New EU VAT Regulations

Less than a week until Christmas, and I have no handmade project pictures for you! I am working on gifties, but several recipients read this blog, so most are going to be shown in the new year.

Much of my time this past week has not been spent sewing, unfortunately.  Through blogging friends I learned about some imminent changes in European Union tax laws that even effect American designers. These laws place several new responsibilities on me as a seller, which include assessing the exact location of the buyer, storing personal information about each customer for ten years, and making sure that taxes assessed get to the correct country.

Until I understand these responsibilities fully, I have to suspend all digital sales to EU customers. At this time, my only means of preventing those sales is to block ALL non-US transactions on my Craftsy platform.

If you don’t live in the US, and would like to purchase one of my Craftsy patterns, they will only be available for purchase until December 27 (and of course, if you’ve bought one already, it will always be available to you!) 

I sincerely hope to find a way through this situation soon, and that I can go back to offering digital international sales.  That’s the whole reason I went digital in the first place!

In the meantime, I wish you a weekend of fun sewing, and time with friends!  I’m planning to baste a quilt (or three!), sew microwave cozies (my own tutorial coming soon!), and get our home decorated for Christmas!

Happy Stitching!


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Progress on the Hexagon and Fence Post Quilt

Welcome to month eleven of the Japanese Quilting Study Group!  You can read all the posts in this series here.

Last month, I showed pictures of my new taupe project, Yoko Saito’s Hexagon and Fence Post Quilt from her book My Quilting Life.

I’m not quite making my goal of sewing five flowers each day, but I am relishing the time I get to spend on this quilt.  The muted colors are soothing, and the hand-stitching is a welcome break from the busy-ness of Christmas preparations.

Yesterday I wanted to see how all the colors would look together, so I put the 50+ flowers and smattering of rail fence blocks up on the design wall.








Loving it!  Once I get more of the blocks done, I’ll start shopping for fabric for the middle solid border.  It’s a brown print in the original quilt.  I may go with something like that, but I’m also really tempted to look for a deep teal taupe.

Here’s some close-up pictures of the flowers and rail fence blocks.

flower close-up one






So much holiday sewing to do, and yet I keep gravitating back to these fun blocks. . . .

flowers 2






rail fence blocks







Next month, I’ll share a bit more about how I’m making the hexie flowers, and some tools that have really helped to make the sewing process more efficient.

Happy Stitching!



Posted in Japanese Quilting | 4 Comments

Midarm Quilting Machine Comparison

Have you ever heard of a midarm quilting machine?  It’s a hybrid between a domestic sewing machine and a longarm quilting machine.  These seem to be growing in popularity, and the variety of machines available is staggering.

Here’s a little overview of what I’ve learned about midarms so far.  First, you typically sit down to quilt on a mid-arm (just like a home sewing machine).  Depending on the manufacturer, the machine is either oriented to the side of the needle (also like a home machine), or behind the needle (which sits you in front, just like on a longarm). You move the quilt around a table, and need to baste the quilt before starting to quilt. (Unlike longarms, where you move the machine, and the quilt is set up on a frame without basting first.)

Midarm quilting machines have two bobbin options.  The first is an L-size bobbin, same as a domestic machine, and apparently better suited to detail work.  The second is an M-size bobbin, which holds three times more thread than the L-size (and is commonly found on longarm machines).  Because of the larger size, M-size bobbins tend to have varying tension depending upon the amount of thread left on the bobbin as you sew.  One of the COOLEST things I’ve learned about midarm machines is that the bobbin holder is UNDER the table.  That means you don’t have to take your quilt off the table and lose your place to change a bobbin.  (If I had the money, I’d buy a midarm for that alone!)








At Quilt Market, I tried out four different midarms.  The first was the Gammill Charm.  This is the priciest of the midarms on my list (around $8-$10,000) , but it was a beautiful, quiet machine.  Sewing on it was very intuitive, as it’s set up just like a domestic machine.  The Charm comes in two sizes, 18″ or 22″ of throat space.  It also has a ton of features, like a mounted tablet, an attached laser pointer, and stitch regulation.








