Cutting and Sewing Curves, a Video Tutorial & Giveaway

Beauty Shot 2

Several of our readers have asked for a tutorial on cutting and sewing curves without using a pattern. We have made a video tutorial showing how easy it is to add curves to your quilting projects. This is the technique we used on our Making Waves pattern.

MakingWavesPatterns-Cover1

It’s fun, it’s easy and if you haven’t ever done it, I suggest watching the video and give it a try. It will be permanently living in our How-To Videos page, which can be accessed through the button above. While you are there, be sure to check out some of our other helpful videos.

Web

 

We are offering two copies of our pattern to two of our readers. Please leave a comment by end of day Friday, July 31st if you would like a chance to receive a pattern.

We will also have the video posted on our SHWS You Tube Channel Enjoy the show!

Laura Signature

Select Print & Piece – New Product for Foundation and Paper Piecing & Giveaway

As promised, I have given another one of Alex Anderson’s new product for quilters a try. Select Print and Piece by Floriani definitely gets a thumbs up in my book! I am embarrassed to say that I have truly never embraced paper-piecing, primarily because I don’t enjoy removing all the papers and especially dislike all the little bits of paper that often remain on the back side of the block. With that said, I am impressed with this product for a variety of reasons.

Quilters Select Print & Piece
Quilters Select Print & Piece

First, I like the weight and feel of this fiber-based product. It is available in 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheets which will easily and conveniently run through your home printer. I made a copy of the square-in-a-square pattern that is included in the pack of 25 sheets. I selected a few fun fabrics and soon started the paper piecing process.

Pirnt&Piece1

As with all foundation and paper-pieced patterns, the process was organized and easy. After I had completed sewing the sequence of pieces, I trimmed the block and began the process of removing the paper. It was surprisingly easy and removal was not messy – no little bits of paper stuck in the stitching lines. I started to tear the paper, which worked quite well, and then looked again at the instructions which suggests first dampening the stitching lines for easy removal. I didn’t have a q-tip, as suggested, so I simply used a spray bottle of water that was on hand in the classroom, and lightly spritzed the backside of the block. Voila! This worked perfectly! The paper came off easily, and large pieces, with no little bits remaining in the stitching lines. Also, I must note that I even forgot to shorten my stitch length as is generally suggested with paper piecing, and I am happy to say there was NO distortion of the stitches.

Print&Piece5

Print&Piece3

 

Removal of the paper is optional. If you like, you can choose to leave it in the quilt and you will hardly know it’s there. About 50% of it will dissipate when the quilt or project is washed.

Well, Alex, thanks again for sharing with us another great product! We love anything that helps make the process easier and more enjoyable.

Again, Alex has provided a package of the Select Print and Piece as a giveaway for one of our readers. Just leave us a comment by end of day Friday, July 10th, telling us why you would like to receive this gift. The winner will be announced in Pati’s post next week.

The winner of the rolls of Select Appli-Stick and Appli-Web Plus is Pam S. Thank you to all of you who took time to post comments. I wish I had rolls for everyone but hope you will have an opportunity to give the products a try and encourage your local quilt shops to keep it in stock. Here is a link to the Quilters Select website where you can find a list of the quilt shops that carry these and many more products.

Until until next time, happy creating everyone!

Laura Signature

New Products for Quilters – Select Appli-Stick and Select Appli-Web Plus & Giveaway

Alex Anderson

Hi Quilters, Crafters and Sewers!

When I recently heard that my friend, Alex Anderson had new products on the market I gave her a call and asked if I could give them a try. My hope was that I would like them enough to share my thoughts with all of you. I am happy to say I love them. Alex graciously sent me samples of three products: Select Appli-Stick, Select Appli-Web Plus and Select Print & Piece. The first two products are used for fusible appliqué and the Select Print & Piece is ideal for foundation piecing. I’ll share my thoughts on the Appliqué products today. Be sure to check back as I plan to write a review of the Select Print & Piece in my next post.

 

I’m always curious about the origin of new products so I asked Alex how these came to be. She shares that while she was on retreat with some friends and working on this beautiful pieced & appliquéd quilt, she was also searching for a new fusible web to replace one of her favorites that was removed from the market many years ago.

