Quick Tip!

I wanted to reuse this purple elastic with a new clasp. 1b The first one broke and the new one came with white elastic.  I couldn’t use that!  Anyway, I learned some time ago that I’d been using my seam ripper wrong, ever since I learned to use it in grade school!  I saw a video by Pam Damour, the Decorating Diva, and it changed my ripping life!

First you need to be sure you have a good, sharp seam ripper.  My favorite has always been this one (29273)5b 

I have one at my sewing machine, one at my Handi Quilter, and one at my computer desk.  That makes it sound like I’m ripping all the time, but I just like to know one’s handy whenever I might need it.

Take out a few 2bstitches first, and put the small end with the red ball inside the seam.   Then slowly move forward.

The inside leaves cut threads, and the other side has just a single thread.

The red ball keeps the ripper from making a hole in the fabric.  If you’ve been using your seam ripper backwards, too, try it a few times with some scraps, and you’ll get the hang of it.    It’s amazing!  Let me know how you like it by commenting below.

Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page click on the highlighted words, and when you get to the page, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Put 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 “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Consider the Gadget Cushion!

My Gadget Cushions909270

This little inexpensive project is a really quick idea for bazaars and gifts.  I use it when I’m lying in bed to play Spider Solitaire and fall asleep!  It works for my Kindle, too.  I wrote a sheet of extra information about it for our Creative Sewing Club and I’ll share it with you here.   You’ll need the Gadget Cushion Interfacing, (909270) and a 10″x 10″ piece of fabric.  You can make two from a fat quarter!  There are instructions right on the interfacing, so no additional pattern required.  I used  Poly-Pellets, (A23347), as my filling to give it weight.  Then download my Hints Sheet and follow instructions and you’ll quickly have this helpful little Gadget Cushion!20161013_202353

And for my fellow cat lovers, here’s a photo of one of my sewing cats, Puccini, (“pooch” for short) supervising the filling of my Gadget Cushion.

Until next time, Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page click on the highlighted words, and when you get to the page, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Put 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 “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

NOTE:  If you signed up for our blog posts long ago, or you don’t get “WordPress” emails, please sign up again on this one.  It doesn’t split sentences or put photos in the wrong place.  Add your email address above.  These emails are so much better!

 

We’re Back!

It’s been a long time since we’ve written here!  You know how you sometimes really have good intentions, but you just don’t make it happen?  I have the same situation with exercising.  I was never lucky enough to find any exercise I enjoyed.  Several years ago, I discovered I could watch Sue Hausmann in my netbook while I walked on the treadmill, and I even went longer than my target time, to see the end of her show,  America Sews!

Unfortunately, my best laid plans to continue with exercising went by the wayside.

As did posts on this blog!

So now I’m walking on the treadmill again, (still watching sewing and quilting shows on my iPad as I go,) and getting back to our blog posts!  I’ve been promised help, which is good anyway, because that way we have more of a variety of topics.  Look for us about every two weeks.

This one is a short one, brought about by forgetting my own tip!  I wanted to pre-wash something I was working on for Quilts of Valor.  (We have QoV Sew Days at the shop on second Thursdays of the month starting at 10am- everyone welcome!)  Anyway, I just threw the fabric in the washer and dryer, and this is what I got!20160725_134143

Please read my tip in a previous post on how to prevent this from happening!

Agadget-cushionnd for my fellow cat lovers, here’s a phone photo of my beautiful Cagney, sister to Lacy.  The phone’s propped up on my Gadget Cushion, 909270.  More about that next time I write.

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.)

Did you know that you can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day??  Karen does a great job of updating that page every time she adds something.  Sometimes it’s brand new fabric, books, tools, accessories or yarn, and sometimes it’s what just went up on our Rummage Page or Bargain Ends of Bolts.  Sometimes it’s something that we expect in soon that you can pre-order.   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 “New Items” in purple, and click to find out!  Many people have told us they bookmark that page, so they’re always up to date!

