Tuesday, April 15, 2008


This is me with my new best friend, Kaye England. Lol! Last week the local Bernina shop, A Different Touch, had Kaye come and speak about tools and cutting techniques. That, and push Bernina just a little, which was like preaching to the choir. Kaye, as you may know, is a very entertaining speaker. It didn't take much to get her off message and talking about her childhood in Tennessee and corn cob fights in the barn. She still lives on a farm, though now in Indiana. She has llamas and goats and at least one chicken that she spoke of that gives her one egg a day.

Of course she stressed the importance of accuracy in cutting and in sewing and in RULERS. She has helped to develop a line of rulers for Nifty Notions that she guarantees are the best and most accurate. You can find them on her website. Kaye touted the importance of a straight-stitch throat plate (single hole rather than slot) for accuracy in quarter inch stitching. Apparantly the slotted throat plate that comes with most all machines can cause the fabric to cave from the pressure of the needle, distorting the seam allowance. Huh! Who knew? Well, as you can imagine, there was a run on straight-stitch throat plates at the cash register! Mine is on order.

Probably the coolest thing that I learned was to use two colors of thread when sewing. If you have a different color in the bobbin then it is easier to take out the seam should you need to. She says you can just pull the bobbin thread, if you know which one it is. Is that cool, or what? Yes, it's good to get sewing tips, but who ever gives great seam ripping techniques?

Finally, here is my favorite piece of advice: "Art is a personal decision! If you put it (fabric pieces) together, it goes together!" I totally agree. Too often we look for everyone else's opionion to validate what we do and what we, personally, like. What a fun day!

And then came the quilts! You are probably familiar with Kaye's Voices of the Past series. The quilt here with the flags is called Betsy Ross-surprise! The next one below, with the very scrappy stars and chain blocks is Amelia Earhart. Oddly enough, one of my designs is the same pattern, which happened to be hanging on the wall, and Kaye pointed it out! How funny is that? Mine is called Tea in the Garden, and has a little bit of applique on it. Obviously a traditional pattern in the public domain. Each beautiful and very different. I have actually been wanting to do a scrappy version, so now I know just about what it would look like.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of England. I sure did! *VBS*


Finn said...

What a great post Marcie! You lucky, lucky girl!!
I love your Tea in the Garden, and find it interesting how different they look just by keeping the all the background the aame, or varying it.
Good tips too! Big hugs, Finn

Ginny Worden said...

Wow, how lucky you are. I love Kaye England, fabrics and patterns, and would so love to have been with you , enjoying the presentation and beaming with pride when your lovely quilt was commented on by none other that the world famous "Kaye".Enjoy, and thanks for sharing.

Dawn said...

What fun! I thought everyone knew about the single hold needle plate! You shocked me that you didn't know that! How about that!

Crazy for Primitive Quilts & Gardens said...

Thank you so much, Marcie! I love the quilt show. Beautiful! And I didn't know about the single needle hole plate too. I will be ordering one!

Kathie said...

Oh how I wish I could have been there with you
I would love to see her quilts up close and personal!
Would love to hear her talk too!
going to have to check out her rulers.
I have a thing about rulers...can never have enough.
hope you will share more pictures from her lecture.

Darcie said...

Great minds think alike! I bet the two of you could put on quite a show if given the chance...you've both got terrific wit!

Anonymous said...

LOVED this post. I'm going to check out the straight stitch throat plate. Also, I would really, really be interested in a tutorial on proper use of a seam ripper. I hate them, as one must be so very careful not to rip a stitch in the fabric! There's a message here - more like a begging - for someone to invite a bigger and better seam ripper.

Anonymous said...

I guess there's no tutorial given about us template and scissor users. *lol* That must be a technique that horrifies both off you..!
Great tip about using different colour threads; definitely gonna use that one IF I'm machine sewing:)

Karen said...

How nice of you to give Kaye that photo op with you, Marcie :-) ! Very interesting post, esp. the tip about the different thread colors.

Libby said...

Oh my what an exciting day! Now I'm going to have to look at my machine's throat plate . . . seems that all my quilts would turn out perfectly if only I had the right one *hahahahaha*

Lea said...

Oh, This is very fun post with full of great advice and beautiful pictures. Thank you, Marcie!