Category Archives: Quilt Tips & Tutorials

Tips and tutorials about anything and everything to do with quilting

Quilt Guild Newsletter Content

 Kenya Quilt Guild Newsletter


Are you involved in producing your quilt guild’s newsletter? Are you running out of ideas for what to include? Are you often stuck for new material to feature in the quilt guild newsletter? Are you worried about copyright issues?

QuiltEd Online can help you!! You can republish any blog post from QuiltEd Online News in your quilt guild publication with our permission and gratitude!

That’s right – you may republish any article from QuiltEd Online News in your quilt guild newsletter, legally and without fear of repercussions. Here’s how to do it:

  • Select the blog post of your choice. For example, you might reprint the Silk Patchwork Quilt Piecing Tutorial, or 10 Tips to Make More Time for Quilting.
  • Drop us a quick note letting us know that you want to reprint that article. Tell us who you are, what is the name of the quilt guild, which article you selected, and when you intend to publish the newsletter. Use the contact form on QuiltEd Online Support for this brief communication.
  • Copy and paste the entire post into your guild’s newsletter. Be sure you get all of the article. You may not edit or otherwise modify the content in any way other than as specified below.
  • Include those most important links. If your guild prints the newsletter for distribution to members, copy and paste the hyperlinks after the text that has the online version links. For example, in Seamless Binding for Liquid Gold, there is a hyperlink to Single Sashing Quilt-As-You-Go for a Quilt UFO. In a quilt guild newsletter intended for printing, you would insert the link url into the sentence as: “This quilt was featured in the free online tutorial Single Sashing Quilt-As-You-Go for a Quilt UFO (” Linking like this makes it easy for your readers to visit any sites mentioned in the posted article.
  • Copy and include all photographs associated with the article. You may resize them better to fit available space in the quilt guild newsletter, but they should be positioned next to the relevant text as they are in the posted article on QuiltEd Online News.
  • Below the title of the article in the quilt guild newsletter, add this copyright statement: Reprinted from QuiltEd Online ( with permission; article written by Dena Dale Crain.
  • You may not, under any circumstances, republish the current or earlier QuiltTutOTheMo tutorials in your quilt guild newsletter. Those are special tutorials that are part of the classes offered by QuiltEd Online and they are not available for republication. You may, however, republish any of the articles on QuiltEd Online News. Many of the News articles are also useful tutorials that your quilt guild members will appreciate having.

That’s all there is to it! Let QuiltEd Online make your life easier by providing material for your quilt guild newsletter, FREE of charge! In return, your quilt guild members learn more about QuiltEd Online as they enjoy the wonderful feature articles we produce weekly. Copy and paste the article of your choice in any relevant quilt-focused publication. Respect the hyperlinks, and acknowledge where the article came from and that you use it with permission. Share QuiltEd Online News articles with all your quilt guild friends!

It’s a win/win/win situation!!

Sign up for the QuiltEd Online News now to begin receiving our weekly newsletter, containing links to all our most recent posts.


Reprinted from QuiltEd Online with full permission


Filed under Freebies, Networking, Quilt Publications, Quilt Tips & Tutorials, Time Management

Machingers Quilting Gloves: Feeling Fingers

I have an old pair of quilting gloves. Made from wool, they have little beads of rubbery stuff attached to the palms. I’ve had these quilting gloves for years. Long ago, I cut the tips out of the index fingers and thumbs of the quilting gloves for both hands. With these two digits free, I can feel what I’m working on, and I have increased dexterity for picking up threads and removing pins from the work.

Cutting the tips out of the knitted wool quilting gloves meant I had to do something to stop them from unraveling completely. I had to waste precious time sewing tiny hems into the four fingers of the gloves that I had cut away.

Last spring while in the US, I bought a new pair of quilting gloves. These are Machingers. Much lighter weight and of a different material, these are noticeably cooler in our hot climate and not so thick and cumbersome as my old quilting gloves. I’ve been using them since I bought them, but today I simply could not bear it any longer.

I don’t know about you, but I need to FEEL what I’m working on, to know that the work and I are somehow connected. Also, I need to stop quilting and do other little tasks like making notes and taking pictures of the work, without having continually to strip off and re-don quilting gloves.


