Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway Winner Announced!

drum roll please......

The extremely lucky winner of these 2 amazing prizes:
-Anna Maria Horner sewing pattern - Ruthie Clutch
-AND a $50 Gift Certificate to Fat Quarter Shop

is....


Vanessa said...
I would love to win this giveaway! If I did, I would sew the Ruthie clutch. I got the chance to see Anna Maria Horner's new book, and that was one of the patterns that jumped out at me! Also, I would have to get an Oliver & S pattern. I have been wanting to sew one of those for a long time!

Congratulations, Vanessa!  
I am confident you will put both your prizes to good use!

(note: I swear this was a coincidence that her name is Vanessa, too! )


Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and of course, to our fabulous sponsors at Fat Quarter Shop!!





Friday, July 30, 2010

Thangles and Charity quilt

I recently joined Tree City Quilters' Guild here in Gainesville, FL.  I get so excited every time the next meeting pops up on my calendar! Members bring snacks and drinks, there are raffles, a freebie quilting magazine library, guest speakers, etc.  There is also always some time at the end of the meeting for show & tell.  I have shown about 5 or 6 of my quilts since I joined in May.  It's an interesting experience for me because the guild is very much a traditional quilt guild and I am the furthest thing from traditional!  I mean, really.... I have a  four-patch block tattooed on my forearm

Anyway, back to what I really meant to blog about.... At this month's guild meeting we had a cutting/kit making workshop where we chose fabrics the guild provided and were to make a charity quilt with it.  The guild is collecting charity quilts for the NICU at a local hospital and the quilts have to be 24" x 36" or smaller.  After coming home with only three fabrics I decided to design the little charity baby quilt in my my EQ7 quilting software program.  This is what I came up with:
The fabrics I am using are pretty close to the ones in the graphic and I think that it will make for a very cute baby girl charity quilt. The block I created is a simple design that is easy to cut and sew together.  Each block is made up of 8 half square triangles, 4 squares, and 1 larger square block in the center.  That's it.

I knew the square units would be easy to cut all I needed was help with the half square triangles.  Vicki, (from one of our sponsors) Quilting Lodge sent me a packet of 3" Thangles just in time!  For those of you that don't know what they are.... they are strips of paper with the stitching lines and cutting lines printed on them to make the half square triangle making process much faster and easier.  They come in a bunch of sizes from 1/2" to 6". Depending on the size you choose you will be able to make different amounts of half square triangles with each pack.  For the complete breakdown click here.

Here is how they work:

You cut strips of your fabric 1/2" bigger than the size block you want it to finish.  For example I needed 3" blocks so I cut all my strips 3 1/2" wide.  I did that for the two fabrics I want to make up my half square triangle.  I lay the strips on top of each other with pretty sides of the fabric touching. Then you lay the Thangles paper strip over your fabric strips and pin in place.

 Then you stitch over the dotted lines on the Thangles paper.  Then just separate the units from each other by cutting down the center of the black lines in the center of the Thangles paper.

Next, cut down the solid line that is in between the dotted lines.  The instructions ask you to press while the paper is still on to set your seam.
Then you remove the special Thangles paper like this.  I will admit, I thought that yanking the paper off of these was going to seriously distort my block but the Thangles are made of some special paper that even when some bits get stuck you can pull it out without yanking the delicate fabric of your block.  So, that's good!  Another plus is that you can chain piece if you have enough of these setup.  I did that with like 10 of my units but because of the angle of the lines on the rectangular strip I found ir more annoying than anything.  So, I just did it the regular way.  Even if you didn't chain piece I think you would still save time. After pressing your blocks open I recommend measuring them to double-check and make sure they finished 3 1/2" x 3 1/2". 

I was skeptical at first... and now I'm just plain upset.  Where were these Thangles when I needed them to make the 400+ half square triangles for the Midnight Diamantes quilt?!!? Sheesh....

I used them tonight to make 48 half square triangles and here is my product review of Thangles.

Pros:
-easy to use
-very inexpensive
- no more tracing lines on blocks
-leaves only one dog ear for you to trim instead of two
-allows you to make more half square triangles in less time than other methods

Cons:
- a little tricky to pin at first
- some fabric waste unless you trim the Thangles paper
- a little tricky to line up fabric strips perfect AND the Thangles paper on top to pin
- takes some getting used to, to make sure you get precise blocks

If you've been looking for Thangles or are considering trying them out..... You can buy them from our sponsor, Quilting Lodge.  They are just $5 (US) no matter the size you choose... and you get a FREE quilt pattern with any Thangles purchase! 

