The Girlfriends Bag September 10, 2014
It's an open or shut case. Snap it open--snap it closed--two great looks!
It's not too big and it's not too small with a roomy inside pocket divided to suit your every need. Dress it up with a funky button and voilà you're ready for anything! An easy to make bag.
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In The News
Adventures of a Quilter and Bag Maker in China November 6, 2014
Early in 2014 I was contacted by a company interested in representing my patterns in China. The proposal came first via email, and it seemed like one of those emails you get from time to time that might be somewhat questionable. I read it over a couple of times and then decided to do a little fishing myself and asked some questions. As soon as I replied there began an email conversation with the group that went on for a couple of months. Then I received an invitation to attend a Textile Expo in China as a representative of Canada’s quilting community, to promote quilting in China. I replied that although going to China would be wonderful, I couldn’t come. A reply quickly came back that said they were so happy I could come. After considerable negotiation and back and forth emails we came to an agreement. My husband and I would be going to show samples of my patterns in a 10 x 10 foot booth, teach a class, speak and be part of a question and answer forum. It was going to be a great adventure! We were going to Shaoxing, China in October of 2014.
Click on the picture to read the rest of this report.
Me and My Baby Lock
Trying out the Tiara April 16, 2014
I invited myself over to my friend Linda Peters home this past week to try out her new Baby Lock Tiara quilting machine. Linda's husband Paul had it all set up and ready to sew. I love instruction booklets so Linda passed me her manual and left me to figure it out on my own.
The manual is very clearly written with large pictures to illustrate threading and the various machine parts. It's easy to understand the machine since it is basically a large scale variation of a straight stitch sewing machine with a wide arm. I quickly figured out threading. The touch screen was straightforward and it was easy to set the variable speed control with saved settings and the stitches per inch. I liked the amount of light the machine cast over the work area below the needle.
Linda had been using a 60 weight polyester thread in the bobbin and a 50 weight Mettler thread in the top of the machine. I wanted to use my spool of 50 weight Signature thread for both so I played with the top tension for a spell before tightening the bobbin tension ever so slightly to achieve perfect tension.
Now it was time to tackle the Tru Stitch manual. Tru stitch is a stitch regulating unit that can be purchased separately for the Tiara. It took me a moment to understand that the mouse like unit that plugged into the Tiara had to lie underneath the quilting I was doing. The mouse detects the speed at which the quilt is moved over it during quilting. It then adjusts the speed of the machine. I tried holding the mouse under my left palm as I quilted but found that it did a fine job just lying free under the quilt. The cruise feature offered on the touch screen with Tru Stitch worked well but I still preferred to use the foot pedal. I think I'm just foot pedal oriented.
The Tiara was created for quilters looking for a smaller alternative to long arm quilting machines. The table is about card table sized with two wings that open to either side - making it the right size for the typical spare bedroom sewing space that most quilters have. I also liked the fact that I could sit while qulting.
I'm looking forward to visiting Linda again soon. Sure I'll be visiting my friend but I'll also want to get more acquainted with her Tiara!
A Sneak Peek January 8, 2014
I'm designing a new bag for you and creating it on my Baby Lock sewing machine.
Winter gets me thinking about travel so I'm designing a gorgeous bag to take along when you visit your next destination. Use it as a carry on or a weekender bag or take it along to the gym.
Have a look at the fabric I'm using. These colorful strips are part of packages of forty 2 1/2" strips that are distributed in Canada by Trend Tex Fabrics. They've hand picked 40 different Hoffman California batiks in each package. The pink color way I'm using is called Electric Lemonade as well as a bit of brown batik for the accent, zippers and for the swirl that is raw edge appliqued to the front of the bag.
Stay tuned for another sneak peak update!
Share your talents December 1, 2014
Sandy, my yoga teacher, often says "if you have a talent, use it; if you know how to do something, you should teach it." She herself is the perfect example. She loves yoga, and the way it makes her feel. For her it is more than physical exercise, it is a mental discipline and spiritual path. And she loves nothing more than sharing what she does. My husband and I have taken weekly classes from her for several years, and we have lately remarked that the classes continue to be as challenging now as they were in the beginning. We are stronger and more flexible as a result of her classes, but we still turn to each other and say, "Is it just me or are these classes a lot tougher than when we started?" I get the feeling that Sandy was always at this level -- or who knows how adept she really is? -- but she has just been teaching to us at the level that we can comfortably tolerate.
