-Quilts-Did You Needle Turn Today?

    I just finished a dress for a friend this week.  I seem to have a hard time getting to my quilting projects.  Saying “yes” to too many things besides quilting keeps me from doing what I love most.  Right now I have at least five quilts in progress.  That is not to mention all the other ones that I have nearly all the materials EXCEPT the time to do them.  I don’t know why it is, but a few years ago I seemed to get so many more done.  It seems like years since I have completed something just for the fun of it.

    I talked about one phase of applique earlier, so I thought that this would be a good time to talk a little more about it. I have a Book called Applique Mad Easy, by Rodale Books.  It is a book I have owned for a long time.  In fact I believe it is the first book on applique that I ever bought.  It has instruction on many types of applique, and is a great book for beginners.  I found it available at this web address:

    Many techniques of applique can be accomplished with the help of Freezer paper.  I do suggest, however, that you stay away from the freezer paper that is marketed especially for quilters.  It is much too expensive.  I fell for that marketing scheme at one time and found that the only advantage is that it is made in sheets fit a computer printer.  It is MUCH less expensive to cut Reynolds Freezer paper to printer size with your rotary cutter and ruler.  Purchase Reynolds Freezer Paper at your grocery or hardware store in a roll.  In one of my early Blogs, I talked about freezer paper.  You can read that post at this link:

    You can use freezer paper to trace applique patterns for hand applique.  Trace your pattern on the paper side of the freezer paper.  Carefully cut out your pattern shapes and iron them shiny side down, on the right side of the fabric you plan to use for your applique.  Trace around the paper pattern with your favorite pencil that will show on the fabric.  With sharp scissors, cut the fabric leaving about an 1/8 to1/4 inch outside the paper pattern.  You can use this technique to stitch single layer applique pieces, or you can build up your pieces to add additional shapes to your applique design.  Remove the paper and applique the shapes to the base fabric.  This link will give you some sites to learn more about freezer paper applique:

    Another technique that I use much of the time when I am doing needle turn applique is drawing the applique shapes on template plastic.  This works especially well if you have many pieces of the same shape.  Just lay the plastic template on the fabric and draw around the plastic.  Then cut out your fabric shapes and applique them.

    Many techniques are used to stitch the applique to the background.  Some people use the freezer paper as a base and then finger press or lightly press with a cool iron, the seam allowance to the wrong side of the fabric before stitching to the background.  I find it easier to just turn the fabric under with my needle at I stitch around the applique.

    It is helpful to get the help of a good needle-turn teacher to show the finer points of needle turn applique.  Though I have been writing this Blog for more than a year and a half, I find that my “words” are inadequate to describe needle-turn applique.  I had done needle-turn applique myself after reading about it in a book, but I found the taking a class improved my abilities a hundred fold.

    There are many tools that assist in needle-turn applique projects, I suggest that you give some of them a try.  Circle templates are a great help, since stitching circles is one of the most challenging shapes to master.  If you are attempting needle-turn applique, you might practice with heart shapes of many different sizes.  When you look at a heart shape, you see that nearly all of the lines included in other shapes are in a heart shape.  Curves, inside and outside points and straight lines are all in the heart shape.

    A GOOD pair of small, sharp scissors is a must.  Applique pins with glass heads are a big help.  They are short, only about 3/4 inches long and don’t catch the thread as much as you stitch.  A common round wooden toothpick is a friend of applique stitches.  You can use it to push tiny little edges into place.  Wet the end of the toothpick a bit and it helps even more.

    The best thread I have found for applique is Mettler, Size 60, Cotton Embroidery thread.  It comes on a spool with green lettering on the edge of the spool.  I like it better than silk thread for applique because it holds the pieces down on the background fabric while silk thread tends to let the pieces pop up, just a bit. 

    I like a very fine needle for applique.  I just recently learned that Straw Needles are good because they are long and fine needle.  I use John James, size 10 or 11.  They have a very small eye so you may need to start off with a slightly larger size until you get use to them.

    These are photos of my current needle turn project.  The first photo is the three blocks that are finished.  The next two are unfinished.  The last photo is the center block that is finished.  I LOVE THESE BLOCKS. Big Smile


    I hope you will give needle-turn applique a try.  You just might find that is very rewarding and relaxing.

    The LaRueSews Block of the month is winding down.  I am including two blocks this time.  One is easy and one is a little harder, the Love Knot and the Sawtooth Star.  This makes a total of thirteen blocks, so far.  This is enough for your quilt, with one alternate block.  You can arrange them in a pattern of three across and four down.  However, next time, I will post patterns for three more alternate blocks.  If you wish, you can make a larger quilt of a total of sixteen blocks, arranged four across and four down.  Please make note that the LaRueSews-Block of the Month will finish up soon.  Get busy and get those blocks made.  You will have the opportunity to post your quilt tops on Ann The Gran Gallery, for a chance to win the first place and runner-up prizes.  Time is fleeting.  Get those stitches stitched!


    To download the full size scans click here

    Next time I will post photos of the blocks I have made.  At the moment, my sewing room is a disaster zone and the blocks are somewhere in the rubble. Embarrassed Ick!

    Stitches to you,


    This Blog is a week later than it should be because I have been on the mend from a little surgery that I had three weeks ago.  I had a trigger finger on my right middle finger.  That is a very important finger for me because it is my “needle-pusher” finger when I am quilting.  I have never finished quilting my Blue and Yellow quilt that I have pictured in my very first LaRueSews Blog, in July 2008.  My finger just got too painful and stiff to be able to quilt.  I’m hoping that it will be well enough soon that I can get it finished. For Trigger finger Information see

    This little explanation brings me to the subject of this Blog.  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!   I have been sewing, needle  working, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and many other things with my hands since I can remember.  It was common, when I was young, to sit at the sewing machine all day long.  It never occurred to me just what was happening to my body.  Oh yes, I had hints of it along the way.  I remember that I took a typing class in the mid-1970's.  While doing all that typing,  I had some trouble with a stiff neck.   Often, after sewing for hours, my back would be tired and stiff.  Also, with all that hand stitching, I always looked down on the projects at hand.  More stiff neck . . .

    I did lots of needlepoint, cross stitching, knitting, etc.  All of that makes it mark.  Later, in the 1990's, I taught myself to make baskets out of reed and cane.  This too is very hard on the hands, neck and back.  During the basket making days, there were lots of chiropractor visits.  The plague of stiff necks and headaches accompanied the baskets and the quilts. 

    Then my dentist told me that I had TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).  So I sought treatment for my stiff and aching jaw.  Diagnosis: arthritis in cervical discs, shoulder, and jaw. 

    Years earlier, I began having numbness and tingling in my thumb and first two fingers of both hands.  Surgery for  carpal tunnel syndrome has been most successful.  None of this asking for sympathy, it is simply to tell you what all this “recreational” handwork can do and the problems it can bring.  Not only have these things been costly and time consuming, pain is involved.  How I wish I had read about all these things in my early adulthood. 

