In print…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is about inspiration from Down-Under.  Ever since I first started reading Australian quilt magazines, learning about Australian quilters, and then acquiring books written by them, I’ve been in love with the work produced in Australia.  It inspires me in the sense that it expands my field-of-view in much the same way that traveling the world broadens our horizons.  It reminds us that there are options – other ways of thinking and doing.

(This is also a long post and if you like quilt books… it’s not my fault.)

If you’ve been quilting for any amount of time, you’ve seen the published work of Australian quilters.  You may not even have realized where it came from… though with “Australian” in the title of the magazine, that probably helps.  I think the first time I saw Australian Patchwork & Quilting was around 1995.

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This wasn’t the issue – this is the latest.  I stumbled upon an issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting at a Ben Franklin store… before it became Craftsmart… before it become something else… before it went away.  What will remain memorable about the place for me is that it opened up a whole new quilting world for me… okay, and there were those Lang boxes that I still love and use.

In trying to find as many back issues as I could, I went to every quilt store in Phoenix – this was before the boom of “pj shopping” – and along the way, I found Australian Quilter’s Companion

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… and Homespun.

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It’s hard for me to explain what was different about these magazines.  It wasn’t that they were better, they were just a different experience.  The quilts used the same blocks that I knew from traditional quilting, and sometimes they were using the same fabrics I’d seen in my local quilt shop… that I might have in the bins and baskets in my workroom.  But the feel of the quilts was different from most of what I was seeing in books, quilt shops and magazines at the time.

The only way I can describe it is like this – swimming is swimming.  You’re in a body of water, moving your arms and legs, trying to stay afloat and move from one place to another.  But swimming in a swimming pool is definitely a different experience than swimming in a lake or pond, or in the ocean.  There might be similarities but the view and challenges are not the same.  It’s a different experience.

Through the magazines, I learned the names of quilters whose work I loved.  When books by Australian quilters started showing up in quilt shops, and when Australian quilters started coming to Quilt Market regularly, I was all in.  It might sound shallow and very superficial but if a book was authored by an Aussie quilter, I was probably going to get it.

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I may or may not have bought most of these books without looking inside, just because of the name on the spine.

I know that I’ll never make every project in each book, or even at least one project in each book… but the books still inspire me to think outside boxes, to consider a different approach to mixing color, pattern and style of fabric.  They inspire me in the same way that Freddy Moran’s books do, that Gwen Marston’s books do. In an odd way, these quilters and quilts remind me that what matters most is individuality.

Just so you know, I’m not the only one energized by the work of Aussie quilters.  This is on a co-worker’s “inspiration board” – Jamie.

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The pillow is made by Jen Kingwell and this image is from her Quilt Lovely book. (This page come from a promotional piece – no books were harmed.)

I was going to pick just a few but I couldn’t bring myself to leave someone out, and if I was going to include one of their books, I wanted to include them all.  Choose a favorite?  As if!  With all the things I gave away while moving to Texas, there wasn’t any chance these books weren’t going to make the trip with me.  At least two in this stack were published after the move – but I still bought my very own copy.  (Drooling on “office” books is sort of frowned on.)

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Books and patterns.  Mountmellick and Lollypop Trees are patterns.  Mountmellick is by Di Ford and Lollypop Trees is by Kim McLean.  Bring Me Flowers is by Jen Kingwell and Desert to Sea is a compilation book put together by Jane Davidson – QuiltJane from yesterday’s post.  All are examples of the kind of extraordinary workmanship that the best Australian quilters do.  Apparently “fast and easy” doesn’t translate well in the Aussie dialect.  Gidday?

Kim McLean is an extraordinary quilter who is known mostly her needle-turn applique quilts – and patterns.  If you’ve ever seen one of her quilts, her style is immediately recognizable for its use of color and pattern, and for the elaborate, intricate applique.  As it is with so many Aussie quilters, Kim’s quilts are embraced by both traditional and modern quilters as an example of the best kind of work they do.

Desert to Sea is a self-published book by Jane Davidson – QuiltJane.  The book is a compilation of ten quilts from eight Australian designers giving it a wonderful variety.  (If you read Linzee’s post chatting with Jane, you know that there are some terrific patterns coming soon from Want It Need It Quilt, Jane’s pattern company.)

I’m pretty sure the first real Aussie quilt book I bought was the first Material Obsession book by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.

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It’s still a favorite.  The use of color and pattern still takes my breath away after all these years.  Okay, it’s not that long ago, MO was published in 2009.  Material Obsession Two came a year or so later.

