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3/28/2013

A Triangular History?


I was reading a 1996 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine while on a trip today. The first thing that I noticed was not one tidbit of information dealing with the internet was seen anywhere in the magazine! At that time in my life, I was taking Master's classes which included basic computer usage and html language at a nearby college. I do not know how many people saw the potential of computers and the internet back then. I know few of my teaching colleagues could see the computer's educational potential for elementary students that I related to them. 


BUT. . . 
Back to triangles! As I was reading, I noticed that the methods of quilting have made leaps and bounds since 1996.  And well it should considering it has been nearly 20 years since this issue. 

Over the next few days, I would like to share with you the various ways I have made half square triangle blocks (HSTs) through the years and the techniques I am finding as I explore various resources.  I tell students in my quilting classes that there are many ways of piecing quilt blocks and it is their decision as to which they prefer. I have some preferences, but find that some methods work better for a specific block or combination of blocks.  Sometimes it depends on the materials I have on hand. 

Have any of you chosen one method of piecing blocks over another because of the supplies you have? What is your most preferred method of making half square triangles?

The method described in the 1996 article was titled: Easy-Cut Triangles for Speedy Traditional Blocks. At the time, it was cutting edge (no pun intended). Bias strips of a specific width were sewn together, pressed and then HSTs cut from them. The edges of the HSTs were on the straight of grain because the strips were cut on the bias.  I tried this once, probably about 1998. I did not like cutting bias strips. I did not like sewing long bias edges. I did not like lining up my ruler and cutting little squares from a large piece of stripped fabric. But, I will share some photos showing the basic idea of the technique, although this time I used 2-1/2" pre-cut strips from my stash--so that means the edges of my squares are bias edges and might stretch when sewing. 





Recently I participated in a half square triangle exchange.  I used Edyta Sitar's Half Square Triangle Paper sheets to sew the HST units.  In years past I would have cut squares, drawn diagonal lines on the back of half of them, sewn, cut them apart, ironed and trimmed.  But these sheets really work the best when I am going to be making 100s of HST units!  In half an hour, I had 10 sheets (28 HST per sheet) done. The reason the sheets work well when exchanging or sharing is that the HST units are distributed to a number of people with little possibility of getting two that are the same. They are cut apart using the rotary cutter. The fabric naturally presses toward the dark fabric because of the way the fabric and paper are layered. The sheets tear off very nicely and (in our exchange) trimming dog ears on corners was left to the recipients of the triangles. The exchange was fun and I now have nearly 200 different HST units to work into a new quilt design!

To see Laundry Basket Quilts Triangle Papers click HERE and then on Triangle Papers in the left column on the screen. While you are at Laundry Basket Quilts, check out the Free Stuff on the Home Page where Edyta shares some patterns. She also has a YouTube link related to her products and techniques. *In no way am I benefiting from the mention of Laundry Basket Quilts or Edyta, I attended a guild workshop presented by Edyta and have to say she is a wonderful woman, a great teacher, very talented and I liked what she taught us.

In the next few days, I look forward to sharing some other methods of sewing HSTs that I have used. 


Please leave a comment about your experience with sewing HSTs, or using a tool in making them, or a question you may have, as we can learn from those as well. 

Until later, Happy Quilting.



3/24/2013

Spinning Out of Control

I am not spinning out of control, but the "top secret" quilt was!

I cut a few of the blocks incorrectly and had to make more but I had to modify the plan. Then my first plan for backing (sewing some large fabric scraps together) did not look good. The next fabric backing did not really work well.  It was black with a splattered paint effect. I did not want to have two colors of threads for the quilting, nor did I want light batting showing through the black, or black batting showing through the top. I took a day away from the project and this morning looked in my large stash and found a fabric that works very well for the backing and I can have one color of thread for both top and back.Finally done and off to the longarm quilter tomorrow.

