Friday, November 14, 2008

Mid November Newsletter

A Bit About Life

Today is a busy day for me. I have been asked to play the organ for a funeral. It is rather sad. This young man was taken by cancer. He had just gotten married. He actually married in the ICU of the hospital. He has suffered a long time with this disease and is finally at peace. It is never easy for those left behind, but thankfully there is life after death and we have a kind Father in Heaven who watches over us.

On a brighter note, I attended our quilting guild on Tuesday. There is a lot going on. We are preparing for a January Quilt Show which will be at our local library. This is the 10th anniversary of this quilt show. All in the guild will be making pin cushions to give away. These are really neat and useful. I'll add a picture and a pattern in the TIPS section of this newsletter.

We are also making 12 inch blocks in black, white, and yellow. These will be voted on by the public and the winner will receive a prize. I need to get my creative juices flowing for this one.

We will also be making charity baby quilts to give away to various charities. This will be fun. I remember taking our diabetic granddaughter to her diabetic camp one year. When we checked her in there was a stack of quilts on the table. She was told that she could choose one of them and keep it for herself. What a wonderful act of kindness! It is my turn to "pay it forward".

I have been working on a Disappearing 9 patch quilt and also a log cabin quilt. I have both tops done and ready to quilt. Below are pictures of both.

Fun Things to Make for Christmas:

I am always looking for things that I can make for Christmas. I have a few ideas for you. Some are quick gifts to have on hand for that unexpected gift to give. Others you can make for someone special or keep for yourself.

I am having so much fun with this Month after Month Quilted Wall hanging. The January element is available. So far, I have the patterns for December and January available. Below is a picture with the January element. I named this one "Dressed for Snow" She turned out so cute!! These are the pictures of the pattern. The "real" thing is always so much cuter! (is that a word?) Click HERE for the patterns.

Here are the pin cushions that we are making. These are so fun and useful! Scroll down to the TIPS section and I'll give you instructions for them. These are so simple!!

These Needle Books are especially fun to make. They work up fast and are great for anyone who needs their needles, pins, and other sewing supplies in one place. These little books fit so nicely in your purse. The pages are made from felt and the book is made from scraps and paper pieced. Click HERE to get the pattern. There are 5 different patterns included for you to choose from or make ALL five!!
This is my most favorite purse!! I don't like carrying a huge purse, but I like lots of pockets to keep everything organized. This purse pattern has 5 pockets. The picture below will give you an idea of the pockets. The flap has a zippered pocket and there is another zippered pocket above the back pocket. The flap is made from a quilt block. There are 3 quilt blocks to choose from for the flaps. Or again, make all 3!! I love changing purses and having a few on hand makes it possible. I have received so many compliments on my purses! Click HERE for the pattern.

This little Scrappy Bear would be a fun gift for a child or as part of your own decorations. I can imagine him in Christmas fabric! His legs and arms are buttoned on so you are able to easily position him where ever you want to place him. If you are making a quilt for a little person, consider using the leftover scraps to make a cute Teddy Bear to match the quilt. Click HERE for the pattern.
Here are some Christmas patterns that are fun and simple to make as gifts or for your own home decor. Click HERE to order.

Christmas Postcard

Christmas Gifts to Buy:

If you need a Christmas Stocking this year. There is still time to receive it before Christmas. There are many designs to choose from. This year I will hang 18 Christmas Stocking for each of my family. I have one for each of my children, their spouses and their children. And of course I have one for my husband Roger and myself. It is such a fun tradition to hang all of these stocings each year. I would be happy to help you start a Christmas Stocking tradition for your family or add to those you already have. Click HERE to order.

There are also many Personalized Clock designs to choose from. You can add names, dates or sayings to these designs. Click HERE to order.

You may also make a clock from a favorite photo. I know that grandparents are particularly hard to find something that they would enjoy. You can put your family photo on a clock for them to remember each time they check the time. Click HERE for order details.

Mystery Thanksgiving Table Runner:

There are only 2 more clues left to finish the Thanksgiving Table Runner. I will probably add BOTH of these clue so you will be able to finish in time for Thanksgiving. Click HERE to find the clues.

