Tips and Tools Part Deux

Bon jour and that is the extent of my French.  I hope you enjoyed Part one of Tips and Tools.  Let me throw out some more:

Tools DVDPattern Books and movies:  I will usually purchase the books from teachers when I take class at Road to California.  One reason is they get the money directly and two, they will autograph it for you.  I will take some of the books to have them spiral bound.  This makes it easy to make copies if you are doing paper piecing.  Now my DVD collection on the shelf is a cross between movies and quilting.  The Quilt Show, hosted by Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson are in box sets which is good and bad.  The good is you learn great techniques and get to new perspective.  The bad is you aren’t quilting because the show is so intriguing.  I have made quilts while West Side Story, Casablanca, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray and many others are playing on a small DVD player.  Again for two reasons – one is I have seen them so many times I don’t have to watch.  Two, it makes me stop if my favorite scene is on.  You need to take breaks for your back, eyes and mind.

Tools Iron Iron:  I love this Oliso iron as it lifts itself up off the fabric.  This helps eliminate the repetitive motion of lifting up the iron.  You can get less expensive irons but make sure it doesn’t leak.  The Oliso one also shuts itself off when not moved.  It takes regular water so you don’t end up buying distilled water.  You do have to empty out the reservoir after you are finished.  There are other portable irons that you can take to class but some places are adamant about too much power being used.  Some classes are even policed by the staff of the venue to check on the extra items.  Now some teachers say don’t iron until you have completed the top.  But when you need top press the seam to one side or press open, you want to use the steam iron as opposed to a dry  iron.  The steam causes the fibers of the thread to expand making the seam more strong.

Tools rulersRulers:  So many to have and you will need a lot of them.  There are many manufactures so it really depends on what appeals to you.  Do you want one that has a green background, clear acrylic, yellow lines, black lines, specialty (diamonds, triangles, etc).  Some teachers have had their own made for their patterns.  Kimberly Einmo created a ruler so it would be easier to cut diamonds for her patterns.  The 2 1/2″ line is marked in a different color.

You’ll want at least a 24″, 18″ and a 12″ length ruler.  This will accommodate almost every cutting mat that is out there. 12″ and 18″ are good for fat quarters but the longer rulers are better for the 42-44″ fabric. Do not leave these rulers in direct sunlight.  Along with the mats, they will warp – that’s when you put on Rocky Horror picture Show and do the Time Warp Dance”  But seriously, the mats can be reshaped but not perfectly.

Tools art bin lampCarry All:  Mine is an old art bin box that I have had for years.  It’s lightweight and has numerous levels.  My wood handled seam ripper and stiletto are on the top level along with hand sanitizer.  I also carry a highlighter, glue stick, buttons, extra thread, needles, extra bobbins, rotary cutter, breath mints, pens, pencils, and band-aids. To the right is an Ott light.  Some venues had almost adequate lighting.  The Ott light is a must for some classes.  The bulb is LED and gives natural illumination.  This way, you don’t have to carry your fabric outside to check the colors.  Next to the light is a small bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  You will want to use this when sewing half square triangles.  I know that mine have stretched just enough to make it impossible for the points to be perky. Best Press has a variety of aromas – Lavender, Peach, Fresh Breeze and Unscented.

So to conclude with just some other advice:

Never be afraid to try a new method .. Read all the directions before cutting (it will save you $$ and time) .. There are no stupid questions.. Be bold… Check out a teachers website… Contact them if you had a great time in the class…Send them a photo of the finished top (you might end up in their next book)..Just have fun.  Plus you do need a cat to test the fabric.Tools cat This is Jake.  He reminds me to stop and appreciate him.

Thanks for reading. Any feedback is appreciated.

Tips and Tools – Part 1

I just wish I had some of these items when I first started quilting.  First, never limit yourself to just one tool.  Variety is great.

