Taking Appliqué on the Road

I’ve written about hitting the road to visit barn quilts and quilt museums (and thanks, readers, for all the great additions to those posts). Now it’s time to think about what to do while you’re getting to those places. I find time in the car or on a plane the perfect opportunity to do a little hand sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc. And I’m not the only one. A lot of Moda’s designers are hitting the road this summer and taking their handwork with them. In future posts they’ll share tips for embroidery and hexagons on the road. Today, Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill, Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson, and Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Co. let us in on tips and tricks for enjoying appliqué while en route to their vacation destinations (or maybe just while taking the kids to the neighborhood park).

dp_bunny-hill Here’s what Anne Sutton has to say:

Applique is the perfect project to carry along to occupy those endless traveling hours, waiting time at the Doctor’s office or those hours while you watch your kids swim. You do have to spend some “prep” time before you leave, but it’s so worth it! I can’t sit still for a long period of time without going crazy and applique is my answer.

Applique Case (1 of 1)

  1. A good case to hold supplies is essential.   A friend made mine from a P3 Designs pattern. I love it so much that I now sell the pattern on my web site. With a fold over Velcro flap to hold everything secure, the case is the perfect travel size. Open it up and you’ll be amazed at what it can hold! It has lots of pockets designed to hold applique tools! This is my “go to” case at home and on the road. You are going to want one of these cases!Applique Case Pattern (1 of 1)
  2. Pin or glue baste your pieces to your background before you leave. My pins are the tiny applique pins that don’t catch the thread when sewing. You can glue baste using a glue made for applique (Roxanne’s or Appli-Glue). Just place a few tiny dots, or a very thin strip, on the seam allowance to hold your applique in place. As you can see from the photo mine has been glue-basted and is ready to stitch. I don’t have to worry about losing little pieces in the airport or on the plane. I’m ready to stitch! My favorite pincushion for traveling
  3. Pin a piece of wool to your pincushion to hold all those applique needles. This is such a simple thing but it works like a charm. I’ll thread several needles with different colors of thread and have them ready to go. I’ll pop my pincushion, travel case, applique and glue (keep the glue in a zip lock bag) and I am ready to travel. Don’t forget the thread.
  4. Here’s my final tip…bring along some little packages of Haribo Gummi Bears to keep your energy level up.Gummies (1 of 1)

Here’s Laurie Simpson’s take on appliqué-on-the-road (and this woman is not afraid to sew-on-the-go: when the power went out in her home recently, she checked into a hotel with her sewing machine so she could finish a quilt! You can read about it here):

dp_minick-simpson

(Laurie’s on the right, her sister Polly on the left)

I always try to have handwork ready to go—anywhere I need to be. It usually isn’t a problem since I always have projects going on that involve hand piecing, appliqué, or English Paper Piecing. Right now I am making the Austin Bluebird Sampler quiltIMG_2839

I’m actually re-making it—this one is all in blues. This is a large appliqué block in progress and here are all the tools I need. You can see it isn’t very many. Threads, a thread book with pins and needles, a needle threader, small scissors, basting glue, thimble, and Thimble-It sticky dots. I find these sticky dots helpful for my index finger. FullSizeRender-2

These tools are small and easily transported. I have used several different carriers in my lifetime. Bags, boxes, and custom-hacked lunch boxes. My current favorite is see-through project bags. I found these from a vendor at a quilt show and love them. Not only are they handy, but you can see at a glance which bag has what. The smallest bag holds my threads, the next smallest has the project with the needle case, scissors and such. The next largest bag holds some other tools that may or may not come in handy, bigger scissors, an extra set of eyeglasses, glue sticks, and even a tiny battery operated light that clips onto my eyeglasses. You never know when the power will go out. These 3 bags all fit in the largest bag. FullSizeRender-4

Another positive for the see-through bags is if you are taking these things through security at an airport I find that if they can see what you have (sewing stuff) it is much more likely to go through without a hassle. THIS IS NO GUARANTEE. Always take a pair of scissors through security that you wouldn’t mind leaving behind. Make sure to pack your good scissors in your checked luggage. Happy travels are much more likely if you have busy hands.

