Friday, June 10, 2011

Hexagon Tutorial with Mylar Templates and Giveaway

Hi ya'll!
It's John'aLee
from Nashville, TN

FOLLOWER Gadget is now working...
( for those searching for these templates...
I added my link for you, to those who may not
win my 3 sets) 
Hexagon Templates

I just 'a love comin' over here and chattin' with you all!
Isn't Madam Samm the greatest for bringing us all together?

For today's post I thought I'd share one of my  more
popular blog posts.

It is a tutorial on how to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden
with plastic templates instead
of paper templates.

There's a couple of reasons why I like them so much better.
The biggest being....
one's stitches don't show through to the front
like they do with paper templates.

The other great thing, 
is once you've purchased them
they last a lifetime.
NO more cutting out your own...
or going back and buying more!

So here goes!

 'Hexagon' Tutorial

 So here goes...
 I do a lot of my sewing in the car while traveling...
so I rough cut my pieces out while in the car as well.
I cut the templates 3/8" larger all the way around the template.
Most people tell you to cut them 1/4" larger...
but with the plastic templates...
if they are cut out like that and are not dead on center...
the templates will start to pop out.
They tell you to cut 1/4" larger because
they are figuring on most people hand quilting this project when it is completed...
and any bigger than that leaves an extra layer of fabric to quilt through.
My solution....go in and trim up any excess.
Also...if you cut it at a 1/4" larger and don't have it completely centered...
you will have weak points in your quilt...
where it isn't quite a 1/4" seam.
Place a pin through the middle of the hole and back through
to hold the piece while you work.
Fold over the first corner until you have a crisp edge
and tack two tacking stitches.
(Just a basic whip stitch)
Now with the same needle and thread
travel over to the next point...
fold it over crisply...
and take two stitches at that corner...
Continue around until you come to the last point
before the edge where you started.
At this point take out the pin...
I then kind of pull it tightly
so as to pull out the indentation
from the pin holding the fabric and template together.
Go to the place you started...
take one more stitch
and knot off.

Now butt two templates up side by side
and whip together about 1/8" apart
starting at the very points of each hexagon...


Now I know I may offend other bloggers and hexagon hand piecers out there...
but this is my 'humble' opinion.
I travel across the country doing shows
30-36 weekends a year...
and I see all kinds of quilts.
99% of Hexagon Quilts....
have 'stitches' showing through to the front.
To me...
if one is going to go to all of this handwork...
the last thing you want...
is for your stitches to show through!

This is why I LOVE the plastic templates.
If you place them side by side and stitch them
instead of like the previous picture...
your stitches will NOT show through!

Add another petal to flower center and starting at the top like shown in the picture below...
whip stitch all the way down that template
as well as the previous petal you attached.
The striped piece is the Flower Center
Continue until all flower petals are added.

When you get to the last one...
it is a little  bit funky to hold it...
but this is what I do....

I stitch the petal side to the center of flower
and continuously through the
adjoining petal.

Then I go back and stitch the sides of the first and last petal together...
finishing the flower.

Wa la....
Your flower is finished...
and you can start adding the pieces all the way
around it to make a path...
The templates pictured here are 1" Hexagons

Now to take out the templates so you can reuse them...
You must always keep the templates on the outside
edge of the piece you are working on at all times... 

Once you have completely enclosed a template
all the way around with templates
whipped stitched on each edge..
you then can pull out that middle template.

I go to each one of my basting threads
that I originally secured the plastic template with...
and clip them.
This will release the template so you 
can gently take it out...
Now on this piece...
I can go take out all of the templates
except for the raspberry colored hexagons
on the outer edge...

And then you have your final unit
all completed...

These little templates are addicting.
I also  love them because
they are easy to  travel with.

And we are going to be giving 3 sets away!

And you can increase your chances by winning
by leaving a comment here...
and/or by becoming a follower or subscriber over at my blog! 

Make sure to let me know in an additional comment
if you signed up at my blog!

Happy Sewing Ladies!

OHHH WINNERS we have 3 of you who won
these Hexagon templates...

#1 is Wendi
#2 is Katie M
#3 is Roos

( all have been notified, they are sew darn excited too)
one of them has even been trying to make them...wink Katie...

Those who did not can always connect with John'alee
on the top right..she has some now in stock....
thank you to all who commented and became new followers of both
the blogs..YOU sew ROCK

comments here and there and well everywhere! lol

Blogger gave us some trouble this morning..
sew had to repost...please leave comments now..