Designed and made by Alex Anderson. Machine quilted by Angela Walters.
Designed and made by Alex Anderson. Machine quilted by Angela Walters.

One of her friends suggested she try some products by Floriani that were being used for machine embroidery. Alex gave them a try and immediately loved the results.  She started working with Floriani to tweek and customize the products for the quilting world. The products were recently introduced at Spring Quilt Market. To read more about Alex’s story and watch a video, be sure to check out the Quilters Select Website. You will also find many other useful products by this company.

I was excited to receive my samples in the mail and test for myself how they worked. Here’s what I found.

1. Select Appli-Stick – Great for fusible raw edge appliqué. This product is available in rolls, printable sheets and narrow tape (perfect for quilt bindings or decorative trims).

Appli-Stick1

Like many other fusible webs, there is a paper side and web (glue) side. I especially like the weight of the paper side. It is slick, takes markings easily yet also any unwanted lines are easily erased without leaving any markings. The paper side peels away easily (think I’ve used easily too many times, but you catch my drift!) after pressing, leaving  the sticky web adhered to the wrong side of the fabric.

Shapes marked and then pressed onto the paper side of the Appli-Stick.
Shapes marked and then pressed onto the paper side of the Appli-Stick.

The prepared fabric is soft, not stiff and best of all, can be repositioned! That’s right, you can change your mind if you want to move pieces around before they are permanently stitched onto a background fabric. Pieces are secure until you are ready to add your favorite decorative stitches around the edges.

Cone2

Cone3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Select Appli-Web Plus – A great product for your appliqué and other craft projects. Unlike the Select Appli-Stick, the bond on this product is permanent. The fusible webbing is very lightweight producing a softness to the finished shapes.

Appli-Web1

 

The paper backing on this product is not as heavy and slick as the Select Appli-Stick so I found it easier to use a pin to score the back side of the prepared shape in order to remove the paper. This prevents frayed edges from picking and pulling along the clean cut edges.

Appli-Web2

The prepared shapes are soft, lightweight and press well onto a background fabric. Since shapes are permanent, decorative edge stitching is optional.

Bird

 

I am really excited and pleased with these products and will definitely be using them for future appliqué projects. I’m also happy to learn from Alex that they will only be available at independent quilt shops, not large chains. Online sales are an option, but whenever possible, please remember to support your local shops. Click here to find retail locations: www.quiltersselect.com and to see the other useful products by Quilters Select.

WebAlex has graciously offered a roll of each of these two wonderful products to one of our lucky readers. If you are interested in having your name added to the hat, please leave a comment by Friday, July 3rd telling me why you would like to receive this gift. The winner will be announced in Pati’s post next week.

Speaking of giveaways, Pati and I are excited to have new followers on all of our our social media platforms! Thank you one and all. The 3 winners following our new Instagram account SeeHowWeSew, are rdarcene, merryheartbusyhands and mbelmer1. Congratulations to all of you! Please contact us at seehowwesew@gmail.com to give us your mailing address for your gift.

Please be sure to check back on my next post, as I share my thoughts on the new Quilters Select Print & Piece.

Until then,

Laura Signature

 

Quilting . . . with a little help from my friends!

With two weddings behind me, I am finally at a place where I feel I can begin working on some new projects of my own. My head is spinning with excitement and my heart is filled with so much inspiration around me. Let me just give you a little peek into my life last week.

On Tuesday, my student Mina shared these lovely hexagon placemats made from Liberty of London fabrics. Each one is made from a different combination of fabrics. This is such a wonderful use of scrap fabrics or even some leftover hexes!  I know the lucky recipient will be thrilled with this thoughtful gift.

Hexie placemats made by Mina Askari. Machine quilted by Kerry Reed.
Hexie placemats made by Mina Askari. Machine quilted by Kerry Reed.