And finally, Joanna Figueroa shares her appliqué travel tales:dp_fig-tree-250x235

So, for me its kind of hit-and-miss these days whether or not I have an actual appliqué project in the works, but I always have some kind of circle or basket handle or other block portion ready for handwork, if necessary. I find that a little bit of appliqué here and there really adds a lot of visual happiness to a larger project!il_570xN.433747417_d2w7

This summer I am committed to finishing my summer version of my LOLLIPOPS quilt that I started several years ago when I was teaching the pattern as a class in Southern California. There is something about the combination of light butterscotch, orange, and peach with aqua and cream that just gets me every time. These fabrics are a scrappy combo of my Tapestry collection with many other MODA lines mixed in including Flats, Boho, Patisserie, MODA Solids and Avalon. I think it makes me think of sea glass, which I love.dresdens

Anyway… I have had these Dresden Blocks ready for quite a while and this summer I am taking the center circles with me whenever I get in the car so that I can finish it all up while its still summer and I can enjoy the quilt outside!starchappliquesupplies

One of the many reasons that I love the starch method of appliqué is because I can do all the prep-work ahead of time and take pieces that are pretty much completely ready for stitching with me. To make them all I need is my fabric, my freezer paper template, a small paintbrush and my little bowl of spray starch.finishedcircles

 

 

I prep the circle seam allowances by painting the spray starch onto them and pressing the seam allowances back onto the paper with my iron. Once done, I just remove the paper template and use it for the next circle. What I have ready to take with me are perfectly pressed circles that are ready for my summer Dresdens!blockpieces

singleblock

Check in with me later this summer to see if I have finished the project! Hope you are having fun on your road trip… or wherever you are doing some lovely handwork!

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The last word…

Not from me.  As if?!?

There are just a few more things to write about Spring Quilt Market and then we’ll close that book.

A few of you asked about trends at Market and I wish I had a better answer for you.  I didn’t see anything that jumped out to me as an emerging trend – like punch needle, hexagons or English Paper Piecing have in years past – and I think there are a couple of reasons why that might be.  First, I missed four or five Markets in succession and I’m just getting back to seeing what’s at Quilt Market.  And I’m a little slow to notice trends.

Sewn-into-the-Fabric

String-pieced appliqued deer – stag? – by Rana Heredia of Sewn Into the Fabric.  Whether it’s called “string piecing” or “improv” making of your own fabric, I did see a few things with this kind of technique involved.  This stood out – it’s so much better in person.

The second factor is location.  With the cost of travel, shipping and attending Quilt Market, many exhibitors only go to those Quilt Markets that are withing driving distance so something that seems to be very prevalent might only be a reflection of a regional preference.  Location also factors into how many international exhibitors are attending; meaning, if the Aussies are there in force, you will see all sorts of wonderful embroidery and stitchery, and plenty of very scrappy quilts with lots of pieces.

The-Bird-House-Australia

These confections are by Natalie Bird of The Bird House in Australia – also so very much better in person.

One of my other favorite quilts had embroidery on it.  I’m not sure what it was about this one that I loved – the mix of Reproduction shirting prints with the random setting or the color palette.

Olive-Grace-Kori-Shirting-Quilt

This is by Kori Turner-Goodhart of Olive Grace Studios Patterns.

The last factor is more subjective – is it a trend or am I just seeing the things that I like?  A friend and co-worker noticed that there was a lot of pink at Market.  I must have missed that, perhaps because I was noticing the aqua and the somewhat muted, retro-40s colors.  I saw quite a few quilts with big-stitch quilting but I’ve noticed those in past years too.

Domestic-Strata-Big-Stitch

These two quilts are by Madeleine Roberg of Domestic Strata.  Everything she showed at Market was amazing – I went by this booth a couple of times.  (I wasn’t alone on that – lots of people fell in love with Madeleine’s quilts.)

