November 26, 2009

ThanksGIVE-ing Giveaway!

It seems it's always at this time of year when my thoughts start to sift through the many happenings of the year with quiet reflection on all that I've moved through, successes and challenges alike. The perspective I get from this helps me to see how much I've grown but with a deeper understanding of what is possible (with lots of hard work, determination..oh, and pizza). Though I try to keep gratitude in the forefront of each day (sometimes easier than others), it's often around Thanksgiving that I really stop to focus on the many things I have to be thankful for — too many to list!

So, in the spirit of thanks and giving, I thought I'd giveaway a Verna designer bundle (a layer cake that's been rolled and tied).

Since I'm a beginner quilter, I'm hoping to learn from all you experts out there! So please leave me a comment with a helpful pointer/tip that you might pass on to someone who is new to quilting. Please make sure not to repeat tips (yes, I need as many as I can get!). Your name will be entered in a random drawing to be held on Thursday December 3rd. The winner will be announced on Friday the 4th. Good luck!


  1. That Verna layer cake rolled up looks like the perfect stocking stuffer for me! My first tip would be to really make sure you are sewing an exact 1/4 inch seam. Sew a 1/4 seam with your machine, and then measure with a ruler...often the seam your machine says is 1/4 inch is actually a little larger. You can buy a special foot, and some machines have a feature where you can move the needle over to ensure this perfect measurement. If you're sewing exactly 1/4 inch...most patterns will turn out perfect with not much effort! Happy Sewing!

  2. ummm a verna giveaway!?!?
    you KNOW i wouldn't miss this, right?!?!

    so here is a little piece of advice from moi...
    always press when you piece.
    on top of your accurate 1/4" seam allowance, this will ensure that your seams match up perfectly.

    hope yall had a great thanksgiving.

  3. If you are using a pattern read, read and read it again before you start. Make sure you have everything on hand so you don't have to stop because you don't have something and thus lose your mojo. If you are on a roll its great to be able to keep moving forward. Enjoy learning about quilting. I love it.

  4. Enjoy the journey - don't concentrate wholly on the destination. There are no "quilt police", so remember there are no laws to be broken. Mainly, enjoy - and be daring! These aren't "concrete" pointers, but nonetheless, are good one, at least I think so! LOL!

  5. When you buy fabric you don't always get the name of the line on the selvedge. Take a sharpie and write on the selvedge where you bought the fabric and the line. Then if you need more you know where to go to get it. I found this helpful when you pull from your stash and are short just a bit. You know exactly what to look for.

  6. When cutting your fabric use a sharp blade (a dull blade will evenually frustrate). Additionally, I would reccomend placing some kind of grip on the back of your ruler to keep it from slipping during cutting (something else that will frustrate). Above all, relax and enjoy the journey!

  7. Verna? Yes please, I definitely need some! What advice can I give? If you're planning on doing machine quilting please be sure to buy machine quilting needles for your machine - it really does makes a difference (I also find that the Coats and Clark machine quilting thread is very nice).

    Also, check out this great list of basting tips from Penny's blog: They're really great!

  8. What a great giveaway! My only advice is to remember to take time to stretch! It always amazes me how stiff I can get and how long I will be sitting in the same position! Oh and a really good chair helps too!!!

  9. What a fun giveaway. Count me in.

    Here are a few insights I'd share with a new quilter:

    1) Never think you are not good enough to continue. None of us are perfect. Quilt for fun and friendship, and always remember all of us continually improve the more we do it.

    2) Take classes, attend sew-cials, join a quild, and feel free to ask others for help.

    3) Spend time enjoying...visit quilt shows, visit quilt shops, and definitely take time to read quilt books and blogs.



  10. Hey Kate...I will blog this for you to spread the word and tweet it too!
    My advice is that it's ok not to finish a project...I have a bunch of UFO's (unfinished objects).

  11. Wonderful fabric! Just remember when you're sewing to place your pressing station/design wall across the room from your sewing machine . . . that way you are forced to get up and move and stretch those muscles. Nothing worse than having to quit sewing because you've got quilter's butt or a really, really sore back or neck.

