No Scrap Left Behind GIVEAWAY 

img_2925

Today is my stop on the No Scrap Left Behind blog hop! No Scrap Left Behind is the latest book from the uber talented Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts fame. Her first book Sunday Morning Quilts, written with Cheryl Arkison, is a must have for any quilter’s library. And No Scrap Left Behind is sure to become a go-to book as well! It was tough to choose which project to make, but I immediately loved Mini Nines! I decided to make placemat versions of the pattern. Make sure you don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of the post:)

img_3162

This is some tiny town piecing. T-I-N-Y T-O-W-N. For reals. You have to cut very carefully and piece just as carefully. Amanda Jean has some great ideas for getting started on this project! I wanted mine to be super scrappy so I didn’t strip piece as she suggests, but I did take her suggestion by cutting longer than was needed and trimming. 

IMG_3149

I used a mixture of bright blues, aquas, greens and limes mixed with low volume background pieces in greys. I ended up editing out some of these because the scale of the print was too large for the finished sizes of the pieces.

IMG_3148

It was fun to play around with the block arrangement! I made twelve blocks per placemat, six light border and six color border.

IMG_3152

Voila! Two placemats! I’m going to put them in my breakfast nook, but the lighting is not too great on rainy days (it’s been raining for days…), so here they are on the living room floor. 

 FullSizeRender

They are all things scrapalicious! I used quite a few favorite fabrics which makes me happy on scrappy projects.

IMG_3156

I went with simple quilting 1/4″ from the seams on both sides. I used Aurifil 50 wt in 2010 because I wanted to quilting to be subtle.

IMG_3160

For the binding and backing, I used Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in Lime. I love the backs too! I decided not to put on a label so the mats are two-sided.

img_3157

The linen binding felt bulky while hand stitching it, but looks great from the back and front! I think it was more awkward because it was different.

img_3158-1

Obviously, Amanda Jean is all about the scraps! The book is full of ideas and tips for sorting and storing your scraps and most importantly USING them! She asked us to share a bit about our scrap storage. I sort into large glass jars. I have a pure color jar, a little bit of grey jar and a muddy color jar. Scraps look best when you are using similar color types, so this works best for me. Plus, if I am seeking a specific color, it’s easy to look through the glass and find the color I need. I save anything from 2×2″ to just under a fat quarter in the jars.

IMG_2919

My pure color jar is always the one that is overflowing! As soon as the jar is full, it’s time to whip up something scrappy and fun. These jars are the only scraps I keep. If I make a quilt with a full line of fabric, I pull out the scraps I love to put in my jars. I bundle the rest and gift them at guild. If I have a whole quilt in a fabric line, I’m usually “done” with that fabric in my mind. 

IMG_2922

It’s GIVEAWAY time! I’m giving away a copy of No Scrap Left Behind! If you are a winner and you live with in the US, you will receive a hard copy of the book. If you live outside the US, you will receive a digital copy of the book. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite scrap using tip! One entry per person pleasae. Entries open through May 6! <UPDATE> Entries closed. Mack the Chihuahua will choose a winner using the random number generator!!

Spoiler alert, there’s a chance to win at each stop of the blog tour. Make sure you check it out and enter for many chances to win!
Monday, April 24: Mary Kolb
Tuesday, April 25: Lee Monroe <— That’s me! You’re here!!
Wednesday, April 26: Sandi Hazlewood
Thursday, April 27: Bernie Kringel
Friday, April 28: Erin Cox
Monday, May 1: Katherine Greaves
Tuesday, May 2: Tracy Mooney
Wednesday, May 3: Cheryl Arkison
Thursday, May 4: Debbie Jeske
Friday, May 5: Amy Smart

Go use those scraps! Or at least pet them and dream up a fun project!!

xx LC

Carolina Carousel

Yesterday I introduced the two quilts that I designed for Quilt Carolina. But I wanted to show some more pictures- who doesn’t love quilty eye candy?!

dsc_0596

This quilt was made with Jen Kingwell fabric, made by Moda. I combined two lines, Moving On and Behind the Scenes. Moving On is printed on lawn and feels amazing. It’s a bit thicker than voile and has a great drape if you use it for garments. For clothes, it makes the quilt perfect for the South, lightweight and luscious. Behind the Scenes is a great collection of background prints. It is quilting cotton weight. I love how all the slightly different values add a new dimension to the quilt.

