The Joyful Stitcher Winners

Life has been really busy since I got back from Quilt Market, so I am still playing catch-up.  On my to-do list is getting this blog post done so I can announce the winners of the Joyful Stitcher books.  I did three posts previewing the book and randomly selected a winner from each one.  The 3 winners are:

Tina McNamara


Shauna Scholes

Please email your shipping info to and I will get them shipped out right away.


Thanks to everyone who participated and encouraged me with your nice comments!  I noticed that people seemed to have a lot of questions about the wool, so next I am going to work on some blog posts about those questions.  If you have any more for me, please leave them in the comments.  If you didn’t win a book and would like to purchase one, click here.


I’m considering doing a summer stitch along with one of the projects from this book.  Is anyone interested in joining me?    If you need a handwork project for the summer and you are interested in learning my techniques, this would be the perfect opportunity.  I will show a picture of each design again below, then just comment on which design you are interested in (or just general techniques?)


In Bloom


Gypsy Star


Boho Charm


Mandala Quilt


Mandala Runner



Fall Wall Quilt


The Pillows


The Christmas Runner or Pillows


The Spring Topper


You can also view lots more photos and close-ups by viewing my 3 previous posts.

I am currently without a handwork project and feel rather lost – so I am looking forward to starting a new one!  I plan to hit the beach with the boys and my handwork.  Bring on summer!!  Do you think these two need any supervision, or can I just stitch away all summer?








Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Pattern of the Week, Quilt Along, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Joyful Stitcher – Part 3

I leave for Quilt Market tomorrow and I really wanted to get this post done before I left.  It’s almost midnight and I just finished my last two quilts, got them quilted and the binding sewn on.  I’m mostly packed and wondering what I’ve all forgotten.  As I was going over my check list tonight, I realized that I forgot to pick up my order forms at the printer.  It’s kind of hard to take orders if you have no order forms, so that’s kind of important!  Tomorrow morning I have a school field trip with my older son, and then it’s off to the airport.

With all that preparation, I really wanted to get the last post of the new book previews up before I left.  Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2, in case you missed it.

Up first, is the back cover of the book.  If you’ve been a blog follower for a while, you know I love making Christmas quilts, so I had to include a few holiday things in the book.


I have always loved Christmas tree ornaments, so they were my inspiration for this runner.

Here are a few close-ups of the details –



All the edges don’t need to be stitched down – I just did a back-stitch down the middle of some of the shapes.  It’s quicker and much easier around shapes like the snowflake below.


The Joy Pillow –


And another look at the runner, Joy pillow and the snowflake pillow.


Speaking of pillows, there are a few more in the book –


The fall pillow uses some of the shapes from the Fall Colors wall quilt That I snowed in my first post.


You can see a lot more details of the stitching on this fall applique shapes in that first post by clicking here.



The little leaf pillow is a great way to use up all those little wool scraps that are too precious or cute to throw out.  I noticed as I was making all the larger quilts from the book, I ended up with quite a few scraps – which I saved and have enough to make several of these pillows.


Just a chain stitch and running stitch are required to make this –


Here’s a close-up of the last pillow.  The flower uses a folded edge technique that gives the petals added dimension and character.


In fact, I had so much fun making that flower that I decided to make a topper that also used the design.




That’s it for the preview of the new book.  You can comment on each of the preview posts to be entered to win a copy of the book.  I will select a winner from each post when I get back from market.   If you are interested in a copy of the book, you can ask at your local quilt shop or click here to go to our online store.

If any of you are going to be at market this weekend, please stop by my booth and see the quilts in person.  My booth number is 2910.  You can also come by my schoolhouse sessions on Thursday afternoon to learn more about the new book and my latest fabric line, Big Splash.  My personal schoolhouse is at 2:55 in room #264  and my Henry Glass schoolhouse is at 2:15 in room #264.

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The Joyful Stitcher – Part 2

Today I’m going to continue with my preview of my newest book, “The Joyful Stitcher”.  (To see part 1 of the preview, click here.)  I will share 4 more projects from the book today and in Part 3, I will share the last 7 projects.

