Has it “fallen” yet at your house?

Not so much here–still pushing 80 and most leaves are green, but fall is around the corner. I’ve noticed pumpkins are appearing on steps, beside carts, and in the super market. It’s a time for switching from pinks to oranges. Suddenly, those spring flowers look a bit garish and out of sync. When that happens, we change our wardrobes and start adding some blacks and browns to tone things down. The same goes for our sewing room. it’s time to think about other colors and designs.

I’ve never designed an entire quilt for fall–probably because it seems so fleeting with the Christmas season starting in September. However, it’s fun to work on runners and hot pads that scream AUTUMN. Choose your method–piecing or spplique –and make some pumpkins….(or spiders!)

Great Pumpkins Runner in 3 Sizes #CC240
Halloweensie Weensie Spider Wall Hanging #1027
Ms. Spider Spins at Night HUGE platter pad #2027
Pumpkin Time HUGE platter pad $CC2024
Jackson-o-Lantern Five Lap Quilt or Hanging #CC2313

Look at that happy family above! Make your own family happy with some cute pumpkins. Whether subdued and elegant or bright and cheerful, there’s surely at least one you like!! Browse for these and more fall patterns:

https://sewgocreate.com/ There’s a great search bar. Order with a credit card and the pattern comes directly to you, but please give us some time because it’s not automatic–we have to jump through a few hoops to get it sent!


PS You can also find me in the Facebook group: thefabrichut.com Join more than 10,000 quilters around the world for free. it’s a fun group. On the “Media” page, there are several of my “sewalong” tutorials with lots of tips! A new one on Tips for Sewing Tips is coming in a week or so!

Get CRAZY and strip!!

Yes, indeed, we quilters like “crazy” and love to strip…strip-piece quilts, that is. At least I do. I just this week tried out paper-piecing, using some old rolls of adding tape paper–you know, the kind sane people threw out years ago but hoarders might have in their stashes. At least I do. I got a brief glance of someone using it to make crazy quilts and came up for an idea for my “Bridge over Troubled Waters” wall hanging:

“Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by LJ Christensen

I actually decided I wanted 1″ strips, so I slowly and carefully trimmed 38″ strips of adding tape to 1 1/2″ widths. It’d be easier to work with the full width, I assure you. However, normal strips are generally fine for backing paper-pieced crazy lengths. I sewed the rows together as I finished each strip. (See photo below.)

Creating water, row by row–see paper backing on right top.

I chose this quiet palette of grays, soft sage, pale blue and aqua to look watery but also “stormy and troubled”; I even included some gray clouds. I started by attaching small scraps. It wasn’t totally random. I actually used some pieces on nearby rows to extend a color or print a little (as seen in the photo below). I was trying to get the look of choppy water by using angles. I also made a conscious effort to choose the lightest colors for the water behind the bridge to indicate depth of focus in the background. I put a little green on each side for the banks. Then I added long strips of aqua blue for the sky to contrast with rumbling water.

Close-up of the water

The bridge’s road and arches were literally glued on top of the pieced front. I adhered paper-backed fusible web on the fabric, cut out arches, etc., removed the paper, and ironed them on. Then I went back and stitched the edges with satin stitch (close-together zigzag). I ironed fusible fleece on the back of the quilt and machine-quilted in chaotic swirls. I puffed out the bridge stanchion supports by cutting the fleece on the back , stuffing in a little polyfill, and hand-stitching the fleece closed. I did that to the clouds as well. That method, which adds a little texture, is called trapunto. I also stitched in some birds, just for fun. (See photo below.)

Trapunto clouds and stitched birds.

I’m not sure if I even like this wall hanging–it’s certainly not usual choice of palettes, but it was an interesting project. Obviously, this method could be used with any colors, and I’d recommend using the full width of the adding tape. The real advantages are that you can keep your edges really straight and even by simply trimming the fabric along the paper edges when done and of course, since it’s a continuous roll, you can make any length you want. Also, since it’s narrow, you can use up really small scraps very efficiently.

The disadvantages are that using real paper instead of soft paper-piecing paper could dull your needle a little faster (though I didn’t notice any decrease in sewing capability) and that it might actually be hard to even find adding tape rolls these days! However, I have a lot of faith in internet browsing for that.

