Monday, December 24, 2012

A Gift For You

This is the last post for the 24 days before Christmas in 2012.  Thank you for following along this year.  If you live in the area, here is a gift for you.  Print out this from the blog or email us at for a coupon.  Then come for a visit in from January 1 to 31 and receive a free pattern. 
While driving between shopping stops yesterday I was listening to a CBC radio broadcast called 'Spark'.  It is about technology but the topic was 'unboxing'.  Who knew there is a whole area of research developing around the topic of people's reaction when opening something knew?  They were talking about videotaping someone's reaction when opening tablets, laptops, phones and other gadgets.  But, it sure made me think about quilts.
Tomorrow there will be many people opening our lovingly made gifts of quilts and quilted  items.  Their reaction will be stronger and more heartfelt.  We will feel the love we put into the quilt returned and know our effort will be appreciated over years to come.  Quilts bring families together, warm bodies and hearts, and show how much we care about those we love.  Enjoy your unboxings!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stocking Stuffers and More

Our shop is closed for a few days of rest and preparation (except by appointment for emergencies).  I know lots of other shops in the region are closed too.  So what can you get for a quilter if you waited until now?
Office Supply Store:
pens and pencils
large brown envelopes for storing template or patterns pieces
storages boxes
tape of all sorts
printer paper for printing out free patterns and blog ideas
label maker for organizing storage boxes
Martha Stewart supplies to make it the organization look prettier
sheet protectors for binders (we use them for block of the month paperwork)
labels for the binders
now I've sarted you thinking, etc etc etc
Big Chain Store:
big storage bins for fabric
extension cords to take to classes
storage boxes used for screws, bolts, fishing supplies
screwdrivers in mini to regular size
chocolate to keep her going on the last border
power bar with surge protector for valuable machines

magazines on quilting

Once in a store, start thinking as a quilter and there is no end to useful items for your favourite quilter.  Back up the truck!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It Won't Be Long Now

Today, Saturday December 22, is the last day we are open before Christmas.  We don't see many quilters these days as they are at home stitching down the last bindings or getting baking and shopping done now the quilty gifts are finished.  We do see lots of quilters' friends and relatives looking for gift certificates. 
I found these gift certificates at Quilt Market in Kansas City.  They are by Deb Strain whose fabric I love.  They are large enough to keep track of in a purse full of plastic cards.  And, we keep enough information so that, if you can't find your certificte, you can access that amount through our record keeping information.  It is not too late because I have even taken orders over the phone and am holding the gift certificates here, waiting for the quilters to arrive. 
Remember our year end 30% off sale starts on December 27 so a gift certificate is worth even more than it's value.
It's snowing and blowing here today.  It could be a white Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Modern Quilters, Apps and the Net

Keeping up with technology is a challenge.  I was an elementary teacher for 25 years and spent most of those years teaching in the school library.  The teacher-librarian was the one who usually got trained to implement computers in the school.  At the beginning there were only a few computers in the school and the library was a great place for them so many students could access them.  I remember the first computers with magnetic cassette tapes, the first coloured computers that had an amazing 64 colours and the first time we had to do report cards on the computer with dot-matrix printers.  Now, keeping up with the rapid changes is hard. 
Last year I got an iPad and really like what I can do with it in the store.  Someone says, 'I saw it on the internet.'  No problem, we can look for it on the internet.  Someone says, 'I'm looking for this ruler.'  Out comes the iPad and we see if I can order it from my suppliers.  Like so many other areas in retail, customers are more aware of what is available.  That makes customer service even more important to an independent small retailer like your local quilt shop. 
Blogging is a great way for quilters to gain information, like this one you are reading.  I love looking at the stats to see who is reading what I take time to write.  I wish everyone was close enough to visit but knowing you are reading this means alot.  Some of my favourite blogs, which you may enjoy, are:
Fibermania by Melody Johnson
Yarn Harlot- she is a knitter but there is alot we have in common
A Stitch in Dye by Malke Dubrowsy because I love her fabric lines
The Quilt Rat by Jill, who is local and shares her trials and discoveries
Moda BakeShop because there are tons of great patterns

For the quilters getting into smart phones and tablets there is a whole other technology explosion called Apps.  Apps are applications designed for the phone or tablet, many of which are free.  You download the app onto the device you have so you can take advantage of it.  Apps are not as  involved as a computer program but those darn small screens can be a challenge for us... with more life experience.  (I really didn't want to say older).  I found a couple of apps that are really useful.