Before I start, I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented on Part 1 of the preview!  Everyone had lots of questions about the projects and working with wool, so after I finish within preview,  I will do a blog post answering all of those questions.  You will just have to be patient with me, as it is crunch time for Spring Quilt Market, and I am scrambling to get my booth ready.  I am excited to answer all of those questions, as soon as all that prep is done.


First up is Mandala.   I love the symmetry and repeating patterns that you see in all the Mandala designs on Pinterest, etc.  For this one, I off set two of the designs so that the quilt has a balanced asymmetry that makes it more interesting.  The quilt is worked in 4 sections so the applique can be stitched in smaller sections that are easier to handle as you do the hand stitching.


My idea for this one started out with the thought of using a low-volume print background.  I have never bought low -volume prints (or so I thought), but I was thinking about all the cream prints that I usually kick out of the Charm Packs that I am so fond of.  After going through my 5″ charm square bin, I collected quite a few cream prints, then I cut a few more from my stash. Turns out I had enough 5″ squares to make 2 of these quilts!


If you look closely, you will again see that I mixed in some cotton with my wool – see the large blue and yellow circle.  In this case, it helps to reduce the bulk that can occur When layering pieces of wool.


As I said in my last post, I love how the wool puffs up with the quilting.  I used a wool batting in this one and it has wonderful weight and dimension.



I enjoyed making this design so much, that I also added a runner option.  If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you know I love runners!  I use them in lots of places around my house and I currently have this one hanging in my hallway.


For this one, I mixed in a few simple embroidery stitches that I didn’t do in some of the bigger projects in the book.


It doesn’t take much time to do on a smaller project like this, but it adds so much more interest.


On this one, I wanted to mention that I did use some blanket stitch.  In Part 1 of the preview I talked about mainly using a whip stitch because it is much faster and much easier to get even.  In this case, I wanted to use a blanket stitch in a contrasting thread around the large circles.  Because I was using contrasting thread I wanted a stitch line around the outside edge of the circle and with a whip stitch, this would be missing.


Next up is Boho Charm.  I have been loving all the Bohemian style things I have been seeing lately – with their eclectic mix of colors and prints.  This quilt represents that style, but with some large blocks of grey background so your eye has a place to rest.


I want to show some close-ups of the details on the applique.  As you can see, I used some reverse applique with some cotton behind the wool.  I think this helps add more interest to the wool with the added print and color.





This quilt only has 4 small blocks to applique, so it is a good one to start with if you want to give this technique a try.  In addition to the applique, I also love the scrappy binding.


Lastly, I had a little fun using some of the designs from this quilt to make a hoop.  Have you noticed how popular hoops ae lately?  They are everywhere!  I painted mine blue to cover up the boring wood color that they come with.  This is an 18″ hoop – so it’s pretty large.  Combined with the wool and bright colors, it adds a fun pop to your wall.


Again, I will be giving away a copy of the book to anyone who leaves a comment (one from each blog post in the preview).  So, let me know if you have any more questions about the wool or which design you like best.

If you are interested in purchasing the book, check at your local quilt shop or click here to order online from us.

Posted in Machine Quilting, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 60 Comments

The Joyful Stitcher

Today I get to introduce my latest book called “The Joyful Stitcher”.

It’s different from what I have been doing lately, but when you’ve been in the industry for 20 years like I have, it’s time to shake things up a bit!   I am continually thinking of what I am going to create next that I haven’t already done.  Turns out it was something I never thought I would be doing – wool applique by hand.  And I enjoyed every minute of it!


Here is the intro from my book, which tells you a little bit more about my inspiration –

As I finish this book, my two little boys are 2 and 4. They are at such fun ages and I don’t want to miss any of these moments with them. I find myself wanting to spend less time at the sewing machine so I can be with them. But, do I want to quilt less? No!!! I just need projects that are more portable. This need has caused me to rediscover my love of handwork. I didn’t realize, that with my desire to make as many quilts as possible, as quickly as possible, I had gotten away from such an essential part of quilting – the therapeutic side that comes from relaxing and hand-stitching.

