Update – Starch Your $$$$

Last post was about homemade fabric finish for pressing…starch. Quilters Moonshine 2

Just want to add that I am into my second bottle of “Quilter’s Moonshine” and it is going well. NO stickiness on fabrics or the iron! NO smell! NO problems!

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I DID, however, go back and add more starch than the recipe calls for. I poured it all back together and added about 2 more tablespoons of starch. I think this is about preference. I suggest you start with the recipe, as is, and go from there.

Some of the things I have been pressing recently:

Back to my sewing…and pressing…for now!

 

 

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Feeling Frugal…Starch your $$$$

Ha! Gotcha’ didn’t I? I could call it STRETCH your dollars, but this was more fun!

Well, if you are a quilter…or love to iron things to a nice crisp finish…I am blogging about something I have been wanting to try for a long time.

Everyone…I mean EVERYONE knows how nice Mary Ellen’s Best Press is! I love it too!

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We all also know there is a plethora of info on Pinterest. Some time ago I saved this post about “Quilter’s Moonshine”  and finally tried it this morning. Maybe because I used my last spritz of Best Press and didn’t have a backup!! Woe is me!

The recipe calls for starting with a gallon of distilled water, but I wanted to test it out first so cut the recipe down, using only 1/4 of the ingredients.

Quilters Moonshine Ingreds The very expensive ingredients…NOT…use the cheapest vodka you can find.

Quilters Moonshine recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used 4 cups distilled water (I actually used filtered water), 1/8 cup (2T) starch, and 1/4 cup vodka.

 

 

The result is a little on the cloudy looking side…

 

 

So, I put it to the test. No sticky residue on fabric or iron. The finish is a bit softer than Best Press, but that would only mean adding a bit more starch to your recipe for your personal preference.

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Just look how much it makes. If you are frugal and want to give this a try, I am thinking you will not be unhappy with the result. I pay $9.95 (if not on sale) for one bottle of the great Best Press. I am NOT knocking it AT ALL! This concoction, which I do not plan to drink, by the way, was just a few cents for this batch!

Happy Quilting…Happy Pressing!

I will post if I have any further results to share.

Foundation Paper Piecing

 

20170209_084530-2 My favorite, so far!

As mentioned in my last post, quilting has become one of my very favorite pastimes. One of the new skills I have been working on is foundation paper piecing. It creates perfect points and is like working a puzzle (something else I like). Well, it is like working a puzzle only backwards!

There are many tutorials available online (linked here is a free tutorial from Craftsy), so I am not going to try to teach you anything new here, just give you a few pointers and hints from my growing experience.

  1. Start with a simple pattern! Getting the hang of when to place the pattern and fabric right side together or not is the first thing to understand. It requires that backward thinking at first…at least for me. Again, this link (Craftsy) is a very simple straight-forward and basic pattern. You can find lots of free patterns online too. Check out Pinterest.
  2. Selecting solid fabrics can help. In the beginning, selecting solid-colored fabrics will help, as it makes no difference about right side out or in. That said, you will still have to learn to deal with prints at some point, so perhaps mix in a couple of them in your early work.20170201_114708
  3. More on fabrics…be sure to use preshrunk cottons. If they shrink after the fact, or even as you press them, you will be very unhappy.
  4. Don’t try to scrimp on the fabric too much…especially when you are learning. I hate to waste and I am cheap, but it is very disappointing to find that you have stitched your seam and the fabric does not cover the area required. You will get better as you practice! Then you can try to save!
  5. About specialty fabrics and fussy cutting…this is fun and works on many paper-piecing patterns. However, be sure to THINK and rethink your plan and placement. I find that the first piece is the easiest to fussy cut. When you hold your pattern and fabric to the light, you will easily be able to see where your design will fall in that first section.  20170208_123210-2
  6. Learn to LOVE your seam ripper! That sounds intimidating, I know. I hate to rip out and would often prefer to start over, but you will very likely make some mistakes. I would hate to think that I am the only one!
  7. In order to avoid the seam ripper though, think before you stitch! You have heard “measure twice, cut once”…well, this calls for hold it up, look at it three times, fold it back to get a rough idea, think again, then sew.
  8. Speaking of sewing those seams…a tiny stitch is recommended so that the paper will be perforated well and tear off easily. I use a setting of 1.5 on my machine. That will vary with different machines, but that trusty seam ripper barely fits into those helpful tiny stitches. I have tried other longer stitch lengths and the smaller ones do tear off more easily. However, I suggest that you start out with a bit larger stitch in the early stages and go smaller as your confidence grows.
  9. More about the seams…most quilting directions do not encourage you to back stitch at the beginning and end of seams. This is just my opinion (and I don’t always do it), but if you secure the beginning and end of the seam with a fix stitch or even one back stitch, it can help when you tear off the paper. You see, the tearing process can cause some of your stitches to come out and when you are working with 1/4″ or scant 1/4″ seams, there is not much room for error. It also bears consideration about the possibility of ripping out…securing the ends of the seams can make that more difficult too. On more detailed patterns, some of the seams might only be about 1/2″, so if you lose any of those stitches, your seam is almost gone!
  10. More on seams…trim as you go. Where the layers build up the project can get quite thick, so carefully trim your seams to 1/4″, as you go. CAREFULLY! Again, this is backward thinking, so don’t cut off the part that will fold back to be the finished pattern! I have done it! That requires ripping out AND redoing!
  11. About the paper. I can’t tell you much here. Let’s face it, as I said, I am cheap, so I use printer paper. It IS thicker and does not tear as easily. You can purchase special papers for this at around $10 per pack of 25 sheets. I will probably do that the next time I can take advantage of a sale. Some quilters mention using freezer paper. The more detail in the pattern and the smaller the pieces, the more this matters.
  12. How to finish these items? I am getting a collection of paper-pieced goodies and have not decided what to do with them yet. They can be used in any way you would use fabric. They are typically quilted…think blocks, wall hangings, table runners, place mats, hot pads, mug rugs…the list is endless. If you are particularly crafty, you might use them to embellish bags, clothing, and more.

