Friday, April 24, 2015

You Gotta be in it . . .

 . . . to WIN it!!

Last week Pat Sloan and I had a nice chat about my new book When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilters. This week you have a chance to WIN a copy of that very same book! 





All you have to do is jump over to Pat's blog entry and make a comment. But you gotta do that before May 1, 6pm East Coast Time. From Pat's blog entry you can click over and listen to the April 13th conversation right on your computer. How cool is that?

After you listen (or even before that!), if you just can't wait and gotta have the book now, you can buy it here. AND if you still can't wait to start using the concepts from the book, you can download a FREE pattern extra right now, right here

Now, go! (and good luck!)
joan

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If Quilts had Arms. . .

. . . then they'd all need sleeves!

But my quilts don't have arms, so only a few of them have sleeves for hanging. When the Vermont Quilt Festival invited me to display several of my quilts in their annual show, I couldn't resist! However, to be hung, about 20 quilts need sleeves.

Since it's quilt show season, and you (and your quilts) might find yourself in a similar predicament, here's how I add a temporary sleeve to my quilts.

First, a quick assessment of the quilt size and backing fabric. This lap-sized quilt has a pretty blue on cream print.

adding a quilt sleeve


I always like to check the (messy) stack of leftover backing fabric chunks on the shelf. Just in case I have any of that same backing material left. Or maybe something close. No luck this time.

adding a quilt sleeve


Since I like to come close to matching the color of the temporary sleeve to the backing material, I chose a cream-on-cream print. Not an exact match, but since it's only a temporary sleeve, I'm not going to stress over an exact match.

I need a strip that is about 10" wide. So I can either cut a length-of-grain piece of fabric from my stash or cut a couple of width-of-fabric (selvage to selvage) strips and piece them end to end. My quilt is about 60" wide, so I need a sleeve that is about that long, or just a little less than that. I use the quilt to estimate the right sleeve length. The beauty of sleeves is they really don't have to be too precise on any of the measurements.

adding a quilt sleeve


Since I have a lot of this particular cream fabric, I'm using a length of grain strip. I fold each short end over to create a hem and sew.

adding a quilt sleeve


At the work table, I fold the 10" sleeve in half lengthwise, raw edges at the top . . .

adding a quilt sleeve


 . . . and fold under the last 1/2" or so. Both layers together.

adding a quilt sleeve


Then pin in place, start and end 1-2" away from the sides of the quilt, and that folded-under edge is aligned with the edge of the quilt binding. The pining and folding are all part of one movement. I pin like a crazy person, with the pins sticking out the top edge.

adding a quilt sleeve


Back at the sewing machine, I set my stitch length as large as possible, 5.0 on this machine. Since this is a temporary sleeve, I'm really using a basting stitch, assuming that after the quilt is back home from the show, the temporary sleeve will be easy to remove. Then stitch in the ditch along the binding seam. Pull out the pins as you sew happily along! This goes really fast because the Paul Bunyon stitches move you right along.

adding a quilt sleeve


My stitching goes just a bit past the sleeve. Looks good! Now I'm ready for some hand-stitching.

adding a quilt sleeve


With the quilt and sleeve lying fairly flat, I pin the sleeve fold to the quilt. I like to pin this part to keep the sleeve from getting wonky, distorting the way the quilt will hang in the show.

adding a quilt sleeve


If you do this next bit, your quilt show staff will love you forever. . . . start sewing the sleeve at the binding edge along the lower layer of the sleeve side, then sew the fold to the quilt backing.

adding a quilt sleeve


Travel through the batting like you would when sewing the binding down, but take big-gulp stitches. Again makes for easy removal later if the stitches aren't your usual itty-bitty dainty stitches.

adding a quilt sleeve


Done! By having the bottom side layer sewn to the quilt, the person hanging the quilt will have no question about where the hanging pole will go. And you have less risk that the quilt will be damaged as the pole is set in place.

adding a quilt sleeve


As tempting as it might seem to save time, never EVER use safety pins to secure a temporary sleeve. It's so very easy for the pin to snag and pull, risking major damages to the quilt. Your beautiful quilt is worth the extra effort.

Once the show is over, remove the sleeve with a few snips of thread.

Happy Stitching!

Joan

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Mug Full!

Last week I received a special treat in the mail. A copy of Mug Meals by Dina Cheney. Look at that cover photo! Anything that drools over the edge of the crock is bound to be a winner! The cookbook full of fast and easy single-serving meals is published by my friends over at The Taunton Press.

Mug meals book


The book is loaded with yummy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and (most importantly) dessert! All in single-serving, mug-sized portions. Earlier this week, I had just taken a morning walk, I was in the mood for a fast but satisfying breakfast to get my day going. I chose this "Kitchen Sink Eggs with Vegetables."

Mug meals book


The recipe called for eggs, cheese, some simple spices, and whatever veggies turned up in the refrigerator vegetable bin--in my case that was some frozen peas, sweet onion, carrots, and (I cheated on the all-vegetable part here) some cubed ham.

Mug meals book


Mix up everything in a small bowl . . . and toss it in a super-sized mug.

Mug meals book, breakfast


Cook it in the microwave, add some fruit or toast, and I had a fast, yummy breakfast.

Mug meals book


And tasty too!

Mug meals book


Needless to say, the book is a winner, and I can't wait to try some of the other muggy-treats! Hey, a quilter's gotta eat!

Happy Stitching!

joan

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Ides of April

Seems like a lot is going on in the middle of April! For Easter dessert, I made a Juniors cheesecake! Super yum!


