When The Unexpected Happens And Life Changes In A Blink Of An Eye

Today I want to talk about a situation where the life, of any of us, can change in a blink of the eye.  Our world, as we know it can shatter quickly.  How do you get thru it?  How do others help? 

Our worldwide quilting community is a group of talented and giving people.  I’ve truly seen miracles happen in our community through the power of prayer, fundraisers to help those in need, as well as words of kindness and encouragement.  PR Angels often help to spread the word, and many find other great ways to help.  We each have a story, but today I want to share a story about an amazing quilter, teacher, and author who could use our prayers, positive thoughts, as well as support and encouragement in so many ways.

Karen Sievert is an Author, Teacher, Speaker and International Award Winning Longarm Machine Quilter.  


Karen is the author of two amazing books:

 “Better Together“, published by Martingale in  2010


Prairie Point Pizzazpublished by Martingale in 2011


This past year Karen and her husband Vince, moved into a beautiful log home in Bailey, NC.   This home was designed with plenty of space for Karen to design and quilt, as well as provide accommodations for 1-6 quilters, in an ideal and tranquil setting for intimate classes and retreats with Karen.  Sounds absolutely inviting to me.  Especially perfect for those that want to learn/improve their free-motion quilting skills to make quilts such as what Karen has:

Besides the move, besides her hectic teaching schedules, as well as working on more quilts to enter into quilt shows, she also had to go thru various hand surgeries.  But she pushed thru it with amazing style and grace.



On September 16th Karen and Vince lost their beautiful log cabin dream home to a fire.  They lost ALL their possessions, including years of making beautiful quilts, as well as her Award Winning Quilts!  Clearly, their life has changed with such a devastating loss.

While positive thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement are appreciated by Karin and Vince, a Go Fund Me program was launched by a friend.  It won’t replace all of their possessions, nor her quilts, but even little donations add up and help.  Here is a link for those that are able to make such a donation: https://www.gofundme.com/ksxyztj8?ssid=760358579&pos=1


You can find Karen at:




Quack Me Ups – Whimsical Quilts

quack me ups by quiltshopgal

There are a lot of quilty quilts, events, and experiences that quack me up.  I’m always on the lookout, as I think we can all use some fun humor.  While I’d love to hear about your quack ups, today, I thought I’d share quilts that caught my attention for “quack ups”.



{above} “A Night At The Zoo”, was created  by Debra Crine.  She was inspired by artwork from Phil Lewis when she created this beautiful quilt that definitely caught my attention, while attending the Road to California Conference and Quilt Show, this past January.  It is a beautiful quilt that also quacked me up!


I hope you find something that brings you a chuckle today and every day.  Of course, I also hope you find time to enjoy and create too!  


New Books with #CreativeGoodness from Martingale – Plus Giveaways Sponsored by Martingale

I’m excited to be able to share insights with you today about some new books with #CreativeGoodness from Martingale.  I also want to share insights with you about some giveaways, sponsored by Martingale.book-reviews-027

Preserving History – Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts
by Julie Hendricksen

My Review:

This is a “must have” book for anyone who appreciates antique quilts, as well as a great book for anyone who enjoys patchwork.  While the quilts in this book showcase reproduction style fabrics, I believe the designs would also look great in modern fabrics, or just about any fabric you wish to use, making it another great book for those that may be looking for stash busting project ideas.

A Change of Seasons – Folk-Art Quilts and Cozy Home Accessories By Bonnie Sullivan


My Review:

A Change of Seasons is packed with cozy quilts and home accessories that make for perfect projects to decorate your home, as well as to make for gifts.  This is a “must have” for anyone whom enjoys primitive style decorating, as well as those that may want to make fun and fast seasonal projects.

The Big Book of Fat-Quarter Quilts – 66 Designs


My Review:

With 66 fun projects this book is an exceptional value.  Retail price works out to $0.42 per design.  This is a “must have” for any quilter looking for stash-busting projects, as well as those that want fun and fast projects.

