Friday, November 3, 2017

Friendship Triangle Exchange

Hi Everyone,
I would like to propose that we do a Friendship Triangle Exchange, roughly following the guidelines layed out by Edyta Sitar in her book "Friendship Triangles,"published by Landauer.
Please note this exchange is only for participants with a U.S. mailing address (this includes Alaska and Hawaii).  I am sorry for those outside of the U.S., but shipping cost makes it prohibitive.
The idea is to trade half square triangle units, made using triangle paper for accuracy. These are easy to make in groups of 20 or so at a time, all from the same 2 fabrics (1 dark and 1 light). Then we will trade,  and I will return to you a wonderful scrappy mix of HST units made from a huge variety of fabrics. You can use new fabrics purchased for the exchange, or, better yet, use up some fabrics from your stash. We all have different tastes in fabrics, and so I am going to set color guidelines for this exchange to be "Country Colors".  This is meant to be fairly broad, and should include any color in the color wheel, but not brights.  Country Colors can be rich and saturated, or softer in shades. They are not bright jewel tones, and they are not sparkling fabrics overlaid with silver and gold, just a nice blend of colors that you would see on the couch in a country home. Avoid novelty prints (unless they read strongly as a single color). 1800's repros, old Thimbleberries or fabrics from designers such as Edyta Sitar or Kim Diehl fall nicely into this color range. You can include prints, solids, homespuns and batik.  Just about anything as long as it is 100% cotton quilting weight fabric, and falls into the color guidelines.  If you do not care for the colors in this exchange, I am sorry, but I can only handle one exchange at a time.  Perhaps sit this one out, and if the exchange is a great success, we will repeat the exchange and go with a brighter color palette the next time around.
We will exchange these half square triangle units to increase our color and fabric variety, and most importantly, to have a little bit of each other's fabrics in scrap quilts that we will make at the end of the exchange. It will be fun and should not be that time consuming.  A word about fabric quality.  We  all would like to make quilts from good quality fabric. I am not going to police this exchange to make sure everyone is using quilt shop quality fabric. The point of this exchange is to have fun. I know some of you do not live extremely close to a quilt shop, but wherever you acquire the fabrics used in this exchange, be sure you are using good quality fabrics that you would be proud to use in your own quilts.
The rules for the exchange are as follows:
1. Half Square Triangle (HST) units must be sewn using triangle paper made for these units. The size of the units will be 2" finished.  Make sure the paper clearly is marked for 2" finished half square triangles (not Quarter Square Triangles).  You can use any brand of papers that you like. Some examples are Triangles on a Roll, Thangles, Triangle Exchange Papers from Laundry BasketQuilts, or other similar papers.  You can also print your own triangle papers from CD masters made for this purpose, however, if you choose to print them on your printer, you MUST use paper made for paper foundation piecing, not standard printer paper.  This assures that the paper will tear away easily.
2. We will exchange in groups of 40 HST units for ease of keeping track of numbers.  Whatever number of HST units you send in, that is how many you will get back. You can sew them in groups of 10 or 20, or any number that works for you.  However, I do ask that you don't make any more than 20 units from the same two fabrics.  Switch it out so we have greater variety of fabrics in the exchange. If you are using up smaller scraps, you may be making them in smaller groups, but we will still exchange them in groups of 40.
3. For those of you who have not made HST's using triangle paper, please review the technique, either in Edyta Sitar's book (mentioned above), or watch an instructional video on Youtube before you get started. You will want to layer your fabrics with the dark fabric right side up, then the light fabric on top of that, right side down, then the triangle paper on top of that, printed side up.  This order is important so that when they are opened and pressed, the seam will be pressed in the direction of the dark fabric. Sew on all the dotted lines, then cut them on all the solid lines using a rotary cutter and ruler. When sewing triangles using triangle paper, reduce your stitch length from a normal 8-10 stitches per inch ( 2.5 to 3.1mm), down to about 16-18 stitches per inch (1.4 to 1.6mm). This will make tearing the paper off much easier.  Be very careful when sewing and cutting, accuracy is important.
4. IMPORTANT!! Once the units are cut apart, do not remove the paper! and do not open and press them!  We will be exchanging them at this point. They are protected from stretching with the paper still on them.  Just count out 40 and put them in sandwich size ziplock bags to be sent off for the exchange. The recipient will press them open and remove the paper (hence the reason to reduce your stitch length when you sew them, and to use a good quality, easy tear triangle paper).  It's like a little surprise each time you open and press a unit to see the fabrics you have received in the exchange.
5. Select a light and a dark pair of fabrics for each set of HST units you make. The lights can be creams, beiges, tans, or any pale light color that looks good as a neutral scrappy background. Avoid pure whites. Lights can have print patterns, but nothing too distracting. (example - shirting prints are ok,  small calico prints are ok, large/bold checkerboard prints, not so good). Make sure your matching dark fabric has good contrast with the light you choose. The darks can be medium to dark value as long as there is good contrast. Think about using a mix of colors and scales of prints for variety.
6. You can choose to exchange as many units as you wish. They must be packaged in groups of 40 in sandwich ziplock bags. So you can do 40, 80, 120 . . . etc.  It is good to look through some patterns that use 2" finished HST units so you have some idea of how many you will need to make a quilt. Great patterns that use a lot of HST units include Broken Dishes, Tree of Life, Ocean Waves, and many others.  Whatever number you turn in is what you will get back.  We will open your ziplocks, count them to make sure your bags contain 40, then sort them, so every bag will be a mix of units from everyone. The members of my small quilt group have volunteered to help sort, package and return ship units to all the participants.
Jamestown Landing by Bonnie Hunter
Broken Dishes
Tree Of Life
Ocean Waves
Tree Of Life
Jamestown Landing