On Thursday, I spent a few hours with several other quilters. We come together to work on projects, share ideas, get inspired and of course, enjoy some tasty treats! We generally start the gathering with a show and tell. Take a look at this beautiful creation by Diana McClun. She never ceases to amaze and inspire us! This beautiful art piece was made in a 5 day class at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar taught by Meri Henriques Vahl. Please forgive that the image is out of focus . . . I’m trying my hand at a new device and obviously need some lessons : )

Bouquet of Flowers by Diana McClun
Bouquet of Flowers by Diana McClun.

I shared this collection of fabrics and told the ladies that it was my plan to use them in a quilt using a new wedge ruler.

wedge fabrics

Before I was able to get the last piece pinned onto the design wall, I was getting lots of helpful input from my friends. Just take a peek at how this went. I just smiled and named it “how many quilters does it take to plan a quilt?”

First, Freddy Moran got involved and started moving pieces around. Then, Dale Fleming jumped in to see if a bit of green fabric was needed in the mix. Finally, Diana McClun pulled a few pieces out of her stash and contributed her expert advice. It was way too much fun!

Freddy Moran, Dale Fleming and Diana McClun oversee the fabric selection.
Freddy Moran, Dale Fleming and Diana McClun oversee the fabric selection.

Here are a few more projects taking place. It was such a happy, creative sewing day with so much variety. Nikki was working on her Memory Star blocks, Alethea Ballard machine quilting a new project and Dale Fleming working on her drawing skills.

Top: Nikki's Memory Star blocks. Middle: Alethea's machine quilting. Bottom: Dale's flower sketches.
Top: Nikki’s Memory Star blocks. Middle: Alethea’s machine quilting. Bottom: Dale’s flower sketches.

Before we called it a day, someone asked Freddy Moran to share with us the quilt she had folded up and sitting on a chair. Freddy pinned her quilt onto the wall and began telling us the story of the quilt. She tells it so much better than I ever could so I’ve added this sweet video and hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Until next time, happy creating everyone!

Laura Signature

 

My New Craftsy Class – “Improve Your Quilts – 37 Trouble-Shooting Techniques”

I am so happy to announce today that my new Craftsy class, “Improve Your Quilts – 37 Troubleshooting Techniques” is live. I am grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey but especially to my very talented production team for making this dream a reality.

Here they are, my Dream Team! This photo was taken at the end of three long days of filming. The are such fun loving and positive troopers. I truly loved working with them. We called this “the wrap” What better way to wrap up a class then with the sampler quilt made in 1988 for my first book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!?

My Craftsy Dream Team: Lori, Laffrey & Max.
My Craftsy Dream Team: Lori, Laffrey & Max.

From the moment I entered the studio and was given my own dressing room, and

I was in heaven . . . the walls were covered with fabric!
I was in heaven . . . the walls were covered with fabric!

a makeup artist, my experience was nothing but positive! Thank you sweet Danica, for making me look my best!

Danica

Appearing natural in front of a room full of cameras can be a bit intimidating, so my thoughtful producer, Lori put a photo of my “special students” onto the teleprompter to help keep me calm and focused. How sweet is this?

“My Girls”

During this class, you’ll discover an array of tips and tricks no quilter should be without. We’ll dive in with the first step for every quilt project: the fabric! I’ll share helpful strategies for selecting harmonious color palettes, incorporating value and contrast, and even fixing fabric that bleeds. You’ll also learn how to improvise if you run out of fabric, and how to include seam allowances when fussy cutting. Plus, I’ll reveal my go–to sources for inspiration — they’re sure to spark your imagination, too!

Each Craftsy class includes video lessons that you can access anytime, anywhere. They include close-up instruction and I am always there to answer any questions.

Without further ado, please enjoy this class trailer.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 10.56.36 AM

Of course, a BIG thanks to all of you for your continued support of my work. The lucky winner of this class,  selected by Craftsy, has been notified. To all of my other readers, here is a link for my new class. In case you missed it the first round, my Craftsy 2013 Free Block of the Month class is still available. You can access it by simply clicking on the image in the sidebar.

Hope to see you in the classroom!

Laura Signature

A Month to Remember – a wedding, a new Craftsy class and a Giveaway!

ALL good things going on here . . . just super busy. So much so, that I really have not had time to share with you all the exciting details of this past month. Here’s a quick recap, hoping you enjoy!