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Simple Drawstring Bag Tutorial

It's been a while since I posted a video tutorial on my YouTube channel.... Sorry!!
I've been busy teaching four law classes per semester and keeping an eye on our walking running 11 month old baby boy all day!  Oh, yea... did I mention I teach sewing & quilting classes locally and provide professional longarm quilting services?, too!
phew... I'm a busy mama.
but... I'm back!

I've just posted my latest FREE video tutorial!  
This is a very simple drawstring bag tutorial.  All you need is a sewing machine, fabric, thread, and some ribbon. I know a lot of my followers and YouTube channel subscribers are beginners in the world of sewing and quilting so I wanted to make a tutorial for a project that is:
1) easy to make (even for a clueless beginner),
2) completely functional, and
3) has hundreds of uses! 

If you've recently picked up sewing try your hand at this super quick and foolproof project!  Even if your cutting and stitching  aren't exact, the bag will still turn out! 
Don't be afraid... you can do it!
 

Some examples of what you can use these bags for are:

-bread bags
-for lingerie/underwear
-to keep dirty clothes separate from clean clothes when traveling
-kids toys for car rides
-can be lined with vinyl and made into a wetbag
- carry utensils and plastic cups for a picnic
-reusable lunch bags
-gift bags

If you need some help choosing fabrics to use for this project, have a look HERE.

If you make one of these drawstring baggies make sure you upload it to my new Flickr group so others can see your Crafty Gemini tutorial creations!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sewing Pattern & Gift Certificate Giveaway

Our sponsors at the Fat Quarter Shop have generously donated an Ruthie Clutch pattern AND a $50 Gift Certificate to their online shop!

I just finished making myself one and I have to say... I love it!
Isn't it cute?!

 This gorgeous fabric is from Alhambra II by Patricia Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics 
The body of the clutch is: Alhambra II Teal Mazy Bricks 
The top band is: Alhambra II Aqua Moorish Blooms
The lining is: Alhambra II Garden Cashmere Cameo

I have to say I am not usually a huge fan of commercial patterns because they often confuse me more than anything and I get frustrated because the final project never turns out the way I want.  



However.... 

this Anna Maria Horner Ruthie clutch pattern was an easy to follow pattern that was not too complex for a confident beginner to tackle. If you are into having a clutch purse that matches your shoes, outfit, etc... then I would definitely recommend you try this pattern.  It is simple enough that you can make it out of any fabric you want and embellish with all kinds of beads, buttons, and other goodies.  This would also make a great gift!

here is my mini review of the Ruthie Clutch pattern:


Strong Points: 
-pattern is printed on newsprint instead of tissue paper so its nice and sturdy
-pattern lines are thick and bold so you can trace onto freezer paper and not have to cut into your original pattern
-few pattern pieces
-clear and easy to follow instructions
-glossary of basic sewing terms for beginners
-clear diagrams to help follow steps
- clutch purse is just the right size to carry all your essentials


Low Points:
- inserting top band interfacing is a little tricky
- technique on ruffling clutch is tricky, there are easier ways of doing it


Here are the giveaway details:
The Ruthie Clutch pattern and $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop giveaway will run until Saturday, July 31st at 11:59pm.

Winner announced HERE.

One random winner will be selected to win BOTH prizes and announced on Aug. 1st.  So, please leave me a way to contact you in case you are the winner! 

To enter, leave a comment here letting me know what you plan on doing with your $50 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate.


...maybe some new fabrics to make your Ruthie Clutch? working on a new quilt project?
...$50 is a lot of money!!

So... head on over to Fat Quarter Shop and start daydreaming about the extra $50 you might just win!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Must-Have Tote Bag Pattern & Video Tutorial

Phew! Just finished another pattern and video tutorial!
My Must-Have Tote Bag written instructions and step-by-step video tutorial are now posted and available to all of you for only $3.00!

For only $3.00 you will receive a complete step-by-step PDF document with all the instructions you need to complete this tote bag with very clear and concise diagrams...AND password access to the 19 minute long video tutorial posted to the web via Vimeo.

This tote is perfect for just about anything..... use it as a diaper bag, weekend bag, for library books, groceries, farmers market, etc.  The entire bag is made out of only 1 yard of fabric and is reusable and environmentally friendly!


