December 7, 2012 - 9:21 pm

For the Quilters on Your List

Christmas is almost upon us and there are only 17 shopping days left until the round old guy pulling the sleigh will arrive on your roof. I’ve noticed that he’s pretty good about bringing slippers and pajamas and household goods but judging from Christmas’ past, Santa can be pretty clueless when it comes to the quilter in the household.

I think he might do better if he has a few suggestions, so I am going to offer up a few that you might want to put on your list.

1.  A subscription to My Star Collection – this is an economical gift that will deliver a classic Kansas City Star block pattern directly to your email every week. Each Wednesday a pattern arrives that has been redrafted, clear concise piecing instructions added along with rotary cutting instructions where applicable.  Templates are always included. We need them for those wonky-shaped and oddly sized pieces. This gift can be yours at a mere $20.00 per year and you don’t even have to leave your warm, cozy house to find it. Just go to the following web site:

2.  Do not miss putting this dvd collection on your list – Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics. This two-dvd set may be a documentary but is a far cry from being a boring. The series was created by The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc. and is hosted by Shelly Zegart. Nine episodes were shown on PBS but when you buy the set, you get a seven bonus features. If your passion is collecting quilts, or making quilts, women’s studies, or art, you will find a wealth of information presented in an entertaining fashion. You can find the set here:

3.  Does the quilter on your list yearn to design quilts? You might want to invest in some software so he or she can make that happen. Electric Quilt is one of the finest design programs on the market today. And it isn’t all about design either. You can choose to print a pattern for appliqué techniques or paper piecing or patchwork. One can draw or alter patterns and color them to suit one’s taste.  One of the nicest features about Electric Quilt is that all EQ software links. So if you add other EQ programs, such as BlockBase or Stash, your EQ program grows exponentially. You can find the software here:

4.  Time to find some sewing supplies – No quilter should be without a fine pair of scissors. I am particularly fond of Dovo brand scissors. They are made in Germany and stay sharp even if one of your children grabs a pair and cuts some paper with them. Not only are they sharp, they are lovely as well. I recommend you call your local quilt shop to see if they carry them.

5.  I don’t know how I would manage to press all my quilt pieces without a spray bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press next to my iron. Best Press is an alternative to starch and removes any wrinkles and adds a little bit of body to the fabric. Why use this instead of starch? Leaving starch in cotton fabric is like issuing an invitation to bugs and discoloring. Using Mary Ellen’s Best Press eliminates those issues completely. You should be able to find this at your local quilt shop.

6.  There’s a new little item on the market called Swatch Buddies. Instead of taking snippets of fabric that you’re trying to match to the quilt shop, you can mount fabric swatches to plastic cards that are held together with a key ring and have the fabric you are trying to match at your fingertips.  The swatch card can be fanned out when matching fabric and the plastic bases can be reused once you have completed your project. You may be able to find them at your local quilt shop but if not, you can order them here:

7.  I would like to see old Santa drop some packets of blades for my rotary cutter into my stocking. That’s a little something that is not horribly expensive and something I like to keep on hand. It seems as though I never need a new one until the stores are all closed for the night. You can find them at your local quilt shop.

8.  Consider adding an assortment needles to your gift bag.  Look for the appropriate needles to fit the sewing machine and throw in a packet of hand sewing needles as well. You will want to include some betweens, some sharps and maybe a packet of straw needles as well if the quilter enjoys hand appliqué.

9.   One of my favorite tools is a rotating cutting mat. It is remarkably handy when paper piecing or squaring up half-square triangles or blocks.

10.  And let’s not forget about a gift card to his or her favorite quilt shop. There are few things more freeing than the ability to shop for fabric without having to worry about paying for it.

Now that you have a list, go forth and treat your quilter and make his or her day merry, indeed.

Monday I hope you will tune into to American Patchwork & Quilting at 3 p.m. Central and listen in while Pat Sloan and I chat about my new book, A Bag of Scraps: Quilts and the Garment District. You can listen in here. I will be the third guest on the show!

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