Tuesday, June 21, 2011

View your Quilts.....Pondering Pet Perils with Petunia and Peggy

Winners are now noted at the bottom of this post...Our story opens at the Purple Polka Dot Bees quilting retreat, where Peggy and Petunia are creating blocks for their challenge quilts . . .
       “My sister in Australia wanted to see my progress on my Sylvia’s Sampler quilt, so I arranged all thirty-three blocks on the floor and took a picture to post on my blog tomorrow,” Peggy said, while employing her seam ripper to fix a mistake.
       “Really?” said Petunia. “Wasn’t that a lot of work? How do you make sure you keep them all in the right rows?” 
       Peggy snorted, “The work was when I gathered up all the blocks and had to get the cat fur off of them! Maizie's really shedding now that she's had kittens. And the kittens love to 'help' with laying out the blocks!”
       Petunia looked furtively at the box of chocolate cookies strategically placed between them, wondering if she had already ingested some cat fur.
       “Yes," Peggy continued, "It is difficult to keep them in the correct rows and columns when I do that. But I don’t know any other way to do it! I don’t have room in our apartment for a design wall.”
       Petunia nodded, mouth full of cookie. Swallowing, she replied, “And we don’t like to poke extra holes in the walls to hang up a lot of stuff. Even if we did, I don’t have enough open wall space for that.” 
       Peggy glanced at the sewist in the row in front of them, and whispered to Petunia, “Why has Pamela brought her laptop to the retreat? Can’t she take a break from emails for just a day or so?”
       Rising halfway out of her chair, Petunia considered the laptop screen and reported, “She isn’t looking at emails – she is looking at a quilt! But it isn’t complete….it’s only half there!”
       The two friends left their machines and approached Pamela, who was a newer member of the guild.
       “Hi gals!” Pamela cheerfully remarked, “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, and I would love to show you what I am looking at. Pull up those two extra chairs, and I’ll fill you in.”
       As the two friends looked on, Pamela made a few “mouse” clicks and was looking at this page . . .

       “This is my Rainbow Jane quilt,” she said, “and I got tired of crawling around on my knees laying all of these blocks on the floor! This is my very own virtual design wall!”
       Peggy and Petunia were thunderstruck. A virtual design wall? Why, this could be the answer to all their design problems . . .
We interrupt our story to announce that there truly is a virtual design wall, and it is available on the web for quilters around the world! But let’s rejoin Peggy, Petunia, and Pamela (don’t you just love alliteration?!) and see what else they are saying.
       Peggy grabbed the box of chocolate cookies and offered it to Pamela, “Please tell us about this – how does it work?”
       Pamela politely declined the cookies (I think she heard about the cat fur) and went on. “This is a web site with interactive software. You can register for it, and they will host up to six of your quilts in progress at a time. It’s reasonably priced – for just about the price of a fat quarter a month, I can see my quilts “grow” as I upload blocks. And the tutorial made it super easy to upload them….why, by the time I had done it twice, I had it down pat!”

       Pamela clicked again, and opened up her personal blog. “Look here, on the sidebar. See that badge?

       "My friends and followers can click on that badge, and it will open my gallery so that they can see my quilts! No more creeping around on my knees to lay out blocks, and no more Charlie-fur on my blocks, either!”
       “Charlie-fur?” Peggy asked.
       “Charlie is my dog, and this time of year he sheds a lot!” Pamela laughed.
       Petunia marveled, “That sure would make it easier to see if I had too many blocks in one area with red, and all the ones with blue were in another corner!”
       “Yes,” said Pamela, “it helps with layout, and another thing: it helps when it comes time to assemble the top, too. I can use this as a template, and grab the correct block for the row I am working on! Look, here is my Farmer's Wife quilt, that has the blocks set on point.”
       Here is what she showed the girls:

       “One more thing,” Pamela revealed. “When I am not sure whether or not to use lattice strips, or what color to use? I just click, choose a color, and audition to my heart’s content. I can try out border colors, too, or see what it looks like with no border at all. I can try again and again, 'til I find just the right color.”

