Quilt Rule #7

Use Texture

This one is more of a tip than a rule.  Quilting fabric is wonderful, of course, but consider shaking things up and throw some textured fabrics into your next quilt.

This is a quilt that my sister Sara made for my daughter Sara, when she was born.  It is one of my very favorite things made by one of my very favorite people.  Although the design is simple and the fabrics are monochromatic, she added interest and movement to it by using textured fabrics.


Look at all the different textures she used.  In this closeup shot you can see waffle fabric, two different kinds of damask, crushed silk, linen and satin.  She didn’t stop there, she then added depth by sewing tiny cream rosettes into the corners of each square.  Then she went even further buy adding lace to the edge (see above) to make the perfect quilt for our baby girl.



The back of the quilt is one large piece of cream satin so it was soft and luxurious and just right for a baby’s sensitive skin.

Ever practical, Sara also made sure that all the these fabrics were washable, as babies are not always clean and tidy.  She knew if I used this quilt it would eventually need to be washed.  I did use it and I washed it again and again.  She chose well because, as you can see, it still looks brand new even though it is 13 years old.

So try using texture in a quilt.  I’d love to hear how it works for you.



Quilting rule #6


This is a simple tip but it is an important one.  After sewing a light and dark piece of fabric together, iron your seam toward the dark fabric. This will keep uneven, dark seams from peeking out through the lighter fabric.

See this cute table runner I made for Christmas a few years ago?


Well if you look closely you can see the red visible through the white fabric in several places on the quilt.  Boooooooo!




You may be thinking, “I’m not going to look at anything that closely.” But trust me, you can see it without being very close at all.  And it’s a bummer every time I notice it.

Iron toward the dark.

Friday Tip

Work on more than one project at a time.  

My friend Regina taught me to work on more than one project at a time.  She taught me that as it relates to knitting but it applies to any medium.

If you are like me you were raised to finish one project before starting another so it was a hard habit to break.   It is true that is take a little longer to finish but I’m so much happier.

Sometimes I’m stuck.  Sometimes I’m out of the fabric I need and don’t want to go to the store.  Sometimes I’m just bored.  Sometimes I need a break from a project even when it is something I love.  I love being able to put away a quilt and have some knitting or a small quilt waiting for some attention.

I usually have a quilt or two in the works as well as a knitting project.  Since I changed to this way of thinkingI get more done and am much more creative.

A few months back I was working on this hexagon quilt.  Cutting all the triangles was very time consuming, which I was prepared for, but as I pieced it together  it wasn’t working.  The centers didn’t connect the way they were supposed to, the strips didn’t fit together correctly either.  I was so frustrated!



I couldn’t even look at it any more.  I folded it up and sat down with this Noro scarf I’d been knitting.  It was perfect to get the quilt out of my head for a while, until I could face ordering more fabric and starting again.


What about you? Do like to finish a project before you start a new one or are you a multi-tasker?

Friday Tip #4

It’s Okay to Stop in the Middle of a Project

There are many reasons why projects stall in the middle; boredom, a change in circumstances, perhaps the fabric/pattern is disappointing.

For me, the most discouraging thing I face when quilting is when I’m almost done with a quilt top and I discover I’ve made a mistake.  A mistake that could easily have been bypassed had I been paying attention and that will require a lot of seam ripping and repeat work.  I just hate that.

Sometimes, I just can not bring myself to take it apart and start over nor can I bring myself to move forward with a big mistake and I am paralyzed.  I may or may not say a cuss word and then leave the whole thing in a pile on the floor next to my sewing machine and then I go look for some ice cream.

When I can finally bring myself to look at it again, without crying (or cussing), I gather it all up, put it in a plastic container or plastic gallon bag and stick it on a shelf.

I learned to put it away for a while and let myself move on to other projects.  When I get it out, at a later date and I can see it with fresh eyes.  I find that I can veer from from original plan or can face fixing any mistakes.  The bottom line is that I am much more likely to finish it.

This is a quilt I made for my little niece.  I bought the fabric, cut it, and sewed all the blocks but I just wouldn’t come together the way I had envisioned. I put it away.  Two moves, nine years and a niece and nephew later, I pulled it out and looked at it again and could consider many possibilities that I just could see before.  I took it apart, found complimentary fabrics, put the blocks together in a different way that I originally planned and now it is one of the quilts I’m most proud of.













So give yourself a break. Discipline has its place but creativity in any form, should feed your soul.  It shouldn’t be drudgery and it should never make you feel guilty.

What about you?  Do you have a trick that gets you motivated when you get stuck?