Sweet Tea Fabric Party at Mill House

Sweet Tea Fabric Party at Mill House

I just wanted to share with you a recent event I attended.  A few days ago my quilting friend and I took a short road trip over to Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, WI,  for their special event featuring KariAnne Wood called “Sweet Tea Fabric Designing & Home Décor Party”.

KariAnne Wood designs fabric for Hoffman Fabrics and writes a very successful decorating & lifestyle blog:   Thistlewood Farms.  She’s been featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, Country Living, Country Woman, HGTV Magazine to name a just a few.  And her work has been featured on several TV programs, such as “Tiny House Nation”.

And the event featured her newest line of Hoffman fabric called “Sweet Tea”in two different colorways … Here’s a link:  KariAnne Wood, Designer


I expected to learn something about her new line (which we did), and maybe a thing or two about the process of how she designs her fabrics (which we also did).  But what I didn’t expect was to be delightfully entertained and literally “in stitches” laughing for over an hour.  She was wonderful.

KariAnne not only showed us all of her newest fabrics, but had on display dozens of ideas of ways in which to use her fabrics–not just in our quilts, but also in our homes.  She talked about aprons, napkins, tablecloths, chair covers, pillows…the list of ideas went on and on.

At the end of her lecture, we were each treated to a sweet charm pack of her fabrics including a spool of thread and an embroidery scissors!  So sweet!  Thank you KariAnne!


So if you’re lucky enough to have KariAnne come to your area, be sure to go on a road trip to see her.  You’ll thoroughly enjoy her!

I only wish I had taken more photos of the beautiful sample items she had on display to share with you.  If you’re interested, you can check out some more photos on Mill House Quilts FACEBOOK PAGE HERE.  (see their mid-October posts).

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

Painting on Fabric Quilts

Painting on Fabric Quilts

I treated myself to a box of Derwent Intense 24 Ink Pencils earlier this year, and an online class from IQuilt entitled “Artistic Painted Applique”.  The instructor, Linda Poole, showed us how to first create a pallet of color to familiarize ourselves with the variety of ink pencils in the pack.

After Ironing some freezer paper onto the back of a piece of white cotton, I drew some circles and filled each in with a different color of the Inktense Ink Pencils.


Adding textile medium brings the pencils to life…


They react like watercolor or paint on the fabric.


Next I backed a piece of stabilizer to the back of my fabric & sketched a bird I’d seen at our feeder earlier this year.


Then it was just a matter of coloring and adding the textile medium to blend it all together.


The color is beyond the sketch lines because I needed to that cut it out and fold over the edges to applique.

I usually start with an overall idea of what I want to do…many times from a photograph I’ve taken.  But this time I worked “backwards”—having to come up with a background scene to place my little bird on.  It took me awhile to figure out what that would be.  The bird seemed to want to perch itself on a branch of some sort.  I was lucky enough to find a beautiful batik in my stash that worked perfectly for a background.


I drew in some lines where fabric “branches” would be fused, and cut various sizes of leaves out of a multicolor orange batik for the leaves.  Next came the free-hand overall quilting to accentuate the veins of the leaves and down each branch.  I decided on overall “pebble” quilting for the background around the bird and some branches/leaves.


I also quilted other free-hand stitches, including outlining the bird (and his feet)…


and a feather stitch on the top portion, and swirls/meandering on the bottom.


After trimming, I added folded triangles to each corner to make it easy to mount on the wall with a simple thin wooden dowel and one nail or hook.


And I “framed” it with a black binding.



The Red Breasted Grosbeak I saw earlier in the spring hasn’t come back, but this quilted art wall hanging will be a permanent reminder of his beauty!  Hope you enjoyed watching the process!


Until next time,



Mulberry Patch Quilts

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Have you ever made a “One Block Wonder”?  You put 6 layers of the same fabric on top of each other lining up the patterns exactly, and then cut them into triangles and sew each group of 6 triangles together into a hexagon.  It’s so much fun.

