Holiday Crafting with Havel’s!

Holiday Crafting with my Trusty Havel’s Tools
By Laura Sliger-Hartrich

December is here and, for me, it always inspires some crafting. Even though it’s such a busy time of year, with the shopping and card-writing and parties and baking, I always find time to make something around the holidays. Even if it comes at the expense of sleep. Or laundry.

Homemade ornaments are always top of my list. They make great little gifts for grandparents, teachers, and friends. And I love hanging our collection on the tree year after year. This year I wanted to try these Scandinavian folded fabric stars.




I used the tutorial from Crafting a Rainbow. Once I got the hang of it, I didn’t want to stop. These are so fun to fold up, and a great way to use up scraps of favorite fabrics. I used my Havel’s cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter to prep the fabrics. And I adore my Havel’s 8” fabric scissors for any project. They were perfect for trimming up my stars as I went along.


My 10 year old got in on the action, too. We just need to add strings to these and they’ll be ready to go.



The other project I’ve been working on is sewing fabric gift bags. I’ve always wanted to make some of these, to save myself time and money on gift wrapping. This year I finally got around to it! I used this tutorial for the simple drawstring bags, solid fabrics from my stash, and a variety of ribbons from Paper Source. Since my sewing machine only has a straight stitch (no zig zag), I finished the inside edges of my bags with my Havels’s pinking shears. I think they’ll look fantastic under the tree for years to come.

Drawstring Gift Bags



What about you? What are your must-do holiday crafting projects this year?



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Fabric Christmas Cards: A Holiday How-To!

Fabric Christmas Cards: A Holiday How-To!

A Free Craft Project By Liz Kettle

snowflake postcard

I love sending fabric postcards to friends and family but I have gotten out of the habit in the last year as I spend more time communicating virtually. A friend posted a challenge on her blog to send out some actual physical mail and I thought I would take up that challenge and challenge all of you to consider it as well. We all love getting real mail!

snowflake postcard 2

Snow season is just getting started in earnest here in Colorado so I thought some snowflake postcards would be perfect. These snowflakes are created by combining and manipulating the decorative stitches on your machine. Even if you don’t have a lot of fancy stitches I know you will find a couple that can be combined to make a pretty snowflake.

stitch outs

Look at your programmed decorative stitches for patterns that are geometric in form; triangles, diamonds, circles, points. Consider creating a program stitch dictionary as in the photo above that shows what all those stitches you have actually look like…you will be so glad you did this! How do these stitches change when you alter the length or width? What pattern do they create when stitched back to back in mirror image? It can take a bit of play and experimentation to find ones that work well together so be sure to make some notes about the ones you like and the adjustments you make for future reference.

These snowflakes look great on winter and holiday themed quilts as well as make great postcards. Have fun playing with your different stitches!

snowflake supplies

Rotary cutter, ruler and mat
Embroidery scissor with double curve
Light and dark blue fabric
Firm stabilizer (I used Pellon Peltex #72-fusible on both sides)
Threads: White rayon, silver or white metallic or hologram and a lightweight polyester bobbin thread.
Embroidery or metallic machine needle 90/14
Chalk or marking pencil in white
Ruler with a 60degree line
Ribbon for text

In nature snowflakes are created around six fold symmetry. A ruler with a 60degree line makes creating a snowflake guide easy. The 2” length described here is the length I used for the Vintage German Snowflake. To create smaller or larger flakes simply draw a shorter or longer line. Sorry about the dye on my hands in the photos…just having too much fun around here!

snowflake 60d 1

1. Use a ruler to draw a line 2 inches long. Place a small dot in the center.

snowflake 60d 2

2. Place the 60degree line on your ruler on the drawn line with the edge of the ruler at the center dot. Draw a line approximately 2” long

snowflake 60d 3

3. Move the 60degree line on the ruler to the new line. Place it at the intersection of the two previous lines. Draw a line approximately 2” long.

Making the snowflake postcard:

1. Use the rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut your fabrics and stabilizer 4”x6”. The 60mm rotary cutter makes cutting through heavy stabilizers a dream!
2. Fuse the dark blue fabric to one side of the stabilizer. If you don’t have Peltex 72, use a fusible web such as Misty Fuse to adhere the fabric to the stabilizer.
3. Pick one of the snowflake designs I have given you below or experiment with your stitches to come up with new patterns. Determine the best method of stitching your chosen design. Does it look better stitched from the outside to the center, from the center out, or can it be stitched across the length of the snowflake.
4. Use a marking pencil to mark the 60degree lines on the dark blue fabric as shown above.

