Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Very Best Borders

I think that one of the most frequent problems that we encounter when talking with customers is wavy quilt borders.  They can be a pain in the you-know-what sometimes.  I have helped newbies and experienced customers all stuck with the same problem---"What's wrong with my quilt?!"  Usually it's an easy fix but might involve a session with the seam ripper.

Sometimes we, the quilt creators, don't even realize that the borders need some help.  But when we start to baste (pin or spray) or quilt the layers together, we encounter a mess as we work from the center of the quilt outward.  At this point, there are few satisfactory solutions to making it right.  You might be able to take a little tuck or dart in the outer border to eliminate some of the excess fabric.  I've even talked with other longarm quilters that have worked in an extra strip of puffy batting under the border strips to solve the problem.  I have even tried misting with water and then scrunching the fabric together to try to get it to shrink a bit when there is only a small area to fix.  Or, if caught early, the borders can be removed and sewn back correctly.  Almost always, the problem is too much fabric in the border, so there is always enough fabric to work with.  But all of this worry and fuss can be eliminated if the borders are sewn on right to begin with!

So, let's look at the wrong way to apply your borders.  You cut the fabric strip the width that the instructions state, and you join strips end-to-end if needed to cover the length and/or width of your quilt top.  Then you start on one edge with that long strip matched at the beginning of the seam, and you sew and sew and sew until you get to the other edge of the quilt top.  Then you go over to your cutting area and make a straight cut to cut off the rest of the border strip, and you move on to the next area to be sewn.  If this describes the way that you sew your borders, please read the very helpful resource below to learn how to do it the right way!

Click on the this link --  How To Sew Borders On Quilts-- to get a good explanation of the right way to sew borders.  And not just straight borders with butted corners, but other types, too.  You will thank yourself that you took the time.

I hope you find this helpful, and become a happy camper when you sew your next borders!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Which Witch?

It's almost time for spooks, and buying some candy in the "fun size"--which means fun for me to eat!  But seriously, it's now time to buy the candy to hand out, not eat!

To go along with that candy, here are a couple of Halloween machine embroidery designs that we have ordered and will have soon.  These are from Claudia's Creations, and they had 2 samples made of the same quilted wall hanging, to show the different appearance when done on black vs. white background.  Either looks great!

 They also have this very pretty smaller design, if you want something that is not so "Halloweenie"--

I'm picturing this done in less purple and more autumn colors.

A new Christmas tablerunner design is coming our way, with options for separating the elements to make towels, aprons, napkins, etc.  I consider 

Now, switching gears back to a new tablerunner pattern for all those stripes and border prints!
This is Mitered Magic from The Designer's Workshop.

Unless you have been living under a rock, or are reading this because it just makes such fabulous reading, you probably have heard of Tula Pink.  Her colors and designs have gained quite a following, and now she is beginning her signature line of notions.
This looks like they are fighting over those beautiful scissors!

She also has a seam ripper and a little snips scissors, all done in that iridescent metal.  She told us she has more notions in the development stages.  We have ordered these for the store, and can't wait to see them arrive!

Something else that we have been wanting to bring into the store for quite awhile are the Rennaisance ribbons.  So we finally placed an order for an assortment, and we will be showing you some fun ways to use them in your projects.  These are gorgeous top-quality designer ribbons.

We visited awhile with Sue Daley, and in my last posting, I mentioned her designs.  What I didn't include there was this picture--

It shows some quilt and block designs, all using English Paper Piecing.  We have these instructions and the paper packs for these now, so I hope to see some fun stitching soon!  If you are interested in learning more about this technique, Sue has some great instructional videos on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Great Colors!

Here's a few highlights about fabric choices we have made for you!
And you don't have to like them all!

This is an example of a color card, which is just the fabric design printed on paper, not fabric.
This is often what the sales representatives show us before the fabric is made.
This one is a few choices from the Riley Blake company, designed by Sue Daley, and I intend to go crazy with fussy cutting this for English Paper Piecing!  EPP is a fun and addicting form of hand sewing, and you can learn all about it 
at our monthly Paper Pizzazz group.

Below is a display for the Calico Days fabric designed by Lori Holt, also made by Riley Blake.
We will be stocking this fabric group and there will be 
a sew-along that is web-based.
The blocks in the quilt displayed will be made and joined into a quilt.  And it's likely there will be other go-along projects, too!  Watch our Facebook and email to find out more when the fabric is ready for you in early 2016.

One of the quilting world's favorites for a long time is Pat Sloan.  She and Debbie are standing in front of a quilt made of fabric she has designed for Moda.  She is always happy and vivacious, and she hosts a radio/podcast for American Patchwork and Quilting.  If you haven't listened to it before, you should.  She has contacts with so many people and interviews them on her program.  So you get to find out about what's new and current for fabric and quilting.

