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…
picture the sun up above the sun flower……
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.
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.
Then I laid things out so I could select the other colors I wanted to use…
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.
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.
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.
Trace all of the images this way. I separated the blocks, just to keep track of my pieces easier.
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.
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.
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.