Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quilting and things...

So are you enjoying this rainy weather? It's been great for sewing, but it sure is getting busy around my house. I bet yours too! So I don't have a fun tutorial or anything for you today. Maybe Friday I'll have my act together!! As for now I'm just happy that we got the pumpkins carved, treat bags made, and all the other many projects we've had over the last few days.

Here's what's on my sewing table today...

I'm trying to get this baby quilt done for the weekend. Isn't it sweet? It's not the traditional 'pink and blue', however I love this French General fabric we have in the shop right now and I think it makes a lovely baby quilt.
As I was putting this together, I got thinking about the whole process of "quilting". Many of the ladies I know send their quilts out to be quilted. I love the look of quilts that have been 'long-arm' quilted, however for me it takes away from my creation. Don't get me wrong long-arm quilters are artists to themselves. The work they do is AMAZING. However, for me if I'm going to make something, I like the process from beginning to end. Some ladies are what I call 'piecers'. They love the process of piecing and putting the puzzle together. So I began thinking of what I am. I mean I've only been quilting since January of 2012!! So I am still a developing quilter. I think though I will stick with the whole process. For now I just 'stitch in the ditch' and am happy with that for now. Some day however, I'd love to try 'free motion' and learn other techniques.

For those of you that are newbie quilters like me, I thought I'd share my photos of what I do. The other day someone asked me what 'stitching in the ditch' was. Well, when we sew all those seams we are creating the ditch. This is where your pressing is important. If you are not careful with your pressing, when you get to your quilting it may be hard to stay "in the ditch". Also, when you line up your corners, it's much easier if they are closer to perfect than not.
I tend to sew all one way and then the other. Maybe a more experienced quilter would do it differently, but this has been working for me.
See how you can just follow the seam? And if you gently pull the fabric taught you can sew right in that 'ditch' and your stitching won't show. On the top at least.
I also try to pull my bobbin thread to the top. This way I have a clean beginning at the start of my stitching. Since I am a newbie and don't like my quilting to show. With this quilt I matched the thread to my backing. It blends right in.

So how about you, are you a 'piecer? Or a whole process quilter? What part(s) do you enjoy best? I'd love to hear your comments and any pointers you have for me! Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!!

Also, Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting caught up...

What a rainy weekend! It sure made great weather for sewing and so I made the most of it! I'm desperately trying to get caught up. I have sewing for my kids, gifts and then my classes etc. I don't know about you, but if I don't get caught up soon my holiday sewing and gifts will never be done in time.

So here are some photos of what I'm working on...

Here's my daughter's pillowcase I've been needing to get off my table. I just think this is the most adorable fabric. I might need to make a quilt to go with her cute pillow!!

Next I made treat bags for the kiddos for Wednesday. They went together pretty quick and I think they turned out nicely. The kids had fun helping.

Last I made this quick patch work baby quilt for a gift. I now have the backing and binding so I can get it quilted, since the shower is next week. I still have curtains to finish and another lap quilt for church to be raffled. Then maybe I can get to my BOM and Thimbleberries, then my holiday sewing!!

How about you? How are your projects coming along? I'd love to hear your comments! Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Booford Treat Bag...

Halloween is Wednesday! Are you ready? We have a great quick treat bag idea for you that you can have ready for the 'trick-or-treaters' in your life! Tracy put this one together for her grandson and we will walk you through the 'how to'!

Here's what she did...

For this project you'll need:

2  - 1/2 yard cuts of fabric for the bag
1/4 yard of fabric for the handles
1 fat quarter of white or cream fabric for Booford
1 fat quarter of 'Steam a Seam'
coordinating thread
rotary cutter and mat
sewing machine
Booford pattern - pick this up from the Parish
Marking Pencil
Black thread for buttonhole stitch on Booford
Two buttons (She used black)
An embroidery hoop
Cosmo or DMV black embroidery thread
She used a size 10 embroidery needle. 2 strands

First press your fabric and then cut off the salvage.

Next, fold your fabric in half and cut off the fold. You will now have four pieces of fabric. Two for the outside and two for the inside of your bag.

Place one piece of your exterior and one piece of your interior pieces of fabric right sides together.

Next even up your fabric and then stitch right sides together, leaving an opening for your handles. Do this twice. Then flip out and press.

To make your handles you will need to cut your 1/4 yard piece of fabric into two 4.5 inch strips by WOF. Sew right sides together and then turn out the tube and press.

Now that you have your bag parts sewn, you can now work on Booford! First you'll need to trace him and cut him out.
Once you have Booford all cut out, you're ready to place him on the outside of your bag and stitch.
After putting Booford on your bag you are now ready to finish up. Double fold the openings on the sides of your bags and place your straps inside and stitch.
Finish off your bag, by using the french seams technique. Turn out and you're done!

Now she just needs to add his button eyes and her little grandson will be ready for 'tricks-n-treats'! Come in now or order online and get 40% off all Halloween fabric! Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Projects! Projects! Projects!

