Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bias applique roundup (and giveaway winner!)

For my giveaway of The Appliqué Book, I asked entrants to share an aspect of appliqué they were interested in learning about. Several people mentioned bias appliqué, which has its own section in the book. We’ll get to the giveaway in a second, but I thought I’d show some of my projects using bias-tape appliqué to give you some ideas about how this versatile technique can be used.

Cordova table runner from my book, The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop
“La Fiesta” version of Grey Gardens
“La Costa” version of Grey Gardens
Cordova and my two Grey Gardens quilts use bias appliqué to make geometric patterns inspired by lowly concrete blocks. Deceptively easy to sew!

Helix table topper from The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop
Retro Ring Placemats from 50 Fat Quarter Makes
For these table linens, I played with intertwining the bias strips to make free-form shapes.

Woven Waves table runner
Then I went totally crazy with the weaving for this runner I designed for a webinar a while ago. If you missed the webinar during the Sewing Party, you can now download it from my website to learn how to design and construct your own woven bias runner.


The winner of a free copy of The Appliqué Book is commenter number 28, Jodi - usairdoll, who was interested in learning about reverse appliqué (as many of you were). Congratulations Jodi—I’ll be in touch shortly. Thanks to all who entered!

Craftsy sale

One last through Monday, March 28, Craftsy is offering 50% off all their classes! If you’re getting your feet wet with appliqué, you’ll learn to find the right technique for you in my class, Start Appliqué, on sale for $19.99. Or use my affiliate link to take your pick from a myriad of other classes in quilting, sewing, embroidery, and more!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Appliqué Book Blog Tour

I’ve been looking forward to The Appliqué Book for a long time, ever since author Casey York and I chatted all things appliqué over lunch at a quilt show we taught at a couple years ago. I’m honored to be included among the appliqué quilters profiled in the book, and delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour!

Casey’s previous book, Modern Appliqué Illusions, thoughtfully explores unconventional ways to use appliqué to build a sense of perspective into quilts. What I love about The Appliqué Book is that it shows there really is no such thing as “conventional” appliqué: instead, there’s an infinite variety of approaches. Rather than being forced into some one-size-fits all standard, the projects in this book show the individual methods used by the designer, making each project a kind of case study of what can be done with a particular working style.

“Felt and Linen Improv Coasters,” Betz White
The diversity of technique in appliqué is rivaled only by its plethora of aesthetic possibilities, and the designers featured each bring a unique eye to the book. I love the the free-form stitching and the mix of wool felt and linen in Betz White’s coasters, and equally love the strikingly geometric Sweet Pickles quilt by Latifah Saafir (those bias strips are fussy cut!). It’s especially impressive that there’s extensive instruction to go with the wide range of projects and techniques. I always encourage students in person and online and readers of my own appliqué book to explore lots of different ways of doing things, and The Appliqué Book offers just that.

“Sweet Pickles,” Latifah Saafir
If you’re looking for appliqué inspiration, order a copy of the book now (you can even get a signed copy from Casey). Or try your luck at winning one! To enter the giveaway for a copy of the book from C&T Publishing (hard copy to U.S. winners; e-book for others), leave a comment on this post telling an aspect of appliqué you’re interested in learning more about. Entries close at midnight, March 25 (Pacific Time); I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on March 26. Make sure your comment or profile has your e-mail address! Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to winner Jodi - usairdoll!

And for even more appliqué ideas, visit each of the blogs on the tour:

Mon. March 14:
Casey York |
C&T Publishing |

Tues. March 15:
Jenna Brand |
Adrianne Ove/Pink Chalk |

Wed. March 16:
Jenifer Dick |
Pati Fried |

Thurs. March 17:
Shannon Brinkley |
Bari J. |

Fri. March 18:
Debbie Grifka |
Beth Vassalo |

Mon. March 21:
Latifah Saafir |

Tues. March 22:
Lynn Harris |
Kevin Kosbab | ← you are here

Web. March 23:
Allison Rosen |
Cindy Lammon |

Thurs. March 24:
Rossie Hutchinson |
Generation Q |

Fri. March 25:
Betz White |
Casey York |

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

So what is Craftsy anyway?

