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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Kentucky Crossroads

It took a lot longer than I had hoped to have the pattern ready...but it's finally done!  This was a fun quilt to draft, write and make....from beginning to end.  
Ronda did a wonderful job quilting this beauty.  The antique has crosshatching in the sashing, and I loved it, and wanted to replicate that in the reproduction.  A simple design was chosen for the Kentucky block so as not to overwhelm the block.  I'm also fond of the sashing cornerpost block which, like the Kentucky block, is an unusual block as well.  

The pattern has instructions to make the quilt scrappy......
....or in the two-color antique version.

Click here to order the pattern and you'll be having fun making the Kentucky Crossroads block, too!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch

I don't know about you, but I just love these little blocks.  Seems like no matter what fabrics they're made from, they all look great!
I made some new strips sets over the weekend.  I'm still trading blocks with my friends and happy to continue.  

I hope to have another couple hundred blocks by the end of the year.  Why, since my Circa 1880 quilt is finished?  Because I've been inspired by the Circa 1880 Club at Village Dry Goods.   Many of the club members are adding what they call 'rogue' blocks, named by my friend Janet of Rogue Quilter ,who is a club member there.  Rogue blocks are any block made the same size as the Circa 1880 blocks, and added here and there as little surprises to the quilt.  It looks so awesome that I want to make a quilt with rogue blocks, too!!  It will undoubtedly have a different setting than the original Circa 1880 Nine Patch quilt.  Oh...my imagination gets carried away with all the little rogue blocks I can make!

You'd be inspired too!  You could see all the innovations and inspirations if you were part of the Circa 1880 Club.  Join us!  We'd love to have you. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks

Hi!  Here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks for you to enjoy.
While teaching at The Little Red Hen Quilt Shop this past weekend, quilter Robin McGuire shared her version of my little Scarlet quilt.  Pattern is from my Vintage Patchwork book (Martingale.)
Here is my original version of Scarlet.  So cute in any many coloring!
You can buy my Vintage Patchwork book here (autographed just for you!), along with the Pam's Prairie Basics fabric precut I used for all my projects here.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

About Starching Your Fabric

Lately, I've had more than a few inquiries about how I starch my fabric.  I have been doing so for at least 15 years now and can't imagine piecing without starched (read stiff) fabric.  The difference is amazing!

Truth is I use Magic sizing instead of starch.  It's inexpensive, readily available (.94 at Walmart), has no odor and works like a charm.

People ask me what I think about Best Press.  I like it!  
It's a bit expensive for the amount of starching/sizing I do, but if you like it, it works well.  It doesn't get the fabric as stiff as the Magic sizing does, which you may prefer.

Why bother starching or sizing?  I use this analogy....
would you rather piece with tissue paper or card stock?
Which would go where you want it to go?  Which would give you more control?

Card stock, of course!  

You will notice a difference when cutting, pressing and piecing for sure!  

Two caveats!  

One......Be sure to starch or size your fabric before cutting it!!  I don't recommend starching already cut or sewn pieces as they can shrink or warp.  

Two.....don't starch or size precuts.  Same reason...they will shrink a little bit and you likely need every thread you have of a precut.
I lay a old beach towel on top of my big board ironing board so it will soak up excess sizing.  Be sure to thoroughly spray....thoroughly saturate your fabric.  I don't just lightly mist it...I saturate it!  The photo above shows partially dry fabric on top to show the difference.  
I usually fill the ironing board with fabrics close together so as not to waste sizing.  
I let the fabric rest, especially if I will be ironing it dry right away.  I pile like-colored fabrics together.  This allows the sizing to permeate the fabric fibers so I won't get any flaking.  Flaking happens because the sizing is basically sitting on top of the fabric and the hot iron cooks it which causes the flakes.  If you're going to allow the fabric to air dry, resting is not necessary.
Most of the time, I hang the fabric on a drying rack and allow it to air dry so I can go on to do something else.  The sizing does not drip on the floor...so no worries about that.

Once it's dry, steam iron the wrinkles out.  If a wrinkle persists, give it a little spritz with the sizing and that will take care of it.  Then, you're ready to cut!

Often, I am sizing scraps.  These fabric squares are actually from a pack of 3.5 inch squares....a precut if you will.  I know it's ok to size them because they are larger than what I need to work with, so the little bit of shrinkage is ok.  