I’ve discovered a wonderful internet site with a free tool to help you in your design process:  You can find it here:


Once you’re at the site, you’ll see this screen under the tab “design helper”.


Just upload a photo of your fabric by pressing “Choose image” and finding it on your computer…


Then press “MAKE HEXIES”, and this is what you’ll see!


The software magically changes the fabric into what the OBW quilt might be!  It’s set at the usual 3.75 inch triangle size and 40” wide fabric, but you can change those parameters if you need to.

I gave it a try with a fabric I recently made into a OBW lap size quilt. Here’s the fabric:


After uploading the jpeg, I pressed “make hexies” and this is what appeared…isn’t it fun?

OBWblog5     OBWblog6

The first screen shot is random, but the second screen shot was made when I pressed “by color”.  Then press “snapshot” to get a jpeg that you can save to your computer (right click).

I realized that the photo showed less than 40″ of my fabric, so I tried changing the parameters to about the size of the fabric on the photograph.  Let’s see if it changed the outcome:


To compare the program’s outcome to my actual fabric quilt, here’s the OBW lap quilt on the design wall in my sewing studio…


And here’s the same OBW quilt after it was quilted and finished:


Not exactly as the program’s projection, but not far off.  I had an inkling the fabric would work when I bought it, but if I had used the program it would have confirmed it worked.

In some ways the program spoils the surprise you get when cutting the fabric up into triangles and sewing them back together, which is half the fun.  But at the same time I think it helps you decide before you buy if the fabric will work.  …And when you need to buy several yards of the fabric (quite an expense), you want to be sure it will work.

Here are some more examples showing some fabrics I have on hand, and how the program says they might look as OBWs.  The original jpeg of the fabric is in the upper left-hand size (note they’ve shown where the cuts will be for triangles), and the lower section shows the triangles sewn together and how they might look when sewn together…

KaffeFassettLotusLeaf  KonaBay LAV1-09  199STrendtexFabr

The first is a Kaffe Fassett Lotus Leaf, the second is a Kona Bay fabric, and the third is a fabric by TrendTex that I’ve had for ages and didn’t think would work at all.  It actually looks  pretty good.

I’m not sure about the width of fabric and the photo.  For example, if the fabric is 40″wide, but the photo only shows 20″ of it, should I  change the parameters to 20″ instead of 40″? I’m not, but one thing do know –it’s a lot of fun to play with.  And it’s a great tool for getting some idea how the fabric will or won’t work.

For example, here’s a fabric I KNOW won’t work well –it’s too much of the same colors, doesn’t have enough movement, and the print is too small.  The photo I took was of 20”, so I changed the width of fabric in the website program to 20”.

Let’s see what the program does with it…


YUP, as you can see–although it’s pretty,  it doesn’t work.  It’s too much the same.

So why not take a moment to give the new website tool a try?  Take a photo of your fabric, and play.  Or if you don’t have a photo, go to their “Menu” tab where they have some sample fabrics to try.  Have fun…

Until next time,



Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Last Challenge for 2016 #PQ7

Project Quilting Last Challenge for 2016 #PQ7

#PQ7 There’s one last challenge this year for Kim Lapacek’s PROJECT QUILTING (2016).  My goal this winter was to make a quilt or quilted item for each challenge.  And I’ve just made it!

When I heard the challenge was “A Goose in the Monkey Wrench”, I immediately thought about creating my own version of a large “Monkey Wrench” block  by inserting “Flying Geese” into and maybe around it.  I opened up my Electric Quilt (EQ7) and found the “Monkey Wrench” block, then inserted Flying Geese around the structure of the block.  It needed more, so I played around with adding flying geese in the  border, turning and twisting them until I found an interesting pattern.


This is what I came up with (above) after several trials and quite  few different colorings.  I’ve always wanted to do flying geese in gradated colors….now’s my chance.


