Monday, April 28, 2008

New Friends

This past Saturday I taught a class at Mabelena's quilt shop in my town. This was the first time I taught my new pattern, Hole In The Wall. Teaching a pattern for the first time is always a nervous time for me. I love to get the feed back on the pattern. But I HATE it if we find a typo or error. It's a real "cringe" moment for me, no matter how small the error is. Because I have my patterns tested before they are published, it's rare to find a real error in the pattern. Usually it's a typo or missed letter, etc. Still, I feel foolish if we find one. My patterns are like my children, they are a reflection on me when I send them out in the world. So, this class was no different. We found a small typo. Shoot. Darn. Cringe. Seems 7 rows of 7 blocks equals 49 blocks, not 48. Who knew?

We did have a blast in class. There were four students of varying skill levels. A small class leaves lots of time to get to know each other. And this was a great group. I feel I have made four new friends. I really do have the best job in the world.

Here's a photo of one of the finished tops. Isn't it gorgeous? I love the fabrics Dayna Hughes of Davison Michigan used. What do you think?

Remember, any time you make one of my quilt patterns, send me a photo. I will put it on the blog with your name. I love to see what you are doing out there, so send 'em in!


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gone too long

Sorry... I have not posted in a while...I'm out of breath and red as a you can see by the picture. Yes, this is the real me.

See, I have been dieting and exercising the last two weeks. This is all very new to me...
I just walked three miles.

Even the dog is pooped.

So, I will post something quilt related very soon.

As soon as I catch my breath. :)

Oh, and I lost 10.4 pounds so far. Yeah for me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pressing Issues

Pressing properly is one of my favorite (rants) issues to share with my students. I think it can make or break your piecing. You would be surprised how many people press incorrectly or (gasp) NOT AT ALL. So, if you are interested I have a short tutorial for you:

1. Cotton fabric is wishy washy - it can be pushed around. Be careful not to distort the fibers when you press. If you remember to move the iron parallel with the selvage, the fibers will stretch less and stay straighter.

2. Streamed? Well, as a matter of fact...I am. I do use steam when I press. Did you know most irons rely on steam to heat fully in the cotton setting? It's true. So don't be afraid to use steam. Just remember #1.

3. I always prewash and use spray starch or sizing when I press. I think I get much better results this way. Once I start pressing pieces I have sewn, I have a few tricks...

4. When pressing Half Square Triangles, I set my seam first with the unit still closed.

5. Then I open the seam with my fingers.

6. Then I carefully press, moving the iron parallel to the weave of the fabric so I don't distort it. (Don't push the point of the iron into the seam. This will make it wavy).

7. Now comes the time saving cool part...Lay the next HST unit right on top of the first one. Line the edge of the top unit up with the seam line of the first one. (Do a better job than I did). Continue on setting the seams and pressing until the pile gets too big and start a new one. You'll find this is quicker and keeps your seams straighter!

Next time I will show you some ideas about pressing strip sets. I know you can hardly wait!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Taming Fabric and Stripping

This weekend I was working on a mystery quilt I am teaching at the Harbor Star in May. I like to teach mysteries because I get to torture my students! Ha

Anyway, I needed to use a lot of different fabrics for this one. So I needed a way to keep them in some kind of order and easy to get to as I pieced. Since I am so organized (NOT) I came up with this:

It's just an old fashioned drying rack. You can fold it up to store it. I use it all the time to hang fabric as I iron it, too.

You can see how easy the strips are to reach from my sewing machine.

Just remember how tall your dog is and hang your strips a little higher. Ask me how I know this...


Saturday, April 12, 2008

You'll find Me Here

Well, this is my first post. I thought you might enjoy seeing where I sew. I used to be in the basement. The dark damp unfinished basement. Then I gradually moved into the living room. Last summer I decided to just move all of the living room furniture out and take over completely. And I got away with it. I'm still not sure how I got away with it...

Doesn’t it look nice? Clean huh? Yeah, it’s always like that........NOT!

Here’s the other side of the room. And that’s Rocky sticking his head in.

This is my cutting table. It’s really a kitchen table that has been raised to a comfortable height. I love my cutting table. My Dad made it for me.

This is where I write my patterns. And play Peggle. Don’t ask.

This is where I store my fabric (most of it) and quilts.

Here it is with the curtain off. I keep those curtains on there to protect my fabric from the light. The shelves are wire and very strong. I could get even more fabric in there...

Here’s my printer. If you have one of my patterns, it was printed here.

And this is Rocky. Even though he thinks he is human, he is really a Yorkie/Jack Russell mix. You will hear much more about this little guy in later posts.