Tag Archives: sewing

Final Step for Mystery Quilt

This is our last block. I know most of you may be out of fabric, so you might have figured out you will just need to make one. It will be a center block that measures 18 1/2″ x 18 1/2″, then all of the other blocks we’ve made will go around it. In just five days I will show you how everything goes together to finish your gorgeous quilt!! The best part… lots of options!

This is a simple block. You start with a nine patch.IMG_1877[1]You need a 5″ x 5″ center square, four 2 3/4″ x 5″ rectangles and the corner blocks should contrast, cut them to measure 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″. If you’d like, you can go ahead and sew this unit together and press. This square should measure 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″.

But a really nice option if you want something a little more exciting: make the rectangles into flying geese by adding 2 3/4″ squares of background to the rectangles:IMG_1878[1]Draw a line on the diagonal, sew on that line. Trim seam allowance to 1/4″. Press, and repeat on the other side.
IMG_1880[1]IMG_1881[1]IMG_1882[1]If you choose this option, make all four rectangles flying geese units.

The next step is to make a big and somewhat unusual flying geese unit with a strip set (you may want to read on then come back). This in an interesting technique because it finishes the contrasting squares so they circle in your block.

You start with your strip set. You will need a 2 3/4″ x WOF strip of the same high contrast used in the corners of the nine patch, and a 2 3/4 x WOF strip of another print (preferably dark). Stitch together lengthwise, then press.

Next find your last bit of background fabric and cut into four squares that measure 5″ x 5″ and four rectangles that measure 5″ x 9 1/2″.IMG_1883[1]Now cut the pressed strip into eight 5″ squares. Place one of these 5″ squares on top of the background rectangle with the contrasting piece North and the dark piece South (I hope that makes sense, sometimes I find that saying “up and down” or “top and bottom” can be confusing when you are sewing. IMG_1884[1]After you lay this out, draw your line on the diagonal, and sew DIRECTLY ON that line, then trim seam to 1/4″ and press. Repeat with the other side, be sure to lay your contrasting piece “North”.IMG_1885[1]Repeat the sewing on the diagonal line, trim seams to 1/4″, press. The flying geese unit should look like this:IMG_1886[1]Make four.

Then lay out your new flying geese units, the corner squares and you pieced nine patch to make one big nine patch. Sew together and press. Your block should measure 18 1/2″ x 18 1/2″.IMG_1887[1]Super cool! This is your last block!! I will show you the completion options in five days!!

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Row by Row Experience

Like most of the other Washington shops, we are participating in the Row by Row Experience, which is a summer long shop hop. It is happening in many other states, is no cost to the consumer, and started on July 1st. You will have all summer (until September 2nd to be precise) to stop by participating shops and pick up your free ‘row’. The rows are 9 1/2″ x 36 1/2″, each shop has designed their own personal row with a “seasons” theme.

The patterns are all original and different. Fun to collect!! The best thing (besides free, unique patterns) is that when you complete a quilt top with at least eight rows and bring it to a participating shop… you win 25 fat quarters!! Now, there are rules… you have to be the first one to claim the prize at that shop (one winner per shop) and you can only claim a prize at one shop. But hey, pretty simple…. fun to play!!

I had a hard time designing my row. Mostly because my biggest issue is my indecisiveness. The theme was “seasons”, we could pick one season, two, do all four…. it could be pieced, fused, embellished… OMG. Too much to decide!!

I did two rows… oh yes, start to finish… then finally did my third row, I liked that one alot. I decided to do all four seasons, all connected with a common sun in between spring and summer, a common tree in between summer and fall and blowing leaves in between fall and winter. I really liked it, then I decided to add a poem to be embroidered. I love the poem, “Spring is the time of year when you find Summer in the sun and Winter in the shade.” But I was worried I might lose people with that… not everyone wants to take the time to add the embroidery. Sad but true…

 

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picture the sun up above the sun flower……

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No nose yet…

So I made a fourth and final draft. I am pretty happy with it. I opted to make the four seasons individual which I think is more versatile, and easier for the beginner, and I used buttons instead of embroidery. I also used fusible web, which is not always popular, but I really don’t know why. I love it!!! So simple, so fun, so easy to reproduce a pattern onto a pillow, a towel, a bag, a shirt, a label, a center quilt block…. super fun and endless possibilities.