    Perhaps I could have avoided some pitfalls by learning better posture and also to control the time that I spent at these practices.  I have learned so much through the researching these things that I have experienced.  However, at this point, the only thing I am able to do is try to help someone else.  I can tell all of you to be careful in the pursuit of your passions.  This book, Rx for Quilters by Susan DeLaney is a great book to learn more about the effects of quilting on your body.  It’s not only for quilters, but anyone who does any crafts and handiwork.  

    I can reasonably assume that some of my surgeries are directly related to sewing and handwork.  I have had surgery for carpal tunnel and trigger finger on both hands and also surgery on my neck and shoulder.  Now, I try not to overuse my hands and try to use better posture when I sew, hoping that I can continue to do the things that bring me so much pleasure.  But it would have been better if I had know that some of it may have been prevented if I had know better ways to do the things I love. 

    Last year my quilt guild enjoyed a six month long activity called the Pizza Box quilts.  Each of us put some basic fabric and a pattern in a box and they were passed from person to person.  Each one made a block for each box and we made quilts from them after the blocks were returned.  My block was the Starry Path Block.  I’m including a photo of it and a couple of the other quilts that were shown last week at our guild meeting.  This is a link to the pattern for the Starry Path block:  


    This is the center Block of one of the Pizza Box Quilts and the quilt it is in.  By Lynette Daughtery


    This is by Kathy Roy:

    By Chris Boylen

    Sorry there isn't room for all of them, but I used the best photos I have.

    This time I am including two blocks in the LaRueSews, Block of the month.  They are both rather simple, so I’m sure you can get them done quickly.  They are the Windmill block and the Ribbon Block.  The Ribbon block is one of the Star blocks shown in Quilt Wizard program.  But when the blocks are assembled, it looks like ribbons woven in and out. I hope you enjoy them.  Click here to download the blocks.

    Last time, I asked that anyone who is working on this LaRueSews-Block of the Month please let me know, in the comments section, or by email if you are still working on the quilt blocks.  I had only ONE response.   I’d really like you to let me know if you still part of the Block of the Month Project.  Thanks in advance.

    This web site is a wonderful reference for quilt block patterns.  They are free for your own use, but please read the Conditions of Use on the web site.  Link to Quilt Blocks Galore:

    Happy quilting and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

    Stitches to you,

  • LaRueSews-Quilts-Stitch With Care

    It’s time again for LaRueSews to tell all of you a bit more about Quilting.  For the past few months, we have been doing a Block of the Month.  This time, it will be little more challenging.  The block will be the Arrowhead block, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

    Right now, I want to get back to the applique project we started last time.  I gave you a Sunbonnet Sue block pattern, and instructions for using Misty Fuse to make a fused applique block.  How did it go?  I hope that many of you have completed the block and are ready to do the machine stitching on it.  Please let me know how it went for you and what you think of this Misty Fuse method of applique.  I love this method and I have at least two projects in mind that I want to use it for.

    The machine stitching on a fused applique block is the most fun.  The stitching that you add to these applique pieces is just the thing they need to bring them to life and give them the personality that you will love.  However, the stitching on these applique pieces can make or break a project. It’s a good idea to do some practicing with your machine stitches before you start the block itself.  Learn the different stitches that you can make with YOUR machine.  I have a Baby Lock machine that has many stitches for both utility and decorative stitches.  However, I know that some of you may not have as many to choosefrom.  I suggest that you sit down at your machine with stabilized fabric to keep the stitches from pulling out of shape.  Try out the stitches on your machine and find those you like the best.  Make a note of them and then practice using them as you would if you were doing applique.  Draw a few varied shapes on the fabric and sew on the lines you have drawn.  Make curves, inside and outside corners, and corners with sharp points and corners with not-so-sharp points.  Learn how to stitch on all of those points and shapes.

    For this kind of applique, there is no need to turn under a seam allowance.  However, it’s a good idea to wash the items carefully and take note of any raveling. It’s a good idea to choose a thread that either matches or contrasts the applique in your project.  I often use either black, navy blue, or dark brown to contrast.  Those colors act as an outline for the figure.  They also add detail and features, giving the figures more personality.  You can vary colors, according to the type of figure and your taste.

    I will show you a few stitches on this sample that I have made.  I hope that it will help you decide what stitches you like.  My favorite is the machine sewn blanket stitch.  It has two or three straight stitches and then one straight stitch to the side.  The side stitch catches the edge of the applique to hold it down and reinforce.  I have also used a narrow satin stitch.  It looks pretty, but it shows mistakes and errors in following the edge of the applique more easily than blanket stitch.  Also, it is time consuming.  At you stitch, keep a close eye on the edge of your applique piece. 

    Be sure that the straight stitches follow the very edge of the applique, with the sideways stitches going on to the applique.  A space between the applique and the straight stitching, it will show up, and not very nicely. I have included mistakes to show that it does indeed make a difference to be careful while you are stitching the applique stitches.  The arrow on the finished block show where I went too far away from the applique fabric and when I over-stitched the applique.


    As you begin stitching, take a few stitches in place before beginning to lock your stitches in place.  Do the same at the end.  You may also choose to pull the bottom thread to the top to avoid the “bird’s nest syndrome.” This is some detail on my Bear quilt, again, you can see places  where the stitching misses the applique a bit.

    Inside and outside corners are very important when stitching applique.  I suggest that you practice carefully to find the right technique for corners.  If you get a good book on machine applique, it should give farther instruction about stitching around corners.

    I know I have left a lot to your imagination.  Please takethese suggestions and use them as a basic guide.  Find a good book on applique and then GO FOR IT.   It’s a fun skill to learn.  You can make so many designs that are not available in machine embroidery sites.  Let your ideas beyour guide.

    Unfortunately, I was not able to get any good detail photos of sewing applique stitches.  It was a disappointment, but after much surfing, I was able to find a video showing how to do blanket stitch on the machine.  I have only one disagreement; I wouldn’t use straight stitch to repeat lines I have already sewn with blanket stitch.  It leaves a darker line at the space that is over stitched.  Take time to view this video.  It’s worth it.  It is from Sonya’s Snippets.

    I also found a drawing of the blanket stitch that I like to use.  The applique stitch shown here looks much better than the blind hem stitch, though the blind hem stitch is a good alternative. 


    This is a link for a site that gives good tips for machine applique.

    For all types of quilting, I suggest books and products by Harriet Hargrave.  I own several of her books and I value her advice on every kind of product.  I suggest that you go to her web site and check out all the products and information there.

    The Block of the Month project is moving right along.  These are the names of those who have said they are joining us:

    Linda B, Sandra, Sewchicago, mgravey, 65708rjane, Sue, nurse76, mabsy,   bonita,   Elizabeth,  BC,  Bonnie, Lavonne, Tanalee, Jeanne, Karen Womack, Karen Womack,  tmmatas, maggie milner,  tuch2nmi, Annamarie, Debbiej, Shirley N., Sheila. 

    Please let meknow how it’s going.

    Also, If anyone else wants to join us, you are welcome to do so.  It begins in my August 28, 2009 Blog, titled YouWish is My Command.  All of LaRueSews Blogs are listed

    in the Archives box on the left side of this page.

    This is our next block, the Arrowhead block.


     To download the full size block images click here.

