Trudi the collage art reindeer – a lesson in getting started with the antlers!


Creating a collage art quilt is easier than you think. Just break the process down into little bites. If you need to review how to fuse, check out one of my previous blogs for new collage quilters on fusing. The link is provided here.

On this blog, I also have created several other blogs posts with lots of other tips, tricks and lessons on how to put together a collage art quilt.

With Trudi the Reindeer, I started with the most difficult area first … the antlers. All those little narrow areas and curves were going to take some time to cover properly with fused fabric. I already knew I wanted to use Philip Jacobs’ Orchid line of fabric in several different colorways. I previously used his fabric for Moo-Shu on the panda’s face and large body area. When figuring out the “look” for Trudi, I spent some time searching around the web just looking at fabric colors. I love the elegance of Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs’ fabrics. But I could have just as easily chosen batiks, novelty or even thrown in a plaid or two. I discovered two additional Philip Jacobs orchid colorways that have brown and orange tones. These colors made Trudi’s antlers appear more woodsy-looking. I also mixed in the lighter orchid colorways to create interest.

After cutting out lots of motifs, I like to lay them out near where I am working. Then I start pinning them onto my line drawing drawn on the Pattern Ease-covered foam core board. I move the motifs around and pin them on until I like how they look. I cut larger motifs into smaller pieces if I need to.

When I have the antlers covered with fabric, I take each motif off, remove the paper backing, and place the motif back on the Trudi’s line drawing pattern. The motifs are tacky on the back, with the paper removed, and adhere gently to the Pattern Ease. When the entire Trudi line drawing is covered with motifs, a final fuse with a hot iron is finally performed and they will now be permanently fused.

If you are interested in purchasing my Trudi the Reindeer pattern, head over to my Etsy shop. The pattern includes full-size line drawn pattern, supply list and step-by-step directions. Domestic shipping is still free for a limited time.

Next week … I will talk about the challenges I had with Trudi and how I solved them!

Trudi, the collage art reindeer is coming to town


Need a Christmas quilting project to get into the Christmas spirit? Or perhaps you have a quilt lover on your list? While Rudolph is still getting into tip-top shape for the big day, his lovely cousin, Trudi was posing for the above quilt! With that being said … Trudi, my collage art reindeer pattern, is being launched today on Etsy. And yes … girl reindeer have antlers. At least that is what Google told me.

Head over to my Etsy shop and check out how you can purchase this full-size pattern with complete pattern directions and supply list. The quilt size is 42 inches wide by 56 inches high. And did I mention domestic shipping is free for a limited time?

Next week I will post more photos and directions on how to make this collage art quilt.

Click her for Etsy shop link

2018 Houston’s International Quilt Festival


Houston’s 2018 International Quilt Show is in full swing with exhibitions of hundreds of quilts and vendor booths. My little sister, Gretchen, and I made our trek to Houston’s convention center on Wednesday for Preview Night. We arrived around 4 pm and camped out on the second floor visiting with friends and eating a quick bite until the doors opened. Peering through the “porthole,” that overlooked the first floor vendor area, we looked down at all the colorful booths.

Each year I tell myself I will take lots of more photos and then, what happens, I wander down the aisles and just drool. I’m lucky to have taken any photos … the result … a small collection of the many vendors and a smattering of quilts on exhibit.

Subtle things I noticed this year … instead of selling fat quarters … many vendors opted for one-half yard cuts and fabric bundles. I counted only a few actually selling individual fat quarters. Interesting. I saw lots more collage quilting patterns and entire booths devoted to collage. I also saw lots more “quilt celebrities.” I only got the courage to ask one for a “together photo.” Emily from Collage Quilter is as lovely in person as she is in her videos. I also saw Kaffe Fassett and Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

The quilt festival lasts until this Sunday. Be there or be square … or a fat quarter … whatever.

New collage quilters – fusing fabric in 5 easy steps

I think fusing the fabric was my main issue with starting my collage quilt. Isn’t that silly? I had purchased a collage pattern the year before at Quilt Festival and then it just sat on the shelf. Every now and then I would pull it out and read all the directions. Then shove it into the plastic sleeve and move on to another project. Why was I letting the very first step in the process stand in my way of creating my first collage quilt? I had fused fabric before, but not very often … and there are different fusing products on the market. Also, I wasn’t familiar with the recommended Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible.

Supplies needed for fusing include: Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible, lots of fabric, Applique Pressing Sheet (my sheet is 13 inches by 17 inches), ironing surface and iron.