All right, I can’t stand it any more . . . I just have to tell you, the name of the virtual design wall site is “Ole Frog Eyes.”  We have implemented a companion blog to the site, called “Lilypadquilting,” so in Blogland I go by the alias “Snoodles.” My daughter, a web developer of whom I am immensely proud, created OleFrogEyes to meet a need when she overheard me talking, um,  discussing - OK, I admit it I was whining about how to show off the progress I was making on a large quilt. It was a scrappy quilt, and I had concentrated too much of a color on one side. Voila! OleFrogEyes was born!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

       I had presented our fledgling site to Madame Samm, and she graciously allowed us to demonstrate it to you on Stash Manicure today. Thanks, Madame!
       It is a great advantage to be able to observe the flow of colors and the effects of patterns as you design/construct a quilt. Often you can make adjustments that improve the overall design and feel of the quilt, before it is all stitched together. OleFrogEyes allows you to easily audition block placement, lattice colors, and border colors, with a few clicks of your mouse! No grommets, no hooks, no holes in the walls, no kittens scampering off with blocks, and no need to use a roller to remove pet hair!
       Let’s face it – quilters are becoming more internet and computer savvy every day; after all, you’re reading this blog, right? And I bet you have a camera, and perhaps you blog, yourself!
      Are you working on the same quilt as a guild buddy, or one of your online quilting friends? Demonstrate your progress by adding your blocks to your quilt in your very own gallery – watch as your friend uploads blocks in another gallery in the same site! There are two quilters who are currently utilizing OleFrogEyes to the hilt: Joy Denise and Yvette.
       Here is Joy's Sylvia's Bridal Sampler:

And here is Yvette's Sylvia . . .

       Isn't it fun, seeing the differences in the fabric choices they have made?  If they want to, they can change their lattice and border colors and determine if they really made the “right” choice for their masterpieces!
       I hope you have enjoyed this look at our virtual design wall site, OleFrogEyes. I hope that we have inspired you to consider using this site. Cruise around the gallery (Karen, PalmettoQuilter, Joy Denise and Yvette have blocks uploaded), and imagine how easily your friends could see your quilting progress! It really is reasonably priced at less than three dollars a month, so it won’t break your fabric budget!
       Here’s the part you have been waiting for – the giveaway! Five of Stash Manicure’s readers will be gifted with a free, ten day trial subscription to OleFrogEyes! (But you have to let us know that you want one! LOL)
                             1.  Just leave Madame Samm a comment here.
                             2.  Leave us one on our blog, and let us know that you want to try out this "cool tool."

       Oh, but there is one caveat: if you are going to be moving across country, participating in a week-long kayaking marathon, or leaving for the wilds of Kenya for a ten day series of raging rhinoceros photo shoots, tell us you like our site, but please let us know that you can't use it right away ….we’d love to give another quilter a chance, and see some blocks go up right away, so that everyone can admire them! (Madame Samm mentioned she might let us post again later, so you can try the site after your photo shoot in Kenya!)

Hello to our winners!!! Mary on Lake Pulaski, Irene Onderweeg, Robin of RsIslandCrafts, Helen, RazzleDazzle Quilter, and Denise/deBrat!!!
I have emailed all of you except Denise....please get in touch with me via my blog.....http://lilypadquilting.blogspot.com and give me your addy! If I don't hear from you in three days, I'll give your trial membership to another quilter! Thanks to everyone, and congratulations!


Monday, June 20, 2011

AccuStars and Stripes Pillow for the 4th of July!

UPDATE 5 July 11!!  Winners below!!!

When my blogging buddy Madame Samm asked me to post on her blog, I was just thrilled and came up with a pillow kit and complete tutorial just for Sew WE Quilt @ Stash Manicure followers.  I hope you're going to love it!

I will be giving away two of these AccuStars and Stripes Pillow kits (int'l. addresses welcome) to two lucky winners on July 4th, 2011!  Show me the love by giving me a follow and commenting about your favorite summer activity to do with your family on my newly re-designed blog at http://www.rocknquilts.blogspot.com .

Since this is Stash Manicure, I raided my stash when designing this pillow!  If you win one of the two newly designed AccuStars and Stripes Pillow kits in our give-away, you will receive the fabric, cording and instructions, along with your choice of monogram in gold, metallic Madeira embroidery thread!