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Kathy Doughty owns the Material Obsession shop in Australia and has published a couple more books that continue to expand on her ideas of color, pattern and the vibrant mix of both.  (The shop and a class are on my “bucket list”.)

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Sarah Fielke’s first book was Material Obsession and it was the first of five published books, soon to be six.  Old Quilts, New Life is based on quilts from the American Folk Art Museum and it will be published in October of this year.  (In about six weeks.)

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Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched.  The first time I saw any of Anni’s work, it was in an advertisement in one of the Aussie magazines, it was for her shop.  I loved her line drawings and the quirky style she had mixing applique, embroidery and piecing.  She also makes everything!  Dolls and quilts, pincushions and little sewing needfuls, if you can make it with a needle and thread, Anni’s made it.  Her colors and fabrics were very different from the bright, bold fabrics used by some of the quilters I’ve already named, but it was still very original.  (She’s also very nice – and very cool.  I met Anni and her husband at a Quilt Market in Portland a few years back when we were back-to-back booth neighbors.)

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Irene Blanck – this is one of the books I bought earlier this year, I’d been waiting for it.  I met Irene at Quilt Market last year and she’s the sweetest woman.  She was a little surprised that I knew who she was and could name many of her quilts and patterns.  She was a little worried when I told her that I’d seen a picture of one of her early quilt patterns, Floral Beauty, and that it had taken me quite some time to track it down at a shop in Australia.  Floral Beauty is included in Focus on Applique.

Michelle Yeo!  I met Michelle last Fall in Gretna, Nebraska at the Quilted Moose.  If you’ve seen her book, Of Needle, Thimble and Thread, I was fortunate to see most of these quilts in person and yes, they’re even more spectacular in person.  Michelle’s specialty is elaborately pieced – hand and/or machine – reproduction-style quilts, often made with templates and/or paper-piecing.

Di Ford’s quilts are also Reproduction-style combining traditional blocks and motifs in a way that is still distinctive.  Like many Aussie quilters, she’s a fan of fussy-cutting pieces to create secondary patterns, and for broderie perse.

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This book wasn’t included in the other stack because I couldn’t find it before I left for work.  I had to take and include this picture later – at home.  But I found the book!  Brigitte Giblin – also a Reproduction-style – or vintage-inspired – quilter who combines applique, English paper-piecing, traditional piecing, embroidery, fussy-cutting and a host of other techniques to make spectacularly original quilts.

Will you ever look at your fabric the same way?

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And finally, these books were all published in the last year or so.

Jen Kingwell.  Quilt Lovely.  ‘Nuf said.  I wasn’t at Jen’s first Quilt Market but like so many other quilters, I remember the first time I saw Steam Punk and Midnight at the Oasis.  They’re both on my “quilt bucket list”.  Someday, right?  Of course, every time Jen publishes a new pattern or book, that list gets longer.

Gail Pan!  What is it about Aussie women and embroidery?  Or hand-stitching?  They incorporate it into their work – small projects, quilts, everything.  And it’s always beautiful.  Gail is another one of the lovely women whose name I kept seeing before I had the pleasure of meeting her.

The last book is by the late Kathreen Ricketson.  I found Kathreen’s work through her blog, Whip Up and what I liked was that sense of a shared passion for making stuff.  I liked her “voice”.

That’s probably the common thread through all of these books – the authors – quilters – have something to say with their work.

Looking at these books, one thing is very clear.  Those Aussies are a talkative bunch.

Happy Wednesday!

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Bits and pieces…

Today is a “either-or” sort of day.

It feels like everything I’ve got going is either winding down or gearing up, and my calendar is full of “weeks and weeks away” or a rapidly approaching deadline.

Winding down – Christmas in July.  I’ll still be making and sharing some good-for-gift projects in the  coming months but the only thing left is to say – after one of the ladies in the office picked five numbers and I found the corresponding comment, I sent five e-mails.  If you didn’t hear from me, not to worry, this isn’t the last time I’ll have some surprises to share.  With birthdays, anniversaries and the holidays, there’s still plenty to celebrate.

While this doesn’t wind down for two more weeks, the deadline is looming.

August 18th – Spoonflower and Fabric8.  Are you putting the finishing touches on your artwork for Botanical Sketchbook?

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Your name on a Moda selvage – it could happen.  But time-is-a-wasting!  You’ve got two weeks from today – get busy!

We are gearing up for several “events” coming soon, and just as it is with back-to-school, all the catalogs full of new “Fall” stuff, there are crates and boxes arriving in the office and over in the warehouse.  From fabric to notions, it’s all got the feel of “gearing up”.  It’s all rather distracting – partly because it’s intersting, partly because some of what is arriving are things we’ve been working on for much of the year, and partly because it’s all very new to me.

