Monday, December 5, 2011's Daily Deal for Monday, December 5, 2011

The Daily Deal for Monday, December 5, 2011 is:

Treat yourself or a special friend to a Needle Case & Wool Pincushion set and/or Superior topstitch needles.

15% discount on the Needle Case & Wool Pincushion pattern, finishing kit, and/or any size Superior Topstitch Needles

To apply the discount, please use the code DD120511 in the discount code box at checkout.

Click here to order or get more information.

Sunday, December 4, 2011's Daily Deal for Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Daily Deal for Saturday, December 4, 2011 is:

Treat yourself or a special friend to an Applique to Go set.

20% discount on the Applique to Go pattern, finishing kit, and/or any of the related accessories

To apply the discount, please use the code DD120412 in the discount code box at checkout.

Click here to order or get more information.

Saturday, December 3, 2011's Daily Deal for Saturday, December 3, 2012

Today's Daily Deal at

A deal a day from now until December 21. . .

From now until December 21, we will offer one deal per day. Watch your inbox for the daily special to see if you can grab a bargain.

We'll email you before 9 a.m. each day. You'll want to be quick as each deal will expire at midnight (MDT) of the same day.

The Daily Deal for Saturday, December 3, 2011 is:
20% discount on BLACK Soft and Stable, any size package

To apply the discount, please use the code DD120312 in the discount code box at checkout.

Note from Annie:
Please note that 15-yard rolls of Soft and Stable are currently on backorder. We expect our shipment to arrive here about December 21. Yes, you can order a 15-yard roll using the Daily Deal special. Just know that your order won't be shipped until later in December.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Zippers and Executive Carryalls

Thanks to Cynthia Marrs for sending images of the Executive Carryall that she made. I love the colorful fabrics that she picked.

Here's what Cynthia had to say:

This was quite a project. I kept at it. Each new step was a challenge. I've never made something like this before. So I can say I can critique from the point of view of a newcomer.

Your directions were excellent. I can see that you spent a great deal of time writing these. I would have benefited from a picture of the zipper between the zipper strips. I had trouble envisioning it. When I finally got it, it was easy.

I decided on the inside zippered pocket, to have the kitty fabric showing instead of the lining. I just liked it better.

Only thing I had to change after I got to the binding of the bag panels was the width of the binding. When I remade the bias binding to 2 1/4 inches, it made it sooo much easier to get over all those layers of padding.

Thank you so much for your wonderful pattern. I'm making the smaller one for ME. My laptop is smaller. The second one should be a breeze.

I feel that the completed project made from your pattern is so well made, reinforced seams, all bound, it should last forever.

I'll start my next one early next week.



Thanks again, Cynthia, for sharing your thoughts. You (and others who are visual learners) will be happy to hear that I've got a number of video tutorials showing, among other things, how to insert zippers in various projects. You'll find them all on my website:

You'll also find my favorite heavy-duty handbag zippers in a number of sizes and colors. These hard-to-find zippers are the best because they are easy to sew through, have an extra-long over-sized zipper pull, and are a little larger than standard dressmaking zippers. I stock 22", 24", and 30" zippers in a variety of colors. Order one for your project and give them a try today!

Please note that the Executive Carryalls pattern is sized to carry widescreen laptops. If you have a "normal" sized laptop, the Laptop Computer Carriers pattern is just right for you. Or, if you have a netbook or iPad, you'll be sure to love the Netbook Computer Carriers or MiPad Case patterns.

Happy stitching!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wickedly Easy Quilts

Many of you have downloaded the free patterns on my website and one of the perennial favorites is the free pattern for Wickedly Easy Quilts.

Made using one basic 16" block, these quilts are great for philanthropy projects, dorm quilts, or just a way to use up your stash. They're so easy to make it's almost sinful!

I hear often from quilt groups who want to make these quilts for charity projects and I am usually happy to give permission for them to make copies of the pattern for those purposes. (Please contact me for information if your group would like to use the pattern.)

I recently received this email from Donna Hedrick:

In February of last year you gave me permission to use this pattern in my beginning quilting classes. Students are amazed that they can produce such a stunning quilt.

I wanted to share with you my last class because it was special. My church has a 'prayer quilt ministry' which gifts quilts to members who are in need of prayer. Only 2-3 ladies could take a pattern and complete a quilt.

So, this fall, I offered a class to teach the other ladies to make quilts. The class was free and the fabric, batting and backing were donated. The catch was, their quilt must be donated to the Ministry. We got a total of 8 quilts! If they wanted to make one for themselves, I also agreed to help them with that.