But. . . I had some blocks left, and some pieces for more blocks cut!  I am not a piecer who tosses fabric.  My husband asks why I save the small pieces. (My plan for the small pieces I  have been saving will surprise him in the very near future.) I took the black backing and tossed the blocks onto it. They looked good and I decided to cut the black fabric and piece the blocks into it. So here is the result of that endeavor.  I think I will take this one and quilt it myself on the Sweet 16 at the Inspirations of Art Studio in the next month or so. This one may end up being a charity quilt. 


I hung it on the clothesline this dreary Michigan afternoon and took this photo. It is brighter than it looks, but even the Photoshop Elements enhancement tool didn't help. The blocks are set in straight rows, but the breeze was distorting it. 


And that is my post for today. Are you sewing? Do any of you save small pieces to use in some grand way or even not so grand manner?

3/19/2013

Back into the Quilting Groove?

Well, I think I am making progress.  I was lazy this weekend, but it was a long week of product demonstrations at the quilt store during the shop hop. I taught the rotary cutting class on Saturday. I worked on a new "top secret" quilt project yesterday and it will be a somewhat time-consuming thing. 

I taught a class today on Machine Quilting with the Walking Foot. The four ladies were very pleased with what they were able to do when they left. We talked about using decorative machine stitches for the quilting lines. They tried some and the effect was very nice. I did not think of taking some photos, so now I will remember to take my camera when I teach a class. The suggestion was brought up to make a sampler book of the decorative stitches with the settings for future reference. 

One thing I did do was pass along to the ladies the URL for a great 31 day post about the walking foot. If anyone is interested in the many ways to quilt with the walking foot, here is the blog to visit!


And with that I will end this blog. As my week progresses I will return.  Happy quilting!

3/15/2013

Give Away Winner Announced


Thank you all for hopping to my blog during the past week. 
I have some fun ideas in the planning stage for the upcoming months. 
But right now I need a drumroll .....


Congratulations to Needled Mom!
I will be emailing you the two patterns as PDFs. 

Everyone, please come visit again.  
I will be participating in an animal applique blog hop in April. I have the cutest little critter waiting for you to download.

I entered my quilt, Flowers on Green, in the Quilters Gallery contest this week. Take a look and vote for your favorites. 

I will be teaching a beginner's rotary cutting class tomorrow, so I am off to prepare for that. 
"See" you soon!

3/13/2013

How much to cut?

The Blog Hop Give Away is nearing its end.  I have only a few more blogs to visit. I hope you have visited all the blogs and are returning here to see what tip I have for you today. 

TIP 7
Well, it was a very busy day yesterday and today.  I had this blog saved as a draft with a few links for websites with measurements and conversions for quilters. One webpage I utilize is Quilter's Paradise's Fabric Measurement Conversion.  When I go to a store to have fabric cut I can remember 36" is 1 yard, 18" is half a yard, and such.  But there are times I know I need 22" to make some home decor item, or 31" for something else.  If I don't want to buy more than I need, I go to this site, type in the inch measurement I want and the calculator will tell me what the decimal and the yardage measurements are. There are also other calculators available for quilters which include backing, batting, binding, boarders as well as some having to do with piecing, setting corners, and more. It is a very nice tool for quilters and I appreciate that it is available. 

One of the things I always found fascinating was the number of squares we can get from a fat quarter of fabric. This helped me realized that when I purchased fabric, I did not need to get 5 yards of every piece to make a quilt.

  • 99    2" squares
  • 56    2.5" squares
  • 42    3" squares
  • 30    3.5" squares
  • 20    4" squares
  • 16    4.5" squares
  • 15    5" squares
  • 12    5.5" squares
  • 9      6" squares
  • 6      6.5" squares
While this is a short blog this evening, I hope the calculator is of help to you.  Happy fabric shopping.  



From all the wonderful comments and tips I have received, I am looking forward to selecting one lucky person to win the two patterns on March 15, 2013.  I will post the winner sometime after 12 pm EST.  Best of luck to everyone and thank you, again. 

My give-away:  Leave a comment telling about a quilting or sewing tip or tool you have discovered.  Share it with us.  On March 15, 2013, one random comment will be chosen and that lucky winner will receive 2 of my patterns via email--so make sure you leave an email address so I can send the patterns.  