I will try to get something going for Christmas. I'm not sure what it will be yet. I may have a surprise for you in the December Newsletter and then start the new year with the Mystery Quilt Patterns again. It has been pretty busy around here as it always is for everyone getting ready for the holiday season. I hope you are on schedule for the holidays!

Quilting Tips:
Easy Pin Cushion: Cut a piece of fabric that measures 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch square. Fold it right sides together to make a triangle. Stitch around the triangle, leaving an opening for turning. Turn triangle inside out. Stuff until you can comfortable fit the ends of the triangle around your index finger. Stitch opening closed after stuffing. Stitch the triangle ends together. There you have a handy pin cushion!
Here are 50 tips from readers of McCalls's Quilting Magazine. I thought they were very worthy to pass on!

1. Don't be afraid to use color in your quilts.
2. Pick a print that grabs your attention. Coordinate colors around that print.
3. Always pick a fabric that is a little different from the others to add interest.
4. Choose fabrics from the same collection. They usually blend well and have a variety of lights, mediums, and darks, as well as different scales.
5. Purchase extra fabric (1/4 yd. or more). You might make a mistake or need an extra strip or two. Plans for quilts change!
6. When shopping for fabrics, take the pattern. Also, tack fabric samples to a 3" x 6" index card so you can find just the right fabric by comparing it to what you already have.
7. Wash and press fabric before cutting.
8. When prewashing fabrics, clip the corner of each piece to prevent a big, tangled, spider web mess when the machine stops!
9. To straighten fabric after washing, in preparation for cutting, fold across the bias and pull. Get a friend to help. Pull at the fold and every few inches out to the points.
10. Get the right tools
11. Use high-quality, 100% cotton fabrics.
12. Press as you go.
13. Be sure to cut accurate templates.
14. Cut accurately when using the rotary cutter.
15. Do whatever is necessary to achieve accurate 1/4" seams. You'll have fewer headaches!
16. Learn to sew accurate strip sets.
17. Be sure to square up each block before stitching them together. Square up your quilt top before adding borders.
18. "From my dad, a master cabinetmaker, MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE."

19. Use a flannel board or design wall and place fabrics/blocks on it while piecing.
20. Stick a small stack of Post-It Notes beside the presser foot as a 1/4" seam allowance guide.
21. On your sewing machine table, draw two lines, one for the stitching line and the second, 1/4" to the right. These will help with machine piecing accuracy.
22. Use a scrap of fabric for a starter when chain piecing.
23. Speed up your piecing by chain stitching.
24. Always have your seam ripper nearby.
25. Choose patterns with clear instructions and useful diagrams.
26. Read through the pattern before you start cutting.
27. Make a practice block.
28. Learn proper pressing techniques!
29. Use diagonal seams when piecing binding to cut down on bulk.
30. Learn how to properly turn corners when stitching binding to your quilt.
31. Learn the difference between half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles. Then learn the calculations for adding seam allowances (finished dimension + 7/8" for half-square triangles and +1 1/4" for quarter-square triangles).
32. Sew the hanging sleeve onto your quilt while attaching the binding.
33. Don't feel guilty about starting a new project even though you already have lots in the works.
34. It is OK to have a mistake in your quilt. No quilt is perfect.
35. When learning to hand quilt, focus on making even stitches, not on stitch length. Long stitches look just as good as short ones, provided that they are the same size.
36. Quilt with your friends.
37. Practice. Have patience with yourself.
38. Be open to trying new methods.
39. Take classes at your local quilt shop.
40. Buy a rotary cutter. They have revolutionized quiltmaking.
41. Follow the step by step rotary cutting instructions provided on the McCall's Quilting web site.
42. Learn to use a grid for making half-square triangles.
43. Make flying geese with rectangles and squares, using the corner sew and flip method.
44. Use safety pins to baste your quilts, and close them with the aid of a grapefruit spoon.
45. Learn to make bias binding
46. Binding can be done with straight-of-grain strips.
47. Join a quilting forum to get ideas from other quilters.
48. Make use of all the quilting links on the Internet!
49. Listen to advice from experienced quilters, then listen to your inner self. Don't be afraid to try something different.
50. Remember that each quilt is different, each quilter is different, and all have value.
I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter! I wish to thank everyone for their kind words and encouragment.
Wishing ALL a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Keeping you in stitches!