Here’s the Winner!

Thanks to everyone who commented on our  “Bad Border” blog post.5We offered a set of Wonder Clips (A28989) and this nifty Wonder Clip Wrist Cushion (A28353) to the person whose name came to the top in a random drawing.  https://www.random.org/

  1. Vicky Heintzberger, that’s you! I just emailed you privately to get your address and phone number, so we can get your prize out to you!  Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone else, and we’re sorry we couldn’t give all of you prizes.  Keep reading and commenting please!  We love to hear what you think of our posts.  And we’ll have another contest at some point in the future.

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

Today’s the Last Day!

Comment on my Bad Border, Bad Border! post from last week and enter our random drawing to win a free set of Wonder Clips, A12996, and a free Wonder Clips Wrist Cushion to hold the Wonder Clips. A28353.  5Don’t sleep away the chance!  4Comment on the post and enter today! The winner will be announced by August 15th right here.  (Continental US only, please.)
(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Bad Border! Bad Border!

This probably hasn’t happened to you.  But just in case it ever does, I’ll show you how I dealt with it.

I had finished all the borders of my Mystery Quilt, and as I started to press, I saw this on one of my long borders! The seam allowance was on the right side of the quilt!! I hate when this happens!Seam on outsideThe room suddenly got hot and I loosened my collar. (That seems to happen when I discover that something’s really wrong in my project.) I really didn’t want to take off the whole long border. Or I should say, I would not take off the long border!

So I removed the stitches from the area, an inch or so on either side of the border. (Actually it would be easier had I removed another few inches.) Then I pressed the seam allowances flat again.2

I’m dealing with a bias seam here, so I removed the stitches very gently.  (My favorite seam ripper  for short distances is the one you see here, 29273.)3

I put Glue-Baste-It, 44929, in a very thin line of dots on the folded seam allowance, close to the fold, and lined up the other seam allowance on top of it , this time on the back of the quilt!  When I got the second seam allowance positioned correctly, I pressed it with the iron to immediately dry the glue. (Here you see one of my quilting assistants, Puccini, holding the quilt down.)4

With the seam allowances now on the wrong side of the quilt, I took it to the sewing machine. Using one of my Wonder Clips, A12996, to hold the quilt top away so I could sew the border seam more easily I finished it up. I love the new Wonder Clips Wrist Cushion to hold the Wonder Clips. A28353  It’s so handy.  (Both these items are shown here.)

My seam is right now, and no one will know the difference. I don’t think Puccini (“Pooch” for short) will tell anyone, because he slept through the whole thing!6

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

Tell us about one of those sewing mistakes that made the room hot* for you! Please comment below. If you’re reading this in an email, click on the title of the post to get to the online post where you can comment.  (Continental US only, please.)

For those who comment, we’ll have a random drawing for a free set of Wonder Clips and a Wonder Clip Wrist CushionPlease add your comment by August 9.  The winner will be announced by August 15th right here.

Stow It! Stow It in Style!

Small zippered pouches are SO popular! They are fast and fun to make (even with a zipper – more about that later). Make them for yourself, choosing your favorite colors and fabrics, or make a batch of them for gifts. I’m a fan of Atkinson Designs, and love their new pattern “Stowaways” (A29869). Besides offering six sizes in one pattern, Terry Atkinson always makes it easy to put in a a zipper. Really! I had hesitated doing anything with a zipper, until I discovered her wonderful methods. I chose two zippers for my first projects.  Then I chose three fat quarters from the Cotton & Steel line – I love their unusual colors and interesting prints- and interesting prints.stowaway blog 1The pattern tells you how to cut your fabrics, and calls for a fusible fleece for the body of the pouch. I used Dreamy Fusible Fleece (902553). The pattern says that two fat quarters will give you two or three pouches (depending on the sizes you make). I mixed my fabrics, and got enough prepared fabric to make four pouches – two larger, and two smaller. If you use a directional fabric, be sure to watch how you cut it so the design runs the direction you want. Terry offers little tips throughout the pattern to make the sewing process go even more smoothly. She also mentions Wonder Clips (A28989) to hold fabrics in place while sewing, and I really recommend them too!stowaway blog 2Now comes the zipper. At first glance, it looks a bit intimidating because you start by sewing the zipper to the wrong side of your quilted piece, but it ends up on the right side. Do not panic! Simply follow the directions, and it all goes together so easily you’ll be amazed! The pattern calls for top stitching to finish off the zipper portion, but if you’re not very confident in your top stitching abilities, you can hand stitch the zipper facing, just like sewing binding onto a quilt.stowaway blog 3I finished the two larger pouches, and the smaller are waiting for me. I need to pick up two more zippers ( 14” Atkinson zippers which work perfectly because you can trim them to size) and get those finished. This set is for me, but since I’m now comfortable with the pattern, friends will be getting sets for Christmas!stowaway blog 4By the way, if you need a larger storage solution, be sure to check out our By Annie patterns. We offer a variety, as well as Soft & Stable stabilizer. These projects are perfect for casserole dishes, power cords, electronic devices, and everything else you might need to carry or store.

