Monday, May 23, 2011

The Aging Process...

Hi Gang!  Thanks to Madame Samm for allowing me to once again "bend your ear" - I'm Nan from Pots and Pins - and I'm here to discuss the "Aging Process."  Let me begin by saying I'm a HUGE fan of aging...oh, not for me personally, Heaven's no!  I'm going to go down that slippery slope kicking and screaming!  I'm talking about the aging process as it applies to quilting.


I loved this quilt so much I wanted one just like it out of blue and white fabrics - or so I thought!
I know many of you, when it comes to quilting, do not believe in an aging process...you purchase fabric (or shockingly(!) take it from your stash) and after a few moments of deliberation you begin to cut, then sew, and within a couple of hours, okay, maybe a day, you have a finished quilt proudly on display.  This post is NOT for you people.  You people need more help than I could possibly offer!  (Secretly I hope to one day be one of you but that won't happen until my next life, I'm sure!)
These white and blue triangles sat in this basket for more than TWO years...aging to perfection!

The Quilting Aging Process (QAP) is a sloooooooow process.  It knows not the meaning of the words seconds, minutes or hours.  It vaguely recognizes the word days, and only if used in the plural sense, and prefers to deal in weeks, months or, to keep true to itself...years

Some of you have just given me an imaginary high-five!  I'm here for you!!!  I SO believe in a year-long aging process for a quilt - beginning to end.  I have several pieces that are already well into the QAP ... and it's not wise to disrupt any project before it's time (this is a universal principal and applies to many things, like wine and soup..."We will sell no wine before it's time!"  or "Is it soup yet?" and I'm sure there are more examples I could cite but I'm doing my best to keep this short...hahahaha).  At the risk of having a bit of guilt seep into my conscience that will send me reeling towards a finish line, I am going to show you one of my projects that is aging quite nicely.  But first, let me tell you about the QAP:
I began to sew them with one quilt in mind and ended up in a total different direction!

Quilting Aging Process - Step by Step

1.  Collecting/gathering/harvesting of fabrics.  Let's say you want to make a red and white pinwheel quilt, like the one pictured above - it's a beauty, is it not?  Well, the picking of fabric for any quilt takes time - usually several trips to the shops, with several pit stops along the way for beverage and food...one cannot pick fabric properly on an empty stomach...feel free to quote me.  And if you plan to make full use of the QAP then you should plan on 2 to 3 months to pick fabrics.  Months during which you will think about those fabrics, the ones you have on hand, the ones you purchase and the one you still need to get...time to think, lots of time. 

2.  Petting and admiring of fabric.  Once fabric selection is complete, it's time to let the fabrics adjust to their new home...petting, stroking and fondling is advised - ahem, remember we're talking about FABRIC here!  Fabric must be kept in a prominent place so it is seen on a daily basis, so you can think about how you're going to use it...think about that pinwheel quilt you decided was the one.  This step usually takes anywhere from 3 to 4 months, if done properly.  But let's say, after thinking about your red fabrics for 3 or 4 months  you decide you want a blue quilt?  Well, no harm done...those red fabrics can continue to age as you repeat step one, with blue on the brain!  Luckily you have TIME on your side! 

3.  Cutting of the fabric.  Once a final decision has been made (about color) about how this fabric is going to be used, it's time to actually cut the fabric.  You decide on the size of block and the size of the squares for the pinwheels...remember..measure 4 times, cut once...that's my rule.  You cut your fabric into precise little triangles and then it's time to let them steep just a bit on the cutting table...at least a week...and when the time is right, you're about to proceed to step 4 when out of the blue, like a thunderbolt to your bobbin, you decide against a pinwheel quilt!  Sheesh!  Good thing you didn't rush into anything!!  And this my friends, is the reason the QAP is SO important...you have the freedom to change your mind at any time during this process!

