Friday, January 25, 2008

Mission of the day...scraps!

That's it!! ...THIS isn't working for me! The whole system of sorting my scraps by colour chaos has got to go!!

So I've decided to try something else. Anyone who frequents the quilting blogs has probably already heard of Bonnie from Quiltville and her scrap user system...but I hadn't quite got to the point of wanting to adopt it...until today!!! I think the final bit of inspiration came when I saw Katie's clean sewing room (from My Sandbox) and something went click.
With an extra spring in my step this morning, armed with a new blade in my rotary cutter; I set to work! I made labels, labelled all the bins and emptied all my scraps into 3 buckets. I then start to press them sorting them into 4 piles: potential strips, potential squares, strings (too small to be cut any further..too big to toss) and the Oh-why-oh-why-did-I-save-a-piece-that-small-pile...the latter all went in a bag ready to be recycled! After a day's work, I'm about 1/2 way there. I already feel like I'm back in control of my scraps..instead of my scraps controlling me!! Hopefully now I'll be able to work on both new projects and scraps projects without that horrible overwhelming feeling that I need to reduce the amount of scraps I have.

Have a good weekend,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Western Canadian Quilters..info required.

One thing we all agree on is how valuable the internet can be when it comes to gathering information. Last night I met a lady at my quilting group who will be travelling to Whistler B.C. and was wondering if I knew of any quilt shops in the area...Well I haven't the foggiest...but I know some of you do...so if anyone has some info on the quilting hot spots in reach of Whistler, B.C., can you let me know so that I can pass the info on to this lady. Thanks!!!

Right...what have I been up to quilting wise? Well Lynda invited me to join her and some friends in making the feathered star off of HGTV, As you can see this is my version...and here's Lynda's. It was quite a challenge putting it together and it made me stretch my piecing skills...something that is worth doing from time to time. I think sometimes it's easy to stay with what is safe and familiar. Tazzie has recently challenged herself with some beautiful Royal Cross blocks with curved piecing (if you haven't had a look...do so, it will be a stunning quilt) Perhaps that's the magic of a new year? There is something about January that makes you want to try new things...for me...it always involves quilting! So is there anyone else out there challenging their piecing skills in 2008?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Starch Basting Tutorial

I wanted to share with you my recent discovery of starch basting for appliqué. This method could easily be used for either machine or hand appliqué. I found it much easier than the glueing method that I have been using for awhile...and much much cleaner! This works for me I take no responsibility for burnt fabric or fingers!! All pictures should be clickable for a larger view.

You will need spray starch or fabric finish, a paintbrush, a hot iron (I've used a travel iron...though you could use a clover mini iron) and freezer paper.

Spray a little starch into the lid.

Draw your appliqué shapes onto the dull side of the freezer paper. (remembering to mirror image any directional objects) Lay a second layer of freezer paper underneath..shiny side down and iron together fusing the 2 layers together with a hot iron. This gives the freezer paper a bit more body. It not only gives you a better edge to fold the fabric against, but it means you can use the template more than once.

Cut out your shapes on the line you've drawn.

Iron your shape onto the wrong side of your fabric

Cut around the shape leaving a scant 1/4" seam allowance.

Paint a small amount of starch in the seam allowance.

Use a hot iron and your finger tips to push the seam allowance against the edge of the template, easing the fabric onto the back of the freezer paper. Use the iron to dry the starch and in doing so the fabric will stay in place.

Points! This is my way of doing points...works for me. I fold the edge over so the fold lines up with the edge of the template then I fold it over to the back....if you have a look at the pictures..it might make sense :o)

Once you've gone all around your shape. Leave to cool a bit and then pull the freezer paper out. The fabric will hold the shape and you can then use the template again. I've used mine up to about 10-15 times before they need replacing.

Now you piece is ready to appliqué!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

7 Random things and some random thoughts...

Connie over at Pieces of Bliss tagged me to list 7 Random things about myself. I did one of these last year and decided that this time I'd list 7 random things about me in regards to quilting.

1. I use an Aunt Becky Tool when I hand quilt. I discovered this little gadget when I was watching a hand quilting segment on Quilting from the Heartland. It has totally changed my hand quilting and eased the stress on my fingers and wrists. If I ever get organized I'll do a video to show you what I'm on about.

2. I'm almost complete self taught. I took one class on foundation paper piecing back in about 1995 and one class this last fall...apart from that everything I know came from a book, a website or a friend.

3. I'm a collector of patterns and pictures of quilts...but I rarely refer back to them or use them. I have backups off the computer of things I'd like to make one day...guess I plan to be around for a long long time!!

4. Along the same lines I have 3 binders of things I've saved off the computer from the late 1990's before I had my own computer and hard drive!! Again...I've not referred to many of them over the years...but there is something comforting knowing it's all there in case I need it!

5. My best ideas come to me in the oddest times and places...see this post for details

6. I have seasonal depression of ideas...in other words I get really geared up to finish things between September to December and then in January I find it hard to get inspired to keep sewing and quilting. Every January I think...maybe I should give it up...and then the next idea starts and I'm off! See below...

