I first fell in love with light-weight fusible when I applied Mistyfuse to fabric for use with shaped rulers.
That’s how I made this quilt.
I love that it is like a weightless “spiderweb” of glue. It is so soft, your machine won’t even know it is there. However, there is no paper on this fusible and that caused serious limitations for my use of it. I do a lot of fusible applique which require tracing a template.
My favorite paper-backed fusible is SoftFuse because it is lightweight like Mistyfuse. I recommend Softfuse for students making #usebothsides patterns (click here to see patterns)
So when I heard about this method of transferring a design to fabric with Mistyfuse, I wanted to check it out. Here’s what I learned…
First draw or trace your design with lead pencil onto parchment paper. You need to make it dark. I used a #2 lead pencil.
Then cut a piece of Mistyfuse large enough to cover your design. Using a protective sheet (I used a Goddess Sheet), press the Mistyfuse to the wrong side of your fabric. The Goddess Sheet give the Mistyfuse a sheen so you can see where it is on your fabric.
Let it cool and then lay the fabric, fusible side up, on a hard surface. Lay your parchment paper, design side down, on your fabric and trace the design with a hard pointed object. I used a stylist tool. I peeked to make sure the design was showing before I moved the tracing.
Cut your design on the lines.
What I learned…
Don’t trace onto the right side of your fabric. I had to redo my bee after I made that mistake.
The lead markings transfer much easier onto the Mistyfuse than they do directly onto fabric. The finer your pencil, the finer your lines. I over-did my lead tracing because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see it. I could actually use a finer point and get a more precise drawing than I anticipated.
When you need an alternative to paper-backed fusible, this is a great option!
Jack Quilt Pattern
Got a favorite cabin or lodge to decorate? Here is Jack (buck)! He’s made with both sides of Mossy Oak fabric on a scrappy background. Click HERE for the #usebothsides pattern.
This little guy just made the trip, along with his buddy, Tanka, to two of my favorite places in South Dakota!
My daughter’s work at Black Hills Playhouse finished up for the summer so my husband flew out to drive back with her. So, being the great guy that he is, he offered to take my two newest quilts and a stack of patterns with him.
First he went to visit our new friends Kathy and Ernie in Custer SD, at Dakota Dream Bed & Breakfast & Horse Hotel. We highly recommend a visit to the Black Hills in Custer State Park and a stay with Kathy and Ernie. Learn more HERE.
Then when Matt and Jacq were homebound, they stopped in The Quilt Shop, Inc. in Chamberlain, SD. They delivered “Dakota” patterns to owner, Sonya Kroupa (and pick up a piece of fabric for moi)! Sonya has a delightful quilt shop AND more! In addition to rooms and rooms of interesting and different fabric, kits, and patterns, she has local artwork, jewelry, beads – really more than I had time to take in during my two short visits there. Visit The Quilt Shop website HERE.
Also, see this post which shows more fun things to see in Custer and the Dignity statue in Chamberlain HERE.
This is another petite design, finishing at 18 x 24 inches. It’s a great “afternoon quilt” – quick and easy. Even after making more than twenty #usebothsides quilts, I can’t decide which is more fun, choosing the focus fabric or the background fabrics. Both are vital to the charm of the quilts!
The southwest focus fabric was an awesome piece to use. I loved the rich mix of background fabrics, including several feather fabrics.
Imagine all the different “turtle “fabrics you could use! It could be playful with children’s motifs, realistic with mottled dotty fabric, wild with large florals or geometrics – really anything will work as long as the reverse passed the audition!
Read about Tanka quilt pattern HERE!
Thinking caps, please…
South Dakota, wildlife everywhere, incredible terrain, bison strolling along the roadside, animal skulls…this isn’t some cutesy butterfly pattern I’m introducing…in fact, it took this Southeast Missouri girl some time to wrap her head around it…
…but with the right fabrics – WOW! I’m diggin’ this bison skull quilt pattern. I hope you are, too!
As many of you know from “South Dakota Quilts & More” (click here), our recent trip to the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park included some fun sights, statues, monuments and, of course, quilt shops.
Tanka is the first pattern in what I call my “Out West” series.
Tanka, in Lakota, means “big, great”.
