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Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

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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We have not talked about projects.  Where to start?!  What to do?!  I did two things this week that are no different than how I first started my quilting craft.  I started two projects.  Yes two!  One is a design I saw that I love.  The second is a class project that will help me build new skills.  Let me go into more details.

Project #1 is call “Ko Ko” and it was featured in the May/June 2012 Fons  & Porter’s  “Love of Quilting” Magazine.  I like the project for its simplistic color scheme.  The design was done by Evelyn Young.  I have never worked on any of her projects before. But everything seems to be going smooth.  The directions are good.  The project calls for cutting out a total of 1028 small triangles.  That is what I spent time doing throughout the week in the evenings.  It seems like a lot, but I enjoy every aspect of quilting, so I took my time and was done by the end of the week.  I spent time on Friday evening and Saturday sewing the triangles into 514 square and today I ironed out all of the squares.

  The sewing and ironing was mindless and therefore very relaxing.  I am making a few deviations from the pattern thus far.  Instead of doing regular triangles I chose to use the Marti Michell “Perfect Patchwork Templates”.  I love these because they make lining up the pieces tidy.  The specific one I used was B13.  I am sure making this change will slightly change the dimensions of the overall quilt, so I am going to hold off cutting my setting triangles until I have all of the blocks completely sewn together.  There will be 32 in total.  I will keep you posted. 

Project #2 is a block of the month class I signed up for at a local quilt shop.  The quilt is called “The Coxcomb Medallion Quilt” by Susan H. Garman 2010.  Distributed by Quakertown Quilts.  This quilt features a lot of hand applique work with multiple piece-worked borders.  My handwork skills leave something to be desired, however I consider this a challenge.  I took the class because being with fellow quilters is the best way to learn new tricks of the trade.  In addition, I have never met a nasty quilter.  Every quilter I have met is friendly!  You can’t say that about many groups as a whole.  Fellowship with other quilters is a must.  This quilt will be a year-long project.  The first month has many challenging things to accomplish.  I am not sure I will be able to get it all done.  But the instructor, Susan Anderson,  I have had before and she is patient so I won’t let myself stress out about getting every last thing completed.  I would rather have it done right than fast…  For this quilt I spent two hours in the demonstration class and I began some of the prep work.   I had to order a few tools, they should arrive from Connecting Threads this week.   This class is nice, because I didn’t have to pick any fabric.   Every month I will get a new fabric pack with what I need.  It’s a nice change of pace and it spreads out the initial fabric investment; that for a quilt this size would be around $200.    

If you gathered all of your supplies and you are wondering how to start, these are two ideas.  I believe a class is the best way to start; however, if you don’t have that available, try a pattern from a magazine.  I have given you the reference point to one magazine.  Fons & Porter’s “Love of Quilting” is nice.  It features patterns for all skill levels.  You can subscribe online if you can’t find it in a local store. 

I hope you have a fantastic week!  Be thankful for all that you have, even if it seems like less than some others.  This week I found out about a family that is now officially homeless, not to any fault of their own.  Apparently they were renting and the place they were renting was sold.  The new owner made them leave as he did not want to be a landlord.  A mom, dad, grandmother and son on the street.  Like many, they don’t have the means to come up with the extra money needed for first and last months rent to move into a place.  They are not the type of family that will ask for help.  I have only found this out from someone that is trying to help them.  This “someone” has bought clothes and schools supplies  for the son, in addition to helping them pay for their weekly rented room.  I have reached out to a close friend and she is going to help me get educated on resources available so that we can try to educate and help the family out.  It’s always astounding to me that some people who need help the most can’t get it because they either won’t ask, or don’t know where to start.  These are the people you don’t know about.  But the people that scream for help the loudest could probably do something to help themselves get out of a situation.  Thank goodness I live in a small community that will help and respect the pride of others. 

Once again, have a great week!  Hug the ones you love.  Smile at those you don’t.

Happy Quilting!

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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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My Pinwheel design

My pinwheel design

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In this blog I will attempt to talk about why you may want to quilt.  In my introduction I talked about quilting being the one thing that that transcends time.  Historically I can think of nothing else that has the same enduring quality as a quilt to display love.  If a soldier was lucky, he would have one quilt of his own to comfort and protect him.  The message and symbols in the quilt may have been stitched for him by his mom, wife or a group of women determined to send the soldier off to war with as much love and caring as they could offer.  Wrapped in this quilt the soldier surely never felt alone.  The quilt is a hug that endures generations.   Quilts welcomes babies, congratulate new brides and grooms, cover sleeping children (yes even the grumpy teenagers), comfort the sick and give us memories of long lost family and friends.

 I am certain I am overly nostalgic when it comes to quilts.  I do know that quilts were very often made out of necessity.  Quilts were a way to use every scrap of fabric possible from flour bags to worn clothing.   These quilts kept families warm in the winter and comforted in times of need.  And of course the stories continue.

When I am quilting, I find myself relaxed and I take comfort knowing that I am performing a task that has been repeated billions of times throughout history.  I am picking fabrics, carefully choosing a design, and putting every bit of love and attention to detail as possible into my creation.  Sometimes I am free to splurge and buy everything I need to make an entire quilt, sparing no expense.  At other times I am checking my scraps to see what will work together.  I want the person receiving the quilt to know that it was made especially for them and that a quilt is made to be used.  The wonderful thing about quilts is that the more they are used, the softer they become. 

When my daughter and grandson moved away, I took his baby receiving blankets and pieced together a new large blanket for him.  This was a practical use of the fabric, and a way to piece together that short period of baby time that goes by so fast.   My grandson loved the blanket and carried it to daycare…..a hug across the miles.

Ok, so maybe this does not answer why you should quilt.  I guess I can’t tell you why you should.  But knowing you are a part of a larger group of strong women sometimes eases the burden of the day.  I hope you will want to continue a long tradition.  Think about joining centuries of quilters, in my next blog I will talk about basic items you will need to get started.

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Welcome to the “Gifts by Sheri” blog.  I have a few goals for this blog that I will share, but first let me give you some background on why I am doing this.  Like many of you I juggle work, home, children, grandchildren, marriage and yes my crafts.  I will focus on quilting in my blog, because I think it is a connecting block (ahh…a pun already) for woman that transcends time, age, politics, economic status and well …anything that divides us otherwise.  I know that men are more a part of the quilting world than ever before.   I have never met a male quilter, they are still mythical creatures in my world, but I hope that one will follow my blog and chime in.

So why would I do a blog?  I have always taken for granted that every family has crafters and heirlooms to pass down through generations.  Society over time has changed this.  Folks can’t find the time.  But I believe that if the world of quilting was not so overwhelming in the beginning, anyone could find the time.  I want to remove the scary portion of quilting, share some stories and make you anxious to join the quilting world.

Why my blog is called “Gifts by Sheri”?  Because I hope some piece of advice I share will make you laugh, give you an idea to have an outlet to be creative, and along the way I will also make some items and put them in my Etsy Shop so that you can have gifts at your fingertips if you just can’t manage to get yours together in time for a special someone.

I will give tips on machines, fabric, how to start…and the list goes on.  I was amazed at how many topics came up when I began brainstorming for this.   Thanks again for following, please look for my posts on a weekly basis I have scheduled time on Sunday evenings for this.  If you have any ideas don’t hesitate to send them.  I hope to learn as I share.  My contact information is GiftsbySheri@comcast.net.

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