craft, make something, quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Product Review – QuiKraft Spray Glue

My friend, Charlene, recently introduced me to a new spray glue that is coming to the US later this spring. It’s called QuiKraft Tack by Siliconi.

I am telling you, people, that you want a bottle of this stuff!

Seriously. You will want this as sewing room staple. It’s fantastic, and I will use it to spray baste for a long, long time.

Here are my thoughts on the QuiKraft glue, and some rambling about machine quilting, so bear with me. I promise it’ll make sense in the end.

For many years I have sent my quilts out to my friend Regina. She’s a longarm quilter, and her work is incredible! I’ve sent my quilts out for two reasons:

  1. The quilts actually get finished and
  2. I wasn’t willing to put in the time to machine quilt my quilts.

 

Number 2 is the real doozie here in that my unwillingness to do the work meant my work didn’t improve. My quilting was okay, but I always wanted it to get significantly better. Sooooo, since this year is about me finishing projects, I decided that finishing them on my own would be part of the package. I know that won’t always happen, but it needs to happen more. It gives me a chance to work on my machine quilting, so it’s not all bad.

One of the reasons I HATE machine quilting is the basting process. It is tough on my back, and crawling around the floor is just not fun.  I need a better table to baste (that’s coming soon) so I don’t have to suffer when I baste quilts on the floor….however, after using the QuiKraft I decided that I can stick to the floor for a little bit longer.

I decided to test the spray glue on Q man’s quilt. He painted the top, and I knew if I messed up he could paint another. That’s horrible, I know, but it’s also true. Like other spray glues on the market, it’s easy to use. You shake the can, spray about a foot from your project, and put the pieces together.

I started by taping my backing fabric to the floor (unlike this photo, remove threads that run across the center of your backing)

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then put my (franken) batting on top of the backing fabric. Also not pictured, smoothed out batting.

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Last, put your quilt on top to make the sandwich.

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Once that’s was situated, I folded the top half of the quilt top and the batting onto itself. The goal here was to work on one half of the quilt at a time.

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Shake the spray glue can well then spray it 10-12″ from your project. I sprayed the backing AND the batting. I sprayed about 6″ X width of quilt each time. After I sprayed, I carefully rolled/repositioned the batting that had been glued to the backing and worked my way up the quilt until I got to the top. I repeated this on the other side of the quilt to glue my batting to the backing.

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After I glued down the batting, I repeated the same process to glue the quilt top to the batting to complete my quilt sandwich.

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Regarding gluing the sandwich together:

  1. It’s MUCH faster to spray baste than pin baste
  2. This glue is VERY easy to use
  3. Low VOC, which is nice since I’m basting this on my basement floor. There is hardly ANY odor so I didn’t have to worry about passing out from fumes.
  4. It was very easy to clean up any over spray from my floor (truth – my kids may have done that with their socks)
  5. The glue works.

There are many reasons I liked working with the QuiKraft glue, but I think #5 is what sticks out in my mind the most (get it? sticks? glue?). I’ve tried other spray basting glues before and never felt they worked well enough for me, or I felt the need to iron my sandwich together AFTER spray basting to make sure all the pieces were secure.

Anyhow, working in 6″ X width of quilt was manageable and allowed me to smooth out any small inconsistencies in my sandwich as I worked. I didn’t have a huge area on my quilt, backing, or batting with glue and the inability to glue it down cleanly.  Smaller working space meant I could accurately spray baste my quilt and get it down securely.

I’m about halfway through quilting Q man’s quilt, and haven’t had any problems. No part of my sandwich has come unglued while I work and that’s made machine quilting significantly smoother than pin basting or having not-so-great-sandwiches come apart for one reason or another. I haven’t had any gumming on my needle, either. Another HUGE bonus.

Because my sandwich has been so secure, quilting has been a breeze. IMG_3126

I have 3 more rings to quilt. Knowing I’ll be able to tackle those with relative ease and no sandwich issues makes me significantly less anxious about the process.  The right tools make everything enjoyable.

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Close up shot. You can see where I needed to replace my stippling needle. You can also see my work on spirals. Spirals are the death of me so I’m really working to get those down. I don’t know why I have such a mental block on them.

I highly recommend this project, and I’m eager to spray baste another quilt later this week.

To keep up with news, I recommend you follow @quikraft_siliconi on Instagram. I know they have some fun plans for the spring, and this way you’ll be the first to hear!

Acrylic with fabric medium on PFD. Quilted on my Bernina 770QE with Aurifil 50wt. thread.  75/11 needles.

