Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

I was asked an interesting question by a fellow quilting instructor the other day.  I was asked - why do you blog and give everything away for free??

Well, I was so surprised that I gave a really short answer that really doesn't reflect how I actually think so I thought that I might blog on it to clear it all up.

I teach quilting classes and I love to teach them!  Yes, I get paid to teach these classes.  The participants in the classes pay to be there and learn the subject matter.  It is a lot of fun and I get a lot of satisfaction from this.

I also, however, blog about various things and offer tutorials, tips, tricks etc etc.

So, the questions was, in a nutshell, why do I give all this information away for free on my blog?  Why don't I make a class around it and charge for it since I don't make any $$$$$ by blogging about it?

The answer is multi-faceted.

One - I enjoy blogging!!  I LOVE the friends I have made through my blog, from around the world, and the fun we have.  I love meeting new people through my blog.  I have enjoyed support from my readers and given support in return.  I've asked for help on my blog and given help in return.  There is a give and take that makes me very happy and keeps me blogging even after 6 years of it!

I truly think that we need to "pay it forward" in this life and give to the universe to get back.  The more people that find a solution to a problem on a blog - the more people we have quilting in this world.  More quilters = more new products and fabrics and patterns and ideas in the world and that is NEVER a bad thing.

That said, I also use my blog as a reference point to send my students to answer questions that I get alllllll of the time!  Case in point, my mutli-part binding tute.  Instead of demoing corners or sleeves too many times to count I can direct them to my blog - easier for me and way easier for them.  Win win!

Also, who would you rather take a class from; someone generous and giving like Bonnie Hunter or some other, cough cough, less than generous quilters or pattern designers out there who refuse to share what they know and jealously guard their knowledge so that only they know the technique and won't be threatened by some other up and coming quilter out there.  Come on - we've all met or experienced these quilters (luckily I think there are more giving quilters out there than non-giving).  Now ask yourself - do you want to pay to take a class from this person?  For my part - no I don't.  Bonnie Hunter's publishing and teaching job doesn't seem hurt at all for giving it all away - she's booked until 2016!  So, I try to model myself after the teacher that I would like to take classes from.  I often fall short - but I try!

I try to offer inspiration and tips and tricks and just plain knowledge on my blog.  However, I also have always wanted people to see the real me - mistakes and all!  Why?  because I get as much affirmation and support back as I try to give.  I want everyone to see that every quilter has a process and suffers from indecision and makes mistakes.  It's all real.  There are some big name quilters out there who never show their process and I don't find them very inspiring b/c I think (probably mistakenly) that they never have any problems or make any mistakes - where is the learning in that?

Also, purely selfishly I get a lot, and I mean a lot, of information and inspiration from other people's blogs.  Where would any of us be if no one shared?  Um, I wouldn't be die-cutting that's for sure!!  Without the fabric die-cutting blogging community I would probably still be floundering instead of currently teaching and writing about fabric die-cutting.  Without the generous videos put out by people like Ebony Love where would many of us be?  Did Ebony's videos and blog posts stop her from putting out a very successful book on fabric die-cutting?  Nope! Indeed, I would say that because she is so generous her Kickstarter campaign was more successful than she could have imagined.

The more I learn - and share - the more I am inspired by people who have taken what I shared as a jump off point.  And then they share and I learn!

So, wow what a long-winded post, I blog and give lots of information away for free because it makes me happy to be a part of the blogging community that is generous and inspiring and supportive.  We couldn't have that if we didn't all participate!  So, give it away and have fun - next thing you know you will be on to the next thing anyways ;-)

Thank you all for continuing to inspire, create and share your creations!

Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Hi all!

How do you like the new look for the blog?  It's a little brighter than my last look ;-)

Ok - time to get sewing again on our Scrappy Christmas QAL!

This week we are making 4-patches!  I know that a couple of you have just purchased your dies but I want to keep posting the steps weekly and you can work at your own pace.  This isn't a race.  It's a QAL that you can work on in your own time.

This week

We make the 4-patches!  Quite simply - sew 1 @ 2" background square to 1 @ 2" Christmas print square to make 480 2-patches.  Gulp!  Put on a movie and start your chain-piecing engine!  Press to the dark side.

Next,  sew 2 @ 2-patches together butting the seam in the middle to make 240 @ 4-patch units.  Press to a side.




Organize!  Here is how I have organized my units.  
  • 240 @ 3.5" unfinished HST units in the middle.  
  • 120 @ 4-patch units on one side
  • 120 @ 4-patch units on the other side
You will need your 4-patch units divided in half for the next installment so I figured I might as well do this as I was pressing.

