Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot, Hot , Hot and its not the weather

Now this is Cool......... I was invited to Stash Manicure by Madame Samm and what I've learned from her is exactly what I'm all about! A Wana-be quilter with no experience required. Let me air out some details, are you ready?

She didn't really know about me and I didn't know about Stash Manicure but what a fit we are!

First of all I didn't get the manicure part of the biz because I was a hairdresser for 29 years and I only found out what a "stash" was 5 years ago. However its all making good sense now.

 You see I had always sewn from my days in home ec. class in junior high school, and continued through decorating my homes and sewing clothes and costumes for my two daughters. I have always loved fabric however was intimidated by the whole quilting "thing". Well that changed one day while in quilt store in my hometown when a very nice sales clerk suggested that I could use a fusible grid interfacing to help me put together a simple quilt. I had purchased a small bundle of 5" squares (Charm Packs) but didn't have any idea as to how to use them, but they were so darn cute, all pre-cut and color coordinated. She showed me how to use the fusible grid by ironing the fabric to it while following the pre-marked lines and then folding and sewing. I was very enthusiastic about the idea and started the new project, it all seemed to work, and before I knew it I had something that looked as though it could be a quilt. I went back to the store to show the clerk and find out my next step and of course to buy more squares! When I was ready to check out with my purchases I said to her that I would like to buy the pattern so I could have instructions to follow on my next quilt.
She informed me that there wasn't a pattern "No one would write something that simple" she said. My life changed that day, I thought to myself: If I can do this ANYONE CAN! I began to write my very first quilt pattern. May 2005

The whole story is on my website:

This propelled me into a world and industry I knew nothing about. What I did know was that there was a faster and simpler way to construct a quilt that had a finished look just the same as a traditional method of piecing a quilt and why in the heck didn't someone let us know!

Since I was a hairdresser I had a captive audience so I started showing my quilts and then I started teaching little classes, learning along the way. Everyone was successful. I was thinking of other designs and writing and sewing everyday.

So here I am solely employed with my new business Crooked Nickel Quilt Designs for the last 5 years, traveling the country, teaching classes, doing presentations and being a vendor at quilt shows and now with you on Stash Manicure.

It is one method with multiple designs. My instructional DVD ($39.00) is a wonderful addition to learning in a visual manner. The patterns have great written instructions and diagrams and photos to follow also. You see I wrote them so I could understand them, this seems to be a difficult hurdle in a lot of patterns.

The fusible interfacing we use is made by Pellon, it is printed on the diagonal in one inch squares.

When all of our projects are finished they are "On Point" (on the diagonal), the interfacing is called Quilter's Grid On Point #821. This is what makes our quilts and projects so interesting, the "On Point" look is difficult in the traditional piecing methods, not so with our technique.

I have 14 patterns varying from quilts, baby to queen size. Tablerunners and placemats, Tabletoppers, Pillow Shams, Aprons, Totes, Small dresser scarfs ( great beginner project), Bedscarfs, Christmas Tree Skirt, and Wallhangings.

You will find samples of all of these on the website,
My very first pattern is still our topseller, "And Your Point Is...with a twist". It is a random layout of 5" squares and works the greatest with Charm packs or use up your "stash". A wonderful scrappy quilt!

With our technique you do need some supplies, of course the pattern, On Point Fusible Grid #821, An Applique pressing (this is a must as it protects the fusible from melting to your iron, it also lasts forever). All of these are for sale on our website. The Pellon Fusible grid varies from pattern to pattern so watch for the sizes recommended.

Some of our FAQs are:
How do I know what side of the fusible to iron to?

One side has the glue, it will feel bumpy or rough and the other side is smooth, always have the rough side up when fusing the fabric to it.

How do I make the fusible grid larger than the width it comes 44"?

You can overlap the fusible grid, about 2", matching the grid lines exactly, fusible side up and use the applique pressing sheet to fuse the two pieces together.

What if I make a mistake while fusing?

There are no mistakes...just reheat the fabric pieces and remove while warm, it will refuse!
I'm having a hard time getting the fabric to adhere to the fusible.
There can be a couple of things to check and do. First of all make sure your iron is on the highest setting and not turning off automatically, therefore it isn't staying hot. Are you using the 10-20 second time frame for fusing? If you are still having issues, turn the fusible over to the smooth side, turn down your iron temperature and iron from the backside. What this does is it gives a more direct heat source to the glue without using the applique pressing sheet and the fabric will adhere. You must be careful not to scource through the interfacing since you aren't using the pressing sheet.
Will the fusible grid make the quilt stiff or heavy?
No, it will not. The Pellon company and I have worked very hard to make this fusible grid #821, very light weight, it will give the fabric a little bit more body but not any stiffness. It will help make the less expensive fabrics work very well in this technique.

