Pressing Matters

Accurate pressing is just as important as accurate seams in producing well pieced quilt blocks.

Scraps to Small to Save
Even scrap blocks need accurate pressing or they will pucker along the edges, making them hard to join together.

Inaccurate Piecing
pleated seam
Note under the tip of the iron how the seam is pleated and needs pressing flat.
Setting the seam
To avoid those pleated seams, first press from the wrong side, as shown, to set the seam. Doing this will aid in producing a crisp, flat seam on the top side.
Right Side pressed seams
When you turn the piece over and press from the top side, you can use the tip of the iron to “dig” into the seam-line and spread the seam flat.
Pressing aids
There are many tools, aids and irons available to improve and make accurate pressing easier. Mary Ellen’s Best press is great for getting out stubborn creases. And I stick with Black and Decker, because they steam good, and the two Managers of Operation have animated discussion on the ironing board, and irons have been the casualties.

Angels, arent they.

Organizing Your Sewing Space for the New Year

I work in a very small studio. 10 feet by 10 feet. Things are packed in pretty tight.

everyday studio
What my studio looks like most mornings

Projects are here and there, but they all have their space.

messy studio
What my studio may look like at the end of the day

So how do I keep this small space so I can work in it? My first line of defense is doing a 15 minute pick up at the end of each day. I use a kitchen timer to keep me focused.

kitchen timer
A Kitchen Timer keeps me on track.

Most of the time I have several projects going at once and I like to keep things portable so I can take with me to work on. Wrap-n-Totes from my pattern #1501 work well to corral a messy project or to transport a hand sewing project.

Wrap-n-Tote #1501
Wrap-n-Totes make great project totes.

I have many projects in ArtBins and 2 Gallon Zip Closure Bags, labeled and including a Project Action Sheet where I have listed next steps, supplies needed and a proposed finish date.

Project Action Sheet
Project in a 2 Gallon Bag with Project Action Sheet.
ArtBins make great storage and take along containers.

Of course no work space is complete without a good paperweight. Punkin, our Manager of Operations, likes filling that duty.

Punkin the paper weight
Punkin’s favorite quilting job.

I am offering an Organized Sewing Space Workshop at Experience Quilts!, Odessa, Washington, beginning Saturday, January 18th, 2020. 509-982-2012

Looking for a Guild or Shop Workshop, contact us at our info@laurassagecountryquilts link.

What organizing tips can you share with your fellow readers?

Color Play

Playing With Color

Try this fun color game.

It will help train your eye to see all the color variations, and the endless combinations you can use in a quilt.

Pick any photo that catches your eye.

Then, working with your stash or scrap bin, cut 2 inch squares from all the fabrics you find that match bits in your photo.

Look for dark, medium and light shades, tints, hues, tones and multi color fabrics.

Then arrange in gradations as shown in this photo, and glue in place. Now you have a tool to help you select fabrics for your next project.

Make more than one. Try a pastel photo, or a photo you don’t like, stretch your color palette a bit.

This is fun to do with groups at guild meetings and retreats.

Yes, I do workshops on the fun color game.

Heart Full of Coin Ruched Flowers

Heart with flowers
Heart Full of Coin Ruched Flowers

I have been enjoying the gift of this wood heart shaped tray since Valentine’s Day. To celebrate spring I have filled it with lavender and yellow Coin Ruched flowers.

Most are made with the TR700 Jumbo Coin Ruching Guide produced by Quilting Creations International, TR500 was used for the smaller ones.

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Cranberry-Apple Pie
Cranberry-Apple Pie

Sometimes I do something besides quilt. Here is the recipe.

Pastry for a 10 inch 2 crust pie

6 cups peeled, cored and slices golden delicious apples

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large kettle and stir to combine. Let stand 15 minutes. Place over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally until liquid begins to bubbly. Add cranberries, and cook about 30 seconds as skins pop. Pour into pastry lined 10 inch pie dish. Top with second crust. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 8-10 slices.

Note: I like to brush the top crust generously with buttermilk and sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar.


“Hot Spot” Table Mat

Hot Spot Table Mat

Put a stop to the endless rearranging of hot pads and trivets on a buffet table with this Jumbo “Hot Spot” Table Mat. Cover the entire buffet with this “Hot Spot” and it is easy to adjust dishes and keep the buffet surface protected.

Simple to make with the following materials.

1 1/2 yards each 100% cotton top and back fabrics

1/4 yard 100% cotton binding fabric

1 1/2 yards Insul-brite

Thread to match fabrics

Backing, Insul-brite and Top

Prewash fabrics and press. Cut one piece from each fabric the width of the Insul-brite (about 23 inches). You may adjust the size to fit your table space.

