Friday, July 30, 2010

A little storage for the sewing classroom

I think one on every table in the sewing room is a must!  


Students could put unwanted scraps in the cube & they could be scavenged by the next student.  yes, I like that idea.

The pattern called for zippered pockets on both sides without handles, but I didn’t see the need for my uses, so I did one with a zipper & other has an open pocket.

I think they would make a good place to put a box of tissues too!

Try one of your own with this pattern


I used Chloe from Janet Broxon for P&B

1933 by Chloe’s Closet for Moda on Sale

We’ve had such a great response to our sponsored giveaway on p.s. i quilt of a jelly roll from this collection, we thought that we would put the rest of the collection on sale today!

 32250 grid

Charm Packs, layer cakes and the subtle green calico fabric are all 15% off!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Giveaway with p.s. i quilt this weekend

A little fabric love always feels good, doesn’t it?

Check out the p.s. i quilt blog this weekend & see what Rachel & I have cooked up for you.

If you dig the FNQ blog, you’ll love it, I can guarantee it!


Our 30’s Block of the Month Settings revealed!

The Fabrics N Quilts Block of the Month in 1930’s reproductions has been a great hit.  Have you signed up yet?  Oh my, you must check it out!
What makes our block of the month different?  Our monthly kits are COMPLETELY precut.  You just sit down with your kit & sew, using our full color instructions.  The monthly kits are cut with our GO! cutter so they are uber precise.
Check out some reviews from some of our BOM blogger buds:
Have you seen the BOM from Fabric N Quilts--
Quilt of the Month Club – Fabrics N Quilts
We will be offering 4 different setting kits.  We hope to have these kits ready next week, but wanted to share some eye candy with you today!
This is our Queen size setting.  Yes, there is alot to add to 12, 12” blocks to get to a queen quilt.  This one finishes at 90x102
Fullscreen capture 7292010 110631 AM.bmp
Then we have our twin bed setting.
Fullscreen capture 7292010 110453 AM.bmp
and TWO lap quilt settings
 Fullscreen capture 7292010 110447 AM.bmp
Fullscreen capture 7292010 110442 AM.bmp

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ribbon Blocks

Our online quilting group, Quilter’s Corner Group (QCG for short) is planning for our October Breast Cancer Research fundraiser.  We made these blocks from quilter’s cache.  They are tedious & a bit challenging, but so beautiful!

I used florals from Northcott’s Quest for a Cure line from a couple years ago & a soft pink marble from moda.


The quilt will be done in the rag quilt style.  I will definitely post again as the auction draws near.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rag Quilting, the FNQ way

Rag quilts are a great quilt-as-you-go project!  Rag quilts have 3 layers, just like a traditional quilt.  Most rag quilters like to use flannel, homespun or denim because they bloom very well & give a full raggy seam.  The quilt below is 3 layers of flannel.


Just like in any quilting method, there are lots of ways to approach this quilt.  I like to cut my blocks the same size for all layers.  I use cotton flannel for batting & usually backing then a pieced block in cotton, solid cotton or flannel for the top (raggy) layer.  Since all the layers are all cut the same size, you will have all 3 fabrics in the bloom of the quilt.

Since the batting layer will show, it’s a good way to introduce some extra color.  Note from the pic above that the front is the light blue trains & red in a checkerboard and that the back is yellow.  Now note below the dark blue in the raggy seam below.  That dark blue is my batting flannel layer.


If you want to use cotton batting in your rag quilt, you probably won’t want it to show in your seams.  You will need to cut your batting 1.5” smaller than your top & backing squares and your blocks will have to be quilted.

Once you have picked your fabrics, you can use our rag quilt calculator to help you determine the amount of fabric you will need and the number of squares to cut.

I grabbed some flannel scraps from the bin:

After all your squares for your top, batting & backing are cut, you will make the quilt sandwiches.  That is, layer your bottom fabric, right side down, then place the batting layer on top, then the quilt top fabric on top of the batting, right side up.  DSCN3690

You can either make these all at once, or quilt each sandwich as you make it.

Traditionally, rag quilt blocks are quilted with an X, sewing from corner to corner on each diagonal. 


This is the norm, so mix it up a little & be creative!  Do free motion quilting, use contrasting thread, this is where you can really take it up a notch.

That said, if you make your rag quilt by cutting all 3 layers of the block the same size, quilting the blocks is not structurally necessary.  The layers are going to be caught in the seams all the way around, so the batting has no way to slip (which is why we quilt layers together).  I didn’t quilt the other blocks of my demo for speed’s sake

So, now all your sandwiches are layered and quilted (or not).  It’s time to attach them into rows & then the rows into your quilt.

I use between a 1/2” & 3/4” seam allowance.  I use a line on my machine’s plate as a guide.


You can use more or less, but the seam allowance will have a direct effect on the bloomy seam.  Here’s the big difference in traditional & rag quilting:

In traditional quilting, you want your seams to be inside, next to the batting, out of sight.   For this reason, we put our right sides of fabric together when we make our seams.