Is there a wrong or right side to the Applique pressing sheet?

No, both sides are usable, I do like to mark on side of the Applique pressing sheet with a piece of tape in the corner so I know what side to iron on so I'm not using both sides on the fusible grid as you will get some small residue on the pressing sheet.

If I get fusible on my iron or Applique Pressing sheet how do I remove it?

Use a dry non-abrasive cleaning pad (I like the Scotchbrite brand) and lightly rub it over your hot iron and the applique pressing sheet. This will remove any build up from the fusible grid. Then take an unused dryer fabric sheet and rub it over your hot iron also. This will help immensely.
Is the fusible grid in the borders in the quilts?
No, there is no grid in the borders.

Where do I buy the fusible grid, is it available anywhere?

Check at the quilt stores near you and some of the craft stores, just make sure you are buying the On Point #821 fusible grid, don't let anyone talk you into buying the fusible that is printed vertical and horizontal. They are not interchangeable. You can always find #821 on our website store page,

What if I don't want the quilt to be On Point?

Then don't use our fusible grid and technique, but I will tell you that the on point technique is a challenging look for a quilt without the frustration of all your corners and points turning out perfect.

What is included in the Memories to a "T",  the perfect T-shirt Quilt pattern?

You will get the instructions, layout diagrams for two sizes of quilts, and the 10" acrylic template to use to trace and cut out your T-shirts with.

What if my T-shirts have a logo that is larger than the 10" template?

I picked the 10" square for the T-shirt quilt because that is the size that worked best for the layout on the 44" width of the fusible grid. It also worked out on most of the logos to get in the amount of space. You don't have to have all the printed design in the square, the person that had that T-shirt will know exactly what and where that T-shirt came from.

How many T-shirts do I need?

For the small quilt you need 12 T-shirts and 1 2/3 yards of fusible grid.
For the large quilt you need 22 T-shirts and 2 1/2 yards of fusible grid.

Do you need to stabilize the T-shirts before starting the quilt?

No, because the stabilizing will come when you fuse the T-shirts to the fusible grid.

I'm having a hard time getting the grommets in my Tote.

This is why we sell grommets on our website. They are the deepest grommets I have found and snap easily through all the layers of fabric, fusible and batting in the Totes. There is no special tool to put the grommets in with.

Now give yourself a pat on the back for sticking with me on this blog and all the info I have just shared with you! I can only hope you are thinking "Gosh maybe I can really do this" or you know someone to share this with.
 I would just like to make a difference in someone's life so they to can feel what I felt when I made my first quilt.
Remember a quilt is made by sewing together pieces of fabric and how that is acheived can be in many different ways, this is just another one, they are all made by hand and from the heart.
When you give a gift made by hand it is love.

now for a GIVEAWAY please leave me a comment here and come and see me here..
at I have a T shirt video here. and I will have a giveaway announced tomorrow.

I will give away 3 kits, includes the pattern "A Simple Point" (dresser scarf or wallhanging), fusible grid and pre-cut fabric, binding and backing.

Thanks for having me Madame Samm

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sugar Flowers Tutorial By Quilting In the Rain

Hi All! This is Jera from I'm a fabric addict from the rainy city of Seattle. My addiction to fabric is the reason I quilt - it's my way of showing off beautiful textiles! I started quilting 5 years ago and immediately got the quilting bug. I started my blog 1 year ago and found that I love teaching others to quilt, hence all of my tutorials. I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to share my Sugar Flowers quilt tutorial with you all - this is my first post on Madame Samm's amazing blog! Enjoy!

p.s. you can see finished pictures of this quilt here.

This is a great quilt to showcase your favorite fabrics. It's a simple quilt that's made up of 46 of these blocks:
In this tutorial I've also included an optional technique that shows how to turn the corner scraps into half triangle squares - these can be saved for making a baby quilt, table runner, pillow shams, etc., so long as you don't throw away those precious scraps! :) Being a fabric addict, the thought of those babies at the bottom of the bin pains me! Enjoy the tutorial!

