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.

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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

 

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!

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Simple Wedge Tree Skirt

Friday already? Yikes! I’m still curious about where November went. I’m guessing like many of you, this is a busy time of the year. Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up on me and then I start rushing in preparation for Christmas. I’m not one to purchase gifts throughout the year, but instead I wait until I’m inspired. I guess that’s why they call me “Last-Minute Laura.” Oh well, it works for me.

I’m still organizing my sewing/quilting room and promise to share photos as soon as it is ready for viewing. It amazes me how much stuff one person can collect over a 30-year period. I am happy to report that I HAVE donated lots of it, but there is still so much left to organize . . . one box at a time.

I needed to take a break from all the boring work and decided to do something simple and creative. I may be one of the last sewers/quilters who wraps the base of the family tree with a piece of holiday-printed fabric. Not this year, I decided it was time to actually make a proper skirt for our tree.

Our tree isn't up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.
Our tree isn’t up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.

I was recently given a 9-degree wedge ruler and thought it might be fun to cut and sew pieces together to form the needed circle. It’s pretty simple, and just 5 fat quarters are needed to make this skirt.

skirt4

skirt5

After sewing the 40 wedges together, I felt it needed some decorative trim around the edge. Prairie points! After sewing them on I preferred the look of them folded inward and so I decided to secure them through the layers with red beads. I think it makes for a nice finishing touch.

Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.
Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.

OK, skirt done. Now I just need to get the tree up so I can enjoy the new look, at least until the presents make their appearance. Speaking of presents, here’s a fun website I stumbled across today. If you enjoy unique gift wrappings you will enjoying watching the many tutorials. I am anxious to try the pleated one, it’s adorable. Click here to watch the beautiful Japanese gift wrapping by SHIHO Style and Design.

Enjoy!

Laura Signature

Hari-Kuyo – The Ceremony of Broken Needles

In Japan, the Hari-Kuyo ceremony is held throughout Japan annually on the 8th of February. This 400-year-old tradition is held at Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples as a celebration of the small tools used by seamstresses, embroiderers, and housewives over the previous year.

It is believed that these inanimate objects have souls and by using them, some of their pain is released. Broken or worn needles, pins, and some small scissors are brought to the ceremony and thanked for their good service in creating sashiko, kimonos, or even for daily mending. Then they are gently laid to rest in a soft tofu cake.

harikuyo

Tofu is symbolic in this instance for rest and tenderness; a peaceful place for the tools retirement. In observance of the ceremony, no sewing is to take place on this day, as this gives time for  reflection and time to pray that sewing skills improve the following year. Audrey Yang tells of the ceremony in a beautiful online booklet- Hari-Kuyo: Festival of the Broken Needle.

Stitch Modern Ceremony

East Bay Modern Quilt Guild held a version of this meaningful ceremony last Saturday, February 8th, as part of a series of events connected with Stitch Modern 2014, their annual show.

Photo by Pati Fried

I found paying my respects and praying to console my broken needles a wonderful opportunity to share in a time honored tradition . I spend so much of my day with needle and scissors in hand. It was a moment to reflect on my year as a quilter and to be thankful of the accomplishments made with these tiny tools. I have always tossed them away without regard to their importance to my craft. This was an opportunity to change my thinking.

Photo by Pati Fried

The ceremony was thoughtful and welcoming. Birgit Hottenrott, the driving force to celebrate Hari-Kuyo at Stitch Modern, shared the history and lore that has evolved with this special day. While she spoke, many brought their broken needles to rest in the peaceful bed of tofu. Birgit ended the ceremony with the lovely poem by Emily Dickinson, Don’t put up my Thread and Needle.

Photo by Pati Fried

Thank you Birgit, for bringing this lovely tradition to our attention. As this year proceeds, I fully intend to keep a special place for retiring my used needles until February 8, 2015, when I will again, pay them the respect they deserve and celebrate Hari-Kuyo.