Wow - I really should have pressed this!  But then, you know how I feel about ironing!
4.  Sewing of the fabric.  Okay, so the red pinwheel is out, along with the blue pinwheel and now you've decided to use all of those blue and white triangles in another manner...but best to let them sit in a basket for at least 2 YEARS before finalizing that decision!  Think A-G-I-N-G,  like a smelly French cheese!  When it's time, and you'll know when it's time, dust off your machine and put the pedal to the metal! Sew those blue and white triangles together, after 2 1/2 years you've got a clue as to what you're going to make!

5.  Assembling the quilt top.   Block by block, row by row, and finally your quilt top is pieced together!  You can now sit back and relax...for at least 3 months...during which time you'll search high and low for the perfect backing (buying backing and binding at the same time as you buy the quilt top fabric is SO cliche!)  Looking for backing fabric can take up to 3 months all by itself...think how many face-lifts Joan Rivers had before she was patched/pieced into her new self!

My flimsy with the backing, folded into a "panini" and ready to age just a bit more!
6.  Making the quilt sandwich.  It's all about the sandwich folks - and I like to think my quilt sandwiches are paninis...after they are made they are stacked up with other quilt paninis and their backing, to rest...so their juices can reabsorb, so to speak.  6 months at least!

The blue and white quit, even though it's been in the works for more than 3 years, is at the bottom of the "to quilt" pile...there are 6 projects in front of it!  Yikes!  I might have to speed things up a bit!
7.  Binding.  The end is in sight...why hurry now?  This quilt is one you have known for three years, you've seen it daily, petted it, talked to it, possibly even sworn at it...so now, now that it's about to leave the nest, just coddle it.  Take each stitch with love - soon you'll take your last stitch (2 weeks, give or take) and it will be time to put a label on and give it away...or fold it up over a chair or the foot of a bed...where it won't be petted, talked to or sworn at only occasionally...empty nest syndrome - it's not for sissies.

8.  Quilt in order.  As in the order the tops were made...if you quilt a quilt out of order, like say you opted to quilt the blue and white quilt before the pink circle quilt, which has been aging for at least 4 years, well, you would only be tempting the Quilting Gods to reign down some plaque upon you...that's what I've heard and really, why risk it?!  So your quilt panini sits in a stack for a few years, who's ever going to know?!?


There's nothing like a perfectly aged quilt!  Unless the quilter herself is perfectly aged as well!!
That's the Quilting Aging Process in a nutshell.  I hope I've swayed a few into trying it...it takes all the stress out of quilting...and since you don't have to rush back to your sewing machine, take a minute or so and come visit me at Pots and Pins - I've always got something good cooked up for you - maybe even a real panini!

Thanks Samm!  xoxo, Your Humble Servant, Nan


Sunday, May 22, 2011

If it's Sunday you know it is time to take a....


and REST....

( ohhhhh not with me....just you and your surroundings...)

me I will be in my slippers..xx


( can you believe it, comments never work on Sunday..
SERIOUSLY???) 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I-Top Giveaway...want one?

  And the winner of this Button tool is a brand new follower,
and who says "they don't win?"


Maggies Pitches..
#322

 yes my dear you won this tool
along with  a box of goodies that will
help make your buttons days one of 
delight.. ( will need your addy)

To all of you who entered...psssst
I think I may have another to give away
next month...stay tuned..
And thanks to our Sponsor
and YOU for making this season
a Buttoned SEASON.

And here is her package...
threw in a few extras...like a new gadget
tool for adding bling to mug rugs..
a jelly roll, a layer cake and 
lot's of goodies...



Button tool...want to make buttons?
lot's of pretty buttons......





( check out what this tool can do)

If you love making buttons for your quilts, pillows, head
bands, well anything and everything...
this is one TOOL that you may want NOW!
You can make them out of paper or fabric...

I am sew excited to share that Lori from Imaginisce
is our new sponsor here at Sew WE Quilt @ Stash Manicure. She has given 
me a few extra things to giveaway....
Sew today I have one for YOU.

