Happy Belated Anniversary

I totally missed this, but I published my first blog post on 3/29/2014!  Yeah, Happy Belated Anniversary to me!

My goal was to publish one post a week, and I’m happy to report that I exceeded that mark by over 2!  I know I took a few haituses, so, I’m really stating an average.

Sometime in summer of 2014, I realized I had already done 52 posts, so I made a new goal of 100 by the end of 2014.  I made that mark, too.

I haven’t made any new goals.  I should, they help keep me focused on creating blog entries.

As of 3/29/2015, I had done 127 posts.  So my new goal could be 127 posts for the next year, bringing the total to 254  OR, I could try to double my previous efforts – 254 before 3/29/2016.

Or… I don’t know, I’m looking for ideas.  Any suggestions?

For those of you who don’t see me on Facebook or WordPress, you can sign up for emails.  See follow this blog close to the upper right hand corner of this page.

 

Secrets/Tips – Cutting Part 1

All of us quilters at one time or another have had to cut some fabric, somehow, some way.  Following are dirty little secrets and/or tips for cutting.

1.  Forgot to close the rotary cutter after each cut.  I know, you lay the thing down thinking you will just pick it up in a second, no real need or reason to pull that blade back and close it up! Right….  So, you cut fabric where you didn’t mean to or nicked yourself on wrist, hand, or finger while moving fabric around or picking rotary cutter back up.   Oops, nobody noticed, right!  But, you did draw blood, didn’t you?  Tip:  Close the blade on your rotary cutter ANY time you lay it down.

2.  Cut yourself SERIOUSLY with a rotary cutter.  These blades are like more than RAZOR SHARP, ya dig?   I’m so very careful when I cut the wrong way (toward yourself or under another hand) (Tip: you really should NEVER do either one of those.)   One night, I did almost cut a part of my index finger of my left hand  (about the size of half a small pea) (I’m right handed)  and I was just straight cutting the “best” way, away from me with the rotary in my dominant hand!  (Tip: do not operate rotary cutters under the influence of drugs [especially the ones that say don’t operate heavy machinery – yeah, I know it’s not heavy or machinery, but it is dangerous!] or alcohol, take it from me, I learned from stupid is as stupid does experience.)  Well it didn’t fall off, but it might/should have.    It bled all over, luckily not on my fabric (I’m not that stupid! Ha!), but enough so I had to stop what I was doing for the night.  As a matter of fact, the next day when I took the bandage/gauze off to redo it, and I’m not that squeamish by any means, I almost had to sit down, not quite fainted, but felt kind of queasy  – didn’t choose to get a tetanus shot, but I seriously thought about it!  Let’s just say, it bled profusely, butterfly bandages are great, and it took 3 weeks before I didn’t have a bandage on my finger. Ya’ll are so lucky I don’t have a picture of that!   TIP:   BE CAREFUL WITH ROTARY CUTTERS, CLOSE WHEN NOT IN IMMEDIATE USE, AND BE EVER SO CAREFUL IN HOLDING YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE RULER. Also, they now make a safety glove you can wear to hold the ruler – has grippers on it, and your fingers are safe.  There are also finger guards for rulers.  Yeah, I should get one of those things, ya think?

3.  Cut part of the finished quilt top or back while trimming threads.    <Insert your favorite curse word here, cause you probably said it when you did this! or go here for your most likely typical expletive> You try to be careful, but every now and luckily very infrequently then, you just screw up and put a tiny nick in your finished quilt!  Ugh, it’s okay.  A) either no one will ever notice, B)  you can put more quilting over it, C) it was on the back and you can put a small patch no one likely will ever notice,  and/or D)  you have you explain you can be a bit of a klutz 1 out of a 1000 times! Tip: You have to be careful even with scissors, not so much to cut yourself, but NOT to cut your fabric/quilt where you don’t mean to.

4.  Cut a block, strip, or border the wrong length or width.  This has to do with either measuring wrong or calculating wrong.  If you cut it too big, you’re okay, just trim a little off.  If you cut too small, then you have to add and have a seam where you might not want one, or use more fabric, and cut again, or worst of all, have to go buy more fabric.  Don’t beat yourself up over it, seriously, we have all done it.  Just move on and fix it.  Tip:  Measure and calculate twice and cut once. 

5.  Put a cut line in your counter or table because you went beyond the mat.  I’m sure I’ve NEVER done this <sheepish grin>.  Luckily, each of my oopsies were only an inch or so, and not very noticeable.   Tip:  fold fabric so it fits on the mat, and if you can’t do that, be very careful OR buy a bigger mat.

6.  Vowed to buy a larger rotary mat. :) See #5 above.  Truthfully, there are times when an 18″ X 24″ mat is just not quite big enough, especially when cutting long borders and trimming the quilt edge before binding or cutting bias binding.   It helps if you use your 24″ cutting ruler as a guide to not go off the mat, except when you cut at an angle across the mat.  Tip: Sometimes, if you have two smaller mats, you can set them next to each other for added length or width.  Only problem is that where the mats meet, your rotary cutter will not cut that tiny groove.  Easy fix, cut the length, then move your fabric that tiny bit towards you and onto the closest mat to get the missed grove OR buy a bigger mat.