Photo by Pati Fried

ではまた。Dewa mata, (See you later).

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Featherweight Fan Club – Part 2

Pati's machine
My New Friend

I promised to share a few stories with you about Featherweights. Here is mine:

I wanted to buy a featherweight for all the right reasons – I wanted something that I could leave packed up and ready to wheel off to wherever my quilting escapades took me. I hated unplugging and packing up Bernie the Bernina every time I went to a class or drop-in. I started doing some research and then mentioned to some friends that I was going to buy one. Nancy, the most prolific quilter I know, announced that I should buy hers. “Why don’t you want it?” I asked, wondering if there was something wrong with the machine. “Because I have two of them!” she said. Well, of course she did! And so I became the owner of a beautiful, 1950’s Singer Featherweight. But the story doesn’t end there – I met up with Ann, another quilty friend, to attend a local quilt show. She had shown me her sweet little featherweight and we were chatting about them as we walked into the show. The first thing we see is a Featherweight vendor display with the most beautiful cherry red Featherweight calling our names. It was one of those angel-singing-moments for both of us. My heart skipped a beat, and I am sure Ann’s did too. “But I just bought one!” I exclaimed. “That’s okay,” said the vendor, “we can paint it for you – any color you like!”

My (future) red machine

And so, Ann and I have made a pact that there will be two freshly painted, cherry red Featherweights in our very near future.

Marge Wasserman
Rescued from an Old Farmhouse in New York

Everyone seems to have a story about finding or “acquiring” a Featherweight. Old barns, Grandma’s attic or at a garage sale. Marge Wasserman shared her story with me this week:

“In 1997, I took a trip to New York, and visited a friend near Lake Keuka, in the gorgeous leaf-changing autumn weather.  He lived in a ramshackle old farm house and grew wine grapes on his property.  As is common with old farmhouses, this one had an outdoor kitchen, which was covered but open to the air on the side.  A lot of junk was stored there, and one day I noticed a familiar “Little Black Box” amongst the clutter.  I asked him what that was (knowing full well, as I had one at home already) and he said it was his mother’s Singer Featherweight his dad had given her for a wedding present in 1937.  He had also used it for years himself.  I asked what he was going to do with it, and he said he figured he’d give it to some local Mennonite quilters.  Very much not in character for me, I said, well, if you are going to give it away, could I have it?  He said sure!  The machine’s serial number gives it a 1938 date. The machine is in very good shape.  It has always run beautifully and I keep it in my car to take to classes, workshops, etc.  One other special note, inside the machine box was a beautiful sterling silver thimble which had belonged to his mother, and which he also let me have, and it is the only one I use.”

Our own Laura Nownes also shared a fun story. “A few years ago I was standing in the checkout line at a local fabric store. A young woman in front of me was sharing her story of a recent garage sale she went to. There just happened to be a “small, cute black Singer sewing machine for $25″ she said. She only had a $20 bill on her so made the offer and went home with the machine. She had no idea of the little treasure she had just purchased. The lady behind me and I just rolled our envious eyes. Oh my, some people have all the luck. Obviously they are still out there if you are lucky enough to stumble upon one.”

Remember Carolyn’s beautiful machines featured in part 1 of Featherweight Fan Club? Here is Carolyn’s story:  “These two featherweights were bought from Twice as Nice Shoppe in Fremont CA.  Tom Trebotich paints the machines and another person does the flowers.  He brings them to quilt shows to sell as well as selling them out of his home by appointment.  The purple machine was my first featherweight!”

A lot of our readers also wrote comments on Tuesday’s post to share their Featherweight love story. Brita from Scrapsofhappiness.blogspot.com wrote to me after Tuesday’s post, “It was a sign. It was meant to be, I’m sure. I’ve been drooling over a Featherweight I found online, and I debated, debated, and debated whether I should buy it. After reading your blog today, I knew I simply had to get it and I did! Thanks for the noodge. Now, excuse me while I go wandering around the Internet to all the sites you listed!”

