Math for Quilters – WHAT A CLASS!
The lessons were absolutely excellent.
I would sign up for any class Dena teaches.
This is the type of class that the material
provides both the curious and the serious quilter
with an excellent resource package to keep forever!
–SW, South Carolina

Most patchwork quilters follow published patterns and directions for their patchwork quilting projects. If you are ready to design patchwork quilts, or if you merely want to change the size or proportions of a published project or pattern, this online patchwork quilt class teaches everything you have to know about the math to do the job. Learn to use math to plan and scale a patchwork quilt design to fit your needs, not another’s preferences.

Green Cheese Communications

Many patchwork quilters are defeated in their efforts to use math by these problems:

  • Making measurement conversions
  • Fitting square blocks into rectangular quilt plans
  • Planning an on-point setting
  • Maximizing fabric and knowing whether they have enough fabric for a particular task
  • Figuring how much their work might be worth and what price to ask for it

In online patchwork quilt class Math for Quilters, find the easiest ways to overcome all these and all other obstacles. This online patchwork quilt class revisits the math presented in primary and secondary school in a simplified and quilt-specific form. Here, review your general math knowledge and learn how to apply it specifically to patchwork quilting.

This online patchwork quilt class demonstrates how to plan and design quilts. In it, see how to:

  • Set finished measurements for a quilt
  • Determine the number and size of blocks, sashing, borders, and bindings to fill those dimensions
  • Scale and draw blocks to a size appropriate for the design
  • Make patterns and optional templates
  • Calculate the amounts of each fabric needed
  • Examine all the costs of quilting
  • Learn how to set a price for quilts

Online patchwork quilt class Math for Quilters is chock full of tables, forms, and samples to be used for many years to come as a basis for recording quilt designs and the strategies for making them. All this and more waits for you in the lessons.

Follow and use Dena’s clear instructions to suit your needs. Discover ways to bring math theory alive in practice. See your comprehension of applied math and your ability to resolve math problems that arise for all quilters improve. Gain a fresh outlook on quilting as the work shows the improved results of your efforts.

Note: Math for Quilters does not require you to make a quilt, only to plan one that could be made.

Quilting Online News articles about Math for Quilters:

Skill Level: All

To work with and master the math of patchwork and quilting, you need some specialized drawing tools and materials. Do not lose money on expensive high-tech drawing tools at this time. They can be far too fine for your requirements, especially if you do not know how to use them.

Instead, see what office supply and general stationery stores offer. These tools and supplies are adequate and far less expensive. If later, a particular tool is not of sufficient quality to satisfy your needs, seek a better quality tool then. Learn to handle the inexpensive variety of tools and get into the good habit of taking care of the tools, and then decide whether you need to upgrade to proper mechanical drafting tools.

Specifically, you need:

  • Inexpensive plain white paper in large sheets (11″ x 17″ or larger) such as a newsprint tablet or child’s inexpensive sketchpad for drawing designs
  • 1/4″ grid (graph) paper for making scale drawings of quilt designs and patchwork blocks (beware online downloads that do not print square or to correct size)
  • Letter size white paper or a notebook with or without lines for taking notes
  • Pencil or pen for note-taking; pencil sharpener for use with wooden pencils
  • Pencil for drawing that can keep a sharp point for a long time. Any hard lead pencil will do, if you keep it very sharp. If you do much pattern drafting, invest in a mechanical pencil with a medium hardness lead of fine diameter, 0.5 – 0.7mm.
  • ArtGum or other eraser that erases cleanly and brushes away easily without smudging, tearing the paper or leaving a residue
  • 12″-18″ ruler with a metal edge, more durable and less likely to nick, for drawing straight lines
  • Dressmaker’s tape measure, made from fabric or other non-stretch material, marked in inches on one side and centimeters on the other, with protective metal sheathes on the ends
  • Tool for drawing accurate seam allowances, perhaps a clear plastic ruler with 1/4″ grid on it in blue, a plastic 1/4″ rod or a brass disk with center hole
  • Paper scissors – no dressmaker shears!
  • Template material – cardboard for single use because the damage easily, or more durable plastic for multiple uses – or manufactured templates in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • One or more tools for working with angles. Make use of a square rotary ruler if it is marked for 30º, 45º, 60º, and 90º angles, or buy plastic drafting triangles. A protractor gives more options for measuring and drawing angles, but it may be difficult to use.
  • Battery or solar powered calculator with basic functions including square root calculation
  • Computer with drawing software and a printer (optional). If you have a graphic design software program that you know how to use, it may be easier to work all calculations and do design planning and sketches on the computer. Acceptable programs include CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, EQ or QuiltPro, EazyDraw for Mac and many others. This online patchwork quilt class does not address computer-aided design; please do not expect any technical assistance with software.

