The Quilter: Quilting with Malke

Posts Tagged ‘advice

Our challenge quilts are due soon and I am pretty excited about it because quite a lot of people bought the challenge fabric.  Remember: they are due the begining of March.

Thanks to all who brought in their UFOs for the contest. But…WE WANT MORE!
Why so shy? All you have to gain is finished projects and cleaner sewing room, and nothing to lose!
Thanks to Susan who sent in  lot of of UFOs:

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Good Luck to all quilters!

Join our new “Finish-a-Work-in-Progress” challenge.  It’s relatively easy:  register your UFOs (UnFinished Object) by emailing or in person, check in with us your progress every 6 weeks, and when each project is completed, show-and-tell to receive a gift of fat quarters.  The one who finishes the most UFOs by the end of the year 2011, receives a gift certificate.  Remember, there are consequences for those who don’t finish… Let the race begin!

Check out the store’s blog for the first UFOs to be submitted!

Good luck! 🙂

I remember watching an old Johnny Carson show when he said, everyone loves talking about their illness as much as everyone  else hates to listen- so I am not going there.  Suffice it to say, for now, I am back and hope to be for a long time.  Health and happiness to everyone in this year of 2011 and 5771.

Our Monthly Raffle is finally back! The prize is a $5 gift card to my store, Sew Materialistic, or a $5 coupon off your next purchase online @ In order to enter please post a comment, ”like” the page, and suggest our Facebook page to a friend. Thanks!

I used to hear my husband laughing hysterically everytime he went to bathroom. He was reading this book: Anthology of Jewish Humor… That’s why I made the quilt: to remember that going to the bathroom CAN be funny!

Here is the rest of the story:

I started creating this Mendel & Zelda quilt waaay back in 1992, though I didn’t finish it until 2002. The story is copied from Anthology of Jewish Humor and handwritten on the quilt. Pictures are from The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. Edges of the couples were finished with puff paint done by my son’s friend’s mother, a professional “yarmulka” artist (she decorated Jewish little boy’s skullcaps). I spent $10 for her steady hand, beautiful work and no headache for me!

And in case you were curious about my husband and my sense of humor, here is an exerpt from the book: 😉 enjoy!

What is a landlord? A bore! He asks you one question all the time-rent! What is rent? A fine you pay for being poor.  What is poverty? Dirt-on the surface. What is riches? More dirt-under the surface. Everybody wants money. Money! What is money? A disease we like to catch but not spread.

“Did you marry me or hire me?” asked Zelde.
“I stole you, now I have to pay the penalty.”
What is love? A conquest. What is marriage? An inquest. Don’t worry, your father was no fool. He made believe he didn’t see us run away. We felt romantic and he got off cheap.

What is romance? Soap bubbles. They look nice, but taste rotten. What’s a woman’s tongue? A little dog’s tail.  It wags too much! What is a dowry? Every man’s price.

Thank G-d I got a clean bill of health for my cancer, but not a week later I am laid up in the hospital with an IV drip 😦  I got an infection in my arm and cellulitis to boot…

Hope to be home in a couple of days, though, and I’ll try to post more then.

I’m having <CENSORED> [complaining] burn-out.  It’s again the time of year for me to start thinking about another newsletter.  I came up with the great idea of not sending out a whole newsletter but instead only a postcard with a burning match on it.  The idea was nixed by one and all, too bad.

I love my quilting store and I love most of my customers, (I’m sure you are one of them), and thank G-d we are doing pretty good in this economy but I still feel burned-out.  In particular, registration for sewing and quilting classes was way down this quarter.  Now I’m cheap and don’t go in for spending my hard earned dollars on anything but quilting fabrics for my stash but I’m always curious about new techniques and patterns and therefore try to take classes that interest me and allow me to grow as a quilter.

There are a few diehards that do take all the classes that we offer and it gives me great pleasure to see them growing and enjoying the sheer joy in learning something new.  Are we not offering enough new and innovative classes?  Should we be offering more detailed work?  More fast and easy?  I dont know where to go so I dont feel like going anywhere.   So there, I’ve said my piece and I feel better [now i have to see if this goes thru my censors](One Word Censored).

I’ve been very busy since I came home from Cleveland; cleaning my sewing room.  I had emptied the whole room out, because I got new shelving, and now I have to put everything back together again.  I’m not having much fun because I would rather be quilting but I like revisiting old friends.

How do you organize your room?

How small a piece of fabric do you keep?

I’m afraid to throw anything out; maybe it will be the one I’ll need for some project.  My not finished pile is huge.  When the room was a mess I didn’t see how many I had,  now I’m amazed.

My daughter, Blima, visited her sister in Argentina and took some pictures of the quilts I made for them.  I will post them this week.

Somebody, who will remain anonymous, sent me this wonderful letter.

