04/29/16

And the Winner is …

Thanks to those of you who joined the Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints blog hop, we designers had a great time hopping around with you! The winners have been selected and are posted at Inspired by Fabric. Click here to see the full list of winners. Each designer will be contacting their winners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Here’s who won at Barb’s Favorites:

Fat Quarter Bundle: Susan M

Marti Michell Template Set B and Encyclopedia of Patchwork Patterns Volume 1: Sandy A

Craftsy Class: Connecting the Blocks: Jen B

And I have one more winner to announce – the viewer’s choice goes to the block with the Dark Star Points with 56 votes.

First place with 56 votes

First place with 56 votes.

The Light Star Points came in second (!) with a respectable tally of 36 votes.

Second Place with 36 votes.

Second Place with 36 votes.

Thank you to all of you who voted. There were a number of “I like both!” votes too!

And now, to inspire you to make your own blocks, take a look at what Carol M. made in a weekend! Great job Carol.

Blog Hop blocks by Carol M.

Blog Hop blocks by Carol M.

This concludes the Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints Blog Hop. If you missed the hop you can still see all the tutorials. Click here to go to the beginning. If you didn’t win my Crafsty Class: Connecting the Blocks use this link to get the class for half price.5346_728x90 Connecting the blocks

04/22/16

Final Day of the Blog Hop

All fun must end and today is the final stop of this blog hop. Last, but certainly not least, we welcome Theresa Ward to the fun. Drawing for the prizes will take place next week – and there are lots of goodies: We have Fat Quarter Bundles of Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints – enough to make all the blocks on the hop in both color ways, plus there are books, online classes, patterns, and tools.

I met Theresa when I moved back to Kansas in 2008 – the year my husband retired from the military. One of the first things I learned about Theresa is that she is a great machine quilter. Check this out to see what I’m talking about:

Detail of Theresa Ward's amazing feathers.

Detail of Theresa Ward’s amazing feathers.

When I got a contract with a very short deadline for my book, Back Basting Applique Step by Step, Theresa bailed me out by machine quilting most of the samples in the book. I might still be in debt to her on that one but maybe not because she wrote her first quilting book recently and needed my help! Theresa is a talented designer. She, along with Sharon Lorfing, host a mystery quilt lock-in each spring with a new original design every year (I made the blue quilt pictured above during the lock-in a few years ago) Be sure to check out Theresa’s book when you’re on her blog.

Theresa Ward at her booth at the Heartland Quilt Network Meeting. I'm not in the picture because I took it!

Theresa Ward at her booth at the Heartland Quilt Network Meeting. I’m not in the picture because I took it!

But my very favorite thing about Theresa is that she is a school bus driver. She takes her big yellow bus home every day during the school year which makes it easy to find her house in the country when I’m dropping off and picking up quilts. And, in case you are wondering, she can parallel park a school bus – on a busy side street  – with a line of traffic.

I hope you have had as much fun as I have with our blog hop. If we do this again with my next fabric collection (coming soon!) would you like to see blocks again or projects?

We’ll be announcing the winners next week. Until then, happy stitching!

One last time, here are the links to all the other stops on the blog hop.

Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints Blog Hop Schedule:

Thursday 4/14: Blog Hop Introduction
Friday 4/15: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites
Monday 4/18: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter
Tuesday 4/19: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter
Wednesday 4/20: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns
Thursday 4/21: Sally Schneider @SallySchneider
 Friday 4/22: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts
04/21/16

Blog Hop Day Five

We are having fun on the Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints Blog Hop! It’s time to welcome Sally Schneider, scrap quilting legend! The blog hop is hosted by Inspired by Fabric Blog. Each designer is using my Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints fabric collection and sharing a block tutorial showing their block in two colorways. There are prizes at every stop (drawings will be next week) so join the fun. The complete schedule is at the end of this post.

Sally Schneider is a distinguished guest on this blog hop for many reasons, mainly because she retired last year and I begged her out of retirement to join the blog hop.

