Hand Sewing

Quilters and embroiderers alike share a common passion for cloth, stitch, and color! For centuries, people around the world have used hand sewing not just to stitch two pieces of fabric together, but to add interest to their projects. Here at Quilting Daily we appreciate all that hand sewing brings to our quilt world, and want to share our discoveries. To help you find the best in hand embroidery stitches and hand sewing technique here are some recommended resources.

Free Hand Sewing Projects and Downloads
               
Free eBook: Hand Sewing Techniques for Quilters
 
Easy Felt Confetti Pillow Decoration
 
Practice Hand Stitching on an Ohio Star Pillow
 
Practice Three Essential Hand Embroidery Stitches
 
Free eBook: Hand Sewing Techniques for Quilters   Easy Felt Confetti Pillow Decoration   Practice Hand Stitching on an Ohio Star Pillow   Guide to Three Essential Hand Embroidery Stitches  
 
Instructions for Hand Sewing/Stitches
               
Tips for Threading Hand Sewing Needles
 
Quick Tips for Adding Hand Embroidery to Fiber Art Projects
 
Blog: Imaginative Hand Sewing with the Buttonhole Stitch
 
Blog: Hand Sewing Doodles + Tips on the Feather Stitch
 
Blog: Tips for Threading Hand Sewing Needles   Blog: Adding Hand Embroidery to Fabric Art   Blog: Hand Sewing with the Buttonhole Stitch   Blog: Hand Sewing Doodles + Tips on the Feather Stitch  
 
Top Blogs for Hand Sewing Inspiration
               
Blog: Take Your Hand Stitches on a New Journey
 
Blog: Unplug with Japanese Sashiko Hand Sewing Projects
 
Blog: Hand Stitch a Bevy of Boro Bobbles
 
Now is the Perfect Time for Hand Sewing
 
Blog: Take Your Hand Stitches on a New Journey   Blog: Unplug with Japanese Sashiko Hand Sewing Projects   Blog: Hand Stitch a Bevy of Boro Bobbles   Blog: Now is the Perfect Time for Hand Sewing  
               
Spotlighting Hand Embroidery Stitches: Stitch As Mark
.
.Sea urchin texture emulated
with hand sewing,
by Victoria Gertenbach.

There are literally hundreds of different stitches at your disposal, yet mastering just a few may be all you need to successfully portray your image on fabric with hand sewing. I tend to use mostly straight stitch and its variations, as well as couching. These basic stitches can easily emulate the drawn line and can also be used to draw directly onto cloth and paper, with anything from the finest of threads to simple raffia and string. In these examples I worked out of a frame, with fabric in my hand, to feel how the hand stitches move the cloth.

Spotty dotty marks: The surface of the sea urchin is rough with a fine gritty texture and protuberances in high relief. While the straight stitches give shading and tonal changes, it is French knots, padding, and appliqué that give the physically raised forms that reflect the surface and its marks.

Dyed linen upon muslin formed the ground, which was then textured and shaded with lines of thread in simple straight stitch. The stitches were worked in a manner similar to how I use cross-hatching with a pencil on paper.

Circles (with holes like donuts) were cut in three different sizes, from an old blanket covered in gauze, and stitched on with a blanket stitch. Circles of fine cotton were stuffed with batting and drawn up to form balls. These were then fitted into the "donut holes" and sewn from the reverse. Additional small raised dots of blanket were applied with cross stitches, and even smaller dots were formed with French knots.

Source: Drawn to Stitch: Line, Drawing, and Mark-Making in Textile Art by Gwen Headley, Interweave, 2010