FabricStash-  this one isn't free and is about $5.  You can take photos of your stash and organize projects.  I have been taking photos of fabric I am ordering for next February to June.  There is a space for notes about what patterns I can use, who I ordered the fabric from and when it may arrive.  I can imagine young quilters keeping track of the stash they are building and being so organized in a way we never could.  It will never replace sorting through your bins and piles, touching the fabric and marvelling at your fabulous collection but you will be able to take it shopping with you so you know what more you need.

BlockFab- this one is free.  It helps you design quilts with traditional blocks, calculate yardages and plan colours.  Once you start working with it you will discover its great usefulness.

I have to go now.  I went to Google and typed in 'quilt apps'.  There are loads of them to check out.  One talks about an electronic round robin!  Who knew?!  I should probably turn off the computer and finish my Christmas quilting gifts. What to do, what to do?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wool Applique

Wool applique is popular with quilters at this time.  In Canada we are doing some of it but in my area it is not as popular.  Still, there can be times when you want a little something different.  Wool is expensive so I have opted to bring in some special items from the US.  I found these wool charm packs and was drawn by the button packaging.  This way you don't have to invest in large pieces to get a variety for leaves, berries or other small shapes.
Each set has 5 squares that are 5" and dyed in a colourway.  Each piece is a different wool fabric.  There are about 30 colour packages to choose from.  We are down to about 10 colours.

These are boxes of wool pennies from the same company, 'in the patch designs'.  There are 100 circles at 1" and 100 circles at 1 1/2".  These appeal to people who love making penny rugs and other penny items. 
There is a local rughooking group.  One member came to the store and we started talking about wool pennies.  I told her we have a Accuquilt Studio die cutting system with several sizes of round circle dies.  One day she booked the classroom and brought a bag full of wool pieces.  She spent a couple of hours happily cutting pennies.  She is looking forward to bringing her friends in the new year.

To complete the wool inventory, we added wool thread from Aurifil.  The thread is 50% wool and 50% acrylic.  Karen used it on her sample with wool felt background and wool pennies.  She used 2 strands and hand embroidered the buttonhole stitch.  I like the wool as it has a matte look to it rather than the shiny look of pearl cotton.  I want to try some on the sewing machine.  Maybe tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quilt Labels

Yes, we should really label our quilts so future generations will know all about when and where the heirloom was created.  Really though, not all quilts are made to survive that long.  I will label a quilt if I am giving it away and know the recipient will take great care of it.  I label quilts to hang in a show.  Other than that I am realistic.  The quilts on the bed are wearing thin and won't make it for ever and ever.  Baby quilts are made to be used so we want them to be well loved.  So here are some options based on who receives the quilt and how they use it.
1.  Nothing if you know it is going to be washed regularly and may end up on sand at the beach.
2.  Write directly on a light colour backing with a marker.  Pigma pens are permanent and have           archival ink.  However, this type of label will upset most quilters greatly so beware of who  you admit it to.
3.  Prepared labels.  Sometimes you can find premade labels that you add your name to with a marker.
4.  There are a few books with quilt label transfers.
You iron the label onto a piece of muslin or prewashed light colour plain cotton.  Then iron the label onto freezer paper as a stabilizer.  You write on it with Pigma pens, colour it with crayons or pencil crayons and heat set it.  Then it is ready to add to the back of a quilt.  There are many different transfer and each one can be used more than once (maybe 3 times).