7. And my last admission is that I use to think quilters were a bit crazy cutting up fabric into little bits only to sew it back together again!...How wrong I was!!

So have my January blues been lifted? Well I hope so. I bought #61 of Quilt Mania and it had this beauty of a quilt on the cover. I've pulled out some fabrics and have been playing. Watch this space for progress!

We have our Winners!!

I used an online number generator to pick 2 numbers...from 33 comments!! and it chose #28 and #8 (see the proof in the picture)
Would Katherine from Sew me Something Good and Nicole from Sister's Choice Quilts send me their details and I'll get your bags and mags in the post
...thanks to everyone who commented!



Update: Did anyone else (other than my swift 13 year old) see my mistake? The number generator actually says 24 and 8. Guess I was having a dyslexic moment..not hard to do when you consider the noisy household that was going on in the background while I was trying to post this morning!!! Kim was #24 and I have emailed her and will sort out a prize for her too and will leave the winners as they are. Gosh this giveaway stuff is harder than it looks!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Giveaway time!!

I'm officially 46 days late celebrating the fact that I've been blogging for 1 year. ...So Yeah I did it!! I've been blogging for a year and 46 days!!!

{insert the cheers from the crowd}

I decided to wait til now to do a giveaway as the holidays are one of the busiest times for the postal system...wouldn't want anything to get lost in the mail.
So what I have to give away are 2 denim bags that I made and inside each denim bag is 2 current magazines.

The first one has British Patchwork and Quilting November 2007 issue and January 2008 issue.

The second one is Popular Patchwork December 2007 issue and January 2008 issue.

Just leave a comment on this post and I'll draw two names at the end of the week. If you have a preference to which one you would like, let me know in your comment.

Good Luck!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Two links to Tutorials makes for a great sewing day.

One thing that has been on my to-do for this Christmas break was to have a sewing day with my DD1 (age 13) As this was our last realistic day that it would be possible, we got cracking to make a couple of reversible journal covers. Thanks to Lara from Kirin Notebook we had a great tutorial to follow.
Both were sewn on the little Bernina my DH bought for us last year. It's such a lovely machine to sew on and just right for the DD1 to practice her sewing skills.

These are the finished covers...I think they are very cheery.



We were done in plenty of time for me to start on another tutorial I found on Oh, Fransson for a door stopper. We have one door in our house that blows shut during the summer and this is the perfect solution. I used some denim and oriental charm squares that have been waiting to be made into something special and used dried chick peas to fill it. I'm thrilled with the results.



Well 3 posts in 3 days!! I think that's a record.

TTFN

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Phew...Got that out of my system...

Do you ever get an idea in your head and then you just can't shake it until you've stitched it out of your system?

A few weeks ago I found a German pattern for some strangely pieced stars on their Sulky Website (under Tipps & Anleitungen, then the sub menu called Weihnachten and then the bottom pattern Quilt "Weihnachtliche Winter Welt") I couldn't read it, but I could get the general idea from the pictures. I also suspected they are put together in the same fashion as the Buggy Barn Crazy Stars which a few people have blogged about...so I had a faint idea how they might be pieced. Well Christmas was approaching which meant I couldn't explore the method any further and then I got sick with a fever and the idea just kept coming back, almost haunting me!! Just what did the German pictures mean? Would my interpretation of them work? Well finally last week I got to play with some scraps and work out how these stars would be put together...and that working on a larger scale would be easier than the 5" scraps I was playing with! So armed with 12 fat quarters (6 dark and 6 light) I started play. Here are 2 of the finished blocks...a bit wonky, but they were great fun to make. They finished larger than I thought so I will probably split them into 2 groups for 2 quilts...time will tell.



Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008!

Hopefully starting the first post of 2008 with a completed quilt will be setting a trend for the rest of the year...well one can hope!



Do you remember this quilt from here, here and here? You might remember I struggled to mark it...and in the end the success eventually came by marking it as I went with a chalk marker and a water coloured pencil (which BTW Karol-Ann..washed out just fine :o) I did an all over baptist fan using a big stitch and perle size 8 cotton, which I just love! The fabrics were some that I liked together and the border fabric came from a dear friend in Canada. The backing fabric was from a friend here in the UK and the binding fabric was given to me by my mom...so it's a quilt I will cherish.




In other news, we have all recovered from our bout of flu and colds ...well at least until next week when the children return to school! I was suffering seriously cabin fever and when that happens there is nothing else to do, but hop in the car and drive to the Heart of the Shires to one of my favourite shops Crafts & Quilts. She always has a bargain going and her fabric choices are different than what I can find down the road at the Bramble Patch. Next stop was the Bramble...well you don't go that far without popping in...where I bought a magazine and some more sale fabric. All in all I bought 5 3/4 metres for £25...so I was quite pleased...plus I'm feeling all inspired to get back to the sewing machine...something I always struggle with at this time of year.

TTFN