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  • What's your pet peeve? One of mine is when my cat, Dickens, sits on my fabric. Another is when Dickens hogs the bed. It's irritating, but I can't get too stressed about it: Dickens is, after all, a cat. And cats do what they want, where they want. It's just that . . . he's a very
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  • 803 Stitch Intensive On today’s show we’re delving into machine stitching with tips from some of our experts. Judith Trager starts us out with free-motion satin stitch made easy. This is a stitch you’ll want to keep in your stitching
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  • I am laughing so hard right now. Earlier in the day, Cate Prato, online editor of Cloth Paper Scissors Today , sent me an email: "When you have a minute, I have something funny to show you from my past."
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  • Quilt making doesn't have to be complex, with hours of cutting, piecing, and sewing tiny seams. In this free ebook, How to Quilt: 4 Free Projects to Learn How to Make a Quilt , you'll learn how to quilt using fabric scraps, craft-store flowers, a fish, and canvas and paint.
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  • With summer approaching and the school year ending, a lot of parents I know are looking for projects to keep their kids busy (and somewhat unplugged) in the coming weeks. This patchwork checkerboard designed by our assistant editor for special projects, Lindsey Murray, is perfect for teaching quilting
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  • Hand stitching or machine stitching , which do you prefer? If you ask me, the answer would depend on the day or the project. Hand stitching is meditative, tactile, and personal. Machine stitching is fast, even, easier on the hands, and less likely to be interrupted by certain four-legged friends.
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  • When I'm with friends who aren't quilters and the discussion turns to expectant parents, it's often assumed that my go-to gift would be a baby quilt. I explain that while I have nothing against baby quilts, my style of quilting doesn't really apply: babies and beaded, screen-printed fabrics
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  • I was pulling laundry out of the dryer the other day when I spied something among the folds that looked black, fuzzy, and about the size of a quarter. I dropped the laundry basket and jumped back, convinced I had just seen a giant spider.
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  • Contemporary patchwork projects are everywhere these days. Even the artists contributing to our sister publication, Cloth Paper Scissors are getting into the act--but they're using paper!
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  • Have you experienced fiber art creep? You know, when you learn one fiber genre, let's say quilting, leads to dyeing your own fabric, which may lead to screen printing or felting...which may lead to spinning...or paper making...and so on?
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  • Barbara Brack man has come out with a line of fabric called “Civil War Reunion”. Read on to see the inspiration behind this line, and learn a little about Civil War quilts in the process! You have recen tly put out a new line of Fabrics with
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  • People the world over have used hand sewing and needlework for centuries not just to stitch two pieces of fabric together, but to add color, pattern, and interest to their clothing and home décor.
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  • When someone asks me what's the difference between contemporary art quilts and traditional quilts, one of the first things I think of is embellishment, especially beads and encrustation.
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  • I love funny ads, and I've been cracking up lately at the one where the husband comes home with his buddies ready to hang out in his man cave only to find his wife has turned it into a hot-pink "mom cave."
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  • Aren't we all craving signs of spring right about now? I know I am. Heck, I'd be happy to go right to summer! Back at Quilting Arts headquarters in Massachusetts, spring is slow to arrive. In fact, we can have snow as late as May.
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  • Every time I come back to our editorial offices back east I'm greeting with more Quilting Arts @10 anniversary postcards. I love it! We'll be featuring some in the next issue of the magazine, so watch for them.
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  • I almost fell off my chair laughing when I saw this fiber art postcard from U.K. artist Priscilla O'Rourke. It seems no sooner had she received her copy of the February/March issue of Quilting Arts Magazine than she turned a photo of the staff she found on the Editor's note page into quilted
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  • To anyone who loves fabric and thread, making a handmade quilt is often the ultimate creative experience. The contemplative act of hand quilting-needle moving rhythmically over and under fabric-is a pleasure even for those who primarily rely on machine quilting enjoy.
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  • Little by little, I'm establishing a style for our Colorado home, accessorizing with pieces of artwork here and some new furniture there. With one eye on the budget and another on the time I have available for decorating (almost none!) I have been looking for some quick, easy, and budget-friendly
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  • It's January—2011 has arrived. Are you hard at work on your New Year's resolutions yet? If you're like me, at least one of your resolutions probably involves sewing—mine was to sew more, and to take on a couple more advanced projects
