Denim Circle Pillow- Tutorial, Part 1


For MORE Denim projects and ideas on how to use your RECYCLED JEANS, visit my new website:  www.InventiveDenim.com!

For Part 2, Go HERE
For Part 3, Go HERE

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Here are the supplies you will need:

1.  Sixteen- 6 ½” denim circles (*1-2 pair of 100% cotton jeans)
     *1 pair will make 12-16 circles depending on the jean size
2.  Sixteen- 4” batting squares (I use a thin, 100% cotton batt)
3.  Sixteen- 5” charm squares
4.  Thread to match jeans
5.  Spring loaded scissors for clipping seams
6.  Stiff brush (i.e. cleaning brush)
7.  Pillow form- 18”
8.  ½ yard fabric for pillow backing
9.  Spray Starch


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1.  CUT sixteen (16) - 6 1/2” Denim Circles
**If you want a variety of blues in your pillow, you will need to cut circles from several different blue jeans.

It’s important to use 100% cotton or close to it (97%, 99%).  I have a lot of trouble getting the stretch jeans to fray!
Remove both legs from one pair of jeans.  I like to cut just underneath the pockets for maximum usable yardage.

Next, cut open each leg at one seam.  Open the leg and iron flat.
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You now have two usable pieces of fabric from one pair of jeans. 
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Cutting the Denim Circles?

Options…
1.  Trace around a 6 1/2” circle template and cut out with scissors
     or a rotary cutter.
2.  Use an OLFA circle cutter. 
        *This is my preferred method.

****BIG TIP!
     -Heavily spray starch your jeans just prior to cutting, especially, if you are using the OLFA circle cutter.  This will stabilize the fabric and give you really nice perfect circles!!!
Without the starch, you will probably notice that your jean fabric stretches and changes shape as you work with it.


TRACING Method:
    I used a 6 1/2” plastic circle template to make the cardboard template seen below.
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As you see, I can “typically” get eight circles from one leg but in in cases
where the legs are especially tapered you may only get six (i.e. smaller sized jeans).
 
You need a total of 16 circles so two legs (one pair of jeans) is usually sufficient. 
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OLFA CIRCLE CUTTING Method:

You will need one Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter (CMP-3).  I
bought mine at my local fabric store.
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It works just like a compass from math class. 
It may seem a little intimidating at first, the directions on the package are not great.  However, Olfa makes a video which does a terrific job explaining how to use it.

The video can be found here (video) .  This is WELL
worth watching.  It’s just a few minutes long.   (Just scroll
down the page until you see the “circle cutter video”, click on
“English”.

They do a good job explaining how to set it up for measuring, etc.
*The cutter needs to be set at 3 1/4”.  This is because you want a 6 1/2” finished circle. 

It probably goes without saying but it is a lot more difficult to cut through denim using the circle cutter than it is to cut through quilting cotton. 
You just need to go slower and be more patient because it does work great! 

Here are my two best TIPS:
     1.  Before cutting the circles, spray starch the jeans.  The more starch you use, the easier it will be to cut a perfect circle.
     2.  Wear gloves.  I use gardening gloves.  You have to apply a good amount of pressure to cut the circles and after a while this can be hard on your hands.  With the gardening gloves, I could cut all day

Of course another benefit of the circle cutter is that there is no need to mark the circles ahead of time!
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Assembly:

1.  Once you have cut 16 circles, start by placing one
6 ½” circle Wrong Side UP on the table surface.

Align a ruler with the circle, 1” from edge.
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2.  Draw a line along the edge of the ruler.
This line will not be seen in the finished product so any
type of pen will work.
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3.  Place another circle under the one you just marked, Right Sides together!

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4.  Pin in place.
Sew along the marked line making sure to backstitch at BOTH ends of the seam.
Backstitching is very important throughout this process.  Without it, your circles will start to fall apart when washed.

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5.  Lay flat the two circles and press open the flaps.
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6.  For this next step you will need a 6” or 6 ½” wide ruler.
Using the ruler, place the 4 ½” line directly over the seam (*the black ribbon in the picture is used to highlight the position of the seam, obviously, you won’t have a black ribbon!).
Once you align the seam with the 4 1/2” ruler mark, there should be a 1” space left over.
Place another ruler next to the 6” ruler. Use this ruler to make sure this space is exactly 1”.

