Posted in classes, Piecing, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Uncategorized

It’s always the last one………

I bought 26 fat quarters of Alison Glass Chroma fabric to use for my next project.  Yummy, right?


And then the dilemma.  I need background fabric.  Lots of background fabric.  Do I choose white – safe but not a wow background?  Maybe black – I always default to black.  Tried both and blah, nothing exciting there.

So off I go to see Cynthia at Stitch Your Art Out for some inspiration.  We spent an hour trying various shades of blue, yellow, and gray.  Nope – all were ok but not “it”.  Then Cynthia pulled a beautiful dark brown and it looked great with the fabrics.  Made them pop and I liked it.  We continued to try a few repeats just to make sure brown was the one.

And then Cynthia said –  “Let’s just see how this purple looks.”

WOW!  I knew right away that was it!


Here are some of my blocks so far:

Bubble Gumblock 1

Boutique Shimmerblock 2

Babbling Blueblock

Thanks, Cynthia for helping me choose a not boring background!  More blocks to come!

Do you have a go-to background or do you like to try lots of fabrics before deciding?

Happy Fall!





Posted in classes, Piecing, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Teaching, Uncategorized

Four Patches

Four-patches look like the simplest piece to make, right?

But getting them to be perfect isn’t all that easy.

Even after careful cutting, stitching and pressing, these units may not quite line up. That can be frustrating.

I’ve probably sewn thousands of four-patches over the years, and the truth is mine weren’t always spot on.

In fact, they were always a little wonky. But I was able to make them work by lining them up with the trimmed V-Block (or whatever) unit I was stitching it to.

When this tool was first introduced I wasn’t convinced that most quilters would need it. Then I started using the right tool for the job and it made a huge difference for me.

The Four Patch Square Up Ruler works like all the Studio 180 Design tools: You’ll make the piece a little bit bigger than needed, then trim it to perfection with the tool.

Here is what my four patches looked like before. Not quite big enough and not quite square.


Here is what my four patches have looked like ever since I started using the Four Patch Square Up Ruler every time I make a four-patch.


Being a little off here and there is no big deal. But if everything is off, all those mistakes start to snowball. After all that time, effort and money, the last thing you want is to be unhappy with your finished project.

Everything won’t always be perfect, but this tool is going to get you pretty darn close.

DT17_-_Four_Patch_Square_Up_ruler_with_instructions_1024x1024       IMG_1976[1]



GALAXY is a class favorite and one of my favorite quilts!  I love a quilt that looks difficult to make and it’s not!  Many Four Patches and V-Blocks create this stunning quilt!  And there’s no curved piecing! Would you like to have this class at your guild or quilt shop?


Have you used the Four Patch Square Up tool?  Do you struggle to get those
Four Patches perfect?

Until next time –





Posted in classes, Quilting, Teaching, Uncategorized

How to get the most out of your quilt class

Heading out the door for quilt class and your car keys are nowhere to be found. Maybe it’s a flat tire on the way to class, spilled coffee, a fender-bender — or all of the above and total mayhem of a morning.

 We’ve all been there.  That’s real life — and it sure can get in the way of a wonderful day.

 While we can’t control everything, there are some things we can control to minimize the chaos in class. Here are a few tips to follow so that everyone can get the most value from a day of learning new techniques and patterns.

 At least a week before class

• Gather supplies. Review the teacher’s instructions for what tools you’ll need for the class. If you are missing a tool, check with the teacher to see if one will be available to purchase in class.

• Select fabric you like. Use good-quality, cotton fabric. If cutting is needed before the class, don’t wait until the night before or the morning of your class! Call or email your teacher if you have questions – don’t rely on your best friend’s help……

• Give your travel sewing machine some spa time. Make sure your travel machine is in good working order. Give it some tender loving care with a good cleaning and oiling. Or, take it to a local dealer if you have not used it in awhile. It might need a tune-up.

• Give your machine a test run. Replace the needle with a new one. Select a good thread, wind the bobbin (and maybe an extra) and give the machine a practice run.

• Pack up.  Be sure to pack an all purpose foot, an open toe foot, a quarter-inch foot and any foot specified on the class instructions. Bring extra needles, bobbins and don’t forget the power cord and foot pedal for your machine!

• Questions? A good teacher welcomes questions before, during and after class.With a week to go, you have plenty of time to ask before the class bell rings.

 On class day

• Pack some snacks. (Your teacher loves snacks too!)

• Bring a beverage — just be sure to use a covered container with a tight lid! (Really, you don’t want to be that person who spilled coffee all over your neighbor’s favorite Kaffe Fassett  fabric!)

•  If you need help during class –  ask your teacher.

• Likewise, if your neighbor is struggling, let your teacher help. (Your teacher wants everyone to get the proper information.)

• Seeing friends and meeting new people is a great part of taking a class. Just please be mindful to catch up or get to know each other when you take a break — not when the instructor is walking everyone through something new.

• Go at your own pace. Everybody learns and works differently. So don’t compare your progress with others.

• Take breaks.

• Have fun!

 What would you add to this list?

For more information on Barbara’s classes –