Top Choices for Our Favorite Irons and a Giveaway!

The holidays are coming and we have received a few questions as to what our favorite iron is. Sounds like it may end up on a few holiday wish lists!

We thought it would be fun to share our different opinions on the subject of irons with you.

Laura:  I’m not sure I’m the best one to weigh in on this discussion because I’m a bit of a pessimist on this subject. But, I’ll throw my two cents into the pot, just because I want to be honest with you. I have not really loved an iron since my first one, a Rowenta, which I purchased about 35 years ago. I still have it and use it regularly in the classroom. It’s been a workhorse and has all the qualities I want in an iron – weight, good steam, no automatic turn off and definitely no leaking or spitting gunky brown liquid that will stain my fabric.

Over the years I have purchased probably 20 or more irons for both personal and classroom use, ranging in price from $20 to over $100. Truth be told, none of them has lived up to my expectations and as a result, I find myself buying a new one in less than a year.

I am currently using this Rowenta, and certainly not just because it is red!  It gets the job done but since I’ve never been excited about the automatic turn-off feature, this is a negative for me. It seems to take a bit too long to heat up and will turn off too quickly. I seem to spend to much time waiting for it to be ready. Perhaps I’m just impatient.

mainiron

One of my local quilt shops recently purchased  Reliable irons for the classroom. I had not used this brand but I have really enjoyed using them. They are heavy in weight and put out a lot of steam. I will certainly consider this brand the next time I am in need of a new iron. Unlike my other irons, this one suggests using distilled water. If you are not familiar with Reliable irons, I suggest reading some of the online reviews. I always find it helpful to listen to the advice of other quilters when it comes to the tools we regularly use.

reliableiron

It wouldn’t be fair to leave out my favorite small travel-type iron. This Rowenta is the perfect size for taking to class, I like how it fits in my hand and allows me to easily press small pieces; especially when preparing small fabric shapes for appliqué. I definitely use my main iron for the final stages of pressing but there is something about this iron that appeals to me when working with small shapes and/or pressing seams open.

traveliron

Pati: Like Laura, I have owned quite a few irons over the years. Some worked well, others were just not up to my needs and expectations. I owned quite a few Rowentas in a row because they performed so well. A few years back I was having trouble with my forearm muscle and decided to switch to an Oliso Smart Iron, thinking that it would help. I love it!

Oliso Steam Iron

My cheerful, yellow Oliso had Scorchguards technology, which actually lifts the iron off the board for you the moment you remove your hand. Which meant my arm got a much-needed rest. I have been very happy with the other functions of the iron, also. It heats up quickly, even after the automatic turnoff. It works well with dry heat, and the steam settings are spot on. I especially like the steam blast button to get the creases out of folded fabric.
oliso-closeup

One of my favorite features of my Oliso is the way you add water. I have always spilled or over-filled when adding water. This iron is almost spill proof when you use the companion water pitcher that comes with the iron. No more saturated ironing boards in my sewing room!

I want to also add that Darci and I both had a chance to use the Reliable Iron that Laura mentioned above, while at a retreat last weekend. I thought it was really great. It had great heat, lots of steam and I really liked the feel of the iron.

Darci: I grew up using my mom’s old Black and Decker classic iron. That thing always came through, so much so that we used it for 25+ years. When I started quilting, I was pleased to see that Black and Decker re-released their classic iron, now with updated technology. I had one that lasted a few years but then conked out. So I bought another, and that one failed after a few months. Enter: my cordless iron from Panasonic.

I have a really old vintage iron that’s pre-electricity also, I thought that was a funny comparison to how far we’ve come with our tech. My two cordless irons.

thanandnow

The Panasonic NI-L70SR has a retractable cord along with a heat-resistant cover which makes it a great traveler. I brought it to our East Bay Modern Quilters Retreat this weekend, and it got non-stop use for 3 days. At the end of the weekend, I unplugged it and put it right in my car without having to wait for it to cool down.

