Sunday, June 30, 2019

Patchwork & Progress

Good Sunday Morning!

As I was looking through my notes, of things I want to share with you, I was looking towards my large - old - wooden - double desk and realized I hadn't posted a picture of this beauty!
This was taken a few years ago, when I hadn't made my pretty Patchwork Sewing Machine Cover yet.
The left side is where I sew & cut fabrics, and the right is my office side.
I also have a very large surface, if I clear it all off, when needed.
[Those who also live in tiny spaces know all about the shuffle of things required.]
As you can see in the picture, I have a love of old wood boxes for my threads, organizing, papers & scraps of fabrics waiting to be cut down.

I'm now enjoying sewing together my newest quilt design, and will need to keep most of that secret until the reveal...but that doesn't mean I didn't take lots of pictures for the tutorial tips I'll be sharing later...and some good quilt tips that I get to share now!

My anchor cloth project helps me keep better organized, when I'm chain piecing batches of patches.
I stitch one in between two batches, so I know easily, when clipping them apart, where exactly the patches for the next block begin.

The arrows are pointing to my current anchor cloth patches (Postage Stamp with a Twist scrap quilt) and includes another finished block.

Coal & Ember keeping me company while I sew. :)

I shut the off-grid system down for a bit this week, while the thunderstorm went on overhead.
So instead of sewing, I trimmed a bunch of small 4-patch units, that are part of my Postage Stamp with a Twist anchor project.
It isn't pretty to repurpose older cutting mats into smaller, pieces - but they're oh so useful!!

My sewing was stalled for part of a day, until the sun came out - as the patches need pressing, before I could go further.
So I picked up my hand quilting (My Blue & White Tiles - quilt as you go method), to stitch instead.
I love using painters tape to mark a line to quilt along. 

A bunch of years ago, I thought I was going to buy myself a small pressing mat, to use near my sewing machine.
At the time I covered some folded, corrugated cardboard inside an older flannel sheet - to use temporarily.
It works well enough, I've never bothered to buy one.

In the top right corner you can see my 'thread catcher'.
I shared my tip about how to make one here.

This large pale grey/green spool has been in my box of threads for well over a decade - and I finally have the perfect project to use it.
It's working wonderfully as a neutral for the current quilt I'm sewing, melding well with all the colours.

These 5 Postage Stamp with a Twist blocks were completed while sewing the blocks for half of the quilt I'm currently working on.

All progress is good!

I've come to realize that sewing square patches is my favourite patchwork!
Squares into 4-Patches - 4-Patches into larger units - blocks - quilts!!

There's something about a bunch of squares of fabric sewn together that has always made my heart sing.
My first quilt top was squares (9-Patches) and the first quilt I completed was a queen size checkerboard quilt, with matching shams, that I made as a wedding gift (I never took a picture of that one).
I cut those 3" squares before I even knew there was a rotary cutter & mat tool, which was still pretty knew then.
The fact I made any more quilts after that, shows how much quilting is my bliss!!

Patchwork borders also add such a lovely finish to frame quilt blocks!

Summer Garden Quilt Pattern
This example is my Summer Garden quilt (Featured Quilt Pattern of the Month). 
It's one of my 'Sew Simple Samplers' quilt designs.

Note: There's a printable note card available of this quilt, too!

All My Weeds are Wildflowers

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, June 24, 2019

Time Sensitive News x3

Quilt Pattern Sale
#1 - Which Will Inspire You?

Save up to 50% with my Anniversary Quilt Pattern Sale ~ For This Week Only! 
Buy One & Get One Free*
*Please Note: Free pattern(s) must have the same or lower price as the one(s) you purchase.
Reply to the 'Thank you for your order!' email, that is instantly sent when your purchase is complete, with the name of the pattern(s) you want as your free pattern(s).
Plus there's never any shipping costs for my patterns, because they will be email directly to you.

This special is available to both Members & Non-Members!
Here's the link to my Quilt Pattern Pages, where you'll find the dozens of options.


Playing with Pincushions 2019 Bonus Offer

#2 - Last Few Days for 2019 Bonus Offer

You'll find all the details here.


#3 - 2019 Online Quilters Meet & Greet

2018 Online Quilters Meet & Greet
Do you remember my 2018 Online Quilters Meet & Greet that I hosted, last September?

Well...I've got some great companies on board already for this years version.
It's going to be another Great Grand Prize indeed!!
Details about that coming soon.

