Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's all about heart.....( Plan B) we asked Alex to fill in...

Madame Samm invited me to do a guest post even though  I do not have a blog. Love that about her. We were sipping some coffee at her home a couple of weeks ago, she made me these homemade buttermilk biscuits with fresh blackberry preserves, (she is one heck of a baker and hostess, did you know that?) Well, this one day we got talking about all the tools that I (we) have purchased , that I thought I had to have and simply put = are useless. She thought this would make for a light topic for me to share with all of you. My name is Alex, ( short for Alexandra) and I have been quilting for ------ this many years. I hate to admit how long, since you would think I would know better. So work with me, and let's just say decades. Ok, here goes, are you ready?

Show of hands. How many have purchased this? They call it the Gypsy Gripper. I think back when it first came out it was over $25.00 and let's not forget shipping , let me add that too, total cost almost $35.00- way too much. You put this on your ruler to stop it from moving. Yep, I had to have it only to find out that little dabs of glue on the back of my ruler will do the same thing, cost for dabs of glue, oh I don't know pennies, if that. M.Samm shared with me that tidbit! (after I bought it, thanks Samm)

Next on my list was-again had to have it was this 
bobbin winder. How many purchased this? Don't be shy?

Oh dear, I  had to have this, it takes a lot of batteries, and yes it has an adapter, but by
the time I find it in my sewing room, (and the adapter, lost it)  in a box somewhere covered with piles of must have patterns and books, I had to have. ( more on that later) here it is a bobbin winder. And yes my machine ( new one) has a terrific bobbin winder, and I don't have to dig around to wind my bobbin. I think I paid $ 32.95 for this and shipping. let's not forget that I used it once! and that was years ago, I think it was the PINK packaging that got me. mmm, I am noting something here..."STAY away from  everything PINK

And  now yes the bias tape maker with all the tips.
Had to have this too!

Oh this was a doozy, you thread your fabric strips through these tips, ( which cost $10.00 for each size bias tape you want to make. Yep, I bought all 5 of them, so that was $50.00 just in tips.) The same tips in a sewing store, $2.00, are you hearing me, I sometimes don't do my homework till after. And-did I mention the machine cost me $109.00, why I know this is because I taped it to the inside of the cover? As soon as it arrived I knew this was another brilliant purchase I would regret. I did and I do and what do you know..it is not Pink but it is Orange...isn't that YOUR favorie color Samm? ( Oh, btw she has one of these too) 
( editors note, NO I don't) 

I conclude that my iron, does a better job because it gets hotter, AND I find I can do this in less time than this machine can do it. Are you hearing me ladies, you can buy 3 cheap irons for the cost of this blunder. Did I just say that? I am really talking about silly old me, for falling for these commercials. So yes, another had to have purchase- and tell me I am not the only one who purchased this?  ( besides Samm)
 editors note: I sold mine! and no not to Alex.
I am waiting. Ah, show of hands!

the tips you need to use this machine, those were all extra. !
Yep, have them all. 


Oh yes some of my magazines, and btw all of them are quilting ones. And this is just some of them. Quick calculation, each pile has around 94, (I counted them) there are 5 piles ( I am showing you) Average cost per magazine, I am rounding it off to $7.00 dollars, some are higher, and a few under that. But on average 
$ 7.00 ea. I have my calculator so the total cost per pile that I spent, because I just had to have them all is, are you ready?. $658.oo for one pile x 5. Oh just shoot me dead now! I could have purchased completed finished quilts for the cost of all these magazines- or at least kits to make one or two or three...Madame Samm said to me this would make me feel good, I am not feeling it. Ha. Ha.

Can you take some more? How about this Quilters Fabric Calculator. Again one of those gotta have me one of those. Still have no idea how to use it. Never have used it, probably will never use it. But had to have it. Cost $39.00 (no shipping with this one) NOW ask me why? go ahead and ask me?  I actually purchased it in a brick and mortar store and the owner told me, she uses it all the time.( been there on many occasions, never seen her use it)Are you listening to  this ladies, I have never even seen it on her counter, on her table, oh, but I have seen them on her display in the package!. 

