I have a new pattern in Quiltmaker magazine!
My pattern, Garden Geese is in the September/October 2015 issue that will be on newsstands in August. Here it is!
Look for this issue when you go to the store. There are a lot of lovely projects!
To celebrate this, I've decided to give away a copy of the magazine and a free pattern! Just tell me your favorite quilting experience, whether it's serious or funny, and I will draw a winner from these! I will choose the winner on Tuesday, August 4th and post it then.
Well, as you can see......
I have lots of machine quilting ahead of me! This leads me to sharing some machine quilting tips I have picked up over the years.
First thing I do, is practice on a scrap quilt sandwich, especially if it has been awhile since I have quilted anything. This gets me familiar once again with the motion of quilting and also gives me time to work out some design ideas.
I sometimes also draw designs on a photocopy of the blocks I will be quilting. This helps to get the ideas flowing as well.
Next up, check my machine for readiness. If you haven't already, now is a good time to check the needle. There are actually needles made specifically for machine quilting. If you are quilting a large project, it's a good idea to just toss the needle you use after you are done. Needles wear out, believe it or not! You can do several smaller projects with one needle.
Once the needle is taken care of, now pick out the thread. I like to use a dark neutral thread on my quilt tops because that goes well with my Civil War reproduction fabrics. My favorite is an Aurifil 50 weight. It works for me! Choose your favorite thread. I like these threads because they do not create a lot of lint in your machine.
Make sure your machine is oiled, "fuzzies" cleaned out of the bobbin area and that you have a few bobbins wound and ready. This is a good habit to get into especially if the project you are quilting is going to be a large one. No stopping for bobbin filling! Just pull out the empty and load in a full one.
Baste your quilt top with pins or with a large basting stitch. Your preference. I use pins to based my quilt sandwich.
Now it's time to put on my machine quilting gloves. These are a great tool to have. It helps you to grip and pull your quilt sandwich tight as you are quilting so you don't get puckers on the back of your quilt.
Now, it's time to quilt!!
I use a darning foot (most machines come with them). Either a closed toe or open toe darning foot will work.
The feed dogs on your machine need to be dropped. See your owner's manual on how to do that if you have not done it before.
To start, pull your bobbin thread to the top of the quilt. To do this, put your threaded needle down in the spot where you want to begin and drop your presser foot. Tap your foot peddle so the needle comes back up, pull on the end of the top thread and this will draw the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt. This is so the bobbin thread does not get caught in the stitching on the back and create a mess!
Now you are ready to go! Start with a few small "locking stitches". Since you feed dogs are dropped, they are not moving the quilt sandwich .... you have to. So to make these small stitches, just move the quilt top slightly while stitching. Since you are only moving it slightly, the stitches will be very small. Once you do those beginning stitches, you can now move on to the motif you have chosen. Be sure to move the quilt top at an even pace with the speed of your machine. That is how you keep the stitches even (unless you are one of those lucky quilters who have a stitch regulator on your machine!). Once you reach the end of your design or are at a place where you need to stop, end with a few small locking stitches again. Snip the threads as close as you can to the quilt top as you can. Now you are ready to move on to the next area!
You are now machine quilting!
Check your local quilt shop for some in person quilting classes or look some up on YouTube. There are also many machine quilting books available for a more comprehensive lesson. The main thing is to have fun! Start off with easy overall designs and work your way up to more difficult ones. Practice makes perfect! Here's a fun motif I've been working on.
Well, summer is in full swing! Here in Iowa we are getting some of our warmest weather yet. I cannot complain since I just turned the air conditioner on for the first time this summer. I love open windows since in north Iowa .... we're closed in for many many months in the winter.
One of the many questions I am asked when I speak is "where do you get your ideas?" Well, inspiration can come in many forms. Patterns seen in nature and architecture are some of my greatest inspirations.
See these windows and walls?
I see lots of design ideas here. These inspire designs with scallops, strip designs and also designs I can use in appliqué. Look at this next photo. I see a potential quilt border here!
I found this design on a floor. A simple checkerboard tile motif between two different colors of marble .... who knew? Inspiration!
These beautiful metal grates are great inspiration for appliqué!
Most of my inspiration that comes from nature informs my color choices and my appliqué. An obvious source is a garden or potted plant. Looking at these helps me to design the floral appliqués I use on many of my projects.
