Sunday, May 1, 2016

Garland by Cotton + Steel

Cotton + Steel is a division of RJR Fabrics.  The designers for Cotton + Steel are a group of young, artistic women with an eye color and pattern.  The designers include Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight and Sarah Watts.  You can learn more about these women and their work HERE.   I am always looking for fun new fabrics to put in my Christmas Jul shop.  Cotton + Steel's 'Garland' collection is pretty adorable.  I chose these fabrics because I love the color and whimsy.  Stop by Christmas Jul and see what's new.

Find Garland Fabrics HERE!





Monday, February 22, 2016

The Splendid Sampler-Block 3

I thought I'd do a post about my progress with the Splendid Sampler Quilt Along.  Block 3 has lots and lots of little triangles.  Melissa Corry developed this block and she gives great sewing tips on her blog about how to put together all of the itty-bitty triangles.    You can find her blog post HERE.  

I think this would be a very hard pattern to do on a sewing machine.  I am glad I did it by hand.  It took a really long time but I was able to make most of my points match because I was sewing it by hand.

Melissa's suggestion that you iron all seams open is a very good one.  This 2-1/2 inch block would be very bulky if the seams were ironed to one side or the other. In addition, it allowed for accurate placement of the needle when joining points.  Having the needle go in through the seam at the 1/4" line and come out the seam on the other side, helped keep those points together. 




I pushed my needle through a this point and did a stitch to secure the thread.  I then sewed to the upper edge of the block and secured the thread.


Next, I did the same thing at the bottom of the heart and stitched to the starting point of my last seam.  I'm just not a good enough quilter to start at one end of the block and go to the other and get all of my points right. 



The finished (really little) block

 I did all of my blocks this way.  Starting my stitching where the points met.  There was a lot of starting and stopping!

 Melissa recommends using pins when you put the block together.  I don't think you could really put the block together without pins.  Having the open seams really helps place the pins at the points.  There is no bulkiness, which helps your sewing needle stay in place as it stitches along the line.  

 This is my final block.  The fabric combination makes it a little muddy, but I like it because the muddiness hides the little imperfections.  

This block was challenging, and I feel very good about the way it turned out.  The Splendid Sampler Quilt Along is really stretching my skills.  


Linking to:
BOM's Away, Show Off Saturday, Sunday Stash, Oh Scrap,




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

14 Steps to Hand Sew Block 1 from The Splendid Sampler Sew Along

The other day while I was pinning away, adding pins to my Run'n Stitch board,  I found this wonderful mystery block sampler called 'The Splendid Sampler Sew Along,' by Pat and Jane.  I had to investigate.  This sew along was starting that day and I wanted to join so badly.  I am nearing the end of my 2 month camping trip and don't have my sewing machine with me so I thought I would have to wait until I return home in March to start the blocks.  What was I thinking, right?  How were quilts made in those dark days on the prairie?  Women were quilting long before sewing machines were readily available.  With renewed enthusiasm, I decided to use '30's reproduction fabrics and hand sew all of the blocks in this sampler.  Let's see how that goes.  I went to The Cotton Ball fabric shop in Morro Bay and picked up a spool of thread, an envelope of needles and 3 chubby eights to start my project.  This post is a step-by-step for hand sewing the first block in the Splendid Sampler Sew Along.

Click HERE to join the Splendid Sampler Sew Along fun. 

Steps 1-4
1.  Pick out your fabrics-easy so far, right.
2.  Cut your fabrics.  Again, easy.
3.  Draw a 1/4 inch line on two of your blocks.


4.  Place your blocks together, just as you would for machine sewing, and sew together using a running stitch.  I secure the beginning and end of the stitching by making 2 stitches in one spot.


5.   Press the raw edge toward the darker fabric. Draw a 1/4" line on the back of one of the two block strips.


6.  Put these two strips together.  I start my running stitch for this section with a couple of stitches at the point where the seams meet.  I start from the middle and work my way to the end.  I like my corners to match.  




 Steps 7-9
7.  Draw a line on the diagonal of all of your small squares.
8.  Use a running stitch to attach the squares to each corner of the block.
9.  Trim the excess and press in place.



Step 10-12-The appliqué-yikes!

 I have always used Kim Diehl's method for appliqué.  I don't know any other method, except raw edge.  I was in a pickle because I didn't have any freezer paper or glue and didn't want to buy any for this small project.  I also don't have my machine. I had to mimic Kim Deihl's process without the important ingredients. I did have paper, a needle and thread, so this is what I did. 

10.  Cut out the heart you printed from the pattern.  I cut the fabric to be sure there would be enough to cover the paper and then some. 



11.  Carefully turn the fabric over the edge of the paper and tack it down with a little basting stitches and then pressed it to make the edges crisp.






12.  Center the heart on the 4 patch block.  Measure to be sure it's right.  Baste the heart to the 4 patch block.



13.  Using an applique stitch, sew the heart to the block.  When you are finished, pull out all of the basting stitches.  But wait, this isn't the final step.



14.  Cut a small hole in the back of the block and pull out the paper heart.  


This may be the way hand appliqué is done, I don't know.  It was fun to figure it out though.  I look forward to the challenge of doing 100 blocks without a sewing machine.

(You might be wondering why I have a printer and cutting tools and not a sewing machine.  I have a fabric shop on Etsy and I take some of my fabrics to sell while I'm on the road.  I also bring printing labels and shipping stuff.)

  









Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jeni Baker

One of my favorite fabric designers is Jeni Baker.  I love her brightly colored vintage patterns.  Jeni designs fabric for Art Gallery Quilts.   Learn about Jeni Baker HERE.


These two tutorials are published on Jeni Baker's blog.  Click on the picture to go to the tutorial.