7. You can send your HST units to me using whatever courier you would like to use.  I will be returning them ALL to you via the USPS in padded flat rate envelopes, as these will hold a lot, and they are economical to send.  You will need to include $7.50 return postage along with your exchange units. This can be cash or a check made out to me, Steven Lennert (I suggest putting this in another ziplock bag with your name on it, and tucking this in to your shipment). A padded flat rate envelope will hold around 12 to 14 bags (each 40 units), or a total of 480-560 HST units.  If you will be sending in more units than that, that is fine, but you will need to send $15 return postage to allow for either two envelopes or a medium flat rate box.
8. With the Holidays coming up, I would like to give everyone plenty of time to make their units, so I am setting January 31, 2018 as the date that all exchange units should be mailed in. Please do not mail them before January 15th, as I do not have space to store them. We will then work on them during February and should have them returned to everyone sometime in March.  Exchange blocks received after February 7th, 2018 will not be included in the exchange and will simply be returned to the participant. NO EXCEPTIONS! Exchange units can be sent to: Steven Lennert, 11237 SE Vernazza Ln., Happy Valley, OR 97086
9. For the sake of variety, I would like to have at least 30 participants in this exchange. Please share this with your quilting friends who may want to participate.  I am setting a limit of 100 participants, as I think that is all my small quilt group can comfortably handle in the exchange. So sign up soon if you would like to join in.
If you have read through these instructions and you would like to participate in the exchange, please send me an email stating you would like to participate in the HST exchange,  to,  and include the following information: Your full name, your email address where you can be reached (please include this even if your email was sent from this address), and a telephone number where you can be reached if we have any questions (This is REQUIRED), and your mailing address for return of your exchange units (in case you forget to include this when you send your units in).  I will not share any of this information with anyone, it is just for us to contact you if necessary. I will send out a confirmation email to all who have signed up around December 1st. (please notify me if you should be signed up and do not get a confirmation email). And, I will also send out a reminder email in mid-January about the deadline for mailing in your exchange units.  
If you have any other questions, please email me at

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Block 10 - Twinkling Stars

I have to begin this month by apologizing up front for the difficulty in cutting the pieces out for the the Twinkling Stars block.