I’m also somewhat easily side-tracked.  It didn’t help that a couple of new “Christmas” books were dropped off in my office this week from That Patchwork PlaceMartingale.

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Handmade Christmas Cheer by Pat Wys of the Silver Thimble Quilt Co. and…

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Season’s Greetings by Anni Downs of Hatched & Patched in Australia.

Both books are terrific, and both books have projects that you can finish by the holidays.  (And yes, I’m sharing.  These books found their way into two of the “gifts” going out this week.)

 

By the way – today is National Chocolate Chip Day!

Not National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day – that’s May 16th.  But it’s a loophole – celebrating the chocolate chip includes chocolate chip cookies!  Of course, it also includes chocolate chip pancakes, waffles, muffins and bagels.  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – mint and “regular”, chocolate chip milkshakes and chocolate chip cake are worthy treats, as is any trail mix or granola bar with chocolate chips!

I’m sorry… I need a moment.  In the excitement over chocolate possibilities, I sort of lost my head.

David Leite's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I was distracted by this picture.

This was the recipe that resulted from David Leite’s search for the “consummate chocolate chip cookie“.  David Leite is an award-winning, renowned chef-baker-gourmet who writes for the NY Times and he wrote about this several years ago as the “Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”.

I’ve made these cookies – mine didn’t look anywhere near this perfect – but it’s a recipe that’s definitely worth trying if you love Chocolate Chip Cookies.  David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookie – Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I had a deadline this past week – and I missed it!  July 31st.  That was when I was supposed to have my blocks finished for a swap I’d been invited to join.  I finished them over the weekend and turned them in this morning… “finished” being an operative word.  That kind of implies that they were “in the works”.  Does having my fabric selected count as “in the works”?

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These are my blocks – before I cut them into quarters.  The “center squares” aren’t in the center and really, they’re not supposed to be.  This can be a scrap-buster or a “I must buy lots of pretty fabric for my new project” kind of quilt.  (Mine was mostly the latter.  I know, you’re shocked.)

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Have you ever participated in a swap?  I think this is my fourth.  Or fifth.

I won’t pretend that they always goes perfectly – that you’re always going to be thrilled with what you get back in the swap.  With the right group – like-minded quilters – and a few guidelines and rules, it’s a whole lot of fun.  Most swaps I’ve participated in are fairly specific about fabric – 100% cotton, quilt-store quality, color palette and sometimes even the style.  E.g., no novelty prints, all 30s or batiks, etc.

The benefit of blocks like these is that they can be squared up to uniform size to account for “variations”.  The quilt we’re all making is based on one from the Sunday Morning Quilts book by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison – and yes, we all have the book.  We were given a fabric and color-palette of – Bonnie & Camille meet Minick & Simpson.  No, fabrics weren’t limited to those two “designers”… let’s just say nobody had to dive into their stash of brown or purple.

Truth be told, half the fun is seeing what you get back.  Most are gorgeous – much better than anything I made.  But every now and then you get one that elicits this comment, “this block is from <insert the name of the sweet friend who you adore but are convinced is color-blind>… well, bless her heart.”

I’ll let you know how it goes.

That’s it for today – I hope you go celebrate the holiday and consider participating in a block swap of some kind.

Happy Tuesday!

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Taking Embroidery on the Road

I’m old enough to remember the last time that embroidery was “a thing,” and I’ve still got the overalls and chambray shirts covered with chain-stitched butterflies and French knot flowers to prove it. So it’s been a real pleasure for me to see the revival of interest in embroidery, along with all the lovely new threads, needles, and other tools that go with it. While embroidery’s great any time of the year, it’s especially perfect for travel. With summer vacation in full swing, several of Moda’s designers have offered to share tips and tricks for taking embroidery on the road.

First up are Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs. They have been traveling big-time this summer, teaching in Australia (you can see photos of their adventures via their Instagram account). Before they left, Barb was kind enough to share some tips.

Barb and Mary Photo Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs

I found this wonderful 3 pocket zipper case a few years ago and it’s become a favorite. I may have found it at the container store but I really can’t remember. It’s compact and slips into my carry on tote bag perfectly!
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The first pocket holds my fabric …
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The second pocket holds my supplies. My hoop, scissors and a small needle case made for me by Karla at Sweetwater!!
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The third pocket holds my floss …
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 And we can’t forget these!!
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 Safe travels!
Next up is Kathy Schmitz.
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The thought of idle hands while on the road sends chills down my spine.  I might not remember to bring my toothbrush, but I will ALWAYS  have a project to work on.  If it’s going to be a short day trip I will pack up my little Bunny in the Briars notion keep.