Example SCISSORS – I have a pair of Kai scissors and in the wooden holder (upper right) is a little pair of embroidery scissors.  Make sure family members or roommates do not use these on paper, plastic or even cardboard.  Gingher and Kai are my favorite brands.  If there is a large quilt show, you can find these at many of the vendors’ booths.

ROTARY CUTTERS – the pink handle and the yellow handle are both from Olfa.  The yellow handle allows you to cut with either your left or right hand.  You can bring down the safety and have only half or the whole blade showing.  The pink one safety switch gives you the whole blade.  Before you place the rotary back on the cutting board (green mat) close the guard on the blade.  Always!  You could accidently go to grab something and brush up against the blade.  Or if you have cat, they could cut their paws. The blade is extremely sharp!  Blood is never good on a quilt or a cat.Tools board ripper scissors

SEAM RIPPERS – The purple handle one is from Lumenaires.com.  I saw their ad in a quilt magazine and had to have one (actually ended up buying three – one for a friend and kept two for myself).  First, I love the color and second, the handle is very comfortable in my hands.  Seam rippers are not that expensive but they are like socks in the dryer – they end up missing.  I find that having at least two in your tool kit.

CUTTING BOARD – these wonderful mats come in a variety of sizes.  You will find one big enough to cover your cutting table or small enough to take to class.  The one in the picture has an ironing pad on the other side.  The material for the mat keeps your blade sharp and doesn’t ruin your tables.

SEAM PRESSERS – I have two shown.  One is a wooden roller (top left) which I found at Road to California show about eight years ago. Just wish I could remember the name of the craftsman.  The second one is a piece of curved  wood and I bought it from Alex Anderson.  Again, both are good for quilt classes as they don’t require a plug = just some elbow grease.

SEAM OPENER – that’s the white thing that is positioned at an angle.  You lay your piece and the fabric bends over it.  It is covered with fabric and you just iron the seams open.  Normally, the seams are ironed to the dark side so they will nestle together.  This is new on the market and worth buying.

PIN HOLDER – The most frustrating thing is when you knock over your pin holder.  There are many on the market that have a magnet inside.  Again, buy a couple so you have one at the sewing machine and one on the cutting table.  I got an industrial metal bowl for the pins I use for the zippers on the long arm.  They look like corsage pins.

Lastly, Tools Timerget an egg timer and set it for 20 minutes.  When it goes off, move away from the machine/sewing room and stretch.  Rest your eyes, shoulders and mind.  I find my shoulders rising up when I sewing on the Bernina.

More to come later.  The 20 minute timer is also good for computer work so it’s break time for me.

So much has happened in one year!

Well, it has been one year since I retired from the Fire Authority.  Since that time I took an extended visit to see my mom in Oregon, had the house fixed up (popcorn ceiling removed, professionally painted, new flooring, new window treatments and new dual pane windows).

I also downsized quite a bit – all furniture got donated to Goodwill/Salvation Army, bags of gently used clothing and books donated to Goodwill, fabric was donated to my guild to either sell or raffle off and a few other things.  It’s great to clean up and start fresh.

Fan Dance With that said about starting fresh, this was the first quilt from Road to California 2015 class that I finished.  Some class projects get done in a year or two or just get shelved.  This one is called Fan Dance and the teacher was Nancy Mahoney.  Nancy has a great technique so the quilt was assembled quickly.  Since I purchased the fabric in La Mesa at Rosie’s Quilt, I named mine La Mesa Leslie.

It was quilted on the long arm, binding on in record time and then shipped to my friend Sharon Elsensohn.  Sharon and I had a fabulous friend named Leslie.  We have known each other for more than 25 years.  Well, that damn cancer took Leslie away from us.  Knowing that Sharon was feeling the loss, I sent it to her.  When she’s down, maybe she can think that Leslie is nearby watching over her.

So Leslie, farewell.  Sharon, enjoy the quilt.  Any quilt guilds, think about having Nancy as an instructor.  Quilters could also use this pattern and use the panels of the fans for signatures. When finished you could use it for a gift for a bride, a retiring member of your company or church or a family gift.

More later as I need to put some binding on another quilt.

Thanks for reading.

Featherweights for sale!

Well, it is time to downsize. We are redoing the house and I just realized that I have to start eliminating “stuff”. Now I love my Featherweights – they are great for taking to class. But I went a little nuts on eBay and now have 6. Plus a couple of other portable machines.

I know – that is way too many unless I have a studio, set up each machine with different color thread and have the space. So, if you are interested, please let me know. Here are some pictures of my 1948 that was listed.
??????????????????????????????? Cat is not included in the sale. Elwood just likes to have his photo taken.

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Singer 7

All my Featherweights have cases, bobbins, foot pedals and are in working condition. Please email me if you are interested. Thanks

Purple Maze – Purple Haze

I recently retired from a government/county job and let me tell you, retiring through the system is like going through a maze. So as I was perusing through the American Quilting Society (AQS) magazine, I found a pattern that caught my eye.
pattern

I ordered the pattern was happy to see “NO Y SEAMS”. Yea, my favorite term in quilting. To do a “Y” seam, you have to stop 1/4″ from the end, tweak the fabric and then sew it to another piece. I’m not fast at it and my seams end up a little wonky. So, it was off to the Calico House for some fabric. Sometimes I will use fabric out of my stash but this one needed to be selected from the store. I love purples and found 3 fabrics for the maze. bulk fabric maze All I needed was some black.

The cutting instructions were super easy and fast. I cut, separated into piles and then pinned so they wouldn’t get messed up when my cats jump up on the table. Cut maze. The other great thing mentioned is it is a “Two Block Wonder” meaning there are only two types of blocks to make. I just needed 5 of one type and 4 of the other. I finished up this top on Sunday, was able to take it to my guild meeting (Orange Grove Quilt Guild in Garden Grove) on Wednesday and will quilt it in a couple of weeks at Quilter’s Garden on the long arm.

So here is the finished top. unquilted mazeThe actual pattern name is Labyrinth Walk, designed by Christopher Florence and is published at The Guilty Quilter in Portland, Oregon. It is 84″ X 84″ and I can’t wait to get it on the long arm machine. You can check out more patterns at http://www.theguiltyquilters.blogspot.com. I also purchased Christopher’s other pattern San Marco Square which I will do in greens. More on this one later.

With retirement, I am no longer relegated to just weekend sewing. Thanks for reading about the quilts I have made.

Family History – ask about it – save it

This will be a slight detour from my quilting but it does go hand in hand. Frequently, quilters will just make a quilt and give it to someone without a label on the back……. For my future quilts, I am adding a label on each one.

The label will have the following:
Who made the quilt
Who quilted it (I sometimes have my quilts custom quilted)
The date finished
Who the recipient is

Keep a picture of it in a file so you can also remember the art. Now with family history, please talk to your elder family members. As a kid, I never asked my grandfather about his service in World War I, how he met Grandma, his family or anything else. I just knew he had served in them Army, liked his golf, his cigars and his family.

I remember he was normally gone in the summer months but always remembered my birthday (July baby) with a little something when he and Nana returned.
grandma This picture is of my Nana and the ladies she lunched with. Lydian Marie Stiger is 3rd from the right. Great clothes and beautiful hats. That was an era of great fashion.

Recently, my Mother was given a box of old letters and files from one of her cousins. It seems that he asked my Grandpa about his father and the other uncles. It was amazing reading about where the family settled, what companies hired them, the earnings, etc. Grandpa typed a 5 page letter, single spaced with very little margins and gave a detailed report about the Stiger family history. My Mom is taking the information and writing a book on our past.

