Thursday, January 31, 2013

DaGMT 2013

Hi everyone:

I imagine that you're wondering what DaGMT 2013 means? No, it's not a dreaded disease, nor is it a secret society. It is an acronym (yes, another one in my life) that stands for "Drop and Give me Twenty" - minutes of quilting, that is. 

This idea, from Beth Helfter of Quilting Hottie Haven, is to do at least 20 minutes of quilting during each day in the month of February 2013. Hopefully it means that I'll be finishing up some of my UFO's WIP's during those 28 days and perhaps even tackling some of the projects/designs that I've been wanting needing to work on. If you know me, you know that I have just a few WIP's hanging out in my studio!

If you'd like to join me in this commitment, you can check it out on Beth's blog

To participate in this quilting work-out, I'm stating my formal commitment here, as follows:

I, Kim Jamieson-Hirst, a quilter who is drowning in UFO's WIP's, am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's second annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for 20 minutes or more every day of the month of February 2013. In doing so I hope to finish at least one of my WIP's and tackle some pattern designs as well. Thanks for Beth Helfter for thinking up this challenge and I hope I can make it through to the end before being distracted by some other challenge, or exchange, or new pattern, or cute fabric, or ... Let's just say that I'm going to give it my best shot!

To keep me motivated, I'm going to post a calendar near my sewing area so I can note my minutes on it each day. Hopefully, with this physical reminder, I'll actually remember that I've made this commitment - and not get distracted with new projects, books, magazines or chocolate.

Must minimize chocolate distraction!
If you have a few UFO's WIP's in your quilting room, why not sign up too? Did I mention that there are prizes? Yup, in addition to actually finishing some projects and being able to brag about that accomplishment, you could win some lovely quilty prizes. Again, you can find out all about these on Beth's blog.

So, just a few more hours to go until I can use my time quilting to (maybe) win some prizes and finish up some outstanding projects. I'm threading up my machine and winding some bobbins in preparation. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Appliqué finishes - or not!

Hi everyone:

I've had a busy few weeks with some extra events at my local library branch. I was invited to participate in two evenings of quilty and crafty fun to display my quilts and was fortunate enough to meet and chat with local quilters, knitters and rug hookers. While the weather on the first evening kept many people away, the second evening was well attended. Several quilters had questions concerning my quilts and patterns and one new quilter was wondering how to finish the edges of fusible web appliqué pieces. Well, there are several ways to do this, and I thought that my blog readers might also be interested in the techniques I use to finish my appliqué pieces. 
Vintage Hearts tutorial available on Youtube
Before deciding the type of stitch I'll use to finish my appliqué pieces, I determine the use of the project. Keep in mind that I use fusible web appliqué in my projects, so I'm discussing appropriate stitches to finish the edges of this type of appliqué only. 

Basically my projects fall into two categories: quilts, wall hangings or table runners that will be washed - or ones that won't. Starting with this premise makes choosing the appropriate edge finish quite easy - and who doesn't like easy?

If the piece is an art quilt or wall hanging that won't be washed, I have much more freedom in my finishing choices. I can use a narrow, short zigzag stitch in a coordinated or even contrasting colour (if I'm feeling really wild!). 
Short, narrow zigzag used to finish edges of flower in Blossoming
Coordinating thread used to match fabrics
Another choice might be a machine or hand blanket stitch - in traditional black or in a  thread to match the fabric colour.

Hand blanket stitch on edges of appliqué
Contrasting thread used
I could choose to do a hand running stitch just inside the edges of the appliqué pieces or even a machine straight stitch, again just inside the appliqué edge. Keep in mind that if these finishes are used, they will keep the appliqué on the piece, however, the appliqué edges may fray if the piece is handled. 

Alternatively, I might choose to not finish the edges at all. 

I know, really rebellious, but I have been known to do this if I am in a hurry. I have wall hangings that are several years old and the appliqué pieces were not stitched down, only fused, and they haven't fallen off yet (I am keeping my fingers crossed). As you can see, there are many choices if your finished piece is not going to be washed and will have minimal handling.
If, on the other hand, this is a table runner or quilt that will be washed repeatedly, then you want to ensure that your appliqué pieces are firmly stitched down - and this means one type of stitch only, at least in my mind. Yes, the lovely, elegant, satin stitch. 

The satin stitch is really just a narrow and very short zigzag stitch, but satin stitch sounds much more dignified than zigzag stitch. With the satin stitch, the raw edges of the fusible web appliqué are completely covered and the appliqué won't be fraying or falling off the quilt at all. I also feel that the satin stitch is appropriate when an polished, formal look is desired. 
Satin stitch used in Snowflakes a' Fallin'
Contrasting thread used
These are the finishing choices that I typically use for my appliqué pieces. I'm sure that there are many other ones that would also be appropriate and would love to hear about your favourite finishing technique. 

Now off to finish the edges on a new fusible web appliqué project - or not!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Free fabric from Robert Kaufman

Hi everyone:
In my last post I was talking about the 2013 BOM from Craftsy. This FREE Online Quilting Class is presented by quilting legend, Laura Nownes, who will be teaching you a new quilt technique each month. At the end of the year you will have a beautiful quilt sampler and a new toolbox of techniques! Even if you don't complete all the blocks, you'll still some new techniques and probably pick up a tip or two! Whether you're a beginner or an expert quilter, you'll want to join the Craftsy 2013 BOM.