Modified Machingers quilting gloves



So–today I took the big step! I cut away the fingertips of the index fingers and thumbs on my Machingers quilting gloves. What a surprise! The rubberized tips of the gloves ensured there would be no raveling out. My quilting hardly broke stride!

Now, I’m cooler while quilting, can feel what I’m working on, grasp threads, pins and needles easily.

So–if you want to quilt like I do – comfortably and in full control of all aspects of the work, even when wearing quilting gloves, pick up a pair of Machingers, and cut out the fingertips of the index fingers and thumbs of the gloves!


Filed under Patchwork Quilting, Quilt Equipment, Quilt Supplies, Quilt Tips & Tutorials, Quilting

Mud Cloth Happy Endings

Getting Down and Dirty for Mud Cloth

So, last year – before I got committed to opening a new online quilt class Web site (QuiltEd Online) –  I was fooling around with mud, glorious mud, to make some mud cloth! I collected soil samples from the roadsides on the way to Baringo from Nairobi. With lots of road construction going on, that part was easy. I even found helpful volunteers along the way. One fellow assisted me by using his panga (that’s a machete, not a dirty word – no pun intended) to dig dirt out of an embankment for me!

Many folks along the way were curious about what I was doing. It’s unusual here for an old, white-haired, light-skinned woman to stop her car on the roadside, get out, scrape up a bunch of dirt into a plastic bag, get back into her car and drive away. Several people found the courage to ask me what I was doing, so I got extra practice for my Kiswahili as I explained about making mud cloth: “Natakakuweka rangi ya nguo” –  “I want to put color on cloth” – not so great, I think.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, some people I chatted with had heard about making mud cloth before! We all learned something new, had a few laughs, and life moved forward. It is surprising what you can learn if you’re willing to risk stepping “outside your comfort zone.” (I’ve always despised that cliché, but there is some truth in it.)

Anyway, I brought all my lovely dirt home and spent a couple of days refining it. I washed it, much as I would wash dirty rice or peas, by multiple passings of water over it. The rubbish floated, and the best stuff sank. I drained off most of the water, then left the tubs of dirt in the hot sun to dry out completely before shaking, breaking, even pounding it all into a fine powder.


Mud Cloth – The Real Colors of Africa

The differences in colors were noticeable, even then, although all had that lovely earthy quality I personally so admire in much Japanese patchwork due to their fabrics. Check out “sakizome” for examples of that gorgeous stuff, especially Akemi Shibata, who I met yesterday on Facebook – serendipity!

I made my soy milk, mixed in the mud and began painting, stamping and even dyeing my silk fabrics with the mud as well as with tea, henna and the oxides from an old iron pot. This post is to show you some (not all – saving the rest of it) of the outcomes of my efforts at making mud cloth(click to enlarge):


Mud cloth dyed, stenciled, stamped and painted by Dena Dale Crain


These fabrics have literally been through the mill. White silk dupioni, 28 yards of it, I dyed with commercial dyes gone out-of-date. Disappointed with the results, I began distressing the fabrics further with my collection of wonderful muds. Using everything from my Bernina plastic sewing table (the underneath hexie part) to a kitchen pancake turner to a paintbrush, I worked these pieces of cloth over and over, in true Jane Dunnewold “Complex Cloth” manner. Working fast – what fun I had!

Interestingly, these mud cloth colors are far more my idea of what African fabrics should be; they echo the earth. Where colors or lack of texture were most disappointing, I went back in with some acrylic fabric paints in Yvonne Porcella “Colors Changing Hue” style. Even the paint colors were toned down and seem to work beautifully with the mud colors.

It’s hard to say whether it was messier working with the mud or the paint, but I didn’t mind either. In Africa, all things are washable, and if they aren’t, it does not matter anyway!


Mud cloth dyed, stenciled, stamped and painted by Dena Dale Crain

Dye plus mud


Mud cloth dyed, stenciled, stamped and painted by Dena Dale Crain

Dye plus mud


Mud cloth dyed, stenciled, stamped and painted by Dena Dale Crain

Dye plus mud plus paint


The one thing I did not do was to mix mud directly with paint. Funny – I never thought of doing that at the time. Never mind, though! I have plenty of fairly solid color fabrics left over to play with. I had expected this to be the last post in this series about mud cloth, but it seems I have more work to do . . .

I have a hunch all this would work even better on hemp . . . hmmmm . . .