With scraps, I try to group them tightly together when sizing them and for pressing.  That way the iron is touch multiple pieces as I move it around.  It goes pretty quickly.

I hope this gives you an idea of how to starch or size your fabric.  It took about 15 min to spray the fabrics this morning and hang them.  Then, I went on and began sewing and doing other things.  By noon, the fabrics were dry.  I will iron them when I have a chance and they're ready for cutting.  It doesn't take much time but the results are huge.  

Don't believe me?  Make one block and give it a try.  Starching/sizing help to prevent stretching, you won't have stringy fabric either, and oh...the control!   The smaller the pieces, the better it is!  Experiment with sizing or actual starch to see what level of stiffness you prefer.
Once the quilt is done and washed, all the sizing and starch are gone.  Actually, the fabric becomes softer and softer the more you handle and piece with it.

I have also begun spritzing my pieced units and blocks with Best Press.  (I can because I size my fabrics before cutting.)  You can read about that here.  

I'm off to Iowa in the morning.  I'm teaching at The Little Red Hen Quilt ShopClick here to read about the classes I will be teaching Friday and Saturday.  Come join the fun!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Circa 1880 Nine Patch Blocks & Summer

Here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  Love those fussy cuts!  I hope your blocks are piling up!  Have you begun sewing rows together?

Having a busy summer weekend, so not much else to report today.  Lots of design work going on in the studio while I wait for fabric for my 2020 BOM to arrive.  I'm currently working on the quilt design and fabric for my 2021 BOM believe it or not.  (We work on a BOM about a year before you would receive your first block.) 

In between, I'm making it a point to enjoy the summer while it's here.  I love going out in the morning with an iced tea to sit for awhile, prune some flowers, scroll through Pinterest....you know....just listen to the birds singing.  This has been the best summer for me in about 5 years.

Enjoy your day...and when it begins to get into the heat of the day....go inside and sew!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Introducing my New Circa Essentials Fabric Collection

True Confession:  It's SO hard to keep new fabric a secret!  I get so excited when the strike offs come, and we settle the line, and then send it into production.  I want it now!  I want to talk about it right away.  But...I have to wait.

Well...the waiting is over, at least for one collection!
New Circa Essentials
Here's your first look at some of the 28 New Circa Essential prints.
I really love small prints.  Why?

They're the bread and butter of piecing!
We use them more than any other print.....
In our blocks, in our scrap quilts....and sometimes even as borders.  

In most of the antique quilts I own, they are made up of hundreds of these small prints.  I don't have many that have fancy floral borders.  The antique quilts I own were working quilts....on beds every night.  And...most of the prints are multi-colored which are harder to come by than tone and tone prints.  

The original Circa Prairie Basics were created specially for The Circa 1880 Nine Patch Club, and these prints are a new addition.  But....like the Circa Prairie Basics, the New Circa Essentials are wonderful no matter what quilt you're piecing.  A welcome addition to your stash, for sure!

Look for the New Circa Essentials at your local quilt shop coming in OctoberClick here to see the entire line.  Watch for news about a new quilt made with this collection....coming soon!

Speaking of the Circa Prairie Basic collection.....the Marcus Fabrics warehouse is sold out of these prints and the supply is dwindling at quilt shops everywhere.  I have just a few of these Fat Quarter bundles of the complete Circa Prairie Basics line still available....while supplies last.  Get yours before they're going, going gone!

Click here to order yours today.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Circa 1880 Blocks & Craft Sewing

Here are this week's Circa 1880 Nine Patch blocks.  I've been cutting up more strips of some newly acquired fabric to make more blocks.  I love making these little cuties and so I just chug along happy as a clam.  

Yesterday, I took some me time during the hottest part of the day to make myself a little something fun.
I spent a couple of hours doing some craft sewing and made myself a pop-up thread catcher.  As I travel doing workshops, I get to see a wide variety of quilting paraphernalia and this is a very popular item.  So cute!  It's a pop-up thread catcher.  Holds a lot of scraps and threads, and when it's time to pack up, empty and squish it down flat.  The elastic keeps it flat for travel.  

It was so fun to make something crafty for myself.  If you'd like to make one, ask for the Fat Quarter Pop-Up pattern (by Fat Quarter Gypsy) at your LQS.  If they don't have one in stock, they are easy to order for you.  

Headed to the patio to enjoy the summer evening and do some hand quilting.  Hope you're enjoying your summer!