With that, I will finish this post.  There is more on cutting though,  at least 10 more secrets/tips!

Leave a comment and let me know if you have every done any of these things!

Secrets/Tips – Fabric Selection & Design 3

FINALLY!, this is the final installment in this particular series, stay tuned for other tips for other categories. Oh, yes, there will be more!

8. Decided you were in the pre-wash camp because of a bleedover. Apparently, there are those who pre-wash everything and those who pre-wash nothing or very little.  I’m in the everything.  Granted, I don’t want a quilt ruined because of a bleedover (which did happen twice, once even though I pre-washed several times, and once because I forgot to – and yeah, those color catchers didn’t totally work), but I also have so many vintage fabrics from Mom that I don’t know which were washed and which weren’t.  So, to be consistent, I wash everything. Cept, I’m trying to figure out how to wash or get away with precuts???? Ugh, I can’t wash a jelly roll!

9.  Love the idea of pre-cut fabrics, but hate the price. Is there really anything I can add to this?  Other than the fact that fabric makers are evil wise and name these little pre-cut goodies with yummie sounding names like Honeycombs, Honeybuns, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Turnovers, Candies, and Charm Packs? Now, if you consider a Jelly Roll as having 100″ – almost 3 yards of width of fabric (WOF – 40-44″), paying $39 doesn’t seem quite so bad, that is if you usually pay $13 a yard for fabric.  Well, they did “precut” and assemble with a variety of prints for you, so that has to be worth something, right?  Therefore, they can serve some purposes so you could buy 11, 12, 20, 25, 35 or 50 fat quarters (in a bundle) instead of 1/4 of a yard of 6, 10, 13, 19, or 25 different prints or 1/8 yard  of 11, 12, 20, 25, 35, or 50 different prints for a scrappy quilt.  I almost bought a layer cake (40 10″ X 10″ squares) this past weekend because it had two of each of 20 different food prints (planning to make “pie” potholders).  I may still get it, but instead, I bought a yard of an apple print to see if I like doing these latticed pie potholders.

10.  Realize the dots on the selvedge  or selvage (why do I want to use the British spelling?)  edge are actually the colors in that piece of fabric.  Ever wonder if two fabrics go together, and couldn’t tell by placing them side by side?  Instead of looking at the fabric print as a whole, check out the dots on the side and see if any of the colors of each fabric match up.  Oh, that’s what those dots are!  I will admit I tried this once, and unfortunately, not all my fabric selections, as I was shopping at the fabric store before ordering a cut, had these dots.  Argh!  Well, when they are there, they can be most helpful.

11.  Considered buying stock in Joann’s or Moda.  Seriously, ya know what I mean!

12.  Have the Craftsy app on your phone or tablet or better yet, both!  Do you, let me know?  I do!  There are some awesome free classes and patterns, but I admit, I have paid for a few!

13.  Know what Blitsy, Etsy, MSQC, and AQS stand for.  How do you even pronounce Etsy?  And, I’m sure there are more acronyms I have not mentioned here!

I really need to step up my game here.  I started this series ??? ago.  Maybe doing one thing per post, but very short, is the way to go after all?   I may try that!  Next up… Cutting Secrets/Tips…  Stay tuned!

What tips do you have pertaining to fabric selection and design?  Let me know!

MSQC- Disney World for Quilters!

For many of you quilters out there, you know what MSQC stands for – the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  If you’ve ever looked up quilting tutorials on YouTube, you’ve probably seen Jenny Doan, the owner and creator of the Missouri Star Quilt Company giving tutorials on making quilts and other things quilted.    She loves using precuts  and saying things like “awesome”, “this is so much fun.” and “isn’t it adorable?”.   Her enthusiasm  and cheerful disposition makes you want to go out and buy tons of fabric and start putting together quilt tops as soon as possible!

MSQC is located in Hamilton, Missouri, which happens to be about 4 1/2 hours from where I live.  I’ve known about this place for a couple of years and always said I wanted to go visit there, but hadn’t done it yet.  My friend and I talked about going for about a year now, and we finally decided to go last weekend for an overnight trip.  They were having a car show, quilt show, prizes and lots of things going on, so it seemed like a good time to go.

In just six short years, Jenny has gone from having just one shop to now having five shops that sell  fabric and other quilting supplies and even a bed and breakfast so quilters can come and stay overnight on a retreat.  They are also in the process of refurbishing two other buildings  that I’m not even sure what their use will be, and someone told us with the plans that they have, when they are done, there will be somewhere in the teens of buildings and shops!  It’s like a small empire!

