Sunday, March 31, 2013


Flowers and Butterflies - pic taken by my sister.
Happy Easter to all of my readers. 

Today we celebrate. Some celebrate with just the Easter bunny and Easter egg hunts and candy for the kids. Others celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some celebrate with a combination of all and include family time and a good meal which often is a family traditional meal.  The Easter egg hunts also are family traditions. 

As time goes on often the family traditions change, some end, others are added.  As a child I remember every Easter my Dad would give a Tulip plant to my Mother and her Mother and his Mother.  It was a special tradition of his. Then one year when I was about 16 (maybe younger) he gave me my own Tulip plant! I felt extra special that year. And for the next few years while I was still at home before I married and moved away, he continued to include me in those he gave Tulips to for Easter. 

I miss my Mom and Dad. Many years have gone by since they have each passed away. But each day I think of them and even more so on these special days. Days that were family days. Days of tradition that over time have changed, or ended.  

Many, many years later on Easter a friend brought me an  Easter tulip plant. I cried. He didn't know the reason for the tears, he didn't know my story of the Easter Tulips. And I never told him.  Some traditions, once they are just a memory, a sweet memory, stay a sweet memory for me. Because it just wouldn't be the same otherwise. 

So as you go about your day, may you be blessed with traditions - those that are sweet memories, those that continue on, and those that you may have just started with your family. 

Happy Easter from the family at Quilter's Pantry

Saturday, March 30, 2013



My Current Quilting Cutting Table area

One Google search for ‘Quilting Room Designs’ and one can be overwhelmed with just the images of how people lay out their quilting space!  So much space! So many supplies. So clean and organized. 

All of which most of us do not have! Even I get discouraged looking at some of them as I wish I had more room; and I have a lot of room compared to others! 

If you take a look at the images you then have to sit back and look at what you have to work with and wonder what in the world will work for you in the space you actually have. 

If you are like so many others, your space for sewing and quilting is very limited. A spare room in your home; a room that is also used for your guests when they come to visit and spend a night or two or more; or even just the dining room table are just some of the areas most commonly used. Few of us have ALL the room we need  want for our quilting.  Like our fabric, we always want more! 

What we want is ROOM!  We need room for our sewing machine (s), our long arm, our serger, our cutting table, TV, Radio, computer, ironing board, desk, storage room for all our fabrics, room to display our quilts and wall hangings and other projects AND a large wall to use as a display wall. AND floor space enough to lay out a king size quilt to baste together before we quilt it (If we don’t have a longarm). OH, and then there is the space we need for a friend to come over and sew with us! Or in my case, so I can teach others to quilt! 

WOW! If only we all had that much room. 

So how do we make the most of what we do have? By using the same talents we have to quilt and do other craft projects --- we get creative! 


1)    Look at the space you do have in your home. I know, it is already full of ‘stuff’, but what can you rearrange, recycle, reuse, or get rid of?  (No, the kids, pets and spouse are NOT options to get rid of!)

2)    Where do you sew? Where would you like to be able to sew?

3)    How much fabric and notions to you have? Are they organized the way you can easily find and use them? Are things you use most often within easy reach when you need them? 


1)    Determine where you want your sewing/quilting space to be. I hope it is your very own room, even if it is small. But if your space is still your dining room table we can still find places to store your fabric and supplies. For this time I am going with the idea that you have a room all your own.

2)    As in quilting it’s time to measure, measure, & measure! Make sure ALL the stuff you want in the area will fit. To help with this you may wish to get out your graph paper and draw where everything my fit and do all your rearranging on the paper to save moving the actual furniture later. If everything you want does not fit in your room decide where some of your storage will be. Keep it as close to the area as possible for easy access.

3)    Start cleaning out the area so that everything possible is moved out of the area and then clean the vacant area. Paint the walls if you want those changed. Change the flooring if you want and can afford to. If not, that’s o.k. too.

4)    Look into better lighting, especially if the window light is limited.

5)    Once you have all that done, start putting in your tables, sewing machines, ironing board, and all your fabric stash!  (I writing a separate article about fabric storage as it in itself has many options.)

