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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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

A SHWS Alum Stops By + A Giveaway!

Hello SHWS readers, Jennifer here! It’s been many months since I’ve been in touch. These days I’m trolling the crafting and quilting resources of the great Southwest from my new digs in Arizona. Believe me, it’s challenging to leave the abundance of the San Francisco Bay Area where artists and craftspeople are setting trends, but it’s invigorating to jump into the unknown and explore who I am when I don’t have my posse of creative types for input. (Lordy, I miss Laura’s know-how though!)

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In my adventuring I’ve come across a wonderful pattern designer called Carrie Payne of Believe Magic. As I explain in a post at my blog Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, I discovered her work at Scottsdale Quilts in Arizona. I don’t typically fall for charming figurative designs, but something clicked with her illustrations that celebrate young womanhood. It’s a case of right place/right time and a sudden need to make something special—my eldest son was about to propose to his girlfriend! As a mother-in-law-in-the-making I realized I needed to welcome my prospective daughter-in-law in an appropriate quilter fashion . . .

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Giveaway Details

And so, if you click over to my blog Chasing BSOZ, you’ll get the lowdown on my Carrie Payne adventure and the opportunity to enter a giveaway to win one of Carrie’s patterns. The deadline is Monday, November 14th.  Leave me a comment and I will draw random winners. There’s a question to answer, but you’ll find that at the end of the post.

What’s Better Than One Bridal Project? Two, Of Course!

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but once I made one engagement gift, I couldn’t stop. Maybe it was the fabulous vintage ribbons available at Scottsdale Quilts, or perhaps I’m building up good will with my other son’s girlfriend. Her only sister is about to marry and she’s the maid of honor plus organizer of the bachelorette party. We decided she needed a bride quilt bedecked with charms from all the girls attending the party.

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screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-4-09-41-pmI didn’t fly as blindly this time with the little quilt. This bride-to-be was months into preparation and had an official color scheme and a wedding gown. Carrie’s pattern is very flexible and I was able to style that bride to match her plans. Don’t you just love Pinterest? I took her special color board to the quilt shop and craft store and found just the right embellishments.

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Carrie’s pattern allows for styling, and so my son’s girlfriend and I played with different hair designs and decorative elements. We ended up with her hair down and a fascinator carefully snipped from a length of vintage lace. Those roses could have formed a bouquet, but all told, that was too much when elaborate lace layers alternated with white print tiers.

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These are some of the finishing details. I told her I’d sew the charms on once the bachelorette party is over and there’s a blank label on the back for the guests to sign.

Your Official Invitation

Do come over to Chasing Bright Shiny Objects to check out my latest creative adventures and please enter the drawing for a Carrie Payne pattern.

My best to the wonderful readers of See How We Sew!

Jennifer

My One Hour Challenge – Part 2 plus a Giveaway

It’s curious to me that sometimes I have to schedule a play date in my sewing room in order for things to get done. I guess this is just a sign of busy times. Fortunately it’s not always like this!

I’m just now getting back to playing with the charm packs and floral fabrics that I started in my last post. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap and details of my process.

I started with a charm pack (5″ squares) of solid Kona Cotton fabrics by Robert Kaufman. I separated the solid fabrics and then paired them with some floral fabrics from my collection.

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I set aside one of the six solid fabrics from each group. Then used my new 20-degree wedge ruler to cut the remaining solid squares into fabric wedges. I got 2 fabric wedges from each square. There was a bit remaining that I decided not to use in this project.
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After cutting, there were 10 fabric wedges from each group. I arranged nine and then sewed them together to make half of a circle.

Wedges

The next step is to make a straight cut along the edge of the three inner fabric wedges. I placed the completed half circle on my cutting mat and used a ruler to determine the distance from the straight, left-hand edge of the circle to the outer edges of the three inner fabric wedges.

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Cut the excess.

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Turn the fabric on the mat and make two additional cuts, as shown.

 

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It will now look like this.

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Next, I straightened the top edge even with the lowest point of the curve.

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charmwedges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cut the squares that were set aside earlier, as shown in the photo.

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These are sewn to the bottom corners, and then trimmed to size.

Trimming

 

Next, I cut a floral piece of fabric for the top of the block and joined the two halves together.

Fullblock

 

I did the same for the remaining combos. Here are the finished blocks. My next step will be deciding what to do with them. . . I see another play day in my future.