I'm sending to you pictures of the quilts; they are amazing! One lady is holding a picture of her quilt because it had already been gifted when the pictures were taken. Enjoy! And thanks! Donna Hedrick

Another quilter sent these pictures of two Wickedly Easy Quilts that she and a group of friends made for another friend who was battling breast cancer. I like the way they used the Breast Cancer symbol in the center of the quilt. (I'm sorry that I don't have the name of the quilter or recipient. Best wishes and thanks to all!)

Here are a few quilts made by Debbe Skovan:

Debbe writes:
I told you it is an addiction. :) I also did a lap size one but I guess I didn't take a picture. I've yet to quilt it.

Thank you to all of you for your efforts to provide warmth and comfort to those in need. Keep up the good work!

Happy stitching,


Show Us Your Serenity!

I am continually impressed by the beautiful purses that so many of you have made. I'd like to share with you a small sampling of purses I have seen made using the Serenity Shoulder Bag pattern.

NOTE: I have a limited number of kits for making the Serenity Shoulder Bag as pictured on the pattern cover. Everything you need to make the bag (except a spool of thread) is included in the kit. Get yours today!

Corrie McIntrye made a beautiful Serenity bag for her sister, following the design on the fabric as I did for the original:

Corrie McIntyre writes:

Well, here is my first Serenity bag which I made for my sister. She absolutely loved it and couldn't stop looking at it.

I found it easy to work out the stitching for the flap as I more or less followed the fabric. I used wool batting between the fabric and Texture Magic for added emphasis.

I lined it with the focus fabric, which worked out well.

The Soft and Stable gives a professional finish and I am very happy with the result.

Kirsten Ekdahl of Kirsten's Quilts in Denmark made this beautiful bag:

Kirsten writes:
So now, I have done a Serenity bag, and my customers just love it:) I thought that you would like to see it - it's in my blog. Don't worry about the text, it's in Danish, just ignore it, and enjoy the pictures.

The quilting on the texturized fabric was done with Glitter metallic thread from Superior Threads, and I used a wool batting for this.

Another customer stopped by the Superior Threads booth at a recent show to show me the mini Serenity that she made. (I am so sorry but I neglected to get a name!) She reduced the size of the Serenity pattern and made a smaller version of the bag. Too cute!

Eileen Thomas sent pictures of two Serenity bags that she made:

Eileen writes:

The color from my cell phone isn't great — the interior was lime green, the exterior was lavender purple and the flowers were different colors. But I think you will get the idea. The other is in green and golds with a bit of orange. Really cute, I will take my camera next time.

Visit Eileen's blog at

Finally, Helaine Eckstein sent these images of Serenity Shoulder Bags that she made:

Helaine writes:
I enjoyed making the bag. Your instructions were great. You did not ask for my comments but being a retired Home Ec teacher for 30 years I thought you might want to know. If it were me, I would. For me, the strap is about twice the width I need, too wide to stay up on the shoulder, so I sewed it all together at the center of the strap, and I will change that when I make another one. I also think it needs a closure of some kind but did not know placement to add it before. At this point I will probably use a large snap 'cause I don't want any stitching to show from the outside. I like the shape the foam (Soft and Stable) gives the bag. Thank you for sending me the parts so quickly.

I love it when people are comfortable with making changes to my patterns to make the project suit their needs. Thanks, Helaine, for sharing your comments.

Note that the Serenity pattern is also available in another version, Serenity II Shoulder Bag. Because it uses "regular" fabrics, the pattern pieces can be positioned differently on the fabric, so this version uses a bit less fabric.

I'd love to see what YOU have done with the Serenity or Serenity II Shoulder Bag patterns — or any of my patterns. Please send images and information about them to me at

Happy stitching,


The Hoffman Challenge and Serenity Shoulder Bags

One of the special exhibits that I always enjoying seeing as I travel to quilt shows throughout the country is the Hoffman Challenge.

Started in 1988, the Hoffman Challenge has grown to be a premiere traveling quilt, clothing, and doll collection. The quality of entries and a growing number of exhibit requests have led Hoffman to establish additional traveling collections. Currently, twelve collections travel coast-to-coast within the USA and to several Canadian locations.

The Challenge started with 94 enthusiastic quilters, and in some years, the number of entries has grown to more than 700. In addition to the three quilt categories (pieced, appliqué and mixed technique), new categories include clothing (wearable art), accessories, and dolls. While the majority of the entries come from the United States, a wide variety of international entries are received.

Each year, the top entries are grouped into traveling collections and visit quilt and fiber shows, seminars, quilt shops and quilt- and doll-makers guilds nationwide and in Canada. For more information about the schedule of these events please visit the Hoffman Challenge website.

