Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#7 Guest to our Wantobe Quilters Campaign..No licking this Screen ( restrain yourself) I could not!

Hello all you Wantobe Quilters and all you Wantobe paper piecers. I'm thrilled to be invited back to Stash Manicure for this awesome Wantobe event! My name is Anne and I am also known as Freeze Frame here on Flicker, ( you can view many of my creations)  When Madame Samm asked me to write a tutorial for paper piecing, I thought to myself "ugh, a tutorial". I've never written one before and I applaud those of you who have. Like so many others, I feel that I have discovered several steps to "easier" paper piecing that I simply must share. I'm much better at teaching in person, so bear with me on this... Are you ready? Would you like to make this?

I first discovered paper piecing as a sure way to sew perfect quilt squares with perfect points because I did not at all like the idea of cutting all those little pieces and stitching them together just so and perfectly...I knew that wasn't going to happen. Being inflicted with the "perfectionist" illness without the patience for it, traditional quilt blocks were not going to be in my future. But I also was drawn to how many perfect little cutsie designs could be created with paper piecing. I can applique endlessly, but having the designs with stitched-in seams was very enticing for me. After laying out a small fortune for books and patterns, I was initially disappointed that nothing was coming out perfect! AND, I was spending way too much time with my seam ripper and getting such poor results. However, as usual, persistence pays off and I discovered little secrets and tips that have made paper piecing easier and quite enjoyable. So much so that I've even taught myself to make some of my own patterns. So, without further ado, let's stitch up my ice cream cone pattern.

First, get your pattern on paper that you will stitch on. You don't need fancy paper...I use regular 20# copy paper. This pattern is in 4 sections and you may be thinking that it's too complicated for a beginner...NOT!...with my tips for you, there is no such thing as a complicated paper piecing pattern. (At least that's how I feel about it now.) Cut the sections apart...don't be precise, just cut outside the seam allowance line.
Gather your fabrics. These can be from your scrap bin or you can make new scraps. I use both, depending on whether I have scraps for my plan or not. This particular pattern needs more background fabric than ice cream fabric so I just have chunks that are large enough for each scoop. But for the background fabric that will require several sections within each section, refer to the next photo.

Take note of which background section is the largest and about what size it is at it's widest part. Then add maybe a 1/2" to that measurement and slice a strip off your yardage to use for all your background pieces. Again, no need to be preceise...you'll have the whole lenghth to work with if the short end is not wide enough. Now you're ready to start stitching. Set your machine stitch length for a shorter than usual length. I normally stitch at 2-1/2 so I stitch paper piecing at just under 2.

It doesn't matter which section you start with. It only matters that you sew in numerical order with each section. (Even this rule can have exceptions, but for learning purposes, let's stick with the numerical order rule.) Take your cone fabric, lay it wrong side to the plain side of the paper being sure it covers past the cone lines. This is the only time you will want to hold this up to the light to be sure it covers. And you don't need to give a hoot about straight of grain...love that! Next...

...and here's where life gets really easy...(and every section you sew here after will be done this same way)...hold your pattern facing you with the next number section above the previous number section that you placed or just sewed. With your thumbs, mark each end of the sewing line. Fold it forward enough to see that you will place it on the right side of the background fabric strip with enough for a seam allowance showing and that there is still background fabric going past each of your thumbs. You need at least an 1/8" of seam allowance. Everything after that will get cut off. I usually allow about 1/4". Bring everything to your machine (the photo just shows the seam allowance you will have after sewing.) Keeping your pattern and two pieces of fabric in that position lying flat to stitch on the paper pattern line.

Now, some patterns end up with a pile of seams all in one place...such as a pinwheel...and you will want to press your seams open rather than to one side. If you want to press them open, you cannot sew all the way across the seam allowance. I always make only one stitch in the seam allowance (this also helps for trimming 1/8" seam allowances which in turn keeps fabric bulk at a minimum. Stitch on the line and at the end, sew only one stitch into the seam allowance. Now for trimming...

Flip the sewn section over to the fabric side and trim "all" the fabrics in that seam allowance to 1/8". (Trim them all together, not one at a time) DO NOT CUT THE PAPER! Now here is where I can't believe I didn't take a pressing photo...but open your newly sewn piece and press it back over it's seam allowance. It is said that you only need to finger press, but that isn't pressed enough for me. I use an "iron on a stick" (Clover mini iron) or my regular iron. Then from your pattern side, chop away the excess fabric outside the seam allowance.

Now find your next number, hold the pattern so that number is at the top and repeat the above steps until there is fabric behind every number.

Now getting the sections ready to be joined...

