Saturday, May 30, 2009

String-Piecing Bloopers

Today at Lutheran Church of Hope, Hope Quilters and other quilters from the Des Moines area met for a work day. From Hope Quilters' stash of donated fabrics, we selected colors, pressed, rotary-cut strips, and sewed to make string-pieced blocks, much like you've been invited to do, making Stringing Colors blocks by July 31. 

However, several of us managed to creatively find a way to make a mistake. The following bloopers are shown to keep you on the alert for these potential hazards. If you manage to blooper anyway, join our club! (Names and faces are not shown, to protect the innocent.)

The most common mistake occurs when a quilter lays fabric strips together incorrectly. Right sides together is the correct way to join strips. A right side sewn to a wrong side is the blooper way...followed by unsewing.

The second most common mistake is to lay down a fabric strip so it doesn't completely cover the telephone book paper. This blooper joined its mates in the trash.
Here a quilter became quite creative, simultaneously sewing two layers of fabric strips to the paper. 

And this quilter, surely believing more is better, sewed a snippet of fabric right into the strips. A blooper with a bonus!
A great big thank-you to the quilters who sewed today, and who help all of us learn by their mistakes. You're wonderful!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stringing Colors - Here's a Sample

My friend, Lola, accepted the invitation to participate in Stringing Colors and already put together this quilt! Yes, she went a little overboard (you're invited to make SIX blocks to donate toward our mission quiltmaking effort), but isn't the finished top just lovely?

For her two-color blocks she chose lavenders and purples to go with neutrals. And I know that all the fabrics came from a stash donated to Hope Quilters at Lutheran Church of Hope. See what you can do with leftover, and even ugly fabrics?

Also, Lola's layout is just one of many ways these blocks can be arranged. At a yet-to-be-schedule sewing day at WDM United Methodist, we'll explore all the layout possibilities - even combining different colors of blocks.  

I hope seeing this tickles your interest in participating. Make your string-pieced blocks by July 31, 2009, and drop them off at West Des Moines United Methodist Church (8th and Grand, WDM), along with your contact info. Then, we'll let you know when we'll make blocks into quilt tops. Click here for detailed information.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stitchin' Mission #17 - Third Lesson

At St. Luke's Episcopal Church, last evening we made lots of sandwiches! Of course, they were of the low-cal variety.

Quilt sandwiches covered every available table space as 25 new and experienced quilters buddied-up to layer each backing, batting (100 percent cotton, or low-loft poly) and top, and then tie the layers together with colorful yarns.  

Lucy and Deb

Tammie and Brenda

Dorthea and Charlotte

Newbies also listened-in on an overview of straight-stitch and free-motion machine quilting, and learned about a variety of ways to mark quilting designs, and the marking tools for doing so.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rotary Cutting Fun

At Monday's Stitchin' Mission #17, newbies learned rotary cutting.
Looks like they, and the Rebekahs, enjoyed themselves. 


Gaby and Andrea

Brenda and Michelle

Charlotte, Hollie and Lucy

Julie and Audrey

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Walking Foot Question

For Stitchin' Mission lessons, how important is it to have a walking foot? Brenda

You don't need a walking foot for Stitchin' Mission lessons. You'll be able to get along without one, but after machine-sewing binding to a quilt, and knowing it's easier with a walking foot, you'll probably want one. 

If you intend to continue making quilts after Stitchin' Mission lessons, a walking foot is a necessity. You'll also use it for straight-stitch machine quilting, and piecing more intricate blocks. I use my walking foot quite frequently and wouldn't be a happy quilter without it. That's why I encourage anyone shopping for a sewing machine, whether new or second-hand, to purchase a walking foot, or a machine with a built-in dual feed/even feed option. Negotiate a walking foot into the price and you won't be sorry.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pickin' a Pattern and Fabric, and Washin' and Pressin'

For all you SM17 newbies, I hope you've had a good week, preparing your supplies and tools for quiltmaking. 

By Monday (May 11) you should pick a pattern - preferably two! - choose and/or purchase your fabrics (don't forget to select fabric for binding), and then wash and press all of it.
A pressing tip: If you wish, use a little spray sizing to restore body to your fabric. You'll find that as you're learning to rotary cut, and sew your scant quarter-inch seam allowance, that little bit of sizing will add stability to the fabric, making it easier to handle.
Here's the "Noah's Ark" quilt I have begun for Mission Build West Virginia. 
Please send me your fabric and quilt pictures!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stitchin' Mission #17

It all begins Monday! Another Stitchin' Mission (#17) starts May 4 and for the next six weeks - with one week off for Memorial Day - new, and a few experienced quilters, from in and around the Des Moines area will set their sewing machines to hummin'.

A heads-up for new quilters... if you haven't taken your sewing machine out of the closet since I-can't-remember-when, then it's time to dust off that machine, brush out lint under the feed dogs, oil a few places, and put in a new needle. (For piecing a quilt I recommend a Sharp #80, a Jeans #80, or a Universal #80). Then read your owner's manual to remind yourself how to wind a bobbin and thread the machine. Properly taking care of and using your sewing machine plays a big role in your success - and happiness! - with quiltmaking. 

As we progress through lessons, I'll post your questions and answers, so everyone can learn. You won't hear me say, "My way is the right way..." or "... the only way." Rather, I will share with you my 33 years of experience finding techniques that work. Then I encourage you to find your own "sweet spot" as you enjoy the creative process.

I sincerely hope you will enjoy quiltmaking as much as I do.