Since wool and wool projects always get my attention, I can’t say with any kind of accuracy that there was more or less wool in Minneapolis than in past Markets.  There was a lot of it and it was all beautiful.

Timeless-Traditions-Wool

Autumn Time by Norma Whaley of Timeless Traditions – Norma also does gorgeous quilts in a traditional-reproduction-primitive style.  That means she combines different colors and styles of fabrics to make things that are original and just plain awesome.

Minis!  There were mini-quilts in many booths.  But there were just as many in Pittsburgh last Spring, and with the Reproduction designers and quilters, small quilts and “minis” have been around for at least ten years.

Coriander-Idyllic-Mini

With all the amazing minis in just the Moda Designer Studio, this was my favorite – Idyllic Mini from Sweetness by Corey Yoder for Coriander Quilts.  It uses Corey’s debut collection, Prairie.  (The Bella Solids are 9900-97 White and 9900-178 Etchings Stone.)

The same goes for bags – there were a lot of great bags.  The one really good trend is that with all the great bag patterns in the marketplace, it’s getting easier to find a wider variety of bag hardware and accessories.

Maxwell-Bag-Abbey-Lane

This bag was in front of a very cool quilt made by Mon Ami by Basic Grey, fortunately, it was also my favorite bag at Market – the Maxwell bag by Abbey Lane.  (Though we’re going to have to make one for ourselves in other fabric.)

There was a lot of “modern” fabric and a lot of Reproduction and traditional fabric.  There were bright colors and muted colors, lots of neutrals and textures, and a variety of weights and fabric types/weights.  But is any of that new or a trend?  I don’t think so, unless the trend is that “there is something for everyone” and new products are finding a place in the market.  (But what do I know, right?)

You also asked about notions – rulers, gadgets, tools, etc.  The coolest “new” ruler is one that came out a month or so ago, the Itty Bitty Eights Rulers by Lisa Bongean for Creative Grid.  If you like piecing “small”, these rulers are terrific as they’re small and come with clear, easy to read 1/8″ markings.

Scissors.  It seems like there were 157 different styles or types of new scissors being shown.  The most interesting to me were the angled “table-top” scissors by Fiskars.  The blade and handle are angled so that you can slide the scissor blades along the table for easier  cutting while still holding your hand at a natural angle.  This is the Razoredge 9″ Tabletop Scissor – there are three different sizes, and then three sizes of the Easy Action model which has the same off-set angle.

Fiskars 9-inch Tabletop Scissors

They look weird, don’t they?

After the needle-companies collaborated to make the eyes of needles smaller, and therefore harder for me to see, I am always on the look-out for a good needle-threader.  So when I heard that the folks that make the Hiroshima-Tulip needles had a new threader designed to use with their super-tiny-eyed needles, I went looking for it.

Tulip-Suitto-Needle-Threader

This is the Suitto Needle Threader by Tulip.  Is it any different than the cute needle-threader by Clover?  For most needles, there isn’t much difference.  But for the very fine Tulip needles, this one works far better as it was designed for use with the Tulip needles.

Clover has finally come out with a new little iron – the Wedge Iron – to replace the much-loved, much-missed craft iron they discontinued several years ago.  It’s not that there aren’t other small travel-sized irons, it’s that the Clover iron had a sharp point that made it particularly good for prepping applique work for the non-needle-turn applique folks.  (Aka “the Barbarians” to some needle-turn – and back-basting – applique afficionados.)

 

Clover Wedge Iron

The other Clover tool that several people were talking about and looking for were some new bodkins.  It’s that thing you can use to thread a drawstring or elastic through a casing.  Think of it as a really long, thin safety pin – that’s what most of us use if we don’t have a real, actual bodkin.

Clover-Bodkins

There’s the Flex ‘n Glide for threading – it has an elongated eye for threading something thin.  The Clip ‘n Glide is for threading elastic that won’t fit through the eye of the regular bodkin, it grips the end securely.  And the Elastic Lock Set firmly holds elastic preventing it from slipping into casing.  While I don’t use these tools a lot, they’re the kind that are always great to have when you do go looking for them.

