Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Expanding my craft space - A work in progress

My craft project for this week is rearranging a workspace for my quilt table and machine.

Downstairs in the lower level of our home, used to be a "game room" with a couch and big screen TV. A while ago, we realized we hardly went downstairs to watch the TV. We preferred to watch TV upstairs. So, about a year and a half ago, we brought the big screen TV upstairs. Love it upstairs and the TV is used daily now.

After that, the downstairs just sat quiet and lonely. We'd pass through on our way out back, but, the couch was not used anymore, etc. We did add a treadmill down there and a smaller TV that was used with it.

Then about a year ago, I purchased an HQ16, frame, and table. We placed it smack dab in the center of the downstairs because it was the only place it would fit. All other walls were used up by the fireplace (not used), back door, couch and half wall for TV.

So, you guessed it, I've claimed stake to downstairs and we are rearranging. Not sure if I'm going to move my general sewing machine downstairs just yet, but, we'll have to just wait and see. When it's done, I'll try to post photos.

Now the question is, what to do with that big ole' masculine deer head.... Do you think I could hang sewing gadgets from the antlers.....ugh

~*~ Trish ~*~

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Craft Item Review - Quilting, Sewing - Sixth Finger Stiletto

I have so many gadgets and craft items. Things that I love and things that I wish I did not buy but never got around to returning. So, I thought I'd share items for review. I'll try to categorize them so that you can sort by type of craft item reviews using the tags. How do they say... "The expressed opinions are unbiased" just my own opinion. I'll try and find some links to purchase items if available. Again, the links are from what the search engines dish up. I am not affiliated with the stores however most of the times, I've purchased craft items from them before.

This item is called the Sixth Finger Stiletto. Odd name for a neat little tool. This obviously can be used in sewing, quilting, ironing, etc. This stiletto has two prongs which deviates from the standard one prong stiletto. What is nice about this particular stiletto is that one of the prongs is truly a stiletto with a sharp point for whole punching if needed while the other is flat for a sturdy hold on fabric.

The stiletto is made very sturdy and can easily withstand the pressure to hold an item down as you are feeding it through your sewing machine. My favorite item to use it with is binding sewing. It keeps the layers tight so that it gets an even insertion under the sewing area. I've also used this when ironing and you need to get into those tight corners. It has definitely saved me a burn or two.

Primarily though, I love using with the sewing machine to feed in the fabric. The split of the prongs is just right to keep feeding fabric flat as it goes into the sewing area. They are thin enough too that I can place it on the very edge of the feeding fabric and several times, the prongs have gone under the sewing area. Now, obviously you don't want your need to hit the prongs but they can guide the fabric under the sewing area.

My Ratings
  • Would I buy it again. - Yes, most definitely.
  • Do I use it often - Just about every time I sew.
  • Was it worthy the money? - Yes, for about $8 plus, it's a great little tool.
  • Where I can I find it? (Note, links maybe be outdated due to manufacture's web updates) Nancy's Notions, Create for Less, Clotilde

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Went to a Quilt Show and bought ---- Zero, Zilch, Nada

It's so hard to believe that I went to the Hershey Quilt Odyssey show and did not buy a single thing other than the entrance fee. Have I finally realized that I have enough fabric to quilt for years? We went over to the show about midday.. We first ran into traffic upon traffic as we were heading into Hershey. Could everyone be heading to the Quilt show.. no, just traffic light traffic. Way way up in the distance at the top of hill is the traffic light.

Even though I did not buy anything does not mean I didn't enjoy myself. I was hoping they would have had a PCQuilter booth there so I could see the sidemount which I recently ordered since PCQuilter was having a 33% off sale. I just upgraded an old PCQuilter to the sidemount and now (once I receive it and set it up) I'll be able to complete the fancy digital designs quilting with my HQ16. But they were not at the show. I did see the ProStitcher add on for the HQ16 but it is way out of my price range and the rep was busy busy with other customers.

So, here are a few of my favorite quilts. A lot of the quilts had rhinestones on them which I absolutely LOVE!! I only took a few photos. My all time favorite was the Rhapsody quilt wall hanging in bright bright colors below. The lines you will see through the photos is the protective tape to restrict you from touching the quilts.


