Trading Post Tutorials

Fall is officially upon us, which means Fall Festival is just around the corner! Who (besides me) is excited and counting down the days?

Prayer Flags

Two prayer flags I have made so far to ring in autumn, my favorite season. I dyed a vintage table runner, and cut it into several 5″-wide pieces to create individual flags.


If you are coming to the show, not only do I hope that you are making Pet Postcards for our Pet Postcard Project fundraiser, but we also have some fun opportunities for our Trading Post, where we invite you to trade your ATCs (artist trading cards), Inchies, Mug Rugs, and Prayer Flags. Sharing a bit of your art with other show attendees is a fantastic way to explore new techniques (without committing yourself to a large quilt), and also bring home some (free!) handmade mementos by other quilters. There is no limit as to how many items you can bring and trade. There are no rules for the Trading Post, except to trade like-items at the show (i.e. if you want to trade out your Inchie you brought to the show, you must trade it for another Inchie, not an ATC, prayer flag or mug rug).

All four of these small trading projects are a snap to make, and a great way to use up scraps and embellishments. We invite everyone to use all kinds of media and techniques–don’t feel you must stick entirely to fabric!

4 Simple Projects for Trading

Prayer Flags

Prayer flags can be as sturdy or delicate as you like, but keep in mind that it is quite possible the recipient will be placing your prayer flags outside, such as hanging off the railing of a front porch. Prayer flags are celebrated and cherished for their frayed, weathered look, so feel free to upcycle those vintage table lines too worn or stained for daily use.  The suggested size for this particular prayer flag trade at Fall Festival is in the range of 5″ w x 6″h, and make sure to stitch a sleeve across the top for a piece of cording or string to slip through. Some of my very favorite prayer flags are by Vivika Denegre, who challenged herself to make a prayer flag every day for the month of June a couple years ago. She recently told me that she spent just one hour each day making them, using materials she had on hand.

Vivika Denegre's prayer flags

A sampling of Vivika Denegre’s prayer flags she made in 2011.


Simple two-step construction instructions:

1. Cut your background fabric to size, about 5″ x 6″ for this trade, and fold over the top by about 1″ to the back. Machine stitch closed to create the sleeve at the top. Don’t worry about the fabric fraying along the sides, that’s part of the prayer flag’s charm!

2. Now the fun part: time to stitch and embellish! You are limited only by your imagination for materials and techniques. Feel free to combine paper and fabric, too!

For more prayer flag inspiration, visit Vivika’s prayer flag blog where you will find lots of inspiring examples.

ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) 


ATCs give you a good excuse to use up fabric scraps and share a bit of your art with someone else. Only guidelines are they are 2.5″ x 3.5″ in size, and are signed on the back with your name, date, and contact info (if you would like the recipient to contact you).

I find it easiest to make a batch of ATCs at once, creating and machine stitching on a larger piece of background fabric that I later cut up into individual ATCs.

Suggested materials to make a batch of ATCs:

• Fabrics for the front of your ATC

• Approx. 9″ x 12″ piece of craft felt or batting

• Fusible web or fabric glue

• Fabric scraps (cottons, laces, and sheers) in various colors
• One larger  piece of backing fabric the size of your top fabric to cover the back side of your batting
• Threads and embellishments
• Sewing machine
• Rotary cutter, quilting ruler and mat
• Iron and ironing board
• Embellishments (beads, buttons, trims)
• Fabric scissors

• Cardstock

My ATC Recipe:

1. Create your larger background fabric that you will later cut up into individual 2.5″ x 3.5″ pieces. You could wholecloth dye, paint, stamp or stencil, or piece the background. (This is also a good project to use up unfinished blocks that you don’t think will ever get into a quilt.)

2. Baste the top fabric to batting or felt, cut to same size. Before cutting into individual ATCs, I like to practice my machine stitching and free-motion the background at this point.

3. Cut the top fabric and batting into individual 2.5″ x 3.5″ ATCs.

4. Make them personal! Add motifs or designs using raw edge appliqué, hand stitching.

5. Cut the card stock to size, and glue to the back. Sign and date your ATC.


See the above instructions for creating ATCs, except the finished size is 1.5″ square. Inchies are perfect for wearables–they make terrific brooches as well as charms for bracelets and necklaces.

