28 Aug 2013

If it ain't broke...

They say, "If it ain't broke.... Don't fix it."

Generally good advice.  But in this case it applies to two different circumstances.

Let's say you're talking about a broken rotary cutter....  Now THAT needs fixed!

I am notoriously cheap.  And since I have been quilting, I have wasted good money on, not one, but two of those itty, bitty cutters.  You might as well not even buy new blades for one of those because, the shaft that the blade spins on.... It always wears out and causes the blade to go wonky.  Even when you change the blade.  Quite the exercise in frustration!

So, today I treated myself to a 45mm Olfa Splash rotary cutter.  And I was surprised at how reasonably priced it was.  I also purchased two replacement blades.  It says on the package that it is guaranteed, so time will tell if the blade ends up going wonky or not.  I sure hope not!

And what was I eagerly anticipating working on with my new cutter, you might ask?


Well, that would be the second broken thing I was referring to in the opening for this post....


Broken Herringbone blocks!    These may be broken, but they don't need fixed.



This cute block design was created by Anne of Play Crafts.  And she has a free tutorial listed on her blog with the most excellent and easy to follow instructions, complete with plenty of great pics, where she will walk you through the steps in making them.  Click on that link above to see what I am talking about!

If you do try out that wonderful tutorial, and find it is a block you are interested in making again....



The broken herringbone quilt along even has it's own Flickr group.  Click to see some of the fabulous examples entered already!  Don't be shy... Give it a try! 

Keep on, Quilting on, everybody!




26 Aug 2013

Bee Block

I have been contemplating doing some paper piecing (PP) for quite some time now....
But it wasn't until I seen the cute little pink unicorn Kristy of Quiet Play,
that I found I could no longer resist the urge jump onto the paper piecing band wagon!
It seems that everyone is joining in the fun linky party going on over there each week....

And I wanted to join in, too!


     You see, I found this lovely bee pattern months ago, designed by Barbara of B's Modern Quilting.
 I saved it to my computer.
I even pinned it to my Paper Pieced Pinterest board.
I printed it out.

And I put it on a shelf in my sewing room.



Keep in mind that this is my very first attempt and of course, it is not perfect, but it is finished.
I still have all my hair - gray as it is - and I am still interested in doing it again!

How do you feel about Paper Piecing?
  Have you tried it?  Do you have trouble with it?

Or do you Love it?!!!


Paper Piecing Party

stitch by stitchLinking up this week with Marelize at Stitch by Stitch

AND, of course, with Kristy at Quiet Play!

Join me!

25 Aug 2013

Quilt Photography Workshop

A new monthly link up begins today!
Today is day one of the Quilt Photography Workshop by Beth of Plum and June.


 

Our challenge for August is to take photos of fabric.

Hey, I have fabric!  And I have what qualifies as a digital camera.

Here is a quick run down of the quality of photos I was able to share when I first started this blog 8 months ago.  This 'photo' was actually a scan of the fabric I was intending to use in my Enchantment pinwheel quilt.  That's right.  No camera?  Throw those pieces onto the bed of the scanner and presto.  Best I could do.


This pile was pulled to make the Playful Puppy baby quilt.
The photo was taken in my quilting room, on the work surface, in winter.
The white surface looks yellowy and the photo is slightly out of focus and shadowy.


 These fabrics were newly purchased for my scrappy neutral background quilt.
Same setting as above.  Photo taken in early spring using only natural light.  I am not unhappy with this one.

 
A new acquisition, this photo was also taken in my quilting room, but only using natural light this summer. I tried to arrange the selection a little prettier and took the photo on a slight angle, rather than looking straight down onto the pile.
The surface does not have that yellow tinge, the photo is clear and I am much happier with this shot.


This shot was one of the very few outdoor photos I have ever taken.
To say the least, I am still having trouble choosing a nice setting.  Ha.



 All I know is.....
  • I do not have the space indoors to do great photo shoot.
  • I cannot invest in lighting equipment or a better camera at this time.
  • I should take lots of pictures in different settings.
  • Natural lighting is the best.
  • I need to keep practicing to see what works and what doesn't.

Hope we can all get some great advice and encouragement from the others involved in the link up and from friendly visitors...  Like you!

See you over at Beth's!

23 Aug 2013

Can't hold it in any longer!

I've got to PP!!!!!


Paper Piece - that is....


Paper Piecing Party

You see it all around.  PP is everywhere!  And gee whiz, mom!  All the cool kids are doing it!

I've been sucked in by this cute little pink unicorn.

And this time next week
I will be linking up to Kristy's cool Quiet Play blog for her weekly Paper Piecing Linky Party.

Yes, I am going to let it all hang out.

It will be the first public viewing of my very own PP.


First Paper Pieced project - that is....  Hope you will join me!
And please forgive me for my little bit of foolishness. *Silly Grin*

Keep on Quilting on!







20 Aug 2013

KYSS Me Quick! An Easy Quilt

To celebrate my 100th post, it is my pleasure to share with you, my latest finish!
I designed this quilt using my new KYSS (Keep Your Sewing Simple) policy.
Easy piecing - simple design.


