Maybe You Stitch on the Edge Too!

An edgestitch is exactly what it sounds like.  A stitch on the edge.

Most sewing machines have a specific foot for this purpose and Bernina’s foot #10D is, of course, one of my favorites.

On the way to sewing this baby quilt I decided to add a ruffle.  So I cut 2 1/2 in. strips as you would for bias binding.  Only I needed twice as much to form the ruffle.  Because I wanted the ruffle to last through many washings, I decided to add a stitch right on the edge of the fold prior to ruffling.

edgestitch foot3I moved the needle 2 points over to the left, to stay just inside the fold.

rufflingNext I started to ruffle. You can see I am adjusting the ruffler to get just the right amount of “bite” so that the ruffle isn’t too curvy, but also not too flat.  You can see the edgestitch along the left, on the fold.  In general, when creating a ruffle, you need your length of the ruffle fabric to be twice the length of the fabric it will cover.

Then I attached the ruffle. (I don’t have a picture of that.)

edgestitch foot

Next, I attached the binding over the raw edge of the ruffle and the raw edge of the quilt.  It naturally wanted to turn itself with the ruffle on the outside, so I went ahead and did another edgestitch along the top front of the quilt.  The binding lays flat underneath.

edgestitch flawlessThe whole thing was only possible because I have rounded corners on the quilt…no miters. And I used a bias ruffle and a bias binding.  Isn’t that a gorgeous edgestitch?  Nothing like having the right tool for the job.

edgestitch foot4Now all I have left to do is to hand-stitch the binding on the back.  The binding is longer than usual because of the way the ruffle is attached.

almostfinishedNow all we have to do is wait for the baby.

 

 

Quilt Market Prep

It’s that time of year again. Quilt Market is coming up and the fabric designers and manufacturers are revving up their marketing engines. Come May 15-17, they will be at full throttle and social media will be abuzz with new product, new designs, new fabric and quilty fun.

But I’ve always loved a good preview.

And fabric manufacturers are getting good at it.

One of my favorites is Art Gallery Fabrics.  Young, hip, fresh, at least by my standards.  I love what new designers (read: young people) are doing in the industry.  Art Gallery has released a Look Book of their new Spring 2015 fabric. 

Take a look and let me know your favorites.  Mine so far is Sketchbook and Happy Home, but I have to admit, I love them all and would be hard-pressed to choose.

Moda, the pop queen of fabric manufacturers, is also starting to tease some of their new lines. On their blog, we get a glimpse of the new Bonnie and Camille,  as well as Minnick and Simpson, Zen Chic and Fig Tree Quilts.

Stay tuned, as I will try to distill some of the quilt market info as it becomes available.  In the meantime, quilt on, friends!

grandneice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New quilt in progress for my  grand niece,  pattern is free from Me and My Sister Designs.  Fabric is Airmail, by Eric and Julie Comstock.

 

 

Just another Blizzard/Snowstorm/Super Bowl Sunday

Yesterday after work, at about 5:30 PM,  I stopped at the local Meijer.

You would have thought that none of us had ever eaten before or would ever eat again.  The shelves were cleared of chips and salsa, although I found some on an end cap.  The stockers were angry and the check out clerks were exhausted.  The gal at the counter told me the store had been packed all day.

I couldn’t find any potatoes. They were gone.  Yes, all the potatoes were gone.

The Canadian bacon I usually purchase had been replaced by rows and rows of real bacon and Velveeta. And ribs. Sour cream shelves were empty. And I couldn’t even find my son’s yogurt.

The combination of Super Bowl Sunday and a pending snowstorm….excuse me…. BLIZZARD…were seriously almost causing the end of civilization.

suuperbowlblizzard2

Today, the snow IS falling, thank goodness.  The plows in the neighborhood have been few and far between. I heard one last night at 3 am, then again once during the day today, and that’s pretty much it.

Of course, I have been sewing.