Look at the color here!
Of course it's my favorite ..... purple!
So now that you know some of my inspiration secrets, what inspires you? I'd like to know! Now I think it's time for me to do some quilting........ or maybe join the cat in the sun!
Here is a tip that I call "bits and pieces" because it's a way to use more of that precious fabric!
Make Half-square Triangle Squares While Making Flying Geese
Last week I was making several large flying geese units for a quilt. This tip works best if your flying geese units are larger ones, for example 3 1/2 x 6 1/2" geese. Start out with the rectangle that is 3 1/2 x 6 1/2" and two squares that are 3 1/2" square. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the squares. Once you have the square placed face down on the rectangle, sew along the drawn line and then sew another seam 1/2" away from the first seam. If you want to mark that line too, feel free.
Then, cut the unit between the sewn lines:
Once you repeat this step on the other side and press the units open, you will have a flying geese unit and two half-square triangle squares. You can use the HST squares in the project you are making the geese for, or save them for another purpose!
A geese unit that measures 3 1/2 x 6 1/2" will yield two HST squares that can be trimmed to measure 2 1/2" square. A geese unit that measures 2 1/ x 4 1/2" yields two HST squares that can be trimmer to measure 1 1/2" square.
What can you do with these HST squares? Make a pinwheel block with four of them or sew them together in a chain for an interesting pieced border. Or, just toss them in a container just for those HSTs. Then you can pull them out and whip up a small project with them. A candle mat, a small table runner or anything you can think of!
So, there you go! You won't feel guilty about making those geese units and having to throw away expensive fabric. You will use every little bit and piece ... eventually!
Quilting Tips for the Week:
Tip #1: Measuring block units as you piece.
Did you ever piece a block with many pieces and have it not measure correctly when done? Well ..... this blog post is for you!
I’ve been diligently working on some new projects and wanted to share a tip on getting blocks and quilts to come out to the correct size. I've talked before about an accurate 1/4" seam allowance which is definitely important. It's a good rule of thumb to do a few practice seams on scrap fabric (see below), prior to beginning a project, and then measuring the resulting seam. Thickness of thread, needle size and position and presser foot size are all things to take in consideration when making adjustments. Consider using a thinner thread when piecing, use a 1/4" presser foot that comes with your machine or can be purchased for your machine.
Another thing that helps you with accuracy in size is measuring block units to make sure they measure the correct size before joining them into a block. Some blocks can have more than 20 individual pieces that are joined to make units that go into making a block. For instance, in a Dutchman's Puzzle quilt block is made up of eight flying geese units. If these units are off in measurement, as you join them to make the block, your completed block will be off.
The unit pictured below is a unit from a block I'm using in a new quilt. There are 28 pieces in this block that make up eight units that go into this block. This one unit needs to measure 4 1/2". Once I am done piecing all these units, I measure them as shown to make sure it measures 4 1/2". If it doesn't, it's time to get that seam ripper out!
So, if you measure your units as you go and then measure your completed blocks, when you get ready to piece those blocks into the quilt, your completed top will measure as advertised in the pattern!
Measuring units as you go will save lots of headaches! It will make piecing your quilt less stressful and more enjoyable.
Tip #2: Cut scrappy binding for your project as you cut out your project.
Even if the pattern you have chosen designates specific fabric for a binding, play a little by making a scrappy binding instead! That way you can pull all the colors of your quilt blocks into the binding for more interest.
As you are cutting the pieces from the various fabrics for your quilt, cut 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 strips (depending on whether you want single-fold or double-fold binding) from the remaining fabric.
Once you have the strips you need, prepare them into single or double fold binding as desired and bind your quilt top!
Talking about binding leads me to the next tip ......
Tip #3 Binding Storage
So what do you do with that binding while you are working on your quilt top? I have a few ideas on how to store binding you already have made up for your project. Roll it and clip it with a large binding clip!
Or put those leftover toilet paper rolls to good use!
Wrap the binding around the roll and secure the end with a large pin. This will keep the binding from unraveling until you need it.
So, that's all the tips I have for today. Get to work and happy quilting!
Well, if you are on Facebook, you have been following my studio remodel. For those of you not on Facebook as well as those of you who are, I wanted to do this wrap up on my studio remodel. It's been a fun journey.
