Let’s Take a Walk

You know how, sometimes when you enter a store, you have to walk through it three or four times to make sure you’ve seen everything?  No, not like at the grocery store when you’ve forgotten your list…or is that just me?  I haven’t been to Quilt Expressions for about a month. An extreme case of withdrawal was taking hold, so I knew it was time for a fabric fix.  When I walked in, I discovered that Karen had moved the store around!  And new products?  Everywhere!  I pulled out my camera and started snapping away.   Three trips around the store later, here are a few of my favorite new items and projects.

(Click on any photo to enlarge.)


Quilt Expressions’ Row By Row: a celebration of our gorgeous Boise River.

If you’ve been spending time on social media, you’re aware of the Row By Row Experience 2015.  Imagine a nationwide shop hop that lasts several months.  Yeah, it’s kinda awesome.  Participating stores have each designed a 9-1/2″ by 36-1/2″ row using this year’s water theme.  Patterns are available for free at participating store for walk-in customers only until September 8, 2015.  Many shops are also offering kits for in-store purchase.  On November 1st, the stores have the option of selling the patterns and kits online.  Once you’ve collected eight patterns from eight different stores, you can make a quilt and possibly win a prize!  Click here for more information, rules and a list of all participating stores.


Quilts, quilts everywhere!  The talented ladies at the store have been busy designing new patterns and making new quilt samples.  Every sample is quilted on our Statler long arm machine and bound by one of our experienced employees.

Each time I visit, I always spend some time admiring the wool display.  We have a large selection of patterns, along with everything needed to complete the projects.  I have yet to work with wool, which is probably why I admire the hand work so much.  Wool is on my someday “to-do” list, though.

New customers, and sometimes even returning customers, often take one step inside the door, stop and just look around.  The front display (which is changed often), new fabric collections, quilts hanging around the perimeter of the entire store and on many other surfaces, our original patterns and samples….it’s a feast for the eyes!


If you’re a fan of Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably, and Phillip Jacobs, this part of the store is like a candy store for a three-year-old!  The gorgeous fabrics are enough to grab your attention, but add to that the beautiful samples and books available, and you’ll soon be saying, “Oh, I need that…and that…and that!”


With the hot summer we’ve had here in Boise, it’s hard to start thinking about the holidays.   However, if you like to give handcrafted gifts, you know it’s best to start early!  Stop in or look online at our Halloween and winter holiday collections.

Did you know that Quilt Expressions’ creates and sells original patterns?  Click here for our online selection.  Stop by the store to see an even larger selection.

We’ve been carrying the Reisenthel Market Baskets for quite a while now.  They are the perfect carrier for all of your crafting needs.  We’ve tried to carry Doctor Bags (shown in photo above), but they sell out as soon as they go on display.  Karen placed a large order recently, and, if you hurry, you’ll find the Doctor Bags in stock and at great prices.  These bags aren’t available through our online store….just in-store.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short photo tour through the store.  Stop in and see us soon!

License Plate Zipper Pouch

We (the royal “we”) made this zipper pouch using a Row by Row license plate from Quilt Expressions. If you’re collecting plates and wonder what to do with them, here’s an idea for you.



(2) fat eighths (9″ x ~20″) or (1) fat quarter

(2) 6″ x 10″ pieces of fusible fleece

(1) 10″ or longer zipper

(1) Row by Row fabric license plate


From one fat eighth (fabric “A”), cut (1) 10″ x 6″ rectangle, (2) 1 ½” x 7 ¾” strips and (2) 1 ½” x 6″ strips.

From one fat eighth (fabric “B”), cut (2) 10″ x 6″ rectangles and (1) 1 ½” x 5″ rectangle (this is the tab ends for the zipper – you can use scraps from either fabric)

Trim the license plate to 4″ x 7 ¾”. You should have about ¼” around the frame of the license plate on all sides (showing some white fabric).


With right sides together, sew a
1 ½” x 7 ¾” fabric “A” strip to the top and bottom of the license plate. We used the line around the license plate as a guide. Press seams toward the strip.

Sew a 1 ½” x 6″ fabric “A” strip to both sides of the license plate. Press seams toward the strip.

Fuse the fleece according to the manufacturer’s instructions to the wrong side of one fabric A-10″ x 6″ rectangle and one fabric B-10″ x 6″ rectangle. Lay one rectangle with the fleece side up, then place the license plate rectangle right side up on top of the fleece.