Important:*If you do not have a 1” seam allowance , move the 6” ruler over until you have exactly 1”.
This can happen sometimes due to inconsistencies in cutting the circles and the space taken up by seam allowances, this will not affect how your finished pillow looks!

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7.  Remove the 1” ruler and draw a line.
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8.  With Right Sides Together, place another circle under the newly marked seam line.
Pin in place and sew. Remember to backstitch at both ends of the seam!!
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9.  Press the new seam open. You now have three joined circles, you need one more
for this row. 
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10.  Starting with the most recently added circle, make a new seam line just as before…
Measure 4 ½” from the seam (black ribbon) to the edge of the circle. There should be a 1” space left over.
Place another ruler next to the 6” ruler. Use this ruler to measure the 1” seam allowance.


Again, if you do not have 1”, move the 6” ruler over until you have an exact 1” seam allowance.
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11.  Remove the 1” ruler and draw a new seam line.
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12.  Exactly as before, place a new circle under the marked one, Right Sides Together!
Pin and sew on the line, remembering to backstitch at both ends.
Press the flaps open.  Each row should have four circles.

Do this three more times.  You will need a total of four rows!
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Get ready for Part 2, you will need:
     -16 (4”) squares of batting
     -16 (5”) fabric squares (either one solid color or a mixture, your choice!)
     -four denim circle rows
     -thread, I like to use a blue that matches most denims
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Comparing Ink Jet Fabrics, Part III (Printed Treasures)

 

Today, we’re looking at Printed Treasures Ink Jet Fabric Sheets . 

 

I recently also described the effects of printing on Scrap Soft ink jet fabric and Electric Quilt (EQ) ink jet fabric.

 

According to Printed Treasures their ink jet fabric sheets are colorfast and washable

 

Like I said before, I have a run of the mill ink jet printer.  It’s a few years old and in good working condition.  It’s a HP C4480, Printer, Scanner, Copier.

All of the ink jet fabrics I used were “sew-on”.  No stickers or iron-on ink jet fabrics.

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3rd TEST Fabric:  Printed Treasures

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Unlike some of the other companies, Printed Treasures does recommend setting your print parameters to “best”.  I’ve heard from other companies that this can put too much ink on your fabric (sigh).  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement from company to company.

They also suggest letting your fabric dry for one minute before submerging it in an oversized bowl overflowing with a constant stream of cold water.  They say this will carry off any excess ink.  (*Note: this method gave me the worst results using this fabric.)

In terms of washing, Printed Treasures says their ink jet sheets may be washed either by hand or by machine in cold water using the gentle cycle and a mild detergent.


 

Here’s what I found:

 

Fabric Quality

A thick fabric.  Not as soft as some of the other ink jet fabrics.  Also, this fabric is not a pure white, I think I would say it was off-white or creme.

 

**NOTE:  Each of the following tests used a newly printed logo. 

 

Test 1:  Quality of the original print using my HP printer.

                RESULTS:  The results after the initial printing were good.  The image was

                sharp and the colors nice. 

 

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Test 2:  Submerging logo in a pan of Fabric Softener and water.  (4 tablespoons per cup of tap water)

                RESULTS:  Logo looked good, no major loss of color.  This method seems to

                work well with all of the ink jet fabrics.

 

Test 3:  Ran the printed logo under running cold water. 

                RESULTS:  Okay results…the red faded quite a bit.  The browns as well but   

                not as much as the reds.  Not too happy with this look!

 

Test 4:  Sprayed with Scotchgard and then placed under cold running water in sink.

                RESULTS:  The results of spraying with Scotchgard were that when I finally

                got the image wet, the reds were a slight bit more resistant to fading.

 

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Since most quilts will be washed, I tested the logos in the washing machine.  Once again, I cut the logo in half.  One side was washed with detergent.  The other half was washed with fabric softener.

 

Here’s what I found:

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Test 5: The ink jet fabric was washed using laundry detergent (ALL Free and Clear).

               RESULTS:  (bottom left) Actually, the reds resisted fading BETTER than 

               running the fabric directly under water in the sink!  Overall, not too bad.

 

Test 6:  The ink jet fabric was washed using fabric softener (Downy Free).

               RESULTS:  (top right) Exactly the same results as the laundry detergent. 

 

 

BEST:  Scotchgard OR rinse (by hand) in a fabric softener/water mixture.

 

WORST: Running directly under plain tap water

 


What did I determine about Printed Treasures Ink Jet Sheets?

-(using my HP printer)

 

     1.  Printing:  Colors and intensity are good with initial printing.

 

     2.   Running this fabric under cold water (as recommended) left me with the worst  

           results.

 

     3.   The recommended fabric softener/water mixture seems to be an excellent way to

           rinse off the excess pigments while retaining the original colors and sharpness.

 

    

My thoughts about using Printed Treasures….

 

-This fabric and it’s ability to retain color after washing was somewhere in the middle of the road.  I liked it better than Soft Scrap but not as much as EQ.

 

-I think I would always use some form of washing to get rid of any extra pigment sitting on top of the fabric, even if it was just the fabric softener/water combo.

 

-I liked the “hand” of the fabric.  It feels thick and gives an impression of a high quality fabric.  I did notice it significantly relaxed after washing in the washing machine and I liked the feel of the fabric better after washing.


 

I hope this information was helpful overall.  Thanks for stopping by!!

 

Heather  Smile

 

You know you’re a dog person if…the trash basket is more or less permanently installed in the kitchen sink to keep the dog out of it while you’re at work.

Comparing Ink Jet Fabrics- Part II (EQ)

 

Today, we’re looking at Electric Quit (EQ) Ink Jet Fabric Sheets .  This was my favorite ink jet fabrics out of the three I looked at!!

 

Yesterday, I described Scrap Soft ink jet fabrics.

 

According to Electric Quilt, their ink jet fabric holds the printed image better than other brands.  After all of my tests, I have to agree!

 

Like I said before, I have a run of the mill ink jet printer.  It’s a few years old and in good working condition.  It’s a HP C4480, Printer, Scanner, Copier.

All of the ink jet fabrics I used were “sew-on”.  No stickers or iron-on ink jet fabrics.

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2nd TEST Fabric:  Electric Quilt (EQ)

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I used the “Cotton Lawn” fabric sheets.  According to EQ, these sheets are 100% cotton and have a high thread count which results in a silky, smooth texture.  (I did like the feel of the fabric, although it is thinner than the other fabrics).

 

According to the instructions EQ is washable and dry cleanable.  They say in their instructions:

“The colorfastness of your fabric printout will depend on many factors including the number of washings, chemicals in your water, the total exposure to light and the type of printer ink used.”

 

ALL of the ink jet fabric companies recommend printing using “normal” computer settings.  Apparently, the “best” or “photo” settings can put out too much ink.

 

In terms of washing, EQ recommends soaking the fabric in room temperature water for 10 minutes after drying and swishing the fabric around if bleeding is noticed. 

They recommend using DISTILLED water versus tap water citing that tap water may have additives that affect the printer ink. 


 

Here’s what I found:

 

Fabric Quality

EQ was definitely the thinnest of all the fabrics and slightly translucent.  I can read the instruction sheet sitting underneath the fabric as I’m writing this.  Nonetheless, it is a soft and silky fabric just as described by EQ!

Also, this fabric is not a pure white, I think I would say it was off-white or creme.

 

**NOTE:  Each of the following tests used a newly printed logo. 

 

Test 1:  Quality of the original print using my HP printer.

                RESULTS:  Bright, strong vivid colors!  The image details were sharp!  I

                REALLY liked the way this fabric sheet printed!

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Test 2:  Submerging logo in a pan of Fabric Softener and water.  (4 tablespoons per cup of tap water)

                RESULTS:  Logo looked good, no major loss of color.  This method seems to

                work well with all of the ink jet fabrics.

