Finally, it’s Fall!

The temperatures are actually dropping bit by bit here in North Texas and we are ready to get in the Fall mood. Lorna and I got our Halloween decorations up because it made us both happy!

We are pulling together Autumn items in the shop, and enjoying every minute. Here are a few…

This orange and purple mug is just begging for your coffee and pumpkin spice creamer. My granddaughter, Elanor (in college), already claimed hers—the gnome is so cute!

And for full on Halloween fun, these paper chains from eeBoo. Judy and Bear put one together and it is even more impressive in person. It makes a really long chain, which is awesome, or you can use fewer and make several smaller chains.

Halloween Paper Chain Kit—fun for all ages, but especially kids!

The paper strips have slots that fit together. Judy did say that small hands might struggle a little, so it’s nice to have an older helper. Work fine motor skills and hand eye coordination, plus Judy says it made them both happy. You could staple them if you really wanted to. But if you don’t, they are easy to disassembled and save for next year. The patterns are magical, and the quality is 100%, like we’ve come to expect from eeBoo.

And new from eeBoo is this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle that is both spooky and beautiful. It has everything + ghosts! The Alchemist’s Home is not just for Halloween, but it sure does fit the theme. These puzzles from eeBoo are so detailed, they add layers of fun as you hunt for pieces and make those satisfying connections.

The Alchemist’s Home Puzzle

The 100-piece Love of Bats puzzle is on point for Fall and Halloween, too. Click here to look back at the blog post —it’s glow in the dark!

And Halloween scissor charms! Just tell us in the comments when you place your order: Purple Skull, Candycorn, Black Cats, or Owls. (If you need a witch or a pumpkin we can special order for you.)

Last, but definitely not least, if you’re working on a Fall wool project and looking for oranges and other Fall colors, Piece O’ Cake has you covered. I carry Tracy Trevethan wool, the best quality wool and colors I’ve found. Her’s are the most consistent as well, especially for hand dyed wool. Really vibrant.

For her Coordinating Solids, Sweet Rolls, and Felted Stacks, just click, or click All Things Wool. I have really extensive thread collections to match: shop Wool Threads and Perle Cotton Threads.

I hope this has put you in the mood to enjoy the seasonal changes as they come this Fall, and to make yourself happy!

Show and tell Hexie Garden…

Mary Ann Karpinski shared her quilt with us—thank you Mary Ann! She combined the flowers from my book, Hexie Garden Quilt, with Toes in the Sand by Julie Herman from Jaybird Quilts. What a great idea!!!

Mary Ann says that she got a little carried away with the hand quilting. I don’t think she did, do you?

Well done, Mary Ann, and thank you so much for sharing your quilt with us :-).

Show and tell… Bullseye!

Marie Johansen post this comment on my blog. The first photo shows her Bullseye quilt top which is amazing!

Hello! I finished my Bullseye and it one of my favorites in 40 years of making quilts! I want to make another! Is there a mathematical formula that I could use to make it even larger than 60”? I am math challenged, but would love an even larger Bullseye! Thank you for this wonderful pattern!

Bullseye made by Maria Johansen

The answer to the math question is yes… I’m pretty sure that you can enlarge all the foundation paper piecing shapes, and the corner template, by the same percentage and they should fit together.

Marie also sent a photo of her finished quilt on the bed, photobombed by her cat, Tizzy :-).

Bullseye made by Maria Johansen

Thank you, Marie, for sharing your quilt with us! You did a marvelous job and I look forward to hearing how the enlargement works out.

If you would like to make your own Bullseye quilt. click here to find the book.

Grow some Joy :-)!

A few days ago I ran across my box of 1/2″ EPP hex flowers. I make these when I run out of other hand sewing because they are so cute and easy to sew on the go. Each side of the hex paper is 1/2″. EPP papers come in other sizes to make different sizes of flowers.

And then I looked over and saw my Piece O’ Cake Travel Pouches that were woefully unadorned. What a perfect combo!!!

I decided to stitch these hexie flowers to my red pouch, with a single hex spacer in between. 

It works best to attach and sew one flower at a time. I pressed the flowers to make sure the creases stayed put and removed the basting thread. I used the Quilters Select glue pen. It works better if you hold the flower in place near the cent and fold back one petal at a time. Add glue to the underside of the outer edge of the petal and press it in place. Repeat for all petals and let the glue dry. 

You will still need to add pins because the Yazzii fabric has a finish the glue doesn’t love. I used the 3/4″ Little House applique pins.

