Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reduce Bulky Corners

How many of you apply binding without thinking about the corners? Ever notice how it can be a bit hard to bring the fabric around to the other side? Or that the corners look a bit lumpy and feel hard? Well, here's the solution: reduce the bulk!



First, let's think about all those layers. Binding is attached as a folded piece, so that's two layers of fabric just into the corner. Then there's the angled fold back, adding two more layers. And another fold at the top, adding yet another two layers. That's SIX layers of fabric right at the corner! And it doesn't all need to be there!

Here's how to reduce that bulk, and cut out four layers of unnecessary fabric. This technique requires the stitching at the corner to go 90 degrees straight back, and not at a 45 degree angle into the corner. 


After the binding is all attached, at each corner, fold back the top piece of binding to expose the little triangle underneath.



Get a scissor in there, cutting the top fold.



Fold back the top fabric even more to fully expose that little triangle rascal!



And trim it off, even with the binding stitching.



Ta-da! Four layers of fabric removed!



Now the corners will feel soft and still full, but not thick and stiff. I have done this with my quilts for over a year, and my corners are so much nicer.

So make it a habit - trim your corners! You'll be happy you did!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Roundabout

Quilt #1 for the #purplesewingproject is done!



Named Roundabout, this one used up the majority of my purple nickels (5" squares), which I'm pretty happy about. Yet it still didn't make a dent in that box!

Working with a split-complementary scheme of red-violet, yellow, and green. Ultimately, there were equal numbers of blocks with each fabric group, arranged from lightest to darkest, starting in the upper left corner. In the picture above, that corner is in the lower left. In the picture below, it's on the top toward the right.



Here's another view from that light corner.



where you can see the different yellows and greens.

And a closeup, showing the quilting with a light lilac Glide thread with the Easy Peasy pantograph.











By the way, I had this quilt laid out on the living room floor, covered with a sheet, before I went to QuiltCon. My three rascally kitties thought that sheet was an excellent sliding surface. When I removed the sheet, this is what I found:



Eesh! Darn kitties! Well, at least they had fun!

Ultimately, this quilt will be donated to my guild's Community Quilts for one of the organizations we support. So now to finish Quilt #2, which is the Pinless Pinwheels quilt started at Road2CA with Kimberly Einmo. And because of all the HST's generated by Roundabout,



I'm holding a Think Outside The Box HST Challenge, starting March 3, 2016. More info coming next week!

Hope you'll join me!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Be Good to Yourself!

Yes, we all need to start being good to ourselves. I'm not talking about a day at the spa, a reward of chocolate, or a quilters favorite, Fabric Acquisition Road Trip (FART for short). I'm talking about being good to our bodies.



That is, having the correct posture not just when sewing, but all the time. Recently I saw a news article about iHunch and how our phones are ruining not only our posture but our mood. And it made me take notice!

Over the past year, I've become very conscious of my posture, especially my shoulders rolling in. I attribute it to several things: age; constantly being cold, which makes me hold my arms across my torso to stay warm; and sleeping on my side, which is more on the back of my shoulder than on my arm. One would think I wouldn't have this problem because I swim, which uses a lot of arm, shoulder, and chest muscles, but alas, I do.

After spending the afternoon yesterday at the longarm, and reminding myself to stand up straight, I felt that good posture really needs to be addressed. I've seen too many young longarm quilters hunched over their frame, and it scares me to think what their backs are going to look like in twenty years. 

So for you longarm quilters, stand up straight and relax those shoulders. Please don't hunch over and hang on the machine handles. There's a great post at archaicarcane.com for frame height and other body position suggestions. Well worth reading.

And what about sit down quilting? We've all been told to have good posture when sitting at a sewing machine. But do we do it? Referring to the picture above, see if that's you. Adjust your table if necessary, and get yourself into the proper position before sewing to achieve that, and make it a habit. For me, that's sitting up, relaxing my shoulders (do not hold them up by your ears!), and resisting the urge to bend forward.

I've found a great resource for practicing great posture all day, Handy Tips for the Perfect Posture. It's something that we all need to practice, and be conscious of, because we want our bodies to be pain free. So I keep reminding myself to sit/stand up straight, shoulders back, and avoid bending my head too much look at my phone or my work on the longarm. And yes, I try not curl in my arm while on my side at night - tough, but at least I'm aware of it.  

So please, sit and stand up straight! You'll thank yourself later. 


Friday, February 12, 2016

Heart to Heart Table Runner

Happy Valentine's Day! I love this holiday, probably because there's so much pink and red, colors I look great in! And I couldn't resist several Kona pink solids, and just had to make another runner. This one is just as beautiful as the other two, Love Abounds, and Love Abounds Version 2.

Introducing Heart to Heart, with matching placemats!



The runner measures 14" x 44", and the placemats 10 1/2" x 15", adding modern beauty to my table.

Would you love for Heart to Heart to grace your table? A pattern for both pieces is available at my Etsy store.

But now for a sweet treat. Not chocolate, but eye candy!



Closeups of the quilting on the runner, done in Glide thread.





Here's the back view, because it's always fun to see the patterns, especially on a solid.



And let's not forget the placemats!








A little more about the quilting. Using the clear vinyl, I tested out fill designs before quilting, deciding which ones, and where they would go.



The hearts use ruler work and freehand fills, while the border has ruler work on the edges, but freehand back and forth lines for wonderful texture. I did mark 45 degree water soluble blue lines to help me keep on track.



Spritzing with water immediately after quilting eliminated the wash out marker. Yes, this all took time, but the gorgeous texture was well worth it. I must say, I'm liking solids a lot more these days!

I'm all set, spreading love around my house. Can't get enough of that!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day everyone!




Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Love Abounds Version 2

Last week, I posted about my latest (and prettiest!) table runner, Love Abounds.



This past weekend, while cleaning up the studio, I happened across a pretty hand dyed teal batik that had pink in it. 



Now wouldn't those hearts cut from the centers in Love Abounds look pretty on that? And without a second thought, I fused them down. Granted, they were a bit smaller than the original pattern, but it was still easy to figure out their placement.

This is Love Abounds, Version 2!







Oh, and I had fun quilting this! 



I normally don't do a lot of feathers, but I certainly did on this one! I had such a great time meandering around with feathers and swirls - sometimes you just have to go for it!



The hearts are filled with either crosshatching (2 have curved crosshatch), or pebbles with swirls. 



This runner is just as lovely as the first! It's nice to have two options to the pattern, one as outlines, and the other as solids. A definite bonus! For the pattern, check out my Etsy store, and let your love abound!

Happy Valentine's Day!




Monday, February 1, 2016

Book of the Month February 2016

Welcome to the Book of the Month! This time I'm featuring a book about color called the Quilt Colour Workshop, (affiliate link)



written by several quilters from the Fat Quarterly, which is an online modern quilting group.

I'm drawn to this book because of the different color combinations displayed in it, finding them quite intriguing. Sometimes I struggle with color combinations, so I'm always on the lookout for information that makes color selection make sense. 

So much of quilting these days involves precuts, which means the fabrics and colors already work together. But how does one put together a fabulous quilt with the stash of fabrics at hand? That's what I'm hoping this book will assist with. Goodness knows I don't need another quilt that could have benefited from some additional color - or less!!

Will I actually make a project from the book? Probably not. What I would rather do is explore color combinations, and just play with color. So let's see how it goes!

Have a great day quilting!