I chose feathers on a light background for the focus fabric. The skull is made from the reverse side of it and the hanging feather decoration is cut from the front. The background fabrics for this quilt were really fun to play with! Don’t you just love that black and white fence row fabric at the bottom? I found it and “several” other fabulous fabrics at The Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD.
A fun element of making these quilts is mixing up the background fabrics. This one has batik, southwest, gold circles on gray (but reversed), grunge and a fur look to really give interest to the quilt.
It’s so much fun to #usebothsides of fabrics and it’s a great way to learn about the nuances of value. You won’t look at fabric the same way again! AND when you use both sides, you DOUBLE your stash! Give it a try!
If you like the wildlife theme, hang on! There’s some really fun ones in the thinker and on the design wall!
Shop HERE for #usebothsides patterns.
Don’t forget about Jack (buck), made with Mossy Oak camouflage fabric!
Choose the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt page for the latest block. Only one to go!
Can you guess what the next #usebothsides pattern will be?
It’s a boy! Jack is the first boy made with both sides of one focus fabric.
I used a Mossy Oak camouflage from my local quilt shop. There are LOTS of camouflage fabrics on the market you could use.
I thought this one a might stiff when I pulled it off the bolt but after a quick wash and dry, it was great to work with!
As I describe in all the #usebothsides patterns, you’ll want to see a good contrast in values (black and white pictures tell the truth) when you choose your focus fabric.
*Full-size paper template.
*Complete, detailed instructions.
*Fast and easy to make.
*Guide for auditioning and choosing your focus and background fabrics.
*Learn the nuances of value while you have fun auditioning both sides of fabric!
Shop Jack and all the #usebothsides patterns HERE!
With fall just around the corner, you might want to get your ghoul on with Something’s Brewing!
Sandy, the sea turtle pattern is for those who love summer at the beach… the sand, the salty air, the sound of sea gulls and crashing waves and, of course, sea turtles!
In the warm summer sand, a momma sea turtle digs her nest. This becomes home for up to a hundred eggs for the next sixty days. Like the temperature of the sand determines the gender of the sea turtles, your focus fabric will decide yours!
Did you know? Cooler sand temperatures produce more male and warmer sand produces more female sea turtles.
The sea turtle eggs hatch almost simultaneously, making the sandy nest look like boiling water. Instinctively, the babies find their way to the water with the help of the slope of the beach and the moon and star reflections on the water.
The large number of turtles hatching and moving to the sea all together helps protect them from predators. That’s why its a good idea to remove chairs and umbrellas and fill all holes at night during hatching season so they have a better chance at making it to sea safely.
How it works: Value. Choose a focus fabric with a great reverse. (You’ll know it when you see it, you really will!) Make sure you can see the difference in value by taking a black and white picture. Tips for auditioning focus and background fabric are included in each #usebothsides pattern.
Full-size paper template included in each pattern.
Prairie Point Hanging Method instructions included.
Shop all my patterns HERE
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You might think that once you’ve chosen a good focus fabric, your work at auditioning fabric is done. But really, you’ve just begun to have fun!
Background fabrics for these quilts are really what make the quilts sing! If you’ve been in one of my classes you know there is a certain “feel” you are trying to achieve in the relationship between your focus and background fabrics.
It DOES truly begin with your focus fabric choice – you have to pick that first and foremost. (I’ll discuss focus fabric auditioning in an upcoming post. Tips for choosing focus fabric are included in each pattern.) Once your focus fabric has been chosen, you want to achieve a balance between your focus fabric and your backgrounds. I encourage using a mix of fabric styles and to use this quilt as an opportunity try something new. I figure, it IS a fun quilt– so use fun fabrics which may not be appropriate in your more serious quilt work. I’m going to use two quilts as examples. They just happen to me my first and my latest (not last) patterns:
Notice that the bee is made from very bold fabric. She really makes a statement. She’s not one bit shy. The background fabrics can be bolder for her because her focus fabric and her character allow it. When I take a black and white picture of Phoebee, some of the backgrounds are darker in value than I would use with my other patterns, depending not just on the focus fabric, but also the subject matter and what I want you to feel when you look at the quilt.
Now looking at Bubbles, I hope you see a sweet, endearing “fellow”…youthful, happy, maybe adventuresome… maybe up to something. Bubbles can be a boy or a girl and you can change his or her attitude just by choosing a different focus fabric! What I am hoping you have noticed by now is that the background fabrics also have a different feel. In fact, most of the accent strips I used are reversed to keep them from overpowering this sweet whale friend.
