Quilt Talk

By Mary Covey

I am so excited to let you know that I will be a guest on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio. The show is hosted by “The Voice of Quilting” – Pat Sloan. Few people in the quilting world are as multi-talented as Pat. She is an author, fabric designer, talk show/podcast host, teacher, lecturer, and blogger. And did I say all around nice person?

If you have missed Pat’s previous interviews with people in the quilting world, you can find them at creativetalknetwork.com/. Free patterns , sew alongs, challenges, deals, videos, and more can be found by going to ilovetomakequilts.com a site for passionate quilters hosted by Pat Sloan.

The quilts pictured in the promotion for the show were free motion quilted by me using my long arm machine. I look forward to sharing my love of long arm quilting with Pat Sloan and hope that you will join us on Monday,


Quilting the Quilt (part one)

By Mary Covey


When planning a quilt, most quilters know there are three elements to keep in mind – design, color, and texture. There is no denying that we are drawn to a quilt by the beauty of the design and by the color combinations that dazzle. But what about the texture – the actual quilting itself?

The quilts of yesteryear required a great deal of close quilting to keep the batting from shifting and lumping. This is not true for today’s quilts because of the numerous choices available in batting, more focus can be put on a quilting design that compliments both the design and color of the quilt.

The beautiful applique’ quilt block above was hand appliqued by Jane Green. Her attention to detail in the flowers deserves to be enhanced by machine quilting that does not distract from her work. Using matching thread colors helps keep your eye on the design of the block. Echoing each of the shapes both inside and outside creates equal density while still maintaining the beauty of the block design. Echo quilting is like ripples in a pond – they start out close in a perfect ring and get larger  the further away from the center they get.  After several passes around a shape swirls, leaves, hearts, and other designs can be added(see example below) to make those blank corners of the block beautiful.

Dorothy Smith's Quilt

Semi Feathers


Buy Local

by Mary Covey

There is a huge movement happening in the food industry right now – “locally grown”,” locally operated”, “locally owned”. I hear and see these words constantly as I am food shopping. It is important to me to support my community by buying my groceries from a farmers market or fruit from a locally owned farm whenever possible. The grocery store and pharmacy where I shop are both local, employee owned businesses where they know me by my first name.

It is just as important for me to buy local when it comes to my quilting needs. Locally owned and operated quilt shops are vital to the quilter and the quilting community. Local shop owners are the backbone of the quilting community. Studies have shown that non-profit organizations (like our guilds, stitch groups, retreats, sewing for charities ) receive an average of 250% more support from smaller locally owned businesses than they do from large businesses.

Local quilt shops employ local quilters who have a knowledge and better understanding of products quilters use. They take more time to get to know the customers and their needs. If they do not carry a product, most are willing to order it for you if they can. If there is a class you are interested in most local shop owners will help accommodate your request (within reason of course). Fabrics, rulers, threads, needles, patterns, books, they have it all.

Local shop owners are selecting products not based on a national sales program, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers. Every local shop has its own unique style and personality. These shop owners have made a huge investment in our community, financially and emotionally. Their shops are more than just a place to buy. A sense of community, support, encouragement, and knowledge can all be found at these wonderful shops.

    Support your local quilt shop! Think local! Buy local!






Prewashing Fabric for Quilting

By Mary Covey

Fabric Pre-wash or Not?

To prewash fabric or not to prewash was the subject of my last post. It’s pretty easy if you decide not to prewash your fabric – you just cut and sew. But what if you decide to prewash? Are there any tips that can make prewashing results better? Here are just a few tips that I have learned that have helped me.

  1. Separate fabrics into lights, mediums, and darks just like your regular laundry.
  2. Before washing a color group, make a few small (1/4″) snips along the selvage edges of each piece of fabric. This will keep the selvage from shrinking up tighter than the rest of the fabric.
  3. Wash fabric in small loads, using a mild detergent that has no bleach additives.
  4. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets. These will make it difficult for the fabric to accept other processes easily such as fusible webbing or fusible interfacing.
  5. If you are worried about a dark-colored fabric bleeding even after you have washed it, it might be wise to do a colorfastness test before using that fabric. To do the test, cut a 2″ square of the dark fabric and place it on a bowl of hot water along with a 2″ square of light-colored fabric and swish. Check the light-colored fabric. If the light fabric picks up the darker color, you will need to wash the dark fabric repeatedly until the water runs clear.
  6. There are professional products that help set the dyes in fabric. They are usually sold at your local quilt shop or fabric store. If a fabric continues to bleed after using one of these products it would be wise not to use it in your project.
  7. Dry fabric on low heat. Neatly fold the fabric immediately out of the dryer. There is no need to press the fabric at this point. Place the fabric in your stash. The fabric can be pressed when you are ready to use.

These are just a few tips that have helped me prewash my fabric. I would enjoy hearing your tips. Happy quilting.