Friday, July 26, 2019

First Quilts

The trend on Social Media this week seems to be first quilts, a lot of people are sharing the first quilts they ever made, the story behind them and why the began quilting. I thought I would do the same tonight.
To be honest I can't actually remember which quilt I made first, so I will share the first few.
I began quilting with my mom 7 years ago, I was a bored new mom and I needed a hobby to keep me busy. My mom let me shop her stash and borrow her tools and after the first couple of projects I was hooked.
I made this black and white quilt for myself, Esther made one at the same time using the same fabrics and same pattern, and I was astonished at how the two looked so different.

I also made a bright quilt for my sons playroom. The playroom had a Busytown Mystery Theme, and my mom was able to find some fabric with the same theme.

I made a beach blanket using towels that I cut up and pieced together, and added some sand pails, flip flops and beachballs as applique.

All three of these blankets have been well used and loved over the years. There are seams that are starting to fray and they are faded due to the vast number of times that I have thrown them in the washing machine and dryer, but it makes my heart happy when I see that my hobby can provide a sense of comfort and warmth to everyone in my family.

When did you make your first quilt?


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Accuquilt System

Last blog post I mentioned that Accuquilt was having a Christmas in July sale and that many of the dies were up to 40% off. Today I want to share a little about the Accuquilt System as many people do not know much about it.
Accuquilt is a company that makes GO! fabric cutters and specialized dies to go with them.
The cutters come in a variety of sizes and range in price from $135 up to $810. The lower priced GO! machines are not lower quality you are just limited a little more in the number of dies that you can use on it, though there is still a large range to choose from. Most of the models work by turning a crank while the most expensive machine is electric and cuts your fabric at the touch of a button.
The dies are boards that have blades built in that cut your fabric in the shape specified. The blades are surrounded by a thick foam and only cut when pressure is applied.
The dies come in a wide variety of shapes, and many of them follow the standard precut sizes uses in quilting, there are the basic strips, squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. For quilting there is also half square triangle blocks and flying gees blocks again in a variety of sizes. Also available are a huge variety of applique dies in almost any shape that you can imagine, there are flowers, leaves, animals, vehicles, feathers, letters, and fun geometric shapes as well. Accuquilt also started producing dies that they call block on board dies. on these boards are all the pieces needed to make a single block, some of the ones included in this lineup are the drunkards path, pineapple block, Ohio star, wedding ring, blazing star and more.
There are also Go! Qubes which are sets of dies that make a specific quilt block size, specifically 6", 8", 9", 10" and 12". The Qubes come with a pattern book and the dies can be combined differently to make different blocks. On my never ending list of quilts to make is a sampler using one size of the Qubes, maybe I need to do a blogged sew along to complete it.
So how does the system work?
Step 1, place the fabric on the board ensuring it reaches past the darker toned area of the board
Step 2, cover with a mat
Step 3, turn handle of machine
Step 4, remove perfectly cut piece of fabric from the board and repeat.
It really is that easy, my 4 year old used it to cut felt shapes for his felt board, and my 5 and 7 year old boys have used it to make quilts for themselves.
So now that you know what I mean when I say GO! cutter and dies I will tell you why I think they are a great addition to your sewing room.
The GO! cutter and dies allow you to cut accurately and quickly. You can cut up to 6 layers of cotton fabric at one time and the dies can be used many times before the blades go dull. Because you are cutting on a set die you know each cut is going to be exactly the same every time. Starting off with accurate pieces can make the rest of your quilt assembly go a lot smoother.
The dies are two toned, the darker area is inside the blades and shows you where your fabric needs to lay, the lighter is just background on the board. This two tone allows you to quickly lay your fabrics down, and make good use of scraps that you have as well.
The piecing dies are made so that there is a 1/4" seam allowance included, and the dog ears are trimmed off.
The cutters fold for easy storage when not in use, and when folded they have a nice handle for easy transport too.
The cutter is a great way to introduce the younger generation into quilting and crafting as there are no sharp scissors or rotary blades to worry about.
I know of many people that use them because of arthritis or other ailments made rotary cutting difficult but turning a crank or pushing a button is a lot more doable.
Accuquilt has hundreds of free patterns on their website to go with the dies.
We carry a large number of dies in our shop and any that we do not have we can order in for you. We also have the machines available to purchase.
We have a GO! club that runs throughout the fall and winter months where we work on projects using the dies. You can learn more about this club on August 14 in our shop, and I will blog on it afterwards as well.
I am also planning on doing a little post each month featuring a newly released die, a new project for a die you may already have and some other tips.
Until the end of July there is a good selection of dies that are on sale at up to 40% off.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Summer Updates