So again I am not sure if I feel any better, to be perfectly honest with you-I am feeling a bit like a dope.
 Please don't ever ask me to any  market for quilters, on second hand
it would certainly give me a pass to come back again and entertain you
because you know I would be making purchases on must have tools
that I will never use. (especially if they are pink)

 Madame Samm, is this where I thank you?
I think I will feel better if I know I am not the only 
one who has any of these in their homes! Show of HANDS?

What have you purchased that you just had to have but never used?
I won't tell! Listen ladies, I won't even tell- you know?

Love Alex xx

p/s I hear there will be a giveaway that will certainly melt my heart
if I win tomorrow, these will be things we could all use...

Le'ts stick with Pellon and have a giveaway!

If you love adding stitching to your quilts 
or you embroider...then you will love this collection
of PELLON, embroidery stabilizers.

In stitching this piece....
my swinging into spring..
I used the Stitch N Tear Lite.
What I loved about it...was it was easier
to hold in my hands...I don't use hoops
when I stitch....it was a breeze to pull my needle
through....and once completed...I did not need
to stretch my linen....

This give-away  has
Sol-U-Film Lite
Stick -N -Tear
Stitch-N-Tear Lite

These can be found at JoAnn's this month

February Pellon Giveaway..

Here is what you will be getting...
1 winner. total package giveaway is worth approx $90.00
I have a few extras to add, like scissors, thread and some needles toooo.
A pattern for stitching and some linen...why not? lol

371 R Fuse and Tear
SRP $16.99
Details: This iron-on embroidery stabilizer is great for decorative stitching, appliques, monogramming, buttonholes, chartered needlework and stenciled borders.  It saves time and hassle by eliminating pinning, shifting, and puckering. The easy, tear-away removal leaves no sticky residue. 

835R Stitch-N-Tear Lite  
SRP: $16.99
Details: This sew-in embroidery stabilizer is great for decorative stitching, quilting, satin stitching, thread sketching and buttonholes. The soft, lightweight stabilizer does not pull or distort stitches during removal, making it best for projects where heat or water is not the preferred removal method.

841R Stick-N-Tear
SRP: $26.99
Details: This sew-in embroidery stabilizer eliminates hoop marks on fabrics.  Great for knit fabric, velvet, ultra suede, brushed denim, silk, flannel and nylon. There is no need to baste before using making this the ideal stabilizer to use for small areas such as doll clothes, ribbon, cuffs, collars and socks.  Easy to use application, simply peel off paper backing and apply to fabric.  Upon completion of design, tear-away excess stabilizer.

553R Sol-U-Film Lite
SRP: $15.99
Details: This sew-in embroidery stabilizer is great for edges, shadow work, lace work, bridging and 3-D work.  The water soluble removal method makes this the ideal stabilizer for delicate and intricate designs. Simply submerge project in any temperature water and the stabilizer will dissolve leaving no trace of a stabilizer.

380R Soft-N-Stay
SRP: $16.99
Details: This permanent stabilizer is ideal for projects that will come in contact with skin.  It features a lightweight, soft, non-woven texture that remains with the fabric through wear and laundering.  The stretch resistance of this stabilizer works great in open-weave fabrics, organza, netting, lycra, dense embroidery designs and free-form embroidery work. Upon completion of embroidery, simply trim away excess stabilizer along the outer perimeter of stitch work.     

Winner announced tomorrow...

What was the last thing you stitched?

Big Thanks To Pellon, for sticking with us...        

Be suire to leave comments with Alex too....our guest today@
Winner will be chosen from Alex comments too...YOU can enter there too..! Twice as many chances...

Congtatulations to Diane who won the Pellon collection, a pair of gingher scissors, Presencia threads , needles and this pattern, and frame.....
she already sent me her reply.... A very happy winner...
to all those who entered, your comments were lovely to read...Happy happy day...
And another giveaway today..

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's all about Heart and will you just look at what Cherry did in teaching us how to: Make your own fabric

Thanks Madame Samm for inviting me to share my little heart project with you all. My name is Cherry and I blog over at Cherry Blossoms. I have been playing with art quilting for a little while, and today I want to show you how I used fabric pens to make my own fabric design.

