Shunning In quilting groups – WHY?

I have been a part of the quilting world for sometime, although recently in the virtual world in groups on Facebook, it is new to me; although not new to social media I am sure.

I joined a group and thought this is going to be fun, and learning a lot from others was what I was looking forward to the most, making new contacts and maybe friends too.  It was all good until that day – oh that day sticks in my mind and most likely will for a very long time.  I was shunned, degraded, insulted, and emotionally stunted for a few days!  Yes, from a quilting group!

We would think this is a lot of nice little granny types out there giving us advice and encouraging us to do well, and scolding when we do do something really wrong, like my grandmothers did to me growing up.  Boy was I wrong!  I had not realized there were so many self delegated quilt police out there for sure.  Truth be told I had no idea what the quilt police were, where they came from, or how to send them back to hell which is where I assumed they originated!  I read somewhere the term was coined as a funny anecdote, but literally came to life one day unlike Frosty the Snowman, they were not full of joy, fun, or jest; but hateful awful mean words that cut like a new pair of fabric shears with shiny edges and razor sharp words.

My story is not new, nor will I rehash it here again, I will tell you though, I was stunned by the words of complete strangers to me, over my using fleece as batting.  I live in the North, I make quilts for my family and friends, I want them to be warm, and it is very affordable with coupons at that special place where time warps and we lose all meaning of budgets! You know where I mean…

It was this incident we will call it; that prompted me to start Quilting Perfectly Imperfect – my Facebook group which I love dearly every day, every minute actually. You can join us and be a part of our wonderful world that spans the globe, we quilt, we create, we support, give advice, and lift one another up in bad times, and even when we have lost the mojo! https://www.facebook.com/groups/quiltingimperfectly/  this is the link!  If you are not part of our family please give us a try.  You may like it.

Sew, it was today not unlike any other day I realized there are still those self delegated quilt police whom have a real meaningless life, when they decide they are the ones who make the rules, and can tell others they SUCK!  Seriously Get the Hell out of my space!  We live in a world today, where it just seems many NOT ALL feel they have a right – well yes you have many rights, but meanness, conjecture, derisive rude comments is NOT one of them.  I was raised to respect others and they will respect me, and if they do not they are a waste of the time of day I once gave them.  Cut them off at the knees with a silver tongue and they won’t realize it until tomorrow!  My Aunt Sue taught me that little trick oh so well, and My Mother and Pseudo Mother Aunt Peggy taught me it is a waste of breath to say anything back.   My grandmothers on the other hand, made me pick my own switch of the peach tree!  Get my meaning.  Sew I have experience and knowledge on these types of people so much sew I have a degree in Forensic Psychology on the hows, why’s and whatfores of these people.

The whatfores are this:  They enjoy making others feel less than, and themselves more than, but they are neither they are miserable awful hateful people.  They are likely lonely, desperate for attention, and have issues beyond non professionals scope of understanding.  And truth be told, I feel sorry for them, but not so much so I will allow it to happen to any member of my group or friends or family.  Mess with them, be prepared for Tedwanda!  I will take you out – of my group that is.  But I will be sure you are known for who you are beforehand.

So if any of you “Quilt police” follow my blog or are thinking of joining my group.  DON’T it is SIMPLE – you will be shunned for your actions.  I hope you find peace within yourself soon, but until then please go away and sulk somewhere else.

NOW for those of you who have been victim of said EEEEEVILL peoples.  Know this, no one can steal your thunder, take your peace away, love your work less or make you feel less than unless you let them.  DON’T!  It is not worth it.  They are the ones who are wrong and they are the ones who must answer for their own actions at some point.  Know this too – You are appreciated, you are loved, and you are welcome to join us any day and relish the works of others, ask questions – since NO question is a dumb question, we all learn from one another.  And if someone tries to make you feel bad for what you have accomplished, ask them to show their work and how perfect it is, I bet it looks like a JC Penny knock off!

Remember a quit unfinished is waiting to love.

Create from your heart, love with your soul, and be one of the Imperfect ones with your head held high, your convictions in place, and the love of the passion of quilting in your blood.  We are a family of many with a goal of one – to create warmth, love and happiness for another no matter the condition of your points, the type of batting you use, or level of your experience.  You are creating from you.

Until next time!  Peace

 

Basics – Beginning quilters what you need.

Sew, you wanna make a quilt?  Where do you start?  How hard is it going to be, and do I have the time?  Here are some tips for those of you who have never made a quilt, or are getting back into the passion we share.  Quilting!

Many of you know, I learned how to quilt through both my grandmothers, I’m not sure my mother ever made a quilt, she did however make clothing.  I have made quilts.  Clothing mmmmm not so much.  Why?  Clothing is exact science to me; even though I am a retired nurse and science was a part of my every day life, it was NOT my passion.  Now, taking care of others much like quilting that is why I became a nurse. I have the ability to connect with people. Quilting is much the same, you need to connect with the project, have the right tools, and a passion for seeing it to completion.

History of quilting you can google that!  History of you well, you write that everyday of your life.  So leaving a piece of you behind after your passing that is  quilting; made from you to someone you hope to remember you.  A quilt keeps us warm, reminds of us things such as a vacation, a family member, or a time in our lives which made us who we are.  This is where we start.  Each quilt is history in the making, and history it will be for as long as you allow it to be shared.