Next Step

Make a quilt! Maybe more! Twenty-eight yards is a lot of silk . . .  ;-)


Special Note

I would be happy to write and teach an online quilting class at QuiltEd Online about mud cloth, but my posts here record my experiences and you can easily follow along with your own experiments:

If you want technical information about how to harvest and clean mud, how to make soy milk, how to stamp with household and found objects or how to print fabrics in general, you can find lots of information about all that and more on the Web. Google away and have a great time – there’s some wonderful information out there and you’ll want to see it for yourself!

Then, come back to QuiltEd Online and let me teach you how to make original art quilts out of your mud cloth. In the meantime, please sign up for the QuiltEd Online newsletter to keep informed and up-to-date about what’s going on in my world.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my mud cloth adventures as much as I enjoyed doing the work. If so, how about leaving a comment and sharing with your friends?

Cheers, and thanks!

PS: If you like this post and would like to see others like it from other bloggers, check out Nina Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday!


Filed under Art, Art in Kenya, Online Quilt Classes, Patchwork Quilting, Quilt Supplies, Quilt Tips & Tutorials, Quilting Technology, Surface Design

Single Sashing Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial

Just posted a free tutorial about an unusual quilt-as-you-go method for making 3/8″ narrow sashing to join quilted sections. This method would probably work well on curved cuts if we cut the sashing on bias – I’ll have to try that sometime!

Find the tutorial in QuiltEd Online’s News and while you’re there have a look at our online quilt class offerings. New online quilt classes are under construction even as I write!

Sign up for the QuiltEd Online weekly newsletter to learn about all our online quilt class news!


Single sashing quilt-as-you-go tutorial

3/8″ sashing for quilt-as-you-go


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Filed under Online Quilt Classes, Quilt Tips & Tutorials

Quilter’s UFO Solution

Some months ago, I started making a new quilt in the series called Redefinitions. This piece, made entirely from silk fabrics and a little synthetic lamé, had a title right from the beginning: Liquid Gold!

As the work progressed, I quickly fell OUT of love with this piece. In sheer desperation, I took it to a QuArKe (Quilt Artists of Kenya) meeting and shared with my quilt artist friends in Nairobi. Most of them were, of course, tactfully supportive, telling me it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, that maybe with a little tweak here or there I could salvage it. I received their great supportive vibes as well as I could and returned home with the quilt, never to touch it again!

That is, until today! This afternoon I went into my studio with an intention to make a small quilt top for the same series, something that would be fun and easy for me to do. The fabrics I reached for first were – guess what! – the same fabrics as those that were in Liquid Gold!

Well, I thought it rather silly to make a second quilt from the same fabrics, so I set those aside and reached for the original work. Suddenly, after months of percolating in the back of my brain, I had come up with a solution for what to do with this work in progress gone astray! I had to work through a technical solution, a method for sewing two sections of finished quilt together with a contrasting strip of fabric. That took me about 15 minutes to think it through and make sketches to illustrate the idea so I would not forget it.

Then I turned back to the quilt, by then hanging on the wall, finally understanding what was bothering me.

LIquid Gold, Redefinitions quilt by Dena Dale Crain

Original quilt gone bad


See all those lines that are not straight between the colored sections and the white silk? Curved seam lines between colored patches of fabric did not bother me because the patches blended and the curves gave a bit of added life to the piece.

What really bothered me was when a seam line between a colored section and a white patch was not straight. The high contrast showed very clearly that I had no control over the patches when I sewed them, and that read to me as generally sloppy construction, something I do not like.

My solution was simple: to cut apart the original quilt along all those curved lines where white met color, and to straighten those seams! Big difference!!

LIquid Gold, Redefinitions quilt by Dena Dale Crain

First mock-up


So, now all I have to do is to develop a final composition, knowing that each section will be bounded by an outline about 3/8″ wide, said outline to be made from a printed silk charmeuse, shades and tints of turquoise on a black ground.

LIquid Gold, Redefinitions quilt by Dena Dale Crain

Second mock-up


LIquid Gold, Redefinitions quilt by Dena Dale Crain

Third mock-up

Now all you have to do is to sign up for my newsletter or subscribe to this blog, so you get to see the finished piece when I’m done with it!!


Filed under Quilt Tips & Tutorials, Quilting Technology, Quilts