That Heinz thing…

Catsup. Or in this case, catch-up.

I was so happy to read that I’m not the only one who has a hard time keeping up with that “one block a month” deadline. I can make 120 blocks in a couple of days… but ask me to make only one a month? No can do. Are blocks like Lays Potato Chips? You can’t make just one – it’s all or nothing.

That’s food for thought… and no, I couldn’t resist that one.

Daysail-Thread

This picture will seem random but I promise it isn’t.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

I promised to have an update on the status of my various sewing project…

  • Reproduction Sawtooth Star blocks. I have 20 done, but that’s only because I made 6 in one sitting.
  • Pink & Yellow X-Plus blocks. I’m stuck on three blocks, though I did get enough pieces for another 20 blocks cut out so I’ve made some progress.
  • Pink & Yellow Triangle blocks. See above – no sewing but I’ve cut more strips. Soon. Right?
  • Snapshots blocks. I’ve got Block 1 cut out and with Block 2 coming soon, I’d better get busy.

Still, there has been some sewing going on – my APQ quilt-along quilt in orange, black and cream is almost done.

APQ-Four-Patch-Quilt-along

I have to make a few more blocks – I obviously counted a couple of my blocks twice because I thought I had enough – and I’m trying to decide how to finish the sides so I’ll finish by Monday.  At least that’s the plan.

When I showed the pieces I’d been cutting for this quilt last week, I had a few questions asking if I used a Go-Cutter. I’m guessing you thought the squares and strips were just a tad obsessively stacked. That’s the result of two things – starch/sizing and the way I like to stack squares and strips. For the latter, it seems like I’ve always done that as it made it easy for me to count pieces quickly. (Perhaps I should do the same thing with blocks…)

The other reason they stack rather neatly is that I’m a “starcher” or “sizer”. Before I do any cutting, I spray my fabrics with starch or sizing until they’re damp and then I press it until dry with a hot iron. Just so you know, I use both starch and/or sizing depending on which one is handy and which one is on sale at the grocery store. Since I’ve never had any problems with flaking, shiny-surfaces or bugs, and since I go through cans and bottles pretty quickly, I tend to prioritize the cost.

Doing this serves two purposes – it shrinks my fabric and makes it very flat for cutting. First – shrinkage. I used to pre-wash my fabric but with pre-cuts and better quality fabric, the necessity to do that was less. And time was sometimes a factor. But I press with steam – a lot of it – and it was causing enough shrinkage that it affected the accuracy of the pieces before and after piecing.

The starch/sizing also helps me cut four layers of fabric at a time. I know, I know… other people can do this without requiring starch/sizing. But this is what works for me.

This does too.

CFAC-Mill-Book-1892-Web

It’s next on my “to do” list. The bundle is the coming-soon Collection for a Cause Mill Book 1892 – it rocks – and the lights are from several different collections, some of which are also coming soon.

So back to that first picture of Daysail – by Bonnie & Camille.  (Like you didn’t already know that.)  The bundle has been on the shelf in my office for a few weeks but I just found the little Aurifil thread kit.  Even though I have spools and cones of thread everywhere at work and at home, I always find myself wanting to get a few more spools.  Are you like that with thread?

And of course, that got me wondering about several thread-related topics…

What kind of thread do you use?

Do you use one kind for piecing and another kind of applique, quilting or machine-quilting?

Do you switch colors for piecing and/or binding?

Is there anything you’d like to know about thread?  Either a specific brand-question or something general.

I’ll tell you that I’m a little boring when it comes to thread.  I use 50 wt. Aurifil in 2324 for most of my piecing.  It’s only when I’ll be sewing lots of white pieces to white pieces that I will switch to white thread.   My favorite pale taupe-tan works perfectly for about 90% of what I do.

That’s it for today.  I’m grabbing that cone of Aurifil and then I’m off to buy sizing or starch.  I’ve got sewing to do this weekend!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(I hope you make something beautiful!)

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Enabling…

Happy Monday!

Did you sew this weekend?  Did you watch the Super Bowl?

I did though I admit it is always to see the commercials.  Yes, the “Lost Dog” Budweiser commercial made me cry.

On the sewing front, it was more pressing and cutting than sewing..  I added some fabric to both the Reproductions and the pink/orange/yellow projects, and got pieces cut for blocks on both. I probably didn’t need it but I did it anyway… it’s that physical vs. emotional dynamic – I didn’t physically need the chocolate croissant I had with my coffee yesterday morning but it made me very happy.

Carrie's-Pink-Fabric

More fabric is always better, right?

I also pressed these fabrics with a little starch and got them cut.  I’m thinking I should have messed up my stacks a little bit as this looks a bit… compulsive.

Carrie's-Go-Four-It

Yes, orange and black.  Don’t ask me how it happened but I’m now working on four projects.  These strips are for the Go Four It Quilt-Along party that American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and ModaLissa are having.  Are you quilting-along?  (Please say yes.)  I know you’ll be surprised to learn that I’m making my quilt a little differently.  I’m using six or seven different backgrounds, including the Passport New York City map print.

I also wanted to see what I could do to help with acquiring some of those nifty notions and cool “quilty stuffus” I showed last week.  It’s simple, the first best place to go is your local quilt shop to ask the owner if they’d be willing to order it for you. It’s what I did for many years.  I would show up to greet my new BFF with a stock number and credit card – I always offered to pre-pay for whatever it was hoping to order. Because there are usually minimum order amounts, I was also willing to wait until they had other items to order, or I made sure my list included several things.  I’m a firm believer in asking… the worst thing that can happen is someone says “no”.

For something like rotary cutting mats – the red Miracle Mats – shipping is the reason they aren’t available online as they have to be shipped flat. As someone who once ordered a cutting mat from <insert name of the Kindle people here> and had it arrive folded in a box. It had also been on a UPS truck all day – a 90-degree day in Phoenix. I think they regretted asking me for “packaging feedback”.

So how do you find the stock number?

Go to Unitednotions.com and click Notions – it’s right under the Moda at the top.

Image-1

Under the Notions picture, under all the tabs for Categories, Vendors, etc., there’s a Search box – Filter within results:   Type in Miracle Mat and click GO.  (Isn’t Mixologie gorgeous?  It’s in stores now.)

Image-2

At the bottom of the page are three red mats – two different sizes and a set of two. Click one of those.

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On the next page is the number you’ll want to provide to the shop owner – it’s the Manufacturer Item No. I always included the description and specifics since I do sometimes transpose numbers.

Image-4

Do you see the green banner?  That means the only place this mat can be ordered is through United Notions.

I hope this helps.

Hold on to your hats… I’ll be back tomorrow.

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Distractions…

I seem to run to the extremes.  I can focus with the best of them or I have the attention span of a hyper-active toddler whose had too much caffeine.  There’s no middle ground for me.

So it’s been a bit hard to work while surrounded by gorgeous new fabric and having the furniture in my office disappear.  I’ve had men standing on the top step of ladders with their heads in the ceiling, and there have been at least twenty earthquakes in Dallas since the 1st of January – I felt a couple of those.  But the worst distraction – the worst! – has been trying to work 100 yards away from a building filled with every manner of thread, needle, scissor, ruler, book and sewing-whatnot.

UnitedNotions-Sullivans

United Notions. I admit it, the name still makes me think about fabric – Moda Fabrics. But United Notions came first. Mr. Dunn started it back in 1975 as a distributor for notions and fabric. The fabric was produced by other companies – V.I.P., Cranston, Peter Pan, Alexander Henry. Those were the “biggies” back in quilting back then. In 1990, the universe shifted.  That’s when Moda Fabrics was created.  You might not have realized it at the time but if you’re a quilter, that’s really when “life” began. Trust me on this… I was there.

I also remember the tools we had back then. Life really is better now.

Since I had no furniture or computer and I needed something to write about eventually, I went on a “research mission”.  For you.

That was the easy part. The hard part was limiting “my list” to just a few things… things I’ve read about but haven’t yet tried.

United-Notions-Fun-New-Stuff

Yes, I put this all back when I was done.  Except for the Wonder Clips.  I had to open them for the picture so they’re now in the sample room and “we” get to use them.  I knew about those but they now come in Neon Green – on the left, under the bottle – and Multi-color.  As soon as I decided which box I prefer, I’ll get them.  Both.  (It’s a known fact that I use a lot of clips when I bind.)

Have you tried the Marilee’s Numbered Pins?  Would you try them if I told you that Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings uses them?  That’s enough to get me to try them – and I did.  I think they’re terrific – if they’re used for their intended purpose.  They’re longer and thicker than the pins I use for pinning pieces together for sewing.  These are designed to mark blocks and/or rows to keep them in order for assembly, and they’re absolutely perfect for that.  I’ve used labels, tape, post-its and all sorts of other things but these worked well for me.  Do you need them for a quilt with three rows of three blocks?  Probably not, but for a quilt top or block with eight rows of eight blocks, they’re worth getting.  So I bought some of these.

Pinmoor.  I picked these up because I thought they were cute and colorful, and because I didn’t have any idea what they were.  Or what they did.  They’re little plastic-rubber pieces that are about 1/4″ diameter and 1/2″ long.  When you stick your pin through several layers of fabric, you stick the end into the Pinmoor to keep the pin from coming out.  It also protects your fingers from getting stuck by the end of a sharp pin as you’re handling the pinned-together whatever.  I used these when I quickly pinned the layers of a small project for machine quilting.  Genius.  (Not me, the Pinmoors.)

And while I’m on the subject of pins, I wanted to try some of the different types of Tulip pins from Japan.

DSC_0058

The packaging is gorgeous, that’s undoubtedly what caught my eye first.  I will confess to not pinning any more than I absolutely have to, but when I do pin, I am quite finicky about the pins I use. I prefer those that are long-ish, very fine and very sharp.  The Tulip Patchwork Pins fit that description and they’re very nice.  The “flat-head” pins are finer than I expected but I don’t use them very often because I don’t really understand why the flat-head is supposed to be better.

Flatter – it’s by the Soak folks.  Jen Kingwell swears by it so that alone made me want to try it.

United-Notions-Flatter-Soak

Flatter is a not-a-starch fabric treatment that leaves fabric smooth, static-free and soft.  It makes fabric easier to handle for piecing and applique – the very reason so many of us use starch or sizing.  Like Best Press, this is an alternative to starch or traditional sizing.  The difference really is the way the fabric feels, it doesn’t feel like it’s been starched or sized.  What I loved is that I won’t have to immediately wash my finished quilts to remove the starch-feel.  Or the scent – it’s heavenly.  The Fig is my favorite.

The last thing I couldn’t resist picking up was thread…

United-Notions-Aurifil-Cones

I knew that United Notions carried Aurifil but I didn’t know there were cones of the 50 wt. thread in the warehouse.  It’s a regular item in all the basic colors I use and stockpile have on hand.  I actually got light-headed.

If you’re wondering why I prefer cones, it’s simple.  It’s more economical.  A regular spool of 50 wt. thread has 1,420 yards and costs about $13.25 – less than a penny a yard or .0094.  A cone has 6,452 yards and costs about $47.00 – about .0073 a yard.  Thread-wise, one cone equals 4.5 spools of thread and 4.5 spools of thread costs $59.625 – $12.62 more than the cone.  So for every cone, you basically get a bonus spool of thread.

So what would you find the most distracting about being so close to the warehouse?  What else should I look for?

I’m here for you.  It’s my job… research.    And now that the office is done and the men are gone, I need a reason to wander over there.

Not to worry… pictures of the finished office are coming on Friday.

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Makin’ it Cute Heart’s Delight and Butterfly Bliss

krafttex

Me & My Sister have done it again, designing two more “Makin’ it Cute” patterns,

Heart’s Delight and Butterfly Bliss.

Fat Quarter Shop ask moda to join the blog hop showing

different ways to make and use these new products.

Wow what a cute idea, for embellishing anything and everything.

First up I used all the Heart’s Delight templates and created a country quilted heart ornament for the tree or a package.

The fabric is Petite Prints by French General (shipping in December)

and two of the hearts are made with Kraft-tex,

a washable paper fabric product that has all kinds of possibilities.

I love piecing mini quilts so the first heart used 1” squares pieced

and quilted with batting.

Can’t you just see a Christmas package wrapped in red with this as a tag or ornament?

butterfly

To brightin’ up my little granddaughter’s denim jumper,

I used Butterfly Bliss and Catalina Batiks (in stores now).

The templates are so easy to trace and use with all kinds of materials,

such as old denim jeans.

The big flutter-fly as my three year old granddaughter calls butterflies,

was made with scraps of old jeans and Timtex as a stiffener

in the middle of the two layers of denim then sewn together and trimmed to size.

I wanted it to look like angel wings on my sweet baby girl.

Then I appliqued the smaller flutter-flies in batiks to jazz up the front of the jumper.

The smaller denim one has the Kraft-tex in the middle layer which is also nice and stiff,

great for bows or a chew toy for teething.

Make sure you check out all the other blogs for more great ideas on using

“Makin’ it Cute”

One last thing, leave a comment below and two people

will be chosen to win the two charm packs shown.

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Meet Eve…

Gingher-Slider

There is a stylish new design in the Gingher lineup of Designer Series scissors and shears called Eve.

This contemporary design features a mesmerizing combination of gently drifting bubbles sure to add a touch of sophistication to your tool collection.

These scissors and shears were manufactured using an ornamentation process that gives each a unique design.

They are available in 4 styles…

Gingher_Eve_SellSheet

 

Gingher_Eve_SellSheet Gingher_Eve_SellSheet

These beauties  will only be offered in limited quantities, so head to your local quilt shop to get yours quick!

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