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!
As those of you who follow my Facebook postings know, I have moved to a new house so Snuggles Quilts will be getting a new home! However, moving 17 years of stuff is an ordeal for sure. I truly believe now, everyone should pretend they are moving every 5 years and clean out the house!
Here's how I started out working during the move .....
Yes, that really is the floor of my old house! I still had work to do as we were moving furniture, so ..... what can you do?
I'm excited that my new house has a room for me to set up the studio over twice the size I was working in. That's cause for a great celebration! No more tripping over stacks of patterns while trying to get shipments out. But, right now the room does not look like a studio ... it looks more like a storage area! Here's a photo:
Yes, that is a washing machine in the center of the room .... and no, that is not staying. We're getting a new washer/dryer and this machine is to be picked up when that happens.
But, as you can see, I have all my fabrics and office supplies lining the walls. It's all out in the open so it should be easy to find things right? Not so!
It took me 45 minutes to find an envelope the other day!
I will be keeping you updated with photos as my new studio takes shape. The first thing that will be happening is a new heated tile floor - going in next week, I hope! This is definitely needed since my studio is in the basement and will get pretty cold in the winter.
Right now, here's my makeshift office in the corner of the family room ....
Well, this should be fun!
All this moving and unpacking led me to share an idea for raising money for your quilt guild ... our guild does this at least once a year....
A quilters auction!
Even if you are not moving ... a cleanup of your sewing room can benefit your quilt guild! Here's how:
....suggest your guild hold a "quilters auction" at a meeting. You will definitely come across things in your sewing room that you have not used in years (or you can not figure out why you even bought it!) The auction will serve the purpose of cleaning out sewing rooms and also raising money for your guild! Remember, one person's "trash" is another's treasure!
Here's how it's done:
Get numbered tickets that are perforated (each piece of the ticket has the same number) that guild members purchase (set a price like 25 cents apiece).
Set up tables and lay out quilt related items that members have brought in for the auction.
Place a paper bag or a small basket in from of each item or groups of items in the auction.
Members will then have time to look at what's up for auction and they will place one half of a ticket in a bag or basket for the item(s) they are interested in.
Once the time is over for viewing the items, tickets are drawn from each of the individual bags or baskets and the guild member holding the other half of that ticket wins the item(s)!
Well, that's all for now! I need to get back to searching for stuff ... err... back to work!
Spring is here! At least it feels like it here. The snow is melting and it's time to think of some summer projects.
My newest pattern, Liberty Starshine, will be appearing in the May/June 2015 issue of McCall's Quilting! And I made the cover!
Here are a few more photos of this project:
I had a lot of fun designing this quilt and I think it is a quick and easy lap quilt that you will love to make.... so get this issue of McCall's Quilting on newsstands March 31st!
Do you ever look at a designer's quilt and wonder where the inspiration for the color choices come from? When I was a beginner, I often wondered myself. I would stick to the tried and true combinations of primary colors and what I thought went together. I was not ready to wander from my comfort zone.
Today, I am more willing to take a risk with color. Since I have a large stash of scraps, I can often experiment to make sure the colors I have chosen work for the block, even if it is not the actual fabric I will be using. Try doing this yourself. Make one block from a quilt you want to make. Choose the colors (correct shades even, like medium, light, dark) you are thinking of for the entire quilt from your scraps and make a block. This way you can "audition" the colors without buying large quantities of expensive yardage before knowing if the colors will even look good to you. Bonus ... you get an orphan block that you can use to make a pillow or a candle mat for a gift!
I also like to pile up fat quarters or fat eighths to get an idea of what color combinations I would like.
Then I take those to the store and get the amount I need for a quilt.
Some Sources of Color Inspiration:
There are many sources of inspirations other than the bolts of fabric on the quilt shop shelf, although those are definitely a good place to look. I have been known to use a box of crayons, random colors in a shirt I own or even a flowering plant. Below are photos of plants that I had outside this summer.
Other sources I have used are a pile of colored pencils even a box of threads.
