Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's All About Fit


I often read or hear quilters say “why do I need to this, that, such and such”. The responses at least on the internet are usually “it’s your quilt you can do whatever you want, there are no Quilt Police here”. 

Well, it is not something set in stone, as they say. 

However, patchwork is much like a jig saw puzzle.   The pieces need to fit.  Accuracy in seams, pressing and cutting are necessary to make the block fit with the next one.    While the world won’t come to end if points are cut on triangles or diamonds…. pleats in squares and rectangles or one side of the quilt is shorter than another or the binding looks like a ruffle rather than a picture frame with straight sides.  And then what about the time it takes to squash the seams to give some degree of matching. 
 

 

It does take less time to do it “right” the first time rather than rip and redo, rip and redo or whatever time it takes to achieve satisfactory results.
 
 





So…….quilters, experienced or new, accuracy in measuring, cutting and piecing is important.
 


 

Make it good the first time and look ahead to the next quilt with piece of mind, clarity of direction and renewed energy in walking this long and exciting road called quilt making.

 

(Another Thought from a Seamless Mind by Holice Turnbow)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughts from a Seamless Mind

Quilting Technology and Style I am an old fashioned quilter. I started quilting seriously back in a time when there were rules about the “accepted way” quilting was done. That was also back before pizza cutters were discovered as a way to cut fabric rather than bread and pepperoni and only admitted its use in the privacy of our own sewing space and vodka and water was a good way to get the wrinkles out of fabric. I have been through all the trends and phases of quilt design style and eagerly embraced the new tools and technology, although I still resist even touching a long-arm quilting machine. I guess I still think the long-arm quilting machine is only for making bedspreads. I have to admit that I have jumped on that wagon somewhat having designed quilting patterns/motifs for use on the long-arm. So guess I am only half a hypocrite. Now comes the 21st century and the latest trend called “Modern Quilting”. I have conflicting emotions about this trend. I am confused by its title because the style has been around a long time. I recently picked up a magazine at the grocery story with a title “Modern Patchwork” and felt a familiarity as I flipped through the pages then realized the samples were very similar to those in a book/magazine of the same title published in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. So, could it really be true that “everything old comes around again”, but perhaps in another title or updated with new designs and colors of fabrics. On the other hand the fabrics I see in shops are very similar to those fabrics in a quilt I have made in the 1940’s. Now you may think I am bashing this new trend. On the contrary, I embrace it because it may just be giving a boost to quilting in a number of ways. The style can unleash one’s quilting creativity. The more simple shapes and use of “outrageous” fabrics and colors will cause you to think about quilting styles and designs in a different way. The simplicity of patterns releases one from what might have been the tediousness of small pieces and structured patterns. New colors allow one to be bold in their designs. It is a little like my reaction to machine quilting when I realized machine quilting is ok…….now that I can do it. I encourage those reading this rambling about quilting to look to the new technology and trends as a way to freshen up your quilting techniques and style. We all need an occasional change in our routine. It keeps our minds fresh and exciting. But remember, if you do catch the “bug” there might not be a vaccine to cure it. But does that really matter?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What is Right and Wrong in Quiltmaking Techniques


The internet has provided an almost instant source for instructions on how to make a quilt.  There are tutorials everywhere you look. There are YouTube videos showing the smallest details of the craft, but, there are also 10 (or more) different answers to the same basic question. 


All these show the specific technique of the host or writer.  It can be confusing to the person trying to learn this way. 


I tend to look at all this as showing how and leaving out the why.  If we ask our self WHY and then start looking for the HOW, our search might just be easier, less stress free and achieve the results we want.  Below is my "Why List".  This list shows the end results - the how is another matter.


Good Quiltmaking is:


- Respect the nature of the fabric

- Good, clear and accurate patterns and directions

- Accurate marking and measuring

- Accurate cutting

- Accurate piecing

- Good pressing techniques

- Good finishing techniques

- Good overall workmanship


If you master the techniques in the above list, you can do almost anything you want in this great adventure called Quiltmaking!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Make Notecards With Your Quilting Stencils

In theme with our postings of "Things you can use quilting supplies for, other than quilting..." today's tutorial will show how to use stencils to make note cards. This would be a great idea for a last minute holiday present or hostess gift. Here I have done two different methods of making cards.

Glitter Note cards

This first tutorial was originally shown on Martha Stewart- using Stencil Company stencils :)
Here I have gone through the steps a little more thoroughly.

