Tips for Better Applique

Guest on American Patchwork & Quilting radio

Whoo whee!  I’m preparing for my upcoming 12 minutes of fame.  ha.

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On Monday April 6, 2015, I will be a guest on Pat Sloan’s radio show “American Patchwork & Quilting radio”.  I am honored and excited to be chatting it up with Pat, whom I admire.

American Patchwork and Quilting Pocast guests Julie Wurzer April 2015

During the show, I’ll share some tips for successful applique and how I choose fabrics for my designs. . . all while chattin’ with Pat.  She’s kind of a celebrity in my little world, so to be chattin’ it up with her will be . . . uh . . . awesome.  I mean, what else would it be?

So, enough of my jibber jabber.  Here’s how you can listen and I ruheely hope you will.  Afterall, I’ll be chattin’ with Pat.  Oh, did I already mention that?  Ha!

Click here to listen live! 

 So, please join Pat Sloan and I on

Monday April 6th, 2015

Just Fun

New Toy

Ooh Whee!  Who doesn’t love a new toy?  No one, that’s who.

My New Toy
My New Toy

I purchased a new toy. I’m a little excited, as depicted in this picture.  A die cutting machine.  A what?  Yep, a die cutting machine.  What in tarnation is that?  Relax Francis and I’ll tell ya.

I'm about to open the box and release the hounds!!!
I’m about to open the box and release the hounds!!!

So, these die cutting machines are the newest gadget, thing-a-ma-jig, tool, whatever you like to call them, to wiggle their way into our hobby of quilting.  They look like a home office printer (which is basically all they are) but in place of a inkjet cartridge is a slot where a tiny blade sits.  It comes with a cutting mat.  They have been the must have gadget in scrap booking and paper crafting for a while, but they are just peeking into our world of fabric.

I first saw them (this printer-type version anyway) a year ago at spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh.  I was not sold on the particular model which I demoed at market, as you had to buy every shape you’d want to cut out – but I liked the concept and have waited in the wings until I saw one that I did like.  So, fast forward a year and well, I took the plunge as you can plainly see and bought one of my very own to play upon.

What this machine (printer with a knife!) does, is it cuts out applique shapes for you – exactly like the pattern sheet.  Yes, exactly like the pattern.  For me the designer, it can save me time in creating new designs.  If I need to make more than one sample, I can simply duplicate all the shapes and cut them out in just seconds.  Yeah, pretty cool.  I’ll share more of it’s “coolness” in another post.

I chose this particular machine called a Zing, made by KnK.  It has the features I wanted and the software it comes with is super easy to learn and use.  Bonus!  I think it’s marketed by Janome.  Anyway, I bought mine from a terrific quilt shop who is a Janome dealer:  Kari Sew Unique in Whitewater, WI.  She’s a wealth of knowledge on these machines and she’s passionate about helping you set it up.

Patterns do need to be “die-cutter friendly” to easily work with the software.  Well, uh . . . since I’m a pattern designer I thought maybe I would see what it takes to make a pattern die-cutter friendly.  Na na na nuht nu nah!  My newest patterns (Monthly Mini’s series 8) are all die-cutter friendly.  Oh, how convenient.  Smirk.  And so will all of my patterns going forward.

Die Cutter Friendly indication on the front of every pattern

All of our patterns (from here on) will have a label on the front of the pattern which will tell you this pattern is die cutter friendly.  For a pattern to work with the software it needs to have a pattern sheet:  non reversed shapes, shapes must not contain broken lines, and be free of all labels and text.  Done, done and done.

So, that’s my new toy.  I’m super pumped to start cutting my shapes for new designs.  I’ll do another post to show you my fun, aka progress.  Little thought here – when I say I’m super pumped, I immediately get a vision of bouncy cheerleaders clapping hands quickly, sort of like Will Farrell’s cheerleader character from a SNL episode (not sure on the copyright mumbo jumbo on this, but I cited the image source)


Ready!  Go!  2 4 6 8 who do we appreciate!  Zing! Zing! Yee-aay  Zing!



New Design – Reveal

Well . . .. did you guess what this is?

image First picture was this – white stripes on red wool background.  The clue was it is a crafty Christmas garland material.

Second sneek peek was this:

imageI personally think this one nearly gives it away, the theme that is.  The clue was it can come in buckets and is best hot.  So, do you know what it is? . . . well, how about this next image?

imagePOP CORN!  Of course!  It’s just in the design phases here, so I’ll give you one more sneek peek here:

imageThis is pretty raw yet.  No details are put on it yet.  The next time you see this, most of the hand applique stitching will be done and it will be coming to life.  This is of course “Fresh Pop Corn”.  It’s done in wool and I plan to make this a hanging.   Mmmmmm.  I’m in the mood for buttery popcorn, how about you?


New Design – Guess #2

Okay, hopefully this is exciting to see the progress.  As I said before, my goal with this method of peeks is to entertain with tease.  So here we go:

imageI think this picture will reveal the theme.  But in case you’re still stumped, I’m going to give another clue:  It may come in buckets.  And it’s best hot.

If the clues aren’t helping you guess what this is, perhaps you can tell me what this reminds you of.



The Wait for 8 is Over

In case you aren’t on our email newsletter list, here is the latest news flash.  If you are on our newsletter list and have already seen this, I hope it’s eye candy again. =)

The wait for eight is over!
Monthly Mini’s series 8
patterns are NOW on our website
Woo Hoo!!
Even Jack is excited about it!
Get a load of these.  Talk about eye candy.  They’re more than eye candy, they are super duper easy and you have 2 ways to display each design:  on the wall or on a stand. Check out the options here:  MM8 page.
One of our missions here at Patch Abilities Inc is to make your shopping for our products easier. We’ve just made it job easier, to get your paws on the latest pattern series.
if you prefer ordering our product online via our website.Easy #1:  All of the patterns, buttons, hangers and headers for Monthly Mini’s series 8 are up on our website. Click here to go directly to the MM8 page.