I'm calling it....

KYSS Me Quick!


Perhaps this is the kind of quilt you would wish to give as a gift to a treasured friend?

What's that you say?  Hello!  There is a BONUS!

For those of you who have attachment issues.... You can make two of these quilts with one bundle!
And still have a little left over for the scrap stash!


I made this quilt with one scrumptious fat quarter bundle of Kate Spain's new line, Sunnyside.
However, a Fat Eighth bundle, plus yardage, is all that is required to make one quilt.


These pictures were taken on a queen size bed.
But this quilt measures 72" x 88" and nicely fits a double bed.


Using a 4.0 stitch length, I quilted with the walking foot in straight lines across the width of the quilt,
staggering the distance between each line - 1" and 3/4" apart.


This easy pattern includes instructions for two sizes - double and queen - and has been added to my Craftsy pattern shop here!

Also..... I just wanted to help spread the news....

Marelize has changed up her Anything Goes Quilt 'n Sew linky party

Stitch by Stitch

It runs every Monday and will be open for 48 hours now, instead of the full week.  Looking for some inspiration? Click on the image to visit and see all the great projects that have been linked up this week!


Until next time....
Keep on Quilting on!

Fabric Acquisition

Our Mission:  Back to School shopping was the objective for the day.


Loaded up the kids and we took a drive to Kitchener.  Since it was on the way, I had to stop at Hawkesville's Lens Mill where I picked up the array on the bottom.


The next stop was the Conestoga Mall.  Lots of shops there.  But no fabric shops.  Boring. For me.

The food court was my hangout, where I spent the time doodling quilting ideas and drinking coffee, while the kids came and went, shopping for new backpacks and some clothing.

Clearly, 'Back to School' shopping, for them means one thing....

And for me.... It means more time to myself spent quilting again!



Since it was on the way back home, I had to stop at both Reichard's in St. Jacob's and, my favourite LQS, Emeline's E & E Cloth and Creations in Newton.


And sew, with my three new purple acquisitions, this is the grand total of my existing purple stash.   I have an aversion to purple.... But it is part of the rainbow, so I need to start collecting and using it.

I am disappointed with how hard it is to match purples when you don't have them with you to compare!

Some are more pinky and some more bluey....

Linking up with Fiona of Finding Fifth via Heidi of Fabric Mutt for this Sunday's Stash linky!
Come for a visit!  Who doesn't love to see more fabric???

Am I the only one?  Or do you have an aversion to any piece of the rainbow?


17 Aug 2013

Giving a Child a Hug and Some Hope

Inspired by Katie of  Swim Bike Quilt, I have chosen to support and promote the annual 100 Quilts for Kids charity quilt drive.  She has been organizing this event for the past three years which runs this year from July 1 - September 30th.  You can find all the information here.

There's really nothing to it... Give some quilt love to a child.

I chose to donate these two quilts to Optimism Place - Women's Shelter and Support Services in nearby Stratford of Perth County, Ontario.



My first thought was of babies, baby quilts, neo-natal units, sick kids hospitals... But in the end, my desire was to give these two larger-than-baby sized quilts to fill the need of someone who may not have a thing.  Those who arrive at a women's shelter are fortunate if they have a few pieces of clothing with them when they arrive - and knowing any mother - their first thoughts would be simply to get their children to a safe place.  Possessions?  Would there even be any consideration?

Our family lives in what I consider to be a remote, rural area.  And our kids have had a fairly sheltered upbringing.  Since we were also going to visit my parents, who live in Stratford, I brought my daughter with me to deliver these quilts.  And her reaction leads me to believe she will remember this day.

Upon our return to our car in the parking lot, after seeing the intense security procedures at the shelter, Erin said, "Massive lock down happening there!"  It gave me a chance to explain to her how I was grateful that there was a place, where women and their children could go, when life leads them into a bad situation.  Somewhere they can be made to feel safe.

http://swimbikequilt.com/2013/07/100-quilts-for-kids-charity-quilt-drive-starts-today.html

 In my heart, along with that thankfulness, there is a great joy to know that those quilts will bring comfort and warmth to whomever the recipients may be.

Sure glad you joined me today!  And I offer you a big quilty hug if I have inspired you to also donate a quilt!


Keep on, Quilting on!
 

13 Aug 2013

Partial Seam Tutorial

Today, I found myself working on a design using partial seams.  So I thought I would take a few pictures and share the technique as a tutorial.  It is really very easy!

Instead of adding short strips to the sides of your block and then adding longer strips to the top and bottom of your block, this method allows you to add four strips which are all the same length.


Your four strips will measure the width of your finished block plus the width of one strip.

For this tutorial, my unfinished 9 Patch block measures 12.5", so the finished size will be 12".
My strips are 2.5" wide.

12" + 2.5" = 14.5"

So each of my strips measure 2.5" x 14.5"


With right sides together, place one strip on the block with raw edges flush, and pin in place.