I have often grouped colored pencils or crayons together to see how the colors play off each other. I bet you never thought your kids' box of Crayolas would come in handy like that!
To sum up, whether you get your color inspiration in the conventional way...the quilt shop or in unconventional ways, like I have described, have fun!
Now here's a oldie but goodie "quilting funny" to entertain you for the weekend! Happy Quilting!
Have you heard of that show on the DIY Network called Cool Tools? The host introduces new and improved construction tools to his audience in a humorous and informative way. Well ….. I have my own tools that I call my cool tools that I turn to often when I am creating a new projects.
I’m not talking about the usual like sewing machine, thread, needles, rotary cutter, etc. These are in additional to those tools that are considered normally needed. Some of the things I use are not necessarily exclusive to quilting. Some have been around a long time but some are newer. These are things I do not have to have, but they make life easier.
The tool that keeps me safe when cutting is my O’lipfa ruler guard. I found this at a quilt shop several years ago when I saw the store owner had one on her ruler as she cut fabric. You peel a paper backing off and stick the guard down on your ruler. Now, if your rotary cutter skips over the edge of your ruler, it will hit the guard …. not your hand!
One of my favorite tools is my pressing stick. I do scrappy quilts so I am often making blocks that contain many pieces. Instead of getting up to press every seam with the iron, I will press my seams with the pressing stick (yes, I press mine open …. but that’s another story!). This is one of my oldest tools. I think I bought it over 20 years ago.
A tool that is new to me and quickly becoming a favorite is the Quilt in a Day Triangle Square-up Ruler. A student in a class I was teaching introduced me to this tool and it have made life easier when making half-square triangle (HST) squares … and I make a lot of those!
I use the HST technique that uses two squares and yields two half-square triangle squares once they are placed right sides together and a seam is sewn on each side of a drawn line. Once I cut the unit apart and before pressing it open, I use the ruler to trim the unit to the correct size. So much easier that having to trim all four sides!
Believe it or not, one of my essential tools is a digital camera.
I use this to remember the placement of appliqué pieces when I am auditioning layouts. I will take photos of different options and then compare them. When I have decided, I will then refer back to the chosen photo while stitching my project to make sure I stitch the appliqués where I wanted them.
The final tool I’ll share today is my circle template. I believe this is actually made for scrapbooking, but it works for quilting too!
When I need to trace several circles for fabric or wool appliqué, instead of tracing around a paper template, I use this. I choose the size I need and trace as many circles as I want without ruining a paper template and ending up with circles that …. are not quite circles!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this review of “my cool tools”. Share with me some of the tools you can’t live without.
So, you've been following my applique series? Now I will share with you some of the extra tips that help make appliqué time fun!
- If you are doing an appliqué motif that is repeated in your project and it uses several colors, consider threading a needle for each color you will be using so you will not have to keep emptying and re-threading the same needle every time you change colors. Seems like a simple tip, but it saves time!
- If you don't mind using some extra paper, this is a good way to layout the full design on the block or quilt top. It gives you a good idea where to stitch the actual pieces. Most patterns have appliqué diagrams and photos, however, doing a layout with paper cutouts or the actual pieces (if you have them ready, will help you to see it in person. Take a photo of it and refer to it often.
- Some appliqué motifs consist of several pieces layered on top of one another. To make things easier for you, stitch smaller appliqué pieces to larger ones that they are layered on before stitching the entire motif to the quilt top. This is a big help if your appliqué has several layers and your project is large. It's easier to layer and stitch the unit and then stitch it in place onto the quilt top.
Comfort is a must!
- Pick a comfortable chair where you can set up your sewing light. Take several breaks. I know you want to get that project done, but it's a good thing to take a break after 20-30 minutes of stitching and do some light stretching. I found this blog that has a great mid-day stretch routine that would work good at a break.
It's Stitching Time!
So now we are ready to stitch the appliqué pieces to the block or quilt top. The first step is to prepare the appliqué piece for easier stitching by clipping the fabric in the seam allowance. This makes turning under the seam allowance easier as you are stitching.
