Friday, 31 August 2012

Abakhan Kitchen Project on a Budget

Hi! I'm Janice from Better Off Thread and I will be showing you how to make this month's Abakhan "Projects on a Budget". I am so honored to have been chosen and very excited to receive $20 worth of products from Abakhan (thank you, William!).
Today, I will show you how to make a magnetic sign for your dishwasher:
This dishwasher sign has come in very handy at my house, because at least once a week my husband tries to help me with the dishes and he puts dirty ones in the with the clean. I bet you can guess what happens then. I HAD to make this for the sake of our marriage!
You are going to be paper-piecing letters on one side of the sign and doing raw edge applique on the other. If you haven't done either of these before, it's the perfect way to start! Don't worry, it isn't as difficult as it looks. Paper-piecing looks intimidating, but it's really the Paint-by-Number of the quilting world. If you can count and sew along a straight line, you can paper-piece!
Here are the items you need for this project:
From Abakhan I recieved:
I also used fusible web from my own supply, but Abakhan has it here.
You'll have enough fabric to make a zillion dishwasher signs for all your family and friends (Time to start getting on those holiday gifts!).
You will also need to print out two templates:
Begin by cutting 1.5" x WOF strips from each of your poplin fabrics and cut your "Clean" template apart along the red lines.
Grab a letter template and you can either crease along the black lines, or trace the lines on the back. You want to be able to see where to place your fabric. Sometimes I am able to see through the paper well enough, so I don't do anything (yeah, I'm a lazy sewer).
Now it's time to sew:
1.Place your fabric strip so it covers spot #1 on the template and hangs over 1/4" into section #2. 2.Place your second piece on top, so that you have a 1/4" seam allowance and pin. 3. Flip your template over and sew from the printed side. 4. Press flat.
If your seam allowances are more than 1/4", fold the paper template back and trim your seam allowance.
Once you have finished sewing your letter, cut the seam allowances around it to 1/4".
Look, you made a letter!
Once you have paper-pieced all your letters, you are going to sew them together and add a 1" strip of background fabric to the top and bottom.
One side down!
Sit down somewhere comfy and remove all the papers from the back. Gaze at your "Clean" sign, reward yourself with a cookie and then get back to work!
It's time to get DIRTY.
Take your "Dirty" template and trace it onto the paper side of fusible web.
I like to tape it to a window, like so:
Next, cut roughly around each letter.
Iron them to your cotton poplin following the manufacturer's instructions. cut out each letter along the pencil lines.
Cut a 5"x9" square from your background fabric and lay your letters out in a pleasing configuration. Iron, following the manufacturers instructions.
Topstitch around each letter in a contrasting thread.
You are now done with the second side! Time to make the inner layer.
You will be making a casing for your magnets to live in, so they stay in place. Cut 2 6"x10" rectangles from your muslin. On one piece, draw lines like in the photo above.
Put both muslin rectangles on top of each other and sew along the 1 vertical and the 6 horizontal lines. Do NOT sew along the seam allowance lines. Insert your magnets into the channels you created.
Note: If your magnets are directional, make sure they face the correct way, so that your sign sticks to the dishwasher! One needs to face one way and one the other. I cut the center one in half and faced them in opposite directions.
It will be easier to insert your magnets, if you round off one end with scissors.
Now, put all your layers together. The "Clean" and "Dirty" sides should be placed upside down from each other, so that they each have a magnet along the top that will stick to the dishwasher. (It will make more sense when you are putting the layers together).
Use a machine basting stitch to sew all your layers together about 1/8" from the edges. Trim to 5"x9".
This is a great time to put your sign up on your dishwasher and test it out. Make sure all your magnets are facing the right way. You may need to add magnets to the 4 corners, depending on the weight of your fabric and the size of your seam allowances. You can always cut one magnet into 4 smaller pieces and slide them into each corner.
Next, draw horizontal lines 1/2" apart using a fabric marking pen or chalk (like photo above). Make sure your lines are not crossing any of your magnets. You don't want to try to sew through those!
I used my zipper foot, so I could sew right along the magnets without breaking my needle.
All quilted and ready for binding!
I am not going to show you how to do binding, because this is already a LONG tutorial and there are so many great binding tutorials out there already. I highly recommend using this single binding tutorial at Verykerryberry. It's perfect for smaller items like your dishwasher sign.
Cute, huh? Now get crackin' and sew one up for all your friends and family members. You won't just be making them a gift, you will be SAVING their marriage!
Thank you for having me as a guest, Lynne! It's been a pleasure.

