The Quilt Cruise!

 

We have a LOT of birthdays in our family in the months of November and December.  Therefore, over the years, we’ve established a tradition of celebrating all of the adults’ birthdays on one day with a big, fancy dinner.


We still celebrate the kids’ birthdays individually but for the adults, this makes sense. 


This year I turned 40.  The big 4-0.


My husband completely surprised me with a quilt cruise for my birthday present.  I was SO surprised.  I had no idea.


To top it off, he’s been planning it for TWO YEARS.  Turns out my family knew and they’ve been keeping it a secret!!  I can’t believe no one spilled the beans!  They did admit it was tough and almost blew it a couple of times!!!!


It was such a sweet, romantic, loving gesture and I am so blessed to have him for my husband!  Here are pictures my sister took of me opening the gift.


(He made a binder with all of the events of the cruise).  ;)


Heather cruise surprise-2

 

Heather cruise surprise-3

 

Heather cruise surprise-4

 

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Heather cruise surprise-11

 

Heather cruise surprise-10

Material Girls- Donation Quilt Idea!

 

Okay, Material Girls, this post is for you!


I know several people mentioned wanting to make donation quilts at our meetings.  I came across a REALLY simple (and fun) pattern that I wanted to share.


It’s called the “Strippie Quilt” and was designed by Mary Johnson at the blog "Making Scrap Quilts from Stash”.  This link will take you to her most recent “Strippie”.

SO CUTE!!!


Anyway, her pattern is offered for free on her site.  If you want to check it out, go HERE.


Here is the one I made last night on my design wall.  It took only a couple of hours from start to finished top.


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What’cha think?


I’m thinking I could easily cut one of these out before a meeting, bring my sewing machine and get it all put together by the end of our meeting!!


It’s so satisfying to get an entire top done in one evening!  Now, we just have to see if the longarmer of the group is willing to quilt them!!!  ;)

Interview with Inventor of The Twister Tool!

Interview with the Inventor of the Twister Tool- Marsha Bergen!

I recently wrote an in depth blog post about the Twister Tool. A very fortunate byproduct of this post was the fact that I was able to communicate with the creator of the Twister Tool. Below is my interview with Marsha Bergen.



Marsha Bergen, inventor and creator of the Twister Tool, also owns the Country Schoolhouse Quilt Shop in Superior, WI, only 3 blocks from Lake Superior.



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Marsha originally created the Twister Tool for use in her shop but the idea grew and eventually found a market nationwide.


Like most inventions, necessity was the mother of invention. She came up with the idea of the Twister Tool in response to her customer’s frustrations. The traditional methods for creating pinwheel quilts were time consuming and not easy.


She knew if she designed a tool that simplified the process and could be used for precuts (charm packs and layer cakes) this would open the pattern up to a whole new group of quilters. Both beginners and experienced quilters looking for a quick and fun pattern would have new options for making pinwheel quilts!


It was important to Marsha that she develop a high quality product made in the United States. Marsha’s rulers use thicker acrylic than most. This means you won’t accidently shave off the plastic edges when the tool comes into contact with your rotary blade.

 


She also puts “bumpers” on the bottom of the ruler so it is raised up over the seams. As an additional bonus the bumpers make the ruler “slip-free”. As a side note, Marsha, her husband and one other employee (Kathleen) manually attach the bumpers by hand in their shop before shipping to customers.


If you own one of these rulers, you know that the markings on the ruler are clear and easy to read. Surprisingly, Marsha had to work with quite a few companies before finding a printing method that would create a marking that would not rub off. 


I mean, who would think this one simple thing would be so much work!!


Marsha, Kathleen and her husband do all of the packaging themselves in the quilt shop. They send the tools out personally to all of the distributors and people who order online.



Marsha says,

“I’ve tried to keep prices as low as possible for distributors so they can keep their prices low for the independent shops. I’ve had three price increases from the companies with whom I buy materials but I haven’t passed it on yet. I’ve tried to absorb the costs so prices won’t increase.”


Of course, the business of running the Twister Tool business is done at night and on the weekends because Marsha runs her quilt shop during the day.


Marsha admits she’ll never become a millionaire from making the Twister Tool but was motivated by her passion and desire to improve the technique.


Based on the number of Twister quilts I’ve seen online (I’ve personally made three!), I’d say her method has been a success!


Thank you, Marsha, for giving us a little insight into the world of designing!

At the Risk of Offending You…Twister Tool

 

Okay, at the risk of offending you awesome readers, here is some food for thought.

 

Right off the bat, I’ve got to tell a dear friend of mine who is going to think I wrote this because of her that I had already been contemplating this long before your situation!!  ;)



I know that quilting can be a very expensive hobby.  I also know how important it is to find a value or deal when money is tight.  But what about when we do it at the expense of someone else who is trying to make a living?

 



I recently purchased the Twister plastic templates and patterns.  The smaller one runs around $11 and the larger one around $21 (retail).  I bought them at my local quilt shop for the regular retail price.

I feel fortunate that I can afford to do this.  I know that not everyone can.




That being said, I wonder about the folks who are out there making replicas of these templates so they don’t have to spend the money.  Is is really because all of them cannot afford it?

 



It begs the question, is it really an excuse to say that if you cannot afford something (or if it’s JUST a simple square with blah-blah…) than you should be able to make a copy of it?   (I know this doesn’t make it legal!)

 



What about the designer/creator of this template?  Now, I’m not saying this company is the first one to ever think of this concept or create a plastic template that does the job.  However, they  have obviously taken the time (and money) to create a pattern booklet and plastic template to easily create a quilt that utilizes  a simple and fun method.

 




Why do we think there is nothing at all wrong with going out and making  copies so we don’t have to pay the person who did all of the hard work and spent the money to back their investment?





I have been to several online quilting boards lately and observed Many people stating that they have made their own template (copying the original, of course, that belonged to someone else) and instructing others how to do the same. 





Just because a project is quick and easy does not means the creativity or inventiveness that went into making the product is any less valuable.




When we copy someone else’s work, we are stealing from them.  The number of hours that go into making a pattern, writing a book, designing jewelry or writing a computer program are inconceivable to the buyer of the products.




We don’t see or know how much time and effort it takes for these things to get done and actually make it to market.  Not to mention the financial backing needed for the first time or small business owner, i.e. taking out a second mortgage, borrowing from family members, emptying a 401K.

 



Just like our local quilt shops, if we don’t’ buy from them, they won’t be in business for long.  But more than that, I think we can be more vocal about providing our support.

 




My thought is that many in this situation are just not aware that their actions are harmful to the industry they love. 


My guess is that many simply see themselves as being “resourceful”.




It may be a worthwhile topic on the quilting boards we enjoy.  Just a thought and my two cents.


Thanks, Heather

 

 

Update on the Pattern!

The Denim Circle Rag Quilt pattern is now for SALE!
If interested, please visit my Etsy Shop:

Many people have been wondering about the quilt pattern for the denim circle
quilt.


Great News! 
The pattern has been written and is currently being tested!


As soon as I get feedback from my testers I will be offering it for sale here!


Here’s my latest version using the Oceania line of charm squares from Moda.

You’ll notice in this version I did Not bind the edges.  I’ve offered the option
of binding or not in the pattern.  I like it both ways, it really does change the
look though.


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Whoops…I spy a dog bottom in the lower right hand corner of this photo!
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It’s been a LOT of work to develop this pattern but it’s almost done! 
Yeah!!!!!


Heather :)

Itty Bitty Pieces of Denim for Christmas!

 

I love how TrashN2Tees used small pieces of recycled denim to make these Adorable Christmas ornaments!

 

To top it off…this picture is Fabulous!

