Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Renegade Thread Play class

I know I haven't posted in a while. Oh you lucky people I'm back and ready to blog.
I just got back from a week teaching at Empty Spools Seminars session 2. I taught a new class this time. Renegade Thread Play it was a hit if I do say so myself.

They got so much done and went home feeling more confident about "how to" finishing those nagging projects that they where afraid of  completing.
Most of the students have taking one of my fusible classes either Beachscapes class of the Fusible Flower class.

  When they got home they either froze on how to finish it or when they get home they have to go back to work and wont have the time to quilt.
We started out with a practice piece where they were allowed the freedom to make mistakes while learning a new technique.It’s very easy for me to give them permission but harder for them to relax and know its OK to make ugly stitches while you are figure this out and no one is judging them. 
Then they went to my simple flower pattern the Sunflower. Its broad petal are perfect for quilting and using what they just learned.
Then when they felt ready they went to their unfinished projects and with my guidance. They made great progress.

These are some of the quilts they now know how to finish!

I once asked some very skilled and talented quilters this question. “Did you start out with great stitch right from the beginning? And they all said, “NO, we have closets full of ugly quilts.” 

 So my new mantra is, You have to make ugly stitches to get to the beautiful stitches!  
We all have crapy quilts in the closet only no one is telling! So I'm telling you! 

So after 5 days of non stop quilting these gals where changed and a lot better at quilting than when they arrived. 
Cant wait to teach this again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Quilting the Iris

I’ve had a lot of questions about “How to Do” the thread play on my Iris pattern. This cute flower has been featured recently in Keepsake Quilting Catalog and right about now many of you are getting ready to quilt your flower.  I wanted to pass on some tip and tricks to give you some ideas on how to finishing your Iris.

First off, the fusible web Keepsake is using is not Steam -A-Seam 2, so you have to be very careful about how much you iron your pieces as you assemble your flower. Too much ironing will not allow the Heat N Bond to stick to the background fabric. Not good! 

Assembling TIP: Lay your patterns layout guide on a foam core board the same size as the pattern.   18”x 22” will do great.

Lay your parchment paper or a Teflon pressing sheet over the Layout guild and pin to board so they won’t move while building your flower. Lay your pieces for your flower on to this layout but DON’T iron anything in place until you have it all laid out!  Just use straight pins to hold everything in place until you have the flower assembled. The foam core board is now you bulletin board and when you are done you can iron right on this board and on the parchment paper. I show this in the pattern.

This is the technique I use when making my flower when Iv used Heat n Bond. And I have made all the kits that Keepsake has been selling just to make sure it will work for you.

This quilt is by Susana Font-Fontenot from Texas.

Let Quilt
Here is a great quilted example of the front and the back my Iris pattern. 
Below I have also drawn with my iPad pro on some flower pictures to give you an idea of how to curve your stitching lines while quilting.
Its all about making this flower look lace-y with ruffles in her petals. You achieve that by how you curve your thread. Now this is all free motion quilting done on my BERNINA 750EQ. 

 80/12 Top Stitch or Jeans Denim Needle

I’m using Sulky 40 weight Rayon thread on top and in the bobbin.

Please copy and prints the drawings below to look at while you a quilting.

I would be changing my thread all along the way.

If you are still nervous about free motion thread play on your domestic sewing machine.  I have my Reneged Thread Play class on iquilt.com where I walk you through the steps to master painting with thread on flowers. Plus how to fix all the little thing that pop-up while we are work with that beautiful sewing machine.

I want you to be successful, that is why I do this. It’s not for the money, believe me!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Pin For Every Purpose

Who get excite by straight pins?  Not me for sure.  But when I can't find them or they are all bent or sticky from fusible web I realize how much I need the little buggers. 
I'd rather collect pin cushions over straight pins at least they are cute.   All sewers need straight pins and I found you need a verity for different project.  I didn't know that. 

I wanted to educate myself on the  straight pins story.  So to the internet I go.  I had no idea there are so many different kinds of pins.  I also needed to find out what works well through paper, fabric and fusible wed, all at the same time  and I did.  At the end of this story from Threads Magazine. I will tell you what I found out works best for my fusible technique.

The articular is called:      

A Pin For Every Purpose
Any pin is just the sum of its parts
The seemingly endless variety of straight pins can be daunting, unless you break each pin down into its five main components: head, point, thickness, length, and metal content. Just figure out what your needs are in each of the five areas, then seek out a pin with those qualities.

I suggest that you buy a few basic styles for the kinds of sewing you do most, such as dressmaker, extra-fine, and quilting, and then think of the other pins as problem solvers. In other words, if you come across a situation where your stash of basic pins can't handle a particular project, such as applique, supplement with applique pins. And with every pin you purchase, it's a good idea to keep a portion of the packaging somewhere in your sewing room, and tape one sample pin onto the label as a reference. When you run out of your favorites, you'll have all the information you need to replenish your stock.
Pin heads
From left to right: Flat; pearlized plastic, plastic flower-head, ball-shaped plastic; glass (yellow and blue); and metal (brass and silver).
Plastic-headed pins
 WARNING: Some plastic pin heads can melt under a hot iron and adhere to the fabric.
HeadThe head is the most recognizable part of a straight pin. What it is made of dictates if it can be pressed, and the shape determines when you should use it in the construction process.

