Today I want to share a a great pattern featured at Angela Pingel’s blog called “Cut to Pieces”. When I saw this pattern awhile back, I immediately thought what a great idea; knowing that we all have many scraps in our bins to choose from, thought this was well worth passing along. So enjoy, and to Angela we say thanks for the great tutorial called ” Cracker Scraps”.
This is part II to a discussion I’m having on the the Journey of Quilting. So sit a spell and join in…now for the conclusion…
We left off last time on “Piecing” …. Ok, so we’ve discussed cutting our fabric and next comes the piecing…or just in case you’re not familiar with that term, it’s the sewing of the blocks, squares, etc., together. Aww to me just the hum of the sewing machine I find can be so relaxing. With a bit of soft music going in the background and the hum of the machine, I’m lost for hours on end in my work. Guess that’s why I love to piece.
Wherever you sew, be it in a spare bedroom, at the dinning room table, etc., make sure your machine is at the appropriate height on a table or cabinet, so you aren’t straining you arms or back in any way. Also you’ll want a comfortable chair or your “tush” can get quite sore. You can also purchase a memory foam pillow/cushion that I found makes your chair all plush and comfy. Be sure your sewing machine has a 1/4” foot as this will ensure your seams are all 1/4” as you sew. Don’t forget the lighting…most important element I believe for sewing. Proper lighting takes the guessing game out of coordinating colors, plus reduces eye strain. I have ceiling lights and several different portable LED lights all over my sewing area. While I do have one large window, I find I need more light these days, so if you’re like me, add those lights!
Finally, the “quilting” process….to me this is the step that breathes life into the quilt! Maybe you’re one who prefers to hand quilt…kudos to you. I’ve seen many beautiful hand quilted quilts; the stitching on these quilts will simply take your breath away. I’ve always admired anyone who could make those beautiful stitches. I too started out hand quilting, then I tried free motion quilting (FMQ) and was instantly hooked. FMQ came easy for me, as when I was younger, I loved to doodle. However, it does take practice, practice, and more practice to get those stitches like you want them. FMQ can be done on a domestic machine or one of the new mid-arm machines. Just remember, when you FMQ on one of these machines, the fabric is moved under the machine needle, instead of moving the machine over the fabric. Again, there are many different types of domestic machines that have a wider harp, and if you’re wanting to use one to quilt with, you’ll love the wider harp. Finally there’s the long-arm machines; this is where the machine and quilt are on a frame and the machine quilts as it moves over the fabric. There are many good long-arm quilters and a good long-arm quilter is worth their weight in gold. So while their prices may vary, the quality of quilting may too. Be sure and check with friends or your local quilt shop for a reliable long-arm quilter. Again, if you’re wanting to quilt your own quilts, most quilting machine companies sell both long-arm and mid-arm machines, so take you time, try as many as possible before you make that decision to buy.
Well, our journey is complete; we started out looking for fabric and have come full circle to quilting the pieced top. There’s something to be said for the gratification we personally receive from making a product from start to finish. It always gives me a warm feeling when I give a quilt away; the recipient’s face says it all…happiness!
Yep, it’s a journey from start to finish and I must say…what a trip! Thanks for coming along…if you have a moment, leave me your thoughts as I’d love to hear from you.
Till next time, ….keep your eye on the needle and your foot on the pedal. Happy Quilting!
Considering my quilting is on temporary hold these days, I thought now would be a good time to talk about “the journey of quilting”. As a child, I grew up loving to sew, thanks in part to a loving Grandmother and Aunt, who shared with me their love of sewing. Later in life I discovered quilting; yes, that’s when the quilt bug bit me! So grab a cup and get ready to go on a journey with me!
Most of us have that desire deep inside to be bargain shoppers and many go crazy at the thought of a sale. For us quilters it’s the same excitement – there’s nothing better than going to a fabric sale, or getting together with quilt buddies and going on a shop hop! Just the anticipation of discovering gorgeous new fabrics, patterns and new ideas, it can sure get your blood to pumping. Plus, the food, oh gosh yes, let’s not forget finding those perfect cafés in those out of the way places that will leave us talking for days about the great food! Yes, a shop hop can do wonders for our creative spirits.
Visiting a quilt shop (SHOP), is so much fun to just stand there and take it all in; all new fabrics, samples, etc., plus meeting and talking with individuals who share the same love, is such a treat. I personally find my imagination begins to run wild as I gaze upon the fabrics, bringing ideas into mind that I have to resist least I go broke!! Yet the “feel of the fabric” is so relaxing, dissolving the stresses and cares of the day away with each stroke! Oh my gosh, I’m sure many of you are saying…”she’s weird”. Not really, think of the times you’ve stopped by a SHOP and your mind is bogged down with the cares of the day, but once you leave you find your spirits are lifted and you feel much better than before. To me, that’s the best pick-me-up! From my days of working at the SHOP, I still remember the feel of excitement as the delivery man arrives with new boxes of fabrics; why the anticipation of what’s inside the box was similar to that of opening presents on Christmas morning!
So let’s talk for a moment on purchasing fabrics at SHOPS. For the most part, fabrics at SHOPS are “1st run” from the fabric mills. Manufacturers like Moda, Benartex, Wilmington, Marcus, Blank, Robert Kaufman, Hoffman, Michael Miller, RJR, Windham, Henry Glass, to name just a few, produce quality fabrics. You may have a favorite manufacturer, as I do, but I’m always open to new ones as long as they produce quality fabrics. Most of the larger stores that have fabric, have good fabric, but many times it’s not the “1st” run. Some vendors are large enough that they order large commercial size rolls, then subdivide into smaller bolts and ship those to their stores. Again, don’t get me wrong, most of these are good quality fabrics, but many are “blends” and not 100% cotton, which is the best for making quilts. I remember one specific instance when I ran out of a certain fabric and someone told me they’d seen the same fabric at one of the big fabric stores. Upon inspection, I held the fabric up and what do you know… I could see right through it – I said “no thanks, that’s not going in my quilt”! I’m not quite sure which “run” that fabric was from, but I do believe it could have been better used as a sieve! So just remember, you get what you pay for!