You can find these Jeni Baker fabric bundles in my shop.  Click on the picture for more information about each bundle.






Friday, October 9, 2015

5 Reasons to Start Your Christmas Projects Now



1.  As my niece would say when she was 3, "Hewow"(her word not mine)"Christmas projects take TIME" (my words not hers).
     It's unfortunate that magazines and blog posts with adorable hand-made Christmas projects come out in late November isn't it.  You find just the right apron idea for Aunt Nell or Uncle Henry and you find yourself hunting for the pattern and then the fabric and by the time you finally have everything together, it's December and you decide you'll have to wait until next year.  Of course you forget.

2.  You will feel a gigantic sense of relief when the holiday season rolls around and your hand-made gifts are neatly wrapped and ready for giving.
     How many times have you stayed up way too late on Christmas Eve putting the last button on that adorable dress you made your granddaughter, or hand sewing the binding on that quilt you know your husband will just LOVE?  If you start now, these crazy, sleepless nights will be a thing of the past.

3.  You can set your  holiday table with all of the items you need.
     The holiday meal is an important annual tradition for many families and friends.  You can personalize your holiday table with handmade projects, like centerpieces, table cloths, placemats, whatever.  The day before the meal is a bad time to plan your table.  Do it now.  If you know what you want, you can start collecting and preparing the items now so more of your time and energy can go into sharing a meal and time with the ones you love.

4.  The items you need for your holiday crafts are available.
     There are so many cute items out there for Christmas crafting this time of year but they go quickly.  What if you find the pattern for the perfect apron for Aunt Nell or Uncle Henry but all of the adorable holiday fabric has been snatched up by people who planned ahead.

5.  You can avoid the Christmas rush by getting started early.
   Actually, you won't avoid the Christmas rush because you will always be rushed at Christmas.  But, you can check some items off the list early if you start today.  You are in luck, my shop Christmas Jul on Etsy has lots of fun craft items for you holiday projects.  You'll have to stop by and peruse and get in the mood. It's at Christmasjul.Etsy.com, or you can just hit the Christmas Jul tab on this blog.   I also have a Pinterest site dedicated to Christmas.  Click Here Check it out.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

8 Reasons the Klondike Road Relay ROCKS!

If you are a runner, you simply must bring a team to the Klondike Road Relay in September.  This event always occurs the weekend after Labor Day.  What follows is a list of 8 reasons the Klondike Road Relay ROCKS!!

1.  This is truly an international road race.
The relay is run on the 110 mile road that connects Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.  There are 10 legs in the race varying from 5.6 miles to 16 miles.  The majority of participants are from Alaska and Canada but I ran into a couple of ladies who were driving support for 3 teams with members from London, Vancouver, Chicago and many other places.

2.  The race is very well organized.
The race starts in waves with the first group of about 20 runners starting leg 1 at 6 PM on Friday evening, followed by a new group every half hour until 11PM.  Each team enters their estimated finish time and the race coordinators issue a team start time based upon this estimation.  The goal is to have all of the teams finish between noon and 3 PM on Saturday.

Each leg exchange point has a tent for the staff, a couple of porta potties and a big bon fire.  There are also staff at the point of the '1 kilometer until the finish' that radio into the staff at the exchange tent as runners go by them.  The staff at the tent holler out the team ID numbers as runners pass the 1 kilometer point.  This allows the next runner to be ready for the exchange.

3. You have bragging rights.
All of the legs are fairly long and the short ones are hard.  Leg 1 is 8.8 miles and leg 2 is 5.6 miles but they go up a mountain from Elevation 0 to about 3450 feet in 14 miles.  The third leg, is called the 'Princess Leg' because it is the shortest at 7.8 miles, and really the easiest of all of the legs, but it isn't easy.  By the time a runner gets to leg 4 it's about 11 PM.  This leg is 13.1 miles long, a half marathon.  Leg 5 is 13.9 miles long and leg 6 is 16 miles.  Runners starting Leg 7 get to watch the sun rise.  Leg 8 is 13.4 miles, 9 is 11 miles and 10, the glory leg is 12.1 miles.  Most people sleep at some point between the 6 PM start and the end of the race, but very few people are running these distances on more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep.

4.  You get to see people at their best.
Runners excel!  Everyone gives 100% to run their race.  Team members give 100% to support their runners.  The result is 200% incredible.


5.  Camaraderie!
Close quarters and hard work encourage lasting relationships.  This race brings family and friends together and gives us an opportunity to make new friends.



6.  The race ends in a big park, where you pick up your Klondike Road Runner Relay T-shirt and have team pictures taken.
Michael finishing his 20th leg-the 'glory leg' for sure!

7.  There is always a kick ass party at the end of the race.
The real reason for this race is to get your friends, new and old, to Whitehorse for a fun, fun Saturday night.  Our team begins the night with a little post-race debrief.  This year Michael ran his 20th Klondike, every leg 2 times. We helped him celebrate this momentous occasion with gallons of love and affection but only teaspoons of the energy we'd had to celebrated his finish of the first 10 legs.
 
Scott created a magnificent plaque for Michael out of a piece of the Haines gym floor and pins from all legs of race.  In addition, he composed a lovely poem to commemorate Michaels many years of hard work and continued service.


After the team debrief, we break bread together at a Whitehorse restaurant.  Many people end the evening at the race sponsored dance where a live band plays and you can purchase beer and wine to ease the aches and pains from your run.  Many master runners say goodbye to their younger counterparts at this point and hit the hay.

Beasts of Southeast on their way to post-race dinner



8.  Scenery!
The road that connects Skagway to Whitehorse has some of the loveliest views on the planet.  The yellows and reds of the trees show starkly against the gray rocks and dark evergreens.  The lakes and rivers are spectacular.