Monday, August 21, 2017

~ Baggy Bottoms ~

Happy Monday quilting friends! Everyone have your special glasses ready for the Eclipse later today?  I'm not sure I'll be viewing the big event, we'll just see how the day progresses.  So in the spirit of making something disappear I thought I would share with you a little tip on how to make a common piecing mistake disappear.  It happens all to often in quilting for whatever reason...improper cutting, poor seam allowance, shrinking or stretching of fabric.  Whatever the cause, what can we do about it.  The picture below shows the quilt block with the not so perfect  patchwork.  The pink fabric on top is either to big or the green on the bottom to small.  Whichever it is when sewing this it could cause a pleat.  I could remove the bad pieces but sometimes we don't have that options or simply (in my case) don't want to.  So lets hide it!


Back in the day we called this technique "Baggie Bottoms". Sewing with the fullness(baggie) to the bottom.  This allows the feed dogs to take up, ease in the slack like magic.  It's not a full proof method but it works more often than not. When making simple blocks like the nine patch I make one adjustment to my sewing.  Adjusting the machine to sew a smaller width seam allowance for the rest of the block.  Changing it back to my normal 1/4" after the block is complete.  On my new machine the adjustment can be made by moving the needle.  If you have an older machine you may need to adjust your seam guide as smidgen.  It really doesn't matter if the perfect scant, just as long as it's smaller.  With a more complicated block I'd leave the seam allowance as is.

Pinning is also very important, this keeps those nicely matched seams.  I have  super fine pins <--(I use these, on sale right now, under $4 for 100 pins)just for this.  They are thinner and easier for the machine to hop over.


 Stitching over pins is not recommended and I don't always do it, the first and last pin holding this block were not stitched over.  Only the middle two pins, shown below.   There's been a handful of times when the needle hit the pin bending it, but no damage to my needle, machine or fabric due to the super fine pins.  If your uncomfortable stitching over pins you can use a small dab of washable school glue where the pin would be place.  To dry the glue quickly press with a warm iron.  Okay that being said....a couple of stitches after the first pin give the fabric a little tug towards you and keep stitching..slowly... until you stitch over the second pin.  This will help flatten the excess fabric on the bottom.


 See no harm no fowl!  Everything went smoothly.  Release the fabric and sew as normal.


 Flip the block over and check for pleats.  It's normal to see a little wave in the fabric but we're gonna fix that later. 


 Don't iron it just yet, finger press open.  You can barely see the excess fabric from the front.  


 Repeat this process on the rest of the block. Use the same scant seam allowance.


 More wavy fabric, but no pleats...It's a success.


Okay lets deal with the waviness in the patchwork.  We're going to need to break another quilting rule.  Rules were meant to be broken and it happens more than you think in quilting, we'll discuss that later.  But for now lets IRON the block.  No pressing here,  IRON it, start in the middle and push towards the outside edges.  I do this in all 4 directions. Yes we're stretching it...its okay... breathe...no one will know you broke the rules.  I don't use steam for fear of shrinking the block but I've read that others do use it so, the option is yours.



 The wave is almost invisible and after its quilted know one will know.   If you look closely my block is bowing like an hourglass.  The bow is caused by the smaller piece of fabric, adjusted seam allowance and the ironing to stretch the block...its a good thing!


 Just give her a little trim.  


 It looks great, right?


 But we all know this block has it flaws.  As a reminder I make a tiny mark in the seam allowance on each side, this will remind me when piecing the quilt that this block may not line up perfectly with other blocks without a little extra pinning.  Now here's the disclaimer.  Of course you wouldn't want to do this if the patch is more than a 1/4" short. If more than one piece in your block is to small you might consider replacing them. You also wouldn't want to stretch every block in a quilt.  Try to use the stretched block in middle of the quilt not on the edge.  If you have more than one block that has needed this adjustment, scatter them about the quilt in different rows.  Funny, there's rules to breaking the rules!...HAHA!


Some quilters say they never hide mistakes and only take out the offensive piece, or at least that is their claim.  Really I don't see how you can avoid a little hiding.  They are tips and tricks of the trade, exceptions to the rules. And they are ACCEPTABLE practices.  Passed down from generation to generation.  

So remember when I said that hiding is done more often than you think.  Well here's the truth.  Quilt show quilts more often than not have been stretched to make them hang completely straight, Surprised?  It's called blocking a quilt.  You can read about it here.  It's a common practice and is expected and accepted.

  Ever make a quilt block and it comes out a little to small?   Well it can be fixed without taking it apart, you can stretch it, and its done more often than you think by some very popular quilters.  Take a look here at whats called blocking a quilt block.

