Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Monday, July 30, 2018

Basics About Using an Iron for Quilt Making

Over the years I've shared this information here and there, but adding it all together as a single post, seemed like a good idea!

I've been through several irons over the years, and I don't generally buy an expensive one.
My current iron has lasted me the longest of any I've owned - coming up to 10 years now - I think it's because it's a 
solid soleplate model.

I don't like to use 'steam' to press my fabrics and quilt patches or blocks, so there was no need to have this feature.
Unfortunately it wasn't easy to find an iron like this, and even this one wasn't a perfect purchase.

The sad story of my iron and a cautionary tale for others...
I got it from ebay, as a new iron, and no issues were mentioned in the description.
It was not listed as a 'second'.
But when it arrived it had a blob of metal at the tip. You can see it in the picture.
I wanted to return it, but I had to pay the postage to do so, even though the buyer was obviously in the wrong.
The cost to do so was more than I paid for the iron to begin with, so I kept it...and learned to work with the blob!

To give my blocks and quilt tops a good pressing and to get the wrinkles out of my fabrics, I mist the fabric lightly.
I use distilled water, because I happen to have it around (for maintaining the batteries of my off grid system).
The spray bottle I use happens to have the loveliest mist, and that's what you want.
You want to dampen not wet the fabric....and if you need to wet a tough wrinkle, you mist a few extra times.

In quilting, you are dealing with many seams and if you iron the patches the same way you would iron a shirt, you can easily distort the shape.
Instead you should 'press' them, using a dry iron, with an up and down motion only, adding some pressure.
Avoiding sliding the iron across the seams or block prevents stretching the fabric.
I have a 'Pressing' how to, which covers general pressing, applique & pieced blocks.
You can request the free file from the Technique page of the Library here.

As you can see in the picture above, that I took of my iron this morning, I need to clean the soleplate again.

Here's how I clean my iron...
I clean up the bottom of my iron by soaking paper towels with vinegar and laying the iron down on them for a few minutes.

I then scrub the iron over baking soda soaked with vinegar, until done. 
So simple & eco-friendly!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

It's a Stitching Kind of Day!

It's been a long month, and today I'm in need of some sewing machine therapy!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

*NEW* Fabric Quilt Labels

I'm thrilled to share the news about my *NEW* Fabric Quilt Labels.
You'll find more details about my new Fabric Quilt Labels here plus learn how to save extra if you make an Advance Purchase - this weekend only!

Adding labels with some information to your quilts allows it to be treasured for years!
My new fabric quilt labels make that easy.

Happy Saturday!

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Ribbon Needle Book

In my sewing box that I have next to my comfy chair, where I do all of my hand stitching, I've always had bits of fabric scraps with different needles and special pins that I use for all of my different stitching.

I had planned to make myself a needle book to keep these in. 
A few years ago I enjoyed putting one together which I made out of a lovely piece of ribbon I had in my collection.

I cut a matching felt piece to sew on the backside of the ribbon (folding the ends of the ribbon in first), and then blind-stitched it to the back of the ribbon, being careful not to stitch through to the front.

I then cut (with pinking shears) a few slightly smaller pieces of felt. 
I stitched them together with embroidery floss, and stitched these pages to the center of the ribbon section.
I also stitched a small pocket on the back cover, to keep a needle threader handy. 

Now I can keep all of my different needles & special pins that I use for a variety of sewing & embroidery jobs, together in this 'sew pretty' book.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Scrapbook Block

Stopping to smell the roses today...
I'll be taking part of the day to play - with a new idea, that has nothing to do with anything I've been extra busy working on.
Don't they say, a change is as good as a rest?
And I do need a rest!

Though, with my to-do list as long as it is, I dare not stop for too long.
Exciting news, up and coming - Watch this space. :)

You'll find the A Novel Idea July block online this morning - it's a Scrapbook.

A Novel Idea Free Block of the Month

I love how this scrapbook looks! I had several fabrics with a collage of pictures or postcards I could have chosen.
Alternative Design Idea: If I had fabric with small stamps on it, I would have used it (as I am a stamp collector), but I didn't have any in my collection, though I know I've seen them online over the years.
You can see the tutorial and request the layout guide & templates for this free Block of the Month here.

As I've been sharing my applique tips this week, this scrapbook block (upside down in this picture) gives me a good opportunity to share another tip!
You can see how I've basted the seam allowances over, before I start stitching.
When I'm stitching multicoloured fabrics, like the scrapbook fabric, I like to change threads, when there's a significant colour change along the edge, as I don't want my stitches to be obvious.

For this block, I pulled out all of these thread colours as options.
I did not end up using all of them.

You knot off on the back before changing colours, unless it's only a tiny amount of space before you use that colour again. Then just guide the needle between the layers to the next area.
Here are two options for changing the thread colours...
1. Either go around the patch, stitching all the areas using the colour you have threaded on your needle.
This is actually an advantage of using the basting method, as the seam allowances are prepared in advance.

2. Change thread colours each time you get to the next colour.
To save time, if you have enough needles, you could have one needle for each thread colour, so you just need to pick a new needle, without re-threading it each time.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Quilts are a Work of Heart

Four years ago, I created the meme above.
Quilts are a Work of Heart

I love that sentence and what it meant so much, I decided to re-create this meme as a small wall hanging, that could be made to hang in a sewing room.

This is it - and it's available as a free quilt pattern here.

Happy Stitching!

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