Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Newby Quilting Class Update and Upcoming Local Quilt Shows!

We are getting ready for our next block and I want you to see Brenda's block which she has finished ahead of time.  She will be using this for the center block in her quilt.  You may want to think about this before our next class.  If you want to feature something special in your center block, some embroidery, a fussy cut fabric, an applique...these are just some suggestions.  It's a great block to do this with, doesn't mean you have to, just an option.  Below is the block without any special maneuvering.

Wanted to give you some time to think about this before we meet again.

I also wanted to share that there are a couple quilt shows coming up locally that you might enjoy attending.

28th Annual 

May 5 & 6, 2012
Saturday 10-5 • Sunday 10-4
Admission $6 (children under 12 free)
Shuttle between buildings

Here is a link for more information:


Dresden Forest” is FOG's 2012 opportunity quilt.  Tickets will be sold until 3pm on Sunday, April 15, at which time the winning ticket will be drawn. 

This show will be at the Gold Country Fair Grounds in Auburn, CA on 
April 14th and 15th

Quilts and wearables; vendors; country store; cafe; raffle baskets; door prizes. Alex Anderson is the featured guest on Saturday! Admission $7. Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-4. 

This is a local show and is just so much fun, they will have over 300 quilts on display and lots of vendors.  We will be meeting on April 13th, so I will remind you then.  You won't want to miss it.

If you would like to stay after class and play with us, bring your sack lunch to class next time, we can place it in the fridge in the kitchen.  I have a couple quilt tops planned for the afternoon, I think we can get two done if enough folks want to stay.  One will be a "Twister" quilt and the other will be a "Lawn Chair" quilt.  Both are very quick and easy. You may want to learn how to make them and make one for yourself!  

We will be utilizing a "construction line" technique so we can get these done quickly.  A couple gals will cut the initial pieces, a couple gals will sew the initial pieces, then a couple gals will cut the segments and a couple gals will stitch them back together.  Ideally I would love to have 8 of you for the afternoon...if you can.  If you like the patterns as we make them, let me know and I will get you a copy of the directions.

The needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone.

Thanks Ladies for being so willing to share your talents.
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Easter is Coming!

Well, anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE bunnies!  Easter time is about one of my favorite times of year, just because the stores break out the bunnies in mass.  I can never resist and seem to add to my collection every year, I am getting a bit particular though.  Along with the bunnies, I enjoy making and  collecting Ukrainian Easter Eggs.  More about that when we get closer to Easter...I'll be making up a batch of eggs and will share the process.  

So this morning, I got up early and finished my little Easter Table Runner and was all set to take a little photo to share when these two jumped up and took their places!  They think I made it just for them and they want to know who the "white kitty" is.  Honey Bee is on the left and Sophie is on the right.  Well, I scooted them off once I got this photo and so here is the picture of the table runner, minus the "helpers".

I used the Lil' Twister tool which is great for making pinwheels easy!  If you don't have one and think you might like to get one, may I suggest that you get both the Lil' Twister and the Twister tools together in a packet.  You are going to want them both.  You can purchase them at CS Designs and they are also available at local quilt shops and on

The Lil' Twister tool is great to use with a Charm Pack.  Charm Packs contain pre-cut 5" squares of fabric, you just stitch them together and then use the tool as instructed to cut your squares.  Stitch them back together and you have this cute pinwheel design.  This is the first time I have used the Lil' Twister and I am pleased with the results.  I have made lots of quilts with the bigger tool, they go fast and are lots of fun as well.
Soon as I clear the decks of some other UFO's I'm thinking a big quilt, using the Lil' Twister would be real pretty.  You could make up some pinwheel fabric and then cut it to make a tote also, or book mind is racing.   Right now, I'm gonna make some cookies!  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Newby Quilting Bee Class Follow-up

Great Blocks!  Lots of fun!  I enjoyed watching everyone get their blocks put together.  You gals are getting better each time we meet.  By now, you know how to cut your fabric, how to create a Half Square Triangle Unit, how to create a strip set, you have experimented with setting your components in different places in your block to arrive at completely new and different blocks, we've talked a little bit about color and contrast, you have the basics of squaring up and much more.  Check out the links on each lesson, print them out and put them in your binder for a reference.

I created the above image using BIG HUGE LABS  go there, sign up, it's free, enjoy yourself.  Put one of your blocks in the mosaic maker and do a 4 x 4 or a 6 x 6 to see how it might look in a quilt.  If you need help, call me and I'll walk you through it.  You'll be hooked!  Try out their other applications as well.