It's time for me to start sending out my invitations to quilters who have blogs!

If you're a quilter with a blog and want to be part of the party
-or- a company interested in adding your product to the
Great Grand Prize for the 2019 Online Quilters Meet & Greet,
coming in September, please contact me as soon as possible!

Time to act now!

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Blocking & Pinning Tips

One advantage of having this space is it allows me to share some of my favourite tips with you.

I personally have never been able to sew a perfect block, with perfect seam allowances, which effects how the whole finished quilt top sews together, as each 1/16th of an inch can add up to a significant amount in the finished size.

What I came up with early in my quilting, was to draw a line at the 'finished size', with a mechanical pencil, on the back of each unit or block. I use the line as a guide to pin to the next block, plus to sew along. The final result may have the blocks slightly off, or 'charming' in the quilt top, but the final quilt top itself lays flatter and in the end the finished quilt is nicer.

The 'Blocking' how to page, that describes the technique step by step, is available by request (free) here.

I start with a fine grade piece of sandpaper and tape it to a cardboard with masking tape.

I lay the unit or block with the wrong side up onto the sandpaper (or rough section of my cutting mat if the block is larger), and center a ruler (the finished block size I need if I have one, otherwise I use a ruler the closest to the size) onto the back of the unit.
Draw a 'sewing' line, with the mechanical pencil, around the ruler.

This gives you good corners and makes up for any uneven sewing. You can trim any extra seam allowance, if you wish to take the time.

Pin your blocks together using this pinning trick:

Place a pin in each corner of both the two blocks you are joining. Don't anchor them. Hold the pin perpendicular (90*) with your first two fingers (underneath) and your thumb on top. Now place an anchor pin (going in at an angle) beside it. Do the same for the other corner, and a few times in between, making sure you are matching up the two sewing lines. This pinning method keeps the blocks from shifting out of place.

When you combine both of these tips I promise your quilt tops will end up neater.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Let's Get Sewing!

Did you know it's National Sewing Machine Day?
It's the day we celebrate our sewing machines - a very important tool in our life!
Whether you have one or a whole collection, be sure to enjoy some stitching.

The machine I use is the one my Mom nudged me into buying when I was 15 years old.

It lives, when not in use, under my pretty Patchwork Sewing Machine Cover.

Happy 18th Anniversary!

Yes....I've actually been sharing my original quilt pattern designs, through my website since 2001.
And thankfully, the ideas keep coming. :)
The bed quilt I'm currently working on, is going to be one of my best designs.
You'll see some of my progress below.

Limited Time Only ~> June, 2019 Anniversary Bonus Offer
Purchase a non-expiring Victoriana Quilt Design Membership this month and receive the patterns for all of the Playing with Pincushions series!

Playing with Pincushion Pattern Series

You'll find all the details on my site here.

Plus you still have time to get the current 2019 Hearts Intertwined Pincushion pattern, too!

Such a pretty fabric! 
It came in the mail last a gift - Thank You 'sew' much Svea!! 
I'm looking forward to using it as the feature fabric in one of my Blue & White Tiles blocks.

I love finding shirts, to use for my quilts, from the local thrift store.
These two are my most recent finds and added to my fabric stash.

The bottom blue & white plaid is already being used in my Blue & White Tiles quilt.
I've been taking advantage of the nice weather to separate the parts of these outside - so the dust of ripping them apart (along straight edges only) doesn't end up in the house...that just causes extra housework.

There is no such thing as too many...
When it comes to fabrics in a quilt

My newest quilt progress...

I was so glad I figured out a way to extend the life of my cutter I could cut the bunch of strips I need.
I could have gone back to cutting them with my rotary cutter, but it's so much easier this way!
I covered the 'cut through' section with a strong duct tape.
I know it's not ideal, but it did work for a while.

In one day I made good progress - Many, many green fabrics cut into strips.
The tip I gave above, to extend the life of the cutter mat only went so far, until I had to change the tape.
I then remembered an older large rotary cutting mat I had, so I cut a 6" strip off it to use.
It wasn't quite the same thickness, so I added a layer of cardboard from a cereal box on top of the stack, and cutting the rest was a breeze!

These are the fabric strips for my next quilt - all cut.

I then got patches all cut, so I'm ready to begin the most fun part!

I'm 'sew' looking forward to what's next!!

Happy Stitching!

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