Pink Castle Fabrics 20% sale

Well it's Labour Day Weekend in the US of A and Brenda from Pink Castle Fabrics is celebrating with a 20% of sale so hop on over there if you have some spare change rattling around in your pockets and see what you can find.  NB: Use code LABOR20.  I like her blogger bundles:

Her scrap packs
And I confess I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the new Kona colours too:

Either way, I hope you have a lovely weekend, whether or not it's Labour Day where you are!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Jack Attack I - the fabric requirements

OK it's post 1 of the Jack Attack quiltalong and this is where I set out the fabric requirements for the quilt top.  I made a trial block from a Lakehouse Penelope B+W dot, the blue Paris map print from 3 Sisters Etchings and the cream labels print from Curio by Basic Grey.  The piecing went well but I think my choices of fabrics could have been better here as there is not a strong enough contrast between the blue and cream fabrics.  It works well in a union jack if you have two main dark prints and the white lines are a clear contrast with both of those which I don't think I quite achieved here.  It's a lovely big flag though so feel free to go crazy and haul out those HUGE scale prints you've never known what to do with - they'll work great here.

Jack Attack trial block went to plan

A reminder that you can grab the button for this quiltalong here.

Lilys Quilts
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Lilys Quilts"><img src="" alt="Lilys Quilts" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

And head over to the Flickr group to join and share your bloglinks, fabric choices and eventual progress.  And this is what we are going to be making.  A single bed sized quilt with three BIG union jacks.

Now, before you skip straight to the fabric requirements and then click right on through to your favourite fabric shop, a few points to take into account:

1.   These are the MINIMUM fabric requirements.  If you are using bold geometric prints for the diagonal, vertical and horizontal coloured or white strips, which need to be aligned at joins OR prints which you want to fussy cut, you will need to buy more fabric.  

2.   These fabric requirements are based on joining fabrics to make the diagonal, horizontal and vertical stripes.  If you would prefer not to have joins in your quilt on these sections, you need to look at the separate requirements listed after the main requirements.

3.   I will give fabric requirements AS IF you are using one fabric for the white sashing on each flag and the sashing in the quilt (as shown in the picture above).  If you wish to use different prints for the white in each flag and the sashing, you need to look at the separate requirements listed after the main requirements. 


1.   For the triangles in each flag: 1/2 yd (or 2 FQs or 4 F8ths).  

2.   For the diagonal, horizontal and vertical stripes in each flag: 1/2yd (or 2 FQs).
NB: if you prefer not to have joins in in these sections, you will need 3/4yd per flag.  And you will need more if you are also going to fussy cut these sections.  

3.   For the white sashing for all three flags and the quilt: 2 1/2 yds.
OR  1/2yd per flag PLUS 1 yd for the quilt sashing if you are using different fabrics for the white sections on each flag and the sashing.
NB: you will need more than this if you do not want to have joins in the white sections of the flags or if you have bold geometric prints which need careful joining or if you have fabric (eg text fabric) which you want to fussy cut.


One yd of freezer paper (desirable but not essential, see below).

I have made a template to help make the flags.  I used freezer paper and the template is 27.5" x 10.5".  You can make a template for regular paper, newspaper etc but I find freezer paper great to work with for this as you can fuse the fabric to the freezer paper to aid trimming and alignment.  Ideally you will use a piece of freezer paper cut from the roll for this as you will not be able to iron on the join of two pieces of freezer paper taped together.  