When you photo copy a pattern, there is every possibility that it won't be the "exact" size as the original. So even though I draw a 1/4" seam allowance around my pattern, I still cut that 1/4" allowance by the measurement of my ruler...it usually cuts just outside my drawn line. Now we're ready to join the sections...but first, a few helpful extra tips to get you through the paper piecing process even easier...

Many times a necessary section will only be sewn in by a couple of stitches. After stitching be sure to hold the stitches in place as you pull the stitching away from the presser foot to cut your thread...otherwise you'll just pull them right out.

Don't worry about how much fabric you have in your seam allowance when your sew a piece in because you will trim away all but an 1/8" anyway. These chunks you cut off can be used for small sections as you go along.

You can see in my example that my top scoop fabric is way more than I needed. I actually changed the direction I was going to use it in, but as long as you end up with your fabric pieces extended past the sewing lines, too big is not a concern...too small is a major concern. You can hold your work up to the light to check it if you need to.

And this next one is important because a mistake will no doubt happen at some time...

Remove your stitches carefully, I would suggest one at a time so as not to disturb the paper. 20# copy paper is pretty tough, but if you use something lighter, be careful not to tear it...too much. When you resew the line, stitch in the same exact holes...and I say this, because if you still don't sew it correctly...because I probably got distracted :-)...and you need to take the stitches out again, your paper pattern will remain intact.

Now we're ready to connect out sections...

I join these sections from the bottom up but it doesn't really matter which order you do them.

The seam joining the cone and the first yummy scoop is a straight seam, so you just line them up and stitch all the way across. Be sure you've sewn the right seams together...then before pressing them, I remove the paper in the seam allowance. Fold it over, then tear it away. You can now either press the seam to one side or press it open.

Now for the angled seams. These are the ones that really got to me and made me cringe when I saw a pattern in sections. I could never get them right until I finally figured out how to easily...

Lay the sections together the way they go. Push a pin through the corresponding seam line corners of both pieces being sure the pin comes through both corner points. Hold the piece so the pin is straight across...this will keep your two sections exactly as they need to be. I wouldn't pin the sections together because once you angle the pin, the sections will slip slightly apart. If you're trying to match points, you won't be happy about that! Get the piece into sewing position before removing the pin at the end. It really isn't difficult, just be sure it stays where you want it when you begin to sew. You can even touch the seam allowance lightly with a glue stick for an assisted temporary hold. If your design requires matching a section in the center of the piece, poke your pins through those matching spots rather than at the ends. Stitch, check your match, tear the paper from the seam as you did previously and press.

Sometimes with angled seams (and in the center of pinwheels) you'll end up with too much seam bulk. By not stitching all the way through your seam allowances (as previously mentioned) you can press part of the seam open and the rest can be pressed to one side. When seams overlap, you can press the bulky sections up and down as shown below.

Now let's tear away the rest of the paper...

Work from the outside to the inside. Fold the paper up on the stitched line then tear away. The inside pieces tear away easier. I like to use tweezers with teeth to grab small pieces. It doesn't really matter if every tiny bit of paper is removed.

You can get a copy of pattern here, I just loaded it to google documents) thanks to Annie for adding this ...)

To finish off the top and bottom, I've sewn on a sash piece. I turned this tutorial piece into a postcard because I promised Madame Samm a tutorial on my postcard binding. Watch for that in the near future.

Your paper piecing patterns can be done in any size you want them just by reducing and enlarging the pattern. The lime sherbet cone is at 50% the size of the original. Just remember when you reduce and enlarge that included 1/4" seam allowances will not be at 1/4" anymore.

I more enjoy the smaller paper piecing projects than the full size quilt sizes, but any size can be sewn in the manner as I've shown above. If I've left you still feeling you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Following are some of my paper piecing projects.

Make mine a triple scoop please..

Nosey Parkey Meow!

This Bird is Paper Pieced!

Spool, don't you just love the wee scissors?

Wonky Christmas Tree

Madame Butterfly

Madame Samm wanted me to send this to her to FRAME.
( do you think she would ever send it back? ) lol

Thank you so much Madame Samm for this opportunity to share. I love it when I learn something new, so I hope I've been able to make paper piecing just a little easier for those that have been frustrated by it in the past. There are so many phenomenal prizes that will be given away for this event, I wish everyone luck for the winnings!

Editors note:

Really Anne when I grow up I want sew much to be as good as you....lol Thank you for an amazing tutorial.