I  really wanted Sally to participate because she is one of my longest quilting friends. We met in Hawaii in 1987 in a Katie Pasquini workshop. I went on to take quilting classes from Sally at her dining room table where she taught me how to use a rotary cutter. We carpooled to the Hawaii Quilters Guild meetings and when she wrote her first book, Scrap Happy, I provided what she calls “persistent encouragement”. Later, when she was an acquisitions editor at That Patchwork Place/Martingale & Co she helped get my first book, Kids Can Quilt, published. Eventually we wrote a book together, Traditional Quilts with Painless Borders.

Sally Schneider and Barb - it's been 20 years since we wrote that book!

Sally Schneider and Barb – it’s been 20 years since we wrote that book!

But my favorite thing about Sally, and it’s hard to choose just one, is that when I was pregnant with my second child she’d shop for quilting fabric in the maternity clothes I’d made for myself. There was one particular turquoise and purple print dress that I gave her all the scraps which she put in nearly every quilt in one of her books! I was flattered and rewarded her by naming my baby after her!

For years Sally traveled the country teaching her scrap quilting methods and now she travels and camps  for pleasure which you may notice based on the posts on her blog. Today she is going to show you how to make one of her all time favorite blocks. And it’s more than a block tutorial, you’re going to get darn near a whole class from Sally! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Sally Schneider. Hop on!

Tomorrow stop in and read a bit about our final designer, Theresa Ward. Thanks for hopping with us!

Here are the links to the other stops just in case you need them!

Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints Blog Hop Schedule:

Thursday 4/14: Blog Hop Introduction

Friday 4/15: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 4/18: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 4/19: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

Wednesday 4/20: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Thursday 4/21: Sally Schneider @SallySchneider

Friday 4/22: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

04/20/16

Blog Hop – Day Four!

It’s Blog Hop Day Four – let’s welcome Reeze Hanson to the hop. Each quilter on the hop is sharing a block tutorial using my Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints collection for Paintbrush Studio. Hosted by Inspired by Fabric Blog there are great prizes at each stop and it isn’t too late to enter at stops 1, 2, and 3! See the schedule at the bottom of the page.

I met Reeze Hanson in an Electric Quilt (EQ) software class. I was the student, she the teacher. Reeze can talk me into things like being the Vice President of the Heartland Quilt Network because she is a very helpful friend – and she can sort out my EQ problems via email. (And I have had many!) A talented designer, Reeze loves bright colors and high contrast, and she loves vintage fabrics and solids, she enjoys applique and 60 degree shapes and she LOVES orange!! My favorite thing about Reeze, other than knowing I can depend on her to get me out of an EQ mess, is when I heard her color confidence lecture and learned that beige is actually light orange. You will never look at beige the same!

Reeze Hanson - notice she's wearing orange! Or is that dark beige?

Reeze Hanson – notice she’s wearing orange! Or is that dark beige?

I don’t have any pictures of Reeze and me together (Reeze – we should fix that) so I’m sharing a picture of a quilt. It’s the closest I will ever come to making an orange quilt.090Hop over to Morning Glory Quilt Designs to see what Reeze has in store for you. I’ve been over there already and you’re gonna love it!

Here’s the rest of the schedule so you can catch up if you’ve missed any stops. Come back tomorrow to see what I have to share about Sally!

Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints Blog Hop Schedule:

Thursday 4/14: Blog Hop Introduction

Friday 4/15: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 4/18: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 4/19: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

Wednesday 4/20: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Thursday 4/21: Sally Schneider @SallySchneider

Friday 4/22: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

04/19/16

The Blog Hop Continues – Day Three

It’s day 3 of the blog hop and we welcome Kelly Ashton! There are lots of prizes (all drawings will be done at the end so it’s not too late to enter at the other two stops.) See the schedule at the end of this post.

Kelly Ashton, aka Kelly Quilter is addicted to hexagons, 60 degree shapes, and set it seams. I know, crazy isn’t it? Someone who adores set in seams! And she can paint walls and lay tile too – last fall she opened The Creative Place, a retreat center in Spring Hill, KS. (I call it the happy place and dream of sewing with Kelly in her second floor studio!)  But my favorite thing about Kelly is that she exudes confidence – I mean look at those accessories!