I used a new pattern and assembled a couple of cute table runners for Valentine’s Day.  My goal is to get them to the point where I could spend the Super Bowl doing hand work by putting on the binding.

The pattern is called Rock Candy from Jaybird Quilts and the accompanying ruler is called a Sidekick.  This is truly a simple pattern to do using the ruler, and a fun shape for a table.

jaybird quiltsI did manage to get the binding on, and now I’m ready to sit and watch the game.

jaybird quilts 2The fabric is adorable, called Kiss Kiss from moda.

So get out your chips and dip, salsa and sour cream, your chocolates and cheeses and crackers and cookies. Turn on your big screen, enjoy the screaming crowds and the silly, raunchy, depressing, goofy, and tear-jerking commercials and half-time show.

As for me, at 8 pm I switch to Downton Abbey. Pass me the stress-reducing herbal tea.

 

 

Mini Quilt Mania

I was never big on the whole mini quilt trend.  Until I made one.

Here’s a quilt with a number of different techniques:  squares on point, paper piecing, rounded corners, ricrac insertion.

Yet I could work on it on a tabletop.  I didn’t have to clear my living room to lay it out.  It didn’t take me years (I’m still working on a couple of quilts, hoping I live long enough to complete them). I didn’t hurt my shoulders, my back or develop carpel tunnel.

I worked on it sporadically over a few days and now it’s DONE.

That’s the beauty of mini quilts.  They completely fill my need for instant gratification. This one will be on display at the store, then come home with me to be a placemat or table runner.  It’s cheerful enough for that post-holiday table, or would look great in the summer with a glass of lemonade on it.

mini quilt 1It still needs an adorable bright yellow binding, but the dimension is, I don’t know, 18 x 24?

I don’t have to clean out a closet to find storage for it.

The book it came from is titled, “Little Quilts” by Sarah Fielke and Amy Lobsiger.

I used mini charm packs from a darling new retro fabric line called “Pedal Pushers” by Lauren and Jessi Jung for Moda.

mini quilt detailAll the fun was actually in the details.  Paper-pieced fans over Wooly Lady wool, with ricrac sunshine rays peaking out over a quilted background.

It’s CUTE.

So while I may have been slow to get onboard…(what does anyone DO with a mini quilt? aren’t they doll quilts?  why bother?)…I’m onboard now.  Here’s what you do with mini-quilts:

— Admire them.

–Give them to your kids or grandkids.

–Learn new techniques.

–Use teensy bits of fabric.

— Put them around your house, on tables, counters, hang them on the wall.

–Finish them and move on to the next fun project and fabric line.  Seriously. They take up almost no space at all if you want to throw them in a closet or on a shelf.

Don’t worry, I’ll never completely give up my snuggly quilts or even the artsy ones. But mini quilts are like having a forkful of chocolate cake — enough to get a delicious taste but not enough to do any real damage.

Bernina University 2014

I just got back from Bernina’s annual conference with dealers across the nation.  I’d like to share with you some of the experience, as it was held at Nashville’s Opryland resort…a tropical paradise in the south!

A few highlights:

–New 97 and 97D foot for 1/4 in. piecing on 9mm machines (that would be the 7series and 8 series, 560, 580).  Allows the foot to ride over both feed dogs giving us more control and a more precise seam.  This is available RIGHT NOW!  So get your orders in to your dealers.  If you are a quilter, this sounds like the foot for you!

–New Sterling Edition 880 that comes with DesignWorks and a GORGEOUS quilt design from Sarah Vedeler.

–New Swiss Edition 530 (hint:it’s red)

–New pink Bernettes that give a portion of proceeds to Breast Cancer research.

–The long-awaited 24 in and 20 in. longarms are here.  These machines are fantastic, but the rollout will be staggered starting in Q4 in limited markets.  They are manufactured in Switzerland 1 person, 1machine….means that one man (or woman) will assemble the entire longarm sewing machine before moving on to the next.  No assembly line production!! And let me tell you–these machines are awesome! Stitch regulator is included, takes all Bernina feet, bobbin winder up front and accessible, as well as your threads….I was really impressed by these machines.  The 24″ comes with a frame, the 20″ can be tabletop or frame.

