Needa Little Help Here


I’m in the midst of planning something and I need your guidance. Do you have a minute?


Heres’ The Deal When I started blogging, I planned to create tutorials that would cover various aspects of what I do and how I do it.

Rick Rack

Where You Come In I have my list of topics, but I want to hear from you before I start creating tutorials. I’d like for you to send me any ideas you have. I’m open to anything. The more suggestions the better. I’d love to know what interests you—no matter how small.

Please don’t be afraid to share your thoughts, ideas or questions. If you are curious about something, then I’m sure someone else is too.


I’m very excited about adding this new section to my blog, so PLEASE send me your ideas. (Pretty please, with scraps on top.)

Seriously I am MAJORLY excited to get your suggestions—so vote early and often. As soon as get a clear picture of what you want to learn, we’ll get started.

We are going to have SO MUCH FUN!

Who knows, with your help, these ideas may become a book . . . or a series of workshops . . . or videos or . . .  There’s just no telling where this could take us.


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36 Responses to “Needa Little Help Here”

  1. Dreamz Happen Quiltz Says:

    New Tools.. I’m forever behind the curve learning the new tools out there or that they even exist!
    Beading.. the do’s and don’ts
    Longarm tools.. what’s your favorite?
    Binding.. single fold or double?? The difference?
    Those are the ones that come to mind right now…

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Julie, These are great suggestions. Thanks!

      I think I’ll start organizing everything by category, because it looks like I have a lot to cover. 🙂

  2. jayardi Says:

    • • • Everything you do is so spectacular. I would like to know how you develop your visions. And, how do you know which ones will work/turn out?

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Ah, you’re making me blush. 🙂

      This is a great idea. I just need to figure out how to accomplish it.

      What would be the most helpful? Should I start with a new project or should I cover a completed work?

      I have documentation for most of my quilts, but I’m also getting ready to start a new project.

      Please let me know which approach you would find the most helpful.

      • jayardi Says:

        • • • Either one or BOTH! If you tell us about a completed project, then we won’t have to wait as long for each installment.

        On the other hand, it may be cool to see each step as you go. Like you are doing with a Walk on the Wild Side.

  3. Lynn Kelly Says:

    What thread do you use for beading? Quality of beads, buttons, cotton or synthetic rick-rack? Same for ribbon? How you sew the beads, buttons, (across or an X)

    You know, just little stuff like that! hee hee


  4. Lynn Says:

    I would be interested in learning your technique for applique.

  5. jessica Says:

    Sewing Room: Set up, Room for Work, Organization… is it an “inspirational space” (?) Thank you, Tom!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jessica, Hmmm, I’ll have to figure out how to cover those ideas. Let me see what I can do.

    • jessica Says:

      Hi Tom,
      If I could edit my comment… I would change it to Sewing Room Tidbits! …that leaves it wide-open for anything!

      I think I’ll do some hand-sewing outside today… want to join me?!!

  6. Nikki Brackin Says:

    definately your method of applique – if you recall – it was the branches on Sing that I wanted to learn how to do and that’s why I spent over six months looking for you – I wanted to know how you did that – of course – now I do – strata – but there’s still the application of the of applique – is it turned edge – do you use starch – do you include fusing – all that stuff. And I second the inquiry about beading and how you sew them on – how you choose your beads and thread, etc. what line of threads – manufacturer – do you hand dye your own or buy hand dyed threads or use DMC, etc. for the embroidery or do you use a combination of all? You have a whole entire world of things to teach Tom – and you’re a great teacher too! Maybe you should think about doing a teaching retreat.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there!! Okay, I promise I’ll show you the method I used to create the branch for the tree. It’s so easy, but wonderfully effective.

      I promise. I’ll be very explicit in my information. You’ll learn who, what, when, where and why. I’m starting to get the feeling that some of these tutorials are going to be kinda long.

      I appreciate your support and enthusiasm. It’s going to make this new section of the blog a lot of fun to do.

  7. Annette Johnston Says:

    I agree with Lynn Kelly. Embellishing is the latest thing in quilting and I’m a huge fan of how you embellish your quilts. So how about some guidance? What do you do with leaves? Where to start…where to stop, which may be the most important thing. How about flowers…what can one do with flowers. These are the things that so many of us struggle with. If you’ll email me privately, Tom, I’ll send you a photo of some of my blocks that I’ve embellished. Let’s get together to push traditional quilters into the 21st Century!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Annette, Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll send you an email.I can’t wait too see your blocks!

      I think traditional quilters are already here. Traditional quilters are evolving as fast as contemporary quilters. You just have to look closer at their work. They are exploring the medium in a different way than contemporary quilters, but they are constantly evolving.

      Traditional quilts that would have won a show 5 years ago, wouldn’t place in the current show arena. Oh yes . . . traditional quilters are definitely are part of the 21st century.

      This may surprise you, but I get most of my inspiration from traditional quilts. Are you surprised?

