Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tool time with Corrie and her what is STICKY challenge lol ( 2 guests today)

Hello Everyone!
I'm Corrie from Quilt Taffy.
And no,
it's not taffy or Barney.
It's one of my favorite sewing tools --
the amazing Sewing Edge.

Impressive, I know.
In real life, it is purple, trust me.

It's a thin strip of vinyl that is sticky on one side
and is reusable.
Sewing Edge is from Qtools by Marci Baker.

And I use them

You place them anywhere you want
on your sewing machine to guide the fabric.

For example, you can place it at 1/4" for block piecing or
at 5/8" for garments
and it helps you
keep an accurate seam allowance.

It's great for beginning quilters because often
they don't have a 1/4" foot,
but they're ready to sew
right now.

I also use these a lot with 4-H kids & my own children.

You can use them on rulers.

If you need to cut strips or squares,
you can quickly see which line you want instead
of peering at the tiny numbers each time.

What else do they do?
They'll help you lose 10 pounds.
Just put over the opening of the box or
chocolate chip bag
& don't eat.
How easy is that?
I also find them
in child rearing.

Hey, I think that's the trick -- this
is the better way to lose 10 pounds.

To Madame Samm,
Thank you for letting me participate in January Tool Time!
It's fun seeing what gadgets people use & recommend.
The right tools can make all the difference.

We invite you to visit our blog
--we have tutorials & a giveaway every Thursday.
And come visit us at
quilttaffy.com for fabric, precuts, notions & more

The sewing edge is available on our site.

Tool Time with Barbara and the CutRite Bind Up Tool ( 2 guests today...)

Greetings, Quilters! I'm Barbara from Cat Patches and this is my first guest post EVER! Today, I'm here to tell you about a tool that saved my quilting life! No kidding. Before I discovered this tool, I couldn't finish the ends of my bindings to save my quilting soul. There seemed to be no tutorial, written, filmed or demonstrated, that could help me with my bothersome bindings. No matter how careful I was, they always ended up too short or too long. Sound familiar? I was on the verge of committing hari kari with my rotary cutter when the Angels of Binding smiled on me and directed me to the CutRite Bind Up Tool.

Here's what it looks like when you take it out of the package:

So how does this miracle of modern quilting work? Before I go on, I should say that this tutorial assumes that you can get your bindings sewn onto the quilt. I'm going to show you how to use the CutRite Bind Up tool to get a nice smooth mitred seam to finish them off . . . with no crying, moaning, shrieking, or cursing.

First, be sure to leave yourself a nice tail when you start sewing and then again at the end. I like to leave at least 10 inches at both ends, if possible.

Next, with the binding ends still folded in half horizontally, bring them together until they meet at the spot where you would like your finishing seam to be and give them a good finger press, leaving a vertical crease on each side.

Then open each side so that the inside of the binding is facing up. Using your favorite marker, mark a "+" over the horizontal and vertical creases on both the right and left sides of the binding strip.

Now you are ready for the CutRite Bind Up tool. Starting on the left, place the cross from the tool over your marked "+" so that the horizontal and vertical lines match up.

(Pause here for just a moment to admire my lovely manicure.)

Just slide the tool into position.

Notice that if you are working with the left side of the binding, the "L" should read in the correct direction. (Note that the "R" for the "Right" side is upside down and backwards because I am working with the left side of the binding.)

Once you have the "+" lined up, you are ready to use your rotary cutter to cut the excess binding strip away.

Have you ever tried to hold a tool, a strip of fabric, a camera, a rotary cutter, AND press the shutter? (Don't try this at home unless you have a tourniquet, plenty of gauze close by, and paramedics on standby.)

Next, I want you to notice that the point is cut from the lower corner of the CutRite Bind Up tool.

Once you've cut the excess from the binding strip, slide the tool up so that the bottom edge is lined up with the bottom edge of your binding strip.

Then, use your rotary cutter to cut that little corner off the bottom edge of your left binding strip.

Great! Now you're ready to start on the right side of the binding strip.

First, rotate the tool so that the "R" for "Right" is reading the right direction. The "L" for "Left" will now be upside down and backwards. The right side of your binding strip should already have the "+" marked as it was on the left side.

Now repeat the steps from before. Slide the tool so that the "+" from the fabric is lined up with the "+" on the CutRite Bind Up tool.

Then, use your rotary cutter to cut the excess from the right side of the binding strip.

Now, notice that the cut corner of the tool is at the top instead of the bottom, as it was when you did the left side. Slide the top of the CutRite Bind Up tool even with the top of the right side of the binding strip.