In rag quilting, you want your seam on the OUTSIDE so it can fray.  So you need to put your wrong sides together, in our case, you will put the backing of the quilt blocks together and the quilt top will be facing to the outside.


When you make your seam, you can use a reinforcing stitch or double stitch if you desire.  I would recommend a backstitch on the beginning & end of each seam.  Attach your blocks into rows, just like strip piecing, until you have all the rows completed. 


Sew a seam on the outside edge of each row.  Since we won’t be binding the quilt, but fringing the outer edge too, we need a seam on all outside edges.  Seam the top & bottom edges of the quilt too (top of first row & bottom of last row).


It’s a personal choice how to lay the seams when you come to them.  You can see above that 5 times I have them open and once (bottom center) I folded the entire seam to one side.  Obviously, the machine will sew easier the less layers to sew through.

When attaching rows, I butt the seams against each other, folding one allowance to the left & one to the right.


Once your quilt is complete, you need to snip the seam allowance before you wash.  I snip at about 1/4” intervals & stay about 1/4” away from the seam.


I use these snips

craft snip

They are spring loaded and grip like garden pruners so the fatigue is a lot less than with regular scissors.

Then wash & dry!  Check your lint filters early & often!  The first wash is the lintiest.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Celebrating Small Achievements

Where in life did we decide that only big things were worth hoopla, celebration & moments of giddy joy?

I say we shout about all the little things in life that make us happy!


Like this sign.

It made my day yesterday when the sign guy dropped it off.

We purchased this display when our WalMart opened a new super-wally a few years ago.  I guess the fixtures were easier to sell off than move, so we snagged this old cigarette rack for $35.  for the past 3 years, the Marlboro sign was still in front of the bulbs and the cabinet stored my antique books.  Once we moved the display, I decided to see if we could get our banner made to replace the cigs. 


It’s awesome; happy-dancin’ every time I glance up & see it!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Bubbles says, Yo-yo makers are on sale 20% off!

Bubbles was disappointed to find no wine in the wine bottle cozy.


But, he wanted you to know that these were easy cozy’s to make.  I’ll even include a free pattern with all yo-yo makers!

The cozy uses the Large size maker (same size for Bubble’s arms & legs).

Stay tuned for more of Bubble’s adventures & pop over to our Deal of the Day & save 20% on all yo-yo makers today.  We now have hearts & flower makers too!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

We are all a little cooler today

…thanks to Willis Haviland Carrier, the genius (IMHO) who invented air conditioning on this date in 1902.
We feel that an anniversary such as this deserves special recognition (in our own self-serving way, of course).


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bind, Bind, Bind your quilt…

It’s hard to be ‘merrily merrily’ though, I must admit.  I just wish my hands and wrists could “handle” long stretches of binding like they used to, but alas, we just keep plugging along, a little here, a little there.

it looks good though, right? (blow it up to see the quilting)


Luna Notte Precuts have arrived!

Check out the latest gorgeous collection from 3 Sisters & Moda!

Monday, July 12, 2010

All Purse & Wallet Patterns 20% off

There is something special about carrying a purse you made or one made just for you.  Great conversations start when you hear, “Oh! I love that purse, where did you get it?”

Make a keepsake & save 20% today on all our purse & wallet patterns.  It’s our Deal of the Day!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Morningstar meets Bow Tucks

I think I am in love!


I have always adored this collection of fabric


But I think this Bow Tucks bag makes me love it just a little more.

This is the larger size of the Bow Tucks pattern, but I think the smaller size would fit my needs better.  I think that after this has done its demo/display job around the store, that Mom will have to have it! 

Attaching binding, the FNQ way

Now to start with the disclaimer, actually 2:

First, there are lots of pics here & this will probably take a little while to load.

Second, I am a self-taught quilter, I know the ways that work for me & my disclaimer is that if you think I’m nuts, I can appreciate your thinking & am always open to your hints on how I can make my quilting better or easier.  That said, this tutorial is to show how I attach my binding to the quilt, it may not be the “right” way or the best way, but it’s my way, and I am comfy cozy with it :)

I use 2.5” straight cut (selvage to selvage) strips for my binding.  I mitre the pieces together to make one long strip.

First, the math.  Come on, it’s not hard math!

To calculate the number of strips to sew into your nice long strip, multiply the width of your quilt (for me it was 90) times 2 (180) and the length of your quilt (102) times 2 (204).  Add these 2 together (180+204=384).  Divide this by the length of the strip.  I use 40 for selvage to selvage (cut off the selvage edges).  384/40=9.6 strips.  You will want 10-12 extra inches to attach your ends, so for me 10 strips will do just great. 

For yardage requirement, multiply the width of the strip (2.5) times the number of strips (10), 25”.  We’d call this 3/4 a yard just for fun.

Now the sewing!

