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Monday, December 16, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Simply Sensational Square-Agonals Quilts - Book Review and Giveaway

Sandi Blackwell is such a lovely woman.  I could not attend Quilt Market this past year so Sandi brought Market to me :)  She sent me her newest book and several patterns to review and give away on my blog.  Can I get a loud Woooo Hooooo for Sandi!!!  She just ROCKS!!!

From the moment I watched Sandi demonstrate how she sews squares together and then turns them into complicated quilt patterns I was blown away.  She uses science to make beautiful quilt pattern designs. 

 I have to be honest and tell you that I would not be willing to cut my fabric on a diagonal and sew the bias edges back together again.  I have enough trouble keeping everything square and I don't want headaches.  I'm sure that is why I was so tickled to see Sandi's method.

The diagram on the back of Simply Sensational Square-Agonals Quilts is an excellent visual description of how Sandi manages to turn a bunch of squares into a beautiful on-point quilt.  First you sew all the squares together and then you cut them on a diagonal and re-sew those pieces together.  Yes, you do have bias edges and I did say I don't like bias edges.  Sandi demonstrates how she keeps those edges stable by using her tape.  It isn't required to use it, but for folks like me...I'd use it.

As I said, you don't have to use the additional Guide Tapes but they are helpful if you are like me and gets things mixed up and wonky.  Sandi also provides templates in her book for the Arrow's that you can print and use as well.

I assure you that with the visual guides and very well written instructions you can make a beautiful quilt like Strawberry Fields without having to cut all those small bias edges.
Strawberry Fields Quilt pattern from Simply Sensational Square-Agonals Quilts

 I just love the  Strawberry Fields pattern.  It is bright, cheerful and can be made with a huge variety of fun fabrics.  There isn't a pattern in this book that I don't like which is a real compliment coming from me.  Typically there are only a few quilts in a book that I am drawn to and I'm drawn to every one of Sandi's quilts.  Just look at the cover of the book....isn't that just a stunning quilt?

Did I mention a giveaway?  I sure did :)
I will be giving away an autographed copy of Simply Sensational Square-Agonals Quilts this Friday to one very lucky person AND 4 other very lucky people will be given one of Sandi's patterns.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sandi has Free Pattern Downloads, you don't want to miss those!!!

Jack Blackwell wrote an article that was published in Quiltposium Magazine that you may enjoy reading.
 CLICK HERE and scroll down to read the article


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lucky Me

I received a most wonderful gift via e-mail this past week.  It is an Advent Calendar by Jacquie Lawson .  Each day I click on this snow globe and I see a wonderful scene that is interactive and absolutely beautiful.  I was so taken with this idea I purchased several and sent them as gifts.  An inexpensive way to say "I'm thinking about you."

During the "Giving Thanks Blog Hop" sponsored by Michele at Quilting Gallery I was fortunate enough to win a gift given by Quilting Sparrow Company.  I received 11 of the prettiest holiday fat quarters in the mail this past week.  I loved their business card...check out how cute it is edged in fabric.  You know I'll never forget the Quilting Sparrow Company after seeing this fun business card....very smart!!! 

Thank you Quilting Sparrow Company for making my holidays bright :)

Most everyone who reads my blog knows I rarely post pictures of food on my blog.  There are several reasons for this.  The fist is I no longer enjoy cooking.  The second is because all those in AU who read my posts typically will be awaking to my posts.  I have spent many a nights reading their morning posts and when they post photos of food I swear I take in more calories than ever were necessary for one human being.  This time I'm making an exception because I made a beautiful pie this past week and I was so tickled.  Mind you, I used Martha Stewarts recipe but, hey those were my hands that did the work...LOL.

My girlfriend, Diane, made this beautiful felt  Christmas tree and she brought it to show at one of  our sewing groups.  She kept this at her cabin and only worked on occasionally while visiting there.  It took her 10 years to finish it and I'm so very glad she did because I think it is absolutely beautiful!  So cheerful and what a wonderful thing to pass down to her children.
It must be the little kid in me that goes nuts for all the sparkle and the sweet faces.  We are fortunate enough to have a tree skirt that my MIL made and gave to my husband. 
Gifts were exchanged at our group and we all received lovely gifts.  Diane received this beautiful wall hanging made by Carol E. It is an embroidery design by Anita Goodesign.  What a clever gift...three fun blocks...why don't I think of such cute things in advance?