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Scissors, needles, thread and project all fit nicely in the zippered pouch.
unnamed-2However, if this is a trip lasting more then a few hours, this little pouch won’t be big enough.  I have a fear of running out of things to do, so typically I overpack where projects are concerned. For major road trips I bring a little suitcase just for projects.
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I feel like Mary Poppins with all the stuff I can cram inside!
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The only thing missing?  My favorite stitching companions… my kittens Sammy and Sosie. Sammy likes to chill under works in progress.
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Sosie thinks the suitcase is a perfect napping spot for her.
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Remember, it’s better to have too many projects then not enough!  So pack freely!
Finally, let’s hear from Kaari Meng of French General, who has been doing her stitching in France.
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Ever since I can remember I have loved taking needle to cloth—it is something that I can do anyplace and take anywhere! This past year French General began designing stitching samplers, as well as a collection of embroidery floss for Cosmo Threads.
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Our Chateau Getaway trips to the south of France every summer have us stitching in all the small cafés and bistros…while sipping a café au lait!
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Floss-La-MerSo, how about you? Do you take embroidery along when you travel? Have any hints or must-have products to share with us? Happy trails!

 

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Favorite Finds ~ Sewing & Quilting

You know we all like to sew, right?  And if we’re quilters, then it probably follows that we all have plenty of stuff.

Let’s start with the big stuff… amazing quilter and all-around really neat lady Natalia Bonner of Piece ‘n Quilt listed her sewing machine and long-arm quilting machines in her “favorite finds”- a Bernina Aurora 450, Anniversary Edition and a Gammill Premier with a 10′ table.  The extended base for her long-arm machine was also listed.  You have to love a girl who loves her machines.

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Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods – the creator of gorgeous quilt patterns the the best seam-measuring-tool ever – also loves her sewing machines – a Janome 6600 and a 1600P.

Janome MC 6600PJanome 1600P-QC

 

Side note – Do you have more than one sewing machine?  Are they back-ups?  Or are they machines you don’t really use much but are too good – or too sentimental – to part with?  (I have “multiple” and both.  They’re back-up and they also have sentimental value.  If you doubt the value of back-ups, I have two in the shop right now… one is in for regular service and then one suddenly developed a “tension issue”.)

Related to sewing machines, our buddy Thelma Childers of Cupcakes ‘n Daisies has the sewing machine table of my our dreams…

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The Horn of America Multi-lift Table.  I love the size of the work-space.

After that, it was all about the tools.  Rulers.  Cutting implements.  Thread.  Rulers.  And various other notion-y sorts of things.

Let’s start with scissors… Amy Friend cited her prized Gingher Buttonhole Scissors.

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Do you know what distinguishes these from “regular” scissors?  That little knob-thing.  It can be adjusted to limit the size of the cut to a precise length… like the length of a single button-hole.  Pretty cool, don’t you think?  (FYI – I had to look that up because I didn’t have a clue.)

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Sherri K. Falls of This & That mentioned her 5″ Gingher scissors.  These are the “regular” knife-edge scissors.  I forgot to ask Sherri if she preferred these or what Gingher calls their “craft scissors”.

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These have slightly shorter, nubbier blades for cutting.  My favorite by-the-machine scissors are more like these craft scissors.

Roseanne Kermes also cited a pair of scissors – the Olfa Precision Applique Scissors.  A picture of those… next!

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The yellow scissors – those are Roseanne’s favorite.  I like them too – those are mine in the picture.  The Elan 5″ embroidery scissors were mentioned by several people – lightweight and very sharp.  One thing is clear – 5″ scissors can be found on a lot of sewing tables.

The polka dot scissor case!  Emma Creations has done a small version for embroidery scissors for several years and they finally – finally! – came out with a slightly bigger version for larger scissors.

Barbara Groves of Me & My Sister mentioned the Clover Wonder Clips.  I don’t know what color Barb prefers but I love the multi-color box/package.  The red, neon green and pink are very nice but really… I want all the colors.  (On a side note, the really funny part of this is that Wonder Clips had been around for years but Barb only discovered them recently.  But when she did find them, she was all-in!  I was a bit late to the party too.  I’m glad she mentioned them because they’re one of my most favorite “finds” too.)

Seam Fix!  Kate Spain mentioned this seam ripper as one of her favorite tools… even though it’s gathering dust because she never ever uses it.

