Monday, July 30, 2012

One Week, One Thing - July 30

Pardon me for missing last week.  I was here.
It was wonderful.

But now I'm back, and sucked into the TV world known as The Olympics.

I've been doing handwork in my easy chair.  This is the beginnings of a project/program that we will be bringing to you later this year or early next year.

I did work a little bit at the machine yesterday and started on my blocks for August's Marti & Me club.
I also taught my daughter how to English Paper Piece yesterday.  She is taking AP Art this coming year in school,and has decided to use fabrics and textiles as the medium for her portfolio.  You'd think "YAY!" until you realize her subject area is anatomy.  A cross-section of the brain rendered in 3/8" hexagons is gonna be interesting!

I'll be honest, this week I don't know exactly what I'll get done.  Perhaps the Marti Michell blocks will magically turn themselves into a quilt top!

What did you do last week?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Go for the Gold!

I don't know about you, but I've been an Olympics junkie since I was a kid. I can't wait for them to start - I love hearing the stories of the athletes, rooting for the underdog, and cheering loudly for Team USA!

In honor of the Olympic spirit, we'll be holding our own
"Go for The Gold" event July 27-August 11. Here's how it works:

  • Spend $75 and be entered to win our Gold Medal Prize: a 20% discount card good for 1 year!
  • Spend $50 and be entered to win our Silver Medal Prize: a $100 TQA gift certificate!
  • Spend $25 and be entered to win our Bronze Medal Prize: a $50 TQA gift certificate!

Drawings will be held on Monday, August 13 and winners will be notified by phone or e-mail. Entries are open to all in-store and online customers.  There's no limit to the number of times you can enter!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Tidbit - Swatch Buddies

We found the coolest notions at Quilt Market, and they have finally arrived at the shop!

Have you ever been planning a quilt and need to match fabrics that you already own?  It's often a pain to remember to carry swatches around - I've seen them come into the shop in various forms:  wads of fabrics, baggies of scraps, photo albums with swatches tucked behind plastic pages.

Introducing Swatch Buddies.
These work like a paint fan deck.  Attach your swatch to the 1"x2" plastic card using the included double-sided tape.  There are stickers for the back of the swatch to denote yardage, designer, collection and store where purchased.  You can arrange your swatches by color or project; they come with their own ring holder, and you can peel off the swatch and re-used the card for your next project!

The best thing about these (in my opinion) is that they are small yet organized, and you can actually hold the fabric swatch next to the fabrics you are considering to see if they match.  They are also small and portable - they go where you go!

We carry them in 12 Count, 24 Count, and 48 Count sizes.  Check them out today!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday Tidbit - Re-sizing Applique Patterns

This week's post comes compliments of Martingale Publishing.  It's a great article regarding a simple formula/trick for resizing quilt blocks without using a proportional scale.  Most of the examples are in regard to applique patterns, but the formulas work for pieced blocks too.

By Robin Strobel (an expert quilter who is also an experienced teacher, technical editor, illustrator, and author)

"I’ve always had trouble with numbers. I stand in awe of those of you who can manipulate them with skill and finesse. I break into a sweat if I need to figure out what numbers to punch into the copy machine in order to enlarge a 12″ appliqué pattern into 15″. Are you with me here? Do you have a math phobia too? If you don’t and number among the math adept, please feel free to smirk and feel superior. I envy you.
Quilting has a way of sneaking past phobias. Thanks to a friend, I was actually able to learn how to change the size of quilt-block patterns, and before I knew it, I was competently working with proportions and percentages of all types! The hardest part was getting past my belief that I couldn’t do quilt math because it involved numbers. Here’s how it works. All you need is an inexpensive calculator, a little bit of courage, and the phrase:
“Ya start with whatcha want, and ya divide it by whatcha got.”

Imagine a darling little appliqué that’s just perfect for your wall, but the 12″ block is too large. You decide you’d like to make it 10″ square. You take the 12″ pattern to a photocopier with the intent to make it smaller, but what percentage should you make it? In the words of my friend, “Ya start with whatcha want, and ya divide it by whatcha got.”

Begin with your goal—it’s the reason you have to deal with quilt math in the first place. What you want is a 10″ block, so punch “10” into your calculator first. Hit the division key, then enter the number “ya got,” which is 12. Press the “=” key. The number 0.83333333333 pops up.

The copy machine wants a percentage, so move that pesky decimal point to the right by two spots, and then you’re done. Because this is a quilt, not a suspension bridge, you don’t need all of the decimal points, so ignore them. You need to reduce the 12″ pattern to 83.3% to make a 10″ block. Yes, it’s that easy to figure out.

Let’s work it the other way and make it a little more complex. You have an appliqué pattern for a 6″ x 7 1/2″ heart, and you decide you’d like to make it at least 8″ wide, but you’re clueless how tall that will be. Ask yourself, what is it you want? An 8″-wide block. What do you have? A 6″-wide block. 8 ÷ 6 = 1.3333. This is what I call the “proportion number.” Move the decimal point two places to the right, and you’ve successfully determined you need to enlarge the heart pattern 133.3%. How tall will it be? In this case you multiply the original height (7 1/2″) by the proportion number, which is 1.3333. So, 7.5 x 1.333 = 9.99975. The heart will be about 10″ tall.

