Friday, March 3, 2017

I'm Going to Paducah!!

I'm so excited to announce that I'm going to be a vendor at Spring Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky this year! I've heard about this show for many years, and it'll be nice to be heading out East for a bit of a change (I feel like I usually stay on the West Coast for my events). 

For all of you who are in that area or are planning on going to Paducah in April, come and visit my booth! Booth 2501

Can't wait to see you there!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Machine Applique featured on Bernina's Blog

This original blog post was featured on Bernina's We All Sew Blog. I hope it makes machine applique easy and quick and makes you want to do more!
Hello, I’m Jill From Jillily Studio.  I love to applique! And I love my BERNINA machines!  When I choose to applique by machine, my BERNINA makes it a breeze.  Here’s how I do it:
1.       I prepared all of my applique pieces by turning the seam allowance - and the raw edges - to the wrong side of the shape. (To see how I prep pieces, you can visit
2.       Put a dot of Appli-Glue every ½” to 1” to hold your appliqué down while you sew.  This is important so that your pieces don’t shift as you are moving them under your needle.
2b. Notice how flags of extra fabric stick out at the points of the applique pieces?  When I am hand stitching, I tuck those under as I stitch, but to machine stitch, those need to be tucked under before going to your machine.
3.       Use a tailor’s awl to turn the flags under.
4.       Place a dot of Appli-Glue under the corner to keep the flag in place.
5.       Now the flower petals are all turned under and it’s ready to be sewn.
6.       I'm using clear, monofilament thread on top. Since this thread is straight wound on the spool, I have it sitting on my upright spool pin.  NOTE:  If the thread spool was cross-wound, I would want it to be on my horizontal spool pin. 
7.       I'm using Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread in my bobbin.
8.       I use the 20C Bernina foot—because it is open enough for me to see where the needle is going.  Any open toed foot will work.

9.       I choose the zig-zag stitch on my machine.

10.   Change width to .7 and length to 1.10.

11.   I click in the top right corner to change my machine's tension because I'm using two different kinds of thread, and nylon thread tends to stretch a lot.
12.   Change the tension to 2.25. This varies from machine to machine. On my older model Bernina, I would change the tension to almost 0.
13.   Position your block so the needle zigs into the appliqué piece, then zags into the background right next to the edge of the applique shape.

14.   When I get to the corner, I make sure to keep my needle down (I use the ‘needle-down’ setting) in the corner of the applique shape and turn the block to go down the other side.  I have set my machine to “hover”, so that I do not have to lift my presser foot every time I want to turn or adjust a little.  This feature is great!  I just sew along, and when I pause, my presser foot lifts a tiny bit, (hovers) –just enough to take the pressure off the material under the foot so that I can move it.  Then I just start sewing again—I don’t have to lower the presser foot. 
15.   Repeat around all of the individual appliqué pieces.
16.   The finished product—doesn’t it look great?
17.   When it’s all stitched down, you can really only see the stitching from the back.  This is a quick way to get look of hand-stitched applique with no raw edges in a fraction of the time!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cutting Mat Wearing Out?

Is your cutting mat wearing out?

When we repeatedly cut along the same line, it does get a little worn out.  So we naturally want to move to a different spot to cut.  For a white I just start and cut one inch farther down the mat.  But after a while, I find myself counting inches and wasting time.  So I mark the new cut lines with a sticker at the intervals I use the most.  Of course, since I am cutting kits and yardage, I use larger measurements--like increments of a yard, such as 1/2 yard, 3/4 yard, etc.  
But when I am cutting for a quilt, I usually am cutting smaller strips and blocks.  (I love small pieces, don't you?)  So when cutting for piecing, always use your ruler to measure, not your mat.  Your ruler is going to be much more accurate.  Place your fabric randomly on your mat to avoid the worn cut lines, and use your ruler to measure.  

That's today's Tuesday Tip.  Have a great day.  Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cross-Wound Thread

Aurifil thread (my favorite kind of thread!) is cross-wound on the spool, which means that the threads overlap in an 'X'. Cross-wound thread is meant to be pulled off of the top of the spool and the spool is supposed to stay in place. Because of this, you will want to put cross-wound spools on your horizontal spool pin on your machine.

If you don't have a horizontal spool pin (many older machines don't), take a cup and drop the thread in it, place it at the back of your machine and thread your machine normally. The thread will pull off the top of the spool like it's supposed to.

A straight-wound spool means that the thread is just wound straight onto to the spool (no 'X').  These spools are meant to sit on the upright spool pin. The actual spool is supposed to spin when the thread comes off.

Now you know the difference between straight-wound and cross-wound and you can put your thread on the correct spool pin!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cotton vs. Wool Batting

Last week, I took out a few of my quilts to take some photos, and there were creases where they had been folded. This usually happens when I open a quilt that has been folded for a while, but I usually use wool batting for most of my quilts, which means the creases fall out quickly. With this one quilt I'd unfolded, the crease wouldn't come out! Then I remembered that it was a rare occurrence where my quilter used cotton batting.

Cotton batting will hold a crease longer than a wool batting will, because the wool has more spring to it so it bounces back. I much prefer the wool to the cotton because I think quilts drape nicer with wool and it shows off quilting much better. It's also pretty breathable! It is more expensive than cotton, but for me it's worth it to not get hard creases in my quilts every time I unfold them.

It can be hard to see in a photo,  but see that crease right through the middle flowers?

Watch my little tutorial on cotton vs. wool batting:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Home Tour

I'm back and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We spent the time with kids and grandbabies playing, baking, and enjoy each other's company.
A couple of weeks ago I did a Facebook Live event; a Christmas Home Tour! I kind of wanted to do low-key decorating and didn't want to pull out all of my decorations this year, but once I got going, I got in the Christmas spirit and went all out.
 It was so fun to get to show you my home and some of my favorite Christmas traditions. If you missed the live event, you can watch the video on my Facebook Page: Jill's Christmas Home Tour
I'll be doing more live events in the future, so make sure to follow me on Facebook!
Many of you have asked about my snowflake tutorial. I posted this many years ago, but here are step-by-step instructions on my blog: SNOWFLAKE TUTORIAL.
Enjoy making your own snowflakes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Choosing Fabric

When I'm choosing fabric for a new quilt, I like to try a bunch of different fabrics next to each other to see if they work together. Instead of only using fabrics from one line, I like to grab different fabrics in varying shades of the same color to add dimension. It also helps use up fabric I already have in my scrap bin!
I use dark and light colors within the same color family (example: yellow-greens instead of blue-greens) to give my quilts a bit of a scrappy look. If all of your fabrics that are too much alike, it seems like there isn't any reason to change fabrics.
If you want to add in a darker (or lighter) fabric than the main prints you're using, make sure you pick a few of those pieces so that that particular shade doesn't stand out.

The main thing to do when choosing fabrics is putting them all together to see how they look together. With some practice, it'll soon become second nature!  Good luck choosing your fabrics for your next quilt!