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What is P.U.L.? March 9, 2014
P.U.L. stands for polyurethane laminate fabric. The polyurethane in P.U.L. is adhered to knit fabric. This product has little or no shrinkage, so when using any brand of P.U.L. in conjunction with a cotton fabric pre-wash the cotton fabric.
To my knowledge, P.U.L. is currently manufactured for the quilting and sewing industry by two companies in the USA.
Fabri-Quilt Inc. manufactures a 56" wide lightweight P.U.L. fabric in 6-8 plain colors. You can order this product by going to the ‘Shop’ button at the top of the page and searching for P.U.L.
Prym Consumer USA manufactures Babyville brand P.U.L. It's about 64" wide. The Babyville product comes in a wide assortment plain colors and prints. Most of the prints are juvenile prints, not adult oriented prints.
Both brands of P.U.L. are used for different purposes.
Fabri-Quilt brand P.U.L. is the more lightweight of the two products and is therefore easier to use in multi layered quilting projects like bags. The polyurethane is adhered to the front of the knit fabric giving it a wipe clean finish. You might think that this is a disadvantage remembering those crunchy plastic change pads of the past. Surprisingly the surface is soft, pliable and warm to the touch. This product was originally developed for hospital use and so it can be sterilized with hot water. This is certainly an advantage for items that require frequent washing. You can touch an iron to this type of P.U.L. without it melting. I really liked that feature when sewing my Me & My Baby Diaper Bag.
If you have needle holes in the fabric from a sewing error the heat of an iron will shrink if not close them. Use the Fabri-Quilt product to line bags that have multiple layered seams. It works very well when used in conjunction with cotton fashion fabrics like the Me and My Baby Diaper Bag that's pictured. That's the Maize color you see used in the change pad. I have used an 80/12 topstitch needle when sewing with this product and am happy with the results.
Babyville brand P.U.L. is used differently. This is a more luxurious product but it is a heavier product to work with. The polyurethane layer is adhered to the back of the knit fabric making it a wash to clean rather than a wipe clean surface. The product is waterproof and breathable. That makes it a great fit for Mom's using it in place of those old rubber pants that were used to cover cloth diapers when I was a little nipper. Sewing multiple layers of Babyville P.U.L, something you would find in bag construction, is challenging. I would suggest that sewing 4 layers of this fabric is about the most that a beginner might want to tackle.
The Pyrm site suggests using a no. 11 ballpoint needle or a 10/12 universal needle. I tried a Jeans needle for thick seams but found that the holes made were much too large. With that in mind I adjusted the Quick Change instructions so that you are never sewing thick layers when using Babyville. The Babyville Boutique site advises that the product be washed in warm water with occasional bleaching used for sanitation purposes. The bleach will damage the laminate over time so don't bleach too often. Line dry or tumble dry the product on a low heat setting.
Be extra careful when pressing Babyville. I used a wool setting with a bit of steam while working on the Quick Change Bag. Hot temperatures cause the polyurethane on the back of the product to melt. If you are pressing wrong sides together at a high heat they will adhere permanently together. A benefit of this is that small holes can be closed by pressing slightly on the top of the fabric (test first) or by putting the article in a hot dryer for 20 minutes like the Babyville Boutique web site advises.
Our Quick Change Diaper Bag works well with either kind of P.U.L. I've written the pattern with tips for use with both products. Personally I think that the Babyville product gives the Quick Change Bag a richer, more professional look even if it is a bit harder to work with. The Fabri-Quilt P.U.L. is a simpler product to use and has the benefit of being wipe clean. Of course you can also wash it in hot water for extra sanitation.
With this information you should be able to use both products to their best advantage. Let me know if this information has been helpful to you and - Happy sewing!
Piccadilly Piecing October 9, 2012
Follow Brenda's 4 step lesson plan in your quilting shop when teaching the multi-sized Piccadilly Quilt (ABQ-167). Share these tips to keep beginners coming back to your store again and again.
Click on the image link to see this helpful video!
Youtube Videos! January 2, 2012
Here's an in depth look at how batiks are used as a background fabric for hand embroidery. Follow Brenda as she gives the scoop on the benefits of using Hoffman California's 1895 collection. Tips are given on how to line your embroidery fabric and how to combine lining with transfer pens and markers.