Sunday, August 30, 2015

Paper piecing - a mini tutorial


I don't have all my usual pincushions unpacked, but I did unpack this tiny one from Mad About Patchwork. They sent it to me for shopping at their sidewalk sale (I think it was a sidewalk sale, but I shopped on line) last summer. It is nice as it is filled with some kind of heavy sand item and stays put. So I loaded it with flat topped pins. I use these pins to position and hold the first piece of fabric when I paper piece, as one can fold over these pins and iron over them. Of course the ironing seems to contribute to the flowers falling off the pins so try to avoid that part.

paper piecing

My styles of paper piecing is messy and wasteful. I have had several great paper piecing teachers, who are mostly more careful than I am, so my style is an amalgamation of what they have shared and what works for me. Too much fuss and bother does not work for me.

So here is a mini tutorial of how I approach paper piecing.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

I look at the piece to be added - here 56G - and I look for a scrap that is about the right size. If I have none, I then cut a new strip off the yardage. I generally cut the new strip the width I need or about 3 - 6" wide. Then I would likely bring the whole strip, or cut a chunk off of it. In the end most of the scrappy bits fit somewhere, at least that is how it is working so far.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

When the fabric piece is close to the size I need, I do check to make sure there is extra.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

To sew it on, I first fold the paper back on the sewing line and trim the last piece attached so that it has a 1/4" extra over the stitching line. Here that would be piece 56F.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

You can see piece 56F has been trimmed (the darker orange) and then I line a straight edge of the new fabric piece up with the edge of the earlier fabric piece. This gives that stitching line a 1/4" seam allowance for both fabrics. If my new fabric piece does not have a straight edge I cut one on it.

Note, if you are not working with solids (which are the same on both sides) you need to place the new fabric right side facing up to meet the right side of the previously sewn fabric. And for the very first piece, it is right side facing down, away from the paper.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

I bring the fabrics and paper to the sewing machine and stitch the marked line. I have set my stitch length to short (I move to 1.7 from my usual 2.2 on my Janome Horizon) so that the stitches unravel less. I do not back stitch or lock stitch and I try to start at the start of the actual line and end on it too.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

Once I stitch I check to make sure that the fabric, when opened, will cover the entire area. If not, I rip it out and do it over.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

I press every single addition. It is worth the time as then the finished piece has all the fabric the right size with no small bubbles and bumps that can be added if the fabric is not pressed flat.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

Then I trim the piece. In this case it was the last one on the paper so I trim the outside edges. I use a ruler, every time, to do this. The point of paper piecing is accuracy, so I use the tools that make that happen.

Paper piecing mini tutorial

Here is the whole piece, including the one I just added. You can also see the different reds and oranges - the contrast is hard to photograph well, especially with my iphone, which is how I took all these photos.

I know that this mini tutorial does not answer all the questions, so if you have more leave them in the comments and I can do an update or if you are a commenter I can reply to I can discuss it with you by email too.

Jungle Abstraction - the Lion

That is the photo of my progress on this pattern as of Friday night. I thought I would share it again as it was added to Flickr Explore.

The pattern is Jungle Abstractions, the Lion, by Violet Craft. I have not yet joined the bits I pieced on Saturday so I don't have a new photo of my whole progress so far yet, but I can tell you I am half way through the pieces. In the end, the paper piecing will join together to make a 60" square - a very big paper pieced lion.

I am off to unpack and sew and maybe do some getting ready for University shopping for my boys today.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

A little sewing to make a big lion

Jungle Abstraction - the Lion

Besides unpacking and a quick trip this week, I have been working on my lion quilt. The pattern is one of Violet Craft's Jungle Abstraction patterns, and will finish at 60" square. There are 4 big chunks in that photo that are not yet pieced together. I think I will skip ahead to do his eyes next.

I have an overdue bee block and a round robin block to do but after unpacking and settling in each day - there is so much more unpacking to do still - I have no energy for being creative and original. I am loving Violet's pattern - it is so easy to follow and it is dramatic and large - perfect for now when I want to sew but need someone else to have done the heavy lifting on the creative side of things.

