Archive for the ‘Fun stuff’ Category

The last bits of fleece make an easy peasy hat!

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

So I decided to use up the very last bits of my buffalo check fleece.  I began with 4 3/4 yards of the 58-60″ wide cloth.  The second photo shows the last bits!   These hats are SO FAST to make…including figuring out the best sewing sequence it took less than an hour for the first one.  If you wanted to make a half dozen, you could do that in an afternoon–quick and easy winter gifts!

How many selfies do you need to take to eliminate many chins or no chin? LOL! I love my soft hat!

This is all that is left of 4.75 YARDS of fabric….that is 10,260 square inches. Under 200 left! I even made some tassles/trim out of the selvages!

This hat will be a free pattern soon–not sure yet if it will be here or at Shannon’s site, but you can make one of these in well under an hour from scraps.  Truly, I used maybe 10×25 for the white part, 5 x 25 for the bottom, and a bit more for the tassles/dangly bits.   I just sewed two tubes to fit my head, one of the white print, one of the buffalo plaid.  The white print is here at

Because the fleece is thick, and because I wanted the soft part next to my forehead, I didn’t use a typical garment seam. Instead, I overlapped the two fabrics, wrong sides together, and sewed them with a serpentine stitch. I did this twice, on either side, so I would catch both edges of the overlap. My finger is pulling the two pieces apart so you can see the overlap.

I then turned the plaid to the outside and brought it up above the seam that joins the top of the hat to the “cuff.”  I pinned the fabric at both edges so that I kept the amount of black that shows at the bottom even all the way around.  As I mentioned in my earlier posts about the throw and the jacket, the inside of Cuddle is slippery, so pin well. Because the fabric does not ravel, I didn’t need to turn under the upper edge of the plaid cuff.  I used the serpentine stitch to it down.

Finally, I made some dangly bits using the trimmed off selvages (they were about 1″ wide plus lengthwise grain of course):  fold in half wrong sides together and use serpentine stitch.  Cut to length, insert two, each folded in half, at either end of the seam at the top of the hat, and sew the final seam.  Because of the bulk from the dangly bits, I found it far easier to sew from the center to the ends, lock off the stitch and repeat for the other side.

Two hats…I mean I used up EVERY LAST BIT of scraps! One hat for me, one to send to Shannon for them to use as they wish!  Talk about a quick and easy Christmas gift!


THANK YOU Shannon Fabrics for this wonderful fabric and an October full of fun, fast and easy fleece projects.   I look forward to making more…I’ve got some Christmas gifts already made which I can’t share due to friends looking at my blog, and another big length of fleece to use on a snuggle quilt for winter!

Call me a Shannon Cuddle fan!

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

A heavenly combination: my studio, my Janome 9400 and Shannon Fabrics cuddle fabric–I’m ready for winter!  This fabric is so soft you just want to pet it, snuggle under it, and not give it away as a gift!

Last May, Janome America had its first ever Janome Education Summit, and one of the presenters was Shannon Fabrics.  From the kit they provided, I made the lovely summery top in this blogpost.  But they also shared samples of their fabrics, including these two.  True confession:  I have this Elmer Fudd-esque love affair with red and black buffalo check.  When I got home from the Janome event, I searched for the cuddle buffalo check on the internet wanting to buy multiple yards of it it but couldn’t find it anywhere, so contacted the presenter from Shannon Fabrics, who told me it wasn’t available until summer for the new fall season.  I ordered some other Shannon Cuddle and Luxe Fur from (still waiting to make that up, stay tuned in December).  Mid summer I still couldn’t find it, so I wrote to her again, and she SENT ME a big box to make not one but TWO projects.   This throw is SO fast and easy and it would make an awesome holiday gift. Literally, I made it in a short afternoon!

Me by the fireplace, wrapped in my jumbo throw. This is big enough for two people on a sofa. Or one person a cat and a pug in a chair. Ahem (photo below).

 Here’s what and how:

The two fabrics pictured are available at here/minky buffalo check and here/Studio minky forest park, both in the scarlet color way.  It is also available in a blue version, and there is a lovely silvery gray and white buffalo check too.  I used two yards of each, but had a little of the print leftover–gonna make a hat out of that!  You’ll also need some thread–color doesn’t really matter as it disappears into the pile, but I did use red. If I had found the Shannon free pattern and video (keep reading) I would have ordered 2 1/3 yards of the check since you need a little extra to wrap.  Instead, I trimmed down my white print to work.

A blogpost with lots of pictures is better. Here is the throw on the love seat / reading zone in my basement studio. You can see how large it is!

TIPS and HINTS for working with Cuddle, Minky and Luxe Fur:

  1.  The BEST tip for minimizing lint came from Ellen of Shannon Fabrics in May:  you know you when you cut Minky and similar fabrics you end up with little bits of fluff EVERYwhere forever?  Not any more!   First, especially with the long fur-like fabrics (in my upcoming December project), cut your fleece from the back cutting only through the knit backing.  This minimizes the snipped bits of fluff.  You can also do as I did with the regular pile cuddle (what I used here) and use a rotary cutter.  Then scoop up ALL the pieces (including leftovers if you keep them for small projects later), perhaps into a basket or large plastic bag, and take them to your DRYER.  Yes, the clothes dryer.  Tumble on no-heat for about ten minutes, then CLEAN THE LINT FILTER. About 80+ percent of that fluff will end up in the lint filter and not all over your sewing space and house.  OMG it really worked!
  2. There is no stretch on the lengthwise grain.  At all.  If you make a garment (my next project) make sure you keep grainline in mind when fitting the garment.
  3. The fabric DOES NOT RAVEL.  At ALL.  That means you don’t have to turn under edges!!!!!!  That means these projects are FAST!
  4. Stitch length:  The fleece will hide your stitches.  That means it will be challenging if you decide you need to remove any of the stitches, so pin carefully to avoid ripping out!   Also, it is good to use a slightly longer stitch length.  I used a 3.0.
  5. Best stitch for seams on knits: For garments, using a zigzag or “lightning” zigzag will at a 1.0 width will look like a straight stitch seam from the outside, but adds a little bit of flexibility and therefore helps avoid popping stitches in the seam.

Shannon Fabrics has many free patterns available.  I used this one for my throw, a youTube video called Cuddle Self-Binding Blanket from Shannon and  I hadn’t found this video when I requested my fabric.  If I had, I would have ordered 2 1/3 yard of the buffalo check and 2 yards of the forest park print and had a slightly larger (better!) throw.  WATCH the video before you order fabric…it is only 7 minutes long and will help you.

I used a serpentine stitch on my Janome 9400, an “S” shaped stitch to sew down the edges. You could also use a blanket stitch or a 3-step zigzag (the one that takes three stitches in one direction, then three stitches the other way).  I mean, you can’t even SEE the stitches.

Here’s what the serpentine stitch looks like from the back. I used red thread and you can’t even SEE the red on the black square!

I have been a Janome Fan-Girl for 15+years now.  I am now a Shannon Fan-Girl too! I’m finishing up a winter jacket with more of the buffalo check and a cream cuddle fleece lining, and will share something else that will be a gift for Christmas–perhaps in late November which is plenty of time for you to whip up a few of them in time for holiday giving.  Or keeping.  Ahem!

This is what I expect to look like most evenings in winter: in my chair in the living room, me and pug under the throw, cat checking things out, ready to make a dent in my pile of reading!

And because it is boring, this photo is last, but it shows the throw out flat.

THANK YOU SHANNON FABRICS for this fabric which I was totally prepared to order!   I have purchased more of their fabrics own my own and know I will be using it again.  If they ever make their “Spa” line in some bold colors (not pastel, not purple) I am so gonna make a bathrobe… the meantime, I have more snuggle quilts and gifts to make to keep me plenty busy.  And as always, Thank You Janome America for making the best machines EVER!

laid out flat on my studio floor (cement painted green!)…big, warm, SOFT. And did I mention, SOFT!


An app to practice color with your camera (on your phone!)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

My Quilting Arts Article, August-September 2018, on using your camera–in the case of this article, the one on my PHONE…nothing fancy!

Hi everyone!   The answer is yes, people ARE reading my article in Quilting Arts.  The even better news is that a few have contacted me because they had trouble finding the Pantone app (both Apple and Android).  Luckily I have been able to help; UPDATE:  I added some “how to” at the end of this post with step by step instructions on saving/exporting the palette. I use the PANTONE Studio app, which looks like this (purple is the color of the year, it was a different color last year):

PANTONE Studio app as it displays on my phone — I use just the “Images” function. My app was free, but there are in-app purchases that I haven’t tried.

Apparently in the time between writing the article and the publication date of the issue, the color selection app from Pantone has changed/changed how it pops up in the App Store.   Sigh.   So here’s what I know as of July 22nd, 2018:
PANTONE Studio is the app that is on my iPhone, and it definitely still works. There are in-app purchase options, but I only use the Images part of it to play around.  For iPhone users, if using just “Pantone” in the search box doesn’t bring it up, try “PANTONE Studio.”  That worked on my phone and for one inquirer.  She said:

“Thank you for responding, I was getting no appropriate listing on either my iPad or iPhone. Once you sent the correct title, I did a Google search and was able to download the app through their web site. I am anxious to try it. Interestingly, doing a “Pantone” search in the App Store today still doesn’t list Pantone Studio on either device. I don’t know why this is happening here, but you may want to just tuck that info away if any of your students are having a similar problem.  Thank you, Marsha”

Thank you! Marsha–you’re just helped a bunch of people by asking and sharing that info!
Another inquirer yesterday was having issues finding the app for her Android device.  After sharing the above with her, she wrote:
Found it in Google Play (Android). It’s called myPantone but is not published by Pantone itself. It does cost $7.99 and you have to download another app Color True (free) but I am having so much fun. Thanks.
Update September 16:  Found it in the Apple App store under PANTONE Studio:

Screen shot from my phone on 9/16/18 showing the app available.

Picking colors on the app: you get to move the dots around to generate a palette. It is fun to watch the colors change, and how the phone “averages” the pixels under the dot to create a color.  And yes, this was done months ago when I was writing the article.

Once you have selected the colors, you can generate a palette and then export it to your photos album/folder.

The bottom line:  I expect there are various “color picker” apps out there.  Try what you can find–you don’t necessarily need to have exact Pantone colors with color codes for the purpose here.

MOST IMPORTANT:  trust your eye!   You will learn and grasp color more quickly than you realize.  When in doubt, go with what your eye and instinct/gut tell you.  The artwork you produce is YOUR artwork, not that of the app designers.  And HAVE FUN!

UPDATE:  Thanks to an inquiry from Janice N., I’m adding this info:

Question:  Downloaded the app. Am I correct that there is no way to access photos from the phone and no way to save the photo with the color analysis.

Answer: Yes, you can access your own photos and then you can export it to your photo album.  Open the app.  Click on images.  Up at the very top, in the white bar, if you tap that it will give you a drop-down menu.  Mine says “Recently Added,” but I can click that and it allows me to choose from FB, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., All  Photos, Favorites, etc.  Just tap whatever one you want, and then choose a photo from that.

Once you have selected your colors/moved the dots around, there is an export icon at the top…looks like a box with an arrow pointing up.  Tap that.  A new menu appears.  You can save it as a Palette or Share.  A window then appears that says “Select Item to Share.”  Click the circle/dot (in my case in the lower right).  Then click Share on the bottom.  An iOS menu pops up that allows you to save it to iCloud Photo Sharing, Save the images, Save to Files, AirDrop to your computer or whatever.  Tap whichever one you want and presto!   I share my PicStitch collages to Instagram often (more on that app in a few days). 

HTH…if not clear, ask again.  I may add this to the blogpost…is your question and my reply ok to share with you?






Me on video with Terry Mingee–Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #6

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Hold on to your seats…it’s me on video! At the Education Summit in late May, the Janome Marketing department paired up the participants, then had us ask each other some questions.   They’ve just today posted those videos.  Apart from the fact that it was late in the day so Terry Mingee, whom I have met a few times before at International Quilt Festival in Houston, and I were fairy tired and relaxed and therefore didn’t sit up straight…the videos are a total hoot.  Here’s mine with Terry…I am now Sarah the Time-Turner (after a brief detour as Sarah the Ripper).  I knew we were doing OK when the Marketing staff were all laughing quietly as this went on…it was so much fun!

Here’s the link to all the videos on Janome’s YouTube web page; the interview between Kimberley Einmo, the US Janome-America spokesperson, and Tamara Kate Serrao, the Janome Canada spokesperson, is great.

Thermofax 101: Lyric Kinard’s new DVD Workshop

Friday, May 15th, 2015
Don't know that I've ever seen #1 come up before! Well done!

Don’t know that I’ve ever seen #1 come up before! Well done!

Update:  comments are now closed.  I used a random number generator and astonishingly, No. 1 came up!  So I will be contacting Susan to let her know.  Lyric will send the DVD out directly, as will I.

Well, you aren’t going to want to watch this once–you’ll want to watch it several times, at least!   I can’t believe how much Lyric has managed to pack into about 65 minutes of instruction on her new video workshop Thermofax 101:  screen printing made easy, from Lyric Art Publishing.  You can order it here, .  OR you can enter the giveaway–for both this DVD and my own Art Quilt Design: From Photo to Threadwork (here).  Read to the end to find out how.

Thermofax 101, Lyric Kinard's new DVD workshop, is totally worth getting.  I can't believe how much she packed in.  Plus, how can anyone not want to spend time with someone with enthusiam and a cute smile?

Thermofax 101, Lyric Kinard’s new DVD workshop, is totally worth getting. I can’t believe how much she packed in. Plus, how can anyone not want to spend time with someone with enthusiam and a cute smile?