Although she confesses to not being a quilter,
I think if she stopped by here on occasion
we may just change her mind.

Sew let's have a giveaway and here is what you can do...
( all the accessories goes with this too) 


#1 Be a follower ( simple right?) and tell me...

#2 Tell me what is the next project that you are going to make 
that needs BUTTONS?


Draw will take place on Monday May 23rd am..

Thanks Lori and all of you who will be participating..
Open to subscribers too...but you have to leave a comment here...

Ohhhh and I just want you all to know...
I always  put more than the prize in there
This is what I mailed to Karen this week..
 just saying...lol



Friday, May 20, 2011

Quilted NOTE Cards- Giveaway with our very own Rebecca @ Quiltscapes.

WINNER IS JCnNC
and she had been contacted as soon as her name was chosen..
just forgot to post it here.
Sorry about that....Rebecca will be back in July...
sew someone else will win..thanks to all those who participated
and to JUDY...congrats..\
and to Rebecca for sharing her talents....x

 Hello everyone it is Rebecca Barker from Quiltscapes.
I am so pleased to be a guest here again.

I would like to thank you for all your comments that you left me last month
when I was first introduced by Madame Samm .
YOU are all so nice.

 As way of introduction for those who may have missed me,
my name is Rebecca  and  I grew up on a dairy farm in Oxford Ohio.
My appreciation for country and quilts inspire me to this day. 
I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Ohio University 
and I also attended Miami University Graduate Painting School.
I love to paint and I am known to pick up a needle and thread and quilt too. 


Here are some of  my paintings that are on note cards. 
All of these are available and you will have an opportunity to win
some of these and others of your choosing. ( at the end of this post)

What do you think of this one? 
Have you laid out quilts for your horses?

Fence Posts


Flower pots
( don't you just love how they are all waiting to be
told they are the best)

Sun Bonnet Sue
( who can resist this wee tot, don't you just
want to squeeze her)

The Flower Basket
( I really enjoy painting baskets)

Amish Quiltscape
( couldn't you just sit here forever watching this sunset?)

Star of the Sea
( there is something to be said about a sail at dusk)

Twister
 ( hold onto to your hat)

Star in the Window
Amen!

I also make mouse pads and post cards
go to this page to see more




And what a visit be without a giveaway..?

Be a follower ( simple)
Go to my site Choose your favorites
Pick 10, 2 of each, 3 of each, 1 of each...whatever
combination you like...
 of your favorites and let us know which ones
you would like to win.

We will choose the winner  on Monday May 23rd. 
Thank you again Madame Samm for the invite and allowing me 
to share my passion with you and your readers. 

Enjoy the view.
Rebecca


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Disappearing 16 patches.... Works In Progress

Hello, my name is Dorian and I have a blog here.  I'm so excited to be here today! And a bit nervous too. I'm a shy creature, so go easy on me ;)

In March, Melissa from Happyquilting shared with us her disappearing (DP) 16 patch quilt-along. And I got obsessed with making some of my own. I've made 2 wall hangings, both as yet unquilted, so they are still WIP's.  And am still having fun playing with variations and different blocks.

I had the perfect pieces to start with. A petit four of both Lovely and Central Park. So I dug thru my stash basket, looking for tone on tone prints to match. Here is what I came up with.


These were lots of fun to play with, and I decided to see what other fun designs I could come up with.
I dug thru my stash some more, looking for strips the same width, or close to the same width. I did some trimming and some sewing and come up with these.


I prefer using strips, as it's faster and easier.   You sew 4 strips together, press and cut strips out of them.

  
Then you put those new strips together in whatever fashion you want.

I used some dark TonT's and some lights ones, mixed with light prints. I wanted the TonT's in the middle and 4 corners, so that I could do this.





Then these were cut on both diagonals, to make the DP16 patch.


I went back to the scrap basket, and found some light and some dark squares. I sewed two patches together.