    Now I have a Quilter’s tip for you.  It’s a tip anyone who sews can use.  In this photo, you can see a little “wrapper” on the bobbin that keeps the tread from unraveling.  That little wrapper is a Mini ponytail elastic.  They are tiny, but they do the job.  Also, if you like Mini M & M’s, keep the plastic cylinder containers.  They are just the right size for bobbins.

    That’s all for this time.  Keep stitchin’ on those Block on the Month block and please tell me if you are still working on them and how it’s going.

    Marge had the right answer last time about how many Blogs I have written since I began.  She will get the promised Fat Quarters.  Marge, please send me an email and tell me what your favorite color is.

    Stitches to you,


  • LaRueSews-Quilts-Applique-My Favorite

    Hi there, EveryBuddy. 

    This Blog is a milestone.  Ya know, sometimes when you count things, (anything noteworthy) the numbers that end in Zero are important.  That goes especially in Birthdays, like 20, 40, etc.  Some of ‘em, are BIG ones.  Well, my friends, this Blog is one of those.  I propose a guessing game.  The first one of you who can tell me how many BLOGS I have written for Ann The Gran will receive three fat Quarters from me in the color of your choice.  (Exclusions: Anyone who works in or for Ann The Gran, including Bloggers; my family; and anyone with the hair color of Hot Pink with Green stripes)  The prize will be awarded after my first opportunity to visit a quilt shop, and the winner will be announced in my next Blog.

    Now, onto the business of the day: Last time I promised that I would begin a series on applique.  Also I told “Nancy in IN” that I would talk more about the beautiful little machine, the Singer Model 221, Featherweight.  I think all of that is a bit more than one Blog can handle.  So I will just add a bit about the Featherweight for this time.

    While considering the topic of Applique, I must tell you that applique is a very big subject under the heading of quilting.  There are so many techniques and methods in applique that in this forum, I can only talk in brief.  So, if you like applique, I would like to recommend that you find a book or two of your own to help you along.   This is a list of the books I own:

    --Applique Made Easy, by Rodale Books, a really good book that covers a little on all aspects of applique.  I recommend it highly to help you choose the type of applique to do.

    –Mastering Machine Applique, by Harriet Hargrave, C & T Publishing, a comprehensive study on Machine Applique.  The only thing about this book that I disagree with is that I would always use Misty Fuse instead of the other Fusing products that she talks about.

    –The New Applique Sampler, by Beck Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins, C & T Publishers.  This is a wonderful book on needle-turn applique.  I love this book.  It has photo illustrations and really good instruction.  A video CD can also be purchased separately.

    We’ll talk about a simple fused applique design today.  I will include the pattern, or you may choose one of your own.  

    The pattern here is for an 8-inch block.  It is to be fused on an 8-1/2 inch background.  I used a piece of unbleached muslin. 


    The first photo shows a piece of Misty Fuse web.  It will be place between parchment paper and the applique fabric, making a fusible piece of fabric.

    The second photo shows the items I used to make my fused applique block.  I have shown a Misty Fuse package in the photo.  It has very good instructions that will help you to use it correctly.

    You can buy Misty Fuse on Annthegran here

    Esterita Austin has a good video cd that explains fusing on her site:


     Use my pattern or use your own.

    To download the sunbonnet sue click here. 

    Using a piece of parchment paper, trace the pattern pieces each separately, and number them in the order they will be placed on the background fabric.

    Cut out pattern pieces, leaving a small paper border around each piece as shown in the second photo. 

    Heat your iron.  Misty Fuse is the only fusible I have used that is NOT very specific about ironing temperature.  The right temp. for the fabric used will be the right temp. to use for your project.  Also, the timing is not critical for Misty Fuse as in other brands of fusible.  That’s one thing that makes it great.  I have used other brands that come loose if they are heated too long and will not hold.  With Misty Fuse, I usually count to about five or six, and it’s done. However, a longer time does not seem to affect the quality of the fusible hold.

    You will need two large pieces of parchment paper to sandwich your fusible pieces. Place a piece of parchment paper on your ironing surface, large enough to fit your project.  Place a piece of fabric slightly larger than your pattern piece, face down, on the parchment paper.  Next, place Misty Fuse, about the size of the pattern piece.  Then place the pattern piece, face up, on the Misty Fuse.  Place another large piece of parchment on top. 

    Check it-- 1. Face down fabric, 2. Misty Fuse, 3. Face-up pattern piece, sandwiched between two pieces of parchment paper.  This photo shows me holding the Misty Fuse and pattern piece, ready to apply it to fabric. 


    Now you will cut out the fused pattern/fabric pieces, on the traced lines.  Place the pattern pieces on the background fabric in the numbered order, between the sheets of parchment paper.  Check placement.  You can press all the pieces at one time.  However, if you want to be more careful, you can press them one at a time.  I used my traced pattern under the background fabric as a guide for fabric placement, as shown in this photo.  When you have fused all the pieces to the fabric, you are done for now. This photo shows how I used my pattern for placement.


    Next time, I will tell you how to do the machine stitching to finish the fused applique block.

    Please don’t think that what I say here is all you need to know.  This is only a beginning.  You really need to go farther and take a class, buy a book and practice, practice, practice. 

    More on epplique next time.

    The next two photos are my favorite quilt. It is hanging in my sewing room.  Unfortunately, I made this quilt a short time before I found Misty Fuse.  I love the resulting quilt, except that all the appliques are very stiff.  I am afraid to fold this quilt across the appliques because I don’t want it to have any permanent folds that might result from folding on that kind of fusible.  That is the reason I LOVE Misty Fuse.  It is not stiff between layers of fabric. 

    The first quilt I made with Misty Fuse was the quilt I made for my Grand daughter Savannah.  It is shown in one of my very early Blogs.  It is a little girl’s quilt, so it needed to be well loved and easy to wash.  Misty Fuse has performed perfectly, making a soft and lovable quilt that Savannah has loved for almost four years.



      Now, Friends, it is on to our Block of the Month.  This time, we will be making a pieced House block.  The pattern is

    given here (Click here to download the full size images)



    To download the above pattern images click here.

    It makes a finished 12 inch block.  Remember, that it will measure 12 ½ inches square, before assembly in the quilt.

     These are the blocks that I have finished so far.  Let me know how you are doing with all of your blocks. I’d like you all to get me up to date on how you are doing with your project.


    Singer Featherweight, Model 221

    This is a Singer Featherweight.  They are wonderful machines that are no longer made, unfortunately.

    I will do more study to tell you more history next time.  For right now, I’ll just tell you what I know.  I’ve had my machine for over ten years.  I purchased mine from a friend in quilt guild.   The original owner was a former quilt guild member.  So I am the third owner of this machine. Actually, I own two, one is in great condition, the other one, a little less. 

    Featherweights are a favorite of quilters because they are light weight, only twelve pound, most come with a carrying care.  They are wonderful machines because for the most part, they can be self serviced.  They are very simple, electric machines.  I also own a book that was written expressly for Featherweight owners who want to repair themachines themselves.  In fact, my husband and I just did repairs on a friend’s machine last week.  It was great.  If you are interested in one, go web shopping, and learn more about them before you take a step out of the house.  Type "Singer Featherweight", into your browser and sit back for a few hours and learn all you can.  There is a lot to learn. 