Just about all blocks can be simplified to a grid.  Usually 3 x 3, 4 x 4, or 5 x 5.  To give you an example, a 9 patch is a basic 3 x 3 grid.
A friendship star is also a 3 x 3 grid, and similar to a 9 patch, except 4 of the squares are replaced with half square triangles. Our block this month has 8 friendship stars positioned in a wreath.  The block width spans 3 of these friendship stars, left to right and top to bottom.  So the grid for our block this month is 9 x 9. 

The block has a lot of pieces, and that would not be so bad, except the block finishes at 12".  So the issue is that 12 is not divisible by 9 evenly.  Each block in our grid must finish at 1 1/3", which makes the math difficult, and any cutting we do with standard rotary cutter and rulers with be just an approximation of the correct dimensions. Our rulers are divided into neat half, quarter, and eighth inch segments, so when cutting out your pieces this month, be aware that I am going to suggest cutting at dimensions that fall in between your normal measuring lines.

The cutting directions supplied in the pattern are close in some cases, and way off in others, so I suggest you ignore the cutting directions and follow mine instead.

When I say, cut your square at just shy of 2 1/4" x 2 1/4", I mean measure 2 1/4" on your ruler, then slide the ruler slightly, so that you are cutting perhaps 1/16 of an inch less than 2 1/4".  There are several dimensions that require this.  Just aim for halfway between your 1/8" lines on the ruler. I know this is a bit of a pain, and for those of you who are incredibly precise, you might find this a little unnerving, but trust me, it will come out way more accurately, than following the cutting directions in the pattern.

Fabric Choices

I am again using solid black as my background for this block. You should select 8 other fabrics for your friendship stars.  Each should contrast nicely with the black.  Although I did pick one fabric with a small + pattern in the weave, I avoided really busy, large scale patterned fabrics and plaids.  This is my personal preference, as I wanted each of these stars to show very clearly, and not have a lot of distraction from pattern in the fabric.
I also chose several different colors and values from a light golden tan, to a medium dark charcoal (still contrasting with the black background). I used 2 reds, a green, a tan, a brown, and one of teal blues.  The original quilt only had these teal blues in the Tulip and basket blocks, but I love these colors and so I decided to throw one in this block as well.


From the black background cut:

A- (16) 2 1/4" shy squares. (Note when I say shy, your actual cutting dimensions should be reduced by approx. 1/16").  Cut all of these squares in half once on the diagonal yielding 32 HST pieces. 

D- (4) 1 7/8" shy squares. 

E- (1) 4 1/2" square (Note this cutting measurement is exactly 4 1/2").

F- (4) Rectangles 5 7/8" shy x 1 7/8" shy

G- (4) Rectangles 4 1/2" (exact) x 1 7/8" shy

From each of your 8 friendship star fabrics cut:

B- (2) 2 1/4" shy squares. Cut each of these squares in half once on the diagonal yielding 4 HST pieces.

C- (1) 1 7/8" shy square


I would like to stress that your 1/4" seam allowance is pretty critical in this block.  If in doubt, test your seam allowance first, before sewing your pieces together.  If you are a bit off from a 1/4", it is better to err on the small side (i.e. a scant 1/4" rather than a generous 1/4").

Begin by matching one black triangle to one friendship star triangle, right sides together, and sew them on the long diagonal. Press the seam allowance to the black, and make sure to open the seam fully.  Clip dog ears off.  Repeat with all the triangle friendship star fabrics, matching each with a black triangle.

Organize your friendship star colors by making little piles of 4 HST units and one square on top from each color.

Then begin laying out your block.  Follow the diagram in your pattern to arrange the friendship stars in a wreath with the large black square (E) in the center.  Double check your layout to make sure all of your HST's are facing the right way.  It is very easy to position these incorrectly.  Note that four of the stars are spinning to the right and four are spinning to the left.

Your block layout should look something like the photo to the right.  Remember that not all the pieces will line up evenly spaced at this point, because you have lots of seam allowances that will be lost when you begin sewing your units together.

I begin by sewing each side unit together.  These include two black rectangles and one HST unit in the center.  There is a side unit for each of the 4 sides of the block.  Then begin pairing squares and sewing them together.