EQ7 allows me to print my drawing as a paper piecing pattern so I can print it on my favorite foundations—Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper.  After gathering some of my batiks and hand dyed fabrics in the colors I needed, I started paper piecing the center of the mini art quilt


What I love about paper piecing is the precise points.  I could never do that with regular cutting and piecing.  Some people can…but not me.


Here’s what it looked like after the center was finished and I started on the “flying geese” border—yikes, there’s a lot of little pieces!  Looks overwhelming.


The only thing I don’t like about paper piecing is peeling all the little bits of paper off the back of the quilt top after it’s sewn together…but a good movie, and it goes quickly.


Here (above) is the mini art quilt–quilted, bound, and finished.  It’s now for sale in my Etsy Shop here.


I like the curves that were created by the flying geese around the border—reminds me of ribbons.


I chose to do a simple stitch by the ditch (not “in the ditch”) quilting.


Here’s the finished quilt (above), and the EQ7 rendition (below).    PQ EQ7

The colors are different, but it did turn out very much like my EQ7 rendition.

So the Challenge is finished for this year.  I want to send a special “thank you” to Kim Lapacek (and her mother) for all the hard work to make PROJECT QUILTING a reality.

I hope you’ll stop by Kim’s “Persimons Dream” website to vote for your favorite entries.  The voting begins at noon Sunday, March 20 and ends March 25.

I got the chance to talk with Kim at the Sun Prairie Quilt Show just a few weeks ago–she’s so much fun (that’s her on the right).  Catch her website to find out more about the quilts shown in the background.


UPDATE:  The voting has ended and mine came in at second place (out of 32 entries).  Thanks so much for your votes!  It was a lot of fun.  Looking forward to next year!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING,



Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge 5: Through the Eyes of a Child

Project Quilting Challenge 5: Through the Eyes of a Child

We’re in Challenge 5 of PROJECT QUILTING (Season 7)…”Through the Eyes of a Child”.

I remember when my boys were little and we’d go hunting for bugs.  Off we’d go with a butterfly net and a magnifying glass to find as many different bugs (and other critters) as we could.  It always amazed them to see the small world open up with the magnifying glass.  So I created this baby quilt “Under the Magnifying Glass” for the contest this week.


First I found this wonderful turquoise fabric in my stash that features bugs, frogs, salamanders, dragonflies, and turtles and a lot more.  To make it look as if the magnifying glass was actually zooming in on one section of the fabric, I enlarged it on my copier by 300% and traced a pattern.


I transferred the pieces of the master pattern onto Steam-a-Seam-2, making sure to turn the pattern backwards before I traced it onto the fusible so it would turn out the right way around in the end.


The magnifying glass was black fabric cut with a circle template—the handle was eyeballed and cut out.  By  using a lighter background within the circle I thought it made it stand out more.  Everything was fused in place with the heat of my iron.


Adding the batting & backing, I machine stitched the pieces in place.


And added a few hand stitches to accent the bugs, butterfly, and put a happy face on the turtle.


The 3D butterfly was made by fusing fabric to both sides of the Steam-a-Seam-2, pinking the edges, and stitching it in place with a little tuck.


And here’s the finished quilt…with the polka dot borders it turned out 30 x 34 inches.


It’s machine washable, or could be used as a wall hanging in a child’s room, and is for sale in my Etsy Shop.


I tried the “flange binding” — it adds a very thin faux piping accent and is so easy to do—it’s super easy to machine stitch into place.


I hope you’ll come by the Persimon Dreams blog by Kim Lapacek to vote for your favorites.  You get to vote for 5 items (hope mine’s one of them), starting this SUNDAY (MARCH 6) and runs through March 11, 2016).

UPDATE:  The voting is over, and my entry was #7 out of 38 entries.  Although I didn’t win, everyone was a “winner” since we all won a pdf of a new messenger bag pattern from StudioCherie!  Thank you so much Cherie!  AND on top of that, my name was picked for a prize from Persimon Dreams — a beautiful charm pack by MODA called Simply Colorful II.


