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The Virtual Quilt, A Newsletter for Computing Quilters

Number Thirty-One * April 1, 1999

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BOOK REVIEWS: Two More on Paper Piecing

It's Raining Cats & Dogs: 32 Paper-Pieced Quilt Projects
Janet Kime
That Patchwork Place 1998
MSR: $21.95

Paper Piecing the Seasons: Foundation Piecing from Easy to Expert
Liz Schwartz & Stephen Seifert
That Patchwork Place 1998
MSR: $24.95

Reviewed by Christina Holland

"It's Raining Cats and Dogs" practically jumped off the shelf at me; as soon as I flipped through it I knew I wanted to read it and use it and write a review of it. I love cats. My family and my friends love cats, too, so there're any number of opportunities to make cat related patchwork pieces. And this is a truly excellent collection.

I approached "Paper Piecing the Seasons" with a little more caution, but it, too, is a superb collection of paper piecing patterns, well worth your attention.

I've now completed two miniature projects from "It's Raining Cats and Dogs": an adorable "Hanging BasKat" (a kitten hanging off of a basket), and a stately Siamese from the "Linus and Samantha" pattern. Of course, in making the Siamese, I forgot about how the pattern would reverse and the cat would be facing the other way. Luckily, it hardly matters. For the record, though, Janet Kime does point out the facts of reversal in the very beginning of the book. I just have an unfortunate habit of doing before reading.

"It's Raining Cats and Dogs" and "Paper Piecing the Seasons" both have great color photos of the finished projects, so you should have no trouble deciding which to make first. In "It's Raining Cats and Dogs," there is a very nice photo gallery. In "Paper Piecing the Seasons," the photos are distributed throughout the book, right before each pattern collection. Also next to the project photos, Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert include a color diagram for each project, properly reversed from the photo, and with each pattern piece labeled.

Both books begin with a fairly good, but not overly complete, introduction to paper piecing. "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" lists some of the more common paper piecing mistakes, about half of which I had made that morning in my haste. It also includes general patchwork and quilting instructions, on topics such as sashing, borders, backing, and hand versus machine quilting, as well as some basic embroidery stitches for use in embellishing the projects.

"Paper Piecing the Seasons" has some of the above as well, and a good step-by-step instructional section complete with color photos of each step. In addition, it has a fabulous discussion of fabric choices - much more than you will normally find in a book of patterns. My only quibble with this book, and it's really pretty minor, is in the bit on aligning seams from different pattern sections. The instructions say to look for the lowercase letters on the patterns, line them up, and sew. That's great, except that many of the patterns don't have any lowercase letters on them at all.

The two books have slightly different takes on the whole ironing question. Both explain why you should use a dry iron, never steam, lest you wrinkle and deform the paper. The authors of "Paper Piecing the Seasons," though, also entertain the possibility of skipping the iron altogether, in favor of pressing with a wooden seam pressing bar. This endeared them to me; I hate ironing.

Okay, now for the patterns. "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" is a collection of whimsical cat and dog designs, for use as miniature quilts, in a vest or on a hat, or in a larger quilt project. I counted eleven distinct cat patterns, and four dogs, along with accessories: flowers, stars, a moon, mittens, mice, a bone, a ball, and four different dog houses. It's a little bit skewed towards the cat side of things, but I think that's okay. After all, your cat is probably going to sleep on that quilt more than anyone else, right?

I really love the patterns I've used so far. They're really quick and easy, too; I did two small projects on one Saturday morning.

I always especially love books that give me something extra. I liked Sandy Bonsib's "Folk Art Quilts: A Fresh Look" because she included her favorite chocolate cookie recipe. "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" gives us the story of Charlie. Charlie is a cat who hunts. Only he seems to prefer tulips to mice and birds. The cats in "Charlie's Quilt," dedicated to Charlie, are made of striking tulip colored fabrics. The poem that accompanies the pattern is priceless - see page 39, next to the pattern. It gets the prize for atrociously punny poetry, though, for using the phrase "nipped it in the bud."

The patterns in "Paper Piecing the Seasons" are a little more time consuming. Each of the twelve is a miniature quilt, perfect for hanging on the wall. They're organized by the season they best represent, and some are occasion specific (Easter, Valentine's Day) while some are more general scenes.