I love how there’s no cord to get tangled up in. When I’m ironing larger items, I just make sure to put it on the base frequently so it doesn’t lose its heat. I haven’t had too much of a problem with that, it seems to hold its heat just fine. I love the stainless steel plate also. I just finished a large appliqué project that involved lots of glue and heat setting, and the plate never got gluey. My only complaint is that the water chamber is small, but since it’s detachable, you can take just that part over to fill it up. It gives me the excuse to get a few more steps in.

upright

Hope this answers a few of our readers’ questions. If you need a few quilters tips on how to properly iron, or clean your iron, check out these links:

How to Press Quilt Seams – A Free Craftsy Tutorial

How to Press a Quilt Block Flat – This is a great trick by Generations Quilt Pattern

Accurate Pressing – Quilting.about.com

Cleaning Your Iron with a Dryer Sheet – ApartmentTherapy.com

If you love DIY, then here is a recipe for the spray starch alternative we all love.

Spray Starch Alternative Recipe

In a large container, mix together:

24 oz distilled water

3 oz. vodka

1 tsp scented essential oil (optional) Love the fresh linen and lavender scents.

You may also add one drop of food color per gallon if you like.

Pour into spray bottle, give a good shake and your ready to press.

Giveaway

 

And for our giveaway – Share your favorite trick or advice with us and we will choose one lucky reader to win a free gift to use with all of your new ironing tips we have shared.

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you all next week!

laura-pati-and-darci

Quiltcon 2016 – More Than Just a Quilt Exhibit

Pine Burr Quilt (close-up) by Tara Faughnan, photography by Carol Van Zandt.
Pine Burr Quilt (close-up) by Tara Faughnan, photography by Carol Van Zandt.

Awesome. Inspiring. Encouraging. Just a few words that pop into my head when I think of this year’s Quiltcon West, from last month in Pasadena, California. There are a lot of blogs, Instagram and Facebook sites that are covering the quilts in the show, including our own Carol Van Zandt, who will be posting photos in categories over the next few weeks. You can see her first in a series of Quiltcon posts here: The Plaid Portico. I will leave the quilt photography to the experts, and instead, share my own personal experience with this year’s show.

What I enjoyed the most about Quiltcon West, would have to be the camaraderie. The warmth and fellowship that I encountered was apparent throughout the entire show. Whether I was walking the show floor, sitting in a lecture, or standing in line for a morning latte, it was refreshing to enjoy the friendly vibe . Everyone I met was simply happy to be there, be part of the experience and take it all in. I made so many new friendships by happenstance. Each one, an opportunity to discover another spectrum of our quilting community.  And it was a lovely four days to catch up with old friends.

The vendors this year were spectacular. Each booth had so many jewels to discover. My suitcase came home stuffed to the weight limit. One booth in particular kept drawing me back in. I wanted to share a little about it. Purl & Loop, a contemporary needlecraft business that focuses on needle felting and weaving kits with the busy life of a maker in mind.2016-02-20 11.54.04

I remember meeting and chatting with the owner of Purl & Loop, Angela Smith, at Quiltcon 2015. I loved her needle felted bowl kits, but didn’t take one home, knowing myself well enough to not add another unfinished project to my list. Well – my friend, Gina Chang, of Wooden Gate Quilts did – and I have spent the past year admiring her lovely bowls every time I visit her quilt shop! Regretting my decision of last year, I was not going to make the same mistake twice.

PL bowls

So, I headed into the Purl & Loop booth, and immediately was taken back by the soothing, calming effect their booth had among the hustle and bustle of all the other vendor booths. It was airy, inviting and draped in linen. Ahhhh, breathe, relax.

2016-02-20 11.51.57

The textures and colors of the wool, aside the warmth of the wood was simply inviting. I just wanted to savor every place my eyes gazed.

PL sample 4

PL sample 2

PL sample 1

Angela Smith and her assistant Missy Bosch, were so much fun to get to know. Their work is beautiful and they truly enjoy what they are doing.

Missy and Angela

It made me remember my college days, when I would spend hours and hours on a floor loom. I used to say it was my therapy for all of my other stressful assignments.

PL sample 5

But wait! What is this? A Stash Blaster Birch Weaving Loom! Seriously? This is amazing! 
PL lg loom

This one came home with me. I can’t wait to get started! Especially when I saw the creative materials that Missy used in her weavings – paper, ribbon, tulle – this really could be a stash buster!
PL sample 3

While I was busy discovering the looms, Gina was busy discovering their newest product, needle felted tree kits. Word has it, you will see these for retail at Wooden Gate Quilts soon!
Angela and Gina

Oh my gosh, I better get started making bowls and weavings quick, so I can move on to these adorable trees!

