Friday, January 28, 2011

Got to Love Those Buttons

A button can be a number of different things—a round badge with a political message, an electrical component, a measure of cuteness, and, of course, a clothing fastener (and a great way to avoid a “wardrobe malfunction”).

But the button has transcended its status as mere necessity with many sewing enthusiasts and quilters, who recognize that this small item can have a big visual impact on a quilt, accessory, or other project.

In fact, despite its practicality, the button has become a favorite embellishment among many of today’s fiber artists. And it’s no wonder, considering the number of unique and interesting options available in today’s market. They come in every color, every shape, and every size. Plus ... Who doesn’t love buttons? They can make a quilt!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I wish I had more time to sew!

I hear that all the time—from my friends and other quilters. Although I'm sure we'd all like endless hours or even days to spend in the studio creating, few people have the lifestyle that affords them that kind of time. From my own experience and that of other quilters I know, I've discovered the following tips for fitting more sewing into a busy lifestyle.

1. Take a good look at the things you do on a daily basis. What can you change or how can you be more productive with your time? My favorite; I make fewer trips to the store if I have a list. Saves time to sew. (And then make sure you do!)

2. Rethink you UFO's. I don't have any. I give them to community service, cut them up for the back of something else, and I've even been known to throw something out. I would rather sew on something I like than a project I have lost interest in!

3. Set yourself up for success. Keep your most-used tools and supplies set up in such a way that they are ready to create when you are.

4. Schedule sewing time. If you don't make your sewing a priority, no one else will. So time on your calendar, even if it's just an hour.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Well Stocked for Ideas

My library of favorite books!

I also keep notebooks full of ideas clipped from other sources.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tools for a Well Stocked Studio

Freezer paper for applique or temporarily stabilizing fabric.
Masking tape.
Flexible ruler.
Regular compass and ruler compass.
Digital camera.
Applique pressing sheet.
Binder clamps to fasten the quilt back to the table when basting.
Safety pins for basting.
Template plastic (which can be used with an iron).
Karen's Perfect Circles.
Bejeweler for fastening Hot Fix Crystals.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Well Stocked Studio - Beads

It’s important to know that all beads are NOT created equal. Craft beads you find might be cheaper but they are no bargain in the long run because they may tarnish, fade, or worse, run. Fashion beads, on the other hand, are generally washable and dry clean well. Clear and iridescent glass beads are usually colorfast, but some silver lined glass beads may tarnish and turn black. White metal beads and charms can also discolor and stain your fabric.

Using a variety of different types of beads is a quick way to add interest to your finished work and, fortunately, the bead makers have ranged far and wide in searching for materials to make into beads. Glass is probably the most common bead out there. Bone, wood and even stone are other possibilities that can be cut, polished, carved and drilled into any number of shapes and sizes. Plastic is a reliable and inexpensive alternative. Metal, brass and aluminum are often stamped into unique shapes.

TIP: Don’t get caught up in what a particular bead is called. Buy and sew beads you like!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Well Stocked Studio for Painting

Is there a particular color, texture or shading you want for your project? You may decide to buy yardage and paint the whole piece or you might want to pick up a brush, stamp or crayon and add a bit of design that is uniquely your own.

Happily, drawing tools like crayons and permanent fabric markers are easy to find and easy to use. Acrylic craft paint, fabric paint, paint sticks and all-purpose ink are all fast and dynamic ways to take your project to the next level of creativity

Washed fabric (or PFD - prepared for dying)
Applicators - Brushes, sponges, tooth brushes or ?
Freezer paper
Wide masking tape
Large plastic garbage bag
Small paper cups or old ice cube tray
Paper plate & towels
Paper & Fabric scissors
Fat sharpie
Rubber gloves
Rubber stamps
X-acto knife
Small cutting mat

Friday, January 7, 2011

Clutch it!

Check out this wonderful, nostalgic exhibit!

Seattle's Museum of History and Industry is presenting "the Purse and the Person. Through February 14, 2011. A Century of Women's Purses brings together life stories buried right under our noses—in the purses carried by our mothers and grandmothers. Developed from a private collection of over 3,000 purses and accessories, this exhibition looks at purses from the inside out, examining day-to-day life reflected in a very personal, very female artifact—a woman's handbag.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well Stocked Studio - Cutting

My cutting requirements are chosen for my specific needs. I have a large matt that I trimmed to fit my counter. My rotary cutting tools fit my needs. There are a medium sized cutter, both straight and pinking, for fabric and another clearly marked set for paper. Oh and new blades for each. I also have a package marked 'old' for used blades.

I use the medium sized one because it works best for the 2-4 layers of fabric I usually cut. I use the cutters for paper when making my Eye Candies.

An assortment of rulers, my most used 6" x 12". I thought that a 4" x 14" might be easier on my hands, but I am so accustomed to the larger one I just couldn't do it! My 6" bias square, it is most accurate for bias squares. 6 1/2", 8 1/2" and 15" square rulers, I only use them for squaring up blocks. I don't seem to do well with the half-inch thing any other way.

And last but not least InvisiGrip! Made by Omnigrid to prevent rulers from slipping when rotary cutting. (All my newer rulers are Omnigrip™ by Omnigrid® green of non-slip rulers.)