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Sewing tip

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any sewing that included a ruffle or gathering of material. I remember the frustration of the thread always breaking before I made it through the end of the material to complete my ruffle because regular sewing thread just doesn’t hold up to pulling. I learned a great tip the other day in my sewing class. One that would have saved me a lot of headaches back when I was making very ruffly things for my daughter. Instead of using plain thread to sew and gather a ruffle, you can use cotton crochet thread which is of course thicker and stronger than regular sewing thread. Just follow these simple steps:

Choose a color thread that will match your fabric. Measure the amount of crochet thread needed by holding across the fabric to be gathered and then double that amount.

Fold the thread in half. On the looped end of your thread, stitch it to hold it in place a couple of times across (by pressing and releasing reverse button) as shown in first photo. 002

Cut thread and then turn (see second photo) in order to zig zag down the row of threads (keeping both threads within the zig zag stitch). You may need to adjust the width of the stitch in order for both threads to fit inside the stitching. Stitch completely down the row of thread, leaving about a half-inch at the end. Once done, just pull on both ends and you should easily be able to ruffle and gather your fabric without breaking your thread!

 003I can’t wait to try this technique with ruffles for pillows I’ll be quilting. I got a couple of great free patterns and you can too by signing up for the Quilting Weekly newsletter.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Old Craft Store

As I learn and grow in my quilting skills and knowledge I’m amazed by how many shops are out there specializing in quilts. I guess until you become involved in something you don’t really “see” some things you know?  On my travels I’m going to make sure I find and visit at least one quilt store in the area whether to compare shops, fabric or local customs it should be fun.

Inspiration and creativity come together in this little quilt shop located in the square of the historic Old Downtown area of Carrollton, Texas. 

They offer a large variety of 100% cotton fabrics  and quilting notions. You can also find an array of classes for the beginner to the most experienced quilter. There are even classes to help you improve your techniques in other areas such as making pants that fit, making patterns that fit and photo quilts among many others.  

Wanting to join a quilting club? They have those too – including a book club  featuring books with storylines on quilting of course! I recently joined what they call Moda U. One Saturday a month, members get together to see the newest fabrics from Moda, play Quilt-O (Bingo) to win a free pattern, see the latest kits, share tips and show finished Quilts – whether it’s your own or a family heirloom. It was quite fun and I’m looking forward to next month’s meeting.

 There is also have a post office located inside the store for fast and easy shipment of purchases to anywhere in the U.S.A.

Whether looking to learn a new skill, ideas for new projects or an opportunity to make new friends – this little shop is a gem. If you are ever in the Dallas, Texas area you’ll want to stop by and peruse the place just off Interstate 35, take Beltline exit.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Quilt Shops, Quilting | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helpful Quilting sites

Still working on My First Quilt and its coming along nicely. It can be hard to get in sewing time after working all day and then coming home to make dinner, do household chores, etc., etc.  – you know! But I think I’ve made some good progress and am almost done. I’ve also been browsing around on the internet and have found a few interesting quilting blogs and sites. The Online Quilting Blog even offers online lessons/tutorials, free quilting patterns (including a list of other web sites that offer free patterns, photo gallery, tips and a chat room.

The Moda Bakeshop features their fabric line (Moda) and free patterns and photos of the projects. Both definitely worth checking out.

It’s so wonderful to see that sewing and quilting are still alive and well in this day and age when so many of the “old fashioned” type of home projects seem to be waning. I’m not sure if sewing is even taught anymore in high school (I don’t think it is). It was back in my day when i took home ec. i made a sundress. I think a quilt would have been easier, especially since the dress included a ZIPPER! Anyway i am learning so much from the blogs and sites i come across. Hope to feature more in future along with my own projects.

 Oh the things you can do with Embroidery

I finally learned how to use the embroidery function on my sewing machine! Although kind of a pain because the sewing machine needs to be connected to the computer before it can be done, I think in the long run I will be able to have much more options this way without having to buy additional software. We’ll see, the deed is done and this is the machine I have so I must work with it. It’s amazing how you can make a little 89 cent towel look so much nicer with a little embroidery.

The possibilities are endless and needless to say everybody will be getting embroidered items for Christmas. I’ll be incorporating some of that on my future quilt projects, especially for the labels! The photo is the project we did in the embroidery class which i gave to my mom for Mother’s Day. 003 can’t wait to use on quilting blocks as well.

May 14, 2009 Posted by | Quilting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On my way..

