Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scissors - Quilter's Tool Chest for Throwback Thursday

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Throwback Thursday-Scissors


Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Every Thursday we'll feature a post from the blog archives that we think is still useful today! This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

This week we're talking about a tried and true sewing notion: scissors. We kicked off this Quilter's Tool Chest series with a modern notion that revolutionized the quilting world (the rotary cutter), but it's important to remember that people were still making beautiful quilts BEFORE the advent of the rotary cutter.

There are three pairs of scissors that I keep out on my desk and use pretty much every day: fabric scissors, snippy scissors, and embroidery scissors.

I actually have a couple of pairs of fabric scissors, Fiskars and Ginghers. Both of them work great, so long as everyone in the household follows rule number one: no touching the fabric scissors!


This was Mom's rule growing up and one that I've carried over into my own house as it helps keep the fabric scissors reserved just for fabric. Not paper, not packages, not string cheese. We keep scissors designated for "non-fabric" usage to take care of all of those other needs.

Next up are what I call "snippy" scissors, or more technically the "Easy Action Micro-Tip Scissors (No. 5)" from Fiskars. This is the perfect pair of scissors for trimming threads, clipping curves and cutting corner. They're small, yet sharp, and the pointy ends allow you to get exactly into where you need to be. I also really like that they're spring loaded, so easy to work with and easy on my hand.


Last but not least we have embroidery scissors. Mine are part of my chatelaine from TJ Lane and live in my English Paper-Piecing kit when they're not around my neck. These scissors serve their purpose perfectly, making clean cuts on the thread so that it's easy to thread my needle for hand sewing. Since the blade is under four inches they're also allowed to be carried on the plane (in the U.S.), meaning I take take my English Paper-Piecing kit wherever I go. I've never tried to wear them through the metal detector, but haven't had any problems with them in my carry-on bag. 


I've also added a small Grandmother's Flower Garden from Quilted in Clay to the center of my chatelaine. 

Here are links to a few of our favorite scissors on Amazon. How many different kinds of scissors do you have? Do you use them all regularly? 

  





All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional 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 February 23, 2015, and is being reproduced here for Throwback Thursday. #TBT

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Splendid Sampler - Blocks 32-39

Written by Linda Chaney, mother 

The Splendid Sampler

This series of blocks had a bit of everything - traditional piecing, applique, English paper piecing, embroidery work, and paper piecing.

The Splendid Sampler Blocks 32-39

Blocks arranged from left to right, top to bottom:

32 - The Constant Needle
33 - Selvage Saver (Photo 6741)
34 - Lemonade
35 - The Wishful Garden
36 - Inchy Hexagon Club (Photos 6765, 6767)
37 - Dashing by Chocolate
38 - Vintage Flower Basket
39 - Balls in the Air

One of the most fun blocks was the Selvage Saver. Funny how all those colors come together!

The Selvage Saver The Splendid Sampler

Interesting story about the Inchy Hexagon Club. I had originally made this block taking advantage of some thinlit dies to cut both the templates and fabric. Little did I realize the tight tolerance for this block to fit the 6-1/2" square. The finished piece was just big enough NOT to fit onto the background! Bummer! So it was back to the drawing board, cutting out those tiny paper hexagons furnished with the pattern, and completing the block again. Don't worry, that larger (barely) block will be used in something!

Inchy Hexagon Club The Splendid Sampler

Check out The Splendid Sampler to learn more about these blocks and their designers!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Good Quality Thread - Quilter's Tool Chest for Throwback Thursday

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Every Thursday we'll feature a post from the blog archives that we think is still useful today! This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Thread


This week we're focusing on the importance of using good quality thread for all of your sewing and quilting projects. Thread is important. It is literally the material that "holds it all together" when you're sewing or quilting. If you choose thread that is either poorly made OR just wrong for the project you're working on then you're likely going to run into problems with thread breakage, fraying or even failure to adequately hold your seams together!


We'll have another post later about the different kinds of threads that are out there (and there are LOTS), but today we're focusing on threads that we recommend for regular piecing or sewing of quilter's cotton fabrics. The good quality threads will provide a more even stitch with less lint if you're machine stitching. They're also going to provide a stronger and more even stitch that holds things together better and provides neater appearance.


 The threads that Mom and I use the most are the 100% mercerized cotton threads from Mettler and Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread (Mom actually attended a presentation with Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Thread in 2014). We use these threads for both machine piecing and hand piecing, as well as some machine and hand quilting (sometimes other threads, especially decorative, silk or metallic threads) can better help you achieve your desired look for quilting).


Here are a few links to threads we like that are easily available on Amazon. What threads do you prefer for your piecing and sewing?


All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional 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 February 15, 2015, and is being reproduced here for Throwback Thursday. #TBT

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Splendid Sampler - Blocks 24-31

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

The Splendid Sampler


This series of blocks provided quite a learning experience!

The Splendid Sampler Blocks 34-31


Blocks arranged from left to right, top to bottom:

24 - Inspector Sidekick
25 - Sunday Best 
26 - Dreaming of Dresdens 
27 - Sewing Machine
28 - Stitching Fashion 
29 - Scrappy Happy Heart
30 - Simple Surprises
31 - Blossoming

It was time to tackle the applique process. In Block 25, Sunday Best, I experimented with different machine applique stitches to use on the raw edge applique.

Sunday Best


In Block 26, Dreaming of Dresdens, I used invisible machine applique around the turned applique edges.

Dreaming of Dresdens


Perhaps the most challenging block, though, was Block 28, Stitching Fashion.

Stitching Fashion


Although I tried to complete this block using a different method, I found that following Charise Randell's suggestion of cutting the individual templates to size and adding the 1/4" around the template was the best!  Note to self: listen to the expert!

Check out The Splendid Sampler to learn more about these blocks and their designers! You can also see my other blocks here on Prairie Sewn Studios: Blocks 1-7,  Blocks 8-15 and Blocks 16-24


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Flathead Pins - Quilter's Tool Chest for Throwback Thursday

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Throwback Thursday Flathead Pins


Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Every Thursday we'll feature a post from the blog archives that we think is still useful today! This post is part of our 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.



One notion that is used in so many types of fiber arts is the pin!

Flat-head sewing pin


For quilting and sewing, it's usually very important that you get your fabric and seams lined up correctly when you're stitching two pieces together. Nothing is more frustrating than to finish sewing a seam, open it up to take a look and find that your fabric slipped and your seam lines don't match. You'll either decide to live with the way it turned out or get out your trusty seam ripper (a post for another day), remove the stitching and try again.

When I first started sewing, Mom and Grammy gave me a set of white and yellow round-head pins. I still have (and will still use) these today. They're quite cheap, easily available and come in large boxes.

One downside to round-head pins, however, is the round-head and the way it holds the fabric and pushes against the throat plate when you're sewing on a machine. If I'm sewing a quilt block where it's important that my intersecting seams are pulled tight and snug against each other I'd rather use a pin that lays flat against the machine instead of bulging up. It's a little thing, but I find it makes a pretty big difference in my accuracy (and my frustration in getting that accuracy).

There are a couple of different shapes out there, but the ones I have and love are the flower-head pins. These are also great if you want to make your own numbered pins to help make it easier to keep your rows straight when sewing a quilt top together!

Flat-head sewing pin

If the traditional round-head pins are all you have available, then definitely use them. But if you're helping an aspiring quilter or sewer get started with her (or his!) sewing tool chest, investing in the flat-head pins is definitely the way to go.


  


All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional 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 February 9, 2015, and is being reproduced here for Throwback Thursday. #TBT