PL Trees

I had better be off! I have got work to do!

Have a great week,

Pati

 

A Quilters Favorite Pincushion

 Pincushion

pin·cush·ion;     pinˌko͝oSHən;     noun – a small cushion into which pins are stuck for convenient storage.

So this is about as small as it gets. I love this little guy. I tuck it into my bag for travel to classes or handwork on the go. Pincushions have come a long way since the red tomato version that I remember sitting next to my mom’s Singer sewing machine in the 60’s.

georgias-home-inspirations.blogspot.com
Photo from Georgia’s Home Inspirations.

I got this idea a few weeks ago to do a story on quilter’s favorite pincushions. Would they match the quilters’ personality? We all have our personal favorite. That one that you grab first. The one that has been with you through your trials and tribulations of quilting. So I put the word out on Facebook,  Instagram and in my drop-in class for everyone to share their favorite pincushions with me. I have collected quite an assortment to share with you!

The tomato pincushion will always be a classic among sewists. It just happens to have a bit more personality today.

PicMonkey Collage

Top left to right:

SHWS emeritus, Jennifer Rounds wrote about these lovely Heirloom Tomato Pincushions in a past blog post. Which, just happens to come with a free pattern on our Pattern Page.

Catherine Jarrett sports a green tomato in my drop-in class. I am pretty sure this one has helped with some show-stopping- quilts. If you are on Instagram, you can see one of Catherine’s quilts featured in a recent Quiltmania issue here.

Fern Royce, from Textile Mavens sent this snapshot to me. Love the colors and fabrics of this. It just reminds me of Fern and her wonderful quilts.
How about a colorful version, by none other than the talented longarmer, Kerry Reed? Check out some of her beautiful work on her facebook page here.
Some quilters get more excited about beverages than vegetables, (ahem – tea cups vs tomatoes, get it?).
Top left to right:
Pam Petsas brought this Victorian jewel to our Indie Modern Quilters meeting. Such a fashionista!
Kerry Reed, shared another pincushion that her sister gave to her 10 years ago. How many quilts do you think this lil’ teapot has seen quilted in it’s time? Oh, if only it could talk. . . .
Rosemary Patterson – OMG, if you know Rosemary, you know this is perfect for her – fun and full of spunk!
Kristen Takakawa, of The Needies  has a pincushion made by her sister in law, using a sake cup as the base. Kristen says the weight of the cup always keeps it right where she wants it.
And then there is the “form follows function” category, still managing to slip in some creativity. Pincushions with storage – how smart is that?
Left to right:
The talented, Linda Harding keeps Frida close at hand for toting tiny tools.
And my friend, Chancy Fessler snapped a photo of the cushion of choice for Ben Venom while he taught a workshop at San Jose Quilt Museum.
My personal favorites, the wool versions. . .
Left to right:
Laura Nownes, of course with no less than a ladybug! This one is a real cutie!
Longtime friend of SHWS, Diana McClun has a wooly treasure. I love this one. Maybe because it is always out and in use in her studio when I visit.
Moving on to pieced with perfection . . .
Top left to right:
Kim Buteau, of Etsy’s Zombie and Posies totes this sweetheart to class with her. I challenge you to find anything else pink in her shop!
And for perfect points, we have Rita of Mochi Studios‘s little gem!
These last two were shared by my new Instagram buddy, Cyndi Murdoch of JackcynRedesign.com. She wrote a sweet post about A Quilting Afternoon, you might like to read.
Speaking of sweet. . .
PicMonkey Collage 6
Left to right:
Margaret Glendening of Etsy’s MGmade, uses a pincushion her daughter made in Kindergarten.
Art quilter, Pauline Pearsall has a lovely lace number to hold her pins. Check out one of Pauline’s amazing quilts at Pattsart.com
And we have to have an animal section, now don’t we?
PicMonkey Collage 5
Left to right:
This busy little turtle was found sitting on the worktable at Oakland’s A Verb for Keeping Warm. It was sitting right next to their new book!
And let’s end with Terri Carpenter of The Quilted Fox, who shared her adorable little mouse..
So after seeing all these creative pincushions, I noticed that I  have quite an odd collection poking around my own sewing room.PicMonkey Collage
I don’t even think the turtle was made for a pin cushion, but it works great for one! The red one holds my machine needles, when I am not quite ready to retire them.
Ceremony 2Which reminds me of one of the first posts I wrote on SHWS, about Hari-Kuyo, a lovely Japanese ceremony for retiring old and  broken sewing needles. It is such a lovely tradition. You can read about it here.

