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.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that breast cancer will strike 1 out 7 women? Look how many women you know at work? At church? In your neighborhood? And men can also get breast cancer!

Well I lost a very dear friend who was an amazing teacher, dancer, practical joker and great gal. The first year a bunch of us got together and did the Susan Komen Orange County Race for the Cure, she was there but did not walk or run. The next year, she did the 1 mile with the promise that the following year, she would do the 5k with us.

She didn’t make it. Her cancer was progressing so rapidly that she decided to forgo her cancer treatments and just travel.

It is because of her that I got involved and became the Team Captain for Fire Walkers. Sometimes when I am running and get really tired, I can hear Karen’s voice saying “Stop being such a slacker. Our dance group used to dance for 8 hrs and then party for 10. You can do this!” So at that time, I pick up my pace.

This will be my last year as team captain since I am retiring from the Fire Authority next March. To raise money for our team, we hold an annual bake sale and raffle.

I picked up our team t-shirts and bib numbers and one of the survivors asked me if I minded if she turned in the quilt I made that was presented to her. No problem. For one thing, I was taught that once a gift was given, it was up to the recipient to do whatever they wanted. So now the quilt is being raffled off.

Pink and Chocolate 002
The pink and chocolate colors had an impact when I saw them. The background fabric has a nice silver sheen to it. And Pink is the color for Breast Cancer.

What I am trying to say is Cancer can be beaten by early detection, monthly breast exams, diet, prayer, exercise and the support from your “sisters”. Join a local walk to help fund to find the cure. Or come join us at Fashion Island, Sept 22 and meet over 25,000 of your new closest friends.

So when you see someone fighting breast cancer, look at them and think “There goes a healthy, strong person who will beat cancer.”

Thanks for reading.

It’s been awhile and I apologize

Spring and summer are quite busy for me with my regular job – I had 6 commercial high rises to inspect and 3 residential high rises.  This just means my weekends are a little busy and I don’t get a lot of quilting done.  And of course, there are the times I am on firework shoots (most fun and most dangerous).

But while shopping in Quilter’s Garden in Anaheim, I found this great fabric and I immediately thought “I could do another Magic Slice and Dice”.

This is the quilt after completing the squares and sewing into rows.  There are 2 ladies in the So Calif area that worked out a pattern that when sewn looks like this.  (top pic) Then you make 2 slices, resew just 2 seams and this is what you get. (Bottom pic)

It takes on a whole new look.  It appears that it is sewn on the diagonal with triangles on the sides.  I have made this pattern about 8 other times.  In fact, this is one pattern that you can use the ugliest, busiest fabric and it comes out absolutely gorgeous.  It only took 3 hours to quilt on the long arm.

The back fabric is black and I used gold thread on the back so the quilting would really stand out.  Plus it kind of makes it a reversible quilt.  Who gets this one?  Who knows.  It may be a raffle quilt or a gift.  I just quilt because God has given me this talent.  Plus if my hands are busy, then they aren’t stuffing food in the mouth.

Thanks for reading – have a blessed holiday season.