Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The day in the life of an online fabric owner.

if you recognize this quilt fabric you would be correct
-it is from  the Sherbet Pips Collection

And the winner is #125..
Crafty Mama.

 ( to everyone else, come back again, there will
always be more giveaways)

 Corinna, owner of online store

"Love the ruffling tip! I've shopped with you several times-now
 I know how you always get my orders to me so fast☺"

I would like to thank Madame Samm for the opportunity to guest post today.  She asked me to talk a little bit about how I got started with my Crazyquiltgirl online fabric shop and to talk about a day in my life.  I’m not so sure it’s all that exciting but it certainly keeps me very busy!

I've been a stay at home mom since my son, Ryan, was born.  I wanted to work again, but I needed my job to be flexible.   I decided to try an online business, but what?  It had to be something I knew a lot about.  Let’s see…Well, I had a bit of a fabric stash and I love fabric.  Maybe I could do an online fabric shop?  Yes, that’s it!  I decided to open up an online fabric shop.   I started small and slow, selling my own stash at first and eventually selling Pre-cuts and fabric by Moda.  The business has grown steadily every year and has now become a full time job.  Fulltime job and still able to be a SAHM, yes this was a nice balance!

Now why don’t I walk you through a typical day, ready?

First I get up with Ryan, have breakfast with him and send him off to school.

Then it is time to get to work.  I usually log on to the computer, all the while sporting my PJs.  (A bonus when you work at home!)  I usually spend my time creating listings on the computer, taking photos and scanning fabrics, doing paperwork, ordering supplies, etc.  I take this time to read email and answer customer questions, blog and tweet too.  After that’s all done I usually go shower and get dressed for the day.  Now the real work begins.  I fill orders which means cutting the fabrics ordered, packaging them up and getting them ready to ship.  I do one run to the post office in the morning and one in the afternoon so the orders get out promptly.  Sometimes I have lunch with a friend and run errands when I’m out and about. 

Most recently my friend Pauline comes over in the afternoons to help me with the cutting, listing, ordering and packaging and she has even taken over the afternoon post office run for me since it is on her way home.  It has been great having the extra help in the afternoons and makes the day fly by.

Ryan comes home from school in the afternoon and we usually spend a little time talking, well he talks and I listen, about how our days went and what we did.  It’s nice to be able to be at home when he gets home from school.  I usually have something cooking or begin making dinner so we can eat before the evening activities begin.

After Pauline leaves, Ryan and I have dinner and then there is any number of family activities to be done.   Hockey takes up a fair number of our evenings.  When we do get to stay home, Ryan does his homework and I continue to fill orders that have come in and finish up any listing or ordering that needs to be done.  I’m still trying to find time to get back to quilting for myself.  I am hoping that Pauline and Pam will help me get back into that so I can make some quilts this year.  Then it is off to bed and the whole cycle begins again in the morning,

Now to share something with YOU. I get asked a lot about jelly rolls and charm packs.

So I called upon my dear quilting friends and we agreed this would be a good share. 

How many of you use a jelly roll for a seam binding? I know someone who does this all the time.  Measure your quilt, miter your strips and sew, fold in half and press. Depending on your quilt and design, you can choose moda bella solids or prints. They work perfectly and you are always certain the strips are perfectly cut.

after sewing your strips, fold in half and press. 
then sew 1/4 seam fold over and hand stitch your binding.


How about a ruffle...same idea- fold- press
You don't need a ruffle maker, no tools involved except your finger..
Fold as if you were making pleats. Do only 2 at once, sew over it,
pleat 2 more, sew, pleat 2 more, I think you get the picture.

Pretty easy, don't you agree?

For your charm packs, I like the idea that they are perfect for appliques- you can be sure the whole collection will blend.. So take  S P R I N G letters ( link above) and try this with any charm pack, or choose your own applique the next time you are thinking of adding something to your quilt. ( or with your winnings today)

If you like to win this jelly roll and charm pack from Moda called Sherbert Pips, 
leave a comment here and join me on my blog and be a new follower  ( over on my blog)and drop me a line mentioning you saw me here-a
nd I will announce the winner tomorrow morning.( on both blogs)

 Here is my shop

Happy Quilting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Favorite Quilts From the Seacoast Village in Dunfanaghy

Madame Samm asked me to be a guest speaker on her blog, and I am so honored ! I wanted to thank her so much, not just for this honor, but for being my friend. Let me first introduce myself. My name is Micki Butler and I have a blog called Irish Muses. Yes, I am lucky enough to live in Ireland in a beautiful seacoast village called Dunfanaghy, in County Donegal. I started quilting about ten years ago, and the only problem is that there is not enough hours in the day to do all that I want.