PicMonkey Collage 7

To end this story, I am going to be quite honest. Usually when at home, I use my trusty metal bowl. I like that in a quilting frenzy, which I am often in, I can actually toss the pins and the magnet just pulls them on home. Second in command would be my beloved pincushion/threadcatcher I made a few years ago. These are definitely my tools of choice.

So how’s that for a pincushion extravaganza? I hope you enjoyed it. I know I totally enjoyed seeing how my friends express their personality this humble little tool. Want to share your favorite pincushion? Tag me on Facebook or Instagram and #favoritepincushion to be a part of the collection. I would love to keep it growing!

See you soon!

Pati

Parting Thoughts: Going Solo @ Chasing Bright Shiny Objects

After four years of blogging with a quartet of talented women at See How We Sew, I am going to take a leap into solo blogging. Starting this coming Friday you’ll find me at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, a blog about whatever strikes my fancy. Sure, there’ll be quilts and sewn crafts in the mix, but with my own blogging venue, I’ll be exploring a broader world of creativity and random other things.

Before I head out, I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite posts and shared moments with Christie, Darra, Laura, and Pati. Just to reassure you, dear readers, SHWS remains in the capable hands of Laura and Pati.

Do check back on Friday for a preview of Chasing Bright Shiny Objects. I’d like to invite you to join me on my new adventures—the road map is a work-in-progress!

Favorite Profile

No question—Candace Kling. Writing a blog is a great excuse to marshal courage and contact the more iconic figures in our creative realms for interviews. I’ve long admired Candace and it was a treat to meet her and visit her outrageously wonderful studio: rough around the edges in its warehouse setting, but a true Aladdin’s cave filled with glorious examples of her art and collected vintage wares.

Inspiration-J: Candace Kling's Studio
Examples of Candace Kling’s outstanding floral ribbon work.

Favorite SHWS Project

Again, a clear favorite for me, Achoo!, a collaborative pattern we developed for the debut of Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer line. It’s not easy to squeeze in shared sewing time when we have such crazy working and life schedules—remember Laura had her daughter’s wedding in that interval—but somehow we managed to design and sew the quilt, plus write the Achoo! pattern instructions. Yes, we were breathless by the end, mostly because we had to make an additional quilt for the Robert Kaufman Fabrics trunk show, but we very happy with the result. Truly, the team collaboration has been the most satisfying experience in this last year. (Laura is awe inspiring as she power sews!)

Handsome Freddy (last name Reddy, yes, Reddy!) guards our secret project.
Handsome Freddy (last name Reddy, yes, Reddy!) guards our Achoo! quilt.

Favorite Team Event

It too was madness, but so much fun: Quilting in the Garden 2012. That’s where our original quartet, Christie, Darra, Laura, and I, were featured artists for the outdoor quilt exhibition in Livermore, California. What a fun weekend we had visiting with fellow quilters and visitors to Alden Lane Nursery. Laura returned this year with her long-time collaborator, Diana McClun, for a retrospective exhibit of a quarter century of shared quilt making. They have an astonishing number of them in their archives–we’re talking hundreds of quilts!

From left:  Christie, Jennifer (Christie's BOM), Darra (Sunbonnet Sue & a baby quilt)
From left: Christie, Jennifer (Christie’s BOM), Darra (Sunbonnet Sue & a baby quilt) at Quilting in the Garden 2012, Livermore, California.

Favorite Personal Post(s)

Yikes, that’s a tough one because there are several that resonate with me still. As a writer who spends most of her professional time crafting sentences that have a neutral voice, taking those first steps to sharing my own voice has been both scary and thrilling. My first post, Designing Quilts One Grocery Bag at a Time, was a complete improvisation. I experienced something that tickled my fancy and I wrote about it. It was weird inspiration, but that spurred me to share the moment with photographs. My peanut gallery of males (i.e. my all-male household) thought I was demented as I tried to figure out how to photograph groceries on my kitchen table. Par for the course as it turns out with this blog–we have each grown our skills as we’ve navigated this endeavor. Next fave personal post: My Quilts Have Feet–it makes me teary eyed. I miss my little fellas, even as I adore the grown men they have become. I absolutely do miss them when I have large quilts to photograph though. They know the drill and, as I mentioned in this recent post, my new crew needs some pointers.