I have to say there are times during the build up to the holiday season that I begin to feel overwhelmed! So many things to finish and so little time! Everything looks wonderful in the shop and I get over confident about the amount of time I have, but then life happens and well, we just plain run out of time. So how can we overcome this feeling and get the job done? I have some suggestions...

  1. First, get organized! Prioritize those projects. What has to get done? What would be nice to get done? What can wait?
  2. Organize each project. I will be doing a tutorial later in the week using index cards to organize your projects so that you can have things at your finger tips when you're out and about and you need that last piece of fabric for a border, backing or binding.
  3. Take it one "block" at a time. Whether it's an actual 'block' or  you look at quilting as a "block of time" or binding as a "block of time". Schedule your "blocks" of time out. So each evening or whatever time you have you can work on and complete that task.
  4. Work with a friend. Come in to the Parish and sew with us. Use our design walls and tables to spread out your work, to get organized, get a second opinion or just get help!
  5. Take a class. If you're still looking for gift ideas, sign up for one of upcoming classes. In our "Turning Twenty" Quilt class you can get a whole quilt top done in three classes or in our Miranda Day Bag Class you go home with a finished project at the end of class! Check out our calendar here...
Hopefully these suggestions will get you going and help you to get the job done! Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Over confident...

Have you ever seen a pattern and thought, Oh, I can do that. I don't need the pattern! Well, lately I've been having a lot of those moments. I think for me sometimes it's a sickness! Any way we have a little table topper in the shop made out of our new Moda Candies and some ladies were asking about the pattern. We'll I have searched high and low. I thought it was on the Moda Designers Blog Hop, however I must be mistaken. I have not been able to locate it for free as I promised. So I thought, that looks easy enough I'll just throw one together and post the tutorial. Sadly it didn't turn out the way I wanted, but I was able to salvage my efforts and will try again!

So here's what I did...

First take a candy bundle and sew all the squares together to make a square. (Note: this was my first problem, since mine was NOT a perfect square.)

I just randomly chose the squares, my only goal was not to place two of the same fabrics together. But then my OCD kicked in and I did have to lay out my strips to make sure I liked they way they were arranged. I just can't be totally random!

The key to any patch work is the pressing! When I look at the finished product of any block, the blocks that were pressed as they went are much more crisp and all the little corners line up perfectly. For me that's a nice block! So after I sewed all my strips together I pressed. One way and then the other so all my seams nested nicely.

Then I pin! I know it's a lot of steps and I know some of you say 'pin, smin' I can sew it without pinning. All my seam are nested! However, fabric moves when you sew and you will be much happier with the results if you take the time and pin those nested seams! As one OCD quilter to another, doesn't it make you sad when those corners are just off? Even though no one else will notice, you know that YOU will, so pin my dear! You'll be happy that you did!

Once you have all your seams pinned and then you sew. Take your piece back to the iron and press your strips over. I press the stitching then fold over the row and let the iron hover, letting the steam do the work for me. Then PRESS. You will get a nicer seam and you won't stretch your fabric.


Next I laid out my square. Doesn't look square? However to make the topper in the shop you need a perfect square. So I laid it out and quilt my square. It was so nice and that's when it went down hill!

So smarty pants me, thought I could fold this like an ice cream cone and cut my scallops and I'd be done. Ha! Ha! Well, first I didn't have a perfect square and cutting the scallops isn't as easy as it sounds.

However, I was able to salvage my efforts. So my promise to you is I'll try again to get that scalloped topper done! And show you how...

Hope you try making something new! Just enjoy the process, even if it doesn't come out! It's all fun. Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Table Runner Kits...

The holidays are gaining on us and we need to be ready! I know that we are all working hard to get all of our gifts completed and decorations made. At the shop we have some new kits just to help you with those trimmings around your holiday table.

They go together fairly quickly and are just a snap! Here's the one that I am making for a sample and I have a few tips.

First, be organized! Once you measure out your fabrics in your kit to see which color are for which pieces of your project, get them organized so you can see how things are going to go together.

Second, lay it all out. I sometimes have a hard time seeing things when they are on point. This runner is a good example of that. I guess my brain just doesn't work that way, so laying things out so you can ensure your pieces are going the correct way is a big help.

Lastly snip! When you have all these little piece of fabric coming together it can be a challenge to get your project to press flat, so it will lay nice. Ann has a wonderful technique that can alleviate this problem. You simply snip the fabric where the seams all come together. See photo.


 Then when you press, you get this cute little four patch. It may be a pain to snip all those intersections, but in the end your project will lay nice and your quilting will be better because you won't have all those large bumps of fabric to go over! Be sure to NOT snip all the way through your stitching!!

Well I hope you are enjoying your sewing for this holiday season. And if you need a new runner for yourself or a gift, pop in and pick up one of this nifty kits! Not in love with our choice of fabrics? That's OK, pick out your own and we can cut you a kit you'll adore!
Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full! My next post will be a tutorial to make a table topper out of our newest Moda Candies! So stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wake up to Breakfast!

