Boomerang bags!

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Linda is the proud recipient of the January Volunteer Award from the non-profit Surfrider Perth Foundation.

Linda’s niece, Magen, is currently the president of the Surfrider Perth branch. Magen is based out of the University of Western Australia, and has just completed her Masters in Marine Biology (focusing on shark learning behaviours & recreational fishing).

Linda’s Aunt Mildred donated fabric for the reusable grocery bag campaign (Boomerang Bags). While Magen was home, she and Linda and Magen’s mom, Judy, worked on bags.

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Judy, Magen’s mom

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Magen and Linda

They made 76 bags! Magen is working to get the Boomerang Bag program started with Surfrider Chapters in the states and to start an Australian/USA sister chapter. Click here for more info.

Yet another iron bites the dust…

I’m done with my Rowenta Pro Iron Steam Station (see this post). It works, but the reservoir has an unpredictable leak. When it leaks, it’s more like a flood and that does not mix well with the wood floor below.

Additionally, the Steam Station is slow to heat up (a minor annoyance). Once it is hot, it really puts out the heat. That’s good, except when it’s hot outside which is half the year where I live. When the iron is on, the studio gets uncomfortably warm. And did I mention that this this is big and awkward to store?

I went shopping for a smaller, cheap, reliable iron and got a Black and Decker, model ICR05X. At least it was cheap because it started spitting and leaking water out of the steam holes almost immediately. I am just about disgusted with irons and, if I didn’t have to have one, I would give up.

Luckily, in my last Consumer Reports magazine, there was a short review of irons. Some of the higher-rated irons were light, which they must have considered a plus.

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After careful consideration, I bought a Panasonic NI-W950A.

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The sole plate is pointed in front and back, which I somehow missed when I was shopping. How I missed that I do not know because the photo is huge on the box.

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I’ve been using it for about a week and so far, so good. The pointy back is fine—I neither hate it nor love it. The iron gets hot fast, it steams pretty well. It’s heavy, which I view as a plus. I like the way the base of the cord swivels out of the way. It is stable when ‘standing’—more so than most irons.

It has an auto shut off, which I like, and it heats up quickly when moved. Honestly, if there is a year of good ironing from this iron I will be happy. If it doesn’t last, I’m going to consider a classic iron from the Vermont Country Store.

I still wish I had the space (and was willing to spend what it costs) for a Laura Star ironing system. Sigh.

I got an email from Rebecca. After I replied I thought you all would enjoy both her email and my reply…

Hi, Becky!  I have both of your applique sampler books, have read them through several times, dog eared and highlighted, et cetera. I have also watched your videos.  You must be a wonderful teacher in person!  I’m working on my first needle turned applique block and all was going well until I got to the small leaves.  The block design is my own “Frankenstein” whig rose, combination of several different applique patterns from back issues of Quilter’s Newsletter, and I tried to include as many different shapes and sizes as I could so it would be a good learning piece.

I’m having trouble with the end where the leaf is round in a tight outer curve. I have been trying to finger press carefully along the chalk line, but I end up smearing the chalk and can’t seem to finger press a smooth enough curve exactly on the line—and my leaves are looking a little lumpy where they ought to look smooth. I have tried making my turning allowance narrower and turning only one stitch at a time.  Anyway, your other videos have been so helpful. I would love to see a tutorial on how to do a small, tight outer curve. Rebecca

I’m having trouble with the end where the leaf is round in a tight outer curve. I have been trying to finger press carefully along the chalk line, but I end up smearing the chalk and can’t seem to finger press a smooth enough curve exactly on the line—and my leaves are looking a little lumpy where they ought to look smooth. I have tried making my turning allowance narrower and turning only one stitch at a time.  Anyway, your other videos have been so helpful. I would love to see a tutorial on how to do a small, tight outer curve.

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My reply:

Hi Rebecca:

Your stitching is lovely! Truth be told, you might be too critical of your own work. That said, if it was a circle instead of a leaf, more round would be better.
I wish I could do another video on tight curves and will but it’s going to be a while. I’ve got several weeks of work to do on the next book and barely have time to look up!

However, maybe I can help you with words, if not a video.

First, slow down on those curves. What I mean is that this area is not going to turn under particularly quickly.

Where you see the little bumps at the edge, I suspect that the fabric is pleated, or folded over itself, on the underside. When I sew a curve like that, I can feel the pleat with my fabric-holding-fingers as well as see it with my eyes. It is at that point that you should park your needle and use the point of a damp toothpick to reach underneath and smooth open the pleat.

Some pleats take more fooling with than others. That’s why you need to slow down and just work with it until the edge is smooth.

If your curve flattens out, use the point of the toothpick or needle to move it back into round.

Your stitches look pretty small (close together) but this is an area where you want to be sure that there don’t appear to be gaps between your stitches.

I hope this helps, both Rebecca and others who might be having trouble with curves!

Becky

 

AP&Q One Million Pillowcase Sewathon…

American Patchwork & Quilting is going to host their first 24-hour sewathon for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge. This is a cause that has touched more than 560,000 people across the United States!

Click here to see if there is a quilt shop near you where you can go join the fun! If there is not an event near you, you can still help by sewing a pillowcase for a local charity and by posting about the sewathon on your own social media (#APQSewathon).

You can follow along on Facebook during the 24-hour event on September 19-20 to see stories, pictures of events, and to add to the count of the pillowcases donated.

One more top done, 5 to go…

Here’s my most recent quilt top for the piecing book, before I cut it free from the machine…

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The quilt is 90″ x 90″ and covered my design wall from floor to ceiling. I was happy to be moving on, until I realized that the bed this will someday cover has such a deep mattress and pad that 90″-square is just not big enough. Sigh.

I made a border round of blocks, following the same design but with just one light and one darker, blue fabric. The quilt is now 118″ x 118″!!! It no longer fits on my design wall. I haven’t made a quilt this big in many, many years. If ever.

I plan to quilt it myself. I’m thankful that I have the Sweet Sixteen and my clamp system.

 

I’ve been sewing…

I’ve been working this week on a quilt (in 2 sizes) for the revised edition of the Piecing book. I do wish I could show you what’s on my wall, but all I can show is a little bitty teaser…
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Actually this quilt is not little. It’s going to be 90″ x 90″ and I am both looking forward to/and not looking forward to quilting it. I have high hopes that, once finished, it will look good on my guest bed. After I set it together tomorrow I’ll know for sure.

I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time making a quilt that looks good in a particular space. I start with that intention, but then as I make the quilt, the quilt takes over. Colors and values can change. The finished quilts always look good but they may, or may not, look good where I expected to use them. Such is life.

In the construction of this quilt, I used an HST (half square triangle) method that is very accurate. This is the one where if you want a finished size 6″ square, you cut squares 6 1/2″, and trace across them on the diagonal, then sew on that line.

When you use this method, there is some waste… unless you sew together the triangles that you cut away. Which I did!

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I’m not entirely sure what will happen with these HSTs (that need their dog-ears trimmed and then need to be pressed open). I might use them on the back of the quilt. Or not. Tonight, I’m too tired to think about it :-).