DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTERS
Our little Eliad is now walking and he’s SO proud of himself! He holds his hands high in the air and, with a big grin, waddles down the hall like a little penquin. We first time grandparents think, of course, that this is just the cutest, most adorable child ever born.
NEW FREE PROJECT
The fourteenth Free Project is now on the website. To see all of the projects click onto Free Projects at the home page. These patterns are not under copyright so feel free to copy them for your quilting buddies.
NEW APPLIQUE PATTERNS
There are seven new applique patterns on the website, they appear on one of the last pages in the applique section. Actually, some have been available for a few months and others are brand new. Sunbonnet Sue’s Favorite Designs and More Sunbonnet Sue’s Favorite Designs combine piecing and applique; Boys Toys is a great wall hanging for little boys rooms; Tulip Garden is a great wall hanging for winter to remind you of spring and summer; Funky Reindeer is the silliest reindeer you have ever seen; Kitties Like Milk and Doggies Like Bones are both just cute designs for any occasion.
Whenever I teach at guilds I’m always asked how many students I will take in a class and I always answer, “As many as can work comfortably in the room you have.” To prove my point I tell them of the time I walked into a class of forty (yes, 40!!) people to teach the Texas Trellis, only to be told we would have to be very, very quiet the entire morning. They were having, in the next room, a funeral at 9:00 and another at 10:00 and still another at 11:00!! Can you imagine, forty noisy quilters and a very loud teacher being quiet for three hours!! Well, it was a great space and they didn’t want to lose it so they were very cooperative. But, how to teach. I just divided the room into four sections and taught the class quietly, four times! So---I have been tested, and met the challenge!!
NEW E-LETTER SIGN-UPS
We send this e-letter to about 1150 quilters, and are interested in increasing that number. So, we came up with the following: If your guild will sent us 25 new sign-ups for the newsletter we‘ll send a free book, Quilters Guide to Rotary Cutting, for your guild’s library. If you think your guild will be interested in this, email Arnposter@comcast.net <mailto:Arnposter@comcast.net> for a sign-up sheet.
A GREAT WEBSITE
Here is a great website I thought you might want to investigate. It’s called the World Wide Quilting Page and it’s accessed by the site name--quilt.com--
You may already know about this site. If not, it’s worth exploring. This site has a bit of advertising but its main thrust is information exchange. Besides providing a ton of quilting information its User Pages have such sections as “Pattern Request” where you can describe a pattern you are seeking,; “The Trading Post” a place for finding quilters with which to exchange fabric and books; “Quilting Hints” from other quilters, and “Classifieds”, buy, sell trade with other quilters, and much, much, more. As far as I can see there is no charge for these services. This site is certainly worth a little of your time.
I’ve been making a lot of pillows lately and have discovered a great technique. It’s always such a pain to get the surface to lay smoothly when cramming in the stuffing. Aha! I found it really helps if I use some leftover batting pieces first as “liners.” I cut two pieces a little bigger than the pillow and lay them inside, as flat as possible. I then add the stuffing between these two layers. Works like a charm and gets rid of all that useless batting, too!
I’m always amazed at how many patterns never get used because the instructions seem so intimidating. I have a solution that works for me and will work for you, too. Take a pile of the ugliest fabric you own (and we all own some!) and, planning on throwing it away, try the pattern. Don’t even read the instructions, just look at the pictures, and figure on getting it all wrong and having to try again. All the pressure is off because what you are working on is trash anyway! After awhile, you’ll “get it.” Now go back and read the instructions! They’ll make sense now and you will be able to pick up the extra little hints that make it really work for you.
I wrote about a favorite tool of mine, a bobbin ring. In response, Sandra writes, “Have you tried the ‘Handi-Bobs” from Nancy’s Notions? They are terrific! It’s a little case into which the bobbin fits and then you match it with the spool of thread, where it nests very neatly. Now I never have to go looking for matching thread/bobbins--they stay together waiting for action!”
P.S. from Donna: I use mostly cream or medium grey thread on almost all of my quilt piecing. I, like most other stitchers, absolutely detest stopping to wind bobbins, so I wind ten or twelve bobbins of these two spools of thread at once. It really cuts down on the cussing!
Kathy writes: I was the one who started the necktie quilt in your class recently. I did it all by machine! I know you were surprised that I was going to try to keep up with that slippery fabric. But I used lots of pins!! Then I put a black satin border and pieced a binding with more tie fabric. When I finished, my husband suggested to put tie tacs in the velvet centers. I wasn’t sure---but it looks great!
P.S. from Donna: I always suggest that you work with ties by hand so I’m delighted to learn from someone who did it by machine. It sounds gorgeous, especially the tie tacs and unique binding.
I’m teaching at some great shows and guilds this year! They include The Quiltmakers Cottage in Hershey, Pa., (a local shop), Tuscaloosa (Ga) Quilt Guild (March), Quilt Festival in Chicago (April), St. Augustine (Fl) Quilt Guild (May), Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, Pa, (July), and AQS Expo in Nashville, Tn., (Aug.). If you are around any of these places maybe we’ll meet in a class! If that happens please let me know you get this newsletter. For more information on classes and contacts, click onto “Teaching Schedule” at the bottom of our home page.
New subscribers to this newsletter occur every day so I thought to mention again that all the newsletters are saved in our website---donnaposter.com---
Just click onto Newsletters Archived at the home page. They are all there.
Mr. Donna has been grousing lately that he is getting diddly squat from the design department (that’s me) Well it’s not from lack of ideas---I’ve got a million of them!! But between the holidays (hope yours was as much fun as mine) and little Eliad, I really have been goofing off! So, till next month, let’s all get the needles flying again!!
Your quilting buddy,
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
It’s February, and I’m sitting here writing to you with my usual assortment of February “blahs.” The bad news is I’m fighting my winter sinus problems. The good news is I just bought a daffodil. (my Doctor once told me there wasn’t much wrong with most of his patients this time of year that a daffodil wouldn’t cure!)