A Knitter’s Know-How – 127 Techniques Every Knitter Needs to Know By Cap Sease


My Review:

This is a great resource for beginning knitters, as well as experienced knitters that are looking for tips and tricks to help finish projects.  This book is a technique book that does a fantastic job demonstrating with close-up photos and easy to follow instructions.


All of these books come with Martingale’s quality and value where they each have easy to follow instructions and great visuals, making them perfect for all levels of creativity (beginner to advanced).  I hope you get a chance to check out these books at your favorite quilt shop.  But if you don’t see them, let them know you are interested in them making these books available in their store.  They are such new books, the store may simply not be aware of them.  Of course, you can also check out these books online at Martingale, or Amazon.

Did I Mention Some Giveaway Opportunities?

There is still time to enter a giveaway hosted by QuiltShopGal where you could win a copy of the new The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar – 365 Blocks  Katja Marek.  I’ll be randomly selecting a winner for this giveaway late Sunday, October 2nd.  Here is the link if you haven’t yet entered and would like to win this sweet perpetual calendar:  http://quiltshopgal.com/welcome-fall-preparing-for-the-countdown-calendars-and-a-giveaway/

Martingale also has a giveaway this week where you could win a copy of Knitter’s Know How.


You can find Martingale at:

martingale logo


Why Women’s Clothing Sizes Do Not Make Sense

Ever feel like you can’t trust the size of a clothing pattern, or confidence of purchasing pre-made clothes based on a particular size?  Seems that what might be a size 10 by one company is a size 8, 12 or 14 as defined by another company.  All so  confusing.  Here is a video that provides some great background info on how this all happened.  I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

If you are having problems viewing this embedded video, here is a link to watch it directly in Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QwlT5f7H1c



RARE Science:The RARE Bear Project and a Charity Fundraiser

RARE Science is a non-profit research organization, that through a unique collaborative approach, works directly with patient families and foundations to find more immediate therapeutic solutions for children with rare disease.  Christina Waters is a medical geneticist who started this program which also provides handmade “RARE Bears” to children, around the world, with rare diseases.  There are approximately 200 million kids worldwide that have rare diseases – 35% of these kids do not live to see their 5th birthday. RARE Science is working to improve those statistics and change the lives of children with rare diseases.


Here is a video which shares insights about making these bears:

If you have problems viewing this embedded video, here is a link to watch it directly in Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axMXUuMLxEI


Volunteers are needed to join the RARE Bear Army and there are a variety of ways you can help.

RARE Science is teaming up with The QuiltShow.comSpoonflower, Simplicity Patterns, Fairfield World and an army of volunteers to bring to life these wonderful companions for kids with rare diseases.  Volunteers of all skill sets to enlist in the #RAREBearArmy. For more information on how to get involved or if you would like to donate a bear to a child in need – please visit us at our website: http://www.rarescience.org/rare-bear-program/


For those attending Quilt Festival/Houston there are a couple of opportunities where you can also help:

rare-bare-stuffing-partyConsider giving your feet a rest and helping to stuff a bear.  All supplies will be provided, but volunteers are needed to help stuff and finish bears.“Stuff – in”, called “A Beary RARE Affair” get together. On Friday, November 4th from 6 to 8pm, 200 participants will stuff a “bear skin,” mingle with celebrity bear makers and have a chance to win a BERNINA Simply Red sewing machine!  On display will also be our one of a kind collector Celebrity RARE Bears that will be part of a silent auction held during the Festival.  To RSVP for this event, sign up here: http://www.rarescience.org/beary-rare-affair-event/



The Quilt Show is hosting an Auction of Celebrity RARE Bears made by Becky Goldsmith, Jamie Fingal and Sue Bleiweiss during the RARE Bear Affair in Houston.  They’ll also be displayed in the RARE Science booth Nov 2nd – 6th.  Non-Attendees will be able to bid online at:  https://www.charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/rare-science-celebrity-bear-auction-944