IMG_1194[1]If you are not familiar with fusible web, this is how I made my row….

Start by picking your fabrics. I wanted something textured that was going to read solid, so I picked Basic Grey’s “Grunge” fabric. It comes in yardage, layer cakes, charms and jelly rolls. 36 fabulous colors!! I used a layer cake so I could pick my favorite four for my backgrounds.

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Then I laid things out so I could select the other colors I wanted to use…

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I have my pattern drawings so I know what I’m looking for (flowers… leaves… etc). I also selected the buttons I wanted to use. They were bright, I wanted the colors to look good together.

Incidentally, we put together a button pack with all 26 buttons for you for only $11.99. We also put together a fabric kit for $19.99 that also includes the 26 buttons.

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Next it’s time to start the fusible web process. Fusible web is the the term used for both the product and the technique. There are several brands of fusible web. The old standby ‘Steam a Seam’ is no longer my preferred fusible. They recently went through a change with their release paper and I don’t like it. There are several other brands out there, but by far my favorite is Lazy Girls new product ‘Fusi-bond Lite’. It is affordable, easy to use, consistent quality and comes on a bolt.

IMG_1158[1]To use, you trace the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible web, when you trace it you want to make sure all of the ‘components’ of the flowers and individual items are separate.

IMG_1159[1]Trace all of the images this way. I separated the blocks, just to keep track of my pieces easier.

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Then iron the images onto the back side of your fabrics. The reason I used batik for my first version is I like the fact that there is no right or wrong side to batik fabric.  It makes it easy when you can’t make a mistake!! But again, for this version I have my grunge fabrics. I also, again, rough cut around the pieces just to make them more portable.

IMG_1191[1]Now it’s time to cut them out.  I like to sit in my comfy chair in my jammies with my standing ott lite. I have my pieces on a paper plate (I would like to say I have a pretty vintage serving tray that fits nicely in my lap… no such luck). I do have a lap tray that I use with my computer and with embroidery, but for fusible pieces you really want something with a “lip” so you don’t lose your little bits.

IMG_1192[1]I use the paper plate to hold the little cut pieces and my trashy bits. My favorite cutting scissors are the purple handled scissor by Karen K. Buckley. They are teflon, so the fusible won’t gum up your scissors, and they have a nice serrated edge, so cutting fine points and small edges is a breeze!

After everything is cut, it is time to arrange the pieces on the background block.  Peal off the paper backing, and once you have the design the way you like it, iron it in place. You will want to “press” your iron, don’t drag it across the fabric. If you drag it, you may disrupt the arrangement.

The fusible web is not permanent. It will stay in place until you have time to stitch it down. I prefer to stitch it down during the machine quilting process.

SO… I hope you all decide to do join the Row by Row Experience! It is going on nationwide. If you have quilting friends or families near a shop in Pennsylvania, Texas, California… etc…. have them go in and get you a pattern… what a fun themed collection for a great quilt! Incidentally… one other rule I may have failed to mention… the patterns have to be picked up in person, since the idea is it is a shop hop. So no mailing any patterns. Bummer.

 

 

 

 

 

To Market to Market……

Part of being a shop owner is the purchasing for the shop. Fabric vendors (Moda, Hoffman, Andover, Art Gallery, etc) will come to us. They bring multiple stuffed suitcases and show us “strike offs” of fabrics that will be available in the coming months. We  order fabrics that we will not see for three to four months.

Market is different. We have the option of fall market in Houston every October, or spring market in varying locations (last year Portland, this year Pittsburg). Market is filled with pattern designers, book authors, new notions and more. It is four days of shopping, shopping, shopping. We take classes and look at EVERYTHING trying to pick the things that our customers will find interesting. We have to choose our upcoming BOM patterns and sift through all of the new ideas to see what is smart… and what is not….

This year we started by visiting some of our favorite people…

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Terri Atkinson has the distinction of authoring three patterns on the top twenty in the U.S.   We love all of her stuff.  Super smart designer.