Pin through all layers and stitch in the ditch around the license plate. Trim any excess fleece/fabric to make edges flush. Stitch close to the edge around all four sides with a narrow zigzag or straight stitch. This is the front of your pouch.

Place the remaining 10″ x 6″ rectangle on top of the other fleece/fabric rectangle in the same manner. Pin through all layers. You may choose to do some quilting in this rectangle, but it is not necessary. Trim this piece so that it is the same size as the front pouch rectangle. Stitch close to the edge with a narrow zigzag or straight stitch. This is the back of your pouch.

Take a scrap of fabric of approximately 1 ½” x 5″ and fold in half along the long edges with wrong sides together. Press. Unfold and bring the outside long edges to the middle crease on both sides and press.


zp31zp32zp33Fold in half again and press. This will be the fabric tabs at both ends of your zipper. With the zipper closed, cut through the zipper at the staple end (cutting off the staple).





Place the zipper inside of the folded tab (towards one end) and top stitch.

zp38zp39zp41Make sure you stitch through all layers.










Trim the fabric tab even with the zipper tape on both sides. We’re only showing you one side trimmed here.






Measure the long side of your pouch; you will trim the zipper 1″ shorter than this measurement.  (See the chalk marks below? That’s where we trimmed our zipper.) Unzip the zipper so the pull is near the middle of the zipper; trim your zipper. zp45







Place the cut ends inside the folded tab.

Top stitch and trim as you did on the other end.zp50







zp52Center the zipper on the top edge of front of your pouch with the pouch front right side up. The zipper pull should be facing down. It’s hard to see–but trust us on this!



Pin through all layers and stitch along the zipper tape.







Fold the zipper back and top stitch close to the fabric edge stitching through all layers.







Place the unsewn side of the zipper along the back piece of the zp59pouch and pin in place. Make sure the two pouch pieces line up along the sides. Stitch the zipper along the zipper tape. Fold the zipper back and topstitch close to the fabric edge through all layers.


Open up the zipper. Place the pouch pieces with right sides together, matching side and bottom edges and stitch. Turn the pouch through the zipper opening and push out the corners. Enjoy your new pouch!





It’s Done! Must be time to move…

I’ll make this quick since it’s time to pack up the Michigan house and move back to Boise. It must be time…I’ve finished the wonky houses quilt top late last night. I know, I know, it’s not a quilt until it’s quilted, which is all the more reason to pack up and return to Boise! whole_quilt_largeI hope you like it and have had a little fun following along. Thanks for providing me an opportunity to put a little color into your day.

See you in Boise!





Let’s Make Some Rows!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve started sewing some blocks into rows. Not complete rows, because that would require that I had a plan and a size in mind! I thought that you might like a little explanation.

On another note, The Row by Row experience is coming to Boise–and to Quilt Expressions. (If you’d like to visit the Idaho Row by Row Facebook page, and see our “official” row, click here.) Free patterns for Quilt Expressions’ row will be available in the shop starting June 21.

So…in planning our row by row block, I couldn’t help but experiment a little, and of course add the trial “parts and pieces” to my wonky quilt.

rxrhousesThe units are simple little houses and trees, easily made with flying geese. The official Row by Row rules say that our row must be 9″ tall (finished) so that dictated the height of these units. By the way, in case you care, they are all 3″ wide. That 9″ height meant that some of my houses needed to have a little help. Remember, if it’s too short, sew some more on…


Here’s where those little black and white checkerboard strips come in handy. I used them to make the house on the left a taller block.

Finally, I thought the row was starting to look a little washed out, so I added some columns of color squares.


It perks up the row, don’t you think? I’m going to sew these blocks together and we’ll see what happens next!

PS–I’m counting down the days to be back in Idaho! Less than three weeks. Della can tell you in exact days, hours and minutes ;)



Decker the Dog

Hello again! I saw some of you when I was in the shop in Boise–thank you for your positive comments! Today I am introducing you to Decker the dog. That’s my son, Bo, trying to get him to pose for the camera. For a big dog, Decker is a big chicken–doesn’t like his picture taken. Guess it’s true that dogs are like their owners, because I avoid getting in the picture at all costs!

decker-boAnd here’s my wonky portrayal of Mr. Decker, with LOTS of artistic license! Hey, the red collar’s the same and I think I got the nose about the right size …