Years ago, I started a hand-stitching group and every month we get together to do handwork, talk, laugh, eat dessert, and have fun. Seventeen years later, we still meet every month and I always look forward to this night of friends and stitching. One member of our group (That’s you Sandy!) is always working on beautiful wool projects and she has inspired me to incorporate wool into these designs. Wool is so easy to work with and looks amazing with just a few simple stitches to hold it in place. It makes for a great portable project to tote to the park with the boys, out on the pontoon, or to our monthly stitching meetings. Through the creative process of doing this book, I have learned to value this slow stitching to create unique quilts that can’t be achieved at the machine with squares and triangles. This whole process of rediscovery has been good for my soul and has made me – The Joyful Stitcher.


I could go on and on about how happy these projects have made me.  I have always loved wool, but have stayed away because I mostly saw dark primitive colors, and I am currently all about bright and colorful.  I also love fabric and beautiful prints, and the patterns that I have seen for wool have mostly been penny mats.  These projects have made a way for me to combine wool with the fabrics prints that I love so much.  The project on the cover is a good example of this –

It’s called In Bloom.  It uses 3 1/2″ squares of cotton prints and the background fabric is Kauffman’s yarn dyed Essex linen in graphite.  The wools are a combination of wool felt and felted wool.


If you look closer at my applique, you will see that I have combined cotton with the wool, for added dimension and interest.


The next project that I want to share is called Gypsy Star.  It measures 55.5″ x 55.5″.


I may go a little overboard sharing photos of this one.  It shows off so many of my favorite things – colorful fabrics, diamonds, stars, wool, texture, a ribbon border and machine quilting.


I love how the weight of the wool causes it to puff out after the quilting.  I have had several people asked me if I layered extra batting behind the applique, but I didn’t.  It’s just the combination of adding wool applique to a quilt that is quilted, rather than a wool penny mat type project.  The wool has so much more life and dimension this way!


And these fabrics – they add so much life to the blocks.  Most of these prints are from Anna Maria Horner.  They are from assorted collections that I mixed together.  The first runner that I showed also uses these fabrics.  I bought some fat quarters and had enough to make quite a few quilts.


The two photos below show the mix of simple stitches that I used and how I combined the cotton and wool together for the applique.




The next one up is called Fall Colors.  Size – 24″ x 24″

More close-ups of the stitching.  I mainly used a whip stitch (not a blanket stitch) and a back stitch.  There are also a few French knots and for the black lettering and stems, I used a chain stitch.  I have tried to do a stem stitch for this, as I know that is quite popular with the embroidery crowd, but I found it way too difficult.  I learned the chain stitch in first or second grade and have found it to be much easier.

I mentioned that I used a whip stitch instead of a blanket stitch.  I find a blanket stitch much more time-consuming, much harder to get even and I don’t like that it curls around points and curved edges (unless you do extra tacking stitches).  Doing a whip stitch instead cures all those problems.  I have more photos coming in my next posts where I will talk/show more about this.  Trust me – you will hardly see the difference, but it’s so much more fun to do.

And don’t you love the variegated thread?  You can really see it on the green stems above, where I did a slanting whip stitch.  The thread is Sue Spargo’s Eleganza (click here to see it)

For this one, I wanted a small wall hanging that I can hang by my back door or in my upstairs hallway in the fall.  I also have a pillow option for this one, which I will show in another post.


That’s it for now, so I hope you will stop back to see the rest of the projects.  I am going to break the preview up into 3 posts, because I have so many photos and things to say.  That way the posts won’t be so long and take forever to load!   You can also go to my online store (click here) to see more photos or order the book.  It is available to ship now, so it will also be showing up at your local quilt shop.  There are 14 projects in the book and it retails for $23.  There are 16 pages of full color instruction, which includes lots of photos of the stitching and projects.  There are also 2 large pattern pulls out with full size applique shapes.

So I’m curious to see how you all feel about wool?  I have shown the projects at a couple of events so far and I’ve had several people say that they weren’t interested in wool until they saw these projects and how I used the wool in a different way.  I thought that was interesting, because I kind of felt that way too!  Of coarse you can use cotton for the applique too, if you aren’t interested in wool.  So please leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts on wool too.  All comments will be entered into a drawing to win a free Joyful Stitcher book.  Thanks!