J-Inspiration: Groceries II Minus Chips and Ice Cream

Favorite Collaboration

Ah, this one was a true pleasure: the African textiles and quilts series that culminated in a virtual quilt show of African quilts (Part I, Part II). This mega international project would have be impossible without Paula Benjaminson, art quilter, ambassadorial wife, and former U.S. foreign service officer. We most definitely spanned the globe with this extravaganza: Paula and I were in touch via email as she traveled from Africa to Europe and the U.S. The images from the collection of posts are still favorites for Pinterest pinners and for those who love African textiles.

A wondrous array of colors and prints on display for sale in Libreville, Gabon.
A wondrous array of colors and prints on display for sale in Libreville, Gabon–photographed by Paula Benjaminson, SAQA member.

Wow, four years and somewhere around 50+ individual posts, it’s been a blast here at SHWS. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me in the Comments section, it’s been a true pleasure getting to know such a talented and passionate array of crafting people. Keep the pedal to the medal with your sewing and do consider joining me on my new blogging journey.

Jennifer Signature

 

A See How We Sew Tradition: Our Top 10 Posts for 2014

Inspiration-J:  Xmas Tree

Hello dear readers! Hope the holiday season is  treating you well. We’re enjoying the closing days of 2014, and looking forward to all sorts of crafting and sewing adventures in 2015. You’ll remember that last year we shared our Top 10 Posts for 2013 and we’re establishing a New Year’s tradition by looking at our results for 2014 and sharing them with you.

Like last year, you favor learning about techniques, notable textile artists, and products:

  1. Patterns
  2. Walk Your Stitches Out of the Ditch
  3. 10 Things I’ve Learned From Hanging Out with Candace Kling
  4. Drafting Part 2:  Making an 8-Pointed or Lemoyne Star
  5. Candace Kling, Masterful Manipulator of Fabric & Ribbon
  6. Prewash or Not? Quilting’s Perennial Question
  7. Feeling Frantic?  Check Out These Last-Minute Goodies
  8. Gallery
  9. Soft & Stable:  An Alternative to Batting
  10. Creating Curved Pieced Blocks and Landscapes with Sue Rasmussen

Enjoy the waning days of our Winter holidays and do check back to see what we have in store for 2015!

Signature 1 line

 

 

Quilt Market – All Our Favorites!

As I mentioned in my post last Tuesday, I just returned from International Quilt Market in Houston. I am not always the most dependable person to be in charge of photos, but I did actually pull out my lil’ red camera to snap a few shots of our favorite friends and guests of See How We Sew.

I also wanted to share a slideshow of my personal favorites in the quilt exhibit. Click here: slideshow to get a peek. My apologies for the adds that are slipped in. You can thank Flickr for that. I also apologize for not keeping track of the artists and quilters responsible for these beauties. Remember, I am not the most responsible photographer. . . so if you recognize a quilt, be sure to let me know and I am happy to add the names to the photos.

IMG_3211

I took quite a few photos of the Windham booth, since our quilt, A Day at the Shore (aka Making Waves), was hanging right at the front entrance. How fun is that?

Kim Andersson and A Day At the Shore Quilt for her Tidal Lace Collection     Tidal Lace Quilts

Fabric designer Kim Andersson was sporting an adorable frock made from her Tidal Lace Collection, along with other happy quilts created for her fabric line .

Windham

Iza Pearl Designs had an amazing display inside the Windham Booth.

Paint     Succulents or Cascade

Unbelievable detail on her Paint quilt. And yes – the cactus is made of fabric!

cascade  Cascade 2

Jessica Levitt had a serene and oh-so-beautiful display for her new line, Cascade, complete with a trickling, water fountain in the background.

Succulents     Succulents 2 

And Succulents by Heather Givens – definitely a fabric line that I will be buying.

cascade 3

I kept finding myself just hanging out near this beauty.

Okay, moving on from the Windham Booth, I got to visit with a few friends on the floor. I feel so lucky to know these uber-talented people.