I’m still sewing the red pouch but I finished my blue one. Here’s what I learned:

  • The closer the applique is to the top of the pouch, the easier it is to sew.
  • I used my regular applique thread (Superior’s Masterpiece on the bobbin) and an invisible applique stitch. 
  • I hid my stitch between the quilted layers of fabric.
  • You will have to be creative with the way you hold the fabric and you work around the flower. Take your time and focus on sewing the edges down. If it isn’t perfect, that’s OK. It just needs to be sturdy enough to hold up to the wear you give it.

I could add embroidery. I could add felted wool… maybe leaves, or a bee! But I have other hand projects that are calling me with a louder voice so I am going to call these finished (for now), because they are plenty cute as is :-).

Hexie flowers… you should make some and plant them where you need a spot of joy!

I did something crazy…

I did something crazy, on purpose, just for you, so that I could share this learning experience. I will post this on the blog in a few days. Here we go:

Do you remember the two Spring Bling quilts I made for my class with MJ Kinman? The one on the left has turned-edge machine appliqué and I used glue to hold the seam allowances in place. I used SoftFuse for the large raw-edge applique shapes in the quilt on the right.

The fabric came from my stash and I prewashed all of it sometime in the past. There are a lot of hand dyes in these quilts and I didn’t test the fabric before making the quilts because I was lazy. The blue quilt really needed to be washed to get the glue out. The red quilt needed to be washed because I wanted to see how the SoftFuse would look after washing.

This is where the crazy starts…

I put the red quilt in my washer with 3 white dish towels (not good ones), 1 Color Catcher, and 1 TBLS of Orvus Paste (because I have a huge jar of it) and 3 teaspoons of Retayne mixed in water. I chose Retayne in the hopes that it would fix the dyes. It did not as you can see in the photo on the left.

TIP: Do not let the quilt dry at this point!
Wash #2: 2 Color Catchers, plus 1 TBLS Orvus Paste and 3 teaspoons of Synthrapol mixed in water, added to the washer, washing in hot water. The dark pink you see in the photo above, right, is one of the Color Catchers. I moved on to washes #3, #4, and #5 using the same washing products in hot water—the white fabric got cleaner with each wash.

Five washes had taken enough out of the quilt and the white looked good so I placed the quilt face up on towels on my table to dry. I checked it every 10-15 minuted to be sure none of the color was bleeding.

I was not done tempting fate…

The blue quilt still needed to be washed. This was harder for me because there is a lot more work in this one but, at this point, it felt like a science experiment. I used the same mix of Color Catchers, Orvus, and Synthrapol in hot water…

The Color Catchers picked up some dye but the fabrics all looked good. Amazing! I laid it on more towels next to the Sunrise quilt, kept an eye on both as they dried, and eventually turned a fan on them.

TIP: Do not re-use Color Catchers, even if they look white. The chemicals are gone.
Washing changed the quilts. The texture of the quilting is more prominent. Five washes in hot water had an effect on the colors in the red Sunrise Bling quilt, the colors in the blue quilt look about the same as they did before.

What are the important take-aways?

  • If you care deeply about the quilt you are making, test wash your fabrics before you begin!!!!
  • Do not start washing late in the day because it could take longer than you think.
  • Wash with Color Catchers and  Synthrapol. The instructions say to use hot water and it makes sense to do what they say works best. And use either Retro Wash, Orvus Paste, or All Free and Clear. You could also try Dawn liquid dish detergent but only use a very tiny bit in your washer. 
  • Do not let the quilt get dry when dye is running.
  • Do not put the quilt into the dryer until you are absolutely certain that colors are not running.
  • Remain calm.
  • Think carefully before you get a quilt wet. I was mentally prepared for the worst outcome so I forged just did it. If you are going to be heartbroken if disaster strikes, it might make sense to live with your quilt the way it is, unwashed.

But what about prewashing fabric?

I have been prewashing my fabric with Retro Wash, Retayne, and Color Catchers—but if the Color Catchers came out with color, I have not been rewashing the fabric. That is not smart and I’ll be washing until the Color Catchers come out clean from now on.

It’s possible that prewashing with Synthrapol rather than Retayne could be a good idea. I am going to think about it. And, from here on out, when using fabric that I know tends to bleed (like red hand dyed fabric!) I will test them before using them in a quilt.

I hope my experience helps you when you wash your next quilt :-).

Show and tell…

Mary Goyeau sent me these photos of her May Basket quilt for show and tell. Mary had never done applique before! I gave a presentation to Great Lakes Heritage Quilters last year, and that got her interested in appliqué. Well done, Mary!

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your quilt and for letting me know that my presentation inspired you :-). Your applique looks good and your quilting stitches are lovely. I hope you continue to enjoy hand applique and quilting. It brings a special kind of happiness to your life.

If you are interested in this digital pattern, click to find May Baskets on my website. This quilt is also in our book, Curl-Up Quilts.