 

 

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts, sewing

This Girl is Headed to The Quilt Show

My first (and currently only) school house was at Market in fall 2016. I was excited about my presentation, and was sharing the time slot with John Kubiniec. John was speaking about his new book, A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path, and had made some quilts using Alex Anderson’s new line of fabric being released at market.

Now, I knew I would be speaking with John, and he and I had spoken on the phone prior to quilt market. What I didn’t know was that Alex Anderson would be there.

Yep!

She was 5 feet from me. In the front row. I was equal parts ecstatic and terrified! You would be, too! Half of what I wanted to say went right out the window.

So, I make it through my presentation, and Alex was as kind and lovely as you think she’d be. She told me I did a nice job and congrats on the book, and so on.

The end.

Okay, not the end. Only the end until fall market 2017. I had a whirlwind trip to Houston that included finding out the hard way I had a sulpha drug allergy. So in addition to spending two days walking around George Brown being incredibly itchy,  I was walking around on Sunday tired from Benadryl.

Anyhow, about halfway through the day, my friend Charlene and I walked into a booth. Alex was sitting at a table helping someone. She smiled at us when we walked in, and Charlene and I continued to peruse. I was particularly interested in the EVA foam Cheryl Sleboda had because I had just made a not so great but kind of okay helmet for my son for Halloween. Charlene was checking out batting.

Anyhow, while I was looking around Alex must have finished what she was doing, walked over to me, smiled, and said hello. We started to talk, and in a complete “this is either a REALLY good idea or a terrible one” kind of moment, I said: so, do you remember….and launched into reminding her about my school house and how nice she was to me last year.

Alex asked about my book, Piecing Makeover, and, of course, I was happy to grab it from my bag and show it to her. She flipped through it and then asked if I’d want to be on The Quilt Show.

WHAT?! Um, yes!! No need to ask twice. I. AM. THERE!

Seriously, though. I am there. Well, I’m there in March and I am SO EXCITED! Y’all! This is ah-mazing!

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I’m super excited to go, and I’ll keep you updated on any fun developments. It’s going to be great!

Happy Piecing!

PM

family, holiday, kids, make something, personal, sewing

Adventures in Cosplay

I’ve never dabbled in cosplay. Whip up a costume? Sure. You need a Jedi robe? I gotcha covered.  Usually when I do make a costume, it’s quick and easy. Down and dirty. Nothing too elaborate.

But armor and helmets? Nope. I’m at a complete loss.

Usually costuming my kids doesn’t cause me any anxiety or stress until October. You know, when I have to figure out how to make a costume for one of them. According to thing 1 and thing 2,  I can make everything. I love that they think that. I love that I usually can make them happy (enough). Dabbling in a new medium to make it happen? Well, it made me a little nervous, and the last thing I needed or wanted in the days leading up to Halloween is to have a costume idea implode.

This year, littlest child was Spider-Man for Halloween. Easy-peasy, bought a costume. Done. Truth be told, he’s had a Halloween plan since last summer and  has been happily wearing his costume for months. months, people, months. 

Then oldest child chimes in on the subject. He wanted to be a Destiny 2 Warlock. WHAT?! I didn’t even know where to start, and after looking at the picture of the warlock online, I was really lost. I wasn’t quite sure where to begin so I thought on it for a while. I wanted something relatively easy that would get the look, but it didn’t have to be a full set of armor. At least in my mind.

warlock

It took me some time, but I figured out how to modify the costume using a black bathrobe. I found an image with the graphic S wanted to use. I cropped and enlarged the image in Photoshop, printed it, traced the reversed image (thankyouverymuch, technology) on fusible, then applied it to the robe.

bird web

Then I  made the front panel with some Kona yellow and charcoal. The charcoal tail was long enough to wrap and twist around his stomach so it kinda resembled the stomach armor. Enough for a 10 year old kid for one night of the year.

Then the helmet. The dreaded helmet. I had visions of heavily facing some black, grey, and yellow fabric and making a hat until the child found a pattern. I didn’t love the directions, but the images of how to assemble the helmet helped me figure out how to assemble the helmet (sort of) correctly.  The pattern was easy to download and print, and there aren’t a lot of pieces to make it.

pattern

Per the instructions, I used 10mm EVA foam. If I knew last week that a lighter, better foam was available to make the helmet, I would have gone that route. Sadly for me, I found better foam at market then didn’t have time to run back to the booth and get some before heading out to catch my flight. dang! But I’ll know for next time, so that’s good.

market foam

The foam is easy to cut if you have a FRESH X-acto blade. I realized halfway through I needed to change mine so some rough edges are visible. The edges with the new blade are super smooth. Unfortunately, you can’t see those.

