Education Notes

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Every month our Education Chair, Lynne Laino,  provides us some tips or information regarding the art of quilting.  For Education Archives by topic, go to the bottom of this page for links.

Education July 2017

American Patchwork & Quilting had a great tip for jellyroll precuts.  If you’ve ever worked with them, you know that it can be very messy with crumbs everywhere when you handle them.  Use a large lint roller on both sides of the jellyroll before you unroll it to keep crumbs to a minimum.  What a brilliant idea!

Terry Kramzar sent me a great link for needle-size info from a blog she found.  You can print the “Cheat Cards” and keep them handy by your machine for easy reference.  Thanks Terry!

Lynne Laino



Education Notes

JUNE 2017 

One of the great advantages of belonging to Calico Cutters is being treated to amazing speakers and their wonderful workshops.  The workshops offered by our speakers are always a bargain compared to taking the same classes elsewhere and come with the bonus of spending more time getting to know our members.  The other thing that is a side bonus of workshops is getting so many tips for other quilters as the day goes along.  Barb Vedder shocked me with the info that Aurifil thread does not play well with your Singer Featherweight!  Apparently 50 wt. cotton is too thin to make good stitches, so use a thicker thread if you are lucky enough to have a Featherweight.

Always thread your needle with the thread as it comes off the spool.  It feels right to thread your needle where you cut it, as it’s smoother but the thread has a direction.

And don’t lick the thread to get it in the eye of the needle, lick the needle.  That’s a new one for me!

Steam vs. dry is always a debate in quilting and Barb found that since she stopped using steam, her irons last and last.  My nice Rowenta started leaking and my husband bought me a new one for Christmas so I keep my old one as a dry and my new one as steam.

Lynne Laino

May 2017 Education Notes

Chef’s Choice has made an electric, top-rated knife sharpening tool for years and now they have an electric Diamond Hone Scissor Sharpener!  Most of us have a drawer full of scissors and it’s imperative that they are sharp.  It’s not a cheap appliance with a $99 retail price so maybe a few friends can go in on it.  Another plus is that Chef’s Choice is a Pennsylvania company located in Avondale!  Click here for more details.

Solid fabrics are very popular now with the popularity of modern quilts and it can be very difficult to discern which color is which.  When you purchase solid fabrics, use a fineline Sharpie to write name of the color on the selvage edge to make identifying shades easier.

The Penn Oaks quilt guild is having their semi-annual quilt show at Ludwig’s Corner on May 5 & 6.  If you’ve never been, you are missing out!  There are so many beautiful quilts on display, wonderful vendors, raffles to win incredible quilts and gift baskets and great food!  Put it on your calendar for a great time!  Click here for more information

Lynne Laino


April 2017 Education Notes

Barb Vedder, our April speaker, posted a great tip on her Instagram page (funwithbarb).  She discovered that Yoga Gloves are a very helpful tool for machine quilting!  I have never seen them before but they are fingerless knit gloves with pretty patterned rubbery dots for gripping.  You can find them at Target in the Yoga aisle, most sporting goods stores and Amazon.

I keep several tools specifically for workshops and retreats and recently saw a great use for those plastic hotel keycards.  They make great seam pressing tools right at your machine.  So the next time you come home with one, throw it in your tool kit.

Lynne Laino


March 2017 Education Notes

Some of us struggle with getting a label on our quilts and it’s so important to label our quilts.  Bernina’s We All Quilt blog recently reposted a novel way to put label info on your binding.  If you have a machine with built-in alphabets, it’s easy to put a message on your binding!  See how it’s done here:

A cooking friend recently told me about an auction at Bunch Auctions on 202 with sewing and quilting items.  I went online the night before to check it out and was blown away by the sheer volume of items.  There were three Singer Featherweights, 5-10 other machines, rulers, notions, quilts, fabric bolts and more books than I could count.  When I got there, the warehouse area was filled to the rafters with sewing items, clothing and shoes.  I asked the auction employee if it was one woman’s belonging and he assured me it was.  It was absolutely mind boggling!  It turned out that Polly Knowles lived in Exton and was a quilting/sewing teacher and also worked at Winterthur.  She traveled to Europe for research in textiles for them.  She also did needlepoint and knitting and had everything necessary for all of it.  All of the women there agreed that their husbands could not complain about their stashes after seeing Polly’s.  She now resides in a nursing home after a bout of pneumonia last year.  Amazing!

February 2017 Education Notes

A magnetic strip designed for knives in the kitchen is a great tool to have near your cutting table for keeping scissors (many) and rotary cutters organized and not thrown in a drawer.  They are available at Target for $10 and there are many on Amazon.

When I buy sheets or pillow shams they often come in sturdy zippered pouches.  I save then to store projects on the go.

If you have any tips, please shoot me an email.

Lynne Laino

January 2017 Education Notes

I’m sure most of you have tasted and love Sue Linton’s mouth-watering Cashew Brittle at some of our get-togethers.  She has graciously shared her recipe with us and even included some notes to help us get it right.  She said it’s not her original recipe but has used it for years.  Thanks so much Sue!  Happy New Year and Happy Quilting to everyone!