I have to be honest; my first reaction to these patterns was along the lines of "Wow, these look hard!" On page five, the authors broach this directly with a short section entitled "The Intimidation Factor," in which they reassure us that any quilter can make any of the quilts in the book, and that "The first step to completing a quilt is having the courage to start."

I found the courage to start the "Country Cottage" pattern, which is classified as Easy/Moderate. So far, it's not too hard at all, and I really like the results. Of the twelve patterns, four are labeled Easy, three Easy/Moderate, and one each Moderate, Moderate/Advanced, Advanced, Advanced/Challenging, and Challenging. The book is weighted towards the Easy.

Oh, but when they say Challenging, they mean it! The last pattern in the book is "Holiday with Family," a charming scene with a house and a tree and a horse drawn sleigh. I would really love to make this quilt, but I'm still intimidated, I guess. It's a small quilt, only 42"x36," less without the border, but it contains 94 distinct foundation patterns. That includes 2 for the wisping smoke from the chimney, and a scary 31 patterns for the horses. The smallest pattern, "BE" which is one corner of the house's roof, is just over 2 1/2" x 1 1/4," with the seam allowance, and it has 6 pieces of fabric in it. If I ever do make "Holiday with Family" (and it's inevitable that I will, someday), I won't be giving it away - it'll be displayed in a place of honor.

I have a feeling that both of these books are going to be used a lot. Some books only inspire you to do one or two projects and then they go on the topmost, and hardest to reach, shelf. These two, though, I think you'll be taking down again and again.



The complete line of colorful printed and striped fabrics designed by Kaffe Fassett, author of Glorious Patchwork are now available on the web. Templates and foundation papers to make the patterns found in Glorious Patchwork are offered, too.

Come visit us at:


Cathedral Windows Quick Method Quilt

This book will instruct even the novice sewer how to create an heirloom quality quilt, entirely by sewing machine, in a fraction of the time it would take to sew by hand. Full color cover, clear concise illustrations, yardage charts and many tips.

The possibilities are endless!

$8.95 per book plus $1.95 s&h
Please make check payable to 'Kimberly Nappier' and mail to: Kimberly Nappier
6827 Sparkman St. Dept. tvq
Tampa, FL 33616
E-mail inquiries to:

Greenhaven Enterprises

Quilt Retreats on the Olympic Peninsula

Visiting Washington State?? Stay with a quilter and her cat, Oliver.

The Herbolds live just outside of Sunny Sequim. Their home, set in the tall trees, is warm, pleasant, and affordable.

Norma can direct you to quilt shops in the area, plus the natural wonders located on the Olympic Peninsula. She can also plan a personal retreat for you and three quilting friends, or cross stitch buddies, or rubber stampers! You name it.

You are invited to visit the website for Greenhaven Enterprises, Quilt Retreats on the Olympic Peninsula, where you can check out Norma's quilts, learn more about Sequim, and of course, see Oliver. The address is:

You may email Norma at or call 360-681-0364 for more information.


Would you like to improve your hand quilting stitch quality and quantity? Of course you would, and My Favorite Thimble can help! My Favorite Thimble's tough, colorful, rubbery surface grips the needle for wonderful stitch control, and control means more stitches to the inch.

My Favorite Thimble comes in two styles and five sizes. You can choose between the standard royal blue, and our embellished version on which we add colorful free-form designs.

Visit our web site at for pictures, more information and ordering. And, be sure to take a look at our newest product, Quilt-Fuse. If you are a watercolor quilter or want to be, this fantastic lightweight fusible layout grid will let you stitch a watercolor quilt top in ONE AFTERNOON!

Questions or comments? Contact us at:
Chris Hanner & Company
3687 Coldwater Lane
Snellville, GA 30039


The Craft Connection ( ) is the most exciting place on the Internet if you want to make or sell handcrafts. We sell quality cotton fabric, Mettler and Sulky thread, and quilting notions, all at a discount. Fabrics are linked to coordinating fabrics, so you know your choices will look great together. We try to find fabrics you won't see anywhere else. And we'll package them into packets of fat eighths, fat quarters, or 5" squares, so you can get a good variety without a big cash outlay. Among our fabric categories are florals, pictorials, and guy stuff, and you should see the new Lost Fabrics of Atlantis collection.