5. Stitch the snowflakes on the dark blue fabric and stabilizer using the directions below.

snowflake postcard text

6. For the text, I printed on ribbon using my inkjet printer. This technique is in both of my books and I have a tutorial on my web site in the group forum section. Alternative methods would be to use rubber stamps or a fabric marker to write by hand. Use fusible web to secure the ribbon and stitch around the edge as desired.

snowflake postcard fuse back

7. Fuse the light blue fabric to the back of the postcard.

snowflake postcard edge

8. Stitch around the perimeter of the postcard. I used a zigzag stitch in silver metallic thread. I like to stitch around the perimeter twice for a full but not quite satin stitch. Straight and decorative stitches are great options as well.
9. Use a Sharpie or fabric marker to write your message and address your card. I apply a 1st class stamp rather than a postcard stamp and send it on its way.


I used a silver metallic thread to give a vintage mercury glass feel to this snowflake. The stitches for this snowflake are two that are on my 22 year old machine that only has a total of 12 stitches. Havel’s 5” double curved scissors are the perfect tool for clipping threads during machine embroidery. They get super close to the fabric to give you a clean cut but the curve prevents that horrid moment when you realize you just cut your fabric. The double curve is great when you are using an embroidery hoop and the finger holes are the perfect size. You are going to love these scissors!!

snowflake vintage first

You can see how closely the curved embroidery scissors trim the thread. No whispy fray bits of thread in sight!

You can see how closely the curved embroidery scissors trim the thread. No whispy fray bits of thread in sight!

1. An eyelet stitch was stitched to provide an open center. If you don’t have an eyelet stitch, simply draw a small circle and begin your stitching at the edge of the circle.

snowflake vintage german 1

2. Next an oval satin stitch at a slightly reduced width was stitched from the edge of the eyelet stitch out for two repeats.

snowflake vintage german 2

3. A flower chain stitch was inserted between each of the previous stitch lines to create this vintage look snowflake.


This delicate snowflake uses a programmed feather stitch that looks best stitched from the outside into the center. I drew my lines 1 1/5” long.

snowflake feather 2

Begin the stitch at the outer edge of the circle then stitch towards the center. Stitch on all 6 radiating lines.


To create this snowflake the stitch is made by slightly lengthening the stitch length on a satin stitch triangle stitch. My length setting was .80

snowflake poinsettia 1

1. Stitch the design in one direction for one repeat, pivot 180degrees and stitch back to the center.

snowflake poinsettia 2

2. Pivot again and repeat along each snowflake guide line.

snowflake poinsettia circle

3. Finally, one repeat of a circle satin stitch and a couple straight stitches are added to the tip of each point.

I have a dear friend who is leaving her frigid climate for the warm breezes of Florida next week…I will be sending her one of these so she doesn’t forget the pleasure of snow! She will be jealous of all our snow don’t you think?

Liz Kettle is a mixed media and textile artist living in snowy Colorado. She is co-author of 2 books, Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond and Threads: The Basics and Beyond. Liz loves teaching and sharing the joy of making stuff in her articles, classes and at her fabulous retreat, Textile Evolution. Visit her blog and website,



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Spare Change for the Better

“Spare Change for the Better” Quilt
by Terry White copyright 2016


“Spare Change for the Better” Quilt “60×75”

My quilt, “Spare Change for the Better” began with a clean up day in my Stitch Studio. Once in a while, I need to clean up my Stitch Studio. Recently, I had worked on several projects, one after another, with no clean up time in between. So, there was no “going forward” on the next project until this room was straightened out!

I had been thread painting and making small embellished quilts, fabric books and purses, so there were lots of little stacks of things and random baskets of scraps all over the place that needed to be dealt with. As I began to order and bag the scraps, I began to gather some autumn shades together and got the idea for a scrap quilt. I went on a tangent! I started to think about this fabric as spare change…the kind of money that you put into a big glass jar until you have enough to really do something with it. Well, there was enough of it to make an interesting quilt.

It was time for a little change in the Stitch Studio. I had been doing tiny intricate things and, now, I wanted to stitch straight lines and make something big and simple. It was a change of season and I needed a change!


I began with a simple log cabin structure. I made a stack of four sided pieces. I then stitched strips of all sizes and angles to each one. I considered each block as I chose the fabric strips because I wanted to make each block good looking. I like to press and trim at each step. I think this makes stitching easier and it keeps things nice and neat.


As I was stitching along, I decided that I would cut into the log cabin blocks and insert a black cross. This suggested crossroads to me….a choosing place, a place to change. It also made each block more interesting and added a continuity to the blocks.


I cut black strips 1 1/2 inch wide, 1 1/4 inch wide and 1 inch wide. I stitched the 1 1/2 inch wide strips into the largest blocks, the 1 1/4 inch wide strips into the medium blocks and the 1 inch wide strips into the smallest blocks. I found that working with Havel’s Fabric Cutter made my work go very smoothly…and fun…so, guess what?…I ended up making a lot more blocks!….this quilt was growing!



