Whoo Loves You Owl Quilt Pattern

It feels so good to get another pattern done! I loved making this quilt for my granddaughter Madalyn when she was born. It’s such a bright and cheerful happy quilt!

I love the idea of layering the owl and branches over the nine patch background… it makes be want to try other pieced backgrounds like triangles. As long as it’s not to busy it makes and interesting background for a big quilt.

As with my other patterns this one has a thread painting chart to follow or be inspired by – done as you quilt the top. All the pieces are school glued down rather than fused so it remains a soft appliqué design. Available in my Etsy Store – instant download and physical copy.

If you have never tried thread painting check out this post to see the tutorial on the preparation and in the tutorial section there are links to videos for the thread painting ~ these methods applies to all my patterns.

Owl Quilt Cover

This is a detail of the quilting which includes the words “who loves you?”, “daddy loves you”, “mommy loves you”, “papa loves you”, “nana loves you”, and “mimi loves you”. I did free motion quilting swirls all over mimicking the the background fabric which has a lot of swirls.

And my cutie pie is modeling for me!

Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, baby quilt, Child's Quilt, Designing, Free Motion Quilting, Longarm Quilting, Owl, Patterns, Quilted Wallhanging, Quilting, Raw Edge Applique, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Ellie’s Birdies”…a new quilt pattern

After a long break from pattern making I was able to wrap my head around it again to finish this one!

Pattern writing is much Much MUCH harder than you think! But I’m so glad to have this one ready to download and print. This pattern is the one that got me interested in thread painting to begin with! I made it for my second granddaughter, Eliana Sofia, six years ago so it’s been a long time coming. But I really didn’t plan to make a patterns until after I had made 5 thread painted quilts and given them all as gifts! Then it dawned on me…. I had a style pattern I would like to produce.

single cover

And what is different about mine?

I include a special thread painting map drawn in Photoshop to show anyone who wants help deciding where to to thread paint and how it should look… taking the guesswork out of it for first time thread painters or just to give you another approach than you might have thought of.

Part of the inspiration for this quilt was the birds I stenciled on her wall above her crib.

Eliana's Room

(The Flower Quilt in this picture is actually the first quilt I made her – that may be another pattern in the future although not one that is thread painted. When I took this photo, I hadn’t made the Birdie Quilt yet!)

You can find this pattern in my Etsy Store – instant digital download and physical copy.

Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, baby quilt, Child's Quilt, Designing, Free Motion Quilting, Longarm Quilting, Patterns, Quilted Wallhanging, Quilting, Raw Edge Applique, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

60 Degree Quilt Progress

In my last post I started sharing my latest stash busting obsession found on Kim Bracket’s Blog Magnolia Bay Quilts here. (Go to My Tutorial Page to find all three of her tutorials.)

60 Degree Quilt rows

Here are some of the triangles and rows I’ve made so far. I put together a few rows to get a sense of how my triangle units were going to look and realized I tend to have fewer triangles than I would like! I’m so glad I checked! With this random crazy quilt kind of construction method, it’s hard to know what “patterns” might emerge (or not!) so after you have a few dozen triangles its a good idea to put a few rows together.

One of my solutions is to strategically cut off part of a triangle unit I made and replace that part with a small triangle section. In the photo above you can see I have a LOT of long side strips compared to triangles…I like triangles a lot more so I want more of them. If you like strips you may be fine with what I have got going already. Kim’s version has a lot of triangles and that is what attracted m in the first place.

Here you can see how I selected a side of a unit to hack off.


Here you can see I have replaced it with way more strips …what was I not thinking? Actually I thought I sewed  pieces on that were wide enough to trim to triangles… obviously not so back to the sewing table to fix the ones I’m not happy with! At the very least chopping them up does give me some smaller shapes.

Note to Self: Don’t forget you wanted some bigger shapes for special quilting later! Don’t get chop happy… I do forget previous intentions and plans… sigh.

extended triangles

Well… back to the feather weight to sew more units! From my pile of unused fabric I’m guessing I’ll be able to make at least 3-4 lap quilts!