Finishedblocks

I must share with you that after my previous post on this challenge, I received a comment from my friend Anita Grossman Solomon, that she too had been playing with the charm pack of Kona solids that she received in her goodie bag at the same Craftsy event. Not only was she playing with the solids, but also combining them with large floral prints . . . what are the chances?

I asked Anita if I could share her blocks with all of you. Here you can see another simple use of the solids squares combined with beautiful floral fabrics.

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Like myself, Anita too has a new class on Craftsy, “Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches, Stars and Twists”. She shares lots of innovative tips for cutting and block construction. If anyone can simplify the process, it would be Anita . . . that’s the name of her game. Please visit her website to learn more about her books, patterns and workshops. To preview her online class with Craftsy, simply click here.

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My new 20-degree wedge rulers just arrived. I’d like to send one along with my new table runner pattern to one of our readers. Please just leave me a comment by Friday April 22nd, letting me know what you would like to play with wedge rulers. I will announce the winner with my next post.

Ruler

 

Blooming Wedge Table Runner by Laura Nownes
Blooming Wedge Table Runner by Laura Nownes

Until next time, happy creating everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

The Appliqué Book Blog Tour and a Giveaway!

11131_frontcover__07419.1441749387.1104.1280Today we are part of a blog tour introducing a new book! The Appliqué Book by Casey York. 1-Giveaway IconYou know what that means – lots of blog links for you to explore and be inspired by some very talented people and A GIVEAWAY!

 

I attended one of Casey York’s lectures at Quiltcon 2015 in Austin. The subject was using art history as inspiration for quilt designs. Right up my alley and very thought provoking. So, at this year’s Quiltcon, I had the opportunity to meet Casey and have time to visit with her. She is a lovely person, and so talented and inspiring! I am really happy to share her new book , The Applique Book, with you. It is  full of wonderful quilts to inspire and create, using appliqué techniques in modern quilt designs by Casey and a line-up of talented contributing designers. Here is a peek at some of the stunning photos in the book.

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Shards by Casey York, showcasing a technique she describes as free-form appliqué, embracing improvisational elements.

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Ginko Bed Runner by Casey York, using raw edge appliqué.

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Belle The Squirrel, Circa 1975 by Jennifer Dick using turned-edge appliqué.

Beautiful, right? This is a fabulous reference book to add to my quilt library. I find I am doing more and more appliqué lately. I don’t necessarily start out with appliqué in mind, but somewhere in the design process, I have a visual in my mind, and have to figure out how to create it as an image for my quilt. As with the beach balls created for the pattern, Making Waves
In my latest quilt, I really struggled to find the best applique technique to achieve the effect I was looking for . . . .

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It turns out, I am using a few different appliqué techniques to get this one finished! More photos to come soon on my blog, Design. Stitch. Quilt. Blog.  Hoping to finish it this week!

Thank you, Casey, for putting all the techniques down in one place – for me to refer to when needed! The book is a great addition to my quilting tool box!

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book for your quilting tool box, go to: Casey York’s online shop or C&T Publishing.

Or, enter our GIVEAWAY!

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11131_frontcover__07419.1441749387.1104.1280Do you have a favorite tip or technique for applique? Share it with us in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of The Applique Book, by Casey York,  (hard copy for US residents, electronic copy for international winners). Winner will be chosen at the end of the blog tour, on March 25.

The tour runs from March 14 to March 25 and features two posts per day. Be sure to check out the line-up below – there will be some great posts over the next two weeks.!

The Applique Book Blog Tour:

Mon. March 14:
Casey York | http://studioloblog.wordpress.com
C&T Publishing |http://www.ctpub.com/blog/

Tues. March 15:
Jenna Brand | http://jennabrand.com/ (coming soon!)
Adrianne Ove/Pink Chalk | http://www.pinkchalkstudio.com/blog/

Wed. March 16:
Jenifer Dick | http://42quilts.com/
Pati Fried | https://seehowwesew.wordpress.com/

Thurs. March 17:
Shannon Brinkley | http://www.thebottletree.net/blog/
Bari J. | http://barijdesigns.com/blogs/blog

Fri. March 18:
Debbie Grifka | http://eschhousequilts.com/blog
Beth Vassalo | http://plumandjune.blogspot.com

Mon. March 21:
Latifah Saafir | http://www.latifahsaafirstudios.com/blog

Tues. March 22:
Lynn Harris | http://thelittleredhen.typepad.com
Kevin Kosbab | http://feeddog.blogspot.com
Modern Quilts Unlimited | https://modernquilts.mqumag.com/category/blog

Web. March 23:
Allison Rosen | http://withinaquarterinch.com/
Cindy Lammon | http://hyacinthquiltdesigns.blogspot.com/

Thurs. March 24:
Rossie Hutchinson | http://www.rossiecrafts.com/blog
Generation Q | http://generationqmagazine.com/

Fri. March 25:
Betz White | http://betzwhite.com/blog
Casey York | http://studioloblog.wordpress.com

Happy Quilting!

