There's this pile of books sitting on my desk waiting for me to review. Of course,
I have looked through every one of them, and picked out my favorites, and picked out future projects. But, I need to review them, so you sweet people can gets books that fit your needs and will inspire you.
Geometric Gems is a nice short (47 pages) quilting book. Geometric Gems: Quilts from Diamonds, Circles, and Squares, is only $12.91 from Amazon. There are seven quilts to choose from, all featuring graphic shapes. There are tumbling blocks, diamonds, circles, rectangles, etc. And, although some of the quilts look complicated, Cathy Wierzbicki has made the process simple.
Are you feeling crazy? Ahhhh, life seems so super busy right now. Hopefully, all of you are getting a few moments to work on some creativity. I know that even when my life seems UBER-hectic, the few minutes I spend being creative certainly fills my bucket.
Today's tip is on Ironing vs. Pressing.
So, what's the difference? What's the point? Why do you care?
What's the difference?
Ironing is what we do to our clothes to make them wrinkle free. We SLIDE that iron around on our clothes to make them neat and straight.
Pressing is what we do when we are sewing a project. You place the iron down on your fabric, then lift it up, and press it back down in short intervals. You repeat this process, overlapping as you go.
What's the Point?
We want to press our fabric when making projects...not iron. When we iron, we distort the fabric. This then makes the blocks skewed, and our quilts are not precise.
Why do you Care?
We care, because we are making something with our hands and our hearts, and we want it to be the best it can be. Plus, it is SOOOOOO much easier to piece something together when all the blocks are the same measurement, and SQUARE (instead of a rhombus).
Next time you are working on a project, pay attention to the way you press your seams, blocks, etc. Are you ironing or pressing?
Maybe you can go make a couple test blocks, and see the difference...it will convert you!
Do you feel strapped for time? Do you wish you could quilt, but seriously can't find the time?
All I have to say is, AMEN! We are all busy. Maybe not everyone is busy, but I haven't met a person who doesn't feel busy. We are all at different stages, but we all have demands on our time. Right now, with a sweet little baby lovin' me, and 3 other bigger babies, I only have 20 minute blocks of time. Not much.
Now, I am lucky, I have a sewing room. I leave my projects out, and just close the door. That is helpful. What I do, is break up my projects into bite size pieces. The project I am showing you now is a new pattern I am working on. I wish I could bust this quilt out in a weekend, but this is not the season of my life to be able to do that. I simply work on it a little at a time.
Here are the steps I break my project into:
layout the configuration
make some more blocks to make it "just right"
Not only do I actually get a little creative juices flowing each day (which brightens and lightens my heart), I get something done. Who doesn't love feeling like they accomplish something. With all the laundry, meals, driving, and cleaning we do, isn't it nice to have a little something constructive. Something tangible? So, what if you aren't getting it done quick? You are using your time well by creating something beautiful in those rare, but lovely couple of minutes of freedom.
Try it today. Carve out 15-30 minutes to do something creative. Plan a quilt. Start cutting. Iron something (not clothing). Piece a block. I promise, your heart and brain will thank you.
I thought I might start with the proper way of cutting while using a rotary cutter. When cutting, always use a ruler and cut along it's edge. Hold the ruler firmly, while standing, and have at least one finger off the ruler, holding it firmly in place (as pictured above).
NEVER EVER sit down while cutting. Even if you are pregnant, working on a quilt for a friend, and you have a deadline. Even if you are exhausted. Even if you only have one more square to true up. If you are tired, walk away. Come back later when you are fresh. Those blades are seriously sharp. I'm not kidding. Close your blades each time you take a slice. I'm not kidding. I have experienced, and seen others experience serious cuts. BE CAREFUL.
Yes, this is my finger. Six years ago, while pregnant with my third child, I sliced part of my fingertip off. The cutting part didn't hurt, but not having my fingertip sure hurt. I couldn't even have drugs either...I was pregnant.
What happened. Squaring up my last block, I got tired, sat down to cut, and as I was slicing away, the rotary cutter jumped onto the ruler, and sliced my finger. Ouch. The worst part was when I saw my fingertip fall on the cutting mat. Not happy, pretty, or smart.
See, aren't you glad you visited my tutorial today. You feel so bright and cheerful now, don't you?
Hopefully, you feel more aware. And maybe, just maybe, this tutorial saved your fingertip.