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Felted Wool Techniques and Giveaway

Today I would like to share the easy techniques I used for making this Rose Sampler wall quilt using raw edge applique with felted wool and a hand blanket stitch. The patterns used are from my Rose Sampler Supreme book which is available from my

Thanks so much Madame Samm for inviting me and also to Deborah Brown of Burlington, Ontario for recommending me.

The background fabric I used was a black felted wool but if I did this again I think I would chose a brushed cotton or flannel as this would be easier to stitch and quilt through as it wouldn't be so thick and heavy. Cut the blocks slightly larger than the finished size that you want, for example I cut my blocks 14 1/2 inches square because I wanted them to finish 14 inches square.

Cut the stems 3/8 inches wide along the straight grain of the fabric as wool is flexible and will bend around the curves easily. The stems are cut a little wider than for regular applique to allow for the blanket stitches along the edges of both sides.

To prepare the applique shapes, first trace them onto a paper backed fusible web and cut them out roughly. Press them onto the wrong side of the felted wool using steam and the wool setting on your iron. Refer to the directions that come with the fusible web as to how long to press as this varies depending on the brand that you use. Place the shapes close together and use leftover scraps as well so you do not waste space as the felted wool is expensive.

Cut the shapes out carefully with small scissors and then remove the paper.

Place the applique shapes onto the background fabric. I lightly creased the background block into quarters and marked these divisions with a pin at each edge. Then I used my sewing gauge to measure that the pieces were placed correctly referring to my pattern as a guide. Make sure to underlap the ends of the stems and buds by at least 1/4 inch so that the ends will stay tucked under when you do the stitching.
I made a transparent overlay, such as the one shown above, to help me with the placement of the border appliques. You could also use this method for the blocks, if desired.

To do the blanket stitch use 2 stands of embroidery floss and an embroidery needle. Start with a knot on the back (this will not show as a backing will cover it later).
Work from left to right as shown, taking care to space the stitches the same distance apart and the same distance in from the edge of the all applique shapes as well as the stems. When you end off and need to start with a new thread, start stitching at the outside edge of the applique shape just inside the the corner of the last stitch so that your stitching will look continuous and the join will not be noticeable. Use a colour of thread that coordinates but does not exactly match your applique pieces--you want your stitches to show!

When stitching a point, place three stitches at the edge--one right at the tip and one an equal distance away on each side of the center stitch. These stitches all go into the same hole on the inside as shown. When stitching at an indentation on an applique shape, make sure one stitch goes straight in at the indentation.

End off your stitches by taking 3 small stitches on the back or by running your embroidery thread through some of the previous stitches on the wrong side of your work.

Press the blocks when the stitching is finished using a slightly damp light weight press cloth (I lightly spritzed the press cloth with water). and square them up to a standard size--in my case I cut the blocks finished 14 inches square.

To join the blocks together, place the raw edges butting and stitch with a zig zag stitch that is wide enough to straddle both edges. Use an even feed foot and if necessary lower the pressure on the machine to prevent stretching the edges of the blocks.

Cover the machine zig zag stitching with a hand embroidered feather stitch using three stands of embroidery floss, as shown above.

The border is joined and stitched in a similar manner.

You can also use a machine blanket stitch and a machine feather stitch if you prefer. Just be sure to use your even feed foot and lower the pressure to prevent puckers and stretching of the fabrics.

As this background is very dense and difficult to see through, I used Press'n Seal for marking my feather quilting pattern on the borders. I will be posting this method on my blog in the next few days. I hope you will visit my blog at www.quiltsbyrosemary/ to see this method. I also use this method sometimes when I decide to add fancy quilting after my quilt has already been sandwiched. It is a good method to use whenever it is difficult to see through a heavy fabric--ones that you cannot see through even with a light table or at a window.

I am a small company (just me) and sometimes I conscript my husband to help fold and package my patterns so I do not post on my blog every day. However, if you have any topics you would be interested in seeing on my blog, please let me know and I will do my best to cover that topic in the future.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today.

Rosemary  and here is my blog...
and my website to see some of my creations and class outlines  

Editors note:

Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your expertise with lucky for us to have you in our backyard -sew to speak...
As a thank about a GIVEAWAY....from Crazyquiltgirl our sponsor for today.
Her shop is known for a lot of MODA precuts and yardages and her service is one you can count on..
Today she is giving away this jelly roll Hullabaloo and I have added a couple Precensia Threads compliments of now Colonial Needle another new sponsor..I have some needles to go along with this giveaway too..

A rather nice package of goodies and as always some extra goodies can always be found in my packages...

Sew please visit Rosemary and Crazyquiltgirl ( I believe she may have a project she has done to share with you using this line of fabric)  and thank our Sponsors for keeping us in goods that we can use.