There’s also a lot of good news! I just bought a new sewing machine! For years now, I’ve been using top-of-the-line sewing machines that do everything but make breakfast for you! I’m just not a machine person and all that extra stuff is annoying and confusing to me. I only use machines because I need them to do what I want to do. So--I went out last week and bought a really good, computerized machine that does a nice assortment of lovely stitches, has a built-in dual feed, choice of needle-up or needle-down, sews beautifully---and that’s all!! I love it!!! We have “bonded” already!!!
GRAN’MA NEWS: Eliad is showing more and more signs of sheer brilliance!! (Aw, c’mon, I’m his gran’ma!) He now does: so big, high five, and gimme-some-skin,---all courtesy of his gran’pa) He only says two words, but understands everything----especially, “No.” His mom has a booth at the Philadelphia Gift Show next week and I’m going along to care for him during the day. All the booth owners have been following this adoption for over a year now and they all want to see this little guy!
FUNNY STORY: One of my friends told me about a sewing teacher she had, years ago, who wore “falsies.” (For you young’uns out there, falsies were a cotton-padded form to insert in your bra to create whatever size you’d like to be!) It was no secret they were falsies because----she used them as a pincushion!!! This lady said it was so unnerving to watch that they could barely concentrate on what she was teaching.
ANTIQUE SEWING TOOLS: One of my favorite antiques is a salesman’s sample case that includes a labeled sample of every step in the making of a needle---starting with a length of wire! There are eighteen steps!!! It’s given me a whole new appreciation of a simple needle.
NON USA/CANADIAN ORDERS: I noticed recently that a number of quilters outside the USA have signed up for this newsletter, so thought I would repeat the ordering procedure for non USA/Canadian orders.
For non USA/Canada orders please first go to the link--template plastic-- on the Home Page of ----donnaposter.com----Here you will find instructions for ordering. We also use a Global Express envelope through the post office. The cost is $9.00. Actually, we can get a number of patterns in the same envelope so if you have some quilting buddies or want to order other patterns the shipping cost is the same as for one pattern. Be sure to first use the link--“template plastic.”
HINTS: Have you tried those new “dye-catcher” products sold in the laundry section of the supermarket? They are disposable cloths about the size of a dryer sheet and are meant to absorb any excess dye in the water. I’ve had great success with using them on quilts and fabrics that have colors that might “run.” As another precaution, I test my fabrics before I wash them to see if they’re going to cause a problem. My favorite test is to wet a corner of the fabric and squeeze it between two white paper towels. If the towels remain white, I feel pretty good about the colorfastness of that fabric. If I see some color on the towels, I’ll hand-rinse it over and over until it doesn’t bleed anymore. And, yes, I still use one of those dye-catchers in the wash water! While we’re on the subject, can anyone shed some light on the effect of water variations? My experience had always been that bleeding was simply a way of life in the quilting process. Then we moved to a country home with a septic tank and I never had a problem with bleeding the entire time we were there.
STORAGE HINT: Most of us have far more supplies, fabrics, tools etc., than we have storage room. My sister is an avid crafter and came up with a wonderful idea. She bought a rack and hung it from the ceiling. She then used large “S” hooks to hang baskets from the rack. These baskets were handy and held her various supplies while adding a really nice touch to the room.
BORDERS: I love beautiful borders but I really detest making them come out even all the way around the project. Over the years I’ve seen some gorgeous quilts that took care of this problem. Just applique or piece those border designs in the corners and let the center protion of the border be background fabric! Or--let the center portion be an elongated version of the design (such as a trailing vine). Or--start the design in two opposite corners and take them almost to the other corner, then trail them off. I call them “cheater” borders because there’s no math involved and you can have a lot of fun with them.
A TIP FROM BARBARA: Barbara (firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:(email@example.com>) emailed a suggestion regarding templates and cutting. Here is her email: “Hi. Loved your newsletter. Been teaching quilting for over 20 years. I have a hint for you. When doing blocks on point, I have my ladies go to their neighborhood window repair shop, ask them to cut a pattern from any scraps, or flawed plastic. Cut 2 squares of the needed size, we use 12 or 15 inch blocks. One square is kept whole, the other one is cut diagonally into 2 pieces. Keep one large triangle whole, and cut the second in half. The big ones go along the sides to make the on-point blocks square, and the small ones go to the corners. It works really easy . Good luck to you and your site.” Note from Donna--Be sure to add ¼ inch seam allowance on all sides of the template before cutting.
WHY MAKE A WALL HANGING?: There are many reasons but this one, reported on the website--World Wide Quilting Page-- firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> my eye. “Recently my son pushed his knee thru the wall in his bedroom, leaving a large gaping hole in the drywall. I covered it with a wall hanging I had made. It was quick, and also keeps some drafts out, as well as the plaster dust. I think this would work well for other things, such as crayon marks, etc. I sent the son to college.”
LETTER FROM PYLLIS: When are you coming to or near Kansas? I live in Wichita, Ks and would like to take one of your classes, but what I see posted is too far to travel.
I would love to come to Kansas. Unfortunately, I have recently decided it’s time to stop running all over the country, teaching! I’m really going to miss it, but I need more time with my family and in my studio. I will go to the national shows and guilds I have already committed, but from then on, I’ll teach locally and at major shows such as Houston and Nashville. I do wish there was a viable way to teach via the internet--I would love to do that.
Sorry to have missed you.
MY NEWEST FAVORITE TOOL: Oh dear--it won’t be long before I’m going to bring little Eliad into my sewing room. This will be a whole new way of life for me because I’m very sloppy with my pins and needles! (Have you ever noticed that a sewer can walk around, barefoot, all day long and never even realize she’s walking on pins and needles? But let any male so much as stick his head in the door and he’s got a needle in his foot and bleeding profusely!!)
