Archive for the 'creating' Category

Jan 10 2015

Signature Quilt

Published by under creating

One thing I love about quilting for other people is getting to see what ideas they come up with for their quilts. This quilt is a signature quilt that incorporates blocks made by individual family members. It is a tradition of this family to make a signature quilt for a family member when they get married. I quilted this quilt using free motion quilting with mono filament thread in the signature blocks and ruler work with Superior’s Omni thread in other areas. Each block and border is stitched in the ditch. photo signaturequilt_zpsb208344b.jpg
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Dec 12 2014


Published by under creating,food

I am looking through my blog so I can find my Pretzel Salad recipe. I make it each year for my quilt guild party. I love the sweet and salty flavor of this yummy salad.

Hubby and I ate at Boondock’s restaurant tonight. It is a local tavern and the food is so good. I had a Po Boy oyster sandwich. It was so good. Fried is the only way I want to eat an oyster.

I quilted three large table toppers today. I am worn out! I have to put binding on each of them. I can’t show a picture yet because they are gifts.

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Dec 03 2014

Pillow Case

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Years ago, I made pillow cases for pillows that we use to throw around when watching television. When I look at the work I did in making those cases, I am not too happy. There are so many loose threads! Today, I learned how to make a pillow case with a French seam. I hope I can do it again because my friend helped me make this one and I was a bit confused. When something is made with a French seam, all the raw edges get hidden in an elegant finished seam. Here is the little travel pillow I made today.
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Instruction list for making a pillow case.
By Janet Wickell
Quilting Expert

Fabrics for One Pillowcase
All fabrics are cut across the fabric’s crosswise grain — from selvage to selvage. Use fabrics that are 42″ – 44″ wide; slight differences in width aren’t a problem, because you’ll trim everything to match later.

Pillowcase body: 28″ x full fabric width

Pillowcase cuff: 10″ x full fabric width

Pillowcase accent: 1-1/2″ x full fabric width

1. Fold the pillowcase body panel as it came off of the bolt, placing the panel vertically in front of you. Remove the selvages from the open side while using your rotary equipment to keep the sides of the panel at a 90-degree angle to each other.

2. Remove selvages from cuff and accent strip.

3. Press the 1-1/2″ accent strip in half all along its length, wrong sides together.

4. Place your 10″ deep cuff fabric on the table right side up, with what were originally its selvage edges to the left and right. Fabric should be its full width.

5. Place the folded accent strip along the top edge of the cuff fabric, raw edges matched.

6. Place the body fabric on top of the pile, right side down, matching its raw edge with the other aligned edges.

7. Pin the matched raw edges together and sew along the entire width (about 41-42″) with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

10. Open up the unit and press the accent seam towards the pillow body.

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Nov 23 2014


Published by under creating

I just finished quilting this beautiful quilt for a friend. I love all the different shades of gray with just a touch of red. I used a ruler to echo the hexagon in each part of the log cabin block. I used the same ruler in the border to make lines both horizontally and vertically and then added small squares to make a retro design.
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Nov 20 2014

Creating with Family

Published by under creating

When my sister visits from Kentucky, we usually make a quilt of some kind. It might be a table runner or wall hanging. We don’t usually have time to make anything large. The year we made our fall table toppers, my sister from Texas was photo shopped into the picture. She rarely gets to be with us when we make projects. That changed last week! My other sister was able to join us and we made Christmas wreath table toppers. We used the small twister tool. That was fun. I have seen a lot of quilts made with the twister tool and admire them. Now, I can say I know how to use the twister tool. We each used different fabric so the toppers all look unique. They aren’t finished in these pictures but you can get the general idea. We had so much fun.

We used the Twister tool to make our block. Make pinwheel blocks by sewing together 5″ squares and then placing this 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ acrylic template on the seam intersections and cutting out squares, which will finish to 3″.
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The smaller twister tool is known as the Itty Bitty Pinwheel tool. Make pinwheel blocks by sewing together 2-1/2″ squares and then placing this 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ acrylic template on the seam intersections and cutting out squares, which will finish to 1″

There might be other sizes of the Twister tool.  photo IMG_0325_zps0a326e1f.jpg photo IMG_0323_zps57ecc35d.jpg photo IMG_0318_zps6c45a6b9.jpg photo IMG_0317_zps5bd8b321.jpg photo IMG_0319_zps9d56d9ed.jpg

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Nov 15 2014

Quilt Shop Hop with Cookies!

