Thursday, March 30, 2006

Log Cabin Quilting

Hi all! Today's blog is going to be just a couple of short tips on log cabin quilt blocks.

I discovered this tip many years ago when I was making a whole bunch of log cabin blocks. I always had difficulty remebering which side of the block got the next log. then I realized, after the first "round" of logs, that the side that had two seams on it got the next log. Three sides will only have one seam on it and one side will have two. This made making log cabin blocks soooo much easier and faster for me. I hope that it works for you too. You can follow the seams on the log cabin block here to see what I mean.

Also, a tip that I wish I had known when I pieced these blocks, is to always press the block into the centre. If you press them out you will get distortion as the block bow outwards. You can see a bit of this with these blocks.

Well, I hope that these log cabin tips can help you. If you have any comments please feel free to post here on my blog. You can also post anoymously if you don't want to sign in.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Snow Globe Quilt Block

This is my first snow globe quilt block! Isn't it cute?! I really liked doing this block because it was a new technique for me. This is another block for the tinners program at our local quilt guild.

The block has vinyl on top of the globe with snowflakes inside that move around.

Lots of people dosnow globe fabric postcards which I think would be really cute to do. I'd actually like to do a series of them some time in the future.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

scrap quilts and sweatshirt jacket

This is a picture of my scrap sweat shirt jacket with the corner of my queen sized scrap Christmas quilt. You can see my short directions on the sweat shirt jacket here. They were both hanging in our local quilt guild show.This is as close as I will get to a postage stamp quilt :) This method of scrap quilting is really quick and easy and best of all it uses up a lot of little pieces that you might be tempted to throw away.

The border treatment for the Christmas quilt was taken from the book “The Border Workbook” by Janet Kime. It was great for a scrap quilt because it uses up lots of small strips.

The pieces were cut at 2” square. Then, instead of using a small scrap of fabric as a lead, or thread saver (whatever you call them) to start and end your piecing with, I put through two 2” squares. At the end of the days sewing I pressed them all to one side. When I had lots of two patches I made 4-patches. Then 8-patches and finally 16-patches. At this point I squared up the blocks to 6 ½” square. Then I put them together. The key to this system is to be consistent with the way that you press. Would you believe that in that queen size Christmas quilt almost every seam butted properly.


If you have any questions please feel free to post them here and I will try to answer them.

Monday, March 20, 2006

More Yoga Mat Bags

I finally got myself a yoga mat (I do pilates) so I made myself a yoga mat bag. You can see the pictures of it. I will post a more indepth pattern for the bag once I refine the pattern a bit more. I want to put some type of nylon liner in the bag so that the matt slides easier into the bag. Because the fabric that I use is cotton it sticks to the sticky matt a bit which is not very good. Other than that I love the bag! I love the fish fabric and the embroidery of the koi on the bottom worked out great. It is the same embroidery that I did on the bottom of my friend's bag but in oranges and reds The word on the pocket is "strength." I hope that you like it!

UPDATE! I got some nylon windbreaker fabric and lined my bag with it this morning. The yoga matt slides much easier through the bag with the nylon lining. I am going to try another bag this week sometime maybe with the nylon sewn directly into the bag the first time. I think that it will really cut down on the fabric required for the bag. I also ordered the other yoga matt bag pattern, that I posted in my first yoga matt bag posting, and I will try it when I get the pattern.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Quilting on the web

I have been making more preemie quilts and more paper dolls for the Smiles for Children Project lately. Please check out the link if you would like more information or you can check out my previous blog on it called "Friday Quilting"
While I am quilting I love to listen to podcasts! If you don't know what a podcast is they are like internet radio. There are podcasts on pretty much everything including quilting. The one that I like best is Annie Smith's podcast "Quilting Stash." It was the first podcast for quilters. You can get to her blog here and find the link to her podcast from there. You can listen to it on your Ipod if you have one but I personally just use itunes on my computer and listen to it while I quilt. I love it becasue she has lots of tips and tricks that she shares and great interviews with other quilters. Jennifer Chiaverini author of the Elm Creek Quilt novels has a blog and podcast about her books and the progress of her new books. She has a great site at http://www.elmcreek.net where you can subscribe to her podcast, download her block patterns and chat with other readers. Alex Anderson also has a podcast now so you can check that out too on itunes if you like.
Another great resource for quilters on the web it Quiltler's News Network or QNN. It is a 24 hour quilting channel on the web. It has lots of great shows that you'll know for TV and some original programing too.
There's so many great resources out there for us now that it is really worth checking out.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

back up your files!!

