I am over stimulated at the moment as my schedule cleared for two weekends in a row !!! and I am afraid to count how many things I started. My goal was to set up projects so that I can pick them up whenever I get time. It is helpful in a busy life to make the decisions about fabric, design and tools in the quiet time when it is available. Confusion for me is the beast that needs to be managed most so making decisions when I have time means fewer knee jerk reactions.
Some of the jobs I had to do on the weekend fall into the "chore" category. For example, pin basting a project to practice my machine quilting. Deb Louie taught us a few techniques that make basting better so I applied her methods and got a great result. Getting the backing and wadding just right is really important so I took care while taping my backing down then added a bit of spray baste to the layers. The spray baste actually helps a lot! I was amazed at how secure my layers felt as I pined them together.
I used a LOT of masking tape here but it made a big difference. Now to start machine quilting with a goal to do it slowly so I don't rush into big problems. So, one hour at a time!!!
Once that was done I was back on the floor again with yet another basting but this time it was for a large applique project. First it was about securing the background flat and straigh before pinning in place then sew basting the shape onto the background. I have in the past done this on a table but I found doing it on the floor, although not as fun for my knees, was actually much easier. I knew my background was flat and now as I applique it feels securely in place.
My project basket is growing but I love that...a project for every mood!
Ok, here's a little lesson. I am addicted to using acrylic templates to cut shapes. I use them because they allow me to cut accurately, repeat, resize and generally produce a more interesting product. Recently I have found an area that confuses people. It is always important to know your tools so you can adjust for different patterns. For example, I have two 60 degree triangles.
They are both designed to make up to 12" triangles and they both have accurate markings. The Creative Grid rulers are more expensive but they have non slip tabs on the back and slightly easier to read markings. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the Matilda's Own rulers. There is however one BIG difference between these two rulers.
The Creative Grid ruler is adjusted to reduce the amount of seam allowance. The benefit of the flat tip on the 60 degree ruler is two fold:
1. Cut strips by simply adding the standard 1/2" seam allowance to the desired finished size triangle. The tip is mathmatically calculated to make perfect triangles that sew together easily with points. Using the ruler to cut triangles from strips is very easy. Cut the strip 1/2" bigger than the shape size you want, place the ruler on the strip with the flat tip at the top and the measurement at the bottom. Cut along the angled sides. Flip the ruler so that the flat tip is at the bottom and continue across the strip.
2. The best thing about the flat tip is that it is opposite the straight grain edge of the triangle. It is always important to know where your grain edges are to avoid wobbly strips. This is important with 60 degree triangles as the sides are all the same length and it is easy to confuse the bias edges with the straight grain.
When working with the rulers it is easy to make triangles and sew them together. When working with a pattern it is important to know what the finished size is so that you can adjust for the ruler you are using. The brands that do not have the flat tip usually have a dotted line across the top that can be used to cut the flat tip.
Phew! That was seriuos stuff but I have found a few people confused by this so I thought I'd meniton it. The same principle applies to half square rulers when cutting. Some have flat tip points and some don't. Be AWARE as the flat tips mean the size of the strips is important!
Last week we had a bus of quilters from Illawarra visit the shop in preparation for a workshop they are doing with Wendy Williams. It was a fun day of excited anticipation as they were all collecting the various supplies for working with wool felt. We have a great collection of colors and the necessary supplies for doing the wool applique. We recently restocked on some beautiful verigated perle threads in both 8 and 12.
We also have a put together beautiful color color collections of the perle 8 threads.
This was a great idea, to come to the shop before the workshop so that everyone would have everything they needed on the day. Roz organised everything down to the last detail including splitting the group into two....half shopped with us and the other have skipped over to Birkenhead Point for shopping and coffee...everybody happy! The shop was a flutter of excitement as everyone explored the spaces looking for wool, backgrounds and handy items for the class. It worked brilliantly! If you are attending a workshop with Wendy we have a web page set up with all the items she recommends.
There have been a few shows lately but it sounds like a fun outing now as we move our sights to spring and the coming preparations for Christmas! Who knows, you might even will a raffle quilt!
Working with the wool is lots of fun. I finally started a little project myself on the weekend. It is nice to have a bit of hand work at the end of the day.
If you are a big fan of Wendy's work you might be interested to know that there is a cruise happening in March 2015 and Wendy will be teaching five days on the ship!
Blue skies, blue seas...palm trees...bring it on! For further information you can call 1800630343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wendy is teaching with Michelle Marvig, Sue Daley, and Leonie Bateman so it sounds like it could be a lot of laughs. k