Last week, my dear Diana McClun and her two daughters hosted a beautiful bridal shower for my daughter, Sara. Diana knew that last year Sara put in her request for a blue and white Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Diana also knew that although my heart wanted to make this quilt for Sara, I was over-the-top busy with a new Craftsy class (more later) and wedding prep, and as a result, I put the quilt project on the back burner. Diana stepped in and with a lot of help from her friends, this is what Diana surprised ALL of us with at the shower! Yes, even I didn’t know this was being made.

quilt

Diana says they worked feverishly and completed the quilt in 15 hours!

quiltdetail

While Diana and friends were busy making the quilt, I was happily making 16 table runners and 144 cupcakes for the upcoming big event.

Getting ready for a full day of baking!
Getting ready for a full day of baking!

Vanilla, chocolate, carrot and lemon.  My girls and I had a full day of baking and decorating. Not only was it so much fun, they were a huge hit.

cupcakes

The wedding took place last weekend at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, CA. It was truly a magical day, with the ceremony at the gazebo in front of the beautiful Victorian Patterson House Mansion. The elaborate Victorian gardens provided the setting for the reception. Way too much delicious food and lots of dancing kept everyone warm and happy.  We could not have asked for a better day and most importantly, it was everything Sara had dreamed it would be.

collage

Now on to some more exciting news-

5159_300x250 My NEW Craftsy class will be available on May 22nd! I’m so excited about this one as it is packed with lots of helpful tips and hints for improving your quilt making skills. If you haven’t yet visited the Craftsy website, please be sure to do so. There are an abundance of classes for all levels and styles of quilt making. Once you have purchased a class, it is yours FOREVER . . . and you can access it anytime.

The Craftsy team is offering my class to one of our readers so please take a minute to follow this link for a chance to win my class for free! As soon as Craftsy selects the winner, I will announce it in a future post. Don’t miss this opportunity. I would love to have you join my classroom!

FYI – my first class on Craftsy is the 2013 FREE Block of the Month. It is still available if you missed it the first round.

That’s it for today everyone. Hoping this finds you all well and happy.

Laura Signature

A Yoyo Lei for Rosalie

Looks like it’s my turn to wax nostalgic. Last week, my Friday class of 10 students met for brunch to bid our farewells to one of our dear friends, Rosalie. After spending the first 84 years of her life in California, she is now moving to Hawaii to be with her only daughter and family. Although we are delighted that she will be close to her family, we are saddened to see her leave. Wanting to gift her with something meaningful from all of us, we came up with the idea of making a yoyo lei; so perfect for her new home on the big island.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the yo-yos were placed into a small basket. During brunch, the basket was passed around and one by one we strung the yo-yos. It was such a lovely gathering of friends, remembering . . . .

lei1

the special moments we shared together over the past 10 years,

lei2

the many friendships that were formed,

lei3

Rosalie’s joyful spirit and contagious giggle,

lei4

her love of quilting and sharing stories of her dear grand dog, Finnegan,

lei5

and the day we named her our team captain. You see, we often took breaks during class to shoot baskets on the basketball court next door to our classroom. As hard as we tried, no one could complete with our Rosalie! Here’s a photo of her with her jersey. She says it’s time to pass the torch. However, we must come to Hawaii to claim the title and the jersey! I see a trip in my future.

 

Rosalie with her team jersey.
Rosalie with her team jersey.

When the final yoyo was attached, the ends were joined and then placed over the head of our special guest of honor. The expression on her face says it all.

photo

Aloha, Sweet Rosalie.  You will be missed.

Laura Signature

Drafting From Ceiling Inspiration

It never ceases to amaze and excite me when and where I find inspiration for quilt designs. Last week during the final Shivassana, resting pose of yoga class, I opened my eyes to look closely at the ceiling tiles in the new studio. I have probably looked at this ceiling more than a dozen times, so why today did I see it in a new light? I’ll probably never know the answer to this, but I didn’t waste a minute to pull out my phone and take this photo.

Ceiling tiles at Indigo Yoga.
Ceiling tiles at Indigo Yoga.