Volunteers are always needed to make RARE Bears using the Simplicty Pattern #C5461.  You can make complete bears, or the bear casing that gets stuffed by others.  Of course you can do this by yourself, but you may want to host your own RARE Bear Party and invite your quilting and sewing friends.  This would also make for a great guild event!  rarebearpattern

You can also donate fabrics, stuff bears that have been premade, cut fabric, as well as help fund materials.  Simply contact Rare Science and let them know how you would like to help and find out what might already be in place in your area for this program.  You should be able to find this pattern in any store that sells Simplicity patterns, but you can also order it online from Simplicity

Downloadable flyer with more info about the RARE Bear Project: https://thequiltshow.com/images/pdf/1111.pdf

You can find Rare Science at:



Handi Quilter Webinar with Angela Walters – #QuiltBiz

I frequently get asked questions for “How to start a longarm business?”, as well as how to start a business, or  grow my business in general.  I’m also an avid researcher who is always looking for ways to help those in the business.  Needless to say, I was thrilled with a recent webinar, hosted by Handi Quilter, where Angela Walters shared her expertise and I wanted to use this post, to heighten awareness of this recorded webinar.  

I also want to share, that while the focus is on longarm business, I think there are many benefits of watching this video, if you are considering getting into the business, in just about any aspect of quilting or sewing.


If you have problems viewing this embedded video, here is  a link to watch it directly on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgYqqVANlaw

You can find Angela at:


You can find Handi Quilter at


Welcome Fall – Preparing For The Countdown, Calendars, and a Giveaway


Are you excited about the arrival of Fall?  I am.


I think of Fall as a window that quilters pull out quilts and quilted items to decorate their home, as well as to use to keep warm.  Many of us also kick into high gear to make quilts and quilted projects for winter, which might be used in their own home, for gifts, or for charity.

Fall also reminds me that the new year will be arriving soon.  At the time of preparing this post, there are 100 days left before 2017 arrives.



And about 90+ days till the arrival of Christmas.




For those that use Calendars, there is a high probability you are a planner and organize your time to pack in as much as you can in the limited time we have.  After all, quilters around the world know that 24 hour days just are not enough time.  But for Quilters,  Calendars are not only a way to help us organize, they are a way to help inspire.  There are also Calendars that come with patterns to create beautiful projects.  As 2017 will be arriving soon, I’m wanting to showcase some inspirational Calendars that can help inspire you, as well as help you be organized with your time.  Speaking of which, this is a great time to order a Calendar for 2017! 
Martingale has some wonderful calendars that I think would be great to use in 2017.  They are also available at a reasonable price and each packed with plenty of inspiration and more!

That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar 2017 – Complete Instructions for each Project


Publisher’s Insights:

Celebrate the changing seasons with color-splashed quilts and more from That Patchwork Place®. Complete instructions and patterns for each design are included so you can sew along all through the year.

  • Be inspired by beautifully styled photography; tempting projects include quilts ranging from
    wall hangings to throws–plus pillows, embroidered coasters, and a table runner
  • Enclosed pull-out booklet features step-by-step illustrated instructions for every design
  • 12 specially selected projects by top designers


Stitches to Savor 2017 – Wall-Art Calendar of Designs by Sue Spargo

Publisher’s Insights:

Treat yourself to a year of beauty as only Sue Spargo can stitch it! Long admired by quilters, the work of folk artist Sue Spargo is an exploration of texture, fabrics, and embellishments. Now, for the first time, her captivating pieces are yours to enjoy every day for an entire year with Stitches to Savor: 2016 Wall-Art Calendar of Designs by Sue Spargo, available from Martingale. Her creativity–the distinctive way she blends simple shapes, exquisite stitches, and diverse thread and fabric choices–shines through with each passing month. You’ll want to slow the days to savor each amazing stitch!