One of my favorites, this quilt is such fun to make.
Your large scale fabrics are made to be admired, and they can do that with this pattern. All this quilt takes is great fabric, and some border magic. This quilt took me one day to complete, and the fun fabrics had me smiling the whole time. I kept making quilts, and giving quilts, with this pattern away to friends and loved ones. I couldn't keep any "in stock" to send away to the publishers.
So, I had to whip this one up.
copyright Martingale Publishing
What if you wanted to make a big quilt? That's how the quilt below started...with a large cut of red and white fabric. I loved how that quilt ended up. Of course, I made that quilt a little more complicated....I made both the white border and red scalloped border with mulitple whites and reds joined on a 45 degree angle. I love how this quilt is so simple, and so intricate as you look closer.
Almost any quilt pattern can be made more intricate or more simple, depending on the choices you make. As you make any quilt, I hope you can look at it with open eyes. How would the quilt look if you added features? What would happen if some features were left out? Each quilt you make is yours. The choices you make with fabric, quilting, placement, etc.. make the quilt your very own.
Introducing, Cocoa Cakewalk, from the book Fast, Flirty and Fun.
One of the first designs I made for my book, it actually helped me get published. When I first started making designs, I had a little more time to play around, and make new discoveries. Making this quilt opened my eyes to new possibilities in quilting. The construction of the quilt is different than most quilts, and it was so fun to experience many epiphanies in this process.
In October, I will be teaching a class on how to make this pattern, and I would love for you to join me. It is at the beautiful Zermatt resort in Midway, UT. I can't wait! Meeting new people who love quilting always brightens my day and warms my heart.
Can't take the class? I know, not everyone lives in UT (neither do I)...but you still want to make this fun quilt? The pattern is available in my upcoming book...(June '10)! Can you imagine this quilt in fun bright pinks and yellows? What about making it darker? Brighter? What if you made the strip behind the circles light, and the circles dark? So many possibilities....what will you do?
I have seen these cute camera strap covers around, and loved them.
We all like making things we use all the time a little prettier. I had a great idea to make these reversible, so you could turn it inside out and have even more fun. Practicality won out, there is no way anyone would want to turn this thing inside out more than you have to. It would be better to make two of them. So, my fun ideas flew out the window, and I give you a basic camera strap cover.
Oh, yeah, the give away. Here's the deal, you want a camera strap cover without having to make it? Leave a comment telling me your name, and the camera you use (it doesn't have to be a DSLR). I will enter your name in the drawing. List the giveaway on your blog (and say so in your comments), I will give you 5 more chances to win. Sound good? For every 100 entries, I will give 1 strap. So, even if I get thousands of comments (yeah right), you still have a pretty okay chance of winning.
Contest closes on tax day, April 15, 2010.
Want to donate to a good cause? Donate at least $25 to great strides, and I will send you a camera strap cover. Read more here.
Materials for Camera Strap Cover
2 strips 2 1/2 x 27" - fun fabrics
1 strip 4 1/2 x 27" white fabric
***my strap was 1 1/2 x 22"
Sew the two fun strips together, and press the seams.
Sew the top and bottom of the fun strip to the white strip, right sides together.
Turn right side out, press seams.
Fold fun strips 1/2" over onto white fabric, and stitch down (I stitched two lines).
Fold fun strips long ways, matching the raw edges. Stitch together leaving a space in the middle unstitched to turn the thing right side out. **** If you want to stitch it closed it is fine, it will just be a bit harder to turn it right side out.
Turn right side out, and press flat. Press open seams in and top stitch on each side of the strap.
Happy Day, all is well, you have a new and pretty camera strap.
You've decided you want to make a quilt. All the stars are aligned, and it is finally the time to learn a new skill. You look at your bedroom, and think it needs an updated bedspread.
Ah ha....I can make a new quilt for my bed....comes streaming through your mind.
This may very well be the way you start, I know I did. But as I look back, I think I really could have benefitted from making a few small quilts first. Why? On a small quilt, you can learn a lot in a hurry. Learning about binding, marking, quilting, piecing, and patience all comes a little quicker. Also, it is cheaper to learn on less fabric, and then save the bigger projects for when you have a little experience under your belt.
You want to learn a certain block, setting, technique...whatever...start small. You can always make a bigger quilt tomorrow. Plus, little quilts are always so fun to give to a baby.