Monday, December 26, 2016

10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About: Patchwork Pins (Fine)

It's time for 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About! Previously, I introduced you to the Iron Shine Cleaning Pen and the Hot Ruler. Today's notion is a must-have basic, Clover Patchwork Pins (Fine). When I started quilting, I fell prey to the deception of generic "quilting pins". I assumed these pins, given their name, would be the most suitable for my new hobby. I didn't realize the thick shafts were shifting my fabric as I pinned, the plastic yellow heads would melt if they came into contact with my iron, and their bulky size created a greater likelihood of being hit by my needle and cause my machine to need servicing. 
Clover Patchwork Pins (Fine) can be ironed over without damage, due to a melt-proof glass head. The extra fine shaft (.04 mm) passes through fabric without leaving holes or distorting the alignment of the fabric layers. They are the perfect length (36 mm) and come in a closable plastic case. They can be used for piecing or appliqué.
If you were very perceptive when reading my post about making an 18" doll pillowcase dress, you might have noticed a sneak peek.
More recently, I've been working on some Disappearing 9 Patch holiday blocks in batiks fabrics. I wouldn't call my fabric selections modern, even though batiks are emerging within the aesthetic (Alison Glass Handcrafted and Hoffman Indah Batiks), but I love the festive patterns and saturated hues all the same.
If you want to make your own blocks, here's a brief run-down. Cut two 7" width-of-fabric strips. Sew together the long sides, right-sides-together with a 1/4" seam. Press toward the dark. Crosscut into 7" sections.
Use two sections to make a four-patch. Press. Cut 1 3/4" on from each side of both vertical and horizontal seams. 
Flip each outer-middle piece 180 degrees so that the same colors do not touch. Sew together in this formation.
Square blocks up to be 12 1/2" unfinished.
If you're really on a disappearing block kick, here are a few resources I've gathered:
Disappearing Quilt Blocks
Disappearing 4 Patch
Disappearing 9 Patch
Disappearing Hourglass
Disappearing Hourglass 2
Disappearing Pinwheel
Disappearing Pinwheel 2
Disappearing Pinwheel 3 & 4
Disappearing Pinwheel 5
Thanks for joining me. Have you tried Clover Patchwork Pins? What about disappearing blocks?
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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Though to be fair, Jessica Inman took this beautiful family photo. When I take pictures of the kids, it looks more like this.
And then this happened. Silence is not golden; it's a golden opportunity to give yourself an edgy David Bowie hair-do.
Except it was a little too edgy for Mom, so we went to Shear Madness where the hairdresser said, "Wow!"and evened things out a bit.
My little lady has an independent streak a mile wide and certainly knows her own mind. She loves her new do and said to me following her new crop, as she pinched a tuft of hair between two fingers, "I could cut more!" "Um, no, honey. I think we've cut enough for now." I'd better part ways, as I prepare for a day of making memories, excessive cookie eating, and an abundance of toys that are almost as exciting as their packaging.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

#2017PlanningParty

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl hosts and annual Planning Party. She excels at organization, and is a good motivator, encouraging me to pull myself together and be more mindful about about my intentions for the coming year.
I expect to have more success in accomplishing my goals if I take a minimalist approach.
1. Pick up where I've left off. I have a great many projects in various stages of completion. I'd free up some sewing room and mental space by getting them out of the way.
2. Pick a few commitments so that they stay fun and manageable. I'll be participating in the Gridsters bee organized by Elizabeth of OPQuilt, continuing my 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About series, and joining any blog hops FQS may ask me to join in the coming year (because I've enjoyed working with them immensely). I'm paring down my in-person guild attendance to ABQMQG. While I have enjoyed larger daytime groups in the past, it's become too difficult to tote the kids along and still participate, and far too large of an investment to hire a decent sitter on a regular basis.
3. Take care of myself. This isn't really as posh as it sounds. There won't be any cucumbers on my eyes or anything like that (unfortunately). Rather, I'm making a promise to myself to go take a nap or grab a bite to eat instead of being in denial that I actually need to pause what I'm doing every once in a while. I suspect this will results in less mental lapses and a decreased chance of my body staging a full-fledged revolt against my neglect.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About: Hot Ruler

I'm baaaack! Since I know the suspense is killing you; I'm going to let you know the second of my 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About. If you missed the first item, check my previous post, especially if you have a messy iron. Today's notion is the Hot Ruler, and it measures your level of hotness. Wowers! You're a hottie! I might be kidding about its intended purpose, but it is very useful for turning over the edges of fabric.