Once I’ve chosen my focus fabric, I lay the fabric out, loosely shaped for the pattern I’m making– but with a twist – literally, I twist the fabric so half of the fabric shows the reverse side. Then I take my backgrounds and audition them with BOTH sides of my focus fabric, taking lots of black and white pictures until I’m happy with the values I see. When I look at those pictures, I want to see my character (bee, butterfly, bouquet, cauldron, seahorse) first, my reversed fabrics next (flowers, vase, bubbles, etc.), and my backgrounds last. The accent strips are just that – small bits of fun that flirt with being “too much”, but because they are small enough, they can stay and add interest to the quilt.
My husband and “silent” business partner just happened to name the two above quilts.
Now compare the FEELS of these two quilts with relation to their backgrounds:
Now, you don’t want to get too serious about your fabric auditioning, because these patterns truly are fun, fast, and easy quilts to make. There are no matching seams. They are a good way to use up scraps. They make great gifts. I just wanted to give you a little bonus peek into the value of the #usebothsides backgrounds.
For more auditioning fun, take a #usebothsides class. Next up is “Christmas in July” at The Golden Needle in Cape Girardeau, MO. July 7, 10 – 3 p.m. Choose from Pepita, Rose, Emily or Kate. Sign up and prep info in shop.
Bubbles may be my latest#usebothsides pattern, but it is the fourteenth pattern using a scrappy 36-inch square background. See all my patterns by clicking on the Patterns Page above or click here.
Here’s a simple but effective tip for trimming up your half-square triangle blocks. Keep in mind, there’s more than one way to…(I love my cat too much to finish that phrase)…make a half-square, but here’s how I do it for the mystery quilt:
In this example, we are wanting 3 1/2″ finished blocks so I’m starting with 4″ squares. Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the reverse side of the lightest fabric.
Put right sides together and use a 1/4″ foot ti stitch 1/4″ from either side. (If I was making a lot of these – like for last month’s block- I’d run them all through, stitching down one side (chain-piecing) and then turn them all and stitch down the other side of them all.)
Cut on the center line and press to the lighter fabric. The block should be larger than 3 1/2″ and have threads and tails (or ears) on them.
Here is The Tip: Using any ruler with a 45-degree line, place that line along the diagonal seam of your block and so that the over-all size after you trim the first two sides is still slightly larger than 3 1/2″. Notice the extra fabric outside of the 3 1/2″ marks? Trim the first two sides.
Spin your block and now line up the trimmed sides directly on the 3 1/2″ marks. Trim the last two sides.
Maybe you figured this out on your own, but I needed a kind teacher to show me why I shouldn’t just trim that block to 3 1/2″ with the first cuts. I AM from the Show-Me State!
If you are making the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt, you are probably figuring out that there are a lot of half-square triangle blocks in the design. Here is a pic of last month’s Trail of Tears block. Be ready to make some more half-square triangle blocks when the reveal for Month 6 comes out next week!
Having quilted for some time, I take for granted the piecing techniques I learned in classes. I hope sharing some of these techniques helps our newer quilters.
See my Mystery Quilt page for links to all of the months and Introduction or scroll down through the blog. Mystery Quilt posts are published on the second Monday of each month at 9 a.m. Each month has interesting river pictures, stories, or facts about river life along with the block of that month instructions. Month 6 is revealed June 11!
Focus fabric kits available in my Etsy shop:
Do you travel with quilts? Guilty! I take quilts on vacations, retreats, even short hotel stays…for warmth and beauty, to work on, to photograph, and to just enjoy.
Last week I had the pleasure of taking 40 quilts and a power point guild presentation to Memphis, TN (Cordova, to be exact) to the home of the PUPS (Pickin’ Up the Pieces) Quilt Guild.
I find it fascinating to see the differences between different quilting groups. Size alone can change the dynamics of a group. Meeting location is another factor. Personalities of the members can change how a guild operates. What seems to be constant, though, among all guilds is that the love of quilting, creating, and discovering new opportunities outweighs any of the challenges brought to a group of women (with a sprinkling of men).
