Tag Archives: behind the scenes

Wonder Under

Featured Tool: Wonder Under by Pellon Consumer Products, Item #21206 

What is this tool typically used for?

Wonder Under is ideal for applique–it allows fabric to maintain its soft feel after fusing. It is also machine stitchable, fuses easily in seconds, and bonds to fabric or any porous surface.

How did you use it?

Since it is so light weight, it is really easy to trace your applique shapes. You need to remember to trace the mirror image of the pieces especially when applique letters. Because it comes on a roll, you can applique large pieces with only one sheet, which you can do when you are using the pre-cut sheets. Sometimes the paper can be hard to peel off especially on small pieces. I find scoring the back of the paper with my scissors really can help.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it?

The fusible part is super easy to use, but if you are having a hard time peeling off the paper, make sure you let it cool first.

What did you like best?

It is light weight so when you are sewing through it for finishing the edges or quilting it is easy and doesn’t gum up your needle. Also it is nice if using several different layers of applique.

What did you like the least?

Sometimes the paper is a little difficult to peel off, but for me the quality and light weight of the fusible is really worth a little difficulty.

Could you see another potential use for Wonder Under?

It can be used any where you would need a double sided fusible, including some crafts.

Who would appreciate Wonder Under most?

These are perfect for:

  • Intermediate and expert quilters
  • Someone acquiring the basics

Hold It Precision Stiletto

Featured Tool: Hold It Precision Stiletto by Clover, Item #82173 

What is this tool typically used for?

No more hot fingers! This is the perfect tool for pressing and sewing! Use the curved end to hold fabrics while you sew, and the rubber grip end when you are pressing. It’s also a great tool to use with a hot glue gun.

What was your first impression of the Hold It Precision Stiletto?

I liked the curved aspect to the stiletto end and the rubber end for ironing. I also use the curved end to poke out corners when I turn a project.

How did you use it?

I use it mainly as a stiletto. I love it! Because the end is curved with a point it is a lot easier to use than other stilettos.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it?

Figured it out on my first try.

What did you like best?

The curved end makes getting the right grip on your fabric a breeze.

What did you like the least?

My silicone end has started to crack a bit.

Why do you NEED it?

You need this tool to help hold down seams while going through the presser foot. It is very helpful in helping you keep your fabric straight while sewing. The silicone tip saves fingers from getting burned, but also works as a stiletto while sewing.

Could you see another potential use for the Hold It Precision Stiletto?

I also use it to push out corners when turning an object

Who would appreciate the Hold It Precision Stiletto most?

These are perfect for:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and expert quilters
  • Paper-piecers
  • Someone acquiring the basics

YoYo Makers

Featured Tool: YoYo Makers by Clover, Item # 81857, 81858, 81837, 81838

What is this tool typically used for?

The YoYo Makers are for making cute, sewn (cinched) fabric embellishments.

What was your first impression of Clover’s YoYo Makers?

They look like Mickey-Mouse ears!

How did you use it?

You cut fabric to fit 1/4″ around the plastic yo-yo maker, place the fabric inside, and snap the lid on. Yo-yo makers are a guide for stitching around your fabric so that when you cinch or pull the thread to tighten your yo-yo, the stitches are even. It also provides you something to hold onto. You’ll end up with a very nice yo-yo.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it?

Just a minute or so!

What did you like best?

I love using these yo-yo makers, it’s pretty fast and you can really crank out some yoyos in no time at all. There are four different sizes available: extra small, extra large, small, and large.

What did you like the least?

Nothing negative stood out to me about this tool.

Why do you NEED it?

They are FUN to use and super easy.

Who would appreciate YoYo Makers most?

These are perfect for:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and expert quilters
  • Someone acquiring the basics

Thimble Pad

Featured Tool: Thimble Pad by Colonial Needle, Item # 80561


What is the Thimble Pad typically used for?

This is a thimble for people who hate wearing thimbles.

Why did you decide to give the Thimble Pad a try?

I normally can’t use thimbles. I have never been able to find one that is comfortable and usable. I can get by with one for about five minutes and then I get frustrated, take the thimble off, and hope my finger callous holds up.

What was your first impression?

“Ugh, I have to use something let me give this a try.”

What was your experience using the Thimble Pad like?

I was on a road trip binding a rather large quilt when my finger callous gave out and it was becoming quite painful to bind the quilt. Luckily, we drove by a small quilt shop and I had to get something. They had these little leather-like discs (the Thimble Pad). Many had recommended using these since I don’t like thimbles, so I thought it is better than nothing at this point. I LOVED it! I stuck it on my middle finger where I push in my needle and it was perfect. It was comfortable and the adhesive lasted all day even though I took it off and on from time to time. I have tried other adhesive disc thimbles, but this is by far my favorite.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it?

I had to position it a few time to find the “sweet spot,” but once I found the right spot for me, it was easy and natural to use.

What did you like best? Least?

I like the flexible to mold to my finger curve. The adhesive lasted all day, even through hand washing. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t try these sooner. Sometimes my thread would wrap around the disc, but it saves my fingers.

Why do you NEED it?

If you don’t like using thimbles, you need this. It will save your fingers.

Could you see another potential use for the tool?

The Thimble Pad also works great to grip a needle that is hard to pull through.

Who would appreciate the Thimble Pad most?