  12. Ohhh what a pretty bundle that is!
    My tip- start simple - straight lines, not too many intersections. It is a great way to build your confidence, practice those 1/4" seams and get fast results so that you want to do another project.
    Orrrr, you could just send all your fabric to me and I would sew it for you! :D

  13. Hi Kate.. good advice from everyone. My advice, have fun!

  14. If you don't want to invest heavily in quilt books and magazines - check out your local library. I work in a library and we carry all of the latest quilting books (all of Kaffe Fassett's - yum!) and the more popular quilting magazines. I think our collection manager must be a quilter!

    I love Verna - can hardly wait for the yardage to arrive. I know what I'll be spending my Christmas money on.

  15. Great give away!!! Love Verna!
    My tip to you would be to not take your quilting/sewing so serious. Have fun with it and if it's a little off her and there, so be it. If your too critical of yourself then it becomes no fun. Soooo HAVE FUN!!!!

  16. Hi Kate,

    Im still pretty new to the quilting thing myself and have gotten great enjoyment from it so far.

    A friend told me when I started not to get disheartened by the mistakes you make on your first projects. Focus on the parts that you made right. Happiness is the journey not the destination...enjoy the process.

    Love your fabrics! xx Cass

  17. Beautiful fabric! My advice is: have fun! Don't be afraid to make mistakes, be inexact, or do things differently. If your stressing about getting it right, you're doing it wrong!
    Also, I find graph paper to be invaluable. I draw out all my patterns on graph paper and use simple geometry to figure out the dimensions, it saves me a bundle on patterns.

  18. I'm a new quilter too and I've been asking for lots of advice myself. I just finished free motion quilting my first quilt, hard! I got some great advice to 1)slather your hands with lotion so that they don't dry out, 2) feel free to stop and take breaks whenever you need them, and 3) don't get discouraged if you make a mistake (or lots of them). Have fun! Shannon
    shannoncarman at yahoo dot com

  19. What a fun give away! All the above tips were great! I just learned how to do bias binding after being afraid of it all these years - there is a great video tutorial here and it worked like a CHARM! Was able to bind a round table topper with the bias binding and was very pleased with the results. Also check out their video tutorial that shows you how to end the binding on a project - how to measure and cut EXACTLY the right length to join - it works PERFECT! Check out these free video tutorials at just click on instructional videos on the left side bar! Enjoy! Have fun with your projects! :O) Bari Jo

  20. I'm a new quilter too and biggest thing that has hit me so far is making sure I cut everything BEFORE I start sewing them together! This makes an endless project go by much faster. Good luck and I love the contest.

  21. This is a great giveaway!
    Advice: Measure twice, cut once!

  22. Always love a giveaway! My tip would be to wash and iron all your fabric as you bring it home. I have quite a stash these days, but I know that each one is already pre-washed, ready to cut, so I can just jump in when inspiration hits;-)

  23. Verna is beautiful--I would love to be entered in the giveaway!!!
    My advice would be to start with a small, baby or lap sized quilt instead of a bed sized quilt. That way you won't be overwhelmed and can finish a project quickly.

  24. Such great advice already. Mine would be to make sure your chair is the right height for your hands to comfortably guide the fabric to the needle and also to make sure you have adequate lighting. If you don't have both of these, it makes it very difficult to get that exact 1/4 inch! Thanks for the great giveaway.

  25. Okay my first tidbit of advice woult be Enjoy the journey! Love it! and my second little tidbit of knowledge would be "Finished is way better than perfect! I have ordered your line for the shop and can't wait.

  26. Delightful giveaway. I've posted insights about this delightful giveaway on my site where I share insights on contests & giveaways:

    I've also shared insights via twitter & Facebook.


  27. words of advise from me...
    give fabric to those who can sew...most likely you'll get a little something back made out of it.

  28. How very sweet of you! I have been spying on your sight from time to time! It is soooo cute! I too am a beginner and am completely hooked!

