Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's all about Heart and with Helen you get it and more...I heart iron on transfers….

this month Madame Samm tells me is Hand and Hearts month – well I know I’ve twisted that theme a little but wanted to show you how much I looooove iron on transfers…
All of my Hugs ‘n Kisses stitchery and embroidery patterns include wonderful, easy to use iron on transfers…this saves you having to trace my little detailed designs onto fabric using a lightbox or window – yes, you can get straight into the fun part- the stitching! and because all of those little drawn lines and details in the design transfer exactly onto your fabric your stitching – if you just follow the lines, will also look perfect! no wobbles, missed bits or mistakes…
chatelainescissor colourquetree ilovestitchingcoverpic
another plus of iron on transfers is that you can choose whatever fabric you like to put them on – you are not restricted to fabric that I used to screen print on in my pattern packs.. and yet another plus is that my iron on transfers (and I gather most others) can be used more than once!! so you can make the same thing many times if you really love it…
they are only good if you follow the instructions and transfer them well, which is why I have twisted the theme today just a tad to give you a quick tutorial on using them…
Firstly, the transfer will look just like a drawing or design printed on standard copy paper. The lines will look black on the paper and will be very fine (because I computer trace them and make them as fine as I can so a single thread can cover them). When they are transferred the colour is actually called a quilters blue – a greyish blue colour which blends well under many coloured threads.
My transfers will always have a label on them which will say something like ‘I heart you iron on transfer’ as opposed to ‘I heart you design sheet’…..P1090560
and there should also be a little ‘transfer test’ patch on there somewhere.
Another clue is that the design will be reversed – so if there is any text, it will be back to front….P1090561
always make sure you have the right sheet – that is the transfer and not the design sheet (I always include both – so when your transfer does run out you can still trace more if you really want to make more).
Now, all of the ink on the transfer page is transfer ink. So if there is anything on there that you don't want on your fabric – like the title, and the test patch – you need to cut it off! (remember, use paper scissors to do this!)
You also need, a good hot iron with no steam – turn the steam off and empty any remaining water from the iron – steam is your enemy!!!
why? because steam spreads your ink and makes blurry lines…
P1090555 P1090556
a hard ironing surface – not a nice soft and spongy ironing board. Make yourself a board – just a piece of wood with some wool batting or an old woollen blanket works well or I use my hard Quilters cut n press for small designs.
why? because soft and spongy makes blurry thick lines…
P1090557 (this is good as sometimes I can see the lines through the fabric to line up my design squarely) – note: can you see all the transfer lines on my mat – yes sometimes they go through so don't do it on your brand new ironing board cover from Aunt Mavis!
Cut your fabric to size – I always cut a little larger than needed and trim back later…
press the fabric to remove any creases…. if its already smooth still press it and warm up the fabric – prewarmed fabric takes the ink much better.
Position the cut out transfer design into position ink side down onto the fabric. ( I cut it out close to the edge of the design so I can position more accurately knowing where the edges of the design are.)
Place the iron flat onto one part of the paper. Hold a corner down away from the iron with a finger, hold in position for about 7-10 seconds ( this will vary depending on your iron and also the fabric you are using – that's why i include the test patch – test first!) the longer you hold the darker your design will be – but the less transfers you will get from your sheet – as the darker it is, the more ink you have used…and there is only so much on there..P1090589
Now, don’t slide the iron across the paper to the next spot!! yes, that's what everyone wants to do – but you will blur your lines…. believe me… please…. whilst holding the paper down with that finger lift the iron and position it down into the next spot… move your finger to another corner and repeat until you have covered the whole design… note: if you don't hold the paper down, when you lift the iron it will stick to it, lift off the fabric and you will never get it back down in the same place again….
P1090567 P1090570P1090571P1090568 P1090569 P1090573 Before you lift that last finger, carefully lift the corner to check that it is dark enough and you have all bits covered….
P1090599 P1090601 P1090603
It is nigh on impossible to reposition the transfer once you have lifted or moved it – so get it right the first time…
I get many questions regarding the iron on transfers so before you ask I’ll attempt to answer them below:
Do I need to prewash the fabric?- although I say on the instructions to prewash the fabric – I don't very often do that!
What type of fabrics do I have to use?
Some fabrics take the ink better than others, some linens are difficult, but overall most things work. It doesn't have to be a plain fabric, tone on tones also work well. The ink will transfer onto synthetic and natural fabrics but if using your piece in a quilt I recommend using a cotton fabric.
Will the ink wash out when I am finished?
This ink is permanent if there is any synthetic element to the fabric. It may wash or fade out of natural fibres (ie cotton) but this has very rarely happened for me so don't rely on your mistakes and blurry lines washing out – they wont – if its a mistake it wont be nice and just wash out for you! I have found it to fade on some fabrics when left in light areas, so if you don't intend using it for some time keep it stored in a dark container.
having said that, now that you have read my little tutorial you are going to transfer them perfectly every time…. and if you have an elna press – that will eliminate any need to move that iron and risk the double or blurred lines at all.
How can I make my own Iron on transfers? my transfers use a special and VERY expensive ink so at this time it is not affordable or available for home use. However there are other products available such as transfer eze, transfer pencils and several other products I have heard of but never tried. I do have a transfer printing service I offer to other designers and stores but it is also not viable for single prints at this time.
Now I’m off to prepare my fabric (that is iron a stabiliser to the back), put it into my hoop and stitch it up! I’ll show you the progress on my blog or Facebook page…
I hope that this helps you all to get a great result with your transfers…. so that you too ‘heart’ them….
off to stitch….
hugs, Helen
OH, just a footnote: I will be teaching some of these projects shown (with transfers) in May in the US – see here for details – would love to see you there…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's all about HEART and Color with Jennifer and her Color me this.. 2 guests today