Birthday Card - Quick and simple

Good Morning,

Last night I created a very quick Birthday card for an upcoming birthday. I used a pre-made card stock card in black then I trimmed a rose color card stock a little smaller for the front. I stamped the center (well, I'm a little off but that's art) with a circular Happy Birthday stamp from Hero Arts. I trimmed the edges of the center card stock using my Fiskars heart border punch. This was a little trickier than I anticipated. When you use these punches on card stock, they tend to want to stick in the depressed punched mode. I finally got the hang of creating continuous stream of punches using the border punches. Once you get it going, it's pretty quick.

Lastly, I added two felt flowers in the center of the circular birthday stamp and secured them with a faux rhinestone brad. Added a personal note inside and whala... Quick and simple birthday card.

Later midday is when I am heading over to the Hershey PA Quilt Odyssey . I'll try to take some photos of my favorite quilts. They are always so beautiful and motivating to do more with quilting. I'll post more later this evening or tomorrow morning.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quiet on the Craft Front

Good Morning

Not much has been going on with crafts with me since I finished the Birthday Quilt. That was so much so fast that I decided to take a break. I'm working on a few Birthday cards and will post the designs later.

This weekend, it's a craft field trip for me. I'm heading over to the Hershey PA Quilt Odyssey for some Merchant Mall shopping. It's only about 30 minutes from my home so it' will be a quick trip on Saturday. I can't wait to see all the new things out there in Quilting and possibly pick up a new stain glass pattern to complete since I enjoyed completing the last one.

I'll keep you posted.
~*~ Trish ~*~

Monday, July 21, 2008

Birthday Quilt - Final Version

Hello. Well, I got to Pittsburgh Friday night and had to add the binding to the quilt and create the velcro birthday sign and velcro candles for the party on Saturday morning. Of course, I was looking for shortcuts! I forgot of all things my rotary cutter so I had to cut the binding strips with scissors. Thank goodness the inside of binding is not visible.

Once the binding was cut and ironed into shape, I figured I could use seam tape to fuse the binding to the back and save a step. Here's the prep photo where you can kinda see the white tape heat set to the binding. I had hoped that once I wrapped it to the back, I'd fuse it to the back of the quilt. Nope, didn't work. So, I ended up sewing the binding on by machine front and back. Wasn't the greatest, but worked.

Next, I photo printed a sign on a half sheet of fabric paper and then folded the rest of the fabric sheet even with the banner. Sewed up 3 sides and then turned inside up and finished the last side of the printed birthday wishes.

It's hard to see but I added velcro dots to the back of the fabric birthday wishes for Justice and then to the quilt. I'll make another banner for her sister, this way it can be used for both!

Once the birthday banner and candles were adhered to the quilt, a quick press and it was ready for giving. Here's the final result. The only thing I would have changed was my fabric choice for the pedestal layer under the bottom of the cake. The pink is too light.

It was a great party. Here's the birthday girl in her formal photo and then she's enjoying cake!!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Birthday Quilt - Quilting Completed

Hello, well last night I finished the sewing around all the cake pieces to secure the applique. I used the clear mono filament thread. This is great but what a pain to thread the machine with. You can hardly see the thread to thread the machine. I finally gave up and took a perm pen and marked the end of the thread to give me some color to send through the eye of the needle. Worked great.

So, all the pieces are secured now. The circles on top were a bit of a pain but well worth the results. I then took the secure applique quilt top and placed it on the batting and backing. For quilting, I just outlined the cake and layers and then around the inner purple border and corner blocks.

I am not going to add any quilting in the sides or corners in case they want to use it as a signature block and have birthday part attendees sign it. The final touches yet to complete tonight before I leave tomorrow after work are:

  • Place the candles on a velcro system so that they can add candles each year on the top of the cake.

  • Depending on time, possibly add clear pocket in the 4 blue corners to add photos.

  • Create applique numbers in case they want to use those instead of candles.

  • Finally, create and add the binding.

Whew, nothing like a little pressure. No worry, if I don't get it all done, I'll finish the binding on Friday at my sister's in time for the party Saturday.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Last Minute Birthday Gift

As I was finishing up the rag quilt, I knew I was going away for the weekend and i was invited to attend a 2 year old's birthday party. I was trying to think, where in my tons of quilting magazines did I see a Birthday Cake. After some searching, I finally found it. It was in a previous Quick Quilts magazine and it was the Heidi Pridemore "Birthday Go Round" design.

The question is, would I have enough time? I was able to select my fabrics and create the basic back block on Sunday and then cut out all the paper templates and their subsequent fusible web pieces.