These are the supplies I used:

 high thread count fabric - I used 200 ct Pima Cotton (don't wash the fabric)
mechanical pencil
black Micron pens in sizes 05 and 005
Fabrico Dual-Tip markers in various colors
Freezer paper
Your own drawing or Clip Art
a light box - optional

For my little quilt, I used Clip Art I found in my publishing software, but you can always use any drawing you choose; in the future, I plan to make a quilt with some of my children's drawings. This is also a great way to make labels for your quilts. The markers are acid free, fade resistant, and will not wash away, and  best of all, the fabric stays soft!

I found these images 
and played with them until I was pleased with the arrangement, color, and size
for the word I used a pretty font, enlarged the letter "A"
and for the "o" used the little heart image after cropping the stem and leaves out

Next, I changed the color to grays and printed it out

Now the fun begins...
first, cut a piece of fabric several inches larger than the design
and tape it on to the paper to keep it from moving during tracing

Using a light box, trace the design on to the fabric using a mechanical pencil

Remove the paper from the back... 

To make the "coloring" process easier, iron the shiny side of freezer paper
to the back of the fabric with the drawing, this way you won't be stretching the fabric with the markers

Now that the fabric is nice and stable, start tracing over the pencil lines with a black Micron 005 pen.
Once you've done this, the next step is very important: you must heat-set your Micron ink with a dry iron.
If you don't do this, it will run when you start coloring with the Fabrico Markers

Make long, light strokes when coloring with the Fabrico markers;
you can always come back and darken any areas by coloring over them again
 That was so much fun!!!

Of course, to be a quilt, it most have a little batting, a backing, and some thread to hold it together,
and since I don't plan to wash this one, I drew some quilting lines for the wall and floor using the mechanical pencil, giving it a little bit of shading

I used white thread for the whole thing and, yeah, made a few mistakes where the white thread showed on the dark coloring, so I just went back and "covered" my little mistakes with the markers...
...Oops! don't tell!

Add a little binding and hanging tabs...

And you're all done!

You've got to try it, you'll feel like a kid again...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's all about Heart and this lady will shower you with her quilt and pillow! and pssst 2 guests today...

Let's add some colour and comfort in red!

Red is such a passionate colour and I admit it's one of my favourites, especially when I use it in varying shades to make something scrappy! Back in November, here on Sew We Quilt, I gave a tutorial to make scrappy bento box blocks. (In case you missed it, click here).

Now what can you make with a single block? How about a pillow? I 've put together a tutorial for you to make your own, including instructions for inserting a hidden zipper closure on the back and also for binding the finished pillow. {Click here}.

Now maybe you will discover that you're like me and can't stop with making one block. ;o) If that's the case, then maybe you'll want to turn (30) blocks into a quilt (60" x 72"... that is the perfect size for cuddling under with your sweetheart)! It will make up in no time, once you have your blocks ready.

Think of all the fun it will be to use so many different red fabrics together.

Plus, any extra blocks can be used to make a pretty pieced backing!

I hope I've inspired you to grab some colourful fabrics and start sewing!

I'm ever so happy to be here and want to express my thanks. True to her word, the gracious Madame Samm invited me back and once again I want to thank her for letting me share with you.

PS....In keeping with this month's theme, I recently completed another pillow in red... this one includes a heart. You can read all about it on Sew Me Something Good. Happy sewing!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's all about Heart and color this month and DEB scoops us some Color talk

  Love color?  Yes!  Always know the perfect color or fabric to pick?  Uh, no.  Have sweat trickling down your neck, or sweaty palms selecting fabric for your next project?  Yep, there I am.
  I'm Debbie from Stitchin' Therapy and I do love color.  When I began quilting, I had absolutely no idea how to choose colors or fabrics for a quilt.  In my first class I was told to use a light, a dark, and a bright.   I never finished that quilt, I wonder why?  Today I  mainly do multi-print, multi-color quilts---scrap quilts and water color quilts--- because the colors make my spirit soar.
   Color is what I notice first about a fabric.  It will draw me in and influences how I react to a quilt made with it.   So before your eyes glaze over and you think "Here comes the color wheel talk, and all those words like complementary and analogous,"  relax!  I'm going to share a simple technique I learned from an artist turned quilter.   The class I took from her was not about technique or sewing. It was about selecting fabrics and colors.  I consider it my secret weapon to creating wonderful, colorful quilts.
 Here's a quilt in which I used  this technique for selecting  the fabrics.   I used 18 fabrics for this bargello quilt, but it all started with one fabric that  I loved.  I  followed the steps below to pick the other 17 fabrics.