ISN'T IT WONDERFUL TO wake up to a cooked breakfast? The weekend is almost here and I want to be able to get right to work on those holiday projects! So having a breakfast I can stick in the oven the night before, that will be ready for the 'herd' in the morning will give me more sewing time!! Aren't I bad!?!

Here I will share with you my "clean up left overs" strada! This is also great for the holidays when you have guests for breakfast.

I purchased these lovely pretzel rolls at Costco and my kids just loved them on our road trip to the family reunion. However I still had a few to use up, hence the strada idea! I cut up 5 rolls for this size casserole dish. Threw in some fresh mushrooms, spinach, and onion. Mixed up the eggs (8) and cream/milk (3/4 cup) and tossed some cheese on top and in the morning we'll have a lovely breakfast dish!

What do you like to make for breakfast? I guess I've spoiled my kiddos because they love a cooked breakfast. In fact my oldest almost considers it punishment to eat cold cereal. I think he's odd, but I guess I've created this some how. So "put together the night before" breakfast are genius to me! After all breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not to mention this is a wonderful way to use up bread, veggies, left over meats, etc!

Now that you have a great meal for the morning you can get off to your sewing feeling accomplished and get those holiday projects DONE!

Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunflower Hill...

Now that autumn has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest you may want to find time to work on something sunny! Do we have the kit for you. Sunflower Hill is an adorable fun quilt to work on when wet and dreary outside.

This lovely quilt features the country village of "Sunflower Hill" and showcases five sunflower themed houses. The sunflower and crow applique block and picket fence border complete this adorable quilt. The project is machine pieced with fusible applique accents. The finished quilt measures 70 x 70 and would be a great autumn or winter project to work on while you're dreaming of warmer weather.

We have this wonderful kit in the shop, so stop by for a visit or order yours online today!

Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Three Fat Quarter Child's Apron...

I think aprons are a wonderful gift for children. Now that we are getting closer to the holidays and holiday baking aprons come to mind for the wee ones in my life. So the other day while I was playing around with my fabric and came up with this Three Fat Quarter Apron. It's the perfect size and it's so quick!! So if you have wee ones in your life and I know you have a stash of fat quarters, whip one together! I know they'll love it!!

Here's what I did...

First you will need your 3 fat quarters, ruler, rotary cutter, Best Press and sewing supplies.
As always, press your fabric and square up your fat quarters. If you're not sure how to 'square up' see my past post here...

Once you have your fabric prepared, you're ready to place two fat quarter right sides together and mark off the front part of your 'bib'. For my toddler the width needed to be 6 inches for my 5 year old it was 8 1/2 inches. Be sure to measure your child to get an idea of width for the 'bib' area of the apron.

Next I marked my fabric for my cut lines for the 'bib'. Since I needed the bib to be approximately 6 inches wide, I measured 3 inches from the middle of the fabric. The best way is to fold your two fat quarters in half measure half the width you need from the fold and mark. On both children I discovered that whatever the width of the bib needed to be was about how far down the arm cutouts should be, so I measured 6 inches from the top of the fabric and then made an arch connecting the marks. I had to trace it in with my mouse since my pencil line was to light for the photo.
Then cut on your line to make the arm cut aways. Now from the cut aways you can make two double sided pockets. Like so..

Now that you have a cut square, sew your two pieces of fabric together making your pocket. Leave a whole in the bottom to flip out your pocket. Make two.
Next press and sew them to your apron fronts.
Set these aside for now and go on to make the ties for your apron. Out of your third fat quarter you will be cutting six 2 1/2 inch strips for the ties.
For two of the six strips you are going to press the strip in half, then press the sides into the center crease and then in half again. See photos...


Now you're going to take these two strips to the machine and sew down a 1/4 inch seam to make the neck ties. Remember to fold one end in before you stitch so you have a finish end.

With the other four strips you are going to sew them right sides together. I like to make the end a little nicer by making a point. For this I sewed a diagonal line from corner to edge of the strip and then cut off the corner. See photo...

Once you cut off your corner, you are ready to sew the 1/4 inch seam around your tie. Then use a chop stick or in my case my 'Purple Thang' and turn it out.

Now press and sew a 1/4 inch seam around your ties to finish them up.

At last we are ready to put it all together!! Pin your ties to the appropriate places in between your two apron fronts. See photo...

Next stitch the 'apron sandwich' together with a 1/4 inch seam, being careful to keep the ties out of your way!! Leave an opening at the bottom to flip it out. Then press and stitch another 1/4 inch seam to give your apron a more finished look and close the opening at the bottom and you are DONE!!

Now your cutie patootie will have a cute little apron made by you! Get ready to have your little helper assist you with your holiday baking!!
Happy stitching and may your bobbins always be full!