dsc_0594

I quilted this by machine but also added in some big stitch quilting, a la Jen Kingwell.

dsc_0590

I used Aurifloss, the floss made by Aurifil. They have a HUGE selection of colors. I’ve almost gone through a whole spool of this marine blue, it’s obviously a go-to color for me.

dsc_0591

I used Lollies, also by Jen Kingwell, for the binding. This might be my new favorite binding. The look of scrappy binding without all that piecing. I pieced the strips end to end, instead of mitre, to keep the look consistent.

dsc_0595

This quilt features lots of different style blocks. There’s traditional piecing, a bit of foundation piecing and some appliqué. I did freezer paper and hand appliqué, but machine appliqué would also be lovely!

dsc_0589

Here’s a full shot! If you’re interested in taking a workshop for this quilt, you can read about that here.

dsc_0583

xx LC

Modern Patchwork Sketchbook Cover

Modern Patchwork is one of my favorite publications! It’s always full of fun, fresh, well-made ideas. And I’m excited to be in the new issue! 

  

My project is this sketchbook cover! It’s made with Carolyn Friedlander mini charms. 

  

This is a fun one to dig through your scrap bin for. I’m contemplating making another one with my coveted Liberty scraps.

  

The cover is hand stitched with oversized cross stitches. I used Aurifil Aurifloss which is my fave floss. I’m pretty sure that citrine color is my favorite.

  

Inside the covers is more scrappy goodness with binding.

 

Modern Patchwork is available at your local new stands or you can pick it up digitally here. Check it out!

xo LC

Terrific Tip Tuesday: Embroidery Snap

 
I love embroidery, but I’m not always the best with detailed notes about what I’m doing. I’ve started snapping a picture of the project and the threads (with color numbers showing) to help jog my memory.

 
Now if I could just find the thread!

xo LC

PS: This design is by Patty Sloniger and part of her Into the Deep collection.

Charger Bag TUTORIAL

It’s time for another quick tutorial! Whenever I travel, I feel like I have chargers out the wazoo. Here’s a SUPER quick tutorial to make a little bag to hold all those cords. Today is also Make & Take night at Village Fabric Shop from 5-7. Amy will have everything you need to make this bag for $6. You’ll get to pick your fabrics!

chargerbag

Finished Size: 7 1/2 x 8 1/2″

1. Supplies: You need two fat eighths and 44″ of ribbon that is 1/4-1/2″ wide. I constructed the bag with 40 wt Aurifil. I chose these two fabrics from the Ex Libris line from Alison Glass for Andover Fabric.

IMG_2778.JPG

2. Cutting: Cut the exterior fabric to measure 8 1/2 x 16″ Cut the lining to be 8 1/2 x 20″. The grey floral I chose for the exterior is directional, but I decided I liked how it looked sideways. If you are concerned about directional fabric, you need the 16″ to be the vertical measurement of your bag.

IMG_2781.JPG

3. Forming the Bag: Place the pieces right sides together and stitch a 1/4″ seam along both 8 1/2″ ends. Note: The lining piece will not lay flat as it is 4″ longer.

IMG_2780.JPG

Lay the piece on your pressing board with the seams lining up as shown. The lining fabric will be right sides together and the exterior fabric will also be right sides together. Pin the seams in place.

IMG_2795.JPG

Measure 2″ from the seam towards the lining and place a pin on both edges.

IMG_2796.JPG

It should look like this.

IMG_2797.JPG

Sew a 1/2″ seam from the second pin (not at the seam) down the open edge of the lining. Backstitch at the beginning. Repeat for the other edge.

IMG_2798.JPG

Stitch a 1/2″ seam along the edge of the exterior fabric starting at the seam. Backstitch at the beginning.

IMG_2800.JPG

Turn the piece right side out through one of the 2″ openings.

IMG_2802.JPG

4. Finishing the Bag: Lay the bag out as shown and press the exterior side as well as the 2″ openings. Don’t press the remaining lining.

IMG_2803.JPG

Stuff the lining into the exterior. Pin the sides so that the end of the openings align as shown. The seam allowance should be neatly tucked inside and laying flat. Take care that the lining is folded straight along the top. Press.