    However, if you think you want one, please USE It.  I really don’t like the idea of these little beauties sitting on the shelf of a NON-sewer.  Yes, they are considered antiques, and valuable at that.  But they are also perfect for simple sewing and especially piecing of quilts.  These machine are very much like the very first little singer machine that I was given as a HS graduation gift.  That machine was not a Feather weight, but it was a small Singer straight stitch machine.  Wish I hadn’t sold it.  If this is your ifrst visit with LaRueSews-Quilts, check my earlierBlogs.  You will find links in the box above on this page.  Glad to have you with us.  Join our block of the Month.

    See y’all next time

    Stitches to you,

  • LaRueSews-Quilts--Quilter, Quilter, Who Are You?

    My quilt guild, called Memory Makers Guild was just a little over the top today.  The guild is a small group, but what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in talent.  I’ve known most of these ladies for at least a year, and some of them, as much as three years.  We have grown closer as time has gone on.  Today was a kinda special day.  At least it was special to me.  This was our first meeting of the new year.  Our last meeting was the end of November.  So it had been nearly six weeks since we’d been together.  For some reason, it seemed that we were all a little “wired.”  (By that I mean, just a little crazy).  Our last meeting was the Christmas party.  Of course, it was fun!  Isn’t every Christmas party that way?

    However, today was just a “first meeting of the year.”  I don’t know what made this one seem out of the ordinary.  Maybe it was just that we were glad to get out of the house after more than a week of below freezing weather.  Everyone was just glad to have some time of her own.  We have such a good time when we meet.  It makes sewing all those gorgeous quilts even more fun.

    This lady is “Madam President,” our supreme leader.  She said this would be the best picture I ever took.  She’s not shy either.  She manages to have a full time job and make quilts and do a snappy job of leading the meetings.

    This is our Newby.  She’s a friend and co-worker of a few others.  During the meeting, she was doing a really gorgeous counted cross stitch of an Oriental Lady.  Wow, was it pretty.  (Yes, we all do other things than quilting) She also sews children’s clothes for a specialty children’s clothing shop.  She will really be a keeper.

    I promised I wouldn’t use their names, but this one is not a Plain Jane, by any means.   Jane can and DOES make anything.  I have seen sooo many beautiful quilts in her hands.  She has probably made more quilts than the rest of the Guild together.  She has made numerous Christmas quilts.  She displays them at Christmas time and invites everyone to her house to take a look.

    Ah, Mary, my love. Our Mary is so sweet.  She quilts and sews and grows lemons!  This is a lady who KNOWS needle-turn applique.  She designed and made a quilt for her husband.  It has a knight in shining armor on it, designed from a stained glass window.  Wow, what a Quilter!  Not only that, but she even grows lemons in her home and patio.  She had nine of them on one little tree this year!

    This is our Chairman of Giving.  She is always dreaming up ways for us to serve others.  She is the person who looks for people in need of our skills.  Then we put our fingers to the needles, and our eye to the task and we put her ideas to work.  We make and give the treasures that we can give to Mommies with new babies, Campfire girls, and soldiers who need comfort.  We couldn’t do without her.

    This gal is one of the newer members.  She’s a talented lady, who designed and sewed the Beginner quilt in our guild challenge last fall.  She has agreed to be our Vice President and program planner for the year.  She also knows a whole lot about pizza boxes.

    This lady has a full time job with the County Extension Service, and a second part time job.  As well as all that busy-ness, she can sew just about anything.  I’ve never met someone who can get so much done in her sewing room.  My envy for her talent with time is excessive.

    This is our Granny, in the Christmas skit, that is.  Better not get under Granny’s skin.  She’s on the trail of anyone who has sticky fingers.  She’s out to catch a thief in the act.  She just keeps us laughing, whenever a little witticism slips out.  We love having her around to tickle our funny bones.

    This is just some quilters in the Memory Makers Quilt Guild.  It is a very diverse group.  Some of these ladies are retired from lifelong professions.  Some of them are professionals now, some are even in fields where they can put their creativity to work.  Most of them are mothers, some are grandmothers.  But most of all and above everything else, they are FRIENDS.  This guild could be called the Circle of Golden Hearts.  The ladies pictured here, and all the others have hearts of Gold to go along with the all the beautiful colors they stitch into their quilts. 

    This was all to tell you that Quilt guilds are a great way to learn about quilting and other kinds of hand work.  They are also one of the best places I know to find lasting friendships.  Also quilt guilds often do very nice things for people in need.  Try one our for size, and tell them Memory Makers sent you.  Now, on to our LaRueSews Block of the Month. 

    This block is called the Orange Twist.  You can try out your skills at making half square triangles with this one.  The colors for it are orange, yellow and rust, or you can try out your own color variation.

    Next time, I plan to begin a series on Applique.  I love applique, and I hope that some of you will be able to gain some of my interest in it.  I waited for this until after the holidays so you will have time to put on your stitching fingers and find the joy of applique, as I have.  I’ll begin with some fusible applique.   I will show you how to use  which  is available on Ann The Gran Shopping.  You will also need some parchment paper.  It is available in the baking section of the grocery store.  Reynolds Aluminum brand is fine.  Don’t go out and buy the expensive stuff in the cake decorating specialty department.  It’s no better.  I will provide a simple pattern that you can use or you can find your own later.

    Until next time (three weeks from now)
    Stitches to you,

  • The Project Gone Wrong

    AAAHHHH!  Christmas Time-It’s a wonderful time of year when we all rush around, from one party to another.  Rushing the kids to their parties, and activities, while planning for the cookies we will bake when we get enough time.  We spend hours, thinking, planning scheming for that SPECIAL day.  Twenty-four hours that it takes all year to get ready for . . . and . . . suddenly, it’s Dec. 26.  Where did it go?  I really hope that by Dec. 26, you will be happy with all the stitching and prepairing that you’ve done.  It is a happy, joyous, cheerful, hectic time of year.  It happens every year, but we all do it all over again each year, beginning on January 2.

    Yes, I think some of us do just that.  We start thinking about next Christmas when we finish the last one.  This year, it has really rattled me.  I usually have most of my shopping done by the beginning of December.  Unfortunately, with planning and hoping to get this new motor home I talked about last time, November completely escaped me and I am sooo behind.  But guess what, I am here at the computer, telling you all about the adventures of LaRueSews-Quilts.  Have I quilted anything?  Very little.  I keep telling myself to get busy and get something done.  AARRGGHH!   DRATS! And #$&%^*^%!