I very simply cut a block in two pieces and stitched a black strip in between the pieces. When adding the black strips, press the seam allowance toward the black strips. This makes the black strip stand out like a column. It gives the whole quilt a nice continuity.


I like to offset the crosses, you know, make them “wonky”. I think this adds to the liveliness of the work.


When I began to finish some of the blocks, I put them up on my design wall.


I liked how things were going…..I didn’t want to change my layout. So, of course, I had to come up with an idea to join the blocks together. This is not my first time around the block (Oh, wow, that is a decent pun), so I wanted to choose a color of fabric that could be used to join things….a “bridge”. The fabric would have to add to the quilt, not detract; it should add some brightness; it should also recede into the background. My choice was a deep blue with black in it with thundercloud imagery.

I really liked this addition. Using just the one fabric in the background would help to maintain the design. This blue fabric was something that I received in a big batch of fabrics….someone else’s scraps. Here, you can see, I placed some pieces of the blue between the blocks to try it out.


After making more blocks and looking at it on the wall…it needed a “background”. I began to look at another group of scraps.


This lighter group of fabrics evoke the light, sky, arial debris and browning grasses which I see in the early fall. I continued to use the same block for the light fabrics…starting with a log cabin structure and then adding the cross. The solid cotton I used for the crosses in the light blocks is a shade of gold. I chose a cream and grey textured print (leftovers from a quilt backing) for the “bridge” pieces for the light blocks.

12 Spare Change TW

Then this scrap quilt decided to take over… got big!

13 Spare Change TW

Keb’ Mo’s song,”Time for a Change” kept playing in my mind, so I put his music on in my studio. I like to listen to my music when I’m working in the Studio….it helps me to focus on my work….I feel immersed in the moment. To stitch the quilt blocks together, I separated the quilt into sections. To identify the first section to stitch together, I took a photo of the quilt, then cropped it and chose a section with which to work.


The next three photos show my sequence of stitching and trimming and stitching. I stitched strips of blue or cream fabrics to each block so that they would fit together into a stitched set.



Then, I stitched the 3 block sets together.


I would like to note here that it is really helpful to use a walking foot on your sewing machine or a differential feed foot as pictured here. This type of sewing aid helps to keep the fabrics together while stitching and prevents puckering.


Then I stitched each section together, then stitched the large sections together…..all the time using the “bridge” strips to achieve sort of square sections that will fit together.

19 Spare Change TW


After stitching the quilt top together, I wasn’t happy with it. It needed something. So, first, I turned it on its side……much better. It still needed something more. So, I took a picture of it, put it into a drawing program on my computer, then added these lines.



terry-white-headshot-2014Terry White is a studio fiber artist. She has been doing this work since 1996, and she discovered the techniques she uses: threadpaint, machine appliqué, piece, quilt, embellish with beads, fibers and minutiae with sewing machine techniques, through experimentation and self-study. Terry teaches these techniques through classes and videos. Over the years Terry has been published in over 50 articles in magazines and books, including: McCall’s Needlework; Quilter’s Newsletter; Machine Embroidery and Textile Arts; CMA trade magazine; Stitch n Sew Quilts; Quick n Easy Quilts; Quilt World magazine and Calendar; Quilting Arts Calendar 2003; America from the Heart; America’s Best; America Sews. She is a wife, stitcher, artist, sister, mother, friend, nana, gardener, baker, writer, student, teacher and American. See more of Terry’s work at






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Creating with Havel’s Sewing Pinking Shears

In thinking about a few of my favorite things in the studio, there is one tool that some might considered old fashioned, and wonder what to do with it in making quilts. It is one of my favorite things, because it can add so much to an object, a quilt and even the binding as a design element.


Here is my line up of favorite tools from Havel’s Sewing. Second from the left are the pinking shears. Great handles and easy to use.


You might be wondering what this is. The green is the landscape for a pictorial quilt and perhaps a house might go on that mound of green. The tops of those hills have been cut with pinking shears. Isn’t it a cool look?


These are half square triangles – raw edge applique and the fabrics have Mistyfuse on the back. I love the triangles on all of the edges. It invites a viewer in to see more, and how that effect was made.


Close up of the half square triangles


Hexagons are all the rage right now in quilting. Aren’t these fun? Raw edge applique, and each side was cut with pinking shears.


This is one of my most favorite ways to use the pinking shears. Stems and flowers. Love the wonkiness of the stems, but then the flowers are very whimsical with where they are cut. This adds a playful element to your quilts.


The start of a small house quilt. You can see the landscaping has been cut in triangles, adding some dimension to the small hills. The sides of the house, door, window and roof have also been cut. The sky is the limit to what you can do. The door is half and half. I like the unevenness of it all.


The new ticket to binding and making a really fun edge. The fabric has been pre-fused with Mistyfuse, and it just folds over to the back. I love this.


Closer look.