Our giveaway today is from Robert Kaufman
this collection by Betz White
( check out a sneak peak of some of her collection here)
is not even on the market yet,
( due out in November)

But we have some to giveaway
24 fat quarters 
and  some interfacing and fusible batting 
for making mug rugs, postcards, place mats and purses
and this is compliments from 
( another great sponsor)
Their link is on the side bar to all what they are sponsoring.

This is for all of our QUILTERS.
sew yes this will be yours for the asking..
All you have to do is go here and visit 
#1 Anne on her Flicker ( she does not have a blog)
 but leave her a comment on any of her talent pieces she has created
tell us you did sew..
#2 BE a follower here ( of course you are)
and thank our wonderful sponsors
who make this possible..

#3 OHHH thank Anne too please...
( all these tuts will be highlighted in out tut files on the
side of our blog) 

Winners always announced at 12:01 AM
except for Fridays; they are announced 1t 8:15 pm

I am ..

6th Winner(s) of our Wantobe Quilters Campaign

Congrats Liz 
and your sponsor blog is Amy Diary of a Quilter.
( big prizes -big wins)

Liz you have won this Janome HD-1000 
( look on the right side of blog you the link will take 
you right to their website sew you can read more details.
Please send me your details Amy 
shipping name and address

And Amy you have won this SMART OLISO Iron
All the details  all are here ....
and you can link on the side bar to their site. 

Big thanks go out to both JANOME 
and OLISO for being generous sponsors.

To Nan for her great post yesterday and for YOU
for being part of all this..

( we have even more machines and irons to giveaway
sew spread the word,  there are daily giveaways
and you can win every day for 12 more weeks..)

Monday, August 8, 2011

6th Guest of Wantobe Quilters ...Nan with ....Janome? Sure! I know you!

(Brief intro to our one and only Nan.
Nan is by far the funniest guest Quilter we have ever had.
She is also the one guest we have on every month ( no exception)
 You will soon know why when you read her. She is like our very own 
Erma Bombeck. ( for you young ones, Erma was featured
everywhere in newspapers and magazines. She would spew about the details
of what it's like to be a woman, in such a funny way.) 
 How lucky for you all to be able
to say HELLO to our  Nan  and tell her-keep us laughing
as only you can do) 

Hi Samm!  Hi Everyone!  It's me, Nan, of Pots and Pins...back again (thanks Samm!) to talk to you about power tools...electrical machinery...things with plugs, lights, and real motors!!  Oh yea!  The mister can wield a weed whacker with skillful precision, and can vacuum a lawn like nobody's business (I realize that's not something every man would dare to admit, let alone be proud of, and I'm here to tell you it's not a pretty sight!  Especially if he takes his shirt off!  When our neighbors first witnessed this odd behavior they thought it was so entertaining they pulled up lawn chairs to the sidewalk and sat and watched him!)

Power tools come in all shapes and sizes, and it's been my experience that the mister's power tools have a life span of about one summer, at least that's what he tells me when he brings home new tools on a yearly basis!?  But my power tools...the ones I use every single day...the ones I depend on and have come to love...well, we have a special bond and I could never just toss them aside for a new model.

The Old gal...she earned her retirement!
My all-time favorite power tool is my sewing machine!  And believe me, it's got power!  The power to create!  (You'll never hear that said about a weed whacker!)  My love affair with my sewing machine started in 1980 with $200...I purchased a Singer machine, plugged her in and for twenty years she was my constant companion.  Oh the things we made together!  Baby clothes, maternity clothes, draperies, bedding, dresses, tablecloths, dish towels, dolls, gifts and of course, quilts - and really, you name it and my Singer sewed it.  So it was a very sad day when we had to say good-bye to each other - at her last check-up the technician said if she'd been built with an odometer she'd have well over a million miles on her!  After twenty years of abuse use, it was time for a new machine.
I love toy sewing machines - especially if they work!  I've only got 4 in my "collection" but I hope to collect more and more...can a collection ever be too big?!?
So twelve years ago I went with some friends to a sewing machine store in Seattle...it was sew exciting!  I had no idea what to get and as I walked around the store, looking at all the different models, my friend was reading off the names of the different machines...Bernina...Pfaff...Brother...Husqvarna...Viking...so many choices!  Then she said,  "Janome?"  And it caught me off guard...I laughed and said, "Sure, I know you!"  We had ourselves a good laugh...except that everyone was laughing at me because I had never heard of Janome before - I thought she said Do You KNOW me!

This little baby really sews...and don't you just love the pink color?!  All sewing machines should come in colors...are you listening sewing machine makers?!?  I'd like Hot Pink or Lime Green...or Fuschia!!!

Well, I've heard of them now!  And because I can't keep this in any longer...Madame Samm has something really GREAT to give away TODAY!!!