Photo booth glamour

Photo booth glamour

The photo booth image was from the Craftsy Instructor Summit in Jan 2016.

Hop on over to see what Kelly Ashton is teaching in her block tutorial. I’ve already been  there and can tell you, don’t worry, there are no set in seams!

Here’s another photo of Kelly and me along with Donna Lynn Thomas -taken as we traveled to the Craftsy Instructor Summit (meet Donna on blog hop Day Two).

We break for pie! Kelly Ashton, Barb E. and Donna Lynn Thomas

We break for pie! Kelly Ashton, Barb E. and Donna Lynn Thomas

Come back tomorrow – I’ll be sharing a little something about Reeze Hanson.

Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints Blog Hop Schedule:

Thursday 4/14: Blog Hop Introduction

Friday 4/15: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 4/18: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 4/19: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

Wednesday 4/20: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Thursday 4/21: Sally Schneider @SallySchneider

Friday 4/22: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

04/18/16

Blog Hop – Second Stop

Help me welcome quilting teacher Donna Lynn Thomas to our blog hop. Collect a different quilt block tutorial each day. The hop is hosted by Inspired by Fabric blog – each quilter is using my Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints fabric collection from Paintbrush Studio and showing their block in two colorways. There are prizes at each stop so see the schedule at the bottom of this post so you don’t miss out on a chance to win! If you missed my Ohio Star tutorial on 4/15 see it here.

Now, a little something about Donna! Donna and I knew about each other for many years before we actually met. Our mutual friend, Sally Schneider (who has Thursday’s tutorial), kept saying we should meet. We’ve discovered lots of kindred spirit similarities but my personal favorite (Barb’s Favorite!!) is that we both started quilting in the 1970s on the exact same brand and make of sewing machine – a Singer Genie.

I have met one other person (shout out to Glenda Beasley!) who also had a Genie. It had very “modern” flowers splashed across the front and came in  two colorways – orange and yellow, or a blue flower version but yellow was so fashionable in the 70s – I had to have yellow, Donna did too.

Barb's first sewing machine, Singer Genie circa 1974

Barb’s first sewing machine, Singer Genie circa 1974

Donna is a wonderful precision piecer – by hand and machine, and she’s super good at math. I tell her she will always be my friend because she can fix my quilting math messes! I’ll share a quick picture of the two of us then let you get on to Donna’s block tutorial – I’m going with you because I know I’ll learn something new from Donna’s tutorial! Just scroll down and click on the link next to her name in the schedule. But before you go I want to know, did you also quilt on a yellow Singer Genie in the 70s?

Donna Lynn Thomas and Barb Eikmeier summer 2014

Donna Lynn Thomas and Barb Eikmeier summer 2014

Each day this week I will be posting a little something about one of the quilters on the blog hop. Come back tomorrow to find out about Kelly quilter!

Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints Blog Hop Schedule:

Thursday 4/14: Blog Hop Introduction

Friday 4/15: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 4/18: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 4/19: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

Wednesday 4/20: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Thursday 4/21: Sally Schneider @SallySchneider

Friday 4/22: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

04/15/16

It’s Blog Hop Time!

It’s Blog Hop time! Collect tutorials to make 6 blocks, each block will be shown in two colorways featuring my fabric collection: Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints for Paintbrush Studio.vintage shirting blog hop button

Meet five of my quilting friends as you hop from blog to blog. Each will be showcasing the fabrics in 12” (finished size) blocks. Learn tips from quilting pros (I hang out with a very talented bunch!) Collect all 6 patterns, make all of them in both colorways and you’ll end up with a set of 12 blocks.  You could win my Craftsy Class “Connecting the Blocks” where you can learn all sorts of sashing ideas to put your blocks together in a spectacular quilt! There will be other prizes along the way too so head on over to Inspired by Fabric to check in and get ready for some fun!

Ohio Star Block Tutorial – Let the Blog Hop Begin!tutorial 18

tutorial star 2

The Ohio Star is a classic quilt block that looks great in reproduction fabrics. It’s the pattern I used when sewing the samples for my Craftsy Class, Connecting the Blocks so I thought it would be a good choice for a blog hop that will end with Barb’s Favorites offering a chance to win the online class (among other prizes).

