Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas, Colour and 2015

December had flown by, as it usually does.  I still have ideas to share, more things quilters might want and need for quilting.  Have you heard about Kraft-tex?  Have you tried the new Studio 180 tool, Corner Pop?  Are you planning to take part in the July Shop Hop?  Yikes!
This is the season to take time for family and friends.  Relax and enjoy.  It is the memories made visiting that last long after the festivities are over. 
Here is the last idea for quilters this year.  What is your colour style?  Everyone is drawn to colour so differently.  We see quilters drawn to their preferences when choosing fabrics for the next project.  They struggle when making a quilt for someone else who has given them preferences out of their comfort zone.  That is where we can help.  That is the fun part of working in a quilt shop.  Thanks for letting us play with you in choosing fabrics for your quilt.  It is the fun part. 
Looking forward to next season, visit the Pantone Color Institute website to see where colour is heading in 2015.  The colours used for fashion in the spring are seen in the fabrics coming in the first half of the year.  Colours are cooler and softer.  There are still some spots of brightness but the overall feel is more subtle.  Will you be the first to spot the colour of the year?

Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director, Pantone Color Institute®                

This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.
Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director, Pantone Color Institute®    


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Who Thought It Was A Good Idea?

I know I am not the only one who thought giving a quilt item would be a good idea.  I am sure, also, that I am not the only one who will be binding in the car on the way to a family gathering on Thursday.  This is Canada and we live in the lee of the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron.  If the fall has been warm, the lake is not frozen over and any wind coming across can pick up moisture and drop it as snow over our area.  Long term planning is dependent on the weather and which way the wind is blowing. 

Good news!  Christmas Day is Thursday and the weather should be good for travelling.  We decided on Sunday, the day before yesterday, that the weather would allow us to travel to Hamilton to spend the day with Tim's sister and her family. 

A quilted gift doesn't really take all that long to make if it is placemats or a doll quilt.  An experienced quilter should be able to get a couple of gifts done fairly quickly.  Right?

I started yesterday on some placemats for my sister-in-law's mother-in-law because placemats you make mean "I was thinking of you but didn't go shopping and choose something that would make you feel guilty in not having a gift to return the favour but show you I am glad to be sharing this special day with you."  Right? 

Tuesday 10 am progress report:

If I quilt and bind 2 at a time, I can see how many to wrap Christmas morning.

On Sunday, at a Christmas dinner with Tim's cousins, Tim asked his sister if the great nephews would like some vintage toys he has in his collection.  She said they would.  But what about the great nieces, I thought.  I volunteered to make a couple of doll quilts.  It wouldn't take long to whip up a couple.  Right?

Tuesday 10 am progress report:

There is a second doll quilt underneath.  If I get the borders on before going out I could quilt them tonight. 

The one good idea I am going with is that placemats and doll quilts will be well used, well washed and well loved.  That means I should sew the binding on the back and bring it to the front for topstitching.  That will make them more durable and save me a whole whack of time instead of binding by hand in the car on the way.  Right?

My friend Janet sent me this image of a Procrastinator's Clock today:

I have been seen by others as an optimist.  Today I know all will be ready on time and, if not, it will be ready when it is needed.  All will work out as it should, one way or another.

Wishing you speedy projects and wonderful time with family, friends and others you care to spend time with. 

Update 8 pm

Placemats- no progress, I have tomorrow

Two doll quilts, bound by machine and ready for a washing. 

Flannel backs on both.  I used Moda candy from the 'Miss Kate' collection for the patchwork along with Kona Snow and other Moda prints by Bonnie and Camille for the borders and binding. 
Now, I can go upstairs and have some supper.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Few of My Favourite Things

Today I would like to share some of my favourite quilty things.

Other Blogs:

Sew Mama Sew- great ideas for projects, great information.  Today I saw a link to a list of binding tutorials

Moda Bakeshop- free patterns using precuts like jelly rolls, charms squares, etc  Tons of useful information, hours of fun reading

Yarn Harlot- not quilting but knitting.  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee lives in Toronto, is an author who sees the world with humour and is someone who we can relate to.  You can relate to her stash building and use.  She will put a smile on your face, tears of laughter in your eyes and remind you that life is a roller coaster ride we might as well enjoy.


Wonder clips-  most other things I can manage without or find a substitute to fit the task.  But, when there are layers  of fabric and foam batt to hold firmly, there is no other tool that works better than these clips.  Now Clover makes them in bright colours!  Maybe  there will be some in my Christmas stocking....

Quilt Books

I love books!  All kinds of books from fiction to cooking to quilting.  I love to pull a book from the shelf and look at the quilts, think about which one I would make, read about a technique I may have forgotten.

Uh oh!  The store needs me.  I'll be back and add to this later today, maybe after I start some Christmas shopping...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Machine Needles

Long, long ago when I was young and learning to sew, there was one package of machine needles.  When one broke you replaced it with another.  Sometimes you needed to get a new package of universal number 80/12s.

