Quilting Accessories I Love


While making new Quilt-as-you-go pattern samples this week

I was reminded of a conversation I had last fall when a fellow quilter didn’t fill her foundation precisely with strips.

I personally don’t sew with perfection, but precision!

I’m not perfect, but I know how to make quilts with perfection; two different things.

From the beginning she didn’t find her scant 1/4″ seam allowance nor did she measure back as described & illustrated in every QAYG pattern of mine.

How many of us overlook those pesky instructions until we run into trouble…LOL!

So, I decided to take some photos & give some measuring tips.

I have a Quilt-as-you-go tutorial here,

so take at look at it

& this post will bring even more clarity.

First of all,

find your machine’s scant 1/4″ seam allowance with your walking foot!

QAYG+tutorial+needle+positionFor my older Bernina 930

(Lucky me, I know! My mom found the magic of Bernina while I was still in college.)

I just move the needle position one click to the right

& lead the fabric along one of the openings in the walking foot.

QAYG+tutorial+walking+footThis gives me a perfect scant 1/4″ seam allowance & I can see the fabric under the foot at precisely where the needle is going into the fabric.

When I sew through the strips & foundation with a long stitch

(I’m quilting here, not just sewing two layers of cotton together)

QAYG+tutorial+stitch+lengthI get precisely the measurement of the two strips minus 1/2″ for the seam.

Now that your machine is ready,

follow any of my Quilt-as-you-go patterns to

cut the strips & make the foundation.

Start sewing your strips by lining them up with the foundation & pinning several times.

QAYG+tutorial+first+strips

I ALWAYS use the very handy finger pincushion.

QAYG+tutorial+finger+pincushion

I pin the strips on at the table,

sew at my machine while removing pins, then press & pin the next strip back at the table.

The pins are always in my finger pincushion, not back at my machine.

It saves a LOT of time & AGGRAVATION!

Here is the next important step:

QAYG+tutorial+measure+backMeasure back!

& I don’t mean just after the first strip is added.

It’s in every one of my QAYG patterns.

QAYG+tutorial+measure+back+againAfter every strip is added,

measure across in three places & make sure the measurement is the same.

When you’ve sewn farther than 24″, get a longer ruler!

QAYG+tutorial+measure+back+again+again

If it’s not the same, you need to adjust it & make it the same

otherwise when you get to the last strip you may be out of foundation,

or you may be out of foundation before you’ve used all of your strips!

 QAYG+tutorial+last+stripMeasure, measure, measure…

This is all in the pattern instructions, but I thought a few photos would maybe make things even clearer.

See how the last strip meets the edge of the foundation precisely?

QAYG+tutorial+last+strip+fitsThat’s because I use a scant 1/4″ seam & check myself with every strip added.

Who wants a snowman without a chin?

QAYG+tutorial+snowmen+chins

Especially when all his friends have one!!!

(No faces yet, but chins!)

They all have faces now, but I still need to finish the binding hand-work so I can get them photographed & ready for spring market.

Any questions???

Boy I can sure find lots of ways to avoid work!

Just keep sewing…

Susan

 

One of the most important tasks to conquer for quilting is finding and sewing the PERFECT scant 1/4″ seam.

The easiest way to get it exact EVERY time is this tool.

It’s the Perfect Piecing Seam Guide by Perkins Dry Goods.  (I’m lucky enough to have an autographed copy!!)

Here’s how it works,

The tool has a tiny hole just big enough for your needle to go through.  Put the tool under your presser foot and hand crank the needle down slowly until it goes through that hole.  Put the preser foot down.

Put a strip of masking tape along the side of the tool.

Remove the tool and you have the perfect guide to follow!

I set up my machine and I can follow the side of my applique foot by moving my needle position one click to the right of center and I’ve got it every time.

Unfortunately not every machine is the same.

Every once in a while I take out my Singer Featherweight to sew on and I use this tool to refresh my memory of where the scant 1/4″ is on that machine.  Since I don’t sew on it very often, I can’t remember if I can follow the edge of the foot or not…It’s a memory thing that this handy tool fixes too!

