Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fabric Friday - American Made Brand



I couldn't be more excited. This week I received my first shipment of American Made Brand fabrics. Have you heard about them? 

American grown cotton, spun into yarn here in the United States, woven into greige goods at one of our oldest weaving mills, and then on to an American dyeworks. I notice their latest marketing materials read "farm to fabric" and "not just made here, grown here", but I really love an earlier tagline.. "from dirt to shirt".


This may not sound so impressive until you realize how dramatic the decline in our textile industry. This may well be the only all cotton product (farm to fabric) produced in the United States. Oh we still grow lots of cotton. The South was built on cotton. But now over 70% of the cotton grown here is shipped overseas to textile mills with cheap labor, and (in some cases) questionable work practices.

Making the fabric here must make it really expensive, right? Not the case. Hawthorne Threads is selling it for $7.25/yard. Some high volume online stores have it for even less!


American Made Brand has a challenge on right now for quilts that will be displayed at International Quilt Market at the end of October. Unfortunately I just saw the notice and submissions (i.e. photos of finished quilts) are due by August 15th. Ah well. I didn't really need another deadline. 

What am I going to make with my treasure trove? Well a few more fabrics showed up that tell more of the story, and it might have to do with a couple of adorable youngsters that need more "grown up" sleeping bags.



And what girl doesn't need a pink camouflage flannel lined sleeping bag. I'm also going to have to incorporate a figure skate into this somehow. Hard to believe, but I searched high and low and couldn't find any figure skating themed fabric that would work with pink - hardly found any period.



I'm planning to use Kam Snaps instead of a monster zipper. That way they can open the bag out flat and use it as a beach or picnic blanket for years to come.


I thought this Amy Butler print might work too, but you know what? I'm just not an Amy Butler kind of girl. 


For the grown up young man, I'm thinking Star Wars. After all, even my 40 something husband still thinks Star Wars is cool. Might have to applique an X-Wing Starfighter on the carry bag!

And the best news? Thankfully these gifts won't be due until Christmas!

Monday, July 21, 2014

More Quick Satisfaction

Well over a year ago, I wrote here and here about ideas for using up some of the stash of selvage edges I've been collecting. 

Way back in February 2013 I got them all color sorted


I decided to make a long narrow wall hanging to replace this painting, which I kinda hate. It's boring and mundane and I was pressured into buying it at one of those art by the yard house parties. 

Voila!

Now that it's hanging in that little piece of wall space between two doors I kind of wish I had added more neutral border at the top and bottom, and then added a dark narrow border to frame the whole piece. Ah well, next time. This went together so quickly - probably a total of five or six hours over two days - so I may well make another one soon. I am loving these quick projects.

To make one of your own, select the selvage strips you want to use overlapping the finished edge on top of the raw edge of the piece below. Sew the strips together, sewing a scant 1/4 inch from the finished edge. Cut a couple of pieces of background fabric that are the height of your selvage collection and the desired width to go on both sides of the wall hanging. Now lay these strips on each side of the selvage collection overlapping by about two inches. Use your rotary cutter to cut a wavy line through both, and discard the scraps. Now pin, pin, pin those curved edges and sew the sides on. Clip the curves and press the seams towards the center. That's it. 


Quilt and bind to suit, including either a hanging sleeve, or corner pockets for a hanging rod. I've been using this method with corner pockets and a simple piece of dowel from the hardware store lately. Easy Peasy. I hope you decide to make one and if you do, please leave a comment here with a link to where we can all see it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love Quick Finishes - Here is "Prairie Bloom"


This is so unlike me. I started this project last weekend and here it is finished. I'm not that inclined to dawdle when I do apparel sewing or make bags. Those are often start to finish in a day or two, but quilts? Never,

It does help that this one is a small wall hanging or table topper - it finished at about 25 x 23 inches - but consider: 

I didn't know what I was making when I started building the equilateral triangles (look here for the technique); The background material was still sitting at Fat Quarter Shop and had to be mailed; used a different quilting design than I had ever tried before; and, the binding was done by hand.

You can really see the quilting in the picture of the back. 

I may have to do more small projects just to get that burst of happiness that comes from accomplishing something more often!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Delightful Distractions

I'm so easily distracted. One day last week my guild-mate, Allegory, posted about the technique she uses to make scrappy string triangles. The idea of piecing on muslin instead of paper seemed brilliant to me. So did I file that away for some future project? Heck no, I hightailed it straight down to the studio, pushed everything I was supposed to working on to one side, and started making my own scrappy gems.

Pretty, pretty

Even with a couple of days off to work on some outdoorsy growing stuff projects, I've now completed two dozen of these six inch equilateral triangles, and purchased some lovely mushroom colored sashing fabric. Yep. That's me. So easily distracted.

Until next time...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quilt Label Brilliance

I know I tend to rhapsodize about the West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild, but here is reason number one zillion and two for why it's great to belong to a guild. A couple of months ago we were talking about quilt labels and I mentioned that I buy special ink jet printer fabric on rolls. I can cut the fabric to size and because it has a paper backing attached to keep it firm enough, I can run it right through my printer to make labels. The only problem is that it comes in one color – white.

One of my guild mates piped up and said that she didn't bother with special paper. She prints right on a scrap of the fabric from her quilt. How does that work you ask? Perfectly.

Just start with a scrap of fabric - in my case 8 ½ inches wide by 4 inches tall.

Spray the back of the fabric with some spray adhesive. I use OdifUsa 505 brand. Make sure to place the fabric on a scrap of paper so that you don’t end up with over-spray on your table or cutting mat.


Affix the fabric to a piece of regular computer paper, and trim to the proper size.

Now use whatever application you prefer to design your label. I use Microsoft PowerPoint, but as long as you can position the text and print, it really doesn't matter what you use.

Once your label is printed, let it dry completely (about fifteen minutes), then use a dry iron to heat set the ink.

Peel the computer paper off the back of your label, fold the edges under and give it a good press, and you are ready to stitch it onto the back of your quilt.

Brilliant right? And I never would have known to try this if I didn't belong to a guild with talented and clever quilters!


I also made the label for my Michael Miller challenge quilt but you will just have to wait until I can get some decent pictures to see more of that. 

Until next time, happy stitching!