  29. OOOH AHH I'm so going to tweet this! What Gorgeous fabric!!

    First, let there be no such thing as a mistake in quilting...only learning experiences and happy accidents.
    Second, not to worry about pre-washing (though I was taught to pre-wash and did ALL of my stash). Save some serious time and use SHOUT color catchers on your project when it's completed. It works wonders.
    Third, the library also has groups of quilters with open meetings. There's nothing like one on one advice when things do not seem to be going as expected.
    Fourth, you WILL encounter the quilt police. LAUGH! They're what everyone warns you about for a great reason.
    Finally, when you get your feet wet, share your new found gift with another.
    Best wishes,
    retrogirl02 on twitter =)

  30. Great giveaway! I am new to quilting and I can give you some advice.

  31. My mantra of the last few months has been "Pins are my friends"
    I am someone who if it has been at all possible to avoid pinning I have - but what I have learnt lately is that pins can save me a lot of unsewing. I have also learnt that there are ALL SORTS of pins for different needs and that can help with getting seams to line up!!
    My advice: make pins your friends :-)

  32. Thank you for the opportunity for the beautiful Verna. Simplicity in your quilt pattern is the Best thing as a beginner, such as squares. There are tons of neat quilts that are the simple square, just in different arrangements or even color choices. You will gain confidence and accomplish much. Enjoy the creativity!

  33. measure twice and cut once...........but most importantly have fun............

    I just received one of those Moda sampler boxes and your fabrics are gorgeous............would love some bigger pieces to play with........

  34. Spray starch can be your new friend. Reasons to starch:
    Fabrics cut easier and just behave better.
    Fabrics won't stretch as much when sewing. Great when doing triangles or any bias;
    Starch the backing fabric, your quilt will glide easier on your work surface.
    If you get a chance, try that new MaryEllen's Best Press brand, I get no flakes. Otherwise, starch the back of the fabric and let it sit a few moments before pressing.
    Thanks for hosting such a great giveaway!

  35. 1) Finished is better than Perfect - yes, someone mentioned this already. LOL
    2) Throw your finished block on the ground and run past it. Can you see any mistakes? No? GREAT! It's a keeper! LOL
    3) I was a newbie too, once and bought the Dear Jane book, along with the rulers. Took me like 3 years(?) to finish the top of this gorgeous quilt and I've learned SOOOOO much about piecing, paper piecing and different techniques to applique. I actually LOL when I look at my first blocks compared to my last ones. *grin*
    4) There are different kinds of quilters - those that strive to enter their quilts in quilt shows for the ribbons, those that want to make family heirlooms and those that just want a home made quilt, made with love, to wrap up in... hills and valleys included. BTW, I've heard that a good hammer can straighten out those hills and valleys!


    Please add my name into your hat.


    Rosa Robichaud
    Saint John, New Brunswick

  36. Hi Kate! Well of course you should have fun, don't sweat the mistakes along the way they are the best learning experiences. Learn to UPSIZE units withing blocks and use your ruler to square them up to perfection!


  37. I'd get a quilting mentor, someone older or wiser in the ways of quilting. That way if you have any questions or want to know what product is "best" you can ask or borrow.
    Verna is so cute and such a cute name too!

  38. I am relatively new, but one thing I discovered making a crib size quilt was that the larger size safety pins used for making the quilt sandwich are worth the extra investment... much easier to put in and remove (if you go the pin way rather than baste). And the more obvious safety pin tip, is to be sure to use brass (won't rust) rather than steel.
    Good luck & thanks for the giveaway!

  39. Wow what a great giveaway! And you have already received every bit of advise that I could offer. When I was a new quilter, I took a quilting class (back in the day of cutting everything out with scissors!). My sister in law bought Eleanor Burns Quilt in Day Log Cabin book and our quilting was revolutionized ever since. Her patterns are easy to follow and quick to make up. Also if you can get ahold of any kind of quilting videos (even youtube or Quilting programs [tape them]) you will learn much faster with a visual. It's like having a private teacher in your home :-) Thanks for such a generous giveaway!