Jennifer Sampou

Jennifer Sampou looked amazing as ever with her totally fun black and white booth.

Sampou quilt    Sampou

Seriously, how fun are these?

Valorie Wells

Valori Wells did it again with her wonderful eye for color and playfulness – and scored a blue ribbon for her booth design.

Valerie Wells booth

Again, seriously? How cute is that?

Monaluna     DSC00986

Jennifer Moore and her husband David Miguelucci own Mona Luna, a small, independent organic fabric company. Keep your eyes open for this one. Her fabric and patterns are beautiful. We talked about a future visit with See How We Sew in the next month or so.

Friedlander booth     Friedlander

Carolyn Friedlander – is there nothing this chick can’t do? That sofa was amazing.

Then it was time to take a break for fun with friends.

Madeline at Domestic Strata     Dinner with friends

I met Madeleine Roberg of Domestic Strata almost immediately as I hit the show floor on the first day. She is so much fun. I just wanted to hang out in her booth all day. Next, it was off for dinner with Kim, and two more new friends, Linda Warren (the talented designer and teacher of Linda Warren Designs) and Timna Tarr (you just have to go look at her site, Timna Tarr – I am in awe of her quilts.)

Back to those inspiring booth displays.

not sure     American Made Brand

   Cloud 9     Cloud 9 2 

So much creativity!

Contempo     DSC01022 Cotton and steel 2    Cotton and steel

Heather Bailey     Lakehouse

And then a shout-out to a few more Northern California peeps that we love.

Fig Tree Quilt2    Fig Tree Quilts

Fig Tree & Co.

Bird Brain Designs     Bunny Hill

Bird Brain Designs and Bunny Hill Designs.

In the awesome quilt category . . .

Farmers Star 2     Farmer's Star

The Reclaimed West Collection by Judy and Judel Neimeyer.

Paula Naedelstern     Whimsical

Paula Naedelstern and Whimsical Journey

2014-10-27 11.02    2014-10-27 11.03

This was a quilt I fell in love with in the Chenille-It booth. Check this out! It is done with raw edge “blooming bias” tape. Can’t wait to try this.

Soak 2     Soak

And I will end with  photos from the Soak booth. One, because I felt like I was in a cool cosmetic counter when I visited them and two, because they gave me samples. Thanks ladies! I am already using it.

Hope you enjoyed all my favorites.  Have a great weekend.

Pati Signature

International Quilt Market – What’s New in the Quilt Industry?

I just got back from International Quilt Market last week. What a great trip! So many new things to sew; so many new things to try! It was also a really great time to reconnect with friends in the industry, and as always, make new friends.

The big news, this year, was that International Quilt Market celebrated its 35th Anniversary. It’s amazing to think that this huge show to the trade all started with one doozie of a great idea! Congratulations Quilts Inc. for following your dream. So many talented people have kickstarted their quilt-related businesses through this wonderful forum. Quilters everywhere – thank you for this!

Also, International Quilt Festival celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year. In this celebratory spirit, Ruby Red Jubilee was created, a breathtaking quilt exhibit filled with an amazing selection of red and white quilts. All I can say is –  it was spectacular! If you would like to watch a video of the show, I am including a link to a video that Pam Holland created.  Thank you Pam! http://vimeo.com/110033586

 Ruby Jubilee, International Quilt Market 2014

Ruby Jubilee, International Quilt Market 2014

There were many other incredible exhibits at the show. One in particular grabbed my attention. 500 Traditional Quilts, the new book by Karey Patterson Bresenhan,  was was on display with selected quilts from the book, including a quilt by our own, Laura Nownes, Harijuku Star. Congratulations Laura!

Harijuku Star by Laura Nownes

The Schoolhouse Series, always held the day before the show opens, was jammed packed with announcements of all the latest, hottest fabric lines, patterns, tools and ideas. My personal favorite of this year? Pepper Cory’s class on Big Stitch quilitng, and an introduction to the newest pallette of Peppered Cottons, including Peppered Plaids.

Peppered Cottons by Studio E and Pepper Cory     Peppered plaids by Studio E and Pepper Cory

It was also really cool to see how the quilt industry has embraced the clothing sewers. Schoolhouse was filled with lots of patterns and fabrics designed for more than just quilts. For the first time ever, I am inspired to actually make some clothing for myself! Don’t you just love these dress patterns?