Steps to selecting fabrics/colors
   It's a simple idea based on letting the fabric and designers do the work for you.   Find a focus fabric you love that has 2 or 3 colors in it.  The seventh fabric from the left was my focus fabric.....shades of purple to plum with blues and greens.  There's my palette!

 Now select  other fabrics that "play well and are friendly" with the focus fabric.
  •   Select a second fabric based on your favorite color in the focus fabric.  The color doesn't have to be an exact match.  My second choice is right next to it at position #6.
  •   Select a third fabric based on another color in the focus fabric.   My third choice ended up in position #10.  Notice anything?  My selections were a light, a bright, and a dark fabric scheme.
  •   Select a "friend fabric" for the second and third fabrics you chose.  Make it a shade lighter or darker for depth and variety.  
  •   And so on....Try to select fabrics that vary in scale (size of print), and value.  Tonal type prints are great "friend" fabrics.
  •   Finally, stand back about 6 to 8 feet from your selections.  Does anything jump out and not fit?  Replace it.  Look at the ninth fabric.....does it seem too dark?  Yes, probably, but the plum color was so striking with the other fabrics that I left it in to spice things up.  Rules can be broken!
  •   Is the collection of fabric all the same value and seem boring?   Note---Value refers to the lightness or darkness of the color you see.  The overall value of the fabric is as important as the color.  Using a palette of all medium value fabrics will appear flat and boring.  Adding a dark and a lighter value will greatly enhance your quilt.   If you are not sure of the value, take a photo, look at it on the computer.  Squint at it, or take off your glasses like me, and get it out of focus to see the value rather than the pattern and color.  Change it to a black and white photo, and you can easily judge the value.  It is so worth the effort to do this.  
 This is the same photo as the above palette converted to black and white.  I wanted to be sure the darkest values were scattered throughout my palette and not all in a clump.   Don't be afraid of using a dark fabric.  The dark values create depth and let the light and medium value fabrics shine.  

Selecting the dozen different batiks for this one was done in the same way.  
This smaller photo below of the first blocks made  gives you a closer look at the fabrics chosen.  Can you pick out the focus fabric that I used for the palette selection?  
Did you pick the fabric in the bottom left corner?  That was it....a beautiful collection of colors in it to chose from.  Using the focus fabric made it easy!

   Are you a traditional quilter?   In Summer of Love I used 20 different floral fabrics for the very traditional Jacob Ladder blocks. The bold yellow  is predominant, and required a careful selection of other fabrics to be successful.  I began with one floral featuring  lots of colors--including yellow.  Each of the remaining floral fabrics were selected because they picked up a color from the focus floral.  Some were on  dark backgrounds, and others were on  lighter backgrounds, and  2 had very blue tone backgrounds.  And in the end, all of them blended and worked well together.
   Show no fear when selecting fabrics for your next project.  Conquer your  fear about mixing colors and fabrics.  You have been empowered with the secret weapon for fabric selection.... Let the designer and fabric do the work for you.  And now,  you also have a great reason for building your stash.
  Thanks so much,  Madame Samm for letting me share my thoughts on color and how to make it work for us all.
Wishing you all a color filled day and happy stitching.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's all about heart with Manda and Love Letters

Howdy!  Are you in the mood for love?  I know, it's a personal question, so I suppose I should introduce myself.  My name is Manda and I blog occasionally at Manda Made Quilts. I'm a nobody in the world of quilt bloggers. If the name stayathomelibrarian is familiar, you've more than likely seen me over at Flickr. There I help Katherine moderate the Bee a {modern} Swapper Bee, the most awesome and original of bees.  I did host the Word Play Bee, although we've just finished up, you could browse for some inspiration.

