Mary Ray, Blue Ridge Mountains, NC, US

craft interests: quilting

Member Since: 03/24/2008

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Make It: Quilted Flowers

You can create unique textures and true shapes when you quilt fabric petals and assemble them into flowers.

Make a Quilted Bag and Tote Your Laptop in Style

Here’s a bag you can easily make yourself and, just like a custom-made garment, it will perfectly fit your computer.

How to Make a (Very) Quick Table Runner for the Holidays

Make a table runner to highlight a centerpiece on your holiday dinner table or dress up a sideboard.

How to Make This Pretty Pink Clutch

Chic raw-edge ruffles, pinked to create just the right amount of fraying and a smattering of beads, turn this silk clutch into an elegant—and fun—accessory.

Use a Twin Needle to Make a Reusable "Corrugated" Coffee Cup Sleeve

This neat little accessory is all you need to add texture, detail, and depth to your stitched projects.

How to Make a Cozy Spiral Scarf

Start with a circle. Then add some yarn to make an accessory that will warm your neck and dress up your outfit.

Make One Adorable Apron from Two Colorful Napkins

You can make this darling apron in less time than it takes to whip up an omelette, and you can use cute vintage linen napkins or brand-new ones from a home decor shop.

How to Make a Rugged Leather Journal Cover

Here’s the perfect gift for the guy on your list who still enjoys putting pen to paper. It has the patina of an old valise that’s been on many a journey with the likes of Lewis and Clark or Indiana Jones, holding accounts of adventures real or imagined.

How to Make Cushiony Valentines for All Your Crafty Friends

What’s better than making your own Valentines? Making them from stuff you probably have on hand. And what’s better than that? Making Valentines that are useful, too.

Make a Picnic Basket Cover from a Double Wedding Ring Quilt Pattern

Here’s a way to simplify a traditional quilt pattern to fit a small project—and a hectic schedule.

How to Use Buttons on Belts

A few well-chosen buttons will buckle your belts in style and make them truly one of a kind.

How to Quilt a Textured Vest

Quilt, bind, and shrink fabric for this casual outer layer.

Adieu, craftstylish

It’s time to say, “so long” as a CS blogger, but I’ll continue to be a craft cheerleader.

How to Make an Eco-Friendly Quilted Tote Bag

Here's a reusable tote that will stand out in any market.

How to Add to Your Bottom Line

Whether you’re starting from scratch or restyling an existing garment, here are some ideas that will make the most of your hemlines.

How to Make Appliquéd Buttonholes and More

Here’s a great way to turn a basic construction element into a beautiful detail.

Do You Need a Little Extra Creative Support?

The Quilters of South Carolina have created an inspirational and uplifting exhibit for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Make a Fabric Frame to Display Your Precious Pet

No matter what size your photo, with some fabric, cardboard, and glue you can custom-make a frame to fit.

The Latest Trend in Sewing Machines Is BIG!

Last week I attended the Bernina National Artisans’ Reunion in Chicago and had an opportunity to play on the new Bernina 830 sewing and embroidery machine and to learn about how Bernina is reaching out to the next generation of sewers.

Try These Techniques for Perfectly Beautiful Seams

Seams are the backbone of any sewn project. But there’s more to it than keeping them straight.

How to Piece a Puppy Pocket and Put It on a Purse

Piecing an intricate quilt block requires an orderly strategy so you won’t be pulling your hair out trying to set perfect points.

A Tale of Two Sweaters

This green project (literally) saved one sweater from the trash bin and the other from a very drab existence.

It's Time to Do Something about the Black Hole

Unlike the region of space time where nothing can escape, the black hole of my handbag is where nothing can be found.

Sewing Lessons Help Us Preserve the Environment and Get through Hard Times

Attention, crafters! How did our foremothers do their part to preserve the environment and deal with financial downturns? They learned and respected the art of patching and darning.

Start with a Clean Slate in 2009! Resolve to Keep a List of Your "I Dids" Instead of "To Dos"

Here’s a way to make your own slate–and a resolution that will help keep your crafting life in control.

How to Assemble a Doll Quilt Kit for a Young Crafter in Training

School's out, the holidays are winding down—it's a great time to plan a sew-together with your child. Here are two doll quilt designs that you can assemble and present as kits. Use one to teach some basic machine skills and the other to learn sewing by hand.