For the 2010 Hoffman Challenge, Chris Franczek made a purse using my Serenity Shoulder Bag pattern. Her gorgeous entry was selected to travel with the exhibit.

Chris wrote this about her entry:

The Challenge fabric is actually on the back of the bag (pocket.) The checked fabric is from the same line and I used Sulky holoshimmer in gold to stitch the parallel lines to form the 'checks'. So I named the bag 'Serenity Checks'.

I had to have a very serene attitude to do all that stitching with metallic thread! - but it worked - I think it only broke twice during all that stitching (I still can't get the hang of how to keep the spool so metallic thread doesn't get so twisted the longer you sew.)

NOTE FROM ANNIE: Chris, next time you need to stitch with metallic threads, try Superior Threads' metallics. Put a topstitch 90 needle in your machine, position the spool vertically on your machine, and lower your upper tension to "1". They GUARANTEE that it will work beautifully.

I added that cording which I thought was so cool until I was merrily sewing along and got about two inches from the point on the flap and stopped and said -uh oh -HOW am I going to make THIS work. I stopped for lunch, then did the best I could, but when I tried to turn the point to it's pointiest point I ended up rubbing off some of the gold (I didn't point that out in my entry form though).

But looking around my sewing room, the Origami flower came to mind since my sister had given me the book by Kumiko Sudo and I hadn't made any of the flowers yet. The button was going to be plan A, but the flower came out okay, but there was too much dark blue in the center I thought, so I used the button in the center to cover the 'too much dark blue'.

I completed another Serenity bag before this one that I use and people can't believe the texture magic flap is the same fabric as the rest of the bag. It is really a cool design idea you came up with! - when I showed the Challenge bag to non sewing people, I explained the texture magic and they all had to take the bag back to look again - they couldn't believe you don't buy the fabric already poofy!

Congratulations, Chris, for being selected to travel with this prestigious exhibit. I am honored that you chose to make a bag using my pattern. Your bag is absolutely gorgeous!

Note that entries for the 2011 Challenge are due in July. There's still plenty of time to enter. Who's up for an On the Town Handbag made with this year's challenge fabric?

I can just see that fabric in that bag, can't you?

Happy stitching,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tips for Paper Piecing

Paper piecing is one of my favorite techniques — both because of the accuracy it gives and because it allows me to easily piece blocks that wouldn't be possible using any other method.

I have found that there is no need to use vellum, newsprint, or other "fancy" papers for my patterns. In my opinion, plain ol' copy paper from the copy shop works just fine.

This week I got a call from Evelyn McKim in Bend, Oregon, who also uses regular copy paper — with an added twist. When the stitching is done, Evelyn sprays her finished piece with Mary Ellen's Best Press to make the paper pull away easily. Whodathunk?

Here's what Evelyn had to say:

"A great way to save money for more fabric and my new found LOVE Texture Magic is to use regular copy paper when piecing. It is a lot cheaper than newsprint or foundation paper.

First set your machine stitch length to stitch 18-20 stitches to the inch (1.5) so that your paper pulls apart with ease.

Next, to ensure that you keep a clean and crisp seam, spray a little Best Press starch from the opposite side of the paper (completed fabric side). Give it one final press if needed and you will be amazed that your seams stay nice and straight . . . and the paper pulls apart with no fuss.

Side note: I have never had an issue with bleeding but would suggest that one always tests on scraps first.

Happy Piecing!

Evelyn McKim

Some of my favorite paper-pieced patterns are Air Show, Chinese New Year, Feeling Crabby, and Spiragyra.

I made a version of my Feeling Crabby quilt for E. E. Schenck using just two fabrics from their Gelato collection — one fabric that gradates from light to dark red and another that gradates from light to dark blue. The pattern and a kit containing the fabrics is featured in the current Keepsake Quilting catalog.

The quilt was quilted by Sharon Rawlings and Jana Jammet at 2Quilting Bees. Great job, ladies!

Happy stitching,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Set a SUPER BOWL table!

Ryan and Yeimy, the Superior Threads show team, are always a big help to me and I wanted to do something to let them know how much I appreciate them.

Since they are big Steelers fans, I decided to help them show some team spirit by making them a set of placemats for the big day on Sunday.

I used my Set A Pretty Table placemats pattern and some great Steelers fabric that I found at J & O Fabrics.

Using the same pattern and a selection of fruit and vegetable fabrics from her stash, my friend, Ricci, made this fun set of placemats for a dinner party that she held last month.

