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!


PERSONAL NOTE:

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.

Enjoy!

(((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 :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tool Time with Christine and her DIY Supersized Ironing Board

If you would like to be able to lay a ½ yard of fabric out and iron it all at one time without having to move the fabric; you are going to LOVE THIS TUTORIAL!  I ran across an ironing board similar to this and thought “WOW that would be awesome to have...I bet I can  make one of those.”  It is one of my favorite tool/items in my sewing room.  You can make one of these too, and you'll be surprised how easy it all comes together.  Easy peasy! *wink*


(Yes, that's a 15 inch ruler laying on that ironing board with room
all around it)


First, before we get started... I want to give Madame Samm a Big THANK YOU, for having me on Sew We Quilt.  I have learned so much from all the instructors on her blog.  We are so lucky to have this site, and all need to give Madame Samm a Big SHOUT OUT, WHOOp WHOOp!!!! 

A quick little bit about me...My name is Christine,  I am married to my best friend.  My husband and I are proud parents to three furry children 
(2 cats and a boxer puppy - they all make cameo apperances in my quilt pictures).   When you don't find me at my sewing machine or computer, you will find me flower gardening in my yard or camping somewhere in the wonderful Pacific Northwest.  


I am fairly new to blogging and my blog is called, Quilt Monster in my Closet
Please visit anytime...I’d love to have you stop by, share ideas,  or just say Hi!  I am excited to be here at Sew We Quilt and share this tutorial, it is my first time
 guest blogging. :) 
If any questions come up… Please let me know. I'll answer them ASAP. 
Enjoy.
 
  

Here is a list of supplies you need: 
                    *Your existing Ironing board
(with old cover removed)

*Tape Measure, pencil, saw, drill with smaller than wood screw drill bit, staple gun w/staples and a screw driver, hammer and/or brad nail gun.


*A piece of ¾ inch plywood cut 20 inches wide and  6 inches beyond the length of your ironing board CLOSED. 
(my example is for a standard ironing board and it’s cut 63 inches x 20inches)

*7 fender washers & 7 wood screws

*2 (10 ft) sticks of
¾ by ¾ inch wood (for finishing)
*100% Cotton Batting    (I used scraps I already had)
*2 yards of fabric (You can choose whatever color you want…Dress it up or dress it down)
*Finishing Nails 1 ½ long amount varies.  (fyi..I used a brad nailer instead)



Okay Let’s begin assembly. First mark the top of your board and lay it face down.



Lay ironing board face down on top of the plywood. 
Center ironing board on plywood and mark where you will be 
mounting the wood screws to the ironing board.
(I marked 7 total-  one at the tip…and 3 along each side of ironing board) 

(Mark the ironing board also,... a lot easier to realign later.)
         Now remove ironing board and pre-drill your holes…
this step makes securing it easier to at the end.

(if you drill all the way thru..no worries, you will be
covering it up with fabric)
   
  

Next … Take your  ¾ x ¾ inch sticks of wood, measure and cut the lengths to match the plywood length.   From the left over cuts, measure and cut for the short lengths to fit in between the long sides… IMPORTANT >> DO NOT ATTACH YET!  Put aside for finishing! 
(Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this step.)





Next…Cut 4 layers of batting an inch or so larger than the
size of your plywood.  
The extra will wrap over the sides and give a cushion along
the edge of your ironing board



(I notched the corners of two layers so that I wouldn’t have super bulky corners.  I hope you can see that in the picture… it was a sunny day)   

 
Now…Clear off your table and lay your fabric so that the
Right Side is facing DOWN.
 (WARNING…*Wink*.. there is going to be a bit of fabric waste, I know...I hate waste too, but you’ll want enough fabric to hold onto  when pulling and stapling.  That way you will get a tight fit across the board..I did trim 15 inches off the length of fabric before doing this.  A good size scrap for later. *wink*)

Next lay your batting layers on top of the fabric…
 and
 lay your plywood so that the side marked TOP is face DOWN.

