Friday, May 23, 2008

Free Pattern

Last time I posted, I told you about the Mystery retreat at the Harbor Star last weekend. The quilt we made is a table topper/wall hanging approx. 43" square. If you would like to make this quilt, the SPOOLIN' AROUND pattern is available on my website for FREE. Not too many things are free these days. In fact, most of the things we use everyday are now costing an arm and a leg. So, today you can download my newest pattern and keep your arms and legs.
Have a great weekend!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Torturing My Students

I just got back from a wonderful weekend at The Harbor Star in East Tawas, Michigan. The Harbor Star (above) is a lovely retreat house surrounded by beautiful gardens. I love it there.
I was asked to design and teach a Mystery Class. I love to teach mysteries. In case you don't know, a mystery class is a class where you have no idea what kind of quilt you are making. Often you will have a supply list that gives you a vague idea of the final size and some fabric requirements. Then once the class starts, the teacher will hand out steps or clues one at a time. If all goes as planned, no body knows what the quilt will be until the last clue is revealed. I find this kind of student torture to be very satisfying! They have to trust me and blindly follow my directions. Hee hee. This was made even more fun because my Mother was one of the students. For me, there isn't anything more fun than my Mom having to listen to me, do what I say and not argue. Ahhh.

Okay, I'm just kidding. I don't enjoy torture. Much.

We did have fun. We made a wall hanging with sewing theme. And no one guessed what it was until the end. Except for Kathy. She guessed, but I lied and told her she was wrong. Forgive me, Kathy. It was only to preserve the fun for the class (really for me).

Here's a drawing of the quilt we made. There were also some sewing related applique shapes around the border.
Above is a photo of the students from a previous retreat at the Star. They made the Glory Quilt. This wasn't a mystery, but a regular class. Every one's kit was provided per their color choices. Suzie Sage, the owner of the Star does a fabulous job of picking the fabrics and preparing the kits.
I will be teaching there again in November. See the Harbor Star website for details.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In My Backyard

If you haven't seen the new Quilt Sampler Magazine yet, you're missing out. And I don't say that just because one of my favorite shops is in it. (Well, maybe...) It's a great issue.

It features Lake Street Mercantile in South Lyon, Michigan. In fact, their quilt is on the cover. And it's beautiful. The quilt, Paisley Parade and the fabric were designed by Laurie Simpson.

My son Matthew was very considerate when he chose to attend college at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. There are actually 2 or 3 quilt shops between our home and his. So, last week when I visited Matt, I stopped by Lake Street.

To start with, it's a gorgeous building. It's a restored bank and the town of South Lyon is lovely. Inside, you will find an astounding assortment of quilt fabric. If you love Moda and reproduction fabric, this is heaven. They also have a great selection of wool. So, if you are in the area, stop by Lake Street. And if you are going through Goodrich on your way, pick me up!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pressing Issues, Part 2 - No Rainbows In My Quilts

As promised I am going to give you some more tips on pressing. Pressing is so important to achieving good piecing that I think it's worth taking the time to do it properly. Also, if you put your ironing board across the room, you will get a little exercise. And if you keep your ironing board two floors down, you'll be thin by August. Bonus!

When pressing long strip sets, it really important to keep them as straight as possible. If you're not careful, you can end up with strip sets that look like rainbows. While rainbows are pretty, they are a real bugger to sub cut. In the following steps, I'll give you my tips for keeping them straight and easy to cut.

The first thing I do is set the seam while the strip set is still closed as it was when I sewed it. Careful not to distort it - keep it as straight as possible.

Then I push the top piece open with my fingers - careful not to move the bottom piece. Follow your fingers with the iron, but don't jam the point of the iron in the seam.

Continue this way until the strip set is pressed open completely.

Now for the cool part: Leave the first stripset on the ironing board and lay the next one on top. Line the sewn edge up with the seam line. Set the seam and open it with your fingers like you did the first one.

The strip set on the bottom will act as a stablizer for the second one. Keep this up, stack one on another until it is too high. Then start again. Cool, huh? Thought you might like it.