Posted in Fabric Trends, Machine Quilting, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 75 Comments

Designer Spotlight

I’m just popping in quick to share with you an interview that I did with Henry Glass last week.  Every so often they do a “Designer Spotlight” and you get to learn more about their designers.  It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my personal information here and I have a lot of new followers, so I wanted to share this with you.  You can click here to view the article.

In the meantime, I am working on some blog posts to share with you on my new book that will be out for Spring Market.  Here are a few more sneak peeks:



Posted in Fabric Trends, Family, Quilting | Tagged | 7 Comments

Big Splash

Today I get to share a new fabric line that I painted up last summer.  It’s called Big Splash and is available through Henry Glass.  It will be in stores in November, but the sales reps are currently showing it to shops for pre order.

The line was inspired by my two little boys and their love of ocean creatures.   We have spent a lot of time reading books about ocean creatures and watching shows with lots of underwater camera shots of pretty creatures.   I can’t wait until they are old enough to go snorkeling and see some of the creatures themselves!


I chose a few of their favorite creatures to make up the main print for the line.  We then put a few of those creatures into a panel and added some coordinating prints.  The photo below shows the entire collection.


The cut squares and rectangles in the right of the photo are part of the patch style panel that you see in the lower corner.  (Panels are very popular with HG’s customers, so they always include one with each line.)  The photo also shows a close up of the “No Pinching” crab print. I knew a print like this had to be part of this line.  About 8 years ago my nephew Gavin wore a shirt to our 4th of July party with a cute little crab on it with the phrase “No Pinching” above it.  Of course my husband got him going by pretending to pinch him and chase him, while saying “No Pinching”.   We now have that hand-me down shirt for our boys and we still play “No Pinching.”


This photo shows a close-up of the submarine print that I included in the line – because when you are a little boy, submarines are super cool 🙂


And a close up of the main ocean print.  These pieces are strike offs, not the final yardage, so there will be some changes made.   Right now the narwhal doesn’t show up,  the crabs look burgundy not red, etc.


I designed a quilt for the free project sheet that represents how I would use the line – including the panel, chevron (borders and binding) and main print.  It will eventually be available for download on Henry Glass’s website.


I also used the chevron to make a few blocks from my Starstruck booklet.  I still find these blocks to be addicting – but finding the right chevron is hard!  This one is perfect for it.


I’m currently using my strike offs to make a few quilts that I will be showing at Schoolhouse and quilt market next month.  I will share more photos when I get a little farther into the projects.



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Hello again . . .

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?   I have a tendency to get so wrapped up in the book I’m writing that I forget about everything else while I’m working on it.  But I’ve been getting some emails wondering if we’re okay and when I spoke at a guild a few weeks back I had so many people ask how the boys were doing.   They mentioned that there haven’t been any updates on the blog.   It was a good reminder that I need to get back here!  I just turned the book into the printer last Friday, so now I can breathe a sigh of relief and attend to a few of the neglected areas in my life – like blogging.

The boys are doing great – they’ve been healthy and busy.  Max is 2 1/2 and he’s a happy kid.  He loves dinosaurs, being outside, and doing anything with his brother – including destroying anything he happens to be building.  I started potty training with him last weekend.  He seems to be highly motivated by jelly beans, so I’m grateful for that!

Carter is 4 3/4 (that is what he will tell you) and he’s into Legos, he loves reading books, and he has just learned to write simple words and has been fascinated with practicing his words.   Yesterday he wrote “mom big pig” and thought it was hilarious.   I silently snickered . . . I guess developing a sense of humor is important for him too.  Despite what it said, that sheet will go in the memory box as his first written sentence.  We have also been reading the Little House on the Prairie books and I’m not sure who’s more thrilled – him or me!

As far as quilting goes, I have a pile of new things to share that I’ve been working on over the last eight months.   They will all be in the new booklet that I mentioned.  It’s really different from what I have been doing so I’m anxious/nervous/excited to put it out there and see what happens.   I also have a new fabric line that I just got the okay on to share.   That will be in my next post – so stop back shortly to see it.  I promise it won’t be three months ;-).  Here’s a sneak peek at the chevron fabric I designed for the line. It’s perfect for binding and Starstruck blocks.


In the meantime, here are a few photos taken over the last few months.  Thanks for stopping by!


Posted in Family, Quilting | 12 Comments