Strippy Stars Tip

Are you working on the “Around We Go” quilt? or “Catalilly” from the Strippy Stars book? What about “Little Log Starburst”?   All of these patterns have one thing in common-Strippy Stars points, placed side by side.


Here is a short tutorial that shows how I get the points to match.

First- Make sure you are correctly drawing the sewing lines to make the strippy stars blocks. The star points should visually look the same height.  If yours do not, re-examine your marking.  Are you using a fine point pen or pencil?  Are you angling it toward the Strippy Stars tool as you mark? Are you sewing on the line?

Second- Note that even if you pin well, your feed dogs can make your star points slip when you start to sew them together. For that reason I use a little tip that I will share with you below.  I call it “Split Seaming” and I use it often.

Nesting seams on any block will always help with alignment. That’s exactly what I do with my star points. As sewn,  there are 3 layers- the square you marked the lines on, the star point you made from your strip, AND the seam allowance of the star point. I simply clip the square and seam allowance about a 1/4″ from the tip of the star point.

This allows me to push these top 2 layers in the opposite direction and nest the points.  I still pin and I use a  stiletto to  keep those layers pushed in that direction as I sew.

NOTE-you can then press this seam open OR to one side. Which side? Try it both ways. Sometimes the joined point has a preference and looks better pressed in one direction over the other.

Hope this helps.

Happy stitching,

Deb >^..^<

Great Tool- Bonus Use !

This post is about the Creative Grids Round Up Tool. (CGRATK1) This fun tool has numerous uses and I love playing to see what I will do with it next.  This past weekend, I used it in a whole new way!

If you are familiar with the following patterns, you know that I  used the tool in combination with other great tools in my “Around We Go Again” pattern, Blooming Stars Runner pattern, and Ally Oop pattern.

If you are not familiar with the tool, here’s an quick overview. The Round Up Tool helps you cut circles in 2 sizes.

Petals (my favorite) in 2 sizes.

Cut drunkards path pieces

And- easily round corners on runners, place mats, and pot holders.

This weekend, however, I found a whole new use! It was a snowy weekend here in the mountains of western NC and I decided to make something quick and easy that could be made start to finish in a weekend. I choose the Round About Runner (a Creative Grids CLP pattern) made with the 6″ curvy log cabin tool (CGRJAWMN6)

The pattern calls for (16) 10″ squares and a background, plus binding and backing. I choose to make mine a little smaller (with 3 circles instead of 4) so I only needed (12) 10″ squares. I also changed my pieced border slightly. The top was completed in no time and it was time to quilt. I wanted a simple design that could be stitched with my walking foot and pulled out my templates for marking. I decided to use small petals in the corners and in the areas near the edges between the circles. I used my favorite decorative stitch in the pieced border, and quilted in the ditch between the blocks and around the inner border. But how do I mark the blocks I wondered?   I wanted a larger petal design similar to the ones used in the corners. I typically would use my large scallop radial tool but it needs a pretty fine pen or pencil to get into the grooves.

Since I was marking on dark fabric my only options for marking were my chaco liner or ultimate marking pencil, but both were too large to get into the grooves. I needed something that I could mark around so that the width of my marking tool did not matter….but what? That’s when I had my light bulb moment!
Round Up Tool to the rescue !!!! The 90 degree markings on the tool helped line everything up and it was exactly what I wanted for the blocks.


I decided to use the chaco liner because it gave me a finer line as I marked the design. Because the chalk brushes away easily, I marked one black at a time, stitched, and then marked the next. Before long I was ready for binding.

If you have not tried this fun tool I encourage you to do so. It already does a lot of wonderful things and who knows…maybe you’ll come up with yet another use like I did.

Isn’t it Supposed to be Winter?

My calendar says it’s still winter, but when I walk outside my door, it feels more like spring. Trees are budding, daffodils are blooming, and Mother Nature seems to be very confused. I have to admit, so am I.

I have only lived in the mountains of western NC since 2003 but I distinctly remember that mid February typically brings snow and with it, several days spent inside. Those days equal amazingly wonderful sew time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to sew and create anytime..but I somehow feel a little deprived this year with the lack of the white stuff outside. I had envisioned several days of sweatpants, hot chocolate, a good movie playing, the fireplace blazing, and me sewing up a storm. Yes, all of those things can still take place, but it just does not have the same feel without large white flakes drifting down outside of my window.