                                 A JANOME SEWING MACHINE!!! 

Okay, okay, now that I've spilled the bobbins, I'll give you a minute to calm down and let it soak in while I tell you my:

Top Ten Tips For Keeping Your Sewing Machine In Perfect Working Condition:

#1.  Most problems with sewing machines have to do with the thread.  Use good thread and save yourself some $$$ and headaches.  Make sure the weight of your bobbin thread and your top thread is the same, so your stitching will look better and to avoid thread issues.  At my local sewing machine shop, the technician told me, "A sewing machine is just like a lady's body, if her top half matches her bottom half, then she'll look better...and so it is with the top thread and the bobbin thread!"  She actually said that...in all sincerity...with a sweet smile on her face...I almost choked to death trying not to laugh out loud!   One more thing about thread - never wind your bobbin thread by hand...I know someone who dropped her bobbin and it rolled and rolled and then she sat forever re-winding her bobbin...when she started to sew it was one broker thread after another!

This is one of my very favorite pieces of furniture...an old treadle machine that I found at a garage sale years ago.    I tried sewing with it and discovered I have no rhythm whatsoever!  It's all about rhythm and timing...two things I'm lacking!

#2.  A little brush can be your machine's best friend.  Keep one or two handy to remove threads and lint build-up around the bobbin cage...I have three brushes that are always next to my machine - they work great at removing "dust bunnies" from the machine and straightening an errant eyebrow hair! Hey!  A girl's got to use what she can when she can!
A can of spray air works great, too, but only use it in the bobbin area, not in the upper part of the machine!
#3.  Change your needle as often as you change your underwear.  Okay, not really, but you get the idea...if you can't remember when you last changed your needle then it's definitely time.  Keeping your needle sharp does nothing for your sewing machine, but it will do wonders for the fabric you're sewing on!  I put in a new needle with each new project.  One project, one needle...and remember the flat side of the needle always faces the back.

#4.  Don't let your machine sit in front of an open window.  I know this may seem like a no-brainer, but my old sewing machine sat on a desk right in front of a window...which I left open for most of the summer.  As the temperature changed from day to night, so did the humidity, dampness, direct sunlight, etc., and so did the inner workings of my machine.  Sewing machines have metal parts.  Metal rusts. Rust = expensive repairs.  IF you sew with the window open, make sure you close it at night or...

My roosters seem to be going the wrong direction!  Story of my life!

#5.  Cover your machine when not in use.   Keep dust away from your machine, they are not compatible.  If your machine didn't come with a cover - make one for it out of your stash!  Go to my blog, click here, and you can follow along with my easy Sewing Machine Cover Tutorial...or, just use a pretty pillowcase,  it's better than nothing and works great, just fold in half and put over your machine.   

#6.  Sew on speed.  Ummm, let me clarify, we're not talking drugs here...sewing on speed means to sew using a moderate to high speed on the foot pedal.  As I like to tell my quilting students...It's okay to be fast, but not hot!  Feel free to quote me!  It's true!  Sewing along at a slow speed can cause over-heating of the machine, especially if done for long stretches at a time.  (I happen to know that the internal workings of a sewing machine operate at around 85 degrees, after just a few seconds of sewing, and the longer you've got the pedal down, the hotter the machine gets.  I'm a savant with information like this...trivia, is my specialty!)  If you're a slow sewer, work on picking up the speed, which allows for not only faster sewing, but more frequent stops, allowing for the machine to cool down...think of it as a break for you and the machine. Bet you didn't know your machine could have hot flashes!

This little beauty belonged to my Grandma Annie Merle.  She mainly used it to repair clothing and now I use it as an end table in our family room. 
#7.  Don't allow three-year olds to stuff objects into your machine openings.  If you have little kids or grandkids, (or a rather large son who thinks nothing of answering the phone in your workroom and then, while he sits in your chair and yuks it up with his buddy, he mindlessly fiddles with your machine...until you swat him upside the head!) then you know this is no laughing matter!  I was very surprised to find a wad of tissue tucked into the bobbin cage...along with a few Lego's...which I promptly removed and put in a shadow box because obviously my perfect 3-year-old grandson was trying to make something wonderful for me!!  Along those lines, don't try to fix anything inside the machine by yourself...if you drop a needle or pin into the machine, consider that an omen and take it in for repairs.  Fixing your own machine is like cleaning your ears with your elbows...can't be done...let me rephrase...shouldn't be done!