Needless to say, after a 4 1/2 hour drive and before we knew all this expansion information, my friend and I were anxiously hoping that the trip was worth it.  I can report with extreme honesty that it certainly was well worth the trip!   Not only did I get to meet Jenny Doan,  I also got to see the Batik Boutique  and visit the Main shop which carries a large selection of wide quilt backing and many other calicoes. They also had the largest selection of flannel prints I’ve ever seen.  The Mercantile, a few doors down, was a store totally devoted to vintage and reproduction fabrics, which I love the 30’s and 40’s reproductions because they remind of old quilts my Grandma did.  One of the stores had all holiday prints, such as Christmas, Halloween, and the Fourth of July.   And then there was the store devoted to novelty prints  and a very large selection of solids (Penney’s Quilt Shop – Hamilton is the home and birthplace of J.C. Penney!)  And all of the stores had the most precuts I had ever seen – layer cakes, charm packs, jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles, and more.  They even have a burger place and a bakery!

I also got to meet Angela Waters and bought one of her books. My friend bought a wide selection of fabric for various projects.  I bought my first jellyroll – which I can’t wait to unroll!

While talking to Angela, I said, “I’m so overwhelmed and have no specific projects in mind so I don’t even know where to begin!”

Angela replied, “This place is like Disney World for quilters. The first time I came here I felt like my head was going to explode!”

If you’ve thought about visiting the MSQC but felt unsure it was worth the time, effort, or money – imagine a Main Street where every other shop is owned and operated by the MSQC. Then, plan your days or weekend, pack your bags, and head on over. You won’t be disappointed!

Where are you going, my little one?

I don’t even remember when my last post was and I didn’t look it up.  Just thought I would update the “masses” of followers I have and let you know what I’ve been up to.

Job hunting – slim pickins in my area, apparently! Six months with 17 years experience and barely a nibble!

Babysitting grandchildren from January 6 to Feb 13 – drove every Sunday to my daughter’s and 3 hours back home every Friday for 6 weeks.  It was good times, and I miss the babies, who are still growing up and learning new things every day!

Started a new job – just last week, and I must say – worst first week ever!  Not because of the job (though it is temp to ???), but because of toothache or was it sinus pain, or was it that the toothache caused the sinus pain?  Horrible pain, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, felt terrible.  Try training with that!  On antibiotics now, which I think are knocking out the tooth infection, but from previous experience, it will come back unless I get a root canal.  Weird that because this tooth has two rather small fillings!

And, that’s the first quarter of my year – oh, wait, forgot to mention the quilting I’ve done.  Um, lets see…

1.Throw size nursery room quilt for grandson #2, grandchild #3.

2.  Crib quilt for Grandchild #3. (these two from Craftsy Block of the Month 2012) – loads of work, but got some new experience in piecing!  Hey, I’m trying to like it.  I’m getting pretty awesome at it, but I still love the FMQ!

3.  Two crib quilts for a friend of mine for her step-brother’s daughters who are both pregnant at the same time and due within 6 days of each other in May. One pink, one blue.

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4.  Two Christmas tree skirts with Mickey and Minnie themed – the first one was a bust because the red backing bled (yeah, my friend and I both forgot about pre-washing!).  Everything turned kind of pink.  Second is on the machine now and will hopefully be done tomorrow or Wednesday.

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5. Diaper changing pads for Grandchild #3.

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I’m probably forgetting something, but I need to sleep because, you know, work tomorrow.

 

Secrets/Tips – Fabric Selection & Design 2

Continuing on with Fabric Selection and Design tips.  Some things, I’m not sure what category they belong in, so I just slap it in someplace. Just an FYI.

4.  Had a quilt or fabric drag on the floor and get dusty – Yes, no matter how hard you try to keep things pristine, this seems to happen to any quilt larger than a throw while you are ironing, sewing or quilting.  This is one reason why I like my tile floor, sweep before the big projects, and always wash my finished project before giving it to the receiver.

5.  Bought fabric you really didn’t “need” or have a specific purpose for – I know, you’ve all heard of a quilter’s “stash” – where do you think this name comes from?  Sometimes, you just like that little fat quarter and want to own it, even though you have NO ideas for it and NOTHING else it would go with.  I got a lot of fabric from Mom’s stash, so I’m not as guilty of this as some, perhaps.  I also have a general rule to make all efforts to use something in my stash before going out to buy things.  However, I will say, I do own a few fat quarters that I just “liked”.  Multiply that times a few years or decades, I can see how these things can grow!

6.  Don’t think you have enough fabric  in your “stash”.  I know this seems counter-intuitive to the above #5 – but think about, it really isn’t!

7.  Have so many ideas for projects you want to do, you are not sure you can get them all done in your lifetime.  How many quilt book pages do you have tabbed or earmarked?  How many quilt magazines do you subscribe to?  How many ideas of your own do you have that you just can’t seem to get around to or find out they are more complex than you thought?    I’ve come to realize, quilting is really a creative endeavor, so, yes, you are most likely going to have more ideas than you can finish!  I’m sure when you consider other famous artists, famous or not, they did, too.

That’s all for today.  Let me know of your tips/secrets.  Stay tuned for Fabric Selection and Design 3.  Perhaps I’ll make that post longer.

 

Stitchin' together words and quilts.

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