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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

From Design Wall to Machine - Staying Organized

You spend so much time arranging your pieced blocks on your design wall, and then you have to REMOVE the blocks to sew them.  How do you keep them organized during this process?   I'm sure everyone does it a little differently but I wanted to share how it's worked for ME for many many years and many many quilts.  If you would like to try my method, it not only keeps your blocks organized, but also decides how your seams will be pressed from the very beginning.  Your seams will then butt together beautifully and your top will lay flat for quilting!   

  It's simple.
Start off by counting how many rows your quilt will have.   In the following example there are 4 columns and 5 ROWS.   Cut 5 small pieces of paper and write down the numbers 1,2,3,4,5.  Now, for a simple charm/block quilt such as this one, I would go ahead and draw arrows, underneath each number, notating the direction to press the blocks.
In ROW #1 the block seams will be pressed to the RIGHT.   In ROW #2 the block seams will be pressed to the LEFT.  and so on.
Imagine that these are your blocks pinned to your design wall.  
With a small T-pin or metal dress pin, attach each small numbered piece of paper to the first block in each row.   NOTE*  Make sure the pin is METAL because these will be ironed.  Also, make sure to make the paper small enough that you can center it in the middle of the left side of each of the first blocks in each row.  You don't want to pin the number too high or low, because these will be left attached as you sew the rows together.  So make sure you leave around 1/2" above and below the paper so it does not get sewn into the seam allowance.   


Another popular style of quilt is the sashed and cornerstoned quilt.  For this we do things a bit differently. 
You will still first start by counting the rows.  For the example below we have 5 columns and 7 ROWS.  If the large purple area is a pieced block (such as in a crown royal quilt) you will want to press the seams OUT, or TOWARDS the sashing.   So instead of noting the direction that the seams will be pressed, you will just do the same direction for each alternating row.  
An easy way to remember which direction to press the seams in this example, is to simply remember to ALWAYS press your seams TOWARD the SASHING.  (the pink area.)

The quilt I am working on now, is the 2nd type of quilt.  A quilt with blocks, sashing, and cornerstones.  
This is the completed top.  

As you can see, the first ROW of this quilt is the block/sashing/block row.   What I do, is I remove the blocks IN ORDER, from LEFT to RIGHT.  Starting with the very first block on TOP, and then carefully stacking them so that the LAST block (the block on the RIGHT) is the last block in the stack, on the very bottom.  Then, I move to a seat and table, and I start pinning the blocks together.   Starting with block #1, I pin that to the first piece of sashing, and then I pin the sashing piece to the block #2 in the row, and so on.

Here are several rows pinned together.
 Here they are from the back.  These smaller sashing pieces can be a bit tricky with this method, so you have to be careful.

Next I removed all of the sashing/cornerstone/sashing rows.   Here you can see them all stacked up before I pinned them together.  

After I have pinned them all together, I take it to the machine.  It doesn't matter where you start, just start sewing in a long chain, until every seam is sewn.  For a quilt this big, I can usually sew 2-3 seams in one row, before moving to the next.  
Place the seam right underneath the needle, then remove the pin, and sew.  

Next you can start sewing the block/sashing/block rows.  Same way.  Bring the seam right up to the needle, remove the pin, sew, and go on to the next.

Once all the rows are completely sewn, you can PRESS the seams (REMEMBER ALWAYS TOWARD SASHING) and then PIN your rows together and sew.  There is never another need to go back to your design wall.  Everything is labeled so you know which row is 1,2 3, etc.,   I will typically start sewing row 1 and 2 together, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, and so on.

This has worked for me for as long as I can remember. . I hope you can use this method too.

I'm almost finished with this quilt and will post photos shortly!

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm selling on CRAFTSY, and you can too!

How to Add & Sell a Pattern on Craftsy

(This post contains affiliate links which means I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)
In addition to wonderful online courses and craft supplies, Craftsy also has an independent online pattern store that lets anyone upload and sell downloadable e-patterns with no fee!

How do you add a pattern to Craftsy and start your pattern store? It’s easy!

1. Make sure you have a Paypal account. All pattern transactions happen through Paypal, and Craftsy requires that you have a Student, Premier, or Business account in order to sell patterns.
2. Put your pattern in .pdf format. You can’t upload any patterns to the online pattern store unless they’re a .pdf file format, so if they’re currently saved as a Word doc, .jpg, or other file format, you must convert it to a .pdf before you upload it to Craftsy.
3. Include a photo. All patterns must have at least one photo to accompany them, but you can add up to five photos. Colorful, interesting photos tend to work the best for catching our members’ eyes!
4. Fill out the pattern description. We will ask you some basic questions around your pattern making it easier for Craftsy folk to find your pattern and know what your pattern is for. Make sure you have info about your pattern handy for this step.

For more information on how to sell a pattern through Craftsy, or to get started, visit Craftsy today!


Shop Indie Patterns
Shop Indie Patterns

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quilt Re-Do. . . What I learned.

This is my quilt I called "12 Tribes" - a BOM pattern designed by Erin Russek.  I used a technique that Kelli from Dont Look Now blog described in this applique quilt.  Her work is always so absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and so I had to learn how to do it.   
  It is a free-motion, raw edge fusible applique.  It is still to this DAY my favorite method to do applique.  However, I do things very differently these days.   I don't know how Kelli does it . . I don't know if she doesn't wash her quilts or what. . but after I washed this quilt 20 times, the applique pieces started coming apart at the edges.  
the way she did it made it looks so "neat and tidy" .    she would stitch a straight-line right at the edge of each applique piece.  and she did her stitching with a free-motion/quilting/darning foot, which makes it VERY easy and fast!   