I struggled to get the foam to mold the right way. I didn’t have a heat gun. I’m sure the higher temps would have been better than my hair dryer. I also wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. Bend, heat, repeat, and hope it held the shape. Super glue did a great job holding the pieces together but I did have to work to keep the pieces and the glue in the right spot until it took a little bit.  I’m sure there’s a less messy way to get the glue onto the foam than my approach. I was definitely feeling clumsy with this hat. The pieces were big, and not bending quite the way I wanted.

I give myself a solid C- on the helmet. You can see in the image below that S painted it so some of my mistakes are a little less visible.

halloween

You can also see that the helmet was too big. Instructions say it’s one size, and it’s definitely big. Knowing what I know now, I’d change a few things to make V2.0 better. There’s a definite learning curve to this stuff, and I’m sure a LOT of tips out there to really fine tune your work. Next time, I’ll know where to look.

Perhaps even next time, S will wear the helmet while we trick or treat.

Yep. I held it the entire time. 🙂

featured, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts, sewing

Mimi’s Modern Flower Garden

As usual, I started this with just a concept in my head. For the most part it worked. Until I got to the borders. Then it got tricky.

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And that’s saying something since the borders are just kinda borders, right?

Well, now they are.

If I actually sat down and drew out a plan (either on paper or my computer), I would have seen that extending the hexagons into the borders wasn’t going to work. At least not with this size hexie I was using. I mean, it would have been really cool, and it’s something I might use in the future.

You know, when I have the math all sorted.

After I had the center pieced, and had attached the inner border (which took much longer than expected because I had to variegate it), then I got to move on to the outer borders.

Originally my plan was to extend the hexagons from the center to the outside, but, like I said a few paragraphs ago, it didn’t work because I couldn’t make the corners fit.

bad corner web

See? I’d have to chop off too much of a hexie.

I also wish I’d realized that BEFORE I put on the top border.

top border web

It looked awful because I couldn’t halve the hexagons along the top – I had to have a hexagon at the corners – but I was not going to have ANY of that.

border test

I tried a few different things like having a grey variegated border, but I wasn’t a huge fan of that either.

So, after fussing for a few days.

Daaaayyysss, y’all, daaayyysss….

I decided to get a print that reads as a solid and call it a day.

My hope is that when I (or someone else) quilts it, the borders will have some fun thread work. Perhaps I’ll have the quilting follow the color pattern of the quilt, going from red to pink to purple to blue to green.

Maybe.

I should probably make a plan for that before I start.

quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Upcycled Baby Blankets

A friend of mine called me a few months ago needing some help. Her dog chewed up her husband’s favorite childhood comforter and she wanted to cut it up and turn it into 4 blankets – one for each of her children. But she doesn’t sew so….

The comforter is super cute, and I see why husband loved it. White background with cute, brightly colored bicycles on it. It’s your standard sorta 70’s or 80’s era comforter with invisible thread and a poly backing that is somehow magically attached to the bike fabric. Except this one had holes.

Lucky for me, the blankets didn’t need to be the same size and I was able to cut around the holes to get four decent sized blankets. Decent enough for kids, at least. Cutting it was a bit of a challenge since the comforter has some puckers in it from the original quilting. Once I did get the pieces cut, I measured them – I arbitrarily picked sizes based on the space I could work with – then I cut flannel to size.

IMG_0719 copy

The easy part was getting a square piece of flannel cut. Because of the gathers in the top, I had to ease in in a few spots from the top and that made sewing down the binding a little less straightforward. I sewed binding to the flannel on two of the blankets, folding the binding to the top, and for the other two I sewed the binding to the top, and folded the binding to the back. I’m not sure which I liked better as they both presented some challenges.

Sewing the binding to the flannel was much easier but stitching the binding to the top of the blanket was harder because I had to work with all the puckers, folds and gathers from the top piece. The inverse is also true. In the end, though, they all look great and my friend is super excited with them.

IMG_0224 copy

I used a yellow and white polka flannel on the back of each blanket and each blanket has a different binding from my pile of scrap bindings. That also allows each child to have his or her own blanket that they can identify by the binding. I consider that a big win, especially for the littles that can’t read a name or a label.

Even bigger win is that she picked them up this morning and is going to surprise her husband for their anniversary tonight. Sweet!

 

quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Remove the Clutter and Create

I strongly believe that in order to create freely, we sometimes have to get rid of the clutter in our lives. That clutter can come in different forms: doing the laundry, cleaning the house, volunteering, helping with homework, and many times for me, cleaning up my sewing room and knocking out some unfinished projects.