Published by under creating

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Mom, my two sisters and I traveled to three different quilt shops today. There was a cookie event at two of the quilt shops. If you spent $25.00, you were to receive a beautiful cookie along with a cookie cutter. I was able to get two cookies. We had fun seeing new samples of quilts that inspired us. Christmas was in the air with all the new Christmas fabrics on display. We ate a couple of times and had some yummy dessert. It was a great day!

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Apr 22 2014

Spring Into Work

Published by under creating,home

I am so glad that winter is finally over. It is cold today but it isn’t snowing and for that I am grateful.

The past two weekends have been spent getting the yard into shape. We still had leaves that were missed during raking last fall and they looked so messy. I cleaned out all the ground cover that was taking over near the pond. I had to be careful not to disturb the pretty hyacinth and daffodil flowers. None of my tulips came up this year.

I started trimming our forsythia bush and ended up almost cutting it down. It had so many dead branches that by the time I got done removing them, the poor bush looks scraggly. It will come out of it healthier. It won’t look great though until next year when it fills out. Poor thing.

Once again, my hands and arms look like I got into a fight with a rose bush. I can’t stand to wear gloves and my fingernails show it.

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Mar 31 2014

Another Ruler

Published by under creating

I added another ruler to my quilt making collection. Eleanor Burns is an expert at inventing quilt techniques that make cutting and sewing fabric easier and faster. Eleanor Burns shows how making a quilt is an easy and quick process. The latest ruler is called the 4.5 On-Point Ruler and creates accurate square on point patches.

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During the recent Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I took a class taught by Ann Drothler entitled Kylee’s Kite. The new ruler allowed a quick way to square up each block. I do think the ruler will be an asset to my quilt making. Here is a picture of the unfinished top my mom, sisters and I made in the class.

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Mar 15 2014

National Quilting Day!

Published by under creating

March 15th is National Quilting Day. I hope to be using the longarm to finish another quilt. I might even stay in my pajamas and quilt all day!

Here is an idea to celebrate the day.

From Craftsy

Do you have a neighbor, babysitter or hairdresser who deserves a little recognition? Make a simple quilted pot holder and pair it with fresh flowers to give a quilted gift that’s sure to be remembered. After all, quilting is a hobby that’s designed to be shared. Maybe your gift will inspire the recipient to take up quilting as a hobby!

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Mar 13 2014

How Much Is It Worth?

Published by under creating

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Whenever someone asks me to make a quilt for them, they ask how much it will cost. They are usually shocked at the price. Here is a wonderful explanation of why my time is valuable.

What’s It Worth from Hunter’s Design Studio.

This morning I caught a post on a quilting Facebook feed… a member posted a picture of a delightful baby quilt and asked what she should charge the neighbor that just asked to buy it from her. She mentioned that the quilt was made from a panel with pieced borders, and that the quilting was done in threads to match the fabric colors (oh, the thread changes!). She mentioned she was thinking $85. A fellow poster thought $100 was better. Another said it depends on the closeness of the friendship.

First of all… I’m not naming names here because I don’t want this person to feel pilloried – far from it, I absolutely appreciate her question and have one heck of an opinion about how it should be answered… a rather, ahem, shall we say passionate opinion – you are warned! Her question, which I hear dozens of times a year, is absolutely legitimate. How does one price a handmade piece of work?

And to note – there is a difference between what it’s WORTH, and what you can ACTUALLY GET for it. So keep that in mind and I’ll address this difference at the end after I show you how I calculate the WORTH part of it:

1. Determine the cost of the goods involved. Fabric is averaging $12 a yard, and even if you bought the fabric years ago, it will still cost you $12 (plus sales tax) a yard to replenish what you used. Same goes for if it came out of your scraps. You still bought the original yardage that the scraps came from… they didn’t give you a 25% discount assuming that a quarter of it would head to your scrap basket! If you got it on sale, wonderful! The savings are for YOU. You hunted it down. And it’s probably the only “freebie” your going get out of this process so take it and run.