Materials for the Quilt Top (45.5"x53"):
  • 12 fat quarters (or 1/4 yard cuts)
  • 2.5 yards of white fabric

Step 1 - From each fat quarter or 1/4 yard, cut four 8" squares for a total of 46 8" squares. Layer your fabrics for quicker cuts (e.g. as shown below, I folded the fabric into quarters so there were four layers to cut through. When you fold, press flat with an iron before cutting).
Step 2 - From the 2.5 yards of white fabric, cut a total of 46 8" squares. Layer the fabric for quicker cuts. The best way to do this is to start with one yard of fabric. Fold it in in half lengthwise so it measures 18"x44", and then sub-cut into five 18"x8" strips. Sub-cut each strip into four 8" squares. You can cut 20 8" squares from one yard. Repeat, but with remaining 1.5 yards.

After you've cut 46 8" squares from the white fabric, layer and then quarter them into 4" squares. This will give you a total of 184 4" squares.
Step 3 - Place a 4" square and align it with the corner of an 8" square. As shown below, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on the 4" square. I used a Hera marker which is a plastic tool that creates a crease on the fabric when pressed with a firm hand. If you don’t have a Hera marker, simply draw a line using a ruler and pen, or fold the square diagonal and press with an iron and then unfold.
Then, sew along the marked line.
Step 4 - Repeat step 3 for all four corners of the square.
Note: Steps 5 and 6 are optional for this tutorial. I've incorporated these steps to show you an easy way to utilize your scraps. I recommend taking the extra minute to do them. :)

Step 5 - After you've finished step 4, it will look like this. Once again, use a marking tool and mark a line 1/4" along the outer part of the stitch that you previously sewed. Repeat for all four corners.
Step 6 - Sew a 1/4" seam along the line that you previously marked. Repeat for all four corners.
When you're done it will look like this.
Step 7 - Cut the corners off by cutting along the marked lines that you marked from step 5. (If you skipped steps 5 & 6, simply cut a 1/4" seam along the outer part of the lines you sewed in step 4. Or in other words, instead of marking a 1/4" line along the outer part of the stitch as was done in step 5, cut the line instead of marking).
Step 8 - Press open with an iron, giving you five beautiful blocks! Note: the four half squares triangles will not be used for this tutorial, so you don't have to press them open right now. Use them for your next project to make a quick table runner, baby quilt, etc.).
Repeat steps 3 through 8 for all 46 8" squares.

Step 9 - Take eight of the 46 blocks, and cut them so they measure 4.25"x8". This will yield you eight end pieces.

Step 10 - Arrange all 36 blocks and eight end pieces as shown below, with two end pieces in every other row. Sew all blocks together in each row, and then sew all seven rows together.
Baste, quilt and then bind. A basting tutorial can be found here. Several quilting techniques can be found on my blog. And lastly, a binding tutorial can be found here!

That's it! And if you happen to make this quilt, I'd love it if you shared it with everyone on the QuiltingInTheRain Facebook page!

Happy Quilting!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Celebrating Summer

Hi!  Patty here from A Stitch in Time excited that my turn has (finally!) come to guest post.  Thanks for to Madame Samm for the opportunity she offers all of us to share and inspire each other. 

First, a bit about myself.  My three favorite things:
  1. My family – I’ve three kids (ages 12, 15, 18) and a have been married to my DH for almost 29 years
  2. Quilting – I love the entire process from building the stash through the whole creation process.  The projects I’ll share with you today are my own designs.  I enjoy all styles of quilting and balance between large quilts and small projects that finish up quickly.  Weekends give me time to quilt – during the work week, all I have time for is dreaming up new projects!
  3. Summer – Long hours of daylight and sunshine is one of the reasons summer is the best season.  Swimming laps in the neighborhood pool is another.  Living in NC means beautiful beaches are just a few hours away and the week we spend there each summer is the best family time. 
    My favorite time to be on the beach is early morning and then again in the late afternoon and early evening,  This leaves quite a bit of time in the middle of the day (when the sun is high and the sand too hot) for quilting.  I’ve managed to complete at least one if not two quilts each of these beach weeks and I wanted to share some of them with you.

    Lighthouse was my first large scale appliqué quilt.  I did my very best to replicate the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and then surrounded it with whimsical pinwheels.   This quilt proudly hangs over my desk in my home office.

    I had a blast creating Sandy, a NC beach turtle, last year.   I used  batik strips to create the simple quilt pattern.  The turtle is three dimensional by using an extra layer of batting.  My long arm quilter did a marvelous job adding decorative touches to the turtle shell.  This quilt hangs over the couch in our family room.