Disc-y Decorations!

From high-tech to low-tech, here’s a quick way to trim a tree.

Make a Patchwork Christmas Tree

Sew a bunch of triangles together to make a big triangle, add a trunk, and you have a tree.

Southern Inspiration: A Visit to Jonesborough, TN, and Tennessee Quilts

Quilt shops are a great source of inspiration during the holidays—or anytime of year.

How to Make an Ensemble of Accessories to Please Every Chef on Your List

This no-frills denim apron with matching oven and pot-handle mitt is perfect for the weekend griller or the daily meal maker.

How to Make Your Own Cards and Put a Personal Stamp on Your Holiday Greetings

Here’s a great way to jump on the Dare-to-Make-It bandwagon. Greeting cards are small, easy, and fun to make.

How to Sew Special Gift Wrap

Here’s the perfect way to add a personal touch to a hostess gift, a present under the tree, or a festive favor on your dinner table.

How to Compose a Beautiful Scarf from Scraps

Cut up some fabric, add bits of fiber and ribbon, place between two layers of water-soluble stabilizer, stitch, rinse, then stand back and see what emerges!

How to Make Cocktail and Dinner Napkins

Here’s an easy way to personalize your Thanksgiving table–and learn to miter a perfect corner.

Practice Machine-Stitched Trapunto

This traditional hand-sewing technique is like creating sculpture on a flat surface. It’s just as effective, if not more so, when done by machine.

Two Wooden Sewing Tools I Wouldn't Live Without

Just as fiber is key to the beauty and functionality of fabric, the stuff that tools are made of determines their effectiveness as well.

How to Make Faux Pockets

When you don’t want to add a real welt pocket—or your skills aren't quite there–here’s an easy, effective way to make a pocket flap that adds the perfect finish to your garment.

How to Make a Patchwork Duvet Cover

You can give a cozy comforter a new look with this easy-to-sew cover.

How to Use a Loop Turner

A loop turner is one of my favorite tools that turns bias strips into tubes in no time so you can make “loopy” flowers, edging, or the skinniest spaghetti straps you’ve ever seen.

Design Boards Focus Your Inspiration

Inspiration is everywhere, but recognizing it and transforming it into something is the essence of creativity.

Atlanta Crafts

Last weekend I was in Atlanta, a hotspot (literally!) for all kinds of hip crafts.

Clipping and Notching

I’m not talking sports jargon. I’m talking about a couple of procedures that are absolutely necessary if you want perfectly sewn curves.

How to Make a Belt Inspired by Quilting

Take a new look at patterns from the past, revise old techniques, and give them a fresh purpose.

How-to: English Paper Piecing Project

When you want to sew small many-sided patches together, this traditional piecing method ensures perfect results. It’s done by hand, so take a break from your sewing machine and be prepared to become addicted.

Another Way to Create a Great Narrow Hem

Achieving a neat narrow hem is easier than you think -- even if your machine is a relic.

A Visit to Cloth Fiber Workshop in Asheville, NC

Asheville is always a great place to visit, but if you’re into crafts it abounds with inspiration, resources, and like-minded souls.

How to Make Pinwheels for a Quilt or to Embellish a Garment

Triangles are pretty standard in the world of quilts. Manipulate them to form lots of patterns. One of my favorite ways is the pinwheel.

Another Little Tool I Can't Live Without

A Hera Marker is a simple little piece of plastic that definitely leaves its mark.

Another Blogsite Worth the Visit

Download podcasts on just about anything that has to do with fashion sewing and more.

Great Results from a Student

On Saturday, I taught a hands-on class of the tote that was on the cover of Threads Magazine, Issue # 137 - June/July, 2008.

Fashion Among the Flowers in My Favorite City

It's like Project Runway up close and personal!

Covered Snaps Lend a Touch of Couture

When large snaps are called for, covering them with fabric takes your project to another level.

How to Make Mitered Corners for Bindings

Here's an easy way to finish the corners when binding a quilt.

Easy Piecing for Inset Corners and Triangles

Quilting diamonds and triangles won't be intimidating if you have a plan for stitching them together.