As you can see, the clipping in the seam allowance goes up to but not over the drawn line on the appliqué piece. This clipping also helps shape the the piece as you are stitching. Fewer clips are needed on straight areas and more clips, closer together are needed in curved areas to help shape that curve.
Here is a handy clipping diagram to help:
The next step is to position the appliqué piece on the block or quilt top. To do this, rulers come in very handy! Many patterns have appliqué diagram and good photos to help in position the pieces also. If you need to find the center of a block, use rulers to measure from the top and from the side and mark the center with a quilting pencil.
Once you have positioned the piece, use the fabric glue to secure it in place for stitching. As I mentioned in my first post, I use Roxanne's Glue Baste-it. There are other fabric glues also available. I like this one because of the long, thin nozzle that deposits small dots of glue on the back of the piece. Use these small dots so there is not too much glue on the back, just enough to hold the piece secure.
Now it's time to stitch! Thread your needle with thread that matches (as closely as possible) the color of your appliqué piece. This aids in "hiding" your stitches. The thread I like to use is 100% cotton with a silk finish made by Mettler.
You begin by sweeping the seam allowance under, where you are going to begin stitching, with the needle. Then start to stitch the piece down using a blind stitch and sweeping the seam allowance under as you go. Here a are some photos of appliqué stitching:
The first photo is the initial stitch. Start by pushing your needle up from underneath just catching the edge of the appliqué piece's turned under seam. Pull through until the knotted end of the thread catches underneath. The second photo shows the needle going back down close to where you you initially came up but just in the background fabric. Then pull the needle and thread through. You can see by photo three, how small the stitch is. It is barely noticeable. Especially since the thread is very close to the color of the piece. You then start the next stitch by coming up from underneath about 1/16 to 1/8 inch from the first stitch as shown in the photo below:
You stitch in this fashion until the entire appliqué piece is secured to the background fabric. Once you have finished, turn the piece over and cut out the excess background fabric behind the appliqué piece to remove bulkiness. This is good to do especially if you have an appliqué motif that has several layers.
So there you go! Start stitching! Join me next week for the wrap-up to this series of posts.
So now that you have gathered things together to appliqué (they'll be a few other things I mention, but most of those are optional), let's move on to the next step in starting a project.
Patterns and books come with templates that are used to make the appliqué motif for the project. Here is how I like to prepare my templates for use. I will copy the template pattern page or the template page from the book onto cardstock. If I do not have cardstock available, I copy the page onto regular paper, then find some light weight cardboard to glue the page to. Once this is done, cut out the templates on the line. The reason I like to do this is to keep the template sturdy, especially if I have to trace a lot of pieces or I want to use the pattern over several times.
Here is a leaf template glued to cardstock and then cut out:
Creating the Pattern Pieces
Now use the template created above to trace out the amount of each shape needed from the designated fabric. Trace the shapes onto the RIGHT side of the fabric. Once the shapes are traced, cut them out adding a scant 1/4 seam allowance for turn under fabric while stitching,
Stabilizing the Block or Quilt Top
This step is optional but I like to do this to prevent the block or quilt top from fraying in the seam allowance. Quilting cottons fray easily and you could lose precious seam allowance while handling the project often while stitching. Just add some Fray Check™ to the edges and protect that seam allowance!
Making Stems from Strips
Stems are made using bias strips (strips cut on the bias) if you want your stems to be easy to stitch into curves or from straight strips if they do not have to curve.
Whether using bias strips or straight strips to make stems, an easy way to prepare them into stems is by using a bias maker tool. This is also optional as you can just fold the sides of the strips in and iron, however, the bias tool makes this job easier and keeps your fingers further from the iron! If you want 1/2" stems, you start with a 1" strips and use a 1/2" tool. If you want 1/4" stems, you start with a 3/4" strips and use a 1/4" tool. I like Clover bias tools. Using the iron and this tool, you make stems!
There you go! Now get your motifs cut out and your stems made and we will meet up on Part 3 (next week). I will demonstrate preparing the cut out motifs and stitching.
Until then .... Happy Quilting!