If you check out my earlier posts you’ll see the original sketch. I really wanted to use the yellow fabric for his body, but I didn’t have a large enough piece. Oh well, I just carefully sewed two pieces together. If you look closely, you can see the seam. Which brings me to my next trick: Quilter’s Choice glue. It’s a water soluble glue (that means it will wash out later) that holds well and dries clear. Anytime I need to match something up exactly, I take the new piece, fold the seam allowance under and press it. Then I dab a bit of glue on the seam allowance. I place the piece exactly where I want it to sit on top of the first piece, and heat set it with the iron to dry the glue. It’s simple to peel back the seam and sew on the pressed fold line. That’s how I managed to line up the dots, and get Decker’s red collar to line up with his body. Ditto for the ears–they were so small I would never have gotten them to line up without a dab of glue!

I’ve also started to put a few pieces together. I’m not done by a long stretch, but I’ve started to build out two of my rows.


None of my blocks were the same size, so this is where the rule, “If it’s too short sew some more on, and if it’s too big, cut some off,” comes in to play. Della, on her soap box was too tall, so off went part of her hat and the border above it. The block of me in my orange pants was too short, so I simply added some scrap squares to make my block longer. Decker got some checkerboard squares to stand on, and some other “parts and pieces” blocks (you are making some of those, right?) got inserted for color and a bit of breathing room.

The next row I put together had two tall houses–I wanted to add a third. Rather than start over making a whole new house, I chopped off the roof of another house block, and added a scrappy bottom. I added some more vertical strips of color, and once again used some of my checkerboard “filler” squares. Notice how on the far left and upper right I chopped them at an angle? I needed to square up the unit so it will fit with the next block(s), whatever they will be!



I know this is a long post, but I’ll end with a shot of my design wall. You can see I’ve got LOTs more work to do, but you can get an idea of the parts and pieces I’ve been playing with so far.  parts_piecesI hope you’re having fun, and sewing along with me! –Karen




Here I am…

karen_donesketch_karenHere I am…decked out for snow. The bright orange pants are truly a bit of “artistic license.” In my block portrayal of Della, I went free-form. In other words, I just cut and sewed without much of a plan. Since my selfie was a bit more complicated, I made a small sketch of my idea–about 2″ tall, and then blew it up on my copier 400%. That sure made things a lot easier when I was trying to judge how to cut the pieces and put it together.

You can see the small sketch in the lower right–and the blown-up version. You can also see I’m going to include Decker the dog–he’s next.

At the risk of boring you to tears–here’s a few tips on how I made the “me” block.  First, I divided my sketch into sections.

sketch_dividedFrom there, I could see how to make the sections, and the approximate size of the pieces I wanted. That was the nice thing about having a full-scale drawing! If you try this, don’t forget to add 1/4″ seam allowances to the pieces. As you can see below, I just laid sections on top of the sketch to get the angle I wanted, then trimmed with the added seam  allowances.


Note how much longer the scarf/body is than the final block shows. It’s sooo much easier to make something longer–I like to fold it to where the seam needs to be and press it. That way I can lay it on top of the next piece and know exactly where to sew to get the look I want.

Next are the beginnings of the face and hat. You can also see that I have a habit of making the pieces lots bigger than I need–it’s easier and they can always trim down. The tassels on the hat were Della’s idea–it worked out great! I started with a small (~1-1/2″ tall x 3/4″ ) rectangle of bright red fabric. Then I folded down the top edge, and folded it in half lengthwise. I inserted it between an angled seam and viola! I did that a few more times until I liked the angles.


That’s it for now. I’ve been making stars and checkerboard strips in-between all the stopping and starting. I’ve got thirteen 6″ stars done…guess I’d better get busy.

:)  Karen

Meet Della

dellaSome of you know Della from the store. Always smiling and laughing, she is my best friend. So it only seems right that I would have to put her in my wonky quilt. The picture on the left is my first attempt. We’re miles apart but as usual, she added her two cents and requested the lime green dress and curly hair.

I really didn’t like the light background, and I kept trying to make it work. Finally, I took it apart and auditioned some different backgrounds…I liked the red the best. I purposely made her a little shorter and *ahem* slightly wider, and gave her a couple of x-blocks to stand on. And yes, her socks are two different colors–just like she wears everyday. Next I’ll be making me…taller and thinner (and by the way, I got Della’s good-natured permission for that!). Now where can I find pretty and smart fabrics? ;)

Let me know if you need help making a “people” block. I can certainly step you through it.