    For this year’s beach trip, my theme is Sandcastles.  The plan is to make a large sandcastle in the middle of the quilt and then use batik strips to create a pattern around the outside.  I’ve already created my quilt label for this one.

    Another favorite summer destinations is theme parks.  I wanted to share an idea I am quite excited about – a way for you to bring theme park fun into your quilting.

    On our last trip to Disney World, instead of collecting character signatures in an autograph book, we collected them on fabric.  I used a charm pack of cream colored charms. (Iron freezer paper on the back to stabilize, carry a Sharpie and a small clip board and you are ready to go.)  It was a lot of fun and we collected quite a lot of autographs.

    What to do with them?

    My mom likes Winnie the Pooh so I made her a cute Winnie mug rug for Valentine’s Day. (Poor photo - you need to look carefully to see Pooh's bear signature.)

    My husband ran Disney’s Goofy’s Challenge – a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon Sunday.  Goofy’s autograph becomes the perfect backdrop for a small quilt for his pin collection.

    What little girl who dreams of becoming a princess wouldn’t adore a collection of autographs from Snow White, Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Mulan and Belle (Beauty and the Beast.)?

    I hope you enjoyed my guest post and will collect some autographs on your next theme park trip to make your own magical memory.  Family reunion this summer?  Collect signatures and record favorite memories on fabric for a one of a kind memory quilt.

    Please come visit me at my blog A Stitch in Time.   I am hosting a small giveaway to Celebrate Summer and the opportunity to be a guest blogger at Sew We Quilt! 

    Enjoy summer!


    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    A Long and Winding Road...

    Skirt was made with my Enchanted Garden collection for Riley Blake Designs.  Pattern is  from the book "Sew Serendipity" by Kay Whitt.
    I've often been asked, "How did you get into designing fabric?" The question always brings a smile to my face, because the road I took to get here is one of many twists and turns and surprises that constantly popped out at me along the way. I've always had a love of art and creating, I don't ever remember a time when I wasn't looking forward to sitting down to make "stuff."  I used to raid my Mother's trash can for toilet paper rolls and would make them into tin soldiers or bird feeders. I loved to fold paper and create interesting origami...and I could never resist getting out my box of watercolors and make the colors swirl with the swish of a brush. 
    Flannel Rag Quilt created with my first line of fabric "Wanna be a Cowboy" for Riley Blake Designs. Instructions can by found on my blog.
    So naturally, when it came time to go to college, I decided I wanted to study art...more specifically Illustration Design.  While in school, I studied editorial design, children's illustration, advertising illustration and more.  I found that I loved playing in the details of my creations...I loved painting the backgrounds, and getting into the decorative or textural elements of the design. More than anything, I loved playing with COLOR. By the time I graduated, I thought that I would enjoy illustrating kids picture books and magazines. 
    (you can see how I still love children's motifs with the appliques I designed for this dress I made for my daughter. You can read more about the bunny designs here.  The dress itself is based on the Feliz Party dress pattern by Nancy Langdon.)
    I still love detail too...couldn't resist adding extra tiers and length to this already "over the top dress."
    However, after college, I decided to explore...I stayed in Yellowstone park for a summer and painted, and then travelled down to Colorado to explore an artist community down in Manitou Springs.  It was there in Colorado that I met my future husband.  He whisked me off my feet and we married, then moved to Japan for three years. I taught watercolor classes there, sold painted wood crafts at craft fairs, and took lessons in Sumi-e painting.  What an experience that was!  Japan is so full of color and life--it's left a lasting impression on my design eye! 
    Cowboy shirt fabric from my Wanna be a Cowboy 2 collection for Riley Blake Designs
    We moved back to Colorado where I took a job at the local Sear's Department store as an in-home custom decorator.  I had a few freelance illustration jobs on the side, but wanted more of that. We moved again to Washington and I continued my home decor job there until I decided to branch out on my own and start my own custom decorating business. While I enjoyed this line of wasn't where my heart heart was still with creating pictures, painting, designing with type, and picking color combos that were of my own choosing.