The strip will overhang the block by 2".  Sew a partial seam.

Do not sew all the way to the end of the block, but stop short of the end by about 2" to 3", and backstitch.


Press the seam.

I press my seams open, but if you like to press to one side, press the seams toward the strip.

The next strip will be applied to the end with the completed seam.


With right sides together, place the second strip on the block with raw edges flush, and pin in place.

Pin at each end and then in the middle of the strip.

This strip will NOT overhang the block.


Sew a complete seam.


  Press the seam.

As with the second strip, apply the third and fourth strips, sewing complete seams and pressing as you go.


Now it is time to complete the partial seam.

Line up the seam and start sewing on the partial seam somewhere before the backstitching.

Backstitch again and continue sewing to the end of the strip.


Press this seam... And you're done!

See?  Easy!

Hope you will find this tutorial useful.  I am adding it to my Tutorials Page as found beneath my blog header.  If you are interested, there are many other helpful hints linked up there, too!

Keep on, Quilting on!

9 Aug 2013

{INTER} National Book Lover's day!

Hello QUILT book lovers!

Glad you dropped in to help me celebrate....
  

Back when I began my first quilt, I had not the first clue what I was doing.

I mean... I had a plan.  I had designed a quilt.  But I did not know how to make a quilt.

Thankfully, I lucked out and found two books from the second hand store.

  • One was Mastering Machine Applique by Harriet Hargrave.
  • The other was Quilter's Complete Guide by Marianne Fons & Liz Porter.


Harriet first took me by the hand and led me into the incredible world of applique and all of it's wonderful techniques.  She started with the simplest things - equipment basics - stitches, presser feet, needles, your workspace.  Harriet then showed me about all the supplies available to quilters today!

Threads, fabrics, fusibles, and stablizers!


She showed me how to make templates.  What type of stitching to chose.  And the different methods of applique available. Harriet became a very good friend of mine.  It was quite apparent that she was indeed a Master.


Then I met up with Marianne and Liz.

And I needed help with backing, batting and binding. Oh my!


When they chose the name "Complete Guide", they chose rightly. They cover EVERYTHING from the basics - tools and skills, fabrics and colour, drafting - to beyond the basics with patchwork, applique, and borders.  They don't stop there, but also cover techniques, evaluating and exhibiting your work, and quilt care.  A handy glossary of quilting terms is also included!

I must have turned to page 97 for every quilt I made in my first year of quilting.  It always helped to see that picture of finishing your binding with a diagonal seam!




When next I visited the local library, I happened upon a quilting book that opened my eyes to the possibilities of expanding quilt making into whatever I wanted!


I had stumbled upon Julie Herman's Skip The Borders.  And through her display of beautiful quilts and helpful tips included in that book, I realized that when designing quilts it was a good thing to sometimes skip the borders...  AND the boundaries!


Let me tell you a little secret..... There ARE NO QUILT Police!


There are no rules to quilt making.  It is a craft that allows you to make whatever you can dream up!  Don't fear unmatched seams or unpointy points!  Curves can be mastered!  Don't fear failure.  You can never succeed if you never try!  Machine sewn bindings are a thing of beauty!

What is modern?  Who cares!


Dream, do, create!  That is what quilting is.  It is an art that people can relate to.  It holds and enfolds you.  Caresses and comforts.  A quilt lends itself to emotion and memories.  Each quilt you give shows your LOVE in a tangible form of fabric and threads.

Since getting to know Harriet, Marianne, Liz and Julie... I have met countless others who have taught me, guided me, inspired me, and become a treasured friend to me.  Perhaps you are one of them!

 

I invite you to visit the Moda blog to meet others who would like to share their stories with you!
Keep on, Read on and Quilt on!

7 Aug 2013

It's Here!

The anticipation was exhilarating!  The long weekend was extra long.
Waiting for this - a MODA package!


The package made it's way to my door on Tuesday!  Sew-Weet!

Speaking of Moda, mark your calendars for this Friday, August 9th.  It is National Book Lover's day!

 



Help us CELEBRATE National Book Lover's Day on the Cutting Table Blog this FRIDAY! Be ready to share some of your favourite quilting books and you just might win some new ones.
 

Keep on Quilting on!

5 Aug 2013

Sweet Spools Mini Quilt

In keeping with my new KYSS (Keep Your Sewing Simple) policy,

My latest project is a sweet little sewing room mini quilt!

It was a lot of fun strip piecing the sewing machine and spools!

 

And it was a great opportunity to practice free motion quilting on my Janome....

Close up of the quilting on the spools....
Close up showing the spool backing and the hanger....

And here is a shot of the top before quilting...


This is my second month participating in the A Lovely Year of Finishes.
It is hosted by these talented ladies.... 
Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa from Sew BitterSweet Designs.

My goal for August was to design, quilt and publish the pattern for a sweet sewing room mini quilt.

If you would like to make one of these for yourself or a special friend, the pattern is now available in my Craftsy Pattern shop!


Hope you are having a wonderful time in your sewing room!