Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quilting Essentials ~ It All Begins With The Fabric

Every quilt project begins with the fabric.  After choosing (or being possessed to make) a quilt design, the next step is gathering just the perfect fabrics for that quilt.  

I can not over state the importance of using quilt shop quality fabrics for your quilt.  Quilt shop quality fabric simply means the base fabric itself, called greige goods (pronounced gray), are 100% high quality cotton threads in high thread count.  You can tell the difference when you hold it up to the light (as compared with chain store fabric), and in the "hand" of the fabric, which means the soft, smooth feel it gives when running your hand across it.  AKA petting said fabric.  Teehee!  

Additionally, the dye used, and the printing manufacturing process produce fabric that are not likely to bleed, fade, and will last much longer to wear & tear and washing than lesser quality fabric.  Quilt shop quality milled fabric are long lasting, quality goods produced specifically for quilting, and sold only to quilt shops for that reason.  If you're going to invest your most precious resource into your quilts....your time....why short change yourself with lower quality fabrics?  (in my humble opinion.)

To Wash Or Not To Wash?

I believe this to be a personal preference.  I thinking it's fine and dandy if you want to wash your fabric before cutting into it.  Personally, I don't wash mine.   The reason is that when fabric is milled, sizing is added to it for body, to keep it smooth, and to keep it from wrinkling. Once I have it at home, I add a lot more sizing or starch (mostly sizing) to make it even more stiff.  

I am a big believer in sizing fabric!!  The proof is in the results you get and I feel strongly that it's worth the time.  There's a whole lot of designers and quilters who have come to know the benefits of sizing/starching fabric....a lot more than you might think.  More on this in a moment.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about washing a quilt that was made with unwashed, and sized fabrics.  (Click here to read the original post.)   

Red fabric being one of the most notorious for bleeding, I did an experiment with this little quilt made from my A Prairie Gathering collection.  I sprayed the fabrics with sizing, soaking them thoroughly, then ironed them dry before cutting them for the quilt.  If a fabric is going to bleed, it will surely bleed with sizing the same as with plain water.  I tossed this quilt into the machine using the same detergent I use to wash our clothes.  I wanted to see if any of the reds would bleed into the lights, or onto the backing.  I'm happy to report that not one fabric bled. You can see photos of the experiment results in the original post.

With today's colorfast dyes, and milling process, fabrics generally do not bleed or run like they did years ago.  That does not mean it never happens! If you have any doubt, it's always a good idea to test a patch so you'll know for sure.

Why add sizing or starch?

One word.....Control!

Washed and unwashed fabrics are soft and pliable.  They fold and bend easily which is not a good thing for piecing.  Imagine piecing a block with tissue paper, then imaging piecing with card stock.  The stiffer the fabric, the more it behaves, and the more control you have to make it do what you want it to do, stay where you want it to stay, which means controlling it as it moves through the needle on your machine.  


You must, must remember....starching or sizing must happen when your fabric is still yardage or scrap - BEFORE  you cut it up for your quilt!!!!  

If you didn't add sizing to your yardage before cutting, 
do not spray your cut pieces, or blocks with starch as this will shrink or warp your fabric.  I also don't recommend spraying any pre-cut, charm pack, or 10 x 10 pack, to guard against shrinkage. 

You will notice a difference with the control you have in cutting your fabric, big time with piecing with your fabric, and you'll get a beautiful press with stiff fabric.  If you don't believe me, just try it with one block!





I have an entire chapter all about fabric preparation, sizing, and even a way to starch yardage in your washing machine in my Heartspun Quilts Hint & Tips book.  Click here for more info on the Hints Book.

All of the above fabric preparation is the way I do things and is just my opinion.  I know it has helped many people gain great results in their piecing experience, but certainly isn't the only way to do things.    If what you're doing yields good results for you....if it isn't broken...don't fix it!  


Wednesday, I am headed to Primitives of the Midwest in Missouri.  I haven't traveled for work in a year, so I'm very excited to get back to teaching, meeting wonderful quilters, and making more memories.  Check Instagram and Facebook for pictures while I'm on the road.

Be well....and keep your sewing machines humming!










Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Plantation Stars ~ Off To Be Quilted

Plantation Stars Quilt by Pam Buda 
I'm so, so jazzed that my Plantation Stars quilt top is complete and is ready to be shipped off the my quilter.  Yay!  Love, love, love how it turned out!  I hope you like it, too.
I adore secondary designs in a quilt, and I am so happy that two simple blocks can work together to make such a spectacular design.  Don't you love the circle of small stars surrounding the large ones?

All of our quilts begin here....choosing just the right fabrics.  (This photo shows the true color of the fabrics.)
And, as we piece the quilt, at each stage, it's so exciting to see it come together.  My friend and co-worker, Deb, pieced Plantation Stars for me and did a fantastic job, as I knew she would.  
Now, it's off to the quilter for the next phase.  I can hardly wait to see it completed!

I hope the Plantation Stars pattern will be available in October.  And, yes!  There will be a limited number of kits, too.

Also in full production is a new Tokens of the Past pattern called Two Color Classics.  Hint, hint as to what the three quilts will look like! 
With the help my dear friend, Karen S., I took my first leap into hand quilting over the weekend.  So far, as you would expect, I'm not that good at it, (no reflection on Karen's tutorial!!) but I'm loving it nonetheless.  There will never be a substitution for hand quilting, in my humble opinion, and while I won't be hand quilting a large quilt like Plantation Stars, some small quilts just need those hand quilted stitches.  I always try to learn a new quilting skill each year.  Last year was hand piecing (totally smitten) and this year, it's hand quilting.  

Be well....and keep your needles busy!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Plantation Stars Update

While I am working away on my secret project, my dear friend and co-worker, Deb, has been merrily working at piecing the blocks for my new design, Plantation Stars.  Here's a little sneak peek at the blocks.  
These are the fabrics I chose for the quilt.  A limited number of kits will be available and the pattern will be ready in October.  I hope to have a bunch of new quilt patterns for fall market....but....we'll see!  

Don't we all have a grand To-Do list?!  

  
Thought I'd remind you of my upcoming Civil War Quilting Cruise hosted by Deb Luttrell and Stitchin' Heaven quilt shop.  Designer friends Carol Hopkins of Carol Hopkins Designs and Julie Hendricksen of JJ Stitches Quilt Shop are joining me on our cruising adventure!  Two awesome CW ladies to be sure....not to mention great teachers.

Click here to see a short video about the cruise.

Click here for cruise details.

Hope you're finding time to sew everyday.  I've actually been a very active piecer, both during the day and in the evening lately.  

Needle in hand means happy me!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

While I Sew...

I'm still sewing away on my Top Secret project, which means I don't have much to share at the moment.  Kinda frustrating to tell the truth.  I think I will be able to show major progress on my new pattern, Plantation Stars next week which will be fun.  

But for now....I wanted to share something you might enjoy as much as I do.
I'm watching this series on Netflix while I sew and enjoy it immensely.  It takes place in New York (and all around the Colonies) in 1776, and is about a cabbage farmer who becomes a spy for General George Washington and the Continental Army.  The British, of course, are everywhere, even lodging in your home, so the rebels and spies must work in secret getting news about the British to the General.  

While the story has a whole lot to do with the revolution, we do get to enjoy scenes of ordinary life during that time.  In a recent episode, I was happy to see women quilting around a large frame, and another at the spinning wheel.  

The series has 3 seasons already done and ready to watch, which means it's likely a whole lot of you already enjoy it.  I just thought I'd put it out there in case some of you haven't heard of it before.  

My sewing machine is calling.  Be well.....


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A New Twist On Old Favorite

Several years ago, I was visiting with the staff of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine for an event.  Let me say, these are fun people to hang out with, and we always have a great time together.  For one of the lunches, they catered a variety of salads from a local restaurant.  (Let me tell you, Des Moines, IA has great restaurants!!)  Among the salad offerings was the salad below for which I honestly could not get enough!!  I made a note of what was in it, and once home, began to try to copy the recipe.  It's simple enough and I was successful on the second try.
I call it ......Summertime Caesar Salad

My family loves it!!  It's really a summery twist on a classic chicken Caesar salad as it has fresh strawberries, pasta and walnuts.  You may not think this is a great combo, but you'd be wrong!  If you like Caesar salad, you will LOVE THIS!

It's very easy to make and keeps in the fridge a couple of days.  Simple and refreshing.  

Click here for the Summertime Caesar Salad recipe.  

The recipe makes about 6 servings but you can easily make it larger or smaller depending on your wish.  

I hope you enjoy it!  I'm having some leftovers from last nights dinner tonight which means I can sew a little longer today.  My July projects are coming along nicely.  

Hope you are stitching a fun summertime project or two.

Be well....


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Quilting Essentials ~ The Accurate 1/4 Inch

For many of us, piecing with an accurate 1/4 seam allowance is a difficult task.  I'm hoping this post will help many of you in achieving this quilters' goal.  It's really not as difficult as it may seem when you break it down, so that's exactly what I'll try to do here.  There are many elements that can effect our 1/4 seam accuracy, but I'll stick with what I feel is the most basic step first.  I'll address other factors that mess with our perfect 1/4 in future Quilting Essentials posts.  (Not sure what Quilting Essentials is?  Click here to find out!)

In my humble opinion......I sum up 1/4 inch accuracy in one word......

Alignment

For me, the accuracy of your 1/4 inch seam is all based on alignment.  

It's all about where you align your fabric in conjunction to the needle.  It's as simple as that!  Let me explain.

The photo above shows my sewing machine.  I sew on a Bernina.  The same principal applies no matter what brand of machine you use.  I have my 1/4 inch foot on my machine and use The Angler template for my alignment.  (I don't believe The Angler is available anymore, however there are other similar types of templates on the market.)  

Here's the principal in a nutshell:

Think of the needle as center position.  Where you align your fabric, meaning what line or guide you follow as you push the fabric to the needle, must be exactly 1/4 inch to the right of the needle.  Does that make sense?
The pink arrow shows the needle in center position.  The blue arrow shows the right side of my 1/4 inch foot (which means the edge is 1/4 of an inch to the right of the needle), and the orange arrow shows my alignment line...which is where I line up my fabric to sew.  Notice that the right edge of my 1/4 inch foot and my alignment line are in perfect alignment with each other.

What do you use as an alignment guide when you piece?  Is it a template like mine?  A Post-It Note?  A piece of tape or other guide?  Do you move your needle right or left?  
You can see that the edge of the red square is perfectly aligned with the edge of the 1/4 inch foot.  This seam will presumably be an accurate 1/4 inch.  Presumably.  Read on....

An important element is helping my 1/4 inch success.  It's a large, flat surface surrounding my machine.  At home my machine sits in a table, but when I travel to a retreat, I have several options with portable tables.  In my (humble) opinion, it is very important to have as large a surface as possible surrounding your machine to keep your fabric/patchwork/quilt as flat as possible as it approaches the feed dogs and needle.  Why?  Control!
In the photo above, between the two black arrows, I have about 1 inch of  space to align my fabric and control its journey to the needle.  Not much at all.  (With the table and The Angler, I have about 8 inches.)  With a small piece of fabric it may not be too bad, but with blocks in a growing top, and borders, there is a lot of drag weighing you down, making it hard to control. With a table surface, it's much easier and you definitely have more control.

To sum up....the line or guide where you lay your fabric, and guide it to the needle, makes all the difference in what your seam allowance will measure.  The needle should stay in center position and your guide should be exactly 1/4 inch to the right of the needle.

Now...there's one more super important step.  Checking your 1/4 inch seam for accuracy by putting my alignment principal to the test.
Checking for accuracy is very simple.  Make a strip set.  Choose two high contrasting fabrics.  Cut (2) 2 x 6 inch strips of one (in this case a light print) and (1) 2 x 6 inch strip of a dark (blue strip above.)  Sew them together into a strip set using your alignment marking as a guide.  Press to the outside strips.
The center strip must measure 1 1/2 inches. Period.
By creating a strip set this way, you can lay a ruler on the center strip to check accuracy for the entire length of the strip set.  I never recommend checking your seam allowance on the wrong side of your fabric as often you can't tell.  With the high contrasting fabrics you can easily see what the center strip measures.  Pressing the two outer strips to the outside creates a ditch so the ruler fits in the seam snugly.  You can also monitor how accurately you sew at the beginning and end of a strip - a trouble spot for many quilters.

What if your center strip doesn't measure 1 1/2 inches?  

If your center strip is smaller than 1 1/2 inches, then where you align your fabric is too far to the right of your needle, making your seam smaller than it should be.  Move your alignment line to the left, and make another strip set to test for accuracy.

If your center strip is more than 1 1/2 inches, then where you align your fabric is too far to the left of your needle, making your seam larger than it should be.  Move your alignment line to the right, and make another strip set to test for accuracy.    

Once you achieve a perfect center strip of 1 1/2 inches......don't move your alignment line.....EVER!  Teehee....or try not to!  If for some reason you have to move your alignment line, just repeat the steps above to find that sweet spot that is the perfect 1/4 inch seam!  I make a strip set every time I get my machine back from having it cleaned.  Just to be sure.

Once you know exactly where to align your fabric for a consistent perfect 1/4 seam, you can make any block in any size and not worry.  Your entire piecing experience improves because you're happy with your work.  It's worth the effort to go through these steps.  

Keep in mind....these hints and tips are my opinion and what has really worked for me.  I don't claim to know everything, and certainly there is always more than one way to do the same task. 
I sincerely hope that this exercise will help you.  

If you have a request for a hints and tips subject you'd like me to write about in future Quilting Essentials posts, please leave me a comment to say what you're having trouble with in your piecing.  (I don't hand quilt, so I would not have any help with that subject.)  If I choose your subject for a future post, I'll send you a little gift so leave your email address along with your comment.  Or, you can email it to me Pam@HeartspunQuilts.com

FYI - For some unknown reason...Blogger is not publishing my own comments.  Often, you leave me a comment and ask me questions or have requests.  I try to reply to your comment but it just doesn't publish (frustrating!!)  I have no way of responding to you if you are commenting anonymously.  I'm trying to figure this out as I want to respond to your comments.  Any suggestions for a fix?  

Be well....go forth and have happy stitches!



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Merrily Sewing Along

Camp Independence (left) and Honor & Glory quilt (right) designed by Pam Buda
I am a happy quilter!  I am sewing and sewing everyday on a new, top secret project that will last the entire month of July.  (I am bursting to tell you all about it but I just can't for now. UGH...its hard to keep mum about it!)  It's been raining here a lot lately which makes for a cozy atmosphere for sewing.  

I am so enjoying my patriotic vignettes, and the quilts in the photo above just make me happy. I love them together and I get to enjoy them while stitching in the family room each evening. These little pleasures in life are so wonderful!  

Before I know it, it will be time to head to Missouri to join other national teachers in the very last..... 

Primitives of the Midwest

Hosted by Rita Briner and her staff at one of the most awesome quilt shops in the United States, Quilter's Station, this is a not-to-be-missed event.  Rita really knows how to throw a party and this last POTM will be one to remember!  

This is a great chance to take classes from... 

Barb & Alma of Blackbird Designs
Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co 
Shawn Williams of Threads That Bind 
Norma Whaley of Timeless Traditions
Dawn Shuck of Sew Cherished 
Sandra McKee of 1894 Cottonwood House 
Lori Kabat of Lily Anna Stitches 
and yours truly.  

That's a pretty great line-up, if you ask me!!   Primitives of the Midwest begins August 16th.

Click here for all the details and to see all the projects.  

It's going to be a wonderful event, in a great location, with fun instructors and quilters.  

Join the fun!!!

Watch for my next Quilting Essentials post all about achieving an accurate 1/4 seam coming this weekend!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Brain Is Buzzing

My brain has been buzzing with new ideas.  A good thing, to be sure, but when will I get to do all the things I'm dreaming of?  Never happens to you, you say?  Lucky you!  

I guess we make time for the things that we're most excited about, right?  And I'm so, so jazzed about a new quilt all in blues and just one light.  Here are the fabrics I chose and the name of the quilt is Plantation Stars (a little hint to the theme.)  There will be a limited number of kits. Hopefully, it will be all done and I can show you in September.  I'm already in fall market design mode, so there will be lots more coming soon.

Watch for the next Quilting Essentials post...all about the elusive, accurate 1/4 inch....coming soon!



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday, America!

Flag Day quilt from Tokens of the Past: Union Forever designed by Pam Buda

Wishing you all a very Happy 4th of July in celebration of our country's Independence Day!

My heartfelt thanks to everyone serving in our armed forces today, and honoring and remembering those who have served, and those who paid the ultimate price so that we could all live in this wonderful country.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for more photos.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pattern Sale!

I have a bunch of new patterns in production and need to make space for them.  Out with the old and in with the new!  So......I'm having a 

Pattern Sale!
A group of select patterns are on sale for just $4!  
Something for everyone....quilts large and small.  A little applique.....
All piecing....
Or make something new that looks old.
There are nine patterns in all.  Click here to browse the sale patterns.  

I'm working on changes to my website with an exciting addition coming soon.  Gotta give it a fresh look.  

As of today, one of the changes I'm most jazzed about is.....if you live in the United States, no matter how much you order, you won't pay any more than $8.95 for shipping!  Yay!!  More dollars to spend on fun quilting goodies.

It's because of your orders and continued support that I am able to do this, and very happy and grateful to do so.  

Be well...spend some time with your favorite needle today!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Enjoying Summer's Bounty

Crossroads quilt by Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts
This is one of those times when there's a whole lot going on in my studio, but it's for future work that I can't show just yet.  It will be this way thru the month of July.  So, what am I to do for blog posts during this time?  Share a great recipe!

Now that the summer berries are ripe, delicious and inexpensive, I've begun making some of my favorite foods using them. Yesterday, I made a batch of Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins.  
Oh, so yummy!!  I originally found the recipe a few years ago on Pinterest, but I have no idea who the original source is.  
The recipe uses 2 cups of fresh strawberries, but I feel the batter is adaptable to fresh blueberries or fresh peaches.  I like that you can use either regular milk or buttermilk.  I have made them both ways and feel that buttermilk is just a little tastier.  Buttermilk and/or sour cream in a baked goods recipe does something special to the batter, but if you don't want to buy buttermilk, you won't be disappointed.

I thought I would show you how the muffins look in progress.  Half the strawberries are folded into the batter, and the other half sprinkled on top.  Then, the crumb topping is added.  Be still my heart!

They are moist, delicious and full of berries.  I'll bet a mix of strawberry and blueberry would be great as well.  

Click here to print the Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffin recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Click here to order the Crossroads Quilt Kit!

Enjoy summer's bounty!  It's gone too quickly.  



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Camp Independence ~ A New Limited Edition Quilt & Pattern!



Introducing Camp Independence!!
Camp Independence ~ Designed by Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts
Oh, how I love a red, light and blue quilt!!  Match that with a LeMoyne Star, and Sawtooth border, and I'm smitten!!

Camp Independence is a replica of a red/light/blue antique quilt I saw in a book a long time ago.  I've wanted to make this quilt ever since.  I love the simplicity of just three fabrics.  The original was done in solid fabrics, and I chose nearly-solid fabrics to make mine.  
I asked my friend, Ronda, to choose a bunch of patriotic quilting designs for this quilt and I just loved what she chose.  
The fabric colors don't show true in these photographs, but the photo sure shows off the quilting!
Camp Independence ~ designed by Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts
While I truly adore scrappy quilts, they are super labor intensive (as we all know!)  Once in awhile, it's great to work on a quilt with just three fabrics.  The cutting and sewing are much easier, and therefore, assembly is quicker!  

Camp Independence is a Limited Edition quilt kit.  

The kit includes the pattern, with color photo, all the fabrics to make the quilt top, binding and includes backing!!  The price is $42.75 + postage within the US and quantities are limited.   Quilt size is 22" x 26".

Click here to order your kit today!!  

You just might have it done in time for the July 4th celebration.  I don't know about you, but I decorate my home in our patriotic red, light and blue all summer long.

We're America Strong!!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

All Work and No Play

Summer has definitely arrived here in Chicagoland.  The temperatures are well into the 90's, although it's not terribly humid just yet.  Ahh...the season we wait all winter for.

While I do try to get outdoors as often as I can, I'm working indoors most of the time on a big new project....one I'm very excited about.  At this point, though, it's a whole lotta paperwork. Figuring things out and doing all the math is just a part of the job.  
  After a few days of that, my little Nine Patches keep calling for me to play, much like a kid stuck inside doing homework and friends calling you outside.  I must focus on the work right now!  Nine Patches....stop being so cute and leave me alone!

Actually, I shouldn't complain at all because I'm pushing myself to complete the paperwork because I'm escaping to Las Vegas in a few days.  My entire family (20+ of us) were all invited to a destination vow renewal ceremony.  A cousin and her husband are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary, and invited the family to witness them renew their vows by none other than Elvis himself (or facsimile of) which is waaaayyy too fun to miss! 

Do you know of any great quilt shops I should visit while I'm there?

My Limited Edition Camp Independence quilt will post on Sunday!  
I can't wait to show you how sweet it turned out.  I'm rather jazzed about it!  

Speaking of hot weather,  it's forecast for temperatures to be in the 100's while we're there. We've been there before in that kind of heat, and I have to giggle when people say 'it's dry heat'.  I think to myself....so is bus exhaust, and you don't like standing behind the bus either!

Wish me luck!

PS - I haven't heard from my Instagram winner, MountainMamaScott....please email your mailing address to Pam@HeartspunQuilts.com, by Sunday, June 18th, so I can send you the Fat Eighth pack.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Quilting Essentials ~ Comment Winners!

I am delighted over your positive response to my new Quilting Essentials blog posts!  Thank you!!

That gives me all the more reason to go ahead with the idea.  Your many comments of what you'd like to read about in future posts offered several new subject ideas as well, which made me think.....I may not have the same problems or issues in piecing that you do, especially all of you whom are beginners, and so wouldn't think of writing about it.  So....please keep telling me what problems you are having, and if I use your suggestion in an upcoming post, I'll send you a little freebie!  We'll just tackle piecing one blog post at a time and we'll all be the better for it!

Sharing....Is such a good thing!!  A big THANK YOU to all of you who took the time to comment and helped spread the word by sharing.  I truly appreciate it!

Congratulations to the following people who commented on my blog, shared/wrote a comment on Facebook, and liked my post on Instagram:

Blog Comment:  delaineelliott commented:  I would love to talk about color selection in quilts - what colors go with what. 

Facebook:  Karen Pollard 

Instagram:  Mountainmamascott

Please email your mailing address to me at Pam@HeartspunQuilts.com

I also wanted to thank Bonnie58 for sharing her hint with all of us....one I had never heard before and thought you might like this.  

She said:  Love your blog ~ thanks Pam.   My hint is to measure your 1/4" seam on every different set of fabric you sew.  They can all be different thicknesses which can affect your final seam width.

Camp Independence

My new Limited Edition quilt design, called Camp Independence, is now quilted and being photographed.  Oohhh...it's so darn cute with the most adorable collection of patriotic quilting designs and quilted by my friend, Ronda.  Can hardly wait to show it to you!  Kits will be available for immediate shipment....Just in time for your July 4th celebrations!

Be well.....any day spent quilting is a good day!