    This time I want to tell you about a little project I did to introduce a tool.  Sometime, a few months ago, one of my readers, who lives in Australia, wrote to me about a tool called the Double Mitre Ruler.  It’s made by The Sewing Revolution, of Queensland, Australia.  It can also be purchased from  I bought the tool some months ago.  The Double Mitre Ruler is used to make mitered corners.  It is really afine way to makegreat mitred borders on placemats, etc.  I told you about losing some things, a while back.  This ruler was one of them.  I finally found it and I used it last week to make the “project gone wrong.”  You know how it goes.  You make something that turns out really good.  (My breakfast room window valances) You have lots of fabric left over.  You think, “What will I make with it . . . Placemats!  Well, I made two last week, one was too small, the other one turned out good, except it was the “project gone wrong.”  Though I love my breakfast room valances, but the placemat just didn’t get it.  I won’t make any more.  The plaid is just not the right thing for this placemat.  Besides, it’s drapery fabric, not very practical for placemats.


    I have remade the blocks that I posted a while back.  I also realized that I am way behind, but if you saw these blocks that I posted before, you will see that they do look better.  After Christmas, I will get caught up.  I promise.  I am the worst about keeping up with group projects.

    OK, this is your block for this time.  Maybe it should have been a Christmas theme.  I didn’t plan it that way, so we’ll just go with it.  The name is Do the Twist.  It’s a little trickier than the other block.  However, I know how good you all are and I KNOW you can do it.  They will get gradually harder each time.



    Each time I write a blog, I try to show you something I have done.  Still, I am running out of things I’ve done.  This quilt is one of the early quilts I made after I started quilting seriously.  It was a Quilt Guild Challenge.  I won Viewer’s Choice.  It has always been one of my favorites.

    Merry Christmas and happy New Year
    Stitches to you,

    Next LaRueSews-Quilts will be Jan. 2, 2010. 

  • LaRueSews-Quilts-Be Your Own Judge

    This has been a busy month. We recently went to Nashville again to sign a contract on a Motor Home that we saw last month. It’s like new, though used, and really beautiful. We will get it the first week of December.


    Also, my sewing machine has been back to the factory, or wherever disobedient sewing machines go. It has had ongoing problems for a long time. It is only a year and a half old, so it shouldn’t have given me so much trouble. It was gone for three or four weeks. I haven’t used it yet, but I hope it is OK now.

    I have been thinking that I should talk about hand stitching and finishing a quilt. Some time ago, I had a lesson on the things that judges look for when they are judging a quilt show. It was really interesting and taught me how to finish my own quilt to make them the best I know how. A few months ago, I found a list of rules on a forum. A member of the Colorado Quilt Commission posted it. It was helpful to me, I hope it is helpful to you.

    - Piecing: Precise general construction; comers and points match; stitches do not show; thread color is appropriate - Applique: Securely attached without puckers; curves are smooth and points are sharp; stitching is even; dark fabrics don't shadow under light

    - Hand quilting: Stitches are even and consistent, front and back; no visible knots or backstitches; no pleats or bubbles on front or back - Machine quilting: Tension is balanced; stitches are even and consistent; stops and starts are not obvious; no pleats or bubbles or distortion of top

    - Amount of quilting: Sufficient and appropriate for design of top and batting type; consistency maintained throughout.

    - Borders: Construction well executed with straight seams; no ripples, puckers, or stretching; comers precise.

    - Finishing: Binding is well executed and consistent width; stitching is secure; comers are square; edges are straight; batting extends to outer edge of binding - Special techniques: (Embroidery, tying, embellishments, beading, overlays, trapunto, photos, etc.) Secure, neat, and effectively executed - Visual impact: Line, shape, color, texture, and value effectively used to produce an interesting, balanced, and well-proportioned design.

    - Quilting pattern: Complements the top design, fills the spaces well.

    - General appearance: Neat and clean; no visible markings, lint, soil, pet hair, odor, or stains; no obvious distortion or sewing problems.

    In learning what judges are interested in finding while judging, it has made me more aware of the things that I do with my quilts. It is especially important to me to see that my hand stitching is done well. In applying the binding, it is also important to make the seam allowance big enough that it fills the space of the binding, not leaving a dead space at the edge of the binding.  Not everyone wants to enter a quilt show, but it's nice to know the rules, so you can make your own quilts that will please you now and others for years to come.

    One thing that is a bit hard to learn is how to make the binding fit the quilt so that the quilt lays flat and doesn’t’ have rippley edges. The amount of tension of the binding strip while you apply the binding is the secret. If you apply a slight tension to the binding as you sew it along the edge of the quilt, the binding and the edge of the quilt will lie flat. After applying the binding, it is a good idea to pin the binding before stitching and then lay the quilt out on the floor or other flat surface. If the edges are bumpy or rippley, it is not too late to go back and correct the problem. I know, I know, you are saying “THAT MEANS FROG STITCHES!” Yup, Frog Stitches are those little buggers that just have to be RIPPED OUT and replaced. ”Rip-it, rip-it".  It’s worthwhile in the long run, when it’s all finished and you know you have Done it well.   Be your OWN judge.  If your quilt pleases you, it will please anyone who sees it.

    Now, on to the continuing saga of LaRueSews, Block of the Month this time the block is the Log Cabin Block.  I am giving you the patterns with very little instruction. Just be sure that each of your blocks measure 12 ½ inches, each. In the finished quilt, each block will measure 12 inches, because of the construction of the quilt.

    This picture is another of the finished blocks from my current project, Not anywhere Near Baltimore, A Prairie Version.

    I just thought of a question to get you commenting on LaRueSews.  Just a little curiosity on my part. If you have been following LaRueSews-Quilts for some time, what keeps you coming back for more. 

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Stitches To You,


  • LaRueSews-Quilts-Beads are Fun Too, a 30 minute project

    Hi there EveryBuddy.  Three weeks has come and gone, again. Blogging time is here.  I hope that all of you have been diligently making the last block I gave you in LaRueSews BOM.  This time it will be a quick one, both BLOG and block. Wink

    I have been out of town for a few days.  We went to Nashville.  My daughter and her family live there.  We went to watch our two granddaughters in their marching band.  The older one, Lauren plays the French horn and the younger one, Holly, plays the Alto sax.  They really looked great in their uniforms and sounded wonderful too.  There was also a concert with their community concert band In Mt. Juliet, TN.  It’s really enjoyable when adults combine their efforts and keep their music skills “in tune.”  The concert was to benefit the Mt. Juliet High School Band Boosters. The whole thing was really great, but it put me in a time crunch for writing this blog.

    I’d like to bring you a really quickie little project that makes a pretty and unique gift for someone.  It is EASY.


    Necklace recipe:

    • 1 Small strip of multi-color fabric, about 2 ½ inches by width of fabric. (measure the circumference of the marbles and add seam allowance)
    • About 12 to 14 marbles, 1 1/4 inch circumference
    • About 15 beads, hole must be large enough to thread your fabric tube.

    Measure the circumference of your marbles, add ½ inch for seam allowance.  Cut the fabric strip.  My strip was 2 1/4" by width of fabric.  Sew 1/4" seam the length of the strip, making a long tube.  (Stitch twice to reinforce)  Trim strip to 1/8", or smallest you can handle.  Turn tube to right side.  Be sure your tube isn’t too tight to insert marbles, and the holes in beads are large enough for fabric tube.  (I don’t do beading, so I am not exact on measurements, you just need to experiment, like I did.)  Trim ends of strips to a long angle. 

