Sunday, November 21, 2010

Working on a Couple Christmas Table-Runners

Every year I run a promotion in my fitness classes to keep people coming for the month of December.  Too many people stop taking care of them selves over the busy holiday season and it takes a tole on their health.  Basically for every class they go to their name gets entered into a draw.

This year I decided to use my Accuquilt Go! star die to make a couple of quick and easy table runners!  I pulled most of these fabrics from my stash but I did buy a couple 6 inch strips of some gold and a silver fabric.  4 inches would have been just enough to do this.  I fused Steam a Seam 2  Lite on to the back of the fabrics using all of the prints.

Then I ran two layers of the fused fabric at a time through my Go! cutter to get all three of the different star sizes in all of the fabrics I used.

 I cut a strip of fabric about 18" wide by the width of fabric for my back ground.  I used a white fabric with metallic silver flecks all over it.  I just love metallic fabrics for the holidays!!  If you click on the picture you can see the fabric I used.  I then set myself up at my ironing board to peel the backing off the fabric and get ready to place the stars.  I didn't fused anything down at this point.
Do I have enough stars yet??  Naw - more is more so I better add several more ;-)  I love how the different shades of gold and the silver is interacting together.  This table runner could work for the whole holiday season - hmmm - maybe I should make one for myself??  It's very simple but very elegant - I think that the quilting is really going to bring these to life.
One table-runner top has more stars added and is now fused and guess what I ran out of fusible webbing!!!  I have to wait until tomorrow to go to the quilt shop to get more fusible.  I need to make more stars and I really don't want to do that without the fusible as I don't want the edges to fray.

Don't you just hate that when you run out of something and just can't proceed until you buy more?? 

Part 2 or this will hopefully come tomorrow!

Any questions or comments feel free to leave them here - and - I hope that you will take a second to follow my blog if you like what you see.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter!

OMG we just got home from the new Harry Potter movie and wow oh wow I thought that it was great!  I am a huge Harry Potter fan and I have been waiting forever for this to come out.  I think I may have to go and re-read (or re-listen to) the 7th book again.  I love to listen to books on CD while I sew and I have all the Harry Potter books on CD.  I swear I am going to wear the grooves off those CD's LOL!

In honour of the new Harry Potter movie I thought that I would re-post the Harry Potter quilts I made for my son's back in 2006!  The quilts are still in use today and doing fine despite the bazillion washings ;-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So Tired!

I'm so tired tonight guys!  I taught two fitness classes and worked out on my own today ~ I'm not sure if my legs are still there or not except for a vague sore feeling there. LOL!

Sorry I did nothing at all textile related today so I don't really have a blog post!

Happy Creating all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bunny Quilt is Finished!

And here we are the Silver Thimbles proudly displaying the finished Baltimore Bunny Quilt after it has been bound.  What a beautiful quilt and it was fun to work on since every block was different and wonderful to look at.  Tuesday evenings are always fun sitting around the quilt frame chatting away and quilting.  I've been a part of Silver Thimbles for about 8 years now and we always have fun.  Some people say that no one hand quilts anymore; but, I can tell you that it is alive and well and going strong.

If you ever have the chance to join a quilting bee I encourage you to join.  The fun you will have and the friends you will make are truly amazing and worth every stabbed and calloused finger you will undoubtedly develop!

Happy Quilting all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cutting Bias Binding (or Stems)

I'm posting a little tutorial on how I cut bias binding for a friend.  Many people in this area use the tube method to do bias binding and she knew that I cut mine differently ;)

When I was first learning to quilt the only method of cutting bias binding that I could find was the tube method.  That seemed like an amazing amount of work for something as simple as cutting on the bias of fabric!  True bias is a 45 degree angle between the lengthwise grain and the crosswise grain of fabric.  So I figured why couldn't I just use the angel lines on my ruler instead??

First find the 45 degree line on your ruler and place it parallel to the selvage.  I placed mine just above so that you could see the line; but, regularly I put it right on the line.  You can enlarge this photo if you want to see it closer.  Cut on the diagonal with your 45 degree line on the selvage.  You will be cutting off a triangle of fabric.  This you can use for other projects or cut up into 2" squares for your leaders and enders.




