Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reduce Bulky Corners

How many of you apply binding without thinking about the corners? Ever notice how it can be a bit hard to bring the fabric around to the other side? Or that the corners look a bit lumpy and feel hard? Well, here's the solution: reduce the bulk!



First, let's think about all those layers. Binding is attached as a folded piece, so that's two layers of fabric just into the corner. Then there's the angled fold back, adding two more layers. And another fold at the top, adding yet another two layers. That's SIX layers of fabric right at the corner! And it doesn't all need to be there!

Here's how to reduce that bulk, and cut out four layers of unnecessary fabric. This technique requires the stitching at the corner to go 90 degrees straight back, and not at a 45 degree angle into the corner. 


After the binding is all attached, at each corner, fold back the top piece of binding to expose the little triangle underneath.



Get a scissor in there, cutting the top fold.



Fold back the top fabric even more to fully expose that little triangle rascal!



And trim it off, even with the binding stitching.



Ta-da! Four layers of fabric removed!



Now the corners will feel soft and still full, but not thick and stiff. I have done this with my quilts for over a year, and my corners are so much nicer.

So make it a habit - trim your corners! You'll be happy you did!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Roundabout

Quilt #1 for the #purplesewingproject is done!



Named Roundabout, this one used up the majority of my purple nickels (5" squares), which I'm pretty happy about. Yet it still didn't make a dent in that box!

Working with a split-complementary scheme of red-violet, yellow, and green, there's more about my fabric choices on the post Split-Complimentary WorkUltimately, there were equal numbers of blocks with each fabric group, arranged from lightest to darkest, starting in the upper left corner. In the picture above, that corner is in the lower left. In the picture below, it's on the top toward the right.



Here's another view from that light corner.



where you can see the different yellows and greens.

And a closeup, showing the quilting with a light lilac Glide thread with the Easy Peasy pantograph, available at 
Urban Elementz and Digitech.











By the way, I had this quilt laid out on the living room floor, covered with a sheet, before I went to QuiltCon. My three rascally kitties thought that sheet was an excellent sliding surface. When I removed the sheet, this is what I found:



Eesh! Darn kitties! Well, at least they had fun!

Ultimately, this quilt will be donated to my guild's Community Quilts for one of the organizations we support. So now to finish Quilt #2, which is the Pinless Pinwheels quilt started at Road2CA with Kimberly Einmo. And because of all the HST's generated by Roundabout,



I'm holding a Think Outside The Box HST Challenge, starting March 3, 2016. More info coming next week!

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Hope you'll join me!






Thursday, February 25, 2016

Be Good to Yourself!

Yes, we all need to start being good to ourselves. I'm not talking about a day at the spa, a reward of chocolate, or a quilters favorite, Fabric Acquisition Road Trip (FART for short). I'm talking about being good to our bodies.


That is, having the correct posture not just when sewing, but all the time. Recently I saw a news article about iHunch and how our phones are ruining not only our posture but our mood. And it made me take notice!

Over the past year, I've become very conscious of my posture, especially my shoulders rolling in. I attribute it to several things: age; constantly being cold, which makes me hold my arms across my torso to stay warm; and sleeping on my side, which is more on the back of my shoulder than on my arm. One would think I wouldn't have this problem because I swim, which uses a lot of arm, shoulder, and chest muscles, but alas, I do.

After spending the afternoon yesterday at the longarm, and reminding myself to stand up straight, I felt that good posture really needs to be addressed. I've seen too many young longarm quilters hunched over their frame, and it scares me to think what their backs are going to look like in twenty years. 

So for you longarm quilters, stand up straight and relax those shoulders. Please don't hunch over and hang on the machine handles. There's a great post at archaicarcane.com for frame height and other body position suggestions. Well worth reading.

And what about sit down quilting? We've all been told to have good posture when sitting at a sewing machine. But do we do it? Referring to the picture above, see if that's you. Adjust your table if necessary, and get yourself into the proper position before sewing to achieve that, and make it a habit. For me, that's sitting up, relaxing my shoulders (do not hold them up by your ears!), and resisting the urge to bend forward.