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It’s been a rough start to the new year with the flu season and thread painting took a big break! To get out of the cold-rums I found my self getting obsessed with making quilt tops by busting my stash. It started with a triangle quilt for my grandsons and I was able to get three (!) quilt tops from ONE shoebox of teal, yellow and grey/white fabrics! How great is that?

The triangles are part of that obsession for busting my shoeboxes of smallish pieces so when I saw this next idea I jumped right on it. It’s call the 60 Degree Quilt. Every angle cut is made using your ruler’s 60 degree angle line to trim the shapes into either triangles or parallelograms and the occasional diamond.

The best part is NO measuring! And you build the shape as you go cutting with that 60 degree angle but there is literally no size to worry about. The tutorial link is here and on my tutorial page. I will show you my personal progression.

Did I mention these colors make me Sooooo HAPPY?! Who can stay down looking at these wonderful colors? I was really stumped about how to use them up …what pattern would fit them AND me?? I’m not really big on small pieces that have to get cut out first 🙄 and in general I don’t prefer to quilt over lots of seams sooooo these pieces have sat there for at least five years or more.

There may be more seams than I like and the quilting may need to be simple but I also may make sure some bigger plain fabric shapes make it into this quilt so perhaps I can do a little specialty quilting in them… Maybe even thread sketching!

I can already sense this quilt evolving!

So here is what I did and for even more info you can check out the tutorial links.

First I cut out a few random triangles and parallelograms using the 60 degree angle only (the tutorial tells you how specifically).

Since I am using pieces smaller than a fat quarters, but not as small as scraps (although I do have some of those too) I also cut those pieces into a selection of strips – 2.5″; 3″; 1.5″; 4″ etc – basically you want a narrow to wide variety.

I organized them by size and color.

Then you pick a triangle, parallelogram or unit you already made and sew it to a strip of fabric or a scrap!

I also place several triangles or units I’ve made on a strip continually because I strip piece when ever I can.

It’s best to have your cutting mat and iron mat and iron handy near your sewing machine for this method because you will sew, iron the seam to one side and trim before sewing the next piece on. I wish I had a huge sewing room like the magazines but that’s not the case so the dining room table works!

And a coordinating bunch of flowers nearby always adds to the inspiration!

I will continue until I have a bunch of units (first photo) and then join them into strips for the quilt top assembly. And I’ll post that progress here too.

Check out that tutorial and start busting your stash!

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Spring has Sprung!

I am really loving these colors! So much so I just had to buy those flowers at Trader Joe’s today! It’s a happy bunch to be working near ~ so inspiring! 

I have the thread painting chart done and soon the mini quilt will be too! Then it will just be a matter of completing the directions and the pattern will be complete. 

 Don’t forget to check out the new Pattern Prep Tutorial for the glue basting technique. Please let me know how you like it!

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Preparing Patterns for Glue Basting Tutorial – Part 2

To continue the tutorial I started here, I will tell you about the glues I recommend and why and how to go about gluing your masterpiece in preparation for machine thread painting an quilting.

7. My flower pieces are all cut out and I have chosen to make a background with the three sections drawn in the Master. I would also look great with a light green fabric for the whole square.

8. About the different types of adhesives that can be used – you have options according to your preference. There is Aileen’s Fabric fusion spray, Elmers school glue, Liquid Stitch and Steam-a-Seam (fusible web).

My washable preference is school glue if I’m doing a lot of thread painting on the edges of each cut piece because it IS washable and temporary and adds no extra stiffness to the quilt AT ALL.

(Steam a Seam also allows a pretty soft quilt and is a good option but all the pattern pieces MUST BE REVERSED first…I just don’t care for that step nor the need for using a lot of the webbing ironed onto a big piece of fabric – I fussy cut most of my pieces for the effect I want to pull from it and therefore would be using and expensive amount of it.)

My permanent preference is Liquid Stitch, used sparingly!, for those artquilts with less stitching on the edges.

(Fabric fusion spray is another option but since I tend to make messes when spraying ANYTHING, I steer clear! I did use it making a tuffet when the foam absolutely needed it and managed not to get it everywhere!)

9. Place your master back on your light source and the background centered on top of it. You should be able to see your master through most fabrics – as you can see here it does come through the green.

( If using black or super dark background where the master doesn’t show through you will have to use other methods of transferring the master – which is not covered here.)