Lynne Laino

Sue Linton’s Cashew Brittle


1          cup sugar

½         cup light corn syrup

¼         cup hot water

2          cups salted cashews

1          Tb. Butter

1          tsp. baking soda

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan mix well sugar, corn syrup and water.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves; add cashews.  Continue stirring over medium heat until syrup reaches 295 degrees (hard crack stage) on your candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat; add butter and soda.  Stir rapidly until butter melts and soda dissolves (mixture will foam).  Holding the pan with an oven mitt or a towel, pour the mixture onto a previously greased baking sheet and spread out as much as you can.  Add a pinch of sea salt over the top of the brittle.  Brittle needs to cool and harden.  Then break into pieces and enjoy.

Notes:            Before you begin grease your cookie or baking sheet with butter.

Use exact amounts.

A candy thermometer will achieve the best results.

Continual stirring will keep the cashews from browning too much.

If you are making more than one recipe run a sink full of superhot                                soapy water and as soon as you spread your brittle put your pan in                              along with your utensils and thermometer.  It will be a much                                          easier to clean-up.

Altogether it takes no more than 15 minutes to complete this recipe.

Most important:  This mixture is like burning lava and you do not want to burn yourself!


December Education Notes

One of the biggest trends for quilting right now is using long-arm rulers for quilting on domestic machines.  These special rulers are typically 1/4″ thick to prevent your presser foot from jumping the ruler and breaking your needles.  Also, you need a special thicker presser foot designed just for this.  Bernina has just introduced the #72 Adjustable Ruler Foot designed for these rulers and they have rulers available too.  There is a nice video on the Bernina website showing how the foot works.  There are ruler feet available for other machines as well.  I just saw a class at a shop in Lewes by Mary Alice Fyock so keep an eye out for classes at your favorite quilt shop.

Our own Cheryl Lynch will be cruising and teaching this time next year.  The cruise leaves out of Galveston, TX and cruises the Western Caribbean.  Read all about it here:

If you’re looking for a little gift for your favorite quilter, Moda has the cutest “Merit Badges” with sewing and quilting sayings and icons.  If you were a Girl Scout, this will take you back to your badge sash!!  Sold in sets of three, there are 8 different sets.  They are available at your favorite quilt shop or online.;jsessionid=8668A3138C8FDA8849D466E049E4A617.storefront8080?searchType=keyword&keyword=Merit+Badges&emailAddress=#

Happy Holidays!

Lynne Laino

November Education Notes

This is a wonderful message received from a newsletter reader who is not a member of our guild:

Hi Terry, I wanted to email you to say thanks for your page, I volunteer with a youth group where we have different activities for local kids. We are starting a sewing and fiber arts program, so we wanted to find some resources to share with the kids. Your page has some great stuff – thanks for all the help! 🙂 One of the kids in my group, Bella, found a great resource on sewing: . Can you add this to your list of resources? She has been helping teach some of the younger kids some basic sewing, so I thought this would give her some extra encouragement by sharing her find online. Plus, we thought it would make a great addition for others to learn from. If you have more tips or information for the kids, I’ll make sure to share it with them. Thanks again! Take care, Denise Morales

I’d like to give a big shout-out to Bella for giving us this link.  Please don’t miss it because it’s chock-full of great ideas and tutorials!  Thanks for helping us out and reading our Newsletter Bella!  How wonderful that our Newsletter is helping future quilters!

Lynne Laino

October Education Notes

I strongly encourage each and every one of you to read Lori Kennedy’s blog post on sewing machine safety on her blog The Inbox Jaunt.  She had to have the tip of a needle and thread from her sewing machine needle surgically removed from her finger three years ago.  Her tips for not doing that again are good ones.  You can read it here:

Quilt Show News had a great video with tips for threading needles as our eyes get a little worse every year (no you, of course!).

Let me know if you find a great tip so I can share it here.

Lynne Laino

September Education Notes

Crafty Gemini is a blog and website and by the most adorable Vanessa Vargas Wilson.  She also has a youtube channel with great tutorials!  Search youtube for TheCraftyGemini. Well she has just designed two rulers called the 5” Slicer and 10” slicer, perfectly made to use with that size precuts!  Hop on over to her website to see her videos on how to use them and a tutorial on a little zippered case to store them!! Click here to access Vanessa’s website.

Please send me any new tips or tools you come across so I can include them here!



August Education Notes

Here is a great tip I found recently!  If there is a particular thread color that you use regularly for your piecing (mine is Aurifil 2310), buy two spools and extra bobbins the next time you’re low and use the second spool to fill bobbins so that they are always ready!  What a great idea!

Wasn’t Pat Sloan great?  She was so funny, talented and approachable, wish I had gotten a photo with her.  She mentioned that she had published a book for novelty fabrics, What A Novel Idea!  I’m a sucker for novelty fabric and have quite a stash so I was hoping she had the book with her.  Much to my dismay, it is out of print, but I found a new copy on Amazon!  If you are looking for a book of any kind that is out of print, often you can find it on Amazon in the little print “used” under the book photo.  The shipping is always $3.99 but the books are usually a few $$.