Madame Samm asked me to talk about my favorite quilts that I made. I didn't have to think too long about that one. I have three that I made that are very sentimental and special to me. My all time favorite one is the Sylvia Bridal Sampler. I read all of Jennifer Chiaverini's books, and I fell in love with this quilt which was highlighted in one of her books. I worked on that quilt each day over a four month period, and I enjoyed each and every moment that I spent on the 140 blocks that I sewed. Sylvia, who was the main character in the book, had this quilt given to her by her friends, who made a wedding quilt for her, and each block represented what Sylvia meant to them. I did the whole quilt in batiks and Michael Miller Fairy Frost fabrics. I can't begin to tell you how much I learned from each and every block that I made. It was a wonderful learning experience, and a magical journey for me!

I also have a great love for paper piecing. I learned how to paper piece from Carol Doak, and I have all of her books. I then went on to learn the more advanced techniques of paper piecing from Deb Karasik. I found out she was going to be in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and I went with the Sheephaven Guild to take her workshop, where we were going to make the Carnivale Wallhanging. I was so thrilled to meet her, and I was determined to finish the quilt when I got back from the workshop in Belfast. It is definitely my favorite paper piecing quilt that I made, but I have made many of them. I just love the whole process of paper piecing, and how exact you can make the blocks.

Last but not least, I had to mention my other love which is applique. I do machine applique too, but I thoroughly enjoy hand applique. I learned how to applique and fell in love with it. My first applique that I did was a fairy pattern developed by Reva Roark Stewart. If you love to make fairies, check her patterns out. They are magical! I did needleturn stitching on it, and I so enjoyed the weeks that I spent sewing each and every part of the beautiful appliqued wallhanging. I just love hand sewing, as I find it so relaxing, and I enjoyed making the fairy wallhangiing sitting in my lounge chair while I watched tv. My husband could never understand how I could do the two things at the same time.

Hopefully, you can see how much I love sewing! I began sewing as a child, as my mom was a seamstress, and both my parents owned a fabric store, thus my love of fabric too. My mom taught me how to design my own clothes, and to sew home decor, and then I discovered quilting, and the rest is history. Once you make one quilt, you cannot stop.

It was so much fun telling you about myself a bit , and I always enjoy talking about quiting. It is my passion! I included a pic of me and my husband, as he is the reason I came to Ireland from Philadelphia. I fell in love with Joe and landed up here in 1997. I am lucky to have found my soulmate, and now have the time to do my hobbies....You can't beat that!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

All my Favourite Things...

Ahhh... i am so excited to visit all of you at Stash Manicure today.
 Let me introduce myself, I am Rebecca from Chasing Cottons. I'm a mum who has a serious addiction to Fabric (and mmm stashing fabric), Sewing and Designing Quilts.
Its getting a little cold and grey here in Australia, so i was wrapped when Madame Samm asked me to be apart of her SPRING Month!!
I love Spring.  I Absolutely LOVE flowers... I'm the type of Gal who as soon as a flower opens up somewhere in the garden, I'm out there with my scissors, to snip and bring it inside, so we can admire its beauty. This passion extends into my quilts. I'm drawn to florals.. if you were to look at my stash, you would find most of them are florals...mmm and a few dots. So, being as though its Spring, Florals and Flowers... I'm delighted to share my Eden's Garden Quilt with you.

Named after my little sister Eden, Eden's Garden is made up of 12 flower blocks. All machine pieced but they have an applique look. I know what your thinking... all those curves!!!... Please i beg of you... Don't be put off by a little curve.. I cant express to you enough.. how easy they are! All you need is your magic weapon...PINS!! I have a tutorial here that includes a section on sewing this same curve. Easy Peasy!
I have used 12 fat quarters for each of these flowers.... BUT ... there is no stopping you from using up your stash.
For each Flower block you need : -
8 - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" blocks of one colour
8 - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" blocks of another colour
12 - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" blocks of your background fabric..i used Kona snow.
I think these flowers would look spectacular used in vintage fabric scraps just cut to size. Or any sort of scraps from you stash.... Who needs to follow rules!!
Perhaps you may want to give one block a try??? You could make it into a Pillow?? You could even sew a decorative button in the centre?? For Stash Manicure Readers, You can download the Template HERE and if you would like the whole complete Pattern to make this Quilt.. you can get it from HERE.
Because I absolutely LOVE sewing...and Making Quilts... I'm hosting a 12 week FREE Online Sewing Class from my blog Chasing Cottons...