Take a moment and read more of the wonderful comments shared here.

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To end this Singer Featherweight Fest, I will share a few  wonderful creations inspired by these lovable machines.

Christine Thresh's Featherweight Wallhanging
Love this quilt by Christine Thresh
Valentine
Adorable Valentine by Cotton Pickin’ Fun!
Rubber Stamp
Rubber Stamp by NoraJane on Etsy
Loralie Fabric
Loralie Fabric at She Sells Fabric on Etsy
Earrings
Tibetan Silver Earrings by The Bluest Sky on Etsy
Lucyslocket on Etsy
Felted Wool Pincushion by Lucys Locket on Etsy

Take a moment to like us on Facebook and share photos of your Featherweight or Featherweight memorabilia. I would love to see it! See How We Sew Facebook Page

Thanks for taking this little journey with me. It was so much fun!

Love, Pati

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Sprucing Up Your Sewing Space: A Design Wall Dream Come True!

Something wonderful happened last weekend in my sewing room, and I’m so excited, I just had to share. I now have a real-live, large, and permanent design wall!

My new design wall--inspired by Jennifer's drive to finish her UFOs, I've pulled a few off the shelf myself!
My new design wall–inspired by Jennifer’s drive to finish her UFOs, I’ve pulled a few off the shelf myself!

For years, given the space constraints of my combined sewing room/office (and occasional guest room), my design wall consisted of a piece of “tired” white batting attached to the wall with push pins. Yes, it worked, but I dreamed of something more substantial. When Brooks and I became empty nesters earlier this year, the opportunity to expand my workspace became a real possibility, and I was all over it.

First stop: the local home-improvement store, where I purchased four 1″-thick, 2′ x 4′ sheets of insulation board. Back home, I taped the boards together in pairs on the long edges using clear packing tape. Then, with the help of my hubby (and a level), I affixed the two newly joined boards flush to each other on the wall with Velcro (!), which I placed in 4″ strips on the corners and in the center of each two-board panel and in corresponding, pre-measured places on the wall. I covered the whole thing with a large piece of white cotton batting, which I secured to the outside edges with T-pins. Voila! The finished board measures 8′ across by 4′ long . . . and I love it!

Velcro, T-pins, and cotton batting
Velcro, T-pins, and cotton batting

I got the idea for the Velcro–which I also found at the home-improvement store–from my friend, Chris Porter. It was so much easier than using slats, nails, hooks, screws, or any other hardware-y things. I suspect the wall may need a little touch up when I remove the boards to move someday, but the areas affected by the Velcro are small . . . and I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

A few tips: If possible, purchase insulation board with no writing on the front. It wasn’t until I had the boards up and covered that I discovered their bold, blue writing showed through the batting. A coat of white primer fixed that, but you can avoid the extra step if you start with a clean slate. Also, be sure the batting is cotton; fabric pieces have a tendency to slip off poly or poly-blend surfaces. You can substitute white cotton flannel or felt if you prefer, but I found a queen-sized batting did the trick–with leftovers for other small projects. Finally, do try the T-pins. In my experience, staples just didn’t work.

That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar 2014_2Before signing off, I’m happy to announce that Cathy Gunstone is the winner of  the That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar 2014 from my last Friday’s post. Her favorite month is August “because the weather is usually at its Puget Sound best and the mountains and wildflowers are glorious.”

It was so much fun to read the comments! Every single month was noted, with October garnering the most votes by far. Seems we love those autumn days! July came in second, barely nudging out May and September.

Just for fun, I asked my blogging sisters their favorites. Laura picked June because it’s her “birthday month, and also because school is out, it marks the beginning of summer, and vacation trips begin.” Jennifer chose “March, because it’s the month of seasonal change. Nature starts emerging from Winter with buds and blossoms. It’s a time of renewal for me.” As for me, I’m with those October folks. I grew up on the East Coast, and autumn has always been my favorite season.

