Quilt-a-Doodle? Do!!

imagesOne of my most favorite things is quilting on my Handi Quilter!   And one of the most talented quilters I’ve seen is an Australian art quilter.  Helen Godden works on the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Sit-Down machine, but what she does also applies to the other Handi Quilters, (and even quilting on home sewing machines,) and I love to watch her quilt.

She has a really fun, free video you can watch on Handi Quilter’s website HQ Live called Quilt-a-Doodle-Doo with Helen Godden .  She’s written a coloring book, but not your usual coloring book.  It’s for Quilters, and it’s all adorable animals!  On the video, she shows you all her samples and demonstrates how she fills in the areas of her drawings.  You can download a sample, her adorable rooster part of which is shown below.

picture0004

After seeing that, I got her DVD and learned 50 different stitches!  We carry the DVD, 50 Styles of Quilting, A32398, and if you’re a quilter-

picture0005whatever way you quilt – you’ll enjoy it too.              Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page click on the underlined and 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.

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.

 

Two Quilters, Two Rulers!

Karen and Lynne work in the same office.karenwolfe

Karen is our Website Coordinator. Among other things, she puts up all the new items on our website. That means she gets to see them first, too! That’s a really fun part of the job. But the tool she chose as her favorite isn’t a new one. It’s an old standard.CGR24

My favorite tool is the Creative Grids 6 ½” x 24 ½” ruler. I have learned that one of the most important things in making a quilt is the correct size of your fabric pieces, and this non-slip ruler makes it easier to get it right.”

lynneforrestLynne deals with shipping problems and is our technical writer.  She formats the procedures and manuals for our store.

She was really excited when I first demonstrated this to the staff! A26607b“The Quilter’s Slidelock 24″ ‘Lighted’ Edge is my favorite tool of all time.  Despite my limited arm strength, this ruler holds my fabric securely while cutting.  For years, I always ,veered off, at the end of a long cut (like a golf ball heading into the woods).  That’s history now.    Plus, the ‘lighted’ edge helps me position the ruler accurately.  It’s so much easier now to piece a beautiful block – no more nudging and re-dos.”

If you’d like to read how I (Erica) cut with two rulers, you can download it by clicking here.

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.

Matching Border Strips or “Cagney Did It! “

If for some reason, you cut your border too short, you can piece it to make it the length you need. I did this with my Mystery Quilt border. What happened? Combination of working on it when I was too tired, not paying attention, and having feline help, I guess.  Anyway, I cut it too short.

So I got out my Wonder Tape. (A16848)A16848 It’s a double-sided tape that will dissolve with the first washing. It has a paper protecting strip on one side. I had cut my border strips at a 45 degree angle so they would fit together.

I put a strip of Wonder Tape on the edge of the piece I’m adding, on the right side. You can see the white paper on top of the strip in this photo.20140726_154332

I turned under that edge, and since it’s ¼” tape, it’s easy to use as a guide. I first removed the paper from the part that’s most critical, as you see here, 20140726_154844 reversedand laid it on top of the other piece, matching up the stripes and leaving ¼” seam allowance on both pieces. 20140726 reversed

Once that part was done, I could remove the rest of the tape and smooth out the seam. Turning it over, the fold is visible, and that’s where the stitching goes to make the actual seam.     20140726_195552

If it isn’t clearly visible, I use my Frixion Pen (it disappears with the heat of an iron) A20672 and/or my Sewline Ceramic Fabric Pencil 40605 (removable with its eraser or a damp cloth).A20672b 40605b

Stitch on the line and you have a beautiful join and no one knows the better.Cagney rotatedDoes Cagney look guilty?

(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.)

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.

Sewing room Organization

I’m an organizer by nature, and I’m in the middle of cleaning my sewing room. It’s so easy for sewing rooms to become an enormous mess, isn’t it? Mine is still messy, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I have a few things that really help me clean up quickly, so I thought I’d share them.