Happy cutting it up!
— Jamie Fingal


Shop Havel's Sewing

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Free Quilt Pattern – A Whimsical Pumpkin Centerpiece

Free Quilt Pattern: A Whimsical Pumpkin Centerpiece

By Terry White ©2012

This bright modern pumpkin patch centerpiece can stay on your table all season long. It can be also be used as a wall hanging. The design also works well as a quilt pattern. Add a few borders and it will be large enough for a throw….I think plaid in fall colors would be lovely.


I used linen as the base fabric for this quilt applique project. Linen can be found in the drapery section of your fabric store (sometimes on the bargain tables) and it is usually at least 50 inches wide. Good substitutes for linen are osnaburg and heavy weight muslin or homespun.

Wool felt is so easy to work with; it has so much body, comes in great colors and is easy to cut. You can simply fuse the wool to the linen and be done (as seen in the photo) or stitch it down….which I intend to do when I finish writing this quilt pattern for the Havel’s blog!

When you look at this design, you are looking down at the top of a large pumpkin. The pumpkin leaves and vines are surrounding the central pumpkin with little orange, purple and red pumpkins growing in the corners. This pattern was so much fun to design!


Materials List

  • Linen square cut 36”
  • Linen or cotton fabric 36” square for backwool-felt-640x584
  • 18” squares of wool felt in the following colors:
  • Gold, deep gold, orange, rose, purple, green
  • Medium weight fusible interfacing 36” square
  • Fusible web for backing 36” square
  • 1 yard fusible web for appliqué pieces
  • 30 weight cotton thread in orange
  • 30 weight cotton thread in linen color
  • 30 weight cotton thread to match wool felt (if you choose to stitch
    the pieces down)


Start by preparing the linen or other even weave fabric. Cut it to 36” square. To do that, make a little cut at the 36” mark and pull threads. Cut along the line that the pulled threads make. When cut, pull a few more threads so that you have a fringe. Square up the fabric and press with sizing (I use a lot of sizing).


Next, fuse the iron-on interfacing to the back of the linen.

Fold the linen square in half and finger press a few inches in the center. Fold the square in half the other way and finger press the same way. Mark the intersection with a fabric marker. You will center the pumpkin stem on this mark.


Trace the pattern pieces onto the fusible web. I like to use a mechanical pencil. Trace all the pieces together that will be cut from the same color wool.


Iron the fusible web to the wool according to manufacturer’s instructions.


Carefully cut out the pieces. I like to use Havel’s small curved embroidery scissors because they give me better control. The curved blade helps me to cut lovely curved shapes.


Here is a tip for using fusible web: Pull away part of the paper backing before cutting out the shape. That way it is very easy to pull the paper away from the appliqué….it gives you a starting point.


As you cut out the shapes, lay them out on your ironing board or other fabric covered surface. This way, you can see if you like your color choices. Pull away the backing paper before you lay out your appliqués onto the linen. Arrange the shapes according to the photo. You can use a yardstick to help with placement. The central pumpkin is divided into eight equal parts, so you can line up the pieces along the yardstick top to bottom and side to side.


(Use your colored fabric markers to draw details on the small pumpkins if you are not going to stitch the appliqué down.)

To stitch details on the small pumpkins, turn each upside down and use a long straight stitch following the drawn lines on fusible web paper backing. Stitch each line three times. Use the colored thread in the bobbin. I used Star cotton orange variegated thread. I used the same color for the gold, purple and red pumpkins.


Trim the threads and pull the paper backing away.


Gather the threads to the back of the appliqué. When you iron the shape to the linen capture the threads underneath.


Lay out your pieces onto the linen and fuse. Set your iron to wool. The wool is thick and it takes a while to heat through the wool enough for the fusible to melt. Patience is required at this step. Heat a section at a time and go back over it several times. Once the fusible is melted and the felt is secure….it is really secure.


Here are the pretty threads I’ve chosen to stitch my appliqués.


The photo shows an open appliqué foot. I am using a buttonhole or blanket stitch and you can see that I can get right at the edge of the appliqué because I can see it. I lowered the top tension (thread tension) so that the thread can move freely and make a full beautiful stitch. I suggest you test your threads, settings and materials before stitching.


After all the stitching, the next step is to fuse your backing fabric to the back of the panel.

Make the backing about an inch smaller than your finished panel.


Fold and press the top of the panel to the back.

When starched linen is folded and pressed like this, it is very stable and doesn’t move around too much. However, if you want, you can use fabric glue or fusible hem tape to glue it in place.


Stitching from the top, use the linen colored thread and a large blanket or buttonhole stitch to sew along the edge. I use the same thread in the bobbin as the top, and lower the top thread tension for a full stitch. I used a variegated linen color thread.


Click here to print out the pattern pieces
for the Fall Pumpkin Appliqué Centerpiece.


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