Playing Around With Nikki and this Week’s Store Specials

November 26th, 2010

If you’ve needed to call our warehouse or needed help with an order, then you know that Nikki, our warehouse manager, is a really nice person.  What you may not know is that she has never quilted or sewn, so she has been learning a lot about all these products over the last couple of months. It finally hit me how hard it must be for her to be around all these colorful products and not really understand how much fun they are, so it was time to start showing her the ropes!   Last week, we spent some time together doing fusible applique and I thought she might be interested in seeing how fast you can create an applique “scene” using the Sizzix machine.  The above pillow is what I threw together during our short session together.  To make it, I used the BigZ bird die:

and also the Sizzix Flower layers die:

The nice thing about this flower layers die is that you can use all 4 layers of the flower or not, depending upon size limitations or your design aesthetic.  In this case, the largest size of flower petals was too big for my pillow, so those pieces were saved for another project.  Here is a shot of the pillow front after fusing.  I kid you not, this part takes about 1 minute because the fabric cutting part goes so fast:

Once fused onto bleached  muslin, I embroidered the edges of all the applique shapes with solid colored rayon and trilobal polyester threads:

Because the applique shapes were all backed by fusible web, I didn’t need to use any stabilizer.  Here’s a shot of the backside, just before I added my batting layer:

Next up, I outlined all the pieces of the applique shapes with invisible thread (Monopoly, by Superior Threads), and then I quilted this background design in white cotton thread.  The background design is a hybrid between swirls and McTavishing, with a deliberate effort to be heavy on the swirls.  I really like the movement those big swirls add.  Here’s a shot of it before I stuffed it:

Isn’t it cool how adding something as simple as those swirls coming off the birds adds a real whimsical, almost magical quality to such a simple applique scene?  And here’s the finished product once again:

Have I mentioned just how much I love my Sizzix machine?!!  This is the most addictive quilting “gadget” I have encountered…EVER, and I’ve been quilting for almost 35 years!  I think I may come up with a class or two that involve using this machine so I can infect others with the Sizzix bug.  I wish you all could see my sewing room now.  I literally have many, many quilts in the process of being pieced and being quilted because it’s so quick and easy to make quilts using this machine!

And now for what’s on sale in the store this week…pretty much everything, because this week’s special is FREE SHIPPING FOR ANY RETAIL SALES SHIPPED WITHIN THE  UNITED STATES! If you don’t live within the United States, we haven’t forgotten about you-we’ll deduct 15% off your retail merchandise total and refund it to you, no matter what you buy!  To get free shipping on your retail purchase, just enter turkey in the discount code box.  If you live outside the United States, enter friends in the discount code box and we’ll deduct 15% off your retail merchandise total. Sale prices good through 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, 12/4/10.

Pincushion Tutorial Revisited

November 21st, 2010


I got some requests to re-post my old pincushion tutorial, so here it is.  Do you know any quilter who doesn’t get sucked in by tiny pinscushions?!  I sure don’t, and they make quick, easy, and inexpensive gifts.  Here goes!

These are my newest additions to my family of pincushions. I am a soft touch for bright color and tiny things, so these easily got me sucked in. If it is colorful, tiny, and functional, then a pincushion has passed the test and gained entrance to my highly exclusive “pincushion club!” I try not to have favorites, but my new fav is pictured below:


And I really love the detail of the stitching on things as tiny as this:


They are quick and easy to make. First you fuse some tiny shape to your background piece, (I used wonder under and it is soft enough for me to push a pin through). I folded my pieces in half to get a rough idea of where to fuse my small color shape:


For some of these, I wanted my fused shape to kind of stand out, so for these, I did some free motion embroidery around the outer edges of the applique while it was still just a top. This one’s an example of that move:


Oh, how I just swoon for that combo of purple, orange, and gold! Next, I spray baste them onto a thin batting as below:


And then I do my free motion quilting all over the background. For the one’s where I wanted my fused area to pop out a bit, I then stitched around the outer edges with invisible thread. Once all the quilting’s done, you start cutting them in half so that you can “shuffle the deck” and mix the colors of your tops and bottoms:


(Some of these are cut and some are not). Once you’ve sewn them together, you can appreciate that little bit of extra zip you get from having more than one color, and you have a variety of quilting designs as well:



I stuffed them with this material below. They are miniscule pieces of a weighted  synthetic stuffingand they are just perfect for stuffing pincushions.  You can find them here.


And here are all the new recruits, ready for their first assignment:


But of course, they will never replace the mother of all pincushions…


…the arm of our sofa!!

