Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Bias Tape Maker

Posted by Strlady at 10:13 AM 2 comments
With my efforts to do more applique this year comes the need to learn about tools that might make the process a bit smoother.

When I was cutting out my applique pieces for my Love Letter's block I noticed that there were a few 'stems' to be made. I recalled that I had a bias tape maker back from when I thought I might use it (about 10 years ago). I pulled it out and realized that the tool was less than efficient.

So when I had to cut and make the handles on my Petite Fours block I decided to venture out and look for another option...

I discovered an updated version of the bias tape maker that I needed to check out.

As you can see it looks very much like the older model (still available at you local JoAnn's store)

here is the difference.... Notice how after feeding the fabric in the older model, it still comes out 'opened', while the new model is ready to feed to your iron with no tweaking.

Here is another look. See how the mouth of the new version is tight around the fabric,
while the older version feeds it open.

The end result is the same. You still get the bias tape you were aiming for, but the older model requires that your fingers get close and personal with your iron, while the newer version allows you to maintain a respectable distance from the heat.

Needless to say, I love my new bias tape maker, and my fingers do too!

Wondering how I feed the 1" strip through the tape maker?

Well I use my handy dandy stilleto which came courtesy of my favorite Pumpkin Patch.

I love that tool! It not only worked to push that fabric through the bias tape measure, it also helps me feed my fabric through the machine AND it also has helped me fold under the applique handles of my Petite Fours baskets. I don't know what I would do without that darn thing. I love it!

I also got a Pressing Tool with my stilleto which has saved my fingers more than once during this new adventure!

Hurray for new tools!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Sci-Fi addict in me rejoices

Posted by Strlady at 10:31 AM 2 comments
I am a jinx. Yup. You can ask anyone in my family. If I like something new on your person, I try to be evasive in my compliment. You grew out your nails and they look great... I will look but will comment more on the color of your nailpolish than on the length since it will cause a nail to chip.
Working on your complexion? Hmmm. 'Your makeup today looks nice.' is all you will get if you want to avoid a break out tomorrow. I have learned to keep my comments to a less than enthusiastic level. Inside, Happy dance for you...Outside, subdued acknowledgement.

I had always thought that my bad luck with enthusiastic responses translated into my choices in television shows getting canned. I try not to completely fall in love with a show because I don't expect it to get renewed. Worse... it just might get canceled Mid Season.

I was reading an article today that made me realize that the problem is not me!! YEAH! It's my love of SciFi. All Sci-fi fans must feel the same way. Journey Man - Canceled, Dollhouse - Canceled, Tru Calling - Canceled, Dark Angel - Canceled, Life on Mars - Canceled, Firefly - Canceled, Jericho - Canceled, and on and on I can go.

So when Fringe came on the scene a couple of years ago I was hesitant to embrace it, but couldn't stop myself. This year the show was moved to the worst slot on TV land - Friday. The kiss of death for shows like Medium. It's like pergutory for shows that are ready to move to their everlasting rewards. Fringe seemed destined to follow suit since the ratings were doing a nose dive (could also have been due to the baby mama storyline they were feeding us).

Anyway, today I read that my little show has been picked up for a Fourth Season!!! WOOOHOO!!! Maybe a mid year cancelation might still happen but to know that I will get at least SOMETHING next fall, is a treat and I celebrate (in a subdued manner - of course).

Hail to the sci-Fi Junkies!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beth, I hear you calling....

Posted by Strlady at 8:47 AM 6 comments
I have had that Kiss song stuck in my head since yesterday morning. I had been feeling under the weather last week and took Thursday and Friday off, which found me gravitating toward my books and fabrics. I just lay on the bed and opened up my favorite book (Miss Rosie's Quilt Co - Spice of Life Quilts). I have almost all the patterns in that book and bought the book mostly for the pattern called Elizabeth. I fell in love with that pattern a while ago but the half square triangles were killing me and so I kept saying to myself that I could only get this one done when I had time to hit my head against the wall with those HST.

Well last week while I was in bed staring at the pattern I decided to break it down into pieces. I pulled my post it notes and started breaking the pattern down. I like to do this so I can determine color and to visualize the actual process of making each piece. It's not the same to know there are 24 delectable mountain squares than to know that each square will have 6 small half square triangles and a large half square triangle with a single 2.5" square. So the delectable mountain breaks down into 8 units.