I am hoping to have some creative energy this weekend and will get my internet sewing homework caught up then I hope.

I hope you are enjoying your week.



Saturday, August 22, 2015

if you were shopping... #44

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays, sometimes Saturdays like today,  I share news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend

Fluffy Sheep Quilting has lovely summer fabrics, including Mixed Bag by Studio M.

The deal of the month at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is Wonder Clips!

If you want a little of many fabrics - say for a scrappy quilt or pillow, Becca from Sew Me a Song is making the most fantasic bundles, including this Colour me Blue fat 16th bundle.

The Fat Quarter Shop has exclusive 12 wt Aurifil thread sets (10 spools of 54 yards each), perfect for hand quilting. This is the Macaroon Finishing Set.

Congratulations to Green Fairy Quilts for 7 years in business. They are sharing the party, use discount code 7YEARS for great discounts!

Mad about Patchwork has extended their summer sale to the end of the month! Use the coupon code HEATWAVE for 20% off selected fabrics, click here. This sale has fabrics from Kate Spain, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton + Steel and others.
The Autumn colours at Oakshott Fabrics are beautiful, check out the project links on the Oakshott Shotthrough Blog.

Fabric Spark has more new fabrics, including Heavy Metals from Windham Fabrics.

More unpacking today, and a bit of cleaning too, but the sun is shining and it is not too hot, so off I go. Enjoy your day!



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Action Kivu

My friend Alissa Haight Carlton sent a note to remind me that it is time for the sixth annual Action Kivu fundraiser again. I have supported this initiative from the time I heard about it.

Here are Alissa's words:

"Action Kivu helps women and children who are victims of the conflict in Eastern Congo. The conflict in Congo has taken the lives of over 5.4 million people since 1998. Rape is used as a weapon of war, with estimates putting the number of rapes in the hundreds of thousands.  These are horrible statistics but together, year after year now, we have made a real difference for specific women and children. Here are the stories of just a few. Every year there are more women entering Action Kivu’s programs and more children going to school.  We are having a lasting impact on these women and children, so let’s keep helping!

One of the wonderful things that Action Kivu helps finance is a sewing workshop that teaches women to sew. When these women graduate from the workshop, they are given a sewing machine and therefore the means to support themselves and their families.You can see a short video of the most recent graduates of the sewing program here. This workshop changes their lives in amazing ways and it is your generosity that makes that possible!

These women’s lives and families have been transformed by this workshop and it is these dollars, that we raise here, that have helped make that happen.  Our online sewing community is linked to these women, and we can help more of them. Please give today!

The American staff of Action Kivu is 100% volunteer, so all of your donations, minus nominal banking fees, go directly to the work on the ground, empowering and educating the women and children of eastern Congo.

This year we’re also going to focus on spreading the word about the fundraiser via social media more! Let’s get these hashtags busy: #akfundraiser #sewing #congo #actionkivu "

Giving is very personal. If you have a space in your budget for international support, I think this is a great initiative and I have already donated. 

Alissa has sweetened the deal with some great randomly drawn prizes (Jacquie Gehring has donated her Featherweight as a prize!!! for exmaple) so head over to Alissa's blog - Alissa Haight Carlton Modern Quilts - to check them out and to donate to this important cause.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Scraptastic Tuesday - making new scraps and August link winners

Scraptastic Tuesday

Thank you to everyone who joined in with the August Scraptastic Tuesday link up hosted by Nicky - Mrs. Sew and Sow and me. I have been slowly visiting all the links and there are some beautiful and inspiring projects being shared, so I hope you will take some time to check them out too (go here for the link up post on my blog or here for the link up post on Nicky's blog).

By the way, if you linked up and did not include our button, hashtag (#scraptastictuesday) or at least a link back to one of the link up posts, please add it in as we are sure that you want to support our efforts to bring you this fun link and great prizes.

