Friday, January 24, 2020

~ Wool Pressing Mat -vs- Homemade Pressing Mat ~

Pressing fabric in the quilting world has started many debates over the years.  Press the seams to the side or open?  Steam or no steam? Starch or no starch?  Now we have a new topic of Wool mat or ironing board?  So when I received a small wool pressing mat in a monthly subscription box I was excited to finally see what all the rage debate was about.

But before reviewing the wool pressing mat I want to tell you about the new idea for my blog.  As you all know I've never been much of a gadget person.  But this year instead of spending tons of money on fabric that I really don't need I'm going to put that money towards new notions or new to me notions and review them here on my blog.  Not all the notions will be purchased by me some may be sent to me to review.  Free to me does not mean telling you a product is wonderful because it was free.  The product either makes my quilting process easier or it doesn't.  All of my product reviews will be labeled under Nifty Notions in the sidebar of this blog.  I may even at some point include a product review video along with the blog post.  If there is a new or old product you've been curious about and would like for me to review let me know by leaving a comment on any blog post or send me an email at

Okay, Let's get started!  Today I'm testing the Gypsy Quilter Felted Wool Pressing Mat.  This is a small mat measuring 5.5" x 9".  Since it so small it's only good for pressing smaller units or very tiny blocks.
For years I've used a homemade ironing station along with a smaller homemade pressing board for blocks and applique.  The truth be told I rarely use an iron on my fabric after it has been starched and cut.  The heavy starching allows me to finger press everything until the quilt top is complete.  Once I have a quilt top finished it is then pressed with an hot iron without steam.

Both my large and small pressing boards are made the same.  A piece of plywood wrapped in cotton batting.  Then wrapped in aluminum foil and topped with a cotton fabric.   When the cotton fabric starts to look yukky I just add another layer of fabric on top.  Every so often, about 4 or 5 layers of fabric, I'll remove the multiple layers of cotton fabric and start the process all over again.

For this test I'll be pressing HST's that will become pinwheels.  Each seam will be pressed for 5 seconds without steam and with no pressure on the iron. Which means my hand will be removed for the 5 seconds.  I almost never use steam when pressing blocks so I thought it only fair to stay consistent.  Over the years I've learned that steam and over pressing can cause some major issues, so I just don't do it.  I realize some of you always use steam and that's okay.  There are no set rules or quilt police here, I'm just telling you what works best for me.  And to be fair I've used a wool pressing mat before with my quilting friend Judy.  She received one of the larger wool mats for Christmas 2018.  We used steam.  What a mistake!  It smells like a wet barn.😦  For those of you that have never been to the livestock barns at the fair, a wet barn smells like old wet grass and manure.  Yep, no steam is best when using a wool mat.  Well unless you like the smell of a barn.  I've heard from other quilters that the steamy wet barn stink fades over time.

And here we go.  Sewing and pressing 5 seconds each.

They are both coming together nicely.  I'm more worried about whether or not my pinwheel centers will line up correctly.πŸ‘€

Yah! Perfect centers!  I love pinwheels, so classic and cute.

Everything is looking good back here as well.

Now is the moment of truth.  Does the wool pressed block(on the left) lay flatter?

Lets take a closer look.  Well what do you think?

Now a  little closer.  Well, I can honestly say I don't think the wool pressing mat makes any difference.  I'm sure someone is thinking I should have used steam but again I almost never use steam.  If you decided to use a wool mat and use steam, make sure you cover the mat with fabric.  A hot iron with steam will scorch the wool and leave a residue on your iron. 

I like my homemade pressing boards better.  They aren't stinky, they don't require extra caution to use and the best part is if I scorch it I can recover them or wash the fabric cover.  Now if you really want a wool mat but have been putting it off due to cost, there's an cheaper option.  In several Facebook groups I've read quilters are buying wool saddle pads at a fraction of the cost.  My concern would be the wool might not be as clean and smell a little more.  YUK!  So there's my 2 cents on the wool pressing mat craze.  Hope you found this helpful or at least entertaining.  See you next Friday for another Nifty Notions!

 #woolpressingmat #woolpressingmatreview #niftynotions

Just a little reminder that you can still gt 20% off you entire purchase at The Purple Hobbies website using the code PodunkPrettiesJan20  
Offer ends February 29, 2020.   Make sure when adding the code to your shopping cart that you click APPLY.  You can see my review of the BladeSaver Thread cutter here.  And the Third hand Binding Folder Clip here.

50% OFF Sweet Sixteen PDF pattern
sale ends 2-15-2020

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

~ One More Christmas Quilt ~

 The light at the end of the tunnel!  This cute little gingerbread man is the last of my Christmas quilts for this year last year.  I thought about moving on and packing these away for later in the year.  But who wants another UFO laying around taking up the much needed space for new fabrics, right!? πŸ˜‰ So onward with the Christmas sewing.  It feels more like Christmas now that the temperatures have dropped outside and in the Studio...60 degrees in my happy little sewing space...BRRRRR! You gotta love older homes that at one time were equipped with wood stoves.  Thank goodness for space heaters.  Imagine what my fabric would look like with a wood stove in the studio. Well as soon as it warms up in there I'll be working on this yummy little guy and 11 more of his buddies.