It has sturdy shoulder straps short enough to hold in your hand but long enough to throw over your shoulder.  The pattern even has a nice big pocket on the exterior of the tote.  The best part about this pattern is the step-by-step instructions on how to make french seams!  Your tote will look clean and professionally finished both on the inside and out.

I also like to make my Must-Have Tote as a gift bag, that way it is also part of the gift and no one ends up with a bag they will throw out anyway.


Click HERE to purchase the Must-Have Tote Bag pattern/tutorial and video tutorial.

Thanks!

Happy sewing!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Black & White Quilt Along- Block 5



Here it is! The #5 and final block tutorial for my first ever Quilt Along!

Electric Fan


This block looks a lot more intricate than it actually is! 
It's easy to cut and sew together! Here goes....

What you'll need for one 12.5" x 12.5" block that will end up being 12" x 12" when in a quilt:

4 squares that measure 7 1/4" x 7 1/4" of 4 different fabrics.  Choose two light and two dark fabrics for best results.


Stack the two dark squares on top of each other (it doesn't matter in what direction) and pin as shown in the picture so the pins don't get in your way when you cut. Line up your ruler from one corner to another on your square and cut.
.

Carefully turn the square 90 degrees and cut down the other center line as well leaving you with 4 triangles.



Repeat this same procedure with your two white (or light) squares.

Here is whatyou end up with after the cutting is over:
Total: 16 triangles.

Take one triangle of each of your four fabrics and lay the pieces on a table like this:
(You will create 4 units just like this but you will turn them slightly for the overall effect of the Electric Fan block.)

First start sewing two of the four triangles of each unit together. Sew the two pieces connected by the white arrows below first. 

Then join it together down that center seam to create a square made up of your four fabrics. Repeat this step to all your other triangles until you end up with four exact squares like this:


Lay your blocks according to this diagram and sew together the top row across, and the bottom row across. 

Then stitch together the top half of the block and the bottom half to finish your Electric Fan quilt block!!

yay!!

Congratulations!

I hope you have enjoyed creating 5 different yet, easy blocks in my Black & White Quilt Along!

I have just started up a Flickr group for all of you to post pictures of things you have made from any of my tutorials!  I love to see what my readers/viewers/followers/subscribers make!

If you have been following along in this Black & White Quilt Along please join the Flickr group and upload pictures of your blocks! I want to see the different fabrics you've used!

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Picnic Quilt...revisited

Remember my baby boy's picnic quilt? Well, I finished quilting it today! 
woo-hoo!
I'm most happy because all I have to do is make and attach the binding and then we can actually use it for our play dates and picnics at the park! I'm sure he will love this quilt for many years to come.

I had this quilt on my frame for almost three days ready to be quilted and I had no idea what kind of design to use.  I got to the point where I almost just did a plain ol' meandering stitch, then I asked my DH what he thought and he suggest stars and loops.  At first I was like, "hellllooooo, I don't have a computerized machine or any pantographs to follow."  Then with his encouragement I decided to give it a try free-hand! ::ouch::  I will say, though, I was pleasantly surprised! It was not half as bad as I thought it would be.  I just jumped right in! I will admit the first two stars were a little wonky but after that it was smooth sailing! yay!

I used a lightweight navy denim for the backing and the baby blue thread shows up beautifully on it! 
(the quilting shows up best in the backing pics)

Enjoy the pics...


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dolls!

I don't know what got into me last week when I decided to make some dolls...yup, dolls?!
Pretty crazy because I don't like or collect dolls and I don't have a daughter.  I guess I just let my creativity guide me... and I'm so glad I did. 

This one is a wacky doll that I made using a McCalls pattern (M5826) I got at my local Joann's a few weeks back when the patterns were only $0.99 each! I love her! She is soooo cute!


My second doll is a "patchwork pal" I designed and created myself.  She has no face to symbolize an acceptance for all people. This adorable little doll serves as a reminder that the color of your skin and your facial features are irrelevant, what matters is what's inside!  My inspiration for this doll was the faceless dolls we have in Dominican Republic (where my family is from).  I grew up with these dolls all around the house.  They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, etc.  They are so beautiful and hand crafted out of a variety of materials.  They have no face because the women in Dominican Republic are not of one particular race or ethnicity.  Instead, they are a melting pot of cultures from all around the world including Spain, Africa, France, China, Japan, etc.