    The next step is to insert marbles and add beads.  Put a marble inside the tube and push it to the center.  Thread a bead and push it next to the marble.  Continue, marble bead, marble bead, until you have your desired bead length, add as many marbles and beads as you like.  You can work from both ends.  I finished the ends of the necklace by folding in thirds and stitching by machine, to make the tube smaller for ties.

    Here are three photos.  One is a necklace with unfinished ties, the second is a necklace with ties sewn, and the last is a necklace of Christmas fabric that is started, to show the slanted, cut ends of the tube and the insertion of a marble.




    Our next BOM quilt block is the Snowball block.  It is a very simple block.  It can be combined with other blocks in pattern, and it can be used as a focal block for Fussy Cutting to feature a fabric.  Later on, I will use this block to show you an applique technique.




    As I said in the beginning of this Block of the Month, I am giving you the patterns with very little instruction.  Just be sure that each of your blocks measure 12 ½ inches, each.  In the finished quilt, each block will measure 12 inches, because of the construction of the quilt.

    You can still begin this BOM and work along with us.  Go back in my archives, Blog-Your Wish is My Command and follow along with the instructions.  If my count is correct. We now have about twenty people in the group.  Or, if you wish, you may go to the tags at the bottom of this page, and click on Block of The Month. the previous blocks and BLOGS are there.

    Last year about this time, I told you about a quilt that I planned to start.  Of course, it is applique.  I have five blocks almost finished or in progress. This photo shows the first block in this quilt.  I’ll show more when I get them finished.

    applique quilt

    Since my time is running short, I’ll just say “So long for Now” and “Make Something Quilted This Week”.  See y'all next time.

    Stitches to you,

  • LaRueSews-Quilts, Spuds in a Bag

    It’s Chilly here in Alabama today.  That is to say, rainy 70 degrees feels cold compared with 90+ degrees.  This has been a frustrating day.  I have a little project that I wanted to talk about this time.  However, I’ve lost the special ruler I need for the project.  Let me rephrase that  . . . I put that ruler away so well that now, I can’t find it.  Besides that, it’s not the only thing I’ve lost.  Where is that Misty Fuse I need to start that new quilt?  It goes on and on.  Seems like every time I want to start or work on a project, I have to spend time finding what I need for the project.  Drats!  Sad  That must mean there’s toooo much STUFF in my little sewing room and stash closet.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Let me hear from you.  I don’t want to be the only one who loses things in the sewing room.    Oh well, guess I’ll sit down and write a BLOG instead.

    Last month we went to North Carolina.  Of course I had to look for a quilt shop with my “travelin’ friend,” Cathy.  Yup, we found one.  In the little town of Elizabeth City, N.C.  The name of the shop is Simply Divine Fabrics and Things.  It’s a cute little shop with a sweet and generous owner, Tanaya Ewell.  She had a neat little project that I can tell you about.  Do you like baked potatoes?  These cute bags are just the ticket for baking potatoes in the microwave.  They are moist and delicious, just like in the oven, except that the skin is tender, moist and ready to eat.  The watermelon print bag came from the Simply Divine shop, and the other bag was given to me at my recent quilt retreat.


    The bags are easy to make. Just cut two coordinating fabrics about 16 to 12 inches long and 8 to 10 inches wide, depending on size and amount of potatoes you want to use.  Cut one piece of batting the same size as fabrics.  (I think cotton batting would be best, not sure) Lay the fabrics, right sides together, with batting on top.  Sew across each short end of the fabric and batting.  Turn right side out, keeping the batting between the fabrics.  Both sides will be open.  Now, fold down about two inches to the outside of the fabric pieces to make a cuff.  Then fold the fabrics right sides together, with the fold/cuff on the inside.  Sew or serge up each side of the fabrics and turn the bag right side out.  There will be raw edges on the inside, and a cuff will be on the outside.  It works kinda like a fold-over sandwich bag.  It’s all done!  Pop those little buggers in the bag, and follow the directions.

    Potato Baking Bags:
    Used to bake russett, red or sweet potatoes.
    Wash /rinse potato and pat dry with paper towel.
    Wrapping the potato in paper towel is optional,  
        (keeping it on keeps bag cleaner longer)
    Close the flap and place in microwave for 5-8 minutes
         depending on wattage of microwave.
    Open bag/ cut open potato, add butter
        the extras, salt and all.

    **PLEASE!  If you plan to make these potato bags, be sure to use only natural fabrics, thread and batting.  The polyester will burn quickly can cause problems in the microwave.  Also, be sure to keep an eye on them while cooking, and follow you microwave instruction book for length of time for potatos

    Now it’s time for your next quilt block from our LaRueSews BOM.  I promised last time that I would get the first three blocks made for you.  This is a photo of those blocks, plus the fourth one.  The fourth block in our BOM is the Sashed 4-Patch.  You will notice that in my blocks, the colors are not as bright as those in the block diagrams I have posted.  That is because I am using mostly fabrics from my fat quarter stash.  Unfortunately, my fat quarter stash has very little yellow in it.  So I used a gold fabric that is darker than I expected it to be.  I need to get some yellow when I go to a fabric store. 


    Sashed 4-Patch 

    These are the rotary cutting measurements, in case they are hard to read.
    A patch,  3 ½" X 3 ½ “
    6-Gold /yellow patches
    2-Red patches

    B patch,  6-1/2" X 3 ½” Blue patches

    If you are reading about LaRueSews Block of the Month for the first time, you may find the first three blocks in my two previous BLOGS.  On the left side of this BLOG, there is a box titled, Recent Posts.  The BOM is in the two post previous to this one.

    By the way, I’d like to tell you about a really good on-line source for fabrics.  It is  They have one of the best selection of fabrics on the net.  I have ordered from eQuilter many times and I have never been disappointed.  Check it out, it’s worth your time.

    That’s about it for this time.  I hope you are all keeping up with our BOM.  So far, they are easy blocks.  In fact, all of the blocks are on the easy side, though they will get a bit more challenging as time goes on.  Oh, one more thing, this is just a little treat.  It's a photo of an orchid that I have grown from a very small plant in a two inch pot.  It is now in a five inch pot and has five blooms, you can see three and a little bit of one more.  And IT'S NOT A QUILT!  Big Smile


    Stitches to you,

    P.S.  My finger is all healed already!

    I have these names on my list.  If you are not on the list or do not plan to do the BOM, please let me know so that I can correct the list:

    Linda B
    maggie milner

  • LaRueSews-Quilts EXPERIENCE, not best teacher

    Hello there, everyone.  First, I want to tell you the reason for the title of this BLOG.

    Monday, I did exactly what I’ve been telling you all this time NOT TO DO.  I cut MY finger with the rotary cutter.  Yup!  I did it.  I am glad to say that it’s not very bad, none the less, your very own LaRueSews quilting blogger did the big NO-NO.  After more than fifteen years of rotary cutting and quilting, I should have learned by now.  First, I wasn’t cutting quilting fabric. FLEECE is another story completely.  Fleece is Hard to cut with the rotary cutter, because it is much thicker.  You can only cut two layers at once.  In fact, it really doesn’t work very well to cut more than one layer at a time.  Therein lies the problem . . . I was trying to cut more than one layer and my blade was getting dull.  BE CAREFUL while cutting fleece.  It is a totally different “animal.”  It just doesn’t act as well with a rotary cutter as other fabrics.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to use the RC for cutting fleece because it’s about the only way you can cut a clean and straight edge.  Use that RC for fleece, but be warned . . . it can be hazardous to your fingers, use a fresh blade, and don’t force the issue.  Take it slow and easy.  Your fingers will be all the better for it.  BTW, it could have been much worse.  ALSO, I didn’t do it just to have something to write about!