Now, lets start!  Where? In the beginning of course.  First tools.  Yep tools, like what you are going to need to make this piece of history last.  How?  Using the proper tools, materials, and techniques.  Two types of quilts – hand pieced and machine pieced.  Today, it’s going to be machine since sew many of us want instant gratification, but no so fast there doggies; it wont happen in an hour unless your a wizard!

Machine quilting helps it to last since the stitching is precise, close together and held by not one thread but two!  So lets talk machines for a second.  Buy the one you can afford!  That’s it really.  You do NOT need a expensive machine to make a quilt. I do have four, yes four.  All four were under $300.00!  I have two brothers, a Singer (embroidery) and Janome all purchased new on sale.   You need a machine that make a straight stitch, with your guidance of course.  Get one with a nice light too, that does help.  Now on to the next tools…

Sew whats next? Cutting tools.  A must is a good self healing cutting mat, and rotary cutter usually bought as a set on sale with a coupon you know where! Get the one that fits in your space, you don’t need the biggest bestest most expensive ones, they work much the same at any price.  And if you hate quilting you have not blown your savings on things you won’t use. If you can afford a spinning mat, get it!  LOVE LOVE LOVE it, so versatile.  th (16)Square is best over round, since you will be cutting a lot more squares than you will circles.  Then there is the rotary cutter, get one that fits your hand!  Try them out; feel them.  Its best if they are sitting in the palm of your hand naturally.  You don’t want hand cramps from  it being overwhelming after a few swooshes across that new mat! Yes, swoosh wait til you hear that new blade cut through the fabric, its addicting!

Okay, we are almost there!  Next measurements and straight lines.  Get yourself a versatile ruler one that is marked clearly and easy to read for your eyes.  Eyes being strained lead to cuts, BAD CUTS that burn like well like being burnt! It’s not pleasant! Templates are fun and cute, but not necessary for a basic quilt.  Being able to cut a straight line in 99.9% of time is.

Scissors, well yes a good pair with comfort grip handles, mid size mainly for cutting threads, and some fabric.  OH never cut paper with them. If you’ve got the scissors; you need the thread, ask the counter lady what is best for the fabric you will use.  Now on to the good stuff – Fabric…

Fabric, fabric FABRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC.  I love fabric must be why I sell it.  How do you pick it? With your eyes of course!  Well okay sensory is best.  Does it look good, does it go with the pattern you picked, how does it feel.  If it feels funky in the store it will feel funkier in your quilt! So get what you can afford first off.  Look around, find the best deals, use coupons ( we have them at http://www.sewnsewhome.com) and buy what you need NOT what you want.  Remember we are beginning here.  Stash time comes after we have made our fist quilt, and realize just how much we love this art!  So, for fabric look around, touch, and think on it (its on bolts it won’t disappear before your eyes if you need and day or two).

Now you have the basics of quilting needs.  Next time we will talk about patterns and how to choose for your first quilt or 100th!  Thanks for coming by.  Never know I am an insomniac so I may be writing the next installment in two hours.  Read it when you can or skip it.  But keep coming back!

Keep the passion growing, learn from mistakes and if you think its too much walk away for a bit, and look again later.

 

How I learned to Quilt – My and my members stories

How did we learn to quilt; and our first projects.  I recently asked members of Quilting perfectly imperfect to tell me what was their first quilt project and who they learned  quilting from.  It was an amazing response as it was a contest as well.

Last evening I copied and pasted all the comments and post to this question, printed them out, and began to read.  It was a daunting task at first, however it became a joy to read and learn so much about so many members of our world wide group.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/quiltingimperfectly/ you may join from this link here.

As the printer whirred and waned along, the pages piled up in the catchment of the printer, I sat and waited oh so patiently – Yeah right!  You know me well enough I am not patient when it comes to those things.  BUT, it printed the last page and I scooped them up, stack packed them all straight and nice and neat, took a seat in my comfy easy chair, and kicked back with a cup of coffee and the light on.  I began to read…

So I will start here with my own story:

My story is known it is short and sweet.  No drama, no effects from life at the time, my grandmothers both quilted, one basic necessity quilts, the other not so basic but needed as well.  Both with treadle machine’s one with hand stitch appliques and the other with ties as they were needed to cover a great many children and grandchildren.  I have a quilt from both my grandmothers as does my sister.  I watched and learned, helped moved the treadle like so many others I know. It was fun.  I too sat under the frames lowered from the ceiling, and I too heard all the stories told around those frames.  Both have since passed in many years gone by; but the love put into those quilts are evident in every very unique stitch.  One of the quilts hangs in my studio, oh so proudly upon a wall just for it, and it is next to my “frame” not lowered from the ceiling; minus the many chairs to sit around and hand stitch with friends and family.  No stories are told while it is being stitched out loud, but oh the stories in my head and heart do flow into those HIGH speeds stitches, I believe the quilting is created from the words formed from within, no set patterns, no unique stitches.  Each one carries a few colorful words, a few tears (damn thread breaking nesting or just not matching), and one does actually have my blood in it as well (washed out of course and not on white)  peroxide saved the day on that one.