I can see that my favorite tool will be that long, thin collapsible rod with a strong magnet on the end. It’s really great because it will get underneath places that little fingers (and husbands) could get to but you might never see.
Time to say goodby for this month. Thank you for joining me today--I feel better already just chatting with you! I think I’ll go cut out a quilt! Remember to look up my schedule on my home page under “Teaching Schedule” and maybe we can get together sometime. Meanwhile, have a great month with lots of fun stitching!
Your quilting buddy,
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
UPDATE ON OUR LITLE ELIAD: Last week I bought some crayons and a great big drawing pad. I was only going to show him how to scribble. Well, folks, if it doesn’t have wheels he’s not interested. I did have a measure of success the second day, though, in that he threw a crayon across the room only once when I told him not to eat it.
MY LAST QUILT GIG: I just came home from Tuscaloosa, Al., where I gave my last lecture/workshop at a guild. They were so much fun! One gal finished almost ten Foldy Stuff blocks in class---there was a ten year old who sewed right along with the adults---they had a brunch (with wonderful food)---well, I just had a ball!! In the meantime, I have plans for five new Foldy Stuff patterns and lots of applique designs. I am looking forward to having the time to work on them. Also, I am looking into giving classes on the internet. One never knows I’ll be teaching at Chicago, Hershey (Odyssey), Nashville and Houston festivals this year. After that, ????
ANOTHER NEW FREE PROJECT: There is another new free Foldy Stuff project on the website called the Greek Key. Click onto--Free Projects-- at the home page of---donnaposter.com. There are now fifteen free projects, almost enough to print them all and make a book for yourself.
Since the Greek Key uses the Log Cabin design all you folks who have Log Cabin transfers left over can use them here, or you can obtain additional transfers from the website.
NEW SEWING MACHINE: In the February issue I mentioned I had bought a new sewing: machine because I wanted something simpler than I’d been using.
Arlene wrote: “I want to know which machine you just bought. I also have a machine----actually, several machines---none of which I am in love with---too many options for me when all I do is straight stitch piecing.
I answered: The machine I bought is a Pfaff Performance 2056, and I love it!! Sometimes I go into my sewing room and just pet it!
I’d like to add a note here. When people ask me about what machine I recommend I tell them to check out all the brands sold in their area and buy the one they like best, but only if it’s from a dealer who has a really good reputation for taking care of their customers!! There are many fine machines on the market but they are only as good as the service you will get from the dealer.
FABRIC BLEEDING: After receiving the last newsletter Kathy was kind enough to provide some input into the bleeding problem. Kathy writes, “I have one idea that may be the answer to the fabric bleeding problem. If you have your own well you probably have not added chlorine to the water. All commercial water systems have chlorine added to the water. Usually it is added as sodium hypoclorite (Clorox is a weak solution of this chemical).
Don’t know if this has any validity or if the manufacturers are not using the right fixing agents in the process. Anything to save money.”
Thanks for the info Kathy. The bleeding problem today is not nearly as bad as twenty years ago. I think the fabric manufacturers have learned a lot of chemistry since then.
AUSTRALIA AND VICINITY CUSTOMERS: One of my Simply Quilts programs was recently aired in New Zealand which produced a number of orders from the New Zealand/Austalia area. The shipping is expensive and the best Mr. Donna can do is a global envelope which costs $8.00 USA. He can get as many as four patterns in the envelope for the same price so that’s a thing to think about. Also, the website punchwithjudy.com.au, located in Australia, may have better shipping costs for folks in that part of the world.
ANOTHER REMINDER: An average of three quilters sign up for this newsletter each day, so thought I would just put in this reminder; all past newsletter are saved on our website and can be accessed by clicking onto Newsletters Archived at the home page.
MORE ABOUT SCISSORS: Gwen Frey writes,” I have found the best scissors ever---! Several years ago a young man in my church started selling Cutco Knives. I bought my obligatory paring knife, but soon discovered they have wonderful other products. I’ve since bought a pair of scissors that are the sharpest I have ever used. They had several sizes, and I have the bent handle ones. They are guaranteed for life, and after several years of use are just as sharp as the day I bought them. Their website is---cutco.com---.
QUESTION FROM PENNY: “The group I quilt with is making a Foldy Pineapple quilt for a raffle, and so far all is going beautifully. We’re constructing 96 squares to cover the top of a queen size bed (8 by 12 squares) and are now trying to decide how to make the “drop” for the sides and ends of the quilt. We would like to make folded borders to continue the foldy theme, and to maintain consistency in the weight. We are considering vertical folds, but not sure how that would work, or how to shape the edges (scallops, points, etc.) Could you offer some suggestions or advice? Thank you so much.”
Answer: I have a queen size pineapple quilt that I made using foldy stuff and I used a regular fabric (non-foldy) border on it because the quilt was so heavy. To equalize the weight, I used a lightweight batting in the border. Other foldy stuff quilts are not as heavy as the pineapple and I do use foldy stuff borders on some of them. My favorite is to take a long piece of muslin and transfer some strips across the width. I do this at random at various places, and use long strips of fabrics between the foldy areas. It’s fun, easy and eye catching! Enjoy!!!Donna
CHICKEN: Mr. Donna here: After a years of cooking chicken, in one form or another, I finally found out how to do it. I like stuffed chicken breasts and make them often. Every recipe for chicken has me preheating the oven. Now I found why I should not do that. Preheating the oven has the objective of searing the surface to “seal” in the juices. But, I’ve found that that also overcooks the outside surface of the chicken.. What I do, and it works like a charm, is this; my oven, (a convection type), takes about ten minutes to go from room temperature to 325 degrees. I turn the oven to 325, then wait until about half the time it takes to get there, and then put the chicken in prior to oven reaching full 325. The chicken cooks more evenly and there is no inside/outside doneness. I’m thinking about starting from a room temperature oven. By-the-by, a dash of chardonnay at the beginning and half way through, is recommended. I use Jacobs Creek from Australia, however, any light white wine will do.