I love the basket fabric that she used for the back and self-binding. It makes it look like her fruits and vegetables are sitting in a basket, doesn't it?

A modified quilt-as-you-go technique and foldover self binding make assembly quick and easy. In fact, Ricci got up on Saturday morning, decided she wanted something fun for the dinner that night — and made a set of eight placemats in time for the party!

Using ByAnnie's Soft and Stable™ in place of batting makes beautiful, sturdy placemats that are extra easy to make and that will wear beautifully.

It's easy to mark lines on the Soft and Stable™ using a chalk marker. This helps align the pieces for the flip and sew assembly.

And, because Soft and Stable™ is polyester and not a fusible product, it's easy to press the pieces with an iron as you go.

Once the mats are assembled, a 20½" ruler makes trimming them to size easy.

Next, center the mat on the backing and stitch the layers together. Finally, bring the backing around to the front to make a self-binding.

In no time at all, you've got a beautiful placemat that can be machine washed and dried.

The Set A Pretty Table placemat pattern is designed to be made using precut 2½" strips (such as a Jelly Roll™) or fabrics from your stash. One Jelly Roll™ is usually enough to make eight placemat fronts. A 36" x 58" package of Soft and Stable™ is also enough for eight placemats.

Happy stitching,


Chinese New Year and a FREE 12" ruler

The Chinese New Year, which begins today (February 3, 2011), is considered the most important social and economic holiday in China, according to

The 15-day New Year festivities are celebrated with a week of vacation in metropolitan areas of China. Similar to New Year's Eve in the West, the biggest celebration of the Chinese New Year holiday is on its eve.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated as the symbol of spring's celebration. In fact, in China it is still called the Spring festival. It is celebrated after the fall harvest and before the spring planting season. The date of the Chinese New Year is always changing and is dependent on the Chinese calendar.

With much of our country buried in snow, I'm all for celebrating spring, too! So, for two days only (and while supplies last), I'm offering a free 12" ruler (my favorite style used just for paper piecing) with the purchase of one of my Chinese New Year patterns.

That's a savings of $3.50! Be sure to put BOTH the 12" ruler and the pattern in your shopping cart. Then enter the code RULER in the discount box at checkout. This offer will be good only while supplies last or through February 5 (whichever comes first), so don't delay!

These dynamic quilts are easy to make using foundation paper piecing techniques.

The pattern includes foundation piecing patterns (which must be enlarged and copied) plus step-by-step instructions for paper piecing and assembling the quilt in two sizes:

* A 54" X 54" throw
* A 70" x 84" twin-sized comforter

As always, the proper tools make the task much easier! I use the thin, flexible 12" rulers to fold my pattern along the lines before I begin. This makes aligning all the pieces SO easy! Then I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler to trim my fabric as I sew.

Foundation paper piecing makes these quilts easy enough for intermediate quilters but fun for experienced quilters as well.

It's always fun to see how other quilters interpret the pattern.

The Courthouse Quilters puts on a show every other year at the Prallsville Mills on Rt 29 in Stockton, NJ. Stockton is a beautiful little town nestled on the Delaware River in historic Hunterdon County, NJ.

In 2010, the group's raffle quilt was made (with my permission) using the Chinese New Year pattern. I love the colors that they used in their version of the quilt. Great job ladies!

Read more about the group and the quilt at their blog.

April Sproule of Sproule Studios sent images of a Chinese New Year quilt that she quilted for Kate Whitson of Redding, California.

All I can say is WOW! Amazing quilting, April. Thanks so much for sharing.

Happy stitching,


Loves Me!

I always like to see how other quilters have interpreted my quilt patterns. And, just in time for Valentine's Day, I've got some fun quilts to share.

Linda Huntsman recently sent pictures of a version of my Loves Me! pattern that she made for her granddaughter as a special quilt for her 13th birthday.

Linda used EQ7 to enlarge the quilts. (I offer special prices every day on EQ software and books. And, if you'd like to learn to use EQ, be sure to check out the upcoming classes that I will be teaching in March. EQ is an amazing program!)

Linda wrote:

I appreciated your quilting suggestions. I did some freehand embroidery for the words around the edge. It's been awhile since I've done any of that.

Its finished size is about 70 x 80. She wanted it for her bed. She got coordinating bedding for her birthday present. It took me awhile to finish it because (with three new grandbabies this year) I've been working on a lot of baby quilts.

Great job on the quilt, Linda! Thanks for sending pictures.

Another quilter, Linda Sidlow, made the Loves Me wall hanging for her granddaughter. Here's a picture of this Linda's quilt:

Linda says: "I have a hard time envisioning anything other than what the picture on pattern covers look like so I make duplicates! Picking out colors is not my thing! If the picture isn't appealing, then I usually don't buy the pattern. Crazy I know."