We aren't much of Valentines celebrators around my house, but when Madame Samm at !Sew We Quilt! put out a call for the color red and heart themed tutorials, I asked if readers might be interested in a quick lesson in the "L" word.  So, here I am.  Are you in the mood for love?

Handmade valentine by stayathomelibrarian

Pick a letter fabric, and a background fabric.  In my observation, using solids is the easiest.  If you use a print, try to use one that has a small design, and not too busy.  If the prints coordinate too closely, it may be hard to read the word.  In this case, I'm using red for the background, and white for the letters. 

I use a ruler from June Tailor called a Shape Cut to cut both of my fabrics.  Staci posted about this tool a few weeks ago.  I use it to cut 1 inch and 1.5 inch strips before I get started.  Occasionally you do need wider pieces (as in the V below), but this will get you started.

A word of caution when using this ruler.  Take your time when using it.  Pay attention to where you place your hand in order to hold the ruler. Imagine this pencil might be your finger.  Things could get a little- dicey (pause for audience laughter).

Piecing letters is easier than you might think.  Before we start, I want to put forth a tip that'll save you some grief. Set your stitch length short.  It needn't be this small, but after my first few words fell apart in the wash, I made it a habit to set it low when I sit to join my strips.

Now, get one of each of your strips and stitch them together.  Press the seams open.  Open?  Does it matter? Well, I really think it does, and I'll tell you why.  Pressing the seams open keeps it looking flat.  If you press your seams to the darker fabric, in this case the red, the bulk  of the pressed  seam would cause the background to appear raised.  In instances where the letter fabric is the darker fabric, the letter would appear raised. However you decide to press your letters, choose a way and stick to it.  But don't skip pressing.

Add the bottom piece to construct the letter "L".  If you want to make your letters wonky, trim at angles before adding the bottom piece.

For the O, cut a piece of the background fabric and build your "o" around it.  You can be really creative with this letter.  It doesn't need to be as boring as this one.  It may be hard to imagine, but this is one of those letters you can make your own by changing your trimming angles, and using different width of letter fabrics.

The V is my favorite letter.  Once you can make the V, you can make the W, and Y.  The W is two Vs placed together, and the Y is the V with a stick on it.  I like my Vs pointy bottomed, and it is my pleasure to show you how to achieve this look.

Put a piece of wide background fabric with one of your wider letter strips.  Also sew together thin pieces of each of the fabrics.  

Eyeball the strips to decide on the angle that you like best.  Cut your strip on this angle.

This is where your point comes in.  Resist the urge to attach these pieces at the bottom.  Offset it so that when you sew the pieces together, press it,  open it, and trim it,  that the letter will come to a point.  If not, you'll get a flat bottomed v. 

Add another piece of background fabric.  As wide as you can stand it, you can always trim it down later.

I tend to make the most of my fabric.  Meaning, I dig through the pieces I've trimmed in order to construct easier letters.  The E is one of these easiest with which to do this (also the lowercase l, and i).

Can you see it?  I joined these three pieces together, and then added an unused letter fabric in order to make this E.

This is where you get to play.  Arrange your letters.   You might want to save trimming your letters until you get to this point.  As it concerns anything, practice makes perfect, and I for one need a lot more practice, but through some trial and lots of errors, I've found my way to piece letters.  That's the best thing about liberated, improv, free, unruly- or whatever you call- style of piecing.  There is no right or wrong way.  There's no need for the size of your letters to be uniform.  When you're first piecing, you might want to try making larger letters before trying smaller letters.

So, I hope I've hooked you enough to want to make some more letters.  There are plenty of resources which you may use. Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the UnRuly Quilter by Tonya Ricucci is a great place to start.

Many thanks to Madame Samm for having me today.  Please drop by my blog sometime for a visit. 
Manda Made Quilts

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It's all about Heart and with Pauline you can certainly expect that and more...look..!

....and Mme Samm's theme for February is 'Heart and Hand'.

