Thursday, February 17, 2011

One World One Heart Winner

I visited the friendly Random dot Org and number 62 came the winner of the Ricky Tims Rhapsody Tote Bag  is.....

......Gail from Gail's Card Cafe.

Send me your address Gail and I'll get your tote bag out to you tomorrow.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the One World One Heart Blog Hop.  Unfortunately I did not have much time to hop but I have saved every comment so I can go back and visit soon.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Flip Flop Quilt Blocks by Kathie Alyce

I had the good fortune of meeting Kathie Alyce in Minneapolis at Spring Quilt Market last year.  Now she has a book on the AQS Bestsellers list and it is for the pattern I loved, The Flip Flop Block.  Isn't that exciting?  I'm so happy for Kathie.

Here are some pix I took at market of her booth.

This is Kathie demonstrating her template for a shop owner.  I really liked the fabrics she chose for the quilts she used in her booth.  They were bright, fun and contemporary.


I'm not surprised one bit that her book is on the AQS Bestsellers list.  Not that I'm some sort of wizard, but sometimes I see things that just grab me and I think....folks are going to like that.....and I'm thinking they do!!!  Good to know I'm not alone :)
Guess what? 
If you are you are a lucky IHAN blog are going to get a chance to win the autographed pattern, The Flip Flop Block by Kathie Alyce and her template.  The best thing about this pattern is that the skill level reads: EVERYONE.  Now we're talking.....nothing so technical that ya can't make a quilt even when you are having a wild hair day and the Quilt Priest is out of the office.  Gotta love that!
Shhhhh....don't tell everyone.....this is for followers only.  This is one of the great benefits of being an IHAN blog have lots more opportunities for winning great prizes :)
I have kept this pattern and template safe here next to my desk in my "went to market" fun prizes to give away.  It has not been touched until today to take this photo.....and I can't wait to see who the lucky winner will be and what beautiful quilt they will make. 
Just leave me a comment on this post for your chance.  I'll do the random number generator thing on Monday, February 21st.  No need to get overly excited and leave 20 will do.  If you are that excited you can also buy the book and template ....I have hyper linked them in this post :)  If you win, can be nice and give it to me.....oh did I just write that?  I meant to say....give it to your dearest friend.....can't blame me can ya?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Belated Valentines Post and Wicked Free Motion Quilting the IHAN Way

This was my Valentines Day picture and greeting. A little late but what is a sick girl to do?  Rest!  That is what I've been doing. Went to Dr. today and I got an Rx so I'll be on the mend soon. Thanks for all the nice thoughts and advise....always fun to read comments....even when I'm sick :)

Apparently I was starting to feel ill on Sunday night because this is what I wrote on Sunday night:
I'm not sure weather I'm loosing my mind, I'm channeling a wild spirited quilter from another life, having a spiritual experience, or if it is just peri-menopause.

Nothing, I mean nothing is easy these days. I have been struggling with everything....I'm frequently frustrated and feeling like nothing is going "my way." You know, "my way" is "the way" of course....especially when I've feeling like this. So whats up you ask? Let me tell ya!

I want to finish the "Passing the Orb" quilt...I sit down to work on it and I immediately start disliking what I'm doing...I feel like a naughty spirited quilter has taken over my hands and it just goes here and there....honestly a mess. So I stop working on it.

I'm going to do some photos for my Valentines post and I look for my camera.  Battery is dead (naturally).  Meantime I can't find the charger to my camera battery. I look everywhere...nope can't find it. Mr. McSteamy finds it on top of the dryer. Now, can you please tell me what in the heck my camera battery charger is doing on top of the dryer? I don't know either.

(you have to imagine this wild hair is red...screaming

I get this wild hair that I'm not going to sit here and take this any longer....I'm going to quilt something if it is the last thing I do. So I pull out a panel I found a year ago and start sandwiching it ....what is going to be the backing....heck I don't this point I'd pull off the curtains on the kitchen window and use those (if I had any on my kitchen window). I run across some light pink fabric that has some sort of strange mis- dye...what ever....who cares....then to find the batting. The roll of batting is in my bedroom closet....that would require climbing two sets of stairs. No way....I'm going to have some fun quilting if it kills me. I dig out a bag of nasty polyester junk (yes there is some junk on the market....I'm not sure why or how it gets there...but I was given some and I stuck it in with some other things.)