Second day of quilting class and we got to use the Thangles! A neat little invention that helps you make perfect little triangles into perfect little squares in such an easy way. Being a first timer I thought they were fun and was disappointed when I was done ripping them off my material – it’s a stress reliever! For homework we have to sew all our strips together (3 strips of two different material) and then cut those into squares. It was a relief that I didn’t have to buy a special foot (1/4 inch quilting foot) for this. Hopefully I won’t need it down the line, that’s just one more expense and my regular sewing foot seems to work just fine. I can’t imagine all the time and effort it took back in the olden days to put these together and sew every stitch by hand. How fortunate those who have quilts from long ago that have been passed down through generations. They are true treasures. I found a fascinating web site that features and sells antique quilts from as far back as the 18th century.  If I ever get to York Village, Maine , Rocky Mountain Quilts will definitely be a stop on my itinerary. It’s so neat to see my first quilt start to come together and I love being able to have this time to sew again. 008

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Quilt Shops, Quilting | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BeepBeep

Yesterday I attended a class to learn how to work my new sewing machine. Although I had experimented at home with it, it kept beeping and stopping. Upon checking the owner’s manual, it went into a long drawn out explanation that gave the impression the beeping had to do with the settings. I was so glad when yesterday I started sewing in class and it began giving me the same problem. The teacher at first was just as perplexed. So she adjusted the thread somewhat. Still beeped. She took the thread out altogether and rethreaded the whole thing. Beeping stopped. As the class progressed I noticed a little tab peeking out from underneath my machine. Unsure if i might break something i none the less pulled on it. Low and behold it was a little trouble-shooting cheat sheet! And there under number 19 (a little light flashed on stitch number 19 when it beeped) it mentioned “may need to readjust threading”.

I also learned that i didn’t have to follow the instructions per letter in the owner’s manual for my bobbin. The book gave a complicated process that i was having trouble with. The teacher said i could do it like i’ve always done, just wind the loose end about 5-7 times around the bobbin and go. worked just fine.  I’m such a rule follower that it makes me nervous to try something new, different. What am i afraid of? i don’t know, it’s something i’m working to overcome – sometimes the rules can be broken with no harm done. This is what i’m hoping to work on by quilting. Yes there are certain rules but doesn’t appear so when it comes to fabric – Colors do not need to match – it can be as wild and as funky as i want it to be. looking forward to these experiments.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Quilting, sewing | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s a Thangle?

suppliesfabricThangles [www.thangles.com], dayglo  tape, blocks, triangles on a roll. These are just some of the new terms I learned last night at my quilting class and yes dayglo tape is exactly what it sounds like. A roll of brightly colored tape used to mark our rulers (at least that’s what we did last night) in the various positions needed to keep track of where we will be measuring and cutting for different widths of cloth. I’m sure it has other uses but we haven’t learned them yet. And triangles on a roll are just that – a big roll of paper triangles to use as patterns to cut the fabric. How cool is that! We will be using Thangles instead of triangles on a roll which are basically the same thing except they come in strips instead of on a roll, but the lesson on how to actually use them will be next week.

 

 

 Quilting, I (and my classmates) are learning is turning into an expensive little adventure, especially for those of us who also just purchased sewing machines. In addition to the above we needed thread, cutting mats, rotary cutters, pins, seam ripper and a quilt ruler. Having sewed off and on through the years I did have some of these supplies but not all. We also learned to never, ever leave our cutting mat in the car. A class mate left hers and by the time she got in the car to come to class it had bent out of shape from the heat (and it wasn’t even a very hot day). Now she has to purchase a new one and at $25 her cost in this venture has just gone up.

But all in all, we will take away a valuable skill and an item that will last for years to come –as will most of the supplies with proper care – and that is what we are anticipating. By the end of the class we should all be very familiar with quilt-speak.

 

 

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Quilting | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The thread goes where?

002 Well, I’ve taken out the new machine to familiarize myself with all it’s fancy gadgets and workings. After several tries I was finally able to get my bobbin threaded after spending a few minutes figuring out the example drawn in the instruction book, yet I still don’t think I’m doing it quite right. It kept getting tangled up on the bobbin and ending up in a big mess that definitely would not work. So I managed to figure out a way to get the thread on there tight and managed to thread the machine. I then went through some old scrap material I still had (I keep everything!) to test some of the stitches. It sews beautifully! However as I went through the various stitches, the machine kept making a beeping noise and stopping. Apparently it is factory set and although I moved the knobs to adjust the stitch length, it still keeps beeping. This will be very annoying if it does this while I’m in my quilting class so I found a class for next Monday morning – lesson 1 to learn how to work my machine. I had already been through this series of classes with my previous machine and now I’m back at square one. Well it will be worth it, this has some really neat stitch options – ivy and starbursts among others and I can’t wait to use them on upcoming projects.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | sewing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment