Okay, it might not be a perfect masterpiece. But I thought for my first ribbon quilt it turned out very nice. The important thing is that my friend Cathie who I made it for absolutely loved it! I used a star pattern to stitch in the ditch and it came out really nice on the black backing fabric. Check it out below! I think it's beautiful.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
I made my first paper pieced block! I pulled it from the Carol Doak website. She has a lot of free patterns on her website. You guys should check it out because some of the patterns are pretty neat. It's just www.caroldoak.com.
I have been wanting to try paper piecing for a long time, but have been scared to try it . I found this pattern on the Carol Doak website because it was labeled Paper Piecing for Beginners. That's me!
It was not as hard as I thought, but you have to pay attention to how you place the fabric before you sew it to make sure it's going to cover the entire space correctly.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
A good friend of mine lost her beloved dog. He was a great dog and she took him to a lot of shows. He was her baby. So she was very, very sad when he passed. She asked me to make a ribbon quilt out of his old show ribbons.
Ribbon quilt?! What is that?! I have never heard of that before. And I've been quilting a LONG time! So I Pinterest-ed (is that a word??? It is now.) it. And there are beautiful ribbon quilts out there.
She gave me three boxes of ribbons and a few of her favorite pictures. One box had all of his AKC ribbons for agility in it. These are the ones she wanted me to use. I was so afraid to break those ribbons apart because I knew they mean a lot to her. But one by one, I pulled staples out and separated the ribbons from the rosettes until I had piles of ribbons all over my floor of all the different colors!
She had emailed me a picture of one quilt layout that she really liked. It basically had the dog's picture...OK...I need to introduce you to Samwise (or Sam) so I can quit calling him just a dog. Because he wasnt' just a dog. He was her family.
"Here is a picture I took of him with his RAE ribbons. To earn an RAE you have to compete in both the Excellent class and the Advanced class on the same day (and qualify) 10 times. Sam’s Excellent scores were almost all 95 and above and he took first place (in the Excellent class) many of those times!
It took a while to figure out what to do. I had the picture of the quilt that she liked, but I don't like to copy quilts. I use a pattern like a recipe...as a suggestion to deviate from. So I thought I'll just sew a few ribbons together and something will come to me.
On a side note, sewing ribbons are not hard, but you have to sew a really small seam allowance, like about 1/8th of an inch to keep most of the words visible. The laser guide on my Babylock Unity comes in very handy in times like these! Some people use glue and glue them down to the backing fabric and then applique stitch all of the seams. But you know me, I have to do it the hard way because I think it will hold up better in the long run. And I'm not sure what the glue will do to the ribbons since I don't plan to wash this quilt once it's done. I do plan to stitch in the ditch around all of the ribbons with decorative stitches like stars...I think....
Ok. Back to the quilt...she really liked a star pattern around a picture. So I resorted ribbons. I wanted to make sure that I had a long row of at least one of each kind of ribbon he earned. Then the extras I could cut to make the patterns I needed.
It took a while before I actually cut through one of the ribbons. But after the first cut, I was fine. I plan to make the other picture of Sam a center of another star, probably using yellow to surround him and the blue ribbons as a background. I had to resort to my Electric Quilt 7 software to layout the star pattern. There's a small miscalculation that I won't point out. That's why I had to turn to my software. But it's there and I can see it. The bad part about sewing ribbons is once you sew through them, there's no ripping out stitches and redoing it. The needle leaves small holes and they are very visible if you pull out the stitches. I know from experience...but decorative stitches are a great way to cover them up!
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
I played around with the picture aspect of the Palette. Supposedly, you can scan in any picture, tell Palette that you want to digitize it and voila! You have a digitize picture that you can then embroider. So I used one of my youngest son's senior pictures. Isn't he handsome? I had to crop his face or the file would have been huge!
It took a few tries and I had to adjust the number of threads, the contrast and brightness a few times before I got an image that I liked.