When I head to my sewing machine and see small projects littered in my space, I get a little anxious. I WANT to create what I want to create when I have time to sew. The quilt or project I’m working on is THE NUMBER ONE THING, right? I don’t necessarily want to work on those other things I’ve put aside for another day. That’s why those things have been case aside anyhow.

Then I finish my project, and I’m ready to move on to something else, but I have to find inspiration. That’s when the clutter actually helps. If I knock out the little things that I have pushed aside for a variety of reasons, then I help myself in few ways:

  1. I finish a project.
  2. I get said project off the floor and start cleaning(ish).
  3. If a project is finished, then I have more space in my head to create. I’m not bogged down my the pressure to finish “other” things. This is important for me because I tend to get wrapped up in the minutiae.

Recently I finished a few projects, and put another aside for not cooperating, and I started tackling some things that have been yelling “Finish me!”

First up:  a Daisy scout vest. Just needed to sew on a few patches. It took all of 20 minutes. Done and done.

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2. A seriously overdue baby quilt. A very good friend of mine asked me to make quilts for babies 1 and 2. And I had those suckers finished on time. The quilt for baby 3? Just finishing it. Awesome, except she’s 18 months old now. Hey, I was busy writing a book, y’all.

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I was also struggling with how to incorporate the elephants. I’m not sure why but whatevs. It all finally came together. img_95613. And last but not least, a journal cover for a teacher. It’s part of her Christmas gift and all I can say is I hope she likes it. If not, I do, and I’ll gladly take it back.

img_9584Interestingly, another super groovy idea came into my head late one night after I’d finished round 2 with my Bejeweler, proving that sometimes the best way to get your creative going is to clean up projects and free your mind. It makes me happy.

Now if I can just finish up these projects to get to some stuff I really want to work on I’ll be set!

friends, make something, sewing

Hack A Quilt Tote

I was at the beach this week for fall break and wrote a post that was supposed to appear instead of this one. Then I got home last night and decided to make a bag for Mary’s Hack That Tote! blog tour instead of my wimpy little post. Seems reasonable, right? 5 days of travel surely meant I had time to come home and make a bag. Well, in my head it did.

I planned to make a tote for Quilt Market LAST YEAR and failed. I ran out of time and couldn’t get it together. No biggie. I sat on the fabric for a FULL YEAR ready to make something but never really carved out the time for myself to do it. Always wanting to make a bag but couldn’t get it together.

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So when Mary asked me to participate in a book tour for Hack That Tote! I KNEW I had to make a tote bag with this fabric. I knew it! Then, once again, I ran out of time. I clearly have time management issues. And small children.

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I digress, though.

I LOVE a good tote bag. I mean, seriously LOVE…so picking my favorite pattern was a breeze. My specifications are big and kinda slouchy – sorta like this bag I bought several years ago.

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The obvious starting point for me is the pool tote.

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Using Mary’s tips about sizing up and down your tote, I grabbed my calculator and increased the size 10%. Not a lot, but enough to hold a good size quilt and supplies for binding.

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I lined each piece with a heavyweight non-woven fusible interfacing and added a small pocket to each side of the lining pieces.

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I made the interior following the steps for the Basic Tote.

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I attached cotton webbing to each side of the exterior tote bag before sewing the pieces together. Because I planned to use this as a bag to tote half finished, in need of binding quilts and other projects, the straps are rather long to accommodate the bulk of quilts.

I sewed the straps across the top, bottoms, sides and made an “X” in the center for stability. I also added an extra piece of interfacing on the back where the straps attached (something like 4″ x 15″).

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I placed the lining inside the exterior of the bag, wrong sides together. I pinned the top, attached a bias binding and voila!

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fullsizerender-9A quilt tote is born! The bag has a lap quilt AND and full size quilt in it with room to spare. Perfect for carrying around projects! I’m so excited about it!

Aside from showing you how to take a basic pattern and changing it into virtually any kind of bag, Mary also has great information about interfacings, fabrics and accessories for your bag. For a chance to win a copy of your own Hack That Tote! be sure to follow my blog and leave a comment about your favorite tote hack below or a hack you’d like to make.

I’ll pick a number using random.org for the winner (announced on 10/7). Winners in the States will receive a copy of the book, and winners outside the States will receive an e-book.

You can follow along and leave comments on all the blogs below to increase your chances to win this incredible book!