I know this post is getting long, but there are lots of photos I want to share and I'm not always able to get to posting them as soon as I would like.  Just 4 more photos and then I'll smile at you :)

Lights at the Toledo Zoo is a special holiday event here in our area.  The weather has been unusually warm so this past week we went over to the Zoo to see their beautiful display.  Unfortunately I didn't take my camera and had to rely on a friends photos.......there are only 4...but they are fun none the less.

I hope you have a magical week!

Next week I'll have two come one back and visit again soon.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Karin's Trimmed Tea Towel Tutorial

Howdy!  It's Karin again, popping in to show y'all how to make those spiffy fabric-trimmed embroidered towels.  Now, keep in mind, every towel is different, and any of the measurements I provide can be changed to personalize your look.  

First thing to do is embroider (hand or machine) your towels, being sure to leave about 3 inches from the bottom of the design to the bottom edge of the towel.  This is where your fabric trimmings will be placed.  You can leave a little more or less, depending on how you like it.

And here's a couple more tips before we get started - wash, dry and  iron your towels and fabric prior to any cutting.  This will minimize the shrinkage or shrinkage differences.  And for this project, starch is your best friend. Make sure you starch the heck out of your fabrics; you want them to be somewhat stiff when you start working with them.

Basically, you want to start off with fabrics that are slightly wider than your towel - at least 1/2 inch on each side.  I usually make a WOF cut, 2 inches wide, for the accent fabric (in this case, that's the dark green) and 5 inches wide for the main fabric (in this case, the red).  If your towels are of average size, you can cut each of these strips in half, on the fold, and get two towels out of each strip.  SOMEtimes, your towels are wider than 1/2 of your WOF strip, so you can only get one towel out of a strip, with a short leftover piece for some other project.  Or the floor, whichever suits your style.  

 So here you see I've cut my WOF strips, 2 inches wide for the green and 5 inches wide for the red...and you can see the excess off the edges of the towel.
 Now, fold the accent strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.  Fold one long edge of your main fabric down, a little more than 1/4 inch, wrong sides together, and press.  Watch your fingertips here - I always (ALWAYS) burn mine.
 Now, this part is optional, but it sure saves you some worry and fiddling with the backside, down the road.  I always lay a strip of 1/4 inch Steam-A-Seam down on the little part you just folded down.  I iron it down, but I leave the paper on it.  Typically, I don't read instructions, and if you're like me, you didn't read that either, so I'll say it again...please, leave the paper ON it.  You'll thank me later. 
 Now, here's where it can get a little dicey, so I hope these pictures will clear things up.  Take the long bottom edge of your main fabric, and bring it up to meet the folded edge on the other side, still mostly wrong sides together.  (where the paper tape is, you'll have wrong side meeting paper tape)

 Give it a good press - that bottom crease (shown on the left here) will become your guideline later, so make sure you can see it:
 Now, open that whole sleeve out flat, wrong side down, and long raw edge at the top.  Lay your accent strip on top, raw edges together, and pin it.  See how I'm pinching where the fold is here?  And that paper tape is on the bottom of the bottom edge.  Clear as mud, right?
 Here's a side view of what you should have:
 Go ahead and sew that long seam, attaching the accent strip to the main fabric.  I don't have a picture of that - I figured if you're reading this blog, you are already pretty good at sewing a seam.  :)  Press said seam toward your main fabric.

Now you've got the beginnings of your fabric sleeve.  Now's a good time to dry fit it to your towel(s).  Lay your sleeve down on the table, and insert the bottom edge of your towel into it, meeting the edge of your towel to the long fold of the sleeve.