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  • 401 First up, today is Laura Wasilowski. She demonstrates how to transform the surface of a small art quilt with threads and hand sewing plus an interesting fusing technique. Then, meet artist Yvonne Porcella as she creates an embellished frame around
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  • Did you know social networking was a thing of the past? It's true! Social networking goes back hundreds, even thousands of years, and fiber artists of all stripes have been in the thick of it, from quilting bees to sewing circles to knitting patterns and traditions that are passed from one family
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  • 702 Upcycling The motto of this show is “don’t throw it away!” This episode teaches how to upcycle scraps into stitched treasures. First, learn about the inspiration and techniques behind Victoria Gertenbach’s Work Quilt series
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  • I've been enjoying the stories over on the QA community discussion board where members are sharing how they learned to sew. Everyone has their own unique story (some funny, some bittersweet) but most people seem to have learned to sew from: their mothers, their 8 th -grade home ec class, or from
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  • Our new assistant editor for special projects, Lindsey Murray, has committed to giving several quilts as Christmas gifts this year. She started her projects in September, so when I was back in Massachusetts last week I asked her if she was finished. She just laughed.
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  • I wanted to make sure you knew about this cool thing we recently launched, called Sew Daily . It's a free email newsletter you can receive every Friday that gives you contemporary sewing projects, techniques, designer interviews, and inspiration.
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  • If you opened up your GPS or Google maps and did a search for the intersection of traditional and modern quilting, I bet the pin would drop right on top of Malka Dubrawsky. Malka has an amazing eye for taking basic patchwork quilt blocks and giving them a fresh and contemporary spin using color and freehand
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  • Contemporary art quilters and mixed-media stitchers may take vastly different approaches to their art, but one thing we all have in common is our love of stitchery and sewing techniques. I, for one, can never get enough sewing ideas, whether its machine quilting stitches or hand stitching techniques
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  • Last week's International Quilt Festival in Houston was a flood of inspiration, as usual. Enough to make me forget about my tired feet--at least for a while. In the few moments when I'm not presenting, greeting old and new friends, or gaping in awe at the amazing display of quilt artistry all
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  • We always want to capture what's new on the scene and of interest to you at the moment. But while machine stitching, hand stitching, surface design, embellishment and the other big topics of contemporary art quilting are always covered, the trends in those areas change.
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  • Designer Kaffe Fassett has said he finds much of his inspiration for his palettes and patterns from books on ethnic textiles and his own worldwide travels. "I follow women in the marketplace to get a look at the pattern on the edge of their skirts or the way they put a flower in their hair,"
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  • I'm packing for Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival/Houston, running through my mental checklist of everything I have to bring: Materials for my Quilted Mixed-media ATCs class? Check! Giveaways for the Cloth Paper Scissors ® Mixed-media Raffle? Check! Fruit headdress for "Surviving
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  • When I look at Kathy York's body of work, it's hard to believe she has only been making art quilts since 2003. Her award-winning quilts are easily recognizable for their bold and graphic styles, bright colors, and whimsical or humorous topics. I'm an especially big fan of her three-dimensional
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  • Ten years ago Quilting Arts was a little magazine that I lovingly sent out on its first flight into the big world. As it happens, this week also marks the one-year anniversary of launching Quilting Daily, as well as, drum roll...my birthday!
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  • As many of you may now, our next issue marks the 10 year anniversary of Quilting Arts Magazine! And I don't know about all of you, but in my family, birthdays were always a very big deal. The birthday girl or boy would have their meal and cake of
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  • I'm not one of those people who dress their pets in cute costumes for Halloween or carry them in a special handbag-although my Min-Pin, Louie, would probably love it if I did. He's such a ham and he loves to be held. Still, when you have a sewing machine, a big stash of fabrics, and adorable
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  • Are you up for some fun? Then let's do some exercises today, beginning with free-association. I'll say a word, and you respond with the first thing that comes into your head. Ready? Here we go.
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  • For many, this is the time of year when nature beckons. The scorching summer heat has passed but the sun is still shining, and the great outdoors has so much appeal. I think this is one of many reasons that SharonV. Rotz’s colorful art quilts recently