This would be perfectly suited for:

  • Beginner Quilters
  • Intermediate Quilters
  • Expert Quilters
  • Embroiders
  • Paper-piecers
  • Someone acquiring the “basics”

Designer Interview: Jody Houghton

For Jody Houghton, the intention behind design is always the same: to bring joy and possibly even a little giggle to the quilters supporting her work.  Her motto has always been “Creating a Life, while Creating a Living”, and, after being in the gift business for 25 years, she expanded her interest in crafts to include quilting. Even after designing for 34 years, she is still creating whimsical and heartfelt patterns, labels, and greeting cards that her followers can gift to loved ones, girlfriends, or keep for their homes.While she still produces labels and greeting cards, her passion for art and quilting has taken her further than she ever imagined.


How long have you been working with Connecting Threads? I am going to guess five years.  I love working with the CT!  Their focus on the Quilter makes the work more personal. The organized structure makes the process enjoyable and not stressful.  The people are wonderful and so positive. I also enjoy slipping in a few gifts like my quilt labels or greeting cards that match my fabric collections.

Of all of the fabrics you have designed for Connecting Threads, which is your favorite? Which are you most proud of? Like so many artists, I do have to say the most current is my favorite.  Baby Blessings turned out great! And my next collection, Autumn Joy, is really exciting as well.  Because I am always learning new techniques and skills, it will probably always be the current or next collection that will be my “favorite”.


What is the typical process for designing a collection? I begin by asking what time of year my line will be published.  This often sets the subject matter.  Next I decide on a theme, which takes me to the decision of my basic color palette. With my characters, Faith, Hope, and Charity, I begin with each one and start playing “dress-up”.  Each girl is adorned with a theme icon in her attire what she is holding in her hands or by her side.  As an example, in my Morning Glory Farm collection, Faith is carrying a basket of eggs, so naturally the Chicken became her icon. Charity is holding a bottle of milk, so the black and white cow is by her side. Check out her boots, the fringe is also utter-like! It just evolves, one step at a time, coordinates are usually from a design in a blouse, or flowers in a hat from Faith, Hope, and Charity.

You have been designing for years- how have your collections changed? I used to hand draw and hand paint all of my designs. That process worked for me until the development of the Baby Blessings collection.  CT and I worked for two years to “birth” that collection at the print stage and could not get the colors that we desired; I had too much shading and highlighting in my designs that only complicated matching the coordinates. I changed my color application process to more solid colors, maybe even with an outline, then filled it in and added shading and highlighting in a more controlled fashion.  It was a major change for me and the results have been fabulous!  My new process has even opened new processes like the ability to have my designs digitized for Machine Embroidery.


What’s the most rewarding part of creating these collections? The most rewarding part is from quilters who tell me stories about what they created from my designs. How their creations brought joy to those who received their work.  I love to see quilters at shows that decorate shirts with my ladies and using them as their Shop Hop uniforms and Quilt Retreat attire.  I have started a “Show and Tell” invitation on my Facebook page and it is lots of fun.


What would you consider to be the biggest influence in your creations? How did you think up Faith, Hope, and Charity, the characters you often use in your work? The biggest influence in my creations is everyday life as seen through my characters Faith, Hope, and Charity. In 2000, I was asked by a gift shop owner in Sisters, Oregon to create a T-shirt design.  As a child, my family had lots of camping trips through that area.  As a creative child, I often gave inanimate objects, like rocks and flowers, personalities and made families out of them for pretend play. While sitting in the backseat on those trips, I viewed the Three Sisters Mountains as family of three girls, just like mine.  I am the middle child so Hope, would be my mountain. The mapping title of the Three Sisters Mountains is: North Sister, Middle Sister, South Sister.  The nicknames for the mountains are Faith, Hope, and Charity.  I had not given names to my design characters up to that time.  When the Sisters, Oregon shop owner asked for a new design with my characters, I immediately knew that I would name my girls Faith, Hope, and Charity.  These would be names that I could develop personality characteristics with elements of the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity (love).

In 2002, I was asked to create gift books for Harper Collins Zondervan entitled, Everyday Faith, Always Hope, and Abiding Charity.  As I retold the story of how I came up with the names for the characters, I contacted the Chamber of Commerce for Sisters, Oregon to clarify how the mountains got their nicknames.  As I received an email back from them, I was awe-struck!  As the email stated each mountain, they included the elevation of the mountain.  Hope, (Middle Sister), MY mountain, was 10,747 feet.  I was born October 7, 1947 – 10-7-47!!!! I have taken that information as a Divine message that my work is my mission to spread as much joy and Faith, Hope, and Love into the world as possible.  My avenue in fulfilling that mission is through my artwork…… I also write a column for Country Register called Girlfriend Wisdom sharing joyful messages.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? Autumn Joy!  My “girls” are honoring the time of year I also love, autumn.  I attended Massachusetts College of the Arts to formalize my skills and loved New England’s autumn colors.  Faith has acorn earrings, Hope has Pennsylvania-Dutch style Chrysanthemums, and Charity is donning a pumpkin hat! On the Art Panel, Faith has a message of encouragement from William Ward:  “Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb, a lovely garden in a seed, and a giant oak in an acorn.”  I hope the quilters love the colors as much as I do!

For more on Jody and her unique artistic style, visit her Etsy or Facebook.