Flat Also called "no head," this pin may be pressed with a hot iron. It's also good for handwork, as thread doesn't get caught on it. A flat head can be difficult to see on busy or textured fabrics, however.
Plastic Ball-shaped plastic heads come in different sizes and colors, and may be pearlized. Wide, flower-shaped plastic heads are the easiest to spot, and because they are flat, they come in handy when you need to lay a ruler or tape measure over a pinned area. They are also a good choice for lace, eyelet, and loose weaves, as the large heads won't slip through the holes in the fabric.

Glass This small, ball-shaped head is fairly easy to see, and won't melt when touched with an iron.

Metal Metal balls aren't common, but they can be pressed with an iron without fear of melting.

Tip: Use only the best-toss the rest. If a pin becomes bent, dull, or rusted, don't hesitate to throw it out. A less-than-perfect 1¢ pin can wreak havoc on your $10-, $20-, or $40-a-yard fabric.

The points of pins should slide cleanly into fabric without causing snags or unsightly holes. Different fabrics require different types of points.
Sharp These all-purpose points are a fine choice for loosely woven, medium-weeight, and heavy-weight fabrics.

Extra-sharp More defined and tapered, this point passes cleanly through delicate fabrics.

Ball point Created especially-and only-for knits, this point is rounded so it slips between the loops of the fabric and doesn't pierce or pull the yarns.


Some sewing projects require long pins, other ventures may do better with short, stubby pins. Pin length used to be listed on packages as sizes (size 12 = 3/4 inch long, etc.), but most pin manufacturers now just list the actual lengths.
Applique/sequin This 1/2- to 3/4-inch length is the best choice for applying appliqués, trim, or sequins, as you can position many pins close together (below left). Long pins, in comparison, overlap awkwardly (below right).
Short lengthLong length

Dressmaker/all-purpose If in doubt, reach for this medium- length (1-1/16- to 1-1/2-inch) pin. It is appropriate for all sorts of garment sewing.
Quilting pin
Quilting Made especially for pinning through many layers of fabric and batting, this 1-1/2- to 2-inch pin is also garment-friendly, as its long length hardly ever slips out of place.

To avoid marring fabric with pin holes, choose the thinnest pin to accomplish the task at hand. Unfortunately, we discovered that the naming convention, as it relates to actual diameters, isn't consistent among manufacturers. So the best thing to do is roll a pin between your fingers to gauge its actual thickness.
 .4mm, .5mm, .6mm and .7mm or .8mm.
.4mm The thinnest traditional pin we found was a .4mm "Patchwork Pin (Fine)" by Clover. It passes beautifully through the finest of sheers.

.5mm Called "extra-fine," "super-fine," "silk," or "satin," these .5mm pins are recommended for fine, lightweight fabrics, including some sheers.

.6mm Most all-purpose pins are labeled "fine," and are best paired with medium-weight fabrics.

.7mm or .8mm Although harder to find, these diameters are great for thicker fabrics like heavy wools, denim, and quilted layers. But they do leave large holes in their wake. 
Insect pinsInsect pins: superfine and rust-resistant
Forget bugs, this very skinny (size 00 - .3mm) and flexible spring steel pin is a great choice for fine fabrics. Originally created for insect collectors and entomologists, the double-coating of black enamel-to, yuck, resist insect fluids-makes them easy to see, plus they're rust-resistant. Indigo Instruments Indigo.com

Metal content

A pin's content is important, especially if you are allergic to certain metals. There are six types: stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel, which is the strongest option. If you aren't sure of the metal, test it with a magnet; stainless steel and brass pins won't cling.

Put through a salt-water test, only nickel-plated brass passed. To test the rust-resistance of various metal types, we spritzed each pin with salt water. The results were surprising, as nickel-plated and chrome-plated steel should only rust if the plating is damaged; stainless steel should offer the best resistance. Brass tarnishes, but any residue washes out.
Left to right: Stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel.

The bottom line
: Never leave any pin in fabric for very long, especially if you live close to the ocean's salty environment.
Specialty pins
 Left to right: Skirt pin, button pin, curved pin, traditional pin.

Specialty pins
For certain projects, you need special pins. The ones shown here aren't always available at the local sewing shop, so you may need to order them.

T-pin This 1-3/4-inch-long thick pin can pierce and hold hefty upholstery and outdoor fabrics.

Fork Fine and 1-5/8 inches long, this two-prong pin curves up at the end, which allows you to pin hard-to-handle fabrics, like lining, without lifting it. Also use to align stripes and plaids.

Glow-in-the-dark If you drop this pin, simply turn off the light, and look for its glowing head.