All in all, I loved using some carefully hoarded scraps and adding tape! If you like to paper-piece, give it a whirl!

PS No, this is NOT a pattern. I’m not even sure I could make a pattern for it or that anyone would want it. Think of it a “trying a new technique.” After all, that’s one of the best reasons for making wall hangings! This one, however, was made for the Society of Arts and Crafts Water Show in Montgomery, Alabama. It’ll be the SAC’s gallery on Perry Street for a few week if you live near and want to see it.

===until next project, Libby

Don’t sew today….

Tips for fused fabric designs by Christensen Creations

instead, take a few minutes to fuse a design! Yes, believe it or not, I’ve been fusing today. I will admit I generally prefer to sew on my appliques, but once in a while, it’s fun play with paper dolls.

That’s what fusible applique is all about–literally, it’s cut and paste, and other than using an iron, a 6-yr-old could do it. On the other hand, it does give the opportunity for a small, complex design that’s easier to cut than sew. This is my design for “The Cat’s Back on My Quilt.”

I drew up the lines of the quilt on the computer, just to get it in perspective, and I found the cat on line as a free silhouette, printing it in several sizes to get the one I wanted. I cut it out separately to go on the top layer.

To get the quilt right, I simply printed the lines and cut the “squares,” numbering each. Each has a slightly different shape. I placed them in order like a puzzle, then cut the “binding” and added the cat.

NOTE–I’ve put the cat and the quilt designs on the landing page (“Home”) of https://sewgocreate.com so that you can download them for free.

Now for the tips on fusibles. Be aware that there are several types. I usually use the regular “Heat’n’Bond.” Here are my suggestions:

  1. Cut and press your background. If it’s soft or thin, I have good luck these days with spray “luxe” finish–unlike the old spray starch, it doesn’t gunk up your iron or leave white flakes. It adds some moisture for good steam and gives a little more body to the fabric. (It’s good for individual scraps as well when quilting!)
  2. Fuse the paper-backed fusible web to the backs of fabric pieces just large enough for your needs. (Always fuse first and cut out shapes later so that you get the glue all the way to the edges!) Leave the paper on!!
  3. You can free-form cut or use a template for the pattern pieces. Pin templates on the front of your fabric or trace them on the back paper. HOWEVER–remember to REVERSE them if you trace on back or they’ll point the wrong way. (You can even use flowers or novelty items on printed fabric. Just back them with the paper-backed fusible web and cut around the edges! See the Jug of Flowers below.)
  4. When you have some pieces ready to fuse and the heated fabric has cooled, remove the paper. (If you remove it while it’s still hot and moist, it’s possible to tear off the fusing glue–I’ve found to my dismay!) Removing the paper can be difficult, but the answer is to SCORE the paper with a pin or needle. (Seriously, it works well, tearing just the paper so that it’s easy to pull off!)
  5. Line up the pieces of your design, paying attention to layers. Sometimes there are pieces that should overlap other pieces. Add the overlaps later, of course. (For instance, petals of a flower might be placed before the center. Or you might want the leaves and stems UNDER a flower.) When you’re sure, lower the iron straight down to start the fusing. (If you move it too quickly, you can accidentally move some of the pieces–been there, done that.) Once everything has adhered a bit, you can move the iron back and forth until every part has had time to melt.
  6. Finish up with any overlapping pieces.
A jug of (printed on fabric)flowers with simple freeform leaves and stems

I don’t really recommend this type of applique for clothing because the fuse doesn’t hold up too well in hot water or the dryer. Also, the edges of the pieces can fray with wear. It’s OK for wall hangings or accent pieces of decor or just for fun. We need to have fun with fabric! Just one more way to do it!

By the way, if you’re in the Montgomery area, I’m teaching some sewing classes at The Kelly Fitzpatrick Center for the Arts in Wetumpka–Aug 17-25,2023. Contact me at libbychr@yahoo.com for a schedule. I’m the first “Artist-in-Residence” and will also be demoing most afternoons this week and next. NO-SEW Fused Fabric Art is one of the classes, but now you already have my tips!

Celebrating “The Quilts at Poppy Lane Farm”

Details and techniques described for an award-winning art quilt wall hanging, “The Quilts at Poppy Lane Farm” by Libby J Christensen.