IMG_2806.JPG

Topstitch along the edge of the exterior all the way around the top of the bag right near the seam. I used my #10 foot and moved my needle three spots to the left.

IMG_2808.JPG

Pull the threads to the lining and knot.

IMG_2830

5. Adding the Ribbon: Cut the ribbon into two pieces that are approximately 22″. Attach a safety pin to end of one ribbon and feed it through both channels creating a U so that the ends are back together. Make sure there are no twists in your ribbon.

IMG_2813.JPG

Thread the second piece through both channels so that the ends meet on the other side of your bag. Make sure the ribbons do not cross one another. It should look like this.

IMG_2817.JPG

Knot the ends and add Fray Check to prevent raveling.

IMG_2819.JPG

You’ve got a charger bag!

IMG_2824.JPG

This could easily be sized to fit whatever you need!

xo LC

Scissor Case TUTORIAL

It’s time for another fast and fun tutorial! If you’re local, head over to Village Fabric Shop for Make & Take day from 1-7 today (July 9). Amy will let you choose your fabric and she has all the supplies on hand.

ScissorCase

1. Supplies: You need two 10″ squares* of fabric, one for the outside and one for the lining. You’ll also need a 10″ square of batting”, a pinking blade for your rotary cutter and a 5″ piece of double fold elastic.

* Measure your scissors and add 4″ for different size scissors. My scissors measure 6″ in length so I used 10″ squares.

IMG_2126.JPG

2. Cutting the Pieces: Press the squares so they sort of stick together with right sides facing out and the batting in the middle.

IMG_2127.JPG

Cut through the middle diagonally with the pinking rotary blade. You’ll have an extra triangle to make a second case if you like.

IMG_2128.JPG

Fold over in half and pin along the long edge with outside fabric to the outside.

IMG_2129.JPG

3. Marking & Elastic: Using a removable marking pen, mark a line 1 1/2″ from the point on the pinked edge and 3/8″ down from the other point on the long edge. If your scissors are extremely narrow or wide, you can adjust the 1 1/2″ measurement. 1 1/2″ worked well for most of my scissors.

IMG_2131.JPG

Fold the elastic in half and add it between the pieces of the point. Place the elastic about 1/8-1/4″ from the line you marked. If you’re using decorative elastic, place right sides together.

IMG_2132.JPG

Pin in place.

IMG_2133.JPG

4. Stitching: I used 40wt Aurifil with a walking foot and a Jeans needle.

IMG_2134.JPG

Leave a long tail and stitch along the marked line.

IMG_2135.JPG

Knot off the long tails on the two ends and trim.

IMG_2136.JPG

5. Trimming & Finishing; Pull the elastic out of the way and pin parallel to the stitching.

IMG_2137.JPG

Trim 1/4″ from the marked edge with the pinking rotary.

IMG_2138.JPG

Open up.

IMG_2139.JPG

Finger press open the seam and press so the seam is running up the middle of the back.

IMG_2140.JPG

Press.

IMG_2141.JPG

Place in your scissors!

IMG_2142.JPG

Pull over the elastic and freely toss your scissors in a bag without fear of damage!

IMG_2143.JPG

xo LC

Terrific Tip Tuesday: Decorative Stitching

 

Today’s Terrific Tip came from my Bernina mastery classes. I said it to The Guru the other day and she said she’d never heard that. It’s rare for me to know something sewing machine related that she doesn’t. (Cue the silent cheering.) I would expect this would apply well to other machine brands, but check your manuals and ask hour dealers for your specific brand. When sewing a decorative stitch, set your speed to 50% and put your foot pedal 100% down. This way, you’re sewing at a consistent slower speed.

It will give you the best results on your decorative stitching. Plus, I use this tip for overcasting and such. Great stitches every time!

xo LC

Blogoversary Week GIVEAWAY

NewOfferings

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the fun announcements on the blog this week! We had the Blog Tour, the announcement of the new series on the blog and the new Back of the Month club. I’ve had a great time planning them and I can’t wait to show you the actual projects!! Now it’s GIVEAWAY time! There are THREE prizes since my blog turned three! First up is all this loot!