6)    Now pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and celebrate your new space while you envision working/playing in all your quilting space!

7)    And here are just a few of the possibilities. Starting with where I started out and ending with what I have now including the top photo.  Your usage of your area is left only to your imagination. 
My original sewing space
Original Fabric and Notions area
My Fabric stash - ever increasing, ever diminishing

 You see, your area doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be clean and neat and dust free all the time. After all it is the space you work in. So take the space you have, create what works best for you and enjoy your passion of quilting! 

Feel free to add in the comments any ideas you have of how you use your own space.  We often find ideas from others and sharing is a great way to help each other.  

Happy Quilting!! 

 And don't forget - for more information on longarming and other services for quilts check out the web site at Quilter's Pantry  !

  Til next time - keep those needles stitching! 


Saturday, March 23, 2013



A few people have asked how I cut my fabric and when I tell them I use my ruler measurements and lines and pay little attention to the markings on the cutting mat they get confused. I teach this method in my classes and decided I'd share it here as well. 
When quilters are ready to use a piece of fabric to start making a quilt we start with a straight line of fabric. If we don't none of our cuts will be straight and our quilts will not come together as they should. To get this first straight cut there are a couple of ways to make that edge straight.  Here is how I do it. 

1  1) Take the fabric so the selvedge edges meet at one end and there is a fold at the other.  Fabric comes that way when cut from the bolt, but you may be using a piece that no longer has that fold.  Make the fabric as flat as possible with no wrinkles. Press it if needed.

   2) Lay your fabric with the fold even with the bottom line on your cutting mat as indicated in this photo. Line it up with a measurement on the cutting mat. In this photo it is at the 4" mark. 
   Notice how uneven the cut edge is here in the photo.

  3) Place your ruler (template) so that you have a line on the ruler, or the edge of it, even with the line where you have your fabric

      4)Make sure your ruler lines up with the same line (mark) on the selvedge edge as it does on the folded edge. (Notice again here it is at the 4" mark). Don’t worry where the fabric shows under the ruler as that is the uneven end.

    5) Using your rotary cutter placed against the ruler, and holding the ruler down firmly slowly make your cut along the ruler. Carefully hold the ruler as you cut so it does not slip off the place you need your cut.

  6)  Once you have this first cut your fabric is ready to use with that straight line to start cutting your quilt pieces and you can use the ruler markings instead of the markings and measurements on the cutting mat for the rest of the cut.  For me it makes cutting my pieces easier. (Some quilters will continue to use the measurements and markings on the cutting mat and that is fine. Like quilters will tell you - there are no quilt police!) I do still use the cutting mat measurements from time to time to re align my fabric or to cut a piece that is wider than any of my rulers. 

   7)  SO to cut using the measurements and markings on the ruler instead of the cutting mat…..

Notice my fabric is so NOT lined up with the measurement markings on the cutting mat. This is what makes this so much fun!  I don’t have to worry about how my fabric lays on the cutting mat.  (I know some quilters are gasping at the moment…)
Place your ruler so the measurements on your RULER line up with the straight edges of the fabric at the fold as well as the edge you just cut. Line the ruler up along the entire edge of left edge of the fabric.

 8) Once you have it all lined up and even, use your rotary cutter along the right edge of the ruler and while holding the ruler firmly down, but your fabric.

    9) To make your cuts smaller or using a square template you can also just line the ruler up with the fabric instead of lining your fabric up along the measurements on the cutting mat.  This comes in handy when you can’t see all the measurements on the cutting mat. 

EXTRA  TIP:  Once you start using one ruler/template continue to use the same one, or one by the same company throughout the entire cutting process of that project. Each company uses different line markings which may be wider than another company. If your cuts are just a tiny bit off on each and every cut eventually your pieces are not going to be the same size and will not fit the way they need to.