Can you see in these photos?  here is a section where the pieces are coming apart.  Now, I HAVE washed this quilt ALOT. .  and maybe it's because I used a very lightweight fusible product.  I know that Steam-A-Seam is usually a little bit stronger.  

 After I discovered the issues with this quilt, I changed my raw-edge applique WAYS.   There are many different options, and I use different ones depending on the particular project.  Some good methods are:
Using a buttonhole stitch, zigzag stitch, or satin stitch with a regular sewing machine foot.  ( a clear foot works best.)
But what I usually do is use the #5 setting on my Janome and use my darning foot. The #5 is a narrow zig-zag. So basically you need to catch at LEAST an 1/8" of the fabric with your thread.  And the great thing about using the darning foot is that you don't have to keep turning your machine constantly.  Which is great for big quilts like this ;c)

So, moral of the story, if you don't want to have to redo your whole quilt, than make sure you secure your applique pieces at FIRST.   and I wouldn't even CARE really, if I were still just using it and washing it.  BUT, I decided to hang this quilt up and "retire" it from use. . so I wanted to make sure to fix all the problems first.  ;c)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My favorite POTLUCK "recipe"

I wanted to share with you guys my FAVORITE Potluck "recipe."  
Here are some of the reasons why it is so perfect for me:

  • It is Healthy
  • It is Gluten-Free
  • It is High-Fiber
  • It is Dairy-Free
  • It can be left in room temperature for awhile. 
  • It is SUPER Easy
  • It is SUPER Fast
  • It is SUPER Cheap

  • 1 Can Light Kidney beans
  • 1 Can Dark Kidney beans
  • 1 Can Garbonzo Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans 
  • 1 Can White Kidney Beans or Great Northern 
  • 1 can Corn 
  • 1 Green Pepper Chopped
  • 1 Small Onion Chopped
  • 1.5 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • Tostitos Scoops (optional)
Drain all of the beans and rinse well.  Add everything to a large bowl and stir, taste and see if it needs more oil or vinegar.  This ratio is pretty good but you can use more or less depending on your taste, it is a very forgiving recipe. 
 I have used different kinds of vinegar but apple cider tastes best to me.    
This bean salad is good AS-IS, but is amazing with Tostido's Scoops Tortilla Chips!  (not sure if they are gluten free though, so make sure you check on that first)

Some names of this recipe are as follows:  Bean Salad, WV Caviar, and Stinky bean Dip.  ;c)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mira is 7 months old!

 Each Month I hand-dye onesies, and use white socks, white crocheted headband, and a matching bow.  Starting with Red, then orange yellow green blue purple and then I'm going to start back over at Red again.  I put the two reds together in the photo to show the difference between 1 month and 7 months.

It keeps getting more difficult to get her to sit still, and I know one of these days she's going to fall head first into the floor.   But the pictures are so cute. . so it's totally worth it right?  LOL/ / just kidding I would not let her fall!  (hopefully!) 

You can get bows like the one Mira is wearing on amazon for cheap!  12 for like $9 or so.  Also, you can mix and match colors, these bows are removable!

Qs 10 Pieces Baby's Headbands Girl's Headband Chiffion Flower Hair Bow (10 Pack)

4 Baby Quilts

So either all of my friends are PREGNANT, or just had babies. . including ME!  So, an idea popped into my head (a brilliant one I might add) - that I would make all of us a baby quilt -similar, but not totally matching.  I wanted the moms to pick out the colors, and applique the name on there.  These quilts are the perfect "tummy time" quilts too!  Soft, yet strong, and will hopefully be washed and used for years! 

I drew up this little design in paint.  (Encore wasn't named yet, but is my friends 2nd baby, her "encore" baby. . cute huh?)  I took this little design to the fabric shop to pick out fabrics.  

Lauren Grace, daughter of my friend Amy & Paul, who has yet to arrive, but we are all excited to meet her! 
Emmett Theodore, who is here, but just BRAND new.  Only a few weeks old, but I hear he is perfect and sleeping like an Angel.  When I met him, he gave me a smile, so I already like him ;c) 

Juliana Elise - I have decided that she and MY daughter are going to be BFFs!  They are only a few months apart and we live just down the street from each other!  They have already had a beautiful photo shoot together and seem to get along great! ;c) 
 (this is them)

 And then finally, my Mira's. . I started out with brand new fabrics that I LOVE, but I quilted it to death (did you know you could OVER quilt something?  yeah, me neither!)  So I made it into a rug, and started from scratch, using all scraps.  Guess what? the scrappy, quick-quilted version is 10X better!   BIG LESSON LEARNED !
 (here's the old version/rug)

 Some finished photos hanging on my dirty wet fence ;c) 

and just thought this was a cute picture.  All of my names, in different fonts, all printed in reverse, ready for the applique process!

2014 Crown Royal Quilt - - #1?

My first Crown Royal Quilt of the year! Will it be the first and ONLY?  Time will tell!
I had to get mostly new fabrics for this quilt, as the fabrics I was using for previous crown quilts is mostly sold out or MIA.  

 My customer had a beautifully colorful selection of bags.  3 different sizes of golds!
 3 different size of blacks!
 Browns, Reds, and tons of purples!  
 This is going to be a colorful quilt!
 Here are all of my bags "prepped" and ready to be pressed and trimmed into 4" squares. 
 All of my star blocks ready to go!
 Finished quilt top! 

 Quilting the quilt recipients name in the border is kind of a tradition now ;c) can you see the "randy?"
 Finished back! 
 Finished Front! 
 And I just had to get a photo of my favorite helper - outside on a rare beautiful sunny day.  And the photo on the left is of my NEXT project "Rocking Horse Quilt"

Also, I am now selling the pattern for these quilts if you would like to make one for yourself.   Or, you can commission ME to make it for you!
For questions or price list please see my facebook page -\