  40. my tip would be patience, and perserverance, and have fun!! I love it, have only finished enough quilts to count on my one hand, but it is so worth it!! I just finished my second quilt top i started almost a year ago for my grandmother. she loves it, and it has lots of flaws, but i made it, and that is what makes it so much more special. you can see the photos on my blog. that fabric sure looks pretty, thanks!!

  41. What a great idea to get all of these wonderful tips! I've been reading through them. They are good. I've only been quilting for a couple of years but my advice is to get your cutting as accurate as possible. Then your pieces will fit together easily especially when coupled with an accurate 1/4" seam. I recommend using a good quality ruler. My personal favorites are the Creative Grid rulers. I have had the least problems with these rulers moving around on the fabric. If you are using more than one ruler, make sure they are from the same company. There can be differences in the measurements depending on how the ruler company's mark the rulers. One other thing I use is the Clearly Perfect Angles for sewing accurate seams. It is a template that clings to your sewing machine bed. It helps me sew a perfect 1/4" seam. I love it. I got this tip from Anka's Treasures blog awhile back.

  42. I am a beginner and I didn't realize how important it was to square up the blocks after you make them - even if they are off a bit from what the pattern says they will be. My friend finally showed me how to pin the blocks and get a better "fit" and then squaring them up - but wait 'til they are all done and do them all at once instead of block by block because the last block could be different than the first - does this make sense?? I hope so. I would like to see more comments on the actual quilting... they really help me... like the one up there to use rulers from the same company - I never thought about that before... I guess I'll have to go to Joann's in a few minutes to get more before the sale ends... (also you have one of the best lines in the sampler box!!).

  43. Kate,
    My first suggestion is to get a good rotary cutter. I suggest Gingher or Olfa.

    My second suggestion is to join a quilt club at a local quilt store and/or get to know the ladies who work at your local quilt stores. They can be a great source of help when you have questions. Quilters are usually really nice people and won't mind helping out a 'newbie.' Here's the link to a quilt store in Danbury,CT that is listed with Moda as a Moda University store:

    My third suggestion is to make sure your sewing machine is in good working order before you begin working on your quilt.

    Your fabric is beautiful.....Have fun!

  44. LOVE your give away! AND welcome to the world of quilting!! You are going to love it! Use a stiletto (I think that's what they are called-wood handle with what looks like a nail pointing out -cost $2 or less)to feed and hold your fabric under your sewing machine needle as you are sewing. I can't sew without it. It keeps the seams together and keeps the fabric from slipping. Your points will match perfectly! It's a good thing.
    Take care and happy sewing!

  45. Hi there.
    I LOVE LOVE the Angler2 it's so great for sewing half square triangles. You don't need to draw a pencil line when you have the Angler. Most quilt stores carry them. Or you can go to Pam Bono designs website, since she is the one that created it.

  46. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Verna! Here is my tip: Use Shout Color Catchers the first time you wash the quilt. I like to use them especially when I have used pre-cuts that I don't pre-wash..Actually nowadays, I VERY rarely prewash my fabrics. Thanks!

  47. The best advice I can give a beginner quilter is:
    When your quilt is all done and you think it did not come out good, show it to a friend that does not quilt. The comment they make will have you smiling from ear to ear. They will think your quilt is perfect.
    If you ever need a little pick me up about your quilting, do that every time.

  48. He leido todos los consejos y me parecen geniales. Tantos como quilters te han respondido.
    Veras, tambien estoy comenzando con el libre acolchar y mi consejo seria que hagas tu diseño en papel. lo sostengas sobre la manta y a coser.Es posible que tambien cometas un error, pero para empezar seran menos. Diviertete y toma esto como un desafio un juego para aprender nada mas. Ahora si quieres competir en ferias pues deberas compartir con un especialista. Un abrazo. diviertete

  49. What a wonderful Giveaway.. Thanks for the chance to win. I hope this wasn't posted, always measure twice and cut once. Also if you're using a pattern read the instructions first, it always helps. LOL