perler bead quilt block

Compass used to draw circles

Compass (dividers)

Compass with extender for drawing circles and arcs (optional). The pointed end goes in the center of the circle, and you draw with a sharpened pencil point on the other leg. Put downward pressure on the handle to secure the needle point. Then swing the compass pencil around the needle point to make a perfect circle or arc for patchwork, appliqué or quilting designs. The extender allows the compass to make larger circles or arcs. Keep the point of the pencil lead sharp with a bit of sandpaper, and keep it positioned in the compass to make the finest possible drawing line


This class has taken me away from using
only purchased patterns. It has been a joy to learn
how to make a quilt that is a reflection of my talents
from first rough draft of an idea and design
to finishing stitches. What a challenge!! I look forward
to taking more classes from Dena at Quilting Online!

–MJ, Denver

In this batik quilting fabric design class, Crystal Quilts, we travel together down a path that leads logically from one design idea to the next. We move away from the traditional block-based grid and discover an exciting new way to design more patchwork quilts than you could make in a lifetime. Crystal Quilts is an online quilting class about patchwork design. In it, you learn to make both reflected and tessellated Crystal Quilts, as you create one or more original patchwork quilt designs.

The emphasis of this online patchwork quilt design class is on Crystal Quilts’ underlying design structure. We begin with a simple folded paper exercise that is the basis for the first designs. We talk about how to make a good design better and you make changes to initial design sketches accordingly.

The online patchwork quilt design class, Crystal Quilts, introduces some new sewing techniques just in time to get you started making your best design into a patchwork quilt. Discover how to finish your first Crystal Quilt with some unusual techniques and tools. See intuitive tessellation become demystified and learn how to use it to make even more beautiful Crystal Quilts.

Whether you work with rudimentary hand drawing methods or draw with the help of a sophisticated computer program makes no difference: the design methods you learn in this online patchwork quilt design class can be developed and used in many ways. We discuss a few of those applications, and when our time together finishes, you are well equipped to explore some new patchwork quilt design directions of your own.

Quilting Online News articles about Crystal Quilts:

Crystal Quilts Supply Lists

Drawing Tools

  • Paper – inexpensive large sketch pad or loose sheets as large as the quilt you intend to make; several large sheets or a roll of inexpensive tracing paper may be useful
  • Pencil with sharp point or mechanical pencil, eraser
  • Glue stick, cellophane tape or masking tape for sticking printed pages together if necessary
  • Medium tip black felt tip pen (Sharpie)
  • Disappearing or washable marking pen (test it to make sure)
  • Paper scissors


  • French or other curve drawing tool
  • 2 x 10″ mirror tiles from a hardware or home improvement shop OR graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw or any similar but less complicated program that you already know how to use. EQ and QuiltPro are not suitable.
  • Sharp needlepoint tracing wheel optional but very useful.
  • Piece of cardboard to use with the tracing wheel as a protection for your work surface

If you cannot find or do not wish to buy a needle point tracing wheel, you can work with a push-pin by hand or use an old sewing machine needle and use your machine to make perforations through several layers of paper. We do not recommend sewing through paper with a sewing machine without thread in it. Doing that can negatively alter the machine’s timing.

Lessons for this course teach anyone with paper and pencil how to design. Some computer drawing instructions are included, but no program-specific advice either is, or will be, offered. 

To design Crystal Quilts on a computer, you must know how to draw, copy, paste, rotate, cut or slice, delete, group, ungroup, mirror, enlarge, reduce, color and print the designs to full-scale on computer software of your choice and installation.

Read also :

Control in Art Quilting

Quilted Squirrel

Other Supplies

  • 1-2 yards or meters of Pellon 911 Featherweight Fusible or Vilene H250 fusible iron-on interfacing
  • 8-12 fat quarter or larger pieces of solid color fabrics
  • Neutral color piecing thread
  • Sharp dressmaker shears for cutting patches
  • Rotary cutting equipment (cutter, mat and ruler) for finishing the quilt
  • Craft size 1/4″ thick cotton, polyester or blended batting or wadding
  • Solid or print fabric for backing and hanger sleeve
  • Solid color fabric for binding
  • Threads to match or be one shade darker than your solid color fabrics
  • Selection of notions, decorative threads, beads, found objects to use as embellishments
  • Sewing machine ready for machine piecing and quilting
  • Walking foot, free motion foot, specialty feet as needed and available
  • Utility threads


I have a dear and special friend. You know the kind! We’ve been best friends for over thirty years, and the love between us is like that of sisters.