Ordering from our website is simple:
1 – go to
2 – browse while in your pj’s if so desired
3 – find adorable patterns that catch your eye, add them to your cart
4 – your order is submitted to us, we send you an email confirm and estimate ship date.
5 – bada bing, bada boom!  You didn’t even have to get dressed, we don’t mind

Monthly Mini’s 8 patterns make terrific Projects of the Month of course.  But, are you required to buy the entire series?
No.  These patterns are available individually as well as a set/series.Are fabric kits available on our site?
No. We do not have fabric, we leave that to all the fun quilt shops to provide you with irresistible fabric choices.  Most shops that are selling our MM8 series offer complete fabric kits.  Take a look at the participating shop list here, to find a shop.  Even if no one is near you, contact them to see if they ship.  Ooh whee, that would be convenient . . . . You could still stay in your pj’s.Easy #2:  We’ve made it easy to order the buttons and hangers . . . . without leaving the pattern page.

WHAT?!   Look here
Yeah.  Here’s what we did:
1 – each pattern page now has “pattern options” – chose to buy the pattern with or without buttons
2 – and, each pattern page has “hanger options”
3 – Oh yes.  How easy is that?  Add all the corresponding products in one click.
4 – bada bing, bada boom.  Your job is done and it was easy.
~ Julie
psst, I’m in my pj’s as I write this -ha.  Are you?

New Design – Can You Guess?

I’m going to try something new. I like to give sneek peeks of new designs I’m working on.  Rather than reveal the finished design all in one shot, I thought about trying a method to build anticipation.  So, I’m going to give you one or two peeks at a time.  How about making it fun with giving you clues? I’d like your feedback on this, whether you find it fun or annoying. ha.  Please share with me.  Part of the reason I blog (other than keeping you up to snuff) is to entertain you for a few moments.  My goal with this method of peeks is to entertain with tease.  So here we go: imageThis is the only pic for this sneek peek.  This project is done in wool by the way. And now for the clue(s):  it is used as crafty Christmas garland material by the way – it’s laying upon my iron board which is stained . . .. that’s not part of the design.  HA! Good luck – send me your comments. ~Julie


Road Trip to Gramma’s

A couple weeks ago, we had 3 days where our sitter was off duty.  I had posted the first 2 days on how our “no daycare” days were going, but did not manage to get an update on day 3.   So here’s a little recap on how our “day 3” rolled along:

whole-gang-shopOn day 3 of “no daycare” I took a vote on who needed to get out of the house.  All in favor raised their hands, mine being the highest it trumped all other votes.  The weather that day was absolutely disgusting with below zero temps and gusty winds.  Yeah Mother Nature, as if your 20 below zero wasn’t enough, the added 40 mph winds really warmed it up that day.  Holy crap!  So, needless to say, getting out for some fresh air more than 4 seconds was not an option.

Plan B:  road trip to Grammas.  Yep, great idea.  So off we trekked to Grammas, aka Merry’s Stitchins quilt shop.  We took a group shot.  Mom and I are in the middle (Gramma holding Lewie, and I holding Jack).  It was just what we needed.  And Gramma never turns down a chance to snuggle either.

My next post will include a sneek peek at new designs . . . . . tease tease.



Where Am I?

When the river of creativity start flowing, where do you go to jump in?

Me?  I get out my pencil (with the awesome eraser that erases nearly any unwanted pencil marking) which I guard like a doberman on a steak.  Not all pencils are created equal you know . . . . or maybe you didn’t.  Well, anywho – now I’m just jabbering. . . . back to the story about where am I.  Maybe I don’t know where I am, judging by my current ramblings – ha!

Okay, seriously now, where was I . . . oh yeah, “where am I.”  Tee Hee.  I’m reminding myself of a good Smothers Brothers bit now.  So, when the creative river flows, I get out my trusty design pencil and sketch until I’m spent – sometimes it’s an hour, other times it’s a couple hours of  sketching.  Whatever the duration, I have a handful of sketched designs that are now needing fabric to bring them to life.

So I hop in the car and trek about 50 minutes South to my Mom’s.  She just so happens to have the most awesome quilt shop in all the land!  Merry’s Stitchins is her shop.  Merry being my Mom.  Yes, Merry spelled that way – her birthday is in July . . .  duh, no – -her birthday is in December.

Her shop has over 5000 bolts of fabric and they always have the newest fabrics.  So, it’s the perfect place to be to pick fabrics for new designs.  And since I’m her daughter (insert eyelash batting here) I get the run of the place.  Woo Hoo!  Release the hounds!  Well, last week the river of creativity hit and I jumped in, made a few sketches and so here I am.

image This is me standing in front of the Patch Abilities section at Merry’s Stitchins.  Quite the selfie eh?

Her shop is both a quilter’s dream, and this designer’s dream place to create.  Ahhh.  If you’re anywhere near driving distance from Jesup, Iowa, you must make a road trip.  I may be her biased daughter, but not so in this case – her shop is a quilter’s destination.  So now that I’ve plugged Mom, as any good daughter would, how about I end this post with a few pics of the boys.  I’ll end on cute today. =)

image Jack can sense the dishwasher door being open!  It’s a talent I cannot comprehend, but he comes running like a shot every time.  So, I let him sit on the door one day and play.  He kept busy for about 20 minutes.

image Lewie and I took this selfie, while we were mixing up monkey bread.  No words needed.  Our faces say it all.

I’m staying busy.  I hope to give you some sneek peeks real soon of what I was working on for new designs today.  Keep your eyes open, at least on one side.