One thing leads to another…

I spent 12 years with an admittedly fine sofa from Crate and Barrel. I loved the chocolate brown color, until I didn’t. CandB announced their annual sofa sale 2 weeks ago and I did a happy dance. Our new Petrie sofa is exactly the same as the old sofa except that it’s a little shorter, charcoal gray, firmer, and cleaner.

I have 2 midcentury modern arm chairs whose cushions were covered with a lovely brown print that I had also grown very tired of. They looked so bad with the gray sofa that I couldn’t put off recovering them.

Why is it that there are so few choices in upholstery fabric, especially if you don’t live in a big city? I could have shopped online but I wanted to see and feel the fabric. I was amazed that I found the perfect fabric at Hobby Lobby — and it was even on sale!

You know me and dots…

Just so you know, recovering cushions is not hard. You have the skills to do this. Use the old cushions as a guide and go for it!

I made the brown the cushions years ago and it wasn’t hard to use them as patterns for the new covers. The foam inserts did not need to be replaced. I spent a few hours carefully cutting all the pieces for 2 seat cushions and 2 chair backs.

And then I sewed. It took longer than I thought it would, partly because I made the covered cording too. My trusty BERNINA 1140 handled the many thicknesses of this thick fabric just fine. I love that machine!

I finished the last cushion just before the eclipse which, when you look at the fabric, felt perfect.

I bought more of this fabric than I needed. There’s probably at least a yard, but there are diagonal cuts from where I cut the bias for the cording. If you would like what I have left and are will to pay the postage, it’s yours :-). Email me at The first person I hear from gets it. I’ll send you a PayPal invoice for the shipping.

Show and Tell…

Joanne O sent me this photo of her Fresh Picked Posies. I love it!


Joanne says

…this was my first attempt at a full size hand appliquéd quilt…to prepare for this undertaking I watched your U- tube videos on the Piece of Cake Way for hand appliqué .  I found the pattern easy to follow & the larger pieces were great for a first go at hand stitching . It was machine quilted on a long arm by my friend Karen C. I am so pleased with how it turned out. …love love love this pattern. Thank you so much.

Joanne, you made a great quilt! Way to go, you!

The Chattahoochee Evening Stars…

I spent two lovely days with the Chattahoochee Evening Stars quilt guild. They are as lively as their name suggests! At the lecture last night, these ladies from my class showed the progress they had made on the class block from the day before…


The whole class did excellent work and had a good time. I love seeing quilters smile :-).

A big (almost easy) quilt…

Lorna and Chris have a king size bed and Lorna needs a new cover for it. Not a pieced quilt, but still a quilt. She fell in love with two fabrics that I have (had) on the bolt—one is Tula Pink’s huge dot (printed on wide fabric) and the other is a floral print by Amy Butler  printed on sateen.

After much thinking, I decided that it would be best to make this a quilt without binding. Instead we would layer the top and back right sides together with the batting against the top, sew the edges, turn it inside out, and then quilt it. It was not nearly as easy as it sounds.

We cleared out my living room and vacuumed. Then we placed the batting on the floor. After a few false starts, we did manage to use basting spray to stick the the top to the batting. It took more than an hour and I did let slip a few choice words.

Lorna trimmed the batting even with the edges of the top fabric. Next we placed the backing right side down on the top. I then pulled out all of my mats and many rulers and we squared up the outer edges.

Lorna used Clover’s basting clips to hold all the edges together. I took it to my machine and sewed all the way around this monster, leaving an opening at the bottom to turn it through. This quilt is a lot heavier than I thought it would be.

The walking foot came in very handy.

Lorna had to leave so I trimmed the corners and then turned the whole thing inside out which was surprisingly satisfying.

I tidied and pressed the edges, finished the opening, and top stitched all the way around, 1/2″ from the finished edges.

It’s not done yet because it has to have some quilting. Otherwise the batting will fall apart with use and washing. Steve is going to do a little basting on it this weekend to help keep everything together during the quilting process.

Lorna wants to quilt it and it will be quite a job for a new sewer. We’re thinking of a diagonal grid, between the big dots. I may try to get some of the longest lines sewn for her if there’s time before my foot surgery on December 3. Otherwise I’ll be shouting encouragement from the other room while she sews :-).

Wool Applique The Piece O’ Cake Way!

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you know that our newest book, Wool Applique the Piece O’ Cake Way, has arrived. I haven’t written much about this book on the blog yet because I wanted to make videos first. I had to wait until I got my nails done, yesterday, to film the videos because when your hands are going to be preserved online for all time, you want your nails to look nice :-).

If the video isn’t there, click here to see it on Youtube.

I’ll post with more wool-y news soon. Until then, happy stitching!

Put your light in the right spot…


This is what happens if your light is way over there on the table and you are sitting too far from it. ‘Growing toward the light’ happens especially to hand sewers/appliquers. It is very hard on your back and shoulders.

Place your light in position so that you can sit up straight and see what you are doing, both at the same time. This probably means that you need an adjustable floor lamp. I use my Stella floor light, but there are other lamps that also work.

As always, pay attention to your posture.

If you are right-handed, the light should come from the left. Left-handers, the light should come from the right. In both cases this keeps the shadow from your dominant hand from falling on your work, where you are trying to see what you are doing.

What does your head have in common with a gallon of milk?

(I also shared this information in the Piece O’ Cake newsletter.)

They both weigh around 8 lbs. Your head may actually weigh more.

Now, stop and think about your sewing posture. When you sit at the sewing machine, is your head balanced over your body or is it thrown forward, facing down? What about when you applique? Are you hunched over your lap, or are you sitting upright?

Now, imagine that your head is a gallon of milk that your poor neck is trying to support. Just the idea makes the back of my neck hurt and my shoulders sore.

I started talking about this in class a few months ago and then I ran across this image and the related article, What Texting Does To Your Spine, from The Atlantic.


The article is eye-opening, reporting on a study published in the journal, Surgical Technology International. In short, the farther you bend your head over, the more pressure is put on your neck. The same texting posture shown is often a quilter’s posture. Is it any wonder that your upper body feels so bad after you’ve been sewing?

So, hold your head high—or at least, hold it in a more balanced position over your body. Fix the height of your sewing machine chair and/or table. Find a good chair to applique in. Put your light in position so that you are not bending sideways toward it. Put your feet up if that helps you to maintain good posture as you applique.

I’m going to post this same information on my blog, so that you’ll be able to find it again if you ever need to. Did you know that there is a search option on my blog? Look in the menu bar for the area with the spyglass. Type in a search topic and you can find all sorts of things.