“This may not quite qualify as ‘quiltresting’ or as material you would want to share with your readership, but I MUST share it with you!

I just heard about you, ironically, (or perphaps not) from my work colleague. He just called me and we were talking about the fact that my youngest daughter will be leaving for seminary soon and we will be “empty-nesters”. I told him I have taken an interest in quilting and hope that this will help keep me busy while I’m missing my baby!! Who would have guessed that he would be a source for quilting information!! He told me his brother-in-law’s mother (ME!) has a quilt shop in Brooklyn, a website, etc., and he told me about the Holocaust Quilt!! Before I hung up the phone I found the website, the blogs, etc. and I was THRILLED!!

I am the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor (I created a website that you may like to have a look at: and was very interested in seeing the quilt for so many reasons. My mother is an avid quilter who is ALWAYS quilting or crocheting blankets for the Linus Project. I, on the other hand, am a complete novice but have discovered crazy quilts and really want to get started with a sampler.  I finally found the pictures of your Holocaust Quilt by scrolling down in your blog and I was totally blown away. It is the most moving and soul-stirring quilt I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing.

So funny and amazingly wonderful how by mentioning a little something to him (which, by the way, while I was saying it I was thinking – now why would he be at all interested in hearing about my foray into quilting!) could lead me to this treasure trove!

As an aside, my older daughter lives in Washington Heights and I already told her about your store. She said she has a cousin (a wonderful artist) and aunt (from her husband’s side) who were interested in learning quilting, so I will definitely send them to your store! I think they live in Queens, but I will definitely pass on the info.

You are a real inspiration and your work is incredible!! Thank you for sharing it with the world!! Absolutely beautiful!”

My favorite new product is “Quilter’s Home” which is a really fun magazine geared for quilters but not, necessarily, only patterns.  I read it from cover to cover. try it and get addicted just like me!

This was my daughter’s project.

To make a wrap-around baby carrier (like a Moby Wrap):

  1. Cut approximately Five (5) yards of a slightly stretchy fabric 45″- 60″ wide that also “breathes” (eg cotton knit).
  2. Cut in half the long way; making two wraps.
  3. Fold in half the short way.
  4. Iron on or sew an applique to indicate the center for when you are ready to use it.
  5. The two ends should taper off to be points for an easier tie, so cut a triangle off each.

And that’s all folks!

Moby Wrap: Make it Yourself

Moby Wrap: Make it Yourself

Reference This Post

I’ve been working on my daughters dress.  The train, which is the focal point of the gown, is finished but now I have to figure out how to attach it to the skirt.  I have some organza flowers from the train that I think I will use; pictures to come. I used one pattern for the bodice and another for the sleeves and they are not going together that great, so that’s the project for tonight.

Did I mention about the 2 Pronged Pins?  Fantastic to make sure that your seams are in the right place without having to fidget with the seam allowances.
Quilters Suction Cup that makes it more secure when holding down your rulers so they don’t move while you’re cutting.
Fabric Glue that you use as a temporary adhesive so that you don’t need to use pins to hold down the binding when you sew your binding by hand.

A few people contacted me and asked how I got the photo on the fabric for the Exposed Breast Cancer Quilt.  Since I do a lot of photo transfers, I use special fabric bubble jet ink and treat the fabric myself.  The actual xrays is fabric that I carried at the time.  I now have another similar one but not the exact same.  As an aside, I now also sell prepared photo transfer fabric from June Tailor by the piece at $3 each.

I’m sure, by now, all of you out there know that Coats n Clark has changed their thread line.  Not only physically in look but also the thread.  The only colors available in all purpose thread, that is cotton covered polyester, is the large black and white.  They now make two all purpose in 125 yards and 250 yards, these are both polyester covered polyester.  An all purpose 100% mercerized cotton with 225 yards.  Machine quilting 100% mercerized cotton with 350 yards.  Hand quilting 100% glaze finish cotton with 350 yards.

All the cotton threads are from Egypt.  Coats n Clark also continued their specialty threads that vary from store to store because we can now customize our stock.

My youngest daughter became engaged this week so I will be busy preparing for her wedding.  She plans on getting married May 13, 2009.  That doesn’t leave me a lot of time to make her dress!  It started with my oldest daughter, she is a phenomenal sewer and wanted to make her own dress but I heard it was bad luck so we made a deal that I would make her’s and she would make mine.

Little did I know that that would snowball into a tradition and I am now on my fifth wedding gown (only they don’t reciprocate and make my dress!).  She bought her material and designed her dress and now I’m going to have to figure out how to make it.  I can sew but I’m not a professional and do not know how to drape sew.  I will try to write about my progress and would happily accept advice.