5. Print onto prepared fabric sheets using an inkjet printer.  I use a simple publishing program like PrintMaster.  Any software for making cards will work.  If you need help there are lots of computer kids who would help you through it.  I use a two fold or four fold card to make labels.  That way I use the whole fabric sheet at once and get either 2 or 4 labels at a time. 
These are labels from a few years ago.  I treated muslin with Bubblejet Set and used a four fold card.  I printed 4 labels on one sheet and cut them apart.  Then I cut strips at 1" and framed each label.  You can't see but I lay the framed label right sides together on another piece of muslin and sewed around, leaving a 2" opening.  I turned it right side out so the edges are finished.  Then I handstitch the label to the back.  I have these samples because I spelled someone's name wrong.  Names are covered to protect identities.

This photo shows how large a 2 fold card size label would be.  I used the 2 fold size for a wedding gift and was able to add the photo from their wedding invitation.  Here are 2 photos taken in the conservation area for the wallhanging of photos from the area that I intend to make some day.

You can buy CDs of printable labels.  I haven't tried them yet but this is what to look for in your quilt shop.
Sounds like a good idea for a class in the new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Try Something New

There are so many specialty rulers and templates you are bound to have one in your stash.  It could have been a gift from a non-quilter because it is so unique they knew you wouldn't have one.  Or, on a trip with quilting friends, everyone was buying one so it seemed like a good idea at the time to get one too.  No matter how it came into your collection, it has been waiting patiently for you to give it a try.  The good news is you don't have to make a large project to try it out and you never have to show anyone if it doesn't.
Here are some tools:
Try something small.  Mug rugs are about 6" by 9" so you only have to sew together a few pieces.  Three of the yellow petal shapes would be enough and you would know if you wanted to make an applique quilt or give the tool to your applique loving friend.  Oh no, thinking has made me want to try these out on mug rugs!  I could do the tall triangles in solids, tumblers with the Dresden plate, two 6" 60 degree triangles and they could be turned through with no binding, oh no..........
My photo is not the greatest but these Creative Grid rulers are really great for using 2 1/2" strips.  The bottom one is for making 2 colour blocks.  Sew two strips together and cut multiple triangles out of the strips at once.  You would know if you wanted to ever try a kaleidoscope quilt or make a couple of unique placemats.
I took the Hunter's Star ruler (Studio 180 by Deb Tucker) and the pattern for the tablerunner to our last retreat.  I made 3 runners at the same time because I couldn't make up my mind about which fabric was best.  It took a bit to figure it out but with clear instructions and great illustrations by the time I did each step for the third one I knew what I was doing.  We will be offering classes for this runner during 2013.  If you have a ruler and need a friendly environment to try it out, watch the website or this blog for details. 
Give yourself the time to play with the tools you have and receive.  Make something small so, like it or not, you have a start on next year's holiday gifts. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

What Do Quilters Need?

I walked around the store this morning asking myself what to write about.  This is something I can do at 8 am since we live above the store and I have to take Nellie, the dog, out as soon as we get up.  It's December 17 and I am starting to run short of ideas for the blog. 
Quilters need fabric, thread, batting and notions for sure.  There are patterns, books and ideas to share.  So we can help you out and offer you a great price at the same time.
We have a Year End Sale every year.  All regular priced inventory is 30% off.  This year the dates are:

Thursday December 27       10 am to 5 pm
Friday December 28            10 am to 5 pm
Saturday December 29        10 am to 5 pm
Sunday December 30          11 am to 4 pm  
Monday December 31         10 am to 5 pm

But not everyone can get here on those dates.  So I have a special offer for blog readers.  If you are reading this and want to come this week, we can offer you a special presale discount of 20%.  When you come, let us know you read about the presale on the blog and you will get the discount.  Feel free to bring a friend or two. 
We are closed Sunday December 23 to Wednesday December 26.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Machine Quilting Help

Today's items are designed to help you gey a better grip on machine quilting. 