Quick Tip ~ Green Pin, Red Pin

My daughter, Cathy, showed me the quilt top she had just finished.  She does great machine applique blanket stitch and finds it really relaxing.  The quilt is “Andrew” from the book Fat Quarter Baby (A31813).  It’s so cute!  A31813 book

When I looked at it, I immediately thought it needed “Piping Hot Binding,” (23940) my23940b.jpg favorite way of finishing a quilt.  It puts just a touch of extra color at the inside edge of the binding, and brings the quilt to life.  It’s ingenious, and the tool that’s included with the booklet is the key.

Below is what the piping looks like on our quilt.

Here’s our Andrew quilt.  Isn’t it adorable?  Unfortunately the piping didn’t show up in the photo, but you can see it in the close-ups above.whale quilt

20160509_112719As I worked on the quilt, I thought I could share a few tips.  When you put the binding on with the Piping Hot Binding method, you’re actually working on the back.  I wanted to be sure I stopped sewing with enough tail to join the binding.  So I put the red pin in. Stop!

I also wrote about using colored Flower Head Pins when adding borders.  Find it by clicking here.

Something that makes joining binding tails easier is to fold the quilt at the beginning and end of the part you left unsewn, and pin.  That way the tails are closer together and you have more to work with.

quilt folded

(To find an item 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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

Remember, 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 “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Reviving the Pillow Case

pillowcase 4At our last Creative Sewing Club meeting Mary Ann showed how to use border prints and directional fabric for the cuffs of pillow cases and how to use the “Hot Dog Pillow Case” method. Many of the ladies there hadn’t heard of it, so I thought I’d bring it back here on our Blog.

peekThey’re called “Hot Dog” because the hot dog is rolled up inside the bun. That hides the seam that connects it. The side seam can be finished with an  overcast seam, a French seam, or serged. They’re really very quick to make!

For several years our customers have been making pillow cases through ConKerr Cancer, now called Ryan’s Case for Smiles. We have taken pillow cases to local children’s oncology wards and hopefully brought smiles to the faces of children undergoing such difficult times in their lives.pillowcases ready to go

If you’d like to make pillow cases for us, or for your community, for your children or grandchildren, you can download our PDF.

And for our many cat lovers, this was the help I got as I wrote this. post

Bernie

It’s all in the Details.

Sometimes, the little things make a difference in a project. Details can add interest or make your item look more “finished”. They can show that you put a little extra thought into your crafting, and that’s always a good thing.

For this blog post, I’m taking examples from a Basin Banner club project. The small wool banners give you an opportunity to explore the details, without becoming overwhelming.

Let’s start at the beginning. The pattern designer suggests using a fusible web for the project. I have never been fond of fusing my wool projects, but many designers suggest that method. Fusing will make the wool lay flat, giving the banner a smoother finish. I like to simply pin my pieces in place, then stitch them to the background. This method gives a bit of depth to the piece and the thickness of the wool still shows. details blog 1

Neither method is right or wrong, it’s a matter of personal preference. There is one note of caution, however. If the pattern calls for using a fusible, the pattern pieces are (usually) drawn in reverse (so that you can easily trace them onto the fusible product). Since you’re using wool, you can simply trace and cut the pieces as they are, then turn them over before stitching so your banner faces the same way as it is pictured. The wool is reversible, so right side and wrong side don’t come into play.details blog 2

Cutting small pieces can be challenging. I learned a trick for small circles from a pattern long ago. Cut a square of fabric just a bit bigger than the circle you need. Then trim the square into a circle – so much easier than tracing and trying to precisely cut that tiny circle. I use this technique for other small shapes, like ovals or simple leaves. One other cutting tip – get a pair of Perfect Scissors! I recently got the medium size (A12671) and they are fabulous! They hold the wool in place as they slice right through it and they are sharp all the way to the tip. The handles are comfortable too!