 

Test 3:  Ran the printed logo under running cold water. 

                RESULTS:  Too good to be true!!!  The ink still looks PERFECT!!

 

Test 4:  Sprayed with Scotchgard and then placed under cold running water in sink.

                RESULTS:  After Scotchgarding, everything looked perfect!  Once the

                scotchgard had dried, I ran the image under cold, running water.  Again,

                PERFECT!

 

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Since most quilts will be washed, I tested the logos in the washing machine.  Once again, I cut the logo in half.  One side was washed with detergent.  The other half was washed with fabric softener.

 

Here’s what I did:

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I gotta say, both sides look pretty good!

 

Test 5: The ink jet fabric was washed using laundry detergent (ALL Free and Clear).

               RESULTS:  (bottom left) slight fading of browns and reds.  Black also

               somewhat dulled, not quite as shiny and bright as before.

 

Test 6:  The ink jet fabric was washed using fabric softener (Downy Free).

               RESULTS:  (top right) Exactly the same as the laundry detergent. 

BEST:  Scotchgard OR rinse (by hand) in a fabric softener/water mixture.

 

WORST: Washing machine but not by much! 

 


What did I determine about Electric Quilt (EQ)?

-(using my HP printer)

 

     1.  Printing:  All of the colors print with excellent intensity and sharpness.

 

     2.   Running this fabric under cold water does NOT result in a loss to any of the

           colors!

 

     3.   The recommended fabric softener/water mixture seems to be an excellent way to

           rinse off the excess pigments while retaining the original colors and sharpness.

 

    

My thoughts about using Electric Quilt….

 

-This really was the best of the three ink jet fabric sheets in terms of color intensity and retaining color after washing.

 

-I think I would always use some form of washing to get rid of any extra pigment sitting on top of the fabric, even if it was just the fabric softener/water combo.

 

-The browns and reds were retained the BEST with EQ.

 

-I wish the fabric also came in a pure white clor.

 

-The EQ ink jet sheets printed the clearest and retained their color better than Soft Scrap or Printed Treasures!

 

 

Next….(and last) Printed Treasures ink jet fabric sheets, Part III.

 

Heather  Smile

 

You know you’re a dog person if…you have a kiddie wading pool in the yard but no small children!

Comparing Ink Jet Fabrics, Part I (Soft Scrap)

 

 

So today, we’re looking at Soft Scrap ink jet fabric.

 

This is a relatively new fabric to me.  I saw it for the first time a few months ago at the Cincinnati Quilt Show.

 

They had a great booth and I love their scrapbooking/quilting designs!  Really cute!

 

The thing I liked about Soft Scrap fabric is that it is a solid white fabric and all of the other ink jet fabrics I’ve seen are an off-white or ecru.  Also, it has a really nice feel; the fabric is of a high quality without being too thick and hard to use.

 

I have a run of the mill ink jet printer.  It’s a few years old and in good working condition.  It’s a HP C4480, Printer, Scanner, Copier.

All of the ink jet fabrics I used were “sew-on”.  No stickers or iron-on ink jet fabrics.

________________________________________________________________________

 

1st TEST Fabric:  SOFT SCRAP

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I think you can see above on their packaging that the fabric sheet is “100% washable”.

 

According to the instructions washing Soft Scrap fabric sheets is optional.

They say in their instructions:

“If you are making wall hangings or items that will never be washed, you do not need to rinse the fabric!  3M Scotchgard works well.”

 

They have an entire sheet dedicated to how to rinse the fabric sheets (I guess in case you’re not making a wall hanging).  This was where I originally got the idea about using fabric softener.

 

According to SoftScrap, the reason to use the fabric softener rinse is:

     -remove the excess dye

     -remove the chemical

     -pre-shrink your fabric

     -restore the hand to the silks


 

Here’s what I found:

 

Fabric Quality:  A pure white fabric (finally)!!  Also, a really nice quality for sewing.  The closest to what I would consider a normal 100% cotton that I have found so far! 

 

**NOTE:  Each of the following tests used a newly printed logo. 

 

Test 1:  Quality of the original print using my HP printer.