Here, on each end, I have sewn a line of pairs together and joined them to a side unit (A + G's).
Then 3 pairs on each side of the center square (E).
When you join the 3 center segments, all that remains is to add the two final side units (A + F's) to each end.

As you are sewing pairs of small grid squares together, press seam allowances in alternate directions, so the pairs join to each other easily. When you add the side units, I pressed the seam allowance toward the side unit.  When joining the two groups of six grid squares to the center black square, I pressed seam allowances toward the center square.  When I joined the 3 large center sections, I pressed the seam allowance open, as there were lots of cross seams coming into this seam, and I felt it would lay flatter if pressed open.

The finished block should measure 12 1/2" square.  Mine was actually just a touch under that measurement, but very close. Sewing with a scant 1/4 seam allowance would probably help with this. 

This was a most challenging block. Partly because the designer chose a very difficult grid measurement, and partly because there are just so many pieces in this block. 

We are now at the point where we have completed all the blocks for the quilt.  The next two months I will focus on the sashing elements to bring all the blocks together into a quilt top, and then a little bit about quilting and finishing the quilt.

Give yourself a pat on the back for finishing your blocks.  Have a glass of wine and celebrate your accomplishment, and I will be back next month with some sashing tips.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Twilight Garden - Block 9 Flower Baskets

Attention - Pattern Corrections

I am sad to say that again we have pattern corrections this month, and these are very important cutting measurement corrections.

First, I am a little confused, as my copy of the pattern has 3 almost identical pages with instructions for the flower baskets.  In my pattern, they are pages 17, 18, and 19.  I have no idea why these are all in there.  All have the same dimensional cutting errors, so it isn't like there is an older version and then a corrected version.  If you have multiple pages with pattern instructions for the flower baskets, check at the top of the page where it says "Approximate size"  meaning the finished size of the block.  2 of my pages say 12", which is wrong.  One of my pages says 6", which is the correct finished size of the basket block.  Keep this one, and you can discard the others.

Under cutting instructions
From a dark background fabric:

1st line should read:
A  Cut one square 2 1/4".  Cut in half once diagonally to make two half square triangles.


From a Contrasting fabric

1st line should read:
D   Cut one square 1 7/8" x 1 7/8"


From Basket Fabric One:

1st line should read:
E   Cut two squares 1 7/8" x 1 7/8"


From Basket Fabric Two:

2nd line should read:
J   Cut one square 1 7/8" x 1 7/8"


Under Block Assembly
Making Flying Geese Units

1st sentence should read:
Pair up half-square triangle A with half-square triangle units D and E.

Please be aware that when cutting out your pieces, the directions are for cutting the amount necessary to make one 6" finished block, and you will need three blocks for the quilt.  It is suggested that you make each of the three blocks scrappy out of different fabrics, but you might want to consider cutting the pieces out for all three blocks at once to save time.

Basket Blocks

These blocks are suppose to be scrappy, like the rest of the quilt, so I am picking quite a few fabrics this month.  I am using a blue fabric for the top of each basket, a different blue for each block.  Then the baskets themselves I am using an assortment of reds, tans, grays, browns, plaids, etc.  For all three backgrounds I am using black, however it might be a nice variation to try using black for one, and a dark charcoal for one, and perhaps even a dark brown for one.  The setting triangles around the outside of each block are dark grays for the top and bottom blocks, and I am choosing a light tan for the setting triangles on the middle block.

After cutting out your pieces, you can follow the basic directions under block assembly.  Make your sub units so you have them all ready - The half square triangle squares, and the flying geese.  Then you can lay them out as shown at the left.  Be sure when you are making the flying geese to make a right handed and left handed one (i.e. watch your fabric placement). 
You will be sewing all these units together.  The bottom 4 can be sewn into a 4-patch, then added to one of the flying geese units.  The second flying geese unit can be sewn to the upper background square.

I pressed one of the interim seams open to reduce bulk.  Flying geese always present a dilemma as to pressing direction for the seams.  They have a point coming into the center of an adjacent seam, and always seem to produce a fair amount of bulk, and so, opening these seams and distributing this bulk helps make your finished blocks lay flat.