Donna says, “my husband cooks with wine, I cook with whine!!!!!!!!
Mr. Donna here; But she makes one heck of a quilt!!!! And I might add she made all of our daughters’ clothing, including winter coats, when they were kids, and they were the best dressed in town.
Gotta go now. Let’s all hope for an early spring.
Your quilting buddy,
DONNA POSTER NESLETTER
CHIT CHAT FROM THE HOMEFRONT: Spring is here!! The daffodils, tulips and forsythia are all in bloom----the sun is shining---life is good!!!
Mr. Donna just got back from Tampa, Fl where he contributed to the financial wellbeing of both Tampa Bay Downs (horse racing) and the state of Florida. He’ll never get rich betting on the ponies, but he sure has a good time.
Eliad is just discovering the outdoors (he really didn’t like the boots & snowsuit stuff). Gosh, there are real trucks with real wheels out there and he gets to ride on his grandpa’s shoulders. Great fun! Click onto this file to see Mr. Donna and Eliad).
I’ve just come back from teaching in Chicago--great show! Alex Anderson gave a terrific slide show and lecture on “Behind the Scenes at Simply Quilts.” Alex is one of my favorite people and it was a special treat to hear her!
It’s becoming a very nostalgic year for me. Every show I go to is the last one in that city. I’ll still be teaching this year in Nashville, Hershey and Houston. If any of you are taking a class from me, please let me know you’re one of my newsletter friends. I’d love to meet you in person.
Cleaning out my sewing room, I came across a huge file of hints I’ve collected over the years and I’ll pass them on to you from time to time. I really should clean out this room more often--I found some wonderful stuff I forgot I had!! Good grief, it was almost like Christmas.
I FOUND THESE HINTS:
1. Keep a scented votive candle in your sewing room and stick your needles in it. It keeps the needles rust-free and lubricated, plus the room really smells great.
2. When sewing a bias seam to a straight seam, sew with the bias on the bottom so the feed dog will take care of the fullness. (If you’re sewing the seam by hand, keep the bias on the top so your thumb can control the excess).
3. Sharply snapping a length of thread before cutting it off the spool will make it less likely to twist and turn.
4. Need a third hand for ripping out a seam? Clamp the fabric under the presser foot! Works just like those old fashioned sewing birds.
5. My personal favorite: Warning----the Surgeon General has determined that quilting is less harmful to the eyes than reading cookbooks.
NEW FREE PROJECT: Another new free project is now on our website---donnaposter.com----.Click onto Free Projects at the home page. The new one is called Night & Day and uses the Log Cabin design. We are putting free projects on the site at the rate of one per month. Keep checking.
APPLIQUE PATTERNS: Many stitchers have asked if applique patterns can be used as embroideries. My goodness, yes. They’re great for that in many ways. Or, embroider the outlines in desired colors and fill in the subject areas with various stitches. If the design is too big for the area you want to embroider, just reduce it using a copy machine. I’ve even known people who used elements from our patterns for scrap booking!! Just have fun.
The question is not : Can it be done? Do it. If it works, it can be done.
FOLDY STUFF AND PAPER PIECING: A stitcher asked recently if the transfers that come in Foldy Stuff patterns can be used for paper piecing. They sure can. First transfer the grid onto paper suitable for paper piecing. To obtain the width of the strip measure the distance between the lines and add ½ inch for seam allowance.
MORE ABOUT BLEEDING: Pat writes, “I found a reference which advised to put Epson salts in the washing machine when washing fabrics which might bleed. I know it works because I was washing flannel (shrink problem) and I had red, blue, and white and just about everything you can think of in the same load, and there was not a trace of color transfer.
NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: If you unsubscribe by error or obtain a new email address just go to the website and resubscribe, the old address will simply drop out.
NOW I’VE HEARD IT ALL: A customer’s husband races pigeons. She tells me the best thing for sewing up a pigeon’s torn craw is a number ten quilting needle. The things we quilters learn.
ONE OF MY COLLECTIONS: I have a collection of antique irons which I have lined up on a shelf starting with the oldest and progressing to the latest. I love looking at them and knowing that, at the point each one was developed, the ladies using it were convinced that no iron could ever be better. Then, with that in mind, I look at what I’m using today (which, of course, is as good an iron can ever be!) and wonder what we will be using twenty years from now. Our grandchildren will be saying, “Poor Grandma. She had to stand there and push this hot dangerous device back and forth across the fabric.”
AN EMAIL FROM SANDRA AND MY ANSWER: Sandra writes: “Mr. Donna said, “by-the-by, a dash of chardonnay at the beginning and half way
through cooking the chicken breast is recommended. Does this go on the chicken or in Mr. Donna?”
My answer: I’m passing your email on to Mr. Donna---he’ll love it!!! He does put some on the chicken, but enjoys cooking much better with some in him, too!! Actually, I think that was Julia Child’s secret too!!
Mr. Donna here: Come on Sandra. You don’t expect me to stand there in front of the oven, in the middle of the kitchen, and not take a sip here-and there; mostly there.
ANOTHER FAN WRITES: Love your newsletters--and products….also happy to hear little Eliad is developing a good ‘arm’ for future sports activities.”
So glad you enjoy our newsletter---we have a lot of fun with it. You should see the stuff Mr. Donna comes up with that doesn’t get past me!!! )
A GOOD SUGGESTION: Julie writes: “Just a suggestion, but wish you would post a link to your website in your newsletter. Don’t always have time to search the net to find you.” Great idea; here it is---donnaposter.com
Gotta go now---it’s time to clean the leaves off the ferns and peonies that are peeking through. Have a great month!