I've found a great resource for practicing great posture all day, Handy Tips for the Perfect Posture. It's something that we all need to practice, and be conscious of, because we want our bodies to be pain free. So I keep reminding myself to sit/stand up straight, shoulders back, and avoid bending my head too much look at my phone or my work on the longarm. And yes, I try not curl in my arm while on my side at night - tough, but at least I'm aware of it.  

So please, sit and stand up straight! You'll thank yourself later. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Midweek Makers #8

It's midweek, and time for another quilting and sewing party! Who's got projects to share? Then link them up here at Midweek Makers, and show them off!



Last week, Leeanna at Not Afraid of Color, was seeking a name for her Valentine quilt. 



Not sure if she's found one yet, but is this not the most creative use of Valentine fabrics? Well done, Leeanna! Be sure to grab the feature button below!


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Let's see what you're working on - the guidelines for joining the fun are simple!
  • Please link directly to your specific post, not your main blog page.
  • Link any recent post that has to do with sewing and fabric.
  • Visit the other party guests and leave a comment. It's a great way to make new friends!
  • Grab the Midweek Makers button code to put on your post or sidebar to let everyone know about the party!
  • Following QuiltFabrication sure would be sweet, but not necessary.
Grab a button and have fun at the party!

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

My QuiltCon 2016 Experience



Hi everyone! Sorry for being so quiet last week. QuiltCon 2016 took over my life!

                                               Image result for quiltcon 2016

I had wanted to get a post out before I left, but taking my mom up to my sister's, and having to pack for the trip, left me with no time for blogging. And of course, once at QuiltCon, there really is very little spare time!

So, how was QuiltCon? Awesome! If you have the chance to go, go!!! It is such a fun event! Everyone is so happy, engaged, social, eager to learn, friendly, and the list goes on and on. 

And that's what struck me more than the quilts in the show. Sure, there were some gorgeous modern quilts, and there were some that made me scratch my head. But what I really noticed was the people and their energy. There was such a strong community feeling at this show, nothing that I've experienced at other shows. And that's what I really enjoyed, the gathering together for the love of quilts. Truly an incredible experience.

Now, what did I do there? Well, Thursday was a longarm class with Krista Withers, teaching her 'Creating a Quilt Path' style of quilting. Gorgeous! Here's a couple pics of my work:





In the top photo, I made a waterfall, with a rock filling the space to the left, and trees on the right. Just use your imagination on this!

The bottom photo works with circles, and the path moving through a block. Well, I didn't get to that last part, as class time was over. But I got the idea, and hopefully you do too.

Friday was spent with Jacquie Gering. What a talented quilter/designer! She had us working on the theory of notan, which is achieving balance with dark and light. The ultimate goal is to not let either dominate the piece. Think of yin yang. We first played with paper,




(I like the second one), and then moved on to designing our own blocks to play with to achieve notan. And this is where I went downhill, like an author staring at a blank page and doesn't know what to write. No creativity sparked a block design, or at least one that was interesting.

Now, Jacquie noticed my 'lost at sea' look, and was ever so kind to work with me on a design. We removed pieces, cut pieces, and added pieces, until this emerged:



And when we stood back to look at it, I saw the green (cause it's my second most favorite color), and she saw the black. Does it achieve notan? No, I don't think so. It's interesting, but that's about it.

Through these exercises, I learned something about myself:  that I need to spend time each day playing, exploring notan and other design ideas. Until now, it's always been a block or an image that brought about an idea, which is fine. But to really create something that is a powerful piece, I'm going to have to let go of that crutch, and start playing and experimenting. I know it won't be easy, and I'll want to give up, but at least I have to try. And this leads me into a challenge proposal.

Before I left for QuiltCon, I was working on a quilt for the #purplesewingproject that created a ton of half square triangles, or HST's. Those got me thinking about hosting an HST challenge.  The idea was further encouraged upon seeing a couple quilts at QuiltCon that had very creative uses for HST's. Combine all of that with the design class, and I've got subject matter to work with. 

