Free is Fun!

Every body likes to get things free. In the quilting and embroidery world there are a lot of companies who every month give you a free quilting pattern or free embroidery designs. If you can’t afford to immediately buy “everything you love” then these free designs are a great way to build your stock of patterns and designs, try out their company and find they are always beautiful. Naturally, I will always buy a design or two along with my free designs.  Embroidery Library (see link) always have 2 designs free each month in multi sizes and formats. They also have amazing sales each month. $5 to $9  designs can be purchased for $1 to $1.25. You will need to register with them to get their emails. Trust me, the buys are worth it. Smart Needle designs always have cute freebies and Zundt Designs has several designs you can try free to see how you like their company. I can tell you Zundt designs are beautiful. They may be a little more expensive than some of the other companies, but they are worth it. Anita Goodesign is another company with exquisite designs.(see link) Up until now, you could only purchase their designs from a store like ours, Expert Sewing, but now you can purchase designs direct. Register with them and you will get word each week about a $5 or $10 “mini pack” that you can download immediately. Continue reading “Free is Fun!”

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A Whole New Language

A Whole New Language

When I had my dance studio, correct terminology was very important. When I started quilting, I learned a whole new set of terminology. It was like learning a whole new language.  Sashing …. what’s that? Sandwiching …. Are we going to eat the quilt? It seems so confusing. When I start a beginning quilt class, I start by teaching the terminology of quilting. I’m going to try to explain it as best I can for those quilters who may not have access to a quilting class with a good instructor.

Piecing – The process of sewing different pieces of fabric together to make a block.

Block – The pieces of fabric put together into a square of desired size ie; 6″, 8″ 10″ etc.

Sashing – The narrow fabric stitched between the block to divide the  blocks and put  into a single row and again into multiple rows.

Pieced Top – The various blocks put together with or without sashing to make the completed pretty top of quilt.

Batting – The lining between the pieced top and the backing. Usually  all cotton or cotton polyester blends of various thickness depending on quilter’s preference.

Backing – The fabric used for the back of a quilt. Can be plain or print fabric to match or blend with fabric used for pieced top.

Sandwich – The process of putting the pieced top layered with the batting in between the pieced top and backing fabric to make 3 layers.

Quilting – The process of sewing the 3 layers together to make one quilt or blanket as some people call it. This can be done by hand as they did in the old days, by home sewing machine or by a long arm quilting machine.

Binding – This is the fabric strip that is used to finish off the raw edges of the quilt after the quilting process is finished and the quilt is “squared up”

Square up – The  process of making all sides even and perfectly square so that all blocks go together evenly. In the case of the finished quilt, squaring up takes off all the raw edges to make quilt smooth and even to prepare for binding.

There is more terminology that I could give you but these are the basics. I will give you more as we discuss individual styles of quilts. These are the most used.

Until the next time …. Happy sewing!

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Embroidered Clothing

We talked about embroidery placement on tea/dish towels. Now let’s discuss embroidery on clothing. There’s a right and wrong way to do that.

  1. On T-Shirts the rule of thumb is to measure 3 inches down from the top of a Crewmolly-t-shirt-tm neck shirt to place the TOP of the design. If you have embroidery software, then print out your template, cut around the design and place on shirt where you want the design to be. If the top of design is 3″ down from top of crew neck then mark your center, top and side marking lines and position in your hoop.(For children’s shirts measure 2.5 inches down)
  2. For round scoop neck shirts it’s best to put shirt on and eye-ball placement that is pleasing to the eye. It depends on how low the scoop comes on the person’s chest. If design ends up too low, then consider a design on the right or left side of the scoop.
  3. For V neck shirts a design that can be put on one side of the V and down into the middle of shirt always looks pretty. You can also mirror imagine that design and place on opposite side near hip. A pretty open work or light stitching design always looks nice placed that way.
  4. One more thought. If you don’t have embroidery software you will need to know exact height and width of designs to find placement. You can cut out a piece of white paper the size of the design.

Continue reading “Embroidered Clothing”

Embroidery Placement Woes

apple-for-teacher3Have you ever seen a towel with the design so high up that you can only see half the design when hung on an oven handle? Or looked at a T shirt with the design sitting on someone’s belly button? Well, there is a formula for proper placement of designs on everything.

If you are putting a design on a kitchen tea/dish towel the rule of thumb is the bottom of the design should be 3″ from the bottom of towel if there is no built in border. If there is a border then bottom of design should be about 1″ from top of border. That means you need to know how tall your design is so you can find center placement because designs are all embroidered with blkwrk-rooster-stripe-towel-2marking from the center point. That 3 inch also gives you room to add a pretty fabric band, or ruffle or ribbon trim along the bottom. If you have software then print out a template, cut around the designs and place on towel so you can measure up 3 inches  to bottom of design. Then do placement markings with an erase away marker. Continue reading “Embroidery Placement Woes”

Embroidery Yesterday and Today

bingo-bag-1I’ve talked a lot about quilting and embroidery on quilting, but I want to take a break and talk about embroidery old and new. Embroidery today is a far cry from what it used to be. In the “olden days” embroidery was done by hand. It was and still is beautiful but took a lot of patience and was time consuming. . If it was machine embroidered on clothing or linens, it was done on a commercial machine and was expensive to buy. You were also limited by whatever designs they sewed on the item. Continue reading “Embroidery Yesterday and Today”

Scant Who? Generous What?

Ever wonder why you sew a perfect quarter inch seam and after putting all your pieces together for a particular block, your finished block still runs a little smaller than it was supposed to be when you square it off?  Well, I’m going to explain that phenomenon  to you and where I learned the answer to this question….

One of the things that always puzzled me was why would you sew a “scant” quarter inch seam. After all, a quarter inch seam is a quarter inch seam. Why would it be anything else. Right? Then a pattern or instructor throws this “scant” stuff at you. I just always accepted what to do, but wondered why? What is the difference  between a quarter inch seam and a scant quarter inch and why would you use one or the other. I’ll tell you. Sometime ago I read or heard someone who answered my question.  It’s because when you press your seam to one side the stitching takes up some of the space in the fabric. Sizing is especially crucial when sewing half square triangles and quarter square triangles. I didn’t believe it myself until I tried it. That is why a scant quarter inch seam is sewn a fraction to the right of where that seam should be. Continue reading “Scant Who? Generous What?”

Embroidery & Sewing & Quilting, Oh My!

floral-elegance-quilt-smOne of my favorite things to do is embroidery. I love the way a quilt looks with embroidery on it. There are several ways to do this. One,  you can make enough embroidered blocks to start piecing the blocks like any quilt with sashing in between. You put your narrow borders on and you add a wide border all around. This wide border can have embroidery on it as well, floral-elegance-quilt_0001giving a beautiful finished look. That’s what I did with my personal bed quilt. I used the Judy Nowecki embroidery design disk, Floral Elegance. I loved this quilt when it was finished and I still do now. Continue reading “Embroidery & Sewing & Quilting, Oh My!”