Stay cool and quilt!

Lynne Laino

July Education Notes

Chris Qaddoumi sent me a great site for quilters.  They have help for any project no matter what your skill level is.  After all, we all need help every now and that for that pattern that is driving us crazy, don’t we?  Click here to access Generations Quilt Patterns.

The 2016 Row By Row is gearing up for the entire summer again!  It begins the first day of summer, June 21st and ends on September 6.  Visit participating local quilt shops and pick up your free pattern for that shop’s Row.  Most shops also have kits put together for a fee and a small printed license plate that you can purchase.  You have until October 31st to finish your quilt for great prizes from each shop.  Create a quilt using at least 8 different 2016 rows from 8 different participating Row by Row shops and be the first to bring it in to a participating shop to win a stack of 25 fat quarters!!!  Use that shop’s row in your quilt and win a bonus prize.

Be sure to search out participating shops if you are traveling for vacation this summer.  Last summer there were 2,655 shops across the United States and Canada and this year promises to be ever bigger!  Check out the row by row website for maps and lists of participating shops:

Also, if you’re flying and want to take some handwork, go to your airline’s website to find what restrictions are in place in regard to scissors and supplies.

Happy Summer Sewing!

Lynne Laino

June Education Notes

Sometimes you find quilts in the most unexpected places.  My husband and I had dinner at The Red Rooster in Harlem last month.  It has a southern flavor and menu and as we were eating, I noticed that there was a huge star quilt taking up most of the wall across the room.  It had what looked like slashes of blue fabric through stars – magnificent.

We just got back from Denver on Sunday and one of the stops we made were to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.  The natural rock formations were just breathtaking.  My boys have been there for concerts so it was nice to see it myself.  Downstairs in the visitor’s center I spotted what I thought was a sculpture on the wall but as I looked closer, I realized with glee that it was a quilt!!!  I took lots of photos and asked the woman behind the counter who made the quilt.  She wasn’t very friendly and didn’t even make eye contact with me (obviously not a quilter!!) but muttered, Judith Trager. I looked her up and found the quilt in the gallery, it is called Walk the Rocks.  Click here to go to her website.

So if you are vacationing, look around and you may find a quilt in unexpected places!  Happy Summer!

May Education Notes

Have you been bitten by the adult coloring book craze? They seem to be everywhere I go. I was recently in Barnes and Noble to browse the quilting magazines and that section was completely taken over by coloring books! I recently saw an ad for a Cotton + Steel Coloring Book by Melody Miller. I found it on Amazon:   I’m sure it will be available soon in your local quilt shop as well.

My very nice Rowenta iron’s steam button stopped working and I hated to just throw it away but it had to be replaced. Instead of getting rid of it, I decided to keep it as a dedicated dry iron now! No worries about the broken steam button anymore or emptying the water tank for dry use!

There were a few questions after Kelly Meanix’s fantastic trunk show and talk last month. Someone asked which blogs she follows. She wanted to let everyone know that when you log onto her blog, if you look on the right side of the page and scroll down, there is an item for “Blogs I Read” and links for them all. Click here to access Kelly’s blog.

April Education Notes

Do you get Daily Deals emails from Missouri Star Quilt Company? It’s not always something I’m interested in but they recently had a folding 24” x 6” ruler that I had to have and it was 50% off the regular price of $27.95! Carrying a long ruler to class or workshops can be cumbersome so I was tickled to add this to my travel tools. Here is a link if you’d like to check it out:

Since I’m on the subject of tools for classes and workshops, Sandy Jackson came rolling into a workshop a few months ago with one of those cloth wagons that I’ve seen in Costco and Sam’s Club for gardening and such. It was neatly filled with her sewing machine and all the miscellaneous items that she needed for the workshop. What a brilliant idea!! No struggling with your machine trolley plus bags of tools and rulers – everything in one handy wheeled wagon! Thanks so much Sandy!

March Education Notes

I’ve seen the Olfa Folding Cutting Mat advertised many times but it wasn’t something I was really interested in. But I just watched a video on it and learned an additional way to use it. The underside is a felt-like material and you can place it bottom side up on your lap while doing hand work in the car. When you get out of the car, place your work on one side and fold it up to hold your fabric pieces in place! I looked it up and it comes in two sizes: 12” x 17” and 17” x 24” open. They are available at Joann Fabric and Amazon.

I learned a great tip from Terry Kramzar’s blog.   When cutting half-square triangles for a project, in addition to drawing the line to sew and cut on, draw an additional line a half inch away and cut in the middle to give you an additional half-square triangle to use in another project!   If I’m not clear enough, see Terry’s blog for a diagram. Thanks Terry!!  Click here to access Terry’s blog.

February Education Notes 

Here is a great article from a blog, 10 Tips That Changed My Sewing Life.  Click here to see the tip.

Education ARCHIVES

Visit our Education Archive Pages.  This includes information from past Education postings sorted in topic order.