Prize

Prize includes: Twenty Fat Quarters/Half Yards, Robert Kaufman Kona Color Card, Two Mini Charm Packs, Quilt with Scraps, MSQC Mod Block, Love Patchwork & Quilting, Uppercase, Quilt Labels, Sewing Kit, MQG Sketchbook Ruler & Colored Pencils, Sew Sweetness Pattern, Quilters Dream Batting, Aurifil & More

I’m also giving away a few patterns! Two lucky winners will get to choose three of my PDF patterns!
It’s easy to enter! Enter once or enter a bunch of times with all these ways:
1. Leave a comment with what project you’re currently working on.
2. Follow my blog with Bloglovin or RSS feed.
3. Like me on Facebook.
4. Follow me on twitter.
5. Follow me on Instagram.
6. Follow me on Pinterest.
7. Subscribe to my blog via email. It’s on the right sidebar (or down at the bottom if you’re on a phone or IPad).
8. Post, tweet or blog about the giveaway for extra entries. (One for each time you do it!)

Please post a separate comment for each entry! This giveaway is open to everyone, international welcome. Entries open until next Tuesday, June 23! Mack the Chihuahua will select a winner using his magical powers (and/or the random number generator).

Good luck!

xo LC

GO! Pillow Talk: Wedged Together Pillow

Today is FREE pattern day in the GO! Pillow Talk series! This month we are using the wedge die and learning about piecing before you send your fabric through the AccuQuilt! Head over to the AccuQuilt blog here to read all my tips on this. The pattern is here.

 

The pattern version is made with a mix of Carolyn Friedlander’s Archtextures and Doe lines. It makes for a lovely subtle and light pillow. For my second version, I used Cotton + Steel‘s first lines. 

 

I used a lot more fabrics than the pattern calls for. (That’s right, I don’t even follow my own patterns!) I used two strips per fabric, with eighteen fabrics. These were some leftovers from a layer cake. I quilted with vertical stitches 1/4″ from the seams using the always faithful Aurifil 2021 in 50 wt.

 

I used the same leftovers for a scrappy back!

 

The pattern calls for six pieces on the back. It’s also scrapalicious!!

 

These pillows actually look pretty good together! I’m pretty sure they’re going to live together. 

 

The wedge die is one of my favorites! I use it A LOT! I have a quilt tutorial made with it here, plus loads of other projects! It’s really versatile.

Go forth and make pillows! They’re faster than quilts;)

xo LC

 

Terrific Tip Tuesday: The Review Link Up & GIVEAWAY

TerifficTip

Can you believe that it’s been a YEAR of Terrific Tip Tuesdays?! I can’t! I have been debating what to do to celebrate the year and here it is! I’ve pulled all the posts into one post and organized them by topic. It’s sort of a one stop shop of tips! I edited them down to a brief snippet and photo, but if you want to read the whole tip, just click on the date.

I’ve also put a link up option so that you can share your tips! There are so many great ones out there, so link up with posts old and new. I’m also going to have a little giveaway next Tuesday. If you link up this week, you’re entered. International welcome! Enter as often as you like. Mack will choose a few winners using the random number generator. I’ll leave the link up open through the next year so that we can fill this post with tips!

BAG MAKING
May 20, 2014: I place washi on vinyl approximately where I need to cut. It’s much easier to see! Then I can cut without trying to figure out where the vinyl is. It also keeps it from sliding!

20140521-000229-149168.jpg

August 12, 2014: I don’t love turning out the corners. There are tons of tools; I’m a fan of the skewer myself. My solution, dampen the corner! You don’t need to soak it, just slip it under the faucet for a second. Wet fibers are more pliable. But this can work both ways, don’t jam your seam ripper in there and accidentally rip a hole! You’ll be able to work out your corner easily once it’s wet.

IMG_5842-2.JPG

September 16, 2014: Towards the end of bag making, you usually have to sew the lining to the outside with a hole for turning inside out. Sometimes one might forget and sew the whole thing closed by accident. I pin all my pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, except a horizontal pin to note the “do not sew” area.