Yo-Yos and Couching: Two Easy-to-Do Embellishment Techniques

With a few small fabric yo-yos, some beads, and couched yarn, you can create elegant vintage-inspired surface design that will turn your project into a showstopper.

Do You Love Country Music and Quilting?

Then it's time to pack your bags and head to Nashville for the 2008 AQS Quilt Expo at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, August 20-23.

What's Cheese Got to Do with It?

Cheesemakers are crafters, too. I recently attended the American Cheese Society Conference where the finest cheesemakers on the continent represented their craft. They mostly make their products by hand with a passion that only comes from loving what you do.

The Anti-Ouch Pouch

This great idea is a fabulous way to help surgery patients recover in comfort.

A Little Paint Can Extend and Enhance an Embroidery Design

Combine two techniques to create one chic little skirt – and get lots of compliments, too.

Using Templates for Quilting Blocks

Templates are patterns that you use to cut the shapes in a quilt block. Here are some tips to use whether you are quilting by hand or machine.

Turn Photos and Words into Fabric.

Here’s a great way to carry around your memories of family, friends, and favorite places. Make the fabric and the bag -- what could be craftier?

Great Fabric – Not Necessarily By-the-Yard

Have you ever been in a home accessories store perusing the linens and thought – “I wish I could buy that fabric.” Well, if the item fits your budget, why not just use the linens – whatever they may be. A pair of scissors, needle, and thread can turn any textile into something else.

How to Maintain Your Sewing Machine

Your machine is your most expensive piece of equipment. But even if you got it for a song at a tag sale, it’s important to maintain it. Take care of your sewing machine regularly and it will last for years.

Seminole Piecing

Seminole piecing is simple to do yet looks so complex. Use this technique to edge, border, or embellish any project. Or piece some strips and inset them to add some spark to a garment, bag, pillow—the possibilities are endless.

The American Sewing Guild Conference

Sewers from all over the country are heading to Chicago to attend the annual conference of ASG. And I'm on my way there, too.

How to Quilt with Paper Foundation Piecing

This popular piecing method isn’t viable for every quilt design, but it’s a great way to handle miniature quilts or quilts with complex angles. The blocks turn out really straight because you use the paper as a stitching guide and you don’t need traditional templates.

Silk Fusion

This process of felting with silk fibers has been around awhile, but I really became aware of it last fall when I attended Quilt Festival in Houston. It seems a lot of surface design techniques are spreading over to the “quilt world” and that’s really exciting because it gives us more opportunities to be creative!

Crazy Quilting

When you’re passionate about any craft it can make you a little crazy at times, but in this case I’m talking about a style of patchwork that originated back in the 19th century with whole quilts and can be seen today in all sorts of things from handbags to lampshades.

Quilting: A Creative Process

I’ve mentioned before about the need to be exact when making a quilt. But you don’t always have to stay between the lines.

Lazy Susan Cutting Mat

This is the best invention and a must-have tool if you cut a lot of pieces for patchwork.

When Straight Lines Become Curves

Some quilt patterns, like Storm at Sea, create an optical illusion. The individual pieces are straight-sided squares, triangles, or diamonds, but the overall effect is one of undulating curves throughout the quilt.

The Quilt Trail

The popularity of quilts and quilting has sparked many a road trip with a quilt show as the destination. But in the Southeast, quilts are a part of the journey as travelers explore the Appalachian Quilt Trail.

A Visit to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

If you want to learn more about a craft in a well-equipped studio setting, check out Arrowmont. This distinguished center offers workshops in arts and crafts including ceramics, fibers, metals/jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, warm glass, woodturning, woodworking, sculpture, and book and paper arts.

Vintage and Reproduction Fabrics Make the Old New Again

I know I’ve carried on in the past about all the wonderful contemporary printed fabrics available nowadays for the quilter. But fabric has a long history and great prints have been around for a long time.

Quilters Unite at the 24th Annual Quilt Show in Paducah

For many die-hard quilters, quilting enthusiasts, and wannabes, it’s just not spring without a visit to Paducah, Kentucky, at the end of April when the dogwoods (usually) are in bloom and the Quilt Show lights up the town.