The challenge, for the previous challenge quilt, was to use the two red fabrics. The theme was “Helping Hands” because the fat quarters were hand stamped by women in Africa and this was a fund-raising project. If you are a QuiltShow member, you can see more challenge quilts online at

I was laying out a back for a quilt and thought I would tell you about the new way I tape down the back.  I used to use packing tape because it was wide enough and strong enough to hold the fabric taut.

The problem was the residue on my table when I pulled off the tape and that it is not reusable.  I accidentally used medical tape that I found in the house and it has become my new best friend.  It is wide, reusable if it is rolled back on the roll, leaves no residue, and sticks strongly to the fabric and table.

Did you know that Eleanor Burns has a free web site where you can watch her videos?  Her link is

Another common question I get asked at my store:

What colors can I use to go together to make a quilt?

Pick a focus fabric, meaning something you absolutely love and will make you feel good every time you look at it while you are working on it.  The selvage edge (the outside edges of the fabric on the bolt) will have dots of color of all the colors used in the fabric.   Just use this guide to choose your coordinates.  Relax, almost anything works!

Another FAQ:

How much ribbon will make a bow in the hair? 3/4 of a yard.

How much ribbon will make a nice sash with a bow? 2-21/2 yards.

Another FAQ:

What thread should I buy to sew on buttons?

Coats and Clark has a button and carpet thread that is very good for that purpose but it isn’t an all purpose thread and you shouldn’t use it for mending or hemming. In particular, metal buttons are a problem. The metal shank often cuts the threads because there might be a burr in the metal that cuts through almost any thread over time. I read the best thing to use is dental floss. If you get hung up about the color, but really no one can tell (and anyway, who cares what they think anyway?!), use an appropriate colored permanent marker.

Another question I get is:

What should I put in a beginner’s sewing box?


Needles, pins, seam ripper, tape measure, small scissors, resque tape, safety pins, and small variety of threads.

Actually I like giving a filled sewing box for her, a small tool box for him, and a first aid kit for both when I go to weddings.

This is one of the most asked questions in my store:

“How do I know which sewing machine needle I should use?”

Almost all over-the-counter needles that you can buy are for all household machines: one side is flat, one is round.

The 3 brands that I sell are:

Schmetz: a German company that makes a superior needle in many different styles.

Organ: I carry them only in bulk for dressmakers, not the best quality but quite servicable, I use them very often because they are very reasonable.

Singer: most people ask for these right up front, somehow the singer name is still synonymous with sewing. What I like about Singer is that the color code all their needles so you don’t have to guess what is in the machine. Red band [red color on top] are for regular sewing of woven fabrics. Size 14 is also the average size, use a higher number for heavier fabrics and a lower for lighter weight. The red band needles have a sharp point. Yellow band [yellow top] are for stretch fabrics. The point of these needles are actually rounded a little [seen only through a microscope] so that when you sew knits the needle slips between the threads so as not to break them and maybe cause a run. You would also use a very small number yellow band for very fine chiffons.

A paper pieced quilt where all the centers are fods and the setting blocks are bugs.  It’s called “Guess who’s coming for dinner.”  Funny how you learn from every experience.  I learned from this quilt, which is only a small wall hanging, that I shouldnt be lazy about making a sleeve. it never hangs flat because it hangs just on the loops.
My faster way of putting in sleeves is to sew the sleeve and binding by machine at the same time and then go back and hand stitch the bottom of the sleeve the same time that i do the binding.  (Was that clear?)

Guess whose coming for dinner? Quilt

Guess whose coming for dinner? Quilt

In one of the classes we offer, the teacher requested, as part of the supply list, “That Purple Thang.”  Not being a gadget girl, I suggested the students do the same thing I do, use the point of a large seam ripper.  It works for me and I have a few.  This way I don’t have to be looking for that particular tool.

I found a great product (and I am far from a gadget girl) the 2 pronged pins (“Forked Pins“)that will hold down your seam allowance on front and back at the same time.  We sell them.  How convenient is that?

My tech guy says i should always impart some of my phenomenally extensive wisdom on this blog. (FYI, I have a dry sarcastic humor, don’t take it personally)

So here goes: I know that a lot of you new quilters are afraid of making mistakes so you are afraid to try something new. We would all be laying in our cribs drooling and saying “googoo” if we didn’t try something new and different.

For me, its challenges. I join the ones I can to push myself to try something new that i wouldn’t think to try on my own. There is no such thing as bad work. Say it LOUD, say it often! If you love what you’re doing, who else should care? After all these years in the business, I’ve come up with one motto [albeit about clothing construction]: if it’s perfect and all the stripes match, its home-made, store-bought never matches.

Hi, I’m Malke

I've been a quilter for a couple of decades and I decided to share my quilts, methods, joys and thoughts on quilting with the rest of the blogsphere. Please bookmark my blog by clicking the cute "Add This" button below. Read more on the "About Me" page.

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August 2020
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