Shannon Shirley, Susan Marth, Mary Abreu, and Rhonda Pierce chat with host Pat Sloan on the American Patchwork & Quilting podcast.

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Guest: Shannon Shirley of Once in a Rabbit Moon

Topics: art quilts

She says: "There were times when my girls were younger that they might come home from school with a project that we were very fond of and wanted to turn it into an art quilt. And I would go about tracing it onto the fabric, and sometimes my youngest daughter would want to repaint it herself or color it with permanent fabric markers, and other times she would want me to do that. When I'm drawing, I would use a very thin Micron pen to get the look of a pencil outline ... and that enabled us to paint it without that line really standing out. Now if it was drawn in marker, sometimes I would use a heavier fabric marker because I was trying to recreate the same look."

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Guest: Susan Marth of Suzn Quilts

Topics: applique tips

She says: "[When making Dresden Plates], if you use the spray for starching your fabric before you start, that helps get that point nice and pointed ... There are several glues; I really like the Rozanne Glue Baste It. When you're getting ready to applique the blocks together, the glue comes out in a really tiny stream so you don't have to worry about it being too wet. It dries quick, and then when you're getting ready to pull your paper template out of that center circle, it comes out really easily because there's not a lot of glue there ... And then for stitching it down, I use a small width and small length of a blind-hem stitch."

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Guest: Mary Abreu of Confessions of a Craft Addict

Topics: sewing with kids

She says: "There is a really big difference in the motor control that you have that happens from age 9 to 10 to 11. We take for granted what we're doing with our eyes and our hands and our feet all at once. There is nothing else the kids do that is really exactly like this. And so for the younger kids, I just give them fabric and needle and threads and just let them play. I've had kids as young as 6 do things like the Clover Kanzashi tool and the Clover Yo-Yo Maker ... When they get a little bit older and start playing with the machine just sewing bits of fabric together and making pillows is something that's so easy. And then by the time they're 10 or 11, I love having them do things like pillowcases, really simple pajama pants, and tote bags ... It's really more about them being happy with it and loving it than about it looking like something we as adults would make."

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Guest: Rhonda Pierce of Schmetz Needles

Topics: sewing machine tips

She says: "The needle is not a permanent part of your sewing machine. It is meant to be changed. (And changed before you break it or sew over a pin.) So there are some clues to when you need to change your needle. An easy one to identify is when your thread is breaking or it's shredding. If your stitches become kind of wiggly squiggly or you're kind of losing control over your stitches or your stitches are actually skipping, that's a clue you need to change the needle. Or if it's really bad, you will be damaging your fabrics or your fabric might actually be puckering. So those are good clues. The other clue is your machine will be making a little clicking sound or if you're not listening closely enough, it will start to pop, or even worse, make a clunking sound."

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