2. If you don’t want to count out the yardage of all the little pieces, instead calculate the total area of the quilt top (let’s say it’s 48? x 60 for a generous lap quilt), and then multiply it by 3 for a simple quilt, and 4 or more for a more complex one – then divide it by 1440, the area of a yard of 40? fabric. Why these numbers? The fabric it takes to make the top of a simple quilt is about double the surface area because of all the fabric lurking in the seam allowances – and don’t forget the binding! The other “one” is the backing. And use 5 if you paper pieced most of it (because there are way more seams and you have to cut bigger for paper piecing). So for this simple lap quit: 48 x 60 = 2880, 2880 x 3 = 8640, and 8640 / 1440 = 6. So 6 yards at $12 a yard is $72 for materials.

3. Do you wash and iron your fabric before you use it? Add 25% for the time and water and electricity and wear and tear on your (probably expensive) iron and your Netflix subscription for the movies you watch while you iron. Ladies… it’s 2012 and in 2012 we do not iron for free.

4. What did the batting cost? The thread? The embellishments? Add those in. Yes, the thread – because you have to replenish it! And you are probably using a lovely, high quality, long staple cotton goody that can’t be had on sale at the big chain store so yes, you must charge for your thread. And note that there are other consumable products that you could charge for here: machine needles, blades, template plastic, fusible web, etc.

5. Now we get to TIME. How long did it take? Not just the cutting, pressing, sewing, but the “sits and thinks” part of the equation. The pondering, plotting, and extra trips to the store for one more FQ of the perfect print for that corner. The stitching of the binding. The label. All of that. I’m going to, for the sake of easy numbers, say my simple lap quilt took 15 hours – in other words, about a day to choose, cut and piece (assuming all the materials were already in my studio), and another day to layer, quilt and bind. Yes, the binding you do in front of the telly at night is still hours spent on the piece.

6. How much do you think your hourly rate should be? $10? $20? $30? You are certainly worth more than minimum wage. You are a skilled craftsperson. In my case, I’ve been quilting for 25 years and sewing for 43. This is not an insignificant statement. If you hire that depth of skill to lay tile in your house or make cabinets for your kitchen, it will cost you more than $20 an hour. My years of skill ensures the quilt is well constructed, made of quality materials (chosen with a discerning eye and years of practice), and executed with knowledge and a passion for the artistry and craft. This is WORTH a lot. So I’m going to go with $20 an hour for my simple quilt (I would go up for something more complex, and add even more if it was a commission for a pain-in-the-patootie client). Thus – $300 for my labor, and I’m rounding up to $100 for my materials (high quality cotton batting, threads from Aurifil and Isacord, etc). So my lovely little lap quilt is $400.

WORTH vs. What you can get

And I hear you laughing. No one’s gonna give you $400 for that, you say. And you are probably right. But here’s the thing… the fact that society has poo-poohed our grandmas’ prowess with a needle while celebrating their husbands’ prowess with a plow is a sad history that we need to rectify. “Women’s work” has been terribly devalued. And ONLY WE CAN CHANGE THIS. It is up to us to educate the public that what we do has WORTH. And we have to do this with confidence. We have to OWN IT.

So the way I tackle this is to state the gist of my calculations to the person that offers me a department store sale price for my work. I state the price, and then I educate them on what it takes to make a good quilt. The fabric quality. The time. The years I’ve spent honing my craft. I point out that I don’t work for minimum wage as this is much harder than “do you want fries with that?” Then I re-state the price. I own it.

Most of the time they don’t buy, but that’s OK (and if I absolutely want them to have the quilt I give it to them for free). I won’t sell it for less because I feel so very strongly that to sell low is to continue the myth that our work has little value. Either I get what I’m worth or it’s a precious gift. I’m taking a stand for the team, OUR TEAM. Every time we let hours of work out of the house for $5 an hour and free materials without the educational part of the discussion we are letting down the team.

I truly get that our original poster might only be able to squeak $100 out of this sale. And that she might have to put aside any philosophical stands to get her hands on that $100 to shore up the grocery budget (and I have absolutely done this when I needed to). But I really hope she adds the “lesson” to her invoice when she picks up the check!

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