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That Clover white seam ripper is the favorite of yours truly – and several others.  I buy them by the box.  Yes, I use them frequently… I have quilts that I know I’ve made twice because I’ve sewn – un-sewn – re-sewn so many times.

Thread Heaven and Thread Magic.  Barb – of Me & My Sister – mentioned the Thread Heaven as being crucial, necessary, required.  A couple of the ladies in the office mentioned the Thread Magic as their preferred “thread conditioner” because they like the slots in the case.

Pat Sloan listed the Sewline Cuticle Oil Pen… I thought Sewline only did glue pens!  When did they start this?

The Fun Tape Measure?  I think it’s the colors.  None of the ladies who mentioned these do much garment sewing so… I’m thinking it’s about the colors and the “fun tape” part.

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Brenda Riddle mentioned the Thimble Pads.  They’re my favorite too!  (I could never get used to a thimble so these had to do.)  Do you suppose these pads are the secret to doing gorgeous applique and embroidery like Brenda does?

Peels!  I need a couple packages of these peel-things from Smartneedle.  I was skeptical, I wasn’t sure they were going to work but the peel stays nicely snug around the spool, even larger spools and cones.  As someone who always has a couple of spools unraveling in a drawer despite being certain they’re secured… I think I’m going to need a package or four of these Peels.  The cool two-sided – two-ended? – seam ripper is also from Smartneedle.  Given that Tammy recommended both of these… we’ll have to start calling her SmartTammy.

Speaking of thread…

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Celine, Thelma, and Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life all mentioned Aurifil – the 50 wt. Mako cotton thread.  Sherri also mentioned Aurifloss, as did Brenda – she has a gorgeous new Aurifloss assortment color-matched to her coming-soon Windermere collection.

Of course, they’re all winding their bobbins on the Side Winder by Me & My Sister.

Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts loves using Size 8 Perle Cotton for hand-quilting.

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Doug Leko of Antler Quilt Designs cited his two new 60 wt. thread collections for Presencia and Janice Vaine – embroiderer and hand-stitcher extraordinaire – loves Superior Silk Applique thread – and thimbles by T.J. Laine.  She also loves porcupine quills for a stiletto or laying tool – if you haven’t tried them, they’re very nice because they’re long, thin and surprisingly lightweight.

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Thelma mentioned the Folded Corner Clipper by Prairie Sky – given how perfect her piecing is, I think I’m going to need to try this.  Several people – but not Celine! – mentioned Celine’s Perfect Piecing Seam Guide as helping them achieve and maintain a perfect scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Pat Sloan loves the narrow Omnigrid ruler – it comes in a set of 3 rulers called a Marking Trio.  They’re a 1/2″ width and either 4 1/2″, 6″ or 12″ long.  For marking and quick measuring, this little ruler is terrific.

The Olfa Frosted ruler says right there on the ruler that it’s 1″ x 12″.  But look closely.  1 1/4″ x 12 1/2″.  Whatever – Betsy Chutchian loves this ruler and so do I – it’s a new favorite – found because of Betsy.  I’m a little surprised I didn’t have it as the Olfa Frosted rulers are my favorites.  (Thank you, Betsy.)

Sherri mentioned the Itty Bitty rulers by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.  (I agree – they’re awesome.)

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The Ruler Pal by Jodi Nelson of Pleasant Home is another one of Sherri’s favorite finds – as is Jodi’s legendary Polka Dot Magnetic Pinbowl.

Pins!  Celine loves the Glass Head pins by Collins.

The Little House pins from Japan were listed by Thelma and I don’t remember who else as a favorite. (I had a list… but I’ve misplaced it right now.)  They’re super-fine, very strong and very, very sharp.

Little House Sewing Pins

 

While the pins come in a lovely little tin, I prefer substituting something a little more… fun.

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Candy tins.  I don’t care about the candy, I just want the little tin.  World Market always has something entertaining, as does the aisle by the checkout at that big-box sewing store we don’t like to mention… the one with the coupons.  These tins are very secure, making them a nice addition to a little sewing bag or pouch.

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The Beatle Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts.

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The Abbey Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts.  Do you see a theme here?  Abbey Lane does really awesome bags!  Janice and Marcea of Abbey Lane created these and while they both mentioned them as being favorites, so did several others.  Janice loves the Abbey Bag and the Beatle Bag is Marcea’s favorite.  The Beatle Bag came up a couple of times as being an awesome traveling bag for sewing and other stuff – especially since you can get refills for the clear plastic inserts.

So what did we forget?  What favorite sewing tool or find do you have that we should know about?

After all… if you think it’s cool, we probably would too.

We might even need it.

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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):

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(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

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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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