First, choose a stencil, any stencil will do, although think about the size of your note card- you can use a small design or use a part of a larger design to fit.
I chose a 4" Flying Crane Design. You can buy blank card sets that include the envelopes- I got a great deal on the David Tutera Blank card set at Joann's. A 48 pack of cards and envelopes for $6.99. Since all the glitter I had was light, I bought the set of dark cards.





 Trace the design on your card with a pencil. When you take the stencil away you will have the blank spots where the lines don't connect. For your own sanity, go ahead and draw in the rest of the lines. That way when you're holding a bottle of glitter glue you don't have to think about it.






You can use the method where you trace with glue and sprinkle glitter on top, but I found it much easier to buy the glitter glue. I bought mine at Walmart for $0.99 a tube. Trace over the lines with your glitter glue and you're done!






Cut-Out Cards

The second note card project uses a stencil again, but this time we're removing instead of adding. Supplies include a stencil, pencil, cutting mat, two note cards and x-acto knife (a double bladed one will make this go much faster).

When you're choosing a note card think about what colors will look good together. You can either use two note cards or use one note card and a piece of cardstock that you cut to size. Since I wanted to use a larger stencil I cut mine out of heavy cardstock from the scrapbooking section at Michaels Crafts.

Decide which will be your cover (background) and which will be the inner card (design).

Choose a stencil. I used a portion of a wheat border design

Trace your design on to the cover of the card. Since you're cutting away the lines it doesn't matter if you trace on the front or back of the cover, but if you're prone to mistakes always best to trace on the back side. Trace your design with the pencil. This time DO NOT CONNECT THE LINES! You will need these breaks to keep your card from falling apart.

If you have a single blade craft knife you will have to cut twice to get the "channel cut", or you can use a Double Bladed Stencil Cutter which has two blades to make the channel. A Double Bladed Cutter will also ensure that your channels are even.

Cut the design- remember to stop cutting when you get to the break in the line.

I used one blade to go back and cut the ends of the pieces to expose the cut out areas.

When you're all finished insert the inside card. You can leave them sandwiched, or glue it down at the corners if you want.



I'm sure there are many other variations. Drawing with a white wax crayon and watercoloring over top? Paper collage? These are just two ideas, but the possibilities are endless!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Project and Gift Ideas

If you're like us, I'm sure you have a lot of quilting related tools and gadgets around the house. And maybe you've made all the quilt-related gifts you can...
Over the next few weeks we're going to be posting some ideas so that you can use those gadgets and make some gifts and holiday decorations.

But, before we get too far away from their original purpose, here is our latest Christmas applique project of the moment.

We used Perfect Shape No Melt Applique Circles and a 6 pack of green fat quarters from JoAnn's Fabrics



First we chose a few different sizes of circles- the 3", the 1 1/2" and the 1".




We laid the applique circles out on our fabric and used them as a template to trace the circles.

Here we used a General's Sketch and Wash Pencil, which does remove with water or an eraser, but since we're appliqueing the circles, it really doesn't matter if the lines don't come out as they'll all be covered up.

After tracing, we cut the circles out about 1/4" away from the line.

When all the fabric pieces were cut out, we then reused the applique circles, since they are no-melt, and used them to press the edges of your applique shape. Place the template back on the circle, and then using the iron on a medium setting (or an applique iron if you have one!), press around the template until all of your edges are flat.
After you press around the circle, pull out the plastic applique shape and use it to repeat the step for the next circle.

Another good tip for getting really crisp edges is to use a little bit of liquid starch (1/2 liquid starch, 1/2 water) and using a small paintbrush paint the edges with the mixture before ironing. This will keep the edges crisp and flat, even after you pull the applique template out.

Once all of our circles were ready we traced a large circle onto our white fabric and appliqued our circles around- starting with the larger circles on the bottom, working up to the smaller circles on top.

Here is the wreath after we appliqued all the circles on...


For a finishing touch, we went through our stash and found some really neat buttons that we've been saving since the 80's for that "special project".

We used ours for a small wallhanging, but you can also do this on a shirt, blanket, tote bags, table runner...there are lots of ways to use applique in unique ways.

What are some interesting ways that you have used applique?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Basting and Binding for Beginners

We had a great response to our last video series, "Quilt As Desired", so here is another installment.
This weeks video is "Basting and Binding for Beginners". It includes tips and tricks to help every quilter, from beginners to those of you who have been quilting for years.
Thanks again to our friends at Quilters TV for letting us repost these here.