Pati

Good Hair Day, Followed by a Pretty Pajama Night and a Giveaway

 GHD_BlogHop002We are so excited to be part of the Good Hair Day Blog Hop Tour today. The tour is celebrating the release of KimAndersson’s new line of fabric with Windham Fabrics, appropriately named, Good Hair Day.

See How We Sew Giveaway

If you are new to our blog, welcome! We are so happy you found us. If you are one of our loyal followers, then you know what a blog hop tour means here at See How We Sew. . . 

But first, let’s talk about this fabulous collection! Good Hair Day quickly fell into the SHWS favorite-stash category. I’ve known Kim for quite some time. She has popped up on our blog many times over the past few years. She has been featured in a guest post with us, and we were fortunate enough to participate in her first blog hop for the Tidal Lace collection. If you remember these posts, you would agree
that she is a pretty talented gal. With that in mind, I can safely say that Kim’s new line is a perfect combination of her humor and wit, sprinkled with a generous amount of graphic sensibility.
  iapfront_ghdThe colors for this collection are downright awesome. This is not just any ordinary color palette. Receiving our sample pack was like opening up a brand new box of crayons. And just look at those bobby pins and hair combs! They are brilliant! Who wouldn’t love to play with this fabric?

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Which is why, when Laura and I were asked to create something out of this line to share in the blog hop, we jumped at the chance. What a perfect opportunity to embrace our girly side. Hmmm, combs, blowdryers, ribbons and curls – how about a girl’s pajama night?

Laura chose a Butterick #B6225 pattern to make a pair of pajamas. I chose Modern Robe by The Modern Robe Company.

Butterick Pattern        Modern Robe pattern

And off we went, measuring, cutting, and sewing up this cheery fabric!

Good Hair DayIt was pretty easy to get caught up in adding trim, ruffles, and sashes, when a collections plays so well together. This was a really fun project to complete!

SHWS pajama party crop

Then it was off for a photo shoot for the Good Hair Day Look Book.
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And on to the Windham booth at Houston International Quilt Market last fall to play with all the other amazing creations made by all the talented people on this blog hop.
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Our pajamas and robe made it home just in time to show them off at one of Laura’s Pajama Night Sew-ins at Wooden Gate Quilts. Here we are sporting our pretty pajama party clothes.

Laura and Pati - Pajama night

Thanks so much for joining us today. We happen to be one of the last days of this blog tour, but be sure to go back and read all of the blog posts that have been involved in the Good Hair Day Release. There are some really talented sewists, quilters, and designers on this list. So much creativity and inspiration is shared in their posts.
GHD_BlogHop002Good Hair Day Blog Hop
January 2016
Mon 11th:
Tue 12th:
Wed 13th:
Thursday 14th:
Friday 15th
Sat 16th:
Darci Alexishttp://darcisews.com
Sun 17th:
Mon 18th:
Pati Fried & Laura Nowneshttps://seehowwesew.wordpress.com
Tues 19th:
Nicole Daksiewiczhttp://modernhandcraft.com/blog/

And now, on to THE GIVEAWAYS!Giveaway

Everyone loves giveaways! Just for fun, leave a comment at the bottom of our post, telling us about the craziest hair style you have ever tried. We will pick a lucky winner to recieve a 5.5 inch charm pack of the this great collection. (If you have trouble finding the comment box, scroll up and click on the title of this post, that should get your where you need to be.)

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And there’s more giveaways!

Fat quarter bundles are being given away on the Windham Fabrics’ blog, Snip-its and Kim Andersson’s blog, I Adore Patterns. These giveaways will be open throughout whole blog hop schedule, which ends tomorrow, so be sure to hop over and leave a comment for your chance to win.

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Hope you enjoyed our stop of the tour. Be sure to look for this line in your local quilt shop. Thanks for joining us today!
Laura & Pati

Let’s Go To The Hop! And Two Giveaways.