Not only will I show the block in two colorways but I’ll also show two ways to cut out the pieces. Let’s start with regular rotary cutting.

From cream shirting print (background)

Cut (4) 4 ½” x 4 ½” squares

And cut (1) 5 ¼” x 5 ¼” square

From light blue (accent triangles)

Cut (1) 5 ¼” x 5 ¼” square

From black print (star points and center square)

Cut (2) 5 ¼” x 5 ¼” squares

And cut (1) 4 ½” x 4 ½” square

Cut all of the 5 ¼” x 5 ¼” squares in half twice diagonally to create four triangles with the straight grain of the fabric along the long side of the triangle. Here is an example of the light blue square already cut.  Do the same with the two 5 ¼” black squares and the 5 1/4″ square of background fabric.tutorial 6

Arrange the triangles so they look like this.tutorial 2

Sew like this. Press toward the black print.tutorial 10

Then match the center and sew into quarter square triangles that look like this. Trim the dog ears off the corners.tutorial 11Make fourtutorial 8

Sew a 4 ½” background square on either side of a quarter square triangle. Make two. Press the seam toward the background square.tutorial 9

Join the remaining two quarter square triangles on either side of the 4 ½” black square. Press the seams toward the black square.tutorial 15

Join the three rows. Press the seams away from the center row.

tutorial 17

The block should measure 12 ½” x 12 ½” at this point – we call that the “unfinished size”. The extra ½” is the seam allowance on the outside edges.

tutorial 18

Let’s make the block again, this time, instead of cutting a 5 ¼” square for quarter square triangle units I’ll show you how to cut them from a 2 ½” strip using Marti Michell’s Perfect Patchwork Templates.

There are only two templates required to make this block. From Marti’s Set B select templates B-8 and B-11.tutorial 14

To get started cut a 4 ½” x 20” strip of background – I’m using the light blue as the background this time. Using template B-8 cut four squares.

tutorial 16

In the same fashion cut one B-8 from the cream fabric for the center. (Not pictured.)

The quarter square triangles are cut with template B-11 (it’s one of my favorite templates!)

Start by cutting 2 1/2″ strips.

Cut one 2 ½” x 15″ strip of medium blue for the accent

Cut one 2 ½” x 15″ strip of background (light blue)

Cut two 2 ½” x 15″  strip of cream (star points)

tutorial 29

Make a stack of the 2 ½” strips – you will have one accent (medium blue), one background (light blue) and two cream (which will be the star points), neatly stack them one on top of another into one pile.

Use template B-11 and position it on the stack of strips as pictured. Cut on either side of the template cutting through the whole stack of fabric. Trim the corners off using the corner angle of template as a guide. tutorial24

tutorial 27

Rotate the template as pictured and cut another layer of triangles. Continue rotating and cutting until you have four sets of triangles.tutorial 28jpg

This is what all the pieces will look like:tutorial 25

As in the first example sew the quarter square triangle units. Press the seams away from the cream fabric. Notice there are no dog ears to trim away – that’s one of the pleasures of using Marti’s templates!tutorial 26

tutorial 19

Make four.

tutorial 21

Sew a background light blue B-8 on either side of a quarter square triangle unit. Make two.  Sew a quarter square triangle unit to either side of the cream B-8. Press the seam toward the squares.tutorial 20

 Connect the three rows and give it a good pressing and there you have it! A lovely Ohio Star block!tutorial star 2

Now, about those prizes – Marti Michell has donated a Perfect Patchwork Template Set B and her book, “Encyclopedia of Blocks Volume One”. And Paintbrush Studio is giving away fat quarter bundles of Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints. And I have a free Craftsy Class to give away. So many great prizes!

Here’s how to enter: Click here to go to Inspired by Fabric and sign up to follow the Inspired by Fabric blog, either by email or blog reader, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know that you are signed up to follow. In your comment tell me which block you like better – Dark star points or light star points? And be sure and leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!