I like all three of the block designs but decided to start with the one on the left; with the melon shapes. Out came my pad of graph paper, ruler and pencil to draft the block.

drafted melon

It’s a pretty simple block and easy to construct. I could leave it as shown but the shadows in the photo inspired me to divide the shapes with more lines, allowing me to play with color and shading.

draftedmelon2

I’m excited with the many possibilities and already starting to pull fabrics. I think I will work in neutrals. What do you think? The print in the foreground is the inspiration fabric I used for developing the color scheme. I may or may not use it in the quilt, we’ll see.

neutrals

I’ll share my new blocks later this week, or early next, so be sure to check back.

While I’m playing with fabrics and construction, please enjoy some photos of quilts from Quiltcon 2015, taken by our contributor, Carol van Zandt.

Piecing Category – Part 1 

Piecing Category – Part 2 

Would love to hear if you have recently “opened your eyes to any new and exciting quilt designs”. We always enjoy reading your stories.

Until next time, stay happy everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

Inspiration from Denver

Hello dear readers. March was such a whirlwind of travel adventures. It began with a family trip to Omaha, NE, then on to teaching a workshop at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar, next to the Lakeview Quilters Guild in Texas and finally filming a new class for Craftsy in Denver. Whew! I am so very grateful for all the wonderful people I have met and worked with along the way but as Dorothy says, “there’s no place like home.”

While I was busy working, my husband was out enjoying the sites of Denver. There is a permanent quilt exhibit on display at the Denver Art Museum and when we returned home and I browsed through the many photos he took, I was delighted to see that he had taken some of the quilts. I must say I was a bit surprised but oh so happy that I can share them with you.

Here’s one I especially like.

"Silk Ties" by Sue Bulkeley, 1883-1970.
“Silk Ties” by Sue Bulkeley, 1883-1970.

The sign next to this quilt reads “Max M. Bulkeley (1883-1958), a lawyer in Wray, Colorado, served one term as U.S. Attorney and then lived in Denver. His wife, Sue, pieced together dozens of his neckties to create this kaleidoscopic pattern. Among the geometric designs in a nude woman wearing a floral lei – a risqué figure that would have been on the underside of the tie and only visible when the wearer picked up the end to reveal the island beauty beneath.”

Don’t you just love it when there are little surprises hidden with a quilt? Here’s a detail of the same quilt. Clearly it was tied but I’m wondering if it was foundation pieced?

Detail of Silk Ties by Sue Bulkeley.
Detail of Silk Ties by Sue Bulkeley.

Here’s another interesting quilt on display at the same exhibit.

'Labels" by Libbie Gottschalk.
‘Labels” by Libbie Gottschalk.

The sign next to this one reads “A mending project gone mad, Libbie Gottschalk’s label quilt started out as a way to preserve a beloved quilt that belonged to her grandfather. Over a thirty-year period she mended each new tear by applying labels from various articles of clothing and other possessions. Eventually, she decided to cover each side completely. This amazing assortment of logos and trademarks, many from Denver-area businesses, is a time capsule of retail-and produce-related graphic art.”

I wish I had been able to see this quilt in person, as there appears to be a real $1 bill stitched into the upper left-hand corner. Here’s a detail image of the same quilt.

Detail of Labels quilt by Libbie Gottschalk.
Detail of Labels quilt by Libbie Gottschalk.

We stayed at The Curtis Hotel, a uniquely fun downtown Denver Hotel. From the moment you walk through the front doors into the lobby you know you are in for a fun adventure, with cartoons playing and a five & dime offering treats from the past. Each of the guest room floors has a personality all its own. We stayed on the “Perfect Hair” floor where we were greeted with this wonderful carpeting. Please excuse the poor photo as the lighting in the hallway was terrible. Can’t you just imagine this as a quilt?

Curtiscarpet1

I just may have to give this a try. I’m anxious to share with you more details of my new class with Craftsy. The editors are busy making final tweeks then it should be ready to go live around the end of May. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, as the recording in the hotel elevator says when you return to the first floor, “Stay Happy!”.

Laura Signature