9/27 C&T  http://www.ctpub.com/blog/
9/28 Sue O’Very http://sueoverydesigns.com/blog/
9/29 Gen Q Teri Lucas http://generationqmagazine.com/
9/30 Patty Murphy  http://pattymurphyhandmade.com
10/1 Vanessa Lynch http://punkinpatterns.com/blog
10/2 Lindsay Conner http://lindsaysews.com
10/3 Stephanie Moore http://www.alittlemooreblog.com
10/4 Katy Cameron http://www.the-littlest-thistle.com
10/5 Kim Niedzwiecki http://www.gogokim.com
10/6 Mary Abreu  http://confessionsofacraftaddict.com

Happy Hacking!

book, featured, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing, Uncategorized

Piecing Makeover Blog Book Tour + Giveaway

What a week it’s been! Wow! Thanks for all the love, y’all! The week was such a success and I couldn’t have done it without C&T Publishing, AnneMarie, Jodie, Teri at GenQ, Sandi, Mary, and Kristin. Really big thanks to each of you!

My biggest tip to share is to ask for help. I mean – How easy is that!? Seriously, though. When I first started to quilt I always asked my mom but not everyone has a mom that sews, or is near. However,  if you are fortunate enough, your local quilt shop has staff on hand to help you work through your problems. Yes, it means another trip out, and you might come home with more fabric but getting inspired while getting help is fun! And I promise they LOVE to help figure out your quilting problems! If the shop can’t help, they will find someone that can. Honest.

If you don’t have a quilt shop near you, go online to see if you can find the answer to your problem, or send a message to a quilter via a blog or read a book – perhaps, mine?  A little time to noodle on the issue might work for you, too. Don’t be afraid to explore possibilities. And if you are worried about messing up your favorite piece of fabric, experiment with some muslin, or old scraps until you’ve solved your problem.

Most importantly, remember it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s how we learn. I have quilts riddled with errors and almost every quilt I make throws me for a loop at some point or another – I really should plan more! But I’ve learned a lot. Some of my (ahem) older friends have been a valuable source of knowledge, too.

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C&T is giving away one copy at each stop along the way and today is your last chance to win a copy of Piecing Makeover  for yourself (printed copy in the U.S. and e-book outside the States). Leave a comment on the blog and we will announce the winners tomorrow.

Here’s the list again so you can check to see if you have won on another page. Winners will be chosen at random using random.org number generator.

9/13  AnneMarie Chany http://www.genxquilters.com/
9/15 Teri Lucas/Gen Q Magazine  http://generationqmagazine.com/
9/16 Sandi Hazlewood http://www.craftyplanner.com/
9/18 Kristin Esser https://kristinesser.com/
Happy piecing, everyone!

*edited on 9/20 – Congratulations to Sally for winning a copy of Piecing Makeover!

quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing, Uncategorized

Quilts for …..

Last week we woke up to an unspeakable tragedy, and as usual, quilters jumped right in to help. I was compelled to make few block to send to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, along with some binding, and then a friend asked me why I was doing it. Why am I sending blocks?

pulse web

You know, when you are asked a question like that, it kinda makes you think. Why was I doing it? What would compel a person to send blocks and supplies for quilts to people I don’t even know? The answer is simple: LOVE.

Steven Colbert coined it perfectly when he said “Love is a Verb and to Love is to Do”. And that’s what quilters do. This is how we band together for the greater good. In a time of tragedy, any tragedy, not just Orlando, this is how we can show strangers that we care. Think about it. To receive a quilt, a handmade gift always associated with love and kindness and warmth is truly a gift for people during a trying time. When one might be angry, or full of despair, or any other range of emotions, getting literally get wrapped in warmth and love is a great way to help people find comfort. Even if they are strangers.

So that’s why we do it. We can. We can do something good to help others.

Even if it’s only a quilt.

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Pointed

Every so often I make a quilt that requires me to sew points at a bulky intersection. Over the years I have tried different things but find my best tip is to use pins. It seems counterintuitive, right? The pins will shift your points when you go through all the layers of fabric. Or will they?

Yes. If you pin through multiple layers of fabric at a bulky intersection with a point that will happen. But what if you use the points as a guideline?

Here’s how I handle that.

1. I stick a straight pin through the point on each piece.

First side


Through both points.

2. Nestle the pieces together so the pin is perpendicular to the fabric.


3. Place two straight pins on either side of the pin going through the point, about 1/8″ at most.

4. Push those pins through the fabric and remove the center pin.


5. BASTE the edge. 90% of the time this works. To avoid ripping out stitches, I baste first to make sure I’m sewing exactly through the points. It’s much easier to take out basting stitches and its gentler on your pieces.

6. Once your basting stitches are correct, sew over them with a regular stitch.


7. Press your pieces. Many times, seams with lots of bulk are great candidates for furling, but not always. And this seam wasn’t completely cooperating so I called it a day. It’s flat enough and a machine will easily be able to get through the intersection to quilt it.


8. Enjoy!