  Here are photos of the projects I made and then developed into patterns: 

Love You wall hanging


Wavy Panel Banner










The banner is able to be modified into a table runner or placemats for a different use.You can use panels you have purchased, make your own, or use a fancy fabric for the top section.  The pattern is able to be modified for various size panels as well.  It is quite versatile. I am binding the table runner I made for Valentine's Day and plan to put a photo of the finished table runner on the blog this weekend.  

These patterns are available for purchase at PatternSpot.com under Patchwork Breeze. 


3/12/2013

Water-Soluble Basting Tape

3/12/2013

Day 6 of the Blog Hop Give-Aways.   



TIP 6 
On a sewing show I heard about 1/4" water soluble basting tape.  I dindn't know it has been available for many years.  It has become one of my best time savers in all kinds of sewing projects.  A number of companies make this type of tape and it is sold in the sewing notions department of fabric stores, etc. 

I first used it to turn under a 1/4" seam allowance on a large piece for a machine applique. 

Then I used it to hem my daughter's pants. I did not have to press that first 1/4" seam before turning the hem up the next 1" seam. 

But just the other day I needed to sew 2 striped border pieces together so the pattern continued correctly along the strip.  I used the tape on the end of one border piece adhering it to match so the stripes continued. It made sewing easy and I did not have to pin.  

                                                                                                            





It worked well to secure two striped pieces to sew a mitered corner on the border.  




I am using it for the seam allowance on the mitered border napkins I am making.  Again, no pressing of a tiny seam allowance. 



TIP 2 found here 

TIP 3 found here


TIP 4 found here

TIP 5 found here


GIVE-AWAY

My give-away:  Leave a comment telling about a quilting or sewing tip or tool you have discovered.  Share it with us.  On March 15, one random comment will be chosen and that lucky winner will receive 2 of my patterns via email--so make sure you leave an email address so I can send the patterns.  

  Here are photos of the projects I made and then developed into patterns: 


Love You wall hanging


Wavy Panel Banner










The banner is able to be modified into a table runner or placemats for a different use.You can use panels you have purchased, make your own, or use a fancy fabric for the top section.  The pattern is able to be modified for various size panels as well.  It is quite versatile. I am binding the table runner I made for Valentine's Day and plan to put a photo of the finished table runner on the blog this weekend.  

These patterns are available for purchase at PatternSpot.com under Patchwork Breeze. 

TIP 6 tomorrow, right here at Patchwork Breeze.  And happy sewing!


Photos


3/12/2013

Day 5 of the Blog Hop Give-Aways.  I have some more blogs to visit.  I wish I had not been so busy lately, but there are still a few days to blog hop.



I sent my photo in for the Quilters' Show &Tell for this coming week.  
Check the Quilters' Show & Tell on Friday to vote and maybe there will be a give away for visitors.





TIP 5
I have a brief tip today. Publish your quilts in a photo book you design!

I take digital photos of my quilts.  I have a Shutterfly account where I upload my quilt photos.  I begin a photo book on that website and save it. I add more quilt photos each week or month.  I scanned the photo prints of my older quilts (before digital photography)and added to my books in progress.  I add text to the book.

When I am satisfied with the book, I order it. Shutterfly.com emails offers a few times a month and I wait for one that suits my book plan.  Sometimes it is a percentage off a book, or free photo prints. 

I incorporated some of my quilt photos into our Christmas cards this last year.  With the offer I received, they cost less than cards in a store and were much more personal. 

There are many photo websites that can meet the needs of quilters. Find one (or two for that matter) and get published!



TIP 2 found here 

TIP 3 found here


TIP 4 found here


GIVE-AWAY

My give-away:  Leave a comment telling about a quilting or sewing tip or tool you have discovered.  Share it with us.  On March 15, one random comment will be chosen and that lucky winner will receive 2 of my patterns via email--so make sure you leave an email address so I can send the patterns.  