When someone comes in and says she wants to start quilting, the first question we ask is, "Do you have a sewing machine?  Do you know how to thread it?"  If she starts, it won't be long before she needs more sewing machine needles so we recommend the same universal 80/12.  We may ask if it is for machine quilting and recommend a 90/14 needle.  But in this modern age of choice, the variety of machine needles by a variety of manufacturers can be overwhelming once you start researching and looking for the right tool/needle for the job.

A common needle problem is skipping stitches.  A worn needle may be the cause.  A commonly heard suggestion is to change the machine needle every 10 hours of sewing or with every new large project.  Another cause may be the size of the needle is too small.  Try moving up one size.  If you are using a 70/10 go to a 80/12 or 90/14.

If the thread keeps breaking it may be the needle causing problems.  Change the needle in case there is a burr.  It also may help to move up a needle size.  The larger needle will make a larger opening for the thread so there is less friction and stress on the thread as it moves through the fabric.

There are different types of machine needles for different sewing jobs.

Quilting and topstitch needles have a larger scarf on the back of the needle so the thread fits closer to the needle and there is less drag on it as it moves through the needle.
Jeans needles have a sharper point and are useful for Brenda's bags.  If you have skipped stitches on multiple layers of a bag, the jeans needle may help.
Titanium needles have a coating that makes them about 5 times stronger than other needles so the added expense is worth the extended usage.  They still should not be used to sew over pins.  My experience is they bend instead of snap off.

Schmetz needles have a wonderful website full of educational information about the anatomy of a needle, usage charts and more information that you ever thought you needed to know.
Superior Threads website has great information.  Look at the top of the web page for the Education articles.  There is a ton if helpful information about home machines, long arm machines and industrial machines.
These 2 websites should keep you busy learning for many hours!  Ask for a variety of needles in your  Christmas stocking.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Versitile Wave Bag

Anne, who works here, found this pattern and made herself a bag.  When she brought hers to work, we knew it would be popular.  I ordered the patterns, the swivel hook hardware and the zippers. 
Here is the store sample she made.

This bag has an inner black purse that is lined and zippered.  The outer part is reversible.  The shoulder straps are attached to the wave outer part so it supports the weight of your valuables.  The outer part is buttoned on so changing it is quick.

I would be tempted to make the purse part in another colour than black.  What about a nice gray with the reversible part in a day print and an evening metallic?  What about a neutral springy colour from the Pantone top 10 colours for spring 2015 and the reversible in one of the brights and one of the lights? 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hexagons One Way or Another

How many ways are there to make the currently popular hexagons?  Here are a few:

1.  English Paper Piecing
Use precut paper templates.  Baste the fabric to the paper and whip stitch the folded side to the next hexagon.  The papers are reusable.  Handstitchers who want a project to take wherever they go like this method.

2.  Die Cut
    Moda has die cut hexagons in their collection of Bakeshop items.  We have had some off and on.

3.  Templates
You could use these for hand or machine work.  There are small holes at the seam intersections for ease of piecing.  When you machine piece hexagons, you stop and backstitch at the intersection point.  This makes it easier to fit the angle into the next hexagon. 

4.  Hex n More
This special tool makes hexagons, half hexagons (trapezoids), 60 degree triangles and jewel shapes.  It is produced by Jaybird who has lots of great modern patterns for intermediate quilters.
5.  Creative Grids Hexagon Trim Tool
This is the Creative Grid Hexagon Trim Tool.  It works like the log cabin and pineapple trim tool.  The basic process is to cut a centre shape to size and add larger than needed pieces to it.  Then, use the tool to trim the fabric to the perfect size.  If you are trying hexagons for the first time, this tool will make seam allowance challenges go away.  The instructions are clear and you can follow them step by step.  If you are a more visual learner, Creative Grid's website has great videos to demonstrate how to use the tool.  I made the tea hanging from a Cut Loose Press pattern.

There are very likely more ways to make and sew hexagons but these should be enough for you to get started!  Happy Hexies!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Heart of Quilters

The December blog posts are about things quilters would like to give or receive as a gift for creating and making quilts.  Today is the yearly post about the giving nature of quilters, their thoughtfulness and their caring for others. 
Quilters, alone and with others, give away countless hours and dollars worth of materials to help others.  There is little recognition other than from quilting peers. You don't see it on the news. You may read about it in a little article in a paper if there is room that day but, most of the time, quilters carry on supporting others without fanfare or celebrity. 

In the last couple of years, more and more quilters are creating Dignity Quilts.  In nursing homes or other group care homes for the elderly, people felt the need for moving the deceased out of the building with dignity.  A quilt made to gurney specifications can cover the person as they are moved out.  Many Dignity Quilts are made with symbols of passage that signify a life lived and moving on.  Butterflies, the tree of life, doves and symbols of friendship were used in some of the quilts I have seen.  What a thoughtful way of moving on!

Many guilds have outreach quilts that can be shared in the community.  Here are some of the people who have received a quilt to hug them in their time of need:
cancer patients
flood, fire and tornado victims
children in homes, not there own, in need of a warm hug
children with special needs
Alzheimer patients
and so many more.

Wherever there is someone in need, there will be a quilt for the asking or given anonymously by a quilter who cares. Thank you for being the heart of quilting; you know who you are!!!