These gloves, called Machingers, are designed for machine quilters. The description suggests you keep your gloves on to thread your needle, adjust pins, or clip threads. They have soft, flexible fingertip grips with superior comfort and support. Breathable fabric retains skin's natural moisture. Excellent for machine piecing and quilting.  They come in 4 sizes including XL which actually fit my long fingers.  (Most times I wear mittens because gloves make me feel like I have webbed fingers.)  A customer was looking at them yesterday as working with cotton fabric dries out your skin, especially at this time of year when house heating makes  the air drier anyway.
This is the second item this blog month that comes to us from the office supply world.  The description in the supplier catalog says:

Now you can say goodbye to those smelly fingertip grips. The patented Crafter’s design is well ventilated and features gripping ridges for counting and sorting accuracy. It’s even open-ended to accommodate those with longer fingernails. The comfortable, multi-color design is durable, washable and reusable.

The gel grips  can go on one or more fingers for machine quilting.  They grip fabric well.  When handquilting, I have used a cut off balloon neck piece over a middle or ring finger to help me grip the needle and pull it through.  Gel grips work well instead and at $1.39 each they are reasonable enough to have 4 or 5 in my sewing kit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Creative Break

As far as gifts go, one of the most valuable you can give yourself is a creative break.  This has been a very busy week with guild meetings and presentations so Nellie, the store dog, and I have taken advantage of the beautiful weather twice this week.  Canada in December can be snowy and cold.  The past few days have been sunny and about 5degrees C. 
The Marsh Store is on the edge of a small conservation area on the Sydenham River.  In the 1960s a dam was built to create a large pond.  By the pond is a picnic area.  On Thursday Nellie wanted to go over to the soccer fields with her ball so I followed.  While she played, I sat on the swings and learned swings make you breathe the way they teach you to breathe during yoga and meditation.  So if you can't take time for yoga classes, sit on a swing and practise the relaxing breathing techniques.
Yesterday Nellie and I walked down Marsh Lane to the trail.  It used to go right through to Quaker Lane.

The trail to the left.  Parking to the right.

All around are creative ideas.

This tree by the trail has fallen.  The variety of browns and beiges inspire colour combinations.  A little snow adds a spot of colour.

This stump in the river always gives me ideas about colour and texture.  The leaves are under ice in the river.

More leaves under ice with sun reflections that sparkle

Nellie waits on the boardwalk through a cedar bog.  The tree roots on the left are always interesting.

Tree stump rings remind me of echo quilting.

I have never seen the type of fungi on this log.  It is so lacy and snowy white.  The turquoise mold is a wonderful colour against the lacy white and the moldy green cedar bark.

Natures combines shades of green in such an interesting way!

The lines of the red bridge give me quilting ideas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thread Matters

It should be very simple.  Any thread should work, right?  When you start learning to quilt you choose a spool of thread and get going.  How hard can it be?  Well, always buy the best quality you can afford because you get what you pay for.  Then over time you will get to know what works for you.
Sewing machines work differently.  I want to say they have personalities and sometimes we actually give our sewing machine a name.  So, the same thread can work on one machine and not on another.  I can recommend the best quality thread and it will work in one machine but not in another of the same make.  Learn what brand of thread works for your machine by trying all different brands.
When we sew by hand, we are different in the way we work.  For example, some people can hand quilt with King Tut thread by Superior.  Others can not use it because it breaks.  I think it is because some people pull harder naturally.  I use King Tut, a 40 weight thread, for binding because Masterpiece, a 50 weight Superior thread, breaks and I do not like to sew something twice. 
As your skills develop you will try more challenging quilt blocks.  Then I use Masterpiece because it takes up less space in the seam.  If you are sewing points together and have many layers of seam allowances meeting, a finer thread makes a difference. 
I have been machine quilting with 100 weight silk thread.  You hardly see the thread. 