So much more from Brewer and OESD coming up this fall as well.

Here’s a link to a fabulous youtube video from Heirloom Creations that does a great job of displaying the new machines from BU 2014. 

The view from some of my classes and wanderings:

 

Fresh Projects and Fresh Strawberries

software sampler2This is a project I worked on at work and at home for the June Bernina Software Sampler, which I teach.  The project involved learning techniques for machine embroidery applique.  The bud of the flower is part of the tutorial, but I went ahead and incorporated other elements as well, adding the stems, leaves etc. to create a simple but “summery” table runner. Once again, I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

No pattern available, but for those of you with embroidery machines and Bernina Embroidery Software 7, it’s a piece of cake….well, once you work out the dimensions.  The flower panels are 8 x 8 inches finished, and everything else falls into place after that.

(How many pairs of glasses does one sewist need? Hint: At one point I used them both.)

strawberriesOne of my favorite times of the year is when the strawberries are harvested at the local farm. Here’s a shout out to friends at Norton Farm.  They are an important part of our summer!  We’ll be waiting for the tomatoes, broccoli and finally the fabulous corn! I’m growing a few tomatoes and cukes out back, but the weather has been a little cool, so they are taking their time developing.

Here’s to the sweetness of summer!  May we always appreciate the bounty!

strawberries2

 

Greetings, Polka Dot Exchangers!

Do you see your fabric yet??

Do you see your fabric yet??

OK folks, this is the first time I have ever participated in a fabric exchange.  What a hoot!

So far, about half of the fabric has come in…I think.  It was 60 that we sent out, so I’m guessing that it will be 60 that we receive.  Just getting all the fabric is wonderful, but I am so pleasantly surprised and charmed by the lovely notes and greetings sent in each envelope!

I love quilters.  No doubt about it.

And I am moved by some of the people in this exchange…like 85 year old Eula Mae in Kansas who’s been quilting for 65 years.  Bless her heart.  And Carollee in California who’s husband recently passed away and is hoping the polka dots will cheer her up.  (Hi Carollee!  Hope they cheer you up too! Aren’t they interesting to receive?)

As soon as I opened the first two or three, I decided to create a tiny scrapbook of the notes from everyone, which are just as lovely as can be, don’t you think?  If you are receiving them, you know just what I mean–each one unique.

Notes from the ExchangeIt’s also unbelievable to me the reach that was achieved on this exchange:

Texas. Washington State.  Mississippi.  Massachusetts. Californinia. Indiana. Virginia. Michigan.  New Jersey. Colorado.  And that’s just in the first half.

Polka dot ExchangeI can’t wait to start using all your fabric and I am SO grateful to all of you for participating!

If you want to send photos of any of your projects that you work on using the polka dots, feel free to contact me.

And I’ll keep up the posting when the rest come in!

How Many Quilts in a Lifetime?

One of the things I hear constantly in a quilt shop is “I wish I had more time.”

Usually someone is walking around a store, inspired by the work of others, inspired by the patterns, inspired by the fabric, just plain inspired.  But what is it about quilting that brings out the lament, “I wish I had more time” ?

When I worked in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented job, I never heard those words. Never.

Something about the act of creating makes us wish we had more time.  Or maybe it makes us wish we didn’t have to ever make any decisions.

But the truth is, we all make decisions about how to spend our time. Walking around a quilt shop, looking at all the work and beauty that goes into each and every project, we come face to face with the hard reality that none of us will ever be able to do it all. We simply cannot make all the quilts, travel to all the places, have all the adventures, meet all the people, have it all, be it all, do it all.

None of us.  No matter how productive, no matter how many sewing machines, no matter how much time we devote, no matter how skilled, no matter how trained or talented, no matter how much balance or non-balance, no matter how hard we plan, or how well we implement the plan, no matter how. hard. we. try.