Pull the fabric over the plywood just like you are upholstering
a chair and staple.
(Be careful to not shift your batting)

Staple the fabric about ¾ of an inch from the edge. 
Remember you will be covering the staples with
the sticks you cut previously. 


 When you work into a corner, fold the fabric like you are wrapping a present. 
Once you have the fabric securely stapled, trim excess off. 
(Be sure to not trim too close to staples)  


When all the fabric is trimmed, go thru with a hammer and give each
staple an extra tap to ensure that each staple lays as flat as possible. 



Now you are ready to attach the ¾ inch by ¾ inch pieces. 
Lay the sticks on top of the staples. 
Be careful not to hit a staple when finishing. 
 I happen to have a brad nailer and it was quick and simple,
but if you don't...
use finishing nails and tack the sticks’s down with a hammer. 





Now that the edges are attached...
You are ready for the last step.  (Are you excited yet??)

Position the ironing board over the pre drilled
holes that were made earlier.


Secure your new cover to the ironing board with a wood screw
and fender washer in each of the pre-drilled holes.

















You are now ready to flip over your ironing board and enjoy
how much bigger it is. 



CONGRATULATIONS...
You now have an awesome "Supersized" Ironing Board that
everyone you know - who sews - will be jealous of. 
Be careful...you may have to make one of these for a friend, I did.

I hope you enjoyed my first guest tutorial.   In honor of the special occasion, I am having a giveaway over at my Blog... One lucky winner will win a bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press to start their new ironing adventures. 

 Check out Quilt Monster in my Closet to see what the
giveaway question is...  
 Leave a comment here for an extra chance to win :)
Winner will be randomly selected.

Again, Thank you Madame Samm for having me on Sew We Quilt, and I look forward to more sharing and learning with all my new internet friends.

Happy Quilting…and...Happy Ironing ;) 

Christine L

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Behind the Seams with our January Banner Winners...sadly goodbye December and 2011


Yes there was
  Christine and Nan, Marsha and Anne Marie
and by far one of my most favorite Banners of the YEAR.
YOU  made our December sparkle with delight...
Thank YOU for making it a very special month...
will miss you !
Hope to see you all again!

And now for our JANUARY Winners
Oh look at them all...

Our theme was January Blues...but this
collection will do nothing of the sort...
This month  will actually lift you up in their stories
and their creativity...
( there were 243 entries and all of them were unique,
striking, sew thank you for sharing a bit of YOU with me...
Please keep entering- love to see your quilt here someday
 BTW I never know which
one is YOURS...I just blend till I find a match..this is what
I came up with for our January...)




There is 
Sandra, Kathy, Cynthia and Mary...
* in this order
and here are their..

Here is Sandra's

I want to thank Madame Samm for picking my quilt for the January banner.
I am very honored and excited to be chosen.
My quilt was made in June 2011 for my beautiful niece
 Courtney as a high school graduation present. A special event like that deserves a special quilt.
 Her school colors were blue and white and the school's mascot is a pirate.
Most of the fabric was purchased at the Sew So Shop in Yuba City, California. The dark blue has white polka dots and the white has swirls that remind me of wind. The bright blue I had been saving in my stash especially for Courtney. It has pirate ships, mariner's compass', and topographical maps of the world all over it. The backing has little pirate skulls and I pieced the label and two paper pieced blocks into it. One block is a graduation cap and the other is a sports jersey with her #12 on it.
I stitched in the ditch around all of the blue and stipple quilted in the white. In the thin white border I quilted "softball, volleyball, cheerleading" over and over with a heart between each word. These were the sports she did throughout school. The quilt measures 54"x54".
Thanks again for the honor! =)
Sandy



 ( Kathy is MIA, not sure what happened there...)
Hers was the snowflake... kept sending gentle reminders
right till yesterday...it was then too late to change the banner!

NEXT is Cynthia's..