So, now I need to baste the thing right? I have only a few choices....Mistyfuse, hand basting, my Pinmoors (that are currently in the "Passing the Orb" quilt.....oh yes....there is that basting gun I have in my inventory, QuilTak. Never tried one....what the open the package and begin basting...don't read the directions....just bang away with this little gun like thing. Oh it was so much fun....who knew how easy and fast these little babies are....I'm thinking it might be my most fun new

I'm going to start using these little things for all sorts of crazy stuff....perhaps even using them to hem a pair of pants....attach all sorts of things that need attaching....I've gone QuilTak crazy!!!  Oh this is too much fun.

The panel is now basted and I know I'm going to run into the same motion quilting what have I decided to do?  Call this my "wicked free motion quilting session"....what ever happens.....happens!!   You also have my permission to get wicked with your quilting as well!  We can ask for absolution from the "Quilt Priest" and then go our way piecefully afterwards.

And she is off to the races......

Nice and Wicked!!!  All messy....crossing over lines...who cares....I feel like the Road Runner and the Coyote is chasing me....and then I speed up so he never catches me.....oh yeah....loving this wicked wild hair that I've got......
Ok, that was Sunday night, now this morning after being on the sofa for over 36 hours, I decided I need to have some more "wicked free motion quilting".  I put this mug rug first.


Ahhhhh, some TAZO "Calm" you think it has worked?  Think this wild hair has subsided?  I don't' know either.....but hey....I had some fun and got something accomplished. 

That pretty much captures the past 48 hours....aren't you glad you don't live with me?  ROFL


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Specials at IHAN

I planned a fun post today, but that is not to be.  I have a sore throat to beat the band and I'm headed back to the sofa.  A girl has to do what a girl has to do....and I'm sure you'll still have a wonderful day :)

I did put together a Valentines, One Day Only, here for the details :)  or there....where ever....back to the sofa.

EDIT:  PS...Patsy and Ernie are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary....go wish them a Happy Anniversary....they are offering folks a chance to win a $50 Gift Certificate to nice is that?  Lovely hop on here...can you tell I'm sick...too lazy to do the other stuff like pix etc.

Ouchie Smiles,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Won A Scentsy Warmer

Every now and again I am lucky enough to win a blog giveaway and the story behind this win is a funny one.

Quiltingranny blog was doing a Scentsy Giveaway sponsored by Jenn Burton, a Scentsy Consultant Director

Quiltingranny invited me to leave a comment on her blog and I essentially said, thanks but no thanks because my boys might play with the candle.  She took her time to let me know there is no flame or candle.  How nice was that?  She could have just kept on moving....but no...she took the extra step and look at me now!!! 

I actually won and I got to choose which Scentsy Warmer I wanted.  I choose the Enchanted Mid-Size Scentsy Warmer.  I also got to choose a  Scentsy Bar  and I choose French Lavender and I tell you I love being able to smell it all the way upstairs.

I have to say I don't think I would have considered purchasing anything like this but now that I have one, it is a real luxury to be able to smell such a lovely scent all day long (or when ever I turn it on).  I need to treat myself to nice things like this more often.  I also think it is a great gift for those who you want to spoil a little bit.

Thank You Quiltingranny for taking your time to e-mail me and to Jen Burton for hosting the Giveaway and sending me such a lovely prize....I'm completely thrilled!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quick Strips, Circles, Hearts, Triangles, Diamonds, Hexagons and Squares for Quilters

This is somewhat of a follow up from yesterdays post about Fabric Cutters.  As I said, I get lots of e-mails and phone calls about which Fabric Cutter is the best etc.  Typically the first thing I ask is, "What are you planning to do with it?" 

I know for myself I first became interested in buying a Fabric Cutter when I participated in Karen's I-Spy Block Exchange.  I cut so may 5 x 5 or 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch blocks (I can't even remember now) with the same ruler.  I'm a pretty particular person (just ask MJ) when it comes to cutting.  There were so many different size blocks when I was finished I was frustrated and disgusted.  Because the blocks were going to be swapped, I certainly did not want to be the one swapper that gave blocks that you could not have a 1/4 inch seam allowance and still come out with the same size block as the rest of the swappers.  So I bought an AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter.  All my blocks were exact and that was huge for me. 

So, what is it that draws you to a Fabric Cutter?  Is it your hands?  If you have pain in your hands or are unable to use a rotary cutter safely or easily then you may find a Fabric Cutter a great way to continue doing the hobby that you love for a very long time.  If it is your hands....are you going to be able to comfortably turn the handle on a Fabric Cutter?  Are you wanting to cut a few layers at a time or do you want to cut more than 6 at one time?  Is it time you want to save?  Are you planning on making kits where you will be using your cutter more than a few times per month?  Are you mainly cutting blocks, strips, circles, triangles or do you love applique and want to be able to cut some fun designs that are almost impossible without a Fabric Cutter? 