Greetings to all our regular readers and welcome to those of you new to our blog. Today I am excited to be participating in a Craftsy Blog Hop/Tour with several other Craftsy instructors. I’m pleased to be among this exciting line-up of instructors who will each be sharing a bit of information on their classes. On this tour you will find a variety of inspirational classes. Craftsy offers an abundance of other creative class choices as well, so be sure to check them out. Two of my personal favorites are baking (hmmm, what a surprise) and bread making. There is something for everyone –  jewelry making, woodworking, painting, photography and so much more.

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You will have an opportunity to visit each of the blogs, learn about the classes, and sign up, if interested. You will automatically be entered to win a FREE Craftsy class of your choice. You can find all the details below.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 12.45.35 PMHere’s a bit about me and my Craftsy class, Improve Your Quilts: 37 Troubleshooting Techniques. As you may know, I’ve been quilting, writing and teaching since the early 80’s. I am happiest in the classroom and especially enjoy helping students problem solve some of the challenges that often occur. In my class I address many of the most common disappointments (I truly don’t like the word mistake) that can arise during the quilt making process. There are seven lessons that cover everything from fabric selection to binding.

 

 

cuttingWant to know how to avoid cutting those disappointing  bent strips? It’s all in the preparation of your fabric. Take time to press the fabric, properly align the selvages and be sure the folded edge is without ripples before you make your first cut. This is no time to rush. Accurate cutting helps to prevent disappointments . . . and wasted fabric. Remember, success comes in the details.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.39.16 PMFabric selection … ah, yes. This seems to be one of the most challenging steps for many of us. There are so many wonderful bolts of fabric to choose from. How do I know where to start? I share several tips, including the use of Joen Wolfrom’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool. This tool includes 24 color cards plus and in-depth instructional guide to help make color planning easy. It’s both fun and user friendly. By the way, Joen also offers a color class on Craftsy.

 

 

Here’s the schedule and links to the participating blogs. Happy Hopping Everyone!

Monday, December 7
Jackie Kunkel – Canton Village Quilt Works
Kate Colleran – Seams Like a Dream
Tuesday, December 8
Wendy Gardiner – I sew
Wednesday, December 9
Maureen Cracknell – Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday, December 10
Friday, December 11
Laura Nownes – See How We Sew
Saturday, December 12
Kelly Ashton – Kelly Quilter
Sunday, December 13
Lindsey Stephens – Poetry In Yarn
My first class with Craftsy was the FREE 2013 Block of the Month. It is always available. You can join the classroom by simply clicking on the image on the sidebar of this page.
Here’s how to enter the Craftsy giveaway.
Click here to purchase any of the classes from the instructors on the blog hop and you will be automatically entered to win any other class of your choosing for FREE at the conclusion of the blog hop. Winners will be chosen on December 14, 2015.
QQQcoverIn addition to the Craftsy Giveaway, I would also like to send a signed copy of my most recent book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!, third edition, to one lucky reader. Simply post a comment by end of day, December 14th, letting me know your favorite creative outlet (sewing, quilting, knitting, etc.) and I will put your name in the hat. I’ll announce my winner with my next post.
Finally, I want to thank so many of you for your heartfelt comments from my recent Paying it Forward post. I had a hard time selecting just one, so I decided to randomly pick the following 3 readers to each receive a yard of fabric from my stash: Brita, Jean and Carol Stickelmaier. I will be contacting you shortly. Pass it on everyone, you are all the best!
Oh yes, and just one more photo before I sign off, just because I’m such a lover of ladybugs, and couldn’t resist sharing.
This is just a small snapshot of the thousands upon thousands of ladybugs "wintering over" at one of our local Regional Parks.
This is just a small snapshot of the thousands upon thousands of ladybugs “wintering over” at one of our local Regional Parks.

Please keep your loved ones close.
Laura Signature

 

Paying it Forward at SHWS with a Giveaway

Doesn’t it always feel good when something nice and unexpected comes your way? Or better yet, when you are on the giving end of such a gesture. I recently returned from Tennessee and while standing in line for lunch at a local restaurant, the young man in front of me asked the cashier to pass his change (about $3 or so) on to the next person in line. That would be me! It just gave me a moment to pause and smile. How lovely, I thought. I decided to keep the chain going by passing my change on to the next person. Who knows just how long it went on, it really doesn’t matter. I only know that in the moment, it felt good.