It took a while to embroider it. Oh. One important tip. When you're digitizing, always group your thread colors so that it will embroider one color at a time...unless you need to layer colors. If I had not grouped this image, I would have changed out thread three million times! Ok. That's a slight exaggeration. But it would have been a ton! Here's the final image. I planned to do it on patch material so I can burn the edges. I made a coaster for my office.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
I decided I needed a basket to keep all of my receipts till I file them. So I used clothesline rope and wrapped scrap fabric around it and made a basket. It's called a coiled fabric basket. There are several blogs and help online. The only tip I can suggest is to sew along the rope with a straight stitch to attach the fabric to the rope and it kind of flattens the rope, making it easier to sew. I used the largest zigzag stitch and a heavy blue jean needle. Don't forget the large blue jean needle. Or you will break needles. Trust me...I speak from experience! I even asked my husband to bring his needle-nosed pliers to help me get part of the needle out of the basket at one point!
I'm not sure if it's my sewing machine, but it didn't appreciate the thickness. So probably using a smaller diameter rope will also be helpful. This is a great way to use up old scraps. I would also suggest sewing together the small scraps and cutting 1 1/2 or 2 inch strips to use. I found that if I sewed a long strip together (kind of like sewing binding), it worked better. Oh, another tip is I used a binder clip to hold the material to the rope until I got it sewn on.
Speaking of binding, as I was in the sewing department at Walmart to get cheap orange fabric to use (by the way...Walmart has a great selection of cheap fabric for projects like this!), I stumbled upon binding packs that are 3 yards each. This would be a great thing to use if you want to take a shortcut and not cut strips.
And if you have a small piece of rope left, you can make a coaster...or two...or three..and a trivet...makes great Christmas gifts! Just saying...
Thursday, July 20, 2017
My eyesight seems to be getting worse and worse. Quilting on the Handiquilter at night gave me headaches. I even borrowed my husband's headlamp.
I went by Huntsville Sew and Vac and looked at all of the accessories for the Handiquilter. I saw this pack of LED lights that stick onto the frame. It made so much of a difference! I cut a section of the strip off and it made the rest a little brighter.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
OH! Before I forget...I officially opened my little online shop. It's A Cynch! is open for business! Like the name?? I can't take the credit. My sister came up with it. She's more creative than I am! The link to my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/IsACynch . As soon as I figure out how to add the Facebook link on this blog, I will.
I also got a new toy to help stabilize t-shirts faster. I bought a heat press. I researched and checked reviews and this one had really good reviews for the price. It is quite heavy though! But what would have taken me an entire day of watching Dr. Who on Amazon while ironing stabilizer onto thirty t-shirts turned into only two hours (YES!!! You heard me right!) using the heat press! That is worth the money in time saved!!
I watched a few YouTube videos on how to properly use it without damaging the shirts. That's a tip for you. When in doubt, watch a YouTube video...actually watch several. YouTube is a great learning tool! Just be aware that some of the videos are more what NOT to do, than what to do, if you know what I mean.
To use a heat press, you need to buy teflon sheets to sandwich the fabric or shirt for protection from the heat. I used 375 degrees for 13 seconds. That worked pretty well. Another tip is that if the shirt has a vinyl design on it already, you need to let it cool before you peel the teflon sheet off. (That's from personal experience!) I can also use the heat press to make t-shirts with vinyl designs! That's on my to do list.
One of the features that make my t-shirt quilts unique is that I like to add extra details. The examples below are for the quilt I am working on now. It is for a friend of mine's daughter who played soccer and is going to college to play soccer! Ok. She is also going to get an education. I found a few digital designs on Etsy and Embroidery Library. I added the name of the school or team mascot to them using my digitizing software. The digitizing software I use is Palette 10 by Babylock. I also did her monogram on one of the squares. I like to do this if I see a blank space on the quilt.
Another embroidery detail I added is her first team name on her first little soccer shirt! That way when they see the shirt on the quilt, they will remember the name of the team.
The last thing I want to share is what I do with the leftover pieces. I got the idea to just sew them together willy-nilly and then cut them into crazy quilt blocks! I put all of the embroidered blocks with the crazy blocks as the center row. This is perfect because there are seven rows in the quilt. I am sewing the rest of the shirt pieces together for her mom as a lap quilt. Then she gets her own quilted memories too!
I will post a picture of the completed quilt when I am done. Hopefully in a few days! Whew! I better get busy!
Happy Quilting Y'All!!!