It Never Rains in California... April 28, 2010
I recently designed a fun and easy quilt for Hoffman California Fabrics called California Rain. This pattern is free to anyone by going to the Hoffman California Fabric site. Sandi M. has made the quilt using beautiful batiks and they look spectacular!
If you would like a copy of California Rain click on the picture of Sandi's quilt. It takes a few moments to download so just be patient!
SIGN UP FOR THAT NEWSLETTER! March 3, 2011
The Pin Cushion in South Dakota sent me this picture of a sample they recently completed of my Warm Hearts Quilt. In December quilting shops on my email newsletter mailing list received the instructions for this 'chunk of the month' quilt with my compliments to teach in their stores. If your store is not on my email mailing list go to the link on this page and sign up!
The Pin Cushions owner Carma writes. "We're a full service quilt shop and Pfaff sewing machine dealer located just 3 blocks from the "World's Only Corn Palace" in Mitchell SD. Stop and see us when you visit South Dakota!" Click on the picture of the Warm Hearts Quilt to visit The Pin Cushion.
Mini Trunk Show and Demos in Nanaimo B.C. January 18, 2012
It was my pleasure to visit two quilt shops in Nanaimo, B.C. this past week, Snip and Stitch and Serge and Sew. I did demos on two table runner and placemat sets thanks to the sponsorship of N. Jefferson Ltd. in Vancouver.
The Making Waves pattern twists Hoffman California Bali Pop strips into a series of gentle watery waves. Spin Off, another pattern, is named after those old 45 records. Spin Off connects circles to make runners that fit any shape of table.
It was great to share my mini trunk show with all the gals who attended. Who could have guessed that I could have crammed so many quilts in one suitcase! Thanks everyone for a really great time.
A Free Pattern Just For You February 25, 2012
Hoffman California Fabrics offers free patterns to quilters and here is one that I was commissioned to design for them. It uses an absolutely gorgeous fabric collection called Antoinette. It's an easy to piece pattern and you have the option of making it with scalloped borders. The borders look sensational and are really very easy. Give it a try!
Click on the picture for the free download
"We Sell Your Patterns!" March 2, 2013
Hammels Fabrics & Quilting recently wrote saying that they sell my patterns in their online shop and invited me to have a look. They've got an excellent online site. Being a nosy parker, I immediately went to their patterns section noticing that they arrange patterns by vendor (i.e. Among Brenda's Quilts) and by designer (Brenda Miller).
Not only that, in their designer list they include a bio with picture on all the designers they deal with. I think this is the first site I have ever seen that has done this kind of background work - kudos to Hammels!
Now I can check up on all the girls I have never met and read about how they got their start in the business. The nosy parker in me can see how old they are and their hairstyles too! Have a look yourself to see all the talent and the wonderful array of wonderful patterns and products available on the Hammels site.
Hammels Fabrics & Quilting is located in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Click on the picture to link to their site.
CreativFestival Spring 2013 March 28, 2013
Spring on over to my booth number 367 on April 26th and 27th at the CreativFestival in Mississauga, Ontario. I've stocked up on some amazing products that I use when making my bags and quilts. Take advantage of once a year show specials on the ABQ patterns.
If you order tickets online use PROMO CODE SAVE2RT to save $2 on the ticket price.
Click on the picture for more info. See you there!
Pellon University April 1, 2013
Last fall, at Quilt Market in Houston Texas I filmed a video for Pellon Projects where I talked about their 975 Insul-Fleece product. I use it in many of my patterns.
The new Pellon website will open on April 3 and you'll be able to access a wealth of free information and projects like the Tag-along Tea Cozy that I show on my Pellon University video.
Click on the picture to watch the video.
What is P.U.L.? March 9, 2014
P.U.L. stands for polyurethane laminate fabric. The polyurethane in P.U.L. is adhered to knit fabric. This product has little or no shrinkage, so when using any brand of P.U.L. in conjunction with a cotton fabric pre-wash the cotton fabric.
To my knowledge, P.U.L. is currently manufactured for the quilting and sewing industry by two companies in the USA.
Fabri-Quilt Inc. manufactures a 56" wide lightweight P.U.L. fabric in 6-8 plain colors. You can order this product by going to the ‘Shop’ button at the top of the page and searching for P.U.L.
Prym Consumer USA manufactures Babyville brand P.U.L. It's about 64" wide. The Babyville product comes in a wide assortment plain colors and prints. Most of the prints are juvenile prints, not adult oriented prints.
Both brands of P.U.L. are used for different purposes.