    Crossing my fingers and toes to win. Grin

  50. I am a beginner also so I have so much to learn. I do always press though - makes things so much easier.


  51. Kate, You need a Great 1/4" seam. Try the Perfect Picing Seam Guide from Perkins Dry Goods its the best & Great thread use Presencia thread its the best. It was so much fun to get to meet you at market. Doug

  52. Great giveaway! My tips are to always use the same brand of ruler for a project. When I first started quilting I was using one brand in a long ruler to cut strips and a different brand of triangle ruler and yet a different brand of square ruler for the same project. Sadly, it wasn't pretty-lol. Also, if you do prewash your fabrics, cut the corners off and there will be no raveling.
    I could go on and on with tips and there are some really good ones in these comments.
    Also want to say that this is an awesome collection! Very versatile and the colors are great! Thanks and cheery wave from Bev

  53. I am pretty new to quilting as well - and I have found it very useful to follow quilting/sewing bloggers via blogs or flickr accounts - some great free tutorials, patterns and inspirational color combinations can be found there! Some of my current favorites are:

    Film in the Fridge

    P.S. I Quilt:

    Lovely Little Handmades:

    Sew Take A Hike:


    Love this fabric, thanks so much for the giveaway!

  54. I am a new quilter too, but perhaps the one most important step I am learned so far is to PRESS PRESS and press again! Enjoy and thanks so much for doing this giveaway...what a treat!

  55. what a fun giveaway! ;) love all the tips from everyone.

    My advice would be - if there is anything you want a demonstration on check YouTube for it!!! I was amazed at how may quilters have made tutorial videos and shared on there for FREE :) Wish I had thought of this sooner...

    Thanks for the giveaway! Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  56. Looks like a beautiful line, thanks for the giveaway.
    I didn't read through all the tips, so hopefully this one isn't a repeat. Use the measurements on either your ruler or your mat, but not both. They can be a little off of one another. Enjoy!

  57. Darling fabric! Thanks for the giveaway. My advice is to look online at blogs and such if there is a quilt you want to make, often times there are instructions and good tutorials without having to buy a book or a pattern. Good luck.
    spackattak7 at hotmail dot com

  58. Very cute fabric roll. Would love to win this giveaway! My advise is if you decide not to use pins, it is always helpful to have the upper piece seam allowance facing toward the needle and the lower piece seam allowance facing toward you, when matching joints. This helps shift the upper piece into the seam of the lower piece creating perfect joint matching. Good luck and don't get discouraged even the most experienced quilters keep practicing.

  59. I'm not sure I could win this giveaway from outside of the U.S.
    When you cannot decide the fabric combination,try Moda Fabricmatcher that will helps you for sure! LOL

  60. Ok I know this might sound a bit weird at first, but trust me it will happen. When you get blood on your fabric from finger pricks, use your own saliva to wipe it away. Only your own saliva works. Love your new fabric. Good luck with this newest endeavor.

  61. My advice would be tostrive for accuracy-but don't let a few little "issues" stop you. Work toward finished tops and strive to do better each time. Your skills will improve if you don't over react and get too compulsive about perfection!
    Your fabric is beautiful! You already have a love of are well on your way>.

    Hint: For intricate piecing try a little spray starch with pressing.
    Love, Linda
    E-mail: jldouglas@wispwest.met

  63. Hi, Kate!
    I have a lot of tips, and a few of them have been stated already...but my most important one is to have FUN! I teach beginning quilting, and the students are always so hard on themselves if everything doesn't line up perfectly. That takes time. As the saying goes, if you throw your quilt over the back of a galloping horse and you can't see the mistake, you're alright!
    Oh, and one I am forever repeating to my husband: you can never have too much fabric!

  64. Not that I'm an expert, but what I've found for me is that it's best to just jump in. Read a bit first and then just go your own way. You'll learn as you do.