Lay one end of the first strip right side up and at a right angle, right sides together, lay beginning end of the second strip as shown.  Mark the center diagonal line.


Sew on the drawn line.  When you open the strip after sewing, you have a mitred seam.


Trim off the corner pieces 1/4” away from your seam.


I press my seams open:


Repeat that process attaching end of strip 2 to beginning of strip 3 & so on & so on.

Once the strip is pieced, press the strip in half down the long side so that you have one long strip 1.25” wide, doubled over.


I sew my binding on the width of my foot, which is about 3/8”.

I like to be as exact as I can at the corners & for me wielding a ruler in the tight space is cumbersome.  so, I line the edge of a piece of scrap paper up to the edge of the foot of the machine & lower the needle to make a needle punch in the paper.  I will use this later at the corners, but need to make my punch before I start sewing the binding to the quilt.


Leaving a 6-8” tail, align the raw edge of the binding strip to the raw edge of the quilt, on the quilt top side.  Using the edge as my guide, I start the seam & I do make a few backstitches.


Sew almost to the corner, then grab that piece of paper.  Line up the bottom edge of the paper (where you earlier lined up the foot of the machine when you made your punch) with the bottom edge of the quilt.  I get it really close to the needle position so that I can eyeball a parallel line from my punch mark to the needle.  When they line up, I take a couple backstitches, then forward stitch to the earlier stopping point I lined up.  I raise the presser foot & twist the quilt 45 degrees.  I run my stitch off to the corner of the quilt & cut the threads.


I hope that if you blow up this pic you can see those trailing stitches.


Now the turn.  This also has to be as accurate as possible to have a nice turn to your mitred corner.

Turn the binding so that a straight line is formed (following the raw edge of the binding & the raw edge of the next side of the quilt to be bound) as shown


Place a finger at the top (just stitched) edge of the corner of the quilt & fold the strip down.  This will make a folded flap.  Here’s the important part: Make sure your fold at the top (sewn) edge is exactly on the edge.  A little extra is not good & a little short is not good (I should say have never been good for me).  Also make sure the raw edge of the binding & the raw edge of the quilt you are about to sew are exactly lined up.  If these 2 things are spot-on, you have a 45 degree fold (mitred corner).


Back at the machine, start sewing about 1/2” from the top edge & backstitch all the way to the edge, then forward on to the next corner.  By going backwards first, it gives me more control.

So, go sew all the way around the quilt & come back.  STOP about 12-15” from where you started.   I’ll wait here.

*hums theme to Jeopardy* *second chorus*

Ok, YAY!  now the fun begins! 

You have these 2 long tails & want them to meet in the middle seamlessly. 


Well, seamlessly is not really possible is it?  We are sewing, um, seams!  Go grab a ruler that has good 1/4” marks and meet me back at the quilt.

Pin, or lay the right tail just as it will be sewn.  Make sure that there are not any folds, gathers, etc.  You want this to be just as flat as if it were sewn in place.  Lay your ruler right on the ending edge.


Fold the left tail so that it's fold is on the 2.75” mark.  You will need to change this measurement if you use a different width binding.  Add 1/4” to the width of the strip you cut.  (For me 2.5 +.25)


Keep it accurate & cut the left tail in the fold you made.


Now you have 2 strips that should seam together nicely.  For me, this is where my challenge arises.  The dreaded twist.


Ok, look at the 2 pins.  The purple pin on the right tail wants to marry the lavender pin on the left tail.  they want to live happily every after in untwisted binding bliss.  Or, in other words, when this is all stitched up, these 2 points are GOING to end up sewn together.  Purple & lavender shall become one.

DSCN3654 DSCN3655

So let’s make our bias mark on the right tail just like when we sewed together our long strip.


Now here is the tricky part (ok, for me it is).  If I simply unfold the seam of left tail, placing it face up to sew your mitred corner, I always end up with a twist in my sewn strip, have to pull it out & sew it again.  So here’s the trick I use. 

To avoid the twist I have to make a twist.  If there is not a twist in my left tail, I know it’s wrong.  (Had to grab a scrap for better pics here)When the left tail is folded,


don’t just kick the underside up & lay it flat


Pull the underside corner (above it would be the one with the green) under & then over the top of the front corner, making the twist.  This is really easy to show live & hard to explain in pics, so grab a scrap, write on each corner & practice.


So to make sure I have the right strips going in the right way and will end up in untwisted bliss, I line up the tails, left on the bottom face up & right on top face down.  Then I pin the seam line with fine pins.

DSCN3660 DSCN3661 DSCN3663

and then turn it over as if it were sewn to make sure all is right in my world.  Then after a hearty self-congratulation, I sew on the seam line, trim off the triangles, and press the seam open,  just like when we made the long strip at the beginning.  I also repress the fold line.

Back at the machine, I start about 1/2 inch up from where I earlier had stopped & stitch through to about 1/2 an inch further than where I had started.



So now it’s on there & the turning by hand begins.  That story, boys & girls, is for another day!