“The Quilts at Poppy Lane Farm” is not a pattern, but I hope it’s an inspiration for you! I used a lot of different techniques–sewn applique, fused applique, thread painting, free-motion quilting, and photos on fabric. I added some shading and perspective for artistic techniques. It recently took a 2nd place in 3D art at an ART show, and I’m very excited to say it’s featured on NancysNotions.com in the quilting blog. https://nancysnotions.com/the-amazing-details-in-this-quilt-woah/ (Celebrate, celebrate! Dance to the music!)

If you look along the sidebar on my landing page, you should also find a little video I did, showing and describing the details. It was so much fun to make the quilt and also to try doing a video by myself! https://sewgocreate.com

On the left side, I placed the side of a house, showing a window with a cat (fused) peeking out, lace curtains (doily), plastic “glass” (freezer bag) bias tape (regular and double-folded) window sill, blue shutters (made with little pleats), siding of white “plank” fabric, and roof of gray “roofing tile” fabric. I quilted along the lines of the planks and tiles. I also used an extra layer of fusible fleece to back the house. (Unfortunately, the plastic “glass” got torn, so I removed it.) BELOW

Cat looking out the window over the poppies

ABOVE Under the window are the thread-painted poppies. The bulb parts are a programmed shape on the sewing machine. The stems are simply satin-stitched. However, the leaves, red petals and black interiors are done with free-motion “thread painting.” (Lower the feed dog and just move the fabric back and forth to form the shape you want.) The poppies arise from a brown dirt “bed.”

In front of the barn is a “pebbled” driveway, quilted with little circles that echo the “pebbles.” The grass started as a stripey strippy multi-green print, but I also made big zigzags with a variegated green thread in sort of a hybrid of quilting/thread painting, some stitching overlapping the pebbles and side of the barn. I added a donkey because my friend who owned Poppy Layne Vintage shop (where I had a booth) and lives on a farm ALSO has a donkey. BELOW

The Poppy Lane Farm barn

The donkey!!

BELOW The big tree was so much fun to make! I started by ironing paper-backed fusible web (Wonder Under) to the back of a piece of rough bark-looking brown fabric. (Always fuse before cutting out!). I cut out a tree “skeleton” of the large branches. (Use a pin to score the paper to make it easy to pull off.) I satin-stitched around and on the trunk and all the branches, adding a few more small branches.

Next, I cut out a million or so leaves. Actually, I didn’t count (…and they really are pretty big for the size of the tree, but this is fictional!) Since trees are usually lighter on top and shaded below, I incorporated a lot of different greens. To make the leaves, I fused the paper-backed web on small pieces of fabric, removed the backing and then cut little leaf shapes. I gently placed them where I wanted them, overlapping here and there, and when satisfied, I lowered the iron straight down and fused them all at once. BELOW

The background, by the way, was already pieced and quilted along horizontal lines and around the clouds. It’s a piece of “cloud” fabric, a piece varying with strips of tan, gray and blue, and another piece with the yellows and greens. (They looked like fields to me, and possibly even the ocean in the distance if you want to think so.) BELOW

Girl on the tree swing

ABOVE Now for the girl on the swing: the swing was easy–just a tube of “wood plank” and some hemp twine (at Walmart I happened across a pkg with 5 different weights of twine!) I threaded the twine through the fabric and made knots. On the tree, I tucked it under some leaves to fuse it in place.

ABOVE The girl took some work. I had to draw a figure (which I’m not used to doing!) and try to get her arms, legs and feet in position. (I wasn’t about to attempt a little face–too hard for the under an inch. Someone else can tackle THAT challenge!) Once I had a pattern template drawn, I cut the basic body out of a pale tan with fused web and added her shoes. I was delighted to find I could tuck the seat right under her knees before fusing. Then I cut simple clothing. The hair was easy because the fabric I used for the field of “wheat” had little curls.

Close-up of the mom hanging a quilt

ABOVE The mom’s hair was also easy, just a piece of strippy stripey fabric (in the color of my friend’s hair), but I tied a real bow of 1/8″ ribbon around it to add a 3D touch. Again, I had to draw up a figure first, then put clothes on her. Her jeans are just a simple piece of chambray fused on over the shirt and shoes. Notice, however, that I took a few minutes to add “jeans style” stitching, including pockets. That detail really helps them look correct. The overalls, though, I made from scratch (like Barbie/Ken clothes!!) I also made the tiny boxers-did you see the little red apples in the plaid?