  8. Karen E Overton Says:

    I vote for the basics, help those of us applique/embellish challenged to know how to get started. Remember when you first learned to piece? how you would look at a quilt and be amazed that there were so many geometric things going on that you couldn’t figure out where to start? At least that was me. Being a traditional piecer (as in non-applique, traditional patterns, shapes, etc) I had to learn to break down a block and see that it was just squares or half square triangles or whatever and tell myself that I knew how to do that, and then had to just figure out how to combine that knowledge into something I wanted to achieve….I am hoping the same is true with applique…I need to start with the basics and build on that working up to embellishments etc. Just remember, when you are teaching us terrified traditionalists that you need to keep it basic, and I’m sure even those experienced quilt artists will find a new tip in there to whet their appetite as you grow us up in the skills. I’m all for together we learn! And I think that you, Tom, are just the right man for the job to bring us up in skills to join those who are already light years ahead in spreading their wings of creativity… Can’t wait for you to begin leading us down this fabulous path!

    • Tom Says:

      Hi Karen, You got it. I’ll cover all the basics to get you started and we’ll move on from there.

  9. Joan Shufran Says:

    Applique! anykind …anyway…new looks for Baltimores!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Joan, Wow, that was simple and to the point. I’ll see what I can do. It will be easy to cover applique techniques. Baltimore Albums will be harder, but I’ll add it to the list.

      Who knows what I may find—or come up with.

  10. Marié Says:

    The problem is: One do not know what you don’t know. I agree your work is spectacular! Do tutorials on anything- we will read it and learn from it! Thanks


    • Tom Russell Says:

      True Marié, very true. You don’t know, what you don’t know. Well, I guess it’s up to me to help you with that.

      I think the best way to start is with the basics and work our way up to the more complex stuff.

  11. Carol Anderson Says:

    I’m with the others here. Embellishment adds so much to quilts, and I love your techniques. What kinds of beads, sequins, embroidery threads? What are your favorite embroidery stitches? Do you combine beads for different looks?

    And as Jayardi said, what are your inspirational sources?

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well Carol Anderson, It’s always good to hear from you. You do spectacular work, so I”m not sure how I can help you, but I’ll give it my best shot.

      Okay, got it. Beads, buttons, sequins, stitches, thread. Do I combine these things? ABSOLUTELY!!! 🙂

      Inspiration sources: I find it in everything I do and everywhere I go. I know that’s not helpful, but I’ll figure out a way to show what I mean.

      I think this may be the hardest tutorial to create. It’s not impossible to do. I just have to figure out how I’m going to approach it.

      Thanks for the suggestions.

  12. Barbara Says:

    ….your editing process. You could of used this fabric or this shape “A”, “B”, or “C”,but went with “D”. Why that one? And your beading techniques…what thread, what needle, starting and stopping. And anything and everything else. Thank you , Tom. Definitely something to look forward to.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Barbara, That’s a great idea. Choosing fabric can be tough, I’ll try to create something that explains my decision-making process.

      Now that I have a clearer idea of what you want to learn, I’m looking forward to it too.

  13. Cynthia Strang Says:

    I have a piece of material to talk to you about. It may inspire you, too. I don’t know.
    We love your work!

  14. shawkl Says:

    What process do you use to come up with your designs? Do you sketch them out? Are you a natural artist? Do you search the internet for objects for inspiration? In general…how does your mind work? THAT should keep you busy for months! Ha! Love all you do, and am following along eagerly waiting for each blog post…as they are always great!
    Kathy Shaw

    • Tom Says:

      Hi Kathy, You’ve made a pretty big request. How my mind works is a mystery to me, but I’ll do what I can to explain what I’m thinking as I’m thinking it.

  15. Angela Says:

    I’d love to read about your tips on keeping your embellishment looking professional and not like a hot mess. How do you hide your threads in beading and embellishment? How do you travel from one area to another with your thread? How do you choose the scale and combinations of embellishment to enhance your design and not overpower it?

    • Tom Says:

      Hi Angela, Okay, I’ll prepare all that information for you. Embellishing is very easy to do. It takes a little bit of time, but the results are SO worth it.

  16. Lorena Says:

    Could you address the issue of what & where to buy great embellishments? For those of us who want to start down this path a little help in what types of items to buy and where you shop would be helpful. With dollars being tight in this economy a few tips would be most welcomed.
    One could simply go out and buy some of everything that might eventually end of in a box mark “I was going to use that”, but I’d like some tips from you on what you have found you can’t be without, and what you wished you hadn’t spent your $$ on.

    • Tom Says:

      Hi Lorena, These are really great questions. I’ll be preparing guides to help you with your purchases. It’s easy to spend a ton on embellishments, but it’s not necessary. I’ll show you what I look for and where I find it.

      So far, I’ve never bought an embellishment I wished I hadn’t. I’ve bought some embellishments that I’m not prepared to use yet, but they are still fantastic.

      When it comes to embellishments, it’s not a matter of if I’ll use them, it’s a matter of when. 🙂

  17. georgann wrinkle Says:

    how many others have made the same request??? I want to see your methods and reasons for all that beautiful embroidery and embellishement. love your blog.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Georgann, I’m glad you dropped in. I’m making my list and will start the tutorials shortly. Glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog. I hope you’ll come back often.

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