Quilting bees

The other day I watched Bee Movie, a smart, funny animated movie about a young bee, Barry, who questions life in the hive and seeks adventure and friendship among humans. He discovers a great conspiracy: the sale of honey stolen from bees, fields of hives pressed into slavery. When I heard this, I couldn’t help thinking of the Quilting for Peace campaign:

“Mr. Ditchwater, the way we work may be a mystery to you, because making honey takes a lot of bees doing a lot of small jobs. But let me tell you something about a small job. If you do it really well, it makes a big difference. More than we realized. To us, to everyone.”

Why bags should be beautiful

I am terrible at remembering to bring reusable shopping bags to the store with me. Having bags made of great, interesting fabric helps. That’s one purpose of design, right? When you appreciate how something looks, you remember to appreciate the object itself. When something is a pleasure to use, you’re more likely to use it. Here’s a bag I stitched up last night before bed, using Claire Morsman’s pattern (it’s in the book), two fat quarters, and a couple of scraps. I love it. And this morning it carried a couple of books I’d been meaning to bring to work for ages – I just needed an excuse to use the bag.

Quilts for veterans

People often ask me which of the causes in the book I feel most strongly about. It’s an impossible question to answer. Is global warming more urgent than homelessness? Theoretically, yes. Every day when I encounter actual homeless people, no. But the issues I feel most personally worked up about at the moment are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the problems so many veterans and their families face when they come home. The number of veterans of the current wars who are unemployed equals the number of troops currently deployed. (The unemployment rate for vets is higher than the general population, and for returning servicewomen it’s even worse: 16%) A third of those returning face serious mental health problems like PTSD and depression. A third of homeless men are veterans, and the number of homeless vets from the current wars has increased dramatically recently. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with veterans and people working on veterans issues in the last year or so, both because of the book and because of a project I did for work. I’m also part of a group of advisors to a new social networking website for vets. I’ve heard numerous stories of young soldiers and marines reenlisting after multiple tours of duty because opportunities for work are so scarce and they feel like the only place they’ll be understood is in the military.

In the face of injury, PTSD, homelessness, joblessness, and despair, a quilt may seem like a small thing. But I’ve heard over and over again from quilters who make quilts for veterans and from veterans themselves, it’s a small thing that makes a real difference. So start a quilt top for Quilts of Valor tonight!

Join the Quilting for Peace campaign

Moda fabrics, my publisher STC Craft, and quilting guilds and fabric stores across the country are joining together in a national Quilting for Peace campaign to support charity quilting efforts and raise awareness about the long American tradition of quilting for social causes. To join in, just make one quilt – or one quilt block or a recycled shopping bag or a softie for a kid or a mini-quilt for a shelter dog – donate it, and convince your crafty friends to do the same. (If you’ve never quilted before this is a really great way to learn.) If you’re more ambitious, we’ve put together a Quilting for Peace kit to help you organize your own Quilting for Peace group, including info on how to get started, a customizable flyer, and a press release you can use to publicize your efforts and attract volunteers. And last but not least, enter to win one of 15 fabric packs from Moda by uploading a photo of your quilt here. I can’t wait to see all the pictures!

I Went Overboard When Buying Cotton Fabric

I really need to get a grip on my recent obsession with 100% cotton premium quilting fabric and subsequent spending! But, I think that’s easier said than done…and I know I’m not alone in this…. which gives me a little bit of comfort! I’ve found myself arranging and rearranging piles of fabric more often than I actually want to admit to. This usually happens after spending some quality time perusing favorite Etsy fabric sellers. Sometimes, on the way to bed, I glance into the sewing room and can’t resist stopping in to try out a few fabric combinations….and then ponder the possible projects and, of course, the additional fabric that would be needed.

a wall full of shelves of colorful sewing and quilting fabric and knitting wool in a craft room

A few days ago, in the very early hours of the morning(about 1:30am to be totally honest), while arranging fabric for another QAL starting soon, I finally admitted to myself what I had been suspecting for a couple of weeks…..I had become a fabricaholic. I struggle daily to resist buying the gorgeous fat quarter and half yard bundles I’ve been admiring online but can’t help adding them to my cart, knowing full well that I’m not really going to be able to purchase them. I guess the last thing I need to be doing is participate in a virtual Fabric Shop Hop…right?

While the urge to buy and acquire more fabric is there and relatively strong, I don’t feel that an intervention is needed at this point because finally, after over spending on fabric for a couple of months, I’m sticking to a monthly fabric budget and finding ways to trim a little money from the household budget in order to increase my monthly fabric budget. Oh…and, I’m going to make an effort to buy fabrics that are on sale at greatly reduced prices…UNLESS buying exact yardage needed for a specific project…..really. And, I’m avoiding the local quilt shop until I’ve used up the fabric purchased there the past few months. Also, in an effort to fill the void of not buying so much fabric, I began entering giveaways and now the fabshophop, a Virtual Shop Hop complete with prizes. When I first started, most of the giveaways that I enter were for fabric but I soon began entering giveaways for many other items. I have actually won a couple of giveaways!
And, really……after seeing the humongous fabric stashes of so many others, through their blogs and flickr streams, I know that I am not so far gone… I am strong and have the power to resist buying piles of luscious fabrics before I need them or with out having a plan for their use…..have to keep telling myself I can do this……
What label do you go by to describe your fabric addiction?