                RESULTS:  Great Quality!  All of the colors were true and the image was

                sharp!  In this case, the reds and browns look GREAT!

 

image

 

Test 2:  Submerging logo in a pan of Fabric Softener and water.  (4 tablespoons per cup of water as recommended by Soft Scrap)

                RESULTS:  The logo looked good, no major loss of    

                color.  Good to go!  I still like this method for getting rid of excess inks and it

                is THE recommended method by Soft Scrap.

 

Test 3:  Ran the printed logo under running cold water. 

                RESULTS:  ohhhhhh…..darn.  LOTS of colors were lost.  The browns and reds

                are almost gone!!!!  Yikes!  Blacks and greens still look good though!

 

Test 4:  Sprayed with Scotchgard and then placed under cold running water in sink.

                RESULTS:  After Scotchgarding, there was no change to the colors!  Yeah!

                This is consistent with the companies’ recommendations for items that will not

                be washed.

 

                But…after the Scotchgard dried, I tried running the print under cold water to

                see if the Scotchgard offered any protection.  The color intensity was

                retained but some of the colors ran!


Since most quilts will be washed, I tested the logos in the washing machine.  Once again, I cut the logo in half.  One side was washed with detergent.  The other half was washed with fabric softener.

 

Here’s an example of what I did:

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OH BOY!  Both sides are VERY faded!!!

 

Test 5: The ink jet fabric was washed using laundry detergent (ALL Free and Clear).

               RESULTS:   Yikes!  MAJOR fading (the bottom left of the picture)!!

 

Test 6:  The ink jet fabric was washed using fabric softener (Downy Free).

               RESULTS:  Slightly less fading that the detergent but a lot of color was still

               lost.

 

DISCLOSURE!!!!!

**NOTE:  Soft Scrap directions say to wash in a low pH soap ONLY, i.e. Ivory.  I did not do this (I used ALL Free and Clear, this is just want I use in my own laundry and what I had on hand) so I can’t say if the results would have been better had the print been washed in a different low pH detergent.

When it comes to fabric softeners that say to use “a liquid fabric softener” and also mention that they have have good results with either Snuggle or All Brand Softeners.  I used Downy Free (again, what I had on hand).

 

 

BEST:  Scotchgard OR rinse (by hand) in a fabric softener/water mixture.

 

WORST: Using a non recommended laundry detergent in the washing machine. 


One last thing about Soft Scrap. 

I decided to make a pillow using my new logo.  I did the fabric softener rinse and got great results.  After making the pillow I decided to give it a little extra protection by Scotchgarding it.

 

I don’t know if it was something having to do with using the fabric softener first but after spraying with the Scotchgard, the colors RAN, this time it was the GREENS too!  Ugh…how disappointing!!

See below:

 

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What did I determine about Soft Scrap?

-(using my HP printer)

 

     1.  Printing:  All of the colors print with excellent intensity and sharpness.

 

     2.   Running this fabric directly under cold water results in a loss to the

           reds and browns.

 

     3.   The recommended fabric softener/water mixture seems to be an excellent way to

           rinse off the excess pigments while retaining the original colors and sharpness.

 

     4.   Non recommended detergents results in very poor results in the washing

           machine.

 

My thoughts about using Soft Scrap….

-The black pigment was consistently strong throughout all of the tests so if you’re making a quilt label and printing only in black ink, you shouldn’t notice a lot of pigment loss no matter what method of washing you use.  I think I would use some form of washing to get rid of any extra pigment sitting on top of the fabric, i.e. fabric softener/water combo.

 

-The browns and reds are definitely hard to keep from fading.  I didn’t have this problem with yellows, greens or blues until I used Fabric Softener and then Scotchgarded the pillow!

 

-I really liked the bright, white color of the fabric and the nice quality.

 

-Although, the company claims the fabric is 100% washable, you must make sure you purchase compatible laundry detergent!!

 

 

Next….Electric Quilt (EQ) ink jet fabric sheets, Part II.

 

Heather  Smile

A Wreath from Hands!

Has anyone ever made a Holiday Wreath out of a child's hands?