When you come across photos, find out who is in the photo and approximately when it was taken. I remember being with my paternal grandmother decades ago and describing the photo and she could tell me everything about it. Now Grandma was blind but she remembered everything and everybody. The sad thing was I didn’t write any of this down thinking that other family members would receive the photo albums. Oddly enough, my cousins did not want the albums and I ended up with them. My dad, aunts and uncle I recognize but am at a loss as for the background.

So ask your grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles about your history. Write it down or do some research but keep the memories to pass down.

Internet, Tools, Quilting

First let me say that if any of you received an email from darcelona3@aol.com regarding a link taking you to a weight loss page, it wasn’t me. I purchased a new computer from Best Buy and while they had the computer to transfer data over, someone hacked my account. I have had to change the password about 7 times so hopefully, you won’t receive any more.

Tools – I have to say that I have become a scissor junkie. I start to salivate at a Kai display or a Gingher or Bohn. Since retiring from the Fire Authority, I have been rearranging and organizing my sewing room. Found numerous packets of needles – everything from quilting, crewel, tapestry, to multiple packets. But needles go dull so that is an absolute need. I also found about 10 pairs of scissors. Everything from embroidery, 6″, 8″ size and even pinking shears. Plain handles to floral. Just gotta have them.

There was a vendor at Road to California this year that sold wood handled seam rippers, stillettos (not shoes, sigh), hair picks and thimbles. Their work is so beautiful that I bought a stiletto and a seam ripper. Then I told them that I had seen a blurb on their product in one of Mark Lipinski’s magazines. To date, I had already purchased knitting needles, a thimble and a seam ripper/stiletto set. Check out Bella Cotton in Esty – she carries some beautiful items.

Quilt shows- big or small, please support them. I attend the Orange County Quilt Guild’s show in Anaheim last week and the quilts were beautiful. Many members participated and they had some great vendors. There was one vendor that had a plethora of hand crank sewing machines. Almost bought one but had to stop myself. I had purchased a hand crank, Lady Washington machine years ago just in case we lose power and I just have to finish up a seam.

That’s all for now. The new computer has been letting pop-ups appear and tells me that my browser, Media, Flash Drive, etc are all out of date and need to be updated. Why? Everything should have been done before I picked this up. Oh well, back to Best Buy. The nice thing is since retirement, I can go and be there first thing in the morning to get answers.

Thanks for reading.

Twist Around Hawaii

This is the name I gave my last quilt. As I have stated before, going to Road To California is the highlight of every January. Held in Ontario, it is a week of classes, shopping, meeting up with old friends and making new ones.

I have also previously blogged about Breast Cancer, Race for the Cure held in Newport Beach and the quilts I have raffled off to raise money. Some quilts I give away, but some are donated for a raffle.

Well a co-worker, who is so awesome, recently told me that not only had she just recently had her thyroid removed due to cancer, but her latest mammogram came back with signs of breast cancer. She had thanked me earlier because I sent out an email to our office staff that said when getting dental x-rays or mammograms, to ask for a neck guard. So to be told that she was facing potential cancer treatments, I did what I could do. I made a quilt.

This co-worker loves Hawaii and visits there when she can. So while running around the vendor mall at 2014 Road To California, I had to stop by Beyond the Reef. They have the most extensive selection of Hawaiian/surf/turtle/palm tree fabric. There was a bolt of Hawaiian fabric with a pink background. I immediately bought 3 yards, came back the next day with a Judy Martin pattern book. Twist around the Garden was the perfect pattern. I’ve made it before so it would be snap to make. The next day (yes, I took 4 classes at Road this year) I went back, and their staff help me select 2 colors for the Twist part plus I bought 2 more yards of the pink background. Look, when the fabric speaks to you, purchase at least 4-6 yards.

This would be my next project – I put away the class projects and started cutting. Here it is:
Twist around Hawaii

Happy to say, she loved it. I would like to close with if someone tells you they have breast cancer, tell them they can beat it. By keeping a postive attitude, getting second opinions, talk to others that have gone through it. Another co-worker found that when going through treatment, she was often cold, thirsty, dry mouth, etc. So she put together bags for others that included a lap blanket, Jolly Rancher candies, water bottle, socks and positive affirmations.