Last night I auditioned some buttons and trim.  Now to make the decision of simple or over the top cute by adding trim.  Do I want to do the extra work?  Only time will tell and a test of the trim addition process.

Adding the trim might take a considerable amount of time.  Since I'm doing raw edge applique the cute little trim(found at our local Joann's by the yard) can not be turned under to hide the edges.  To hold the trim in place before stitching and to stop the edges of the cotton trim from unraveling I'll need to secure it with Sew Secure.  Placing the tiny trim is tedious and time consuming.  Not to mention the drying time.  The testing will include a warm iron test to help dry the glue faster.   Sew Secure is a permanent but soft version of Fray Check.  Easy to sew through even by hand.  I've used it for years when doing hand applique.  It's great for those inner points needing to be clipped close to the edge.  However it is no longer being made.  Well I can't find it anywhere. Do you know of another product that is similar to Sew Secure? 

Today I'll also be doing a test on machine stitching these tiny little buttons in place.  I've never used my machine for such tiny buttons.  It'll be a slow test, hand cranking my machine just to make sure it's not going to crash into the buttons.  The tiny red and green buttons were my first choice.  I purchased them at the same time as the cotton ric-rac-ish trim in our local store but they are not in the online store, so the link is to Amazon.  A few days later I stumble upon the adorable heart buttons πŸ’˜and other small red buttons on Amazon.  By the way these are just links I get nothing for you clicking or buying.  Anyway...I decided the red and green were out and the Buttons Galore were the way to go.

Now I can't decide if I want to use both or mix them up a bit.  What do you think about the buttons A or B?  Geesh, who knew picking buttons could be so hard?

Just a little reminder that you can still gt 20% off you entire purchase at The Purple Hobbies website using the code PodunkPrettiesJan20  
Offer ends February 29, 2020.   Make sure when adding the code to your shopping cart that you click APPLY.  You can see my review of the BladeSaver Thread cutter here.  And the Third hand Binding Folder Clip here.

50% OFF Sweet Sixteen PDF pattern
sale ends 2-15-2020

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

~ Winter Blues Blog Hop ~ Morning Glory ~

Today I'm sharing my Morning Glory quilt for The Winter Blues Blog Hop. This quilt has been in the needs to be quilted pile for about 3 years.  You can see the original post with color inspiration here. The blog hop was the perfect opportunity to finally finish the beauty.  She's a little out of my color and style comfort zones.  But I tell you what.... I πŸ’™LOVE πŸ’™ her.

There was plenty of white space for custom quilted feathers but I felt a simpler quilting design would make her shine in all her glory.  All of the fabrics but one is Kona Solids from Joann's.  The green leaf fabric is quilt shop quality but I can't remember what line of fabric.  Quilted using my favorite thread, MicroQuilter 7002.  I love how this thread blends into every color fabric.  

Keeping it simple was the theme all the way down to the machine binding.  This was a no fuss quilt.  Well except for her large size, 91 x 91!  Just the right size for the spare bedroom bed.  The pattern will be available in a few weeks in my Etsy shop.

A big ole thank you to Carla at Creating in the Sticks for hosting The Winter Blues Blog Hop. Be sure to hop over to her blog to enter the giveaway everyday during the blog hop.

And don't forget to visit all the fabulous blogs participating in this blog hop.

Just a little reminder that you can still gt 20% off you entire purchase at The Purple Hobbies website using the code PodunkPrettiesJan20  
Offer ends February 29, 2020.   Make sure when adding the code to your shopping cart that you click APPLY.  You can see my review of the BladeSaver Thread cutter here.  And the Third hand Binding Folder Clip here.

Thank you for stopping by my little spot in Podunk!

#winterbluesbloghop #modernquiltpattern #blueandwhitequilt 

50% OFF Sweet Sixteen PDF pattern
expires 2-15-2020

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Monday, January 20, 2020

~ Christmas Joy Quilt ~

Hello Happy Quilters!  I'm so excited to finally get my Christmas Joy Quilt off the frame.  This is a fairly small quilt and  pretty lightly quilted it should have taken no longer than 2 days to quilt.  However my ruler foot broke and then there was an issue with a back spinning bobbin.   The powers that be love to throw me a few curve balls with ever quilt.  

The quilt will be used by my grandchildren when they come to visit during the holiday season.  I wanted it to be soft and cuddly for them and have pretty quilting is for me.   I think I achieved both.

Sometimes it's hard to achieve the feathery look I love without making a stiff quilt.  The trick is to not follow some of the so called rules for custom quilting.  I'm pretty sure the longarm quilting police would curl their noses at the lack of background quilting in my applique blocks.

Now all that's left to do is add the polka dot binding.  Since I have about 11 months to finish the binding I'll take my time and hand stitch it to the back of the quilt.

The Christmas Joy Quilt pattern was designed by Carol Swift for the Thermoweb website. I made a few alterations to the pattern to make my own.  Click here for the original pattern.

50% OFF Sweet Sixteen PDF pattern
click image
expires 2-15-2020

#thermoweb #heatnbondlite #christmasjoyquilt

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