May 2019: Carl Stevens presents

Social time

We had quite a buzz of activity during our half hour of social time:

  • Enjoying refreshments – many thanks to the hospitality committee.
  • Browsing the information table – many thanks to Debbie for her huge efforts setting it up and providing us with one-stop shopping for guild information.
  • Catching up with one another and chatting with Carl Stevens, our presenter.
  • Opportunities to “shop” for free stuff recently donated to the guild including fabric from Jandy Mooney whose mother passed away last year. Lisa R, Ann A, and Barbara T were able to see beautiful quilts Jandy’s mother had made when they visited her to pick up donated items. There were also books available – donated both from Jandy and from Heart of the Triad guild.
  • Chance to admire mini-quilts for children adopted through Carolina Adoption Services. These will be presented to families at a masquerade picnic on June 8 at Burlington City Park. The event is from 11-1:30, and the presentation of quilts will be at noon. Everyone is welcome to attend to support our 12 members who have completed 28 quilts. The picnic will be at the TJ Sports Shelter adjacent to the amusement park.

Carl Stevens – paper piecer and quilt binder extraordinaire

Carl shared a little personal information about himself – he grew up in Flint Michigan, buys and sells Singer Featherweight machines, and does free workshops for Featherweight owners. Carl has only been making quilts for 6 years, and almost all of his quilts are paper piecing projects. His quilts have been in shows in North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, and they often are judge favorites. After we saw the nine quilts he brought to share, we could understand why.

While Carl loves paper piecing, he says his quilting is done by check – meaning he pays his favorite longarmer, Helia Ricci. Closeups of quilting and binding show how much they enhance the beauty of Carl’s quilts

Carl then shared two methods of enhancing quilt binding – one simple and one not so simple.

The simple option results in a contrasting flange and is done entirely by machine. He calls it Carl’s magic binding, but admits that “Susie” created the technique. Aunt Marti has posted a magic binding tutorial after learning the technique from Susie, and she later posted a YouTube video on magic binding. Marti cuts her two strips at 1 1/2″ and 1 3/4″. Carl uses 1 3/8″ and 1 5/8″ – either way a difference of 1/4″ (with the contrasting flange 1/4″ wider) will yield a finished flange of 1/8″. On the final step, stitching in the ditch, Carl likes to use monofilament thread – either clear or smoke depending on fabric color so that it is not visible from the top or back of the quilt. He shared tips for working with the fine thread – use a #8 or #9 needle – #10 at the max to minimize thread breaking – if it still breaks, he recommends using regular thread to match the fabric. He also suggested tossing old monofilament thread because the newer products are much improved.

The more challenging option is piping hot binding from Susan Cleveland. It involves using actual cording to make the piping so that it turns out 3 dimensional instead of just flat like the flange. Carl quickly explained the process, but recommends watching Susan’s two videos that demonstrate the technique – and maybe watching them more than once! He also says that her piping hot binding tool is essential – the piping fits in the groove to allow for precise trimming of the strip. Her video tutorials are on YouTube: Piping Hot Binding Part 1 and Piping Hot Binding Part 2.

Carl also put in plugs for the following:

  • paper piecing workshop he will be doing Saturday for our guild. He has been teaching beginners paper piecing for almost 3 years and has taught about 200 students. He keeps classes small to provide individual attention and enjoys introducing people to paper piecing with the understanding that it’s not for everyone.
  • Mid Carolina Shop Hop – June 15-22 that will include recently opened quilt shops in North Wilkesboro and Elkin among others.
  • Alleghany Quilters Guild Show – July 12-13 at the Alleghany Fairgrounds in Sparta

Show and Tell

Teresa started us off with a couple of baby quilts, a fall door hanging, and her boro scarf that she will teach us to make at the June member meeting.

MJ shared a flannel quilt she completed for a friend who moved to Minnesota – she used a stamp to design her label. Barbara B shared a quilt she designed of her favorite things about Maine.

Lisa J was excited to have made a wallet – with pockets, zippers, and a snap! Enola shared a casserole carrier for a 9×13 dish.

Helen D shared a set of placemats and rope coasters and a quilt she completed from a $5 club at Calla Lily.

Ann A shared a table runner that’s no longer a UFO. Gail shared a fun collage project she did with her granddaughter using scraps of fabric glued to a canvas as well as a quilt she was happy to report she made for herself.

Catherine shared two quilt tops and the challenge of piecing one and the pleasure of piecing the one where seams did not have to be matched. Janet shared a basket of flowers resulting from a challenge to art quilters in Alamance PieceMakers.

Barbara T shared two pumpkin table runners made from some of the blocks Frances won in our block of the month drawing back in October of 2017. She also shared a wall hanging she pieced at the fall retreat and her $5 club quitter’s quilt, both of which she quilted last week. Shown also is Ann L’s version of the $5 club quilt as it was intended for those who stuck it out!

Lynn shared a flannel quilt made from layer cake squares with a few of us after the meeting.


  • Lynn shared information about the possibility of putting together a guild cookbook as a fundraiser. She has used Morris Press. Members will have a chance to vote on doing this at the next meeting.
  • Teresa announced that ticket packets are available for members and hopes everyone will sell a packet of 15 and come back for more! Teresa thanked those who went to the Heart of the Triad show and sold tickets – Barbara T, Lisa R, Ann A, Enola, Ann L, and Helen D. Between those and tickets Teresa has sold to her retreat friends and Piedmont guild members, we have already sold $450 worth in the first two weeks of May.
  • Lisa R gave an update on the fall retreat at Haw River State Park. She needs a completed registration form and a deposit from each person planning to attend. To learn more and see photos, read about our 2018 fall retreat.
  • Kathy and her friends were busy cutting the serging tails off of a stack of 11 pillowcases she had sewn, making Catherine very happy to report a total of 130 so far this year.
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