The second machine I tried was the APQS George.  No bells and frills, 20″ of throat space, and very easy to use.  It retails for about $6,500.  I really, really liked the simplicity of this machine, and every review I’ve read about it online has glowed.  It seems like the only reason people get rid of their George is to upgrade to a full-fledged longarm. When you purchase a George, you have the option to configure it for L or M sized bobbins.

I did stop by the HandiQuilter booth and sat at a Sweet Sixteen for a few minutes, but I didn’t get to really experience the machine. This one has 16″ of throat space (thus the name).  The friendly salesman was trying to explain to me why I should go for a longarm instead. Having the machine perpendicular to the traditional domestic set-up was a little disorienting to me, as was the stitch regulator. This machine has M-sized bobbins.






Finally, I tried out the Pfaff Powerquilter 16.0.  This one is also perpendicular like the HQ, ad has 16″ throat space.  What I really liked about this set-up was that the table was completely adjustable.  As in, I test drove it standing up!  And it was surprisingly comfortable.  I really liked the idea of being able to vary your position easily when quilting for days on end. The Powerquilter uses M-size bobbins.

Neither the Handiquilter nor the Powerquilter list prices on their website, and the salespeople weren’t very forthcoming on prices either, but I think they each run somewhere around $5,000.

Now that I’ve tried a couple of machines, and learned a TON, I want to go back and try out all four again.  I’ve decided I’m not crazy about the stitch regulators.  After free-motion quilting on my home machine for years, I’ve learned to “quilt by ear”, and I vary my hand speed based on the sound of the motor speed.  So the machines with the stitch regulation kind of rev up unpredictably, and that threw me off when I was trying to sew on them. I’m sure I could get used to that with a lot of practice, but it seems simpler to skip the stitch regulation (especially since it costs about $1000 extra!)

I’m also trying to get more information on the Martelli Bella Sedere, and the Innova sitdown machine.  So I’ll definitely be keeping you posted as I learn more about the incredibly diverse world of midarms.

How about you?  Do you quilt on a midarm? Longarm?  Or are you shaking your head at the pure insanity of spending a small fortune on a sewing machine?

Happy Stitching!



Posted in Midarm Quilting Machines | 10 Comments

Two Gift Ideas for the Quilters on Your List

How are we approaching the holiday season already?  Seems like just yesterday was the first day of fall. . . Anyway, if your Black Friday plans include shopping, I wanted to share with you two fun new titles from That Patchwork Place that might be perfect for quilty friends.  (Disclaimer:  Martingale provided me with digital review copies of these books.  All opinions expressed below are my own.  All images in this post are courtesy of Martingale.)









First up, A Flair for Fabric, compiled by Linda Lum DeBono (one of my all-time favorite designers).  This book incorporates projects from fifteen Henry Glass fabric designers, with a huge assortment of styles and techniques.  You’ll find applique, piecing, quilts, a sewing caddy, a pillow and an aromatherapy bag.  Some of the projects have a modern feel, others are very traditional.  What sets this book apart, however, is the page that comes after most of the project instructions.  The designers explain ways to use the leftover fabrics (from a coordinated line), with other fabrics in your stash to create a new look.  The tips are so insightful, I found myself skipping to each of these pages to try and absorb all the information at once.  They even covered topics like blending traditional small prints (think Civil War reproduction fabrics) with batiks!  It looks gorgeous in the book, I’m going to have to try out their tips on my own stash before I’ll completely believe that possibility. All of the designers featured in this book donated their work so that the book’s royalties could go straight to the Red Cross and victims of Hurricane Sandy.

3rds B1255_Flair_for_Fabric_CC.indd








I think the tips alone make this book a good addition to a quilting reference library, but I’m also planning to make the cute quilting caddy!










Secondly, I’d like to share Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners by Molly Hanson with you.  If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know I’ve reviewed a LOT of beginning quilting books.  No matter how many of them I read, I always learn something new.  This one is no exception.  If this is your first free-motion book, you’ll find all the traditional basics, like tension, supplies, correct posture, and basic designs.  However, quilters of all skill levels will find something new in the project section.  Instead of saying “practice this technique on a scrap quilt sandwich”, she turns each practice piece into something functional- a make-up bag, a small tote, a zipper pouch.  So even if your first ventures into free-motion quilting aren’t perfect, you can still practice on pretty fabric and create something useful. I typically keep several practice pieces by my machine to “warm-up” on before I start an actual quilt.  Being able to turn those pieces into something I can use around the house is like a two-for-one deal!