My favorite new notion is this one… it’s a rotary cutter that can be adjusted.  For what?  I haven’t quite figured that out.  But the picture of the Fiskars Adjust Handle Rotary Cutter with the instructions makes me laugh so as soon as it comes into the warehouse, you can count on me to try it out.  Giggles and grins, right?

Fiskars Adjustable Rotary Cutter

I’ll put Band-Aids on my grocery list now so I’m ready.

For those of us who liked and used The Angler, Quilt in a Day has come out with a similar type template for sewing connector corners, half-triangle squares and straight lines.  It’s called the Sew Straight.

(The Angler is no longer available.)

Quilt In A Day Angler

 

 

 

As for what’s happening here in Dallas, “life” is returning to “normal”.  (Quotes because I’ve not been around long enough to know what the real “normal” is yet.)

There was a lot of rain in North Texas over the Memorial Day weekend and that was probably perfect as it gave everyone an excuse to stay home, nap, relax, nap and so on.  And sew on!  (I did some of that this weekend, pictures coming soon.)

I’m finishing writing the new patterns while others are working on the layouts and diagrams.  They’ll be sent off for proofing and those “should” be ready by June 1st.  (It’s a “quote-y” kind of day, isn’t it?)  Everyone else is working on finishing up Market-related projects and going forward with the new collections.  Quilts have already been shipped off to different places for shows, photography and I’m not sure what else, and the deadline for the next catalog is less than a month away.  So once the new patterns are finished, I have to finalize a couple of quilt-ideas for the next batch of Frivols and a couple of collections.  There are a couple of magazine and book compilation projects to finish and an ride-along with one of the sales reps to schedule.  And that’s just me!

And then there’s that whole other thing that I’m not supposed to talk about it… it’s in less than five months.

But you didn’t hear that from me, right?

 

(P.S. Be sure to come back on Friday or over the weekend – rumor has it there might be some kind of Market-related giveaway.  But you didn’t hear that from me either.)

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Pointy objects…

Seam rippers.  Stilettos.  Not the kind you wear.

You probably use one more than you’d like, and most of us don’t use the other as much as we could.  One is necessary to have, the other is beneficial.  Both help with piecing beautiful blocks and quilts.

Cutting-Table---My-Seam-Rippers

While I like to pretend that I rarely need a seam ripper, it would be bad sewing karma to push that too hard.  The reality is that I have several quilts that I essentially made twice because I did so much un-sewing and re-sewing.  My personal record is having to remove the same border three times because I kept getting pieces switched around.  It’s still not right but it wasn’t anything a little Photoshop couldn’t fix on the pattern cover.

These are the seam rippers I found in the drawers of my sewing room.  The white Clover seam ripper is my favorite.  I buy them by the box and I always have an extra box on hand.  I like it because the handle fits my hand well, it has a long-ish shaft, a thin point and the blade in the curve is sharp, and it stays that way for longer than most.  I like the Seam-Fix and Mini Seam-Fix seam rippers, mostly because the plastic bumpy end really does do a terrific job at removing threads from the un-stitched seam.  Genius.  The tarnished silver seam ripper was a gift several years ago and while I like it, it’ll never take the place of my Clover.

I won’t belabor how to use a seam ripper – I think it’s safe to say that we all know how.  But just in case I’m the only one with any real experience…

Cutting-Table-Picking-Stitches

Picking every third or fourth stitch with the tip of the seam ripper is the best.  When this is done, pick the thread on the other side and it should pull right off/out.  Done.

Some people like to hold the strips apart with their fingers and pick the stitches that are in the base of the “v”.  It’s not a good idea because the thread can pull on the fabric fibers somewhat as they’re exposed if you pull the strips too much.  Now… I have seen folks be able to knick those threads with a small rotary cutter and work their way through a long strip quickly.  Color me majorly impressed.  And a bit envious.  If you can do that, I’m in awe.  I can’t… not without cutting the fabric and a couple of fingers in the process.

