Monday, August 13, 2018

Pineapple Pillow :: A Finish

I got it finished and in the mail.


I had a cute green and white chevron fabric in my stash that I used for the back of the pillow. The binding is one of the greens from the pineapple tops - the only one I had enough of to use for binding. I put a piece of the chevron fabric on the back of the pieced top and quilted it from the back so I could use the printed chevrons as my quilting lines.

Happy Birthday Faith!


Monday, August 6, 2018

Pineapple Pillow Cover

I have a niece with a birthday coming up who loves pineapples. Over the weekend I pieced her a pillow cover.


Now to get it quilted up, finished and in the mail this week.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Quilting with Templates

July seems to have flown by. I took some time off from the shop for a family vacation. We had a very large wildfire 30 miles away from us that closed major highways. As it happened, we were driving by just a few hours after it started and I took this photo from the car.


It eventually grew to over 108,000 acres in size, destroyed more than 200 homes and became the third largest wildfire in Colorado history. The fire was the main topic of conversation around here for most of July. It caused the closure of our main highway from the east for 8 days. While my home was never in any real danger, it disrupted business, internet and cell phone service and generally cut us off from the east for the first part of July. The name of the fire is the Spring Fire. You can google the name for all the details if you are interested.

In sewing news, I have completed a 6 week course in quilting with Westalee templates. I'm working on finishing up my class project so I can start teaching this in my shop. Here are 6 of the 9 blocks I have completed thus far.







These blocks will be put together with a Quilt as You Go method. Some of the blocks demonstrate border quilting ideas. A few of the blocks are very basic by design as this is a learning project for the students to get used to the technique.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fresh Cut :: A Finish

The pattern books are now available so I can finally share with you my version of Sue Spargo's 2017 BOM, Fresh Cut.


I was in the last group to receive my kit each month so I started this at the end of January 2017 and finished it in April 2018. It is all hand applique, hand embroidery and hand quilted with a seed stitch. The finished size is 49" by 49".

See, this is one reason why I don't have too much to share with you here. I am not able to share my progress on Sue's BOM projects online until after the patterns come out. Sue has had problems with other designers stealing her designs in the past so she instituted a "no online sharing" rule until the pattern is released.

I estimate that it took me about 600 hours to complete this project! It was so much fun that I signed up for this year's BOM too, Homegrown. Unfortunately, I won't be able to share anything about that project until this time next year but I am working on it every chance I get.

Here are a few close-ups of Fresh Cut:




I had so much fun working on this one! It was even more fun since I had four local friends making it too. We met a couple times a month at my shop to work on our blocks together. We all signed up for Homegrown this year and managed to wrangle a few more friends for Homegrown too. 



Monday, June 4, 2018

Row by Row 2018

'Tis the season where all of the shops who are participating in Row by Row are showing off their rows. Here is the row for my shop. It can be put together in two ways:

18" by 18" square with borders it finishes at 25" by 25"

Main design traced and colored only

or the traditional 9" by 36" 

Main design traced, colored and embroidered

The trees are paper pieced while the main design is embroidered or simply traced and colored. 

The patterns and kits will be available on June 21, 2018. As the Row by Row rules state, you must come into the shop between June 21 and September 4, 2018 to get your free copy of the pattern. You can purchase the kit over the phone (719) 937-2555 beginning June 21st, but we are not allowed to mail it to you until November 1, 2018. These are the Row by Row rules that all shops must follow or risk being expelled from the program. Full details are available on the Row by Row website. Click here to go to the Row by Row website.

Basic details: 

The only way to get a free copy of the pattern is to come into the shop between June 21 and September 4, 2018. 

You can purchase as many kits as you want but you can only get one free copy of the pattern per person who walks in the door.

If you are planning to purchase a lot of kits at once in person, a courtesy call ahead of time would be appreciated to make sure we have enough kits made up for you. The shop phone number is (719) 937-2555.

If you can't come into the shop you can still purchase a kit. Call the shop (719) 937-2555 and have your credit card information, mailing address and phone number information handy. We'll need all of them to place your order. You can call any time to reserve and pay for your kit, BUT it can't be mailed to you until November 1, 2018. It is a good idea to go ahead and reserve your kit though as we only make so many and might not have any left after November 1st. Our Row by Row pre-order procedure is to put a kit into a USPS priority mailer and address the mailer as soon as you place your order. These go into a plastic tub in the office to wait until November 1st when they can go into the mail. So if you call and pay for your kit I guarantee that you will get a kit!

If you are going to be passing through Alamosa later in the summer but want to be sure you to get a kit, you can call and pay for your kit at any time then ask us to hold it for you. We will put your name in the kit and a note to "hold for pick-up." We have another "pick-up" tub for these kits. It doesn't have to be picked up by you, but if you are sending a friend or relative please tell us their name too so we can make sure that we are giving your kit to an authorized person.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Embroidered Pillow

This was a fun, quick project to show off some of the linen fabrics and a book I carry in my shop along with one of my favorite techniques - embroidery.