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  • I'm so excited for the Fall 2010 issue of Stitch to hit the newsstands any day now. Tricia and Team Stitch have done a fantastic job of assembling cute, fun, cool sewing projects from wonderful designers that will have you racing to get to your machine
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  • Two of my most favorite pastimes are reading and needlework. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to do them simultaneously! Happily, my two loves can still be enjoyed together by working on fiber art that has a literary theme or reading books where needlework is a prominent character. PieceWork Editor
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  • One of the hardest things for me at quilt shows is observing the no-touch rule. As much as I completely understand it, I often silently thank the quilt guardians for keeping me on my best behavior. It's so hard to resist all those touchable textiles!
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  • Whenever I visit a new city, one of my favorite things to do is just walk. There’s no better way to soak in your surroundings and I find that wandering without purpose often turns up the most unexpectedly delightful finds. Of course, walking often
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  • "I wish I had more time to make art." I hear that all the time--from art quilters at shows, from my friends, the Quilting Arts staff...and out of my own mouth. Unless you're a full-time artist, you've probably said it yourself many times (and I'm willing to bet even full-time artists
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  • Isn’t it funny how the summer can be the busiest time of year? Of course, there are always those lazy afternoons spent at the beach, leisurely outdoor dinners, and nice long bike rides. But, at least in my case, there have also been many weekend
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  • I first became aware of Elin Waterston through the Quilting Arts reader challenges, particularly our annual calendar contests. Very quickly, our team came to recognize Elin's distinctive brand of well-thought-out, uncluttered design featuring a strong focal point.
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  • I love quilts that have been encrusted with lots of beads, baubles, buttons, found objects...you name it. The more outrageous the embellishment, the better! So I can't wait to share with you our latest ready-to-download eBook, Fine Embellishment Techniques from Quilting Arts : 5 Innovative Ways To
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  • Some friends and I decided to meet up in Washington D.C. to celebrate this past holiday weekend—after all, it seemed like an appropriate place to spend the 4 th of July. While I got some hand stitching done on the plane ride there and back, I spent
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  • I love the ethereal effects you can achieve with water-soluble stabilizer, fibers, and free-motion machine embroidery. The combination can create a stunning focal point for an art quilt or wall-hanging, or even be used to create a garment. But working with the stabilizer can be tricky-unless you know
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  • With Independence Day coming right up, it's a good time to celebrate some of the great stitching legacies of the United States. Along with denim and blue jeans and Betsy Ross's' flags, patchwork quilts are probably the most iconic American
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  • It's officially summer, and that means blueberry season. I'm lucky enough to live right next to my father-in-law's blueberry patch--more of a field, actually. While they last, I just have to walk out my back door and down the path to have access to fresh blueberries for breakfast, a snack
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  • We live in a time of high-speed connectivity, with hundreds of thousands of books, magazines, and newspapers online and in print, with texting, Twitter, Facebook, and patterns available for instant download. It's hard to imagine a world without them. But long before instant communication, before
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  • Last weekend the Bolton clan convened for its annual family reunion. Although it rained a bit, we had plenty of sunshine, beautiful views, and great times. Of course, I brought a slew of art-making supplies, the better to bring people together through art. Plus, who wouldn't be inspired to create
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  • Summertime means travel, right? I love being on the road under the summer sun, whether it's in a car trip on the highways of the West (yes, you can still get your kicks on Route 66), a weekend at the beach, or a transcontinental adventure. Travel
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  • Welcome to the first StitchBlog Q&A! We hope to make this a monthly blog feature, with interviews from interesting people from around the sewing world. When we were thinking about whom we should feature in our first Q&A, one designer immediately
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  • I just returned from Spring Quilt Market in the Twin Cities and had a really fabulous time! Outfitted with my new, spiffy Nikon DSLR camera, a journal, and comfortable sandals to traverse the show floor, I took note of several quilting trends this season…
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  • I’ve been full of anticipation for the past few days since I am finally attending my first quilt show: Quilt Market in Minneapolis. At the moment, I have just returned from an initial visit to the convention space which is enormous and enthralling—I