Of course, the central image of the quilt is the clothes line and quilts. The poles are tubes of “wood” just top-stitched down. The twine is heavier because it’s “closer,” and the line is angled in perspective, as are the quilts. The biggest quilt is a fully pieced and quilted miniature, made of vintage fabrics. The wooden clothespins I found on line at Thread Art. The plastic ones (smaller for the perspective!) were attached to an LED light cord for Christmas cards, I think. BELOW

The clothes line with quilts and clothes

ABOVE The two smaller quilts are PHOTOS! They are both my own designs. In fact, I took the mulberry one to a recent art show and got 3rd place in 3D art! It’s on my website, called “Check Out my Purple Heart” #2309. The smaller one is “Pocket Lozenge Throw” #2311. I used Adobe Photoshop to put the photos in perspective, then printed them on photo fabric. I put a backing on each (like a pillow slip) and did a little quilting too faint to see here.

BELOW Here’s the entire wall hanging. I had used an interlining to quilt with, but it was so ugly with all the weird quilting and zigzag stitching that I covered it with the plain navy for a backing and binding. Then I quilted just a little around the buildings to hold the pieces together. Also, in this shot, you can see the shading I added under the tree by using a dark green thread on top of the variegated used earlier.

“The Quilts at Poppy Lane Farm” by Libby J. Christensen

This took me back to my early childhood. My grandparents lived on a farm with a barn behind the house. Ah, memories! I challenge you to try your hand at a pictorial quilt. It’s a bit like playing with dolls! Too much fun!

What do you call a baby elephant?

………………………………….cute!! Except for THIS one, which I call “Baby Bargello-phant” because it has an easy bargello-style background.

Now WHY would you want an elephant? For a cute baby quilt, of course. And if you happen to know a University of Alabama fan, you just might end up knowing a Bama Baby!

The original pattern was designed www.thefabrichut.com using their bundle of red and white print fat fifths (on sale now) and matching red 63″-wide cotton (#FF2327), but I ALSO reconfigured all the measurements to work with fat quarters and 43-44″-wide fabric (#CC2328).

TheFabricHut.com version is posted on Facebook page of TheFabricHut.com, which is hosting my FACEBOOK LIVE MAY 10, 2023, at 5 p.m. demo!! Just join the group and watch live or the recording late. I have other recordings there as well!

The regular version of the pattern is now available on sewgocreate.com for just $3 until the end of May 2023!! Get it before it goes up!

Both patterns have explicit directions for how to strip-cut and loop rows in the bargello method. Here’s a typical bargello quilt:

“Mulberry Fields Forever” #CC2308 also available

“Bargello” speeds up the piecing of the top 3 and bottom 2 rows around the elephant. The center rows are worked column-by-column with all squares and rectangles-very basic piecing. (By the way, the elephant’s little 8″x8″ “blanket” would be a great place to embroider a name.)

Perfect little quilt for a baby or toddler boy, but could be done in pinks and yellow with floral background for a darling little girl. Do you have a baby in your future? Bama or otherwise??

It’s LIVE!!!

Christensen Creations has several patterns to use fabric yoyos on quilts, wall hangings, hot pads and clothing. Link to a blog with full instructions.

WHAT is live? My guest blog for MadameSew.com on how to make yoyos to embellish clothing and quilts is now “live,” meaning posted!

This one includes specific step-by-step directions and about 20 photos. Click the link to go read it:


In honor of my collaboration with Madame Sew, I’ve put all my yoyo patterns on sale. Try one!!

Happy to Gladiolus Platter Pad #CC2012

Glad Not Nana’s Yoyos wall hanging #CC 2100

“Glad to Have Scraps,” a slightly smaller version of the pattern above, made of thefabrichut.com “fat fifths.” Part of “Glad Bundle” #CC 3000

Glad Jacket (made from sweatshirt) #CC 2202

Here’s the ringer!!! The TIRES of these race cars are yoyos. I added a button on top!

