Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rotary Cutter - Quilter's Tool Chest for Throwback Thursday

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

We're gearing up for some super exciting things this fall, so we thought we'd kick it into gear with Throwback Thursday. Every Thursday we'll feature a post from the blog archives that we think is still useful today! 

We're kicking off a new series called Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

First up, a rotary cutter.

Rotary cutter
45mm Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutters are a relatively new invention to the quilting and sewing world, first introduced by Olfa in 1979. They revolutionized the way that quilters, seamstresses, tailor and crafters could cut fabric quickly, smoothly, and accurately.

We recommend a rotary cutter for a couple of different reasons.

1. It is SO much faster than scissors, especially for cutting long strips of fabric. Paired with a acrylic ruler (post coming soon!) you can quickly cut across the entire width on a bolt of fabric. Curves are no problem, either.

2. It improves your accuracy, both with long pieces of fabric and with smaller pieces. You can make cuts smoothly, leaving a cleaner edge than the jagged edge scissors tend to leave.

3. You can cut through multiple layers of time at a time, each layer with a clean smooth edge.

Rotary cutters come in lots of sizes, typically measured by its diameter in millimeters. Different sizes are better for different thing. If you're just starting out the 45mm size is a great place to start. It cuts through about four layers of fabric with ease, but is still small enough to easily go around gentle curves. The blades are replaceable, so you can just pop a new one in whenever you notice that the blade is getting a little dull or sticking to the fabric.

rotary cutter
60mm, 45mm, 28mm Rotary Cutters

One word of caution is that they are SHARP. Each brand, size and style has its own safety features that allow the blade to be safely stored while not in use. I always keep my rotary cutter with the blade stored in the locked position when I'm not actively using it. It's far to easy for an open rotary cutter to be bumped off a table by a pile of fabric (or a helper cat) and the last thing you want is that sharp blade landing on your foot! 

Here are a couple that we recommend. Both Olfa and Fiskars are solid brands within the wold of quilting notions. I own both of these rotary cutters in this 45mm size and they're both great to work with. 

Next week we'll talk about an important tool that goes hand in hand with a rotary cutter, an acrylic ruler!

All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 

This content was originally published on Prairie Sewn Studios on January 19, 2015, and is being reproduced here for Throwback Thursday. #TBT

Monday, July 11, 2016

Aurifil Designer of the Month Update: April, May and June

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

I continue to work on the Aurifil Designer of the Month 2016 quilt blocks. The blocks have been enjoyable to sew and I've met new designers through their blogs. The color scheme continues to be blues and aquas.

April's block, High Tide, was designed by Kate Spain (

High Tide

May's block, Cups and Saucers, was designed by Amy Friend ( 

Cups and Saucers

June's block had two options: Modern Delft and Modern Delft II. Both were designed by Jacquelynne Steves ( Modern Delft has an embroidered center wreath and 4 embroidered corners with flowers.

Modern Delft

Modern Delft II has a center pinwheel.

Modern Delft II

Yes, I did make both since I really liked each one.

Modern Delft I and II

Have you worked on any new patterns this summer?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Inchy Hexagon Club Block from The Splendid Sampler

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

Inchy Hexagon Club Prairie Sewn Studios

Our book all started with piecing the simple hexagon using English paper piecing techniques. Little did I know that I would return to this simple structure again when Block 36 by Jane Davidson, The Inchy Hexagon Club, was posted in The Splendid Sampler.

Keep in mind that our initial instruction was on a much larger hexagon. In this pattern, the side of the hexagon is 3/8". I did take advantage of using two Sizzix Thinlit dies to cut my paper hexagon templates and fabric, saving much time in tracing and cutting.

Inchy Hexagon Club Prairie Sewn Studios

Two flowers are completed; only four more to go!

Inchy Hexagon Club Prairie Sewn Studios

If you want to learn different techniques and try your hand on quilting different blocks, check out The Splendid Sampler.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The AQS Row by Row 2016 Quilt Challenge

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

Over the past several years, Laura and I have traveled to the AQS Paducah show in April.  It's been a wonderful experience to take classes together, view the quilts, see the town of Paducah with the influx of quilters from around the world, shop for fabrics to add to the stash, visit other craftsmen, eat at our favorite restaurants, and attend the performances at the local theater. However, this year we were not able to attend.

Laura Chaney and Linda Chaney
Paducah 2015
Instead, I issued a challenge to my daughter once I realized that AQS was doing a row by row quilt. Each row represents a different show location throughout the US for the year 2016.  What better way to keep intact our togetherness (even though she lives in California and I live in Nebraska) than by creating the AQS 2016 Row by Row quilt. Thus the challenge begins.

I've selected my fabrics from my stash (one of my requirements for the year is to use fabrics from my stash).

Phoenix Row by Row Fabric

How are you doing, Laura? Yes, we have a bit of catching up to do, but I don't think that will be a problem!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Homemade Coat for Chewie the Puppy

Today we welcome a guest post from my Aunt Meg! When I lived in Indiana  I'd frequently drive to my aunt and uncle's house in Fort Wayne for family gatherings. Visiting the family is one of the things I miss most now that I live in California.

Chewie the dog in a coat

Written by Meg Wilson, aunt

Here is a little sewing project. This is my son Kyle's dog, Chewie....of course my grand puppy. Chewie has a skin condition and needs to wear a coat to help her not scratch.

Chewie the dog in a coat

She needed to have more than one so I made a pattern from her old one and made this for her. Now I can make more from this same pattern any time she needs a new one.

dog coat