The Quilt Show is About Fashion, Too

Paducah, Kentucky, may not be the fashion capital of the world, but for one day a year, it’s “Fashion Week” for some wearable artists!

Fabric to Dye For

As if there isn't enough fabulous fabric out there to tempt us, now we can design and create our own by dyeing, painting, stenciling, stamping, and printing on inkjet printers. Here are some techniques to try.

Try Free-Motion Stitching and Make an Eyeglass Case

After I wrote about machine quilting, I did a little playing with free-motion stitching. It was fun to see if I could actually write with my sewing machine, and it was a good way to practice control over my movements. Then I turned that little practice sample into a soft case for my glasses.

Basic Technique Meets New Trends in Machine Quilting

Quilting by machine might have been the only way to do it if sewing machines had been invented centuries ago; however, in the not-too-distant past, traditionalists frowned upon machine-made quilts (in fact, some still do). Today, machine quilts are perfectly acceptable and, for many, the preferred way to go.

The Basics: Learn to Hand Quilt

Machine quilting is a joy, and today’s machines are capable of some pretty fancy stitching. But for some of us, there is nothing quite like the quiet contemplation that comes with hand quilting. It is a great way to connect with the past one stitch at a time.

Make a String Quilted Journal

If you have a lot of fabric scraps lying around, you might want to try your hand at string quilting (strip piecing). This traditional technique involves sewing pieces onto a foundation, and here is an easy project to teach you the basics.

Experience The Quilts of Gee's Bend

These amazing quilts from rural Alabama represent a rich tradition of regional quiltmaking and are fine examples of American folk art.

Quilters Save the Planet

Quilting has always been a part of sustainable practices. Today, there are many more quilting materials coming to market to make your quilts "green."

See the World Through Great Fabric

Fabric's can tell us the story of the world. Their fibers, the way that they are created, and the way that they are used can impart important historical, cultural, and sociological information. Did you ever think that by taking a trip to your local fabric shop you could also see the world?

Make a Cool Ultrasuede Applique Pillow Top

Ultrasuede is the perfect fabric for chic, modern appliqué. No need to worry about finishing the raw edges;it cuts clean and doesn’t fray. It’s easy to sew and is available in so many great, rich colors. Make this 9-patch-circle pillow top with some Ultrasuede, and see for yourself.

Give Your Quilt some Dash with Appliqué

Traditionally, appliqué was done painstakingly by hand, turning under the edges of the fabric shapes and sewing them down with tiny stitches. The icons of this technique are the American Baltimore Album quilts, Hawaiian quilts, and Molas—each unique and amazing in design and mastery.

The Magic of Color: How to Make Confident Choices

Quilting is satisfying on so many levels, but especially because it’s about color. Learning about color and the way that colors relate to one another can help build your color confidence and allow you to choose your fabrics wisely and beautifully most of the time.

Color Makes Kaffe Fassett a Master

If you’re a quilter, Kaffe Fassett is a contemporary quiltmaker you need to know. He’s more than a fabulous quiltmaker; he’s a painter, designer, and knitter. He has also written several beautiful books on knitting and quilting, too.

Hang your Quilt on the Wall—without Push-Pins

One of the best ways to maximize the full visual impact of a handmade quilt is to hang it up on a wall instead of using it to cover a bed. Here is a simple way to turn your quilting handiwork into a piece of art. You’ll get a little jolt of pride every time you see it.

Spotlight on Furoshiki: Japanese Wrapping Cloths

Furoshiki is a fun thing to do with fabric that doesn’t involve any sewing. Use this traditional Japanese wrapping cloth for everything from wrapping gifts to transporting clothes. Here's how to make them yourself.

Make this Small Quilt Project and Practice the Basics

Do you love bright, bold, and beautiful fabric prints? Are you new to quilting? Do you want to learn the basics? Or are you looking for a quick and snappy project to use up some of your fabric stash? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then this is the quilting project for you.

Great Quilt Shops: Real & Virtual

There is nothing like walking into a great quilt shop. In addition to all of the beautiful fabric to be seen, I especially appreciate the kinds of service available: staff recommendations, classes and the opportunity to talk about quilting with others that share my passion. While there is nothing like the live experience there are plenty of places to visit online. Here is a list of my favorite places to shop, real and virtual.