IMG_6922.JPG

September 24, 2014: I really like the look of leather handles and love to use the ones that come prepunched. These need to be hand stitched to attach. Because the pressure points on handles are at the top, I like to start at the bottom and sew one stitch on the right, then one stitch on the left and keep going back and forth. The back will look like shoelaces. This provides reinforcement.

IMG_7014.JPG

September 30, 2014: This tip is from Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. When you have loads of interfacing and you’re sewing a corner, clip out the bulk as you would in garment sewing. So simple, but it makes all the difference!!

IMG_7149.JPG

CUTTING & MARKING
April 6, 2014: If you like to paper piece, you know you have trim up the paper when you’re done with the block. But you also know that using your rotary on paper will dull the blade. So label a second rotary with a P and put your dull fabric blade on it. Each time the fabric rotary gets a new blade, the paper rotary gets the old blade. (And the old paper blade goes in the trash!) If you don’t have two rotary cutters, just put a P on the old blade with a sharpie and switch out the blade when you’re cutting paper.

20140408-172556.jpg

April 22, 2014: When I cut the same length over and over, I mark my ruler with washi. It comes off easily when I’m done and no residue! I mark a smidge past the line so I can still use the line for alignment.

20140422-123505.jpg

December 9, 2014: In order to sew accurate half square triangles and flying geese, it’s important to start with a well marked square. I place my pen in the corner and align the ruler next to it. This puts the ruler in the right spot, so that the line goes to the corner and not next to it. I draw the line starting in the middle and going out. This keeps the fabric from bunching. Draw slowly and carefully. Perfect! But if it’s not, don’t be afraid to erase and try again.

IMG_8072.JPG

FINISHING
May 27, 2014: I love stripe binding! I really like the pattern to align on my stripes as misaligned stripes are quite distracting. I start with my two pieces of binding. Then I take one piece and press a 45 degree angle. I’ve already removed selvages. Align the pressed seam to the pattern of the other piece. It’s practically camouflaged! Although full disclosure, this print has a hand drawn aspect that makes a perfect match impossible. Sew along the line that you pressed.

20140527-122233-44553208.jpg

June 17, 2014: Today’s tip is labels!! They not only offer a polished finish to your project, but also mark the maker. I order from Spoonflower. They’re a great company right here in North Carolina. I just uploaded my logo and set it to repeat. For my pouches and other small projects, I order a fat quarter of twill. My logo is approximately 1 1/4″ wide with plenty of white space above and below. For my quilts, I ordered the Kona cotton base cloth. It’s machine washable. My logo is about 2 1/2″ and I added three faint grey lines for my additional information. I label my quilts with the name, recipient, piecer, quilter and date.

20140617-225419-82459573.jpg

July 22, 2014: Washing quilts can be a real nail biter. You’ve put so much work and love into your quilt, and the idea of color bleeding everywhere makes your stomach turn. The answer…color catchers! They’re found with detergent and dryer sheets at most grocery stores/superstores and often at your LQS. You can reuse them until they’ve turned black. If I have a quilt with lots of brights, I’ll throw in multiple color catchers to ensure no bleeding. I always wash my quilts with them, even after the first washing. When you transfer your quilt to the dryer, add a few tennis balls and it will help the quilt dry fluffy. It will also sound like there’s a marching band in your dryer, so don’t panic!

20140722-084938-31778957.jpg

July 29, 2014: My quilty buddy Dana offered this guest tip! When she makes binding, she makes one whole yard, regardless of what the pattern calls for. That way, she has plenty of already made binding ready for her small projects! So no need to calculate!! Plus, you’ll always have enough binding!

20140729-164756-60476337.jpg

October 7, 2014: Tips on squaring a quilt. I put a chair next to my cutting table to hold the bulk of the weight. You don’t want anything pulling and stretching. Use two rulers: your largest square and you longest rectangle. I start by lining up the square in a corner and trimming. Then I switch to the rectangle. I constantly check the lines of the ruler to make sure they’re “square” with seams in the quilt. I line the ruler up with at least 6″ of already cut area; this keeps me square. When you get to the next corner, switch back to the square and repeat the process.

IMG_7181

November 25, 2014: When you’re free motioning (or when you run out of thread in the middle of topstitching), you need to bury your threads. Often times, these are not nice long tails, they’re scraggly short pieces of thread. The best solution: self threading needles. I love these by Merchant & Mills that I picked up at Modern Textiles. Basically, in lieu of threading the eye, you pop the thread in through the tension points on the tip of the needle. They’ll change your life.