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  • I started Cloth Paper Scissors magazine back in 2004 in part to give voice to forms of art that mixed fabric and stitch with paint, glue, and embellishment but were not strictly speaking art quilts. Forms like altered books, fabric and paint collages, shrines, assemblages, and paper quilts.
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  • I thought that headline might grab your attention. I recently took a brief three-day break to a beach before our publishing schedule vamps up this summer, and decided to turn my vacation a Stitch-cation. As summer approaches––and so do vacation
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  • Here in Colorado, spring has been late in coming, but it's not stopping us from thinking about spring and summer sewing. Although the Stitch editors are looking ahead to fall (designers, check out our submissions guidelines for the fall issue ), we're
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  • Isn't it funny how sometimes the simplest of art processes can be so satisfying? I mean, you know I love my Thermofax screen printing and I am a sucker for hand embroidery. Thread sketching fascinates me and I never get tired of dyeing. But when it comes to hands-down fun, I have to go with stamping
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  • Many of you probably know I have five furry, four-legged "children." But did you know I feel a similar motherly instinct toward Quilting Arts Magazine ? Asking me to choose a favorite issue is like asking me to choose a favorite child. I love them all equally!
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  • Since falling in love with the art quilting world more than a decade ago, I've seen thousands upon thousands of quilts. Despite the fact that each one is unique, I've noticed some themes and motifs that attract quilt artists repeatedly: nature, the sea, faces and memories of loved ones, and geometric
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  • ON THE COVER: Tuesday Pillow about this issue 22 inspiring sewing projects for Spring! view online patterns features Print Me Susan Beal Customize your sewing with DIY screen-printed fabrics The Whir and the Power of Making Linzee Kull McCray Sewing with
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  • Spring has sprung at Stitch magazine and it is an issue not to be missed! This 148-page super special issue has 37 fantastic sewing projects for Spring! Read all about it!
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  • ON THE COVER: Odekakke Tote from Zakka Style about this issue This special issue 148 page issue is loaded with fun and fabulous sewing projects! This issue's theme is Sew Global and includes 30 sewing projects for the fall and holiday season. view
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  • Something about the spring weather has me out and about more than usual these days. During the cold winter months, I like hunkering down in my sewing room all night long, but lately I can’t resist venturing out into the sunshine whenever possible
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  • So you want to be featured in Stitch? We’d love to hear from you! Stitch is a special issue sewing magazine all about creating with fabric and thread. Yes, it’s sewing but oh so much more. It’s loaded with clever projects and modern
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  • It has long been recognized that the creation of quilts can have numerous personal and communal benefits; Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise founded on the belief that prison rehabilitation is one of them. This program teaches stitching to inmates
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  • One of the things I most enjoy about International Quilt Festival is seeing all the little stitchers-in-training who attend with their moms, grandmothers, or aunts.
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  • As a devotee of "Project Runway," one of the things I love most about the show-after the hilarious Tim Gunn quips-is watching how the designers translate their inspirations into line, pattern, and form. Take last week's episode, where Anthony and Maya were inspired by New York's Chinatown
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  • Above: Diane Nunez's dimensional fabric flowers Five days, 39 segments, and 13 episodes later, Season Six of Quilting Arts TV is born. A number of very talented guests joined me this season: Jane Dunnewold was back to dazzle us with two surface design
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  • I’ve always been intrigued by the link between contemporary and historical quilting, and the ways in which this traditional craft lives on in the work of modern day artists. Therefore, I was thrilled to have the chance to ask artist Kari Souders
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  • We received so many fun and interesting Let Out Your Inner Animal Challenge quilts from readers that the Quilting Arts editors decided we had to play, too.
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  • There isn’t normally a great deal of crossover between acting and art quilting , but textile artist Lalla Ward has crossed this unusual divide. Well-known for her role as alien Romana in the BBC television series Dr. Who, Lalla now devotes the majority
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  • This new month also means a new issue of Quilting Arts hits the newsstands! If you don't already have your copy of the February/March 2010 Quilting Arts , don't waste too much more time. This issue features an array of art quilting techniques
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  • I like to think I'm always open to trying new things, especially when it comes to surface design methods. But there was one technique I shied away from: batik. I loved the effects, but doing it myself always seemed so complicated and time consuming.