Not everyone needs a Fabric Cutter!!!  Viral advertising in the quilting world has had a bit of a backlash lately and some people are tired of even hearing about these products.  My position is, the more information you have the better you are at making a decision about if you need one and if so, which one is best for your particular needs.  No need to keep up with the Jones folks....keep the joy of quilting in focus and use the tools you need to achieve these ends and you will have just what YOU need and not what someone else needs or has.  (Don't I sound like a Mom?....yikes, I thought that would never happen to me...never say never ay?)

If you use a rotary cutter without pain or discomfort I think you need to know about the following templates for cutting shapes.  They are a wonderful alternative to dies that can be expensive.

Cutting Circles

I own this ruler and it is a great ruler.  It is the perfect everyday 4" x 18" ruler with an added bonus of holes every ½" in the center to quickly mark circles up to 34" in diameter with ease. It can also help mark scallops on quilt borders!  You will need a marking pencil or tool that will fit into the holes.  A Gel Pen works great for me. 

The Circles and More Ruler has ⅛" and ¼" marks along the edges with ½" dotted lines and 1" solid lines so that it's not too cluttered! It also has a 30º and a 45º angle for reference along with the circle holes.

With a little math and pre-planning the ruler can help you mark beautiful scallops on the borders of your quilts. Three-quarters of a circle for the corners and half circles placed in between.  

You fold your fabric into quarters with the folded corner facing the bottom of the template and cut circles from 2 to 8 inches.  You will need a 28mm rotary cutter to cut with this ruler. 
Use the same as above but you get circles from 4 to 12 inches.  You will also need to use a 28mm rotary cutter.
Again, works like the ones above but you will get circles from 6 to 17 inches and it requires a 45mm rotary cutter.

Cuts circles from 2-10 inches and requires a 18mm rotary cutter.

Cutting Hearts

If you cut a lot of hearts this template would be a great alternative to using a Fabric Cutting die.

You can cut 5 sizes of hearts from 4 1/4 x 4 inch hearts to 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 " hearts using the EZ 18mm Rotary Cutter.

Cutting or Marking Scallops
I think these are neat for cutting or marking scallops:

You can use this on any size projects like quilts, clothing, place mats, napkins, children's clothing....and lots more things once you get your creative juices flowing.  They are great for marking quilting or applique lines too.   The Arc's length is 2", 3", 4" and 5".  The templates are made from 1/8 " acrylic and the lines are easy to read in black (unless of course you are using black fabric....that makes it a little more difficult).

This one works the same and the one mentioned above it has Arc lengths of  6", 7", 8", 9" and 10".

Cutting Strips, Blocks, Rectangles, Diamonds,
Hexagons  and Triangles

Exact Eighths Ruler
You can cut multiple strips quickly and accurately in all increments of 3/8in and 7/8in. These eighth inch increments are used for popular quilt blocks, such as half-square triangles and flying geese blocks.  I layer up my fabric and don't have a problem getting my cuts accurate.

Use as traditional quilting rulers or cut in slots. Use cutting slots to safely cut multiple strips quickly and accurately. Turn the ruler after strips are cut to complete squares, triangles, diamonds and hexagons. Cutting slots great for cutting perfect fringe. Right or left handed use.

Shape Cut for Strips/Block Template
Cut multiple strips from 1/2in up to 12in, 1/2in increments. Save time on repetitive cuts for strip quilting. Turn Shape Cut after strips are cut to complete squares, triangles, diamonds or chevrons with ease.  I use this one when I cut strips for my coil bowls.  I fold my fabric in layers and put the ruler on top and get to problems with accuracy here :)

The Shape Cut Plus is 12"x 18" and  there is a 1/4" line that will let you cut in 1/4" as well as 1/2" increments. Just cut strips, then turn for complete squares, triangles, diamonds, chevrons and hexagons. You can even cut several layers of fabric at one time. The slots will hold your cutter in place, so it can't shift.

The Shape Cut Pro has rotary cutting slots in 2 1/2in increments to easily cut strips and squares. Perfect for creating your own 2 1/2in jellyrolls and 5in charm squares. Extra large 20in x 23in grid allows you to quickly cut full width of fabric.