This is one of my long writings but just be there for those going through cancer treatments. Look at them and think “THAT PERSON WILL BEAT THIS!”

Thanks for reading

New York Beauty Simplified

Image

Linda O’Riley Hahn, instructor

First let me apologize for the photo as I should have checked the phone to make sure the lens was clean or asked the lady to take a second one.  That being said, this quilt is called New York Beauty Simplified.  Linda O’Riley Hahn taught at the recent Road to California Quilt Conference.  Paper piecing made so easy.

Now I have taken numerous paper piecing classes where you would have to rip out the paper or I would use freezer paper.  Linda has a method where you leave the paper in.  No, it doesn’t make the quilt stiff or hard to use.  When you wash your finished quilt, the paper ends up being more like a stabilizer.

Linda is from New Jersey and has an engaging way of teaching.  Plus her books are easy to follow and they have some great color combinations.

I am currently finishing up the class I had at Road which was titled “New York Beauty Diversified”.  All I can say is if you want to try her method, you won’t be sorry.

I’ll try to post another picture when I can find my camera.  Every year I vow not to buy a lot of items from Road but end up with a basket full.  Then I need to find time to put items away, reduce my stash along with old magazines.  Now where does that stuff go?  To a local senior living facility where they have a small contingency of quilters.

Thanks for reading – now go get creative.

 

It’s Show Time – Road to California in Ontario

Well, Road to California started off with a bang! Extra tent for more vendors and lunch seating. Great Teachers! Beautiful fabric! Wonderful staff! So far, here are my comments:
Thanks to my first two instructors – Linda Ballard for Harmony Square. Also, thanks to Linda Hahn who taught New York Beauty Diversified. Great tips on sewing curves and copying the pattern. Usually if you copy a pattern, the distortion will show up in your quilt – especially if you use 2 different copiers. Both instructors brought in their quilts for layout ideas, colors and quilting the finished product.

Class squares from a 2006 class with Roxanne Carter

Class squares from a 2006 class with Roxanne Carter


Vendors – Thank you Beyond the Reef for coming over with great rolls of fabric – best Hawaiian fabric ever. ‘Quilt in a Day’ – Eleanor Burns is at her booth and I have to ask “Does this woman ever get tired?” She is one of the most upbeat vendors. “Come Quilt with Me’ and Pat Yamin who does triple duty this year – has a booth, judged the quilts and also taught. Another powerhouse vendor/teacher – she is awesome on handstitching. Kai Scissors have a terrific booth with some great show prices, Tracey’s Tables, Bohn from France with needles, scissors, etc, Island Batik and some many more. Tons of sewing machines – both regular machines, long arm, and every attachment possible.

Today is another class, Stacked Hexagon Stars Quilt with Norah McMeeking, and Saturday will be handstitching and learing new decorative stitches. I will be able to post more pictures later. I wasn’t going to do that much shopping as I need to reduce my stash of fabrics but couldn’t stop. Plus I found the most comfortable thimble that is absolutely gorgeous. She told me it was a JL Lane.

Ontario Convention Staff/Road to California Staff – all super helpful.

A few tips for those who attend – wear comfortable shoes. If you are taking class and want to sit with your friends, then get there early so you can sit together. And lastly, have fun and don’t forget your “P’s and Q’s”. That phrase, as I was told, means Don’t forget your PLEASE AND THANK YOUS”. There is a lot of work that goes into these shows. This year, Road is dealing with one teacher that had to cancel due to illness, one vendor broke down in Texas, one instructor woke up with the flu,,,,,, meaning cancelled classes. But you could not tell from their faces. All staff, both paid and volunteer, have smiles on their faces. So head out to Ontario as the show will end on Sunday at 4p.m.