I can’t even begin to count how many projects that I have in progress, in process, in bags, in my sketchbook, in my head. The mind is swimming! The start of a new year brings many quilters trying to sort out what to finish. I’ve been thinking about this and it raises the question…”Do I NEED to finish them all????” Well, the promised gifts and upcoming baby showers are a must! Then rest…if I am not in love with them, theey may just need to go away. No, not in the trash but gifted to another quilter who might enjoy them. Or “break apart” that kit that might never happen and use the fabric in other projects.
#1 – Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you have to finish it.
#2 – A wise friend once told me….”you may have learned all you needed to with making one block.” Who says you have to turn it into a quilt?
Here is my stack of some of the Hexie Speak quilts from new book. It took a while to finally finish. It was worth it! May your stacks be heavy on the DONE and light on the in progress!!
Have you noticed the uptick of emails about Quilt Shows? I sure have!! Exciting times to start planning for shows for 2023. As I have mentioned, I’ll be vending and teaching in at several shows in the first half of the year!
First up, AQS Quilt Week at Daytona Beach is February 22-25, 2023. I’ll be vending and teaching two classes including Done by Three with Fat Quarters on Wed. from 8:30-11:30am and Hexie Flower Garden: Hexagons on the Machine on Sat. 8:30-11:30 am. In between, on Thursday from 3-4 pm is my lecture Bindings: A World of Options. Classes are filling up, go HERE to find out more about the show and to sign up for my classes and lecture! Done by Three and Hexie Flower Garden shown below.
Have you gotten your free January pattern for the Classic Cars Monthly Color Challenge by Patterns By Jen? The quilt block is free until the end of the month. Check out her blog Patterns By Jen for more information.
My Blackstone Valley Heritage Quilters Guild Getaway is in a couple weeks. I’m in charge, eek! It has been fun planning this Getaway. My tips for this week are about preparations to go on a Getaway or Retreat. At the top of my list is to prep as many projects as possible before I go. Then I can sit and sew, sew, sew! Also, I like to have a variety of projects to work on. When I’m tired of sewing/piecing, I like a hand project to work on for a break. I enjoy walking around the room as seeing what everyone is working on. A cushy for your tushy is so important for those hours at your sewing machine. And chocolate, always chocolate!
#1 – Don’t forget to pack your foot pedal and cord for your sewing machine!
#2 – Take along your favorite sewing chair so you are as comfortable as possible while you sew.
As promised last week, I have taken photos of the steps for making these cut felt flowers for holding clips. I love using clips when I do my bindings. Much easier to use than pins. I don’t get stuck!
I used felt. The cheapest I could find in a color I love!
Begin with cutting 2″ strips from the longest edge. The felt “square” was 9″ x 12″. My strip was 2″ x 12″. Use a longer strip for a lager flower or use two strips end to end. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and stitch about 1/8 – 1/4″ with a long running stitch. I left the threaded needle in the end of the folded sewn strip to use for the finishing steps.
Start rolling the sewn edge into a spiral. Double check to see if you like the center.
Continue rolling to the end of the strip. Take a stitch to keep the swirl together.
Run the needle and thread through the bottom edge of the swirl, back and forth to hold the swirl together. Finish with a stitch and knot.
Check the flower and FLUFF the felt flower. Add your clip(s)!
A great simple project to hold your clips instead of a plastic container. Fun to use while using clips to hold your binding in place to finish the mitered corners and stitching!
Tips #1 – match your thread to your fabric or felt to better hide your stitches for a nice finished look. In the photos, it is always best for me to have a contrasting thread for you to see my stitches.
#2 – Add your felt flower to a wrist strip for a “wrist clip cushion” (instead of pin cushion)!! Or add a magnet, or attach to a base to use while you use your clips.
Bonus Tip: My husband just had shoulder surgery…his tip for the week…learn to use both hands (your non- dominate hand) for doing simple chores like brushing your teeth. Those skill will come in handy. (pun intended!!)
I’ve been playing with ideas to hold my Wonder Clips. I found these cut flowers made out of felt. The petals will be what the clips “hold” onto. The video I watched used hot glue….ouch! I wasn’t about to burn my fingers as (I’m sure) we have all done at one time or another. So I got our my needle and thread instead. I tried their suggest size of felt strip (1 1/2″ folded in half) and cut slits (about 1/4″ apart). The flower is really cute, but small and the slits lined up too evenly (bottom left). So on to another 1 1/2″ strip and wider cut slits. (bottom center) The other versions are 2″ wide strips….top left, the slits were cut between 1/4″-3/8″ (my favorite!) The top center was 1/2″ slits, a bit floppy. The angle cut slits (top right) is pretty but not as easy to clip the Wonder Clips onto.