You can find the tool at your local quilt shop or Celine’s website.

Until next time,

Susan

Being a quilt pattern designer and going to International Quilt Market at least once a year for the last six years, I’ve met a LOT of quilters; quilt shop owners and their employees, other quilt designers, fabric reps, distributor reps, notions reps, batting reps, thread company reps, and the list goes on and on. I’ve learned so much from these quilters’ experiences, plus I’ve experimented a lot myself.

This morning while mindlessly ironing my DH’s dress shirts I got an idea, (I get some of my best thinking done while doing these types of monotonous tasks, and don’t you dare tell him or he might get some of his own great ideas such as thinking that I enjoy said tasks) anyway… I thought I would list some of my favorite things and perhaps they might become some of your favorites too.

If you check out my website you’ll see a tab for “Quilt-as-you-go”.  These are all lap quilts that I’ve created using my own technique, a form of foundation piecing.  These are a few of them:

 The “foundation” is actually the batting and backing fabric cut to the size of the finished quilt, then basted together.  I like to use Sullivan’s basting spray for this.  It keeps the foundation together nicely, doesn’t gunk up my needle and there are no pins to move as I sew.  Below is a small-scale of what the “foundation” looks like basted and ready to start sewing.

The only batting I use and recommend for these quilts is Warm & Natural.  It has its own “velcro” type properties that eliminates all slipping while I sew these quilts together.

 It’s time to start sewing the strips on.  The first strip is lined up with the edge of the foundation,

 

The second strip is lined up on top of it, right sides together. 

 Pin and sew 1/4″ away from the inside edge of strip.  The seam is going all the way through the foundation creating the “quilting”.

Two important things to remember while stitching, 1) use a walking foot and 2) use a long stitch length.  I set my machine to the longest stitch setting (8 stitches per inch).  You’re quilting, not just sewing a seam.

 Next comes the pressing. With the strips still flat as sewn, press, picking up the iron as you work down the strip not sliding it.  I also do not use any steam, notice empty iron!

Open the top strip out, then press again.  Be sure to not slide the iron, pick it up instead.  Continue sewing strips on in this manner.Once all of the strips are sewn onto the foundation your quilting is done.  Add the binding and the quilt is finished. 

 

One last favorite thing I’d like to note is a finger pin cushion.  This keeps my pins with me at my sewing machine, at the iron, and at my pinning table.  This is a big time saver for these projects.

Some of the quilts have fusible applique and therefore require a bit of stitching to add before the binding.  This stitching acts as more quilting. 

These quilts truly can be made in one day, 6-10 hours depending on which pattern you choose. Several of the patterns are designed for jelly rolls and charm squares which really minimizes your cutting time.  They make great gifts because they’re not a huge time or money commitment.

If you don’t already use my favorite things, go to your local quilt shop and ask for them. Perhaps my favorites will become your favorites.

Until next time,

Susan

 

Today I received these lovelies from Sulky of America!

I am currently using Sulky’s 12 wt. cotton thread to make some of these, ain’t she cute?  You should see her brothers!  They’re both from my new Ginger Bliss pattern.  They are part of several projects; a 56″ square tree skirt, a 24″ round tree skirt shown here appliqued on wool, and a table runner.  Visit my website to see/purchase them. 

using 12 wt. Sulky cotton threads 

I absolutely L-O-V-E the way this thread makes my applique POP!

Sulky’s 30 wt. cotton threads I use to make my quilting stand out.  Now that I’ve become a better machine quilter, that’s a good thing!

This sample is a table runner from my Wheels & Dashes pattern, also available on my website.

The package pictured with the threads is Sulky’s Stabilizer Sampler.  It contains four different stabilizers; Sulky Cut-Away, Sulky Tear-Away, Sulky Wash-Away & Sulky Heat-Away.  I don’t use a lot of stabilizers even though I applique a LOT, but there are times it’s absolutely necessary. I’m going to try these out, hopefully soon, so stay tuned.

Susan