Trim Ends

Layer back, Insul-brite and top. Trim ends square and even. Back and top fabrics will probably shrink and shift some, and you want it to do this before you sew and bind.

Mark Quilting Lines

Mark some lines to quilt, or stencil a design to quilt. You don’t have to quilt closely as Insul-brite is well bonded.

Machine or Hand Quilt

Secure the layers with quilters safety pins. Use a walking or even-feed foot on your sewing machine to quilt along lines you have marked. Or machine quilt freestyle.

Add Binding

Use a binding fabric that goes with both sides for a reversible “Hot Spot”. I chose sunflowers for late summer and fall, and poinsettias for Christmas for this one. The first one I made is Christmas on one side and Valentines on the other. I am planning Easter and summer flowers for the next one.

“Hot Spots” are machine washable and dryable.

Scrap Folding and Storage

Scrap Fabric Storage

Some scraps are too big to toss in a scrap bag, and they are too small to fit in with folded yardage without getting lost.

Vintage Scraps Overflowing


Mr. Irby tried to Help

Folding the fabric to fit into a tissue box was more successful. Here is how we did it.

You will need a large tissue box, some wide packing tape and a 4″ wide gridded ruler. Cut the top of the box from the opening to the corners, fold the flaps down and tape inside the box.

Group same print fabrics together


Stack the pieces in a fairly neat pile.


Roll/Fold pile around ruler and tuck in any stray ends to fit box.


Stack in box.


All the fabric folded and stacked in the box.

Now you can easily stack on a shelf or store in a drawer, yet easily move the pieces to your work station.

Knife Edge Finish

Knife Edge Finish
Knife Edge Finish

Knife Edge Finish is the method of finishing a hexagon edge when binding is not used.

First, press under the 1/4 inch seam allowance on hexagon edge before removing the foundation paper. Then after the quilting is completed,  hand baste about 1/2 inch from pressed edge.

Second, working in about 2 foot sections,  trim backing and batting 3/8 inch (a little more than 1/4 inch) from the pressed edge of the top. Then  trim the batting very close to the pressed edge of the top.

Third, clip the backing to the batting edge at the inside “corners”. Tuck backing over batting under the pressed edge of the top. Pin or Wonder-clip in place. I use an applique stitch to secure edges.   Wonder-clips are worth the investment for a project like this, as they keep your work flat and you can nudge them along as you stitch and keep the fabric secure.


Coin Ruched Blossoms

How to Use the TR600 Coin Ruched Blossom Guide

Marking the Fabric Circle

Cut 7 3/4 to 8 inch circles of fabric for blossoms. Fold circle in half with the grain. Place TR600 Coin Ruched Blossom Guide on folded circle with etched dash line on the fold.  Mark with your favorite marker. I use Mircon Pigma, Frixion or ceramic mechanical to mark the scallops and the dots.

Step 2

Open circle and place etched dash line on the fabric fold line, lining up the center dot to mark the other half of the circle.

Stitching the Petals

Thread a milliner needle with matching hand quilting thread and knot. Fold raw edge under so folded edge is at the point of any scallop. Sew a 1/4 inch running stitch around each scallop, turning the raw edge under as you go.

Finish Gathering

Sew around last scallop but do not knot or finish off.


Patterns will call for specific sizes. Measurement is taken across the gathering line. This one measures 3 inches.

Blossom Ready to Shape

Looks like a little pilgrim bonnet at this point.

Preparing to Applique

Use basting glue or 4 quilters pins to position blossom. Then with milliner needle and hand quilting thread, stitch between each petal to applique in place.

Backside View

Gathering the Center

Find the center dot and stitch in place, by coming up and back down in nearly the same spot, then repeat for all the other dots, in any order you come to them.

Completed Blossom

Tulip Fields with Ladybug
Blossoms as Tulips

Or you can stretch them out with the petals all together to make tulips.


Baby Burp Cloths – Quick and Easy

Quick and Easy Burp Cloths

Need a quick gift for a new baby? These quick, perfect size burp cloths are easy to make and you get two from two fat-quarters.

Place two prewashed flannel fat-quarters right sides together and press smooth.

Cut two 10 inch by 17 inch double pieces from pressed piece.

Sew around each burp cloth set using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Leave a 2 1/2 inch opening for turning. Turn each set right side out and press. Then top stitch 1/4 inch from outside edge to hold in place. You may also do some top stitching in the body of the burp cloth to keep the layers smooth.


Applique, ruching and dimensional embellishments of quilts