Liberty quilting fabrics now in the Village

Bloomsbury Gardens, Liberty's first ever quilting cotton collection, has just landed at the Village Haberdashery.  Inspired by the garden squares, historic architecture and rich cultural history of its namesake, this beautiful, eclectic collection will send your head spinning with sewing ideas.   Annie has picked colourway C, the bright, rich, jewel-toned teal and magenta colourway, and you can find the full set of 11 prints in the shop. The full bundle can be found here.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Running Chicken - fabrics and quilting

Well it's a big Andy's Room (from Toy Story) welcome to my newest sponsor, Karen from The Running Chicken.  Karen is both a long arm quilter and a brand new fabric shop - her shop is just one week old with new fabrics including Kona solids, patterns, rulers, kits, bundles, pre-cuts, books (including Quiltmania books) and notions being added all the time.  She has been long arm quilting for six years and decided to branch out into quilting fabrics too as people would come to pick up their quilts and start shopping in Karen's stash!

To help Karen launch her new shop, we are having a HUGE, GENEROUS and HUGE (did I say HUGE) giveaway of a 19 FAT QUARTER bundle of the very new must-have line from Lotta Jansdotter, Bella.

Five chances to win this HUGE 19 FQ bundle...

1.   Leave a plain, simple, vanilla comment.
2.   Click to follow The Running Chicken Quilting blog and come back here and tell me that you did.
3.   Register on The Running Chicken Quilting's webshop (top right of the home page) and come back and tell me that you did.
4.   Click to follow this blog and tell me that you did (or that you're already a follower).
5.   Spread the word (twitter, Facebook, blog, google+ etc) and tell me that you did.

If you just can't wait, the bundle is currently 'on special' on the webshop for £50.  And if you fancy a little retail therapy in the next few days, there is 10% off all Bella fabrics (not bundles) using code NEW1.  And of course, when you finish your quilt, you can send it along to The Running Chicken to have it quilted.  Good Luck and I will draw ten days from today.

GIVEAWAY - Touchdraw now available on mac

My favourite app of them all, Touchdraw for iPad, which I use to design all my quilts, to make buttons, blog headers, draw up templates, piecing diagrams etc etc etc is now available on macbook.  

It is a vector graphics drawing package.

Simple, fun and intuitive to use, it has been an invaluable resource for me.

I have been DESPERATE to get a copy on my macbook as I use it absolutely constantly on my iPad.  

And now I am giving you a chance to win a copy for your mac AND a chance to win a copy for your iPad.  

To win, leave a simple comment letting me know whether you want to win the copy for your mac, a copy for your iPad or would be happy with either.  

To install it on your mac, you need OS 10.7.  So leave a comment and I'll pick two winners a week from now!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Jack Attack - The Button

So what's a quiltalong without a button?  If anyone doesn't yet know how to add a button to their blog, there are two options.  To add it to the sidebar, you need to copy the text from the box below the button and paste it into a HTML gadget.  To drop it into a post, click on HTML at the top of your post drafting box and paste the text into the post.  Revert to Compose and hey presto, the button will appear.

Lilys Quilts
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Lilys Quilts"><img src="" alt="Lilys Quilts" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

And what are we making in this QAL "Jack Attack"?  We're making a single bed sized (70" x 90") triple union jack quilt.  You do not need to buy a pattern - I will be taking you through the quilt assembly step by step.  The piecing is simple - no difficult foundation paper piecing in this quilt.  Any questions on the QAL, add them into this post.

Fabric requirements will follow before too long.  If you're in, let me know in a comment below and go and share your bloglinks in the Flickr group on this thread.

Monday, 27 August 2012

An appeal for help ...