AccuStars and Stripes Pillow for the Fourth of July
...an original design created by Mary Ann @ RocknQuilts

I set up my AccuQuilt cutter and picked out fabrics from my stash on hand:  gold, blue with stars and red with stars.  I had to go to the local quilt shop (where I work) to pick up the white striped material and cording, sew that must mean I need to do more shopping for my stash, right guys & gals?!?  

I just bought this AccuQuilt star die for my AccuQuilt Go! cutter and have been 'dying' to try it out! heehee 
Since Independence Day for the USA is coming up on July 4th, I decided to create a decorative 12"x12" pillow using this die to commemorate the event.

I always highlight my AccuQuilt dies with permanent marker sew I can see them easily.  Do you also do that?

I put two layers of gold fabric through the cutter (the kits in my give-away will include the pre-cut stars!)
and then....

using fabric glue, I chose a pleasing placement for my six AccuStars - five on the blue and one on the red.
(What's your favorite fabric glue to use?)

My Brother 4000D embroidery machine does 60 degree angles (your kit will include this already prepared for you!  Just let me know what three initials you prefer!)
and I increased the density so the metallic gold thread really 'pops'.

Now cut-away the excess stabilizer from behind the machine embroidered "USA"
(this will already be done for you two lucky kit winners!)

I chose a blanket stitch with metallic Madeira embroidery thread in the top and Madeira white embroidery bobbin thread in the bobbin.  

After several stops & turns, I sprayed with Mary Ellen's Best Press starch - I LOVE this starch because it never leaves behind flakes and because it relaxes the fabric and takes away puckers.
Along with my German-made Rowenta iron, my pillow is ready to put together now!

I've chosen a straight stitch middle with J foot for my Brother Innovis 4000D embroidery machine

After cutting out two 11" squares of muslin (included in my kit give-away!), I sewed around all corners and left a six inch opening on one side sew I can stuff with fluff!

Clipping the corners will make for clean edges after turning.

Stuff the fluff!  
(No fluff provided in the kits, so hopefully you have some in your stash!)

Now our front, back and muslin form are ready for the white, striped cording.

This is my wonder machine - the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0!  LOVE my QE4!!


I've measured around each side of my 12" block and cut a 3" strip of white striped fabric for my rather enormous, snazzy-lookin' 1 1/2" cording which I cut to 53" to give me enough to go around each corner.  

Rather nautical, isn't it?
(To keep cording from unraveling, be sure to keep the ends taped.)

After sewing my cord binding together, I snip and press my now one piece of binding.

Almost exactly on!
This is why I've chosen the name "RocknQuilts" for my blog - I like my stuff to 'rock'!

This sticky note is to display how the fabric will eventually encase the cording.

Here we go!

(For best results, snip twice around corners.  They will be rounded with such thick cording.)

Pinning works best, but remember to stop and not run over them.  Make sure the cording is sewn down onto the wrong right side of the fabric (learned this the 'hard' way - definitely was not a 'rocking' moment, but learning moments are good, too!)

(Switch to the zipper foot attachment so you can get as close to the cord as possible and use a left straight stitch if your machine has that available.)

Here's the little Brother Ltd. Ed. Project Runway 2000 we'll be using in the quilt shop where I work for next week's Kids Kamp.  Please visit here for an extremely cute chalkboard tote tute I created just for my class
and for YOU - the readers of Sew WE Quilt @ Stash Manicure:

To join the cord ends, fold over the left end to create a "sleeve" and 'stuff' the right, open end into it.  You will be sewing over this opening next.

Right sides together :-)

(Blind zipper foot attached.)

Sometimes I don't pin, but with this thick cording, I highly recommend it!

When finished sewing, clip the corners and turn right-side-out!  Almost done!!

Stuff your pillow form into the opening and hand-sew it shut, then...


Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans!
Happy Canada Day to all those Canadian buddies out there!
happiness to all from all lands!!

If you win one of the two AccuStar Pillow kits and are from outside the USA, please let me know how you would like your pillow monogrammed with three letters in gold thread.

As my 'thank you' for reading along, I would like to tell you that besides the two pillow kits I'm giving away from RocknQuilts at http://www.rocknquilts.blogspot.com
one of the two winners will also receive.....

Now, how can you win?!?  

1.  Please leave a comment here for Madame Samm  and be a follower if you are not already. This blog is great for  reading  posts from sewists and quilters across blogland!!