My friend is an avid equestrienne but a cautious one. She is seldom afraid of any horse, but if she’s handling a horse, she needs confidence the animal knows who is in charge!

Last time I saw my friend, she expressed concern over her horse, whether he was entirely safe for her to ride. Of course, if a rider has any doubts whatsoever, those doubts get communicated to the horse, and even a relatively safe animal can become hazardous.


Thinking just now about my friend and her horse reminded me of a belief I’ve always held about horses – that if you want a really good horse, you must raise it yourself from a foal. Like a puppy or a kitten, a horse bonds to its owner as a relationship is established and grows. Bringing up any pet from infancy ensures that the pet owner remains in control – at least in theory and for most of the time!


That thought caused me to contemplate the meaning of “control.” By definition, the word means to determine or supervise behavior. This notion, of course, implies that the controller seeks a particular behavioral outcome and is determined to have it her way, is willing to do almost anything to achieve that expectation. Have you ever been accused of being a controller? Do you ever believe that you are being controlled or manipulated? If so, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. Who is in control then?!

Read also :

Online Fabric store Art Quilt Classes

African Wax Prints in Quilts–the Question

I began to wonder what happens if we relinquish control, refuse to exercise it. A horse or a dog misbehaves and we do nothing to correct that behavior. The result: the animal learns naughty behavior is permissible and acceptable to its owner, and probably repeats the behavior. And a child? Children have peers, teachers, religious leaders, eventually bosses, co-workers and even spouses who may correct negative behavior, but it may not happen until later in life, perhaps too late to be of use.

Control in Art Quilting

My thoughts then shifted to quilting, to all the control we must exercise as patchwork quilters. We must certainly control dangerous tools like rotary cutters and dressmaker shears. We are expected, or expect ourselves, to control the materials and patterns we use with an idea to producing a predetermined outcome, one we can predict in advance because we’ve seen a photo of that quilt design somewhere.

What happens if we, as patchwork quilters, relinquish control? What if we stop trying to cut everything perfectly and make it all fit together perfectly? What if corners don’t line up, and shapes are not true? Does lack of control necessarily signal lack of quality? Or, does it rather permit materials and ideas to come to the fore and push perfectionist obsession and beginner insecurities to the rear? Does the resulting work seem more personalized, more lively and spirited?


To my way of thinking, the answer lies in the question. If what you seek to make as a quilter is a replication of what someone else designed, and developed a pattern or cutting and sewing instructions for, then you must remain in control of materials and the work processes.

However, if you are willing to take a risk, to let go of insecurity about the outcome of your patchwork quilting efforts, you will find yourself in a new place. In this new place, creativity triumphs over control. No one can guarantee that the outcome of your labors will be perfect and definitely beautiful, but the results will be YOUR outcome, an expression of your persona, skills and perspectives that no one else in the world shares! Instead of making a Mariner’s Compass, you may produce something akin to a Crazy Quilt. So what? There is great beauty in both forms of patchwork quilting.

I believe that, in order to make art quilts, you must be willing to take risks, to relinquish at least some control, and by doing so, take charge of your decision-making processes. If you do that successfully, you are well on your way to being an art quilter. And, in the process, you regain control – over the making of YOUR art, not that of someone else!

Online Art Quilt Classes

So, what do you think? Might your patchwork quilting benefit from some experiments in liberated design? Can you bear to stop obsessing about points and corners, alignments and perfection? Can you pick up a few chunks of fabric, start cutting them into bits, and then reassemble them into something that might (or might not) look a little like the picture above?

If you are at this stage in your growth as a patchwork quilter, then you may well be ready to take the leap into art quilting! Why not let one or more of the online art quilt classes offered at quilting Online help you make that transition?

In our online quilt classes, we teach you how to cut, rearrange and sew without patterns. You learn to let go of the need to know what the outcome will look like, and allow the materials to take you to an outcome you could never have predicted!


Together, we work to strengthen your sewing skills repertoire, teaching you alternative methods of piecing and appliqué, to enable you to make any quilt you can design.

We teach you to design without formal training and without relying on anyone else to supply a pattern for your quilts. We help you learn how to make YOUR quilts. If you would like to see what other students have done in our online art quilt classes, please visit our Galleries.

I owe my friend a long overdue letter. Think I’ll write to her now . . .

Online Fabric store art quilt classes are suitable for patchwork quilters with a range of interests and skill levels from beginner to advanced. Shop carefully to find an online art quilt class that meets your particular needs and interests at this time.