    NOW, back to the subject at hand, Block of the Month.  To all of you who wrote comments last time about the printing on the block patterns, I am so sorry that you could not read the print very well.  I hope I can clear up the issues you had, and the questions about color.  Also, since many of you asked me questions about the printing and color, I did not get an accurate count of who is going to participate.  Please, if you plan to do the BOM tell me in the comments section, or by sending me an email directly.

    I’m sorry to say that due to a trip I made last week, I have not had time to make my blocks as promised.  However, I will get it done by next time.

    Let’s tackle the color issues first.  Someone asked what the darkest color is.  That color is a medium to dark blue, but not as dark as Navy blue.  The reds are any common-type red.  The light colors are off-white, a yellow and a gold.  There is a small bit of brown and some light blues.  None of the colors need to be exact.  You may even choose similar colors from your stash.  Or you may do it totally scrappy.  Your project will be fine if you choose colors that are just similar to those I have pictured.

    I have tried many ways of copying, and pasting the RC instructions printed on each block pattern.  Due to the programing of the Quilt Design Wizard, I can’t make a direct copy and paste of the patterns.  It’s a matter of printing, scanning, cutting and pasting.  I am trying my best to make the instructions clear.  I hope you all understand that a less than literate internet blogger is at a disadvantage when it comes to getting pictures on line.  Please, if the printing is still not clear, ask me specific questions and I will answer to the best of my ability.  Also, it may help to enlarge your screen view to 125%.

    You will see below the next block in LaRueSews BOM.  I am also adding the fabric requirements for the BOM, and the previous two blocks.  I hope it will be more clear and readable. The new block is the Flag block.  I have typed in the measurments below to make them easier to read.

    Patch A- Cut 2,  12 1/2" long, 2" wide

    Patch B- Cut 2, red and white   6 1/2" long,  1 1/2" wide

    Patch C- Cut 3, red and white  12 1/2" long, 1 1/2" wide

    Patch D- Cut 1,   6 1/2" long, 4 1/2" wide

    Fabric Requirements:


    Keep on quiltin’.  Have fun with this Block of the Month and don’t forget to keep me posted on your progress, by comments or by email.  Also, post any photos you like on the gallery.

    Reminder:  Please, if you plan to do the BOM tell me in the comments section, or by sending me an email directly.  So far these are the names I have: Sandra, mgarvey, nursie76, mabsy, Bonita, and Elizabeth.  These are the names I’m not sure of: sewchicago, 65708rjane, and Sue.

    Stitches to you,


    Refer to these blogs for further instructions:

    Your Wish Is My Command blog post

    Previous blogs, July 2008 to August 2009

  • LaRueSews-Your Wish Is My Command

    Hi Everyone.  It’s been a few weeks since I met you here at LaRueSews-Quilts.  I’ve taken a little time off to re-group, rest and plan.  Now as you asked, it’s time to announce the LaRueSews Block of the Month.  I will go along with the government and provide an acronym to go along with it, LSBOM.  That’s it LSBOM.  Does that make it sound more official?SmileWink

    This is how it will work: I have planned a Sampler quilt using the Quilt Design Wizard that I have talked about in the past.  I have chosen twelve blocks, added fabrics and made a materials list. 

    Beginning with this BLOG, I have changed from posting every two weeks, to posting every three weeks.  Each time, I will add a block, or maybe two blocks to your growing quilt.  I suggest that you buy your fabrics all at once, at first, to avoid missing out on some fabric that you love if it sells out at your shop.   I have chosen ten fabrics for my quilt.  You may choose similar fabrics, or you may choose another color scheme.  You may also combine some similar colors, such as the off-white fabrics.  Each block will be posted with rotary cutter directions and no further instructions.  You are on your own.  However, the Quilt Design Wizard is still available through Ann The Gran.  You may purchase it and find further instruction for each block in the LSBOM and much more QDW has instructions for each block with rotary cutter, and foundation instruction as well as much, much more.  QDW has excellent instruction for beginners and is a valuable tool in learning to quilt.  I will also be available through LaRueSews comments to answer any and all questions.  I encourage you to speak up.

    Quilt Design Wizard

    At any time, you may ask for help.  Each time you finish a block, I encourage you to post it in the ATG galleries.  At the end, after all twelve blocks have been posted I will provide instruction for adding borders, as well as finishing the quilt.  When you have all finished your quilt TOP, (no need to have it quilted), all the finished quilt tops will be posted on the galleries.  The members who have participated by making the entire quilt may vote for a winner.  The winner and runner-up will be awarded prizes in merchandise exchange from Ann the Gran. 
    I do, however, need all of you who decide to participate to let me know that you are doing the BOM so that I will have a list. You can tell me through the comments or my email address.  I want to keep track of all my quilters. ;o)

    This is a list of the fabrics you will need:


    The list shows the fabrics, the number of patches cut from each fabric, and the yardage for each.  The number of patches is the amount of patches, not the size.  It is a good idea to purchase a little more of each, just to be safe.

    I am giving you two blocks to begin with, because they are similar ,but the second one is slightly more challenging.  The 9-Patch block and the Double Four patch.  Rotary cutting directions are included.

    Block 1

    Block 2

    I hope you will enjoy this new project.  I will make these two block and post photos next time.  However, I am going to make it scrappy, because I have Soooo many fat quarters, I need to use some of them.

    Stitches to you,

  • A Challenge, A Surprise, and A Win

    Yesterday was a day of fun and prizes for the members of the Memory Makers Quilt Guild.  At the first meeting in 2009, I gave the members of my guild a Challenge.  The Challenge was to make a quilt that fit all the requirement sets out in the rules of the challenge.  The challenge was issued at the first meeting in January 2009.

    The rules:
    Make a monochrome quilt.  You may use three or more values of only one color. You may also use one other fabric that has additional color in it, or you may use only values of one color.

    Monochrome is the use of one color throughout the project.  It is one color in any or all of its values.  For instance, pure green through all values of green to total black. Or it can be a grayscale, all shades of gray, from pure white to total black.  This a grayscale value chart, but the same thing is true of any color.

    Many questions came up in the past six months.  “Have you started your challenge?”  “What did you say the challenge is?”  “How big is the quilt supposed to be?”  Little did I know that those were the easiest questions. The guild members had much harder questions that they did not ask because of their secrecy.   The members had many more questions, answerable only on the day the quilts were revealed.  Almost half the guild members decided to make a quilt, just to see if it met all the requirements.  Prizes and awards were promised.