Anna Maria Horner - Lemon Drop Dress     Birch Fabrics

Evenings were filled with a meet and greet, Fabric 2.0 and a festival meetup with Modern Quilt Guild members. Both were lots of fun and yet another chance to visit with friends and acquaintances. Oh, and let me tell you – swag bags galore! I could have used an extra suitcase to bring home all my goodies!

What is trending this year? Ok, keep in mind that you are getting this from the world of Pati Fried, but this is what I saw as new and popular on the show floor.

Sizzix – A die-cut and embossing tool for paper – and you guessed it – FABRIC! Everywhere I went, someone was talking about them. And yes, I now have one on order.

Sizzix Booth (2)

Fabric designed for more than just quilts. The seamstress has officially been embraced. Cotton and Steel announced a beautiful new double gauze cotton collection called Bespoke. Yummy!

Photo courtesy of Thatswhatshesewed.com

Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler teamed up to create a fabulous line of cotton knits for Free Spirit.  Anna Maria Horner demonstrated how they could be used as a companion with quilting cotton. The tunic below is made of knit, and the applique is quilt cotton. They work so nicely together.
Photo courtesy of Sew Scatterbrained.com

And to wrap up my take on what’s trending – self publishing is becoming more and more mainstream.  I attended an eye-opening lecture by Marguerita McManus of Fibers Media, on the subject of self publishing and e-books. These platforms are an easy fit for marketing yourself and ideas in the quilt world. Great information and very inspiring.

Ok, enough for now. On Friday, I will show booth photos from some of the SHWS favorite friends and guests that I

saw exhibiting at Quilt Market.

Giveaway-Gold

 

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Lola. Congratulations Lola! Laura will be contacting you with you gift.

 

 

 

 

Pati Signature

Top Ten Posts for 2013 at See How We Sew

A peek at a portion of Candace Kling's vast ribbon stash.
A peek at a portion of Candace Kling’s vast ribbon stash.
Candace’s posts were widely popular this year at See How We Sew.

As bloggers, my SHWS sisters and I review our readership numbers regularly to see what posts have been popular with viewers. That certainly helps us figure out if we’re writing about topics that are appealing, informational, and–we hope–fun.

Here’s the rundown for 2013. Clearly you like clever people, projects, products, and how-to guidance. Some pre-date 2013, which shows that we’ve truly hit on a topic of universal interest.

See How We Sew’s Top 10 Posts for 2013

  1. FREE Patterns
  2. He’s Here, He’s Here! The Santa Claus Block is Ready!
  3. 10 Things I’ve Learned From Hanging Out With Candace Kling, Ribbon Worker Extraordinaire
  4. Candace Kling, Masterful Manipulator of Fabric & Ribbon–Giveaway Today!
  5. Gallery and How-To Videos
  6. Soft and Stable: An innovative alternative to batting. A perfect choice for Placemats & Totebags
  7. Neutral Palettes: Sophisticated and Sensational!
  8. Working in a Series: Gwen Marston and 37 Sketches
  9. Walk Your Stitches Right Out of the Ditch: Fresh Ideas for Quilting with a Walking Foot
  10. Housing Projects: Schoolhouse Quilts, Then and Now (Part 1)

    "Small Study 10" (2010) by Gwen Marston, from her book, 37 Sketches
    Another fan favorite this year: “Small Study 10” (2010) by Gwen Marston, from her book, 37 Sketches.

Other Matters of Interest on the Eve of a New Year–Pati Fried Gives Herself an INSANE Challenge!

UFO Marathon

Giveaway Winner

The winner of my Santa Smiles Tree Skirt pattern giveaway is Jennifer Willard–congratulations!

On the eve of a new year, we wish you the very best and fun/safe frolics!

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From the Three of Us: Running with Scissors (+ a Special Anniversary Giveaway)

Giveaway-GoldTechnology has changed our lives in many places,  the sewing room among them. We 21st-century stitchers are beneficiaries of so many advances: computerized sewing machines; accurate and sturdy rulers for every conceivable use;  instruction available 24/7 via the ‘net. In the cutting department, we have rotary cutters in all sizes, perfect for cleanly cutting straight or scalloped edges, and cutting systems such as AccuQuilt, capable of quickly cutting dozens of identical shapes. Yet, despite the options, sometimes nothing will do but a good, old-fashioned pair of scissors.