So thread is a topic you can spend hours discussing.  Today, I will stop here because it is time for breakfast and to open the store (and strange things are happening as I try to type).  Have a great day!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quilter's Freezer Paper

If you are looking for a gift for a special quilter, white freezer paper is good choice.  We use it for tracing applique shapes.  Art quilters use it as a stabilizer so they can draw or write directly onto it.  Those who print on fabric and other non-paper media use it as a carrier sheet to run fabric through an inkjet printer.  Do not use it in a laser printer as the heat melts the wax, the fabric detaches and you go shopping for a new printer.
Freezer paper is matte paper with a coating of wax on one side.  Fabric can be ironed to the wax side temporarily.
In our area grocery stores are not carrying boxes of white freezer paper.  We can get some from quilt store suppliers but their wholesale price is the grocery store retail price.  One store in a shop hop said she could get it but would have to get a case of 72. 
So, if you have no other choice we can offer two choices through our supplier, QuiltSource Canada.

 This is Reynolds box of freezer paper.  There are 75 feet in a box.  I can order 12 boxes at a time.  Each would retail for $10.25.  This is still the most economical option. 

Handy, printable freezer paper sheets are the perfect size for printing patterns or templates in an ink-jet printer or all-in-one. • Sheets lie flat - no ironing needed • Reusable 30 reusable 8 1/2" x 11" sheets are perfect for piecing, appliqué, or any freezer-paper technique.
I copied this from the Quiltsource website.  Produced by C&T Publishering this product retails about $10.75 per package.

Anytime you find something on the QuiltSource Canada website I can order it for you.  You usually receive a special order discount if I can combine the shipping with other items we need.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In a Rush Projects

Need a gift in a hurry?!  Today quilters are posting ideas online using YouTube, Facebook and blogs.  But, be careful.  You may end up spending more time looking at the ideas than making the projects.

10 Minute Tablerunner

No batting, no quilting, no binding.  So does it count as a quilt?  If you need a really fast gift and you really need to downsize your stash, close to being a quilt may be good.  Many times I have been asked what prize to put on a tablerunner at a church bazaar.  Non-sewers do not see the value of your time spent on quilting and binding so find items overpriced.  This could be an answer.  One-third of a yard (0.3m) for the centre and one-half of a yard (0.47m) for the backing is all it takes.  Find great instruction videos on YouTube.  Here are our store samples:
Top one is a border print, bottom one is dark in the middle.
Quickest Quilt Top

Some call it 'Mile a Minute' and some call it 'Jelly Roll Race'.  Either way you can sew a jelly roll of 40 strips cut 2 1/2" wide into a 50" by 60" quilt top in an afternoon.  Add a border and longarm quilting machine meander so it is finished in time for the next day....
If you go to Google and enter 'jelly roll race images' you will see a great variety of tops. 
The pattern is simple.  Join the narrow end of one strip to the end of the next strip.  Piece it diagonally to create some visual interest.  Continue adding strips to the narrow tail end until all strips make one 1600 inch strip, give or take an inch or two.  Cut off the first 18".  Bring the last end to meet the first end, right sides together.  Sew about 800".  Cut the fold, and once again bring the bottom end to meet the top narrow end, RST.  Sew 400".  Cut the fold.  Keep sewing until the top is about 50" by 60".  I have seen it done with 2 1/2" squares between the strips for a more contemporary look.  For a better idea, watch a YouTube video. 
Here are some strip sets that work:
Moda jelly rolls, Hoffman Bali batiks and Timeless Treasures Tonga Treats

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stand Up Batting

Here are 2 tote bags made from the same pattern (free online from South Sea Imports or Wilmington Press).  The one on the right is floppy and folding over on itself.  The one on the left has firm foam batting which keeps it standing upright.  As I get older and have a harder time bending down to the floor to reach the floppy one, I really appreciate the people who have brought firm foam batting from the car industry to the quilting world. 