Next line your ruler up with your new cut edge and cut your desired width of binding and as many strips as you will need.  You are now cutting true bias strips since you are cutting at a 45 degree angle to both the lengthwise and crosswise grain of fabric.  Easy huh??

Your fabric will eventually get too long to cut with your 24" ruler so simply fold the fabric with the raw, bias edge together and continue cutting your bias until you have as much as you will need.

Now bias is the stretchy edge so don't go flinging this around your head or anything ~ just handle it with a little bit of care; but, it is truly nothing to be scared of.

I prefer to cut certain fabrics on the bias for effect.  Stripes and plaids are a couple of these.  When you cut stripes on the bias for a binding you get a candy cane effect for your binding and it looks amazing! Also, any time that I bind a garment or anything with lots of points or rounded edges I use a bias binding.

Need a binding tutorial now that you've got your bias strips cut??  You can find mine here Binding Part 1 and Binding Part 2 and also Squaring up a Quilt here and Attaching a Hanging Sleeve here

I hope that you have found this useful!  If you need more information or if something wasn't clear please leave a comment here and I will do my best to answer it!  I always love to hear from you.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yippie! My Pink Rag Quilt is Finished!

 Here it is all laid out and ready to go to the sewing machine!

Notice the rags already clipped??  I can't say that enough times LOL!  The ragging is already done and that is the part that I like the least.  The Accuquilt Go! cutter did an amazing job on this after I figured out the secret ~ cut your blocks a loose 8 3/4" first then run two or three layers through the die as a block not as a strip.  The blocks went through so much easier!

Of course my layout changed by the time I got it all together as I flipped a few blocks and had to compensate for that ;)
And here is the finished very pink rag quilt all washed and fresh out of the drier.  The ragging is absolutely lovely and much nicer than I have ever managed to do by hand.  My husband noticed this right away when he saw that quilt.

This quilt does not have batting in it as the pattern recommends.  I don't actually like batting in my rag quilts since I find that the batting eventually bows in towards the center ~ even with the X in the middle ~ unless you catch it in the seams ~ and I don't like the look of batting in the seams.  So, for this quilt, I added a layer of flannelet in the middle and I love the weight of the quilt.  Perfect for snuggling this winter.
Here's a closer shot of the rag quilt, sitting on my rocking chair, so that you can see the rag closer.  It is truly a cuddly quilt and I love it!  You can just see my rug hooking things on the left of this photo.  This is where I sit to hook and watch TV.  It's a nice little spot in my sewing room.
Is that cotton candy???  No!!   That's the lint I pulled out of my dryer half way through the drying cycle while my pink rag quilt was in there!  Can you believe that??!!  This is just to show how important it is to empty your lint catcher half-way through and not wait until the end.

I think that Cotton Candy might be a pretty good name for this quilt.  It certainly flows off the tongue easier than very pink rag quilt.  Thoughts?

I made this quilt just for me, not for a gift, and this is the very first quilt that I have made just for me.  I thought that as the Mother of two boys that they would say - ewww pink when they saw it and leave it just to me.  Actually I was hoping they would :-/  But immediately they both wanted to cuddle up in the rag quilt LOL!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crazy Shortcut Quilt Photos

 I am so sorry for the horrible photo quality in these photos!!  I will share a few of my most recent participants in my class with you.  Thanks ladies!

I thought that I would share a few photos from my most recent Crazy Shortcut Quilt class that we just finished today.

This first quilt is a 30 block all in shades of green and brown - lovely!  She used mostly the same stitch across the entire quilt and it looked amazing.  Two participants actually did this combination.
 This particiapant did the "Asian Inspirations" pattern but used Christmas fabrics and I think that the results are absolutely specatacular!  I love her fabrics and I love the pattern now that I see them in these amazing fabrics.  This participant used many different stitches in one colour of rayon thread.

You all know how much I love my Christmas fabrics so of course this one really appealed to me ;-)
This one is a "Warm Chocolate Wrap" done in Christmas fabrics and is again a spectacular piece!  I love this pattern and I love Christmas fabrics so the two together ~ to me ~ are an amazing combination.  This participant used one stitch across the whole quilt for a spectacular result.

How amazing it is to teach the same class to so many people and have them all come out with so many different quilts!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Still Working on the Rag Quilt!