2.  Follow Mary Ann at her newly re-designed blog.

3.  Finally, please leave a comment at http://www.rocknquilts.blogspot.com about which summer holiday you love best and tell us a bit about how you celebrate it!

4.  And, for an extra chance, create a new post on your blog about this give-away, then come back to Mary Ann's blog and leave a comment about it with the link to your blog post!

Good luck to all!  

**If you don't win and really want to create this pillow, then what?!?  No fear - don't worry - that's not a problem!  Please contact me via my blog and I will be happy to create an AccuStars and Stripes Pillow kit just for you, including your own personalized three-letter monogram in gold, metallic thread for only $20 USD plus postage.  I am a PayPal certified blogger.**


Click HERE.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How a Little Old Lady....

How A little OLD LADY....

Hello my name is Freda, and I can be found here!

( I am here after one of my followers thought this would be a superb post for you ladies here on Stash Manicure. Madame Samm was so nice about it, she gave me a date right away, so I could tell you my story. It is a pretty good one too, so listen up) 
...sandwiches and pin bastes a quilt without needing to make an appointment with her orthopedic doctor.

I do arrange quilt blocks on the floor but anything beyond this is not happening!  My knees just won't allow it.  So...  I use my dining room table, a folding cardboard cutting board, and some binder clips to make a quilt sandwich!

You know the type cutting board... it's available in any fabric store I've ever been in and this is my second one.  The first cutting board fell apart after 25 years of regular use!  

Once you have the backing spread out on the cutting board, you will need some binder clips, which are available in office supply stores and may well be available in WalMart.  Look near the paper clips.
Use 7-9 binder clips to attach the backing to the cutting board.

I don't worry about scratching the table surface because there is always fabric between the bottom of the binder clip and the table.
Next, the batting goes on.  With the backing clipped down, it won't slide around and you'll be able to spread out the batting and smooth it easily.   
Once the batting is positioned, reach under the batting and remove the binder clips and reclip the batting and the backing to the cutting board.

I use additional binder clips to hold the batting and backing to the cutting board, probably 4-5 on each side and a several on each end.   The quilt top is next...

It's very nice to have the backing and batting secured as you line up the quilt top and spread it on top.

Once you have the quilt top placed, reach under the top and remove the binder clips.   Smooth, smooth, smooth the quilt top and replace binder clips to hold your quilt sandwich together.

If you discover a wrinkle...

...it's easy to remove the binder clip to smooth out the wrinkle...

...and then replace the binder clip!

After you've smoothed the layers to your satisfaction, it's time to pin!

Once you've pinned everything you can on top of the cutting board, unclip the quilt sandwich and slide it to one side.  
The cutting board will tend to slide with the fabric; however, it's not a huge problem to hold the board while moving the quilt sandwich.  The pins in the center hold things together very well.

Once positioned...smooth, clip, smooth, clip... then pin, pin, pin!  Repeat with the other side of the quilt sandwich and you're done!

I sit in a chair while doing the pin basting.... and my back as well as my knees thank me!

Editors note:
I was sew excited Freda said yes, that we just have to a giveaway to celebrate...

And today our very special giveaway to remind us all to be on the cutting edge like our Sponsor
IHAN ( I Have a NOTION) managed by our dear Kelly... her blog and store can be found here
If you are a beginner quilter, Kelly can help you with stuff you need to get started. She has notions...
lot's of them ...LIKE THESE SCISSORS..

She tells me these scissors can cut through 8 layers of cotton fabric EASILY...Can you believe that?
Now I do believe her, but I have never had a pair.lol...Sew you will have to tell me ok?

Sew what do you have to do to win a pair...?

#1 Please go and be a new follower on Freda's blog, I just know
she will be thrilled to have some new friends....

#2 Ohhh and you just have to go and say Hi to Kelly on her blog, join her on her blog...she always
has some great shares...

#3 Leave a comment here today oh how do you sandwich your quilt...? I really do want to know..
on the floor, table, the way Freda does it? How do you do that?

Winner announced tomorrow!

Congrats #21 TRUFFLE QUEEN...
sent you an email.... YOU just cut
me up! 
To all those who left comments to 
both Freda and Kelly...Thank you from
their hearts to yours.