Tidy Similar to the fork pin, but flat and square. It was created to secure doilies, arm covers, and slipcovers to furniture.

Pleating This fine, strong, sharp pin doesn't look all that special, but is 1 inch long, which allows you to perfectly pin out pleats.

Twist The thumbtack-like plastic head and short corkscrew shaft hold slipcovers and mattress pads in place.

Safety pins
Safety pins won't wriggle free or stab you as you sew. They are available in a range of metals and colors, as well as sizes: size 00 (3/4 inch long), size 0 (7/8 inch long), size 1 (1-1/16 inches long), size 2 (1-1/2 inches long), and size 3 (2 inches long). 
Safety pins
 Left to right: Skirt pin, button pin, curved pin, traditional pin.
Skirt Also known as a kilt pin, this decorative pin holds skirts and kilts closed.

Button The bump in this pin holds delicate, non washable buttons temporarily in place.

Curved The bend makes basting quilts easy, and ensures that the layers never shift.

Traditional These pins can be used for sewing, quilting, and crafts.

I use the Wide, flower-shaped plastic heads.  they come in handy when you need to lay a ruler or tape measure or Iron over a pinned area. I iron only from the back of the fabric so not to put the heat of the iron right on the pin. i don't want it to melt.

I have also found that to remove the sticky fusible that can build up on your pins use a wool pincushion while working, the lanolin in the wool takes the sticky right off! hope this helps you like it helped me.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dyeing...in more ways than one.

This has nothing to do with quilting but everything to do with being a woman who quilts.
I have been finishing up some of my beach quilts and getting them ready for upcoming shows but today I had to stop and take care of the dreaded task of dyeing my hair. Yes, I dye and cut my own hair. I can’t seem to keep a regular appointment with a stylist since I'm on the road so much.  So today was dye day.

I like it when my husband is not home for this activity, but today, and now most every day, he is home.  I think he is tired of looking at me with the same ponytail I have been sporting to hide the telltale signs that, yes, I have gray hair. I have found that if I twist my hair just the right way I can cover up one graying spot and it looks OK for a few more days.

So I told him just stay downstairs until I am done. He said OK, because he doesn’t want to see me with dye in my hair anymore than I want to show him.  So the process begins by laying out the tools, covering up the counter and putting on my gloves.  Now the dye is in and I ask Joe to set the timer for 25 minutes. While my hair is curing I go into the studio and work a little more on my beach quilt.  I can feel that it’s going to be a hot day today and go to turn on the air conditioning and then hear Joe saying Really? Do you have to turn that on now?  YES, I scream back, as I feel something dripping down my face. Of course, the dye is melting on my head this hot day (but it's a dry heat - or so I've been told since we moved here in 1996).

The timer rings, he calls out Time's up!  and I go to take a shower, knowing I will come out looking hot and young again for my cute stud muffin.  Well, maybe.  I precede to get dressed and think about wearing something cute but first, let's try on my new undergarment I got from Spanx yesterday.  Yes, that will make me feel sexy. The new underwear goes on first and I feel that it may be a little tight but they go on and are a cute peachy pink color which makes me happy except for the top of the undies, which  keep rolling down under my mommy bump.  Which is really is a big fat roll.  I pull them up, they roll down, I pull them up and hold my breath and the minute I breathe, they roll back down. Well, this is not good.  Off they go and back to the good old reliable Fruit of the Looms.  Now for the new sports bra.  This can’t be as bad, and it’s in a cute color, too.  I give it a good stretch and pull it over my head, where it gets stuck on the wet towel that my hair is wrapped in.  Oh, no.  Spanx and water is never a good combo.  I stretch it a little more to get it down over the girls and it snaps back into my face.  I try and reach up to put it down again and it gets stuck in a tight roll at the base of the back of my neck.  I can’t reach it.  It’s too high.  I twist and turn to try and grab it and it's just STUCK.  Stuck on my wet, hot body!   I can’t get it on or off!   A panic flashes across my mind. What if there’s a fire?  I would be trapped like this.  I can see the headline, Famous Quilter Found Topless with what Looks Like a Wet Pink Rubber Band around her Neck.  I do not want that to be my legacy.

I can’t get this alleged bra down, so I have to do the unthinkable, and call to Joe for help.  I tried to cover my body with a small towel but it’s no help.  I saw my refection, that I was trying to avoid,  in the mirror.  Oh, God!  I was just standing there when he enters the room and says,”Now what have you gotten yourself into?  Help, I say, I'm trapped in my new bra!  He shakes his head and rolls the bra down over my back fat and then,  just for fun, he gives it a big snap into place and suggests that maybe I need to get a bigger one.  I tell him it's my size, it’s just a Spanx.  Yes, Spanx, he says, I remember cutting you out of that after your son's wedding.  Yes, I said.  He leaves without further comment.

So today I have a new bra on that I may not be able to get off without help but maybe I can work that to my advantage later tonight.  Hope you have a great weekend!