What’s Stitching? A Knot for Thanksgiving

colonialknot4It’s that time of year again,Thanksgiving. So put on your powdered wig, buckle your shoes, and grab your knickerbockers! We are about to learn the Colonial Knot. (OK, the knickerbockers reference may not be historically correct but grab something.)

Colonial Knots are faster to make than French Knots and you can easily toss them in as a background filler with the Scattered Seed stitches like those above. (It also gives you an excuse to wear knickerbockers.)

colonialknot1Here’s how to make Colonial Knots: Begin the thread on the top of the fabric at A. Form a small loop like a backwards letter C with the thread. With the needle to the right of point A, slip the needle tip under the thread coming out of A. The shaft of the needle will lay on top of the lower end of the thread.

colonialknot2Shift the needle tip in front of point A. Wrap the thread across the needle and slip it under the tip of the needle. It should look like a figure 8 around the needle.

colonialknot3Gently pull the thread around the needle as you scoot the needle tip across the fabric to insert it back into the fabric. Insert the needle tip very close to point A. Draw the needle and thread through the fabric.

Congratulations! You are now an official Colonial Knot Maker! You may now remove your knickerbockers and invite the neighbors over for Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s Stitching? Snip Outs

windycity18dMy next stitching challenge for this little Windy City quilt is to tackle the looming purple shrubbery on the horizon. But first let me show you the steps to make looming shrubbery from a fused fabric.

snipout

  • Cut the fabric into a shrub shape.
  • Flip the fabric over and cut on the fused side. (This is so the glue does tack to itself when cutting.)
  • Wedge the fabric into the crux of the scissors with your finger tip. Remove your finger tip.
  • Snip out a wedge of fabric.

windycity18eMy stitch choice for the shrubs is the lazy daisy stitch. It replicates the oval shape of the snip out and adds another stitch texture to the quilt surface. I’ve also chosen a light blue size 12 thread so the shrubs look less ominous. Looks safe to go home now.

A Slick Binding for Your Quilt

prettyplanetbirdhouses1

Pretty Planet Birdhouses #1 by Laura Wasilowski

I’m back from visiting the Racine Lighthouse Quilters Guild in Wisconsin where I was introduced to an amazing treat- kringle. (Not sure what kringle is? Just google kringle near me. It will be worth it!) Now that I’m back in the studio my time is dedicated to finishing up a few little wall quilts. That’s code for “binding”.

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Pretty Planet #17 by Laura Wasilowski

There are 4 binding methods with tutorials that you can check out on my website. My favorite is the Pillowcase binding like those used in the above quilts. It’s a neat way to finish up your quilt top and is easy to do. And my reward for completing the little quilt tops? Why kringle, of course! Join me?

How to Murder Your Glue with Kindness

fusingfabric3We all know this when using fusible web: too much heat from the iron for too long will kill fusible web on fabric. Repeated exposure to a hot iron actually burns the glue into the fabric. The fabric shapes get stiff and soon pop off like a rubber band in flight.

Don’t do it!

fusingfabric5Instead use a technique called “fuse tacking” when adding fused shapes to your background fabric. Fuse tacking is exposing the glue to a little heat from the iron for a short amount of time, about 3 seconds.

ironcleaning4Also, cover your design with silicone release paper or parchment paper when fuse tacking. This protects your iron and keeps shapes place upside down from sticking to the iron. (Here are more tips on fusing .)

However, I do give you permission to kill glue on your ironing board. The glue loves the iron and wants to melt all over it. If you get fusible web on your ironing surface, the iron will melt it and put it on your beautiful quilt top.

Here’s how to kill your glue: Place silicone release paper or parchment paper on the offending splotch of glue. Use a hot iron and iron the glue through the paper a good 20 – 30 seconds. This will melt the glue into the ironing board fabric and it will no longer be attracted to your hot iron.

Press on!

How to Clean Up Your Work Area

 

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 As you may have guessed, I am a total Neat Freak. And if you guessed this, you would be wrong. Cause I am neither neat, nor tidy, nor clean when I sew. There are fabric and thread clippings everywhere! 

But I do have a cleaning tip for you. Use batting. Place a small square of batting next to your sewing machine and drop your thread snips onto it. It’s a good way to keep the threads from slipping to the floor.

 

580CD0F9-77AE-4EC6-95CC-7C80A2FB8C09 Sweep up your work area with batting. I use it to dust my work tables and Teflon covered work table. You’d be surprised at how many fibers it collects. (No doubt my Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is in the mail.)

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And here’s another use for batting. Make a small ball and throw it to your cat. My cats would go nuts over a ball of batting. Not sure why. Who knows what’s going on in the brain of a cat?

Another cat related item. A student in my class who loves cats had a bag that said “I’m just one cat short of crazy.” Keep that in mind all you cat lovers out there!

An Etui for Youi

etui12Traveling this summer? Then you need a portable sewing kit or etui like this to carry all your sewing needs. It’s easy to make and small enough to fit into your purse, glove compartment, saddle bags, or under the seat in front of you.

etui10This little etui measures about 5″ x 6″ and is made with felt and a stiff interfacing like Timtex. Stitched together by hand, it holds your scissors, thimble, needles, and pins. Click here for directions on how to make your etui.