Instead, I hear the neighbors tilling their garden in preparation for planting. I see an area in our pasture where my husband has done the same. Seed catalogs arrive in the mail almost daily and I am faced with the fact that an early spring seems inevitable.
So what’s a girl to do? I choose to embrace the season like this kitty is doing.

Let’s pull out the brights and get busy!

The Great Grid’s Event April 28 & 29

Imagine if you will- Two days of non stop stitching…A gorgeous view of the North GA mountains…a wonderful lunch provided both days…3 instructors for lots of hands on help….plus door prizes and lots of fun. Sound like a quilters dream come true? Then join me for The first annual GREAT GRIDS EVENT, Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, 2017 at the Dillard House conference Center in Dillard GA.

If you are new to Creative Grids® we will be covering as many rulers and tools as we can possibly fit into 2 days. (Our goal is 8 but we may cover more!) No ruler purchase is required beforehand as I’ll have the rulers for you to share and try, as well as pre-cut kits to use while learning each technique!

If you’re already using some of the awesome Creative Grids® tools but need a refresher- then this event is for you too. It’s easy to forget if you have not used them in a while and this event will get you going again.

Finally, if you are familiar with the tools and just want two days of uninterrupted sew time to work with them and start a great project, then sign up quickly and reserve your spot.


Whether you’re just learning about Creative Grids® or ready to start a project, I’ll be there to help you each step of the way. And lucky you!!- the “Demo Queens” (AKA Cacia Orser and Jane Piggot) will be on hand to help as well.

Your fee covers the use of the wonderful conference center at the Dillard House with plenty of room to spread out and stitch, 12 hours of hands on instruction, lunch both days, and free sew time so that you can practice what you learn or continue working on your project until 11:00 PM on Friday night.  A view of the stables and pasture is a welcome treat when you need to walk around and stretch.


Lodging is optional (and not covered in your event fee.) If you live close by you are welcome to come and go each day. If you are traveling a distance, you can book a room on site for the nights of your choosing, and walk from your room to the conference center.


You’ll be hungry on Friday evening after a day of stitching and I highly recommend the world famous Dillard House family style menu in the restaurant.    You can even make a weekend of it and stay over until Sunday for a trail ride.

You can find a registration form and more information at Scroll down on the left-hand column until you see 2017 retreat info and under that, Great Grids Event Info.  Space is limited so don’t delay.

Look for the registration form on my web site    Click on the link on the first page to get to the form.





  • 1. a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby: “an art collector”

As a child, I collected all of the typical things: rocks, coins, shells, and stamps.  I probably passed those on to cousins or sold them in a yard sale as I got older.  They were a passing phase on the journey of childhood, long forgotten into my adult years.

As an adult, I never thought of myself as a collector.  Yes, I’d heard people say that if you owned three or more of any type item you had a collection, but I thought of myself more as a rescuer of old things-  Old quilts, old sewing notions, and old sewing machine topping the list. Items that might find themselves in a trash heap if I did not step in and redeem them.

Most of these ‘rescues’ ended up in storage when I moved from SC to a smaller home here in the mountains of western NC in 2003. More boxes joined those original boxes when I moved to an even smaller home in 2008.  Safe and sound, and somewhat forgotten, the boxes and the treasurers within, sat silently in the shed, year after passing year.

All of this changed recently during my move to a larger home with studio space.  All of those boxes moved too, and each needed to be unpacked so that I could evaluate what would be kept, and what if any items I could now bring myself to donate to local thrift stores.  Each box contained a variety of ‘old friends’, waiting to be seen and appreciated, and each brought back fond memories when opened.

So, what did I find?   Far too many goodies to show you in this article, but I will share a few. (And save some of the others for next time)

While antique toy sewing machine have been a passion since the early 80’s, any type miniature machine seems to have found its way into my possession.  They are now displayed  in four different areas of my home so I can ‘visit’ them often.    Tiny machines even found their way into the studio bathroom.


Vintage pin cushions of all shapes and sizes brought a smile to my face as I unpacked them.  Ceramic, cloth, metal…I seem to like them all.  Not all of these found a place in the new house.  Many went back into their boxes and I will rotate each season until they all get a chance to come ‘come out and play.’


Even my Homer Laughlin vegetable bowls, now have a place to be displayed after so many years of being hidden away.   Why just the vegetable bowls?  I’m really not sure, but I believe that the first one I purchased reminded me of something I had seen in my grandmothers kitchen.  One led to another, and before long there were more than a dozen.