Your quilting buddy,
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
We’re into the rainy season here in Pennsylvania, and that’s fine with me. The plants need the rain and for some reason, a rainy day is very calming to me. Maybe because it’s a good excuse to stay inside and quilt. Hmmmm.
Eliad is beginning to talk!! The only problem is that most of it is language we’re not yet privy to! But Mr. Donna is really tickled that he lights up and says, “pa-pa” whenever he sees his grandpa.
Mr. Donna here: The last two photo attachments were picked by grandma. This one gets picked by grandpa, and here it is: I call it--Watch out world, here I come. Please click onto the following link.
I love this quote I found, “One yard of fabric, like one cookie, is never enough.”
MORE HINTS: I’m still sorting through that file of hints I ran across. Thought I’d pass on a few more:
1. Do you need to gather a large run of fabrics that blend together? Go to your paint store and get a set of paint chips. They already show a value spectrum and will help in picking the fabric.
2. When doing needle-turn applique, try using a wood toothpick to turn under the fabric. The rougher surface works better than a smooth needle.
3. When sewing seams in a quilt, the thread does not have to match because, unlike a garment seam, it will never be “pulled on” after its quilted. So here is a good chance to use up those six spools of chartreuse thread you own. Just be sure it’s sturdy thread and hasn’t been sitting in a sunny window for years. And please don’t do what I did when I heard this great hint. I used up all my odds and ends and the next time I needed just a bit of blue thread to sew on a button I had to run to the store to buy it.
CATHY WRITES: My husband’s Aunt (80 yr) gave him an old family quilt, undocumented. It is the Courthouse Steps pattern and looks as if it might have been similar to the foldy-stuff or just made so the strips fit.
It has a slight 3-D quality to it. It is black and red (not scrappy) and has a saw-tooth border. My husband said he wanted to reproduce this quilt as it is quite worn. He was trying to figure out how to get the folds and when he asked me I told him I had some great foldy stuff that could make it easy for him. He studied the pattern, pieced in scrappy reds and blacks and designed a slightly different border. It is a great quilt top.
Our question is: Can we just put a light bat in the border area and let the center of the quilt go without batting? What is the best way to put the bat in just the borders? We plan on just quilting in the ditch and in the block centers, as the Foldy Stuff is beautiful.
My answer: What a wonderful thing to do about a special antique quilt that is badly worn--reproduce it! The quilt sounds beautiful.
I often put a light batting in just the border and none in the quilt itself. Or, if the quilt is not terribly heavy, I just “line” the border with a piece of muslin. To use the muslin I just cut it at the same time I cut the border and use the two layers as if it were one. If I use a batting I prefer not to have the seam turned back on itself. To prevent that bulk, I attach the border to the quilt as usual, then baste the batting in place so that the batting extends one-quarter inch under the quilt center. The quilting will then hold it in place. Enjoy your quilt.
A GREAT IDEA: I received a great idea and photos via email from an unknown reader and would like to thank her.
She is using up her scraps to make potholders using the Foldy Stuff Pineapple block. The center, all even numbered rows, and the corners are medium (or dark) fabrics and the odd numbered rows are light fabrics. A “bone” ring is attached to a corner to hang it. This quilter sells them as a bazaar item. They are gorgeous and a great idea as a fundraiser for your guild!
FREE PROJECT: Another free project is posted at the website. The name of the project is CHRISTMAS TREE WALLHANGING (which uses the Amish Foldy Stuff pattern), and it can also be used as a table runner. This makes fifteen free projects, enough for a nice book. Remember, these projects are not covered by copyright, so make as many copies as you wish and share them with your quilting buddies.
COMPUTER PROGRAM: I have a quilt program on my computer and really like it, but I’m always wondering what the other programs could do for me. I’m asking those of you who have a quilt program (or programs) to take a few minutes and tell me what you like and what you dislike about the one you are working with. Is it user friendly? What are the design limitations? How’s the help when you need it? Anything at all you would tell someone about it. I’ll try to share the information. I know some of you are very computer savvy, but I really think most of you are like me; I use the darn thing only because I like what it can do for me!!
I’m off now to the sewing machine and the design table.
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
It’s raining here! Boy, is it ever raining! We’re having the wettest June/July on record and everything’s beginning to feel a little damp. We do need it, though, and the flowers love it. So, I’ll just hole up in my studio and, who knows, I might get a few new patterns out.
We’re having a ball with our little Eliad. He’s quite the mimic these days. His siren is so realistic I thought I was being pulled over the other day! He’s not really talking yet, though he does have a few hand signals he uses very effectively. BUT---he understands everything and is storing up all he hears for the day he can verbalize it. With that in mind, we are listening to what is coming out of our mouths and--uh, oh--we need to do a bit of editing. Mr. Donna, especially has a few choice, macho-type phrases he’s fond of that will have to go on the back burner for a while! We also don’t want his first words to be *#/<*&’#>!!!.
FUNNY STORY: A personal quirk of mine is that I like almost everything a bit off center. If I have three pillows on the sofa, two will be on one end and the third will be on the other end. So, one of my favorite quilts is an off-center variation of the Drunkards Path. I had a class scheduled to teach it and when the owner of the store noticed a customer studying the model she was sure she had another student for the class. She could hardly keep from laughing, though, when the customer asked her, “ Do you think someone should tell that lady that she didn’t get her quilt centered?” I love it!!!
The following suggestion came from Patty:
Why not add pictures of the new tools or tools you like so we can see what they look like. What are straw needles, etc?
My answer: Patty, What a great idea! It just never occurred to me to add pictures of the tools I’m talking about. I will definitely start doing that.
What are straw needles? I am told they got their name because they were originally used to do hand sewing on straw hats. Mmmmm---that sounds a little too “obvious” to me, but, who knows, it could be true. All I know (or care about) is they are very long, very slick and perfect for applique!