Quilters Take to the Road

The craft of quilting has always been a huge community enterprise. Today, quilters can not only forge new connections online but they will also travel great distances just to be with other quilters who understand exactly what it is that drives a quilter’s passion. Here is a list of some upcoming quilt shows and festivals that just may get you packing.

Building a Fabric Stash

Most quilters and sewers are fabric aficionados and have the stashes to prove it. There are several ways to build and manage a fabric stash to make it both useful and inspirational. Here are some important considerations and strategies to help.

Thread holds it together and embellishes too.

Choosing the right quilting thread can make your project much easier to work on and it can also give your quilt the visual impact that inspires a great big "wow!"

A Quilted Lingerie Bag

What girl doesn't need a lingerie bag? This sweet version is a great way to learn some quilting basics and the best part is when you're done you'll have the perfect gift to give or a special reward to keep all to yourself.

Batting Stats

I’m not talking about baseball—although that’s one of my passions! I’m talking about the material that forms the middle layer of a quilt. Batting has evolved so much over the years.

Learn the Lingo

Every discipline has its own jargon. Here are some familiar words that have new meaning when applied to quilting.

What are the three most important things to consider when making a quilt? Fabric, Fabric, Fabric.

It’s what you see and what you feel and for most of us, it’s why we sew in the first place–we just love working with fabric. If you’re new to quilting I recommend starting out with cotton because it’s easy to sew and the cotton fabrics available nowadays are just so gorgeous you may not want to consider anything else.

My Top Ten List of Tools and Equipment I Can’t Live Without

Every craft endeavor necessitates some tools and equipment to make the process more enjoyable and the results better. But if you’re tempted by every gadget available, you won’t have space to create and you’ll spend your time figuring out how to use them or trying to remember where you put them.

Welcome to the CraftStylish Quilting Blog

My name’s Mary Ray and I’m thrilled to be doing this blog for Craft Stylish because I love everything about quilting and, believe me, there’s a lot to love.

Turn Jeans into a Funky Skirt

Create a cool skirt out of a pair of out-of-date jeans. This process also works well with any casual pants you might have lying around, including khakis and linen.

recent comments

Re: Make a Quilted Bag and Tote Your Laptop in Style

I used real pigsuede. It's fairly soft. About midweight. Easy to sew. I don't know about a protecting product -- but that's a good question. However, sometimes I think that leather and suede acquire a nice patina the more they're used and that adds to their "character." I recently purchased a product at the grocery store called Leather Love -- planet friendly leather wipes. I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but the product claims to renew the finish on furniture, purses, jackets, shoes, and more. I'm not sure how they work on suede, however.

Re: How to Make Your Own Cards and Put a Personal Stamp on Your Holiday Greetings

To emboss the velvet, you don't need ink. I went back and stamped over the embossed area with some gold ink.

Re: Make Your Own Buttons from Polymer Clay

This is a great tutorial, Linda. I've always wanted to try this -- buttons are one of my passions and I can't wait to create some of my own.

Re: Try These Techniques for Perfectly Beautiful Seams

Thanks for the question. It's a good one.
When I say -- "Make sure it fits" -- that's because you are trimming away seam allowance and can't get it back if you need to slightly expand your garment.
But -- you do need to finish each seam as you go. You can't wait until you've sewn it all together.

Re: Start with a Clean Slate in 2009! Resolve to Keep a List of Your "I Dids" Instead of "To Dos"

I really don't know why you have to "cure" it. I was following the manufacturer's directions. But, I tried writing on and erasing an uncured pieced and it worked just fine.

Re: Practice Machine-Stitched Trapunto

Hi NietoLynn. You don't need an embroidery machine. I think you can lower the feed dogs and do free-motion stitching on most machines. (If you're machine is older, this would probably be the technique used for darning. Does anybody do that any more?) However, you can stitch around a design without lowering the feed dogs as well, but you'll need to do a lot of pivoting with the needle down in that case. I use about a 3mm stitch length. It takes a little practice to sew consistent even stitches when you're sewing free motion. You need to find a "rhythm," but, it's fun -- and I wouldn't worry too much about trying to obtain perfectly even stitches.