I was thrilled when Lyric asked if I would like to be part of her bloghop.  Not only do I have fun running into her at various fun places like teaching at quilt shows around the country, in Houston, at Quilting Arts TV taping in Ohio, and admire her art (made while being an uber-busy mom) and teaching, I’m also getting more and more into my own surface design.  I tend to use surface design differently than many—-for most who are really “in” to it, the cloth is the end product.  For me, it is something that goes into my artwork as a supporting player, not the star of the show.  So I was curious to see the “hows” and how what she teaches would fit in with my somewhat different approach.   The answer is it’s a fabulous DVD!

I watched the video as soon as I got home from about 3 weeks of being on the road, and learned a lot on the first run-through.  But I was pretty obliterated by all that travel, so I figured I’d better watch it again:  my goodness gracious but there are more and more gems salted in throughout.

There are four segments:

1.  What’s a Thermofax, which tells you just that, explains how the machine works and how you prepare the screen for use, including advantages and disadvantages of both ways.

2.  Creating Imagery:  the key here is to play.  Only YOU can figure out what makes you happy, what makes you itch to get to the studio and create.  The best way to do that is to mess around.   And then Lyric gives you about a bazillion ideas.  For those really itching to get deep into how to create your imagery, this section may be frustratingly brief.  Honestly, that’s because you could have 100 hours of video, from 33 different instructors, and you’d barely scratch the surface (ahem….pun intended).

3.  Printing Techniques.  For the FIRST TIME I’ve seen someone explain WHY you want canvas/cloth on the top of a print surface, not plastic.  Makes total sense—-why has no one in all the books I have on printing EVER explained that simple, logical (once you’ve heard the explanation) fact?  It’s at about 21:20 in the video.  And I recommend chocolate pudding, re-purpose the dishwasher detergent.  You’ll get it if you see the video LOL!  Lyric also shows how to hold your squeegee (as well as explaining what kind of squeegee or stand-in object) to get the best print, including demo-ing to you can see from various angles.  Helpful!

Lyric talks about the kind of paint you want, and mentions her favorites, but wasn’t fond of Speedball or Versatex.  I agree on the Speedball, but quite like the Versatex.  To Lyric, she doesn’t care for the hand of the cloth.  However, I have liked it on the small pieces I have done.  It’s one of those “try it all (before buying a bunch of any one product) and see what you prefer” things!


For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne's Lace stencil and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!

For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne’s Lace thermofax screen and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!  You can buy  Sarah’s Thermofax Screens at Fiber on a Whim at Fiber on a Whim.  To read more about my “nest” please see this blogpost.

4.  Designing Cloth.  Throughout the DVD Lyric salts in bits of wisdom about various elements and principles (E&P) of design.  I was SO clueless when I began art quilting.  I then got lucky and took a class at a local community college/extension service while living in Friday Harbor.  Since then I’ve looked hard at things, studied them, to internalize the “E&P” of design.  As you work with them, you get better so you don’t need to look so hard, but Lyric brings them up in an integrated manner that will help you have better results, sooner.  And she shares a tip I discovered the long way around:  if you have a yucky piece of cloth, or don’t like what you did, just add more layers.  After all, is it going to get worse?  No.  And it might well get better.

You also get a PDF on the disc with

  • a list of supplies,
  • where to get screens made in the US, Canada, Australia, England and Germany
  • info on suppliers of machines, screens, frames, textile paints and surface design supplies
  • footnotes for each chapter with internet links
  • plus Lyric has some helpful free tutorials on her website that will supplement the information on the DVD

I wish I had had this video when I started out.  Some videos about printing are Graduate Student level, and overwhelm you.  Some are so basic you could have gleaned all the good stuff from a four-page (with lots of large photos) article.   Lyric’s is correctly titled Thermofax 101 (so Lyric, will you do a 301 or 401 for us too?); it’s aimed at the newbie.  But those of us who have been doing this a bit can still learn plenty.  So I’m going to go play, then in a month or two view my copy again.

To win a copy of this DVD AND a copy of MY DVD,

my video workshop that takes you from your photo to a finished art quilt

my video workshop that takes you from your photo to a finished art quilt

leave a comment by 7 a.m. May 21st East Coast Time.  I’ll use a random number generator and whoever left that comment (please keep it to one comment per person, please) will win both copies.  Lyric will mail hers out directly, as will I.  International entries are OK!

Check out the other reviews on this bloghop:


May 14   Deborah Boschert
May 13   Jamie Fingal  
May 12   Desiree Habicht

May 11   Susan Brubaker Knapp
May 9    kathy york
May 8    Carol Sloan

May 7    Liz Kettle
May 6    Jane Davila
May 4    Linda Stokes

May 2    Judy Coates Perez
May 1    Susan Price & Elizabeth Gibson
April 30  Judy Gula

April 28   Sue Bleiweiss
April 27   Melanie Testa
April 25   Leslie Tucker Jennison
April 24   Cheryl Rezendez