This ruler allows cuts in multiples of 2-1/2in, so 5in charm squares and 10in layer cake blocks can also be cut quickly and accurately. Works perfectly with pre-purchased jelly roll fabrics, fat quarters, or any fabric a Quilter may have in their stash.

The ruler has a guide to mark the sewing and cutting line. Center your square on the 45-degree marking and square up the finished block. Piece two half- squares together to make perfect quarter-square triangle.

This template is great for cutting 60 degree diamonds.  You can cut 1in to 6in diamonds in 1/4in increments without measuring. Simply place slotted ruler on fabric strip and cut in the slots.

So, how many of you learned something from this post?  Did you know about all these rulers/templates that are relatively inexpensive compared to cutting dies for Fabric Cutting Systems?  They are also easier to store and you probably already own a good rotary cutter and mat right?  I'm not trying to talk anyone out of buying something they may want and or need....however I like to know my options before I invest.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Westminster Sizzix, AccuQuilt and Slice Fabrique - Some Fabric Cutting Answers

If I had a dime for every question I get about the Westminster Sizzix, AccuQuilt and recently the Slice Fabrique by Making Memories I would be able to retire.  Since I'm not retired....I'll get on with it :)

This is the Slice Fabrique Starter Set  and it works with design cards specifically customized for fabric allowing you to cut alphabets, numbers, flowers, icons, basic shapes etc.  The Slice Fabrique has a large 2" graphic preview window, and runs on  rechargeable battery or can be plugged in.  This package includes: Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter, power cord, 3 replacement blades, blade adjustment wrench, 6" x 6" glass cutting mat, repositionable adhesive, foam brush, 3 - 6" x 6" fusible web sheets, user manual, quick start guide, Appliqué Basics SD design card and design card booklet.
This is a photo I took in Houston at Quilt Market.  As you can see it cuts nice and clean.  You can make appliques between 1 and 4 inches in 1/2 inch increments.  Some designs are 2-4 inches in 1/2 inch increments.  The Slice Fabrique cuts one layer of fabric at a time.  All of the Slice Design Cards (Slice Fabrique and Slice) work in the Slice Fabrique however you need to be aware that many of the Slice Design Cards were made for paper and some of the designs are too intricate for fabric.  The Slice Fabrique comes with a One Year Limited WarrantyMaking Memories handles all of the Warranty issues which is great because you don't have to return it to the place of purchase....just to Making Memories.  

The Slice Fabrique is an excellent choice for those people who want a larger variety of shapes and who want a variety of fonts for letters.  Keep in mind that it cuts one layer of fabric at a time.

AccuQuilt GO!, GO! Baby Fabric Cutters,

There are lots of misconceptions about all of these machines and which dies work in which machines etc.  I am going to do my very best to clarify these questions for those people who want and need to know what works with their machines.

AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter
Will take every die that has been made by AccuQuilt for the AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby.

AccuQuilt GO! Baby
Will take every die that has been made by AccuQuilt for the GO! Baby and some of the AccuQuilt GO! dies as well.  For a complete list of AccuQuilt compatibility click here.

Neither of the AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters will take Westminster Sizzix dies.  Simply put: DO NOT USE Sizzix Dies in your AccuQuilt GO! or GO! Baby.  How is that for easy :) lol

The AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby both fold up for storage and can cut 4-6 layers of cotton fabric at one time.

These fabric cutters will take ALL Sizzix Sizzlits, Sizzix Bigz and Bigz XL dies as well as the AccuQuilt dies that are 6 inches wide or less.  The bed of these machines are 6 inches wide so they will not take dies that are wider than 6 inches.

Clearing up some of the confusion (hopefully):

I think much of the confusion is about the size of the AccuQuilt GO! dies and using them with the Sizzix Cutters

AccuQuilt dies come in the following sizes according to their website: 5 x 10, 6 x 6, 6 x 12, 10 x 10, 6 x 24 and 10 x 24.  A consumer might conclude that these measurements are the exact measurements of the dies themselves.  The dies are actually between 3/8 and 1/2 inch wider and longer than these measurements when measured from the green plastic edge to edge.
 This is the GO! Rectangle you can see it does not measure 5 inches exactly.
This is the GO! Hexagon die which does not measure 6 inches exactly either.  The issue of exact size is only important when using Fabric cutters other than AccuQuilt.  All of the AccuQuilt dies work well in the AccuQuilt Fabric cutters.
The AccuQuilt dies that will work in the Westminster Big Shot, Big Shot Express and Vagabond Cutters are:

GO! Alpha Baby
GO! Baby Baby
GO! Feathers
GO! Funky Flower
GO! Half Square 3" Finished Triangle
GO! Heart
GO! Parallelogram
GO! Rectangle
GO! Rose of Sharon
GO! Round Flower
GO! Square 2"
GO! Square 3 1/2"
GO! Star
GO! Star Points by Sarah Vedeler
GO! Sunbonnet Sue
GO! Overall Sam

All AccuQuilt dies will work in the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  It is just the smaller AccuQuilt dies mentioned above that will work in the other Sizzix cutters. 
I also get many questions about the difference between the Westminster Sizzix Big Shot Pro (Purple) and Sizzix Big Shot Pro's (Blue).  The Westminster Sizzix Big Shot Pro comes with the Extended Cutting Pads, Extended Adapter Pad and the Extended Tray.  The Blue Big Shot Pro comes with the Standard Tray and Pads.  The Blue Big Shot Pro will not take the Extended dies so many quilters have purchased them thinking they are saving themselves money when in reality they frequently need to purchase the Extended Tray and Pads separately costing them more money.

The AccuQuilt dies are not as thick as the Sizzix dies so they require a shim to be put under the pad/die/pad sandwich prior to putting it through the machine.  What size shim you ask?  Well, for my Westminster Big Shot and Vagabond cutter I use some cardboard and I took it from the back of a notepad.  Please don't call or write and ask me what size my cardboard is....I don't have any measuring instruments that will measure it.  Just use what you have and check until you have a depth that will consistently cut through all layers of your fabrics.  If it is not cutting through....that is a good sign the cardboard you used is not thick enough.

As I mentioned above the AccuQuilt dies are not as thick as the Sizzix dies and everywhere I've read and everyone I've spoken to says you will need a shim to raise the AccuQuilt dies. Below is a photo of the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Standard Mylar Shims

This is a photo of the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Mylar Shims and the cardboard I use for my Westminster Big Shot and Vagabond cutters. 

I want to show you how I've been cutting fabric with my Westminster Big Shot Pro with an AccuQuilt die.  I'll start by showing you the things that come with this cutter.

This is a photo of the extended tray that comes with the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  It is 27 x 12 1/2 inches wide.

The photo below shows you the thickness of the Extended Adapter Pad.
You also get two Extended Cutting Pads with the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  They are PC Plastic (according to the Sizzix website)  I call them "acrylic" and when you use them you will hear a sound that seems like you are breaking or cutting into the pads.  You are not hurting your Pads and this is how the machine works.
If I recall correctly, when I opened my Westminster Big Shot Pro the Adapter Pad was in the bottom of the Extended Tray with the two Cutting Pads on top of the Adapter Pad.  So what did I do?  I left the Adapter Pad right where it was.  However when I want to cut fabric using an AccuQuilt die....
I take the Extended Adapter Pad out and put it under my table.  I replace the two Extended Cutting Pads into the bottom of the Tray.
Here is the die I used for this demo, The GO! Rectangle.
I sandwiched the GO! Rectangle die between two Standard Cutting Pads with the fabric covering the foam side of the die.
You can see in this photo my Extended Cutting Pads are dirty and I left them that way so you could see I have them in the bottom of the tray.  I put the die sandwich in and cranked the handle.....and.....

wahhhhh lahhhhhhh I cut two rectangles using an AccuQuilt die without a "shim" per se'.  Since I left the two Extended Cutting Pads in the bottom of the tray they served as my shim. 

How many layers of fabric can I cut with my Westminster Big Shot, Vagabond and Westminster Big Shot Pro?  I didn't know until tonight.  I ran back to my machines and started layering the fabric up.  I cut 6 layers of cotton fabric with my Westminster Big Shot and 10 layers with my Westminster Big Shot Pro.  I just about flipped when my Vagabond cut 16 layers...yes....16 layers that were cleanly cut without any hanging threads....can you believe it?  I would not if I had not done it myself.

I also get asked what machine is my preference.  I like my Westminster Big Shot Pro because I can cut both Sizzix and AccuQuilt dies on it.  It is heavy and it does not fold up for storage.  I keep mine under my cutting table and move it to the table when I use it.  Of course I'm completely Ga Ga over my Vagabond.....I still can't get over how well it works and all I have to do is push a button.

There is more information on the machines that I have published here to read that post.

Everyone has different preferences and needs.  I think it is best to do your research first.   I hope this information helps!


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