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  • We’re kicking off the new month with a new online feature: the Quilting Arts Community Spotlight. These spotlights will give us the opportunity to focus in on the work of some of our talented QA Community members, to share the stories behind their
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  • Creating Figures in Fabric; Leftover Dye Pillows; Turning fabric dyeing mistakes into masterpieces; Experimentations in resist dyeing; Embellish your quilts with simple machine stitching; Lession 1: Focus on color; A conversation with art quilter Barbara Walter; Major works by leading artists; Creating
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  • This January, I’m all about soup. You see, I ate a little too much of this kind of thing while on vacation in Mexico: (the best chicken and mole I’ve ever had in my life) I received a glorious Le Creuset ® French oven for Christmas (basically
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  • Have the frigid temps, icy roads, and price hikes in produce got you down? Let's see if we can cheer you up with a sneak peek at the February/ March 2010 cover of Quilting Arts... This cover features a detailed shot of Kathy York's "Falling
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  • So, you're hosting a holiday party and you want to personalize your dining room table-and quick! Look no further. In our latest Free e-Book, Handmade Quilts with Quilting Arts: 6 Free Sewing Patterns for Beautiful Handmade Gifts , we offer you six festive quilting and sewing projects to personalize
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  • I am preparing for a class I will teach later this week. In this instance I was asked to do my Small Works, Big Impact class with a leaning toward painted imagery (rather than dye) and hand sewing. I love dye for its vibrancy, but paint is pretty awesome
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  • Naturally, I’m feeling very grateful today. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful excuse to just pause and appreciate not only the big things—family, friends, good health—but the seemingly smaller ones as well. Today, I’m thankful for
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  • Natalya Aikens recently whipped up some easy stitched leaves that she decorates with Pigma pens to add visual texture. You can dress them up with golden thread or just keep it simple and let the kids decorate them with "thankful" sayings or guests' names.
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  • I had all my fingers and toes crossed on the plane to Houston for International Quilt Festival last month, but it wasn't because I'm afraid of flying. No, we were debuting International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene in a few days, and like a new quilter presenting her first piece for judging, I
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  • As many of you may know, our newest publication, INTERNATIONAL QUILT FESTIVAL: QUILT SCENE, debuted last night at the Houston International Quilt Festival. And it's one gorgeous magazine, full of beautiful quilting and sewing projects, and articles
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  • What's New On the Quilt Scene: IQF/Houston Edition - As you read this, I'm on the Quilt Scene at the International Quilt Festival/Houston , surrounded by some of the most beautiful quilts-and talented quilt artists-in the world.
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  • Welcome to the Fall 09 Studios Tour! **Notice: For some reason, not all of the links here will "refresh" to today's new posts with the tours. I am particularly having trouble with blogs on blogspot. I have refreshed, cut and pasted into
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  • OK, Everybody! It's time to take the “Quilting Arts Uncensored: The Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know” Quiz! Are you ready? Which of the following statements is true? A. For the very first Quilting Arts calendar we published in 2001
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  • I am working on this: This is a piece that I began as a project for my book, but that I it messed up and put it aside. Although I have been attending some knit groups, I have not felt inspired to knit. Instead, I bring sewing projects. I embroider, bead
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  • ON THE COVER: Tuesday Pillow features Print Me Susan Beal Customize your sewing with DIY screen-printed fabrics The Whir and the Power of Making Linzee Kull McCray Sewing with Diana Rupp, Founder of Make Workshop projects Stitch it Up Get creative with
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  • Pokey Bolton chats with “Project Runway” winner Jay McCarroll; Venus-inspired art: from prehistoric times through the Renaissance; designing with ink pads; thread painting 101; hand embroidery; designing with Paintstiks®; glue gel resist; monoprinting fabrics, and many more art quilting
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  • It’s here, it’s here! The Studios issue has just arrived in our offices and oh my… I think it came out rather nicely. I hope you think so, too. In my extreme makeover article, I mention that I will share some of the artwork in my studio on our website
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  • We're mid-way through taping Quilting Arts TV so I thought it would be fun to share my journey with you thus far. Let the pictures do the talking... I had to chuckle when I boarded my flight to the taping and saw this on the back of the seat in front
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  • Art Design Primer: Unity and Focal Point; Embellishing with Attitude; MajorMinors II South African Fibreworks Exhibition; Artist Profile: Karen Stiehl Osborn; Embellished Stitches & Exotic Threads; Interview with South African Artist: Rosalie Dace; Art Quilts at the Sedgwick; The Art of Journal Quilting;
    Read More >>