Fabri-Quilt brand P.U.L. is the more lightweight of the two products and is therefore easier to use in multi layered quilting projects like bags. The polyurethane is adhered to the front of the knit fabric giving it a wipe clean finish. You might think that this is a disadvantage remembering those crunchy plastic change pads of the past. Surprisingly the surface is soft, pliable and warm to the touch. This product was originally developed for hospital use and so it can be sterilized with hot water. This is certainly an advantage for items that require frequent washing. You can touch an iron to this type of P.U.L. without it melting. I really liked that feature when sewing my Me & My Baby Diaper Bag.
If you have needle holes in the fabric from a sewing error the heat of an iron will shrink if not close them. Use the Fabri-Quilt product to line bags that have multiple layered seams. It works very well when used in conjunction with cotton fashion fabrics like the Me and My Baby Diaper Bag that's pictured. That's the Maize color you see used in the change pad. I have used an 80/12 topstitch needle when sewing with this product and am happy with the results.
Babyville brand P.U.L. is used differently. This is a more luxurious product but it is a heavier product to work with. The polyurethane layer is adhered to the back of the knit fabric making it a wash to clean rather than a wipe clean surface. The product is waterproof and breathable. That makes it a great fit for Mom's using it in place of those old rubber pants that were used to cover cloth diapers when I was a little nipper. Sewing multiple layers of Babyville P.U.L, something you would find in bag construction, is challenging. I would suggest that sewing 4 layers of this fabric is about the most that a beginner might want to tackle.
The Pyrm site suggests using a no. 11 ballpoint needle or a 10/12 universal needle. I tried a Jeans needle for thick seams but found that the holes made were much too large. With that in mind I adjusted the Quick Change instructions so that you are never sewing thick layers when using Babyville. The Babyville Boutique site advises that the product be washed in warm water with occasional bleaching used for sanitation purposes. The bleach will damage the laminate over time so don't bleach too often. Line dry or tumble dry the product on a low heat setting.
Be extra careful when pressing Babyville. I used a wool setting with a bit of steam while working on the Quick Change Bag. Hot temperatures cause the polyurethane on the back of the product to melt. If you are pressing wrong sides together at a high heat they will adhere permanently together. A benefit of this is that small holes can be closed by pressing slightly on the top of the fabric (test first) or by putting the article in a hot dryer for 20 minutes like the Babyville Boutique web site advises.
Our Quick Change Diaper Bag works well with either kind of P.U.L. I've written the pattern with tips for use with both products. Personally I think that the Babyville product gives the Quick Change Bag a richer, more professional look even if it is a bit harder to work with. The Fabri-Quilt P.U.L. is a simpler product to use and has the benefit of being wipe clean. Of course you can also wash it in hot water for extra sanitation.
With this information you should be able to use both products to their best advantage. Let me know if this information has been helpful to you and - Happy sewing!
How to attach Magnetic Snaps December 31, 2014
Magnetic Snap application is something a lot of you you have not done before. Many consider it tricky but after following this demo you'll know it's a snap! Use this information to help you make a beautiful Girlfriends Bag!
Click the picture to read more
Best Traditions With A Twist Tour January 27, 2015
Welcome to the Best Traditons With A Twist 2015 blog tour. Follow the tour day by day to win wonderful prizes and find out more about your favorite magazine and the designers who are featured in its pages. Click on the picture to read my full blog post and to enter the draw to win an absolutely gorgeous fat quarter bundle from Studio E Fabrics!
A Designer Label February 18, 2015
If you've been following my posts since last October you'll know that I had an opportunity to make some connections in China with textile experts and manufacturers. The people that brought me to China would like to begin marketing several of my bag models under my brand name Among Brenda's Quilts & Bags. The bags will be sold to the Chinese market.
So with no further ado, here's my designer label. You'll also find a label in my soon to be released hardware packages giving you the opportunity to make your own ABQ designer bag!
Five key life lessons learned by a quilting teacher March 9, 2016
Marie-Claire Charette is known as La Quilting Coach. Among her other offerings, she teaches classes using my patterns.
I met her at a weekend presentation and bag sewing class in Orleans, Ontario this past January and it was such a pleasure that I invited her to share a little of her hard won wisdom with my readers.
Click the photo to read her blog post.
Corrections April 22, 2017
If you have a copy of the Uptown Girl Bag or the Homeward Bound Bag you may have an incorrectly scaled set of templates for the sides of the bag. When the two sections are joined the sloped side should measure 12 1/4". If they do not, click on the picture for the correction. We apologize for this printing error and hope you are not unduly affected.