Just a little blog post today ~ Today I cut a few more squares for my pink rag quilt.  I thought that I would try something to make using the rag die for my Accuquilt Go! easier.  I pre-cut my squares to a rough 8 1/2" instead of leaving them as 8 1/2" strips.  What a huge difference!  It was so much easier to cut!  It only took a few more seconds for me since I have the 8 1/2" x 24" Omnigrid ruler and i just rough cut it anyways.  It was well worth this small extra step and I wouldn't hesitate to do this again.  Next time you're cutting your rag quilt give this a try ~ it made a huge difference for me ;)

Any thoughts?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ok I Like the Place-Mats More Now!

 I finished machine quilting the tree place-mats the other day and I like them so much more now!  I'm not sure if you can really see the quilting in the photo but it really adds some texture to them and makes them seem so much less flat and boring.  I used some pretty flat fabrics so maybe that's part of it as well.

In any case I think that my son's teacher will like them ~ she's making a big difference in his life and I wanted to show my appreciation for that.
You can really see the quilting a lot more from the back since the back is the cream colour that I used for the background.  I think that back is actually pretty fun and interesting!

Sorry I missed blogging yesterday!  I was just so tired that I went to bed early and I completely forgot to blog!  I guess that disqualifies me from NaBloPoMo technically but I am going to keep blogging everyday since I'm enjoying it and I find it really motivating.

I hope that you will take a second to leave me a comment or ask any questions that you might have.  I love to hear from you ~ and if you like my blog please click the Follow button on the right under my picture!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Silver Thimbles Night

Tonight I went to my regular Tuesday night quilting bee where we worked around the frame on the charm quilt again.  What a fun night.  I didn't actually accomplish anything on my own today.  I was too busy teaching fitness classes and then trying to get some of the yard cleaned up since tomorrow is yard waste pick-up day here in town.  Now I am so tired from that and the 6 loads of laundry and cleaning I did that all I can think about is crawling under a quilt and catching some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ's

Night all!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Christmas Dresden Plates!

I don't know what it is but I absolutely love Dresden Plate blocks in Christmas fabrics!  There is just something sooo appealing about them.  I made these blocks today for the Block of the Month program at my local guild.  7 years ago our guild did a Christmas Dreden Plate BOM, but with the rounded edges, and I won the blocks!  You can see the quilt that I made from them here.  I absolutely love it and we have our Christmas quilts on the beds right after Remembrance Day and until about the middle of January.  Well when our BOM chair decided to do a Christmas Dreden plate I couldn't resist making a couple of blocks from scraps to add to the draw.  These are all left over fabrics from my Christmas Crazy Shortcut Quilt that I just finished so it was a perfect excuse to do the blocks LOL!  Imagine if I won again!!

I cut the center circle out using my Accuquilt Go! fabric cutter larger than I needed ~ then I used a technique that I saw on someone's blog but I can't find it again, sorry!, to turn the edges of the circle under.  I cut a piece of non-melt Mylar plastic the size of the circle that I needed for the center.  I did a basting stitch around the outside of the fabric circle and placed the Mylar on the wrong side of the fabric.  I pulled the thread ends of the basting stitch to turn the edges under on my circle then pressed it with a hot iron and starched it.  Remove the template and Voila!  a perfect circle with the edges turned under.  I love this technique ~ I just wish I could remember which blog I got this from ~ if you know that tutorial I am speaking about please post it here.

The edges are appliqued down using Sew Art invisible thread and a really small zig-zag stitch.  Very nice technique and it really is invisible ;-)  I love this thread since it has a lot less shine than other invisible threads that I have tried so it really is more invisible.

Have you all started your Christmas projects yet?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Very Pink Rag Quilt in Progress!

I started this very pink rag quilt today!  I bought these pretty pink flannels and brushed cottons a while ago thinking that they would make a very feminine rag quilt ~ just for me!  As a mother of two boys if I want anything to myself it's got to be very feminine or it gets taken over by my boys LOL!  Anyways, like I have said many times I love rag quilts but hate to snip them.  So I bought the Accuquilt Go! 8 1/2" rag die for my Go!  I spent a portion of today cutting the blocks and doing the stitching across the centers.  I'm trying to decide now if I want to cut more blocks to make a larger quilt or if I want to go with the 45" by 45" quilt they have on the instructions ~ I'm thinking I'll go a bit larger.