Lay out your pieces to orient yourself and start gluing them down putting a light amount on the edges. Leave the freezer paper on – hopefully it stays on but don’t worry if it doesn’t.

School glue can come out fairly slow – don’t open it much so that it does – allowing you to put a small bead of it on the edges. Put it in place and IRON IT dry. This is a must or it will come up when you don’t want it to. If you do need to move it, it can still be peeled up, re-glued and replaced.

Liquid Stitch is much thicker than school glue and doesn’t always come out of the applicator easily…mine usually dries in it. It can be cleaned out but I’m usually impatient with that and tend to use a toothpick to dab small amounts on the edges. I put a bit more than I normally would on the piece in the photo so it would show up well in the photo, but that is more than you really need…try to put less.

ALWAYS remember to be considering and re-checking which pieces need to go under others and place ALL of them in a section first… liquid stitch is not too forgiving if you need to pull up a piece!

Well here you see next is  my progression for this mini quilt as well as my audition for the border fabric in the last photo.

I can’t wait to get to the thread painting! I will be going lightly on the lupine adding some lighter highlights to the dark fabric and darker shading to the light fabrics.

The large poppy will most likely get satin stick stamens for the center …unless I end up not liking it and switch to a different stitch.

Select a photo to see it larger.

The pattern for this mini quilt includes a chart for thread painting with color suggestions…as soon a I create it! I hope to have it ready for purchase in a week or so!


Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, Designing, Free Motion Quilting, Ideas For Art Quilts, Mini Quilt, Patterns, Quilted Wallhanging, Quilting, Raw Edge Applique, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Preparing Patterns for Glue Basting Tutorial – Part 1


Poppy Master for blog

Spring Poppy Master

  1. Using the Master of the pattern you have, in this case the Spring Poppies, tape it to a light source (window or light box). Lay a piece of freezer paper, shiny side down, on top of it an tape it down.
  1. Look for the piece(s) that will be the foremost with no other pieces on top of it or alone and trace them with a solid line. These pieces will get glued last. I number groupings (i.e.Large Poppy) with the lower numbers getting glued first and the higher numbers getting glued last. The lower numbers most of the time need seams – in this case for The Large Poppy, pieces LP1 and LP2 will need seams where they go under LP3 and LP4.This tutorial will use the Spring Poppies pattern as an example of how to prepare your pattern pieces. You can use this method of glue basting for any pattern before stitching.Some of my smaller patterns (like this one actually!), come with the pieces ready to transfer to freezer paper and include the needed seams. LARGE PATTERNS do NOT have the pieces ready to transfer because they would not fit on 8.5 x 11 paper for download.Follow these instructions which will also teach you to add seams to your pieces where needed as you trace them on freezer paper directly from the master.

    Trace Poppy Master pieces

    Trace and label pattern pieces on freezer paper with seams.

  1. Use a dashed line to draw the seam line – – – – – for the cutting edge; use a dotted line to show where a piece will lie on top of it . . . . . . this is a helpful reference when placing pieces. Use a solid line ______for the other cutting edges. Also transfer any numbers/names included on the master – LP1, RP 4, ML7,etc. When all the pieces are cut out, it’s easy to confuse which go where and this will help match them to the Master!
  1. Treat all your pieces in this manner deciding which edges go under a piece needing a seam and which do not.
  1. Loosely cut out the pieces you traced onto freezer paper – no need to be exact at this point.IMG_1488

Here you see my basket of fabrics that I might be considering for my Spring Poppies. I like to mix marbled fabric, batiks and subtle prints. I tend to stay away from high contrast or busy prints because most of the time these will compete with the thread painting. I start playing with fabric combos putting the pattern pieces with the colors I select.


  1. Iron your pattern pieces to the proper pieces of fabric – shiny side down. Cut them out on the lines (solid and dashed) – be sure NOT to cut off your dashes as they will remind you which side is a seam to go under another piece.


  1. In the photo above, I selected background fabrics – the greens and pale blue. The Purple print will be my barber fabric. According to the pattern you are using, either:                                                                a.) select one piece of fabric cut to the size required in the pattern for the background or                                                                                                                   b.) cut out the background pieces drawn in the master needed for your pattern for assembly remembering to add a seam to the edges that need it.