IMG_7974.JPG

January 13, 2015: What to do when the thread is short and you’re trying to bury it?! The answer is to go ahead and stitch your needle. Once your needle is in place, simply thread it. You’ll want to use a self threading needle for smooth sailing.

IMG_8761.JPG

February 10, 2015: When marking binding, The Guru marks the mitered line to sew on. Sometimes it’s hard to see where the other corner is when marking, so lay your piece near the edge (not at the edge) to use that as a guide.

(null)

HAND STITCHING
April 15, 2014: I also use washi to mark my binding as I’m working on it. I stick the needle in to take a break and tape over it with washi. It makes it easy to find my spot and protects the needle from sliding out. AND residue free!

20140415-140903.jpg

April 22, 2014: This week I found myself binding while I was out and about. My whole world is covered in thread, so it doesn’t bother me at home. But out in the (nonsewing) world, I try not to leave a trail of thread. Insert the wonderful world of washi! One upside down piece of washi and I was in business.

20140422-131013.jpg

August 26, 2014: We are back with another Carolyn guest post, hand sewing style. When you’re stitching, it’s best to thread the end of the thread that you pulled off the spool first and knot the end you pulled off last. The thread is less likely to knot up on you. Also, this way, you’re stitching in the same direction that the thread came off the spool.

IMG_6064.JPG

LABELING
March 4, 2014: The hardest thing about sampler quilts is managing all the little pieces and still piecing efficiently. Making them one by one would take forever. So, I started numbering my blocks. First I made little numbers on cardstock. As I cut, I pile all my pieces for each block and then the number on top. When I go to sew, I sew through the number first and then piece as much as I can for that block. Don’t cut them apart! Then press them. The number is still sewn to it so you know what block it is. Some of these blocks require multiple trips to the sewing machine and iron; the numbers are there the whole time.

20140304-082214.jpg

March 25, 2014: Today, I’m showing you how I use numbered pins to not only keep my rows in order, but also to show me which way to press. I use them to keep both individual blocks and rows in order. Then, I point the pin in the direction I need to press.

20140324-192009.jpg

January 27, 2015: Today’s terrific tip is brought to you by my buddy Dana, of Old Red Barn Co. She uses pins to mark her rows by placing the number of pins for that row. Five pins means row five.

(null)

ORGANIZING
March 18, 2014: Does your machine ever bounce when you sew? It makes me crazy when mine does that. And I like to sew fast. So you just take a piece of foamy shelf liner and put it beneath your machine. Since bouncing tends to be a real problem on fold up tables, I like to take a piece to class and on retreats!

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 1.57.02 PM

April 22, 2014: One unfortunate side effect of sewing among other sewists is losing your tools. Lots of us have the same tools and washi is cuter than sharpie!!

20140422-131451.jpg

May 6, 2014: It’s unsafe to throw a rotary blade in the trash. It’s unsafe at home but it’s REALLY unsafe when you’re at a retreat or taking a class. Since we all have washi in our sewing kits (right?!), just tape it to some scrap paper. It’s much less likely to injure anyone! All the same rules apply to needles! Just fold a piece of washi around the tip!

20140506-201838.jpg

May 13, 2014: I write in my own selvage on interfacing. I found when I pinned on the label, they always became separated. I also toss the directions. Using google on my smartphone is WAY faster than me hunting down the directions. Make sure your label is detailed with the name, brand and weight if it’s not something you use often. I also create a selvage for my solids by labeling the brand and color. I keep a micron pen in my bag so I can label it when I buy it. I label every 6-8″.

20140512-172710.jpg

June 3, 2014: Packing up quilting is always rough. I always end up with one suitcase of clothes and seventeen bags of sewing loot! One thing that’s stressful to pack is already pressed blocks. Who wants to press twice?! Gasp! So I Saran Wrap the blocks to a square ruler. Keeps them flat & happy!

20140603-083623-30983251.jpg

October 14, 2014: Today’s tip is courtesy of Lynn at The Little Red Hen. It was originally spotted on Instagram and she was kind enough to let me share it here! You know those Aurifil boxes that hold twelve spools of thread. Well once you’re done with the thread, look what they’re perfect for!! They can hold machine feet (Lynn is a fellow Bernina lover), bobbins and other notions!

