Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Make Notecards With Your Quilting Stencils

In theme with our postings of "Things you can use quilting supplies for, other than quilting..." today's tutorial will show how to use stencils to make note cards. This would be a great idea for a last minute holiday present or hostess gift. Here I have done two different methods of making cards.

Glitter Note cards

This first tutorial was originally shown on Martha Stewart- using Stencil Company stencils :)
Here I have gone through the steps a little more thoroughly.

First, choose a stencil, any stencil will do, although think about the size of your note card- you can use a small design or use a part of a larger design to fit.
I chose a 4" Flying Crane Design. You can buy blank card sets that include the envelopes- I got a great deal on the David Tutera Blank card set at Joann's. A 48 pack of cards and envelopes for $6.99. Since all the glitter I had was light, I bought the set of dark cards.

 Trace the design on your card with a pencil. When you take the stencil away you will have the blank spots where the lines don't connect. For your own sanity, go ahead and draw in the rest of the lines. That way when you're holding a bottle of glitter glue you don't have to think about it.

You can use the method where you trace with glue and sprinkle glitter on top, but I found it much easier to buy the glitter glue. I bought mine at Walmart for $0.99 a tube. Trace over the lines with your glitter glue and you're done!

Cut-Out Cards

The second note card project uses a stencil again, but this time we're removing instead of adding. Supplies include a stencil, pencil, cutting mat, two note cards and x-acto knife (a double bladed one will make this go much faster).

When you're choosing a note card think about what colors will look good together. You can either use two note cards or use one note card and a piece of cardstock that you cut to size. Since I wanted to use a larger stencil I cut mine out of heavy cardstock from the scrapbooking section at Michaels Crafts.

Decide which will be your cover (background) and which will be the inner card (design).

Choose a stencil. I used a portion of a wheat border design

Trace your design on to the cover of the card. Since you're cutting away the lines it doesn't matter if you trace on the front or back of the cover, but if you're prone to mistakes always best to trace on the back side. Trace your design with the pencil. This time DO NOT CONNECT THE LINES! You will need these breaks to keep your card from falling apart.

If you have a single blade craft knife you will have to cut twice to get the "channel cut", or you can use a Double Bladed Stencil Cutter which has two blades to make the channel. A Double Bladed Cutter will also ensure that your channels are even.

Cut the design- remember to stop cutting when you get to the break in the line.

I used one blade to go back and cut the ends of the pieces to expose the cut out areas.

When you're all finished insert the inside card. You can leave them sandwiched, or glue it down at the corners if you want.

I'm sure there are many other variations. Drawing with a white wax crayon and watercoloring over top? Paper collage? These are just two ideas, but the possibilities are endless!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Project and Gift Ideas

If you're like us, I'm sure you have a lot of quilting related tools and gadgets around the house. And maybe you've made all the quilt-related gifts you can...
Over the next few weeks we're going to be posting some ideas so that you can use those gadgets and make some gifts and holiday decorations.

But, before we get too far away from their original purpose, here is our latest Christmas applique project of the moment.

We used Perfect Shape No Melt Applique Circles and a 6 pack of green fat quarters from JoAnn's Fabrics

First we chose a few different sizes of circles- the 3", the 1 1/2" and the 1".

We laid the applique circles out on our fabric and used them as a template to trace the circles.

Here we used a General's Sketch and Wash Pencil, which does remove with water or an eraser, but since we're appliqueing the circles, it really doesn't matter if the lines don't come out as they'll all be covered up.

After tracing, we cut the circles out about 1/4" away from the line.

When all the fabric pieces were cut out, we then reused the applique circles, since they are no-melt, and used them to press the edges of your applique shape. Place the template back on the circle, and then using the iron on a medium setting (or an applique iron if you have one!), press around the template until all of your edges are flat.
After you press around the circle, pull out the plastic applique shape and use it to repeat the step for the next circle.

Another good tip for getting really crisp edges is to use a little bit of liquid starch (1/2 liquid starch, 1/2 water) and using a small paintbrush paint the edges with the mixture before ironing. This will keep the edges crisp and flat, even after you pull the applique template out.

Once all of our circles were ready we traced a large circle onto our white fabric and appliqued our circles around- starting with the larger circles on the bottom, working up to the smaller circles on top.