You need no prior art training to take online art quilt classes from Online Fabric store. All you need is an interest in patchwork quilt design and a little imagination. If you have any doubts about your skill levels before enrolling in online patchwork quilt design class, contact us. We can help you decide and select the best class for you!

Much goes on behind the scenes at Online Fabric store, with new teachers, new courses and new products coming as quickly as we can source and develop them.


Math for Quilters at Online Fabric store

Jua Kali (detail), a Reflections quilt

To help find your skill level, compare your knowledge and experience with these guidelines:

You have


skills if you:

  • Own dressmaker shears and know how to cut patches from a pattern or template traced onto the fabric.
  • Can sew a straight seam, either by hand or with any sewing machine.
  • Clean and oil your sewing machine — if not, read the user’s manual.
  • Have made at least one patchwork quilt top, and have a good idea of the amount of work involved.
  • Learned how to quilt by hand or machine.

You have


skills if you:

  • Use rotary cutting equipment to cut strips, squares, rectangles and triangles.
  • Have made, by hand or machine or both, at least six patchwork quilts.
  • Tried appliqué, either by hand or machine, but your efforts can stand improvement.
  • Quilted, either by hand or machine, but you have not yet tried free motion quilting by machine.
  • Bound a quilt, either with single or double fold binding.

You have


skills if you:

  • Use rotary cutting equipment with complete ease and safety.
  • Have made at least ten patchwork quilts, using both piecing and appliqué, either by hand or machine.
  • Quilted and bound most of your quilts.
  • Are competent with machine quilting and have tried your hand at free motion quilting with some success.
  • Added embellishments (beads, sequins, crystals, other trims) to your quilts.

Read also :

Quilted Squirrel

Take a tour around Online Fabric store, starting with our How Online Fabric store Works page. If you have any questions, post them in the Comments section you find on that page. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Visit The Batik Fabric Wholesale To Get The Special Price

Batik fabric wholesale can be the solution that you can choose when you want to get the lowest price. That will be more effective than waiting for same discounts from retail stores. Batik fabric is one type that has entered into the world of fashion that has a high cultural value. The use of batik fabric today can cover many fields without being limited by a particular thing. You can get the model of batik that you like anytime easily and quickly. Currently, you can visit the grocery store to get special prices.


Get The Cheapest Price At Batik Fabric Wholesale

Buyers always want a special price for each product to be purchased. As one of those places that sell prices with affordable offers, batik fabric wholesale will be the main place to be addressed by prospective buyers. Purchase from wholesale fabric batik will save your expenses and you can get batik with good quality. Various types of batik cloth you can choose according to your wishes. You can also choose batik motifs that match the intended use.

Batik fabric wholesale it is  famous with an affordable price, this place can also sell fabrics that have the same quality of the boutique. It makes buyers prefer batik fabric wholesale to obtain batik cloth. Purchases from wholesale places will give you choice from vintage batik to modern batik. Various options will be offered at a special price and will make you more flexibility to choose the appropriate batik design.

Visit The Batik Fabric Wholesale To Get The Special Price

Many Kind of Design That You Can Find At Batik Fabric Wholesales

  • The vintage batik like Parang and Sidomukti
  • The modern flower motif of batik
  • The Batik Cap Indigo with Batik geometric type

Read Also :

The Newest Combination Of Cream Batik Fabric

Bali Batik Fabric as Your Souvenir from Bali

Let’s buy the batiks from batik fabric wholesale to get the special price. The batik most commonly uses the material from Cotton Primissima that convenience to use. When you can go to the offline wholesales, you may visit the online ones.

Today I’m sharing insights on new products being introduced at Quilt Market.  For those attending this event, you may want to print out this post and take with you.  For those not attending, keep an eye out at your local quilt shop or online shop, as these products should be appearing in these shops in coming months:

On Thursday, October 25th, Ebony Love will be sharing insights at School House on her new book “Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips“. This presentation will be held at 3:45pm, room 371F.  And, Ebony will be signing books in the Sizzix booth(#125) on October 27th, from 10-12, and on Nov 3rd from 12:30-2:30pm.

On Friday, October 26th Kari Karr (New Leaf Stitches) will be sharing insights on her upcoming book release  Twice As Nice, at Schoolhouse (Martingale) at 2:35pm, Room 352D

Friday, October 26th Phyllis Dobbs has a Schoolhouse presentation at 4:55 room 362D where you’ll get to hear more about her new fabric line “Just Bee Cause”.  There are 11 fabrics in this collection and a panel of cute whimsal bees:  Quilting Bee, Sewing Bee, Busy Bee, Worker Bee, Honey Bee, Fashion Bee, Spelling Bee, Queen Bee, Just Bee Cause, Bee in a Bonnet, Bee Mine and Bee Yourself.