I used a lot of the Timeless Treasures fabric with Metallics. Here's a great place to see and purchase them. OK, so I have my fabrics, I made the square on Sunday, I have my fusible web cut out as the pattern pieces. On Monday, I applied by fusible we pieces to fabric and cut out all the fabric pattern pieces. From there, the fabric cake assembled pretty quickly. I ironed the patten to the background square. As of last night, I have the full cake and icing completed and I have the candles completed. It's just that I decided to try and figure out how to make the candles interchangeable each year. Since she's only 2, I want only two candles. Next year, her mom can add another candle.

Last but not least, I have created the quilt sandwich (which you may be able to see the pins on the photo above on the right). Tonight after work, it's securing the layers with a little thread. I'm not too crazy about the light pink below the cake base but I'm thinking I'll place a seam of black around it to make it stand out. I leave for my trip on Friday, so it's crunch time. ~*~Trish~*~

P.S. Of course this is not her real birthday present. It's just icing on the cake :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 6 - Assembly Completed - Second Time Around

Hello. I just could not leave the quilt the way it was. So, out came the seam ripper and I took out the two seams that surrounded the two rows in upside down. It actually went so much faster than I thought.

Then, I flipped the two row section 180 degrees and placed it back in the layout. I looked, looked, looked, to make sure it was correct this time. Then I pinned labels on the quilt for top left and bottom left so there was no mistaking the direction this time. I readded the section into the quilt and then finished the whole thing with an outer stitch around the edges.

I am much more pleased with it's original design. I hung it up for photos but it's a little bigger than the banister area so it looks a little wavy because it's too wide for the photo area. But, you can see the pattern is now correct and it matches the computerized version.

Next, I'll start snipping the seams and get what I can completed before my trip this weekend. What I don't finish at home, I'll finish on my trip and give it to my sister this weekend. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 6 - Assembly Completed - Well almost...

Block by block, row by row, each step bringing me closer until the full quilt is assembled. I worked on it Friday a little, Saturday a little, and this morning I added the final row. Yeah, another quilt completed!! I have 12 blocks in each row with 12 rows total. So now, my 6" blocks have shrunk to 5 inches since there is a 1/2" seam on each side. Still no problem, I now have a 60" by 60" quilt.

I'll just hang it up on my split entry home "built in quilt rack" (aka the railing to my steps between upstairs and downstairs) and take a few photos for the record. Hold up the camera, look through the lens, yep I see the dark blue wavy back and forth pattern. Looks pretty good. Snap another photo.

Wait a minute, that's odd. That area in the middle looks a little funny. The dark blue is lined up but I have several blocks in the wrong order.

Son of a *%*&^, right there in the center of the quilt (of course it has to be center) I sewed on two rows backwards. UGH!!! See how the tan blocks are on the left of the line but should be on the right. There is nothing more frustrating than when you find a mistake after you are done.

Well, see if you can spot where I am talking about. I'll help you out by a red box. These two rows should be pulled out and completely turned around horizontally. Well folks, there is going to be a delay in completion of the game. Time to get out the seam ripper.... :-) I'll be back to show you the end result!!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

What the heck is that??? A crazy quilt???

So as I have been sewing away on my Rag Quilt referenced in previous posts below, I am always thinking of other crafts I want to do. You know us crafters, so many started crafts and so little completed. However, I find that now that I am posting info on my projects, I'm finishing them in order.

Well, take a look at the photo. That's a lot of little pieces of fabric in a scrambled fashion. Here's my goal. These are actually snippets of left over shirt material from my father's shirts. Previously, his shirts were cut to make memory quilts for my sisters and mom in honor of my father. I completed the memory quilts a couple of years ago but, I could not bring myself to throw away the scraps. Well, my goal now is to sew, sew, sew, these pieces together to make a halfway decent size scrap material to make a teddy bear out of.

I know, I know, it doesn't look like much. However, to the person that knows the fabrics and can render memories just by looking at the swatches, it's the most beautiful piece of fabric in my whole stash :-)

That's right, I'm on a mission to make a memory bear. Stay tuned for updates! I'm very happy with my progress so far. But, this is a one shot deal. Once I start cutting the pattern, there is no more material to cover mistakes. OK, maybe just a few pieces but quality counts here.

~*~ Trish ~*~

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 5 - Assembling - Slow and steady gets you there.

Each night I've been referring to my design layout from the previous post and assembling my Rag Quilt squares one by one vertically. I'll sew along until I complete 4 rows and then I sew them all the 4 rows together. It's still easier and manageable to fit under the sewing machine.