Here is the wreath after we appliqued all the circles on...

For a finishing touch, we went through our stash and found some really neat buttons that we've been saving since the 80's for that "special project".

We used ours for a small wallhanging, but you can also do this on a shirt, blanket, tote bags, table runner...there are lots of ways to use applique in unique ways.

What are some interesting ways that you have used applique?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Basting and Binding for Beginners

We had a great response to our last video series, "Quilt As Desired", so here is another installment.
This weeks video is "Basting and Binding for Beginners". It includes tips and tricks to help every quilter, from beginners to those of you who have been quilting for years.
Thanks again to our friends at Quilters TV for letting us repost these here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quilt Making Rules?

We are often told rather emphatically, that a quilter must, should,  have to, always do such and such or "thats not the way you do it" about making quilts.  There are persons with a legal sounding word attached to the term that are quoted as the authority on the "way" quilting should be done. You know the word and who these folks are.   I am sure there are opinionated folk in every craft or profession.  Where do they get their authority? 

In my 30+ years of quilt making career I have never found a list or book or any other official document that gives the absolute rules for quilt making.  Since I haven't found this information I have decided to make one up.  You won't need a very long piece of paper if you choose to write these down.  Here they are:

Good Quilt Making is Achieved by:

1.   Accurate marking or measuring
2.   Accurate cutting
3.   Accurate piecing.

*Footnote:   Beyond this, it is the interest, skill, desire, ability the quilt maker brings to the art and craft. 

Now let me give you some personal experience.

For many years I designed whole cloth quilts.  No cutting or piecing there.  No colors to match because I drew the designs with black pen on white paper.  If one side of the design was a bit "off" that didn't matter because the balance of the design was the important element.

Then I started (again) teaching basic quilting making.  For some reason the pieces - even the squares and rectangles didn't fit just right.  So, I started ripping out.  I ripped not to just redo but to find out what was wrong.  I discovered that I was losing control the last 1/2" of the seams.  Therefore, the pieces were not fitting together as they should.   Do I make my point?  I decided right then that you can certainly teach old folks new tricks.

Accuracy is important and if it doesn't happen, then go back and figure out why.  It sure cuts down on my frustration and it will for you as well.

Something About those Water Erasable Pens


The subject often comes up about these pens.  Usually the quilter is concerned that the marks didn't totally disappear.  In many of the cases the quilter describes removing the marks by either wiping with a wet cloth or spritzing with water.  Such techniques for removing the marks may be the recommendation of the manufacturer but they don't always work.  It is my belief and always recommendation that when using these water erasable pens the finished quilt be completely washed when it is finished.  There have been reported cases that with spritzing and wiping with wet cloth, that although the lines do disappear eventually they return - although faint.  I also believe that while the surface color might appear to be removed that the color in the ink migrates into the batting and could reappear at some time.  It is always safer to wash and not take the chance the marks will return
I believe this is especially important when using the water pen that disappear in the air.  (Must be fast quilters who ue these.)  While the lines do disappear in time, the chemical is still in the fabric.  Again, better to wash out than be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's the best way to mark my quilt?

Marking the Quilt

We get a lot of questions about the "best pencil" to use for marking the quilt. I wish I had a definitive answer. The reality is that what works for one does not necessarily work for another.

Having said this. Here are my suggestions:
Whichever pencil/pen you use, test, test, test first to make sure it will do what you want it to.
If you are going to wash your quilt then there are some additional options.

Water Erasable:
The water erasable felt tip pens work well on light fabric.  Some like the water erasable that disappears in the air.  These folk must be quick quilters because humidity does cause the lines to disappear.  My caution tho is although the lines disappear, there is probably a chemical still in the quilt that might need to be removed by washing.    So I stick with the non-disappearing and wash the quilt after it is finished.  My logic also says that spritzing just pushes the color into the batting and might come back in time.

Chalk, Washable Graphite and Ceramic pencils:

A chalk type or colored pencil that has wax in the lead will be difficult to remove if using on the top of the quilt.  I don't recommend these.