Eleanor writes: “I have a suggestion for the lady with the foldy quilt. I have made a couple of these using lattice between the blocks. I back the border and the lattice with flannel from my grandson’s receiving blankets. They have been washed many times so they will not shrink anymore. This works great. Better than muslin or other quilt fabric.”
My answer: Great hint! I often used flannel as batting in my regular pieced quilts until I had a bad experience with shrinkage (even after preshrinking several times) and I haven’t used it since. Your hint it is a fine solution.
A personal comment here: We don’t all have receiving blankets by the gazillion, so I’m trying to think of other ways of getting good used flannel. Good Will, maybe? Any ideas?
Here are some more hints I found in my stash: When sewing a seam where the two ends should match, I just match the beginning of the seam. I then take a few stitches, stop with the needle in the “down” position and then match the other end of the seam. Tug gently and sew! Now---a few notes on this technique:
1. I’m not opposed to tugging a bit more than gently if needed. It’s called easing! 2. Do not use this method if both edges of the seam are bias edges!!! In that case, you’ll want to “pat” the edges together and even kind of “help” them through. If they’ve become stretched to different lengths, a little pressing with steam often helps.
Many beginning quilters do not realize that pressing is as important a part of quilting as careful cutting and stitching. Here’s what I teach my students: When pressing a seam, always press from the right side. If you press from the wrong side the only way you can keep from getting a pleat is to pull on the fabric and this is really a “no-no.” It can be difficult, though, to press from the right side without messing up the seam allowances. Here are several way to do it: 1 You can press it very lightly on the back just to turn the seam allowances in the right direction, then finish pressing it from the front side, or, 2. Lay the two pieces on the ironing board the same way they were when you stitched them. Use your iron to “push” the top piece over, pressing the seam as you do this. Whenever possible, press with the grain, not the bias.
And remember, you are only pressing these seams. You are not ironing a pair of jeans!!!
This is great: A quilter is someone who pays to have her ironing done, but thinks nothing of standing for hours, pressing twenty yards of fabric for a quilt.
I’ve heard from just a few of you about quilt programs you don’t like, but those of you who are happy with your programs are not responding. We really need to hear about the good ones, too!
One of Mr. Donna’s fans questioned why there’s no more of his great recipes and decided to send him one of hers. Lorna Baker calls it Fruit Dip, the Easy Way. To a container of Cool Whip, add a container of vanilla yogurt (the small individual size) and about two teaspoons of Apple Pie Spice. Serve with any fruit. I haven’t tried it yet, but sounds good enough to pass along.
Mr. Donna here: We are coming onto ripe tomato season, and that means , “chili.” I have a killer chili recipe that will be in the Aug. newsletter.
I get so many compliments and thank you notes for coming up with the Foldy Stuff! It’s so easy and just plain fun. Well, I have ideas for five new ones and all I need now is the time to bring them to the pattern stage. Hang in there, gang, you’re going to love ‘em!
Mr. Donna and I have a busy July coming up---all good stuff. A few days in Baltimore for a mini vacation over the fourth of July, a vist from our San Diego daughter, then teaching at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, Pa. Hope you’re all having a great summer, too!
Your quilting buddy,
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
ELIAD WATCH: It’s true--our little Eliad is advanced for his age---he’s already reached the “terrible twos’ and he’s not even two yet!! It’s been forty-five years since we had a two year old around the house and we’ve forgotten a lot. I thought, gee, he can go up and down stairs himself, feed himself, etc.---life will be much easier now.” Ha!!! He can also reach more things, too! I was sure I had kid proofed my sewing room so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention the other day when he dumped a dish of water on the floor. While I was busy cleaning that up he was giving our dog, Corky, my spools of thread and she had chewed up about thirty dollars worth of Guterman thread before I caught them! Boy, those two are fast!!! He’s also cuter than ever and we always crack up when he points at Corky and says, with great authority, “tay!”
ANOTHER BLESSED EVENT: Last month. A robin built her nest on the ledge of the decorative window above our front door. We had a lot of fun watching her hatch and raise her four little robins. She didn’t mind us coming and going while she was hatching but when she had her babies she became more protective. We were allowed to go to the car but if we hung around too long she would “buzz” the top of her heads!!!
QUILT ODYSSEY: I taught at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey a few weeks ago---great show!!! It’s in a wonderful facility, great classrooms and classes, fine exhibits and lots of great stuff to buy. If you ever get to Quilt Odyssey, be sure to go to the “show and tell” on Saturday evening. You will need a class registration slip to get in and over four hundred students show up!! Norma Campell and Mimi Dietrich host the program and they are hysterical! Missy (who puts on the show) throws fat quarters into the audience and all the teachers are invited to have their students show what they did in class! Besides being an hour of fun it’s a great way to decide what classes you want to sign-up for next year.
One of the routines they did this year was, “You know you’re a quilter if----”. I really cracked up when they said, “If you watch the bedroom scenes on a soap opera to see what quilts are on the bed.” We watch Little House On The Prairie every night and I very carefully to make note of the quilts on the beds!!!
NEW TOOLS: I found some great new tools. I’ll tell you all about them in the next newsletter because I want to include pictures. One of the things I found that I want to try is called Locker Hooking. I bought the book written by Kathleen Carpenter. The models in the booth were really neat and would make great place mats, table runners and rugs. Plus, it looks relatively easy compared with traditional rug hooking. I’ll let you know how I like it.
SUSAN BETZ WROTE: “I was watching you on Simply Quilts and at the end of the show a viewer asked, “can ties be used in quilting?” You mentioned that the Foldy Stuff method was a wonderful way to use them. My wonderful husband had passed away two years before and I still had his ties. So, for Christmas I made three large squares (Foldy Log Cabin) and had them framed. The ladies that did the framing and customers in the store thought it was the most beautiful idea. Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye when these were presented Christmas day to my children. Thank you so much for this spectacular gift that my family will have for generations.”