Then sewed into 4 patches.

This is what I made. Some light blocks and dark blocks, instead of mixing them together..


 Instead of cutting on both diagonals, I cut on just one. Then I matched a light side with a dark side.


I thought using just 2 colors would  be fun also. This would make a great, bedsize quilt.


There is a variety of ways to set these. And lots of fun mixing them around, figuring out how you want them to look. I love the Sunkissed line, and decided it would go great with the first patches I showed you.



Here's a close-up.


And my second one, see how the TonT's make a nice frame around the prints?  I've called this one Flowerboxes.


You can also set these like this, making that cute pinwheel in the middles.

And here is a few different ways to set the light/dark blocks. You can play around a lot with these.


The problem with this first one though, is once you get the half squares sewn together, the little corner blocks are smaller than the middle blocks. Which means seams wont match.


Or you can lay them out this way.



Here's another way you can do it. Makes a nice pinwheel in the middle. This is how I am doing mine. I'm going to keep this WIP going, adding to it as I make more squares. It makes a great leader/ender project, if your into that. And really uses up those little bits of fabric you just can't let go of.


You can use strips of any size. My R/B one is done using 1 3/4" strips. The petit fours are 2.5". I also used 2 1/4" squares. So it makes a great project to do with a jelly roll too!

Hope you enjoyed my 'obession'. I would love to see any DP16 patches you made. Leave me a comment with your blog name, so I can take a look.

 Thanks for having me here Samm, I really enjoyed it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Featured Designer - Jennifer Bosworth

My name is Jennifer Bosworth, owner of Shabby Fabrics. I am honored to be a featured designer on the Stash Manicure blog. Thank you so much 
Madame Samm! You make this blog extra  fun and special for all of us! The Shabby Fabrics story begins here. All along while growing up, I loved arts and crafts with every ounce of my being. When it came time to choose a career and go to college, I figured I couldn't make a living crafting so I pursued an aeronautical degree and became an airline pilot. I would take my hand sewing with me on trips and stitch to my heart's content while laying over at various hotels.  The love of crafting never left me. The events of September 11, 2001 changed the entire world and definitely my own personal world in a very big way.  Soon thereafter the airlines began furloughing pilots. Both my husband (also a United pilot) and I found ourselves out of work  with no health care, two children and a mortgage. These were indeed uncertain and scary times. All of the flying experience  I had accumulated over the last 20+ years suddenly meant nothing. No one was hiring pilots. I knew I would have to reinvent myself and awaken a skill set that I never even  knew I had.  After much prayer and contemplation, I felt God urging me to do something I loved and knew a great deal about already. After all, we needed to find work right away! I applied for a business license and  began selling a few fabrics on ebay. Ten years later, we are selling fabrics from our own website worldwide and loving every moment. There is no question that God is behind the success of Shabby Fabrics. I have a wonderful staff that I enjoy working with each day. Besides buying products and deciding which projects will becomes kits, block of the month, etc, I also design a line of quilt patterns called Shabby Exclusives. Some of our designs have been featured recently in McCalls magazine. When I think to the future of our company, I remind myself to remain flexible and attentive to God's word and plan. After all, He's the author of this great book.
Blessings to you all,
Jennifer
 The Shabby Fabrics Booth at International Quilt Market, Salt Lake City, May 2011

Some of our projects were featured at the EE Schenck booth!  The Holly & Berries Table Runner and Holly & Berries Stocking (at left) are our designs.


Shabby Fabrics Giveaway and 10% Off Coupon!


Enter to win this set of layer cakes from Moda!  Included: Collections for a Cause: Faith by Howard Marcus, Lil' Rascals by Chloe's Closet, and Northern Cardinal by Holly Taylor - over $100 value!


Here's how to enter (each item is one entry):


1. Go to our blog http://www.shabbyfabrics.blogspot.com/ and become a follower.  Then leave a comment here on Stash Manicure...letting us know you've done so.


