Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Making Circles

I've been busy this past week sewing little
round berries for my guild's raffle quilt.
There were about 88 of them!

I used Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley.
You can purchase them directly from Karen;
some quilt shops also carry them.
Some appliquers use washers but I find that Karen's Perfect Circles
are thinner and that makes the circle lay flat on your fabric. I also
like the fact that the circles come on a ring.

Above photo shows the supplies that you will need to start
making your perfect circles. I prefer to use my small iron and
you can use almost any spray starch.

Once you decided on the size of your circle; choose another one
that is larger like the example above. You want your fabric
to come over that smaller circle - so I would say a little more
than 1/4".

Draw around the larger circle with your pencil and then cut out.

Using a paper cup - spray the starch inside the cup. You can either
use a paint brush but I prefer to use a q-tip.
I'm using green thread here just for the photos but do be careful
as some threads bleed. (ask me how I know that) generally I use
white thread and double it.
Start sewing a running stitch all around; come down about
1/8". Just give a little tug as you sew - you don't want it
too tight otherwise you won't be able to fit your smaller
circle inside. The above photo shows how.
Place your smaller circle inside ....
You can hold the middle down with your finger but sometimes
I use a small spool; then with your other hand gently pull on
the thread to gather the stitches. Once that is done I leave a long
tail and cut off the thread.

Dip the q-tip into the starch and dab all around the circle. This is
why I leave on a long thread; I can now pull on the thread again
after I applied my starch to make sure it's nice and tight.
Now I start to iron all around the circle. Sometimes I apply more
starch to make sure it's nice and stiff. Once you have ironed it
all around; wait for it to cool off before removing the inside circle.
I give it about 10 minutes. To remove the inner circle; I use
a tweezer and gently loosen the outside fabric circle. Pull the
template out with the tweezers. Once out I can use the thread
tail to pull the fabric back into place.

Ta-da - a Perfect Circle! Now you can cut off the tail; I don't take
the stitches out although some people do.
When I first started; I had to make a couple of them in order to
get the hang of it. It may seem like a long process but once you
learn how to do it; they go very fast.
I was fortunate enough to take a class from Karen Kay Buckley
a couple of years ago. What a nice lady and a GREAT teacher!
There are so many different sizes that you can make for your
projects. I hope that you'll give these a try.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Improvisational Quilts 2

Update - hand quilted and finished 2013
to see it - to here


Where do you get an idea from?

I had 2 bundles of fat quarters, a library book
- The Quilts of Gee's Bend and spotted a book
on my shelf by Jenny Beyer - Quiltmaking by Hand.
On pg. 7 Jenny says "...generations of quilters made do
with minimal supplies ... All it took was a needle and
thread, a thimble, a pair of sharp scissor, cardboard..."

Hmm, I thought about that for awhile.

The rotary cutter was created for quilters in 1979.
I wondered if I could manage to make a small quilt not
using a rotary cutter and piecing it by hand.

No ruler, just a large piece of cardboard and pencil
to draw my squares and strips.
I also wanted to experiment with colors - using colors
together that I never tried, instead of gravitating to my
old favorites. This was really a challenge for me. At
first I thought I couldn't stand to see certain colors next
to one another but I kept persisting.

I started by cutting out a square piece of fabric and
using that size as my template; I did the same for my strips.
Using my cardboard and pencil; I found that the sizes varied!
Part of the charm of some of the Gee's Bend is that not all of
the seams are perfect and the some fabrics don't match
- that to me adds to their beauty and uniqueness.

Surprisingly, it doesn't take long to hand sew all of the
pieces together. Using a running stitch; I made a couple of
squares in no time. I was tempted to draw a 1/4 " seam allowance
but I decided to just "wing" it. After all I don't want it to be perfect
- that's the point.

After all of my squares were sewn together; I have to
admit I couldn't stand it anymore and broke down
and got out my mat, cutter and ruler! I had to add the border
and I wanted it to be straight. You have to give credit to
the women who made quilts without these conveniences
that we have today.
I also wanted to add a piano like border - those were
cut with the rotary cutter BUT they were all hand sewn
also - 1 1/2" x 5" abt. 166 pieces! I must be nuts!

I'm very satisfied with the way it turned out.

Only I think it will be a long time before I hand piece another quilt top!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bushfire Quilts

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

I found out about this wonderful project through
reading someone's blog. It is being organized
through a U.S. Army wife named Tia.
God bless her!
So, this is what I'll be doing all weekend.
I have 4 completed so far and several more cut out and
waiting to be sewn.

This block is called "Wonky Star" and it's the first time
that I ever tried it. Thanks to Silly Boodilly for her excellent step by step tutorial.

I'm using Laura Burch fabrics for the center blocks.
I love her fabric; they're all so colorful and down right

I hope that I have inspired you to do a couple of "easy"
blocks for this worthy cause. They go together very
quickly and it's a great way to use your stash! You
can also make it scrappy.

"Happy Valentine's Day!"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wonderful Day!

The temperature today was over 50 degrees and "Plenty of Sunshine"!
So I decided to take a ride down to Kitchen Kettle
Village which is in Intercourse. Everyone must have had the
same idea - it was quite busy as if it were summertime.

Not only were there lots of tourists here today but also plenty of
horse n' buggies.

So, as there wasn't a parking space to be found in Kitchen Kettle
Village; I did what any smart woman would do. I made a right
turn into the parking lot of my favorite fabric store - Zooks!

I just love this shop. I can always find something I absolutely
must have.

This is their parking lot. You can always find Amish shoppers

This is what I bought today - Robert Kaufman - Oriental Traditions.
I just love this fabric and I have a pattern for it that I borrowed
from my quilter buddy.

Here's a couple of other shops:

All good things must come to an end - On my way home.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Charity Quilts

We have had bad weather all week. Snow and ice in
mid-week and very, very, cold. So, to ward off those
winter blues; I did my charity quilts this week ~
for my Guild ~ The Red Rose Quilters Guild.
Move QOV strippy blocks which go very fast.

I also found a block I liked very much at;
it's called Aunt Dinah:

I also finished more of the applique blocks for the Breast Cancer Quilt:

I love this block - although there is a mistake in it but I won't
say where. (-: I'm thinking of adding some embroidery around
it. You can faintly see the line in the back of a heart shape. That's
where I'll probably put some embroidery stitches. Here's where
I found the pattern: Craft and Fabric links.

This one is called Posy Folk Art and I found the pattern here:
Patch Pieces

This one I think is really cute. I might embroider some eyes.
Here's where I found this pattern:
Bella on Line

I'm satisfied that I had a very productive week! Now the forecast
for Tuesday is "we may have another winter storm"! ugh
Good thing I have a list of things "to do".
Is it spring yet?