Juniors Cheesecake book and recipe


The day after Easter, I headed out to Perinton Quilt Guild in Fairport, New York. What a fun bunch of quilters! Say, CHEEEEESE!


Speaking at Perinton Quilt Guild


They are making baby quilts like crazy for a local community service project!


Speaking at Perinton Quilt Guild


And Charlotte showed me her finished Runaway Thread quilt. Love her variation on the border! She wasn't spoolin' around! (Nyuk-nyuk!)


Speaking at Perinton Quilt Guild


Then of course, there's tax day in mid-April. Ew, let's move on from that subject pretty quick. . .

And it seems like I've been spending a fair amount of time this month creating some patterns for this Summer's Row by Row Experience event!


Row by Row Experience pattern writing


With all these water-themed ideas being tossed around, I turn to my little ducky friend for inspiration. He doesn't say much, but he's a good cheerleader!


Rubber duckie



Happy Stitching!
Joan

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Eggomania

A little something light for the Spring holidays.


Consider the egg. It's a miracle,
  A thing so diverse for its size
That we hardly can help growing lyrical
  When given the Pullet Surprise.

The scope of this peerless comestible
  Must drive other foods to despair
Since it's not only fully digestible
  But great for shampooing the hair.

It's boilable, poachable, fryable;
  It scrambles, it makes a sauce thicken.
It's also the only reliable
  Device for producing a chicken.

                      by Felicia Lamport

whimsical pin cushion

(This super-sized chicken pin cushion was made, not by an egg, but by Laurie Waddell and given to me as a gift a couple years ago! Thanks, Laurie!)

Happy Spring! Happy Stitching!
Joan

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Sure Sign of Spring

Yesterday, I spent the day with my friends at Material Girls Quilt Boutique in La Plata, Maryland. Our workshop project was a 'secret' new quilt project. While the workshop participants were busy bees sewing scraps together, I took advantage of some cute Easter fabric and the Taste of Nectar Pin Pack to make a Spring holiday treat.

This might be a bit reminiscent of a recent post featuring quilty heart-shaped pins.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


First, I needed some 1" half-square triangles. So I paired two 2-inch squares, drew a diagonal line on one, and sewed a 1/4" seam on both sides of the line. Cut and trim. And repeat, repeatedly.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


To make four pins, I needed 24 half-square triangles. I ended up with quite a pile of trimmings.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Instead of 9-patches, I'm making 2x3 rectangles, so I trimmed the Mini Scrap Grid interfacing to have just enough to make four. The Nectar Pin Pack has enough goodies to make 9 pins.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Next, I fused the HSTs to make a chevron pattern on the grid. Then it was time to sew. Pretty much, I followed the process to use the Mini Scrap Grid, as usual.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Fold. Sew. . . .

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


. . . cut apart, and press. (And you KNOW, how much I like to furl those seam allowances!)

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Add a 1x2" border on the bottom and a 1-1/2x2" border on the top. The Nectar Pin pack has fusible foam 3" square batting. To make an egg, just trim an inch-wide strip from one side. Then cut a 2x3" backing rectangle from the cut Easter fabric.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Layer the backing, foam, batting, and top. Fuse with an iron and quilt lightly.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Cut with pinking shears to form the shape of an egg and sew or glue the pin to the back. All set for Easter breakfast!

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Happy Stitching!

Joan

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A "Little" Quilting

A couple of years ago, I purchased one of Kate Flynn Nichols' Miniature Storm at Sea quilt kits at a quilt show The samples on display were absolutely beautiful and the pieces are laser cut, ready to sew.

Piece 'o cake, right?

My first hint that this may not be a complete cake-walk should have been the size of the packaging. The parts needed to assemble the entire quilt top comes in a box that is about 4" wide and 6 or 7" long, and not even an inch thick! Since I've had this kit for a while, I decided to throw it in my bag of stuff for my retreat this past weekend at the Upstairs Inn. I wanted to treat myself to a personal project--when you design quilt patterns and books for a living, it's fun to go completely offline with a non-work sewing project from time to time.

The pieces are really small. Nothing bigger than about 2" long for the largest pieces.

Storm at sea quilt


Since they are precision cut, the pieces assemble into blocks beautifully! (But not quickly!)

Storm at sea miniature quilt


After a full day of sewing, the blocks were good. By the second day, I started sewing the rows together. And that's when the pattern really started to emerge--stars and straight lines that look curvy.

Storm at sea miniature quilt


And all of the sudden (okay, not so much 'all of the sudden') the quilt top is done! All 14x18" of quilt top.

Storm at sea miniature quilt


To make sure all the points connect beautifully, the kit instructions suggest that the all the seam intersections are furled including all the pointy-points (I love to furl, as you know, if you've been following me for any length of time!)

Making for a really flat quilt top and a really interesting 'wrong side' of the quilt.

Storm at sea miniature quilt


Kinda makes me wonder why I brought all this other stuff to work on!

quilt supplies


Some old friends were spotted at the retreat, too! Here's Sue's Petit Fours quilt sample on display at the shop.

Petit Fours Quilt display

Melonie spent some retreat time working on her Bloomin' Steps quilt.

Bloomin' Steps quilt


The Common Sense pillow looks cozy tossed on the sofa in the Inn.

Common Sense quilt pattern, pillow


And Sue always does a beautiful job of displays in her store. All the projects from When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilters were on display ready for the book signing on Saturday morning.


When Bad things happen to good quilters book projects


Certainly, it was fun to get away from the normal routine and spend dedicated time at the sewing machine. But the VERY best part of any quilt retreat is the camaraderie of good friends. Don't you agree?

Happy Stitching!

joan