patchwork quilt in the village interior

Weather you refer to yourself as a fabricaholic, fabric junkie, material girl, textile junkie, fabric obsessed…..how do you cope? How do you curb your spending or say no to that next scrumptious bundle of fabric from one of your favorite designers or shops? More information here

Tips for Safe, Accurate Fabric Cutting

It’s very important, whether this is your first quilt or you’re a seasoned quilter, to follow a few safety guidelines. Using high quality, ergonomic equipment will not only improve your chances of accurate cuts but also will reduce strain on your body and minimize slips that could destroy your fabric or harm yourself. Use a rotary cutter with a corresponding mat and ruler. You’ll find using scissors to cut a quilt to be inaccurate, frustrating and time consuming. There are many great rotary cutters on the market. A simple Google search will show you there are endless brands from which to choose.quilting advise

You have your rotary cutter of choice but now you must be sure of the following:

Tips for Safe, Accurate Fabric Cutting.

1. Hold your rotary cutter only as the manufacturer suggests. Generally, this means holding the handle so your index finger or thumb rests on the ridged area leading up to the blade.

2. Always cut away from your body, on a flat surface, while you are standing up. It is important to put adequate weight on your ruler so it will not slip during cutting. Along this topic, do not hold a ruler with your left hand and ‘cross-over’ your body to cut on the left side of that ruler. It’s best to leave the acrobatics to the professional circus performers.

3. Square your fabric to ensure you have a 90-degree angle at the horizontal and vertical edges. Utilize the fold in the fabric, as my horizontal compass, rather than ironing it away to use the salvage. You’ll have to use your best judgment if there is a particularly poor fold in your fabric, if there is a challenging horizontal pattern, or if you’ve chosen to pre-wash your fabric. You should now have just a quick cut to remove some excess material before you begin cutting strips.

4. Square again! After a few cuts, stop and check that your material is still square. Fabric and rulers can slip during the cutting process.

5. Safe storage is important. When you are finished cutting, ensure the safety shield is in place over the blade of your rotary cutter and store your equipment where young hands will not reach.quilting with a singer sewing machine

Don’t worry all you experienced quilters out there; it’s never too later to start implementing some better practices in your cutting routine. Remember, no matter how long you’ve been using a rotary cutter; be aware of your hands at all times and be safe.

Buying Fabric Online

It is no secret that the arrival of the net has proved to be a boon to human beings. Now you can carry out a number of chores form your computer desk without leaving your home or office. Whether you want to socialize, learn or buy any item including plastic tablecloth clips, you could do all such stuff online. However, the web is filled with numerous duplicate and fake products. As a result, you have to be cautious while buying fabrics online. Following are few of the handy tips that will help you in purchasing clothes and fabrics online. See more on this websitequilting fabric

Do your homework properly

Before you decide to shop online, you need to do your homework properly to avoid any sort of problem at a later date. First of all, you need to figure out what type of fabric you want to buy. There are many types of fabrics such as polyester, cotton, wool and others. You have to ascertain the kind of fabric you wish to purchase for your specific purpose.

Next, determine the usage of the fabric this will greatly impact your buying decision and choices. For example, if you want to buy a tablecloth, you need to buy a durable cloth that will stand the testing of time. On the other hand, if you wish to own a fabric to cover curtains or for upholstery purposes, you will have to buy an appealing fabric that is long lasting as well as stylish.

Formulate a budget

Once you have done your homework, it’s time to plan your budget properly. A well planned budget is imperative to buy the best fabric. Without a planned budget, you could get ripped off financially in case you shop impulsively. A planned budget will keep you within your purchasing limit and avoid any impulsive spending. Moreover, your budget will assist you in selecting a high quality fabric at the most optimum price. So make sure you formulate your budget before actually shopping.

Shop wisely

Now that you know what to buy and the budget for your purchase, you need to explore a couple of reliable sites to make the right choice. You will discover numerous sites that sell fabrics online. As a result, you have immense choices to buy an ideal fabric. However, the existence of so many outlets also makes it difficult to select the right fabric. Therefore, it is advisable to surf reputable online shopping sites that are highly endorsed by shoppers.

Explore a few reputable sites that specialise in selling high quality fabrics online. Assess the various types of fabrics at these outlets with respect to size, colours and designs to make the best choice. After reviewing various types of fabrics at different outlets, choose the right fabric that is durable, adorable as well as affordable. quilting fabric

Closing words

Purchasing fabrics and clothes online is really a tedious and time consuming chore. You might get ripped off financially if you do not know how to shop online. However, you can avoid any such situation, and buy the best fabric including wipeable tablecloth by exercising diligence. Just follow the above mentioned tips and tricks in the light of your budget and requirements. Within no time, you will be able to choose the best fabric for your intended use on a budget.