Instead of batting in the squares I used a layer of flannelet that I cut at the same time I cut the front and backs.  I find that unless you catch the batting into the seams when you piece your blocks that the batting eventually migrates and bows in towards the X you machine quilt.  And I don't like to catch the batting into the seams or you see it in the rag ~ what a conundrum LOL!  This is why I chose a layer of flannelet for the center.   So, through the die, I was running 2 layers of flannel or brushed cotton and one layer of flannelet.  This die was absolutely harder to put through the machine than any of the others I have tried so far BUT ~ I found if I held the Go! down with my left hand put my left hip on the machine that it stayed still and this made it easier to get the fabric through the machine.  It was harder but angling the die also made it a bit easier.

There was also a lot of lint to pick out of the die ~ but I found that if I used a lint roller after every few cuts this wasn't too bad.  You can see the effect of the cutting on the die after 50 blocks cut but it's not too bad at all really.  The blades are much more visible now ;)  The cutting mat took a lot of wear though and I can see that these will need to be replaced much more frequently than the regular mats.  But, the mats are not expensive and I'd rather replace a mat than have sore hands from snipping the rag.

I've read several reviews of the rag die on blogs and I think that I am ending up in the same place as they did.  Yes it was harder to get the die through the machine and the lint left is a bit of a pain BUT the effect is amazing and it is a real time-saver.  I would do more rag quilts with the die!   All in all I think that there are more pros to this die than cons! 

Any thoughts?  I hope that you will leave a comment here and let me know what you think or if you have any questions.  Also, please take a second to become a follower of my blog!  I'd sure love it if you did and I would love to hear from you.

Happy sewing all!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Cutting a Rag Quilt

Today i had the great pleasure of teaching machine quilting to yet another great group of women!  How lucky am I???  they all picked it up so fast and so strong it was amazing.  I am so thrilled to be able to get people quilting their own quilts!  So many people only piece their tops then send them out to be quilted - there is nothing wrong with that - but to be able to do your own work is truly an amazing thing!

So tonight I am experimenting with my Accuquilt Go! rag Quilt die.  So far so good!  Yes it is harder to put the fabric through - but - there are so many little dies in there that it is working hard too!!  So far I am in absolute love!  I am going to try to post a video tomorrow so wish me luck!!!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Machine Quilting

I have to say I just taught one of the nicest groups of women I have ever taugh in Machine Quilting.  My Machine Quilting 2 class filled up so we took several women into an over-flow class today - and what a joy they were!  If you're reading this - then thank you for being so great!  Everyone was happy to be there and ready to learn.  It was wonderful.  *sigh*

Sometimes when I teach classes everyone is ready and willing to learn - and other times people are much less ready and much less ready to learn.  I don't know what it is or why but it seems to go by classes.  The classes that I teach where people are ready and willing seem to go by in a blink!  And the other classes go by in hours.  As a participant you do have the responsibility of reading the supply list and to bring what is needed.  If that is not fulfilled then we may have a problem LOL! 

In my years of teaching I have realised that a classroom is a two way street.  You have to meet the teacher half-way.  Now that is not to say that I don't come prepared.  I always bring extra needles and thread for people - always.  But, hey, a foot pedal does make your machine go!  So make sure that you bring yours ;)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Place-mat Progress


I'm making good progress on the tree place-mats from America Quilts for Christmas magazine.  I thought that these would make a nice gift for one of my son's teachers.  She's making a real difference for him and I wanted to show my appreciation.  But, I have to say, I've lost my motivation on this project.  They are a little lack-luster to me.  Maybe I can jazz them up with my machine quilting but I can't help but say meh when I look at these.  Is it just me?  Am I being too critical?  I think they are very nice though - just not really my style - maybe that's it?

I chose to do the inside out method on these instead of a binding since I think that place-mats lay so much nicer on a table if they are not bound.  A binding gives them an edge that can be tippy on a table and I don't like that.

The thing that I am not thrilled about with this pattern though is the waste!!   I'm not sure if you can see it in the picture but there was sooo much wasted fabric from the ways that the big center trees were put together.  The center trees are solid pieces - but that means that I have a lot of big pieces of the green batik and the background fabric cut into triangles that I'm going to have to do something with.  I think, if I was ever to make these again, that I would change the piecing to be more fabric efficient.  Now what to do with those scraps hmmmm.