  Here are photos of the projects I made and then developed into patterns: 

Love You wall hanging


Wavy Panel Banner










The banner is able to be modified into a table runner or placemats for a different use.You can use panels you have purchased, make your own, or use a fancy fabric for the top section.  The pattern is able to be modified for various size panels as well.  It is quite versatile. I am binding the table runner I made for Valentine's Day and plan to put a photo of the finished table runner on the blog this weekend.  

These patterns are available for purchase at PatternSpot.com under Patchwork Breeze. 

TIP 6 tomorrow, right here at Patchwork Breeze.  And happy sewing!



3/10/2013

Storage

3/11/2013

Day 4 of the Blog Hop of Give-Aways.  I hope you are enjoying your hop as much as I am mine.  The various blogs have so many things to share--and of course give-aways to try to win!

Tip 4
Storage!  Wow, have I worked on different storage ideas over the years.  Cardboard boxes worked well years ago.  Then I moved to plastic tubs.  As my stash grew I added more shelves.  Not to mention, I moved from one small area in one room to 2 rooms!  Yes, a S-T-A-S-H! 

While I am nowhere near having the perfect solution, in the last 2 years I have found two items that have helped me.  These work especially well for organizing my instructional materials for classes as well as my retreat projects. 















I have purchased Iris brand plastic storage boxes (12" x 12" x 3"). I usually buy them when Michael's or JoAnn's has them on sale 40% or 50% off.  (Michael's actually sells bundles of 4 and they are a few pennies cheaper this way. (Hey, I save the pennies for future fabric acquisitions.) They come in a variety of colors. The newer ones are much better because they have two locks on the front AND a recessed area that acts as a handle for picking them up. 

I can fit my fabric, instructions, magazine or book, threads, and most tools needed for a specific project.

I also have a white cart like the one pictured below.  These storage boxes fit in them and I store my sewing supplies in them under my sewing table.  I can change the boxes out if I have other supplies to use for a specific project. 

SBC-356

I bought a folding, wheeled cart at Lowe's (I think) that holds 4 of these storage boxes so well. (I find many things at home improvement stores that I can use in other situations.) But this cart makes wheeling teaching materials and supplies very easy. 





It has tabs on the sides that lock it closed when it is folded together.  The bottom folds down to hold the sides open.  And stored in the bottom are 2 plastic covers that go over the hinged sides and keep them secure and flat (see white arrow).
The handle is taller than my sewing cart handle.  That makes it easy to maneuver since I don't have to lean to one side with my arm as I pull it.  

Be sure to read the comments on my other tip day blogs. You will find great tips there from other bloggers.



TIP 2 found here 

TIP 3 found here
GIVE-AWAY

My give-away:  Leave a comment telling about a quilting or sewing tip or tool you have discovered.  Share it with us.  On March 15, one random comment will be chosen and that lucky winner will receive 2 of my patterns via email--so make sure you leave an email address so I can send the patterns.  

  Here are photos of the projects I made and then developed into patterns: 
Love You wall hanging

Wavy Panel Banner










The banner is able to be modified into a table runner or placemats for a different use.You can use panels you have purchased, make your own, or use a fancy fabric for the top section.  The pattern is able to be modified for various size panels as well.  It is quite versatile. I am binding the table runner I made for Valentine's Day and plan to put a photo of the finished table runner on the blog this weekend.  

These patterns are available for purchase at PatternSpot.com under Patchwork Breeze. 

TIP 5 tomorrow, right here at Patchwork Breeze.  And happy sewing!

Pressing

3/10/2013

Here it is Day 3.  I am enjoying my hop to various blogs--and oh, how much fun!

Tip 3
I have to let you know about a product that has been available for a few years, but I was just introduced to at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, MI, this past August.  This has made pressing seams so much easier.  It is also one of those products that makes me ask, "Why didn't I think of that!" 

It is called The Strip Stick.  Those who have sewn clothing know about pressing hams and such and this is the same principle from a quilting perspective.  Seams stay straight, are accurate, fabrics don't stretch, and I can use steam without distorting my other seams or the fabrics surrounding the seams.  Only the seam I am pressing is exposed to the iron.