Here’s the schedule for the other stops on this Blog Hop:

Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints Blog Hop Schedule:

Thursday 4/14: Blog Hop Introduction

Friday 4/15: Barb Eikmeier @Barb’s Favorites

Monday 4/18: Donna Lynn Thomas @DonnaLynnThomasQuilter

Tuesday 4/19: Kelly Ashton @KellyQuilter

Wednesday 4/20: Reeze Hanson @MorningGloryDesigns

Thursday 4/21: Sally Schneider @SallySchneider

Friday 4/22: Theresa Ward @AlwaysQuilts

And be sure to visit Barb’s Favorites each day too – I’ll be sharing stories about each of these friends (they have no idea what I’m going to say!) Don’t forget – sign up to follow Inspired by Fabric blog, leave a comment here (with your contact info please) and get ready to hop!

04/17/14

Machine Quilting As I Go – Tiny Stars Tutorial

Awhile back I wrote that my plan was to machine quilt my Star-A-Day quilt in nine panels. Some of you have asked me how that was going so I thought it was time to post a little tutorial showing the method I’m using.

The first thing I did was read Marti Michell’s book on machine quilting in sections.

1. As I complete my stars I sew them into Nine-Patch blocks with the 3″ alternate, plain squares. When I have nine of those blocks, I connect them in three rows to create a nine block section. It will take nine of these sections to complete the quilt.

Here's an example of one completed section

Here’s an example of one completed section

2. Layer and baste the completed section with batting and backing. Leave at least 1″ of excess batting and backing on all sides. I’m using Hobbs Heirloom Cotton 80/20 because it’s my favorite batting and I have a whole bag of smallish pieces leftover from other projects. Either pin baste with 1″ safety pins or use basting spray – I really like the Sulky temporary spray adhesive.

3. Using my sit down, Handi Quilter Sweet 16 I do all of the background quilting and the in the ditch stitching.

Start out by quilting in the ditch

Start out by quilting in the ditch

4. I stitch in the ditch working across the quilt, stopping to stitch around each star as I come to it.

Continuous curves around the outside edge of the stars

Continuous curves quilted around the outside edges of the stars

5. When the stars are completed I go back and do any in the ditch stitching that I missed in the first pass.

6. I tried several different designs in the 3″ alternate squares before settling on a sort of free form flower. Using free motion stitching and not worrying about making every flower exactly the same I can manage without marking anything. Of course each flower looks a little different but I’m okay with that. Start by quilting a 1/2″ circle in the center of the background square. Then quilt a four petal flowered bringing the petal to a point at each corner of the block.

Quilt a circle in the center of the square then add four petals.

Quilt a circle in the center of the square then add four petals.

7. Add a second row of stitching around the flower echoing the shape of each petal.

Stitch a second row of quilting around the outside edge of the flower filling in the space to the edges of the block.

Stitch a second row of quilting around the outside edge of the flower filling in the space to the edges and corners of the block.

8. Stitch around the center circle again, stopping at each petal to add a line of accent stitching in each petal. Cut the threads when you get back to where you started the second lap of stitching around the circle.

Quilt texture lines inside the petals. Cut the threads after each flower.

Quilt texture lines inside the petals. Cut the threads after each flower.

9. At this point I switch machines and move my work to my Bernina where it is much faster to change the color of thread. Using thread that matches the fabric, stitch continuous curves in the star diamonds. I’m quilting inside four of the eight diamonds. I found it works best to start in the center and quilt the first diamond, then the diamond directly opposite it ending in the center. From there I can move on to stitch the other two diamonds starting and ending in the center. When I tried quilting them one at a time in a clockwise manner the centers shifted and I ended up with a bubble. By anchoring the center first, I can keep my stars flatter.

With matching thread quilt four of the diamonds with continuous curves. I am leaving the other four un-quilted.

With matching thread quilt four of the diamonds with continuous curves. I am leaving the other four diamonds un-quilted.

I quilt each section leaving the edges that will be connected later unquilted.

Which brings me to connecting the sections and here’s how I attacked that job.

1. Working on one panel at a time flip the backing of the edge you are going to connect out of the way and trim the excess batting even with the edge of the quilt top.

Fold the backing out of the way.