  65. Without reading through all the other tips (yet), I will give a couple of my own. Sorry if they are repeats.
    -prewash & dry, then iron fabrics.
    -iron with each step. True it's a pain, but necessary & relieves you of stress that will come if you don't
    -don't beat yourself up if it is not exact. Each quilt you make is uniquely yours & that's what makes it so special.
    -try an appliqué. It's easy & allows you to express yourself creatively.

    Hope this helps! My grandmother taught me to quilt & I have loved the bond it created between us & the memories we created together. So, go make some memories!

  66. I am so loving the wreath that Vickie made with VERNA! Quilting is fun, so so try not to be stressed. Oh, and keep a supply of your favorite chocolate around!!!

  67. I admit, I did not go through the other 66 comments to make sure I'm not repeating. I am a beginning quilter myself and the most important thing I have learned is patience.
    It takes a lot for me to stop and press, measure, count, layout, pin (ugh, pins) and etc. but when I do, it always turns out perfect.

  68. When piecing a quilt that is just squares, make sure the weft weave (cross grain) is going all the same direction. Use this as your long seam when piecing rows. This has just a bit of give and insures that your blocks will be perfectly aligned! Thanks for the give away! Your fabric is beautiful.

  69. There is no requirements for handmade quilts to be perfect. We are all human and we should let our humanity show. Having said that, it's amazing how a hot and steamy iron can press away lots of errors! Iron well and everyone will think you're an expert in no time.

  70. I love Verna... have the smapler and it is one of my faves... I have two tips:

    1. When using your rotary cutter and ruler place your pinky off of the ruler on the mat or fabric this will help keep the ruler from slipping as you cut.

    2. Take a fabric dryer sheet to the bed of your machine it will help your fabrics glide better (especially helpful when machine quilting)

  71. My two cents? GOOGLE. Anything you can't figure out, just google it. Seriously, there are a zillion AWESOME tutorials, and someone has already worded it the way you can think to. I've gotten many a quilting problem solved this way. :) Best of luck, your line is beautiful!

  72. Let your projects "speak" to you! Don't let difficult or crazy and wild stop you--create, create, create whatever you can imagine!! Some of my favorite quilts started out as the biggest challenges.

    (Absolutely beautiful fabric . . . it speaks to me!!)

  73. Hi Kate!
    Congratulations on your moda collection ~ can't wait for it to arrive. It was a huge factor for buying the moda sampler box ;o).#

    Phew, there are already given many great tips...don't know if I even can tell something new (I bet I can't)...but anyway, here are my favourite tips:

    1. mind the 1/4" seam allowance
    2. pin, pin, and - oh! - pin! I love those fork pins by clover. These together with seam allowances pressed (pressing is important, too!) in opposite directions (so that they "lock" together easily) give perfect intersections
    3. Don't think you can't because you haven't done it yet (that's the fault I make again and again).
    3. Have fun! Ignore any people who are thinking they're the quilt police
    3. Get a sharp seam ripper and use it if you need to (I love the one by Fons &Porter, but any SSSSSHARP one will do).
    4. Change your blades and needles & clean your sewing machine regularly. It really makes a difference.
    5. Try different threads. Everyone has her favourite...
    6. Don't worry about not having a stash. It will grow naturally. Often very fast ;o)
    7. It's O.K. to have some WIPs (work in progress) but allow some of them to become finished quilts...the reward of actually snuggle up under one of your own creations is priceless!
    8.Study old quilts if you have the chance to ~ they're just the perfect inspiration...
    9. Adjust the height of your sewing table ~ you don't want to have a sore back be the cause for unwanted sewing interruption.
    10. Don't stop designing such gorgeous fabrics!! {And - please! - let the random generator pick me...;o)}.
    Greetings from Germany,

  74. Change sewing machine needles often.. And to make sure the seam is 1/4 inch, use a thin needle, and thin (50 wt) thread.
    Beautiful fabrics..

  75. My advice would be to make sure you are exact in your measurements when cutting. Anything else can be re-done if it's wrong, but cutting has to be exact the first time.

    My other advice is to continue designing fabric. You do an amazing job and I am so excited for Verna to be available in stores!


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