I have the 18" Strip Stick.  I use a regular home iron, but my friend uses her tack iron (so you will see photos with both). I am seriously thinking of getting the 45" Strip Stick for long seams (thinking about width of fabric strips and jelly rolls).



I lay the seam to be pressed on the stick.  The fabric I want to press the seam toward is the fabric that is farther from me (the blue in this photo). 



I press the seam by lifting and moving the iron on the seam (not moving the iron back and forth).  Only the seam is pressed, meaning the rest of the fabric in my unit will not be subject to stretch or distortion.  And what does that mean?  When sewing the next fabric piece to my unit the raw edges will be straight, no puffiness, no need to ease fabric in when sewing!



 Open seams are easy to work on one-at-a-time.


Half-square triangle units are a breeze.

If you have not heard of The Strip Stick, investigate it.  Only 3 stores in Michigan carry it at this time, and I am happy that The New Ewe is one of them.  Check the website to see if a store near you carries it. 

TIP 1 found here

TIP 2 found here

TIP 4 found here
GIVE-AWAY

My give-away:  Leave a comment telling about a quilting or sewing tip or tool you have discovered.  Share it with us.  On March 15, one random comment will be chosen and that lucky winner will receive 2 of my patterns via email--so make sure you leave an email address so I can send the patterns.  
To leave a comment, click on the words: "links to this page" or the word: "comments" below and a pop-up comment box will appear.

What are the patterns, you wonder?  Here are photos of the projects I made and then developed into patterns: 

Wavy Panel Banner
Love You wall hanging











The banner is able to be modified into a table runner or placemats for a different use.You can use panels you have purchased, make your own, or use a fancy fabric for the top section.  The pattern is able to be modified for various size panels as well.  It is quite versatile. I am binding the table runner I made for Valentine's Day and plan to put a photo of the finished table runner on the blog this weekend.  

These patterns are available for purchase at PatternSpot.com under Patchwork Breeze. 

Look for TIP 4 tomorrow, here at Patchwork Breeze.  And happy sewing!





3/09/2013

Another Quilting Tip

3/9/2013

Day 2 of the Blog Hop Give-Away. If this is your first visit to my blog, welcome.  And to those of you returning, I have a new tip. Don't forget to read about my give-away described below the tip! Good luck to all of you.

TIP 2


Trimming fabrics or squaring up blocks often leaves little bits of fabric threads or fibers on the cutting mat. And what about those little triangular dog ears cut from the corners of half square triangle blocks?







 

In the past, I have attempted to move these to one side with my fingers, but it sure takes effort and time. 

I discovered that I can use my cutting ruler as a scraper to move these bits to a pile at the side of the mat and then dispose of them.

Holding the ruler edge at "an almost 90 degree" angle and scraping it on the mat, I am able to move the tidbits of fibers to a pile.  This saves me lots of time because I can put the next piece down that needs trimming or squaring and get right to it.





Try it.  Let me know if you find this a helpful solution. 


See TIP 1  by clicking here
See Tip 3 by clicking here
See Tip 4 by clicking here



GIVE-AWAY

My give-away:  Leave a comment telling about a quilting or sewing tip or tool you have discovered.  Share it with us.  On March 15, one random comment will be chosen and that lucky winner will receive 2 of my patterns via email--so make sure you leave an email address so I can send the patterns.  
To leave a comment, click on the words: "links to this page" or the word: "comments" below and a pop-up comment box will appear.

What are the patterns, you wonder?  Here are photos of the projects I made and then developed into patterns: 


Wavy Panel Banner
Love You wall hanging











The banner is able to be modified into a table runner or placemats for a different use.You can use panels you have purchased, make your own, or use a fancy fabric for the top section.  The pattern is able to be modified for various size panels as well.  It is quite versatile. I am binding the table runner I made for Valentine's Day and plan to put a photo of the finished table runner on the blog this weekend.  

These patterns are available for purchase at PatternSpot.com under Patchwork Breeze. 

Look for TIP 3 tomorrow, here at Patchwork Breeze.  And happy sewing!