A few take-aways I recall from visiting PUPS include:
Show and Tell:
I didn’t get all the details, but there was this Master List of projects that the members must have filled out earlier in the year and when a show and tell item from that list was completed, that quilter got credit and, I think, entered into a drawing for retreat funds! How cool is THAT? Look at all this SHOW AND TELL from only 22 members present!!! I really liked being able to go around and look at each quilt closely during the break! I did later find out that this particular meeting was their LAST CHANCE to complete those projects and that may have contributed to their prolific quilting!
Being in charge of Block-of-the-Month for my guild (blatant promotion to follow), I was surprised when their quilters showed up with their blocks dutifully completed for that month and laid them in a pile on a table. The PUPS gals take those blocks and make them up into quilts for their community. It’s a really nice way to help the community while quilters learn new techniques.
I thought this sounded like loads of fun! Pick a weekend (pretty far in advance for planning purposes). Choose your projects, your favorite jammies, and snacks and have your own retreats at home – but shared with pictures and videos on the guild Facebook page! Sounds like a winter thing to me…although my studio feels like winter year round, so I am game whenever!
I’m always a bit nervous before giving a presentation, not because I’m not prepared…but because I might go off script (“I am not a THIEF?”) ugh! Thankfully, I didn’t know before I got to town that I had SUCH BIG SHOES to fill: Marie Bostwick (My Favorite Author) had spoken the month before. Had I known that, I would’ve driven there a month earlier! Thankfully it didn’t sink in until the next day that I was following that awesomeness. (I’m pretty sure we’d be besties, if she actually knew me;)) She’s a class-act and I was honored to follow her.
A big shout-out and thank-you to the PUPS Quilt Guild for their hospitality!
Blatant Advertising for BOM and some summertime quilt patterns:
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Pointe shoes are just…beautiful. This #usebothsides quilt pattern is for the ballerina in your life.
Angelina Ballerina is a cute little mouse who loves to go to ballet lessons. Part of the American Girl collection, we had (er, still have) the dolls, her stage with a player piano, and many accessories. And…Angelina wore pointe shoes.
Both of our daughters loved ballet…but I’m not sure either of them would have stayed with it if they’d ever thought pointe shoes were off the table.
Pointe was the point!
I was excited to find focus fabric which works for a new #usebothsides quilt pattern with pointe shoes as the focus! I did my research and then checked with my youngest who is still taking pointe (as a senior in college) to make certain the shoes in my pattern were properly on pointe!
Angelina Quilt Pattern uses both sides of one focus fabric for the shoes and ribbons, tights and soles (reversed), and the binding on a fun, scrappy background.
Pointe isn’t all glamour and glory, though. Mom’s of pointe students are well aware of the time spent stitching in ribbons and elastic. Girls generally never outgrow point shoes because they break down too quickly and must be replaced often. They take special fittings and there are hundreds of options from which to choose.
For the young dancer, pointe shoes seem to be a right of passage. It takes determination, maturity, time, and skill…and the acceptance of bloody toes, ugly feet, and a large collection of expensive and eventually smell shoes!
Determined girls wouldn’t have it any other way.
See all the #usebothsides patterns HERE.
As a new quilter (and even as a more experienced, but less prolific quilter), I would struggle with attaching binding to my quilts.
I’d refer to my Happy Endings book each time I came to that part of the quilt-making process and try to remember how to prepare and put on binding. Even after I understood the technique, there would be so much time in between bindings that I couldn’t remember how to do it.
While trying to get the end my stitching to the exact size of my seam allowance, I’d use a familiar tool, mostly used in garment construction. One brand calls it a “Rule ‘n Gauge”. In addition to providing a precise measurement, I use the straight edge of this little tool to give me a perfectly square fold for my binding corners. While any straight edge will do, this is a thin and readily available tool that has passed the test of time for me.
Having made 14 patterns in nine months, stitching on binding is second nature to me, but I still use the Rule ‘n Gauge every time.
What’s your favorite binding tool?
Remember to add prairie points (Click here) for easy hanging options before you turn your binding!
Headed to Paducah for AQS Quilt Week? See you at Hancock’s of Paducah! Take a picture with any or all of the ten #usebothsides quilts and post on Facebook with the hashtag for a chance to win a pattern of your choice!
Phoebee Quilt Pattern