Fold the backing out of the way.

Trim excess batting even with the front of the quilt.

Trim excess batting even with the front of the quilt.

2. Now fold the front of the quilt out of the way and keep the backing folded out of the way. Use pins if needed.

Fold both the backing and top so the batting is a single layer.

Fold both the backing and top so the batting is a single layer.

3. Trim the exposed batting one more time, this time cutting away 1/4″. The edges of the batting will be butted later. By trimming this 1/4″ now, you won’t have the bump of overlapping batting.

With the top and the backing folded out of the way, trim another 1/4" of batting.

With the top and the backing folded out of the way, trim away another 1/4″ of batting.

4. Smooth the layers so the extra backing shows beyond the edge of the quilt top. Trim away any excess. Theoretically you should be able to trim the backing even with the quilt top but I felt more comfortable leaving a little extra.

Trim the backing. You can cut it even with the top at this point but I was nervous so left a little extra.

Trim the backing. You can cut it even with the top at this point but I was nervous so left a little extra.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the second panel.

6. With right sides together and the backing and batting folded and pinned out of the way, pin and stitch the two sections together.

Fold the backing and batting of each section out of the way and pin in place. Match and pin the seam that will connect the two sections.

Fold the backing and batting of each section out of the way and pin in place. Match and pin the seam that will connect the two sections.

The backing and batting of both sections is left free.

The backing and batting of both sections is left free.

7. Press the seam. I prefer to snip into the seam allowance and release the seam so I can press toward the alternate plain squares. You can see from this picture that it’s the way the seam wants to go!

Press the seam

Press the seam

8. Unfold the batting letting the two edges come together. Use batting tape to fuse the two edges in place.

Smooth the batting in place. The edges should meet without overlapping.

Smooth the batting in place. The edges should meet without overlapping.

I'm using this batting tape to connect the two layers. Fuse it in place over the batted edges that are butted up to each other.

I’m using this batting tape to connect the two layers. Fuse it in place over the batting edges that are butted up to each other.

9. Smooth the backing in place over the fused area. Because I left excess when I trimmed the backing I had too much fabric so went back and trimmed a little away. You only need enough to turn under the raw edge on one side.

If there is too much excess backing fabric, trim it now by folding the quilt top and batting out of the way.

If there is too much excess backing fabric, trim it now by folding the quilt top and batting out of the way.

10. With one side of the backing smoothed into place, turn under the raw edge of the other side and overlap the two edges of the backing. Pin in place. I gave it a quick press at this point.

Smooth the backing of one section and overlap it with the backing from the other section. Turn under the raw edge and pin in place.

Smooth the backing of one section and overlap it with the backing from the other section. Turn under the raw edge and pin in place.

Edges ready for hand stitching.

Edges ready for hand stitching.

11. Using matching thread and a blind hem stitch, stitch the edges together.

Hand stitch with a blind hem stitch using matching thread.

Hand stitch with a blind hem stitch using matching thread.

Hand stitching is completed.

Hand stitching is completed.

12. Machine quilt the section, leaving any edge that will later connect to another section unquilted.

Machine quilt the stars and alternate plain squares in the area where the two sections were connected to each other.

Machine quilt the stars and alternate plain squares in the area where the two sections were connected to each other.

13. When you turn the panels over and look at the back you will see that the machine quilting covers the area where the batting was butted and fused and the backing was hand stitched together. It helps to choose a backing fabric that will hide the stitching!

Back after quilting was completed. See the hand stitched seam?

Back after quilting was completed. See the hand stitched seam?

I am using this quilt as you go method because I didn’t want to wrestle my full sized finished quilt under either my HQ Sweet 16 or my Bernina. If you want to try this I highly recommend you get a copy of Marti Michell’s book and read it cover to cover. It is full of tips and several other ways of quilting as you go. Click here to see the book.

There. That’s three sections done, six to go!

02/1/14

A Mini Tutorial – Pressing Tiny Stars

It took a few completed star blocks to figure out my favorite way to press them. This is what works best for me.

When piecing, I leave all the seams free by poking the needle through the seam to the other side instead of crossing over it and sewing it down as in machine piecing. By leaving the seams free I can press them anyway I want when the star is completed.