Hello!  For those who don't know me, my name is Jennifer and I blog over at That Girl... That Quilt.  I work in a very black and white profession by day so it's always exciting to get to talk color! 

I love color.  The geometry and math of quilting are what initially attracted me but what drew me in and has kept me is the color.

The process of quilting is fascinating and I talk a lot about it on my blog.  I obsess over the color selection more than any other part of making the quilt.  The fabric, the print, the design... they are all secondary. 

image credit

A lot of color theory is based on the color wheel... primary colors... secondary colors... etc.  That's all well and good but it gets a little boring trying to find inspiration on a wheel.  I hear a lot of quilters talk about having trouble with color selection and I did too when I was trying to get inspired by a colorful yet one dimensional circle.

So how do we apply basic color theory to quilting?  Here's how I do it...

I draw my color inspiration from what's around me.  If something is pleasing to my eye then I bet it will be beautiful in a quilt.  If something in nature stops me in my tracks, a quilt could probably do the same.  I started taking pictures with my iPhone when I found something inspirational and I have never looked at my surroundings the same.

Purple & yellow.  Not quite the traditional color combination. 

But one look at my purple & yellow iris that bloom every spring...

and I knew that they had to become a quilt.

image credit

This also goes for beautiful photographs.

I was so inspired by the photo that I translated both the colors and the rooftops design into a quilt.  It's one of my very favorites.

And then there's Design Seeds.  I talk a lot about this site on my blog because it's an absolute genius idea.  They take ordinary objects, landscapes, still life, etc and pull the colors out for you.  It goes right along with my thought of finding something pleasing to your eye and transforming it into a quilt.

I've used Design Seeds here...

... to get these colors

and here...

... to pick these fabrics

Your choice of color can also help with your quilt design.  I designed this quilt backwards thinking about the negative space I wanted to create using a dark background with lighter colors.  This flip of color can make a quilt look completely different.

And last but not least, pick a favorite fabric and build your colors around that one.  The center fabric of this quilt is what I based the rest of the color choices on. 

Don't feel like you have to stick with the same line either.  Just be brave, find your favorite, and build around that one! 

pattern by Kate Conklin
The first time I did this, it was a little nerve wracking.  But then I started thinking about fabric designers and the fact that they probably have a pretty good idea of what colors look good together... they are designers after all. ;)

can you spot the mistake??
My one last tip for today... when in doubt, take a picture.  Doing so allows you to visually step back and look just at the photo instead of the distractions of background in the room.  My iPhone is full of photos of random quilts in progress.  This is my favorite way of making sure my colors and design are on track.

Thanks for having me today!  I always enjoy visiting here.  If you are looking for a pattern that will take you out of your color comfort zone and let you play with the concept of negative space and color values, I have a free step by step quilt along called Chasing Chevrons.  It's a 6 part series and I talk a lot more about color, how to choose your actual fabrics i.e. prints & solids, as well as step by step instructions for making a quilt if you are new to quilting. :)

I hope you will visit me soon... have a wonderful day!

Editors note...

I had asked Jennifer to talk about Color as FEBRUARY is all about lot's of color.
And nobody could do it better. Thanks Jennifer, this is one of these posts
we will be referring to often. 

It's all about HEART and color with Marianna and her Red and White Crazy quilted Valentines Heart( 2 guests today,)

Thanks to Madamme Samm for inviting me over again! I am Marianna from QDD and Craftluver. I really love to write up tutorials for you all! I hope you like what I made this time: a crazy quilted Valentines heart, the easy peasy way! 
The subject for February is Red & White and I love Valentines Day. So this was a good combination for me! So if you like something nice without spending to much time for a mother, daughter of beloved friend, than this might be the one! It is easy and fast to do. I made one in only an afternoon, binding and all!

Red/white scraps
A small embroidery piece or nice fabric for the center
Backing the size of the batting (see pattern below)
Lace trims and other cute decorating stuff for crazy quilting

How to start:
1)    Cut the pattern of paper (download the pdf in the end, the heart shape is in there)
2)    Put it on the batting and cut out. Make sure it is the size you want it to finish at (so add seamallowance more if you want it larger) and a little bit more for shrinkage.
3)    Do the same for the backing
4)    Lay them on top of each other batting facing up

5)    Determine what you want to put in the center and place it on the batting
6)    You can use temporary adhesive to let it stick together or use some pins
7)    Pick a nice contrasting fabric scrap and put it right side facing down on your center piece. Make sure the center piece is covered at the edge.
8)    Sew through all layers at once.
8)    Continue clockwise or countern clockwise, but keep doing the same till the whole piece is covered.   
10)  You can decorate it on the way. Sew a piece of lace on top of one fabric piece before you add the next piece, so the edges are nicely covered. You can also do this in the end for the lace or trims that end in the border. They will be covered by the binding.
11)  Finish as an ordinary quilt, without the quilting part (you have done that while sewing), and attach a ribbon at the top center to hang it. Even when totally finished you still can add embroidery stitches or buttons or beads. Sew through all layers.

Here's the process in pictures:

The pattern description and the heart pattern are in one document and you can find it HERE. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Behind the SEAMS of our FEBRUARY Banner WINNERS

I already feel BLUE to say goodbye to ...
YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU

Sandra, Kathy, Cynthia and Mary...
It was a delightful month of tool sharing...
and you ALL made it a month worth noting...
YOU all have sew much ....

Nice segue to our new FEBRUARY Banner

Our February Banner Winners are......
Linda, Deonn, Bente and Christine...

321 red, black and white quilts
were submitted.. That is a lot of quilts
to look at and try to blend into a HEART felt
banner...I felt your heartfelt stitches in all of them..
SEW thank you all who entered.

First let's look at Linda's

Thank you, thank you Madame Samm for allowing my “Ladies” to strut across February’s banner!  I feel truly honored to have my work included this month.
I made this quilt (The Ladies in Red) in 2011 as part of the “Red and White, Too” challenge sponsored by a member of my quilting guild, after she visited  “Infinite Variety:  Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts” in New York last March.  Because I wanted to keep my entry simple so I could finish it quickly,  I chose a design inspired by several pieces of African fabric from my stash showing “the Ladies” as if they were out for a stroll or window shopping.   (I blogged about it here: red and white challenge    and here  and more about here  )  I scanned a piece of the fabric into Photoshop, resized it and printed to paper.  Then I traced silhouettes of their shape onto fusible web and transferred it to the back of my red fabric, which I then machine appliqued to a white background.  I quilted it using a very simple meandering pattern.  It has four adinkra symbols appliqued in the borders, with these feminine qualities quilted between them:  patience, beauty, friendship, love, unity, and initiative.
The Ladies in Red will be part of the “Red and White, Too,” quilt exhibit in Northeast Washington, DC, February 6 – 24.

Thanks again Madame Samm, for allowing me to help make this month’s banner another great success!

Next, is Deonn and here is her...
Hi, Madame Samm,
Thanks again for including my quilt on February's banner--I am thrilled!  And you'll love the story of this quilt.  I originally worked out the pattern for my sister to make a denim quilt for her son when he went away to college.  Not a fan of recycled denims sewn into squares or strips, I wanted a design that really made a statement.  And since there is such a variety in tone with Levi's and other denim-weight pants that can be up-cycled, this traditional "Storm at Sea" made with giant 24" blocks, turned out to be the perfect pattern, and the perfect quilt for a college kid (practically free), or as a throw for the couch or car.  It looks great in blues.  Then I made this one for my son.  It is even quilted with a layer of batting and backed with flannel - a warm hug from Mom.  I've included a link to the original post, which also has a link to more of the story.  Here goes:
this quilt.

Denim Tsunami  (A Giant "Storm at Sea"), Picnic Quilt 72" x 72"
 Mostly though, I love the boy I made it for.

Original post HERE
And when the boy went off to war with his combat engineer unit, sweeping for mines, making roads safe, and performing other route clearance missions in Afghanistan...

...the quilt, too warm and heavy for desert climates, stayed at home as a comfort to this Momma during that long year of his deployment.  Folded over the couch, the quilt was a reminder and a hope for his safe return home when we could wrap our arms around him once again.  
Then the boy returned, a man.  (Oh, my boy!)

Sometimes, a quilt is more than just a quilt.

QuiltscapesBLOGJoin me on Facebook Subscribe Flikr Gallery Send me a note Patterns Follow Me on Pinterest 

 Next is Bente's 

( Btw Bente does not speak English, we are thrilled to have
her in her own words translated from German)

I´m so thrilled that my Baby Jane Quilt is one of the four quilts in
Madame Samm's
beautiful banner, THANKS it is a great honor!!!
My ***Dear Jane quilt is the most important quilt I have ever sewn, it
is my masterpiece.  If you can you sew the Dear Jane quilt you can sew every quilt!
I sew the first block A1 on the 2003.8.8 and I had no problems sewing
until I reached A-11 “Pebble´s Protest”, I couldn’t see how to piece
that block together.
But as we all know, quilters are very nice and helpful, and a good
friend told me that it´s okay to draw extra lines in the patterns,
and generally to sew the blocks that is best for you. That was a very
important advice, and the reason why I mention it here.
I sewed most of the blocks in paper piecing, some are appliqued and D-2
“Mouse in a Mirror” is hand pieced,
at that time I didn´t like to hand piece so I do still remember that
block after all these years.
I only used two fabrics, muslin and a red prewashed! Benartex Fossil Fern.
I hand quilted the blocks individual, and I think after that the blocks
look as if they are alive.
Yes, I know it sounds as if I´m in love with that quilt, and yes I am *lol*
Like Jane A. Stickler did in 1868, I counted all the pieces sewn into my
quilt, I used 5689 pieces.
First block pieced 2003.8.8 last binding stitch 2007.6.9
Size: 80¼ x80¼ inch.
Patterns from the Book “Dear Jane” by Brenda Manges Papadakis ISBN

It would please me if you´ll visit my blog
My blog
Even if it´s in a foreign language, it about quilts!
Stay awhile maybe leave a comment and pay some attention to my quilt
gallery, I hope you like it.

Liebe Grüße
Bente – Germany
I like to QuiltBlog

*** link to my blog posting
You can see more of my quilt here~!

and last but equally impressive

First of all I would like to thank Madame Samm for choosing to use my quilt as one of the four for February’s banner. I must say it was quite exciting to get her email telling me.

A little about me. I live in Diamond Creek, which is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been quilting since 1993 which is when I did an overnight mystery quilt workshop. Thus I was hooked!  I am a member of the North of the Yarra Quilters Guild. Besides reading blogs, this is where I get a lot of my inspiration.

The official name for this quilt is “Mitchell’s As Close To A Collingwood Quilt That He Will Get”. A funny name, I agree but I’ll explain. Mitchell is a die-hard Collingwood Football Club supporter. Collingwood is an Australian Rules Football team. Their colours are black and white stripes. Collingwood is the team you either love or hate! Needless to say, I do not barrack for Collingwood. Hence, the name.

Mitchell asked me for a black and white quilt. I used the stack and slash method. It came together very quickly and I had it commercially quilted. When I checked the label, it was made back in 2008. I can’t believe it was that long ago! This is how I labeled Mitchell’s quilt.

“Mitchell’s As Close To A Collingwood
Quilt That He Will Get!”
This quilt was made with love for
Mitchell James MacDonald
by his mother, Christine MacDonald (Kerr).
The quilt was quilted by Leanne Kaufmann.
Diamond Creek, Victoria, Australia

I like to add a picture or photo relating to each quilt on it’s label.

I haven’t actually done a post on this quilt as I made it before I discovered blogs! I’ll just have to do a post now, won’t I! Please pop over and visit me a tmy blog

Thank you once again Madame Samm for this special honour.

And thank you February Banner Winners...
Certainly a great beginning to our Heart Month..
EVIDENCE that you all have such big Hearts...

March is Runner month...all kinds of quilt
runners will be introduced, short, tall, long, thin,
fat, circles..all shapes..
and our color theme is GREEN
sew if you have any GREEN quilts you have made
I would love to see them...
Maybe next month YOU will be here...
showing your behind the scenes quilt...