Paper piecing in progress

My first chance to sew on my machine since last Tuesday was last night. I spent my time working on the Jungle Abstractions Lion quilt. The paper pieced pattern is by Violet Craft, and will make a 60" square lion head. It is a lovely pattern to work with as Violet coded each fabric on the pattern pieces. I have finished piece #12 and I think that there are about 130 or so pieces, so I have a ways to go.

Paper piecing

The thing is that I bought the yardage you see in the top left of the photograph to make this quilt. But the paper piecing, at least my method, creates a lot of scraps. I use those scraps for the next bits but there are going to be a lot left over.

Paper piecing

I did toss the smallest pieces in my garbage bin. However, this morning I am thinking that I could use them, I know my friend Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads) would be making something fantastic with them and maybe I should too. You know, for the lion quilt's back. You can see how another scraptastic project is born, just like that.

Butch, my quilting cat

Last night my cat Butch (he is a year old at the end of August so no longer a kitten) was my constant companion. He was very protective of the yardage pile and urged me to stick to the little bits on my side of the mat.

Now, its time randomly award the prizes from our generous sponsors to those who linked up for August. 

A huge thank you to our generous sponsors! Here are the prizes and the winners, as picked by the Random Number Generator:

I'll be emailing the winners over the day, watch your inbox.

Please plan to join Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I for the September Scraptastic Link up on the second Tuesday - September 8.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday - unpacking the sewing room update

unpacking the sewing room

I arrived after the movers had unloaded the boxes - having stayed behind to supervise the load up of the truck. This was the view of my sewing room from the end by the door. Now if you know about my long arm machine, you will be thinking, great, she kept the box and yikes it is not set upright. I did fix that right away, and the machine is fairly well packed in the box anyway.

unpacking the sewing room

This is looking the other way on the first day. Also, there are not great photos, having been taken with my iphone and then not edited one bit. Editing does not really assist, the situation was dismal.

unpacking the sewing room

The first step was to sort the boxes some and start unpacking the fabric.

unpacking the sewing room

That progressed well, but the boxes stacked where the long arm was to go were just sitting there.

Sewing room - unpacking

As I find more fabric tucked here and there, I have been adding it to the rainbow shelves. The fabric in the open shelves will, hopefully be sorted and put in a shelf with a door in the end.

unpacking the sewing room

This was my view this morning, from my sewing machine. It being Saturday, that meant that is was a day off, and thus could be a day devoted to just unpacking my stuff. I know the logic has many flaws but I spent the day in this room. The other deciding factor was that the temperature did a nose dive and it was cool all day.

unpacking the sewing room

And that is basically how I left the room. I unpacked all the boxes in the middle of the room and about 8 or so that had been stacked by the sewing machine at the big window (see the third photo from the top). My old sewing spaces were sewing, knitting, crafting, office stuff and the family photo sort project. So I had to figure out where to tuck all those bits away.

unpacking the sewing room

As you can see from this angle, there is still a lot of tucking away to do. I have to get some project sized bins I think. But there are empty shelves still too, so it is a matter of sorting and organizing.

unpacking the sewing room

Tomorrow my DH is here and he will help me put the long arm together in that empty space. There are still a number of boxes lining the wall to the right in that photo and when they are empty one more shelf can go there if needed - and if so I'm going to have to make a portable design wall. Oh and I have to do something about those old curtains, and bring up my other cutting table, and there may be another 5 small boxes of bits in the living room - there is still lots to do.

In the end I am going to fill up this new large space, but it will mean that all my sewing, knitting, crafting, photo, etc. stuff is together and handy. It will be great.

In the meantime, Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I have been checking out the scrappy projects linked up at the August Scraptastic Tuesday Link up.  If you have not linked up a scrappy project - in progress or finished - or your thoughts on taming your scrap mountain this month (one link per person), please do so as we have wonderful prizes to award randomly to those link - go here.