I returned home to find this sweet treasure waiting for me in the mailbox.  My dear friend, Anita Grossman Soloman, knows how much I adore ladybugs so, as you can read, has passed her leftover piece on to me. The fabric is Indochine: Lotus Leaf Ladybugs Indigo by Alexander Henry Fabrics. I have it in red but had not yet seen it in indigo. Thank you, Anita!

 

This is a beautiful large scale print by Alexander Henry Fabrics. The ladybug is about the size of a dime.
This is a beautiful large scale print by Alexander Henry Fabrics. The ladybug is about the size of a dime.

I plan to use the fabric to make some little treasure that will remind me of Anita and how much I both love her work and am so grateful for her friendship. But, before I do, I’m going to cut the piece in half and share it with Pati. I don’t want her to feel obligated to use it or even challenge her to make something specific, but I will be anxious to see what she might come up with if she does decide to use it.

Giveaway-GoldWe could go on and on sharing our pieces and cutting them in half until there is nothing left but a pile of threads. Instead I would like to send one of you a 1/2 yard piece of fabric from my stash and encourage you to share with someone special. If you are interested in playing along, please simply leave a comment by November 25th telling me if you have a particular style of fabric or color that speaks to you.  I will put your name in the hat and announce the winner in my next post. I’ll be anxious to hear what you have to say and then have fun hunting through my stash to find just the perfect one to share.

Until next time, enjoy this wonderful season of giving thanks!

Laura Signature

 

A New Quilt Pattern and a Giveaway

File Sep 11, 8 14 52 AMCalifornia is in the middle of a heat wave this week. The timing seems really odd to be announcing a new quilt pattern called Winter Brrrd Houses. But that is what I am doing! Winter Brrrd Houses is here, and now available through my Etsy shop and will be on our SHWS Pattern Page. And to celebrate, we are giving away a free pattern today!

WinterBrrrd Houses Pattern by Pati Fried
Winter Brrrd Houses has something for everyone. The pattern mixes piecing, improvisational curves, applique and a little bit of embroidery. Trust me, you will not get bored from making the same block over and over again with this project. I made 30 birdhouses from the start of the quilt to the completion of the pattern. Each one had its own personality. It was so much fun choosing the fabrics and sizes, that I could just keep on going!

The pattern is designed to give you oodles of options to add your own unique spin on the project. The quilt and the pattern have my name on it, but I will be the first to tell you – Laura was a huge part of writing this pattern. We all know that writing a pattern with solid technical instructions is tough. Choosing to include improvisational design options made it twice the challenge. I am so grateful to have had Laura’s expertise along the way.

Winter Brrrd Houses by Pati Fried

Last week, I gave a peek of the sample that Laura and I put together at our sew day. I’m excited to say I just received a few photos from Kerry Reed, who has been busy quilting for me and sent some teasers while working away. This is the Spring version of the quilt. Same technique, just different fabric choices and layout. Remember, I mentioned oodles of design options? Spring Bird Houses by See How We Sew

Laura and I are teaching a birdhouse workshop to the Piece by Piece Quilters of Morgan Hill, Ca. next week. It will be fun to team teach this project now, after working so hard together to complete the pattern.
Indigo Bird Houses close up by Pati FriedAbout a week ago, I tried making two more versions. The first time, I followed the pattern exactly, with not a stitch of improv in sight. I even omitted the curve piecing. Ok, I did decide to change the birdhouse doors a bit. I also used some of my cherished indigo fabrics to punch it up. Simple, quick and still lots of fun to make.Indigo Bird Houses by Pati Fried

In the second version, I threw all the rules out the window except for the cutting instructions for the roofs. I wanted to see what would happen if I sized the houses differently. How would it look if my points were off?

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I also over sized the background sections, to give me a chance to play with the layout. The curve piecing was a natural fit at this point – I was just filling in the blanks. At some point it became a little French city, not a flurry of birdhouses. And can we just take a moment to notice the quilting?
French Houses by Pati FriedSo there you have it. Four versions of what can be done with one pattern. My hope is that a few of our readers will take my lead and create their own unique designs, using the tips and techniques shared in the pattern. In fact . . .

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leave a comment on what your version might be like – and I will choose a winner to receive a free pattern!

Have a great weekend!

Pati

Cutting and Sewing Curves, a Video Tutorial & Giveaway

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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.

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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.

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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!

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