These were fun to try. I’ll post the steps next week!
#1 – Why use hot glue when a needle and thread are close at hand. Plus it will hold better!
#2 – Play with options. If you don’t like it try again. I see this a lot in when people make quilts. If something isn’t working for you, STOP! Change it up, take another look at colors, or even other block or border possibilities!
The years keep moving along. How is it already 2023? Time you say, yes! I welcome a new year for new projects, finishing some old projects and discovering some new quilt designs. Plus revisiting some designs I worked on last year. I spent a lot of time last year doing the Quilt Block Remixes. I will be participating in some but not as many. A new project has come to my attention and I’ve jumped on board. Patterns By Jen (Jen Shaffer) is doing a Monthly Color Challenge. This year her theme is Classic Cars. I fell in LOVE with her photo for the challenge!
How can one not be a part of this challenge?!? Jen’s introduction post to this year’s challenge can be found HERE. She has listed the colors for each month. I will be her guest designer in November and the color is green. The first month’s color is pink. The instructions for the block is free through January. January can be found HERE. Each successive month’s color will be announced in her blog and each block in only free for that month. If you miss a month, you can still get the block for a small fee. The guest designer for January is Raylee from Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting. I’ve highlighted her business so you can read her blog post. I’m looking forward to all Jen’s colors, car colors and the cars she has chosen to represent each color!
Since I am giving this introduction, my tips are based on this challenge.
#1 – If you participate in this challenge, keep track of the blocks and follow along!
#2 – Collect your fabrics early.
#3 – Sign up for the Classic Cars 2023 Monthly Color Challenge Blocks to be delivered directly to your email.
#4 – Make your blocks as we go, then you’ll be ready to put it together as soon as it is revealed.
A heck of a mess out there in many parts of the USA. I hope you are warm and well wherever you may be! In sunny Florida, it is sunny but not so warm. I’m not looking forward to uncertainty of our upcoming flights, so fingers and toes crossed all goes well for calm travels!! Wishing you a QUILTY New Year and the start of many quilting projects or a goal to finish those projects already started!!!!
Here is my latest Kawandi! 12 wt. cotton thread for stitching instead of perle cotton. Not quite as straight and I’m okay with that!
#1 – Try different threads for hand stitching your Kawandi quilts.
#2 – “Done is better than perfect.” (Another sample for my Just One Stitch lecture!)
More tips coming your way and please share any “I want to know how to _____” in the comments. Wishing you all the best for the NEW YEAR!
The challenge reveal at Thimble Pleasures was fun! And who didn’t take photos…oops! So, I’ll put the before sewn photo of my challenge piece below. The center FQ was the challenge piece. One of our members, Mary Thurlow, did a lecture/trunk showing some of her pieces she has dyed. As a hands on, we each got a FQ and got to spin, fold, scrunch the FQ as we liked. In the tie dye class she taught, we chose the colors to use and her sister, Betsy did the coloring. I LOVE how mine turned out. Instead of adding a bunch of “other” fabrics, I use some I dyed in the class. I tried a bunch of different folding techniques, similar to Shibori and other ideas of clamping. I’m really happy with how my “quilt” came out. I made the quilt in the style of Kantha, a technique used in India of layering old saris into a quilt. My “in the style of Kantha” is three layers of cotton fabric. Much heavier than saris. Instead of hand sewing with a cotton thread, I use 12 wt cotton in a variety of colors. I showed some of the stitching lines last week. I’m thrilled I got third place in the challenge.
Are any of you sewing last minute gifts? I was NOT going to sew anything this year….b…u…t… I saw this adorable Santa’s Belt pattern by Laura at Slice of Pi and had to put my spin on it. I used Cuddle fabric by Shannon Fabrics. I have given tips about working with Cuddle when making my Snuggle Tails – Cuddle versions of Cuddle Mermaid and Cuddle Orca patterns. This time I tried a new tip of using a straight blade and cutting from the back of the Cuddle. Oh, so easy and much less shedding of the fibers!! Santa’s black belt is made of cork! It is very easy to work with. I love that you don’t have to finish the edges of the cork. And the pillow back…I used the selvage edge on the pillow flap so I did not have to finish that edge as well. Some short cuts but it is done!
The pictures below are 3 TIPS for working on the red Cuddle
1 – Mark with a pen on the back the line to cut. (left pic)
2 – Use a straight edge blade to cut from the back on the line. (This blade was all I had to work with, I recommend a blade that has a holder! Believe me, I was very careful when cutting) (center pic)
3 – Look! Hardly any extra fibers. I still brushed the edges and shook the fabric piece outside to remove any cut fibers. (right pic)
With a HO HO HO, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Plus a wonderful festival of lights for a Happy Hanukkah! I’ll be writing again before the New Year! Peace, Joy and SAFE travels!
The quilt back I showed you last week is layered with the top and in the final stages of quilting. To keep all my layers together I basted it on my longarm! A giant, long stitch meander works well. I loaded the quilt onto the frame as I would any other quilt. But instead of quilting it, I basted. I am using a 12 wt. thread and quilting it on my domestic machine. The photos below is the quilt on the longarm and then the long basting that I did.
#1 – Use your longarm for basting!
When I began quilting with the 12 wt. thread I knew I needed a larger needle. But, no, I went ahead with what I had. Nope! Skipped stitches, thread breakage and frustration. I stopped after the third line of quilting and got new needles. MUCH better! It pays to use the correct size needle for the thread you are using. You can see the skipped stitches (photo on right). The photo on the left shows how the basting stitches look while quilting. It was the second row of quilting and the point I knew I needed to get the new needles.
#2 – What a difference the correct size needle makes! Take the time to change your needle. Know what works best for the thread weight you are using. Also, don’t forget to change your needle with a new project. Needles do get dull!
I am using a thinner thread in the bobbin. The 12 wt. is great in the top of the machine, but a bit thick for the bobbin thread. Now, back to finishing this quilt. Photos coming soon.
I’m in the process of finishing up a quilt and needed a backing. The fabric I want to use is not quite wide enough. I remember discussions on making one width of fabric wider by adding a diagonal seam. As many of us do, I did a search for information on how to do this. I came across written instructions by John Flynn. You can find his Diagonal Pieced Back HERE. He even has a Diagonal Pieced Back Calculator on the page!!! It took me a couple of trials to work out how large I could go with 2 yards of fabric. I wanted a Backing 50″ x 60″ and my fabric is 43″ wide. I needed exactly 72″, perfect my 2 yards of fabric worked.
I folded the fabric diagonally from opposite corners as shown in the photo below. I have a cordless iron so I could press the fold right on my design wall. I cut along the fold line, off set (shifted the two halves) to get the width I wanted. Then from the off-set points, put right sides together along the diagonal center and sewed a 1/2″ seam. It came out great.
Below is a close up of the off-set and part of the diagonal seam. I’m happy with the result.
I have pieced many a quilt back with adding sections of fabric to traditional yardage. I always love how a pieced backing looks. The Diagonal Pieced Back certainly has its place as an option. In my case today I was able to use only the one fabric to get the size I needed.
Have you ever pieced a quilt back? I do it a LOT. I’m happy to use up fabric and not waste a 110″ wide back on a “smaller” quilt. I save the wide backs for large quilts.
#1 – Piece your quilt backs! It uses up fabric that might be leftover from the front. Or it doesn’t even have to be the same fabric, similar is good!
#2 – Try a Diagonal Pieced Back! It worked for me.
I have been working on more samples of Sashiko stitching in the Boro style, adding fabrics to a background. I will be giving a lecture on this and other “one stitch” techniques at the Original Quilting and Sewing Expo in Lakeland, FL in March. JUST ONE STITCH
The closeup of the sample below is showing how concentric circles can fill up a space and give a lot of movement in design.
Just One Stitch ~ Debbie Wendt
I am a fan of the CLOVER White Marking pen. As you can see my pen is almost out! I had to be creative in getting the last bit out of the pen to mark my circles.
The marking lines come out with the touch of an iron. Now you see it….now you don’t!!
Check out my Just One Stitch lecture and the other lecture and classes I will be teaching in Lakeland! Lecture: Bindings: A World of Options. Classes: Piecing is the Cornerstone and my brand new class using Hex-a-ma-jig called Oooh Hexie Baby!
#1 – Try using a white marking pen that is removed by an iron or water. Understand that you need to make the mark and then it takes a few seconds to appear.
#2 – The quick touch of an iron and the marks disappear! I like this for light and dark fabrics.