We carry 'inn-control plus' which has fusible web on both sides.  Remember to put parchment paper between the batt and the ironing board if ironing on one side only.  I used the foam in Brenda's pattern, 'My Monster Bag'.  The bag is large enough to carry 2 queen size quilts so it is wonderful that the bag doesn't flop over when empty.
Brenda uses this batting in many of her bag patterns.  'The Elipse Bag' above has the batting in the main body of the purse.  When open, the bag stays out of your way as you search inside.
We also have some of a similar product called 'Annie's Soft and Stable'.  This product is not fusible, comes in black or white and is more expensive. 
Either type is easy to sew through and makes a wonderful addition to your bag batting choices.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Needle Case and Threader

This is a needle case and needle threader in a 4 1/2" case.  You could wear it as a piece of jewelry by adding a chain or ribbon through the ring on the top.  The top section unscrews to hold needles in the upper area.  You won't get many in but you will always have them close by.  Pull off the bottom section and you will find a needle threader. 

The wire of the threader is heavier than many you may have seen.  At $7.99, it is a great idea for gift exchanges for quilting friends or for a hostess gift at a holiday get together.  Binding seems to go so  much faster when chatting with friends over tea.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Washing Quilts Part 2

For some reason I couldn't continue in the last post so read it first, please.

If you do not prewash the fabric you can always test for colour fastness when you are done. Take the scraps and wash them. Check the water for colour or lay the wet fabric on paper towels and see if there is any colour on the paper towel. It is not too late to treat the quilt with Retayne after it is quilted.
I always prewashed stash fabric because, if I never got around to using it, at least I had spent some time enjoying the colours and design as I ironed it.
I tell people to consider who will have the quilt and how will they take care of it.  The answer to these questions will help you decide what batt to use and what quilting design to use. 
Are you making a family heirloom?  Use the best quality fabric, batt and thread. 
Will the quilt be washed once a month?  Consider batt with some polyester and quilt closely together.  Take a deep breath, let the quilt go and enjoy the fact the receipts will be using your gift so well they will love it to pieces.

I could go on and on except breakfast calls.  But, it occurs to me that a quilter puts alot of effort into creating a quilt.  Quite literally, she or he puts in blood, sweat and tears at times.  There is always a piece of your heart that goes with the quilt to its receipent.  The hardest part is letting go. 

Washing Quilts Part 1

One of the most controversial topics in quilting concerns washing quilts.  There are many right and correct ways to approach washing quilts.  It boils down to what works for you and it doesn't have to be the same all the time.  So here are some thoughts to consider and maybe a few points to contemplate.

Do you prewash fabric?  That's easy.  Yes and no!  There are different qualities of cotton made for quilting.  Independent quilt shops order from manufacturers and distributors using top grade base fabric most of the time.  You can tell by the feel of the fabric, the number of threads and the quality of the dyes/printing colours.  Chain stores often carry lesser quality fabrics that are thinner, stretchier and not as well printed. 
Most fabric dyes on quality fabrics are stable and do not bleed when washed.  There is sizing on the fabric taken from the bolt unless it is marked 'prepared for dyeing'.  If you are concerned, then prewash the fabric to see if it runs and to remove the sizing that may irritate a baby's delicate skin.  If a colour runs or bleeds, you can treat the fabric with a fixative like Retayne.  I use it when dyeing fabric to set the colour and it works excellently.  Soak the fabric in it for several minutes and no more colour comes out.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sitting Pretty Using Heat Moldable

In October I posted about my iPad holder.  The pattern is "Sitting Pretty" by Brenda of 'Among Brenda's Quilts'.  The firm stabilizer that makes it start up is an interesting one to work with.  There are 2 brands I have worked with:

Both are similar.  You heat them with an iron or hair dryer to soften.  Then you are able to mold them into different shapes for bowls, boxes or whatever you imagination can conceive.  For 'Sitting Pretty' you are not molding the boardlike pieces but are using the strong stiffness to support the iPad in open positions.  I used the 'inn-spire plus' which is fusible on both sides because that is what I had at the time. 
Even though the products are firm they are easy enough to sew through with pieceing or quilting thread.  You can have a hostess present candy dish stitched, molded and ready to take in about half an hour.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ultimate Pin Caddy