I hope this has helped some who were confused about being able to cut without using the markings on a cutting mat.  If you still have questions, contact me and I’ll do my best to help.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Quilts by Phyllis at Quilter's Pantry

As in life, quilting is taken all in perspective. We learn early on that there are no 'Quilt Police'. Then we learn all the rules. Then we realize that  the rules are just guidelines and we are free to do our own thing and in our own way. Then we realize that some of the 'rules' make sense and make a quilter's life easier. 

We learn to laugh at our mistakes and the hours we have spent with our seam rippers vs our sewing machines. We learn that with time and patience we can learn and grow in our quilting abilities. What we looked at once and said, 'No way!" we now look at and say. "Look what I made!"  

And then there are the quilts we make and set out there to be judged. Three of those pictured above have been up for judging. One has taken 3rd place by the judges and  2nd by the People's Choice. Both in 2012.  This year at the last minute I entered the latest wall hanging I had made. (It was not made with being judged in mind.). It didn't win anything this year. (I never thought it would.) What I found amusing was the scores and remarks the quilt got from the judges, and realized that one person's attempt to make a statement is another person's idea of "it should have been done differently". 
The quilt entered this year was my "Tree Lined Pathways". The original design that I made changes to was done by Tony Jacobson and called, "Pathways".  He will be happy to know that his design received an: "Interesting Design" comment. 

I made the quilt my own also in how I longarmed it. I purposely put a bit of a wavy line to the stitches in the white area to mimic the wavy lines in the brown fabric. This brought: "More consistent amount of quilting would help reduce waves."   My thought? "YES! I got the wave effect I wanted!" lol 

It's all in perspective. It's in how we each see our own quilts, it's in how other quilters see our work, it's in how non-quilters see our work and it's in how the judges see our work.  Each one will see it differently.  And each one will take a different feeling from a quilt.  We all know that fabric talks to us. A quilt top will talk to us as well as the person doing the longarm work or hand stitching. And a finished quilt will talk to many people.  

Let your quilts reach out and say a lot to those whose life it touches. Create quilts from your heart. Challenge yourself  not only in what you learn new this year, but in what you hear your quilts say to you and to others.

With that I will call it a night. I have a customer's quilt to bind and believe me when it arrived it spoke loud and clear telling me what it wanted quilted on it! 

Until next time - keep those needles stitching.....


Saturday, March 9, 2013


Our local quilt show is over the this year. Many hours of planning, many hands of helping, many quilters offering their quilts for display and judging, vendors set up with items for sale and services to offer. 
Like a Thanksgiving dinner that takes hours and hours to plan and cook, and just moments for family to devour, the tear down of a show is over quickly. Quilts are taken down for their owner's to pick up, display racks are disassembled and loaded up for storage until the next time they are needed. Vendors pack up what they didn't sell and travel on to the next show, or if local return it to display at their shops. And volunteers clean up the location so it can be used the next day for it's original purpose

And so we say good bye to the beautiful quilts we enjoyed experienced. "Enjoyed' just doesn't do a quilt show justice. We are often awed by the work that goes into some; we are mesmerized by another person's vision to create such masterpieces. We are inspired by many of them and want to go home and make oneone or two like we saw. I know I have that thought!

As a vendor at this particular show I enjoyed meeting the people who stopped by my booth and chatted, bought and shared with me. I hope I was able to help you and answer the questions you had for me. If you still have questions contact me and I'll do my best to answer them.  

Our quilt show may be over, but this year is actually just beginning, spring is just around the corner, and now is a great time to get those quilts started or finished. Beat the end of the year rush! 

On a side, but related note:

The photo I used today is a tiny wall hanging that now hangs by my front door. It is in memory of Chris M. who lost her battle with cancer a couple of weeks ago, and in honor of Sandy S. who is fighting her battle with cancer. Sandy S. taught our guild members to make this block (with a few extra steps for it being finished into a quilt). Our guild members made a quilt in this method and presented it to Sandy today at the end of the show. My tiny wall hanging reminds me each day of the challenges that are put before us, and the blessings we find by just looking. And sometimes those blessings are in the people you meet and how they have touched our lives. 

With that I will close this writing.

Until next time..... keep the inspiration going and those needles stitching.