Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Favourite Things

One of my favourite things about quilting and needlework is all the fabulous tools!

Some you buy, others you can make. Below is a tomato pincushion designed by Fig Tree Quilting from their book "Fresh Vintage Sewing". As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it and now I have one sitting right beside my sewing machine!

Tomato Pincushion by Fig Tree & Co.

Although I really like my tomato pin cushion, my favourite is still my little Tigger!

I bought him many years ago and he has held the Pin Cushion Place of Honour on my sewing table ever since. My children were aghast with my choice when I brought him home - they had the silly idea I would go to a sewing store and buy a conventional one!

And here he is!

My son is certain that somewhere in the world is a tiger with a very sore back!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beginnings and Endings

It is often said Spring is for beginnings; for me though, it's Fall. When the days still have summer's heat but the nights are cool and the air seems fresher. When the leaves start to fall from the trees and you sense the world is getting ready to sleep. This is my time for beginnings!

I have noticed over the years that in quilting there seems to be a penchant for finishing things; many guilds and groups have either UFO, or the newer acronym PHD, contests to encourage their members to finish projects of varying ages. Most quilters have several projects in various stages of completion and many express concern over getting things finished. Some even go so far as to complain about being stressed out over all their incomplete projects!

Well, as far as I am concerned, being finished is highly over-rated!

I absolutely love starting a new project; looking through pattern books, sketching a quick design on graph paper, sifting through piles of fabric searching for just the right fabrics to tell the story and eventually, hopefully, realizing a trip to the local quilt shop is in order. For me there is nothing quite like the prospect of a new project.

And with some, the excitement wears off. If the piecing or applique becomes a drudgery I will set it aside and wait until I am "bitten" with it again. If it's my own design and I have come to an impasse and am not sure where to go next, I put it away. Not always out of sight, but out of reach. And while I am working on my next new project, I will look over occasionally and think about it. Eventually an idea sparks or the will to continue takes over and I take it up again. Eventually it will be finished but I am in no hurry. (It's not as if the Good Quilting Fairy is going to come along and do it for me - it will still be there when I am ready!)

You see for me, it's all about the process. I love the making of things, the figuring it out and while I enjoy a finished product as much as anyone, I quilt for the love of doing it, not having it.

And so, here is the start of my next new project!

Happy Beginnings to You!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bright Idea, Poorly Executed!

I had a really good idea at a Demo last year. I can't remember what the Demo itself was about, but I was talking about using fusible interfacing to stabilize fabrics that were too drapey for traditional pieceing. ("Drapey" is not likely the proper adjective but I like it and I suspect you will know exactly what I mean!)

I remember thinking "Why couldn't you do the same thing if there was a fabric you wanted for a border but you wanted to cut it on the bias?" We quilters all know what would happen if we cut a bias border (not binding, border) and sewed to our quilt tops! But why not fuse a very lightweight interfacing to the back of the fabric prior to cutting the bias strips? As long as the borders aren't too long that should make them stable enough?

I found the perfect fabric to test my theory - a beautiful festive plaid by Nancy Halvorsen of Art to Heart which I liked best on the bias. In addition to my half metre of fabric I purchased a half metre of lightweight fusible interfacing.

I decided to begin with a small project - a Christmas ornament to be precise. I needed one more sample for an upcoming ornament class and this fabric was inspiring me in all sorts of directions. I fused the interfacing to the fabric, determined how wide the borders should be and made a few cuts. It was easy to cut through but when I lifted the first strip it started to curl slightly on the sides, as all bias-cut strips do. Uh-oh!

I gently tugged on each end and there was as much give with the interfacing as there was without. Then it hit me. Like a rock. I had used a woven interfacing and should have used one that wasn't. I had some so I fused it to a different piece of fabric, cut a strip and was pleased to see my theory was correct - the right interfacing made all the difference.

And here is the result:

My closeups still need a lot of work but you get the idea, especiall if you click on the photo and look at the enlarged version.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with my half meter that is fused to the wrong interfacing!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let The Fun Begin!

My Fall Session of classes is the busiest I have ever had! Good thing I don't have a full time job... seriously though, I think it will be great fun and I am most looking forward to the Christmas Cupboard series of classes. In case you don't know about it yet I have come up with a plan for both decorating your house and having gifts to share! We're starting in the Living Room in October and from there to the Dining Room in November. December is all about ornaments and gift bags and tags - great last minute gifts and wonderful ways to present them!

Each class has several projects you will work on plus a bonus project where you will get the instructions but won't actually work on it in class time. And of course, each has a tasty treat to nibble on while you work! You'll not only get the recipe, but since we have teamed up with Culinary Inspirations next door, you will also get a discount card to save on the featured ingredient if you wish to purchase it from them. So, let the fun begin!

And just to tantalize you a little, below is the bonus project for the Gift Wrap Class - it's a door hanger to keep all away while Santa's Elves are busy in the workshop!

Come and join us,
I promise it will be more fun than you can imagine!