Most of the time, I “un-sew” seams by inserting the inner curve of the seam ripper – the “u” between the point and the smaller point with the little red ball – into the seam and using the blade to cut the length of the seam.  The key here is to do it on a flat seam like this one – not one that has been pressed to one side or open.  If necessary, press it back to this.

Cutting-Table-Using-the-Blade

I hope you’ll forgive me but I couldn’t figure out how to take a picture and use my hands to hold the fabric and the seam ripper all at the same time.

A couple of warnings here – be careful with looser weave fabrics, seams stitched with very small stitches and back-stitches, and slow down when you get to seams.  If you’re a little wary of this, try it on a couple of strips of scrap fabric.  This is the sort of technique that will help you when you’ve really, really goofed and sewn lots of strips and strip sets together incorrectly.  Been there, done that.

Stilettos are so much better because they’re about helping you sew, not un-doing a mistake.

Cutting-Table---My-Stilettos-

What?!  So I like to try new things… variety is good.

This is what the search in my sewing room turned up.  Yes, Clover has a stiletto, actually they have two.  The one shown here is a tapered awl but Clover also makes an awl stiletto.  It’s the same thing – a pointy tool that I can use to guide pieces under the presser foot of my machine.  They also make a curved awl that is pretty nifty.  My favorite stiletto is one by Collins and it’s bamboo – it’s not shown because I think I’ve already packed it for my trip.  The other things in the picture include a metal knitting needle – I like them because they’re thin and long, a fancy brass one I bought because it was shiny and pretty, and two fancy “laying tools” I bought several years ago on eBay.  I use the one on the left the most but truth be told, if I’m going to mangle the tip of something under the needle of my sewing machine, I’d rather it be a $3.00 bamboo stiletto.

And just so you know, the goal is not to mangle anything.

Cutting-Table-Stiletto-1

Stilettos are for holding the fabric where you want it to be as it’s going under the needle.  Most of us are a little reluctant to put our fingers too close to that moving needle, but being able to hold onto the end of the fabric as it goes under the presser foot can make a big difference in your piecing.  Have you ever had a seam “fish-tail” at the end of the seam, it sort of curves off in one direction?  That makes it hard to match seams and points, affects the size of the pieced unit, and so on.  Using a stiletto can help with that, especially when the pieces are small.

Cutting-Table-Stiletto-2

Call me crazy but sometimes I get a better, tighter seam junction when I don’t pin.  And if I do pin, I’m supposed to have removed it by now, right?  So how do I keep that seam from being pushed back by the presser foot?  That’s right, with a stiletto.

Using one takes a little practice, mostly because it will feel odd holding it in your hand while you’re stitching.  You’ll want to keep putting it down, which means stopping to pick it up when you get to seam junctions and the ends of seams.  But I think the results will help make it easier to get used to.

And that’s it for today.

I hope you have a Happy Wednesday!

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Make. Piece. Sew.

That was the phrase used in a Moda Fabrics ad several years ago and I always liked it.  It also fits the occasion – tomorrow is National Quilting Day!

I’m almost hoping for snow – I did say almost! – so that I won’t feel guilty if I stay in tomorrow and sew all day – just me and Bernie.

We have 764 half-triangles to make and after giving it a lot of thought – okay, about 1 minute’s worth – I decided that I was going to use triangle paper.  It was either that or trim them all to size… so I needed triangle paper.  Since I didn’t have any on hand, that meant a trip to the warehouse.  I know… it’s such a long, long walk over to the other building.

The truth is that it takes me forever – F O R E V E R – when I go over there.  It isn’t that it’s all that far, it’s that I can’t bring myself to walk quickly… that would mean rushing by a sight like this…

Moda-Warehouse

Moda Dotties – I knew you’d ask.

Then I get here… United Notions.  All these lovely notions, united in one place.

United-Notions

And I get lost.

Not in thought… not in discovery… lost.  (Reference:  needles, haystsacks.)  The lovely people who work here have been amazingly patient with me, and they’re bonafide brilliant!  I’ve yet to ask a single person where to find something without them knowing exactly where it is.  Even from 50 feet away, they can direct me to where I will find it – no, one more aisle over… on the left side… three shelves in… second shelf from the bottom.