The pattern is from the book Modern Folk Embroidery by Nancy Nicholson.


To make my version I copied the design onto Transfer-Ez and stuck it to the front of my linen. I did the embroidery right through the Transfer-Ez and linen, then soaked the square in water to dissolve the Transfer-Ez. I must say that I absolutely love Transfer-Ez! I've used it a couple times now and it works great. No more tracing for me!

For the first circle I did, I followed Nancy's pattern exactly. For the rest, I used her pattern as a base but changed up some of the stitches. I used 6 Eleganza size 8 threads for my version.


There are several more projects in the book I'd like to do. This one went quickly. I started it on Saturday and finished the following Wednesday. Using the Transfer-Ez allowed me to go from cutting my squares to starting the embroidery in just a few minutes.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Curvy Log Cabin

I've been playing with my new Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool ruler and came up with this fun quilt.


I'll be teaching this as a class at my shop. It measures 48" by 64" without borders. I haven't decided if I'm going to border it or not yet.

To make one you need one jelly roll, 2 1/2 yards of background fabric and the 8" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool from Creative Grids. I opted for a single background fabric but you can also just use scraps. 

This is a really fun block with so many setting options. There are quite a few patterns available. I just played with my blocks to come up with this one.


P.S. I've gotten some questions about why I don't post much any more. The truth is that since I opened my shop I don't have as much time to sew and even less time to document it here. I still read blogs when I can, and try to leave brief comments when I do. I don't see this changing for as long as I have a quilt shop to run!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Daphne Bag

I tried a new-to-me bag pattern. It's called the Daphne Handbag by Sallie Tomato.


It has two interior pockets, a zipper pocket and a slip pocket.


The bottom has a rectangle of Peltex between the layers for added stability as well as metal feet.


The hardware kit came with a metal zipper tab although the pattern also includes instructions for how to make and attach a fabric zipper tab if you prefer. I couldn't resist trying out the metal one.


I also splurged and purchased separately these metal fabric covered strap connectors to try them out too.


I was a bit frustrated that they didn't come with any installation instructions. However, Sallie Tomato has the instructions posted for free on her website. Once I located the proper instructions they were very easy to follow with lots of photos (which is probably why there aren't instructions in the package - it would cost too much to add them).

The pattern is well-written with good diagrams. However, if you are not an experienced bag maker I don't recommend attempting this one. I haven't even decided if I want to teach this pattern as a class in my shop or not because of it's difficulty level. There are also a lot of layers to sew through in several places. You need a really good quality sewing machine to tackle all those layers. 


Monday, April 16, 2018

Fun Way to Use a Panel :: A Tutorial

I had an idea recently for a fun way to use a panel. With the help of one of my talented employees, Peg, I was able to get two samples made.

For the first one we used the entire panel. It's a bit long, but for taller folks or certain projects where you need more coverage, it works well. It is unlined. In addition to the panel, you'll need 1/4 yard of fabric for the ties (1/3 yard if you want to make your ties longer).


For the second one we shortened the panel. It is lined as well. In addition to the panel, you'll need 2/3 yard of fabric for the lining and 1/4 yard of fabric for the ties (1/3 yard if you want to make your ties longer).


These are so easy to make and based upon the Towel Apron idea I shared with you in the past. 

To make an unlined apron you need to decide if you want to use the entire panel or not. If you are going to cut down the panel like we did for our second version, do this first. Even if you aren't going to shorten the panel you still need to cut off the selvedges and square up the sides. When you trim the panel keep in mind that you need to leave a 1/2" seam allowance on each side for the unlined version.

Once you have your panel cut the way you want it, you need to finish the raw edges all the way around by pressing 1/4" under (to the wrong side of the fabric) all the way around once, then do it again to hide the raw edges completely. Topstitch this twice folded hem in place all the way around the panel.

*From this point you treat this like your "towel" in the Towel Apron idea. You need to mark the center of the top of the panel, which will be the top of your apron. Measure over 5" from either side of the center and make a small mark either with a marking tool or a pin. (Note: The panel is a little wider than the towel so I adjusted this measurement from 4" to 5").

Measure down 10" from the top right and top left corners of the panel and make a mark. Cut the top corners off the panel. See diagram below. Dashed lines represent the cutting lines.


This is now a bias edge so be careful not to stretch it. Fold these cut edges under (to the wrong side of the fabric) 1/4" and press. Then fold it again 1" wide and topstitch to make a casing for the ties.

To make the ties: Cut your tie fabric into 3" by width of fabric strips. You'll need at least three of these, four if you want to make them a bit longer. Join these into a 3" wide by really long piece. (You can sew them together with a straight seam or on the diagonal. A diagonal join will be less bulky and is what we did for our samples). 

Press this in half lengthwise to make a 1.5" wide by really long piece. Open this back out and press each edge to the center fold, then press in half again along the first fold. Tuck the raw edges inside along the short ends. This makes a 3/4" wide by really long piece with all the raw edges concealed. Topstitch all the way around. 