  • Enjoy rich, full-color photography that comes in so close, you’ll find yourself running your hand across the pages–you can almost feel the texture of Sue’s handwork
  • Featuring at-a-glance dates, the 12″-square calendar unfolds to showcase stunning 12″ x 24″ detailed photographs
  • Discover breathtaking stitcheries rendered in remarkable combinations of wool, cotton, and assorted embellishments

The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar – 365 Blocks  Katja Marek

Publisher’s Insights:

Wake up each morning to a bright new hexagon! Discover the possibilities of English paper piecing as you create dynamic shapes and unique designs year after year with this perpetual calendar.

  • Choose from 365 vibrant 6-inch hexagon blocks, plus an extra block for leap year
  • Each hexagon includes a block photo, a placement diagram for each assembly, and full-sized templates
  • Sturdy spiral binding will keep each easy-to-turn page of the calendar intact for years of enjoyment


Quilter’s Block-A-Day Calendar, by Debbi Kratovil


Publisher’s Insights:

With a block pattern for every day of the year, this clever calendar will keep you quilting for years to come! You’ll never run out of ideas for creating your next quilt–use the perpetual format year in and year out.

  • Blocks for every occasion include traditional, seasonal, and holiday designs
  • Each block pattern includes a full-color illustration and an easy-to-use rotary-cutting key
  • Sturdy spiral binding will keep this calendar in tip-top shape, even through years of turning pages


365 Knitting Stitches A Year,


Publisher’s Insights:

For the first time ever, you can access hundreds of knitting stitches in a perpetual-calendar format! With a unique knitting stitch for every day of the year, this clever calendar design makes a valuable addition to every knitter’s pattern collection.

  • Find complete instructions for 365 easy to advanced stitches
  • Each day spotlights a beautiful swatch in a full-color, close-up photograph
  • Stitches range from simple knit and purl to ribs, cables, laces, and dozens of textured patterns
  • Discover a different knitting stitch each day–together let them inspire you year after year!


One lucky winner will win a copy of:

The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar – 365 Blocks  Katja Marek

To enter, blog followers can simply leave a comment, sharing anything you wish about Calendars.  Possibly you may want to say you have used in the past, or not used, which format you prefer, etc.  Next week I’ll randomly pick a winner.  This post will be updated accordingly and I’ll also email the lucky winner to let them know.  While I appreciate those who use my Affiliate links when they are purchasing items on Amazon or Craftsy, as I sometimes earn a small fee (you pay the same price) and those funds are used to help “supplement” my postage expense.  Unfortunately, my budget for postage is limited, combined with the fact for some silly reason the USPS doesn’t allow me to ship Calendars under their media rate, so I find them pretty expensive to ship, thus this prize will be limited to US only residents.  

UPDATE:  Congratulations to the lucky winner #9 – Diane



You can find Martingale at:

martingale logo


Don’t forget to get your Calendars for 2017!

The Ultimate Quilting Challenge – Wrap Up

ultimate quilt challenge badge


The Ultimate Quilt Challenge was created to encourage quilters to learn/improve their free-motion quilting skills.  While any free-motion quilting style or motif could be used, the core focus of this challenge was to incorporate any of the versatile Ultimate Quilting Stencils, which have been designed by Cindy Needham, a Master Free-Motion Quilting Expert.  Participants in this challenge could share a project previously completed that incorporated any of these stencils, quilters could use the downloadable  Master Templates to sketch out and share ideas they’ve created on paper or electronically, or the final option to enter, was to stitch out any project, any size, any style, any design, using any of the Ultimate Stencils, but do so during the summer of 2016.  

Today I’m thrilled to share photos from some of the participants. I strongly believe all of the entries were absolutely beautiful and I hope that they inspire you to learn/improve your free-motion quilting skills, as well as see the versatility of using the Ultimate Quilting Stencils.  I also want to encourage you to click thru to visit these blogs, as the participants shared more photos and insights and many have more posts for inspirational FMQ, as well as working with the Ultimate Stencil Collections.