No Carrie, your OTHER left.

Fortunately, I found the aisle with the triangle paper I was looking for – Primitive Gatherings – fairly easily.  (I am starting to learn my way around.)

Why this one?  While I like almost all of the papers I’ve tried, there is one feature that makes this one was perfect for this project.  I’m using Layer Cake squares for my fabric so I can make 18 – 2″ finished half-triangle squares from each square.  Thinking in terms of squares, I can fit a total of 9 squares in the layer cake, a 3 x 3 grid.  The Primitive Gathering paper is printed in a 3 x 5 grid.

Primitive-Gatherings-2-Triangle-Paper

So I just stacked the paper and cut it on the line to make my 3 x 3 grid – with a 2 x 3 grid left for something else.  I don’t have to draw any lines or grids and this paper fits my layer cake squares perfectly – how perfect is that?  But while I was nosing around looking for the correct paper, I found these…

Primitive-Gatherings-Charm-Triangle-Paper

Primitive Gatherings also makes triangle papers that are specifically sized for using with charm squares.  For someone whose made as many quilts with charm squares as I have, I want to know why I didn’t think of this.  (Don’t answer that… Lisa is… well, Lisa Bongean.)

Then I got really side-tracked… I think it was the bright, pretty colors.

Smartneedle-Tulip-Bobbin-Clamps-2

These are called Tulips.  They’re by a company called Smartneedle and they’re bobbin clamps.  I think I’m going to need these – doesn’t the orange clamp look good on my bobbin?  (And it doesn’t hurt that these clamps are a little bigger than the ones I use now.)  They come with a little chain if you want to keep them together for traveling, or doing some handwork.

The same company names these Bobbinis.  Bobbinis… you had me with that name.

Smartneedle-Bobbini

They kind of look like mini pacifiers, don’t they?  What I like – and what is making me think I’m going to need some of these – is that the bobbini is very secure.  The bobbin isn’t loose at all, and it’s very secure in the spool of thread.  Trust me, I was knocking them around to see if they’d come out or the bobbin would come off.

These were in the same aisle – also from Smartneedle.  The scissor and sewing machine USBs are very cute, as is the ladybug sewing caddy.  There is a suction cup on the underside that lets you stick it to the side of a machine, or whatever.  The little porcupine bobbin caddy also comes in green.  As with the bobbini, I was surprised that everything fits together securely and the tops or bobbins aren’t going to keep falling off.

Smartneedle-Collage

While trying to find my way out of the aisles – they look straight but with all the distractions, it might as well be a maze! – I was distracted by Maya Road.

Maya-Road-Pins-&-Buttons

The pins are purely decorative – they’re sharp but they’re a little thick to use for sewing.  But they’ll sure look really pretty in my pincushions.  I don’t know what I’d do with the buttons yet but they’d be cute on a pillow, a bag or even to embellish one of my pincushions.  Maybe I’ll make a pincushion to go with the buttons…  And the spools?  They’re just cute.

It isn’t like I really need to know what I would do with something before I bought it right?

From fabric to notions, thread to scissors… we like some of this stuff because it’s pretty.  And because seeing it makes us happy.

Or maybe that’s just me – I’m a little frivolous that way.  And I think that’s a good thing.

Have a terrific weekend!

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Snow day…

As you read this, I may or may not be in the office.

Snow-Day

While it was sunny and beautiful outside Thursday morning, there was a thin layer of ice under that snow so the roads are still a mess and probably won’t be clear until late Friday morning.  The good news is that this kind of day let’s me catch up on a few things – like my mail.

This book arrived last week and I finally had a chance to linger over every single beautiful page.

Quilt-Lovely

If you like scrap quilts, you’ll love this book.  It’s simple – the book is that good.

I can also get to some of your questions from the Tip Jar.

