Monday, May 13, 2013

Quilter's Favorites

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises. –Leo F. Buscaglia

Geta, over at Geta's Quilting Studio has put together a really fun linky party where you share what you know about quilting. She's put together a list of questions, which you can answer in a post of your own and then link the post on her Quilter's Favorites page. After you've linked, you can click around the blogosphere and see what other quilters have to share. You can answer as many or as few questions as you like, illustrate with photos and links, and have a good time getting to know other quilters.

Before I answer a few of Geta's questions, I would like to welcome new visitors and thank you for stopping by! I have been sewing for 30+ years {I started with doll clothes when I was about 8} and love it. I have two great children, a wonderful husband and besides sewing and quilting, I like to listen to beautiful music, cook, read and garden. And now, on to the question and answer session.

List a few of your favorite quilting notions.
Spray Starch: I love Magic Sizing, which is inexpensive and does a great job. I also really love homemade Magic Starch.
Small Cutting Mat: I like to keep a small cutting mat next to my machine for squaring up blocks and paper piecing.
Small Ruler: A small cutting mat requires a small ruler. I love the Omnigrid 4" x 8" ruler. It has ⅛" markings and is great for squaring up and paper piecing.

Some thoughts about thread:
I love Gütterman 50-weight 100% cotton thread for piecing and AURIfil Makò 50-weight 100% cotton thread for quilting. AURIfil is magical. It becomes a part of the quilt, rather than just lying on top. And it has a pretty shine to it. Red Rock Threads has all the colors available, the best prices I've found and great shipping rates. {And, no, I'm not being paid by AURIfil or Red Rock Threads to endorse them, but I wouldn't say no if they wanted to give me free stuff :lol:.}

Some thoughts about batting:
I love Warm 'n Natural. It is 100% cotton and I like the way it quilts up. You can hand wash and machine dry the batting before quilting to shrink it, which I love {instructions on the packaging}.

Share some tips for easy piecing.
My biggest recommendation is to machine wash & dry and press fabrics with starch {see notes above} before beginning any project. Cut carefully, using the ruler to measure rather than the grid on your cutting mat. Use an accurate ¼" seam, press at every step and square up blocks, as needed.

Some machine quilting tips:
When I took art classes in Jr. High and High School, the teachers always required thumbnail sketches as part of the assignment. I never really got it until I started quilting. My best quilting friend is my pencil and paper. I sketch out designs for almost every quilt I make; both the layout of the blocks and the machine quilting I'm going to put into it. This is a thumbnail sketch for a Pinwheel Sampler quilt I finished last year:

Not only did I sketch out a basic map for the entire quilt, I did individual sketches for each block. The sketches for the individual blocks were larger and allowed me room to include all exact details, while the sketch for the whole quilt helped me to balance out the quilting so I didn't have two blocks next to each other with too similar of quilting. I don't always stick to my sketches. Sometimes a block needs something different when you get to it, but having an idea to start with is always helpful for me.

In addition to doodling on paper, I usually warm up on a practice quilt sandwich made from scraps of batting and muslin, to make sure the quilting comes out how I want it to.

Do you have free tutorials on your blog?
My tutorials include Continuous Bias Binding from start to finish, Pillowcases, FMQ Swirls, Paper Piecing, and a Scrappy Snowball Quilt, among others. All my tutorials can be found here.

Share one of your favorite quilts made by you.
Picking a favorite quilt is like picking a favorite child. I just can't. But you can visit my quilts here.

Do you have a favorite on-line quilt shop?
I love Mary Jo's Cloth Store. They have a huge collection of quilting fabrics and their prices are really great!


Geta Grama said...

Thank you Elizabeth for linking to Quilter's Favorites; I am glad you mentioned Mary Jo's store- I made a few orders in the past but forgot about it. Love the quote at the beginning of your post.

Pieced Brain Quilt Designs said...

Wow! I wish I could sketch like you... I love starting with graph paper and pencil when creating my quilts - but have not sketched the quilting lines yet. Great idea. Thanks!

verpa said...

Thanks for your tips and tutorials.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

Thanks for the tips! I need to start planning my quilting--I tend to load my quilts on the HQ16 and wing it.

Mary Marcotte said...

Oh wow, I'd need a couple of art classes to sketch so well. Mostly I play as I go and hope it all works out. Luckily I've been at it long enough that I can fix almost any mistake....if there's just enough fabric! Thanks for the tips,

Silvia said...

Thanks for sharing your tips. Your drawing is indeed wonderful.

Paulette said...

Great post, Elizabeth. Does Gutermann thread shrink (thinking high cotton content)when you press or on washing? I've wondered about that thread. My favorite thread to piece with was Mettler, but I used up all Mom's old spools and am too cheap to buy more just yet. I'm going to check Red Rock Threads.

Speaking of your tutorials tab, didn't you have a tute on how to make tabs in Blogger? I need to do that.