Fast Track, single bed quilt #CC 2312

Yoyos are sewn by hand, but the fun part is that they are so small that they’re easy to carry with you to meetings, doctor appointments, ballgames, etc. Also, you can make them from scraps. I LOVE using up the scraps, don’t you?

Thanks for checking out my guest blog! If there’s a place to leave a comment, I appreciate a kind word.–Libby

Make Bowls Cozy…

Libby Christensen of SewGoCreate.com gives step-by-step instructions on how she makes Bowl Cozy hot pads for the microwave. Photos and diagrams.

…by making Bowl Cozies for the microwave. Use the little “ears” to pick up the bowl; then the cozy continues to keep it warm.

Photo 1: Bowl Cozies in blooming colors by LJ Christensen

These bowl cozies are not only cute little gifts, but they are great for using up old fabric. They’re all the rage in the craft markets, and I’m on the band wagon because I’ll be a the Charis Crafters’ huge spring sale on April 28, at the Wetumpka Civic Center. (For admission, just bring a donation of food or a few dollars for the local food bank.)

SUPPLIES: For a medium serving bowl, you need 2 fat quarters of coordinating fabrics and 32″ by 16″ of cotton batting, just under 1/2 yd. And thread, sewing machine, scissors and pins. That’s it! Here’s how I make them:

1) Start by cutting 16″ squares: 1 each from the two fat quarters, and I like 2 layers of cotton batting, so 2 squares of the batting. You’ll be making 4 darts in the middle of the sides that make the sides stand up. (What I recommend is to make a pattern first out of paper or interfacing. All you need is an 8″square, which you can get out of regular computer or lined paper; this will represent one quarter of the 16″ square folded into fourths.)

2) To shape the fabric and batting pieces, first fold them in fourths. Following the Cutting Diagram above, cut darts and a curve. (If you have a template made, it’s easy to lay it down, lined up with the folded edges, then clip off the 3 corners. )

Photo 2: a fabric layer topped by trimmed batting layer. (The 4 V cuts are darts).

3) Press the fold lines of the fabric pieces! Pin a batting piece to the back of a fabric piece. Trim off 1/8″-1/4″ of the batting edge to remove bulk (as in Photo 2 above) Flip to the fabric side and sew a seam along each fold. (This quilts the pieces together. See photo 3 below.)

Photo 3: Quilting an X along folds from dart to dart through 2 layers, one fabric and one cotton batting.  

4) Next, fold the darts, which are the V cuts (with fabric right side to right side and batting on the outside) and sew the 4 darts with 3/8″ seams. Repeat with 2nd fabric and batting. (Notice the little dart seam in Photo 4 below.)

Photo 4: Bowl cozy 2-layer pieces pinned together, all the way around, matching 4 darts to 4 darts. Leave open about 4″ for turning, here between the two pins and next pin to the right .

5) Pin together the two batting-backed fabric pieces right side to right side. Sew with a 3/8″ seam most of the way around, leaving 3-4″ open (as in Photo 4 above.) Turn right-side out. (I then usually press around the edge.)

6) While it’s optional, I like to use an edge-stitch foot and stitch around the edge. I then stitch again about 3/4″ from the first edgestitch (as shown in Photo 5 below).

Photo 5: Two rows of optional edgestitching.

7) Finish by sewing a square inside, around the crisscrossed quilting seams. It’s hard to explain, but what I do is pin together the top and bottom fabric pieces together about 1/2″ below each dart, being sure that the pin picks up the quilting stitching on the fold on top AND on bottom. Then I sew diagonally from pin to pin, making a square. See Photo 6 below. (This provides more quilting through all layers and holds the bowl shape in place better. The pins help keep the stitching accurate on bottom as well as top.)

Photo 6: Quilting an interior square from end of each dart through all layers.

Done. No hand-stitching at all. And you’ve used up a couple of orphan fat quarters or some leftover fabric. I always have leftover batting, too. I don’t know who first came up with this idea, so I can’t really give credit where it’s due. I just know that this is MY method! You can make smaller ones, too, for soup bowls–just decrease the size of the original squares!

WATCH for my next blog, which is a guest blog for MadamSew.com on Making Fabric Yoyos. It’s due to be published around April 24, 2023. I’ll post a reminder when it comes out. You might want to check out An Kesanne’s Madame Sew video on THESE bowl cozies. She shows how to make SMALLER “bowl holders”: MadamSew Sewing blog I like their sewing tools, and I’m very happy to be collaborating with them.