My idea for the challenge is to think outside the box, and not use any traditional block settings. Throw out the grid and explore other settings for these triangles. Maybe think of them as triangles, and maybe not. The point is to not repeat what has already been done.

Does this sound like something you would want to try? The project could be a block, a mini, or a quilt created with HST's. You choose. But the point is to break free of the typical blocks made from HST's. 

I'm thinking of starting this in early March, as ideas are already in my head. I have three different piles of HST's waiting to be played with. Want to play along? I'll be posting more info in the coming days.

So, thank you, QuiltCon, for a memorable experience!




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Midweek Makers #7

Welcome to another installment of Midweek Makers, the place to show off!

Last week, Bonnie at In Stitches With Bonnie showed us a beautiful floral elephant that a friend of hers was constructing.

Isn't it gorgeous? Requires a lot more patience than I have! Bonnie, be sure to grab a feature button.


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So, what's everyone working on this week? With Valentine's and President's Day in one weekend, did anyone even get into their sewing space??? I did on Saturday, to work on my #purplesewingproject. Then, well, life happened.

But we'd love to see what you've been up to the last couple weeks. I know last week was hard to link up if you weren't working on something for Valentine's Day. But this week, let's see those projects!
  • Please link directly to your specific post, not your main blog page.
  • Link any recent post that has to do with sewing and fabric.
  • Visit the other party guests and leave a comment. It's a great way to make new friends!
  • Grab the Midweek Makers button code to put on your post or sidebar to let everyone know about the party!
  • Following QuiltFabrication would be sweet, but not necessary to join the party.
Most of all, have fun!
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Friday, February 12, 2016

Heart to Heart Table Runner

Happy Valentine's Day! I love this holiday, probably because there's so much pink and red, colors I look great in! And I couldn't resist several Kona pink solids, and just had to make another runner. This one is just as beautiful as the other two, Love Abounds, and Love Abounds Version 2.

Introducing Heart to Heart, with matching placemats!



The runner measures 14" x 44", and the placemats 10 1/2" x 15", adding modern beauty to my table.

Would you love for Heart to Heart to grace your table? A pattern for both pieces is available at my Craftsy and Etsy stores.

But now for a sweet treat. Not chocolate, but eye candy!



Closeups of the quilting on the runner, done in Glide thread.





Here's the back view, because it's always fun to see the patterns, especially on a solid.



And let's not forget the placemats!








A little more about the quilting. Using the clear vinyl, I tested out fill designs before quilting, deciding which ones, and where they would go.



The hearts use ruler work and freehand fills, while the border has ruler work on the edges, but freehand back and forth lines for wonderful texture. I did mark 45 degree water soluble blue lines to help me keep on track.



Spritzing with water immediately after quilting eliminated the wash out marker. Yes, this all took time, but the gorgeous texture was well worth it. I must say, I'm liking solids a lot more these days!

I'm all set, spreading love around my house. Can't get enough of that!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day everyone!




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Midweek Makers #6

Welcome to Midweek Makers, the place to show off! 

Last week, Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter, showed one of her quilts using HST's. 

She makes a lot of HST's and found this awesome technique for quickly trimming them. You seriously have to check it out! I'm with her - why didn't I think of that? Thank you, Jennifer, and be sure to grab a feature button!
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For this week, we're having a theme party. In honor of Valentine's Day this weekend, let's see all the projects you have done, or that are in progress to celebrate that special day! 

To start the party, I'm showing off my two Valentine table runners, Love Abounds

and Love Abounds, version 2

FYI: more detail pictures, and links to the pattern, can be found through the pink links above.

So let's see all of those Valentine projects! Just keep these simple guidelines in mind:


  • Please link directly to your specific post, not your main blog page.
  • Link any recent or past post that has to do with Valentine's Day.
  • Visit the other party guests and leave a comment. It's a great way to make new friends!
  • Grab the Midweek Makers button code to put on your post or sidebar to let everyone know about the party!
  • Following QuiltFabrication is not necessary, but it sure would be sweet!

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    Link your projects below!