Stitched and ready for pressing (wrong side view)

Stitched and ready for pressing (wrong side view)

Stitched and ready for pressing (right side view)

Stitched and ready for pressing (right side view)

Working from the wrong side, start on the lower right hand corner. Use your finger or stiletto and working counter clockwise, smooth the seams away from you, pressing a seam at a time with the tip of the iron. Avoid getting the iron on the very center, we’ll go back and get that seam later. In general, I am a fan of steam, however, I turn the steam off during this step because I don’t want scorched fingers. Note to lefties: You might have better luck starting in the lower left hand corner and pressing clockwise, try it, and let me know if it works.

Start in the corner like this

Start in the corner like this

When you reach the upper right hand corner, press one more seam with the iron pointed toward the upper left hand corner.

Continue one seam at a time until you reach this point

Continue one seam at a time until you reach this point

Rotate the block so the next seam you will press is now at the lower right hand corner. Repeat, smoothing seams and pressing, rotating the block as needed. Rotating the block helps avoid getting the hand holding the iron into an awkward position.

Rotate the block pressing the seams into a spiral

Rotate the block pressing the seams into a spiral

The pressed seams will spin counter clockwise.

Press the final seam open. Don’t worry if it looks a little wonky.

Press  the center seam open

Press the center seam open

Flip the block over and give it a good pressing from the front side, with steam and a spritz of light spray starch, if you’d like.

Press from the right side

Press from the right side

There! A lovely little star block, pressed and ready for the “finished” pile!

 

07/7/13

Patching Jeans

Some mothers pass secret family recipes to their daughters. Some mothers teach their daughters how to grow heirloom tomatoes. Some mothers pass down family histories. My mother, among other things, taught me how to patch jeans.

Raising five boys on a farm gave my mom plenty of experience in patching jeans. In fact she patched so many jeans that she developed her own special patching technique. The fashionable denim pants that we buy today are already washed and faded, halfway worn out when they come home from the store. But on the farm there are still plenty of traditional 501 Levi Jeans. If you want to extend the life of a pair of  pants that you wear for farmwork or gardening and don’t mind wearing patched jeans here is the patching method I learned from my mom.

Start with a pair of denim jeans that are worn through at the knee. Using a piece of chalk, draw a line framing the area that will be replaced with the patch. Be generous – if you replace only the small section where the hole is the pants will soon wear out above or below the new patch and the jeans will end up right back in the mending pile.

DSC01902

When a pair of jeans were too far gone to patch mom cut panels from the backs of the legs and saved them to use for patches. Cut a panel of denim long enough and wide enough to cover the entire front of the leg.

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Remove the stitching in the hem along the side seam. It is not necessary to remove the hem all the way around the leg-just enough to get the side seam opened.DSC01901Often a pair of jeans has one seam that is a flat felled seam (shown at the bottom of the photo below) and the other seam has a serged edge. It is easier to remove the stitching from the seam that is serged. Use a seam ripper to break the stitches and open the seam. Once you have about three inches near the bottom opened you may be able to rip open the remaining seam. Remove the stitching all the way up to the pockets. This will allow you to open the leg to an almost flat work area.DSC01904

Using the chalk line as a guide trim with sturdy, sharp shears, cutting away the worn area from the front of the leg leaving a window. Leave a ½” seam allowance inside the chalk line.

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Snip in at the corners.

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Place the replacement panel in position filling the window that was cut out in the step above.

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Working from the right side, fold the seam allowance under at the chalk line, finger press and pin in place all the way around the patch.DSC01909

Top stitch sewing approximately 1/8” from the folded edge. Grey thread is a good color choice. You may find it helpful to use a denim needle in your sewing machine.

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 Top stitch a second row of stitching ¼” away from the edge stitching.

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Turn the leg wrong side out and trim the excess fabric away from the patched area.

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Re-sew the side seam stitching in the old seam line, if possible. Serge or zig zag the raw edge and trim away any unraveling.

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Re-stitch the hem.

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Congratulations. You did it! You’ve patched your jeans.DSC01914