Darra's 3" x 5" collage, Snip-It!, with a pair of her (well-used) favorites, a gift from friend Chris Porter
Darra’s 3″ x 5″ collage, Snip-It!, with a pair of her (well-used) favorites, a gift from friend Chris Porter

No one knows for certain exactly when scissors made the scene, or even how they got their name, but there are some pretty well-acknowledged guesses. A single-bladed, scissor-like implement was evident in Egypt, circa 1500 B.C. The cross-bladed, pivoted configuration more familiar to us today likely dates to the early-2nd-century Romans. As for the name: according to Merriam-Webster, the Middle English word cisours (or sisoures) was in use by the mid-14th century, tracing its roots to the Latin caedare (“to cut”).

In honor of this venerable and versatile tool, we thought it would be fun to share a snippet or two of our own history with scissors: memories, favorites, even a tip–you’ll find it here!

Jennifer’s Ode to Her Scissors

Even as a child, when I was a novice sewer, I realized scissors were imbued with mythic power. Those shiny, big shears were strictly off limits except for cutting fabric. Honestly, I was a little afraid of them. Not so much now. What with rotary cutters and such, we’ve got scads of choices when it comes to our cutting ways. As for scissors, I favor a sporty model that Diana McClun gave me a few years ago—it was the designated giveaway for the Empty Spools sessions at Asilomar (CA) that year. I love them because they are the racy sports car version of scissors: they are sharp, corner well, snip cleanly right up to the tip of the blade, and they are also exotically international—they are Japanese by birth.

Jennifer's go tos, artfully displayed
Jennifer’s go tos, artfully displayed

Laura Checks In

I have always enjoyed having a pair of scissors in my hands. Sometimes the cuts did not produce the outcome I had hoped for; for example, at around age 4, I clearly recall cutting the beautiful, long curls from my best friend’s new bride doll . . . sorry Patty! (Perhaps this experience softened me when, at around the same age, my younger daughter gave her best friend a haircut.)

Betsy McCall first appeared in McCall's in 1951.
Betsy McCall first appeared in McCall’s in 1951.

Soon after, I was given my own pair of safety scissors. I remember patiently awaiting the arrival of the monthly McCalls Magazine  just to be able to flip to the last page and cut out the newest version of the Betsy McCall paper doll that appeared in each issue. For me, it was always about the cutting and much less about playing with the dolls.

When I started dressmaking, a pair of beautiful Gingher shears were my new treasured tool. When I want accurate cutting for large or multiple fabric shapes, these are my scissors of choice. I have a variety of small, embroidery-type scissors and use them for all my appliqué and embroidery projects. Like Jennifer, I also was gifted with a pair of Kai scissors. They have become my new favorite pair.

Some of Laura's favorites
Some of Laura’s favorites

A Tip From Darra

Funny how our memories overlap. I have similar recollections of the forbidden fabric scissors: I learned about the distinction when I was discovered trimming my bangs with Mom’s precious Wiss dressmaking shears. I also remember waiting impatiently for her to finish with McCall’s so I could get at those paper dolls. (Heavenly were the months when the reverse page contained no stories, just ads. Instant green light!)

Like Laura and Jennifer, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of sewing scissors over the years, and I have my favorites; however, I’ve got one special pair among my “essentials”
that you might find unusual: a pair of small, sharp, curved-bladed manicuring scissors. They are perfect for cutting out small (or otherwise) curvy shapes from template material. If they’re sharp enough, you can use them for cutting out curved applique shapes from fused fabric as well. I wouldn’t be without them!

Curved manicuring scissors--perfect for cutting small curved templates and pieces, like the pockets and such in April Showers for Sunbonnet Sue by Chris Porter
Curved manicuring scissors–perfect for cutting small curved templates and pieces, like the pockets and such in April Showers for Sunbonnet Sue by Chris Porter

Leave a comment telling us about your favorite scissors by noon Thursday, April 4, and you’ll be eligible to win a pair of shiny new 8″ Gingher knife-edge dressmaking shears . . . and a secret bonus that we’ll reveal when we announce the winner in our Friday, April 5 post. It’s a special, double giveaway to mark a very special milestone: the 2nd anniversary of See How We Sew!

Ginghers

We hope your week includes some time for stitching.

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