Monday, February 25, 2013

Using Value to Choose Fabrics - Part 1

Hi everyone:

Last week I released "Chatting with Diane", the first in a series of videos that I recently did with Diane McGregor of Castilleja Cotton. It's a week later and that means ... another video release! 

In this second video, Diane and I discuss the importance of value in choosing fabrics for quilt projects. What is value, why is it important and other related subjects are presented in this second video. 

Tune in next week for the final episode in this video series where we'll be applying what we've learned about value to choosing fabrics for several quilt projects.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Batting, batting, everywhere!

Hi everyone:

Recently I was spending some quilty time with my buddy, Lee of Lala's Lovelys, and she was commenting that she had lots of batting scraps left over from quilting projects. Like me, Lee had bags of small bits and strips of batting that were hanging around not being very productive. Now, that may be okay in my studio (I have lots of bags and boxes of various items not being productive), but Lee uses up just about everything, so a use for these battings bits had to be found!

So, I put my thinking cap on (had to readjust it a time or two) and tried to come up with some uses for these batting leftovers. Here's what I created:

Yup, 30 seconds of thinking came up with these little bunny pincushions/ornaments. Here's how I did it:

Take one sock - I used a small child's sock - you know, the kind that have the little rubber bits on the bottom so they won't slip. Any size would do, you just might need to fill it with more batting. 
One baby or small sock
Go through your leftover batting pieces until you find a strip that is approximately 3" wide by 20" long. You're actually looking for a strip of batting that will fit inside the sock, so the size isn't really crucial, but try to find a continuous strip, if possible. 
Batting strip
Once you've got your strip, roll it up into a ball. 
Roll 'er up

Take the ball and stuff it up into the sock until the batting ball is completely inside the sock with the bottom of it even with the sock opening (this will eventually be the bottom of the bunny, but it is really the top of the sock). 

Batting roll going into sock
Batting roll all in sock
 Pull up the excess sock toe and tie a knot in it. 
Twist sock toe over ...
and pull through to form knot
Pull out the toe of the sock as this will be the bunny ears. 
Bunny ear from knot
You can now squeeze and pull the batting ball and ears until they are just right. 
Tweaking the ears
If you like, you can add a button for an eye or even embroider a small eye. 

This little bunny can be used as a pincushion or just as a cute ornament in your sewing room. This is a great way to use up those gently used socks and extra batting bits. 

Charlie and new sock friends
If bunny starts to get a bit thin, just add more batting to him or change out the batting strip for a new one - I'm sure you will have accumulated more by then!

What do you do with your excess batting bits and strips? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chatting with Diane - Part 2

Hi everyone:

There seemed to be a problem with my previous post and I don't think that you could see the video. Sorry about that! 

If you couldn't see the video, just click here.

Have a great Tuesday!

Chatting with Diane

Hi everyone:

I recently spent a very long day shooting some video with Diane McGregor of Castilleja Cotton. Okay, Diane and I had a great time chatting about quilting while my hubby did most of the filming and post-production work, but it's not easy being the talent, you know! 

You may not initially recognize Diane's name, but I'm sure that you've seen her patterns in your local quilt shop. Or perhaps you've seen her designs in a quilting magazine. Or maybe you've been fortunate enough to take one of her classes. Diane is a prolific pattern designer with over 500 patterns. 

I appreciated her spending time with me filming the videos. This video series will be released over the next few weeks. 

In the first video Diane talks about her journey as a quilter and shows us her passion, art quilting. Diane has developed her own technique and has created beautiful art quilts based on photographs. Some of these quilts are available as patterns and include complete instructions for Diane's technique. 

I hope you enjoy getting to know about Diane and her quilting.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What happened to Valentine's Day?

Hi everyone:

I was noticing all the Valentine's Day blog posts the past few days and realized that I hadn't posted anything to do with hearts and flowers this week. Well, there's a reason: I've been a bit under the weather this week with a broken toe and a compressed disc in my back (at least this is what is appears to be according to my chiropractor). 

