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I recently was asked why I repair quilts, and the short and simple answer is that I enjoy repairing things that are meant to be loved (more about my love of repairing quilts in another blog post coming soon). But this question got me thinking about why I quilt. As I pondered this question, I reflect back to the first time my BFF asked me if I wanted to go to her house and quilt. I had no idea how to quilt, but I wanted to spend time with her, so I took a local quilting class for beginners around the year 2000. I found all of the fabric and color choices intimidating and asked my husband to go with me to help pick out fabrics. I thought I would make this quilt for him and our home at the time. The fabrics we selected were very fall-ish, with colors including various shades of deep green, burnt orange, and mustard yellow. The workshop was fun, and the people were friendly, so I thought – yes, I can do this! I tied this first quilt which I still have and is still one of my favorite go-to cuddly quilts. As time passed, I continued to learn more about quilting and became a hand quilter, not knowing that longarm quilters existed until probably ~2014-ish. I continued piecing and hand quilting because I liked doing something with my hands while spending time with my friends, watching chick flicks, eating, and of course, having some wine. I guess you could say many of those years I quilted because of the “social” aspect of it. I did have some challenges when piecing the quilt tops, in that I could never seem to get my points or corners to meet “perfectly” like I witnessed other quilters do without a moment’s thought! It wasn’t in my nature to rip and sew and rip and sew to get a perfect point. Honestly, I didn’t particularly care if it was perfect, but the finished quilt top did look flawed if there were some “off” points or corners that didn’t match up perfectly. It frustrated me, and it wasn’t really that fun for me to piece patterns this way. By 2017, I discovered “art” quilts – and yes, I found something more to my liking. Expressing myself through fabric and textiles the way I wanted to, and not following a “pattern.” At that time, I began quilting pieces that were perfect – to me. I loved the freedom of creating something that came from my soul and was a tangible piece of art. One that I could be proud of and stand behind as my own – the perfectly imperfect quilt. So, I began to quilt for myself. At the end of 2017, I decided to buy a longarm machine so that I could speed up the process of completing a quilt, as well as learn how to thread paint onto fabric. I loved my Innova longarm so much I decided that I’d start a business and quilt for not only myself but for others. In summary, I still quilt for the social aspect (of course!), and I still piece using other designer’s patterns, and I still make my art quilts, and I still quilt for myself and for others! It’s joy that I’ll never give up - body, mind, and God willing! 😊 I’d love to know why you quilt. Respond to this newsletter, or send me an email and let me know why you quilt. Also, if you have a boat load of quilt tops (or even one) laying around, I’d love to quilt them/it for you. You never have to worry about your points or corners being perfect – I don’t judge, and I’ll care for it the way I care for mine! A finished quilt is a perfect quilt no matter what! Pop on my website and click “Book A Quilt” and let me help you get those quilts finished!
Pantograph of the Month - 70s Lamp
I selected the pantograph “70’s Lamp” from Sew Shabby Quilting as my featured pantograph this month. Why wouldn’t you want a 70’s Lamp pantograph on one of your quilts?! I think this easy E2E design would look great on any quilt that has lots of different color fabrics with lots of straight lines; as well as on a modern quilt that is more minimal in composition.
When I think of a literal ’70s lamp, it brings a vision of the drop lamp that my grandma had hanging in a corner of her living room. It had a statue of a goddess-looking woman sparsely dressed and surrounded by foliage. Surrounding her was an oily substance that slowly slid down a bunch of invisible threads, making it look like rain. There was, of course a light at the top spotlighting the goddess. This pantograph is not near the detail of my vision (thank goodness!), but I’ll have it and my grandma’s lamp in mind while I quilt out this pantograph!
These are a few of my favorite things!
I recently purchased a block of the month program that includes English Paper Piecing, which I have not done for quite a few years! I found a few items that I’ve found helpful for EPP, as well as basic sewing. Check them out below!
4.5 Inch EZ Stitch Snip with Hook Place by Tula Pink
Ok, first – Tula Pink. I mean who doesn’t love her fabric! She also has hardware, including these cute light-weight little snips. They have an iridescent rainbow color, and sharp snips for clipping threads. I love them! You can find Tula Pink’s EZ Snips here.
Rotating Cutting Mat by Sue Daley Designs
This cute little 10” cutting mat is round and has a non-slip back that is all one piece making it perfect for traveling! My previous rotating matt was square and had two pieces that always seemed to come apart, and when I rotated the square top, it would always hit anything near the mat. You know what I’m talking about – I know it! Get this little round sweety!
Find the 10” like mine here.
Or if you need something a little bigger, there is a 16” you can find here.
SewTites Minis Magnets
I love these cute little magnets! They are strong, but not too strong you can’t pull them apart. I have not thrown out my little clips – nope – those I also love! But for EPP, these magnets are perfect to hold the two pieces together while sewing. A must if you EPP (IMHO)! Find it here.
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Should I Use A Quilters Clapper?
A client recently brought me a quilt top to quilt, and I could not believe how flat her quilt top was! Not only from ironing it, but from using a wooden quilter’s clapper. Curious, I asked her how it works. She explained to me that after ironing the seam, you simply lay the clapper on top of the seam, then move to the next seam and iron, then move the clapper to that seam. I’m impressed. So of course… I have to do my research to find which one is best before I make this hefty investment!
According to APQS, “It works by absorbing the steam applied to a seam, and locking in the heat. As you press down on the seam with the clapper, the pressure sets the seam flat as the fabric cools.” See photos here.
Suzy Quilts has a wonderful post about the science behind the clapper and how it works, as well as a wonderful YouTube Video you can watch here. If you want to watch when she starts using the clapper, fast forward to 3:37, but the video is only about six minutes long and you can see her adorable baby if you watch the entire video.
There are some clappers that I’ve seen that are real pieces of art – yes please!! The clappers come in an array of sizes, materials and costs. You can find the Riley Blake clapper that is shown in the APQS link above here. Or if a vintage feel is more your style, check out Chris Hanson’s clappers here.
In summary, in my opinion, if you are sewing a quilt top that will someday be quilted (either by hand or by machine), then I do think using a clapper will help eliminate bulk. It makes the quilt top flat, crisp and clean looking. Do I think it is absolutely a must to have one? I don’t think it’s a must, as I haven’t used one in my 23 years of quilting, but I’d strongly encourage it.
Do you have a question that I can feature in a future newsletter? Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.