 ... It may help you get the courage to tackle your first quilt?? Or those curves? Or maybe you have something you can share?? There is a link at the bottom of each class you can post your own tutorials to help teach 'YOUR' way of doing something... You will find the course outline HERE and the first class just started with a great Giveaway HERE.

Thank you, Thank you, Madame Samm for letting me come visit today and share with you ALL of my favourite things.... Flowers, Fabrics, Sewing and Quilts!! xx

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy Basket Handles from Bias Strips

I love blogging and reading others' blogs too and this is a very inspiring site for me. Some of you already know me - I'm Kathleen Tracy from A Sentimental Quilter and Madame Samm has kindly asked me to blog for all of you again.

It's Spring here in the Midwest where I'm from and if there's one quilty thing that always reminds me of Spring it's basket quilts. I  think everybody loves basket quilts, and in my opinion every quilter should have a basket quilt or two in her collection, don't you agree?

I have an easy technique to tell you about today that I hope will get you started making a basket quilt soon.

My front garden last year. This year, nothing green yet.

I've made several small basket quilts (see a brand new one on my blog) and I especially had fun using some of my reproduction fabric scraps making this one that's in Remembering Adelia, my third book. 

It's called Civil War Baskets and if you're inclined to use '30s fabrics or brights or batiks instead of reproduction prints like I did, guess what? It will turn out great. The nice thing about traditional patterns from long ago, like basket blocks, is that they are time-tested. They've been around for a very long time and are still being used today in contemporary quilts. So don't feel you have to be limited by my fabric choices. Make it your own way with your own lovely fabrics.

Some of you already have this book with the Civil War Baskets pattern and have e-mailed me asking for a tutorial. So, if you're hesitant about making those handles for your baskets, either for this quilt or another (especially if you're just beginning to make quilts) never fear - here's an easy method that takes away a lot of the stress. It's very simple once you get the hang of it and you can use the same technique for vines and stems on other applique projects.

Here's how I made the curved handles for my baskets quilt.

The first step is to cut your strip on the bias--which means that it's cut on the diagonal of the grain.

I also like to use pressing bars, which are 12" long, heat-resistant plastic bars for making applique vines and stems. They come in a package with several bars of varying widths.

Cut your strip the correct width--for the basket handles in Remembering Adelia it's 1 1/4".  Fold the strip in half WRONG sides together, press and sew a 1/4" seam along the raw edge to make a tube.

Cut the ends of the strip to the correct length--for my quilt  it's 1 1/4" x 6". Trim the seam allowance a little to about 1/8".

Slide the rounded end of the pressing bar into the tube and press as you roll the seam to the middle of the tube. Press the seam in one direction. When you turn it over, the seam will be hidden on the back. Remove the bar CAREFULLY as it gets very hot and finish pressing the tube flat.

Now you're ready to shape the handle into the curved shape and pin it to the background fabric. Since the fabric was cut on the bias it will stretch easily into a curve. Find the center and pin that first, gently stretching the rest of the strip into shape. Using a blind stitch, sew in place. Voila! Easy bias-strip basket handles.

Piece the rest of the basket according to directions in whatever pattern you're using and sew the two units together, catching the ends of the handles in the seam allowance.

Thanks so much for dropping by and if you feel like leaving a comment, I'll be happy to give away a copy of my book Remembering Adelia to one lucky person. The book gives a glimpse into the world of a young woman living in a small town in Illinois in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War through the diary she kept. It contains 14 quilts and projects to inspire you and make the past almost seem to come alive. I had a lot of fun writing it and doing some research on the Civil War too. Adelia lived in a town that is not too far from where I live now and visiting the site where she wrote in her diary 150 years ago was a thrilling experience for me. I knew her story had to be told.