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Tula Pink is showing her new fabric line. Beyond fabulous!! We ordered every piece… every color…. can’t wait for it to arrive!!

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And of course we had to see what Sue Spargo has been up to. We are working on a workshop with her – she said she would love to come to our shop (her son went to college in Ellensburg!).

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We are going to start a “Bird of the Month” Stitchery class in October… but for now that is a secret! I have to get started on the sample first…

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We are also going to do a “Towel of the Month” club. I think that sounds like a lot of fun. We are going to laser cut the fusible appliques with our newest purchase… the Silhouette!

Here is a close up:

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In addition to the applique, each towel has a cute little sewing technique lesson, this one features the folded ridge.

At the moment, we are crazy with at least 10 boxes coming in every day. It will be a challenge to display everything well enough to see what is new, interesting and intriguing. This means it is “clearance time”!! 24 new bolts in clearance yesterday, 14 so far today.

Crumb Cake Class Prep

Tomorrow is a “quilt-in-a-day” class called Crumb Cake. Super simple pattern, addicting, and it truly uses up every “crumb” of fabric. It’s a funny story about this pattern. About 7 years ago a frequent customer came in with 14 Crumb Cake quilts she made in one month! When I asked her about the pattern she told me she made it up. She did a class at the local guild and showed us all how to make it. We were hooked! I asked her if I could write the pattern up for her and she reluctantly agreed.  I had it written up within a few days, giving her full credit on the “by” line. It was a popular pattern, I sold hundreds and gave several classes, always giving my customer her full credit and monetary reward. Then, a few years later, while at market in Houston, I walked by the Embellishment Village booth and noticed the Crumb Cake pattern. I stopped and looked at it. It was the same quilt, with a copyright date of 1996!! I was horrified. I am very much a “rules” girl, I would never copy a pattern (knowingly) and of course it is a crime… punishable with a $25,000 fine!

We quickly removed our patterns and replaced them with the Embellishment Village version. We never spoke of it again until they took their pattern out of print in 2009. At that time I contacted them and confessed my story, asking if I could republish the pattern. They said it would be fine if I kept the name the same, and mentioned that our version (we did construct it a little differently) was inspired by Embellishment Village. So, after narrowly escaping incarceration… the pattern is still a favorite of mine and the shop!

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My class tomorrow will be attended by Rachel, our new office manager. She has been trying to learn how to quilt and tomorrow is her second class. You can follow her fun blog “Frazzled Patch” as she takes beginner classes and explains foreign words like “jelly roll” and “square up”.

I am getting Rachel’s fabric ready tonight. The best part about the Crumb Cake is it uses up stash fabrics, leftover strips, bits and pieces, and it is a great use for those panels we collect but don’t know why….

I have selected a panel that would be great for Rachel. This is an older Clothworks Halloween panel that is super cute and will be perfect for Rachel and her two darling little boys.

Now I just have to find about 12 fabrics that would go with it.IMG_0535

We can also use “bits”. I tend not to save a lot of little pieces. After all of these years I just find that I don’t use them up. Everything on my fabric shelves is more than a yard. I have two drawers with just panels, and I have a few shelves with full fat quarters. But, I do have a secret stash of bins. They are labeled by color, and they have smaller pieces. They are in the closet, and not used often enough. Crumb Cake is a perfect pattern to wittle those down a bit….IMG_0533IMG_0536OK, Rachel’s project kit is ready. I will spend a little time cutting some strips and sewing some panels together so that I have a working sample to teach from… and Rachel has a head start!!

I have some certainty Rachel will blog about her adventures in the class tomorrow. She will also show the steps. We can hope the finished quilt will appear soon! In the meantime… I have another one of these cute panels left. Just like the one I gave Rachel. I would like to give it away.

Rachel tells me there is some way to fairly do a drawing using a “counter”? maybe I have that term wrong. Anyway, I think all you have to do is “like” this post. We will draw a name on Friday, announce it, and we will put it in the mail to you!