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You can find this ornament in their Etsy Store.  Such a clever, wonderful way to recycle old jeans!

 

Happy Halloween! Arrrrggggghhh!

 

 

This is Mo, our Chihuahua.

This Halloween he is Jack Sparrow.  Guess how happy he is about it!!  ;)

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Happy Halloween!

Recycled Denim Journal Cover- An Etsy Find!

 

 

As a fan of denim, I couldn’t help but talk about this Adorable “Remains of the Day Journal cover”.  Recycled denim, batiks, laces…I love it! 

This was made by the very talented PolkaDotPossum from Lafayette, IN.  Her shop is gorgeous with One of a Kind treasures!  Sign me up for one please!

 

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Sometimes it’s hard to get sewing done…

 

 

 

Why is it I seem to have THE most comfortable chair in the house…at least according to my dogs? And why does it happen to be my sewing chair??

:)

 

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New Denim Pillows for Fall

 

I made a couple of denim pillows for myself using the tutorial I posted here on the blog.

 

I played around with fabric values in the first one (on the left) with a diamond shape in the center. 

 

The other one was just a different arrangement of the squares.

 

Fun and actually very comfortable!  I hope some people got to make one!

 

:)

 

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How I Quickly Cut Up Denim Jeans for Quilts!

Drum roll please….Check out my first video below!!!

 

 

Love those Denim Jeans!

Glue Bindings- I Found the Metal Tips!

 

I discovered Sharon Schamber’s method for binding quilts with glue and it has become my favorite method!

 

My one frustration was that when I used the regular Elmer’s bottle, the line of glue came out too heavy.  I noticed in Sharon’s video, however, that she had a really nice and small metal tip on her glue bottle.

 

I’m not sure if I found the same one she uses but I was able to find one that works perfectly nonetheless!

 

I got it at Michaels. 

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Here’s what you get.  There’s one bottle and top missing from this picture.

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At first, I was filling up the plastic glue bottles that come with the kit with glue and attaching the metal tips.  However, this was extremely messy and I kept having to fill up the bottle.  

 

Then, after re-watching Sharon’s video, I realized that her tip was attached directly to the glue bottle.  It couldn’t be that easy…right?

 

So, I unscrewed the orange tipped lid that comes with the Elmer’s glue bottle and used one of the lids and silver tips you see in the picture.

 

Voila!  Perfect fit!

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The only thing you have to pay attention to is the fact that this metal tip has a VERY small pin size hole.  It plugs very easy if left to dry.  The kit includes some metal wires which are the perfect size for cleaning out this hole. 

I did find, however, that you still must rinse out the tip with warm water in between uses.

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Here’s the fine print from the box…

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Excellent product and one that makes glue binding SO easy!!!

 

:)

Lil’ Twister Halloween Table Runner

 

LOVE, LOVE this cool template!!  Have you heard of the Lil’ Twister?  There is also a full size Twister…not sure what it’s called!  :)

 

So here’s what the template looked like.  I found it while wondering around a LQS not long ago.

 

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All you need are 5” charm squares (the bigger version uses 10” squares).

 

I had an adorable charm pack from Riley Blake for Halloween.  Here I have them spread out and am starting to sew them together.

 

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You just sew them all together and add a border.  That’s the first part.

 

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So cute, right?  Well, it gets WAY Cuter!!!!  Check it out.


 

You use this cool little square template to start cutting apart the runner you just made!!  (Kinda scary!)

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You reposition your new squares like so…you can see the pinwheels just starting to form!

 

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And more…

 

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It does end up quite a bit smaller than the original runner but it is really cute!

 

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Here it is quilted, bound and sitting on my coffee table!!

 

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I went Shopping!

 

Yesterday I went shopping at a few of our local quilt shops.  I haven’t done that in a very long time and I miss them!!

 

It’s a fairly diverse assortment but in the back there are 3 yards of navy blue chenille.  Do you know how hard it is to find chenille????  I looked all over.