You will then need to sew the bottoms of the baskets on (left and right sides and the bottom triangle.  These seams can be pressed toward the outside of the block.

The last assembly step is to add the setting triangles to all 4 sides of the block, making the baskets upright on point.  Do this by folding your block and the long side of each setting triangle in half to find the center.  Align these centers and sew the triangles to the side of the block.

The setting triangles will be a little oversized to allow your blocks to be trimmed down to size.  To do this, the easiest way is to use a 6 1/2" square ruler and center the diagonal lines on the ruler with the actual seam lines in the center of your basket.  (Note the criss cross diagonal lines cross right in the center of the basket design).  This should give you at least 1/4" seam allowance on all sides beyond the darker block background points.  Trim the excess away, and then sew your blocks top to bottom to make a tower of 3 baskets, one on top of another.

Sorry for all the corrections to the pattern every month.  I have been notifying the pattern designer, so she can make corrections on future printings.

Our next block is the circle of friendship stars, really a fun and beautiful block.  Until next month, happy sewing.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Crazy Log Cabins - Block 8

The Crazy Log Cabin blocks for Twilight Garden can be paper pieced, or if you choose, you can make templates from the diagram on page 15. If you choose to make templates be sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance to your templates before cutting your fabrics.

If you are opting to do the foundation paper piecing method (by far the easiest method), you can follow along with me, as this is the method I have chosen to do.


 For these blocks I have chosen a wide variety of fabrics. Honestly, just about any of the fabrics in the kit will work well for these blocks.  They are very scrappy and I would pick out some lights, darks and mediums, and also some fabrics with pattern, just because they add a lot of visual interest. 
Each block will have a different sequence of fabrics, and, if you want, you can use many more fabrics than I have selected.  I avoided any of the blue fabrics, as I thought that would take away from the tulips, and also avoided the very light cream used in the day lily flowers, for the same reason. I did include some reds, greens, browns, golden tan, and grays.


First a word about foundation paper.  If you have experimented with papers for foundation piecing, you probably have your favorite that you use all the time.  For me, this is the paper from That Patchwork Place.  It is not expensive, and comes in large reams of 100 sheets.  The reason I like this paper is that it tears away easily.  There are several brands of vellum paper on the market that are touted as easy tear, but I find that all vellum is too robust for paper piecing.  For me, the lighter the paper the better. I do like the crispness of vellum, and it makes a sharp fold, but I have never found one that tears away easily.  Vellum always rips out some of my stitches, regardless of how small I make my stitch length.
The paper pictured at left works very well, and runs easily through my computer printer.
Make sure when you are copying foundation patterns that you have your printer set on 100% scale, or "actual size". 
Even with that, some printers are not accurate to size.  Be sure to measure your first copy against the original and only continue copying all your foundations when the copies match the original size perfectly.
A very handy tool to use when paper piecing is the Add-A-Quarter ruler.  It is not required, but will make trimming excess fabrics away very quick.  It comes in a 6" and also a 12" length.  The 6" version is adequate to do these blocks, but the 12" is a more versatile size. Here it is pictured butted up against the fold of the foundation paper.  The 1/4" lip on the bottom of this ruler assures you are trimming to exactly a 1/4" seam allowance.
 You will also need a small rotary cutter, and a small cutting mat to have at your work station.  It also is a time saver if you have a small ironing pad and iron right at your station as well.  Paper piecing requires that you press after each fabric addition, so if you iron is a distance from you work space, you will be traveling a bit.


There are some minor errors in the numbering of the the foundation pattern.  Not a biggy, but you might want to correct these numbers so you don't get confused as to the order you add the fabrics to the block.  Note in the photo, I have crossed out and re-numbered a few spaces on the pattern.  Please make these corrections before you copy your foundations. Newer versions of the pattern may already have these corrections, so double check just to be sure.

A word about cutting out your fabric pieces on the straight of grain. The pattern author stresses that this is very important, and she does provide a block diagram in the pattern with grain lines clearly marked.  If you wish to take the time to cut your pieces out with correct grain direction it will ultimately make the block more stable and less stretchy around the outside edges.  However, I personally do not bother with this.  I find as long as you use reasonable care when handling your pieces and particularly while pressing, you will have no problems assembling these blocks, or sewing them into the quilt. If you are really concerned about stability, you can always leave the foundation on the block until it is securely sewn into the quilt, then remove the paper.