Answer: Thank you so much for letting me know you used Foldy Stuff to preserve your memories. Over the years I’ve had several people use my patterns for this purpose and I so appreciate their telling me about it.
NOTE: For hints on using ties with the Foldy Stuff, click onto “Foldy Stuff Ideas link at the bottom of----donnaposter.com.----
ANOTHER GOOD IDEA: Eleanor Dyson gave me a great idea in one of my classes. She and some friends were trying out the Foldy Stuff and wondered how to use all those odd blocks. They just added an extra row, sewed a zipper between the two of them, then sewed the two blocks together to make a small bag! Great idea Eleanor---thanks.
MORE HINTS: Did you know that running your thread through a dryer sheet (used, of course!) can help keep your sewing thread from twisting.
Match thread for hand applique to the patch, not the background.
A rubber band wrapped around the thimble can help pull the needle through when quilting.
Rolls of shelf paper are super for designing or making long quilting and/or border patterns.
Mr. Donna here---IT’S CHILI TIME: OK, it’s ripe tomato season and I promised my all time great recipe for CHILI. This is the time of year to make this dish unless you live in an area where you can get vine ripened tomatoes all year. We are going to take many ingredients, put them together and finish with a taste that is distinct from any of the ingredients. It’s not going to taste like onions, or peppers, or chili powder, or anything else, but will have its own distinct flavor. It can be eaten as is, or used to flavor other foods. Start this recipe early in the day.
Get together the following:
2 tsp butter
3 lb. Regular ground 85-15% hamburger. Put your diet book away quickly.
Try to get the brownish looking hamburger that you normally would not
take--it’s better aged.
28 oz can of Mexican style or Contadina brand diced tomatoes
5 lg vine ripened tomatoes. Pick the ones that are almost too ripe to slice
3 lg mushrooms sliced and diced
2 large size green bell peppers cut into ½” pieces
1 jalapeno pepper minced or pureed with some water in a blender
2 lg onions cut into ½” pieces
2 Tbsp regular chili powder. Stay away from the hot stuff, the jalapeno
pepper will do that for us.
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp minced garlic
2 cans of chicken broth
1 sm can jalapeno style chili beans Optional: Texas is where I learned to
make chili (where else). Texas chili does not contain beans. However, I like
to put a small can of jalapeno style chili beans into mine; gives it a little
Here’s what to do:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan.
Brown the meat in such a way that half is seared and half is not seared, and the fat is not cooked out of the meat. If the meat starts to stick, lower the heat and add some chicken broth. Add all the ingredients to the pot, stir together prior to heating.
Cook for at least five hours, seven would be better. (that‘s why you started early in the day). No cheating here, I‘ll know it if you do. Use a very low heat at first so there is no burning at the bottom of the pot, then slowly increase the heat until the boil is reached. It may take two hours to do this. Lower the heat and simmer. Stir often. Stirring often is important. It is also important that no burning take place at the bottom of the pot as that would introduce a flavor we do not want.
You might want to try pureeing about four cups of the mixture after about four hours of cooking and then return it to the pot. I like to do that. Serve with wine and garlic bread and prepare yourself for compliments. You don’t even have to tell them about me.
I know this is strange, and I can not give you the why of it, but the flavor is enhanced if I cool the contents of the pot, leave it overnight in the frige and reheat the amount I want to eat the following day. Maybe someone can give me an answer.
Gotta go now----just finished my first quilt for Eliad and it’s so cute we are going to make a pattern of it! It will be called---what else?---Eliads Quilt!!!
This letter ended up as an Aug/Sept letter. Boy, life does get crowded sometimes. Talk to you again next month.
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
Boy, has it been busy here lately! October is the month for all our birthdays, Mr Donna, both our daughters and now Eliad, too! Besides that, I traveled to Houston to teach at Quilt Festival, and we got a new puppy!!! It’s all fun, but I am really behind in everything and it’s pretty bad when we start hunting for our undies in the dryer instead of the dresser drawers.
Eliad turned two October 18th!! He’s a great little guy and just gets cuter by the minute. He really cracks us up when he does the Eagles cheer. He loves cars and pores over the Road & Track magazine every month so Mr. Donna got him a subscription! He sent it to the head of the puplication with a photo of Eliad looking at the magazine noting that he had to be their youngest reader and suggesting they might want to include the photo in the next edition.
Our newest puppy, Cricket, is a Yorkie mix and just adorable! He and Corky became pals very quickly, even sleeping curled up together.
GIFT CARD: Just a reminder, at this time of year, our website---
donnaposter.com---has a neat “send a gift” feature. Simply create an order, then, in the message indicate which card you want included and write the message. Be sure to include the name and address of the person receiving the gift. Your gift of patterns will be sent along with the card containing your message. It’s similar to sending flowers by mail.
MR. DONNA HERE: Thanks to the folks who answered the questions I had with regard to overnighting the chili in the fridge. Everyone had the same answer. That it just provided more time for the ingredients to blend, enhancing the favor. Thanks for your kindness providing that input.
Fun Idea from Sandra----given to her by Sue from Nashville.
“Warm Flip-Flops---cut 1” to 1 1/2” wide strips from flannel or fleece. Cut strips in approximately 6” lengths. Knot the strips around the straps of the flip-flops. Makes warm slip-on house slippers. The flannel should be cut with pinking shears or scissors to prevent fraying. The fleece could also be pinked for decorative purposes. Great way to use scraps! I’m picking up clearance priced flip-flops now and making Christmas gifts.”
Donna adds: Thanks---sounds like fun. I’m going to try gluing flannel or felt to the inner sole, too.
HOUSTON FESTIVAL: The Houston festival was wonderful as usual, but I have decided this will be the last show I teach where I have to travel. I will do Hershey, Pa, as long as Missy will have me because it’s only thirty minutes from my home, but the traveling, hotels, etc are just taking too much time out of my life. I’ve really struggled with this decision as I do enjoy both the teaching and the quilters I’ve come to know so well. I will miss you.
