Wednesday, June 20, 2012

GIVEAWAY! My good fortune could be yours, too!

Quilty magazine's first issue came out last month and I found them on facebook under "Quilty".  Mary Fons posted that they had five boxes worth of goodies after their first photo shoot and that she wanted to give them all away!  All I had to do was be one of the first five to post their picture of a W.I.P. from the magazine and ta-dah!  They would receive one of those five photo shoot boxes!  I was one of those people and here's a smattering of the wonderful goodies I received!

Do you see the hand-written note?  Mary Fons was sweet enough to write that up for me!

Here's what it says:

I love the way she signed off by saying "Love and Piece" :-)

Boy, this made my day, let me tell you!

I hope your day will be just as wonderful :-)

OK, I'm feeling generous...
let's have a GIVEAWAY!

You will receive some of the goodies from the Quilty magazine box I received!!!

1.  Post about it on your website and place the link here for one chance.
2.  For a second chance, tell me what your favorite color is here at RocknQuilts under comments.
3.  For a third chance, let me know if you are a reader of the Fons & Porter magazine or Quilty magazines.
4.  For a fourth chance, let me know what sewing or quilting project you are currently doing.
5.  For a fifth and final chance, give me a follow here at RocknQuilts or let me know you've been following all along.

The winner will be announced at approximately 2 p.m. Central Time on July 4th, 2012!
Good Luck!  Viel Glueck!  Buen suerte! Bon chance!
Please spread the word - thanks!

Good Luck and
All the Best,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jenny Join Technique - quilt as you go!

Eleven machine-embroidered, separate pieces waiting to be joined.
This is one of the many projects from "A Place in the Sun" by Jenny Haskins.

Jenny Haskins and her son Simon hail from Down Under in wonderfully beautiful Austrailia.  They, together with other family members, enjoy a marvelous working relationship and together have created quilts in the hoop, which are pieced first, cut to fit together and then joined with the "Jenny Join" technique.

Read more about Jenny Haskins HERE.

Here is an example I made this past week:

Jenny Haskins has developed a product called 
"Dissolve Magic Sticky Tape" 
that comes in a 
1" x 10 yard roll.  

Cut each previously embroidered piece 1/8" from the edge of the cutting line.  Set your machine to a very small zig-zag stitch.  

Layer each connecting piece with Jenny's tape and sew to join, then it's time to add Clover's sticky 1/4" bias tape, cover with Jenny Dissolve tape and sew with a decorative stitch.

(Next time I will use the Clover 1/4" bias tape from top to bottom, then left to right to cover all seams.)

I chose stitch #92 from the heirloom quilt selections on my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 for my decorative stitch.  I would advise switching to a 90/14 needle so that your needle doesn't break covering all the thicknesses of material, batting, zig-zag thread, and bias tape.

I did experience a broken 80/12 needle.  When I switched to a 90/14, all was well.

(Isn't that McTavishing ravishing?!?  ;-)

I love this stitch!  It's just sew pretty :-)

2 1/4" binding is recommended (still to do and coming up next here on RocknQuilts)...I plan on making two to use as placemats for tea.  I hope my Mother will enjoy them :-)

Quilting by embroidery machine...gotta love it!

After making the smaller projects to 'practice', I just might have to create the quilt.
The colors could be changed to suit your own tastes/design/decor.
Practicing the "Jenny Join" technique some more will be good before committing to a quilt I believe.

Here is the finished "A Place in the Sun" quilt:

Close-up of the center medallion.

What beautiful scalloped edges!

What has inspired you to be creative today?

All the Best,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Patriotic Project with tips for perfect piecing

My DH is a veteran who spent 24 years in the United States Air Force and I wanted to make him something  special for his July birthday.  After creating the embroidered grill apron (top left), I was inspired by reading about Marianne Fons' involvement with Quilts of Valor from Quilty magazine to create a Carpenter's Star in red, white and blue patriotic colors.
(New: Frosted Peanut Butter Banana Bread recipe at the bottom of this post!)

I found a carpenter's star pattern that used very large half square triangles (HST's), but I wanted something smaller to sit on the table next to my DH's Lazy Boy chair, so I got out my AccuQuilt Go! cutter and cut out 2" squares in white and 2.5" HST's triangles in a medium and dark blue and in a medium and dark red.

If you use a 1/4" piecing foot for your machine, then your piecing will be much more accurate.  No matter what brand machine you use, it may be possible to purchase a 1/4" piecing foot for your machine.  Your local quilt shop can help you with finding the appropriate foot, but they will need to know if you have a short or long shank.  If you're not sure, it's best to bring in your machine or ask if you can buy a couple different feet, try them out and return the ones that don't work.

This is more costly than a 1/4" foot, but for accuracy, it is very necessary.  If you have experienced frustration while piecing because your machine 'eats' the fabric, purchasing a second plate with a small hole called a straight stitch needle plate, which will eliminate that problem entirely.  

I set my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 to stitch 1.  Caution:  When using the piecing plate, you have to be sure to use a straight stitch only, otherwise you will break your needle!

Pfaff sells machines with IDT which is best explained by this short youtube video HERE.

