What is your favorite time to sew? What types of projects do you like to work on? Do you have more than one project going on at a time? I usually have a piecing project and a hand appliqué project going. That way I have something I can work on that's "portable" if I don't have the time to sit at my machine.
To take a project with me on the road, first I have to have a way to store all the pieces so I do not lose anything. I use small zip lock baggies, either snack, sandwich or quart size (depending upon the size of my project) to store my appliqué pieces. This also works for wool appliqué, hexies or other hand projects!
Then I use a larger "project bag". You know those plastic bags with zippers that small sheet sets come in? They are perfect to pack a project into. enough room to fit your project and sewing supplies you will need such as rulers, thread and needle storage, etc.
can find tins in all sizes that will fit your needs. I like a shallow one so I don't have to go digging around for what I want.
Here is what it looks like on the inside:
Notice the magnet in the corner. I found this magnet "block" at my local hardware store. It fits right inside my tin and holds needles, a small scissors and some pins. A lot better than having them rolling around inside the tin!
Next, I needed a place to put sewing supplies with in reach when I am sewing in the car. I got this idea from a student in one of my classes. Go to the bathroom section of the store and look for these small suction cup storage items. I think they are used in a shower to hold soap. I stick it on the car window and store my thread ans scissors at an easy reach!
Isn't it amazing what you can do with everyday items, huh?
So, I'm packed and ready for my next car trip at any time. It's a good thing because we will be driving to Houston Texas in about 10 days for Fall International Quilt Market. Come to think of it, I better get going on some ideas so I have something to work on for the car ride!
Happy Quilting all!
These weeks fly by so fast ….
Here’s a great reason to love October …. my new book will be hitting the quilt shops later this month!
Blooming Patchwork from Kansas City Star Quilts
If you like scrap quilting and appliqué, you will love this book! I have included a fun brief history of appliqué in north America and have 9 different projects inspired by this history. Here's a preview of what it looks like inside my book. The photos were taken at a lovely bed & breakfast outside the Kansas City, Missouri area. I love the look! What do you think?
October also brings the release of several new patterns from Snuggles Quilts as well. This pattern has been released but has not visited a Quilt Market yet. It’s making the trip with me to Houston later this month.
It's called Delightful Seasons. The pattern includes instructions for the pieced wall hanging and four seasonal changeable panels. The panels are wool appliqué on fabric backgrounds. You can do the appliqué in fabric if you prefer.
I also have new patterns debuting at Quilt Market at the end of the month. I have had a lot of fun creating these designs over the spring and summer and cannot wait to share them with the quilting world.
From the top, the patterns are: #221 Sister's Reunion - a 74 x 74" scrappy lap quilt; #222 Crisscross Cabin Blooms - a 72 x 72" scrappy lap quilt with border appliqué; #223 Garden Gate - a 40 x 40" wall hanging that can be made with fabric appliqué or wool appliqué and #224 Greetings! - a wall hanging and table topper that can be personalized with a special date!
If you see what you like here ….. request my patterns from your local quilt shop!
New Book on it's way!
I'm excited to announce that my new book, Blooming Patchwork, will be out in October! I am working with Kansas City Star Quilts on this book and I am really happy with it. Here is one of the quilt projects in the book. It's called Star Gazing.
What do you think?
The book has nine projects that range from table runners and wall hangings to lap quilts. All the projects are scrappy and include appliqué that can be done by hand or machine.
There is also a brief history of appliqué in America and tips to help you create you own appliqué masterpiece!
Here are a few shots of other projects in the book:
So.... make sure you mention this post to your favorite quilt shop! Have them look for my book from Kansas City Star Quilts in October. If they go to the International Quilt Market in Houston at the end of October, they can visit me in my booth or visit the Kansas City Star Quilts booth for a closer look and more information.
This book has been a labor of love to my favorite past time .... needle turn hand appliqué. I hope you will like the finished product as much as I do!
Color! How do you pick color for a project?
Many quilters look at a pattern and want the exact fabric shown in the photo. Unfortunately, that is not always possible since fabric companies often print limited quantities of a fabric …. and when it’s gone, it’s gone! Those of you who are shop owners know what I am talking about! It’s even more difficult when a quilter wants the exact fabric for a quilt they have found in a magazine or book. Those quilts are often made 6 months to a year before the magazine or book is published! Oh no!
So, here’s my advice …. just go by color and not the exact fabric. You can take the photo of the quilt with you to your favorite quilt shop and look for fabrics that are in the same color family and have the same scale print as the one in the photo. For example, here’s a red fabric in a quilt:
And here is a fabric that can be substituted. It’s close to the other fabric in color and scale of the print. It will give you the same look.
The print is not exactly the same, but it is on the same scale and the color is the close to the same shade as the original.
Another thing that tends to stump a quilter is when a pattern says “chose 15 fabrics in lights, mediums and darks”. Well, that’s easier than you think! For me “light, medium and dark” is all relative based on the fabrics you chose to use. What I do is pull the main colors I want from my stash and then find different shades for light, medium and dark.
For example, here is a blue I chose.
You may think this is “dark”. But, when you put it next to the next blue I chose, you see it can be classed as a “medium”.
You could use it for your “dark” if your other blues went lighter on the “shade” scale. Get it? Everything’s relative!
So, here’s the 15 fabrics I picked out for my next project. See how the 5 basic colors I chose show up in each stack?
There you go! I hope I have taken some of the fear out of choosing fabrics for a project. Now you can go into a quilt shop and stack up bolts like a pro! Stack the up, stand back and squint!
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!