Every month some items are for sale at 20 percent off our already discounted prices. You can use your credit card online on our secure server to safely purchase our fabrics and also our crafters' products. If you're a crafter, you can sell here and take credit cards without having your own credit card vendor account.

Check out our Free Stuff. Each month we offer a new pattern and a new lesson. We also have a Calendar of upcoming Quilt Shows. Come by our website at


We are a cottage industry located just outside of Yosemite National Park. We specialize in clothing and patterns for quilters and for people who love quilts.

We offer t-shirts and sweatshirts in sizes from medium to xxx-large. All of our quilts are machine pieced. Most of our patterns are easy enough for beginning quilters. Come see what we have to offer at our website. We have a great sale page, and we now offer secure online shopping!

Or e-mail for more information to

The Quilt Block
P.O. Box 127
Midpines, CA 95345

(209) 742-5418
Fax: (209) 742-7662


The next QHL conference TEXTILES AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY will be held August 4-7 at the Hollowbrook Lodge in Greenville, New York. Learn while you relax in the Catskills. Comprehensive seminars from Rabbit Goody (wovens), Cindy Brick (Crazies), Jane Clark Stapel (feedsacks), Merikay Waldvogel (fabrics), more. Appraisals, behind scenes at Farmers Museum and more. For more information, see


The MINI DUST-IT. Genuine sheepskin duster on a 6" stick that is perfect for picking up dust and lint from your sewing machine and serger. Soft, beautiful sheepskin won't scratch polished surfaces. Picks up the lint and tiny threads; doesn't spread them around. Prevents lint build-up. Inexpensive way to protect expensive sewing machines and sergers. Fun and handy to use. Also works great on the computer.

Price: $3.50 each including mailing.

To order send check to

Silver Dollar Sheep Station
5020 Winding Way
Sacramento, CA 95841.

SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER: Because we manufacture the Mini Dust-it to a very high standard, we currently have a small supply of imperfects. They may be a little thinner and not as pretty or have some other defect, but they still work great!

And best of all we offer these to you for just $1, INCLUDING postage. You can order them at the address above and enjoy this wonderful product at a bargain price!


FREE Judy Martin *POINT TRIMMER from

TVQ SPRING SPECIAL! - (this offer is NOT on our web site!) Get a FREE Judy Martin *POINT TRIMMER when you purchase

The Block Book from us at the discounted price of $19.98 + $3.00 S&H Mail your check (US funds only) for $22.98, made out to:

907 Columbia Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525-1838

* Judy Martin's POINT TRIMMER is a $7.50 value.


PineTree Quiltworks proudly announces the grand opening of its newly renovated online Virtual Fabric Store. All fabrics are priced at 20% below retail!

Quilters will find loads of new fabrics organized by "department" but also viewable by manufacturer and fabric line (designers and named lines). Look for the latest fabrics from Hoffman, RJR, Marcus Bros., Maywood, Clothworks, Hi Fashion, Timeless Treasures, Fit to Print, Rose & Hubble, Northcott, Benartex, Moda, Peter Pan, and more! Latest collections include Moda's Summer Cottage (the whole collection) and Peter Pan's Sweet Bouquet, not to mention RJR's Galler ... and much, much more.

Go to . When the main page comes up, click on Virtual Fabric Store, then scroll down the page that comes up and click on the new store!


Gridded Geese(c) is a unique paper foundation method for mass-producing Flying Geese units up to 24 at once (no kidding!). Schoolhouse Enterprises, inventors and manufacturers of this revolutionary product, offers both a printed version of their catalog, and an on-line ( ) shopping cart service in conjunction with Planet Patchwork. You can safely order online through Planet Patchwork's secure server with your credit card!

The folks at Schoolhouse Enterprises and Planet Patchwork search for items for quilters (and friends of quilters) which are unique and often overlooked by other catalogs you might connect with. Check out their on-line catalog, which offers such interesting items as Photos-to-Fabric(tm) photo transfer paper, Ott Lights, beautiful embossed note cards, kaleidoscope pendants, and much more! And while you're visiting, be sure to check out the current Monthly $pecial!!