My favorite space-saver and organizer is my “design wall.” I put it in quotes because all it really is, is a piece of batting tacked to the wall. I tacked Warm & Natural Cotton Batting on a small wall and put my quilt squares up on it as I make them. It’s a big space-saver because I don’t have to find a clear surface to stack my blocks on. And it keeps my room just a bit neater, and allows me to see how the quilt will look as I make it. And yes, one of my blocks is falling off. That’s the way it goes sometimes!sewingroom1Warm & Natural Cotton Batting

I also put my ruler (with Gypsy Gripper attached,) on top of my Quilter’s Cut N Press (15842) with any fabric that I’m working on. That way, when I have time to work on something, it’s stacked and ready to go.

sewingroom2Fabric shown here is High Street by Lily Ashbury for Moda.
Dark Pink Flower Circles (905286)
Sage Star Print (905290)

And my favorite organizational tool is another one I made myself. I took an embroidery hoop and used small pieces of scrap fabric to make a pocket. You can make this as simple or as elegant as you want. I didn’t sew anything together – I just put the two fabrics in the hoop, tightened it, and pinned the fabric to the back. But if you had more time, you could add pockets or even use embroidery work. I like to change out the fabrics to match the season but you could also use a colored embroidery hoop to add more color. You can see all of Erica’s needlework hoops on our Hand Embroidery Hoops and Frames page.

sewingroom3This fabric is from an older French General line from Moda, but you could do something very similar with French General Favorites Pearl and Rouenneries Deux by French General.

In my organizer, I keep my Olfa 45mm Rotary Cutter, floral embroidery scissors (52850), TrueGrips (60954), Marking Tool, and a 96″ tape measure (73605). And whatever else I might want to stash there!

And then there are baskets! I love baskets. You can clean up so quickly by stacking fabric in them, and your room instantly feels cleaner. I have a bunch of baskets but my favorites are my charm pack basket (with some fat quarters in it, too) and my project basket. I love to use large baggies to keep my fabrics for certain projects together.

sewingroom4

sewingroom5So those are my favorite organization tools for my sewing room. I’m always looking for more organizational ideas so feel free to share yours in our comments section below!

(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.)

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.

Happy Organizing!
~Stephanie

Last Minute Label

I don’t suppose you ever do this, but sometimes I leave things to the last minute.

DSC01495We were having dinner with Kellie and Brad a week before Christmas.  I had a gift, a quilt I made that had hung in the shop until we needed space for something else.  I knew they’d like it.  But I didn’t have a labellabel for it!

So I took a photo of part of the design on the front of the quilt, put it in my computer and added my dedication and sentiment.  I printed it on Printer Fabric (28450), cut it out with my pinking shears (A19048), and used Aleene’s OK to photoWash-It (29977 to attach it to the back of the quilt.  Caution – if you have it on the quilt upside down, be sure to find that out before the glue is dry!  Voice of experience!)

Anyway, they did like their Christmas Ribbons quilt (A11221), and never knew it was a last minute label!  Have you left something to the last minute?  Tell us in the reply section.

For those of you following our Remmycat family, meet Rembrandt, (he’s the one on the far right.)

We call him “Remmy,” when we’re not calling him “bring that back!

A few months after he left stolen undiesthe Humane Society to live with us, he stole the first item, my mesh laundry bag.  Then underwear, (Dick’s or mine- he was diplomatic.)  Then he progressed to pieces of fabric on my cutting table, things out of waste baskets, even silverware!  Every day there’s something new he’s taken.  He looks so funny when he runs off with one of Dick’s shirts, stepping on it and stumbling as he runs from us, but he’ll keep going until we catch him.  We’re having to hide almost everything.  Whenever something’s missing, we know who took it, (unless, of course we just don’t remember where we put it.)  I’m really hoping this is a stage he’ll grow out of, because although it’s funny, he does chew on things and makes holes in clothing and fabric.

But, like the rest of the family, we love him and can’t imagine life without him.  So that’s our latest feline adventure.  Stay tuned…    Tell us in the reply section, about the unusual things your cat does.  And also send me photos- I need more for our Crafter Kitty pages.

Until next time…   Erica

(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.)

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.

Stratford Park is here!