Karen of the Quilt Yarn shared an amazing whole cloth quilt which she had previously created, using some of the stencils from various Ultimate Stencil Collections.   Her project measures 35″x35″ and incorporates the original Ultimate Stencil Collection, as well as some hyperquilting techniques from Patsy Thompson.


Anna of Anna’s Quilting Studio shared her doodle/sketch ideas for designs using some of the Ultimate Stencils.


Karen of the Quilt Yarn shared a variety of doodle/sketch ideas using various Ultimate Stencils.  Karen has also shared a number of blog posts showing more stunning design ideas that she has sketched on paper, but recently she has also been sharing tips for using software for creating electronic sketches for various FMQ motifs appropriate for blocks, or wholecloth quilts.

Patty D of A Stitch N Time also shared inspirational doodle/sketch design ideas.


Kearstie of KB’s Quilting  shared her sketch designs, which incorporated some of the Ultimate Quilting Stencils.  And she shared a lovely project she stitched out with this design this summer.


Laura of Laura Luvs Loons shared sketches with us, for her design idea that incorporated some  of the Ultimate Quilting Stencils. She applied FMQ  ideas to a Vintage Linen to create a stunning table runner which she stitched out this summer.

Vicki of Fabric Under Foot shared her sketches with us, which incorporated some of the Ultimate Background Stencils.  And while Vicki is still stitching out this lovely project, she shared with us a photo show how much she has progressed this summer.

Thank you to our wonderful Sponsors:




Inspired LED

Robert Kaufman Fabrics



While I think anyone that uses any of the Ultimate Stencil Collections is a winner, as they truly are so versatile and help you create stunning free-motion quilting, the Ultimate Quilting Challenge has announced winners.  Congratulations to:  Karen of the Quilt YarnAnna of Anna’s Quilting Studio, Patty D of A Stitch N Time,  Kearstie of KB’s QuiltingLaura of Laura Luvs Loons and Vicki of Fabric Under Foot.  While we didn’t have that many participants in this Challenge,  those that did participate certainly shared inspirational ideas and projects.  Thank you.
You can find Cindy Needham at:

Here is a list of previous posts #UltimateQuiltingChallenge:

#EQ25 Celebration – Tutorials, Inspiration, and Prizes – September

The Electric Quilt Companyis celebrating their 25th Anniversary with monthly giveaways.  This month you can win a copy of EQ7 software or a fabric bundle from Andover Fabrics.   QuiltShopGal is also helping to celebrate by way of sharing monthly EQ theme posts. I’m also thrilled that several blogging friends are also helping in the celebration, many of us sharing EQ theme tips, tutorials, as well as inspirational projects along the way.



Note:  This tutorial will be updated to provide a video tutorial, as well as the step bys tep tutorail shared in this post.  This really is an easy process in EQ7, but I also realize it may be confusing for some.  Thus, I’m committed to update this step-by-step tutorial, based on feedback, as well as provide a video tutorial.  

Ok, on to the tutorial today….which will be updated shortly, to include a video tutorial.

There are a variety ways to do almost anything in EQ7.  Today, I’m sharing how to use the Brush Tool to create a tree.  This tool is also a handy way to create flower stems, vines, and much more.


The Brush Stroke tool creates a design segment around a spine that you draw.  You can set the stroke styles for width and point, before you “convert” to patch drawings.



Before you attempt to  use this tool, click on the Applique tab.




If you do not see the Brush Tool brush-stroke-tool click on the Customize Toolbar


And be sure that the Brush Tool is selected.


You can use the Stroke Precision Bar to adjust the settings.  For my tree, I varied the width and boldness settings and want to encourage you to play with these settings.  Keep in mind, you can also change the shape of your tree and branches, once you’ve clicked the convert option for the Brush Stroke tool


I also want to encourage you to play with the Contour and End Cap options.