The thing I loved about this project was that it gave me an opportunity to use my Accuquilt Go! triangle in a square die for the smaller trees in the boarder - yey!!!  I really liked using the die - it made cutting all those triangles so much easier and faster and accurate!  I found I had to get used to piecing with the dog ears already cut off - I think we're all accustomed to our own cutting - so using a different cutter style was a bit of a challenge to me.  But I really liked it!  It would have taken a long time for me to cut out all those triangles but I was finished in minutes!

Any advise on this project for me?  How can I add some jazz to them?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Woohooo New Package in the Mail!

I just got this in the mail this morning from Stitch in the Ditch!  It's an online supplier of Accuquilt Go!!  products right here in Canada and I have to say I am really happy with their service ;)  I got in on their mat set sale, their star die sale and their Rose of Sharon die sale.  How great is that??  I also bought the 8.5" rag die and I'll see what I think of that.  I also followed the recommendations and got another mat to dedicate to the rag die alone - since it apparently really tears them up.  The mats are not expensive so I don't mind this - Anything to get out of snipping the fringe!  I love rag quilts but hate (and I mean really hate) all the snip, snip, snipping.  I have heard various reviews about the rag die so I'll be sure to give you my thoughts about it after I cut and sew with it.  I have some pretty pink flannels that have been sitting here for a year or so that have been begging to be ragged but the thought of cutting the fringe by hand makes me cringe.  I also thought that it would be fun to add appliques of the stars and hearts and circles I have to the blocks and let the edges of them rag as well.  It might be a fun effect.  Thoughts?

Do any of you own the rag die?  Any words of advise before I jump in head-first?

I also saw an amazing video on the Accuquilt Go! Rose of Sharon die on YouTube part 1 and part 2.  If you're interested follow the links.  Judy goes over a great way to get the most out of your die.  I have Sharon Pederson's Rose of Sharon DVD; but, I can honestly say I really can't see me following her freezer paper method and using contact cement.  I guess I should knock it until I try it but it looks so incredibly time consuming to turn the edges using that method.  For the larger pieces I think I would "face" them with pellon or something like that.  I do love all the designs that people sent in for her EQ6 Rose of Sharon Block Challenge and I think that the DVD is worth it for all those PDF pictures of the blocks alone.  All that said ~ I thought that the Rose of Sharon die was a great time saver and an amazing idea and I really look forward to playing with it a lot more ;)  I actually wouldn't mind seeing a die set with the larger flowers on it ~ I think a lot of people would invest in it as well.

Ok I should get going and start playing with my new stuff.  I may update this again later if I make some head-way.

Happy Creating all!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Charm Quilt on the Bee Frame!

This beautiful quilt was put on my quilting bees frame several weeks ago but I thought that I would share a picture of it with you all!  You can't see the boarder on the quilt but it is a solid navy blue and it looks wonderful!  Each of the triangles are a different fabric and Joan said that she is pretty sure there is over 800 different fabrics in this quilt.  Some are vintage fabrics which look wonderful in the quilt.  We are quilting hatching in the navy boarder and a 1/4" inside each of the triangles.  This quilt will be on the frame for a while - but - you can never go wrong with lots of hand quilting in my honest opinion.  There's something about charm quilts - where pieces were harvested from your friends' stashes that seem so special and heirloom to me.  Maybe it's the sharing, but, maybe it is the making do with each of the fabrics as well.  I think sometimes I get too hung-up with finding just the perfect fabric and forget that in the end the quilt is to be used and loved.  This quilt is just so striking and lovely to me and it really reminds me to loosen up sometimes!

Happy Quilting all!

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaBloPoMo

I've decided to join the National Blog Posting Month for the month of November.  basically what you need to do is blog everyday for the whole month of November.  I think that this is a great idea and they even give out prizes!  If you're interested click on the link above.  I hope that you will take this journey with me and follow my blog if you're interested!  I have a lot of work to do this month in quilting so I should have a lot to share LOL!

I've been working on those place-mats from the America Quilts for Christmas magazine and I like them ok.  Just ok.  I'm not really thrilled with the piecing of them.  I'll blog on that tomorrow with some pictures to explain what I'm talking about.  They are nice and all but I found them to be a bit frustrating in the amount of waste - and I find them really large.  Anyways, more on that tomorrow ;)