Feed the ties up toward the top of the apron through one side casing and the down through the other. This makes the side ties and the neck ties all with one step. 

To make a lined apron, trim the panel to the size you want making sure to add 1/4" seam allowance to each side. Cut your 2/3 yard of lining fabric to the exact same size. Place them right sides together and sew all the way around using a 1/4" seam allowance but leave a 4" opening at the top of one of the side seams (along one of the parts you will be cutting off later). Turn this right side out through the opening. Press and then topstitch all the way around the outside edge. Then follow the directions above from the * to complete your apron.


Monday, April 2, 2018

For A Friend, Part 2 :: A Finish

You can read my previous post about this project by clicking here.

It has taken me a long time to decide how to quilt this. In the end I decided to do some simple stitch in the ditch and a simple border design.


The old fabric I showed you in this post is the fabric I used for the binding. It is the right shade of olive green even if it is a bit darker than the olive green used in the other fabrics. 

My friend is out of town for a few more weeks so I can't give it to her yet. It is nice to check this project off my list though.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Petite Stitched Purse

I'm a bag pattern collector! I have every intention of making every bag pattern I buy, but it doesn't always work out that way. Now that I own a fabric store it's even worse. I see a cute pattern and buy one "to try out for the shop." I have quite a collection going now.

Recently I decided that I really need to make a commitment to make up some of these patterns. I'll file the ones I don't like and order more for the shop of the ones I do like.

I picked the Petite Stitched Purse from my pattern stack to try out over the weekend.





It's a simple clutch style bag. There is suppose to be a small pocket inside, but I couldn't figure out the directions for it. There aren't any diagrams for the pocket and the written instructions just didn't make any sense to me. I started to try to wing it, but wasn't sure where the bottom of the pocket should be. So I just gave up on the pocket all together. I don't think it really needs a pocket inside. The bag isn't very big. The strap closure is pretty interesting and it has some hidden magnetic snaps too.

The idea for this bag is that you can customize it with a bunch of quilting or decorative stitching. The photo doesn't really show the simple quilting I did following the print of the fabric. I didn't want to do too much work on this one since I was just trying out the pattern. Despite not being able to figure out the pocket, I like the pattern. I'll need to figure the pocket out at some point. I think this would be a great pattern for featuring some of the many decorative stitches we all have on our sewing machines. The pattern gives good directions for how to mark your fabric for doing some decorative stitching. I'll try that on the next one and get that interior pocket figured out too!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

About Time to Use This One!

How old is the oldest fabric in your stash? I mean yardage, not scraps. I didn't sort through my entire stash but I pulled this one out to use it for a project recently and noticed that it is from 1997!


And I had three yards of it! I only used about 1/2 yard for the project I was working on so I still have about 2 1/2 yards of this. Sheesh! I wonder what I bought this for?

I didn't start sewing until about 1995 so this must have been purchased early in my sewing life. I have no idea what I got this for but I think it is certainly safe to go ahead and use it. Not sure what I will do with the rest.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Festival of Stars :: A Finish

This was a block of month my shop did last year. I have a few kits left so I decided to finish the top before hanging it back up in the shop in hopes that the rest of the kits will sell.


I really enjoyed making this one. It finishes at 78" by 83.5". The quilting was not done by me. In my area there are several long arm quilters and we hand out business cards for three of them in my shop when folks ask. I had never had anything quilted by this lady so I wanted to see an example of her work. She did a fabulous job! Here are some detail shots:




This is not a fast project or one that I would recommend to a beginner. You need to cut and piece accurately! The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, but again, it's not a beginner level project. My favorite part is the vertical sashing that twists and turns around the blocks. It really sets off the beautiful blocks so nicely.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Project Bag and Fabric Buying

When I was at Fall Market I purchased a few bag patterns to test to see if I want to carry them in my shop. One of them was the Project Bag by Annie Unrein.


I've already ordered patterns for the shop as I love this one! It is easy to make and the pattern makes four sizes of bag - small, medium, large, and extra large. I chose to start with the medium size which finishes at 10" by 12". The large finishes at 13" by 13". The extra large finishes at 16" by 16 which would be a perfect size for storing completed blocks for a project. I can't remember the dimensions of the small size, maybe 8" by 10" but I'm not certain.

Fabric Buying:


I often get asked, "how do you choose which fabrics to order for the shop?" Well, the way I prefer to work is to have fabric reps visit me at the shop and show me samples of what they have available.

Recently my lovely Moda rep stopped by. In the photo above you see our classroom tables piled high with all of the things I could choose from! If only money and space were not a consideration! Seeing the samples in the shop allows me to see if the new fabrics will fill in or blend well with what I already have.

In a nutshell, I like to see everything available and I make mental notes of what I like. Then as we go back through I set aside everything I like. Finally I figure out from this smaller stack what the shop needs and what the shop can afford based on when the fabric will be shipped.

It's a tough job, but somebody has got to do it. *wink, wink*