18 Aug

Beginning Patchwork Class!

Hello out there! Do I have any readers on Oahu who want to make a few projects and learn some basic patchwork and quilting skills? Does anyone have a friend or two in the Waipahu area that wants to take a class?

Here’s the deal:

I’ll be teaching at Ho’ae’ae Community Park in Waipahu (Village Park/Royal Kunia neighborhood). Classes are Monday mornings from 10:00 until 11:00 (ish). Classes start on September 13th and run for ten weeks. The fee is a mere $20 though you should bring your own sewing machine and will need to bring your own fabric and basic supplies.

Registration will be on August 25th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm and on August 26th and 30th from 2:00 – 5:30 pm at the park. That’s next week!!

Any questions, leave a comment or call Ho’ae’ae Park at 808-676-8832. The address is 94-709 Ka’aholo Street, Waipahu for the map savvy.

What are we making?

Fat Quarter Friendly Small Tote
We’ll warm up our rotary cutters and strip piecing skills with a fat quarter friendly tote bag that’s the perfect size for a small gift or just a few necessities.

Aloha Scraps Pillow
Then we’ll learn and easy way to make triangles and put them together in a fun pillow cover. We’ll also use this project to practice machine quilting and to insert a zipper and add binding.

Final Quilting
The final project is a Mod Log Cabin table runner. Log Cabin blocks are a quilting basic and these wonky ones are just the right amount of fun without worrying too much about accuracy. We’ll hone our quilting and binding skills on this project as well.

Please spread teh word if you know anyone who would be interested! Aloha!

11 Jul

Class Projects

Last spring I taught a sampler quilt class at my local park (Ho’ae’ae Park). In August I will hopefully teach another beginner class. This time I’m thinking that small projects featuring many of the same skills will work as well and give students a better chance at finishing them. To that end, I’ve been making up class samples to show off at the park office.

Fat Quarter Friendly Small Tote

First will be a small lined tote, perfect for a Hostess gift. It can be made from four fat quarters (that are always so tempting at the fabric store, and often already bundled in nice color combos). Students will learn basic rotary cutting skills and strip piece fabrics to make the patched “piano keys” strip at the top of the bag.

Aloha Scraps Pillow

Next we’d move on to an easy way to piece triangles and make this quilted pillow cover. If students have a pile of scraps, just one solid can pull them together — or the pillow would look great in two colors. In addition to making triangles, this is a good size project to practice machine quilting on, and the edge is bound just like a large quilt.

Mod Log Cabin Table Runner

Finally, we’ll make my “signature” project, the Mod Log Table Runner. I love log cabin blocks and think that because of their versatility, every quilter needs to have at least a little experience recognizing and making them. This project needn’t be super accurate until the borders are added, and reinforces those quilting and binding skills.

So, if you or anyone you know is on the Central to Leeward side of Oahu and would like to learn to make these projects, keep your eyes open for the Parks and Recreation schedule in August.

08 Jul

Acting Ugly

I’ve had the most confounding experience (stitch-wise) the last few days.

I am planning on teaching a beginning quilting class at my local park again in August. This time, instead of a sampler quilt, we’re going to make three smaller projects. I’m making class samples now.

Ugly + Aqua

While in Spokane, WA for my MIL’s wedding (congratulations lovebirds!), I bought some really ugly fabric that was on sale and screamed for me to take it home and make it sing. Aqua was all it needed. Then I tried grey and white in an uncharacteristic moment of fashionable-ness. I liked both, so I sewed up two table runner tops. No problem.

Ugly + Grey

But when it came time to quilt the first runner, the thread broke. This surprised me because I was using a “golden retriever” thread (a term coined by Superior Thread Bar Tender Cindy for threads that are very easy to use) and quilting in straight lines. I adjusted all my tension options to no avail. Then I changed to a fresher topstitch needle. Nope. I changed spools of thread, and it broke too (so it wasn’t a bad spool). I changed to a smaller, sharper microtex needle. Nope. Then I put in a brand spanking new topstitch (easy on the thread) needle and still the thread broke. I switched to a different type of thread and it broke too. All the while, I was noticing that the needle seemed to be struggling to get through the ugly fabric. I admitted defeat and picked out all my stitching attempts. I figured that the ugly fabric must have been on sale for more than just it’s aesthetic value and re-sandwiched my table runner top with a different backing (since I had so much ugly fabric, and I thought it was so bad it was cool, I used it front and back). I tried stitching the table runner ┬áin cross-wise straight lines, but even with the new backing, the thread broke. Then, I only stitched on the non-ugly fabric parts — and it worked! I got brave and did a little stitching on the borders (ugly fabric) where I could take it out and it would still look OK. It worked and I didn’t have t remove any stitches! One table runner done.