Re: How to Make This Pretty Pink Clutch

Oops! Section C should be 2 3/4" by 8 1/2"

Re: How to Make This Pretty Pink Clutch

Oh! They are really hard to read. Here are the numbers: Section C - 2 1/2" x 8 1/2"; Section A - 3 3/4" x 9 1/2"; Section B - 6" x 17 1/2". Hope this helps. Also, if you right click on the pattern, then click copy and paste it into a word document it's a little easier to read -- but I'll try to see if I can replace what's up with a clearer pattern.

Re: How to Make a (Very) Quick Table Runner for the Holidays

Hey Kly,
Sorry about the confusion. But, trust me, if you fold the runner in half lengthwise, right sides together, stitch and turn right side out you will get a point. Try it on a scrap of fabric just pinning the ends together. Or on a piece of paper, fold the corners toward the center and you get the same result.

Re: How to Compose a Beautiful Scarf from Scraps

I don't think you necessarily have to pink the edges. It depends on the fabric. I think some fraying is cool. Just be careful the fabric doesn't fray away! Cutting on the bias essentially eliminates fraying, too.

Re: How to Compose a Beautiful Scarf from Scraps

Yes, ThreadMaven, I have knitted with fabric. Several years ago I worked in a retail fabric shop and we had a period where we taught classes on knitting sweaters with fabric and making a skirt to match! It was fun and best of all it goes quickly with big needles.

Michaela. I think the technique would make a beautiful skirt. I would suggest adding a layer of tulle for more stability. The fabric strips will be sewn to that, but the over all look will still be sheer between the strips.

Re: Two Wooden Sewing Tools I Wouldn't Live Without

I don't exactly remember where I got mine, but most notions' depts. should carry them. I believe it's a Clover product. I just now "Googled" Bamboo Point Turner and Creaser and found a few links, so give it a shot!

Re: How to Make Cocktail and Dinner Napkins

I used Sulky Blendable Thread, 100% cotton, 30 wt.
There are other brands of blendable or variegated thread -- for example, YLI has one and so does Superior Threads (called King Tut). I love the blendables for quilting and embellishing. It's such as easy way to add pizzaz!

Re: How to Make a Patchwork Duvet Cover

Sorry. I guess I didn't explain well at Step 4 about why you leave the opening at the bottom. However, in the opening paragraph I mention that the cover has openings at the bottom corners so you can put your hand in and pull the comforter to the bottom. I always find that "filling" the cover with the comforter is the hardest part!

Re: Make It: Quilted Flowers

Thanks for your comments. Let me answer your questions.
For sure you could sew the petals first and then cut them out. However, I cut out the shapes first so I can make the batting a little smaller. Then it won't show along the edges. On the other hand, the satin stitching binds the outer edges and -- if the batting is not too thick -- it will be covered with this step. How did I attach them? I just hand stitched them in place. But, gluing on or sewing on a pin back is also a good idea!

Re: Use a Twin Needle to Make a Reusable "Corrugated" Coffee Cup Sleeve

Hey Everyone,
You need a zigzag capable machine so that the hole in the throat plate will accommodate both needles. If your machine only sews straight, chances are the throat plate has a single small needle hole.
You sew with a straight stitch, but since there is only one thread in the bobbin, it needs to go back and forth between the two top threads, forming a zag-zag looking stitch underneath.
To thread the machine, first thread one needle -- as you normally would. Then thread the other, following the same pattern. If possible, place one thread on one side of the tension disc and the other thread on the other side.
Hope this helps!
Oh, I like the comment about the woolly nylon thread. You can also just press after you've stitched and that will flatten out the channel between the rows of stitches.

Re: Seminole Piecing

If you right click on the picture, then left click on copy in the pop-up menu, you can paste the picture into a word document.

Re: Yo-Yos and Couching: Two Easy-to-Do Embellishment Techniques

My yo-yo maker is a small. The yo-yos start out at 2 1/4 inches in diameter and end up 1 inch in diameter. The makers come in different sizes and different shapes, too.

With the yo-yo maker I have no trouble getting the edges smooth.

Re: Welcome to the CraftStylish Quilting Blog

Thanks. Yes, the jacket is one of my creations. Glad you like it.