There will be hundreds of amazing vendors at Quilt Market.  Here are a few of my favorites that I hope you get to check out.:

Cozy Quilt Designs
There are many new patterns and a fun new quilting book that will be introduced at Fall Quilt Market (Booth #2147).  SewCalGal anticipates these new products to all be Best Sellers!

The Electric Quilt Company  (Booth #508) has several new products that they will be introducing at Quilt Market.  My two favorites are Star Power, with Judy Martin and Karen K. Stone: More Quilts!  Also, check out BlockBase that is back in stock (previously sold out for quite some time).  And, check out their new Quiltmaker Collection Vol 8, which is their latest Quilting Designs to be released.  But all of the Quiltmaker Collections are excellent for anyone doing free-motion quilting, as well as those that want to plan out quilting motifs on their projects, before they quilt them or have a longarmer quilt them.

Hoffman California Fabrics

Be sure to visit the Hoffman Batik Fabric booth (#709) to check out their cute Woodlands fabric line and hear about Taylor Swift’s PJs in her recent music video.  And, of course, enjoy checking out all their new fabric lines and learning more about the 2013 Hoffman Challenge!

Island Batik, Inc.   
Visit Island Batik’s booth (#662) to see their new fabric lines!  And, check out two beautiful wall-hangings designed by Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio, made with beautiful Island Batik fabrics!  The patterns are available from Brewer (wholesale).

Kaleidoscope Collections, LLC   
Meet Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero  and see the new quilt that she made for her booth (#200).  Spectacular quilt.

KennyKreations    will be in booth #260. They are also introducing a new machine embroidery design set called “Springtime Roses”. This collection is in partnership with Nine Patch Media.

Springtime Roses Circles Blocks

Martingale/That Patchwork Placewill be in booth 264 and has many wonderful new books that they’ll be showcasing, as well as insight on future releases. Attendees will have a chance to meet:

  •  Kari Karr, author of Twice As Nice and Just Around the Corner, Saturday @ pm and Monday @ 10:30am.
  • Barbara J. Jones, author of A Batch of QuiltSoup, Sunday @ 12pm.

Lunch Box Quilts will be in booth #1651.  The talented Angie Steveson has designed many new creations, some for machine embroidery enthusiasts and some for those that simply want to create her designs with various applique’ techniques.  Be sure to check out her new collection for ten machine embroidered towels, as these will certainly make great Christmas gifts and holiday decorations.  SewCalGal has also heard she’ll be introduce a cute new “French” theme applique’ design at Fall Quilt Market.

Purple Daisies-Embroidery by Sharon Schamber     (booth #819) has many beautiful machine embroidery designs, by Sharon Schamber.

Quilter’s Paradise, in Escondido, Ca will be in booth #160.  They have many amazing laser cut kits and applique’-cuts, as well as laser cut rulers.  Plus, they provide a laser cutting service that is growing in popularity with fabric manufacturers, quilt stores, and quilt designers.  This service can provide amazing benefits for those in the quilting business, plus think of the benefits to quilters that want to attend a class or retreat and don’t have time to cut their fabric?  Their laser cutting service allows you to create custom kits!  For those visiting Quilt Market take time to visit Quilter’s Paradise and chat with them about ways to create custom kits and/or cuts, for your business.  You can also click this link to find out more about their laser cutting services.

Paper Pieces (booth#1558) will have a fun booth packed with a variety of designs, designers, authors and more. Plus, PaperPieces has a great line of products to help quilters create perfectly pieced projects using their paper piecing templates and designs.  And, you can find AnneMart Berendse in their booth, who is the author of a fun book called “Decorate Your Shoes”.

Brewer Sewing (booth #1944) will have many new products that they are introducing at Quilt Market.  Definitely check out

  • patterns designed by Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio – they are beautiful!
  •  Kari Karr will be in the Brewer Booth on Sunday @ 5pm to share insights on her new book – Twice As Nice.
  • Look for Sarah Vedeler’s new machine embroidery designs.
  • Check out the Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks for Free-Motion Quilting.

Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks

Again, I do hope if you are attending Quilt Market you have a chance to visit some of SewCalGal’s favorite vendors and attend some fun and inspirational School House Sessions. For those, like SewCalGal, can’t attend Quilt Market, I hope you keep an eye out for these new products in your local quilt shops and/or online shops, as they should be appearing in these shops in the first half of 2013!