Our midday project was a little fabric basket, easy to make.  Get a sharp needle, denim or quilting.  Use braided cotton rope which you can get at ACE Hardward for cheap.  Doesn't take much to make a little basket...but you'll want to make a whole bunch of them.  Great way to use up strips of fabric.

Some of the gals chose to stay in the afternoon and we put together a little quilt top in just over an hour.  I will add some borders and solicit the help of Brenda to get it loaded on the quilter and quilted before our next meeting.  My personal goal is to have a total of 10 quilts to donate at our Harvest Festival in October.

You can get the ruler to make this quilt top at
I will suggest that you get the two pack containing both the large and small twister, cheaper in the long run and you are going to want this tool!  

Sandy was the winner of the Kaffe Fassett Charm Square packet from Angel Quilters out in Lincoln, CA.  We will have another fun surprise that you won't want to miss at the next class.

Valerie has been making some cute blocks and I told her I would put them in Mosaic Maker so she could get a feel for how they will look in a quilt.  She has lots more blocks of different types and she will have to determine the ultimate lay out, sashing or not...they are cute!  Love the fussy cut Moose!

Some Final Notes:

One of the questions Valerie asked me was about calculating the amount of fabric you need, sizes, etc.  Here are a couple of links to help you with that.

From Quilt Bug  A Yardage Calculator.

From Flying Geese Quilt Guild A Quilt Size Guide:

This is a bit premature at this point, but you can tuck it into your binder for future reference.

From Wind River Quilting A tutorial on How much fabric you need for your backing:

From Quilter's Paradise a nifty Binding Calculator:

In our next class which will be on Friday, April 13th we will be learning to make Flying Geese!  You will be expanding your skill level yet again.  See you there. And please remember, if you need help, get stuck, want to ask a question.  CALL or e-mail.  I don't bite.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Newby Quilting Bee - Class 3 - Monkey Wrench Block

The Monkey Wrench Block aka Snail Trail Block

This is a fun block, it goes fast and look what happens when you put the blocks together!  I have used mosaic maker to replicate four blocks and turned them to make all the blues come to the center to create a spinning star effect.  Repeatedly using this block will give you a secondary design effect, this is known as a Tessellation.  Depending on how many different fabrics you selected for your blocks, you could have several different "stars" in a quilt made with just this block alone.  

So let's get started!  For simplicity sake, I am going to use only two fabrics for this tutorial.  You can however use up to four in this block and we will talk about how to do that at the end.  I encourage you to read all the directions through once or twice before you begin.

For this block you will need to cut the following from EACH color:

1 strip measuring   3 1/4 inches x 6 1/2
1 square measuring 4 3/4 inches
2 squares measuring 9 inches

You should have the following components ready to assemble your block.

Take the two smallest strips and stitch them right sides together along one of the LONG edges and press the seams to one side, it should look like this when you are finished:

Take your ruler and measure over 3 1/4 inches and make a cut, measure again to make sure the remaining piece is 3 1/4 inches also.

Flip one of the pieces around so that you have it arranged like so...

now flip one over on top of the other and make sure the center seams butt together as we learned in lesson 1 and stitch.  Press your seams to one side, your finished piece should look like this...

and it should measure 6 inches square.

Easy so far, right?  Okay, now here we go...

take your two small 4 3/4 inch squares  and cut them in half on the diagonal as shown...

Now take one of the halves and place it on your block as shown below and stitch...

it doesn't matter which fabric you choose, but from now on, you will place the exact same fabric in the same position opposite where you placed the first shown below...

you will have bunny ears hanging out the sides, trim those off even with the edge of your block.  As you stitch each piece in place, press them with the seams going the same direction.

Take color #2 and apply the 1/2 square pieces in the same fashion as should look like this...

You can place pins in the seam if it helps you to keep things lined up.  You should have equal amounts of "ears" hanging over on both ends.  Press open and stitch the remaining square in place.

Okay!!!  Look at that, we are making progress, you can already see the design forming.  You have 2 blocks of each color remaining.
Take 1 block and cut it in half on the diagonal, then keeping those pieces together, cut it in half again on the diagonal.  You now have 4 pieces from the one block.  You are only going to use 2 of these cut can toss the other two into your scrap pile for another project.  ONLY CUT 1 BLOCK OF EACH COLOR THIS WAY, you should have 2 blocks remaining that measure 9 inches square.

Now you must pay attention to your fabric placement.  We are going to apply the two pieces just like we did above, but you must make sure that you are going in the right direction to create the curving effect of the block.  Pin your piece in place and then open it out to make sure you have the first one placed correctly, all the rest will follow in order.

Now you should only have 2 blocks left, one of each color.  Cut those on one diagonal only as shown below.

Apply these in the same manner as shown above and press all seams in one direction.  When you are finished it should look like this...

You thought that was going to be hard didn't you?  Surprise!   

Alright, want to try it again?  The block at the beginning has 3 different create that effect, you must start with 
four 3 1/4 inch square pieces in 3 colors ( 2 background colors and 1 each of the contrast colors)  You will need one extra block of each of the remaining cuts and you will have some fabric waste with this.

Same with a 4 color block, you will start with 4 different squares of fabric measuring 3 1/4 inches and again, you will need to make the remaining cuts 1 of each of your 4 fabrics.  And again you will have fabric waste.  The effect can be quite stunning.  

So play with this block, experiment with your colors and see what you come up with!  I can't wait to see!!!

Our next meeting will be Friday, April 13th.   Our next block will be

The Kings Crown Block

Quilting Tips:

When you need to rip out a seam, use your seam ripper and cut a stitch about every half inch or so. Then pull the thread from the other side, and it will pull out easily without distorting your fabric. You will have to pick out the small pieces of thread, but that can be made simple with the use of Scotch Tape.  Pull out a long strip about 6-8" is plenty, lay it on the seam and press into place, grab one end and pull up, your loose threads should come right up.  You can also use a fabric lint roller that you would normally use for your clothing, same principle.

If you have trouble threading your sewing machine needle or any needle for that matter try this: for the sewing machine, place a small piece of white paper behind the needle with the left hand and thread with the right. For sewing needles, use any white or very light colored background.

If you find that your finished blocks are not the correct size, they come up easy trick is to add 1/4 inch to the size of your cut pieces, stitch them together, then cut them to size and square them up as you go along. 

Giving your fabric a good starching before cutting can help a great deal if you find you have problems with distortion.  Make sure you are using starch rather than sizing.

A Quilting Stiletto can be used to help you feed that last bit through your sewing machine accurately, if you don't have one, you can use one of those bamboo skewers that you can buy at the grocery store, I keep a pack of them in my sewing and crafting supplies.  They are cheap and disposable and work great!

Pre wind your bobbins.  Do several at the same time.  Nothing is more frustrating than running out of thread on your bobbin in the middle of a project.  And don't need every color in the book, as a quilter, you can get by with the following.  Dark Grey and Light Grey.  If you want to expand from that, get Black and White.  Save your pretty thread for embellishing your quilt, where it will show!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Arm Chair Caddy for Kim

Just finished this arm chair sewing caddy for my friend Kim.  These are so much fun to make and you really can just incorporate anything you desire.  Kim likes to knit, so I wanted to create a way for her to stash her knitting needles and not have to dig for them, also her scissors should be handy.  The little strap made from left over fabric cut from the pin cushion was the perfect answer, stitched down in three places.  I also like the little buttons on the side of the pin cushion, you thread a ponytail holder through your thread and link it to the buttons to keep your thread handy.

Here is a view of the caddy opened out on the table.  The pockets in this one are very generous as Kim requested they be big enough to store a pattern.  

The pin cushion is filled with "Kaytee" brand walnut pet bird litter.  Leave yourself some extra room if you choose this option, so you can stitch down your binding and have some room for your thread as well.  It makes for a nice weight in the pin cushion and is very clean and easy to work with.  You can get it at Petco and the cost was around $7.00 or so for 7 lbs of litter, plenty to make a gazillion pin cushions!

When she is all done sewing, she can just fold it in thirds and put it away in a cupboard or drawer for next time.  I thought it would be fun to echo the "bubble" design by using a circle of the fabric for the outside decoration.  I used a small mouth canning jar lid for my template, drew around it with a erasable marker and took a running stitch about 1/2 inch out from that line, cut out my circle and drew it closed around the canning lid, pressed, released a bit of the tension on the running stitch, just enough to ease it off the lid and pressed it again, top stitched in place and added some buttons for interest.

I'll be giving it to her this week!  I think she's going to love it.

If you want to make your own arm chair is a great tutorial to get you started by Amy Friend at During Quite Time. Scrappy Arm Rest Pincushion

And if you want to see my other Arm Chair Caddy that I made for myself out of scraps, here is a link for that.

Have fun and if you make one, share your pictures with me, I'd love to see what you create!!!