So far, I have 8 columns completed. The photo to the side is really two parts so far 4 vertical rows each. Only 4 more rows to go and my rag quilt of 12 rows but 12 columns will be done!!

I've decided that I'm going to give it to my sister. Just a surprise for no reason. Besides, she can cut all the fringe on each square and that will save me time.

Here's the layout so far. I'll probably be done this weekend and maybe I'll start on snipping each of the seams to create the fringe.

~*~ Trish ~*~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 4 - Laying out the design

Hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July! Luckily the weather held out here for a neighborhood picnic!

This part 4 to the Rag Quilt is definitely optional. It's deciding what to do with all your quilted squares. Now we know we sew the ends of each block to have the seams running on the same side to prepare for cutting. The seams should be a minimum of .5 inch up to 1 inch depending on the thickness of fraying you like between the blocks. You can take all your finished blocks and start laying them out on your floor until you find the design you want. Or, you can go the technical way using the Electric Quilt software. I'm using version 6.

Electric Quilt 6 is a software product that basically lets you design and rearrange quilts with ease. It does have a little bit of a learning curve, but there are many many books available. Plus, there are so many add on products such as blocks, fabric, thread, layouts and more that can help you avoid the dreaded seam ripper when you are not satisfied with the layout. Here's where you can learn more about Electric quilt. Or if you are just getting started, there's a beginner product called Quilt Design Wizard™ and here's where you can find out more about this product from the same company.

Here's an example of a layout and the actual quilt I finished. Sometimes, if the pattern is small, I'll even scan in the actual fabric I'm using to get a closer example.

So, here is the layout I have chosen for my Rag Quilt. I tried several layout designs and liked this one for the simplistic design it produces. This time I used just basic colors to represent the patterned fabric I have. Dark Blue is the Bear Fabric, Tan is Tan, Baby Blue is the plain Baby Blue fabric and the Medium Blue fabric will be the snowflake fabric I have.

Now, decide on the number of blocks per row you want and start sewing your blocks together using a 1/2 seam allowance. Be sure all the seams face up towards the same direction. Complete each row separately and then when all your rows are completed. You'll start stitching together the rows. Again, make sure the 1/2" seam allowances are facing the same direction as the blocks. Next thing you know, the whole quilt will be assembled.

~*~ Trish ~*~

Friday, July 4, 2008

Quick Tips - Photoshop Elements - Naming Layers

Happy 4th of July to all! Thank you to all our service men and women, past and present, for all your efforts!!!

It is so much easier in layered images if you take the time to rename all the layers. If you don't, you end up with a bunch of layers named layer1 - layer 10 and with how small the images are, it's hard to determine which layer is which.

Right before you save your layered image, take the time to relabel each one. Here's an example of my layers. See the layer I did not rename. Layer 4 which places the white box behind the description text. Everything else is labeled and I can easily find the floating buttons, etc.

Wishing you a safe and Happy 4th of July!!

~*~ Trish ~*~

Happy 4th of July!!! - New Name, New Location

Happy 4th of July to all! Thank you to all our service men and women, past and present, for all your efforts!!!

I'm now posting on my custom URL - allthingscrafty.com Yeah! It was really easy to switch to a custom domain. I'll try to share steps later.

However, to celebrate, I've updated the heading as well. This was simple since I used Photoshop Elements 5 when I created the original graphic, everything was in layers. So, I simply selected the Text Title Layer and changed from "Constantly Crafting" to "All Things Crafty".

Why the name change? Well, although I am crafting alot, I'm not constantly crafting. There could be days go by when the everyday job and house items keep me from crafting, so, now I'm just "allthingscrafty.com" ~*~ Trish ~*~

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 3 - X Marks the spot

Sew Sew Sew, that's what the last couple of days have been. You see, I'm not one to spend hours upon hours sewing in one sitting. OK, occasionally I can, but not too often. There's always something else pulling my attention that needs to be done. Anyhow, I finally finished all 144 squares of sewing X's on each block to secure the fabric sandwiches.

Don't be too concerned if when you sew the X's on the blocks that the blocks shift a little and you see they area uneven. Look at the dark blue bear fabric, you can see the whites of the bottom square. Once you sew them together and start snipping the edges, it will all blend in.

Here they are in all their glory. 36 quilt sandwiches in each type fabric. Next stop, trying to figure out how I want them sewn together. ~*~ Trish ~*~