Click on the Brush Stroke tool and draw the spine of your tree. Click off, to any blank space on your Applique’ table.


Click, hold your mouse down, draw a branch.


Use the Zoom tools to zoom in (or out) as you create your tree.  You’ll notice that the branch and the tree trunk need editing for better alignment.




Use the Zoom in tool to draw a box around the area of the tree trunk and the branch (click, hold drag, the box.









Click on the Pick Tool, click on the tree trunk to select.




Click on the Convert tool to convert your shape to a Bezier collection.



Click on the Shape Tool as we need to edit the part of the branch that connects to the tree..




We can now use the handles and nodes to reshape the tree limb to better align to the trunk.  Use the handles to drag and re-shape to better align with the shape of the trunk.


Grab the nodes with your mouse, click, hold, drag to align to the tree trunk.



You can repeat the above steps to create a variety of tree branches, as you desire.

Click on the COLOR tab.




Click on the Color Brush  and then click on your desired fabrics or color swatches.  When you use your mouse to click on the branches, or tree trunks, you can paint the shape with your desired fabrics or colors.










Click the ADD TO SKETCHBOOK, to save a copy to your sketchbook.

save to sketchbook

click the save icon to SAVE THE FILE.

save tool


This tree is now an applique’ shape that you can use in the future.

Let’s add some Fall Leaves.  Again, while there are many ways to add leaves, we are going to take advantage of some leaves that come with EQ7 and you can find in the library.

On the main menu bar, click LIBRARIES >> EQ7 Libraries >> 06 Motifs > Leaves >> White Oak >> Add to Sketchbook


On the Main Menu click Work On Quilt icon.  We wiill now create a quilt design with our tree applique block and add leaf motifs (applique) to our wallhanging design.




Click QUILT > NEW QUILT > Horizontal.

Click on the Layout tab



Change the settings for number of blocks to be 1 horizontal and 1 vertical, with the width of 24 and height of 30.


On the borders tab, set the borders to 0.  To clarify, for purposes of this exercise, we will not be using borders, but you can certainly add them on your own, as you desire.

Click on layer 2



Click on the Set Blocks Tab.



Your Sketchbook appears for block. Click on the block for your tree and drag it to you Layer 2.









Click on Sketchbook Blocks Motif and the Oak Leaf Motif.




EQ and Andover Fabrics have great prizes you could win this month, as part of the EQ 25th Anniversary Celebration: Wouldn’t it be fun to win a bundle of fabric from Andover Fabrics or a copy of EQ7 this month?

For a complete schedule of events, as well as information on the amazing prizes and generous sponsors:  http://electricquilt.com/eq25/contest-schedule/
Use the hashtag #EQ25 on social media throughout the 2016 as much as possible! Pair the hashtag with something related to EQ and you may be chosen to win a prize!


I’m also thrilled to have several blogging friends joining me today, to help celebrate.  As you may already be aware, many of us, will be sharing a EQ themed blog post on the 10th of every month this year, where you’ll find tips, tutorials, inspirational projects, as well as hopefully some fun quilty insights, as well as learn about how to win amazing prizes.

Yes, each month several blogging friends are releasing a post on the 10th of each month to help celebrate the EQ 25th Anniversary.  Along the way, you’ll find tips, tutorials, inspirational project and various EQ themed insights.  Here are some bloggers that I hope you’ll click thru to visit today:

Carol of Fun Threads Designs

Marian of Seams to be Sew 

Pamela of Pamela Quilts

Mary of Quiltin Grandma

 You can find the Electric Quilt Company at:

Here are links to my prior posts for these monthly  #EQ25 celebrations, many include tutorials. And all include links to posts by blogging friends who are also sharing EQ tips, tutorials and inspirational projects on the 10th of each month, to help with the EQ 25th Anniversary Celebration:

  Full Disclosure - Affiliates with QuiltShopGal