I was lucky in so many ways I learned from two very loving women who learned from others in their lives and were kind enough to pass down the traditions and passion of this amazing art form to me, and oh so many of my other cousins.  I am sure all my Aunts know how to quilt, but am not sure if any still do.  I am trying to get each one of them one of my quilts THIS year a goal of mine, I have my mom and her now 5 sisters with one who passed from cancer.  They range in age so varied, but each one of them have such a unique personality and so will the quilts each receives from me. At the moment I have one on my frame for my great nephew, my great niece, my sister, a niece and nephew have received one already as well as my mother two one for her only “7 sister’s” it is named and some of it is hand embroidered, hand quilted and machine pieced, the other a unique color way disappearing nine patch.  I learned a very long time ago, and life did happen and I never gave much thought to quilting along the way – here and there I did a basic nine patch, it was not until I became ill [not unlike so many of my members stories].  I decided (well okay, was told to reduce my stress) and was like “what does that mean”? How in today’s world does one do that!!

I gave it some thought, and was off bed rest, tried to return to work more than once, but I just ended up right back where I was before and worse for the wear, I retired reluctantly and sat with the depression that comes along from a forced life change, of course I said this is not my life, this is not me, I can do something!  BUT WHAT? Thus, the search for fabric began, and it was an effort until I discovered online fabric sales. I loved going to look and feel fabric, however due to medications to reduce my immunity and reduce the spread of the disease I was forced to stay out of the public!  It was life changing to discover this new thing for me ONLINE FABRIC sales – it can lead to an addiction of fabric and an overload to the senses for sure, I do feed addictions as well at (http://haverislanddesign.com)  but my stress levels were reduced.

My first order?  A jelly roll or two…

(OKAY) it was like 600.00 worth of pre cuts and yardage.

I got the mail opened the package and was overwhelmed!  So on to google search for uses for these new found items, as I had not heard of pre cuts ever!  But what a concept, I had a basic machine, scissors, very heavy hand quilting thread and of course a seam ripper!

First one was a modified fence rail, and I was hooked all over again, I began just sewing all day, took naps, ate and sewed some more until I realized things were getting better stress level wise, I was feeling good again, and the oh so many doctor appointments were not so depressing, and the diagnosis were not so horrendous and the passion was reignited in me.  That my friends was just a short three  years almost now.  And I have made about 25 complete quilts various sizes and colors and patterns.

Well, that wasn’t so short and sweet after all!

So last night I began reading and reading and reading.  Oh so many stories, and one theme stuck out to me well two really:  1.  Elanor Burns taught so many of us.  and 2.  Our grandmothers inspired us.

After reading all of them I narrowed the list from 344 entries now down to 26.  I will re read those, and narrow that down as well.

I have read so many amazing journeys from the entries, some sad, some funny and all inspiring.  I noted many are self taught from books, videos, and just going for it with no direction. I also noted how many realized the passion it became for them, the therapy of peace and calm instilled and the ability to create such beauty from a pile of scraps, or purchased in a bundle for just that one quilt which grew into oh sew many over the years.

I hope to take the stories and photos with permission of each poster and create a book per say for all to read the inspirations which led to such creations, the love of quilting, and the beauty found in lost fabrics, timeless block patterns, and stitches from the hand and heart.

Sew many wished they had taken photographs, and so many wished they still had that first quilt, as many still do or are aware of the whereabouts of the very first one made.

Children inspired a great number of creations and beginning the journey to quilting as well.  Even furry children!

Some noted how they felt after they gifted the quilt, some amazing, some just happy it was done, and others put off by reactions.  Everyone still said it was fun, I loved it, and I fell in love with quilting.  Many noted how they have learned so much over the years, and increased their knowledge and skill. [I love that part!]

Parents were up the top of the list along with significant others as inspiration the start that first project.

In this post I want you all to remember we had to start somewhere.  We were all beginners at some point, and we all did basic stitching, patterns, and found fabrics in so many varied places.  I did not read one post where the poster stated I went to the LQS to find what I wanted, and went from there as far as fabric – but did read some who learned from LQS owners!  The most cherished first quilts were made from as affordable fabrics available.  Some from found items at home, thrift stores, and yard sales.  Many started at at a time of uncertainty of economy, newly married, or freshly divorced with small children at home.  And then there was the baby boom and wanted one for a child or grandchild expected.

This post is to tell you all, cherish that first quilt you make, remember what it was like, and take photos as you are able today, keep it in your journal, and watch your journey as you stitch through time, see how you progress, pass on what you learn (from mistakes and all), don’t remove your family from your studio’s embrace them and teach them.  Let us all learn with one another around this great big blue marble in the sky, pass on this passion and art form.  Keep in the back of your minds what you felt like teaching yourselves, and remember to keep those close to you closer with a few more stitches of your time – let them learn with and because of you. Hopefully we will keep this passion alive, and use less mass produced items along the way.  Journal each quilt, and the reason’s for its creation.  And always remember “a quilt left unfinished is waiting to love, and some one will love it no matter your perceived imperfections”.

As life got in my way over the past weeks, I have neglected this page, which I will not do again.  I may not post every day, but I will continue to write and post as time and business allows.  You have all inspired me, and given me strength in the day to day grinds we all experience.  I find my quilting is my therapy, it is my time for me, and for those who surround me.  I do not have children of the human sort, so no one to teach at the moment here with me.  I do hope you open your hearts and sewing rooms to others and help them create something beautiful and loved.

Til next time – Peace!

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What is? A few questions asked and answered

What is?  I hear it a lot so here we go a few what is answers for the beginner quilter.

WHAT IS –

  1.  A quilt guild–  This is a group of people who get together regular either at church or community center once a week or so to work together, not necessarily on the same quilt as they did back in the day, but on a project.  Often today it is on several charity quilts in the same building to help on another out, Today it is more a social gathering.  The goal is to help one another especially with sandwiching quilts that are larger.  Mostly socializing, and working on projects.
  2. A quilt retreat – A group of like minded people who have become friends over time.  These are usually held at approximately the same time each year for the same with a few added here and there and the usual place chosen to meet.  Once again they work on many projects not just one big one.  Often it is to just get away and have some down time and complete projects with other’s who like to do the same.  Socializing is a must, quilting a must.  FUN required.  However you can search out retreats and sign up to get started, make new friends, and find new inspiration.  Cost varies for these.
  3. Quilt Police These are people who think they know it all, and have a right to tell you what you did wrong, and what you can approve upon without being asked, generally not well liked outside the force.  They are people who have no life, like to make other feel bad, and are not welcome in groups.  I think our mothers and grandmothers termed them “bitties” in their day. 
  4. Fabric snobs Well these are the ones who tell you all the time go to your Local LQS (local quilt shop) to buy your fabric.  Never shop at Joann or Walmart and GOD FORBID if you use something from a thrift store or less than what they feel is the best product at the highest prices you can’t afford.   Hey go for it if you can afford it.  But, as I like to make a lot of quilts, i prefer to eat as well.  So I buy what is most affordable oh yeah I sell it too!  Same stuff they buy just better prices! http://haverislanddesign.com  Let me reiterate: SAME STUFF BETTER PRICES!
  5. Resellers – are ones who buy fabric as I do from a wholesaler and re sell at retail but not in a brick and mortar setting, usually online or craft shows quilt shows, etc.  We are not incorporated usually and are individuals who pass on the savings.
  6. Distributors THE WAREHOUSE people who sell to resellers VERY FEW are distributors.
  7. Manufacturer – Well they make the fabrics.  Many are in other countries, we do a have few left here in US, but cost is higher due to our GNP guidelines, but it is still doable here.
  8. Designer- Designs just like clothing for the Vendor.
  9. Vendor – The name you see like Moda, Henry Glass. etc.  Each “line” have designers who work for them, they create it, and the Vendor manufactures for them, with both names on fabrics.
  10. Coffee – YES!
  11. Vicious Blue hairs – oh stay away very very far away!  They can get mean in quick second, no time for anybody to hold your earrings either!  RUN, when you see one.  They talk about zombies all the time, but damn these little ladies will be front line to stop those for sure!
  12. FART’s – HAHAHAHA  yes we fart  –  Fabric Acquisition Road Trips – these are yearly trips made by friends who hit up quilt shops on a road trip they plan out.  LOTS OF FUN!  Shop hop is a good one to do!
  13. Quilt show – A must for anyone who quilts wants to learn or just like to see amazing and beautiful art.  They are held throughout the year in many places.  Although you will see large ones Like Houston is the most known and the largest in US I am aware of.  You can google to find them locally or abroad.
  14. Quilt expo – LARGE vendor controlled shows where they sell their wares, have a juried show of quilts that go through a lot of hoops to enter, but BIG prize money, not your state fair quilt show for sure.
  15. Material – FABRIC is the slang terms.
  16. Long arm – machine that is more than 12 inch throat space, can go up to 24 inches on home systems.
  17. Mid arm – machine that is 12 inches or less in throat space goes down to about 8.0 inches.
  18. Sewing machine throat space is 6.5 to 8.0 inches.
  19. Sewing machine Throat is that space from needle to tower the part where you have your dials of things.  That space fabric passes through to get out the other side sewn!

Now you know!

Some fun facts!  Enjoy and pass it along to other newbies!

Can we kill the beast? Project Covered in Comfort – giving comfort one quilt at a time.

Today I turned 49.  No big deal another day in my life just as yours I am sure.  I was a bit upset when I got home, a snow plow threw a rock and cracked my windshield, at the moment is was just a bad bad day.  I was like Happy Birthday – here’s your bill!

I get home to sew many Happy Birthday wishes from those in my group Quilting Perfectly Imperfect, it was just overwhelming to have over Five Thousand in one day from around the world.  It felt good.

I had planned for a video tutorial blog today by Tim Latimer Treadle FMQ extraordinaire, I thought thank you easy peasy I have a lot to do still.  I will still do this later…

Then my phone rang…

It was one of those rings that just said don’t answer it, but you need to.  So I did. Lo and Behold my best buddy in nursing and quilting was on the other end.  I knew from the tone in her voice something was wrong, very wrong.  And to my guts reaction I learned she at 57 two time breast cancer survivor, amazing nurse, mother and friend was diagnosed with Lung Cancer stage four.  Not good as it has also metastasized to other areas.  She is tough we can get through this I know it, but still I was at a loss for words, which many of you know it is no feeble accomplishment. Then it was not funny, it is my birthday NOT April Fool’s.  Then it was really this is not happening, it can’t we have too many quilt shows to go to still, we have so many things to make still…

My day stopped, my little incident with the snow plow was lost in a split second.

I listened as she told me the time line, oh short a time line.  We were just laughing uproariously Christmas Eve, and she had a cough still from October.  I said you gotta get that checked.  Her response:  “I know but work, you know I am so busy”.  We are nurses we take care of others first before ourselves.  It is in us.  Then, she finally decided on her day off to go, and then the downward spiral began.

I know so many of us face this same dialogue daily, and we stand in stupor thinking how is this possible. I have my own health issues, but they are controlled, unlike this beast cancer it is a touch and go thing every day, every minute changing lives.

I have lost too many to this disease in my life time.

Sew, for all you who love to quilt, I want to start a project.  Cancer Covers, as a group around the world creating covers to keep each one warm and comforted while under going treatments, coming home and hoping for a less sick day. I want to offer the fabric from my store at cost, free shipping to everyone who takes part. I also want to be the largest donation of projects from anyone group.  Currently we are Twenty Five thousand strong.  And growing every day.  I hope you take part. I hope you are not touched by this evil hateful disease, I hope we find a cure soon.  And if you are one yourself who is fighting it, I hope you are not alone, I hope you know we love you and care for and pray for you every day.

Comment on this blog if you are interested in joining us in helping to provide comfort to those afflicted with horrible disease.  HELP US HELP OTHERS FEEL THE LOVE THE COMFORT THE HOPE WE OFFER.  

Thank you and bless all who come on this journey with us.

T

 

Essentials of 2018 – What we need.

HAPPIEST OF NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL – FIRST POST FOR 2018!

Its a new year, and new you and a new project.  But, where do we start what do we need and how do we go about it?

Sounds easy right!  Not always…

We see sew many new ideas coming daily, we see people post these amazing quilts and patterns and ideas and OH MY!  How do you get to them all.  Not so easy aye!

Sew, my resolution was to first and foremost get organized for this year and do it well.  That is the number one thing to do!  I started with changing the color a one wall I just did not like and I look in that direction while sewing and long arming, so it had to go.  I went with a color I really like!  Not to bright or dark, but one I think is good.  I will put up a barn quilt later this week I think to make it more mine.  Then I moved some things around, still doing that.  I followed the light in my studio as I do not want to invest in the electrician to come out again, so I moved things to get better light where I needed it most.

Sew I have a few more things to move. But I put in a sitting area so that I a place to sit and think and design, a television with dvd and I have a mini fridge too.  All things I had in my space and not using at the moment.  It is going to be my haven.  NOW, if you don’t have the space I have a full basement for my studio, it was not being used for anything but storage…  Make yours yours!  How ever you go about it, personalize it!

Now, onto storage. Get the most affordable for you and with the most uses.  I have cubes that stack sit against the wall and can be bolted together! WORKS AWESOME and with those little baskets or cubes for storage win win, out of the way, covered and protected all in one.  I label mine with whats in there.  I have these drawer cabinets that I use for notions that I got at Menards or other big box stores, often times you get the same things you can at Joann for a lot less at these stores, I did just that.  Saw them, looked for them elsewhere and saved.  That is key to this new year save as much as you can to get more for your money! 

Okay, now.  All those patterns out there and oh the finished projects – where do I start? Now this is easy.  What is your skill level and how far out of your comfort zone do you want to venture?  Now if you just began, I would not suggest doing a BOM with multiple types of blocks in one project or thousands of pieces to cut through out the year, I have never done one, as I like instant gratification in short and reasonable amount of time.  On average I do a top in a week or less.  I like Dresden plates, disappearing nine patches, and often times make up my own with what I have.  Google beginner quilt blocks, and go from there.  I have said before color combo’s can make a world of difference.  Test out one block on various colors, find the ones you like and coordinate.  Those others can be put aside and made into a MY OWN SAMPLER quilt after you accumulate enough to do so.  Try things out, next on our list of to do for 2018!

Sew, next what do we really need in our sewing rooms?  GOOD LIGHTING!  Yes even before the machine, lighting is key for many reasons.  We need it to see colors, lines, cutting fabric not our fingers and oh yeah so we don’t trip!  I use ott lights since they are very close to true light.  WHITE light not yellow!  When you are at the store and looking at fabric and it is good light out, go to the window and look at it there to see what it truly looks like, the yellow lights dull colors distort colors and make you think you have something you do  not.  REMEMBER THAT!  So when you get it home and think what did I get, that is why, these stores use yellow over white since it is cheaper to use those types of lights.  Yes, I checked weird I know, but I did.  Much like the paint chip counter in the home improvement stores have those diff light boxes fabric stores need those too!

Okay tools…

Not just power tools drills, saws and such but machine, lighting, cutting implements, rulers templates and sew much more.  What do you really need?

Sewing machine with straight stitch is number one.  Then bobbins for sure, you get what three in a new machine box really.  I buy a dozen more to go with the machine I am getting and I change them out often too, they do wear down.  I just threw away 6 this past weekend due to over use they are plastic after all, and they wear down, crack and get burrs on them.  YEP it is true I should have taken a picture of the worst one, it looked to be 100 years old and actually only a few months, but it was one I kept re filling and re using.  It wore out, had a crack where you put the thread to start the bobbin, and UGH yeah it was a major pain in my butt since it kept catching threads!

Hmmm, light bulb check the rest out, sure enough many were close, and yeah I am not one on stopping and starting to try and figure out what the issue is when I get nest, loops and such, would not have thought of it actually until I saw that one.  Sew check your bobbins get extra and keep on sewing.

Now you need cutting tools, scissors of course get ones that are comfortable and fit your hand left or right.  Try them out in the store and see how they feel in your hand.  And if you are a klutz don’t get the most expensive, drop once and BAM out of alignment forever! Sew get affordable and useful.  Fiskars does guarantee for a life time too, as does Gingher. A nice smaller pair to clip threads is ideal unless you are going to cut fabric with them too.  DO NOT GET those Giant dress maker shears unless you are making clothing!  Cumbersome in quilting.

Now rotary cutters are good, NO GREAT!  But which one.  Prices vary so much.  It is not the actual rotary cutter but the blade that has to be GREAT.  Get one that is affordable and again fits your hand, ergonomic is available now too.  I have three types and use on the most.  But the blades are the most important part.  You can get cheap ones and they will cut well for while, and then they burr and skip and make you so mad when you go to take your blocks and pieces up they have ONE just ONE thread caught and man you just pulled it through the entire piece.  Yep done it, threw it, and used my colorful words, then changed the blade.  I use OLFA they last a long time, stay sharp and do not burr as bad as the cheaper steel ones.  Olfa is titanium. Now do not over tighten the screw either, you want it to glide easily and cut, not drag and cut otherwise get a scalpel to do that!  Clean your blade seat at each change of the blade and BE CAREFUL changing them.  You can resharpen the blades never done it but have heard it can be done!

Cutting mat, yes you need one.  Get one that fits your area.  Self Healing as well.  I have them at http://haverislanddesign.com for around 18.00 for an 18×24 very good price and quality too. Check it out.  Keep it clean, take care of it and it will last a long time. Do not iron on it, use steam near it or harsh chemicals to clean it.  If you get grooving use a hot towel on it, and let it heal again.  Take care to not let grooves get too deep, this happens when you cut over and over in the same spot.  NEVER rely on those lines either they are not always right, and you forget to take off the end there where the lines start and you always put it to the edge and oh yeah it is off !  YEP done that too!

Thread is important but get what your machine likes!  Yes, they have favorites.  Try them out.   That is all I have to say on this.

Pins you need sharp 2.5 inch long straight quilting pins.  Easy peasy on those. Basting pins get the that are curved, not straight!  But I use spray baste for basting.   LOVE IT!

SEW here you go.  Lets get organized and get going on new projects.

Remember a quilt unfinished is waiting to be loved.

 

 

Basic’s – should we go back to them?

We all know the basic’s, or a few of them any way.  But, should we resort to them often, or just once in a while?

What are the basic’s of quilting / sewing – Quarter inch seam, square cuts, sharp points, good thread, relaxed position, and pressing seams.  A few of them anyway.

Of course the 1/4 inch seam allowance is a given we use it every day in our projects unless otherwise called for.  But, do we really pay attention to it, until it may be too late? I mean  have we become complacent in thinking it was there yesterday and it was fine, sew I won’t check it today.  That is a no no, we should check regularly; things shift.  Fabric differs and tensions change and all those can change your seam allowance.  If you use one of those guides believe me they change, a slight bump to the blade guide can put it off, or something gets on our machines (i.e. fur babies) and they can hit it and bend it, it is not a very strong piece of metal thus called a blade.   Also, I caught a thread on mine and BAM bent had to throw it out.  I get those that are generic for a few dollars as I am not most careful person at times.  But check it regularly to be sure you are still on your mark!

Square cuts, what I mean by that is – are you cutting a straight line?  Is your rulers edge worn or frayed from being hit with the rotary blade? YES,  it shaves a little off each time!!!  But how do you know?  Get yourself your own YOUR own square, they are inexpensive at the box stores.  If you are unsure what I mean here is a pic of the one I use. 831902-7-aluminum-triangle-square it is a builders square.  I take my straight edge and lay it against the edge and look for any space in between, a light under it or bright color will help you to see.  If you are off, it is time for a new straight edge, no sense in trying to re-square unless you know someone who can do it for you very well.  The least bit off, and your blocks will be off every one of them, and that adds up in the end.  So check this as well to be sure.  Nothing more confusing as to why your project is not square when it is meant to be.  I know I have done it too many times, then realized what it was!

Now points – the bane of our very existence at times.  Do they really need to be sharp because they sure hell don’t stay that way!  Well to begin with yes they do, it helps in lining up your blocks to piece well together.  Have I used any that were not pointed?  You bet your ninny I did, and regretted it every time, but I still do it.  I can’t waste fabric – I know cut it to a smaller piece, but when you buy just enough and have no more for the project- you do what you have too.  I placed them in spots you could not seen right off hand, then said CHARACTER piece!  But seriously if you start with good points you will end with decent points, points take practice for sure, and all those practice pieces you are now planning to do, well those become a killer crazy scrappy quilt throw project.  Take your scarps of good size and practice with those for sure!  I have to do it still, and have been quilting for some time.  Now how to do you get good points?  Ender and leaders! th (9).jpg Ender and leaders are pieces of fabric you use at the beginning and end of a row of piece’s you chain stitch, they help get the needle going and do not push your points down into your feed dog compartment on your machine.   At the end, they keep you from pulling the thread too tight on your last piece in the row you just chain stitched.  Chain stitching is the best when you have a lot of pieces to make that are the same. HINT:  get your self one of those slitter’s for opening mail 419DoIpRD2L.jpgand use that to cut them apart after!  I attached mine blade up to side of my table I iron on, and just go one after the other and then iron them right there!  Works great!  And they are usually free!

Relaxed position?  Well that just means have good posture, be relaxed and and have your self set up in a comfortable position for you, it varies for sure, but be sure to find what is best for you.  A chair that rises and falls is a good thing to have at your sewing machine.  If you use a table you eat on too, you can still do this.  Also, if you do not have one, get an extension table to give you more surface to work on, since we all know not every one has the 6 thousand dollar with hydraulic lift sewing cabinet.  So at the kitchen table you have a good surface space to keep your hands and forearm onto work and stay stable at.  I personally have an inexpensive cabinet I cut a hole and added a shelf for my machine to sit into my cabinet so it has a larger sewing surface.   Just get comfortable, don’t slouch and hunch up your shoulders you will regret it for sure.  YES, I speak from experience.  Also, get up often to stretch your legs and lower back.  Do not always sit with your iron next to you, you need to move to keep good circulation and give yourself a de-stressing stretch!

Why would I say good thread and not good fabric?  fabric is threads put together, but thread holds the fabric together.  DO NOT GET THOSE 10 for a $1.00 specials ever, you will have a mess in the end, they tend to break easily, wear out fast, and machines really do not like them for long term use!  These types of threads are really for quick fixes.  Yes they are good price, and yes I usually say get what you can afford, but I know for sure they do  not last!  I have a quilt to re-quilt and re-piece due to threads breaking and wearing out!  Get a good affordable thread.  Poly blend is made to last, cotton is good too but I personally do not ever use 100% cotton on quilts, because mine are used, and washed and re used! 100% cotton is good for show pieces yes, but not utilitarian use.  It can wear just like it does in clothing.  Poly is man made and is made to out last cockroaches! Poly blends are affordable and will be in a multitude of colors which will go with your projects, does not bleed when washed and is long lasting.  $3.99 a spool is an investment for your larger long term investment, unless Like I said you are creating a show piece which rules may require non man made materials to be used.  Check the rules on those for sure!

Okay, now what is left? Is it a pressing matter we have for last?  OH YEP – pressing.

Often you hear press to the dark side – what does that mean?  Press to the darker of two fabrics, even two tones of white will have one darker than the other.  Most often we do this.  But we still press seams open.  I remember this being the rule when I first started to press open all your seams.  SERIOUSLY – They meant burn the crap out of your fingertips! But, there are some instances this does help to press open, pin wheels are one that comes to mind, it helps to reduce the bulk of the center of the finished block.  Sew if using a pattern read the pressing instructions.  Get a small tip iron – I have these at http://haverislanddesign.com clover-mini-iron-2 very affordable temp regulator and stand all in one.  These can range in price from $9.99 to upwards of 199.99 YES for this little iron, but it is made differently from this one, so get what you can afford and for your uses.  The one almost 200.00 is for seamstresses who use them A LOT! It is cast iron, with a wooden handle and is very VERY hot!  They come with interchangeable tips too.  But you can also get an everyday iron with a pointed tip nose for the same thing, but watch your finger tips.

PRESS do NOT iron! What is the difference?  Pressing as in press down.  IRONING moving the iron plate around and shifting fabric – which will lead to very wonky square or parts.  PRESS PRESS PRESS PRESS  I can not say it enough and you will learn the difference very quickly when you see you have squares that are well NOT squares.  Steam irons can lead to stretching as well, so decide if you need it! Your choice. Often you hear of finger pressing as well, this is good for a quick slight press to open a block up but not to set your seam!  Remember that, good to open a block NOT to set a seam.  Its your finger for gads sake, not an iron!  Unless you are one hot mama it won’t due in the end.

Look for the needle guide too.  That helps you understand what needle to use for what fabric and thread you are using.  It helps to know this!  Too much information to add here today. I will have an entire section in the up coming Beginners guide book this spring!  Look for it – Quit yer bitchin an start stitchin – Beginners guide to quilting!

One last note here – get your space to your liking as well.  Good lighting, comfortable chair easy to access space for you!  If it gets messy it gets cleaned up at some point.  As for me after a project is done!

Remember an unfinished quilt is waiting to love, and it will be let me tell you.  Words do not need to be said for it to be known, it is the faces of those who receive and love it.  If you do not hear I LOVE IT – because your love is in it, you made it to be loved and if it gets passed on the next one will love it!  I promise!

Keep creating, keep loving what you do.  Til next time – peaceful creating…

Your customers – your life line

I am a quilter, and I am also a retailer as well as a blogger, author, and designer.  I have two group’s and an online store.  I know all to well customer service is number one in all aspects of what I do daily.

Now, you may ask what does this have to do with new to quilting or established quilters – well let me tell you.

It is often heard by me in the late, of very poor customer service being given to those of you (us) who are looking for quality and affordability.  In that we want to have the best quality at the best price.  For those who are new, many questions will arise, and many answers are needed.  You are not wrong for asking at all –  I want to make that very clear!

You go to any store you will have questions – easy enough.  But often we go to quilt stores or specialty shops either brick and mortar or online and you will have questions, and get the evil eye, ignored, berated or even shunned at times.  I have heard stories for sure.  There is NO need for this.  You should be able to ask who makes it, what is the thread count, does it come in another color or cut even, without repercussions.

This post was inspired by a customer I consider a friend, who was treated poorly on my site destash with class on face book.  I have very few rules, but one is to be kind to another; not so hard I would think.  But, low and behold someone got a bit too big for themselves and felt they could talk down and make to feel less than over a simple question “where is my order, and when can I expect it”?  Simple answer I would think.  But nope she was made to feel badly, and did not notify me directly, I read about it a bit later.  I was livid.  NO REASON FOR IT PERSON WHO DID IT!

Here is my thing.  Without my customers I do not have a business, without me being available to answer questions I will lose business.  I am small at the moment, and I am learning daily what to expect and what needs to be done.  But one thing I know Is I want to treat others as I want to be treated – with kindness and respect.  I mean you paid for my inventory and you expect it in a timely manner, in good condition and without hassle.  I do have orders which are pre order, they are items coming out soon, and I make sure you know this before you purchase, if an issue comes up I notify you.  That is very simple to do.  You have a question I answer as soon as I am aware, this should be for any business.

So new ones to this world, don’t let anyone make you feel less than for asking valid questions, no one question is a dumb question or should it be an imposition – if an imposition I will tell you give me a few minutes and I will get back to you, or If I don’t know I’m on the hunt for the answer.  Usually when I do this I am in the middle of another conversation or life has happend or I am not at home and can not answer immediately, but If I am where I can get to my computer and get the answer I do it right away.

I think we all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, if you can not do that for me rest assured I will not patronize your store ever again.  I have a list made of who not to deal with, and who I will go to in a heart beat.   New ones do the same.

If someone looks down their noses at you, tell them the bogies are too big and move on.  They will be shocked and put off, but good for you!

I don’t take it or allow it EVER never should you either.

Here is my rant for the day.  I feel better and please come visit me at http://haverislanddesign.com best customer service I can give any and every day!

Be creative, inspire another, and give of yourself freely as  you never know when it may be needed by you as well.

Peace – Until next time!

 

Peace on earth, good will towards all –

December 25th, a day of celebration around the world – we hope for peace on earth, good will towards all.

We celebrate this day in so many ways, with so many translations.  We tell others Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and many many more ways to convey our hope of a Holiday filled with love, joy, happiness and fellowship – On this day we hope for a better world.

I ask that we keep this wish alive all year, not just today – Christmas day.

We tell our family, friends, extended family, and family we have made our own how much we wish for them on this day, and it is usually followed with a Happy New Year, with prosperity, joy, love, compassion and wealth and happiness.  Why can’t we wish for this every day.

I sit here this morning very early thinking of all the years past in my life 49 of them almost and coming very soon.  I wonder how my life has changed in so many ways, good, bad indifferent and unknown.  I ask myself how do I pass on this wish every day or do I?  Truly do we pass this on every day of our lives…

Honestly I have not, did not; but plan too.  I want to take the time in each day whether good, bad or indifferent and say to you all whom I have met in the last days of this year and throughout as well, I have not met any of you really – online does count I guess, but not in person.  We have touched each others lives in so many ways, yet never physically touched one another.  How is it possible we can have such friendship and not know each other personally?  Is it that we have connected in some way?  Quilting comes to mind, we have that in common, or the fact that we love the idea of knowing one another from a distance, and we allow each a glimpse of our lives through the art, passion, and devotion to our outlets.

Each day I read inspiration through yours words, and thank yous for being a part of a group I created just short months ago.  I am awed by your talent, devotion, and creativity displayed through your art.  I have made so many new friendships via this outlet I created as a way to connect with others who share the same passion for quilting as I.

I learn a bit more about you each day, at times in an hour I have read a book of so many lives who have come together in one place, almost 23 thousand at the moment and growing.  I honestly never knew it could; nor did I expect such a magnitude of appreciation, joyfulness, and humor all mixed in the tween with bits of sorrow and loss.

For those who have lost a loved one this year, as I have I give true condolence to you, and I know this; our lives were made better for having them a part of ours for those moments in time. We were able to share our stories and be given that moment of grief, and compassion from so many whom never knew us on a personal level.  In reflection I think we do carry on the wish of Peace on earth and good will to all – we display emotion through our words, we convey our truths by our actions towards one another.  We have given of our ourselves and allowed ourselves to be seen.

In utilizing our passion for this lovely art of quilting we give to another we may never meet, through photos and encouragement.  We pass on our knowledge freely and willingly, we lift up those who have just not had a good day.  We as a community of sew many creative individuals support one another and make our piece of the world better for it.  For this – I thank you!

For being here with me on this journey in my new ventures, your support and kind words every single day, over take me at times, and leave me speechless often.  I THANK YOU for being a part of this world with me, making it better in a small but significant way.

I hope we carry on this tradition every day we have left here, and we make our marks on the lives to come.  I hope we are able to inspire one another, and future generations for we do leave a legacy in fabric, thread, beads, baubles, paint, clay, and so many more mediums.  We as a community of creative, loving, giving people do make a difference even when we do not realize, emphasize, or intend; we change someones day.

Sew to you my quilting, crafty, creative friends – THANK YOU and may you experience the many joys I have been privileged to do so for these past month’s, you will never know just how much you have made a difference in my life every minute of each day.  To you, I say Peace on Earth Good will towards ALL – Blessings to you and yours on this Glorious Day – December 25th 2017 and many many more to come.

For today I will say the love you have given came through what you have completed and passed on.  Your true passion made lives better, warmer, closer, and more loving in sew many ways.

Peace and Good Will to you ALL!

Thank you for being here with me.

Teddy