Mug Rugs

Mug rugs are small(ish) patchwork placemats approximately 6″-7″ in size for a cup of coffee or tea and a small snack to rest on while stitching in your studio. For a host of mug rug tutorials and styles, visit this mug rug page!

We hope you will be creating and bringing a lot of stitched art with you next month to Quilt Festival!

Gearing Up for Quilt Festival Long Beach!


Throwback Monday–shot from the Long Beach show in 2009. From left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Jenison, me, Melanie Testa, and Jane LaFazio.


I adore the Long Beach show, and looking forward to another great time to be had this August 2-4th at the Long Beach Convention Center!

If you want to avoid the long lines for purchasing tickets at the show, you can by them in advance by clicking this link to the extremetix website and print them out in advance.



Machine-needflefelted ATCs I had made a couple years ago and found in my stash over the weekend.


What else can you do in advance? Make ATCs and mug rugs to trade with other quilters and mixed media artists! My mother is coming for a visit this weekend, and since we are both California girls, I am going to put her to work and have her help me make at least 30 ATCs that celebrate our home state!

ATC Tutorials online:

Mug Rug Tutorials:


If you didn’t sign up for classes yet, don’t fret. When you get to the show you can go to the enrollment desk to see what’s still available. And below is a listing of educational opportunities right on the show floor:


Thursday, August 1—Preview Night only

5:00-7:00 p.m.

Pokey Bolton                Monoprinting Fabrics with Everyday Items

Heather Jones            Modern Quilting

Christen Brown           Embroidered & Embellished

Kim DeCoste               Rubber Stamping & Stenciling on Fabric


7:00-9:00 p.m.

Judy Murrah                Collage Greeting Cards

Christen Brown           Ribbonwork Gardens

Kim DeCoste               English Paper Piecing

Esterita Austin           Layered Monoprinting with Sheers


Take just an hour, or less, to learn a quick new skill, and make a fun project. No pre-enrollment; just pay $10 at the door (first-come, first-served). Tickets available all day (for that day’s sessions only) until the class space is sold out.

Come to booths 1337/1436 off “Main Street” to see the project line up.

Friday, August 2

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.           Marilyn Peterson        Pentagon Fabric Bowl—English Paper Piecing

12:30-1:30 p.m.                      Patti Culea                  Alice’s Flower Button

1:45-2:45 p.m.                         Jamie Fingal                Tin Box Pin Cushion

3:00-4:00 p.m.                      Pokey Bolton              Fun & Funky Fabric Postcards

Saturday, August 3

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.           Diane Ricks                 Vintage Look Velvet Roses

12:30-1:30 p.m.                      Diane Ricks                 Silk Ribbon Poppies

1:45-2:45 p.m.                        Marilyn Peterson        Pentagon Fabric Bowl—English Paper Piecing

3:00-4:00 p.m.                       Patti Culea                  Baubles & Dangles

4:15-5:15 p.m.                         Dianne Springer          Fab-Fast Flowers

Sunday, August 4

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.             Kim DeCoste              No-Sew Wallhanging

12:30-1:30 p.m.                      Marilyn Peterson        Pentagon Fabric Bowl—English Paper Piecing

1:45-2:45 p.m.                         Leslie Tucker Jenison Wish You Were Here—A Postcard from Long Beach

Lastly, there will be a very festive and lively event held Saturday night, August 3, right at the Convention Center called The Iron Quilter. Join us for a lot of laughs, door prizes, and the chance to win a brand new BERNINA sewing machine!  If you want to participate, just go to the enrollment desk at the show and let them know you would like to join in on the fun.

See you soon!

Update on Events & Opportunities for the Upcoming Quilt Festival in Houston!

All of us at Quilts are getting so excited about the upcoming show in just two short weeks! We are busy packing more than 1000 quilts, countless signs, show programs, totes, badges, ATCs, fabric postcards, t-shirts, books (you name it, we are packing it) to get ready to move into the George R. Brown Convention Center next week.

In getting ready for Festival, I have decided I am going to pack up my sewing machine and studio supplies to schlep to my hotel room so at night I can make more fabric postcards for our Festival Pet Project Fundraiser as well as ATCs for our Trading Post!

Pet Postcard Update

Speaking of our Pet Postcard fundraiser (and if you don’t know what I am talking about, all of  the information is here), we are still accepting fabric postcards in our offices through Tuesday, October 23, and if you are coming to Festival we will accept them at the show through Saturday, November 3. Simply bring them to Room 213. Please note: the Pet Postcards will be on sale at Quilt Festival, not Quilt Market.
I thought I would share a few of my own fabric postcards that I have made thus far. (I still plan to make 50 total!)

My little Min Pin, Louie, has a big ego…


I mean, for real…he has a big ego. Did you ever see the movie “Goodfellas?” Remember Tommy DeVito, the character played by Joe Pesci? If Louie was a human, he would be him.


My kitty Khaleesi, who has been exploring her playful side and stretching her physical boundaries lately, inspired this yoga postcard.


ATC & Mug Rug Trade

Don’t forget! Make and bring ATCs and mug rugs to trade at Festival! Bring as many as you want to trade, and tell all of your friends who are coming to the show!

Newly Expanded Open Studios Brought to You by Craftsy!

We are so excited to have a much larger and expanded version of Open Studios this year, and in the food court area where people can relax and spend time with the artists. During Festival, there will be approximately 60 sessions with more than 40 artists who will be demonstrating their craft and sharing their expertise with attendees. This event, brought to you by,  will have a variety of artists on hand demonstrating everything from free-motion embroidery and piecing to monoprinting and embellishment. I will post the full artist schedule in the next couple of days, so you can print it out and plan your visit to this area.

New: Mix and Mingle Reception!

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday (November 3) for an evening of fun! We’re hosting a new event, MIX ‘N MINGLE from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the pre-function area, outside of the ballrooms on the third floor. No pre-enrollment is required, all show attendees are invited. What better way to wrap up your day than spending time with old friends (and making new ones!), talking about your day, unwinding, and enjoying refreshments from the nearby cash bar. And best of all…we’ll be giving away hundreds of dollars in door prizes!
More information to come shortly, but I have a date in my studio tonight to make more fabric postcards!

Make ATCs & Mug Rugs to Trade at Quilt Festival & More Pet Postcards!

More fabric postcards for Festival’s Pet Project are arriving and looking fantastic! Some more eye candy for you:

An assortment of fabric postcards by rebel quilter, Jamie Fingal. (I love the googly eyes!)



A sampling of fabric postcards by Pauline Salzman. These pooches are going to be gobbled up fast at the show!



Cute kitties by Terri Stegmiller. The bottom card reminds me very much of my own rescue kitty, Khaleesi!


There is still plenty of time to make fabric postcards to benefit Friends For Life! (All of the information is in this post.) We are accepting them here at the Quilts offices through October 23rd, and we will accept them at the show through Friday, November 2nd, in Room 213 on the 2nd floor of the convention center. Please note: Fabric Postcards will go on sale for $20 each at Quilt Festival (not Market) beginning on Preview Night, October 31st.

Share Your Art!

Make Art To Trade at Our Festival Trading Post!

Just because you may not have entered a quilt into our quilt show doesn’t mean you can’t have your art displayed! Our Trading Post where you can trade ATCs (artist trading cards) and mug rugs will be right next to Open Studios near the Food Court, and we hope you will make and bring as many ATCs and mug rugs as you can. This is a very lively section of the show floor, and a great way to share new quilt, surface design, and embellishment ideas with other quilters.

I cruised the web to find some good tutorials for you in case you are not familiar with ATCs or mug rugs:

ATC Tutorials online:

Mug Rug Tutorials:

Fabric Winner!

Congratulations to Corky Eden for being randomly selected in my last post. Thank you for making fabric postcards to benefit Friends For Life, and I will email you to get your shipping address.


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