This is a pin caddy I would like to receive.  It would make me look organized when I go to class, it would save Nellie's paws from being stuck with a pin and it would make sure snips and needles are close at hand for an easy binding a quilt on the way to giving it away.
The main body is a colourful plastic dish with a magnet to hold tight to pins when you drop it.  There is a U-groove which allows for easy pin pick up from the top of the caddy.  When storing or transporting the caddy you can cover the pins with a transparent lid.  The lid features a triple pin slot so pins can be slid through onto the caddy without removing the lid.  That means there is a second way to keep you from spilling pins all over the floor or for protecting curious little fingers when you forget to put the caddy away.  When removed, the lid nests under caddy when not in use.  It also has a storage box underneath the caddy.  The box slides securely to the bottom and is large enough to hold a pair of small scissors and snips.  At $14.99, it is worth the time it saves me on the floor collecting pins!
Separate parts

Peach Best Press

After several years, I still love Best Press and use it as much as I ever have.  I grew up in the 1960s and helped out by ironing sheets, underwear and linen tea towels as well as all the rest of the family clothes.  It would have been so much easier with Best Press. 
The newest scent was introduced at fall Quilt Market in Houston this year.  The peach scent is light but peachy enough to bring back thoughts of warm summer days and ripe peach juice running down your chin. 
Use Best Press when you aren't prewashing fabric and need to get the fold mark out of the middle.  Use a little spray when you first press all the seams in one direction and find out they should have gone the other way.  Use a spray when dealing with diagonal cross grain edges or 60 degree triangles that have to be taken out and resewn.  The spray will give enough to support to give you a chance to resew accurately without having to cut an new piece of fabric.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Prym Iron Rest and An Ironing Tip

All we can tell from the package is that this is heat resistant and non-slip.  But it is made from silicone so is good for short term resting of the iron while ironing a project.  I can see making use of it when working on miniatures where you have lots of fiddling to do when pressing.  Or, there are those of us who are quite forgetful and have the scorched iron imprints on our ironing board cover to show for it. At a retail price of $8.99 it could save replacing ironing board covers for us forgetful ones.  The raised bumps keep the iron off the flat surface.  We could have used on at the retreat in November.

It looks like it might work as a big spoon rest for the kitchen.

Speaking of pressing, here is my favourite tool.  It is a seam roll.  You could use pressing hams too.  I am sure there are heritage versions at yard sales and in box lots at auction.  It has muslin on one side and a plaid fuzzier fabric on the other.

The seam roll is used for pressing sleeves on shirts.  It is firm and covered in fabric.  I know women used to make them out of old shirts and sawdust packed hard.  When you are piecing small blocks or blocks with many pieces the seam roll makes it easier to concentrate on pressing one area without turning other seams.  Lay the seam you want to press on the roll where it curves down.  The rest of the block falls away so you are pressing along the line of stitching and not a large area.  It keeps the seam allowance from pushing on the front fabric creating a shadow or ridge.  The plaid side has enough nap to keep the cotton from sliding around.

Binding Odd Angles

For a long time I have avoided projects with angles that are not the usual 90 degrees because I could not get the binding on the turns to look good.  The good news is that Creative Grids have introduced the 'Non-slip Angle Finder' tool.  Along with an online video, you can learn how to bind all sorts of corners beautifully! 

Here is a tip:  Along the way I learned how to turn a 60 degree corner using continuous binding.  The trick is not to fold the binding as far back as you do when doing a 90degree turn.  When making a 90 degree turn, you stop 1/4" from the end when stitching along a side.  Then you fold the binding away from the quilt at a 45 degree angle and fold it back over itself to continue down the new side.  So when the corner angle is 60 degrees, stop at the seam line that extends to the corner.  Or, mark the seam allowances with a marking tool, and stop where the lines cross.  Fold the binding less than all the way to the edge.  If you have a seam line, follow that.  The binding is folded at a 30 degree angle and doesn't have to touch the outside edge of the quilt.  Fold the binding over the turning fold as you would with a typical corner and continue on your way.  This results in a smooth corner when you turn the binding back to hand stitch. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Sensational Sip & Snip

Sometimes it's better to go with the promotional material rather than try to say it yourself.  So here it is:
Stops Spills -- Traps Scraps -- Installs Easily Attaches Easily to most desks and table tops. Powder coated finish won’t rust, chip or peel. Rubber sleeved clamp protects work surface. Holds coffee mugs, soda cans, water bottles, and most drink cups up to thirty-two ounce sizes. Large capacity woven bag holds your scraps (and candy wrappers). Bag frame removes easily for emptying, or for when you only want a drink holder. Carry it anywhere for instant use as a beverage caddy.