Then use your rotary cutter to cut the corner from the right side of the binding strip.

Now use the excess binding you cut away to wipe the sweat from your brow, and then prepare to be amazed!

Bring the diagonal cut ends of your binding strip right sides together and pin. Notice that because you've cut the little corners off each side, the strips will line up perfectly, with no guess work. Pin if you like. I prefer to pin. You might have to bunch up the quilt a little to bring those ends together, but the ends of the binding strips should be pinned flat and smooth. Make sure there are no twists in the strips and that they are right sides together.

Now. Sew the ends together using a 1/4-inch seam.

Open up your binding strip and finger-press your seam open (or not, whichever you prefer).

Then fold the binding strip in half horizontally and pin it to the edge of your quilt. It should fit perfectly if you've followed all the steps correctly.

Finish sewing the remaining section of the binding to your quilt, and you will be ready to fold it over and finish it off!

. . . And you'll walk in fields of gold.

No disclaimer here. I've been singing the praises of the CutRite Bind Up tool on my blog ever since I discovered it. I have not been compensated by the manufacturer to say any of this. My opinion about the effectiveness and usefulness of this tool are my own.

HowEVER, that didn't stop me from shamelessly hitting up the manufacturer at Quilter's Paradise for a tool to give away to one lucky winner. Do you think this is something that could solve all of your binding problems? I'm giving one away on my blog. If you'd like to win one, go to my blog right here for all the details.

Thank you, Madame Samm, for the opportunity to guest blog today!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

If it's Sunday you know it's.....

Now that I have a bit more time...
I would like to continue our special Sunday features...

How can anyone ever forget this lovely lady Susan Boyle....?

A Reminder to always keep our hearts open..
you will never what will fall into it..

see you all on Tuesday!

ps. our comments never seem to work on Sundays...winkx

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Message for you all!

Hello my dear quilting friends...

I have been trying to find a solution on how  I can manage
a 45+ hour work load in homework and still manage this blog.!!!
(  I am taking a  course in Digital Design)

1st thought was to 
close it down completely in March of this year. 
( that was not a solution..just a thought lol)

2nd  thought reduce the number of days that our Guest post which will
help me in the volume of mail. ( we are at almost 2 MILLION hits in one year) 
( that is a lot of mail from you and our subscribers) 

My 2nd thought seemed like a better solution...
Yes agree? 

SEW from this month forward, we will sometimes have 2 guests per
day on Tues, Wed and Thursdays...

This will give me time to get my homework done on my 4 days off..
( which of course is not really days off, if any of you are students) ...

I know many of you will be disappointed and I am sorry about that..
but the alternative was to close it down completely..
I am enrolled in a condensed program for just 1 year!

YOU can CELEBRATE with me, as I will be learning 
some pretty amazing creative and marketing things..
( which you all will be embracing through the months)

OR you can still stick around and forgive me for this decision lol..

See, not sew bad is it?

YOU is KIND, YOU is SMART, you is IMPORTANT to me!

p.s. Theme for APRIL

What's Cooking?

( anything that you quilt for the kitchen will be highlighted
along with a very small easy healthy snack recipe for quilters)
Sew if interested on being a Guest please let me know
ASAP. The calendar will fill up Quick...

Please contact me here if interested
madamesamm@cogeco.ca with subject line APRIL -What's Cooking!


Thank you for all of your kind notes...
Really if I had time today, I would call you all...lol
But of course that would not be possible.
Sew I will simply tell you here....

YOU matter sew much to me too!
THANK YOU SWEETIES...you made my day!

I will sleep much lighter tonight!

Tool time with Benita and her Quilting Tools from Around Your Home

Hi! My name is Benita Skinner, and in case you don't know who I am, let me introduce myself.
I'm an independent quilt pattern designer and I offer my patterns exclusively online, through my site Victoriana Quilt Designs.

This year I'm celebrating the sites 10th Anniversary!

When I saw the special tool theme Madame Samm had planned for us this month, I emailed her right away to ask to do this post.

It's always fun to buy the neat, newest gadgets for our quilting, but I adore finding uses or 'reuses' for everyday items you probably already have around the house.

This harkens back to the 'frugal' roots of patchwork, being raised by
parents who went through the depression and WWII, and also fits nicely with
my personal green off grid lifestyle :)

I hope you have fun gathering these as your newest quilting tools!

1. A Thread Catcher Tip.

Make this thread catcher to catch the thread bits that you clip or pick off your
patches as you sew.
It's easy to put together with a large covered button, you might already have in your stash.