Thank you Mme Samm for inviting me once again to share a sewing project.
I'm Pauline and you can visit my blog at Quiltnqueen to see what else I am up to.
Yesterday was Valentines day but that doesn't mean we have to stop sewing hearts.

I have made a lot of these pot holders...
You can use Christmas, Valentine or any fabric to go with your kitchen decor. 

Today's project is a heart shaped pot holder...with hand pockets...
Pot holder, tea towel, embroidered mug rug/ pot holder

The embroidery is a free design from Bird Brain Designs.  

The instructions are for the pot holder with the hand pockets.
You can download the small heart template here and the large heart template here.

Materials needed:
  • 4 - 10" squares of fabric...
    • 2 squares are the same fabric for the hand pockets
    •  the other 2 can be the same or coordinating fabrics
  • 3 - 10" squares of batting
  • 1 - 10" square of insul-bright
  • Bias binding
  • Walking foot
Using the larger heart:
  • cut 2  fabric hearts
  • cut 2 batting hearts
  • cut 1 insul-bright heart
Large Heart cuts

Using the small heart:
  • cut 2 fabric hearts that are from the same fabric for the hand pockets
  • cut 1 batting heart
Small heart cuts

Cut the batting heart in half....Do not cut the fabric hearts...
Trim 1/8" off the straight edge of both of the batting half hearts...

Trim 1/8"

Sandwich the batting between the wrong sides of each small heart.  

Half heart batting on small heart

Fold small heart in half

Stitch 1/4" on straight edge...

Stitch 1/4" on straight edge

Place the half hearts on top of the large heart you are using as your top fabric...

Position small heart halves on lg lining

Matching edges as shown in the diagram above.  There is a 1/4' space at the top where the hearts do not meet and the bottom is about a 1-1/4" space.  Place on top of a large heart of batting and stitch a 1/8" to a scant 1/4" around the outer edge sandwiching all 3 layers.

Stitch the back of the pot holder, a batting heart and the insul-bright heart together. Make sure the batting is placed on the wrong side of the heart fabric and then the insul-bright.

Stitch top 3 layers and bottom 3 layers together

Stitching the top 3 layers together and then the bottom 3 layers together makes it easier to keep the edges even.   Your final step is to stitch the 2 pieces together.  I find it easier to stitch the 2 -3 part sections first and then sew the 6 layers together.  It is easier to keep the edges even.  I always use a walking foot and because of the thickness I lengthen my stitch length a bit.

Once you have all the layers stitched together you will stitch a straight line down the center of the heart...because of the thickness I use a longer stitch length...3.0 on my Janome.

Stitch 2 hearts together and stitch down the center

You are now ready for the binding.  This project requires bias binding.   I make my own binding using 2-1/2" strips of coordinating fabrics cut on a 45 degree bias.  It is constructed the same way as you do a regular quilt binding.  I use a generous 1/4" of 3/8" seam allowance.

Start stitching binding

I start my stitching close to the bottom of the heart...because you want the straightest part of the heart when you go to join the ends.  Remember to leave about an 8" binding tail before you start to stitch your binding down.

This is the tricky part as you do not have a lot of space to work with.  Remember to pin a pleat to give you more room to stitch the closing.  You can check out my tutorial on binding I did a year ago right here on Sew We Quilt.  It was my first every tutorial....and this one is #3....not quite so stressed about this one as the binding one.

Finish stitching binding

Now you have a completed pot holder and it is time to make another...(o:.

Finished pot holder

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and if you have any questions please email me.
I've enjoyed sharing my time with all of you...
Please come and visit me and enter my giveaway.
Leave a comment on this posting and over on my blog to win....
I will pick the winner February 18 from comments posted here.

Hugs and Happy Stitching!!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day yesterday!!

OHHHH look we have GIVEAWAYS too..
to make more HEARTS

This FAT quarter bundle 
and pattern from our very own Amanda Murphy...
( take a peak at her newest patterns too)
Caramel and Cocoa and her
Swiss Chocolate and Ambrosia lines....

SEW let us know --have you made any pot holders lately?

winner announced tomorrow...

You won this lovely collection from Amanda Murphy.
email sent, please send me your mailing details
sew this pck among some extras will be sent out