Ok quilters - are you keeping up?  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them here.

Need the other installments?  You can find them on the QAL tab on the top bar!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

He Was Right - I Was Wrong!

Yep - you read that correctly!

I found this red NHL print in a bin and I thought - why in the world did I buy that?!!  The I remembered I picked it up at a yard sale thinking to make preemie quilts with it.   That was years ago!  It's not great quality so I thought - just chuck it - and I did.

I have a bin by my Studio cutter and I threw it in.  My husband actually pulled it out and asked me why I was throwing it out.  I said - oh I don't really want it and I'm not going to use it etc etc.  He gave me a strange look and said - um, I bet lots of kids would love to have and NHL stocking!!

D'oh!  What a great idea!  So I found some co-coordinating fabric and cut out 6 stockings.


I have to say - he was right and I was wrong.  I should have never tried to throw the fabric away - those are some great stockings and should make 6 kids happy this Christmas.  I don't know why I didn't think to make stockings from this fabric since I have been cutting so many kits - I guess I just didn't even consider it - but they certainly are cute!

So what do you think?  Was he right?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday Starts Today!

Hey Quilters!

Just a quick note to share some amazing deals at Accuquilt!  They have started their Black Friday promotions and they look great!

I know that I will be taking advantage of at least one of these deals!  Hello rags to Riches die set :-D

But seriously the Go! and Baby Go! cutter are on sale for a seriously low price - and I know that many of you have been wanting to get one.  This is also a great time to get that special gift for under the tree!

Ok - time to shop!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let's Sew!

What do you say?  Is it time to sew yet?

I say yes!

Let's get sewing  for our scrappy Christmas QAL - we'll start with the HST triangles.

You can use any method that you like to make 240 @ 3" finished HST (3.5" unfinished HST) - anything!  You can rotary cut them or die cut them - which ever method you would like.


I chose to die cut mine but use what ever method you would like.  In a nut-shell we need 240 HST.  

So this is the first sewing bite.

Any questions - feel free to leave them here.

Do you need the previous clues please look here.  Or look on the tabs section.

Ready - set - sew!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Scrappy Christmas Quilt-a-Long - cutting

Ok it is time to get started!  Or, maybe you already have started ;-)  I know that a few of you are still waiting for your dies to come in but I thought that I would go ahead and post the cutting directions so that you can get started with your cutting and/or sorting.  Remember this quilt can be die cut or rotary cut.

Let's get to the cutting directions

For my quilt we will be making 30 of this scrappy block - I love the chains that run through it! 

Each block required 16 square cut 2" of the background and 16 squares cut 2" of your Christmas prints.  So, for the entire quilt you will need a total of:
  • 480 squares cut 2" square of your background - this can be scrappy!
  • 480 squares cut 2" square of your Christmas prints - this should be scrappy - again I am sticking to the darker Christmas prints and leaving out the lights.
Each block also has a total of 8 half square triangles (HST).  There are soooooo many different ways to make HST out there (and I went over a few in my last post) so you choose your favorite and cut according to the directions.  I am going to die cut so I needed:
  • 240 @ 3" finished HST (3.5" unfinished) of the background fabric - this can be scrappy
  • 240 @ 3" finished HST (3.5" unfinished) of scrappy Christmas prints
If you are rotary cutting to get your HST you would need to cut squares, drawing the line, and sewing up each side of the line, and cutting in half on the diagonal etc, you would need:
  • 120 squares cut 3 7/8" square of the background fabric - this can be scrappy
  • 120 squares cut 3 7/8" square of the scrappy Christmas prints
To make it easier to find all the posts I have created a tab in my top bar where I will list all of the step - so if you need to find a previous post it will be easier for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to post them here and don't forget to share your progress on my facebook page!

Ok - ready - set - cut!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Our Scrappy Christmas Quilt!

Here it is!

What do you think?!

I love the way that this quilt looks so much more complicated than it is!  And the secondary stars really pop out once you see the blocks together.

This quilt is a 5 x 6 set and will finish at about 60" x 72" so it would be very easy to make it smaller or larger by adding or taking away blocks - you can choose. 

Are you in for our scrappy Christmas quilt-a-long?  You can see my previous post for the start-up details.  Let's get going and use up lots of scraps!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Scrappy Christmas Quilt-A-Long! Week 1

Ok who is in!???

I had an idea for a scrappy Christmas quilt that I think is going to be beautiful - and - use up lots and lots of scraps!  What could be better?

I thought that we might do this in the quilt-a-long style where anyone that wants to work along side me can so that at the end you will have a lovely scrappy top in time for Christmas.  I have planned this to be approximately 60 " x 72" but you could easily make this larger or smaller depending on the amount of blocks you want.