After cutting all my 2.5" HST's, I placed them right sides together, all stacked neatly in front of my machine so I can feed them one after another into the machine, creating what is referred to as 'chain stitching'.

I like chain piecing because it's quicker and saves a lot of time, thread and money!

Pressing is very important for perfect piecing.  Let's look at one method...
using a dry iron (so the fabric doesn't stretch out of shape) set to 'cotton', press the seams.
Press seams with lightest fabric facing up, then press open.  This way, your lighter fabric will be pressed towards the darker fabric and won't show through on your quilt top.

If you used a ruler to cut your HSTs, then you'll need to square your pieces and trim.  This step isn't necessary when cutting with the AccuQuilt cutting system, which saves more valuable time!

Speaking of time, how about money or value?

Another inexpensive way to keep track of a project in progress is to lay out all your pieces onto
a paper plate.  I like to do this so they don't 'float' around my sewing room, especially if I need to move on to another activity (like making supper or helping the kids with homework).

Now, how to take a stack of finished HST's and squares, line them up in proper order, row by row and sew without using a design wall!

First, lay out your finished HST's and squares (you can use a photo or picture to help you)

Now we're going to stack each row together...
always stacking from top to bottom and left to right.  

Place the first piece on top of the next, then lay these two pieces on top of the third, etc., continuing             all the way to the end of the Row.  

Begin again with a new stack for each consecutive Row.
Place a small piece of paper marked Row 1, Row 2, etc. onto each row as needed.  

These are rows 3-8 (I sewed rows one and two before I remembered to snap a photo - my apologies!)

Here is my nice, neat Row 2 stack, which I place to the right of my work area.

Here's how to sew up our stacks without losing the correct placement:

Lay piece 1 of your Row directly to the left of the Row stack.
Lay piece 2 right sides together, flipping piece 2 over onto piece 1.  Make sure you don't turn it.

(It is difficult to see because the fabric to the left of my hand is white, the same as my sewing bed.)
Lay the first piece to the left of the stack (without moving the piece around - simply lift it off the top and directly over to the left.)  Then, take piece 2 of your Row and flip it directly over so that right sides are facing together.  Place a pin in the right sides to keep track of where to sew, if you like.  You'll be sewing from the top down on the right side of the two squares.  

(Sewing down the right side.)

Open the pieces so that the first piece is on the left (in this case, the white piece), then flip the third piece of your Row over onto the second piece...

Now sew down the right side and continue on to the last piece of the Row.

(Sewing piece 3 onto piece 2 with piece 1 hanging off to the left.)

Perfect!  Pieces one, two and three are sewn together in the correct order!  The dark blue pieces look 'off', but they really are not because there is an extra 1/4" at the top and at the bottom for when you sew rows together.

Here are four of the eight Rows.  Looking good so far!

(If you have little ones running about, it is advisable to pin the numbers and pieces of each row together.)

Now to complete Rows 5-8 utilizing the same method so we can begin to sew the rows together 
and add borders!

Now it's ready to sew the Rows together.  The trick for perfection is to be sure to have a clean iron set to 'cotton' and use the following pressing (not ironing back and forth) method....

It's a 'must' to iron the rows opposite directions.  Here I chose to begin ironing the top row towards the left and the second row towards the right.

Make sure your rows are situated correctly, then put right sides together and pin, beginning with the middle seam, working your way out towards the ends, all the while 'butting' your seams together carefully.  
Perfect pinning = perfect piecing.
The seams won't butt up against one another without having been pressed opposite directions, so pressing is also vital to the success of your matched (or not-matched) points.

Butt the center seam first.

A stiletto is a useful tool to make sure points hold in place when you remove pins.  It is advisable to have a magnetic pin holder for this job.

Set your seams by pressing the edges where you just sewed, then open up the Rows and press dark to light whenever possible.  Some people choose to press the seam together and 
some prefer to press the seam open.   If you will be hand quilting, then press together, but if you will be machine or longarm quilting, pressing open will be fine, too.

Continue pressing, pinning and sewing until all eight Rows are joined.  Now, it's time to add borders!

You will want to 'audition' your borders to see what direction you want your fabrics and to see what colors you prefer.

Time to stack from left to right, piece 1 overtop piece 2, then those two pieces overtop piece 3, etc. to the end of each of the four Rows of borders.

Perfect point!  We want this look!

Not perfect...time to use the quilter's best friend...the trusty (not rusty!) seam ripper :-)

Clear proof that seam rippers are our best sewing friend!

Pins create wins!  Matching side seams are important here.

Once our borders are complete, sew on the top and bottom, then the left and right sides.  
Working with opposites works best.

A thing of beauty!
Thank you kindly to Harriet and Carrie Hargrave's and their "Quilter's Academy Freshman Year" for teaching me all these wonderful piecing techniques :-)

I'm ready to continue with batting, backing and binding...

...but that's for another post.

What are you creating for Canada Day or the Fourth of July or other celebration day in your country?

Have you ever experienced difficulties with piecing?  I hope you will find this post helpful!

I love to read your comments and value each and every follower, too :-)

New recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Bread from RocknRecipes just for you - enjoy!
Happy Quilting!



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