Monday, June 15, 2015

Creativity: Making something unexpected from unconventional materials

It's about problem solving and opening your mind to unexpected possibilities and unconventional outcomes.

For example, have you ever seen an alphabet like this?
A, B, C, D

L, M, N, O, P, etc.

Q, R, S, T

S, T, U, V
Yesterday, I found a bag of miscellaneous batting scraps. I've rolled them into little bundles and balls and will be contributing them to the swap table at a workshop. Someone will find a creative use for them.
miscellaneous batting bundles
They could turn into an alphabet… or something equally spectacular.
X, Y and Z.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

108" wide quilt backings: Have you done the math?

On my recent fabric rep travels, the topic of 108" wide quilt backings came up several times in conversation. For the most part, shop owners indicate their customer base falls into three camps:
  • "I love using a wide back for my quilts because…" 
  • "Oooh! It's how much a yard??"
  • "Wide whats?"
Westrade Textiles offer 110" wide backings.
Since discovering wide backings a few years ago myself, and doing a presentation for a local machine quilters group, I have become enlightened on the ease, beauty, and efficiency—as well as the cost effectivenessof using a wide fabric for the backing on my quilts. Because of my affinity for these 108" or 110" fabrics, I've been asked to write a guest blog post on the Fort Worth Fabric Studio blog—click here to read it. Another guest blog post is here but the photo links are broken.

One of my reasons du jour for liking wide backs is that there is no distracting seam line to interfere with the flow, harmony and continuity of the quilting design on the back. If you peruse my blog archives, you'll notice I use a lot of wide backings in the photos of my free-motion quilting. Here is one example.
Free-motion quilting on Sparkle 108" (color: java).
See what I mean? No distracting seam line.

For those that are already "sold" on wide backings (Camp #1), thanks for tooting the wide back horn! You and quilters like you have contributed ideas to my "Using 108" Wide Quilt Backs" page.

For those who are muttering "Wide whats?" to themselves (Camp #3), I invite you to read this same page to learn more about the whys and wherefores of using wide backings. Also talk to the good folks at YLQS [your local quilt shop] or your longarm quilting service provider. Or bring up the topic up with your quilting buddies or at the next guild meeting. All these quilters will happily offer their insights.

And to those in the "Oooh. They cost how much?" camp (Camp #2), let's review a little wide back math…

Wide Back Math
For a yard of 108" wide backing fabric there are: 108" x 36" = 3888 sq. in.
For a yard 44/45" fabric there are: 44" x 36" = 1584 sq. in.

A 108" wide backing at $17.99/yard ÷ 3888 sq. in. = $.0046 per sq. in.
A 44/45" fabric at $11.50/yard ÷ 1584 sq. in. = $.0072 per sq. in.

Another way to look at this…
Imagine a full size quilt top that's 70" x 90". You'll need a backing that is 80" x 100" (adding 5" extra all around).

108" wide back: 2.25 yards x $17.99/yard = $40.47
44/45" fabric: 5.75 yards x $11.50/yard = $66.13

$66.13 - $40.47 = $27.21    Savings = $25.66
or almost 2.25 extra yards of 44/45" fabric!

Fabric costs in your area may vary, but all things being equal, you will find a savings using a wide backing on your quilt. In this example, you'd have to find a 44/45" fabric ON SALE at 40% off, or $7/yard to break even… but you'd still have to piece the back. How much is your time worth?

If you'd like to see layout diagrams for various quilt sizes on a wide backing, visit Brenda's 2013 blogpost, "All About 108" Wide Backing Fabric for Quilts" at Just a Bit Frayed blog.

So, Attention Quilters! Unless you are piecing your quilt back for a reason, investigate those 108" wide backing fabrics at YLQS. You could save yourself a nice chunk of cash! Leave a Comment and let me know what kinds of patterns/prints/colors you like to use for quilt backings and I'll pass along your requests to my companies.

In the case of quilting, going wide can be a thing of beauty… and good economics.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Paper piecing class at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop

I had a fabulous beginning paper piecing class at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop last weekend. All the students quickly grasped the technique and stitched up their first blocks of the Twisty Star with little effort.
Piece by Numbers class at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop, Rocky Face, GA.
Sew 'n So Quilt Shop is a new shop in our area and the atmosphere in the shop is warm, relaxed and friendly. The classroom is centralized between the shelves of new fabrics, pre-cuts and the cutting area. Should a student need more fabric, an alternate fabric, or a tool or notion—anything—while working on their class project, it's right at hand. Quilts, tops and class projects are displayed throughout the store to delight the eye, inspire the heart and encourage quilters and sewists to expand upon their quilting and stitching experience. The shop also offers longarm quilting services.

Here is a compilation of everyone's first paper pieced block on the classroom design board. Even the students that had done some paper piecing before (there was one or two) walked away with some new tips.
Student's in-progress Twisty Star blocks.
This is Anna, the shop's owner. While class was going on, she was busy cutting fabric and prepping her kits for the Row by Row Experience. I wish I'd taken a picture of her row as it features local attractions and local history in the design. I guess you'll just have to pay a visit yourself to pick up a kit when the Row by Row Experience begins on June 21. (And, be sure to ask about the buttons used on the row! They are totally unique and only available at the shop.)
Sew 'n So Quilt Shop owner, Anna Quarles,
at the cutting table.
Toward the end of my paper piecing class, I showed several of my own paper pieced quilts to give the students ideas on what this technique has to offer. Here is one of them: the "Fiesta Table Runner." And… I'll be back at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop to teach this class in July.
"Fiesta Table Runner" paper piecing class
July 25, at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop.
So, are you ready for the next paper pieced project? Call Anna at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop, (706) 217-8111, to sign up. She's waiting—with yard stick in hand—to hear from you!
Anna cuts her fabrics using a rotary cutter
and a yard stick. Who knew??

Sunday, June 7, 2015

ATCs: Geometry

"Geometry. Everlasting Circle."
by Sharon Griffith
Roll back the years to your high school Geometry class… (or are they teaching this subject earlier these days??).

The FiberAntics May ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap theme was "Geometry" and ATC artists portrayed this theme in a number of fascinating ways.

Enjoy the math… and the show.

"Geometry" by Dawn Spagna
"180 degrees" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

"Planning a quilt with a geometric shape."
by Bonnie Stevens

"Geometry" by Karen Downer

"Applied Geometry" by Marilyn League
 Here's one for Pythagorus.
"Driven' the Hypotenuse" by Cathy Dillon

"Geometry" by Diane Pineschi

"Geometry for Me" by Liz Armstrong

I couldn't deprive you of the cards made in a series from two of the ATC artists this month, Dawn and Marilyn. 
"Geometry" by Dawn Spagna

"Geometry" by Dawn Spagna

"Geometry" by Dawn Spagna
"Applied Geometry" by Marilyn League

"Applied Geometry" by Marilyn League

"Applied Geometry" by Marilyn League

I also received some lovely notecards and notes from some of my FiberAntics ATC traders. I so appreciate receiving these. Thanks!

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