What do you think?  Sound interesting?

If so let's get going!

Scrappy Christmas Quilt-A-Long - Week 1

 Getting our supplies together!

First let's assemble what we need.  You can rotary cut this or die cut this.  If you are die-cutting this can be cut on the Go!  Baby Go! and Studio machines as well as Sizzix but I couldn't seem to find the Sizzix dies to match what I wanted so you can use Go! or Studio dies instead.

Die Cutting - you will need the 2" square die (Go! 55022, Studio 50602) - or an alternate version) and you will need the 3" finished HST die (Go! 55009, Studio 50163).  You only need 2 dies for this entire quilt!  Yey!

Rotary cutting - you will need the ability to cut lots and lots of 2" squares ;-)  Hehe you know how I love them!  And, you will need to pick your favorite method to make 3.5" unfinished half square triangles (HST) or 3" finished HST.  You can use your Eleanor Burns Triangle Square Up ruler or the Fons and Porter ruler or Thangles - you choose your method and you will be following the directions for the method that you are using - if you are confused by this please let me know and I will try to clarify - basically pick your favorite method and use it ;-)

  • Lots and Lots of Christmas scraps!!!  I am sticking to the darker Christmas prints: reds, greens, dark golds, blacks etc.  I want contrast between my background colours and my foreground.  So I am not using lighter beige or golds - just set them aside for a future project.  Think contrast ;-)   Some of these we will be cutting into 2" squares and some into our HST.
  • approximately 3 meters/yards of an off white or cream colour - this can be a mix of prints or all one - I have used one solid off-white.  Again, some will be cut into 2" squares and some into HST.
  • thread that will blend - I am piecing in an off-white for this project
If you want to get a bit ahead you can start cutting your 2" squares and HST prep.  I will let you know in a bit how many of each you will need.  Remember, this project is to help us use up our scraps so there are going to be lots of pieces!

If you don't want to do Christmas prints you can do a purely scrappy quilt and that will work nicely as well - me I want a Christmas scrappy quilt!

I will give you a bit of time to acquire your supplies - ie get your dies or your background fabric - and then we will proceed to the next step - cutting!

Any questions please leave them here!  Also, please leave me a comment and let me know if you are participating - and I hope that you are!!  You can also share your fabrics on my facebook page http://www.facebook.come/SunshowerQuilts

Happy sorting!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Making Kits!

Hi all!

Ahhh fall!  And, my quilting classes are in full swing and busy.  It's so much fun to have busy classes with fun people in them!  One thing I know from past experience is that I have to stay well on top of my class prep work or I will be frantic the night before I teach - and sometimes I teach 3-4 classes in a weekend!  So, I don't like to fall behind at all.

This weekend (coming) I teach the first of a 3 part Crazy Shortcut Quilts (CSCQ) class.  I have been teaching this class for about 3 years now and it is always fun!  You can see my very first CSCQ here.

I make a little practice kit for every student to take home after the class so that they always have a physical reference to go back to to remember the quilt as you go method from the book.  These little quilt samples take quite a bit of time to prepare as there is cutting and sewing and quilting involved with EACH one!  I love the looks on their faces when they get them though - it's so worth it!

3 years ago I did A LOT of prep for this - I mean A LOT!  Enough prep that I had little samples to give away for three years - and I taught a lot of people!  My sample stack was over 2 feet high!  But, I didn't finish it all - only a lot of it LOL - so I had some unfinished work that I could pick up and finish to make more samples - since I finally ran out.  There were a lot of the little pieced tops and even some battings, backings and sashings cut and prepped.

I spent time today making samples to get ready - and I decided to just finish up everything I had started so that I could have samples for more classes already complete.  But, of course, I looked for a way to stream-line it ;-)


After layering and quilting, each of the little quilt sandwiches gets squared up to 5" (for the samples) - and I thought - hmmm I have a 5" square die - I wonder . . . . .

I placed the little quilts on the die - these are all quilted with batting and backing - and ran it through my Studio cutter - the Studio can take up to 10 layers so the little quilts were under that.


I removed the excess and voila!  Perfect little quilts ready to kit up - and I didn't have to square them up with a ruler!  So much faster!


I bundles these into groups of two with the sashing and I am ready to go for 3 - 4 more classes!

I love finding new ways to use what I have to stream-line production like this - yey!

So what did you do with your extra daylight saving hour today?

Binding Update

Hello my friend! I'm motoring right along with my St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt quilt.  I took it off the frame a couple days ago and st...