Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thread Thursday: So Fine Attraction

Last month I decided I wanted a change.  One of those changes was to cancel my long-standing (five years or so) charm pack club membership with the Fat Quarter Shop.
I realized that while I love Magnifico from Superior Threads, I like the blending qualities of So Fine! #50 so much more.  I changed my club subscription from Magnifico to So Fine!  This is the first shipment I received.
I love each of these colors and look forward to continuing to build my collection of So Fine! threads.

I had a little trouble with Superior Threads' website as there wasn't an option to cancel my Magnifico subscription online.  A quick email was all it took to get it sorted.  Their customer service is very good.  I was just frustrated that I was unable to do it on the website like the site said I could.  (Clicking the cancel button just tells you to contact them via email or phone to cancel, which isn't a cancellation at all.)  This could be a holdover from when they revamped their website a couple months ago, so I hope this is just a hiccup they can fix.

Have you tried any new threads this year?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Tool Tip: The Phonebook

This one isn't really news, but I wanted to share it just in case you hadn't heard about it.
There are so many tutorials out there on making different string blocks.  I will just cover this one tip.  If you want to learn more, go check out this great tutorial from Bonnie Hunter.  First, start with a nice thick phone book that the phone people will give you even if you never, ever, ever intend to use it to look up a phone number.  I recommend you take a look at how many of these end up in the landfill and make sure that if you don't recycle them for foundation paper piecing you at least make sure it makes it into the recycle bin.
I cut my squares to 6.5" by 6.5" for a finished block of 6" by 6".  This is a great size for ease of sewing and for making charity quilts.
When I sew these blocks I do not mark.  I grab a mostly straight sting and pin it to the center of the paper along the diagonal.  This is the only piece I pin.  I find that the paper is a little slippery and the first strips might become a little wonky without the pinning.  By pinning, I mean I stick two pins in that center piece just long enough to stitch it and the next strip down.  I work on two or three at a time, adding from the center out.  I do press with my iron but finger pressing will work if you don't want to take the time.  This is my personal preference.  Do what makes you happy.
Once I have covered all of the paper with my strings I press the block and trim from the backside to my desired measurement.  I made up a few blocks and set this project aside for a while.  I have plenty of strings to work from and I'll use this a quick project I can pick up when I don't have much time.  Pulling the papers off will be a good project on game night.

Have you been working on any scrappy projects to work through some of your scraps?  I would love the hear about it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

In the Mail Monday

To be truthful, I received a collection of charm squares came on Saturday but I'm not going to let that slow me down.
One of my new-found peeps on Instagram put out the call to swap some 5" charm squares and as you  know, I have stacks and stacks and stacks.  At least three stacks.  That seems about right.  This picture shows about... half, yeah, half of those charms.  I figured I should totally play along and send some charms.  I like fabric!
On Saturday this great package of charms showed up.  Slow-poke me still hadn't made it to the post office when it arrived.  I'm a much better swap partner than it seems, really!  Look at these bright and cheery colors!  I totally need to get moving on a charm quilt or I'll be buried in these things.  Thank you Sara!  It was great.  I mailed those charms, promise!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

All You Need is LOVE!

If you've never played the card game Fluxx you should totally go and buy a copy.  The game is easy to play and fun.  Why do I bring this up?  Because one of the ways to win is with a card called "All You Need is Love."  (My mad Google Skills tell me this goal is available in Fluxx 2.0 and they are on version 5.0 so your mileage may vary.)  What does that have to do with what I made this week?  You'll have to follow along to find out.

Leasa over at Project Leasa challenged pretty much all of Instagram to sew from their stash in 2015.  She has started off with a great challenge for January.  Go get the details of the first challenge from her blog and meet me back here.  I'll wait.
The challenge was to use at least 75% of the materials for the project from your stash.  I will have to admit that I had 100% of these materials on-hand.  Batting, thread, fabric, everything!  Don't be proud of me.  This means I'm about two steps from being a hoarder.  Okay, a few more than two steps, but I have plenty of fabric.  This fabric has been around since some time in 2012 when I received it as part of the Fat Quarter Shop's charm pack club.  (Sadly, I canceled this subscription in December.)
The background fabric is leftover backing from my Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt.  Leasa shared this pattern from Robert Kaufman and I thought it would work out great for the fabrics I had on hand.  I modified the pattern for the size I wanted to make and the fabric I had on-hand.  Each of these little square finishes at 2" by 2".
I pressed my design boards into action to keep everything straight after I decided on the layout.  This charm pack had several repeats of some fabrics so it wasn't easy to keep the fabrics from being close to their mates.  I'm sure I could have agonized over fabric placement and made it much more pleasing but I have vowed that a finished quilt is much better than a perfect quilt that may never happen.
The piecing was really straightforward.  I changed the large background areas to use a solid piece of fabric instead of piecing 25 tiny squares for what is basically a solid block.
I had plenty of fabric left over after I had made the center so I decided that adding the little charms around the outside would really make this little quilt shine.  I put some of the leftover black squares in there to let the quilt breath a little.
Once I got it all pieced together I decided it needed something to fill in one of those large, empty, corner squares.  Something that echoed the design in meaning and color.  I used this design from Urban Threads Embroidery.  I love their designs.  If you ever want to buy me something and are just plain stumped, a gift certificate for Urban Threads would be great!
While the embroidery was stitching along I found a piece of batting leftover from a larger quilt and pieced it so it would be big enough for this project.  See how good I am at using up my stash?
The quilting on this one was something that kind of came to me once I got the top on the frame.  I used a combination of motifs to create a subtle background and a more pronounced stitching on the heart and the border.  This is the back of the quilt where you can make out the shape of the heart.
Top thread for the heart is Magnifico and the top thread for the background areas is So Fine!  Both threads are from Superior Threads.
I even quilted the letters of the embroidery design to make the rest of the design stand out.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  The embroidery threads are all Sulky with Bottom Line from Superior in the bobbin.
I had just enough of this coordinating print to make up the binding.  The selvage was almost too cute to cut.  (Guilty secret:  I don't really care how cute the selvage is.  I'm rarely in love with it and won't cut it off to save it.)
Since I planned on hanging this quilt in my dining room it had to have the right kind of hanger.  I used a leftover piece of the backing fabric to make a hanging sleeve for the top of the quilt.  (Sorry, this is the best picture of it.  If you need more detail you'll have to drop me a note.)
The label almost didn't make it onto the quilt.  I pressed down the top two edges of this label, hand stitched those two edges and then stitched it into the binding when I attached the binding to the back.  This is also how the hanging sleeve got attached.  I may attach more labels like this.
The binding was finished by machine on the front of the quilt.  There it is:  a little quilt called All You Need is LOVE!  Finished size:  30" by 30".

Have you joined the Sew My Stash 2015 crowd?  I'd love to hear about it.