Friday, August 14, 2015

if you were shopping... #43

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays,  I share news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend

Fabric Spark is having a sale on "kids" fabric - 20% off with the code "coolkids" until midnight EST Sunday August 16. Don't be fooled by the "kids" part, there are a lot of new Cotton + Steel, Tula Pink, Lizzy House and other great fabrics included - check them out under the theme cool kids by clicking here

Fluffy Sheep Quilting has lovely summer fabrics, including Mixed Bag by Studio M.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop has lovely new fabrics in, including Tula Pink's Free Fall wide backings.

If you want a little of many fabrics - say for a scrappy quilt or pillow, Becca from Sew Me a Song is making the most fantasic bundles, including this Never be at a Loss for Words fat 16th bundle.

The Fat Quarter Shop is having a 15% off sale on all Robert Kaufman fabrics until midnight CST August 16, use coupon code RK2015. There are a lot of my favourites in this sale.

This weekend only, at Green Fairy Quilts has all their charm packs on for $6.89 through Sunday. This includes newly arrived in Hello Darling and other great choices!

Mad about Patchwork is having a summer sale through August 15. Use the coupon code HEATWAVE for 20% off selected fabrics, click here. This sale has fabrics from Kate Spain, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton + Steel and others.

Oakshott Fabrics is feeling flushed with pride at the lovely feature in the August issue of British Patchwork & Quilting which tells their story very eloquently. You may even be tempted to take a look?

I'm tempted by all these lovely sales, and who knows I might be shopping this weekend, in between unpacking and organizing, which is still seeming neverending.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

appliqué - a quiet project, a new skill

Appliqué project - the collection quilt

I have a new project and I'm learning a new skill. At Quilt Market, I was able to visit with Carolyn Friedlander and see her new block of the month pattern, The Collection Quilt, and the actual quilt up close. Some shops are selling the pattern as a BOM, in 9 separate instalments (with and without fabrics too), some are selling the whole pattern at once for you to make as you like, and I bet some are teaching it as a class, etc.

Appliqué project - the collection quilt

I have not been drawn to appliqué so far in quilting. But when I saw Carolyn's modern pattern I was inspired. Appliqué is a skill that can sure help solve some difficult piecing issues that arise in modern quilting and it is portable. This BOM pattern is basically a series of workshops from Carolyn where she thoughtfully shares her simple and effective techniques and tips. It is like going to her class.

Appliqué project - the collection quilt

So, Becca, who owns Sew Me A Song, and I decided there and then at market that we would do this pattern together as an informal BOM and connect via Instagram. Becca has the pattern in her shop (she is selling the whole set as one pattern) in case you can't get it locally and want to join us. I should warn you, this is a pricy pattern, because you are basically buying 9 patterns, several "extra" project options, and a full workshop at once, but in my view, well worth it.

Becca and I are determined to add appliqué to our skill set and are going to do one block per month, with the first one to be completed by the end of August. If you want to check in or even join us, our hash tag is #lbapplique and we are also tagging our work as #thecollectionquilt.

Appliqué project - the collection quilt

I have never done appliqué so I have no idea if Carolyn has her own method or if she is sharing her take on the way women have done this for centuries but either way, her instructions and approach rock! I was able to fold under my seam neatly and evenly. The appliqué stitches are easy to do. The pattern has loads of photos for us visual learners. Each of the BOMs is a new skill builder, so the first one is the easiest with each new one adding more difficulty.

My only personal adaptation so far is to use a iron away marker to mark my basting lines as I am out of practice with eyeballing an even distance, but I expect over time that will not be required. You can see the lines in these photos as I did not get the iron out yet, as the heat wave here continues.

Appliqué project - the collection quilt

Last night, after a totally unproductive day of spinning my wheels at unpacking and at my day job and at most everything (truly, I should have just gone shopping or something) I sat down and did a bit more at my newly set up desk. I still have to find my appliqué needles and I might buy some appliqué pins, but I did find the tiny and beautiful scissors and good enough needles in this well used old needle book. It is calm and peaceful work, appliqué, and I think I'm going to like it.

Here is hoping for a more productive day today.