And lucky everyone..Crazyquiltgirl is also giving away another jelly roll on Monday. Stash Manicure is having  this  giveaway tomorrow...Sew you will all have 2 opportunities to win... You think you are confused? lol...

Be a follower sew you can qualify in our giveaways, I have a software that matches your email with your avatar button and all subscribers are welcomed as well.

Congrats PATTY C,
( who has already been contacted) she is very -as she puts it blessed..
and yes she is...Her package will be on its way...
To all those who participated as always, your comments
for our guests and sponsors were very much appreciated..
There will be more giveaways, you can count on it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Once Upon a Time ... with Sue the story teller, designer, author...

... in a land far away, called England, there lived a quilter called QuiltSue.   

QuiltSue spent many happy hours on her laptop drawing up new quilt designs just for fun and even had one or two of her patterns published in magazines.  QuiltSue had noticed in the past that a lot of new quilters were not confident about choosing fabrics for quilts and indeed, she herself was one of those who felt “why use 40 fabrics when I could use four” was a good motto for her.  Then one day QuiltSue thought to herself “why don’t I try to write a book with some of my own designs in and which explains how I choose my fabrics?”  So she sat down and spent more time with her laptop, deciding on her favourite designs.  Then she talked to a blogging friend, who is a several-times-published-author, called Kim, who encouraged her to send her idea to some lovely people in a land called Martingale & Company.  So QuiltSue spent some more time on her laptop writing a covering document to explain why her quilts all use a maximum of four fabrics, and she put in pictures of a selection of her designs, such as these

She sent this document to the distant land of Martingale & Company, and much to her surprise the people who lived there told her they were interested in her idea for a book.  Well QuiltSue was very surprised, but when she got a contract from them detailing what they wanted and when they wanted it, she realised they really meant what they had said.  They told her that she had six months to make twelve quilts and to write all the instructions and stuff, so QuiltSue seriously thought of panicking, until some lovely friends called Lis and Drew came to her rescue by offering to make some of the quilts and act as pattern testers for her.  QuiltSue was so happy that she had friends like these around. 

So they set to work and in 6 months time QuiltSue sent a big box off to the people who lived in that far off land, then she sat and waited nervously.  “What if they don’t like what I’ve written?” she thought.  “What if they don’t like the quilts?” she worried.  Then one person, called an editor, emailed her with some questions about some of her instructions and was very nice to her.  The editor also introduced her to someone else called an illustrator and someone called a photographer and then all the pages with QuiltSue’s instructions and diagrams and so on were sent back to her to check.  Once QuiltSue had received them and checked everything, the editor sent them to someone else to lay them out into proper pages like a book.  This part took about another three months and then QuiltSue saw what were called page-proofs.  QuiltSue and her friends Lis and Drew now saw just what the final book would look like.  Once QuiltSue had checked everything again, all the pages were sent to some people called printers, who turn it all into a real book.  This book is called Pick Four, 
and will be available from 12 July, which QuiltSue is very excited about.

I would like to thank Madame Samm for inviting me to write a post here and to finish by encouraging everyone out there to have a go at writing a book too.  After all, if I can do it, so can you.

Editors note....And Sue, what a lovely fairy tale and an ending that is befitting a celebration...We all look forward to your launch date...

Sew why don't we have  a Happy Scrappy Day and with a bonus of this Scrappy Basket Pattern...?
2 patterns - compliments of our delightful Amy Bradley, who has been our sponsor for some time now...
Check out her latest designs...these being just a couple...

To win...Go to Sue's blog and become a follower..( she would love that) 
Go to Amy's Blog and be a follower there too
and let us know leaving  comment and I will throw in some goodies
such as note cards...

How is that for a celebration...?

If you were to choose 4 colors for a quilt, 
what would your 4 colors be?

These are your prizes....

A winner from Brasil....
Coisas da Laura
yes you my dear. you lucky lady...
this package is pretty amazing..
AMY"S pattern are the best...
To all those who participated...
ohhhh come back again..
I think there are more giveaways
very soon wink...

note cards

Winner chosen tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

String it....

Thank you so much for you kind comments. I will pick a scrap winner sometime on Tuesday.
The winner of the scraps is
"The One and Only!"
is not me or Mdm Samm
it is a person. just don't know her name

Pot Holder Scrap Buster......Hi, My name is Jane and my blog is Jane’s Fabrics and Quilts. I am thrilled to be able to post a scrap project for you today. Thank you Madame Samm for this privilege.