For those that want to hear more about Quilt Market, here are some recommended sources:

Follow tweets using the hastag #quiltmarket
Kimberly Jolly (Fat Quarter Shop) is the best tweeter sharing photos & insights during Quilt Market.  You can follower her at:

Here we see Ardy Tobin’s student workGoodbye to the Grid quilt, Deco City.  Ardy sent some photos of her original art quilt, from the online patchwork quilt design class, in progress.  The photos show how a rough design sketch evolves to a finished quilt.

Ardy began with simple sketches which she elaborated to add interest.


Goodbye to the Grid Student Work: Deco City by Ardy Tobin; initial sketch

Ardy then worked to perfect the composition. She played with many design possibilities before finally settling on a finished sketch. Shown below, this sketch was to become an art quilt wall hanging. By this time, Ardy could visualize the finished quilt as a floating motif against a solid background.


Goodbye to the Grid Student Work: Deco City by Ardy Tobin; refined composition

Ardy intuited that the sketch called for a distinctive and strong background. A simple value study, using only black and white, revealed more about how the design would work as an original art quilt.


Goodbye to the Grid Student Work: Deco City by Ardy Tobin; value study

With sketches and patchwork pattern in hand, Ardy headed for her fabric stash. Her rough colored sketch, below right, shows that she deviated little from her planned choices of fabrics and colors. Ardy’s design wall proved its worth!


Goodbye to the Grid Student Work: Deco City by Ardy Tobin; fabric choices

The pattern Ardy prepared gave her a basis for piecing the design. The sewing was made much easier by some of the unusual sewing methods taught in Goodbye to the Grid. Among these are half-seam piecing, inset angle piecing, appli-piecing and more. The class is taught by Dena Dale Crain. Dena offers each technique as a separate lesson, giving students plenty of opportunity to practice, ask questions and receive answers.


Goodbye to the Grid Student Work: Deco City by Ardy Tobin; patchwork piecing

Ardy’s finished art quilt, Deco City, is a one-off artistic masterpiece! Cleverly dramatic fabric choices and careful piecing make this quilt a strong statement.


Goodbye to the Grid Student Work: Deco City by Ardy Tobin; finished original art quilt

Designing is fun and rewarding! You, too, can learn how to design and make original patchwork art quilts. It’s easier than you think!

Goodbye to the Grid, online patchwork quilt design class at Quilting Online, opens a door for most students through which, once you pass, you never look back. With continuous enrollment, access the classroom and begin your studies as and when you can.


To make art, you need a wide variety of materials, tools and supplies. It is impossible to list every fabric, art or craft supply or tool for you to acquire for this class. Some items are essential and others are optional; both are listed below.

The remainder comes from your existing stash, toolbox, local craft or art supply shop, hardware store or children’s toy box. Found objects are useful, as well as supplies from other media. Art or fabric acrylic paints, brushes, adhesives, laminates or whatever you have on hand is fodder for making art. Be observant and miss no opportunity to allow some unusual medium to influence you. Begin with the supplies listed here and expand the list as you wish.

Required Supply List

  • Inexpensive tracing paper (kitchen grease-proof or parchment, child’s tracing paper sketchbook or other–do not buy expensive artist’s tracing paper unless you really want it), minimum 6 large sheets for each quilt project but you will probably want more)
  • Paper scissors
  • HB or other soft lead pencil or mechanical pencil, eraser, sharpener
  • Permanent ink, medium/fine tip black felt marking pen
  • Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
  • Sharp dressmaker shears
  • Tailor’s chalk, soap sliver or other temporary marker
  • 1-2 yards or meters light/medium weight, stiff, non-woven fusible interfacing – Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight or Vilene H250 (not Pellon batting)
  • Straight pins
  • Matching threads
  • Neutral color utility thread
  • Design wall (flannel or batting, 1 square yard or meter or larger)
  • Electric iron and board
  • 8-12 x 1/2 yard or meter pieces of solid color and/or print fabrics, loosely coordinated and in a wide range of values from very dark to very light
  • Enough of one fabric to back a quilt with an area of approximately 1300-1500 sq in
  • 1 fabric for the quilt’s binding, in sufficient amount to cut binding on cross grain at 5″ width
  • Craft size batting, 1/4″ thick, preferably cotton
  • Tacking gun and tacks, bent safety pins, or straight pins for securing the quilt layers for quilting
  • Large sketch pad of inexpensive paper such as newsprint
  • Sewing machine and regular sewing supplies