The Houston show has changed quite a bit in the past few years. There were about a dozen or more versions of long arm quilting machines and quite a few booths showing “furniture” for sewing machines, worktables, etc. Embellishment and embroidery seem to be the latest thing---there was some great stuff being shown for that. Best of all, my daughter, Laura, traveled from San Diego to stay with me for two days. We shopped every booth---every one!! We were exhausted, but had a ball!!
NEW NOTIONS: Here are some of the notions I found. Some are not “new”, just new to me.
Brooklyn Revolver---One side is a 14” round cutting mat which easily revolves. The other side is an ironing surface with a silicone cover which is replaceable. The cutting side has thin lines and is easy to read. Suggested retail: $79.95.
Come Quilt With Me.
3903 Ave 1
Brooklyn, NY 11210
18mm Rotary Cutter--This teeny little rotary cutter has a blade just ¾” wide!!! It’s ideal for cutting little pieces and for cutting out curves without a ruler.
Clover Mfg Co, Ltd
Little Iron--A handy little iron for its size. It has a 4 ¾” by 1 5/8” soleplate with a nice long handle, a sturdy stand and a wide range of temperatures. Perfect for quick touchups or next to your sewing machine for press-as-you-go.
Gadget Girl On The Go
Pattern for Purse-- “My Bag Of tricks”--I loved this booth at the show! There were so many new ideas for handbags. I picked this one because it had a whole “wardrobe” of purses! The pattern is $11.00.
Delux Purse Hardware Kit--I had to have this handle!!! The clasp is not in the center. Also, it has easily removable rods so you can change the bags on it. And---it includes a long chain if you prefer a shoulder style. Kit--$22.00
1883 State Road
Cochranton, Pa 16314
Euro Steam Iron--I can’t believe I paid $200 for yet another iron, but, boy, is it ever worth it It actually retails for $300 but they were having a special on it at the Nashville show. Unlike it’s “sister” steamer this iron has the steam system built into the iron itself. It comes with an easy-to-understand video, too. It can be used as an upright steamer (it shot a blast of steam for almost two feet!!!), or in the flat position with “dry” steam. The soleplate is specially treated to prevent scorching (the demonstrator left it on the ironing board for at least two minutes). I used it last week and finished my laundry in half the time and it really gets the wrinkles out--I love it! Can’t wait till the next time I have twelve yards of quilt backing to iron.
Euro Steam Iron System---$300 (don’t confuse this with the Euro-Pro. They are not the same
#14, 2505 Chandler Ave
Las Vegas, Nv 89120
Toll Free: 1-877-387-7770
Mr Donna snitches: The way this newsletter gets put together is this; I (Mr. Donna still here) starts the process by keying in the administrative stuff; like changing email addresses, my recipes, and other non quilting stuff like that. I then send the letter downstairs to Donna and she puts in the meat and potatoes (quilting) of the letter. It then comes back to me for the final draft, where I use spell check, grammer check, and arrange the paragraphs of the letter. Then, back to her for a last look-see, then back
to me to make the last changes and send it to our webmaster who publishes it to you. So, I’m the last one in the chain, and I get to put in stuff that Donna doesn’t see until she reads it on the site. All this to lay the groundwork for my “dirty little secret,“ and here it is: my wife, (Donna K. Poster) owns 17 rotary cutters!! That’s weird!! When she gets to cutting fabric, things really fly. Shhh, don’t tell her I told you, or I’m in the dog house.
CHANGING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Mr. Donna gets a number of emails each month informing us that the person has changed their email address and asking him to make the change in the newsletter address listing. And, he is glad to do that. Actually, there is an easier way. If you change your email address simply go to the website and subscribe using your new address. The next time the letter is sent your old address will simply drop out.
Thanksgiving is very special to me and we always have the whole family for dinner. Can you believe this is the one meal of the year that I do really well!! Sometime before next November I’ll send you the recipes for my apple pie, a really easy way to do a turkey, sweet potatoes/pineapple dish and the potato/bread/celery/onion (Penna. Dutch) stuffing passed on to me by my mother from her mother.
Mr Donna and I wish you a wonderful holiday season with good food and warm feelings all around
Your quilting buddy,
PS: Mr. Donna doesn’t even know about the five rotary cutters I have hidden away!!!!Ha---
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
Oh boy---December is way too busy a month! I’d be willing to bet, you, like me, have a project sitting on your sewing machine that needs to be finished ASAP! So, with that in mind I’m just going to share a little email exchange that really cracked me up when I read it! It went like this:
Linda writes to Mr. Donna: “Hi, I just received the Foldy Stuff quilt pattern. My sister-in-law was making this quilt when we visited her last October. I really like this pattern. I was checking the yardage to purchase for making the quilt. This chart is most helpful. What width of fabric is used in calculating the yardage? This will make a huge difference in the amount of fabric I will need to purchase. Thanks--Linda.”
Mr. Donna‘s reply: “I just put that question to Donna (my wife) and she said that the calculations were made on 40 inches of useable fabric measured across, plus a little bit more on the yardage.” Now, I am an engineer, so I asked Donna to quantify the term “a little bit more”, and she said that as a quilter you would know what she meant.
I never heard of anyone building a bridge 5340 feet long, plus “a little bit more“, but hey, what do I know.
Linda answered: Arnold--thanks for your information--you certainly brightened a very cold, dark Friday morning in Indiana. Your wife is right--I understand “a little bit more” in quilting terms. Tell her thank you, also. I will definitely look at a bridge a little differently in the future--and smile to myself. Thanks again for brightening my day.
Mr. Donna here: Like I say, “what the hey do I know.”
I just loved that!!
Mr Donna and I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a great new year!
Your quilting buddy,