Can you believe we are halfway though July already, I sure can't it seems summer is going by so quickly and yet to me it doesn't feel like summer outside. I love the heat and this summer has not been super warm so far.
At the shop we have a few more summer classes going on, as well as a couple of sales.
This coming Tuesday evening Esther is doing a make and take for casserole totes. These totes hold the 3 classic sizes of baking pans and are perfect for bringing to pot lucks, or giving as a shower gift. The wire frame inside keeps it nice and sturdy, and is also removable so the tote can be thrown in the wash.
On Tuesday August 6, Carrie will be doing a make and take class for the Wax and Wool Tote by Noodlehead, using cotton fabrics instead of wax and wool. This tote bag is the perfect size for throwing all your daily needs into and heading out the door. It's large enough to hold it all, but not so big that the smaller items get lost. I use mine for my wallet, water bottle, some snacks, a coffee mug, keys, cell phone, chap stick and a book. There is morning and evening slots still available. $66 gets you all the supplies as well as the pattern book which includes 2 additional patterns.

On Tuesday August 13, I will be teaching a class on the Stripology Ruler. We will make the Alberta Quilt by G.E. Designs, and learn how to cut strips and squares from yardage as well as how to trim half square triangles all using the Stripology Ruler. If you buy your supplies from our shop the class is free to take, if you wish to use fabrics from your stash there will be a $25 class fee applied. The class will run 10am-12noon and the classroom will remain open until 4pm for you to continue working on your project. There is also a mini option available for the class.

Tuesday August 20, Esther will do a class on hot to make a silicon pot holder. This class also has a morning and an evening session. This class has all the supplies included for $26.

To sign up for any of the classes just click here. 

On Wednesday August 14 from 7pm-9pm we will be hosting an open house in which we will reveal our fall classes and clubs. There is no need to register for this, just pop in and see what we are offering this fall. All of us are hard at work getting samples done for this date, so you can see exactly what the projects look like. Today Carrie and I did a lot of playing and did some fun fabric pulls for a couple of the projects I need to complete by the 14th.

As for sales,
Accuquilt is running their Christmas in July promo again this year. Select Dies are up to 40%. There is a large number of dies included in the sale, so if you have a Go Cutter or are looking into purchasing the cutter or new dies, now is definitely the time.

Also on Thursday, July 25, we will be having a Beat The Heat sale. The doors will open at 8am and the shop will be 40% off. At 9am the discount will change to 30% and at 11am it will go down to 20%. Starting at 5pm the discount will again increase to 30%, and at 7pm it will climb once more to 40%, the store will close at 8pm. The discounts cannot be combined with any other special offers or discounts.
 Have a great weekend, mine looks to be quite busy again with a trip to the grocery store, a visit to my inlaws, Sunday Worship, and Sunday Dinner at my parents, and hopefully a whole bunch of sewing in between all that.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sew Hometown: July

Last week I spent some time in Montana doing some camping with my husband and our four boys, my husband's parents and some family friends.  Now that we are back, and the laundry is finished and the trailer cleaned and ready for the next trip it is time to get back to quilting. 
Last night I made my July blocks for the Sew Hometown Quilt. These Improv Star Blocks were fun to make and introduce a new technique that we haven't done yet in this quilt along, Improvisational  Piecing.
Prior to this block I had done very little Improv Piecing, and it took a few pieces to get accustomed to the fact that the strips don't need to fit together, but once I started playing I really enjoyed it.  The great part is that you can use up some of those odd scraps that you have laying around. I first pulled out all the scraps that I had from this quilt already, than I chose one of my larger triangles to start with and added strips and triangles on to it, trimming sections off and adding more as needed to get to the required size. 
For the star points I decided to go scrappy as well and cut one square from all my fabrics. I used the Creative Grids Folded Corner Clipper to trim before sewing to avoid drawing the lines on the back of each square. 
The general guidelines for the improv piecing are at the beginning of the calendar and if you click here you can see a quick video on the construction start to finish. 
If you don't want to do the Improv center, you can always substitute a solid piece of fabric into the center. 
I am thrilled with how this quilt is coming along, and I am in love with the dark background, the colors really pop off of it. 
Now I need to go catch up on my Moda Bakeshop Summer Camp quilt, I fell behind while on holidays. What are your sewing plans for the week?