And just for interest sake, here are some key points about this class:
  • 2012 Block of the Month had over 120,000 students from around the world.
  • It is a free course with a new block released each month.
  • At the end of the year you will have a finished quilt sampler.
  • Learn new quilt techniques each month.
  • Taught by Laura Nownes, author of Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!
  • Missed a month? Starting late? It's okay - access never expires! 

Now for the (even more) exciting part! Craftsy is running a contest and everyone who enrolls in the Craftsy 2013 Block of the Month course through my blog by January 31, 2013, will be entered to win a course kit with 11.5 yards of Robert Kaufman fabric, a $100 value. Two of these kits will be given away. The two winners can choose a $100 account credit or a course kit of their very own. This is such a great opportunity, not only to create a sampler quilt, but also to win lots of fabric - and who doesn't want to add more fabric to their stash! Just click on the image below to register.
Online Quilting Class

If you haven't already signed up for this class, you now have even more incentive to do so! I hope I'll see your blocks on Craftsy soon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Craftsy BOM

Hi everyone:
Photo courtesy of Craftsy
You know that I'm a Craftsy fan and love their videos. I'm such a fan that I've enrolled in just about all their quilting classes - and a few others as well! I really enjoy the fact that I can watch the classes when I have the time and can skip ahead or go back over previous lessons. The interaction with the teacher and other students enhances the learning experience. 
Photo courtesy of Craftsy
Since it's now 2013, Craftsy is once again offering a BOM (block of the month) and the best part - it's absolutely free! I'll admit that I haven't yet constructed the 2012 BOM, although I have watched most of the lessons, and I'm not sure if I'll actually get around to constructing the 2013 BOM, but I do intend to start watching the lessons soon. I might even see if I have enough fabrics in my stash to do this one. I may possibly actually make some (or all) of the blocks. One does have to have goals, doesn't one?!

Photo courtesy of Craftsy
If you haven't yet taken a look at Craftsy, enrolling in the 2013 BOM might be a good place to start. And don't forget - it's free!

Are you working on the Craftsy 2013 BOM? I'd love to hear about your progress on this or other 2013 projects.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year - a few days late!

Hi everyone:

Happy 2013!

Wow, it's been awhile since you've heard from me - and I don't even have any excuses. Haven't been away, haven't been inundated with relatives over the holidays (although we did have a few people over a few times), I've just been taking a few days weeks off. Here's a few snapshots of what was going on over the holidays.

A few Christmas goodies - yum!
 I had enough baking for 4 trays of various cookies and sweets.
No need to decorate when you have a Charlie in the tree!
I'm sure you can't see me way up here!
I loved watching the blue jays and flicker (not Flickr)
that visited our crabapple tree...
and the squirrels (there were 5 of these guys in the tree one day),
who love to raid the bird feeder.
While I didn't plan to make any gifts this year, I decided, at the last minute, to make an updated version of Bundle Up as a gift for my brother. In this version, I switched the stars for die-cut snowflakes using the Holiday Medley die from AccuQuilt. I added some hand embroidery to tack down the snowflakes and to add interest. I was quite pleased at how it turned out and he loved it!
Updated version of Bundle Up with die cut
and hand embroidered snowflakes 
Large snowflake detail

Snowflake details
Now that the visiting, eating and celebrating are almost over (I'm having a few quilty friends in for tea tomorrow), it's time to get back on track.

First item of business: to make New Year's resolutions - or not? I think - not! Each year I just try to do a bit better at exercising, eating healthy and being more productive - and leave it at that. No specific goals to make me feel disappointed when/if I don't achieve them. Just keep working and living in a positive manner and good things will follow. I have organized my patterns in progress and have some timelines to follow there, but otherwise ... just living la vida loca. 

While I have some patterns and projects to finish up, there are some other items that I'd like to tell you about. 

You've heard me talk about Bustle & Sew, the digital magazine, in previous posts. If you still haven't subscribed to this wonderful publication, this is the time to do it. 
Some of the many issues of Bustle & Sew digital magazine
Photo courtesy of Bustle & Sew
You won't get a better offer than this anywhere else! You receive two trial issues - December 2012 and January 2013 (current issues too!) - as well as a copy of The Stitcher's Companion book (lots of great information in this item) for just $1.00. Yep, just one toonie (if you're Canadian) and you have two issues of wonderful patterns and information as well as the very helpful The Stitcher's Companion book. If you love the magazine, as I do, you can continue your subscription for just $5.50 a month (well worth it) and if you don't (how could you not?), you're only out $1.00. This offer won't be available for much longer, so check it out as soon as you can. Don't forget to check out the free patterns available at Bustle & Sew while you're on the website. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I have a pattern in the December 2012 issue and an article in the January 2013 that you'll be able to read if you take advantage of this offer.

Connecting Threads is currently offering their batting at 30% off. I love ordering from Connecting Threads - great prices and their own fabric lines that you won't find anywhere else. If you need batting, now is the time to buy.

Now, specifically for my Calgary and area readers, I'd love to see you at the Southwood branch of the Calgary Public Library on January 10 or 24 from 6:30 until 8:30 in the evening. I will be there with my quilts demonstrating quilt embellishments to celebrate fibre arts month at the library. I'm really looking forward to this and hope to meet some of my blog followers. If you are free one of these evenings, please do stop by to see me.

Now that you're all caught up, I'd better get back on track and work on some quilting projects. Decisions, decisions: to finish up that Christmas wall hanging from last year or work on a new project...

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a productive start to 2013!