Optional Supply List

  • 1/2” cellophane or masking tape
  • Fusing agents like WonderUnder, Steam-a-Seam, Vliesofix
  • Glue stick
  • Thread snips
  • X-acto knife, blade #11, or other seam ripper
  • Appliqué foot
  • Cording foot
  • Embroidery or decorative stitch foot
  • Open toe foot
  • Notebook
  • Decorative threads
  • Invisible thread – good polyester, not cheap nylon
  • French or other curve drawing tools
  • Fabric glue for embellishments
  • Embellishments like beads, sequins, found objects, cords, tassels, ribbons, trims, even scrap fabrics (optional)
  • Selection of art supplies suitable for fabrics – acrylic fabric paints and brushes, dyes, crayons, rubber stamps and ink, in small quantities – whatever you have that will be easy and not messy to use
  • Access to a photocopier with enlargement capabilities
  • Computer with graphic design software of your choice and an attached printer. To use EQ, you must know how to draw designs without blocks. Other appropriate programs include Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, AppleWorks and many similar graphic design programs. This is not a class in computer-aided design. You must already know how to use your software before you use it for this class. Otherwise, be prepared to draw and design by hand.

African Wax Prints in Quilts the Question Current discussions on various internet sites highlight the increased fascination with African wax prints along
with other African fabrics, as components for patchwork quilts especially. The same question appears often:

How should I handle and care for my African wax prints as I use them to make a patchwork quilt?

The answer comes as no surprise, but first let’s make sure we know exactly what we’re talking about.

There is a big difference between African wax prints or Dutch wax prints, printed cloth sold by the yard or meter in open-air markets and shops all over the African continent, and heavily waxed “tourist art” batik panels sold primarily by street hawkers.

Let’s take a closer look!
African wax prints

The history of African wax prints seems shrouded in mystery. For a most interesting discussion and further references on the history of African wax prints, see While you’re there, take a good look at the photos that show fabrics similar to these below, but used as upholstery cloth for furniture–beautiful!

Also have a look at The Curious History of “Tribal” Prints. And, for a special report, see African Fabrics: The History of Dutch Wax Prints.

Most important to note is that these cloths are industrially created using a roller printing technique that cranks out hundreds of meters at a time. The best cloths are finished by various methods including starch, sizing and other chemical treatments, steaming to shrink the cloth before sale, and pressing. These processes result in finished products having little or no wax in them.
African batik “tourist art”

Compare/contrast these beautiful African wax prints with the “one-off” (?) hand-made batik sold on the streets. The differences are immediately obvious. Firstly, the tourist art panels depict compositions, not repeat patterns. Each cloth illustrates a market, street, village or wild animal scene or other representational image. Each is a complete composition, a one-off work of art, even if mass-produced in small jua kali (Kiswahili for “hot sun” or outdoor) workshops.

I bought this panel through my car window at an intersection in Westlands. The hawker demanded KES 2,ooo/- (about US$ 20), but I simply held out a KES 500/- note and waited until the light changed. I let my foot off the brake so the car began inching forward. The hawker quickly backed down on his price, shoved the batik into the car window and grabbed the fiver–we were both happy!

African wax prints

Some years ago, Paula Benjaminson and I went shopping in the Masai Market in Nairobi. There we discovered some charming batik panels carrying antique maps of Africa. We each bought one and made a promise to turn them into patchwork quilts.

Before I layered and quilted my panel, I ironed it between sheets of brown paper. The paper absorbed most of the melted wax, leaving the panel looking cleaner, feeling less stiff and being unlikely to develop unsightly cracks in the wax. Some wax remains in the fabric, but as this quilt will only ever hang on a wall, that wax causes no obvious problems. Fabrics used in the border include an African tie-dye cloth and some solid or near-solid hand-dyed cloths from Amafu. The binding, funnily enough, is a proper African wax print fabric!

African wax prints

Both these batik panels were heavy with wax that had never been removed from the fabric.

The map panels were plentiful, even in the small kiosk in the Masai Market. Judging the work, the map panels were likely printed from a silk screen or with a large stamp. Workers could print the panels side by side on a long length of cloth, or more likely they first cut the fabric into panels and then stamp it. I suspect the latter is true because the panels were of irregular sizes and shapes, even different materials.

Batik fabric workers used some thickened black dye or ink to print or stamp the map and ship. They then carefully waxed the areas that now appear white, probably by hand painting hot wax over those shapes in the cloth. Finally, they quickly dipped each panel into a dye bath to add color–this one orange, others grey or khaki or blue.
Secondly, the panels are heavily waxed in the finished state.

After the dye dried, the workers paint or dip each panel in hot wax to “set” the colors. Given a choice of removing the small amount of wax used to prevent the white areas from receiving dye versus merely dipping or possibly slapping on a thick coat of hot wax, the workers choose the latter option. To me, this in itself cautions buyers to beware!

The makers of these panels do not intend them for apparel or bedding, but rather for display on walls, with or without frames. Neither do they intend, very likely, for anyone to wash or otherwise launder the batik. A quick splash with cold water might remove dust from the wax, but a leak in the wax could result in a shift of dye or ink.