I have LOTS of fun things I can get rid of this way….. stay tuned……

 

 

Peek-a-Boo Bag

It seems I have a fetish for bag patterns. Or maybe we can just call it a quest. I’m always looking for that perfect bag with potential for organization that is easy to construct in a lovely custom color….. mmmmm. In yesterdays purging and reorganization of my project closet I found 14 bag patterns. Almost a cry for help don’t you think? It’s funny that I keep looking for that “can’t-live-without-it” bag, but it seems the looking hasn’t included sewing… hmmmmm. I am going to initiate a study… on bags. I am going to make at least 1 per week, and test it for ease of construction, usefulness, and gorgeousness (yes, that is a word). If I find the “perfect bag” I can stop collecting bag patterns…. I should mention… confess really…. I have a small basket where I found 16 more bag pat-terns. ….oooo ooooooh.

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Tonight I am making an easy bag called “Peek a Boo Bag” by Terri Staats. It looks pretty cute, clear vinyl front to see your projects. It would serve nicely as a project pouch, notion tote or a make up bag.

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Step one is to prepare your fabric. I have to iron a fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric to make the bag slightly stiffer. That makes sense. I wonder if I could use a fusible batting? Or my favorite… soft and stable? The thickness of your interfacing would of course depend on the purpose for your bag. I always make a bag with the suggesting filling first, and check out how much room I have with zippers, turning, etc to be sure I can modify the thickness of the batting on a second bag if I want to.

Step two is to cut an inside and outside back of the interfaced fabric.
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Step three is to construct the front of the bag. That was pretty easy, just three pieces. But you have to sew through the vinyl. That requires a piece of paper under the vinyl so it doesn’t draaagggg on the machine. Very necessary step whenever you sew vinyl. The paper is just regular copy paper, after you sew it you just tear it off.

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Step four is putting in the zipper. Not a horrible task. Her directions are pretty good. Good diagrams. You can easily use one of Terri Atkinson’s 14” zippers and cut it to the size you need. The directions are given how to cut it and add two tabs.

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Step five is construction. Simple, but there is some top stitching. I always feel a little self conscious when I have to do visible seams.

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Last is the nice box bottom. I think it would be easy to make it slightly boxier if necessary. Again, I guess it would depend on what you want to use the bag for.

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This was pretty easy. Super cute. Large enough for small projects, notions, make up. I made a second one using the chalkboard fabric. A labeled bag… definitely!! I liked this pattern. It was easy, the bag is cute and will serve several purposes. You can add a custom zip-per pull and make it in cute fabrics. I made the first one in 45 minutes, second one in 30 minutes.

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Oliver, however, remained unimpressed.

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Behind the Pen and Patch

I opened the Fabric Patch 15 years ago and have never regretted a single day. I am busier than ever, writing new patterns, developing new classes and clubs, making shop samples, professionally machine quilting, and working in the shop 5 – 6 days per week. If that’s not enough… now Brianna thinks I should write a blog.

Brianna is the energetic young voice of the shop. My 21 year old daughter that runs the business with me. I threaten to retire in about 10 years, but she knows I will never leave. Brianna has some great ideas, and I suppose people really are spending more time on their phones, tablets and computers. I certainly do. Not that I’m good at it… I don’t understand the difference between a tweet and a post… but I guess I can understand why some of you might want to see some great new ideas, patterns, tricks, tips and projects. So I will commit to finding the time to work on this new blog at least two times a week.

At the moment, it is 11:30 at night and I am finally done for the day. I spent today working on machine quilting a customer’s quilt, then cleaning my sewing studio. It wasn’t all that messy to begin with, but I wanted to re-organize both my “project cupboard” and my scrap drawer and do some purging! I found a few quilt tops that just needed a border or two that I am going to finish up, and three projects to give to Thelma (she takes all of the “un-lovables” and turns them into something nice). I was also able to put together a huge box of fabric for the Ephrata High School Independent Living Class (formally known as Home Ec) for their sewing projects. It will be nice to have the space it freed up. I have attached some “after” pictures of my project cupboard. There are currently 37 projects on the 5 shelves. That’s not as bad as it has been!

I will start working on the quilt tops tomorrow – I’ll check in with you and show pictures…

Good night!