So now, what do you think about sewing zippers?

This post was written by our Cathy Mark.  Thank you, Cathy.

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.) You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.  

Happy Days Are Here in my Sewing Studio Again!

I don’t normally shout from the roof tops. But I am now!A23794

I use an iron that I absolutely love, over any I’ve ever used, the Panasonic Cordless Iron.( A23794)

 

One day I saw this ugly stain on the sole of it. I had no idea what had caused it or what it was. So I pulled out my handy go-to iron cleaner, and IT DIDN’T WORK! I tried 20150603_180834_resizedanother, and another. I asked co-workers, students, and Sewing Club Members for help. I tried every suggestion, and none of them worked.

It still worked, but it was ugly and I didn’t really want to take it to classes that way. This is what it looked like. Bad, huh?

So when Joan Hawley, the Lazy Girl, talked about her new Iron Shine (A29918), I once again had hope. I like her purses and stabilizers and Press Perfect tools, so why not give this a try?

I honestly, after all this time, didn’t expect much.  I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw my old iron sole coming back! IT WORKED! And my iron is shinier than it had been since I got it out of 20150607_104726_resizedthe box!

If you own an iron, you need this product. It isn’t just for stains like mine had. A general cleaning of the whole iron sole will remove grime and make it shine again. Renew the soul of your iron by cleaning its sole!

Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

Somebody Has to Do It!

Buying fabricTwice a year at Quilt Market, and many times between, fabric companies show us their wares. Right now “my Cathys” as I call them (my daughter Cathy and “my other daughter Cathy”) are in Minneapolis seeing hundreds of new fabrics. What they select will be in the store and on our website between this month and September. Imagine sitting down in many booths and being presented with piles of samples, and needing to choose what our customers are going to want in the next months! This is probably only half the pile, and at only one vendor.  They like to see everything and then go back through the pile to select the ones we want. This agenda is repeated over and over during the three days of Quilt Market. I’ve seen this many times, and I can’t imagine doing it . When I started buying fabrics for the store around 40 years ago, there were just a few fabric companies, and for the most part, I chose from a few fabrics, in brown, beige, off-white, and orange. Now it’s a tremendous job, and I’m glad we have good people to do it!Buying Fabric 2

Make Your Project Unique!

Embellishing can add extra detail and interest to a project. For example, our new wool table mat “Tulip Swirl” (A29033) features embellishments that add to the design.

tulip blog 1 Consider a bit of extra stitching to add depth and detail to a piece. On this mat, simple straight stitches have been added to the tulips. This creates shading and the illusion of shape. The texture of the floss also makes the piece more interesting than just a flat applique project. Variegated floss, such as that from Weeks Dye Works, will add even more interest as the color changes and shifts while you stitch. You may want to look at metallic floss too, for an added bit of shine!tulip blog 2tulip blog 3Beads are a wonderful and easy way to add something special to your project. Since they come in a variety of sizes and an incredible array of colors, they can be added almost anywhere you want a three dimensional accent. If your piece is elegant and more formal, use a shiny or metallic bead to add to the effect. If your project has a country feel, work with matte finish beads to add color without adding unwanted shine. Beads come in a variety of sizes, from tiny Petite to standard seed beads, to larger Pebble beads and even Bugle beads that come in three lengths.tulip blog 4

Our table mat uses shiny glass seed beads to highlight the butterfly’s flight. Bead have also been stitched onto the edges of the butterfly’s wings, adding even more interest to them. The butterflies, by the way, have been stitched down only in their bodies, the wings are not actually flat or attached to the background. This three dimensional effect is an other great way to add interest to a project. Flowers can be attached only at their base, butterfly wings can stand up, leaves on a tree can be held by only a stitch or two, adding movement and life to a piece.tulip blog 5tulip blog 6

If your pattern doesn’t include instructions for these embellishments, you can choose what and how you want to use to accent areas of the project. Would beads work for the outlines of objects? If there are animals in the piece, could you use beads for eyes? Could you add stitches to make the surface look more like fur? Do the flowers need stitched details Would any of the three dimensional ideas mentioned above work for your piece?

It’s YOUR project!  Make it unique and interesting by adding a bit of embellishment. Let your creativity go as you turn a basic project into something amazing!

Written by Cathy Mark

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.