March 2019: HissyFitz presents

Social time

Prior to the start of the meeting, members and guests mingled and visited while also enjoying the following:

  • Our new “member information” table – thanks to Debbie for setting it up and providing great supplies and printed materials for display. Be sure to check it out each month for copies of our newsletter, board meeting minutes, handouts and instructions for boutique and charity projects as well as sign-up sheets for events and retreats.
  • Catherine also had plenty of pillowcase fabric members could take home to sew up. She reported members have made 72 so far! Check out this great roll-it-up pillowcase tutorial and pillowcase video.
  • The hospitality table decorated by Lisa R. with her amazing antique sewing supplies.
  • Shopping the fantastic Frances fabric (and more) sale, continued from Saturday’s opening sale.
  • Browsing items made by our speaker Sandy and her patterns offered for sale. (This link shares great photos of the designs she had on display at our meeting!)

HissyFitz: Tips from Sandy

img_7373Debbie opened the meeting by welcoming guests and two new members, Janet D. and Robin and asking Miranda to introduce our speaker, Sandy Fitzpatrick of HissyFitz Designs.

During her presentation, “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Sandy shared great tips for making our sewing lives easier. Some of the highlights are listed below.

  • thread cutterTrimming threads between pieces when chain piecing? Sandy says to stick a small seam ripper in the hole of a spool of thread (business side up!) and set it by your machine as a cutter – a lot less expensive than those gizmos you can buy.
  • Tired of hand sewing the bottom edge of the sleeves on the backs of your quilts? Sandy uses her blind hem stitch to attach it; just be careful that the stitch that catches the quilt only goes through the backing and not through the layers.
  • sewing toolsFrustrated that your small sewing supplies getting jumbled up when you travel? Sandy lays them out on a piece of fabric and covers it with a sheet of Glad Press and Seal to hold everything in place.
  • When piecing a quilt backing, Sandy leaves selvages intact for stability until after she sews the seam and then trims the selvages off.
  • small beadsUsing small beads in a project and tired of chasing them around when selecting ones to use? Sandy wraps a piece of tape (adhesive side out) to her finger and puts her sticky finger in the dish of beads to pick them up.
  • Sandy strongly encouraged us to clean our machines and not mistake all that lint in the bobbin case for a piece of felt that’s (not) part of the machine. She uses a small paintbrush, but also mentioned using a pipe cleaner on the end of a soda straw.
  • She also encouraged us to change our needles often – at least after each project, and she suggested a use for used sewing machine needles – use them to hang small projects on a wall.
  • Eyeglasses cases make good holders for rotary cutters. Apparently if you get caught at one of Sandy’s workshops with your cutter open, you run the risk of having it confiscated.
  • Sewing accessoryDo you have a habit of sticking your needle in something when taking a break – your clothing, a chair arm? To avoid accidentally stabbing yourself or someone else, Sandy uses a golf tee with a magnet glued to the top. The golf tee goes in the spool of thread, and the needle and metal thimble attach to the magnet.
  • Ever find yourself on an applique project tracing the same design over and over onto paper-backed adhesive? Sandy says you can trace your designs one time onto an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet, scan it on your computer, and then cut multiple sheets of the adhesive paper to 8 1/2 x 11 and run them through your ink jet printer. DO NOT try this with a laser printer since the heat would create a melted mess.
  • quilt bindingDo you find your long strip of binding fabric getting tangled when you are sewing it onto your quilt? Sandy winds the binding on a toilet paper roll and then loops something through the roll and around her neck so the binding rolls off as she goes.
  • Sandy recommends using the best fabric you can afford and shared a photo of one of her first quilts made with inexpensive fabric showing how the fabric had faded.
  • She prints her labels using her ink jet printer and photo fabric, fuses them to the backs of her quilts before quilting, so that the quilting holds the label securely in place.
  • Shelves of fabricFor fabric storage in her sewing room, Sandy tried locker baskets and was frustrated by how the stacks got jumbled when she needed something from the bottom, so she invested in IKEA shelving units, rolled fabric pieces onto a cutting mat that was half the width of each cube, removed the mat and neatly stacked her fabrics.

Sandy shared photos of many pieces of her work and the stories behind them; many were on display and most were made from patterns she’s designed including 12″ blocks called Little Hissies She also talked about group projects and a bee she’s been in with the same women for 20 years. They enjoy doing fractured quilts where each member chooses a photograph, traces it onto clear plastic, has it enlarged at an office supply store, cuts it apart into pieces – one for each bee member, and then each returns with her part sewn and the pieces are assembled for a completed quilt.

Sandy referred us to We All  Sew (even if we don’t use a Bernina) for tips. You can search by her name to find tutorials she has written including one on how to create the look of a measuring tape with a blanket stitch by altering the stitch width for different increments. And best of all, Sandy donated three of her patterns to our guild for door prizes.

The big reveal: Geese at the Cabin raffle quilt

log cabin quiltTeresa revealed our newest raffle quilt and thanked all members who assisted with sewing and with special thanks to Gail for her beautiful quilting. The plan is to display the quilt at Uncle Eli’s April 4th with tickets going on sale shortly after that. See additional photos of the 2019 raffle quilt. The quilt design, Geese at the Cabin was created by Cathy Wessel.

Quilt blocks on display

Adoption quilts

Guild members are busy sewing mini quilts for children adopted through Carolina Adoption Services. Several members are on the ball and have quilts already completed (or almost). See photos of other adoption quilts. In addition to the five shown below, we should have more ready soon as we have 18 children on our current to-do list.

2019 mystery quilt blocks

Members have been busy sewing their mystery quilt blocks and shared completed ones for months 2 and 3. Don’t forget to bring your completed blocks next month (for months 4 and 5!).


  • Lifetime member awardPlan to attend the Alamance Piecemakers quilt show at Village at Brookwood March 20-23 from 9am-4pm daily.
  • Quilts for the new church nursery that were donated by Catherine and quilted by Gail will be blessed on Sunday, April 7th at the  Davis Street UMC 10:55 am service. Ann A. is a member of the church and hopes guild members can attend.
  • Helen J. was awarded a lifetime membership certificate.
  • Amy and Teresa won name tag drawings. Teresa won one of Sandy’s donated patterns!.

Show and Tell

Some folks are already getting ready for December holidays.

  • Miranda shared a folded ornament she had made and announced that Penny will be teaching people how to make these at our June sew day.
  • Vernett shared a placemat that resembles a wrapped gift with a place for a napkin and silverware. She will donate a set to our boutique sales.
  • Ann A. shared a completed holiday UFO.
  • New member Janet D. who apparently has a thing for flamingos shared a flamingo quilt as a way of introducing  herself to the group. She also shared a bag she made in a class with Helen D.
  • Ann A. shared a growth chart she made for the church nursery with a sidebar of blackboard fabric for writing children’s names.
  • Helen J. shared a beautiful card trick quilt she made for a granddaughter and quilted on her longarm.
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