With far more than 3 of each type item, I might have to admit that I really am a collector after all.   But, as I adamantly explained to my husband, fabric does not count.   I don’t collect fabric.  I think of it more as my artistic pallete.

Unlike my other true collectibles, my fabric might get used and recycled into new items.  It is my stockpile of creativity waiting to emerge.  While it too, makes me smile, it speaks in ways that only a quilter can understand.   While my days of collecting the other items might have come to an end, the fabric palette must continue to grow.  (If not, I might actually use it up!)   OK, that might stretch the truth a bit, but I am really am trying to use it…and, I am sure there will be a new blue out there sometime in my future that just has to follow me home.

Just like the Jo Morton blue I used in this mini quilt. This gorgeous blue followed me home from TX during International Quilt Market.   Watch for this new Cut Loose Press Pattern called ‘Kitty Kapers’ coming soon. It uses the Creative Grids CGRDH1 Cat’s Cradle Tool and the CGRDH3 Turbo 4 patch tool.






Welcome to my Studio

As promised, today I’ll give you a little peak of the new Deb’s Cats N Quilts Design Studio. What a summer it has been trying to move in, continue my travel schedule, and meet all my deadlines for Fall Quilt market. Now that market is over, I have given myself a few days to finish getting organized before I settle in to my new routine.


As you can see, the front door of the studio is ready for fall


  • This old pie safe is the first thing you see when you come into the front door.  I bought it many years ago at a yard sale in SC.  It had bird feathers and droppings in it because sometime in its history it had been used as a chicken coop. Lots of scrubbing went into making it usable for fabric and quilt storage.  I backed its screen doors with fabric to protect its contents from light and it remains one of my favorite antique pieces-Perhaps because of its unique history.  See the sign on top?  That’s how I feel.  I and so thankful and feel so very blessed to be able to devote full time to design.  Having the space to do so is a dream come true.


  • This thread box sitting to the right of the front door was purchased this past winter from Franklin Auction.  It houses a portion of my embroidery threads. The closet to the left of the thread box is full of fabric.


  • The stairs lead to the main living level of our new home.  A closet under the stairs holds trunk shows and demos pieces for my lectures and workshops.   This old trunk was purchased in the 90’s in Summerville, SC from an antique store that used to be in the same hardware store that is now home to “People, Places, and Quilts.”  It holds a small portion of my antique quilt collection.


Once around the corner you can see my temporary cutting table. (Hubby will build one once I am sure that everything is going to stay in this layout.)

Can you see all the natural light?  Six large windows were one of the things that had me from hello when I first saw this space.   A gorgeous view of the mountains from these windows was a bonus!


Here’s a close up of the antique linens I tacked above each window.  They just make me smile!   Each one featured a sunbonnet girl and kitty doing various activities.



In my old studio I had a small cutting table pushed against a wall. At times I had to be very creative to cut the things I needed.     In my new space, Its so nice to be able to cut from all 4 sides!

I also have a refridgerator in my space (left by the previous owners) which means I don’t even have to run up the stairs for Pepsi !  Those who know me best, know this made me very happy!



To the left of the cutting table is my office area with my large computer.  Also to the left is my sewing area.   My laptop stays in this area for design notes as I sew and easy access to EQ as I create graphics for my patterns and books.


To the rear of the studio is a bathroom and to the left of that my new shipping department.

So far I am loving my new space and can’t wait settle in.   I’m also looking forward to the first snow!  I’ll be tucked inside warm and cozy, happily stitching away, and gazing at natures beauty as it gets blanketed with white.



Fall in the Mountains of Western NC

This week I set out to capture “fall” in pictures and the wonderful colors of this season make a beautiful backdrop for my quilts.  Here in the lower elevations the color are just beginning to show off while in the taller mountains all around me the trees already look as though they have been painted with bright red, orange, and gold.


Having grown up in the low country of SC, I never remember seeing fall colors like these as a child. In fact, I don’t remember really having four seasons. Summer in coastal SC seemed to drag on forever. It distinctly remember one Christmas being so hot that we wore shorts. In January and February there would be a few cold days and sometimes even an icy morning or two, but that seemed to be  the extent of winter. Before we knew it, the summer heat was back. day-2-fall-color

Here in the mountains, its nice to enjoy four actual seasons and fall is my favorite!  Before long the leaves will be gone and these mountains will be covered with snow.  Because of that I want to enjoy every minute of this wonderful weather before its just a memory.    Happy Fall Everyone!