Ok, back on our journey…we’ve purchased our fabric and pattern and once home, the cutting begins. Ugh, I must admit that cutting is not my favorite part, but it needs to be done. Now I can just hear a few of you saying “wait, she didn’t talk about pre-washing her fabric before cutting”. No, most of the time I don’t pre-wash the fabric. From my experience at the SHOP, fabric reps were always saying the dyes now being used are better and for the most part, do not bleed and run, thus reducing the need to pre-wash. So I decided one day to give it a try and as the saying goes, haven’t looked back since! When it comes to “reds”, I still feel the need to rinse the fabric under cold water, dry and press. Please remember that pre-washing/rinsing the fabrics rinses out the fabric stabilizers and finishers that have been applied to the fabric. So if you do pre-wash, you’ll want to use a good quality fabric starch on fabric before cutting. Then once the quilt is finished, it should be washed in cold water, then dried. Now here’s a tip you may want to try – I always use a “SHOUT Color Catcher” with my quilt; simply toss one in with the wash. The color is then collected on the sheet rather than bleed on your quilt. Believe me they work….I even use these when I’m washing new garments…
Back to cutting; being anxious to start piecing, I find the quickest cutting method is to use a rotary cutter and ruler. There are many different “cutting machines” on the market that are advertised to make the process easier and quicker; the Accuquilt, the Go Cutter, and Brother, plus many more. Most of these machines use dies to cut the fabric, which to me results in a lot of “waste”. Hmm, what generation did I come from….I’ve watched as many quilters at the SHOP, use the cutting machine and then simply toss the scraps into the trash or a recycle basket at the shop. Ok, so we don’t need all those bits and scraps of fabric, but just saying, some do come in handy for another project. Now for me, I can usually cut it quicker and smarter than a machine, and still have fabric left over for another project! HA, imagine that, me smarter than a machine. Again, I’m not saying these machines are not great – I’m just saying at this point in my quilting experience, I’d rather use a rotary cutter and a ruler. Now if you do appliqué, then one of these machines may just be what you need.
One additional thought on cutting….If you are new to quilting, there are various types of rotary cutters; Fiskers, Olpha’s, Clover, Ergo, Gingher and many more. So if you have a quilter friend, ask them to try theirs first, as our hands are all different and what feels good to me may not be the same for you. It’s heck to purchase a cutter, get home and not like the feel of it, so when possible, always try it out first.
Next up, piecing….however, since I’ve held you captive long enough, let’s stop here and we’ll pick up on our journey next time. Please leave me your thoughts and ideas and do come back and finish the “journey” with me.
Till next time –
In September-October 2015, I decided to make some quilts for both family and friends that were experiencing some health issues. You can read about them in this post. Then in late December, I finally got the last quilt quilted, so thought I’d share with you.
It started like this…
This is what it looked like after quilting….(since my “quilt holder” has been out of commission, I had to improvise and take picture in segments…so sorry).
When I started thinking of quilting this one, I thought I would do an overall pattern ; then I “listened” to the quilt and so glad I did! Each section/border is quilted differently and it just seemed to bring the quilt to life.
So that’s it for the deer quilts; this was #5 and I really don’t care to do another one any time soon. Even though Hubby is keeping me busy these days, my mind is planning…so stay tuned….
Whew…it’s been a bit busy here, working on three quilts at one time…that’s enough to drive anyone a little bonkers. In a past post here, I showed a picture of the deer top that was ready to quilt. Here’s a few pictures of that quilt after it was washed and dried, making it soft and fluffy. This quilt is now keeping it’s new owner warm and cozy in the COLD Colorado weather.
Here’s a few pictures of the back..
I apologize for picture quality/color as it was a soft brown checked flannel…but at least you can see the stitching. Sure hoping Santa brings me a new camera!
This next picture is of a baby quilt that I did for my niece who is waiting patiently for her baby boy to be born! ‘
Well, that’s about it from this end. So hoping to have the second deer quilt finished later this week. You can read about it in my post here…till next time, happy Christmas shopping!!
If you’re a quilter, sewer or crafter, you’ll understand how important it is to have sufficient lighting in the work area.
For months, no lets say years, I’ve tried adding all sorts of lighting to my sewing area. I have 2 ott lamps, one by my sewing machine and one by my quilting machine, plus 2 different LED clamp on lights for the quilt machine, and a “bright light” for the needle area. Gee am I light crazy ???
The lighting around my sewing machine was ok, but not for my quilter, Betsy, my HQ Sweet 16. Being an older model, she didn’t have all the lighting that the new models have these days. While I tried various options, the lighting was still inadequate….that is until now.
Here’s what I had before the latest addition…
See all the darkness.. only bright light around needle and where the overhead
ott light shines.
Now here’s the new eyes…
What a difference…
The new LED “eyes” provides lighting all around and under arm. I’m amazed at how well I can see to stitch! What a difference a new set of “eyes” makes.
Till next time…keep your eye on the needle and your foot on the pedal.
After working for past 3 days on and off, the 2nd deer quilt is finally pieced together. Now both tops are ready
To be quilted
Wanting this top to be different than the first one, I believe it was a success. Surprisingly the quilt tops are about same size…55×60. I say that because I used scraps and just designed it as I went. Now in case you missed the first one….here it is again…do you have a favorite????
Both tops will be quilted and sent off to new homes….more to come soon.