Here's a look at the heat resistant, 2 1/2" x 10" nylon fiberboard with ruler markings and a non-slip surface.
I put mine to use on an 18" Doll Pillowcase Dress (free pattern). Simple Simon and Company was selling surplus muslin dolls from their Spring Market booth, and I thought it would make an excellent Christmas gift for my daughter. If you want your own doll, and Simple Simon and Company are out of stock, Amazon has some too.
First, I turned over the long edge of an 8.5" x 18" rectangle of fabric 1" with the help of my Wedge Iron. I pieced my rectangle from two fabrics just to be fancy. It was really easy to curl the wrong side of the fabric over the edge of the Hot Ruler until it reached the 1" line, and press with it still in place. Pins weren't necessary, and my fingers never needed to get precariously close to the heat of the iron. I pity my seam gauge, who is now ostracized due to inferiority.
 Here's how my piece looked after the first step.
Next I pinned four 10" ribbons 4" and 7" from either end and pinned them into place with Patchwork Pins.
 I ran a line of stitching 1/4" and 5/8" down from the fold, catching the ribbons.
 I used a safety pin to pull 12" worth of 1/4" elastic through the casing.
 I sewed the short ends right sides together, catching the elastic in the seam, to make a tube.
 Then, I turned over the bottom edge over 1/4" twice and topstitched it.
After flipping the dress right side out, it was ready for the muslin doll. I painted the hair using acrylic paint. During this process, I began to regret the superiority I felt when I watched a YouTube video about painting hair on peg dolls and contemplated why so much emphasis was placed on painting the correct side of the head given how foolish that would be. As you may have surmised, I was painting lavender on the face-side of the doll's head when it dawned on me that the doll's thumbs should not be aiming toward the back of the body. Oy vey! They were trying to warn me! I was able to reverse the damages by immediately scrubbing the paint off with water and soap. Unfortunately, I should have patiently waited for the head to completely dry before resuming painting because capillary action is a real thing, which means that my purple hair started bleeding onto the neck and face. As for the bold color choice, my daughter was very insistent that more natural hair colors would not suit, even though I was very tempted to use a subtle coordinating color.
As for making this pattern again, I will make a few minor modifications.
1. Turn over the bottom edge 1/4" twice and stitch (Step #5) immediately following the first step, so the Hot Ruler can be used.
2. Make the lines of stitching for the casing 1/4" and 7/8" from the fold, and use 1/2" elastic, so the Clip 'n Glide Bodkin can be used to feed the elastic through.
On a separate note, another use for the Hot Ruler is turning over the short, raw edges when constructing a quilt sleeve. I like to use this tutorial when I'm not sewing one side into the binding. This is the sleeve I created for my brother's graduation quilt.
So what do you think? Do you use a seam gauge? Do you think the Hot Ruler will be sending yours into retirement?
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Sunday, December 11, 2016

10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About: Iron Shine Cleaning Pen

Over the course of the next ten weeks, I'll be introducing you to ten fantastic notions that you'll be wishing you heard about sooner. These wonderful items will make your sewing life easier and more enjoyable.
While I know it's not advisable to get fusible on your iron, I seem to always manage to get my iron all sticky in spite of my noble intentions. I've previously attempted a myriad of solutions ranging from scraping it against the edge of my ironing board cover in a vain attempt to displace the goo, to creating wisps of potent and inadvisable-for-breathing smoke derived from a drier sheet. Unfortunately, none of these was as effective in removing the sticky residue as my husband's brand new dress shirt. Ooops!
That was before I discovered the Clover Iron Shine Cleaning Pen. It just so happens that I'm working on an appliqué project at the moment. While it remains to be seen whether my finished work will be identifiable as a pronghorn, I do know my iron (and the family dress clothes) will come away unscathed. I'll show you!
First, I gunked up my iron really well. I stamped it right into Steam-A-Seam II Lite and then melted it on for good measure. (Do not try this at home.) Go figure, the only time I don't have a mis-step regarding the successful use of parchment paper (a great product for creating a barrier of safety between your sole plate and fusible) is when I'm prepping to put Iron Shine to the test. See how great I am at making an icky mess?
I emptied the water in my iron, turned the temperature to low, and gave my iron the rub down while compressing the Iron Shine Cleaning Pen tip. Conveniently, the more you push, the more cleaner is released to deal with the mess.
video
After less than a minute of scrubbing, I gave my iron a once-over with a wet rag to reveal a perfectly shiny sole plate. I also was able to remove all the massive amounts of fusible debris the pen had collected by gently rubbing the tip off with a wet cloth.The Clover Iron Shine Cleaning Pen was even able to remove some hard water deposits and black singe marks that had established themselves prior to the intentional defilement of my iron via fusible. Based on my little experiment, I can attest to the pen's ability to remove anything you manage to burn onto it.
I advise adding the Clover Iron Shine Cleaning Pen to your collection of notions, as it costs much less than replacing an article of clothing that gets wrecked by residual goo, and it'll save your project from the heart-wrenching possibility of getting fusible stuck to it where you didn't intend. Now, if I can just remember not to place the fusible on the right side of the fabric, and to reverse all my pieces, I'll be golden! I'll see you next week, when I unveil another item you'll want to add to your holiday wish list.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Giveaway Day: Seaside Bundle

Update: The winner is #89: Sarah J.

Welcome new and long-time visitors. If you're visiting from Giveaway Day, I'm so glad you came! 
I'd love if you'd consider stopping back when you get a chance. Below is a quick snapshot of the type of sewing projects I've been up to lately. Quilting Mod is also a great place to find highlights from quilt shows, tutorialsfree patterns, a linky party collection, and a quilt-alongs
I have several more giveaways going on, so you might want to follow the Quilting Mod blog via Bloglovin', Feedly, or e-mail (in the sidebar) so that you don't miss out. I'm on Instagram too!
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If you are a regular around here, I'd like to mention how much I appreciate you. I'd also be remiss if I didn't give you a heads up about the massive amount of fun sewing-related giveaways happening now at Sew Mama Sew.
Let's get to the details about the prize and how to get in the running. For your chance to win a seaside bundle including Seaside Quilts, the Under the Sea and Aloha Mermaid quilt patterns, Contempo and Shannon Cuddle charm packs, and a package of Scandinavian Swimmers (unless I'm hungry and find the temptation too great) tell me in the comments if you live anywhere near the ocean, unlike myself. For an extra entry, tell me how you follow the Quilting Mod blog. A winner will be selected Monday, Dec. 12.