As you can see by my quilt patterns, I like scrappy quilts. Over the years, I have come up with a few "tips" to make scrap quilting easier and more fun. We can all use more fun, yes?
When you are making a scrap quilt, you are usually using at least 5 or 6 different colors of fabric for variety. But, when you are piecing your quilt top, it never fails, you get the same colors right next to each other or clumped together on one side of a block or quilt. So, here are some tips I have come up with to take care of this problem.
Tip #1: I number the fabrics. For example, if I have a blue, purple, green, pink and gold fabric, I will number them 1 through 5. If you have 20 different fabrics, you can group them by color family and then number them. Once they are numbered, I then take a diagram of the quilt block or quilt top (you can make a copy of the block or quilt from the pattern and enlarge it if you need to) and write numbers on the quilt top pieces. As I am numbering, I make sure the distribution of the colors is even!
Tip #2: Are you worried that you are going to sew rows or block pieces together wrong after carefully planning the color placement above?
As you can see by the photo above, I have the sections numbered starting with #1. Section 1 is to be sewn to section 2 and then section 3 is sewn to the bottom of section 2 and so on ..... I started doing this when I flubbed on color placement a few times when transferring pieces from my design wall to my sewing machine. I would end up sewing the wrong pieces together and not notice it until a whole border was done and I saw the same colors clumped together. Time to "unsew" then!
Here is a complete row laid out and ready to be joined:
I use the sheets of the little square Avery stickers (#5418 Multi-Use Labels) to number my pieces.
Tip #3: Another thing I use these stickers for are "directional" arrows. As you can see by the units above and looking over my pattern diagram above, the triangles face different directions based on which side of the quilt they are on. In order to keep me straight, I draw a little arrow on one of the small stickers and place it at the top of a row so I know which way is up.
Well, it's the end of the month already! Where is the summer going? Hopefully, the summer weather stretches into fall in my neck of the woods (not likely, but one could hope!)
Now to my topic for today. Everyday items in the sewing room. I like to think I am an innovator, however, some of these ideas have come from my quilting friends or from students. These are some ways to make your sewing days easier and more fun.
The first idea keeps your snipping scissors close at hand. I know when I am stitching and need to snip threads, sometimes, I can not find my scissors that I just laid down! This tip uses a command hook attached to your machine to hang the scissors. Pretty genius, huh? And, since command hooks can be removed easily, there is no permanent damage to your machine.
I have to admit, this is not my idea. But I found that it was so useful, that I did it myself as you can see above.
My next ideas deal with fun ways to create storage with everyday items. Those pegboards that you often see in garages really come in handy for hanging rulers and other tools.
I use this coffee mug holder for hanging my scissors and rotary cutters. I found this coffee mug holder at a local thrift store for $1.00!
I found these sewing machine cabinet drawers at some local antique shops (for not much money either!) and I use them to store things next to my sewing table that I may need while sewing. Seam ripper, threads, extra bobbins and needles, etc.
The final thing I want to show you can be fun for decorating or for storing things you need but don't use often. I use these mason jars to store buttons and perle cotton threads that I use occasionally. Also, one of the jars is full of old sewing notions I inherited from my mother-in-law. It's kind of a fun display and a tribute to her.
So, are there any everyday items you use in your sewing room? Share those ideas. It's always fun to learn new things from other quilters!
Ready for sale! My new pattern #220 Delightful Seasons.
This pattern includes instructions for the 20 x 26" wall hanging base and the four seasonal panels. The panels are 12" and feature wool appliqué and embroidery on a pieced fabric background. If you like, you can substitute black wool or woolies fabric for the panel backgrounds.
Find further information on the pattern here.
I hope you like this fun seasonal pattern to dress up your home! If you like it, tell your favorite local quilt shop owner about my website!
Congrats to LaNetta Barnes! She came up with the name "Crisscross Cabin" for my quilt. Using her suggestion, I named the quilt "Crisscross Cabin Blooms". She will be receiving a pack of my patterns for a prize!
Great name .... I think it fits!
Have you ever wondered how someone "names" a quilt? What goes into that decision? Well ..... I can take out the mystery, at least for me. It's off the cuff! Sometimes a quilt name will just come to me the minute I see the finished top. Sometimes, I labor over a name for days. That is the reason why I am doing this post. Stick with me until the end because I am going to ask for some help in naming my newest pattern.
I named this quilt "Paper Chain" .....
.... because when I stared at the top long enough, the blocks began to look like those paper chains I used to make in grade school. It helps that my long-arm quilter chose a circle pattern to bring out the design.
Other quilts I have named are obviously drawn from the quilt pattern. I have several quilts with stars in them and so I named them things like "Scrappy Star Parade" or Star Shine Runners". A bit uncreative, huh? This one was a little more creative: It's called "Strippy Stars"......
I combined the fact that I used only 2 1/2" strips for the quilt top and then added appliquéd stars.
I got a bit more creative on this one called "Basket Banter" .....
So, we come to the reason for this blog post. I need help in naming one of my newest patterns! I have been drawing a complete blank for the last two days! I am posting a photo below and would like you, my fellow quilters, to offer up some name choices. I will take comments for the next week (either here or on my Facebook page) and then I will choose a winner. The winner will receive a pack of my newest patterns!
So .... here it is .....
Have fun and Happy Quilting!
I was doing a bit of cleaning in my fabric closet today … rearranging and putting away fabrics and scraps like strips and small pieces for appliqué. This is a photo of the inside of my fabric closet showing my labeled bins.
It’s a pretty good system. I have my fabrics separated by size (1/8s, 1/4s, 1/2s and yards) and colors. Some colors share a bin is I don’t have a lot. I actually think I need more space! Oh no!
At the bottom of my closet is a basket chock full of bags of 1 1/2” and 2 1/2” strips.
When I get down to a small section of fabric left when I am cutting out a project, I always cut the remainder into these strips if the piece is less than 1/8 of a yard. I can pull out one of these bags of strips and have some fun!
What can you do with these strips you say? Besides the obvious, Log Cabin blocks, I have used these strips to make borders for orphan blocks (those “test” blocks you have lying around) and before you know it, you have a small table topper/candle mat!
This one uses 1 1/2” strips to make three extra borders around this star block. It’s a fun little project and makes a great gift.
Another uses for these strips is to add pieced borders onto larger quilts to make them bigger. You can make a piano key border or a checkerboard border like these shown.
You can also make flying geese borders!
Finally, I’ve used these strips for pieced scrappy borders. I use the 1 1/2” strips on wall hangings or table toppers and I use the 2 1/2” strips to make double-fold binding for lap size or larger quilts.
This photo shows a flying geese border and a scrappy binding from 1 1/2" strips
With all the strips I have collected over the years …. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of binding. Either that or I can make hundreds of Log Cabin blocks!
So, use up all that fabric! Save those strips and you will never be without a project. Here is a table runner I made entirely from 1 1/2” and 2 1/2” strips.
It’s called Scraps All Over. You can get a free copy of this pattern here. Enjoy!
I love to display my quilts around the house but when the spring rolls around, I think about cleaning those quilts.
I want to display them and I want people to use them. However, I worry about how to clean them if they get dusty or dirty. The methods you use to clean your quilts can be personal choice based on how important the quilt it to you . These tips I am sharing are what works for me. These tips are NOT for antique or family heirloom quilts. It’s best to consult a textile preservation expert for those quilts that are very old with weaker seams and fibers.
Cleaning and Airing
For wall quilts that can collect dust or cobwebs, use the soft brush attachment for your vacuum cleaner on the low suction setting and brush across the surface.
Do not use any kind of attachment that has moving parts like a pet hair attachment. Those moving parts can possibly catch on the fabric or the seams and cause damage.
If the wall quilt has picked up a musty smell or another smell from the room it is in, it can be aired out by placing it outside (in a shady area) on a clean sheet.
For cleaning large quilts, lay it out on a flat surface and vacuum with the soft brush attachment. They can also be aired out using the same method as a wall quilt.
Do not shake quilts like you do for rugs since that can weaken seams.
If you pre-washed your fabric before making your quilt, washing it should be a less stressful experience. Hand-washing is best, but if you wish to machine wash, pick the gentlest cycle (usually “delicate”) and use a gentle detergent such as Orvus Quilt Soap.
A quilt should be air dried so no more stress is put on the seams or stitching. I have put quilts in the dryer for about 10 minutes on “air” dry (no heat) to get some of the dampness out. Once that is done, I lay it out on a flat surface to air dry. Never hang a quilt from a clothes line. That will cause additional stress to seams and stitching. Also, do not ring it out! Be very careful moving the quilt from the washer to the dryer (or the area where it will be air dried).
If I am unsure of a quilt’s colorfastness, like if I did not pre-wash fabrics, I throw in a couple of Shout Color Catchers.
I have washed several quilts with these and have had no color bleeding. This is just from my experience though … if you are worried about your quilt, you may want to do a color-fast test. A quilt that is just displayed and not used very often only should need washing once a year. It’s best not to wash quilts too often, even though they are not antiques.
If you want to store quilts that you are not using or displaying, the best way to do this is to fold them with acid-free paper between the folds to help prevent creasing and wrapped in a clean white sheet.
Try to find a storage area that is not in the basement or the attic where there could be extreme dampness or temperatures. Placing wrapped quilts under a bed will work well. If want store a quilt flat, a bed in an unused bedroom is the best. Lay the quilt flat on the bed and cover with a sheet. You can store several quilts this way.
So, I hope these tips have helped! Let’s get started on that spring cleaning!
Congratulations to Trena J who wins an issue of the 100 Blocks magazine and to Maureen who wins the pattern pack from me. I hope you all enjoyed the tour!
Come back and visit!
Welcome to the Snuggles Quilts blog, one of your stops on the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Blog Tour for volume 9 of the 100 Blocks magazine! I am so proud to have a block featured in this issue. Be sure to continue to visit the Quilty Pleasures Blog today and throughout the week for information on the tour and to enter drawings for some great prizes!
I hope you had fun yesterday touring the many fun blogs. Take your time to look around my web site to view my patterns and books. If you would like to receive an e-mail when I have new patterns or books coming out, click on “join newsletter” on the left sidebar and fill out the request. I do not send lots of e-mails (I don’t like that either!); I only contact you with new pattern or book information. Also, if you are on Facebook, be sure to like my page, SnugglesQuiltsPatterns.
Now ….. for the block! Here it is …..
I call this block “Puzzle Star”. It is block #863 and appears on page 57.
My block here is made in gold, green and black fabrics, but I am sure you can picture it in any of your favorite colors. Here’s a version I made with purple, green and black fabrics.
Here is a pattern I came up with for a fun large table topper or a wall hanging. It’s 32” square.
Find the fabric requirements and pattern here. This one is in red, green and black for a Christmas project!
Be sure to leave me a comment with this blog post for a chance to win a free copy of the 100 Blocks magazine from Quiltmaker. Also, I will be drawing for a pattern packet of my most recent patterns! I will be choosing the lucky winners at the end of the blog tour on May 2nd. Enjoy!
Do you Label? I hope so! So many quilts I look at in books say "Quilt maker unknown". I don't want that to be any of my quilts. Also, I think it adds a beautiful touch to a quilt you are giving as a gift.
There are many ways to label. You can use a permanent pen made for marking fabric and write directly on the back of the quilt if you have a light background. That is what I did here:
The only drawback to this method is the possibility of the ink fading over time. If you use the right pen made for marking fabric, they are generally labeled as "fade resistant".
I have also used a scrap of fabric and written on that with a permanent pen. When sewing this label onto the back of my quilt, I have affixed it prior to attaching the binding so two edges of the label are secured by the binding stitches. This quilt was labeled that way:
Another way I have labeled quilts is by using fabric paper that I have purchased at the quilt store.
This paper can be expensive (about $18 for 6 sheets). If you do not want to spend that amount you can purchase a fat quarter and make up to three labels by using freezer paper and Bubble Jet products.
First, treat your piece of fabric with the Bubble Jet Set 2000 following the directions on the bottle. Place the fabric wrong side down on the shiny side of a piece of freezer paper. Then cut the fabric into pieces that will fit in your printer. You should be able to get three 8 1/2 x 11" pieces out of one fat quarter. The freezer paper stabilizes the fabric so it can run through your printer. You must use an ink jet printer for this. A laser printer can not be used because of the way it works and the heat generated with those types of printers.
Type up what ever you want your label to say and print it onto the fabric side of you homemade labels. Follow the instructions on the Bubble Jet Rinse to set the ink. Now your label is ready to use!
I like the idea of using labels to tell a story, whether it's for a member of your family or just for yourself. You can talk about what inspired you to make the quilt, what fabrics you used, the date it was made, etc. The possibilities are endless! I have even written a poem for the back of the quilt when I made some quilts for my nieces.
How do you label your quilts? I'd like to hear what you do and what you like to put on your labels.
The most important thing is to label the quilt so there is a record later in time so your quilt is not labeled as "quilt maker unknown!"