One way to check that you did the math correctly is to remember the following. The proportion number will always be greater than 1.000 if you’re enlarging something and will always be less than 0.999 if you want to make something smaller. Always. If you want to reduce a pattern but you have a proportion number larger than 1.000, you likely entered the wrong number into the calculator first. I do it all the time.

Remember, “Ya start with whatcha want.”

When changing the sizes of blocks, always do the proportion calculations with the numbers for finished sizes, not cut sizes. This is because you use different numbers to add seam allowances to a triangle (7/8″ for half-square triangles or 1.25″ for quarter-square triangles) than you add do for the seam allowances of a square or rectangle (1/2″). Do all the proportion calculations for the finished pieces first, and then add the seam allowances.

I hope you were able to face all this number stuff without getting a headache, though I’m certain those of you who find math easy are rolling your eyes by now. Remember, to keep quilts in proportion, start with what you want, and divide it by what you’ve got."

Monday, July 16, 2012

One Week, One Thing - July 16

I didn't get a whole lot of stuff done last week, but I did get my Marti & Me Club samples finished.  Good thing...the first club meeting was this morning!

The project quilt is Crossed Canoes.
The second is a block from the alternate pattern.  It incorporates cutting diamonds for the Kaleidoscope triangle.
I piddled a little bit yesterday.  I finished my Lego blocks as a leaders and enders project.  Now to set them together into a quilt top.
I also began playing with new fabric called Seaside by Riley Blake using one of our new patterns from Market Review. 
I don't know that I'll get much done this week; we leave at the end of the week for a short vacation on South Padre Island.  I guess I should prep hexies for the plane ride!

Don't know if I'll have anything to report sewing-wise next week; maybe just a beach photo!  But it won't happen until Tuesday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Tidbit - Thread Sizing

A couple of weeks ago I discussed sizing of needles.  Today I want to talk about sizing of thread.

The general rule is:  The LARGER the number, the SMALLER (finer) the thread.

And just to be clear in this discussion, I am talking about the types of cotton threads you would find in a general quilting or sewing store.  Large cones of thread used for commercial sewing and general all-purpose threads found in discount stores may or may not adhere to this sizing formula (and most of them contain a polyester component).
Here's a picture I took of a sampling of threads in our store (You may have to click on the picture to get a better view).  On the left is Sulky Blendables in 12 wt.  It's a fairly large thread used for decorative stitching and quilting.

Next to it is Mettler 50wt thread.  This is the weight most used for general sewing and piecing.  We carry Gutermann, Mettler, Star, and Aurifil thread in this size.

To the right of that is Mettler 60wt thread.  It is slightly finer than the 50wt.  I have seen it used for piecing, machine quilting, applique, and hand piecing.  I personally use it for applique and English Paper Piecing, since its finer size makes for smaller stitches in handwork.

Finally, there's YLI Silk 100wt.  This is the smallest thread we carry, and it is used primarily for hand applique.

Floss/Perle Cotton is sized the same way.  The larger the number, the smaller the thread.  Size 5 perle cotton is larger than size 8 or size 12.

One more thing.  I did not include hand quilting thread in this discussion.  It is in a class all its own, and is generally all about the same size.  If a spool is marked "Quilting" or "Hand Quilting", it will usually have a coating on it to make it smoother to pull through all the layers of the quilt sandwich.  NEVER use this thread in your sewing machine!  The coating may rub off inside the machine and gunk up the mechanics.

Monday, July 9, 2012

One Week, One Thing - July 9

Well, July 4th saw me tackling the mighty mess in my sewing room.  I was a good girl; I didn't just shove it all in drawers... I actually cut down the scraps into pieces for my tiny hexagon quilt and sorted and put the rest away where it really belonged.  I dusted and swept and vacuumed and really, truly cleaned.  It took ALL DAY, but I got it done!  Doesn't this look so much better?
I found pens and pencils and scissors and other tools I use all the time buried underneath the mess of scraps.  It feels good to have everything back where it belongs.

Of course, the "clean" didn't last long.  I began cutting and sewing the next Marti & Me club quilt...
The goal this week is to get this quilt top finished and quilted...I'd better, because the meeting is next Monday!

And I swear to myself that I will do a better job of picking up after myself when I'm done.  But I also predict I'll have to spend New Year's doing it all over again, like I have for the past couple of years!  LOL! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

One Week, One Thing - July 2

I've got a Market Review hangover.

Not a REAL hangover (we didn't drink alcohol and hang from the ceiling yesterday), but an "I'm pooped" type of hangover.  It was fun and we had a great time, but  I only have 1 thing I HAVE to make in July, and that may be the extent of work-type sewing for a while.

To round up my Market Review samples, last week I quilted my twilling sample.
and I made a bag/purse.

I'm so excited about the 4th being on a Wednesday; since Thursday is my regular day off, I get TWO (!!!!) days off in a row!  I think the studio needs some love, attention, and a broom.
The cutting surface is becoming awfully small......