    I enjoy intense combos like this bright and bold color scheme that you will find in my Enchanted Garden collection for Riley Blake
    Then, I had my first baby, and one day while standing in the check out stand with my grocery cart, I noticed a magazine that had some cute scrapbooking ideas.  I'd never scrapbooked, but having a little wee one in tote now, seemed like as good of time as any.  I was hooked...I loved it!  So much so, I started entering contests with great results.  I won some fabulous of which was to be on the creative team for Memory Makers Magazine. I got to travel to CHA... and just before the show, I decided I wanted to create a product proposal and see if I could interest someone in my ideas for scrapbook papers.  Creative Imaginations was very interested.  I've been designing for them since 2005. 
    I can't resist adding illustrative details to applique this doll's bloomers.  This quilt block was designed for the All Dolled Up quilt that was given away at Spring Quilt Market.

    So suddenly, I found myself in the middle of an art licensing career and was starting to really like it. I started licensing my designs in other areas too.  I joined up with some local artist friends for a monthly critique group, and one of the artists there brought me a catalog for a local fabric company and suggested I contact Riley Blake.  I did just that, and presented my Wanna be a Cowboy my delight...they loved it!  I've been designing fabric for just two years, but it has QUICKLY become my favorite design outlet. Sewing used to intimidate me so much...but now I enjoy it immensely. It fits so well with the winding paths I've been traveling on...from working with fabric as a custom decorator, to my love for detail pattern and texture, my love of playing with color, and the various influences I've had through my travels and life's experiences...designing fabric seems to be a great fit for me. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to combine so many loves into one area of design. The people at Riley Blake are wonderful to work with, and it's so nice that they are only 15 minutes from my home.  
    Decadence Collection for Riley Blake Designs
    I've been anxious for August to come, as I have another new line releasing then.  It's been pre-selling in paper for a while, but the actual fabric starts shipping next month!  Yeah!  The line is called Decadence and hits on some of my Japanese influences, as well as my love for fun and funky color.  The color scheme is based off of 70's kitchen appliances.  You remember, Harvest gold, Avocado, Orange, and Russet refrigerators, don't you?  We loved them in the late 60's and throughout the 70's...hated them in the 80's and 90's and we have come full circle to that fun color scheme once again.  I updated the look of the color scheme with a modern twist...sophisticated lines, and intricate details.  This line comes with a fabulous border print that would make gorgeous edges on your quilts, bedskirts, pillowcases...or even a dress. I can't wait to start playing with it.  I'm hoping you will enjoy it too!

    If you would like to keep up on what I'm working on, or if you would enjoy creative inspiration from my creative team members, you can follow me on my blog or on my Facebook page.

    Thank You for inviting me to guest post this week!
    Samantha Walker

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Diamonds are they your best friend?

    Hello blog land, Dorian here, from RidgeTopQuilts. Today I want to talk about diamonds.
    My very favorite quilt pattern that uses diamonds is the Lonestar. 

    Using quick strip piecing and cutting, you can cut these diamonds out easily.

    Cut on the diagonal.

    And piecing is a breeze, without quite so many little seams to sew.

    Then put your diamonds together, like in the top picture.

    And add your backing pieces. Oh no!! That means you need to do 'Y' seams! Don't fear, they are not hard, they just take a little patience. I have a tutorial for you right here, if you need some tips.

    You can make a HUGE star, that covers most of your quilt. Or you can make little ones, make a bunch of them, or only a few. There are tons of variations on putting these together in a quilt. And lots of patterns for the Lone star out there.

    And scrappy? Oh yes! Use up those scraps. Here are two scrappy wall hanging versions I have done.

    Yes, I am a 'controlled' scrap user. Verses a 'spontaneous' scrap user. I like to use scraps, but also like control of where my colors are going.

    You can use strips. Or you can cut your diamonds out of small pieces and sew them together to make your diamond.

    Sew them together.

    And make your strips, put them together in the same way.

    But you can do more than just Lone stars. There's the 8 point star. Which is what the Lone star is, but the simple 8 point star only uses 8 diamonds all together. 

    You can put setting triangles on the ends, and make these fun rectangles.

    Play around, make some neat designs. You just might come up with a great pattern. Here's a fun windmill.

    Or make a border strip.

    Or you can reverse half of the diamonds, so they are pointing the other way, and make something like this border strip.

    'Phires Compass pattern by Jessica Smith of the

    You can also cut rectangles in half on the diagonal, and put four of those pieces on your diamond. Like this..

    And use it in storm at sea variations.

    Storm at Sea variation pattern by Jessica Smitt@ the Q&N

    Hope you've enjoyed playing with diamonds with me! 
    Thanks for having me here Samm, it's always a pleasure.