Final B1278 Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners.indd






I hope your Thanksgiving is full of blessings and some good time to sew.  I’m looking forward to visiting with family and stitching a whole box full of hexies!


Posted in Book Reviews | 2 Comments

Japanese Quilting Study Group – Starting a Yoko Saito Quilt

Welcome to month 10 of the Japanese Quilting Study Group! You can see all posts in this series here

Last month, as I wrapped up the Soda purse, I started wondering which Yoko Saito project I should start now.  A few weeks later, an absolutely delightful opportunity landed in my lap.  Teresa Wong, who guest-posted on this series in September, was looking to borrow a couple of quilts made by American quilters using patterns from Japanese quilters. Oh, count me in!!!!  I’ve been looking for an excuse to make Yoko Saito’s exquisite Hexagon and Fence Post quilt for quite some time, and this is it!

I promptly bought the book for the pattern, Yoko Saito’s Past and Present: My Quilting Life, published by QuiltMania. (As a little side note, did you know you can now buy QuiltMania books from Paper Pieces?  Awesome!) This book is incredibly beautiful.  Flawless photographs, and each page of the pattern incorporates an element from the quilts into the borders and layout of the pages.  It’s stunning.

hexagon and fence post quilt from Yoko Saito






Then I did the math. The quilt in that picture is barely 24 inches square!! Oh, dear.  This is not good for a trunk show! I’m going to increase the hexagon and rectangle patches by 150%, and add in a couple of extra rows of each for good measure. I  hope that will maintain the wow-factor of the little patches, while still being large enough to display to a group.

I have a new Yoko Saito book to explore, a fun quilt project to make, life is good!  Then Teresa turned “good” into “WOWSERS”.  Look at this selection of luscious taupes she sent me to use in the quilt:

taupes from Teresa






Did you ever read the Little House on the Prairie series?  They’re some of my favorites.  In one of the books, the family receives a huge gift barrel after a long hard winter.  One of the items in the barrel is a box of beautiful threads that Ma gives to Laura to use in her embroidery.  She is so stunned by the generosity and beauty of the gift that she just stares at all the gorgeous colors.  That’s how this amazing assortment of fabrics makes me feel.

Lots of the pieces are similarly sized.  So I traced out the shapes for the rail fence blocks and the hexies for one flower, just to see if I could get one of each block out of each piece. They fit PERFECTLY!!

taupe with template






I have a goal to sew five flowers each day.  I’ll be done with the hexies by Christmas at that rate.  You can see the first batch I made below, and today’s flowers on top of the book page (above).

taupe hexagons!






Happy Camper! I’ll be posting a lot more about this quilt in the next couple of months.  If you’re working on a taupe project, or Yoko Saito pattern, please send pictures.  I’d love to feature your project on the blog.

Happy Stitching!



Posted in Japanese Quilting | 6 Comments

Penrose Tile Quilt Progress

All the odd moments of waiting in the car for kids are starting to add up.  Here’s a little progress picture of my penrose tile quilt, which I originally blogged about here.

Penrose Progress






Happy Stitching!


Posted in Penrose Tile Quilt | 2 Comments

Follow Me on Bloglovin’

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’ve been using Bloglovin for the blogs I read since Google Reader went away.  But it wasn’t until my good friend Teresa mentioned putting the widget on the blog that I realized people could sign up with a single click! When I find blogs I want to follow, I go into my feed, edit blogs I follow, search for the new one I want to add, then follow.  This is SO much easier!!

Happy dance!

So, if you’d like to follow me on bloglovin, now you can just click the link above, or the button to the right.