We cannot do it all.

And every now and then, we look at one another and while we’re in a safe place, we say the words out loud.

I wish I had more time.

On a good day, someone smiles, gives us a hug and replies, “Me too.”

Larger than queen size. finally assembled and ready to be hand-quilted.

Larger than queen size. Finally assembled and ready to be hand-quilted.

 

 

 

 

Covering the World in Polka Dots

polka dotsThe thing about quilters is that they never seem to run out of interesting ways to connect to one another and to further their hobby/obsession.

This year, I am participating in a fun program from Prairie Stitches Quilt Shoppe in Oswego IL.  It’s a Worldwide Polka Dot Quilt Fabric Exchange.  You still have plenty of time to get involved, you just have to send or bring your quilt fabric to them before March 31.  The details of the rules are here in their latest newsletter.

The basic premise is this:  Cut 60 – 10 in. x 10 in. squares of polka dot fabric.  Could be anything with polka dots.  You know you have some in your stash or you can purchase it at any quilt store.  The only thing they ask is that the fabric be quilt shop quality (no chain store stuff….we all know their fabric is of lesser quality).

Put each 10 in. square into a business size envelope with your return address in the upper left corner.  Mailing address left blank.  Bring all 60 envelopes (or ship them) to Prairie Stitches in Oswego.  You have to call and sign up with them as they have a fee which they will use for postage and handling, and they’ll need to register your address.

Then just sit back and wait for 60 pieces of polka dot fabric from around the world to be delivered to your mailbox!  That’s pretty simple!  The fabric will start arriving in April.

What’s even more fun is they have a couple of Moda designers working on some great pattern ideas for your polka dots when they come in.  Prairie Stitches says they have participants now from around the world…Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and across the US.

So tell your friends everywhere to join in.  The more the merrier!

Find out the details from https://prairiestitchesquiltshop.com/

The Problem With Starting Projects

Yeah.

The problem with starting projects…or buying fabric for that matter…is that you have to finish them.  You know what I’m talking about.  Every single one of you has a project somewhere that has been lurking for, um, years.  You’ve lost interest, moved onto something new and exciting.  Or maybe you just haven’t had the time.

Well.

I hearby declare January the “Finish a Project” month. And 2014 the “Get Out From Under” Year.  If, like me, you have projects waiting patiently for you to complete them, then let’s all agree to get one done in January.

We can’t do it in December and everyone knows why.  Even if you will be completing projects in December they are likely gifts and you are under a deadline and those don’t count.  We’re looking for the poor, neglected, procrastinated projects.  We’re looking for the ones you gave up because it became tedious, or boring or difficult.  We want to clear away that ever-growing stack of projects that get sidelined for a “higher priority”.  Usually for me, it’s work or classes, or housecleaning, as if housecleaning will be on my list of life’s accomplishments.

Let’s find at least one that’s worth completing.  I’m starting with the three shown below.  I have no idea if I will be able to get one of them done in January, but I’m certainly going to try.  The others will get incorporated over the course of the new year.

I know, without a doubt, that life will get in the way.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t try.

A fun Christmas Baltimore Album quilt.  Needs a bunch more blocks put together, but a good January project.  No chance I'll get it done this Christmas, so a good one to work on during Downton Abbey episodes.

A fun Christmas Baltimore Album quilt. Needs a bunch more blocks put together, but a good January project. No chance I’ll get it done this Christmas, so a good one to work on during Downton Abbey episodes.

Definitely want to get this one done by spring. Problem is that it's queen size. Won't be easy to quilt on my machine at home. Dreaming of a longarm.

Definitely want to get this one done by spring. Problem is that it’s queen size. Won’t be easy to quilt on my machine at home. Dreaming of a longarm.

This is a grown up quilt.  complete with instructions and history of each block. I'm ready.

This is a grown up quilt. Complete with instructions, history of each block and reproduction fabric. I’m ready.