No, Linda, not crazy at all. I'm flattered!

To make the applique really easy on these quilts, I used my favorite mock needle-turn method. It's a great way to get the look of hand applique without all the effort. Read more and see pictures of the steps at my website.

To say Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, I am offering a 10% discount on Water Soluble Applique Foundation through the end of this month. Just use the discount code WSAF when you check out.

Note, too, that I've added a new link for Coupons and Discounts on left hand side of my website, so you can easily find all the current discounts and coupons offered.

Happy stitching,


Sunday, January 30, 2011

How are other designers using Soft and Stable?

Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy Quilts writes:

Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful, wonderful product. Makes me want to re-write all the patterns ditching the batting and fusible interfacings!

I've had a great reception introducing Soft and Stable™ to area shops here in Orlando.

I did bring out a pattern using options for Soft and Stable™ and the Double Diamond Ruler in cosmetic bags. Thank you for being open to me promoting your product with my pattern.

It's cool for me to watch the shop owner's faces as they feel the product inside the accessory bags. It's an ah-ha moment. . . and most carry your patterns. They know there are lots of choices for their customers once they buy.

Margaret's new pattern is called Eeny, Meny, Miny & Moe Accessory Bags. She says: These are accessory bags like you’ve never seen before. Use Soft and Stable™ interfacing and the Double Diamond Ruler™ for a great finished look. Four sizes for everything from the Nook or the Kindle to cosmetics, sewing tools or even golf balls and tees. A wonderful gift item.

Photography by Holly Robson, Southern Angel Photography

Thanks, Margaret, for sharing news of your new patterns and uses for Soft and Stable™!


P. S. You can read a great interview with Margaret by Susan Brubaker Knapp here:

Soft and Stable gives bags shape without weight

Connie Gunderson makes high quality bags and purses for sale at art shows and other venues.

Connie writes: "I have made a couple of bags with the Soft and Stable and I am so impressed with the body it gives to the bag's shape without adding a lot of weight. For those of us that make handbags, one of the greatest challenges is finding something to fortify the bag's shape and I think your product is definitely a fabulous step in the right direction. Thank you."

By creating all her own patterns, Connie assures that her creations are unique and part of a limited edition. Most of the handbags are constructed from upholstery type fabric which makes them light weight, durable and attractive to the eye. Color, texture, size and shape all play an important role in the designing of handbags. The inside of each bag is meticulously finished and is supplied with pockets, zipper, key fob and more to make the bag as user friendly as possible.

Let me know how you are using Soft and Stable in your projects, too!


Lazy Girls Designs

One of my favorite designers is Joan Hawley, of Lazy Girls Designs and I love reading her blogs. She has such a terrific sense of humor. I especially like her tag line, "Talk Lazy to me." Too clever.

So, I was thrilled to catch up with Joan at Fall Market in Houston and to show her my new product, Soft and Stable™.

I was even more thrilled when Joan blogged about our encounter on her blog.

Here's what she wrote:
New purse product

I had a few minutes to catch-up with Annie Unrein of By Annie, and she shared her very exciting and brand-spankin’ new ‘Soft & Stable’ bag support with me. Alright Annie – this is going to be an instant hit with our bag-lovin’ crafters. Annie has developed Soft & Stable to use instead of batting in our bag projects. It’s a sew-in product, rather than a fusible like I’ve been using in my bag construction lately. But, it will be easy enough to use in my bag designs, too.

Thanks, Joan, for your kind words! I look forward to seeing how you use Soft and Stable™ in your upcoming designs.

Happy stitching!


An innovative use for Soft and Stable

I love hearing how customers are using Soft and Stable™ in projects from purses and bags to home dec items. Susan Berbec recently shared two great ideas.

Susan writes, "We don't use our fireplaces anymore. Because of our statewide pollution, one can only burn on "burn days". There aren't many of those. However, the heat from the furnace likes to go up the chimney even when you close the flu or block the chimney with styrofoam."

Here's a picture of Susan's living room fireplace covered with one layer of Soft and Stable. Susan used 3M Command Brand Picture Hanging Strips to put it in place.

Here's the family room fireplace with the fireplace quilt in place. It looks great, Susan!

Susan also used Soft and Stable to make a great Halloween costume for her niece.

Susan says, "Here is my 6 feet tall niece dressed as a tube of lipstick and her boyfriend dressed as a mirror. I provided the wood fabric for the wood frame. I did the whole lipstick costume using Soft and Stable."