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Microwave Bowl Cozies

A couple of weeks ago, Quiltmaker posted about “microwave bowl cozies” on their blog.  I pinned the idea, and promptly forgot about it.  Last week, I was at my LQS, Quilt Among Friends, and they had several cute cozies on display. It occurred to me that they would make great sale items for our upcoming American Heritage Girls craft sale fundraiser.

snowflake cozy







So I promptly bought some Warm and Tator batting, came home, googled Cozy tutorials, and started sewing (and now I can’t find the exact tutorial I used.  But google pulls up lots of similar tutorials, some on blogs and some on youtube, so you should be able to find one that works well!) EDITED 12/14/14:  I finally found the tutorial I used.  Enjoy!

Christmas cozy







As a super added bonus, I used up a good bit of Christmas fabric.  Each of these uses two 10″ fabric squares- so they’d be awesome for leftover layer cake squares too.

side view






Aren’t these adorable?!?  And in case you’re wondering, if you use all cotton materials, these are microwave safe.  At my husband’s request, I did stick one in the microwave with a bowl of water.  I heated it on high until boiling, and then pulled it out.  Didn’t burn my fingers!!

I do recommend a walking foot on your sewing machine to make these.  You’re quilting through a LOT of layers by the time you get to the topstitching around the edge.  Of course, I didn’t realize until I was stitching the last one together that I could hold the dart seam allowances open with clover wonder clips to reduce bulk.

binding clips on darts







I bought two yards of batting, and had exactly enough for the seven cozies you see here.

a whole stack of cozies









Now I’m off to the quilt store to get more batting to make some for my family!!

Happy Stitching!


Posted in projects | 2 Comments

Peppermints and Snowflakes- “Elsa” Color Version

A couple of weeks ago, I showed a new pattern on the blog, Peppermints and Snowflakes. While I love this as a Christmas quilt, I was curious to see how the quilt would look in other color palettes.

Here’s my “rough draft” of the quilt, made while I was working out all the pattern details.

Peppermints and Snowflakes gray









My girls love this quilt, and think it looks like Elsa’s castle from the movie Frozen.

PS whole








I love the way it looks so different from the Christmas version.  I machine quilted it myself, and decided to follow Don Linn’s advice and stitch in the ditch around the diamonds with my free-motion foot. It really made those little purple and cream diamonds pop!  I filled in the negative space between the stars with lots of curves, mimicking a pattern I saw once on pinterest. I think it came out pretty well.







I’m thrilled to have another quilt off of my to-do list!  What color combination would you use in Peppermints and Snowflakes?

Happy Stitching!







Posted in projects | 5 Comments

Japanese Quilting Study Group- A Yoko Saito Purse Finish!

Welcome to month 9 of the Japanese Quilting Study Group! You can see all posts in this series here

What a momentous occasion.  I have finally finished my Soda handbag.  If you’re new to this series, the pattern for this bag is featured in Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory, and I’ve blogged about progress on my version throughout the year.

Soda handbag







Isn’t it cute? The front is hand pieced and hand quilted.  The sides, back and handles are machine quilted.  Besides learning about taupe color combinations, I learned how to face a bag, sew encased metal snaps and a clever way to encase the raw ends of the handles.  All from a pattern that fit- no joke- on a single page of the book. And there are 36 other projects in this book.  Some with zippers, some with curved edges, all sorts of techniques to learn.

Soda handbag gusset







Now that this purse is finished, my mind is moving on to new project possibilities.  I’m thinking of starting the hexagon bag from Yoko Saito’s Japanese Quilting Piece by Piece.  I’m also thinking about purchasing her Bags for Everyday Use book.  At market last week, I saw the CUTEST bag in the Stitch publications booth.  It was from this book, and incorporated Rose Star blocks that would fit in the palm of your hand.  (If you’re not familiar with the rose star block, most people make it with kites that measure 3″ through the center, so the completed block typically measures 17″ through the center.)

How about you?  Have you made a project of Yoko Saito’s yet?  If so, I’d love to feature it in one of my final posts for this year’s Japanese Quilting Study Group.  Next year, I’m planning to feature several other prominent Japanese quilters in this blog series, but I suspect more Yoko Saito books and projects will be covered as well!

Happy Stitching!


Posted in Japanese Quilting | 6 Comments