 

When it comes to the stitching, you have options for your projects. I like to use six strand floss, as I can decide on how many strands to use for the pieces I am sewing. Smaller pieces only need a single strand, while two strands is my standard, and three or more strands can be used for larger pieces or when I want the stitching to show more. You also have the option of solid color floss, variegated or overdyed. Each type has its own appeal.

details blog 3

Use a color that matches for stitches that “hide. You can also use a lighter or darker color floss when you want to accent your stitching or to add a bit more interest to your work. Wouldn’t it be fun to stitch a variety of shapes in floss colors that are different from the fabric colors?

details blog 4

With multiple strands, you can custom blend colors to add interest or better match your fabrics. Use one strand of a dark shade and one strand of a light shade to make your own “variegated” floss. You can also combine single strands of two or three different colors to make something unique.

Blanket (or buttonhole) stitch is often used for wool applique. This stitch gives a smooth edge to the piece you are attaching to your background. When sewing very small pieces, I prefer to use a whip (or primitive) stitch – to hold the piece in place – as it’s harder for me to do a tidy small blanket stitch.

details blog 5

Here’s a portion of the finished project, showing some of the wool pieces stitched to the background. I used a light floss on the light heart, a dark floss on the dark heart and I blended a strand of each for the medium heart. I used the blanket stitch for most of the applique, but did a whip stitch on the small pot rim.

details blog 6

Take a minute to think about the details next time you start a project. Some of the little choices can make a big impact. Play, have fun, enjoy!

This post is compliments of Cathy Mark.  Thank you so much, 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.  

If you signed up for our blog posts long ago, or you don’t get “WordPress” emails, please sign up again on this one.  It doesn’t split sentences or put photos in the wrong place.
Add your email address above.  These emails are so much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Wish You a Happy New Year!

We hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday weekend!  We look forward to the next one, when we start a new year.

Things are winding up at the shop and we’re just starting our Year End Sale.  We’re making lots of changes here at the store, after 41 years.  One of them is our sale at the end of the year.

Until this year we’ve started our sale at the beginning of the new year, on New Year’s Day.  This year we’re all taking the day off, so we’ve started the sale early.  Right now is the best time to shop, because it just started yesterday and your selection is great!

Save up to 50% on fabric, yarn, books, patterns and lots more. Shop in our store during regular hours or any time online. The sale will run for a few weeks.

Below are some photos I took this morning before the doors opened:

20151227_111644      Lots of yarn and yarn books- I love that doggie with the neckpiece!

20151227_111751There are patterns for almost anything you’d like to make…

20151227_111543And fabric to make it with!

20151227_111832There are models available if you don’t have time to make something.. I have my eye on that beautiful chenille baby blanket.

Don’t take too long!  Come into the store or check things out online.

Another change here is that I’m not doing a paper newsletter in 2016. Doing just one is allowing me to be a little more creative with the one you’ll read online. I’ve made some changes to the format. Our newsletter won’t include “New & Noteworthy” any more. Since I only wrote one 4 times a year, much of what I put in the newsletter wasn’t really new anymore. So my daughter(s) Cathy & (her assistant,) Cathy Mark, decided to let you know each week about what came in during the week, or special things we want to highlight. I think they’ve done a great job with it. My “other daughter” Cathy has taken charge and I eagerly anticipate her email every week, around mid-week. You can sign up for them here.

My same “other daughter” Cathy has kept you more up to date on our Facebook page, too. Her creativity is showing, and it’s fun to see each day. Be sure to “like” us there, and comment regularly. We appreciate our “regulars” and hope you’ll join them.

The newsletter I’m working on now will be ready in just a few weeks and you’ll get notice of it if you’re signed up to receive our weekly emails.

Meanwhile, come on into the store, or check out our sale online.  Get 50% off our newest sale fabrics and choose from even more 50% off fabrics here, plus get 50% off sale items from nearly every department.

And, a little early, “Happy New Year.”

Cagney and Lacy will undoubtedly sleep right through it!