I will not go into great detail about the process of paper piecing, as it is covered extremely well in many books that focus on this technique.  I will tell you a few hints to make your work easier.
First, sit next to a window, or have a light box handy so you can see your fabrics through the foundation paper to get proper alignment.  Second, if you are worried about your fabrics slipping while flipping over the foundation pattern and sewing.  Use a pin to hold the fabric to the foundation.  Just make sure your pin does not cross the sew line you will be sewing on. And Third, reduce the stitch length on your sewing machine so you are sewing about 15 stitches per inch or more.  This will help perforate the paper and make tearing away your pattern much easier.

Begin by placing your 1 and 2 fabrics right sides together and place them on the back of the pattern with the 1 piece wrong side to the paper.  Align them so their common edges overhang the sew line between 1 and 2 by at least 1/4". Pin these in place, flip the pattern so the printed side is up and sew on the line between 1 and 2, beginning your stitching a little before the line starts and continue your stitching a little past the end of the line. Clip threads and remove from the machine. 
With the printed side up, fold the pattern back on the line you just sewed. and trim the seam allowance to no more than  1/4".  The Add-A-Quarter ruler comes in handy for this. With the fabrics on top, flip piece 2 and press.
Add each new piece in numbered order, making sure to align each piece, pin if necessary, sew on the common line between the two fabrics, then fold and trim.  Very quickly you will get the hang of it, and most people really enjoy the process.

The pieces of fabric can be much larger than you actually need.
Just so long as once they are sewn in and flipped into position, they have to completely cover their numbered area on the pattern, plus have at least 1/4" seam allowance all around. 

This is particularly important when you reach the outer edges of the block.  Here, the numbered pieces must cover their numbered area and extend beyond the dotted line along the outside edge of the block.

Once all the fabrics are added, the block will be trimmed on this dotted line and that space along the outside edge is your seam allowance to sew you blocks to the adjacent blocks in the quilt.

You will be making 4 of these blocks, then they will be sewn together in line. Once you have your row of Crazy Log Cabin blocks, they can be sewn onto the bottom of the Day Lily block from last month.

We will then need to sew together chains of 1 1/2" scrappy squares (using lots of fabrics from your kits).  We will need one single chain of 16 squares to go along the top of the Day Lily block, and a double chain of 2 squares wide by 13 squares long, which will be added to a 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle and sewn onto the left side of the block as in the diagram on page 16 of your pattern.  This is a great way of using up your leftover 1 1/2" squares from the Picnic Block.
We will be making more of these sashing filler strips as we begin assembling the quilt top, so don't worry about cutting out a few extra of all the little squares.  We will also be making one large piano key strip set (scrappy) from lots of 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" strips of all these same fabrics.  So if you have some 1 1/2" strips cut out, cut some 5 1/2" segments as well as your squares.  You will eventually need 39 of these rectangles.

Our block next month is the basket blocks.  Just a warning, there are some rather important corrections for the cutting directions for these blocks.  I might suggest you wait for my article in September, with corrections before cutting, or, make some sample blocks with scrap fabrics so you can make adjustments before cutting your kit fabrics.

Thanks for following along!

Happy Sewing


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Where Do I Buy These Fabrics??


Even before I closed the One World Fabrics website, I had numerous emails from customers who were worried they would not be able to find continuing sources for Japanese Taupe fabrics.  It is difficult to find them unless you are buying directly from retailers in Japan.  I know this. That is one of the reasons I created One World Fabrics several years ago, as I saw a real need for a store that would bring all these fabrics to the Western market.

Fortunately for you, there are a few other sources in the U.S. and Canada, and during the time I was running the business, a few other people opened stores in competition with me, carrying some of the fabric lines I did.