A few comments about Lite Steam-A-Seam 2. The fusible comes in a variety of widths and lengths and can be purchased online, in quilt and hobby shops. If purchased from a quilt/hobby shop you will find it on a bolt. I don’t recall the width but four or five yards is a nice amount for a large collage quilt. Since I intend to make lots of collage quilts, I purchased a 40-yard box. The fusible is 12-inches wide and comes in a large roll. This product has paper on both sides which works great for collage quilts. So lets start!

1. Cut your fabric and fusible in manageable lengths – The fusible is very sticky (when one side of the paper is removed) and can be difficult to handle (all that stickiness can fold up on you in a heartbeat) if you work with too large piece a piece. The Quilter’s Cut ‘n Press surface I use to iron and fuse my fabric on has a 12-inch by 18-inch surface. It is the perfect size for pressing collage fabric. But also great for fusing the sticky fusible to my fabric. Just know you can also cut your fabric in lots of small chunks and place on the fusible!

2. Iron all the fabric pieces you are wanting to use in your collage quilt – After cutting your fabric in manageable lengths, iron a stack that you will be fusing and set aside. You can save lots of time by using the efficient assembly-line method.

3. Cut lengths of fusible in manageable lengths – Cut the number of your lengths of fusible to match your fabric lengths and set aside. You will notice the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 has paper on both sides. Don’t take your fusible apart yet!

4. Getting ready to fuse – Lay one sheet of fusible on your ironing surface. Peel off the top paper layer and discard this paper sheet. What you have left on your ironing surface is the sticky side of your fusible laying up … and the remaining paper layer down … against the ironing surface. Carefully lay one piece of your ironed fabric (right side up) on the sticky side of the fusible smoothing the fabric nice and flat.

5. Fusing your fabric – Take your Applique Pressing Sheet and cover the fabric/fusible. Slide your hot iron (cotton setting) quickly over the entire fabric/fusible. That is all it takes! The pressing sheet ensures the fusible will not get on your hot iron. Should a little fusible adhere to your pressing sheet it is easy to peel off and discard.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns! I am working on a Christmas version of Moo-Shu and another Christmas collage pattern … to be announced!

And isn’t my grandson, Jacob, adorable? It cost me a quarter to get him to model for his photo! Totally worth it!

New collage quilters … a lesson in looking at fabric motifs!


Quilters new to collage quilting look at a photo of a finished collage quilt and are sometimes confused! Just how did all that fabric make it onto the line drawing pattern? I thought it would be fun to take away the mystery. Believe me … you will never look at a piece of fabric in quite the same way ever again!

When you look closely at Moo-Shu, my panda art quilt, you will notice lots of light-colored flower fabric in her face and body. When planning the quilt, I asked myself … how do I make Moo-Shu’s face and body look like white fur? The answer … why with white orchids of course!

I actually used three colorways of the same fabric line from the Spring 2018 Kaffe Collective. From left to right in the first photograph, I used Kaffe’s Black Orchids, Cool Poppy Garden and Natural Orchids. The fabric actually comes in five colorways and all are quite beautiful. The coloring of the orchid petals in the different colorways have different shades of gray, and also beige, which added another color dimension to Moo-Shu’s “fur.”

After fusing larger pieces of these fabrics which contain all kinds of colorful flowers, I basically cut away the background around the flowers with my Karen Kay Buckley scissors (baby blue handles). I left some of the flowers large to be cut smaller later, if needed. Don’t be concerned when you get to the edge of the fabric and you don’t have a whole flower to cut away. I use smaller parts of flowers all the time to fill in a spot on the line drawing pattern. I saved all the colorful cut motifs that were not “white” orchids to be used on Moo-Shu … or for a future project.

I used a pansy fabric for parts of the face between Moo-Shu’s eyes down to her nose and mouth. There was lots of fussy-cutting since I was interested in just the pansies with purple around the edges. Again, I saved the other pansy motifs in other colors for future projects.

Once you understand the concept of cutting away the background on a piece of fabric, the possibilities are endless! Not only flowers … but novelty fabrics are so fun to cut up and tuck in a collage quilt. Motifs like cans of tuna, fish, butterflies, birds are often not noticed when standing back from a collage quilt. But look at all the fun things you can see up close. My grandkids, Jacob and Ben, had so much fun trying to find all the different things tucked into Moo-Shu.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns!