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!Darra-signature

Attention Quilters: Winner Takes All in BIG Mid-Year Giveaway!

Since we launched See How We Sew back in the spring of 2011, many quilt- and sewing-related companies and individuals have been extremely generous in donating fabulous books, fabrics, patterns, and notions to be used as giveaways in our various posts. In fact, they’ve been more than generous, and–over time–we’ve accumulated a bit of a surplus.

So . . . we’ve decided to raid our goodie box to assemble a super, Christmas-in-(almost)-July, winner-takes-all giveaway!

One lucky reader will receive all of the items in this super giveaway!
One lucky reader will receive all of the items in this super giveaway!

Included in this mega giveaway:

Since this is such a special giveaway, we’re asking for a slightly different type of comment to get your name in the hat. To be eligible, give us your best, most creative attempt at a four-line “poem” telling us why you deserve to win. (One entry per person, please.) The deadline for entries is noon (PDT), Thursday, July 11. Jennifer will announce the winner in her Friday, July 12 post.

You don’t need to be a SHWS subscriber to enter, but we hope that–if you haven’t already–you’ll join us via the “Sign me up!” button in the right-hand column of this post. That way, you’ll receive a reminder each Tuesday and Friday to visit us for our latest posting–and you won’t miss a single tutorial, tip, virtual quilt show, free pattern (or recipe), quilt-shop visit, book or product review, exhibit announcement, source of inspiration, or giveaway here at See How We Sew. Please tell your friends about us, too.

Speaking of giveaways: the winner of Edyta Sitar’s Little Baskets pattern from Darra’s June 25 post is Susan Paxton. Congratulations, Susan!

‘Til next time, happy stitching.

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Introducing Reverse-a-Rulers™, Grrrip-It® and a Giveaway

For the past 2 years, I have had the pleasure of working with Richard Quint of Quint Measuring Systems to develop a new line of rulers for the quilting and sewing industry. Richard’s company has been a leading manufacturer of precision measuring tools since 1995. Since I have always been a stickler for accuracy, this collaboration was a good match for me. When Richard approached me to help with this project, I immediately said that I had pretty high standards and specific requirements for a tool that I would be willing to promote.

rulers

I am pleased to say that Richard has provided everything I asked for in this new line of Reverse-a-Rule™ rulers.

1.     Accurate markings with thin and consistent line widths, and clear spaces between the lines for easy placement of the edges of cut strips and shapes assist with accurate cutting.

right cutting

left cutting

2.     All rulers are designed and marked for both right-handed and left-handed cutters.

 

3.     All rulers are marked with black lines on one side for use with light-colored fabrics, and yellow lines on the opposite side for use with dark-colored fabrics.

2 Black & Yellow together

4.     All corners have a slight curve to prevent nicking rotary-cutting blades while cutting.

5.     Rulers are made from polycarbonate rather than acrylic so they will not break, chip, or crack.

6.     All markings are hot stamped rather than applied with the normal screen-printing process so that markings will not rub or wear off over time.

7. Rulers are made in a variety of useful sizes for both cutting and squaring up finished units and blocks. Squaring rulers include 45-degree-angle markings, and all cutting rulers are marked with both 45- and 60-degree-angle lines.

8. New GRRIP-IT® adhesive attaches to any rulers to prevent slipping. Grrrip-It

I am excited that several of the major distributors have picked up on these rulers, so hopefully you will be able to find them in your local shops very soon. I always encourage you to support your locals first, but if you are not able to find them, I have some available on my website and will be happy to help you.

1-Giveaway IconMy two favorite sizes so far are the 6″ x 14″ cutting ruler and the 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ squaring ruler. I would love to offer both of these to one of our readers, along with a package of Grrrip-It®. If you are interested in putting your name in the hat, simply leave a comment by end of day May 15th telling me why you would like these new products, and I will announce the winner in my next post on May 21st.

Happy creating everyone!

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