This will be a very short blog just to say back up your files. I mentioned earlier that we had a computer hard drive crash. Well I, me personally, had never backed anything up. But my darling husband actually had. So after the crash I thought that I had lost ALL of my embroidery files. Hundreds of designs that I had downloaded GONE. I felt sick. Anyways, my husband had done a back-up onto our Linux machine and he was able to recover them for me. I felt so thrilled. I will be able to start embroidering for the Smiles for Children project again and just plain get going. Saving your important files to CD is a great option and I plan on doing this with my embroidery files just to get a hard copy of everything but there were patterns and invoices etc that were potentially lost too. So please take my advice and just back everything up at least once a month!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Machine Quilting

This is my sewing area. You can see my cabinet, my thread storage and you can see a bit of my cutting table on the left behind my sewing cabinet. My stash is under my cutting table in the three-drawer plastic storage units sorted by colour families or novelites.

I love to machine quilt! Many people don't actually like to do it because they think that you can't quilt a large quilt on a domestic or regular sewing machine. I have a Pfaff sewing machine with a regular sized harp (the arm of the sewing machine) and I have machine quilted queen sized quilts. Now there are some things that will make it much easier for you to quilt

  • don't use a really thick batting like polyester. It is hard to get all that quilt under the harp. instead use a thinner batting like a cotton. I like the Hobbs 80/20

  • use quilting gloves. I like Machingers because they are one piece, thin, and they allow you to thread needles and cut threads with them on.

  • PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. It takes a while before you feel comfortable quilting. Make small practice sandwiches and use those to develop a rhythm and work out the kinks. The last thing that you want is to look back on a project and wish that you had practiced more first.

  • Take a good machine quilting class. It is far easier to learn in a classroom rather than trying to teach yourself. You will learn a lot of tips and tricks that will make your life easier.

  • If at all possible sink your sewing machine into your table or get an extension table for your sewing machine. You need to increase the bed of your sewing machine. Otherwise you will not be able to quilt the larger motifs. I have included a picture of my set-up. My husband made this cabinet for me; but, Horn of America makes a wonderful cabinet called the Quilter's Dream that is beautiful. Notice the extesion off the left-hand side? This is really important to support the bulk of the quilt. Having this extension makes it easier on your neck and shoulders.

  • keep your sewing area clean, mess free and dust free. This will make a big difference with friction. Before I start quilting I also spray my quilting area down with a product called Quilt Glide by Jukebox Quilts http://www.JukeboxQuilts.com to reduce friction. It lasts for about 4 hours and works really well.

  • Invest in a good chair without arms. You're going to be spending a lot of time in it so it's better to be comfortable.

  • Use good quality thread and the appropriate good quality needle. Many of the frustrations that quilters experience could be eliminated by using good quality thread and the right needle for the job. Oh and change your needles every 6-8 hours of sewing. Needles get dull and won't make a nice stitch if they are dull.

  • Listen to music to help you develop and maintain a nice rhythm. This is so important. If you don't maintain a constant rhythm and listen to the rhythm of your machine your stitches will not be even. Quilting in fits and starts will lead to uneven stitches and sharp lines instead of flowing motifs.

  • Wind a few bobbins ahead of time so that you don't have to stop and wind bobbins every time you run out of bobbin thread.

  • Take care of your machine. Keep it clean and oiled as per your manual. Take it in for check ups at least once a year. Machine quilting is hard on your machine so be nice to it.

If you would like anymore machine quilting tips or have a question please feel free to post a comment here and I will try to answer any questions or comments that you may have.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Preemie Quilts!

Hi everyone!
I know that I haven't posted in a while but we had a hard drive melt-down last week. Blah....

Today my youngest son and I dropped off some preemie quilts at our local hospital. This is such a great project to get involoved in. Our local hospital wants them to be 24" x 24" so that they fit into the incubators well. You can do anything that you want with them and it is a great way to use up your scraps from other baby quilts. Sorry this is such a bad picture but these are the preemie quilts that I did and sent in. Unfortunately since the quilts are now out of the house I can't take another picture.
The next picture is my son Gavin, at the nursery, showing the preemie quilt that he and I made together. Gavin made a very short stay at this NICU after he was born and the quilts make such a huge difference to the parents and to the feel of the nursery. When we went to drop off the quilts he was so disappointed that he didn't get to actually give a baby the quilt so the nurses made an exception for him and brought out a little baby for him to give the quilt to. Wasn't that nice?! He was sooo happy about that. He picked out all the fabrics and we sewed them together and we even quilted it together. He specifically picked out the Harry Potter fabrics :)