Wednesday, January 28, 2009

See a Pin Pick it Up

I am pretty picky about my pins. They must be long, have big heads and be sharp. Almost 30 years ago I was taking Stretch and Sew classes and they had ball point pins that would slide right into knits and I fell in love with them. After a while a pin would get dull or rough and I realized I could just throw it away, I felt so decadent.

I also like to pin things, I probably pin more in quilting than some people but when I teach I say do it however you are comfortable. When I was putting together Double Delight for some reason my pin holder only had about 8 pins on it. Now that is not to say it was empty, there were needles and safety pins galore but only a few real pins. Eventually I got tired of only being able to pin a few sections at a time so I pulled out my special box of new pins and added some to it.

This week I was looking for something to take to my quilt group and I grabbed a UFO box on the way out the door. This was a Stack and Whack project that had been around for about 3 years - guess what - there were pieces pinned together. My pin stash was renewed. Yesterday I pulled out a jacket I had started about 3 years ago and I hit the jackpot of pins. Now my pin stash overfloweth, I can put some back in reserve and then I won't worry about using up all of my good ones because they are so hard to find.

Oh by the way when I see a pin I do pick it up because it is probably one my good ones!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pressing Matters

As quilters and sewers we know that pressing is important. When sewing clothing seams must be pressed open and when quilting we usually press them to one side. Lately I have been seeing some discussion about which iron is the best, so I thought I would put my opinion into the mix. Quilters Home had an article rating irons and I read that with interest. I know this was not a scientific rating but I think it is very helpful to see what experiences others have had.

I started my sewing life with a G.E. iron, I am pretty sure G.E. does not make irons anymore but it was a functional steam iron that pretty much did the job. I then had a cordless iron - it was a pain because it kept cooling down and had to be put back on the base. I then moved on to a Rowenta and I have been a fan ever since. I wanted the weight to help press open seams and for other functions in dressmaking. I liked the pointy tip and it was big! I really started wanting a steam generator iron because it seemed as though I was always filling the darn thing. A few years ago I got my Rowenta steam generator iron and I love it with a capital 'L'. (I know my grandma used to say that you can't love and object but . . .)

The water goes in the base unit and the steam comes through a hose that has never gotten in the way or annoyed me

A few months ago I used an Oliso iron at a quilt retreat - everyone seems to be talking about this one, it lifts up when you aren't touching it so it does not scorch your fabric. At first it was kinda cool but then it got annoying and when I returned home and started using my Rowenta again I realized how heavy that Oliso was compared to mine and I was "in love" all over again.

I also own the Rowenta craft iron and a Singer press that I got at a garage sale for cheap. I only use the press when fusing large quantities of interfacing - it is great for T shirt quilts. The baby Rowenta is my take along and I also set it up right next to me when doing a lot of little fussy stitching that requires pressing after every 1" seam (some of Pam Bono's patterns)

Now if I could just find an ironing board cover I like life would be good.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I seem to be obsessed with Bonnie's Double Delight Mystery quilt. I just can't stop working on it even though I could be doing other things like laundry, washing dishes or cooking. Last night I finished the last of the blocks and today I laid them out and I was just ready to cut my corner triangles when the power went out - so much for my obsession.
Today is the coldest it has been all year and that is probably why the power went out. It was cloudy and dreary outside so it was dark in the house and I wanted to keep moving so I went into the bedroom and started cleaning. The holidays always seem to make my room a clutter catch-all so it was time to put it all away. I was really starting to get something accomplished when the lights came back on and my sewing machine again beckoned to me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quiltathon Report

Judy sponsored a quiltathon this past weekend. I have always liked her "Quiltathons" but many times the chosen days have not worked out for me. This time I got to participate. My husband and son left me for a few hours on Saturday and I spent Friday sewing so even though the official days were Saturday and Sunday I tweaked it a bit.

I have been working on Bonnie Hunter New Year's Eve Mystery - Double Delight. It is a scrap quilt with lots of little parts. I had finished part 1 and most of part 2
I get a little bored doing the same thing over and over so I now have pieces and parts spread all over and just 3 complete blocks.

but then I peeked at the rest and I couldn't resist starting the other parts. I tend to work on a project all helter skelter anyway and

When everything comes together I think it will be a great quilt. Thanks Judy for letting us 'sew' with you. And thanks Bonnie for taking the time to share a wonderful pattern and great instructions.

Monday, January 5, 2009

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

Twelve months of hot pads

I did not make these pads but they fit my theme so well that I had to use them. My friend, Kayleen made sets of 12 pads for her family and friends. Each month is color or holiday coordinated and nice and thick. They are really too pretty to use but I have been pulling out a new one each month to use as a trivet on the table. I think she said she made 13 sets - that is a lot of hot pads! She used up a lot of scraps of fabric and batting which is always a good idea so I am planning to make some for my family next year. I do know that I will NOT be making 156 of them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

Eleven months in the making

This quilt is the second in a series of Christmas quilts for my children. We have had a tradition of making pj's to open on Christmas Eve and then we get a picture of everyone in their matching jammies. I have been trying to gracefully move this tradition to the next generation so I decided to make each of them a quilt with pieces of the pajamas as part of the design. I started this quilt awhile ago but when I pulled it out to finish for this Christmas I got the idea of using the pj fabric for the center squares.

I do not have scraps from every year but I have saved and located quite a few of them. My oldest received her quilt 2 years ago and Conrad got this one. When I see the right pattern for the next one I will start on it but I am not putting a time constraint on the next one - it will happen when it happens. I don't know if the other 2 kids have figured this mystery out yet but I know they are still wondering why I cut up Stephanie's baby blanket and I am still not telling - I do love a mystery.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

Ten day wonder

I don't really know how long it took me to make this T shirt quilt but it went pretty quick. My daughter had requested it after she graduated from high school, 2 years ago - sometimes I am just a slow starter.

Friday, January 2, 2009

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

Nine times six I Spy squares

This quilt was not actually for Christmas but it is for a birthday that is right after Christmas. Last summer I decided to make each of my granchilderen an I Spy quilt for their second birthday, knowing that I would have to make 3 within 6 months. I cut them all out in June and then made the first 2 for August birthdays but number 3 just sat there in pieces until after Christmas when I decided I had better get a move on. I finished it just in time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

An eight page book

I made the baby a cloth tag book. A tag book is one with ribbons or tags hanging off the sides for baby to grasp and chew on. I used my embroidery machine to applique bright images on each page and then put them together in book form. The cover is soft velour and the inside cover is shiny satin and the ribbons are all different kinds from grograin to satin so there are a lot of different textures.