As I was breaking down the quilt I chanced to remember that last week at the quilt show I dropped by the Bonnie Blue Quilt booth and picked up some Spinning Star triangle paper, Nicole blogged about a couple of months ago. I wanted to give it a try since I'm not having much luck loving any method of making HST.

This had me out of bed scrambling for my Luna Notte FQ bundle (I chose my fabrics a LOONNNGGG time ago). One thing I needed to figure out was how to keep the paper stable without the pins. I find that the pins distort the paper a bit and I have a problem with that.

It occurred to me that if I can stabilize my Bali Wedding Star pieces with this Sewline glue stick and have minimal, to no residual glue, I can use it on these HST papers.

Worked like a charm. All I had to do was follow the lines and these puppies were getting completed in no time at all!!

I was done with the HST in  blink of an eye. I then sat down and trimmed the papers (much easier than trimming each individual triangle since it's just follow the line - no measuring). I pulled the paper off the little buggers while I was in bed watching Fringe.

At that point I realized... I was done with the most intimidating part of this quilt.

Beth started to take form as the weekend progressed.

Even though I was feeling crappy the progress on this one was amazing.

Yesterday I went back to work and that Kiss song kept playing over and over in my head. It seemed like this quilt kept calling me. I could not wait to get back to the project.

I'm wrapping up the stars but I ran out of the light cream fabric (marble tones). I am a bit upset over it since it was due to a mistake in cutting - cut more than I needed, but I'm hoping to find more online, someplace! ARG! In the meantime, I have some four squares to make.

Lesson on this one, don't let the pattern intimidate you. Just break it down to the elemental pieces and take it one block at a time. Oh... and make sure you don't cut more pieces than you need when you have a limited amount of fabric.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quilt Celebration 2011

Posted by Strlady at 6:05 PM 5 comments
Yesterday I took the day off from work and headed off to Dallas, where my guild opened their annual Quilt Show.

This is the show that I will always credit for bringing me back to quilting. A few years ago my sister, Brenda, came for a visit and her trip coincided with the quilt show, so I dragged her butt to the show and fell in love with the craft all over again.

This year's show was just as yummy as the pasts. It's theme was Stars!
And there were stars everywhere.

I actually have this pattern (It's from Bonnie Blue Quilts - Glory Bound) but Dorothy Welch added a few borders to make it larger. I think I'll need to borrow that idea when I make mine.

Remember this quilt? It won a pretty ribbon! (Full Bloom by Carrie Nelson) 
Congrats to Carol Dickschat who pieced this beauty!

I love this quilt. I also have the pattern!! Yeah Me!

Gorgeous is an understatement. I think I'll make it when I become a real quilter. LOL!
Congrats to Nina Johnston for the ribbon this beauty earned.

Lots of stars and gorgeous applique peppered the aisles of this show. I setup the slide show below. I hope it works. The quilters that created each piece is credited after the quilt itself.(I think you can change the speed of the slideshow or move ahead manually if you find things going a bit too slow).

As to the vendors... that is worth a whole post! I'll just say that there was some damage to the bank account, but not as much as there could have been if I had bought that darn Big Board Iron surface that I wanted!!

Hope you are having a quilty weekend!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Piece of Fandango

Posted by Strlady at 5:00 AM 0 comments
I had not posted about this finish but it has been on my bed for about a month now, so I think it's about time. I started this one back in November while I was at the Modern Quilt Guild retreat.

 The pattern is Piece of Cake 2 by Thimbleblossom and the fabric is Fandango by Kate Spain.

I love that this fabric line had Flannel pieces, because I was able to use it as backing.
It is so yummy soft, it is insane!

Mary over at Quilt Hollow was able to get this quilted for the holidays, but I had failed to finish attaching the binding until January.

Tonight I took it to Show and Tell at the Modern Quilt Guild. It's always great getting together with that bunch. I just wish the meetings were closer.
This weekend my other guild (Dallas Quilt Guild) will be putting on their annual quilt show. I took the day off from work and will be there to open the doors. I'll take pictures and share when I get back!


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