Stratford-2web

Stratford Park fabrics and patterns available at Ericas.com

Deborah Edwards for Northcott Studio has designed a gorgeous line of fabric called Stratford Park and Erica’s has it! Stratford Park offers elegant basics for everyday and includes prints, solids, and embroidered fabric in six color palettes. Basic patterns and colors in ebony, chocolate, fawn, ivory, pearl and snow can be used on their own or combined for a sophisticated neutral look.

Here are just a few examples of these beautiful fabrics:

s1 Fabric shown above: Stratford Park Fawn Vine 905697

s2Fabric shown above: Stratford Park Chocolate Flower 905710

s3Fabric shown above: Stratford Park Fawn Dot 905715

s4Fabric shown above: Stratford Park Fawn Large Floral 905722

The cotton embroidered vine fabric is particularly stunning and is available in all six color palettes.

Image - Fabric Sample

Fabric shown above: Cotton Embroidered Ivory Vine 905691

We are lucky enough to have five Stratford Park quilts on display in our store right now. Most of the quilts will be here for the entire month of January, so if you live in the area, come see them.  They’re even more striking in person!

stratford1

stratford2We also have many different patterns to choose from that highlight these fabrics beautifully.

pattern1Pattern shown above: Elegance A23621

pattern2

Pattern shown above: Circle of Love A23623

pattern3

Pattern shown above: Stratford Crossing A23918

Come in and look at the beautiful quilts, the many patterns we have in stock, and peruse the entire fabric collection, including fabric bolts and fat quarters. Or head over to the Stratford Park page at Ericas.com.

(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.)

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.

Happy Shopping!
~Stephanie

Pineapple Quilt Blocks

Aside

Do you know what I am super thankful for? The fact that I am a quilter in the year 2013. I can’t even imagine trying to do this in the year 1913, or even 1953. Did you know that the rotary cutter was not even introduced until 1979? That just blows my mind.

With half a glance around our quilt department, you can find so many useful tools for making complex quilts more easily. Creative Grids is just one company supplying amazing tools for making our quilting lives easier, and for some of us, even possible.

I’ve never even considered attempting to make a pineapple block before today. But with the help of the Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool (A12669), I made some today and I must say, it’s amazing how simple it really can be.

Great Grid Pineapple Trim Tool

The basic concept with the “trim tools” is that you trim each round after it’s added, basically ensuring that your blocks end up the appropriate size. Trust me, I’m never going to win an award for accurate piecing. These tools are helping me make great looking quilts anyway.

Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool

After sewing only four rounds and the “dog ear” corners, you end up with a six inch block. Using the same tool, you can add more rounds to make either eight or ten inch blocks.

I used to prefer what I called “real rulers” with clearly marked inches, etc, to “templates” such as these.  At this point though, I’m totally convinced and thrilled to be able to have the choice of using these tools to make quilting so much easier and so much more accessible. I hope you’ll check out when we talked about using the Log Cabin Trim Tool (A16764), also from Creative Grids.

This model of the Tropical Fruit quilt (A23004) is currently hanging in the store, just daring me to try and make it.

Image

In this close up block you can see that this is the ten inch block, with eight rounds. I will admit, it does take some time to make each of these blocks, especially in the beginning when you’re learning to use the tool. Of course, everybody gets quicker with practice. You’ll also be sewing over lots of seams so you’ll want to make sure they end up the right direction on the back side of your blocks. I had several trying to flip themselves over in the beginning. Image

So I’m thinking my six-year-old, Sarah, would love this quilt in her favorite color, rainbow. Of course, you can see that I made my blocks today using some of my favorite French General fabrics, of which I have way too much. I would also love to give it a try in some non-traditional Christmas colors, maybe silver and blue, or some darker reds and greens with creamy whites. What do you think? As always, please let us know what you think and we love to see pictures of your finished pieces!

Until next time,

Jennifer

Side note from Erica:  I was around when the rotary tool was introduced, and there was only one manufacturer and one size.  I remember thinking, “That’ll never last!”  LOL!

(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.)

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.