    Just as the others, I had to figure out how to make a really fun quilt that would catch the judge’s eye.  I purchased the fabrics early, but because of other projects, trips and commitments, I didn’t start my quilt soon enough.  These photos show my blocks on a design wall while I arranged and tried different placements.  Maybe you can see the difference in the arrangement of the blocks.

    In the last two weeks, I have spent nearly all my waking moments, making my quilt and quilting it.  I didn’t have time to do hand quilting, so I did some machine quilting, which I seldom do.  While making my quilt, I had to plan the “Reveal,” and make it “almost a party.”  I spent three days making the award ribbons, making my quilt, and  answering more questions from those guild members who, like me, were still trying to finish.  Two other people helped me make awards, and gave me their opinions and planning ideas.

    The day had come, the refreshment treats were baked, the quilt was finished, the quilt label made and sewn on the back. I even had time to rest and read a book.  At the meeting, it seemed like everyone was just a little on edge.  It’s pretty special to see that there were nine people who cared to put many hours into a project for nothing more than the recognition of their quilting friends.  I felt anticipation the moment I arrived at our meeting place.   I also felt the anticipation of the other guild members who made quilts and those who did not.

    Our judge, a member of another guild, was wonderful, taking it as seriously as if it were a State Fair contest.    What fun!  Brenda had traveled more than an hour and a half, just to help us out as our Judge.


    The time arrived, the judging and the awards were given.  It was all a grand success.  NOISE!  There was lots of noise, laughter, and shouts of satisfaction, surprise and happiness.  It was a fun day.

    Because of space and the fact that I didn’t manage to get photos of all the quilts, here are some examples of the talent in this small guild.



    This quilt was named the “Most Likely To Be Copied.”

    There were eight prizes.  These are photos of a few, including the best label.  I am showing a photo of the winning label, because it was a big surprise and made us all laugh.

    Viewers Choice is another of the special awards because it is the award given by the votes of the Guild members for their favorite entry.

    This quilt was named the “Most Likely To Be Copied.”



    I was surprised beyond words.  My machine quilting leaves MUCH to be desired.  I was really upset at the results of my machine quilting, but the front of the quilt  was good enough to win the “Best of challenge and Best Use of Color” award.

    We all enjoyed the day and it was worth the effort for all of us.

    Stitches to you,


    One more thing, I said last time that I would start the Block of the Month this time.  However, I’ve been so busy, that I haven’t done the final plans for it.  I promise that it will come next time.

  • LaRueSews-Quilts,1/2-Square Triangles, Easy?

    This blog could be considered as an Anniversary Blog, since it has been a year and seven days since I posted my very first Blog.  I didn’t think it would last this long.  But thanks to all of you and your faithfulness, I’m still here.  Also, I’d like to give a lot of credit to Greg Nisbet, who encouraged and taught me and practically rewrote some of those first Blogs.  Let me tell you, it was a giant feat to get those first few Blogs on line last year, as I still had dial-up internet access, and it took four or five days to get that first one on line. (No kidding) I want you to know that this quilter/blogger has come a long way.  We installed satellite internet about six weeks into my efforts as a blogger, and it made a tremendous difference.  I would not have stayed with it more than a couple months if we had stayed with dial-up. Pat Snyder has also been a great friend and cheerleader for me.  She “holds me up” in this effort.  My husband was also a terrific help in those first few Blogs.  He was my proofreader, my formatter and my cheerleader.  Since then, he has tolerated me in talking about it all the time. If you haven’t been with LaRueSews-Quilts since the beginning, I encourage you to go back to the very first one and continue through them all.  This is the link:

    Now, let’s talk about half-square triangles.  Until about three weeks ago, I had almost completely sworn off triangles.  I didn’t like to do them, and didn’t care if I ever saw one again.  Then, my friend Bonita, and I went on a fabric expedition (shop hop).  We learned of a new quilt shop near Columbus, Georgia.  Being Fabriholics that we are, we HAD to check it out.  The name of this little shop is Sunday Best Quilt Shop, in Ellerslie GA.  It is owned by Teresa Singleton and Linda Camp.  Linda was in the shop the day we were there.  She showed us their method of making Half Square Triangles, which is IMHO the best method I have seen.  SBQ's Original Half-Square Triangle Stencil.  This method is so easy and accurate that I made 32 half-square triangles in about forty-five minutes.  (Linda says she can do it in fifteen minutes.)  This photo shows a template that makes 2 inch half-square triangles.  Directions are printed on the right side of the template.

    Triangle template 

    Here we go  . . . Choose two contrasting fabrics, visually, light and dark turn out best.  A fat quarter of each is more than enough for this method.  Press both fabrics and lay them, right sides together, on a cutting mat with the light fabric on top, wrong side up.  Lay SBQ's Original Half-Square Triangle stencil on top of the light fabric.  (Dark fabric first, next light fabric, then stencil).  On the stencil’s edge there are small holes, placed together at intervals, use these holes to pin the stencil to the fabrics.  Be sure all layers are laying flat and on the straight grain.  Photos here show how the stencil is laid out and pinned, as well as marking in process and a closeup of pinned and marked stencil.

    template layoutpinning and marking 1pinning and marking 2

    Using a water soluble marker, mark all lines on the stencil.  (Linda used Crayola Washable markers, in different colors, to show the different sewing and cutting lines) The lines are coded by the size of the marking spaces.  Check to see if all lines are marked.  I used only a blue marker.

    pinning and marking 3sewing
    Remove the pins from the stencil and re-pin the two layers of fabric.  Now it’s time to sew.  The stencil has instructions that show how to sew continuously on the lines as shown on the stencil, without stopping or cutting the threads on each section.  Now, you are more than half way there!  When you have sewn all the lines, turn it over and check the back.  You can see the stitching better on the dark fabric.   Go to the ironing board and press the fabrics to set the stitches.


    It’s rotary cutting time! (second photo above) Go to your cutting mat and carefully cut on the horizontal dashed lines.  Check to make sure that all the cut edges are still aligned.  Now cut on the vertical dashed lines.  Check your alignment again, making sure that everything is aligned. Now you can cut on the diagonal lines, in both directions.  THAT’S IT!  You have made 32 half-square triangles.  Now is the hard part, if you want to call it that.  It seems like it takes more time to press those little buggers than it did all the rest.  AND, don’t burn your fingers. 

    In this short amount of time, you have made 32 triangles half-square that can be used in any pattern that requires 2 inch half-square triangles.  The stencil also shows how to make only sixteen and eight triangles at a time.  I haven’t used my triangles yet.  I wanted to tell you about this Cool Tool before I had time to decide how to use it.  I’ll always try to let you know about really good methods and tools when I find them.

    triangles 1triangles 2

    These great stencils come in four sizes, from 1 to 2 ½ inches. The best part is that they are so accurate.

    If anyone lives near Ellersly, GA, take a little trip and visit the Sunday Best Quilt Shop.  Directions are on their web site.  OH! One more thing . . .They have other Quilting Stuff too!

    Get busy and make some Quilts this week!  Next time, I will begin a Block of the Month.  I will give you all a block to make, without instruction.  I will be counting on all of you to be able to Do It Yourself.  See you next time.

    Stitches to you


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