In Part 2 I show you how to arrange and glue down all the pieces.

(The Spring Poppy pattern is not yet available but will be soon after this tutorial is completed…it is being made right along with the tutorial and I will post it’s progress!)


Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, Designing, Free Motion Quilting, Ideas For Art Quilts, Mini Quilt, Patterns, Quilted Wallhanging, Raw Edge Applique, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching, Tutorials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Your Pet “Photo to Art Quilt” Part 4

The stage we’ve all been waiting for!

The Thread Painting of Chisum

                                                                      …has been mostly completed!

Chisum finished

To have a quilt portrait commissioned of your pet, leave me a comment or email me at laurasapko@gmail.com

I executed the  thread painting of Chisum in two stages which I will break down for you – first on stabilizer and then finished it as the quilt sandwich.

Here he is with very little left to do on his leg and the background. But I am leaving for a while to visit a new grandson so this will have to wait for a few weeks to be fully completed. Select the photo to enlarge.

In the first stage of the thread painting, I have thread painted Chisum’s cute little puggy face on the quilt top only first ,with stabilizer, quite heavily with black thread. Below you can see how much the “painting” defined simple shapes and mixed with the fabric color to create even finer layers of detail. The batiks added some detail I wanted to keep which also help define a face roll or other highlights but adding a little black thread added even more color and detail.

It’s very,VERY important to notice the direction of the fur when thread painting and mimic that direction to maintain life likeness. When using the zig-zag stitch this requires a lot of rotating of the quilt. I did at times also use the straight stitch when I wanted less application of thread – it takes longer to build up thread with the straight stitch. Select the photo to enlarge.

Chisum's face partial        Chisum applique

In some areas I use zig-zag in a meandering or circular way to get a more random application that is great for shading effects – much like cross hatching when you sketch.

Chisum shading detail

I like to draw on the fabric with a chalk pencil to map out where I want thread painting to go by looking at the photo source for direction. It helps since you have to turn the piece for the thread to go in the direction you want it to. Draw your chalks strokes in the direction you want to stitch them too!

draw with chalk             detailing with thread3

And the wonderful surprise is what it looks like on the back side!  Select the photo to enlarge.

thread painting back

I like it so much that it has me thinking I will do a black and white rendering in thread! Unfortunately this lovely detail on the back will be hidden in the quilt sandwich! But I was sure to get a good photo.  Select the photo to enlarge.

Why the two stages of thread painting? The stitching is pretty dense in the black areas and dense stitching tends to draw in on the fabric and flatten a quilt sandwich so it’s best NOT to do a lot of heavy “painting” on a quilt sandwich.

The “painting” I did on Chisum’s body is more spread out and on the level of quilting as far as density goes. The shadow pieces have the most application of thread on the edges and then loose stitching through out his body to get the feel off fur. It also provides quilted texture and movement and helps give the sense of dimension when you pay attention to the way the fur curves. I also let the fabric I chose represent the shadow and did not add more with thread – that would have built up too much and flattened te sandwhich. And I really want the focus to be on Chisum’s face so I chose the body to e treated more simply and the background even more so.

All I have left to do is a little of the light tan stitching on his paw (I ran out!), some simple quilting on the blue cushion and the finishing binding. I will post the finished piece as soon as it’s done.

Please ask questions and let me know if this tutorial was helpful and give your suggestions for others thread painting projects or tutorials! I would love to do more!

This handsome dude comes from Black Powder Farm Little Dogs in SE Kansas!

To have a quilt commissioned of your pet, leave me a comment visit my store.


Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, Designing, Dogs, Free Motion Quilting, Mini Quilt, Mini Quilt Ideas, Pets, Quilted Wallhanging, Quilting, Raw Edge Applique, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thread Painting Student work!

Teaching thread painting these last few months has been both a challenge and a joy! It has challenged me to be clear about this technique which can feel very awkward or foreign the first time you try it…much in the same way a crochet hook or knitting needles might feel awkward for the first time. But it’s the same as sewing right? Well, yes and no. You are familiar with it on one level because you ARE sewing with two stitches you know…straight and zig-zag BUT the direction you need to sew in is different! For the zig-zag stitch which I use A LOT, you are always moving right/left rather than front/back. Everything in you is trained to move your fabric from the front of the machine to the back to get a straight line so it can throw you off at first to move right/left to get a straight line.