I thought my patchwork pal captured the spirit of what I was going for.  I'm happy with it!

Happy sewing and quilting!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

FQ Giveaway winner!

WOW!! We had 75 people enter this week's Fat Quarter Giveaway! Thank you all for joining in on the fun.... I selected the Random Number Generator has selected the winner....

....and that winner is: 

deserae said..."My favorite is MODA 12 Days of Christmas Ivory Stockings, Trees Fabric!!"

Deserae has won 9 fat quarters- Red Rooster fabrics from the Garden Fantasy collection.

CONGRATULATIONS, Deserae!
(I'll be emailing you in a bit to coordinate delivery of your prize.)

...and a great big quilty THANK YOU to Quilting Lodge for sponsoring this fabulous giveaway!

Don't forget to check out their online store for your sewing/quilting needs.  They are constantly getting new fabrics and notions in so, check back often!

p.s.- I have another giveaway in the works.... stay tuned!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Free-hand quilting

I'm almost done quilting my first queen size quilt!!

This is a commissioned project and after sending the client different free-motion/free-hand quilting designs she decided on my Swirly Floral. 

Here it is and I'm ecstatic!
Can you believe it?! Sometimes I amaze myself... I don't use ANY kind of template, or computerized program or tracing, etc.  I just get behind Janoris (my longarm quilting machine) and stitch away!  I don't know where I'm going or how big I'm making the flowers until I actually do them.  It's risky and crazy... and quite exhilarating! That's why I love it! 



It's an all over or edge-to-edge design that is just randomly stitched all over the entire quilt top, including borders.


Did I mention my machine doesn't have a stitch regulator either.. which means I have to control the speed of my stitching or else the stitches will come out all different sizes.  I've pretty much got that skill down. I'm so proud of myself!

Ok... now gotta go finish it!

p.s.- don't forget I have a giveaway running now.  The deadline to enter is Saturday, July 10th.  You still have 2 more days.  Enter now for a chance to win a fabulous set of 9 fat quarters!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A quick hello

Happy 4th of July!

Just wanted to drop by and say a quick hello... 

I made these adorable little Independence Day themed shorts for my DS yesterday morning before heading out to my MIL's for a BBQ.
They fit him great and even had two little side pockets! 
My husband loves for him to wear plain white tees so I had to make an outfit around the simple t-shirt. It's summer time and we live in Florida so, I think he was dressed appropriately. :o)
-------------------------------------------------
In other news... an update on my first queen sized quilt.... last I checked in with you all I was here.  Now, I am very happy to say I am finished with the quilt top!! Although I complained and swore that this would be my first and last queen sized quilt, I am feeling pretty proud and considering tackling another one this size for our bed! Not anytime soon, though.  I have to wait for the trauma of piecing 400+ half square triangle blocks to fade a little!

Isn't it fabulous?!  
It's an original design I created called:
Midnight Diamantes (diamonds in Spanish)

  I am so proud of myself it's crazy!! 

 Here is a more closeup shot of the piecing!  Wow! 
Can you believe I have only been quilting for 3 years?

 Sorry for the excessive use of exclamation points, but I am sooooooo happy!!

Now, I'm off to quilt it.. I'm doing good time for my July 18th deadline.  

I'll check back in with you soon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fat Quarter Giveaway

We can all use some more fabric, right??
Well, thanks to our generous sponsors at Quilting Lodge we are giving away 9 gorgeous fat quarters! 
Yup, you read it correctly- NINE!
The fat quarters are Red Rooster fabrics from the Garden Fantasy collection.

Aren't they just darling?!

Here are the giveaway details:
1.  Go over to Quilting Lodge
2. Surf through their shop
3. Post a comment here telling me what your favorite item in their shop is!
It can be fabric, notions, software, anything!

That's it!
This giveaway will run until Saturday, July 10th at 11:59pm.
  One winner will be chosen at random and announced on the 11th.
Click HERE to see who won.


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fyi- Quilting Lodge just put up a new SALE section in their shop called, Stash Builder BLOW-OUT!  It is ridiculous!!  I'm talking... designer fabrics for $2.00-$2.75 per yard  1/2 yard cuts! WOW! 
They have Red Rooster, Timeless Treasures, Batiks, and Marcus Brothers Civil War fabrics on clearance




 
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