2. Go to our homepage http://www.shabbyfabrics.com/ and sign up for our email newsletter.  Then leave a comment below letting us know you've done so.

Also, we are offering a 10% off coupon valid through Friday Midnight PST.  Just enter the code  STASHMAN10  on the View Cart page.


WINNER will be announced on my BLOG on FRIDAY.
Be sure you are a follower by then.




Carol #70 from Glendale Arizona
is the winner of the following. 
Congratulations!
To all those who entered, thank you so much!



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin!  (I'm a little young for Listen with Mother, but I couldn't resist!)  Hello again everyone, Trudi here from Quilting Prolifically blog.  I'm so pleased Madame Samm asked me back for another post here, it's such a fun and diverse place to be, don't you think?  I have to tell you this post came about from a very personal exchange of e-mails after one of Madame Samm's posts on her Sew I quilt blog.  We discussed the stories that get associated to the quilts we make.  And so I'll begin...  with a few of my quilt stories...

Long, long ago, when I was much younger and before I'd had children I was living and working in Belgium.  I was fortunate enough to have to visit Heerlen in The Netherlands for a couple of weeks.  Who knew I would find a quilting shop!  I was new to quilting, so just a few fat quarters went home with me, I was, after all, still in the collecting, admiring and fabric stroking stage!   Later I did a one day taster class and learned a few basic blocks, and important techniques.  From this basic beginning I made 13 blocks. 


I put them to one side, and they moved back to England with me, and then 10 years later we went to The Netherlands.  Heerlen to be exact!  And of course I know exactly where the quilt shop is!  Or at least I thought I did!  When I went to find the shop, you can imagine my horror to find it was gone!  Ha!  Several weeks later I was driving around the town, finding my bearings when I spotted a load of quilts blowing in the wind outside an old mill building.  A quick detour and what should I discover but that same quilt shop in the a new, bigger location.  On closer inspection to my delight I discovered two of the original fabrics I had used in my blocks!  Yes, 10 years later!  And so, In the Beginning, what goes around comes around!

10 years in the making and several moves later, this quilt was finally finished!

One of my very early quilts was a kit from Keepsake Quilting (the reason I got sucked into quilting in the first place!).  Serving in the Royal Air Force you can imagine my delight in this little pattern. 


This association is the inspiration for this little quilt, finally made when my son was still a babe in arms.  The piecing was a challenge, I was still very new to the craft. But I had to add my own little touch to those planes, so each one has RAF Roundels quilted into their wings!


Hand quilted, I learned not to use poly cotton on the back, talk about making hard work for myself! 


I've been a member of a local quilt group for well over 15 years, and at one of the early meetings, our Bee Queen described a technique that we would look at next time we met.  Unfortunately my mind went into overdrive, quite literally!  On the drive home I was thinking, hmm black and whites (I had I great little stack of fq's that would be perfect!) and one wow fabric! 


I was a pretty confident quilter by this time, so the next day I grabbed the stack of fabrics and went for it.  Yep, that's me all over, 'I can do that'!    Later that day I was calling back to ask how to set the blocks! 

I knew I wanted to quilt feathers along the border of this quilt, and so it sat for many years waiting it's turn patiently.  I'd even marked it up ready.   When I finally got a table top frame and was confident with feathers, this quilt, that had patiently waited it turn,  got loaded and I took a huge leap of faith using a variegated thread that would disappear in the middle but stand out bold on the black borders. 


Again, another quilt that took almost 10 years to finish. 

Of course we all know that children bring a whole new element to our quilting, and mine were no exception.  I found some Batman fabric in a local store and from this the Batman quilt for my son was born!


His room was red and yellow at the time!


You can see a peek of the background here...



This quilt was hand quilted, I fused the logo's and did a satin stitch around each one to secure them.

And in each corner another logo!  My son loved this quilt, as you can see by the faded black! 