Wow, it's amazing how much a combination of physical issues can set you back - and make you tired! It was all I could do to get out of bed and off to work this week. Thankfully, the back issue is resolving itself - I can now sit for longer than a minute or two and am able to get up by myself - and the toe is better now that I'm taping it each day. But, enough about my aches and pains, how about some post-Valentine's Day presents?

First, if you didn't see my previous blog post, I've uploaded a new embroidery pattern, Candy Hearts, to my website and it's FREE! This is a "sweet" pincushion/pillow/ornament pattern that is very quick to make. 

Another pattern, Sweet Sayings, is also available for purchase. 

In addition, there is a video tutorial for Vintage Hearts, which is a small wall hanging pattern, on my Youtube channel. 

Another heart-inspired pincushion/pillow/ornament is Flourishing Heart, also a FREE pattern on my website.

While these are all appropriate for Valentine's Day, they make lovely gifts for any occasion.

Next, Craftsy is offering a sweet deal on some of their quilting and sewing video classes. 

Craftsy Valentine's Day Sale

I've enrolled in the quilting ones and can vouch that they are fantastic! A great way to learn some new techniques at special prices. This offer expires on February 17, 2013, so you'll want to check these out right away.

Hope you all enjoyed a special day with your family and were thoroughly spoiled by your loved one(s)!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Free Motion Quilting - Fun!

Hi everyone:
Online Quilting Class

I've been busy stitching and quilting up a storm, trying to keep my commitment to the DaGMT challenge. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can find out all about it here. In between all of the activity, I've been catching up on some of my Craftsy classes. 

I am trying to make time to practise my free motion quilting (and not being very successful at finding this time!), and am really learning a lot from Design it, Quilt it: Free-Form Quilting Techniques by Cindy Needham. Cindy is an excellent instructor and her calm, practical advice makes me believe that I can rock out free motion designs just like she does. She covers a variety of designs from pebbles, straight lines to free motion feathers that are just gorgeous! 
Online Quilting Class

If you haven't taken a Craftsy class, this might be the place to start. I'm really learning lots in this class and have enjoyed all of the classes that I've signed up for. The instructors are professional and present the information in a friendly manner and I really like the fact that I can view the videos anytime night or day. I often have my laptop or iPad next to the sewing machine and quilt along with the video lesson. I can stop the video when I want and "rewind" to go over a particular section. Oh, and if you have an iPad, Craftsy has an app that you'll want to download. I often stream the lessons through Apple TV so I can watch while I'm working out on the elliptical. I can't actually stitch right then, but the information has a chance to soak into my mind - and distracts me from all the sweating that's going on. Okay, maybe too much information, but now you know a bit more about my life!

If you think that you would enjoy this class, why not sign up for it? You'll receive a special discount of 25% just because you are a Chatterbox Chitchat reader. 

If you're a Craftsy afficionado as I am, I'd love to hear about your favourite class(es).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Early Valentine's Day

Hi everyone:

Just a quick post today to let you know about some new Valentine's Day-related patterns that I've just published to my website. There are two stitchery patterns available: one of which combines embroidery and stitchery - and is FREE! Yes, Happy Early Valentine's Day to all my blog readers. The pattern combining both fusible web appliqué and embroidery is called Candy Hearts.
Candy Hearts - appliqué and embroidery
pattern from Chatterbox Quilts

The other design, which is hand embroidery only, is called Sweet Sayings. I was inspired by the old-fashioned candy hearts that had various "sweet" sayings on them.

Sweet Sayings - embroidery pattern from Chatterbox Quilts

Both designs are very quick to stitch up with simple hand embroidery stitches, complete step-by-step instructions and full-size templates in both regular and reversed formats. You can find these patterns on my Chatterbox Quilts website. They both stitch up quickly, so there's still time to whip up a gift for one of your special friends - and maybe even make one for yourself.

While I attached hanging ribbons to both of these projects so I could use them as ornaments/decorations, they would be equally sweet as pincushions or shelf sitters. 

I hope you enjoy these patterns and would love to see your version of them.