 

There is also a layer cake with moose!  Moose always remind me of my sister since she is a huge fan of moose!

 

I also got 2 yards of pumpkin fabric from the Gobble Gobble line.  I LOVE that line of fabric and was thrilled to find some!  I also found some nice coordinating fabric to go with it.  I’m making some pillows and table runners for my Etsy shop with this fabric.

 

See that fabric on top?  The one that say’s J’heart Paris?  This is some very unique and pretty fabric.  Going to make an excellent table runner for my Etsy site!!!!  Can’t wait!

 

Lastly, at the very bottom hidden under everything is a X-Block plastic template.  I decided to try it, looks like fun! 

 

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Don’t you just love to lay out your quilt shop purchases and admire them?  I hate to put them away and lose that wonderful quilt shop high!!!

Denim Circle Pillow, Tutorial- Part 3

If you missed Part 1, GO HERE. 

If you missed Part 2, GO HERE.

 

Here’s where we left off in Part 2... 

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1.  Cut the backing fabric into two pieces, 13” x width of your

     pillow top.

     In this instance, I cut two pieces of fabric, 13” x 17 1/2”.

 

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2.  Roll the long edge of each piece over 1/4” and press.

     Roll the edge over 1/4” a second time and press.

     Top stitch.  These will be the finished edges of your pillow

     backing.

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3.   We are making an envelope style pillow backing.  Overlap the two finished edges on

      your table surface, WRONG SIDES up. 

      Move the two pieces of fabric back and forth until the width of the two pieces equals

      the width of your pillow top.  (i.e. 17 1/2”) 

      PIN the two pieces together at the top and bottom. 

       

   *Note: in the picture, the fabric is WRONG sides up.     IMG_1752

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Place your pillow top, RIGHT SIDE up on the wrong side of your backing fabric. 

    Match the edges and pin around the pillow.  Do NOT leave an opening for

    turning.

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   SEW using a 1/2” seam allowance.  Reinforce where your backing pieces

   overlap.

   I usually sew around the edges of the pillow twice, directly over the first seam

   to reinforce it.

 

 

5.  SNIPPING-

   There are many different brands of spring loaded scissors.  Some I like better than

   others.  Two of my favorites are “Galaxy Notions” and “Fiskars Craft Snip”. 

 

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  I begin by snipping around the edges of my pillow.  The 1/2” seam allowance

  allows for plenty of room to clip.  Be careful not to clip the seam!!  Sewing twice helps

  in case this happens.  The space between each snip varies but averages 1/4-

  1/2”.

    

  The edges of the pillow will be more difficult to cut through than the edges of your

  circles because there is a lot more fabric to get through. 

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6.  Once you have cut around the entire pillow top, clip all of the circle

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7.  Rough up the edges of your pillow top and the snipped circles using a stiff

     cleaning brush.

     This is entirely optional.  I believe most people just throw their rag quilts directly into

     the wash after snipping. 

     This is just one of my little tricks.  I like my quilts and pillows to be as full as possible

     so I give them a good “brushing” prior to washing. 

     When you’re done, shake off the excess fabric.

 

     Warning:  This is a messy process.  Sometimes I do it outside on the patio table.  It

     also kicks up a lot of fibers so if you are sensitive, you may want to wear a dust   

     mask to minimize an allergy attack.

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8.  Give your pillow a few good shakes, I do this outside.

 

     Wash and dry it and you’re done!  I usually iron my pillow back after it

     comes out of the dryer, it gets a little wrinkled. 

 

     You’ve got to wash and dry it to get the full frayed effect.  Make sure you clean your

     dryer lint trap once it’s done.  It will probably be pretty full.

 

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    That’s it!!  Put it on your pillow form and you’re done!!

 

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Thank you, I hope this was an enjoyable project.  If you have any feedback or comments, please let me know at:  heatherbanks38@yahoo.com

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