The inspiration that we receive from the blog is unimaginable. I see such talent come pouring forth from these pages and from the guests. I only hope that I can “at least” hold your attention for a few minutes!!

I know we all love fabric but I just adore scraps!! If someone is selling a bag of scraps, I am there!! I think sometimes fabrics can be over looked; the print is too big, the color is not right; the print is too small, too geometric, too modern, to vintage, etc! But, just a small scrap of that fabric can work wonders!!
I love to paper piece and I love to make string blocks. The technique I use is not mine, it is not unusual, it is just what I find works for me. You may make them another way and that is super! The idea is for you to use your fabrics and have fun!

I decided to make a pot holder with a paper piecing method.

Now I know there are special papers made for paper piecing but I just use my good old printer/copy paper. Make sure you set your machine to sew a very small stitch length. This will make it easy peasy to take the paper off after sewing. I also use the same needle in my machine for paper piecing, as it can become dull. So change your needle too!
This block can be made with muslin as the foundation, but I do not like the extra fabric, especially if you plan on making a quilt. I would find it hard “for me” to hand quilt through all the layers. As I do not machine quilt, I can only speak for myself.

OK let’s get started…..

Decide how large you would like your pot holder, I decided on 7 inches. I cut my paper 7 ½ by 7 ½, a little larger so I could trim it to the exact size I wanted.

Next get out your scraps!!!!

I thought it would be fun to just reach in and grab a piece of fabric and begin to sew!
Grab one, do not look or match or fuss, if it is not long enough attach two together for the desired length.

For this Piece ONLY lay it right side up diagonal in the middle on your paper. If you want you may use a touch of a washable glue stick to hold it in place, or a pin. I however, wing it!!

Next GRAB another strip and place it right sides together with the first strip, sew your ¼ inch seam as usual going through all the layers.

On to the ironing board and iron the piece to one side.

Keep adding pieces of scraps

until you have one half finished. This is how it will look.

Now we will do the same to the other side, you will have to flip it around!

Start from the middle again, by putting a strip right sides together and sewing.

Iron each piece as you did before.

Fill the second half and your block will look like this one.

Now flip it over

and trim the fabric from all four sides

Here is your block!!

Remove the paper; it is easier to remove it if you give the block a little tug from corner to corner. The paper will come right off!

Next step….
For a pot-holder I use insule-bright batting. It is made for pot holders, placemats table-runners anything that will be exposed to a hot item.

There are many foods of thought as to how many layers to use for a pot-holder, I do two layers. The choice is yours. You can also use regular batting, but I would then do more than one layer.

Cut two squares of batting 8 by 8, set aside.

Now cut a background for your pot-holder 8 by 8 set aside.

You could also make another string block for the back!!
Reversible, how fun would that be!!!

Layer your pieces

Backing WRONG side up.
2 layers of batting
Top RIGHT side up.

Prepare this for quilting as you would a quilt. I baste with small safety pins, but with this being a small project, and not knowing how to machine quilt, I am going to use straight pins.
I hope you wonderful machine quilters do not think less of me!!!

Quilt as desired! Again, I do not machine quilt but thought this would be a great time to give it a whirl. I started in the middle and just straight stitched from one corner to the other. The opposite direction of the way I made the block, I quilted the width of the foot on the machine! to the corner, flipped it and did the same to the other side.
Not to bad for a hand quilter, if I may say so myself!!

Trim it to size.

Next binding.

I am not going to even attempt to show you how to bind, to be honest I still have to check myself. I really just do not get it!! I have a wonderful friend who puts my binding on for me! This is how it looks when I do it!!

Maybe we could get someone to show us some different ways to add the binding.

Or a tutorial on adding grommets!

Anyway!!! Here she is in all her glory!!

Last idea; this is a 12 inch block I made for a swap; it was made using four 6 inch pieces of paper. You could make a potholder using four 4 inch squares and it would be really scrappy.

I am also working on a string quilt. I made quite a few string blocks then asked the gals in one of my bees to make some for me. I used white for each of the middle strips, to give it a secondary pattern. Looks like I will need to make a few more to get this quilt to a super nice picnic size. Oh nuts, I will have to make more!!!!

The whole point to this post is never; ever throw away your scraps!! Or if you do not want them, I will send you my address!!!!

Giveaway…I thought it would be fun to giveaway a “pile” of my scraps (just in case you do not have enough fabric) so you could start to make some string blocks yourself.
Hop over to my blog and leave here and on my blog...and I will be happy to pick a name.
International comments are always welcome!

Have fun!Grab the Sew We Quilt @ Stash Manicure June button for your blog, it is a beauty!
And thank you for reading my post!!