IMG_7260.JPG

November 4, 2014: I like to mass make binding. This relates heavily to my quest to immediately finish a quilt the EXACT moment I finish quilting. So I needed the perfect storage spot and I had these cool antique spools that The Guru gave me that I stole from The Guru’s house. Let me tell you how handy it is when you’re attaching binding…you can put the spool on your thread stand and unwind it as you attach it!

IMG_7693.JPG

December 2, 2014: My trim drawer was a disaster. So, I cut a few comic book boards in half lengthwise and wrapped the trim. Organized and nice to look at!

IMG_8088.JPG

OTHER TIPS
March 11, 2014: Here’s a tip to get a clean edge. I like to machine piece the wedges and then hand appliqué the Dresden plate down. Using your 1/4″ foot, start sewing about 1/2″ from the edge using back stitch. When you get to the edge, begin stitching forward to the bottom of the wedge. Your thread tails will be 1/2″ from the edge and you’ll have a clean edge for appliqué! This is a great technique any time you don’t want your thread tails peeking out.

20140311-153557.jpg

April 29, 2014: Belt in your baby!

20140429-082916.jpg

August 5, 2014: Use Fray Check BEFORE you cut. This will keep the buttonhole looking perfect!

20140805-122640-44800621.jpg

October 21, 2014: Need to pack A LOT of quilts? The best method…the big roll. First I laid them out flat on top of one another. I put a large one folded in half on the top and bottom with all the babies in the middle. Then I rolled them onto an upholstery roll. I tied them off with strips of fabric.

IMG_7479.JPG

November 18, 2014: No one likes to poke their finger with a pin (or worse yet, sew over their finger), but it is so much worse when your blood gets on your fabric! I’ve found my words get less and less PG the bigger the mess. The best way to clean it, spit on it. Your spit gets out your blood. I’m sure there’s a fancy scientific reason that this works, but details aren’t important. It works.

bloodyfinger

 

December 30, 2014: Our tip is from Shirley Bailey of Sew Original. Imagine that you want to make covered cording with no seam, for a strap or tie or something like that. You cut your cording twice as long as you need it with a few extra inches. Sew your bias fabric around the cording as shown. Bias is key to success and it should be the finished length with an extra inch or two. Sew across the fabric and cording in the middle as shown. Now, you skunch (technical term) the fabric. It’s hard to get over the hump, but once you do, smooth sailing.

IMG_8131.JPG

PHOTOGRAPHY
September 2, 2014: For me, one of the best steps in laying out a quilt is putting all the blocks on the design wall. I want the right balance of color and value. Plus, I want my favorite blocks to shine. A great way to double check is turn the photo into a black and white image. (Or on my iPhone, I just take another picture in black & white.) This really shows the values and I can move around anything that seems off. It’s a great way to check your choices. I also use this trick when I’m choosing fabrics, especially if value is important.

IMG_5783.JPG

October 31, 2014: This is a display/photo shoot tip. I discovered these little bendy things at Home Depot. They’re technically called rubber reusable twist ties and come in multiple sizes. They look like this and are very pliable.

IMG_7605-1.JPG

February 3, 2015: Take your picture outside on an overcast day. Even light looks better than sharp shadows. Before 10 am and after 4 pm are good times. A day with little wind is great. Images taken at these times require less correction. This is an untouched image taken at 4:30 pm on an overcast day. Style your picture. Are there things that should be edited out? If it’s not contributing to your image, get rid of it. Close ups are great! We sure spend a lot of time quilting, show it off!

IMG_7434.JPG

PILLOWS
March 3, 2015: When you buy Poly-fil, you have to work with it or it’s lumpy. Start by pulling out a lump, and pull it apart at least three times. Keep pulling until you get little pieces and then put those in the pillow bit by small bit. This leads to a lump free pillow every time! If you still have lumps, pull it apart more.

IMG_9855.JPG

PRESSING
July 1, 2014: The appliqué pressing sheet is magical! Basically you can layout all your pieces and press them to one another on this sheet. The back layer doesn’t stick and then you can transfer all the pieces to your project. I know…it’s genius!