PS Look for the DOWNLOAD button below to get a nice copy of this to print!

(and don’t forget to browse through the patterns! 😉

Here’s some “green” for you!

Are you spring cleaning? I am. Room by room. Drawer by drawer. Dust bunny by dust bunny.

And….I’m catching up on pre-washing my fabric.

Do you prewash? Some quilters do; some don’t. I won’t argue about it. However, I have found that some fabrics of saturated color do release color in the wash, and I, for one, would not like that excess color to turn up as stains on lighter colors. Believe me; it happens.

Also, I even wash the lighter colors if the fabric seems a little stiff or managed to get itself wrinkled.

What I do is separate the piles of my stash into similar colors. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so I did green!! I serge the raw edges to prevent raveling. Then I put them in the washer with a “Color Catcher,” warm water and laundry detergent. You can use special soap if you like or omit the soap, but I like to see how the fabric does in “real” use.

If there’s a lot of color caught, I wash it again and again until not much comes out on a new white color catcher sheet. I’ve never used vinegar, but if you want to, it supposedly sets the color. Ask an expert, not me.

Then I dry the load in the dryer and pull it out when freshly dried to fold before it gets wrinkled!

I myself have another step. I make a little tag that gives the date, price, and yardage and staple it on the edge. It coincides with my spreadsheets, but doing spreadsheets is more for business purposes. Still, it IS nice to be able to glance to see how much fabric there is without having to remeasure. After using some of the fabric, I change the measurement to the amount left.

So part of MY spring cleaning is playing with fabric! That’s the fun part. I get to look at it, think about it, caress it, and maybe even make a plan to use it! Hey, we’re “collectors,” right?

No new pattern this week, but I renewed an old coupon. If you read all the way down to here, you deserve a little treat. Use TULO19 for $3.00 off any sale. That’ll make some of the patterns just .50! So it’s a great time to try one!

Happy green day!


and it’ll be recorded for later viewing. Just join the Facebook group www.thefabrichut.com, which is a great group with quilters from all over the world. You can find several of my videos posted.

TODAY is the “Hearts for the Sweet” quilt #CC2323, but I tweaked it to use thefabrichut.coms special “fat fifths.” However it’s almost identical to the pattern on sewgocreate.com website, which has normal fabric sizing.

It’s a sweet baby quilt with optional ruffle and pieced hearts as we say good-bye to February.

Heart centers are great for embroidery.

The special “fat fifths” from www.thefabrichut.com are perfect for piecing.

Whether you buy the pattern or watch the video, I give you detailed instructions on adding the ruffle. Lot of diagrams and photos in the pattern!

I won’t see you, but I hope you see me!

Always having fun, Libby

Winter or spring?

How is it where YOU are? We’ve had frost a couple days and cold temperatures, but expect up to 80 degrees in a couple days. It’s hard to figure out how to dress and what you want to quilt, too. Are we finishing winter projects or starting in new spring colors?

Well, here’s a fun and quick project that is really flexible. You can choose the colors to suit your room or your mood or even the season! Still just $3.50 before I have to raise prices this summer (to pay for the website fees!!)

I designed it for a lark just because I liked bright colors with black. Then I realized it wouldn’t look good in either the dining room or kitchen–oops! So I hung it above closets in my sewing room just for fun.

However, whenever you’re looking at quilt patterns, you can usually re-color them to suit your needs or the needs of the person who is getting the quilt. I once saw a beige quilt I’d NEVER select myself–too subdued for me–but it was perfect for her mother’s bedroom. I chided myself for thinking it was boring because quite frankly, subdued can be VERY elegant, and people might very well prefer to put their bright colors as accents. That makes sense.

THIS quick table runner is so versatile that you can use it for ANY color range and any table in any mood or season, subdued or brilliant. Directions come for four lengths, too. Look at how it can be changed!

So consider it for the next break while you’re finishing up a UFO (Un-Finished Object) or make it to use up scraps or to prepare for Mother’s Day or even make for the autumn and get ahead of the curve. It’s even a great Christmas present, but I won’t push you THAT far.

Quilt for fun—with loads of laughter from Libby