Hi Madame Samm,
Thank you for choosing my humble quilt for the January banner. Here is the quilt story...
This quilt started with a very humble center block. I called my friend after returning from a trip. She informed me that we were going to start a round robin challenge at our local quilt guild at our next meeting---in two days! In order to participate, all I had to do was bring a 12-15 inch block to be my center block. I was blue because I didn't think I had enough time to get a respectable block pieced. My friend said to look through my projects. She said that I would probably find a block that would work. This is the block that I found--a humble churn dash.
There were 7 participants. We did one row on each quilt, then passed it on to the next person. At every meeting, we got the guidlines for the next row. We drew a size and a technique out of a hat. Row one was 2" wide- plain. Row two was 3" wide-applique. Row three was 4" wide-plain. Row four was 3" wide-rectangles. Row five was 5" wide-diamonds. Row six was 6" wide-squares. We were not allowed to show the quilts until they were completely pieced.
What a lovely surprise it was when I finally saw my humble churn dash block again. It had grown into a beautiful quilt, pieced just for me by some of my best and most talented friends. I will cherish it always. I know that Round Robin challenges sometimes get a bad rap, but our experience was a very successful one. We had 7 really beautiful quilts come from this challenge.
We each quilted our quilts ourselves, then showed them again at another guild meeting.
I haven't given this quilt a name. The label on the back says...
Prairie Quilters Guild Round Robin Challenge 2010
Then I listed the Rows with the technique and the name of the special friend who did that row. The label was made on my embroidery sewing machine.
I am not able to supply a link to my blog because I am not a blogger--although I am a blog follower. I thank each and every one of you for your interest in my quilt. If I could leave you with one thought it would be this...
Do not be afraid to do a round robin challenge with some of your very best quilting friends. No matter what the finished product looks like you will have something made just for you by those who think you are special. And you may just get a real gem, like I did. I wish all of you a very blessed and happy new year!!
Cynthia in Illinois
Thank you again Madame Samm!



And now Mary's 



 Hello Madame Samm

 I just happen to have a Booklet that I wrote all the details of my Quilts in last year.
It is a great reference for filling out registrations for Quilt Show entries and times like this.  
This quilt was made as a TEST for a Blogging friend (Pam Avara, aka:Knitoid) Her Blog link is: her link
I had two grandson's due in March and April and this cute fabric that screamed BOY with V-room, V-room written all over it.  I used Kona Blue and white for the other colors to go with it.  It was started on February 1st 2011 and the top was completed February 5th. It was done sooner but when I e-mailed Pam the photo she noticed I'd assembled it wrong- I failed the Test..LOL.  I quickly un-sewed the blocks and put them back the right way and sent her the corrected picture. She designed the pattern for a Retreat she attends each year.  My Daughter from Arizona was home visiting while I was working on it and claimed it for her little one. There's a sneak peek of it at this post-post here
The finished size  is 40"x40".  It was quilted and totally finished March 21st.  I tacked down the binding while travelling to meet the new little boys in Idaho and Arizona.  I quilted a simple meander on it to look like roads to drive cars on.  The backing fabric is a red flannel with Matchbox cars on it. 

I call it "V-room, V-room for Jacob". The label is a triangle of fabric folded to a triangle and sewn into the corner.  It has the date and the Name of the quilt and Made with "Heart" by G-ma Mary Crowther. I write the pattern and source of it on the backside of the triangle.
This is where I first showed it on the BLOG.  
It was displayed at the Krazy Horse Quilt show in May 2011 also. I attatched two photos of the quilt, one with the baby on it.  Use the one you prefer.
Thanks so much for choosing my quilt for the banner. My Birthday is in January and this is a great B-day Gift to me!  I can hardly wait to tell DD #2 that her son's quilt is "famous".
Mary Crowther - Quiltingrandma

"To quilt or not to quilt, DUH!"
Thank you Mary~!


SEW here is to a beautiful month
for many reasons...
Thank you Ladies for adding your spark...



This week we begin a month of TOOL TIME....see you then