Improve Your Piecing with Starch

My collection of “starchy” sprays.

When I was a new quilter, I thought success was all about sewing.

I was wrong.

On the back of a Sherwin-Williams paint can I learned a valuable lesson many years ago. It said, “Preparation is the key to a satisfying project.” I think the same goes for quilting.

I do not usually pre-wash my fabric. (We will talk about that another day.) I now know that having REALLY flat fabric is the first step in making a quilt that goes together nicely. Since I keep my fabric in bins, it gets fold lines and wrinkles. The first thing I do when starting a quilt is to spray a pretty decent spritz of Quilter’s Moonshine on the piece of fabric and press it with a hot, dry iron. I used to use a lot of steam, but I kept getting rust spots on my fabric, so now I don’t add water to my iron. If the fabric is a real disaster, I might just soak it with a spray bottle of water that I keep at my ironing station and steam it well before I move to the Moonshine.

If the quilt is mostly strips or squares, I am good to go.

If there are going to be lots of bias cuts, I use spray starch on the fabric and iron it again. I am OK with pretty stiff fabric. It is much easier to sew.

Once the blocks are complete and I am giving the final press from the front, I will use starch or Best Press- depending on my mood. The other product pictured is new, but came highly recommended by a friend. . . I haven’t worked it into my system yet!

Want to try Quilter’s Moonshine? Here is a link to a recipe. I mixed mine a little stronger. . . Isn’t moonshine supposed to be strong?

I have a new opportunity!

I am so excited to announce that I have the opportunity to be a National Educator for HandiQuilter. I just love quilting and I am thrilled to be able to travel the country teaching people to love longarming as much as I do.

There are four other new field educators:

Karen Arnold of Ohio

Fiona Egan of Texas- but soon, Connecticut

Jeannine Grabowska of Arizona and

Chris Davidson of Florida. Learn more about her at MemoriesinStitches.com

We had some great training this week and today Johnny Barfuss did a Facebook Live video while we were practicing some free-motion quilting in Handi Quilter’s beautiful education studio.


Make a Quilt Block Apron

Kaye explains the nuts and bolts of putting together a quilt block apron.

I love being one of the designers for Quilt Block Mania, but I’m not always interested in making a quilt with all the blocks.  A few months ago I made a tutorial on how to make an easy pillow cover. PILLOW COVER TUTORIAL

This month I am sharing one of my favorite ideas for using a quilt block- an apron! And I even made a video to talk you through the process.

Apron made from an orphan quilt block.

I made this apron and it fits me well, but I am about a size 14 and I can get away with the 12″ width across my chest. I think it would also be fine if your chest was more ample, if ya know what I mean! If you are smaller, you might want to reduce the block size to 10″ or use a block that has white space on the outside so that you could trim it down a bit. Or you could use a few quilt blocks across the skirt part and just use fabric for the bib part. It’s up to you!

In addition to the quilt block, I used about 1 yard of main fabric and ¼ yard of a contrast fabric. I also used a piece of fusible fleece about 12” x 12”.

If you would like some written instructions for this pattern, as well as all my other freebies, please subscribe to my once-a-month newsletter.

Happy Bloom Block

I love spring and I love flowers! I was happy to get this theme assignment for the Quilt Block Mania, but I went through several ideas before I finally settled on this pattern. I wanted something that was accessible to a confident beginner and could be traditionally pieced. I think this block is a winner!

If you just want a block, this is an easy pattern to make with scraps because the largest squares are just 3.5″. This block looks great with solids, but can be super cute with all sorts of prints and scrappy color choices.

I think it is fun for you to see the color palette that was assigned as part of the Quilt Block Mania. Our fearless leader Carolina Moore has been choosing palettes from https://www.design-seeds.com/ which is the brain child of Jessica Colaluca. I love the palettes and I appreciate that they all are based on six colors because that seems much more accessible to us as quilters than the palettes that have 30 colors. Isn’t this gorgeous????

If you feel like your quilting has gotten stale or you just want to try something new, I strongly recommend that you head over to DesignSeeds and pick a palette. You can use solids or prints, but the palette may send you in an unexpected direction that works out really well.

Anyway. . . I hope that when you are gathering up your QBM blocks that you aren’t only thinking about making a quilt. These blocks can be used for all sorts of projects. A few months ago I showed you how to make a pillow cover with a block and in my March newsletter I will be sharing a pattern for making an apron using a quilt block as the focal point.

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Orchid Quilt Block by Carolina Moore
Rose Garden by Slice of Pi Quilts
Happy Flowers by Carolyn Burgess
Double Flower by Devoted Quilter
Faux Flowers by Blockofthemodotcom
Mod Tulip
Enchanting Echinacea
Rosebud Wreath at Patti’s Patchwork
Flower Power – Cotton Street Commons
Dottie’s Garden by Heidi Pridemore
Poppies by Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Pretty Posies at Perkins Dry Goods
Mittens Smells the Roses at Puppy Girl Designs
Wildflowers by Studio R Quilts
Sweetheart Rose by QuiltFabrication
Flower Patch at Orange Blossom Quilt Design Studio
Scattered Petals by Snowy Days Quilting
Scrappy Tulip by Katie Mae Quilts
Happy Bloom Block by Oh Kaye Quilting
Buzz along
Everything’s Coming Up Roses by Inquiring Quilter
Spring Posies by Blue Bear Quilts
Four Roses
Pieceful Crocus Focus
Improv Bloom by Love to Color My World
Sue’s Field of Flowers by The Quilted Diary