Mod Log Cabin Table Runner

After sleeping on my fabric problem, I had the brilliant idea to put a new back on table runner two and stitch it from the back, hopefully avoiding, in a way, the problematic ugly fabric. I had hoped to stitch in the ditch of my wonky log cabins, extending the lines out into the border, but that wouldn’t work from the back where there’s no lines to follow. Serpentine stitch is quite popular right now, and would look good with the simple piecing, but I really wanted to do something different. Since I was working from the back and couldn’t follow what was going on on the front, I figured I could take that all the way and do something completely in contrast to the piecing. I decided that since the piecing is tweaked traditional, the quilting should be too — simple feathers in a loose arrangement. I had no problems sewing the feathers, but since I’m not a great machine quilter, and my arcs were pretty large, I just wasn’t happy with them. So, I picked them out.

Feather Quilting

Again, I admitted defeat, and opted for the serpentine stitch. I wanted to make sure it was oriented relatively straight on the table runner though. I crossed my fingers and hoped that I could stitch one line from the front and then align the rest off that from the back. Guess what? No problem! So I sewed the next line on the front. No problem. So I completed table runner number two without further incident.

Final Quilting

In the end, I have no idea what was making my thread break. Perhaps it was that two layers of ugly fabric was too much. I considered that it was the batting, but Runner 1 used scraps from a batting I had used successfully on another quilt, and Runner 2 used a completely different batting (which I don’t like, but not for stitchability issues). Perhaps it was some magical combination of the fabric and the angle at which I was stitching it (straight was bad, serpentine or free-motion met the fabric in an acceptable way). Perhaps it was the alignment of the planets and by day two things were back to normal. I don’t know. I do know that I won’t be using the ugly fabric for my other two class samples which are next on my to-do list.

08 Oct

Just in Case You’re More Organized Than I…

… and are maybe ready to start thinking about holiday crafting.

I did a little, little bit of organizing in my blog sidebar.

The big addition is a button link to my downloadable pin cushion pattern over at Pink Chalk Fabrics! Kathy is all about customer service and now she’s set up to fulfill our instant gratification sewing needs. You can download my pattern today and have Christmas presents for your crafty friends done tomorrow!

Speaking of Christmas, my little addition is a link to the snowflake fairies tutorial I made a few years ago. It’s way down at the bottom of the sidebar (I couldn’t figure out how to break up all that linky stuff down there, so my tutorials got the shaft. It’s OK though because most of that stuff is also accessible from the “Patterns” tab way up top). May I suggest you click on the Mod Log Table Runner while you’re there, because it works great in all sorts of fabrics and will make wonderful presents for all your friends who don’t necessarily need pin cushions.

13 Aug

Mod Log Cabin Table Runner

Two years ago for Christmas I made table runners for many of our friends and family. Thursday and Friday I was able to free some projects from their plastic bags (the lice are all gone!!) and finish a table runner for a friend who is willing to trade handmade stationery products (yippee!).

Mod Log Table Runner

I’ve named this the Mod Log Table Runner. I’ve had instructions for it on my website for a while now, but when I decided to post this one, I also decided that it was time to tackle the larger project of making the tutorials I’ve shown on my blog and the website instructions into more professional-looking PDF files to download. This table runner is my own design, but wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to make it, so I don’t feel as if I’m giving away any proprietary trade secret of mine when I share the how-to. I’m just making it easier for everyone to have what I think is a cool and adaptable design. And I’m giving back to the generous craft-blogging community.
Now, when you click the “Patterns” tab on the blog or website you’ll go to a page where you can, hopefully, click to download the PDFs for this and two lovely hand bags. I’ve changed the links in the sidebar as well so that they also open the appropriate PDF.

I assume everyone will let me know if I’ve linked anything incorrectly, or if something doesn’t work.