Moo-Shu’s seven tips to finish your collage quilt

The whole collage quilting process is so much fun! Choosing fabric for your collage, fusing, cutting out the motifs and placing them on your Pattern Ease foundation. But now you have to turn it into an art quilt!

1. Cutting out Moo-Shu’s outline – You have a decision to make. Cut along the marked outer line of your pattern … let a design motif spill over or cut along the motif line. I do both depending on the look I want to achieve. Look on the back side of your fused design and decide!

2. Moo-Shu’s Background fabric – Audition your background fabrics for Moo-Shu. I chose two bright green batiks. Ultimately, I liked the look of the flatter green batik for Moo-Shu’s background … and used the wilder bright green batik for the backing.

3. Steam it! – I have had two quilts machine-quilted and have heard from my awesome longarm lady at A Needle and Thread that the fusing sometimes gums up the needle slowing down progress! I have read many online comments that suggest giving Moo-Shu a great steam. Apparently, this makes machine quilting easier. I will let you know if it helps on the next quilt!

4. Machine quilting needles – Since I send my quilts out to be machine-quilted, I do not live in that world. For those that machine-quilt at home (not longarm), several kinds of needles have been recommended at various online sites: Madeira Embroidery Anti-Glue needles, Schmetz Embroidery Gold, Schmetz Super Non-Stick size 4. I have no knowledge if these needles could be used on longarm machines. I welcome your suggestions!

5. Quilting Moo-Shu ideas – There are so many ways to quilt Moo-Shu. I chose to have Moo-Shu custom-quilted around various motifs to make them puff out. Moo-Shu’s outside edge is also outlined. The idea is to catch as many of the free edges as possible so your quilt will last a very long time. This is an art quilt and meant to be hung on a wall. The background has an all-over design. I have seen collage quilts quilted with very close parallel lines and also cross-hatched. It is up to you!

6. Moo-Shu’s Quilt label – My lovely friend, Sally, machine embroidered Moo-Shu’s quilt label. Labeling a quilt is important. My awesome son-in-law, Chad, has a quilt handed down to him from a relative that is priceless … but no label. So … give your Panda quilt a name, put your name on it, and who quilted it. Don’t forget your town/state and the year finished. Fifty years from now someone is going to want to know a little of the story behind your quilt.

7. Moo-Shu Hanging sleeve – Moo-Shu is going to hang in my sewing room just as soon as I get the quilt label finished and the hanging sleeve on. I have five quilts hanging at all times in my house, rotating them for the seasons, and no two are hung the same. Blame that on my engineering husband. He is so creative. But each quilt has the same type of easy hanging sleeve made from fabric the width of the quilt and around 9 or 10 inches in length. Fold the fabric, finishing the ends, make a tube, turn inside out and hand-stitch to the upper back of your quilt.

I hope you found these tips helpful!

Interested in purchasing Moo-Shu’s collage quilt pattern? My first pattern is for sale on Etsy.

Moo-Shu, my collage art quilt panda

Yesterday, figuratively speaking, I jumped off a cliff and released my first collage art quilt pattern. Yep … I have my own Etsy shop! Moo-Shu comes with her own full-size pattern, supply list and detailed instructions. The link is provided, or you can head over to my “Home” page, and click on the “Etsy” button.

Over the past forty year, I’ve done lots of different types of quilting. I love it all! It has always amazed me how fabric can be manipulated and turned on its head to create a personal story. Every quilt is so unique … and no two quilts are alike.

It wasn’t until I took a collage quilting class earlier this year, that I found my joy. Everyone in the class was making a different Laura Heine collage quilt. I was the only making Lulu, the elephant. It was so fun creating my own interpretation of the quilt. I think my husband thought I was a little nuts when I bolted through the door after the first class day. The emotion expressed was “excited” and it was an understatement. He encouraged me to create my own pattern and Moo-Shu is the result. It took me a couple of months to create a prototype quilt. I wanted it to be perfect.

The basic premise of collage art quilts is fusing small amounts (fat quarter size or smaller) of cotton fabric, cutting out the motifs you want to highlight in your quilt, and pinning them on a background (your line drawing). After you like the way your collage looks, the paper fusible backing is removed on each motif and placed back on the background. A final fuse with an iron and you are onto your next step. Next week I will write about that!

Notice the word “sewing machine” has not been mentioned. There is no sewing involved until you get to the machine quilting stage.

Let me know what you think about Moo-Shu! I am also pondering my next collage pattern. Any thoughts?