After I shared the tip about using fusible thread for bindings, a friend asked me if I was really going to do that for all my bindings.  No.  I think it’s a cool trick, and I know there will be times – like right before Market – when I will need a binding to look “finished” so it can be hung.  The fusible thread is perfect for that – as is glue-basting, another trick I like and use.  So I’ll still use my beloved binding clips, but I’m happy to know about this method.  It’s a great tool for my “toolbox”.

To answer two questions – no, the fusible thread doesn’t leave a hard edge on the binding.  The folded edge that you’ll be stitching down isn’t adhered to anything.  Only the underside of the fabric directly over the seam allowance is fused.  In that respect, I prefer the fusible thread method to glue-basting as that can sometimes leave the edge hard, especially if you I’ve had a heavy-hand with the glue.

And the method will work with bindings made with strips cut at 2 1/2″.  There will be a little more of the binding that isn’t fused but the thread is only there to hold the binding in place for stitching.

Cleaning your rulers – yes, you should be doing that.  Think about anything you handle all the time… like maybe your cellphone.  How often do you wipe off the fingerprints, grime and oil?  While you don’t see it on your ruler, it’s still there.  There will also be build-up on the underside from your hands, as well as any sizing or starch, soap residue for the pre-washers, and whatever is used to finish fabrics at the mill.  So every three or four months, I use glass cleaner to clean both sides of all the rulers I use regularly.  I also remove and replace any tape, sticky dots or whatever on the underside.  (Just so you know, I don’t do windows.)

Rulers

I think you’ll be surprised that you will start seeing a difference – seeing being an operative word.  It’s like changing the needle on your sewing machine, it doesn’t take long before you notice the difference.

You are changing your sewing machine needles regularly, right?

Do I use the lines on my cutting mat to align my fabric?  Nope.  I know a lot of people who do with great success but I got better results using just the ruler, maybe because that’s how I learned… back in the olden-days before rotary mats had lines.  Old dog, old tricks.  (And the lines aren’t showing on my mat because I’m using the “wrong side” until it’s used-enough to need replacement.)

While on the subject of cutting mats, yes, you should soak your mat every so often to keep it moisturized – flexible.  Full disclosure – I’m not good about doing this.  Meaning, I think I’ve done tried it twice in twenty years.  I didn’t have a bathtub big enough and I didn’t have much success trying to use a kids’ wading pool.  As soon as I started filling the pool, Rosie climbed in because surely it was being done for her enjoyment.  The best information I’ve found on caring for your rotary cutting mat can be found here.

Tearing fabric?  Absolutely!  In fact, we’re working on the pattern for a quilt kit coming later this year that will require the border strips to be torn.  It’s simple – a good quality quilting fabric will tear well without much loss on the edges.  The higher the thread count, the better it tears.  I know it bothers some quilters to do it but I’ve never had any problems.  So I let her rip!

Snow day / sew day?  Maybe just a tiny bit.  I worked on some log cabin blocks last night – they’re for a Log Cabin book I’m contributing to that comes out next year – and I have plans to sew this weekend.  After I finish that quilt top, I’ll get back to these…

Progress-Collage

No. 1.  I only need a few more of the triangles for my pink and yellow strip project so these will probably be first.

No. 2.  I haven’t made any progress with my Repro Stars but I did get enough pieces cut for another 20 blocks.  I’m now officially behind – big surprise – so I’ll try to get caught up this week.

No. 3 and No. 4… I started a new project using Gardenvale and Bella Solids in Fog and Maize.  If you’re wondering why the Gardenvale squares are hanging, I decided to try something Lisa Bongean showed on her blog.  Instead of spraying the fabric with sizing/starch and pressing it dry, the fabric is sprayed and then left to dry.  Then it’s pressed flat with steam.  Genius.

I had the clippy-things from years ago and while they’re working well, I’m going to try using a couple of Command hooks to hang a clothesline over the bathtub so I can do more than one Layer Cake at a time.  I’ll let you know how that works.  I’m also going to need more starch.

Are the roads clear yet?

(Have a good, safe weekend wherever you are!)

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