Thanks so much Kim!

Oh, did I mention I got to talk with Kim at last week’s Sun Prairie Quilt Show?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge: Vacation

Project Quilting Challenge: Vacation

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is “I NEED A VACATION”.  My favorite vacations are traveling to a beautiful spot, finding a cabin or home to rent, and relax by the lake, river, or ocean and just take in the beautiful view.  We might do some day trips in the area, like hiking or going out for lunch, but always coming back to the serenity and beauty of the surroundings of the spot we’ve rented.

I found a photograph I had taken this past summer when we ventured up to one of our favorite spots near Bayfield, Wisconsin.  A short walk from the back of our cottage is a rocky private beach with a spectacular view of Lake Superior, with Bass Island and the rest of the Apostle Islands, in the background…it was breathtaking!  I loved walking down to that spot with a cup of coffee every morning to take it all in.  So when I heard “I need a vacation” as the theme, this is where I’d want to be.

My first step in creating the scene was to find fabrics that had the same feel as the photograph (and my memory of it), and cut a piece of batting and backing to the size I wanted to serve as the backdrop “canvas”.


Then I cut and positioned the background and shoreline onto the batting.  I had just purchased something new—a Fons&Porter glue pen.  It worked great to keep everything in place.  I found it a lot less messy than the regular glue stick.


Bit by bit, auditioning fabrics–some that didn’t work, and others that did, I continued adding to the scene.


I thought the trees and bushes needed a bit more depth, so I got out my soft pastels and went to work, shading the foliage…


And adding some depth to the water and rocks…


I’m glad I purchased the set (on sale).  I used a blending stick to blend it in.


The sailboat is small in the distance, so I decided to create it by thread painting…


After quilting, I wanted to add a border…so I auditioned several different fabrics and came down to three possibilities…

I didn’t care for the dark blue-grey, it seemed too dark and gloomy.


The blue batik was interesting, but the black piping was too harsh…


I felt the brown brought out the color of the rocks, so I went with that…


Here the borders have been added…along with more batting and backing.


And here’s the finished art quilt…


With a close up of the water…


and the thread painted sailboat in the distance.



I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey, and that you’ll stop by Persimon Dreams website PROJECT QUILTING and vote for your favorite quilts!



The voting begins February 21 and runs through February 26 (2016).

UPDATE:  The voting has closed.  I came in #3 of 39 entries–no prize, but no bad!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

MPQ Tuesday Tips: Tame the Rocky Ruler

MPQ Tuesday Tips: Tame the Rocky Ruler

Usually I don’t have a problem with my rulers “rocking” while I’m cutting fabric.  But, it’s different when I’m trimming half square triangles—or blocks with seams.


I’ve added thin plastic discs to most of my rulers, but I didn’t have a chance to add them to my new Olfa 4-1/2” frosted square ruler.  While trimming (squaring up) my tiny 2 inch half-square triangles, I noticed  that because of the “hump” in the middle made by the seam (from corner to corner), my ruler would teeter-totter and make my cutting accuracy challenging.

What do to?  I don’t have any more of the plastic disks.  So…I found a post-in note pad in my sewing drawer…PERFECT!


I tore off 3 or 4 pages and cut a strip along the top (the part with the sticky underneath)—and cut it into thirds…


And “stuck” each to the bottom of my ruler on the three corners farthest from the 0″ mark.


It “leveled out the playing field” and now my ruler doesn’t rock!  If you give it a try, you might need a few pages more or less–it’s easy to add or subtract pages if you need to.


So now I’m on a roll…without rocking!    And I can easily take them off when I’m done.

I’m sure painter’s tape would work as well, but the post-it’s were in my sewing room, and there’s no sticky residue after I take them off.

Hope you enjoyed this “TUESDAY TIPS”…

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!


Mulberry Patch Quilts