Friday, July 5, 2019

New Fabric: Christmas Edition

It is July, which for us as a quilt shop means that most of our Christmas Fabrics for this year have arrived and is out on the shelves.
We have a line by Gingiber from Moda, called Merriment. We got a little yardage for this line but mostly precuts and the panels. All three patterns we have with the collection use panels, a precut and some background fabrics. We also have a box kit from Moda that makes a super cute quilt of stockings.
Also from Moda is Holiday Lodge by Deb Strain. I love this collection, it feels so Western Canadian to me with the buffalo plaid, the snow flakes and the bears. We have some really fun patterns on the way for this one.

Basic Grey came out with a Christmas line again this year. It is called Kringle Claus.

We also have the new Christmas Collection from Lella Boutique. It is called Little Tree. It has some reds, greens, whites, blacks, and a great bit of aqua blue mixed in as well. There is also a huge panel that measures 56"x74", it can be quilted and bound or made bigger with borders. The panels came prepackaged and the rest is actually still in plastic so I did not get a photo of it.
From Robin Pickens is a traditional Red, Green, White and Black line called Splendid. I am currently working on a sampler quilt with this collection and I can't wait to get it all finished up.
We also have a collection from Art Gallery as well, it is called Merry and Bright. The free pattern download for this one, is a quilt made with 60 degree triangles laid out to form a Christmas Tree.
We have a few more collections that we are missing pieces yet from because they were backordered, but there is lots to get you started.
Do you do any Christmas or Holiday sewing, do you like to start early or do you tend to wait until its a little closer to winter?
I promised my 3 oldest boys Christmas Quilts for their beds this year, I have the fabrics and pattern chosen for 1 of the boys, but that's as far as I have gotten, but I should probably focus on it a little more when I get back from my upcoming camping trip.
We will have a float in the Settler Days Parade tomorrow, and a tent sent up with some quilts for sale as well. Our store got several new displays this week, so be sure to stop in to see us.
Also there will be no blog posts next week.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Creative Grids: Folded Corner Clipper

About a month ago I posted the first in a series of Creative Grids Rulers. The first was all about the Stripology Ruler and you can read about it here if you missed it. Tonight I want to share another of my favorites with you, the Folded Corner Clipper. 
This ruler was designed by Susan Nelson for Creative Grids, like all the others by this company it is has the no slip grips on the back, easy to see markings, and made from material that is easy to see through. 
The Folded Corner Clipper eliminates the need to draw pencil lines for all those stitch and flip blocks.
The ruler has markings on it that align with your square, there is also a diagonal line that will run from corner to corner on your square, 1/4" away from this line is the edge of the ruler.
You simply place the top square on your fabrics right sides together line up the edges of the square with the ruler, ensure the diagonal runs through the corners and trim. Than you take the set to your machine and sew and than press as per usual. No more drawing lines, sewing on the line, than trimming and pressing. Just trim, sew, press. I love being able to skip the pencil lines step, and the ruler makes for a really nice accurate stitch and flip block. You can stack several layers together and trim 3 sets at once to speed up things a little more.
I have used the ruler so many times already, and I originally thought it would be rather pointless, I was already not drawing lines, I just used a regular ruler to trim, but this ruler has three points to line up so it extremely accurate. 
It works great for any time you are supposed to draw lines, flying geese, half square triangles, snowball blocks, you name it. 
And because the angle is 45 degrees you can use it to cut your binding and mitered corners, and trim half square triangles before pressing. 
There is a video here if you would like to see it in action.
Have you tried the ruler yet, or does it interest you?
Also be sure to come check out the shop again soon, Carrie, Taylor and I spent the day moving furniture and fabrics and it looks fresh and bright again.