What follows is a list of retailers who sell Japanese Taupe fabrics.  Some are walk in stores that have a website where you can order some or all of their offerings, some are Etsy stores.  There are also a few in other countries that I have found by doing internet searches.  You might find more than my list here, and I am sure there will be more stores that will carry these fabrics in the future.  The number of people using Taupe fabrics, and decorating with this color palette is growing every day.

These are in order of my personal favorites.  Some specialize more in general Japanese fabrics and Sashiko supplies.

1. Quilted Threads in Henniker, New Hampshire ( - For a walk in store, QT has one of the very best selections of real, authentic Japanese Taupe fabrics, and has an especially good selection of yarn dyed wovens. If you have a chance to visit the store in person, do so. You will be pleasantly surprised with lots of Taupe samples, Sashiko samples, and a very friendly staff. They also offer a Taupe fabric club online, and several Taupe BOM programs.

2. Kallisti Quilts in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada ( - Michelle has been carrying Taupe fabrics for quite some time.  Originally just an Etsy shop, she now has a new website.  She also carries a few batiks and other imported fabrics.

3. Willow Lane Quilting Company, Seattle, Washington ( - This store is run by Priscilla Knoble who many of you know as the owner of Stitch Publications. Priscilla has a passion for Taupe fabrics and carries not only a very good selection of fabrics, but also a wonderful assortment of notions that are regularly used by quilters in Japan.

4. Quilting Foxes in Mt. Vernon, Washington ( - Also originally an Etsy store, they have a new website that offers Taupe and other Japanese fabrics, and Sashiko supplies.

5. Kimonomomo in Alameda, California ( - This is an Etsy shop and is not focused on Taupe per se. They carry a wide assortment of Japanese fabrics and also Sashiko supplies.  They do have a good selection of indigo prints, and kimono silks.

6. Shibori Dragon in University Place, Washington ( - A large store carrying a nice selection of Taupe prints and some yarn dyes.  Lots of other Asian fabrics, and an excellent selection of Sashiko supplies.

7. Holly and Ivy in Ripon, Wisconson ( - This shop is closing their walk in store and going strictly to Etsy at the end of Summer.  They currently have some sales going.  They carry a few Daiwabo fabrics, but mostly reproductions, wool, and a bit of perle cotton.

This next shop I almost did not include, because it has been difficult to order from, however, they now are handling their orders through a brokerage business in Japan that handles shipping of orders.  I have ordered from them with delivery to Oregon with no problems.

8. Quilt Party in Japan ( - This is the store owned and run by Yoko Saito.  I was fortunate enough to visit this shop in person while visiting Japan in 2014, and there really is no better source for Taupes. The shop carries all of Yoko Saito's fabrics, but also beautiful Taupe fabrics from many other designers.  The shipping is a little expensive, and time consuming, but for the true fan of Taupe fabrics, you will find a great selection here.

And, finally, this last shop is out of the U.S. and I have not ordered from them.  I found them through internet searches and links off of Pinterest.  You should do a little more digging for information on them before trying to order.

9. Quilt House Russia in Moscow ( - Seems to have a beautiful selection of Taupe fabrics, particularly yarn dyes.  Many I have never seen.  Intriguing.

Good luck in your search for beautiful fabrics!

Please, when you shop at any of the above shops, mention that you were referred by Steven Lennert from One World Fabrics, and that you heard about their shop through my blog.
I hope you will continue to follow my blog, as I do plan to share some of my projects and continued fun things to do with Taupe fabrics.  Most of these last few months has been spent on completing the Twilight Garden BOM, but I will also have articles sharing many other projects in the future.

Happy sewing to everyone.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Block 7 - Lillies


As with any applique project, there are numerous ways of doing the applique.  Block 7 can be done with needle turn applique, turned machine applique, or fused.  The flower shapes on this one are a bit challenging for needleturn, although that is the method I have used. I believe the pattern designer chose to fuse her flowers and then do a decorative hand blanket stitch around the edges. This gives a little more folk art look to the block.

Fabric Selection

There is one fabric included in the kit which is specifically for the flowers in this block.  It is the lightest cream fabric, included with your Dedicated Fabrics bundle. For those selecting their own fabrics, choose a fabric here that does stand out.  This block is really beautiful and you do want your flowers to be a focal point.

