John Putman, Quilter

Last night I visited the Davison Evening Star Quilt Guild – what a wonderful group of people!  The speaker was John Putman from the Lansing, Michigan area.  How delightful!   He’s such a great speaker – funny, lots (tons) of quilts to show, and very personable.  I fell in love with this quilt…

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I can’t show you the whole thing, but it is made up of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  I wanted to run right out of there and make my own.  Isn’t it gorgeous!?!?!?

 

Looking forward to more of this quilt guild… I’ll be joining next month.  Ladies, thanks for making me feel SO welcome!

What Quilt Goes With This House?

I love houses of all styles and ages.  I like to imagine what they look like inside… how they are decorated, who lives there, what hobbies the people have (if any), and best of all, what kind of quilts they might have in their home. 
Want to play along?   Below are a few random houses.  Leave a comment following this post, and number from 1 to 5 and describe the kind of quilt you think the owners would have in their house.  Then tell which house you like the best! 
1) 56493_wallpaper280
2) floweryard
3) farmhouse 
4) house_neview_bodycomb
5) Henderson_House

A Washed Quilt = So Cuddly!

Emma.closeup

After a quilt has been quilted and the binding put into place, I think it just BEGS to be tossed into the washer and dryer, don’t you?

There is nothing like a good wash and dry to add in those adorable puckers and softness that makes a quilt feel right.

EmmasQuilt

This little crib quilt is for a baby girl and was designed to match her nursery. The big blocks have free-hand meandering quilted in place to look like “little girl scribbled flowers.”  Then over the rest of the quilt, a meandering stitch with the same flowers (only smaller), squiggles and little leaves helps fill it in and add those precious puckers.EmmasQuilt3

 

What a great place to play and explore?!?

Ironing Applique

Delphi_sampler 004 Do you applique? Whether you applique by machine or by hand, applique takes time and patience for you to have a beautiful end result. One of the important steps to consider in applique is ironing or pressing your block. The worst thing you can do is put a hot steam iron on the front of the applique itself. Always, always always press from the back.

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Here are the steps I take to press my applique:

1) Put a terry cloth towel on the ironing board for extra cushioning.
2) Place your applique right side down on top of the towel.
3) Wet or mist a pressing cloth (see below) and place over the area to be ironed.
4) Using a dry iron (not a steam setting), press through the pressing cloth with an up and down motion. The key is to not slide your iron back and forth, but go up and down in different areas gently. The moisture from the pressing cloth will be sufficient to get any wrinkles out and set your applique.

DeeDee

What is a pressing cloth?


A pressing cloth is 100 percent cotton piece of fabric that you reserve for ironing purposes. A turkish towel (sometimes called a Tee towel or dish towel) works wonderfully and is the right size for your ironing board. You can also make a pressing cloth out of a cotton sheet or fat quarter of white or muslin fabric. To use, you wet the towel in a bowl or sink or with a mister, wring it out, and place it between the iron and the item you are ironing. If the pressing cloth becomes dry, simply wet it again. Using a pressing cloth prevents scorching, shine or damage to whatever you are pressing.

Want to learn more about pressing?

There is a great pdf document available here. It is geared more towards clothing, but offers some good information.

Fabric Quality – Is There REALLY a Difference?

You may have heard that buying fabric for quilting from a big box store is a bad idea. It is said that the quality of fabric is much poorer than what you can purchase at your LQS (Local Quilt Shop). Is that really true? Why?

DSC01984First, let me say that I generally purchase the bulk of my fabric either from my LQS or from a large online store. I know their quality to always be high, their service marvelous, and prices fair. With that being said, quite often I will purchase fabrics for quilt backings that are on sale or at a good price at my local Hobby Lobby. Here’s why.

From my own experience, I have found big box store cottons to be thinner than the same fabric purchased at my LQS. They are often of a smaller thread count, but higher in starch/finishing products. I don’t like the treatment that is put on fabrics to make them appear to be of higher quality. It bothers my allergies, and after washing the fabric is considerably more flimsy than before. However, I have also had very good luck purchasing Bali Cottons at Hobby Lobby. I have found them much less expensive and of the same quality as I can purchase locally. I have used them on the front and back of my quilts and been very happy with them.

There is a large discussion on this topic at http://www.fabrics.net/cotqual.asp. Here’s the question that was posted:

“My question has to do with fabric quality. I am looking for resources on how to determine differences between fabrics and is there really any difference. Why is fabric so much higher priced at quilt stores but less so at the chain fabric stores. Is there really any difference. Sometimes the prints are exactly the same and the manufacturer on the end of the bolt is the same. Can you help me with this question or suggest resources? thank you so much.”

Please visit the website to read all the great comments that have been left. What has been your experience? Please do share your thoughts!

Show Me Your Thimble Week

Do you wear a thimble when you sew? How about when you quilt?

My mother taught me the importance of wearing a thimble when I was a little girl. Mom sewed all my clothes until I was in high school and learned by working with a seamstress in the fashion industry in New York where she worked after high school. To this day, I can’t sew unless I have a thimble on the middle finger of my right hand.
Why wear a thimble? For two very good reasons.

ONE: The thimble protects your finger. Have you ever been pushing on a needle or pin and had your hand slip… and jammed the sharp point into your skin? OUCHIE! Major pain! Whenever you are hand sewing with any kind of needle, there is always a possibility for injury.

TWO: A thimble is a tool. It helps you push the needle through the fabric with more force than your bare fingertip. It has little indentations on the tip that grab the needle and allow you to give direction wherever you want it to go. Without a good thimble, the rocker motion that hand quilters love for hand quilting is next to impossible.

Caron's Thimbles

There are many different types of thimbles; metal, rubber, flat, curved, thimbles for your middle finger, thimbles for your thumb, fancy, plain, gold, silver, black… People have been collecting thimbles for hundreds of years. I don’t have a lot of thimbles, but those I have are special to me. I have all my Mom’s thimbles. I have a beautiful thimble my hubby bought me for Christmas one year. I have one that my dear friend Ami made for me when she was taking a class at the Flint Institute of Arts. It even has my name on it!

My thimble

Here’s a picture of the thimble I use the most… in action!

What thimble do you use the most?

SHOW ME YOUR THIMBLE!

Post a picture of it on your website or blog, and in the comments area below, give us the URL (website address) where we can see it.

Beginning Quilting: Pressing Seams

One of the questions I often hear from new quilters is “Which way should I press the seams?”  There are so many guidelines for pressing… let’s begin with two simple suggestions today.

Pressing seams open - not a good idea!Long seams, such as you might need on the back of the quilt to piece two big pieces together, are best pressed to one side.  When you are quilting the three layers together in the later stages of your quilt, you will have lots of pulling and stretching going on.  Pressing a seam open gives you more of a possibility of the stitching popping open (see sketch). 

DSC03300 When piecing a light and dark fabric together, whenever possible press towards the dark fabric.  This helps prevent something called shadowing, where the dark fabric shows through the light fabric.  Sometimes it isn’t avoidable.  To show what this looks like, I held up an example to my sliding glass door to let the sunlight through from the back.  See the blue fabric and stray threads peeking out around the edges?  That’s called shadowing, and whenever possible, you want to avoid that.

When you simply have to press towards the light fabric, trim your seam so that the darker fabric is just a smidge (technical word) smaller than the light.  I guess this is one area of my most recent quilt I forgot to trim.  Oops!Emma

Happy Ironing…

Happy Quilting!