 Flip the accent + main fabric up over the edge of the towel, and check the proportions of each section.  You might want a smaller accent strip, or you might even want to cut some off the bottom of the towel, to bring your fabrics up closer to your design.  Now's the time to fix it so you like it.
 Yup, looks good enough for me.  :)  No modifications necessary this time.
Remove your towel, open your sleeve up and lay your fabric sleeve back down on the table, wrong sides down, with the accent side towards the top of the towel.  Lay your towel on top of your sleeve, again meeting the edge of the towel with the fold of the sleeve.  Carefully, flip the bottom edge of the sleeve up, over the bottom edge of the towel, until it almost meets the top edge of the accent piece.  When you do that correctly, you should be able to see that paper strip from before.  Nooooo, don't remove it just yet...I know, it's hard..but just be patient, you'll see.  Put one pin in each corner, just to hold your layers together.
 Line your ruler up straight along the TOWEL's edge, and as straight as you can across the folded edge of your trim fabrics.  Draw a stitching line - you can use pen or water-soluble, it really doesn't matter:
 Carefully remove your towel, but leave your pin in place (or replace it, if necessary).  One pin is generally sufficient.
 Remember, that paper tape is still on there, and that little flap is folded down, towards you.
 Sew along that stitching line you drew, being sure to backstitch (or otherwise lock) your stitches, at both ends of that seam.
 Trim your seam allowance & trim the corner to a point.  I always use pinking shears for this part.
 Using a point turner (or a chopstick), poke the corners right side out, so you've got nice sharp corners and a little canoe shape going on.
 Set your sleeve down on the table again, and insert your towel into the sleeve...again, the bottom edge of your towel should butt right up to that fold, and now the side edges of your sleeve should encase the sides of your towel.  Make sure that you have your accent fabric on the same side of your towel as your embroidered design (wish I didn't have to tell you that from personal experience)
 You might also check to make sure that that little bitty piece of accent fabric is wrapped around the towel, to the rear, not just folded over in the front.  You can put a little Fray-Check on the edge when you're all done, if you'd like, to finish that raw edge a little better.  (Alternatively, you can match the edges better when you're doing that side seam!)
 Here's what you want the edge to look like from the front:
 And if you're doing two (or more) towels at one time, now's a good time to line 'em up, side by side to make sure they are relatively even with each other.  And NOW you get to peel that paper tape off the Steam-A-Seam, and fuse the back side of the fabric sleeve to the back side of the towel.
Once that's done, you can either topstitch on the main fabric or stitch-in-the-ditch on the accent fabric.  You might even want to try out one of those fancy stitches on your machine for an added touch!  Just remember, your bobbin thread should match your main fabric, and I'd suggest using the same weight as you use on the front, for a nicer finish.  And, because there are so many layers at this point, you'd probably do best with a walking foot and a slightly longer than normal stitch.  I generally use a Floriani embroidery thread in both the needle and bobbin - there are so many colors it's easy to find one that matches well.

And there you go - two nicely trimmed towels, all ready for gifting.

(the visiting blogger :)

Our Shelf Elf and an Attachment to Aurifil Thread

Just sitting around with a broken leg isn't very much fun I must admit.  There are times I just make some fun.  Take for instance these eye balls staring up at you.  I found these looking at me one day over the quilt I was laying under.  It just popped up and started chatting with me.  Ya just never know what  is going to happen here at IHAN® headquarters.

This morning I woke up (yes still sleeping on the sofa) and noticed that our Shelf Elf had absconded with some Aurifil Thread.  Look how happy that little fella is...makes me wonder where all my Aurifil Thread is hiding???  Perhaps there will be some in my Christmas stocking?  Don't know as I have not peeked.

This past weekend the co-workers and I sat down at the kitchen table to start making some Christmas gifts.
What do you think we were making?  Any guesses?


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Song-ography...I thought I'd give it a try.

 Kathy from "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" has a very fun Sunday tradition on her blog.  She calls it "Song-ography."  I was invited to join her and her friends and I thought I would give it a go....the song this week is "Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins.

Home for the holidays,
 I believe I've missed each and every face, 
Come on and play my music,
Let's turn on the love light in the place
It's time I found myself,
Totally surrounded in your circles
Whoa, my friends

Please, celebrate me home,
Play me one more song,
That I'll always remember,
And I can recall,
Whenever I find myself too all alone,
 I can sing me home.
Celebrate me home
Celebrate, celebrate 
 Celebrate, celebrate  
  Celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate me home
Please, celebrate me home,
Home for the holidays,
I believe I've missed each and every face,
Come on and play my music,
Let's turn on the love light in the place 

Celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate, celebrate 
Celebrate, celebrate 
Celebrate me home

Given I have no experience with this, I hope it works and is acceptable.  I'd like to learn to put borders and other pretty things around my photos one day...all in due time.  If I accomplished nothing more than enjoying my thousands of photos,  I'm very, very, very happy.

Kathy invites any and all bloggers to participate so perhaps you'll join her next week.  You'll need to link up so check it out HERE.


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