This was a lot of fun!

I traced my nephew's hands onto fusible web backed fabric (8 times) and ironed them into a circle.  Then I added some red berries and a bow.  Instant quilt wreath!  
:)

I honestly can't remember where I got the idea.  I do know I didn't work off of a pattern. 


Instead of a traditional zig zag or a blanket stitch I used a crazy free motion stitch to fill in the wreath around the hands.


It was all sort of improvised but I was happy with the results!!!

Happy Quilting!

Oh, you probably can't tell but I'm posting this at 12:30 am.  I shouldn't have had that soda with dinner.  Whoops!  Too much caffeine late in the evening!!  :)

Heather

“Upcycling” our Denim Jeans!

 

It’s no secret, I love recycling denim jeans, mostly into quilts or pillows.

 

I have received some recent requests for my denim circles rag quilt Pattern.  This has really been dragging as you can see from old quilt posts!

However, it has moved to the TOP of my list now that I am working full time and exclusively on my quilting business.

I am almost done with a pillow tutorial using the same techniques used to make this quilt.  That will post first.

Thank you to everyone who has shown interest in this quilt.  It is such a great compliment and I want to get the pattern out there for you to use!

 

In the meantime…I have been quickly running out of my garage sale jeans that I use for my projects so I posted an ad on Craig’s List.  I offered to pay $3-$4 a pair. 

 

Let’s just say I was surprised at how many jeans ONE person could have in their closet.  I deleted the Craig’s List ad tonight.  I’m at capacity for now!!

 

Here are some pretty cool things I have seen online made from recycled denim jeans…


 

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I love the variety of jeans used in this project!  (From Susan Willis for Ecouterre Recycled Denim Jeans Contest)


 

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Slippers, OMG!  Very creative though and the directions are found here…Recycled Denim Slippers


 

 

Okay, I REALLY like this purse.  It’s from MissyMaoMao's Blog!


 

 

Awesome Log Cabin quilt from Kathy Wagner (directions are found at this link)


 

Thank you for visiting!

Smile  Heather

New Spray Starch?

 

Has anyone seen this new spray starch?  I saw it at Scholari’s yesterday.

 

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I was out of Best Press and decided to run down to the grocery store to pick up some aerosol spray starch. 

 

I put it back when I noticed this bottle.  It’s called “Niagara” and is a pump spray which promises not to flake (like Best Press).

 

It was only a couple of dollars…I decided to try it.

 

So far so good, although the smell is pretty strong.  It’s supposed to be “Fresh Linen”.

 

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Guess I’ll try it and see how it compares to Best Press!

Learning to Sew, Making a Quilt!

 

My niece and nephew frequently ask to sew with me.  At their current ages of five and nine, only the nine year old has done a little sewing with me in the past (making a pillow case).

 

I was recently inspired by an article about a women who taught her grandchildren how to sew by teaching them how to quilt.  I decided this would be fun and I invited my niece and nephew over to make their very first quilt! 

 

I’m not sure what possessed me to invite them over at the SAME date and time but we did okay.  We just alternated at the sewing machine!

 

They started by picking seven fabrics from my stash.  Lord knows, this did not even make a dent!

We cut their fabric into squares and they laid the squares out onto the floor. From there we moved to the sewing machine.  We learned about terminology such as: presser foot, needle up/down and most importantly, Seam Allowances!

 

Here is my beautiful niece, Aspen, at the Pfaff Grandquilter. 

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My nephew, Tristin…

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Learning to press…

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About this time…they decided they had had enough sewing for the day.  I was pretty impressed by their dedication.  Attention spans did not waver for a good two hours!

 

Tristin returned about a week later to finish his top.  Aspen has not yet put her rows together.  She told me yesterday that she would like me to finish the top.  Hmmm…maybe quilting isn’t for her!

 

Here is Tristin’s finished top.  He did a spectacular job!

 

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Isn’t it interesting that he did not place the squares randomly throughout the quilt?  He wanted the same patterns to go back into the same rows.  I wonder what this says about his personality??

 

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Now, onto the quilter with this top!  (Grandma!)

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