What’s on Sale in the Store This Week

November 19th, 2010

As we ease into the last weekend before Thanksgiving, I’m feeling very grateful for the wonderful colors and shapes we associate with Fall…It’s such a lovely time and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!  I’m also feeling grateful for all you loyal blog readers and customers who’ve helped our business grow over the last few years.    Without your patronage, there would be no Patsy Thompson Designs, LTD, so thank you all for your support!  We’d like to offer you something back this week with our latest specials:

It’s a great time to stock up on Bottom Line Thread by Superior Threads!  This lightweight polyester thread is great in the bobbin, great for hand stitching the binding onto the backside of your quilt, and great when you want to create a texture to your quilting but you don’t want to draw attention to the stitched line itself.  It’s the perfect combination of a very strong thread that’s very lightweight.  All colors in the 1,420 yard spools are 20% off!

We’ve gotten lots of new batik fabrics into the warehouse in all kinds of colors!  If you’re starting to dream of making a warm quilt for the winter, stock up on lovely batik yardage at 20% off!  (Minimum cut is 1/2 yard.) To see all the new fabrics that have arrived this month (both batiks and non-Batiks, go here.)

Still haven’t begun working on your Christmas quilting projects?  No need to fear, we’re putting all Nancy Halvorsen fabrics on sale at 20% off, including her Tidings Collection Acorn Hollow, and Angels Among Us Collections.  Now there’s no excuse for not getting those projects done!

To obtain the 20% off discount, be sure to type thanksgiving in the discount code box during checkout.  Sale prices are good through 11:59 pm eastern time on Friday, November 26, 2010.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Swirly Quilting Textures and Magic Bobbin Washers

November 18th, 2010

Don’t you just love the swirly texture created by those quilting stitches? One of the weird things about my life is that I need to throw together smallish projects all the time so I can demo on them at events, and then I frequently push them to the backseat once the event is over, only to stumble upon them years later. Before I was a quilting teacher, I finished pretty much every quilt project I began, but that’s just not the case anymore! Here’s another shot of part of that quilt where the swirly texture shows a bit better:

…ooohh! I just love those swirls! I may just have to finish that little quilt!

I learned something this week while I was working on that Sizzix quilt. I started using Magic Bobbin Washers for the first time, and I think these things are worth trying. They are small teflon washers that fit in your bobbin case:

They’re super easy to use…just slip one into the bottom of the bobbin case:

…and then pop your bobbin in right on top of it:

You may be asking yourself why one would do this at all. These washers prevent the backlash of the bobbin that sometimes happens when you’re quilting along and then abruptly change direction or stop. For me, that happens most often when I’m working with slippery threads, like rayons or polyesters, and I use those a lot, so I’m sold on this product. They also prevent those pesky birds’ nests that sometimes form on the back of your quilt. They come in one size for the home domestic sewing machine and another size for the large M size bobbin that works in midarm and longarm machines. This is a great stocking stuffer for Christmas.

Newest Member of the Pincushion Family and What’s on Sale In the Store!

November 12th, 2010

Isn’t this little pincushion cute?  Not sure what it is about pincushions, but I’m always making more, even though I have way more than I need!  You can whip them up so fast and sometimes you just need the satisfaction of getting a project 100% done quickly!  Here’s another shot of my new friend before he held any pins:

I made him by tracing the curlycue wreath stencil design from PT3A-E, but you could make it by tracing around a circle from something you’ve got lying around the house,  like a small glass, or a cup etc,  and then just throw off small curly cues as you stitch around the perimeter of that circle…so easy!  Pincushions make great gifts for quilters, so you just might want to try making a few for gifts during this holiday season.  If anyone is interested, I  had an old post a few years back about making pincushions, and I’d be more than happy to re-post it if anyone wants me to.

And now for the sale…beginning right now, all of the following are 20% off:

**All Signature Pixelles Polyester threads-these are beautiful variegated trilobal polester threads.  This means they have HIGH SHEEN and will really show your quilting!

**All Signature 100% Cotton Variegated Threads!

**All Wonderfil Threads, including Accent (a heavy weight solid colored rayon thread) and Invisifil. If you haven’t tried Invisifil yet, you should!  Invisil is a very lightweight polyester thread with a matte finish.  It works really well when you want to create an effect but don’t want to draw attention to the stitched line.  Here’s an example of an applique I just quilted using Invisifil:

This flourish is very delicate, so I needed a super-fine, lightweight thread to stitch just inside the edges.  Normally, I use Monopoly Invisible Threads for this, but the sheen of that thread was a give away…enter Invisifil to save the day!

**20 % off all prepackaged fabric bundles!  Treat yourself to a smorgasbord of fabric colors with these small samplers!

**20% off all patterns!  This means quilt patterns, purse and tote bag patterns, table runners, and everything else!  And it also includes patterns by us!

To receive the discount, write  “friday!” in the discount code box at checkout.