All of the quilts pictured  use the Creative Grids Cats Cradle Tool.  Three of the patterns can be found in my book ‘Cat’itude.  The pattern above left is a block of the month that uses the Creative Grids Cats Cradle tool called ‘Cat’apult.


The Fabric Maker (is kitty approved!)

We are very excited at the shop because we have a new toy !  It’s called The Fabric Maker and it does just that.  With it, we can make industry grade fabric that does not fade on the first washing.  (Like the inkjet sheets we had been using.)  The fabric sheets that come with the fabric maker have a binder in the fabric as well as in the special inks, which causes them to combine and “hold” onto the fabric.  What that means, is that even with numerous times in the washer and dryer,  they still look like new.  (We have a piece we’ve washed and dried 10 times and it is still looks like it did the day we printed it.) In addition to the fabric sheets, the fabric maker has an optional bypass tray (purchased separately) that will allow us to be able to make 8 1/2″ x 51″ lengths of fabric.  What an exciting addition to our creative possibilities!

fabric maker cropped

We made this grey fabric with pink flowers (see photo below) and then used it the center of a star power block. (See my you tube video on the Deb’s Cats N Quilts you Tube channel if you are not familiar with my Star Power ruler)   We also did these adorable kitty pictures using the photo transfer feature in the fabric maker and made this table runner using the star power ruler. (Wouldn’t this make a great quilt using photos of your favorite kitty?)

fabric maker grey star fabric maker more fab

What’s next??  Well…you’ll just have to wait and see.  I will say, that our brains are working overtime and we have several ideas we will be sharing in the future.  In the meantime, Stop in and let use transfer a photo for you.  Long distance?  Mail in your photos and let us put them on fabric for you.  Simple photoss run $8-$10 each (plus shipping if you are long distance). depending on how ink heavy they are.  Special customization (the addition of borders and /or wording to your photo) Run $18-$20 (plus shipping if you are long distance).

You can also purchase your own fabric maker system.  Just email my friend Susie at to ask how you can purchase this great system for yourself.  Tell her you saw it here on purr-fect quilting !

Happy Stitching!    Deb >^..^<

Welcome to Purrfect

Welcome to my new blog.  I’m Deb Heatherly owner of Deb’s Cats N Quilts in Franklin, NC and this blog is dedicated to quilters who love furry friends. (Cats and dogs too!).

I’ll be posting articles, tips, patterns, etc. that I think will interest you along with the help of my furry friend Benji.  benji


Benji and I would love for you to also follow us on facebook at

Let’s start out our first blog with a cute pin cushion pattern.  You can personalize it using the colors of your own furry friend.  Add the pins as his whiskers.

Cat’s Meow Pin Cushion  

cats meow pin cushion

By Deb Heatherly of Deb’s Cats N Quilts

106 W. Palmer St., Franklin, NC, 828-349-8912

You will need:

(6) 3” squares (3 dark for face, 1 light for face, and 2 for ears)

(1) 5 ½” square for backing

(1) 1 ¼” square pink for nose

You will also need:

(2) Small buttons for eyes

Embroidery floss for mouth and whiskers

Poly fill or walnut shells for stuffing


  • Draw a diagonal line on the back of the pink 1 ¼” square.
  • Place this square on one corner of dark 3” square, right sides together. Sew on the line. Trim off the excess and flip back to make a triangle for the cushion step 1
  • Sew this square together with the other 3” squares to make a four patch. Make sure nose is in the center as shown.

pin cushion step 2

  • Measure up 2” from the top of the nose and measure down 3” from the top of the nose and cushion step 3

Make the ears by folding the other squares in half diagonally to make a triangle and then fold in half again to make a smaller triangle.

  • Center raw edges of ears on each side of head and baste in place.
  • Use 2 stands of floss to embroider a mouth.
  • Use (4) 4” pieces of floss (all 6 strands) to create whiskers.
  • Stitch whiskers right under nose and tie a knot.
  • Place kitty face and backing fabric right sides together and trim backing to the same size as the front.
  • Stitch around kitty leave a small opening on one side of face for turning and stuffing.
  • Turn to right side. Stuff and stitch opening.


Copyright Deb’s Cats N Quilts

Deb Heatherly