Schoolhouse has recently begun carrying the complete line of Electric Quilt products, including EQ4 design software, and Sew Precise! and Sew Precise with Shirley Liby. RIGHT NOW THEY'RE OFFERING A SPECIAL LIMITED TIME DISCOUNT ON EQ 4 OF MORE THAN $20 OFF RETAIL.

They also offer a large selection of Merry Mayhem's Mystery Quilts. If you missed any of the Cases which were previously online, you'll find them here!

If you're not able to access the web page, just e-mail Schoolhouse Enterprises ( ) with your "snail mail" (post office) address for your FREE CATALOG and Sample of Gridded Geese(c)! (Sorry, but Samples are only available in the printed catalogs.)


Perfect Square's mother is pregnant and about to have a new product. Perfect Triangle is due any day now. Perfect Triangle is also a REUSABLE iron-on design but it will make quarter square triangles instead of half-square triangles.

Perfect Square is growing up now and has gotten a job at a creative quilt pattern company and is doing quite well. In fact, patterns are being written exclusively for Perfect Square. See the Perfect Square web site at for details.

PCQuilt for Windows

PCQuilt for Windows is easy to learn and easy to use quilting software. The block and the quilt are on the same screen so you can see your quilt emerge as you design and color your blocks. Combine blocks in a variety of ways to see endless new designs. The program includes all the features that have always made PCQuilt easy and fun to use. Now with the new Windows version, PCQuilt will help you estimate your yardage, print templates, quilts and blocks, and has a friendly Windows interface with easy to use toolbars. PCQuilt comes with a extensive library of blocks, border, quilts, palettes and fabric patterns. PCQuilt is also available for the Macintosh. Look for PCQuilt at your local Husqvarna VIKING Dealer or visit our website at .

Nina Antze
7061 Lynch Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
707- 823-8494


Our advertisers, both here in the newsletter and at the Planet Patchwork website, have found TVQ to be an effective and economical way to reach thousands of online quilters. Ads in the newsletter are only $5 each (up to 100 words, inquire about longer ads) or 3 for $10, and there are also attractive packages available which combine newsletter and website ads. For more information e-mail or visit We specialize in helping small quilting-related businesses gain exposure on the internet.

In This Issue:

Following is a list of the rest of the stories in this issue of TVQ. In order to read them, you must be a subscriber. Subscribing online here and following up with the small subscription fee will entitle you to eight issues of TVQ, including this one. You will receive TVQ every six weeks by e-mail, and will be issued a password to access it here at Planet Patchwork.

Subscribers: Please report any password problems to Rob Holland. Be sure to include your name & e-mail address. We will try to resolve all password problems within 24 hours. Thank you!

And here's what's inside!

Gunsu Gungor combines her business and quilting skills to create a mecca
for quilters in Turkey's capital.

Christina Holland reviews a recent show in the Tampa Bay area with lots
of sunny (and fishy) quilts.

Alabama quilter Iris Aycock's unique style has earned her the honors as
Mistress of Botanicals. Find out how she brings the natural world literally
into her quilts.

Carol Miller gives us her usual amusing and insightful take on one of the East Coast's most popular quilt shows.


Like any news publication, TVQ is always hungry for information about new developments in the area we are trying to cover. If you have an idea for a story, or want to tell the world about something you are doing which relates to computers and quilting, we'd like to hear about it.

We'd like news of new classes starting up to teach quilt design on computers, or new approaches to that teaching. New products, maillists, World Wide Web pages, etc., are all fair game, and we'd appreciate any tips you can provide. Send your tips by e-mail to

If you have a comment about an article, a complaint or a correction, we're glad to hear that, too, and may publish some comments as letters to the editor. Again, these may be sent to




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"The Virtual Quilt," A Newsletter for Computing Quilters E-mail for a free sample copy ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Editor and Publisher: Robert Holland, Decatur, GA

1998 by Robert Holland. All rights reserved. This file may not be reproduced in any form except to be printed out for the personal use of its owner without the expressed, written consent of the copyright holder.


MCVISA.GIF (2236 bytes)If you would like to see the rest of this newsletter here, and have it appear in your e-mail about every 6 weeks for the next year, all it requires is a small contribution of $5.00!

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In upcoming issues you will find more in-depth reviews of quilt design software, more profiles of quilters, as well as profiles of online quilting communities. These features will be interspersed with news of developments in the quickly changing and expanding world of online quilting.

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