Thread Painting Student

This is Maria who is SUCH a motivated enthusiastic first time student to thread painting! She is working on her first piece in my second class in the series and to my surprise, jumped right in and did a double pumpkin project! I love that she was inspired to make a double sized project before even being totally comfortable with the technique, showing no fear! That’s a great way to be with new techniques – just dive in! Have fun, and if you make mistakes – no big deal – learn from them and keep going! And THINK BIG like Maria! That is actually how I like to roll… if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing big! Go Maria!

Maria's Pumpkins


Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, Designing, Free Motion Quilting, Mini Quilt, Patterns, Quilted Wallhanging, Quilting, Raw Edge Applique, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Pet “Photo to Art Quilt” Tutorial Part 3

And now we get to the really fun part of this tutorial! Assembling the Pug Art Quilt!
Chisum - Art Quilt ready to thread paint

Here is Chisum assembled and ready to thread paint. But before we get to the thread painting, I will take you through the assembly.


A few words about my background: You see the two main colors plus and added layer of fusible pellon that I cut to be approximately .25″ smaller than the light colored body areas of Chisum. The lighter fabric would show the background through too much. Whenever that happens, there are a few choices:

1.You can cut away the background from beneath the light areas after gluing all the edges of the subject.

2. You can use white fabric or fusible pellon layer to keep the background color fro showing through too much. Check out the link to see another instance where I used white fabric.

I chose the pellon because it tends to be a lighter weight layer than the white fabric I have and it does the job. If it was a darker body color, I would only use the pellon on the area the will get a lot of thread painting to stabilize it – in this case, his face will be getting a lot of thread painting.

NOTE: Whenever I have an area I want heavily thread painted, I paint a portion of it with stabilizer – about half to three quarters of what I want painted. I reserve the rest to be added to the quilt at the sandwich stage. At that point the thread painting is also part of the quilting. I don’t like an excess of thread painting to be a part of the quilting so when I know I want a lot of it, I do it in two stages – one with stabilizer on the  heavily painted area and the remaining on the quilt sandwich. I will show and mention this again in the thread painting portion of this tutorial.

IMG_0572     IMG_0575   Chisum applique

It’s time to start assembling Chisum’s face! This is done on your light source with your master laid on top of it and taped down. I’m showing two stages above. On the left you see the background on the master and I have laid down the medium and dark orange pieces because they are behind Chisum so they get glued first. I use Elmers Clear School Glue.

On Gluing the Edges – Put VERY TINY dots of glue on the edge of the pieces. Not much glue is needed. As each edge gets glue, iron it to set it, being careful not to put excessive amounts of glue. Special applicator bottles with fine tips can be used or a toothpick or a fine brush if the glue bottle allows too much glue to come out. After ironing you may see dry glue that has seeped through the fabric but this glue is starch based and if after thread painting it’s still visible it can be blotted away with a wet rag. For more on Glue Basting and products, go here.

I am doing Chisum’s face on the right directly on the master which is on the light table. I decided to do this in order to make his face as one piece first and then put it on the background as a unit. There are so many pieces, it will be easier to do without the the background under it. I pin a few pieces to the master and only glue fabric to fabric, building from the bottom up. Even the darkest of my fabrics allow light to come through with a bright light table!

  IMG_0582  IMG_0583

When I finished the face, I glued his body pieces to the background and lastly his bead. I was planning to thread paint his eyes entirely but as you see above, he looks like and alien and that really bothers my granddaughter so I put in some fabric eyes, below, and even drew in with black permanent marker where I want black thread painting to go…because I know she would ask until I did it… there’s just something disturbing about blank eyes to a 5 year old!

Next step is thread painting….

Have any questions so far?


Posted in Applique, Art Quilt, Designing, Free Motion Quilting, Ideas For Art Quilts, Mini Quilt, Mini Quilt Ideas, Pets, Quilted Wallhanging, Quilting, Thread Painting, Thread Sketching, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments