A Correction

It was called to my attention that in my last post titled, Part 4: Quilting Rules or Guidelines – The Rotary Cutter, Its Care and Safety, I used the wrong term, screw, when I should have called it a bolt.  As it was explained to me, a screw has a pointy end and a bolt has a flat end.  I have corrected this error.

Thank you for your understanding.

Happy Quilting, Kathy

Part 4: Quilting Rules or Guidelines: The Rotary Cutter, Its Care and Safety

A Little History

The Rotary Cutter revolutionized quilting in a way no other tool has in the history of quilting. The first rotary cutter was introduced by the Olfa Company in 1979 for cutting out pattern pieces for garment (clothing) making. Quilters quickly adopted it for quilt making. Acrylic rulers and cutting mats soon followed as did strip cutting techniques. Using the rotary cutter, ruler and mat, accurate quilt pieces can be quickly cut out.

Prior to the invention of the rotary cutter, quilters used handmade templates usually cut out cereal or shoe box type of cardboard. Using a pencil, quilters would trace the shape on the back side of the fabric. The quilter then cutout the shape plus ¼” seam allowance all around the shape. The template edges would be worn down by the repeated tracing, creating inaccurate pieces. To avoid this, the quilter made many templates. Long bladed dress making shears were used to cut out the shapes. It was difficult to accurately cut out small quilt pieces using the long bladed scissors.

Folding fabric into squares, rectangles, and triangles was another method used to form the shapes of quilt pieces to cut out. Once the fabric was folded in to the desired shape, the quilter then cut on the folded line to create the desired quilt pieces. This technique also rendered inaccurate quilt pieces.

Rotary Cutter Care and Safety

The rotary cutter is a tool that needs to be used properly and carefully. It is extremely sharp and can inflict deep cut if not handled with care and knowledge. From personal experience, I advise you to keep your total attention on the rotary cutter while cutting; even the slightest distraction can cause an accidental cut requiring a visit to the emergency room for stiches. Most rotary cutters come with a “Blade Guard” and a safety lock. This guard is there to protect fingers from the razor sharp blade and the lock if engaged will protect everything from your fingers, feet, toes, floor, passing children or pets from being cut from an accidental drop. Always engage the lock every time you put the rotary cutter down even if you set it down for a second.

Types of Rotary Cutters

Rotary Cutters come in sizes 18mm, 28mm, 35mm, and 60mm. The medium size and large cutters enable you to cut fabric into strips and other pieces, without templates, quickly. There are two basic styles:

You can see the arrows on the black sliding guard and lock. Pulling the guard down uncovers the blade.  Pushing up places the guard back over the blade.

18mm Rotary Cutter

28mm Rotary Cutter

Back of 18mm Rotary Cutter

Back of 28mm Rotary Cutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first are cutters which have a guard you pull back with a finger or thumb to expose the blade. When you push the guard back into place the blade is covered.

 

 

blade closed img 1366 open blade

Y0u can see the arrows on the black sliding guard and lock. Pulling the guard down uncovers the blade.  Pushing up places the guard back over the blade.


The second types of cutters have a spring which automatically pulls the blade back into the blade guard. The blade is exposed when you apply pressure to begin cutting. This type of guard seems safe at rest, but if it is dropped or knock off the table the blade will come out with any type of pressure. It will inflict a cut on anything or anyone the cutter comes in contact with.

35mm Olfa Rotary Cutter

35mm Olfa Rotary Cutter

This style of cutter has a push button lock (mine is red). You push the button closed to lock the blade inside the rotary cutter and you press it open from the opposite side (see photos).

img1273 editedimg1272 edited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I repeat, get into the habit of locking the blade every time you set the rotary cutter down. The blade guard also protects the blade itself. The blade can get nicked or damaged in a drop so that it is not able to correctly cut fabric. If this happens you will need to replace the blade. A replacement blade can cost between $5.00 and $8.00. You can save a bit if you buy replacement blades in multi packs of 5 or more. A multi pack of 5 costs about $25.00. Watch for sales at the national fabric stores and then stock up.

Parts of the Rotary Cutter

Labled parts-Rotary Cutter

Labled Rotary Cutter

How to Change the Blade of the Rotary Cutter

  1. Unscrew the nut on the side of the rotary cutter and remove. Set it aside

img 1263 nut

18mm Rotary Cutter

28mm Rotary Cutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Remove the small metal washer (Notice the inside hole of the washer has two straight edges. These will help you to put it back together correctly.) Set the washer next to the nut.

img 1261 metal washerimage 1368 washer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Next is a large plastic washer or the sliding guard and lock, remove this and set it with the nut and metal washer.

img 1258 plastic washersliding Lock and guard

4. Next is the blade, carefully remove it. Even though it needs replacing it is still sharp enough to give you or anything it comes in contact with, a nasty cut. For now set the blade aside with the other parts.

img 1257 bladeBlade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.The bolt with large head is the last piece to remove (it will literally fall out of the cutter) set it with the other parts.

img1250 labled bolt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img 1373 Bolt

6.Clean the lint off the inside parts of the cutter.

img 1250 clean lintimg clean lint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Once the lint is cleaned away, reassemble the rotary cutter

8. Replace the large head bolt (Refer to photos above)

9. Every carefully remove the new blade from its packaging and place it on the bolt.

10. Put a tiny drop of sewing machine oil near the center of the new blade.

11. Place the plastic washer on the bolt

12. Place the metal washer on the screw; make sure the flat side of the inside fit the flat sides of the bolt

13. Place the nut on the bolt and tighten until finger tight

14. Place the old blade in the plastic case of the new blade and discard into the garbage. If it didn’t come with a case then tape the old blade to a piece of cardboard and discard.

Next time: Part 5: How to Cut With the Rotary Cutter

 

Part 3: Quilting Rules or Guidelines – Pretreatment of Fabric

Part 3: Quilting Rules or Guidelines – Pretreatment of Fabric

This presentation was supposed to be “How to read a Pattern and The Pattern for the Fabulous Four Patch” however; I realized just how much information I was literally throwing at you. There is information you need before we can jump into the quilt pattern. To provide you with this information, I have broken the steps of Basic Quilting down a bit more.

Fabrics for The Fabulous Four Patch

Fabrics for The Fabulous Four Patch

Pre wash or not to prewash the quilt fabric

Some quilters prewash all their quilt fabrics and others do not. It is a personal choice.   Most fabric sold in quilt shops are high quality quilt fabrics that usually don’t bleed. In the 30 plus years I’ve been quilting I’ve had only one quilt project where one of the fabrics (a navy blue fabric) bleed onto the surrounding light fabrics. If I think a fabric may bleed then I do a test to check its colorfastness. Below are directions to check if a fabric is colorfast or color safe.

Example of color bleeding

The picture above is a small section of a Charm Quilt I made with my mom.  No fabric is repeated in this small quilt.  One of the red prints bled on to the white half of this half square triangle, turning a part of the white tone on tone print a light shade of pink.

Test to Check a Fabric for Colorfastness

  1. Cut a small sample (about a 1 1/2”) piece of fabric.
Colorfast Test

Colorfast Test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Soak it in warm (bath temp) water.

Colorfast Test - fabric in warm water

Colorfast Test – fabric in warm water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Next, set it on a white paper towel and then wait a minute or so.

Colorfast Test -Wet fabric resting on paper towel The color of this polka dot print did not bleed - it is color safe!

Colorfast Test -Wet fabric resting on paper towel
The color of this polka dot print did not bleed – it is color safe!

4.  Remove the fabric sample and check for color on the paper towel.If there is no color on the paper towel then the fabric is colorfast

5.  If there is color from the fabric, place the fabric in the washer add a cup of white vinegar (no detergent or softener) put the washer on gentle cycle. Allow the washer to go through a whole cycle i.e… Wash, rinse, then   final rinse. When the washer stops pull the fabric out of the washer and give it a good shake (you are shaking out the scrunched up fabric) put the wet fabric in the dryer select the setting for delicates. Remove fabric when    dry, then iron. You may want to spray on starch or sizing before ironing it, to give the fabric body.

I prefer not to prewash my fabric unless I believe the fabric will bleed on to the adjoining fabrics. I like the feel of the fabric as it is right off the bolt. The starch it has in it helps me to accurately cut out pieces for my quilt projects. However if I do need to prewash a fabric, I follow the steps I described in the previous paragraph.

Note: Don’t prewash Pre Cuts such as Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls or Buns, Layer Cakes, etc… They will fray and you will lose a lot of their fabric

 

Next Time: How to use the Rotary Cutter, Its Care and Safety

Part 2: How to choose fabric for your quilt:

Part 2: How to choose fabric for your quilt:

In this presentation we will discuss color, texture, scale and how these words relate to choosing fabric

You experience color every day. You probably have a favorite color, or if you are like me maybe you have more than one favorite. I have three favorites. Maybe you use your favorite color in decorating your home. Perhaps the color of your car reflects the favored color. Just as you use color in your surroundings you will use this experience and preferred color or colors in your quilting.

Before you make a trip to the fabric store or quilt shop to purchase fabric, I want to go through a couple of activities to help you decide what colors of fabrics you will need to purchase for your project. If you go into the store or shop unprepared you will become over whelmed by the rainbow colored walls of fabric you will encounter on your shopping trip. There are simply too many choices. How do I know this? Because it happens to me and I’ve seen it happen to the most experienced quilters. It doesn’t matter the skill level, if the homework or prep work hasn’t been done, it is very difficult to keep or find ones focus on what colors and, scale of fabrics needed for a particular project. The times I have tried to “wing it”, the fabric usually winds up in my stash  waiting to be used, because it’s not what I needed.

Do you remember a time in your childhood when you got to pick out one or two pieces of candy? Do you remember trying to decide which one was just the right one, but there were too many choices? It was hard to choose. A trip to the fabric store or quilt shop to purchase fabric is a lot like trying to decide which is the right candy.

 


Activity #1

This activity will help you to narrow your focus on which colors or theme of fabric you will need. Take the time to answers a few questions.

  1. Who or what is the quilt for? Is it for a new baby or grandchild? Is it for your living room, bedroom or camper?
  2. What purpose is the quilt for? Baby, graduation, wedding, retirement etc…
  3. If the quilt is for someone else, what colors do they like? Some examples: If for a baby find out what color the baby’s room will be. If for a child, grandchild, graduate or wedding, what are his/her favorite colors?
  4. If you are making this quilt for yourself. Is it for a certain time of the year, Christmas, Fourth of July, or seasonal, spring, summer or fall? What room will the quilt go in to and what is the color is the room decorated with?

 

Having answered the questions above, you should now know:

  1. Who the quilt is for or what purpose the quilt will serve.
  2. The colors you are going to use in the quilt.

 


The Color Wheel

Fabric for the quilter is like paint for the artist. You will use colored fabrics to make your piece of art or rather your quilt. To reacquaint yourself with color and its relationship with other colors, let’s take a look at the Color Wheel. Maybe you remember this from elementary school? Take a look at the Color Wheel below. Notice it has 12 colors.

Color Wheel with Primary, Secondary and Tratiary colors

 

We are going to start with the Primary colors Red, Yellow and Blue.

Color Wheel with Primary colors

 

By mixing two of each color together we get orange from red and yellow, green from yellow and blue, and violet or purple from red and blue. These colors; green, orange and violet are the Secondary Colors.

Primary and Secondary Colors-1a-edieted

 

To finish the color wheel, when we mix a primary color with a secondary color we get the Tertiary Colors: Red-orange, yellow-orange, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet.

Color Wheel with Primary, Secondary and Tratiary colors


 

Activity #2- Color the Color Wheel

-You need a box of crayons 16 or 24 count will do (the Crayola Crayons have the same color names I’m using. If you are using another brand and the color names are different do your best to match up the colors used in this activity

-A copy of a blank color wheel (click on the link here for a printable blank color wheel) Free Printable Color Wheel by Mr. Printable http://pdf.mrprintables.com/mrpco02-blank-ltr.pdf    Note: This is a safe site

                                                                                                                                                                   Blank Color Wheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may think this is a silly activity, coloring is just for kids. Doing this activity is the beginning of seeing colored fabrics and how they react and work with other colored fabrics. That “wall of fabric“, I mentioned earlier will become your box of crayons.

  Color Wheel Directions

  1.   Take the crayons for the Primary Colors, blue, red and yellow out of the box
  2.   Color in the spaces for the Primary Colors, blue, red and yellow
  3.   Take the crayons for the Secondary Colors, green, orange and violet (purple) out of the box
  4.   Color in the spaces for the Secondary Colors, green, orange and violet (purple)
  5.   Take the Tertiary Colors, blue-green, blue-violet, red-orange, red-violet, yellow-green and yellow-orange out of the box
  6.   Color in the spaces for the Tertiary Colors, blue-green, blue-violet, red-orange, red-violet, yellow-green and yellow-orange

Put your finished Color Wheel someplace you can see it for the next few days, while you work through the remaining information.

 


 

Let’s take a look at color and what happens when we add the colors Black, Gray or White. When black is added to a color, it makes shades, as in a darker shade of blue is navy blue. Whengray is added to color the result are tones. When white is added to a color tints are made. The more, white is added, the lighter the color becomes; these are also referred to as pastel colors.

Color Wheel Tints: Color + White

Color Wheel Tints: Color + White

 

 

 

Color Wheel - Shades: Color + Black Color Wheel - Shades

Color Wheel – Shades: Color + Black
Color Wheel – Shades

 

Color Wheel - Tones  Color + Gray

Color Wheel – Tones Color + Gray

 

  Color Value

Color Value is the term that refers to how dark or light a fabric is. Value is an important characteristic because it helps quilters decide how to arrange patches of fabric to make them either blend or contrast with each other.

Cool and Warm Colors

Red, orange and yellow are warm colors.

Blue, green and violet are cool colors.

Cool and Warm colors

 

 

Colors can evoke feelings; reds have a warm feel and blues a cool feel. What do you think of when you see the color red? Chili Peppers, Fire, hearts, etc.. These all evoke a warm feeling while blues, greens, or purples give a cool effect of ice, water, trees, and mountains. The same hold true for fabrics.

 

 

Color Terms and Using color in the Quilt

Monochromatic: When a quilt is monochromatic it has a color scheme made up of one color but in several shades of that color.

 

Complementary: A complementary quilt is made with a color combination of two hues (color) oppisit each other on the color wheel.

A Thimbleberries Pattern

A Thimbleberries Pattern

 

Analogous: An analogous quilt is a combination of colors that are side by side on the color wheel. For example the colors green, blue and violet create a calming feeling. But the combination of red, yellow and orange creates a warm color scheme.

Pattern: Newcastle from Quilter's World

Pattern: Newcastle from Quilter’s World

 

Triadic: A triadic quilt has a color combination of three colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel. It also has contrast from light to dark.

 

Doll Clothes

Doll Clothes

Two Color Quilt: A two color quilt is made up of two colors the first white. Quilts in the colors red and white and Quilts in blue and white are the classic examples of two color quilts.

Pattern: Empire from American Patchwork and Quilting

Pattern: Empire from American Patchwork and Quilting

 

All of this information is a lot to absorb, but I’ve given it to you by the book, so to speak.

 

Focus Fabric

  • One way to choose fabric is to pick a “Focus Fabric” first and then use it to select other fabrics that match in color and style. When picking the fabrics to go with you Focus Fabric, choose some prints with different scaling. Scaling refers to the size of the print, you can use small prints, some with medium prints and if your quilt has large blocks in it you can also include large prints. Using a variety of print sizes gives your quilt texture and interest. You will also need to choose some fabrics that are light and others that are dark; these will give your quilt contrast so you can see the pattern of the quilt blocks.
  • Cool Colored fabric Scaling-IMG_1043
  • Warm Prints Scaling

When I select fabrics for a quilt, I usually start with a Focus Fabric. But I also use my feelings or rather my feel for a fabric. It’s an instinctual feeling. I’ve had to work at the “art of selecting fabrics” and develop my sense of color value and scale when selecting fabric for a quilt.

Below are two samples of starting with a focus fabric and coordinating fabrics. The first is in warm colors and the second is cool colors.

 

Warm Color Fabric Collection

Warm Color Fabric Collection

 

Cool Color Fabric Collection

Cool Color Fabric Collection

 

                     

Blends

Fabrics which are 100% cotton are, desirable for quilting. Cotton is durable and stays soft over time. It is unwise a combine 100% cotton and cotton blends, in your quilt top because the cotton shrinks a tiny bit when washed and dried, the cotton blend doesn’t. The quilt top of mixed fibers will have a bumpy, lumpy appearance after it’s washed and dried. I’m not talking about that soft bumpy look an older quilt has.

The Fabulous Four Patch

This is the project you will be working on.

It will be a two color quilt.

Designed with EQ5

Designed with EQ5

Blue Four Patch Designed with EQ5

Blue Four Patch Designed with EQ5

 You will need:

3 yards – Main color Fabric

2 3/4 yards Background Fabric

Next week: Part Three- Introducing the Quilt Pattern, How to use the Rotary Cutter, It’s Care and Safety

Happy  Shopping,

Kathy

 

 

Part One – What Do I Need to Start Quilting

Basic Quilting Equipment and Supplies

Yippee! Yahoo! Hurray! You’ve decided to learn to quilt.   You are going to need a few tools. There are hundreds of tools on the market and  it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you are at the fabric store or quilt shop, trying to decide which tools you need. To help clear the confusion, I have prepared a basic list of  tools and supplies you will need to begin. I realize to purchase all the tools an on this list would cost a small fortune. I’m hoping you have sewn in the past and already have some of the tools listed below. But if you are starting from scratch that’s ok, make use of the national fabric stores 40 – 50 % off coupons. These stores also have regular sales with 30 to 40% off the price of quilting tools. When I started, I received some tools as gifts, others I collected one or two at a time.

quilt tools png 

This picture shows many the tools described in this presentation.

Scissors– you need a pair of fabric shears for fabric and thread only. Cutting anything else will dull the scissors making it difficult to cut fabric.

Snips- these are a small pair of scissors used to cut thread. They are similar to embroidery scissors. I wear my snips on a lanyard with a retractable leash, so they are always at hand.

Quilting Pins– these are longer then dress making pins and are designed to hold several layers of fabric. They come with plastic heads, usually yellow and are easy to see if you drop them. But if you iron over them, the heads will melt. Quilting Pins also come in glass heads. You can iron over these without any melting. They, however, are more expensive then the plastic headed pins.

  • There are also flat- headed pins in various shapes, such as flowers, stars, triangles etc… They cost about the same as the glass headed pins.
  • While on the topic of pins, there Basting Safety Pins, but you won’t need to purchase them right now, but if you decide to quilt your own quilt then you will need them.

Needles:

* Sewing machine needles: There are sewing machine needles made for quilting, but you can do just as well with universal needles. You need needles that are meant for sewing mid-weight woven fabrics. You can choose sizes 70/10 or 80/12. I use 80/12 in my machine.

  • Hand Sewing Needles for sewing the binding and if you are going to hand quilt your quilt you will need a quilting needle called a Between. Betweens come in sizes #7, #8, #9, #10 and #11. The higher the number the smaller and sharper the needle.

Hand Sewing Needles

Measuring tape: One that measures 120 inch is recommended. This size will measure all quilt sizes including the  king sized quilt top.        If you are going to buy a measuring tape, buy this one and you won’t need to buy another one for a long while.

Seam Ripper: It’s a good idea to have a couple of these. They are an inexpensive tool. Purchase the medium to large ones, the smaller ones are harder to hang onto.

Thread: Choices of threads seems endless. There are many varieties and choosing which color to use maybe the easiest to make. There are threads for specific tasks such as; for machine embroidery,  for sergers,  for embellishments and the list go on. Thread for machine quilting and one for hand quilting. A word of caution: Hand quilting thread is treated with a glaze and should never be used in the sewing machine as the glaze will gum up your machine.

It seems the easiest choice is what color of thread to use.  Although there are many brands to choose from there really are only a few types of types of threads; cotton, polyester, silk and rayon. Rayon and silk threads are usually used for embellishments such as embroidery.  The most commonly used are the cotton and polyester threads.

  • Cotton Thread is made of cotton fibers which are spun together, then pulled and twisted into a strand called a yarn, each yarn is called a ply. Several plies are twisted together to create a stronger thread. It goes through a process called mercerization to make the thread stronger.
  • Polyester is a synthetic product. It can be spun together like cotton thread, to create threads that look like cotton. Polyester threads are a bit stretchy. However, when polyester threads are sewn into cotton fabric, there is friction between them, from use. Over time this friction can cut and cause damage to the cotton fabric, creating a need for repair. Most quilters prefer cotton threads for its longevity. Thread choice is really up to the quilter to decide which thread will give their quilt the desired feel and look.

♦A Word about Thread Size – The most common size of thread quilters seem to prefer is the 50 weight. Here is a short list of current popular threads brands and weights and where you can find them for purchase.

Auriful – 50 weight thread, sold in quilt shops

YLI Select – 40 weight thread, sold in quilt shops

Gutermann Cotton 50 weight, sold in national fabric stores and quilt shops

Essential by Connecting Threads – 50 weight (Kathy’s Pick), sold online from Connecting Threads

♦One guideline with quilting and thread: Choose a thread that is only as strong as the fabric it will be sewn into. It is also a good idea to stay with like fibers. For example, for cotton fabric use cotton thread. Likewise, polyester fabric use polyester thread

  • Choosing which brand of thread to use, comes down to personal preference. I really like Connecting Threads, “Essential” Cotton Thread; it uses long staple cotton fibers and is double mercerized for added strength. It has a satin finish and comes in a wide variety of colors. Each spool has 1200 yards of 100% cotton thread and cost only $2.79 each. I‘ve found it to be a low lint thread. The only drawback is it has to be ordered by phone or on-line.

Thread Color: Before we move on to another topic I need to answer a frequent question, “What color of thread should I use? Answer:  Use a medium gray for dark fabrics and cream, or ivory or beige for – fabrics, when sewing the pieces of a quilt together. I can hear you ask “What do I use if I’m sewing together a light and a dark fabric?”  Answer: use a medium gray colored thread. The only times you’ll want to match the thread to the fabric is when you are sewing the binding onto the quilt. Also, when you do applique, you will need to match the color of thread to the fabric you are working with.

 Rotary Cutters come in sizes 18mm, 28mm, 35mm, and 60mm. The medium size and large cutters enable you to cut fabric into strips and other pieces, without templates, quickly. This cutter needs a sharp circular blade. You will need extra blades on hand in case of running over a pin or metal staple, these will nick the blade and cause it to skip when cutting the fabric or if the blade is dull  it doesn’t cut all the way through the fabric and leaves threads uncut. You can choose from a straight handle or one that is curved to be more ergonomically correct for the hand.

A Note of Caution: This tool will cut anything it comes in contact with so, Please, keep it locked when not in use. There is a button you can push to lock it. It must be kept out of the reach of children. Last, please use with extreme care. I have cut myself twice and had to visit the emergency room to get stitches.

Cutting Mat: Get a Self-Healing Cutting Mat. This mat has a slightly rough finish which helps hold the fabric in place. The mat protects both the cutting blade and the table on which you are cutting. A 18” x 24” mat is ideal; it allows you to cut strips of fabric, either cross grain or on the bias. A smaller mat is great for cutting and working with scraps.

Acrylic Rulers: You will need a ruler for measuring and guiding the rotary cutter. Rulers come in many shapes and sizes. You will need          the  6” x 24” ruler for cutting strips the width of your fabric and the 6” x 12”, will make it easier to cutting the long strips into smaller pieces.

  • Over time, you can build your set of rulers to include the square rulers. The square rulers come in a variety of sizes; the 4” square,    6″” square, 9 ½” square, 12” square and the 15” square. The last three are especially good for squaring up your blocks before sewing them into a quilt top.  I have presented just a few of the rulers available,  there are many specialty rulers on the market.

I will also mention cutting systems such as the Altos Cutting System. I have never used one and can’t offer any advice other than to say they are on the expensive side. But I mention it to let you know it is available.

Iron: An iron is needed for frequent and careful pressing to ensure a smooth, flat, and accurately stitched quilt top. An iron with an adjustable dial to turn steam off and on is recommended.

Ironing Board: Whether you use a table top or a full sized ironing board, place it, the iron and a spray bottle of water, close to your sewing machine.

Marking Pen and Pencils: I’ve tried a number of marking pencils and pens. I’ve found Frixion Pens to do the job extremely well. To use them you mark on the fabric where you need to, then to remove the marking you simply iron over the markings and it disappears. Their only drawback is they don’t show up on dark fabrics. You can find the Frixion pens at most office supply stores and drug stores like RiteAid and Walgreens carry them. For marking on dark fabric, I like the Bohin Mechanical Chalk Pencil. It is very effective and easy to see. It uses a ceramic chalk that stays on the fabric until you brush it off. I purchased mine online at Amazon.com.

Pincushions: You can start with one pincushion, but I suggest you have two, one at your sewing machine and one at the ironing board. These can be easily made easily made. I am including a link to a free owl pincushion pattern. This little guy was made using scraps. They are so cute! I’m going to make one.

  Owl Pincushin from DIY Dish                                                              owl pinchusionsDIYdishS2_E1_6b

 Kris and Kim of the DIY Dish.com designed this pincushion. In case the link didn’t work, the web addresses are written below. The first one take you to a segment of the show where they talk about the owl and how to make it.

You should be able to click on the links and go to each.  Here is the link to the DIY Dish program:

http://www.thediydish.com/2010/09/the-diy-dish-season2-episode1-look-whooos-back/ 

Here is the link to a video and the Tutorial on You Tube   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPe1q6sKAZs

This is the link for the pattern for this little owl    http://www.thediydish.com/promo/theDIYdish_OwlPinCushion.pdf

On with the Quilting Tools:

Stiletto: (Optional) This is a pointy tool, used to help move the fabric along when it occasionally gets hung up between the pressure foot and the feed-dogs. This tool should also be kept out of the reach of children.

Sewing Machine: A machine in good working order is necessary. It doesn’t need to be the most expensive or the newest model. It does need to work smoothly. Make sure the tension is adjusted so that it is producing a smooth straight stitch and even seams. A seam that is puckered causes curves and distorts the size of your fabric pieces.

  • Use a new needle, if the needle you are using is making a popping sound when it enters the fabric, it is dull and needs to be replaced.
  • If you have an older machine which has sat or been stored for a while, it’s wise to take it to a reputable sewing machine repair shop and  have it serviced. This good advice for all sewing machine owners, to keep your machine in good working condition, take it in to the repair shop for regular cleaning and service, this will extend the life of your sewing machine.

Fabric} I will address this topic in Part 2 of the Basic Quilting Lessons

Quilt Pattern} and this topic in Part 3 of the Basic Quilting Lessons

Since the 1970’s and its revival, quilting has become a billion-dollar industry. There are hundreds of tools on the market, all with the purpose to help make quilting easier. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are at the fabric store or quilt shop, trying to decide which tools you need.  I hope this basic list will help clear away some of the confusion. My goal is to help you work smart. This list does not contain every tool on the market; it does list the ones I use every time I quilt.

Below is a check list you can copy and paste into a word document.  ♥(I’m still learning and I’ve made a goal to learn how to make a “Press Here Button” to have a PDF file pop up, so you can print it. But until then you will need to do the “copy and paste” thing.  Thank you for your patience with me.)


Check List for Basic Quilting Equipment and Supplies

By Dragonfly Patch

Here is a simplified  list of the tools and supplies from the presentation above.

Remember to use the 40 – 50 % off coupons from the national fabric stores to purchase

your quilting tools and watch for the 30 to 40% off quilting tool sales from these stores.

Scissors

Snips

Quilting Pins

Pincushion 1 or 2

Needles

-Sewing Machine Needles 80/12

-Hand sewing Needles

-Sharps       -Betweens#7-#11

Stiletto (Optional)

Measuring Tape- 120 inches

Seam Ripper- get two if possible

Thread – Colors: Light Gray and Cream, ivory or beige

Rotary Cutter- 35mm

Extra blade for rotary cutter same size as Rotary Cutter

Mat 18” x 24”

Acrylic Rulers :  one  6” x 24″ and one 6” x 12”

Iron

Ironing Board

Sewing machine


Next time, I will talk about fabric and how to choose it and how much you need for your quilting project.

Until next time,

Happy Shopping,

Kathy

A Beginning — Taking the First Step

Beginning this Blog is like the first day of a new school year, for me.  If only I can get these butterflies in my stomach to fly in formation, it will be ok.   Right, a Blog?  I didn’t see myself doing this six months ago.  Back then, I still had my simple old style cell phone, very few bells and whistles and very low tech.   It died in last  January.  Technology, was something I entered into only if I had to, and than very hesitantly.  Which is kind of funny, I grew up around it.  My dad taught Computer Science classes at the local Community college.  As a kid, I remember seeing the key punch machine and the big spinning disks, they were fascinating.  I also remember the flow charts, his students had to write to program the computer.  So why my hesitation? Well,  they are complicated and intimidating. Let me say this, I do have a lap top and I do just fine with it.

So back to my old cell phone, I had to get a new one.  Between my oldest daughter,  my husband, I came away from the cell phone store with not just a smart phone but the latest model, an iPhone 6.  Yikes! I was in over my head.  As we dropped our daughter off at her house, she told me if I couldn’t figure out something on my phone to give her a call and she would talk me through it.  The next day, as I picked up my granddaughter from school, the first thing she asked me, was if I need help with my new phone.  I told her I needed to figure it out myself.

And so it went for the next few weeks, yes I did need help from time to time and yes, I had to swallow my pride and ask for help.  Sometimes the only person available was my eleven year old granddaughter.  I truly believe children of her generation are born with the knowledge of technology.

As to why a blog, that part is simple.  My blog subject is to help family and friends to learn how to quilt.  I have received several requests from friends and family who want to learn to quilt.  The problem is, we don’t live in the same town and in some cases not even in the same state.  So it is to those individuals, I dedicate this blog and hope the coming lessons and tutorials will be clear and understandable.  I will do my best to make them so.

How I started quilting  To assure those who don’t know me, I have a bit of experience teaching beginning quilting classes. I have been quilting for 35 years.  I was introduced to quilting in a high school, Home Ec class.  (I Believe it is called Home and Family living) The only quilt blocks I remember doing in that class, were the Log Cabin, done foundation style,  the other was the  Cathedral Window.  I like the pattern so much, I chose to make a small table topper, as my class project. My mom was surprised to see me working on the pattern.  She told me it was one of the more advanced quilt patterns.  I didn’t know it was advanced, all I saw was a quilt block I wanted to do.  Later, that table topper was added to and became a baby quilt for my  first baby,  it is  shown here:

Cathedral Window My First Quilt Made Before Rotary Cutters were available

Cathedral Window -My First Quilt
Made Before Rotary Cutters were available

This Maple Leaf table topper is my second quilted item, but the first quilt I designed.  It features a border of Aida cloth with the little poem and trees showing the four seasons , all cross stitched around the maple leaf center.  The poem say, “Family love grows stronger, more beautiful with life’s changing seasons”

Poem: family love becomes more beautiful, more treasured through lifes seasons

Maple Leaf with Cross-stitched Poem and Trees
First Quilt I Designed
Pattern From 101 Patchwork Pattern By Ruby McKim
This small quilt is representation of the four seasons

My first quilt book was 101 Quilt Patterns by Ruby McKim. This book is still in print, you can find it at Amazon.com.   Its a good resource book, but not the best for a beginning quilter.  I will discuss  and suggest a couple of very helpful books, in  a later post. IMG_0715

January 2013 -May 2014 ,  I taught a group of ladies  from my church, who wanted to learn how to quilt.  Most of them have finished their “Seasons of the Year-  Themed Quilt Block of the Month” Quilt.  They all did a great job! I also taught quilting classes at a local quilt shop in my home town, several years ago.  

Next time: Part One -What do I Need to Quilt? — Basic Tools and Supplies to Begin Quilting

See you soon,

Kathy