Friday, January 18, 2019

Summer Quilt Update

Remember a few weeks ago I choose Quilt Giving as my January Book of the Month choice?

Quilt Giving by Deborah Fisher

And that I was keen on making the Summer quilt pattern?

Summer quilt pattern from Quilt Giving book

Well, I'm happy to report I've done the fabric pull and have the squares cut and I'm ready to start sewing. 

fabric pieces for the Summer quilt in blue and aqua

I decided to use different colors for my quilt - blues that are close to navy, and blue aquas. Once again, the quilt will be a baby sized version, as I need to add to my baby boy stash of quilts for hubby's coworkers.

I also fished through some older prints that had both colors in them to use for the corner pieces. Though not baby-ish, they should add a nice bit of sparkle.

And a couple more updates: two more quilts are done for Paradise, CA, for a total of 9. I'll show those on Monday, as it been too rainy and wet to go outside and take pictures.

The other update is the new Midweek Makers link up coding will go back to the old style. It appears a lot of people were having trouble linking up, so I'll use the old format as long as I can until Inlinkz shuts it down.

That's it for now - I'm off to sew!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Midweek Makers #158

Welcome to Midweek Makers! It's a very special day, as it's my birthday!

Happy Birthday to me

And when I say special, I mean special! Now I'm old enough to move into a active adult community (not that I'm going to!), get senior discounts at restaurants, and most important - get my senior discount at Joann fabrics! Silly, I know, but for me, it's those little things in life.

Since this is my special day, I'm passing over the features from last week, and offering a present to everyone else. To celebrate this milestone birthday today, I'm adding my two 5's together to offer a 10% discount on everything in my Etsy shop! Be sure to use coupon code "HAPPYBIRTHDAY" at checkout, today only, January 16, 2019.

Along with the coupon present to everyone, I'm also trying out the new, spiffy Inlinkz link party format - tell me what you think! Like it? Hate it? Leave me a comment.

Happy Quilting everyone - I'm off to celebrate!

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Inlinkz Link Party

Monday, January 14, 2019

Quilt Backing - a Longarmer's Perspecitve

I wear a lot of hats in my little quilt business, with those as quilt maker, designer, and longarmer most important - without them, there would be no QuiltFabrication.
QuiltFabrication 2019 header
As I was loading a quilt back onto the frame for one of my Paradise quilts, the thought hit me that Susan, the longarmer, would not be very happy with Susan, the customer because of her pieced backing.

Now, because this is my quilt, I'll put up with my faux pas. But when giving quilts to a longarmer for quilting, make her life easier when she loads that backing onto her frame.

So, what did I do that annoys a longarmer? Well, I created a vertical seam in the backing.

vertical seam on a quilt back

And why is this annoying? Because, on a large quilt, it causes the backing to sag on the sides of the seam due to a tighter seam allowance buildup on the roller. 

sagging quilt backing due to a vertical seam

Instead of one piece of fabric rolling around on that roller, there are two to three pieces at the seam, depending on how the seam is pressed. Notice in the photo, my vertical seam is pressed open, which helps minimize some of the buildup, and lessen the sag.

pressed open vertical seam to minimize sag

And what will longarmers love? Horizontal seams, which run along the length of the roller, totally eliminating any sag.

horizontal quilt backing seams

So, whenever possible, make your seams horizontal - your longarmer will love you!

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, January 11, 2019

How to Use a Seam Ripper

Seam ripping. It's certainly not one of our favorite sewing activities. But it is a necessity, 'cause stitching mistakes happen. So let's make friends with that handy-dandy seam ripper tool to make those stitch mistakes not so painful to remove.

How to Use a Seam Ripper

First, it's important to find a seam ripper that's comfortable in your hand, as they came in several sizes and lengths. I find the short ones too small to handle, but that's my preference.

different sized seam rippers

There's also different point sizes, widths, and sharpness, and even the ball for blunting can vary - try different ones till you find a favorite. My go-to ripper is the large Clover one, as its size makes an easy tool for my hands to use.

The #1 goal of seam ripping, aside from removing stitches, is not to rip a hole in the fabric! One could just slip the seam ripper point under each stitch to cut it, but that's a tedious process. Instead, use the tool as it was designed to do - rip the seam!

And just how do we do that without creating a hole in the fabric? Well, it's all in the orientation of the seam ripper in relation to how the seam is held.

The first holding position has both fabrics held together at the seam, with the point end exposed on the seam allowance side, so as not to make a hole. The seam ripper is then guided between the fingers. 

seam ripping with fabrics held together

This places the red ball against the fabrics to prevent  damage (the black fabric is lifted up to show that), and the sharp point on the seam allowance side, lessening the chance of a hole.

seam ripper blunting ball against keeper fabric

Guided by the fingers, the seam ripper is pushed through the seam. Here's a video to see the seam ripping process iaction, with the fabrics and seam held together. 

Sometimes those stitches cut easily and the seam ripper can zip along the seam really fast! And sometimes, those stitches are a bit stubborn, requiring ripping an inch or two at a time. This is one of those seams. Patience is what's required, with the goal being an un-stitched seam with no fabric holes.

The second holding technique lays the fabrics apart, with the seam allowance and one fabric between the finger and the thumb. For this open technique, the red ball is placed on the seam allowance side, leaving the sharp point free and clear of any fabric on the top.

seam ripping with seam open

Here's a video to show the seam ripping technique in action, with the fabrics laid open.

It's totally a matter of preference and/or convenience as to how the seam is held and which way the seam ripping is attacked. Either way, the goal is to remove the stitches and not make a hole.

If this is outside your comfort zone, notice the two ways to open up a seam at the beginning of the video:  by slipping the point end under the stitch, either on the outside of the seam, or the inside, then cutting it in the curve of the tool. Picking stitch by stitch will get the job done, but is time consuming and better saved for starting a seam for ripping or for just removing a few stitches. 

Now I know mistakes happen and a hole occurs. So what to do? 
I recommend placing a tiny bit of fusible product and matching fabric over the spot, just enough to cover the boo-boo. But if it's too big to repair, then the only choice is to use another piece of fabric. So rip with care and keep that sharp point away from the 'keeper' fabric as much as possible!

Happy Quilting Everyone - may your seam ripping produce lots of thread fuzz balls!

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