Visit me and check out my other books and patterns at Country Lane Quilts (including some free patterns for doll quilts) or contact me at countrylanequilts@comcast.net with any questions. Thanks for sharing time with me today!

congrats to Sandi.#8...she won this book...
she has been notified and she is sewwwwwwwwwwwww excited...
Book is on its way....
to everyone else...well we will have to Kathy back....x

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Window On My Quilt Retreat

Hello quilters.  This is Jill from Jillily Studio.  I am happy to join you here on Stash Manicure again. 
I just got home from my family quilt retreat last night.  Four days of laughing, sewing, sharing, eating, and very little sleep.  We do this every year, and it was even the subject of my last book, Stitched Together.  Twenty Eight of us met at a cabin from all over the country to spend this weekend together.   Here's a glimpse of the mess we made.  (And the fun we had!)
You can see more about the retreat on my blog in the coming days.  (I still need to unpack and get organized, but I will be posting more soon.)  So I am home just in time to post this for you.  Since it is fresh in my mind from retreat, I am going to share a project we did together.  My sister Susan made the sample, a pillow made with cathedral windows blocks.  Isn't it so cute?
Now I know that there are several ways to make a cathedral window block, and usually they are stitched by hand, but we did ours by machine and I am going to describe the method we used. 
Here goes. 
We'll make the window panes first.  On Susan's pillow above, the window panes are in the green fabric.  In the following photos, I used a different fabric (which happens to be the one she used for the "stained glass" so don't get confused.)

First, cut nine 14.5" squares from your window pane fabric.  Cut a template from poster board 13" square.  Center the template on the wrong side of your fabric square.  Use a hot steam iron to press the corners up over the template, and each long edge as well.

 Remove the template.
 Fold the square in half with the wrong sides together.  Press.
Fold in half again making a square, press.

 Now open the square back up and use the pressed quarter lines as a guide to fold each corner in to meet in the middle.  Press.
 Again fold the corners in to meet in the middle, making a smaller square. 

Fold and press all nine of your fabric squares that way.  (Stack them up so you can enjoy how cute they are together.  I added this step because that is about all I got done!) 

Take two of the prep-ed squares and put them next to each other with the folded side up.  Unfold one folded flap from each square and align the creases.  Pin these squares together along that crease.
 Sew right along the crease line.  (I am pointing to it.)  Backstitch at the beginning and ending of your seam. 
 Sew three folded squares together like that to make a row, then sew the rows together.  Now all your squares are attached, but the folded triangles remain free. 

 Now we will add the "stained glass" to the window panes.  Cut twenty four 4.25" squares.  You can pin them loosely in place, but I used Appli-Glue to baste them to the window panes.  In the following photo, I left some off so you can see where to place them on the panes.  The stained glass squares will hang off the edge on the outside windows.  We will trim those later.
 Just a drop of glue on each edge and in each corner.

 Now you will roll the "window frame" over the "stained glass" and pin in place.  The thickest part of the "frame" is in the middle creating an oval opening between windows.  Put a pin in the center of the roll to hold it while you sew.  We sewed ours by machine through all the layers.  Follow the curve of the window pane, stitching right along the edge.  Begin and end with a knot or backstitch.  Continue to stitch each side of the window frame until the "stained glass" is completely enclosed. 
Stitch each window frame around the "glass."  The windows on the edges will have only two stitched sides.  When all the windows are completed, trim off the extra "glass" fabric on the edges. 

(Note that I have no pictures showing the next few steps, because that is as far as I got!  My machine is still in the car, so you will have to trust me on this.)

Measure your pillow top and cut a pillow back the same size. Place the pillow front and back right sides together and stitch around leaving an opening to stuff.  Turn out to the right sides.  You can use a pillow form or loose stuffing.  Fill your pillow and hand stitch the opening closed.  Add buttons for embellishment if you want.
My daughter-in-law Erin did a smaller version.  Here is her finished block:
Wow, that is so cute!  Erin made hers with different "glass" in each block.  They are the same fabrics she used to make the large project we did at retreat.  Just for fun, here is a peek at her quilt top that matches the pillow.
Won't that pillow be so darling on the bed dressed in this sweet quilt? 
Another sister, Judy made her cathedral window pillow out of silks.  It is absolutely beautiful.  I will post a photo of it on my blog as soon as I get one.  If you use silk, make sure you use a lightweight fusible interfacing to make the silks easier to handle.

I would like to give away a prize to a few lucky readers of this post.  I will randomly choose a few winners to send a copy of my book, Stitched Together, my Appli-Glue, and my newest notion, Poke-A-Dots
Make a comment here and sign up to "follow" on my blog.  If you haven't heard of Poke-A-Dots, they just came out and will be showing up in quilt shops soon.  They are a sticky little thimble dot that you stick to your pushing finger for hand sewing, like bindings and buttons, etc.  Learn more about them here. 
(If you don't happen to be a winner, you can purchase all of these items on my website, along with all of my patterns and kits.)

I hope you have a fun time making a cathedral window pillow, or maybe even a whole quilt!
Happy Quilting-- I hope to see you on my blog!