I used to work in a room that was about 10' x 10'. That's actually a very small area to run a business! I was usually tripping over things at least twice a day. I did not even have room for a regular size ironing board. To iron finished quilt tops or large pieces of fabric, I would need to open an ironing board in the basement.
So, we moved to a new house (new to us!) in the beginning of April this year. In the basement, there was a lovely room that the previous owners had used as a beauty shop among other things. Needless to say, the room is larger than 10' x 10'! The first order of business was to lay a new floor. Since I live in northern Iowa, we decided to add in-floor heat (yay!).
Next, we needed to put in some type of cabinets. Along with a row of cabinets on the wall for storage, I decided I wanted a large "island" for a cutting table and to hold a big board ironing board. We bought stock cabinets from Home Depot and stained them. Easy! The only thing that took a little more time was the counter top. Since the island was an odd size, we had to custom order the counter top. So now, I have storage and a great area for cutting and ironing! ..... apparently also a great sleeping place for the cat.
Fabric storage and sewing table were next. I actually had an old bead board cupboard that I decided to use for some fabric storage (along with the wall cabinets) and I used our old dining room table for my sewing table!
We used a peg board made for garage use to hang my rulers and added shelves between my wall cupboards. OK .... I have shelves, why is my counter still a mess??
So there you have it! Now it's time for me to get back to designing! Happy Quilting!
Welcome to the Snuggles Quilts blog, one of your stops today on the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour for volume 11 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 donated by the block designers - including me! The magazine will be on newsstands in now but you can win a copy from Quiltmaker. Just leave a message in my comments section and you will be entered in the drawings.
I hope you had fun yesterday touring the first day's 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. My monthly newsletter usually has some quilting tips and trivia too! Be assured I do not send lots of daily or weekly e-mails - I don’t like that either! Also, if you are on Facebook, be sure to like my page, SnugglesQuiltsPatterns.
So, here is my block called Cotton Candy.
It's block #1075 on page 50 of the magazine.
I would like to share this quick table runner pattern, called Country Fair, that I designed using my block. If you would like a copy, click here.
Don't forget to leave a comment on my blog to be entered in the drawing for the magazine. I will also be choosing a winner from these comments to receive a pack of my most recent patterns or a copy of my latest book, Blooming Patchwork.
The lucky winners will be chosen and posted on my blog on May 11th.
Have a great day and happy quilting!
Join me along with many other designers for the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour!
The tour starts Monday, May 4th and ends Friday, May 8th. You will have a chance to win a free copy of the magazine and also prizes from many of the designers whose blocks are featured! Including me!
So mark your calendar and visit the blogs on their participating days. For information on this tour, visit the Quilty Pleasures blog on Monday morning to start your tour!
New Pattern in Primitive Quilts Magazine!
Look for this magazine on newsstands. It's the summer 2015 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects.
Here's my contribution to this issue. It's a easy and quilt wall hanging called "On the Fence".
The wall hanging is wool appliqué on a gray flannel background. I threw in some embroidery for fun!
There are many great projects in this issue. If you can not find it on the newsstands, contact Primitive Quilts here.
Well it's that time of the year! Here are some new patterns that I will begin selling in May for Spring Quilt Market. I had a lot of fun designing these patterns and hope you like them!
The first one is Shimmer & Shine - a pattern that contains two table runner projects. Of course it's scrappy! My favorite thing.
The runner on the left is called Star Dust and measures 17 x 42" and the one on the left is called Galaxy and measures 20 x 44".
Next up is Shimmer & Shine, Too! This pattern also contains two table runner projects. As you can tell ... I love stars in my designs!
The one on the right is called Shooting Star and measures 18 x 44" and the one on the left is called Four Winds Star and measures 22 x 42".
And now I have here one of my favorites! This one is called High Prairie Blooms. It's a lap quilt that measures 74 x 74". This quilt marries my love for scrap quilting and appliqué! You can do this appliqué in fabric or wool.
Last, but not least is a fun wall hanging/table runner duo designed using Marcus Brothers fabrics designed by Judie Rothermel. The fabric lines used are Hannah's Heritage and Shirts & Ties. It was fun to challenge myself to design a pattern within the confines of a few fabric lines. I really love the result!
So, there you go! I hope you like these new patterns! Look for them to be on sale for purchase after Quilt Market, around mid-May. Ask your favorite quilt shop to order!