Sometimes at my quilt guild we rattle off program names like block of the month, fat quarter drawings, and stash for cash work, forgetting that new members may not know how our programs work, or even what a fat quarter is. I’ve been talking about Craftsy a lot, and while you may be familiar with it if you read lots of craft blogs, you may not.

Here’s me on the set of my Craftsy class, Start Appliqué

Craftsy is essentially an online, video-oriented learning platform for all things creative. One of the big differences between a TV show or DVD is that there’s an interactive component to the classes: you can ask the instructor questions (and benefit from other students’ previous questions and the answers), share pictures of your work, and get inspired by other students’ work. Committing to answering students questions is part of what we instructors agree to when we sign on with Craftsy, so you won’t be asking into the wind.

I resisted taking online classes like this for a long time, since I tend to be a pretty conventional book learner. In high school, the AP classes I did best in were the ones with really solid textbooks, not ones where we watched films or did participatory group projects. So for learning quilting and craft techniques, my first port of call has usually been a book. But there are certain things that just don’t lend themselves that well to written description or static illustration.


When writing my appliqué book, I found it really difficult to describe how do needle-turn appliqué. I hope I did a decent job, but as I found when teaching in person, it’s much easier to show students how to hold the needle, how to manipulate the fabric, and how to place their stitches than it is to write it out. And in my Craftsy class, you get that visual, in-person guidance with the added benefit of close-up camera shots and the ability to back up and rewatch until you really understand something.

My first bullion knot attempts, using different threads

Bullion knots occurred to me recently as a good way to make feet for my pigeon quilts. I’d seen the stitch demonstrated before but never attempted it myself. Now that I was picking up needle and thread, I needed to see it again. I could have sifted through dozens of YouTube videos of varying quality, but I knew Craftsy would give me quality, high-definition instruction from the best-known bullion knotter I can think of, Sue Spargo. So I enrolled in her class, watched the bullion knot section several times, and set to stitching. My first few knots weren’t quite right, so I repeated the segment again and immediately knew what I’d been doing wrong. Seeing the stitches actually forming was just what even an old-school book learner like me needed.

One of Sue’s class samplers—bullion knots are only the beginning!

While Sue was demonstrating a bullion knot edging, she pointed out that sometimes your loops don’t form quite right and showed how to correct them. Craftsy calls moments like these “troubleshooting,” and that’s another area where their teaching model differs from DIY TV. Advertising-driven television doesn’t like to dwell on what might go wrong; it just wants you to be carefree and happy and immediately run out to buy stuff. Craftsy instead is selling the instruction itself, so they want you to be confident that you’ll be able to handle any bumps that could come along when you put that instruction to use on your own. When instructors make mistakes on set, they usually keep shooting as we work through it, because those are often the exact trouble spots our students run into. (Though when we realized that I shot a whole segment without the machine threaded, we did have to start over—yes, the thread was supposed to be invisible, but not nonexistant!)

Craftsy wants their students to be happy, and they want their instructors to be happy too. I’ve worked with several craft-oriented media production companies, and Craftsy stands out as one that goes out of their way to make the behind-the-scenes process smooth, smart, and fun for everybody involved. If we’re enthusiastic about our experience, it’s a lot easier to make students enthusiastic about the classes they take! The company also recognizes that we instructors tend to be running very small businesses around the creative pursuits we love, so they help us out by giving us the chance to share in the profits of our own classes and any others we promote. So if you enroll through one of my affiliate links to, say, Sue Spargo’s embroidery class, you’ll get a discount and I’ll get a little money too. And that helps me be able to create more things to share with you!

To spread the joy even further and celebrate National Craft Month, Craftsy’s currently offering the chance for one student to win $1,000 for the craft-based charity of the winner’s choice! Depending on the number of new students who sign up, the donation will be doubled, so if you’ve never taken a Craftsy class, this is a great time to try it out! Since Craftsy offers full refunds if you aren’t happy, you have nothing to lose, and spectacular new techniques to gain for your quilting and crafting. The National Craft Month offer only runs until March 13, so click here to try a class today!