I bought this at a garage sale just so I could have it on display in the "nerve center"...my workroom - it makes me happy just to see it...and it only set me back one Hamilton!
#8.  Oil your machine every ten to fifteen hours of operation.  I can't speak for all machines here, but I'm going to anyway...ONE DROP OF OIL is all you need!  ONE DROP!  It's not like you're putting on perfume!  (For those of you who know me you're probably thinking, Yeah, She should take her OWN advice and just use one drop of perfume!  And I can say nothing because I'm a perfume slut...sorry, there's no other way to say it...got to have it...can't leave the house without, not even to walk to the mailbox!  The mister has strict orders to bury me with a bottle of perfume and believe me, when the mister's next misses shows up - no doubt before I'm even cold - she's going to have a constant reminder of who used to live here because my scent is everywhere!  I'm like my dog that way, I mark my territory!)  Back to the oil...I know where to put the oil in my machine, if you don't know where yours goes...

#9.  Read the Instruction Manual.  Really, when all else fails, get it out and read about your machine.  And then, if something still doesn't work, it's time to take it in.  Most sewing machine manufacturers will tell you to have your machine cleaned annually.  It's a good idea - like getting a flu shot - you just want everything to keep on running because IF your machine is going to break down, sure enough it will be when you need it the most.

I love the little sewing machines I have around my home - there's something so very comforting about the look of an old machine - like fresh-peach-pie-comforting...speaking of which, you'll find a recipe for the best peach pie you'll ever taste on my blog! 
#10.  Don't get tense, speak softly, don't swear, and a gentle pat goes a long way.  Yes, we're still talking about sewing machines here, although that's usually what I say to the mister as he walks out the door to work in the morning...his Neanderthal DNA needs constant reminding.  Don't constantly mess with the tension, if your needle and bobbin thread tensions are set right, you'll be a happy sewer.  Refer to your manual for help setting the tension and then leave it be!  If you must swear, please do so under your breath, most machines are quite sensitive!  And if you have to take your machine somewhere, to a class or in for it's annual physical, make sure you carry it in a hard case or if you don't have one, put it in a box...your machine shouldn't have to suffer anything more than a gentle pat!  Treat your machine gently and you'll have years and years of sewing fun! 

I bought this machine at a garage sale, too!  I plan to turn it into a lamp...not sure yet how I'm going to do that but it's just too pretty to be tucked away in my sewing room,  I want everyone who comes to my home to see it - all lit up!

Okay, kids, come visit me at Pots and Pins, I'm always cooking up something good and I'd love to have you stop by, become a follower and leave me a comment...just to entice you a bit, I am having a wee little give-away myself!  First, read below about the great machine you can win from Janome  (yes, you do!  Ahhhh, I never get tired of that!)  and thanks for reading along.

Thanks again, Samm, as always, I remain your humble servant!  xoxo, Nan

OHHHH Nan....Ü
YOU do keep a smile on my face from beginning to end! 
luv ya! 

( of course a machine

Introducing the Janome HD-1000
For our Wantobe Quilters

The HD-1000 by Janome provides super sturdy construction and easy to use features
 for a dependable and enjoyable sewing experience. Heavy duty aluminum body construction
 make this machine a great choice for the sewist looking to tackle a wide range of fabrics
 and sewing types. 14 stitches and a four-step buttonhole provide stitches for a range
 of applications. You'll even find extras like a built-in needle threader and storage tray.

Calling all Wantobe QUILTLERS
( those with no sewing machine, you have no tools,
no rulers, no rotary cutters, you possibly don't know what that purple
thang is yet lol.) Then you are most certainly a Wantobe Quilter
and you can win this...

WE choose winners every day! And you can win more than once!
Winners will be  posted always at 12:01 AM EST
( exception on Fridays, winners are chosen at 8:17 PM)

Quilters can still comment of course, just be sure
to say you are a Quilter. If you are a Wantobe Quilter
just mention your sponsor./quilting blogger you registered with..
( if you don't know any of this because you are brand new
check out the graphic with her biting her lip and click on that) 

Ohhhh I did not tell you what the blog sponsor
wins....( I know I am not telling you till tomorrow
but YOU will be glad it is YOU) 
Now go, tell your Wantobes....

Big Thanks to Janome for being our FIRST company to giveaway a sewing machine
They are reliable, and I still have a Janome
that I purchased 20 years ago, still one of my fav machines. 

Be a follower of Nan's Blog
( you just have to see her tutorial for her sewing machine cover)
I want that one...lol
PLEASE tell us you are..
Be a follower here at Stash Manicure.
and tell us you are...( we check lol)
and simply put, 
Janome would love to hear that many of you 
would love this machine! 

Thank you Janome, NAN of course
and YOU for being part of all this..