Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Seam Ripper - A Review

At the Saturday Sampler at my LQS (which is held once a month), the owner of the store spends about 30 or so minutes showing new items that have come to the store.  New fabric, new notions, books, patterns and what not.
 This past meeting, she showed a little seam ripper that they keep in a big jar up by the cash register.  It is a regular seam ripper but on one end is this eraser thing that removes the threads from your fabric - like magic.  I've tried lint removers to remove the threads and they work ok.  Not great. You usually still have to do a bit of plucking.  But supposedly, this rubber thing gets them all.  And it was only $4.  It says Seam-Fix on the side, so I assume that is the brand name.

When I got up to the register to check out after the meeting, I decided to try one of these.  They were flying out of that jar like you wouldn't believe so I guess everyone thought they'd try it.

It wasn't long after I got it home that I had a seam to rip.  So, I used my new lime green ripper. 

Here is my review.  
The seam ripper part of the tool didn't work all that good.  It didn't seem sharp enough to cut the thread.  I felt like I was really pulling to get the thread to cut.  My Clover seam ripper does a much better job of cutting.
If you have to do a long seam, it's mostly comfortable in your hand but again my Clover is a lot more comfortable to hold.
The rubber thingy on top really does work.  It removes all the threads like magic.  It doesn't leave any marks on your fabric but it does pull all the thread.
So, is it worth the $4?  I guess so.  I really do like the rubber thingy and would rather just buy one of those.  The seam ripper part isn't very good but it will do in a pinch (when I can't find my Clover!).
I've finally completed new eye pillows for my etsy shop and am slowly getting them listed.  Check them out if you're looking for a gift for your friend who loves yoga!

**I paid for this seam ripper and this is my honest review.**

**Linking up to Sew Many Ways**

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yin and Yang - A Quilty Finish

At the beginning of 2013, I asked my son if he would like me to make him a quilt.  He said yes.  He wanted a wall hanging to go over his bed that was the Yin and Yang symbol.  My eyes glazed over.  

Then I said, "but wouldn't you like to have a nice pieced quilt.  I could make you one with this cool hand dyed fabric in bright colors that I had just bought."  
He said no.  He wanted a Yin and Yang wall hanging.

Well, the only way that I  could think of to make one would involve applique.  I've taken classes in how to do applique but let me just say that at this point in my quilting career, it just doesn't really interest me.  But with him insisting,  I decided to give it a whirl.  But then I waited and waited and waited some more.  I think I was hoping that he would just forget about it but he has a mind like a steel trap and never forgets anything.  So, come December, he wanted to know if I was ever going to make his quilt.  I said I would start it and have it ready for Christmas.  Never make promises that you can't keep.  

Really, it was a simple quilt.  It didn't have a lot of parts.  My son had already picked the colors, gray, black and white.  I had all the fabric.
So,  I cut the gray background fabric to the size he wanted for the wall hanging.  Then, I made a large paper pattern and basically hand drew the yin yang symbol on the paper.  I think I used a pencil tied with a string to my compass and just went around in circles.  Then for the small circles inside each part of the symbol, I used a plastic lid as a template.  He approved the size and design so I started cutting it out of my fabric.

I used the paper patterns and cut each side out.  I made sure that when I placed them on the paper, they met in the middle and it looked right and everything.  I spray basted the large pieces to the gray background.  Then for some reason, I decided that I would go ahead and make my quilt sandwich and use my blanket stitch on my machine to go around each side of the symbol.  That way it would look all neat and professional and would show up on the back of the quilt (sigh).  I decided that I would only quilt the gray area around the symbol.  Not the symbol itself.
 Well, I did that and it came out oookkaayy.  But when I tried to blanket stitch the little circles, it was just a mess.  I ended up having to remove about a million very closely sewn stitches.  Then I just ended up hand sewing the small circles still using a blanket stitch.  Although, hand stitches and machine stitches look completely different.

My quilting on the gray area went great.  I free motion quilted in a loopy pattern which I just loved. 
I used a black and white striped binding that I had been saving just for this project.  I love striped binding.

I machine sewed the binding on and I think it came out great.  I stitched the back of the binding on by stitching in the ditch on the front of the quilt.  I'm getting pretty good at that and you can barely see any of the stitches on the front.
I didn't finish it in time for Christmas though.  It was more like January 2nd.  So, technically, I guess it's my first finish of the year.
**This is how he wanted it to hang.  On it's side.  Don't know why, he's a teenager so.....**
I now realize I should have done it differently.  I should have used a fusible on the applique pieces especially since they were so big.  I should have hand stitched them down on just the background fabric, not the quilt sandwich.  I think if I had done that, the back of the quilt wouldn't be such a hot mess.  The front looks great and my son LOVES it.  He loves the whole quilt.  I'm the one with the problem.  But I've learned a lot in the making of this quilt.  Live and learn.

I used a gray chevron on the back and I attached a hanging sleeve with the same fabric.  This is as much of the back as I'm going to let you see.  I didn't take this for show and tell at my LQS because I was afraid of what the experienced applique people might say about the stitches on the back.

Yin and Yang Quilt
Measurements:  42 1/2 inches by 44 1/2 inches
All done by me and quilted on my home machine in a free motion style with my walking foot.
The solid color black and white are Kona Cotton.  The gray is Moda Bella Gray and the gray chevron is from Riley Blake.  The black and white stripe binding fabric is Michael Miller's Clown Stripe.

**Linking up to Can I get a Whoop Whoop?,  Needle and Thread Thursday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.  See my linky page for clickable links.**

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Broken New Years Resolution

My unofficial New Year's Resolution this year was to not buy any new fabric until February.  I've noticed that a lot of quilting bloggers made the same resolution.  Some even have rules about what they can and can't buy.  The rules made so much sense to me like if you are working on a project and need backing fabric - you're allowed to buy that.  Also, precuts don't count. 

So, I was going along pretty good for about 5 days or so. :)  Then  I happened into a very small local quilt shop that had changed locations and I had never been to the new location.  I found myself in that area of town so I thought I'd stop by and check things out.
Well, it was the most disorganized hot mess I have ever seen in my life.  Really.  Bad.
But as I was attempting to look around in all the clutter, I happened upon this box of fat quarters by Anthology Fabrics. 

 I've never seen these fabrics before and I wondered if they were older prints.  Does anybody know?  They are so cute!  The whole box of 12 fat quarters was only $20.  That's $1.67 per fat quarter which is a great deal so I HAD to buy them.
They are bright and cheerful.  Really adorable.  And technically, fat quarters are precuts, right?  So this doesn't count?
Sigh.  I have absolutely no willpower.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Quilty Finish - QR Bar Code Quilt Top

In this post, I talked about some of my classes that I took at the 2013 Houston Quilt Festival including the QR Bar Code quilt with Ebony Love.

What is a QR Bar code?  To be honest, I had no idea when I took the class.  But it was listed under the modern quilting category and it sounded cool plus I read Ebony Love's articles in Quilty magazine so I wanted to take her class.  Anyhoo, this is a QR bar code.

 I always just called those "the little scanny box things".  I mean, I have an Iphone but I can barely use it.  Seriously, I have about 3 apps and they don't include the scanny app for the QR  code.
 But once I got into the class and saw the cool quilt she had made, I got so excited.  I've always just ignored those little things but now I think they're cool.  I also think Ebony is cool for having thought to make this into a quilt.

Our class was great.  It included the above book which had patterns for 4 different bar code quilts.  Each quilt meant something different when you scanned it.  I chose to make the quilt which means "happy" when you scan it.  The fabrics were also included in the class.  Precut Kona cottons in 2.5 inch strips plus about a yard of the background fabric.  All we had to do to get started was cut the strips into 2.5 inch blocks.   There are 9 large blocks per quilt.  Each large block has 49 2.5 inch blocks in it.

I almost finished 1 block in class (just had the last 2 rows to attach) but when I got home and started working on it, I realized my sewing machine and the sewing machine in the classroom had 2 different 1/4 inch seam allowances.  Sigh.  I scrapped that block and started over.
Here is my quilt top all finished.  I'm working on the back now.  I'm using the remainder of the 2.5 inch squares as a stripe and then completing the back with a solid color.  I've promised to have this quilt completed in time to enter it in our local quilt show.  This years theme is modern quilting so it should fit in.  All the colors and the size of the quilt (which is about 43 x 43 ish) make it unable to scan with your phone but I think all the pretty colors still read "happy".  Don't you?

My son held it up outside for me yesterday which was a lovely sunny day.  It makes it look like stained glass doesn't it?  I just love it.

I wish I had time before the quilt show to remake it in a black and white quilt because I think people would recognize what it is better if it were black and white.  My husband says no one will have a clue what it is.  Maybe they'll read the little card on the side.  :)

And one last thing.  Look over to the right!!! I've joined the Modern Quilt Guild as an individual member.  Pretty cool huh?  I'm pretty excited about it.
**Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, and My Quilt Infatuation.**

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday - QR Bar code quilt

One of the classes I took at the Houston Quilt Festival last fall was the QR Bar Code Quilt with Ebony Love.
There are 9 big squares total with 49 small squares in each one.  So far I have 8 squares finished.  Here is my teaser pic of some of the squares.  

I'm trying to get the quilt top finished asap.  My goal is to enter it in our local Quilt show in March so I only have a few more weeks to get my entry in.

Thanks for reading!

** Linking up to WIP Wednesday**

Monday, January 13, 2014

Gidget 2 - My best Christmas Present!

This year for Christmas, my husband and son bought me the Gidget 2 sewing table with insert by Arrow Cabinets for my Brother sewing machine.  I just love it!  I use my Brother for most of my quilting and this table has made it so much easier. 

 The sewing machine sits down in the cavity and the acrylic insert gives you a completely flat work surface.  Before, both of my machines just sat on top of a folding table.  My Janome still does but since I mostly just use it for piecing, it's not too bad.
 I used this table to quilt my son's Yin and Yang quilt (which I'm done with and will be posting about soon).  It made free motion quilting a breeze.  I think I did my best job ever at FMQing and I credit the difference to this table.
 I was afraid it would be unstable because from the pictures, it doesn't look all that strong but it's not wobbly AT ALL.  It's very sturdy.  Even when the machine was going at a fast pace as I free motion quilted, the table still remained still and sturdy.
I recommend this table if you are looking for something for your machine.  It will definitely make your sewing and quilting easier.
FYI, we found the best price at  They also had great customer service and shipped quickly.  

**This is my honest opinion.  I'm not being sponsored by Arrow Cabinets or sewingtablesbysara.

~~Linking up to Sew Cute at Blossom Heart Quilts~~

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Quilty Finish - Martha's Cross Quilt

I started working on these cross blocks way back during the summer, I believe.  I blogged about them here and here.  This quilt was to be for a very special person who is one of the most genuine people I have ever met.  She has a pure heart - do you know what I mean?  It's hard to describe so I'll just say that you don't meet people like Martha everyday.

The crosses have a special meaning but I'm not going to go into all that.  Let's just say this was a very special quilt for me to make and to give as a friend.  
Although, just from a quilter's standpoint, I LOVE this quilt and I wanted to keep it so bad.  I love the simplicity of this block and the fabrics I used.  I think I'm going to make another one for myself just because I can't stand it if I don't.  LOL.

I know there are a lot of tutorials for this block out on the internet but I actually got my instructions from the book - Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters.  I find this book to be a great reference book and for anyone new to quilting.  It gives instructions on 60 or so different blocks but it starts you out on easier blocks that have square pieces, then on to rectangles and then the tougher shapes.  I'd like to try to start at the beginning and work my way through the book to practice and build my piecing skills.
Anyhoo, about my gorgeous quilt,  I made the majority of my blocks with solid crosses in the middle using a variety of Kona cottons and also some Bella Solids.  The white background fabric is Kona White.  I mixed those up a bit with a print occassionally and the went even further by inverting the blocks.  So, I had 3 that had white crosses and print/solid backgrounds.  The blocks all turned out bright and cheerful which was my intention.
I quilted my quilt with an organic wavy line.  Organic meaning I didn't mark anything.  I just started sewing.  I really love how the quilting turned out and I think I'll be doing this quilting on the quilt I'm working on now.  It's basically straight line stitching but with a twist.  I used my walking foot and my little Janome machine, rolled my sides up real good and just went for it.  Also, I'd like to add that I use the 505 Basting spray on everything that I've done so far.  I've tried basting pins but I don't seem to have the knack for them and why mess with them when you can use 505. 
It looks pretty I think.  I used white Aurifil thread in 50 wt. in the color white.  Isn't it funny how it looks green on the green fabric?
This is the quilt back.  I used KonaWhite  for the top and bottom strips.  The middle strip starts off with a red/white dot which is a Michael Miller Ta Dot fabric.  The chaotic fun, colored fabric is my favorite print ever and it is from Robert Kaufman.  This was my last piece but since this quilt meant so much to me, it didn't hurt too bad to use it for this.

The binding is a black and white zig zag fabric from Mama Said Sew by Moda.  I think it finished of the quilt perfectly.  I machine bound the quilt front and back.  I stitch in the ditch on the front of the quilt to sew the binding on the back.  I'm getting really good at it too.  You can barely see the stitches on front.
Lovely and bright quilt back.

My lovely Robert Kaufman fabric.  You can see the cool quilting so well.
This is my lovely friend Martha holding her quilt.  She came over a few days before Christmas and I literally finished the binding that morning before she got here.  She seemed so excited about it and I was excited to give it to her.  

I am so proud of this quilt.  I learned a few quilting lessons when making it - especially about trimming blocks.
The quilt size finished is 48 x 60 inches.  This is the largest quilt I've made to date.

Thanks for reading!

**Linked up to Needle and Thread Thursday, Crazy Mom Quilts and Can I get a Whoop Whoop!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Handmade Christmas Gifts - Part 2

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you had a fun and safe New Year's Eve.

This is Part 2 of my handmade Christmas presents for 2013.

A couple of years ago, I made my husband a cell phone case for his Iphone.  He wanted to be able to put it on his belt but he wasn't happy with the one's that were available on the market at that time.  He tried several different ones and didn't like any of them. 

Then I saw a tutorial in a sewing magazine (Volume 2 of Sew it All) for a camera case by Sara Boughner.  I started thinking about how perfect an Iphone would fit into something like that but the case didn't have anyway to attach it to anything.  The camera strap just stuck out the side and that was how you carried it.  So I started to think of ways that I could adjust it so that my husband could wear it on his belt.  My solution was to make a fabric loop on the back of the case that he could slide onto his belt.  It worked perfectly.  He has used his case everyday for at least a year and a half.  I thought I might have blogged about it but I can't find the post.  His case is a lightweight denim fabric with Mickey Mouse lining and a fussy cut Mickey Mouse on the flap.  This fabric was HIS choice by the way, not mine.  And yes, he wears it to work everyday.  He got some flak about it at first but everyone knows how crazy he is about Disney so, there you go.

Anyhoo, my FIL wanted me to make him one for his Iphone but without the Disney characters.  So, I made three.  The first one was too big, the second, too small and the third, mostly just right.  I gave him that one for Christmas.  And here it is:

I used the same lightweight denim that I used on my hubby's but the lining is white Kona cotton.  I embroidered the flap with his initials in a "manly" font, lol.  There is velcro sewn onto the flap and the case to keep it closed.
This is the back of the case.  See the fabric belt loop?  You slide your belt through all your pants loops except the last one, then you slide the phone case onto the belt then put the belt through the last loop on your pants.  This holds your phone right next to your body, it won't fall out if you bend over, it's more comfortable than it would be in your pants pocket and you don't have to put it in your shirt pocket - which drags your shirt pocket down.  It's the perfect solution.  Also, it's not going to fall out and into the toilet - yuck!

My FIL wears a lot of denim so this will practically blend in with his clothing.
Here is a pic of the velcro on  the case and inside flap.  I used a stiff interfacing between the layer of cotton and denim to help it hold it's shape.  I didn't use that on my hubby's and his has gotten a bit "slouchy".
This is how his phone would look inside the case.  He has this same phone and otter box.  This is a great handmade gift for a guy.  I'm about to make my husband another one using up some of the UT Austin scraps I had leftover from his pillowcase.

And my last little handmade was some potholders.  My MIL said she didn't want anything for Christmas and she was very adamant about it.  But I don't like for her to have nothing.  It just doesn't seem right.  So at the very last minute (meaning the night before and the morning of), I made her some potholders out of my 30's reproduction mini charm pack from Moda.  I LOVE those mini charms.
I'm not going to ramble on about how to make these because there are about a million tutorials online if you don't know.  Plus a lot of quilting blogs did a tut on these for Christmas.
So, I'll just show pics.  :)  Everyone needs new potholders right?  I know I do.  Mine all look like crap.  All burned and stained.  So sad.
Backside of potholders.

Cute retro fabric.

There you have it folks.  I'll stop rambling now.  I still have 2 quilty finishes to share so be sure and come back to see.  You can follow my blog with bloglovin (button at the top on the left) or with Google (on right side bar).