To me, the best part about this item is you can't knock over the mug or bottle (voice of experience).  Also, if you can get the snips in the bag you have less sweeping or vacuuming to do. 
We have 2 in stock and the supplier is out of stock so email if you want me to keep one for you.  The price is $26.49.  I can order one but it will be awhile before it comes in.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Highlighter Tape

Highlighter Tape
Every so often a product from the office world enters the quilt world and makes our quilting efforts a little bit easier.  How many times have quilters wandered the halls of an office supply store thinking about how they could use the wonderdful products there?  Who was the quilter that brought Frixion pens to us?
This year a product making the move is highlighter tape.  We have used Omnigrids 'Glow Tape' to help us on rulers in the past.  This tape is wider at 1/2" and come in a variety of colours.  You can use more than one colour on the ruler when cutting multiple piece sizes. 
At the November retreat I was using the 45 degree angle line on my large ruler.  There were many angles to cut and I just realized I would have saved many minutes of cutting time by using one little piece of tape.
Have you ever followed a pattern with lines and lines of cutting instructions at the beginning?  Have you ever cut the same instruction twice?  Have you ever missed a line?  I used the highlighter tape when doing one of 'Among Brenda's Quilts' bags.  The tape highlights 2 or 3 lines at a time so you know where you are.  When you finish those lines, the tape comes off easily and can be moved down to the next few lines.  It makes following the instructions so much easier!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Swatch Buddies

Welcome to  December ideas for quilters to give or receive.  Print out a copy to share with your family, find an idea for a quilter gift exchange or add it to your shopping list for the next trip to a quilt shop.
New this year are 'Swatch Buddies'.  Gone are the days of fabric snips taped, stapled or glued to paper.  The hard plastic tags are the size of my library card and are on a chain to keep them all in one place.  Double faced tape holds the fabric to one side.  There is an optional label for the other side to record yardage, designer, collection and store of purchase.
It comes in several sizes. The 12 count fan kit ($7.29) would work on a project for which you have some fabric and need more. The 24 count works for scrappier projects. We don't have the 48 count kit or the box of over 100 refills but am sure we can get it for you if you need it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

'Simply Imagine' by Whimsicals

After talking to Terri D, the designer of Whimsical fabrics for Red Rooster, at Quilt Market this spring I came home and ordered the entire line.  She said she has 'gone to the dark side' in creating deeper, darker teals in this line. 
I love fabrics with words, especially words of creativity and inspiration.  Here is the pile of 25 bolts-
For some reason it won't let me post photos.  If you go to Red Rooster, choose Current Collections and turn to page 2.  You will find the line there.  I will keep working on adding photos here......

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sitting Pretty

Finally the iPad has a pretty home.  The fabric is 'LaScala' by Robert Kaufman and the pattern is 'Sitting Pretty' by 'Among Brenda's Quilts'.  I used the hardboard by Innovative Craft Products but there a similar product available by Bosal.  Both brands are stiffer than Peltex or Timtex.  You wouldn't be able to use cardboard as you need to sew through it but if you are creative and have a heavy duty machine with fusible thread there are possibilities. 
I thought it is professional looking in the fancier fabrics.  The elastic tablet holders are in two colours because I got a package of hairbands from the dollar store and thought one was enough.  It took two but I like both colours so decided to be colourful rather than make a trip for another package.
Outside front and pattern taken with no flash


Full outside cover with flash so the colours are lighter than actual


Inside with iPad flat, no flash


Inside with iPad standing, with flash