I removed the shank on the back, cut a circle of cotton batting,
and put this thread catcher together.

Now it sits in front of my sewing machine, and magically holds the threads until I'm ready to move the batch accumulated, into a large 'tiny fabric bits' tin, which I save to stuff
pet beds (older pillowcases) to donate to my local animal shelter!

2. To Draw on Fabric or Quilt Blocks.

Use a sheet of fine grade piece of sandpaper and tape it to a cardboard with masking tape.
Your fabric does not move around and you get better results.

3. Finger Press.

Long before I got the wooden finger press you can purchase from a quilt shop
[The one pictured above was only recently found in a local thrift store,
as part of a trim/embellishment package],
I used the half of a wooden clothespin pictured...It works as good!

4. Paint Brush.

This clean, fluffy paint brush makes a great tool to remove the dust that
hides in the nooks of the sewing machine.

5. Cardboard/Box Board for Templates.

Every home uses food products that come in cardboard boxes, known as box board...Think cereal, crackers, etc. This cardboard makes great template material for your quilting.

Trace your shapes onto the cardboard with transfer paper or glue the printed paper template down, and cut out the shape with a craft knife.

6. Repurpose an Old Tin.

I really like reusing items like tins, as storage for my sewing items.

I found this tin perfectly holds my large spool of basting thread,
so I turned the lid upside down, on a piece of wood, and hammered a nail
gently through the centre of the lid.

I pull the thread through the hole, as I need it, and now the
spool stays dust free and looks much prettier!

Do you already use these?
If you have others I didn't mention here, be sure to share them in the comments below!

And now for some giveaway fun...

Visit my Pattern Page, pick the quilt pattern you would like to win.
There are many to choose from and I'm sure you will find one you'd love to make.

To enter post a comment with the name of your pattern choice on my Facebook wall.
Or you could also sign up for my newsletter, and then email me
[benita@@victorianaquiltdesigns.com] to let me know your choice.

I'll draw the winner a week from now ~>Thursday, January 12th...Good Luck!

And be sure to check out the other quilty items I offer, including
the complimentary patterns, printable quilty bookmarks and calculator charts that are available to you as a Thank You for visiting.

Plus start collecting the new design of the week available throughout 2012.


(((big hugs)))

Benita Skinner
Victoriana Quilt Designs

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tool Time with Melissa and her Rotating Cutting Mat

Hello fellow Sewing Enthusiasts!!!  It's me, Melissa from Happy Quilting.  Today I am going to share with you one of my new favorite tools.  I just got this about 2 months ago and I am wondering how I ever lived without it :)

How many of you have found yourself cutting like this.  You know, when you don't want to lift up your fabric but you have already cut 2 sides and need to cut the other 2, so you do some yoga and contort your back so you can get your right hand up high enough to cut along the wrong side of the ruler and toward yourself.  I know I used to do it all the time.

But not anymore.   Enter my new Rotating Cutting Mat.  Yup, it looks just like a normal cutting mat right.

Wrong.   It is placed on a swivel base so it can spin a full 360 degrees. Oh my goodness, I am so in love with this mat.  It is saving me some major ice pack time on my back and my cuts are a whole lot more accurate.  It is great for so many jobs.

I love using it when I am fussy cutting.

Just give it a spin.  No need to pick up your fabric and re-align it :)

My favorite time to use it is when I am cutting out a large stack of scraps.  I don't like cutting them individually because it takes to much time.  So I just make a stack and whack the first 2 sides.

Then spin my mat, align my ruler, and whack the second two sides.  It is so fast and so easy, and most importantly so accurate.

It also really comes in handy when you are trimming blocks.  HST's are so wonderful to trim on a rotating mat.  I also love it when trimming down improv pieces.  It really just blows me away how much time I save not constantly picking up fabric and moving it or trying to do that crazy yoga stretch :)

The mats can be found in 12 1/2" to 16 1/2" square so it even works great for squaring up entire blocks.  just cut 2 sides.

Swivel your mat, and cut the remaining 2 sides.

And you end up with one adorable improv block  (That I am making for a Bee member) and a not so sore back :)

This mat also has the added benefit of being super travel size.  It fits perfect inside the front sleeve of my sewing machine cover.  Easy and portable, there is a winning combination :)

So if you find yourself doing a lot of trimming, smaller piecing, improv, or basically any cutting beyond a straight Width of Fabric cut, you might find that a rotating cutting mat would highly come in handy :)

Thanks for your time and for Madam Samm for having me.  I am so glad I got to share with you one of my favorite tools :)