We sat down with our "fabric rep", Julie, to look through new fabric lines coming from Moda.  So many to choose from!  We had to show some restraint, because we can't have it all!  One of the new groups we loved was by Sweetwater designs.

Below are some pictures of sample projects that the fabric companies bring to display.  As you know, it's always interesting to see something made of fabrics that you might not have considered before.  That's why we work all the time to create fresh samples of fabrics you can purchase.  These are 2 pillows and a pincushion, and I don't have pattern details for you, 
but I think it's worth sharing anyway.

That's all for today!  I have more to share in the next few days!  This afternoon Debbie and I will be returning to Minnesota, filled with ideas and plans!  Back to work and back to sewing!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Prairie Points For You

I don't think I have shared this on the blog previously, so here's a little surprise!

About 4 years ago, I was inspired to try filming a little video and create a YouTube channel for myself.  So I came up with an idea and one night my videographer (aka Husband Bob) worked out a little video for me.  I had been using a tool called the Prairie Pointer to make a bunch of prairie points to be used in a pattern called the Prairie Point Pillow.  Say that sentence 10 times fast!  Anyway, I added in a demo of inserting the pillow form.  Now, you might not think that this task is something that requires a demonstration.  After all, we do it all the time, right?  But I really like to make the back side overlap deep enough to eliminate any chance of it gaping open and naked pillow showing.  This has caused me some trouble with getting that pillowform inserted without straining the seamline stitches to the point of tearing.  Then, I had a lightbulb moment!  I was visiting with Terry Atkinson, well known local pattern designer, about the pillow patterns she was showing.  I got really brave, not wanting to show my ignorance, and asked her just how she managed to get such a nice back side overlap without any rippage.  She promptly showed me how to do it, and that's what became my lightbulb moment, and that's what I show on this video.  Check it out!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

To Market we go---

We are not letting any little hurricane get in the way of getting the goods for Bear Patch people!  There has been nearly non-stop rain for over 24 hours here in Houston from the effects of Hurricane Patricia.  So we dusted off the umbrella and tried to avoid the biggest puddles.  

One of the first places we stopped at was the booth for Tiger Lily Press.  We especially liked some new tablerunner patterns there, and we are picturing these in Christmas fabric to add to our next window display.

Just down the aisle, we visited the Andover Fabrics booth to get some ideas for the Little House on the Prairie fabric that is coming soon.  There are patterns and projects awaiting us!

Here's one of the smaller quilts that I especially liked:

A little later, we visited the booth of Sew Kind of Wonderful.  We have used their Quick Curves ruler, and have some new inspiration for using it.  Plus, they now have a smaller size to work with.  Here's one of my favorite designs:

And how do you like this animal quilt by Elizabeth Hartman?  Looks like a fun challenge!  We have ordered the pattern plus fat quarter bundles and solids needed for the quilt.

One of our favorite designers of bag and organizers is Annie (Patterns by Annie).  This stack of zipped up cases looks like something I would like to do.  The large one reminds me of the "train case" that my mom had when we were little kids.  I'm not sure why it was called that, but it's the shape that is similar to Annie's pattern.

A favorite Minnesota designer, Pam Dinndorf, of Aardvark quilts had a couple of new patterns that we purchased, and I like this round swirly one the best:

Another great Minnesota designer, Joanne Hillstead, has been busy growing her original Fat Quarter Pop-Up into new sizes and styles, some of them shown below.  I am teaching a class on making the Pop-Up next Friday, October 30, and Joanne has agreed to pop in for our Pop-Ups!

We have more goodies to share so we will get those posted here soon.  In the meantime, Debbie has been adding updates to Facebook regularly, so keep an eye on that, too!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Color Challenge

We have a great group of customers, and we love it when our Circle of Quilters gather every other month!  The content changes every month, and it includes info about new products, lessons on techniques and equipment, sharing by everyone, seasonal topics, recipes, and maybe a challenge!  Our most recent challenge to the group was the Color Challenge.  Members were offered the chance to pick a paint chip card, sight unseen, and were given a tablerunner pattern.  Then they were sent away with the instructions to use the paint colors as the basis for their fabric choices.  The results were terrific!

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We all have the chance to vote on the winners and there are some great prizes at stake!  Even employees get to pick a winner!  The voting is not based on popularity (names are not associated with the tablerunners) nor workmanship, simply on the best use of their color card.  

Maybe you would like to join our Circle?!  The next gathering is December 5 at 9:30 am.  It only costs $5 to reserve a seat, and the freebies, goodies and discounts you receive will offset the cost.  Call 651-429-1039 to add your name to the list!