The background I chose for this block is black, as are most of the blocks, and for the stems and leaves I chose a brown hombre plaid.  I love the look of the hombre value changes along the flower stems and it gives the leaves a bit of variation so they all look a little different. This fabric also shows up well on the black background, but does not compete with the flowers.

For the centers of the flowers I chose a soft, small scale plaid that is actually a green/gray color with accent threads in both blue and cream. The very small scale of the plaid gives the look of a check in the center of the flowers.
A note of caution however, the fabric I chose to use for the centers is really soft and has very little body.  I was very concerned that I would not be able to create the crisp round shape I wanted to with this fabric, so I fused a Pellon featherweight interfacing (#906F) to the back side of this fabric before cutting out my circles. This stabilized the fabric and totally prevented any stretching.  It is a technique that I have used frequently on lightweight or stretchy fabrics, such as Japanese Kimono Silk, to allow me to cut and piece them along with my standard quilting cottons.  Try it, you will like it.




Assembly of the Block

You will need to copy your applique pattern pages (2) and tape them together to make the complete design.  I like to use a light box to trace the design onto the background fabric.  You may be surprised to learn that, yes, you can see the pattern lines through black fabric.  I learned how to do this when copying Sashiko designs onto dark Indigo fabric.  Make sure your pattern lines are dark and bold.  When you copy the pattern, go over the lines on your copy with black Sharpie Marker.  The fine point, not the extra fine.  Then use a light box with a bright light.  I have been using one of the newer LED flat panel light boxes and it works great.  If you plan on doing this tracing on a window, do it on a bright day in the middle of the afternoon.

On dark fabrics I love to use the Clover white marking pen #517. These pens are fine point, roller ball point pens that go on clear and dry quickly to a chalky white, very fine line.  This line will not wipe off while you work and handle the fabric, but instantly come off with water, or just the steam of your iron.

I demonstrated how to make bias stems for flowers in a previous blog article on applique, so I will not repeat that, or the basic technique of turned edge hand applique.  Just a few pointers. 
Make plastic templates the finished size of your applique pieces.  Trace around the templates on the good side of your fabric (not the back), with a marking tool that will come off (test this).  Laying the fabric on a sand paper board will prevent it from slipping while you are tracing. The line will be your turning line, so you want to be able to see it clearly.  Cut out your pieces leaving a 3/16" seam allowance beyond your marked line.  This is about half way between 1/8" and 1/4". It is not critical if this varies a bit, as it will be turned under during the applique process.  Just be aware, 1/8" is not really enough, and 1/4" is often a bit to much, so something in between works best.
When you are sewing, turn under the edge of your fabric right to the turn line, then finger press with your thumb and take a couple of stitches.  Only turn under the fabric just 1/2"-3/4" ahead of where you are stitching.  As you go around outside curves, take small stitches and adjust the fold of your edge frequently (sometimes every stitch) so you have a nice curve and not several flat sides like a stop sign. When you are approaching an inside point (like the notches between flower petals), clip your seam allowance once right at the base of the valley just up to the turn line. As you sew and get closer to this valley, your seam allowance will get smaller and smaller until there is no seam allowance at all.

Your stitches should get closer together, and you need to take a deeper stitch, beyond the turn line, creating a bit of satin stitching right over the valley. Then begin increasing your stitch spacing, back to about 1/8" apart again. Note the satin stitching over the base of the valleys on my flower.  Choose a close matching thread for this so it does not show much.

To make perfect circles for your centers, use a template form the correct size.  I like Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley.  This pack has all the circle sizes you need for most projects and they are heat resistant, so you can baste around your fabric circle then pull and tighten the basting forming the fabric around the circle template.  While you have the basting tight, iron the circle, setting the perfect circular edge, then remove the template.


Stitching down your circles is just a breeze as the edges are already turned perfectly!
Here is our finished applique.  We will be trimming this block later when we make the blocks for next month and attach them to the bottom of the flowers.
Thanks for following along.  Happy stitching.