Hi I'm Danielle Coolbear Jenkins I blog over at DJCoolbear and my email address is  Lynne has given me the honour of a guest post in order to share a project I am working on. So to start I'll give you some background on the project.
On February 24th 2012 my birth father lost his battle with Prostate cancer he was 60 years and 3 months (to the day) old - he is survived by his almost 90 year old mother; he was meant to live a lot longer than he did.

 We never had the conventional father/daughter relationship as we never lived together. When I was 22 we spent a month together in Turkey which was the start of a better understanding of who he was. He was also present for the few weeks before A was born almost 3 years ago - and luckily A arrived the day before he flew back to NZ. Not long after he returned home, he was diagnosed with the cancer - but it hadn't been diagnosed early enough and had spread to his bones.

Being the son of a GP he was pretty good at going to see his Dr but a vital test was not made PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen); which is an indicator as to whether there is cancerous cells present in the prostate. I was talking to my mum - who had reconnected with my father and re-established their friendship after 20 odd years - and she said that she was angry at his Dr for not picking up on the cancer sooner. My father's family has a history of female reproductive cancers - which we had been discussing when he was over before A was born - but there had been no occurrences of male cancers, little did we know that his body was already riddled with cancer that started in the prostate. When he was diagnosed he was given a prognosis of 5 years – he survived less than 2 and a half.

In December last year he went into hospital, and only came out to move to the Hospice – where he died. Although we didn’t have the normal father/daughter relationship – we were starting to form something new. I was looking forward to my 3 sons getting to know him – my eldest shares his birthday – 24th November.

From this anger and a need to do something constructive about it I suggested that we do some fundraising for both Mary Potter Hospice (which is fully privately funded) where he spent his last few weeks and for Movember charities.  My suggestion was of course Quilt related - as my mother is also a quilter and has a large group of quilty friends.  So this project is very much International; a quilt will be made in NZ and a quilt made by me here in the UK.

So the big question is who would be interested in contributing to a quilt to be raffled off with the money raised going to Movember and The Mary Potter Hospice (Wellington, NZ). Mary Potter Hospice is where a lot of family members including my father and his dad my Grandpa, and friends have spent their last days – it is a beautiful and calm place not like a hospital.

What I need help with is to make some blocks – I have named the project ‘Can’t Grow a Mo’ Sew a Mo’ (tho’ of course those who can grow a mo’ both male and female – I can't yet just chin hairs... - are welcome to contribute blocks) and basically aim to make a lap/single bed sized quilt. I had a lot of fun making 5 blocks the other day and have also drawn up some famous and not so famous inspired Mo’s that are available as a PDF on my website. (To make the mos symmetrical fold paper in half, draw one side and then cut out – they can also be cut freehand from fabric in the same way.)  Can you guess whose they might be?

The blocks can be very improvisational – but need to fit with in a few guidelines to make them easier to pull together into a top: Blocks are to be square or rectangular - as it will make it easier to fit all the blocks together whilst maintaining a rogues gallery look. The finished block sizes - anything up to 12 inches, so 12.5 inches with seam allowance. The finished block must have a frame, of any design - as simple or fancy as you like. Any colours you like. Draw inspiration from the Mo's of the men in your life or from famous Mo's.

Mo's can be made of what ever you want to use; felt, faux fur - blocks and frames however need to be 100% cotton as it will make it easier to piece the top. Machine applique with topstitch is probably easiest - especially with some of the fancier moustaches. The blocks will need to be back to me by the first week in October at the latest. I know that there is only about 6 weeks until my deadline for return of the blocks – but I’m hoping that the generosity of the Quilty world extends to the short notice.

If you email me at I will let you know the address to send the blocks to. I have started a Flickr  Group – so please join and add your blocks. And here's a button to help spread the word.

I will open the raffle for the UK quilt at the Start of November and the tickets will be available via my website – although not applicable outside the UK; unless you are willing to pay postage.  I will also have the details of the NZ quilt for the Antipodeans among you.   I look forward to hearing from you all – maybe we'll end up with enough blocks for 2 quilts?

Danielle - email