Hope you found some useful tips today.  Thanks for stopping by my little spot in Podunk!

~ Lea Anne ~





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Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Simple Joys

Happy Saturday happy quilters!  This week has been super busy.  Our garden keeps me busy preserving the harvest but in between bushels of vegetables the fabric is flying and the sewing machine humming.  For most quilters this time of year means stitching up fall quilts.  I'm not a big fan of fall colored quilts so I'm jumping ahead and working on a Christmas quilt.  For our family Christmas is all about family time and the simple things in life.  While working on my current project I'm trying to stay focused on just that..simple.  And it occurred to me that there are some really simple things in quilting that give me great pleasure.  Like the tiny 4 patch that is made when you spin the seams on the back of a block to make them flatten.   The little four patch inspired me to stop and enjoy the moment of tiny little things I love.  
  Pulling fabric is another Joy.  Seeing others quilters fabric selections also makes my little ole heart go pitter-pat.  The love affair with fabric is pretty close to an obsessive disorder.  But I don't have to tell you that, you all understand!
 Well this new quilt has me so over the moon excited that I've decided to make it in two different color ways.  One for me and one as a gift.  The hard part will be deciding which one to give away.  
So I gotta know, is there a quilting joy that makes you pause?   That one simple thing that always makes you smile?  Does it take your breathe away or is it a calming sigh?  I know there's more than a few kindred spirits out there.
💗
Thanks for stopping by my little spot in Podunk

~ Lea Anne ~
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Pattern ~ Sweet Sixteen ~

Hello sweet quilting friends!  There's lot to share with you today but first I want to say a few words about my new journey.  As you already know I'm launching a new pattern shop on Craftsy.  Selling patterns has long been a dream of mine but taking that first step is always a difficult one.  Many things were standing in my way of taking that first step, so why step?  Just jump in both feet and see what happens.  Thank you so much to those of you who have been my cheerlearders and requested patterns.  Let me also say because I'm selling patterns doesn't mean I will no longer share free patterns.  So keep a look out in the next few weeks for new and exciting stuff here on the blog.   Now without further ado.....My first pattern for sale is Sweet Sixteen.
The Sweet Sixteen design was inspired by the traditional appliqued crossing tulips design.  This new modern version of the crossing tulips has no applique and no tulips.  The heart shaped flowers mimic a tulip and the chain blocks mimic a flower stem. 

It was designed as a seasonal Valentine quilt but it also works well as a fall quilt. The image below is Moda Fig Tree prints and since the quilt measures 75 x 75 it would be perfect for autumn hayrides and chilly nights by an open fire.
 In one of my favorite combinations of yellow and blue it instantly becomes a beautiful Shabby Chic design.  Wouldn't this make an amazing wedding quilt or graduation gift?
 Even though the quilt pattern uses fat quarters and fat eighths it could easily be made into a scrappy quilt, perfect for stash busting or a quilt guild raffle quilt.
The old farm house style of Sweet Sixteen makes for an amazing year around quilt.   The pattern can be purchased at Craftsy by clicking here.   Or by clicking on the Sweet Sixteen picture in the side bar.  If you prefer not to use Craftsy you can email me your paypal email at podunkpretties@gmail.com. I'll be more than happy to send you an invoice for the $10 pattern payment.    Once the invoice is paid your pattern will be emailed to you ASAP.

Thanks for stopping by my little spot in Podunk!

~ Lea Anne ~

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Friday, August 11, 2017

~ Out with the old... ~

...In with the new.  Yes dear quilting friends change is in the air, I can feel it, literally.  We've had some really mild days here in Podunk.  That means Autumn is fast approaching...I hope.  Well before I get to the really exciting news about change, how about a pretty picture just because bright colors make me happy.  The beautiful background block below was a gift from my dear friend Bev at Blossomandbev.  There's three more of these lovelies waiting for me to finish.
So what's the big change?  There's a couple of things.  The first is I'm launching my new Craftsy pattern shop next week!  I'm super excited and have been working hard to get everything done with the help of Bev as a pattern tester.   Along with pattern shop I'll be making some changes here on the blog, you might have noticed the new blog header.  Please bare with me as I make and test other features on the blog.  Another change is my logo, I'll be retiring my old logo below and replacing it with something pretty similar.
Here she is!  Not much of a change, the design was based upon my old logo.  But I now have the freedom to change the color when needed.  If you look up at the first picture in this post you'll see that I can also use it as a watermark.
 See you next week!

~ Lea Anne ~

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