Have you noticed anything about my quilts yet?

Do you ever learn a technique that just inspires you to try?  I'm a sucker for a great technique, and trip around the world by tubes was no exception.

The label was inspired by a children's book illustration.


Another hand quilted piece...


that all started with just a half meter of this fishy fabric in the border.  Isn't it fun, I still love it after all these years!


I gathered up all the fabrics that had a seaside theme, shells, colours, fish, the shimmering sun on the water, and the yellow to reflect the sand and proceeded to piece the quilt.


I loved this technique so much I had to do another.  I had a bundle of little fat eighths, and so I had to calculate just how far it would go to create the quilt.  Trust me, this was a real challenge on my math skills! 


Such a pretty quilt, I used ALL the fabric for the center but then had to go home from The Netherlands back to the UK for the weekend.  We used to have a lovely quilt shop in town, and I headed up there to get some border fabric (I just couldn't get the right one in Holland  or just over the border in Germany)  Unfortunately I forgot to bring the centre with me! 


I had to choose the border fabric and binding blind!  You just KNOW when you have found the right one! 


I cut my teeth on free motion quilting on this quilt with my mums old Husqvana machine, the feed dogs didn't drop and the plate that went over them bounced up and down all the way through the process! 

By the time we were living in Holland I had quite a collection of fat quarters.  We used to have a loft that was easily accessible and became my sewing area.  By this time my Teenage Diva would have been 2 - 3 years old, and she would happily sit up with me getting all the fabrics out, laying them out and making a virtual quilt on the floor with all the fq's.  Such fond memories  :)


Whilst my piecing wasn't brilliant, this is another top that got put to one side.  There's a theme coming through, somehow I couldn't quilt them as fast as I could make them! 


The pattern was from a copy of McCalls Quilting possibly 1999!  I quilted it in 2008!  I decided I wanted to see if I could do McTavishing on my little frame.  Well, it seems I can, but only on a much smaller scale!  This lap size quilt just keeps on giving memories, I was given a sample cone of Superior Lava thread to try and this top was perfect, unfortunately I ran out of thread, about 6" from the end.  Ooops  :)


As a toddler my DD was very much influenced by my ever increasing hobby, and so I was not surprised when she expressed a desire at just 3 to have a particular fabric for her quilt.  I'd got a fabulous kit from The Bramble Patch that would be just perfect!  So I laboured away and made the quilt...


This is the fabric (fleece) she chose...

And this was the pattern...

I meticulously hand stitched around each star and was thrilled with the result. 


I even managed to get the machine quilting just right.  So having finished the quilt, the next time I saw my daughter, I presented the quilt to her, showing her the front proudly.  She promptly burst into tears and told me she wanted the fleece on the front!  To this day, this quilt has only ever been on her bed with the pattern side down and the fleece side up!  Children can be so fickle! 

So if you are still with me, I'd like to finish with my $3 quilt!  Yep, just $3. 

Whilst I was living in Holland we were less than 10 minutes from the German border and another NATO unit.  Every year there was a raffle for a quilt, and I duly bought my tickets,  Except I only had $6 cash in my purse!  I wanted to win some of the other prizes too!  It was $3 for the quilt raffle or $3 for all the other raffle prizes. 


You can imagine my surprise at winning!  This quilt has been dragged in and out of the house and onto the lawn every summer by the children, even now as teenagers! 


So to all the ladies of Geilenkirchen who contributed to this quilt, thank you.  :) 

And so it's time for my stories to end, thankfully I've gone on to piece better, quilt better (and funnily enough, they seem to have got much bigger too!) and gather stories along the way.  To me, it's these stories, memories and associations that make the quilts special.  No matter what we stitch, somehow we always manage to stitch a little (or a lot) of ourselves into our quilts making them true gifts of love. 

Madame Samm, thank you for having me over again, and for allowing me to take a trip down memory lane  :) 

Happy Quilting!