Herein lies the danger of using such materials in patchwork quilts: if we remove the wax and launder the fabric, and if the dyes/inks are not permanently set, the entire design may be ruined or lost completely!
Thirdly, most of these cloths look as if they are hand-painted.

Indeed, some work is hand-painted, with the artist following a general scheme but with great variety in detail and color. To view and appreciate the work of a true master of these techniques, see Lukandwa Dominic.

African wax prints care and handling instructions

Therefore, how to prepare African wax prints for patchwork quilting does not differ from the preparation for ALL materials used in quilting.

How often do we hear it? “ALWAYS pre-wash your fabrics!”

Let your intentions for the quilt guide you. If you intend to wash or dry clean the quilt, wash or dry clean ALL the fabrics that go into the quilt before you use them.

Launder the fabrics in exactly the same way you intend to launder the quilt: cold water, mild soap, gentle handling for line drying in the shade, and cool ironing.

Check specifically for evidence of:

Shrinkage–reduction in the length of cloth after laundering
Bleeding–dye seeping out of the fabric into the laundry solution
Fading–color disappearing from the cloth, leaving it paler than before laundry
Crocking–loss of color due to abrasion
Pilling–loss of fibers through formation of “pills,” little balls of fiber on the cloth surface

Any of these effects discovered before, during or after laundering are good reasons not to use that fabric in a quilt that will be washed or dry cleaned.

Perhaps, like Paula and me, you want to quilt one of the heavily waxed African batiks. First iron the fabric many times between sheets of absorbent paper. Paper towels, brown wrapping paper, newsprint: these are the best options.

Keep ironing until no more melted wax moves out of the fabric, then use the fabric in a quilt for a wall hanging, never for bedding that requires laundering. Take my advice and do not attempt to wash one of these quilts!

Instead, enjoy your lightly waxed “art” quilt for as long as it lasts. Avoid paying exorbitant tourist prices for the fabric, so you can painlessly discard the quilt when it no longer looks nice. Then make a new quilt!

One final note: Beware truly cheap Chinese African wax print knock-offs! They are flooding the market, undermining more expensive but better quality traditional producers who now cannot afford to compete, and leaving consumers in the lurch with inferior quality products.

Magie Relph, of The African Fabric Shop, is a knowledgeable expert in the field, and she informs us that real African wax print fabrics are as clearly printed on the back as they are on the face. Inexpensive imitations are printed on one side and white on the other because the dyes are lightly applied and do not soak through the materials. Let that single rule of thumb along with deceptively low pricing put you on guard to avoid being “ripped off!” When it comes to African wax prints, we always get what we pay for!

I grew up in Delaware, and then lived in Pennsylvania for the next 22 years. That’s where I fell in love with the art
of piecing and quilting, though in those early days, I wasn’t very good at it.  Somewhere between my first and second child I decided to abandon all sewing projects, and gave (or attempted to give) my fabric away.  So much
for that!  My best friend and quilting mentor decided that wasn’t appropriate, and undertook the task of getting me hooked again.  I will be forever grateful to her for her patience and persistence! Quilts for my
children soon led to quilts for charity raffles, and somewhere along in there I stumbled upon the internet world of quilters. It was those gals who hung the moniker “Squirrel” on me … it later became “Desert Squirrel” when
I moved to Arizona.  Participation in a year long project with one of the Quilt in a Day instructors (Loretta Smith)
left me hungry for more “blocks of the month” … and after some pouting from fellow swappers at the end of that project, I undertook to start a block of the month to keep us all together.  Over the years we’ve evolved
from photocopied patterns mailed each month to swappers, and utter chaos to the more streamlined Block of the Month group we now have on MSN. My co-host Margo took a class in web design, which now has our blocks of the month.  Check out our archived patterns, and current projects here.  Every time I’ve been ready to throw in the towel and quit, a quilter (newbie as well as experienced) will tell me “I tried something I’ve never done before, thank you”, and I forget all about the frustration of orchestrating year long swaps … and away we go again!
I live in Michigan now, and am a member of the Quirky Quilters Quilt Guild!
Such a grand bunch of ladies! I hope to learn much from them, and find some way to give back, as well.

Through this wonderful craft, rich in history and legend, I’ve met some wonderful people, and have had some unbelievable experiences.  My life has been enriched.

And of course, Squirrels have enriched it even more!! Read all about Sugar Bush Squirrel. While I have not met her, I did have the wonderful experience of raising an orphaned squirrel. Mine was later released at the Sanford Park Zoo in Florida.