Chalk pencils without an additive is safe and easy to use.  There are many on the market.  From time to time some of the Quilt Magazines will do a test on several pencils.  My recommendations are:

Multi-Pastel Chalk made by General Pencil Co is a good one.  The composition of the lead is chalk and clay. Chalk which is removable and the clay to give it some stability.  I recommend white and the light gray. It is an artist pencil and used to draw and then brush over with a wet brush to give a watercolor effect.  The lead is washable and can be removed with a brush.  I sometime also use the dark gray but it is bit more difficult to remove. I had to spray it with an additional stain remover to get it off a  light color fabric.  However, it worked for my purpose. 

Any chalk pencil has a tendency to break when sharpened.  I use a battery powered sharpener and as it sharpens will twist the pencil.  I believe this will give a more even cut.  I also will mark a few inches - about 12" and then tip off the lead in the sharpener.  This requires less sharpening when needed.
I also use the black graphite - also made by General Pencil Co.  Since its original introduction into the art community, the company has hardened the lead a bit so it will sharpen better.  I have marked on off-white cotton sateen and when finished machine quilting, the marks were almost gone and could be erased or washed.

Ceramic Lead
These are proving good markers.  There are several companies who distribute these.   The lead is used in a mechanical pencil and is thin.  One would think the thin lead would be weak but it holds up well in heavy marking.  It is also erasable if needed.

The white plastic type erasers work well with chalk pencils.   Be sure and read the package if in a package to make sure they don't have petroleum in them.  The Petroleum will smudge the fabric.
Most that indicate for fabric are ok.  A-1 from General Pencil is a good one.  I also use the black oval lint brush found in the pet supply section of most large stores.  This brush appears to act both as a brush and eraser as it is made of plastic.

All the above products except the Lint Brush are described in the Stencil Company catalog on their web site. You can reach them at this link:

I want to emphasise again to test before marking your quilt.  Fabrics react differently to the various types of pencils.

Two cautions from quilters...

The markers that have a rolling attachment to dispense the chalk tend to embed the chalk into the fabric making it difficult to remove.
The pen that can be removed by heat or friction has some problems.   While the instructions say the marks can be removed by ironing over them, but will come back when put in the freezer have had mixed reviews. While they do indeed disappear in heat one quilter said she put the quilt in her car and drove some distance in the winter in the cold car and all the marks returned.  So guess we don't have to preserve the quilt by putting it in the freezer but any cold even in a cold room might cause the lines to return.   Also, it has been reported the chemical will bleach out some colors.  All this is hear-say but am passing it on for your consideration,

Remember, what works for me doesn't always work for you.   Be careful in marking and make sure it will perform as you wish.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quilt As Desired- Part 2

Here is Part 2 of the Quilt As Desired Program. Thank you for all the page views and wonderful comments from Part 1. We hope you enjoy the rest of this program!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quilt As Desired- Part 1

Our Friends over at Quilters TV were kind enough to let us share a segment that Holice taped for them, titled "Quilt As Desired". This 30-minute program covers tips and hints on how to choose your designs and quilting to best suit your piece.
Here is Part 1 of this program. Part 2 will be posted soon. Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tips and Suggestions

I am trying to work through the blog process.  When I get comfortable with it,I will start writing more details about quilting other than just answering questions.  You see, I am so new to this that recently when someone asked me if I had a "blog" without thinking I said yes, its down the street at the end of the beaver dam.  Hopefully, my learning curve will get straighter.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Coming Soon....

Since launching our blog, Stencil Co-Mingle this week, we have been amazed at the outpouring of interest and support from fellow quilters. We would like to thank everyone for their interest! Unfortunately, we were not prepared to have so many readers so quickly and Holice is teaching this week in Raleigh, NC! Holice will be blogging about all aspects of hand and machine quilting and we are also in the process of filming some tutorial videos which will be crosslinked with YouTube.
Until he returns and can start with his weekly blog postings, we thought we would open up the forum if there is any special topics our readers might be interested in getting another point of view on? If we can't help, maybe other readers can. Let's Co-Mingle!

Friday, June 15, 2012


We would like to welcome all of our quilting friends (both hand and machine) to our new blog. Through the exchange of advice and ideas we hope to foster creativity between quilters and that our blog will serve to educate us as well. Weekly we will be posting tips, tricks, advice and questions...basically the A-Z of quilting!
Many postings will be written by Holice Turnbow, with occasional postings by guest bloggers from The Stencil Company.
Please follow us, and tell your quilting friends!