Finishing with some simple hand embroidery is also fun and adds interest.

Another saying that applies here is “slow and steady wins the race”! If you are considering trying foundation paper piecing, I do encourage you to give it a go. It is fun and once you get it, you may be just as hooked as I am!

Have you already tried it? What was your outcome?

(all images ©Valorie Webster; patterns not mine)

 

Safe With Me

I have wondered about Paper Piecing for a while now, but frankly, could not get my mind around it. When I saw the pattern for the safety pin, Safe With Me, I knew this was the one I wanted to try and so I delved in.

safetyImage © Valorie Webster

First, let me thank Craftsy and The Night Quilter for providing the free pattern.

I consider myself to be pretty crafty and a good sewist, since I have been sewing for about 50 years! That said, paper piecing took me some serious thought and this pattern is not exactly the easiest one to start with. After watching a couple of tutorial videos, I decided to just go for it. I am happy with the result. I love the white pin, signifying purity of heart and thought to me, and the bright Kaffe Fassett print, the colors representing the wide variety of people that the new (to the USA) symbol represents.

I do not choose to make this a political post! So, here are a couple of tips from a newbie at paper piecing:

  1. Choose a simple pattern to start with.
  2. Print your pattern on light-weight paper, if you can.
  3. Do use a smaller stitch length, but also DO remember that if you have to rip out a seam, those tiny stitches are a challenge. (The voice of experience!)
  4. As with all new things, give yourself permission to learn. Rome was not built in a day!
  5. Take it slow and steady. Think about the process. #3 above only came about because I got in a hurry and thought I had it all figured out! Slow and steady wins the race!

So here’s to trying a new project! Stretch yourself in different ways. It will expand your horizon!

 

 

February Challenge – COMPLETED!!!

I have posted a couple of times this month about the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club…1st time; 2nd time…and today I will wrap it up.

IMG_9933 This is the first piece I completed. I just can’t learn the technique presented, this month being improv piecing, without finishing up with something complete.

So, here I did some random quilting and stretched it over a frame. (The frame was a purchase from the Good Will store, since I like to up-cycle. This one came with an interesting painted canvas, which will work into something else, but that is another post.)

As mentioned in earlier posts about this challenge, once you get the idea, it becomes addicting. That means I did not stop here!

 

I kept stitching these fabric selections together until I ended up with more pieces. My favorite piece of all is the one that is mostly white…I think it follows the technique the best.

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The two little ones, all pieces were stretched over canvas, were cut up from one of the bigger pieces.

Above are little collages of all 4 of them together. Which ones do you like? Quilted or not?

It is fun that they could be displayed on a wall, easels, flat, turned any direction. I think I am pretty happy with the result. I could, however, look into better ways to handle the stretching over canvas or frames…especially the corners!

On to March soon! Remember, Mighty Lucky Quilting Club is only $5 per month and I have already learned two new techniques!

Happy Quilting!

 

 

My Design Wall – February 11, 2016

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This is my design wall today. Still playing with the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club February Challenge.

Because I am lucky enough to be able to play a lot, I decided to take the little scraps/trimmings that were left from the bigger pieces and see what I came up with by sewing them together.

IMG_9921 I might like it the best. This is just fun and addicting!

I am still trying to decide what to do with these creations. I may cut the biggest one on the left up to smaller pieces. I don’t think it really follows the intended challenge. It was much bigger pieces to start with, if you saw my earlier post. I wish I had not cut it up actually!

So, I think I can get rid of these last little pieces now. What do you think?

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Do you let pieces hang on your design wall so they can speak to you? I am waiting to hear from mine right now…pillows? stretch over canvas? mini-quilt? wall hanging? Use for one big quilt? Any ideas from you in the quilting blogosphere?

Thanks for reading…happy quilting!

PS…Sorry about the poor lighting on the first pic. It is a bit of a grey day here today.

 

 

Mighty Lucky Quilting Club – February – Update

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Update on the earlier post…

This challenge has just seemed very much not intuitive to me, but today I finally started. Thanks goes out to my sew mate, JudeMadeIt, who I have mentioned before. We craft on Tuesdays, so today was the day to get going on this one! She will probably post about her squares. It is so interesting to note how different eyes see different challenges.

At any rate, I am happy to say that once started, it is actually fun and easier than the earlier improvisational pieces I had done…place mats I made to try the concept a while ago…

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So, I have started stitching pieces together and placing them on the design wall…

Another interesting thing is the subtle differences even a little shift in placement makes. Can you see the tiny difference above? Be advised, this WILL absolutely be changing before it is done! It is already different on the wall right this minute! So, if you are interested, keep watching. I will post whatever the final result is.

In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying whatever you are working on!