20140701-094534-35134864.jpg

July 8, 2014: Sometimes you need to press something, but you don’t want to literally press it flat. This can be true of certain textiles such as seersucker. But for me, it’s always my embroidery projects. They’ve been stuffed in a bag and wadded up for years stowed neatly for a few weeks with minor fold lines and I want to press them without flattening the stitching. There are fancy pressing cloths for this, but nothing works better than a washcloth! Keeps the stitches “safe” and the fabric pressed!

20140708-061151-22311203.jpg

July 15, 2014: I love the feel of perfectly pressed fabric! It is easier to cut which makes it easier to piece and ultimately means a better result. If you spray your starch (or starch alternative or water or whatever you use) onto the back of the fabric, it will permeate the fabric. Then you press from the top. If you do spray from the top, the starch/starch alternative/water will mostly evaporate without permeating the fabric. It makes sense and when I tested the theory, it proved true!

20140715-145855-53935143.jpg

January 6, 2015: When you’re sewing a triangle to the corner of a larger square or rectangle, you mark a diagonal line and sew along the line. Don’t trim yet! Use the corner to line up your corner as you press.

IMG_8711.JPG

SEAM RIPPING
February 18, 2015: Nobody likes to unsew. Nobody. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us. So, here’s the proper way. First off, ripping isn’t involved. Gently break every 3-5 stitches on one side. Turn to the other side and give the thread tail a tug. Voila!

(null)

STITCHING
April 1, 2014: You know when you’re using a specialty stitch and you get everything all set up and then you try to take notes on all the settings, but your notes don’t make sense the next day?! It used to happen to me a lot, then I started taking a phone picture of my settings. Works like a charm! And if you’re like me, it’s also possible that you’d forget to change the settings as well, so I use the post it system for that! I stick a post it with CHANGE SETTINGS to the front of my machine. A simple reminder!!

20140331-091941.jpg

September 9, 2014: Sometimes things work to where one (or both) of your fabrics need to be a bit scant. You might be trying to keep a point on your triangle or you could just be a tiny bit shy of having a large enough piece of fabric. Shortening your stitch length is a great idea to add stability to the scant seam. I shorten mine to about 2.0. (I normally sew at 2.5.) This will get you the result you want without weakening the quilt top.

IMG_6587.JPG

January 20, 2015: I’m not much for pressing seams open. That said, there are certainly times when you need an open seam. If you lower your stitch length for an open seam, it will be much stronger. There will be more stitches per inch. I sew on a Bernina and my typical setting is 2.4-2.6. When I’m pressing my seams open, I use 1.8-2.0.

IMG_8953.JPG

THREAD
April 15, 2014: You know how unruly monofilament and transparent thread can get. It begins to unravel the moment you open the plastic. I use washi to tape the end to the bottom. Washi doesn’t leave a gross sticky residue like most tapes would! You can actually tape directly to the thread on the spool and stay residue free.

20140415-135515.jpg

June 10, 2014: Where to put the thread on your machine? Most machines are designed with at least one vertical spool holder and one horizontal spool holder. Thread that is wound with a pattern (like Aurifil) works well on either spool holder. However, thread that is wound straight (like Sulky and YLI) needs to be on the vertical spool holder. This will make for much happier thread which means smoother tension and less breakage.

20140610-225120-82280206.jpg

June 24, 2014: This one is for the preservation of your machine. When you’re going to rethread your machine, clip the thread at the top and pull from the bottom so that the thread moves through the machine in the direction that it’s designed to travel. The discs that the thread travels through control your tension. Repeatedly pulling thread backwards through them causes damage. This is bad. Be kind to your machine!

20140624-221445-80085383.jpg

August 19, 2014: When you put your thread on your machine horizontally, it’s best to put it where the thread comes over. And if you use Aurifil, you can remove the bottom cap and move it! That way, you’ll be able to get the thread the right way.

IMG_6129.JPG

December 23, 2014: As the spool gets low, sometimes it decides to be noisy. (And super annoying, but maybe that’s just me.) Slip a straw, cut to size, on your thread holder and put the thread on top. Enjoy the sound of silence!

IMG_8336.JPG

xo LC