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Posts Tagged ‘connecting threads’

I hope your projects are off to a great start.  Let me update you on mine.  It has been a busy week.  Unfortunately not for the crafting side of my life.  

My “KoKo” project moved forward with the completion of 2 blocks.  I still love the simplistic color combination and find this would be a great gift for a man or woman.  I am thinking about making these blocks into two lap/throw blankets.  There will be 32 blocks in total.  What do you think?

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For my 2nd project, the “Coxcomb Medallion”, it seemed like I made minimal progress.  I know that is not totally true.  I spent so much time cutting and prepping the pieces.  It is a daunting task.  I did manage to get 3 of the 4 stems stitched into place.   It was actually relaxing to do the hand stitch work.  I was dreading the work, even though I wanted to master a new skill.  To add to this I jointed “Quilt With Us” on “Connecting Threads” and found a Needleturn Appliquers group.  Maybe I will learn more working with a group.  I do struggle with how to manage all of the social network sites out there.  Learning how to meet people when not in person.  It is a rough journey for me as face to face is always how I have worked.  

My daughter put a good perspective on things for me today.  As we were chatting she commented that when she finished the knitted shawl with 3000 beads, it was like ending a relationship.  The journey had been fun, but she needed to move on….that is how it is when learning a new craft or starting a project.  It’s a relationship.  You read and study the pattern and fabrics.  You ensure you are doing everything the project specifies.  You put tons and tons of effort and time into creating something that will be treasured for years to come, and then something happens (hopefully you finish the project).  And it is time to move on and continue your talent growth and maturity.  Funny I think.  The lesson, sometimes we will tackle projects that just were not right for us.  Don’t be afraid to walk away and do something else.  Hobbies as well as life should be fun.  Both things will have their good times and bad.  You just have to know when the bad out weighs the good and move on.  

Best of luck on your projects this week.  I look forward to the next blog.

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This week I promised to talk about fabric. There are many types of fabric you can use depending on your project goals. Since I promised I was going to keep this blog to basics, my recommendation is 100% cotton. Any reputable quilting store will carry good cotton fabric. You can expect to pay from $9-12 per yard for the fabric. While this may seem a little expensive, the quality of the fabric is what you need to become accustomed to. Once you are used the feel of the fabric, you will be able to shop in other places and know if the fabric you are looking at is as high a quality as you are used to. You will also become familiar with the names of some of the major manufacturers on the market. This is important because if you choose to buy fabrics online, you won’t have the same benefit of feeling the fabric prior to buying.

I understand that there are many people who don’t have local quilt shops to purchase from. If that is the case or if you are looking for some online resources I have a couple for you. I know there are a million places online to purchase from. Two that I have had wonderful experiences with and that I trust are the “Fat Quarter Shop”; www.fatquartershop.com, and “Connecting Threads”; www.connectingthreads.com.

The “Fat Quarter Shop” has wonderful block of the month clubs, which are a great way to start quilting. You will be mailed the fabric and pattern (which may need to be purchased separately). Every month you will complete your block(s), depending on how your club is set up, and after 6-12 months your quilt top is ready is complete. The monthly fee varies and starts at around $20. Like I said, this is a great way to start. In addition, I have used the block of the month as a Christmas present for my mom. She has been quilting for decades, but she anxiously waits for her new block materials every month. She has learned a few new techniques and patterns this way.

“Connecting Threads” is in my opinion hands down the best value for online purchases. Their fabric prices range from $4.96 to $6.96 per yard. You can get cuts as small as a ¼ yard, and that is unheard of at most online retailers. I was very skeptical when I first ordered from them thinking that the quality could not possibly be as good. Boy was I wrong. I love everything I have ever gotten from them and their thread is now the staple thread I use. Like all of their items the price and quality is great and it is offered in an array of colors. When picking out fabrics to use you can add your choices to the design table and get a good feel for how they will look together. I have not found this feature anywhere else, and it is great when you are trying to pick out many different fabrics for your quilt.

The next thing to mention on fabric is color. Obviously when you pick out a pattern you will be told how much of each type of fabric you will need. Such as a light, medium or darks color. Unless you are buying a kit, you will have to pick your own colors. Don’t shy away from this as it can seem daunting in the beginning. Go crazy and pick colors you like. You may be working with these colors for a while and you will want to smile when you see them. Not gag… The first quilt I did was with a local quilt shop and it was a block of the month however I had to pick out approximately 25 colors using a list that said light, medium, dark etc. (Sometimes I just don’t do anything in moderation, LOL). The colors where beautiful and I loved working with them. The quilt was gorgeous. When it was finished, I realized it matched nothing in my house! Oh well, it was a beautiful quilt and I now display it on my bed, who knows, maybe one day I will paint my bedroom to match it.

The last topic I will cover is a much debated one; to wash or not wash the fabric before using it. I have done both. In the beginning I washed, starched and ironed every piece of fabric before I used it. I now believe that as long as you starch and iron the fabric, because it is of high quality, it will be fine. I have never noticed any major shrinkage or color running. When starching I love to use “Mary Ellen’s Best Press”. Her web site is https://maryellenproducts.com. It comes in many scents and can be used on all of your clothes. It does not flake and I use it for ironing everything. If you are budget conscious and this is more than you want to spend, “Niagara” makes a non-aerosol spray starch that also works great on cotton fabrics. You can find this a many of your usual big box stores and it is about 1/4 of the cost of “Best Press”.

That is a good start on fabric, so while you are waiting for your fabric and thread to arrive you need to gather a few more tools around the house to get started.
o Iron
o Ironing Board
o Spray bottle filled with water

Have a great week. Please let me know if there are other topics you would like to see a posting on. I will blog again next week! Happy Quilting!

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