Monday, March 30, 2015

Coming Soon-Contain It! Blog Hop

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

We've had quite a few "firsts" for us on the blog so far in 2015, including our first giveaway and our first link-up parties! Today we're excited to share ANOTHER new first coming up in April, our first Blog Hop!

If you're new to the wonderful world of blogging, a blog hop is when several blogs in a row blog about something the same, or on a given theme. The idea is that readers can "hop" around from blog to blog to not only learn something new or hear about a new book, but also to virtually "meet" some other bloggers who share a passion for something similar.

Our blog hop is all about celebrating the one year anniversary of the publication of our book Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories! We can't believe it's already been a full year since it came out from the American Quilter's Society.

Contain it Blog Hop


Below is the full schedule of the blogs where the book will be featured, and each blog will also be giving away a copy of Contain It! to its own readers.


April 13 Daryl of Patchouli Moon Studio 

April 14 Mrs. Goodneedle from The Strawberry Patch

April 15 Christa of Christa Quilts 

April 16 Andrea of Knitty Bitties

April 17 Terri of Hexy Lady

April 18 Ren of The Inspired Wren

Even before the hop itself, we definitely recommend visiting the participating blogs. Each and every one of these women is super talented and creative, and sharing their work with the world. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-A Crafting Community Link Up, 3/27/15

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Prairie Sewn Studios Crafty Comment Karma

Thank you SO much to everyone who participated in our very first Crafty Comment Karma Link Up last week! It's so exciting to see people linking, commenting and building our community!

This week I've been in Hawaii, stitching away on my English paper-piecing project as I basked in the sunshine and ate pineapples. My only goal this week was to relax and rejuvenate my creative (and professional) energy.  

Mission accomplished!


Link up Rules:
1. This will be a space for people to list a link to any kind of crafty, sewing or quilting blog post. 
2. I ask that each person who posts a link comments on the posts of at least THREE other people. 3. 3. More if you want to, but at least three. 

This won't take more than a few minutes out of your day, but it will add so much value to the online crafting community.  Not sure what to say? We have a helper-cat to give you some ideas! 



Prairie Sewn Studios Crafty Comment Karma




Monday, March 23, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-The Basic Tools Roundup

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter


Prairie Sewn Studios Quilter's Tool Chest


Today's post is a round-up (yeehaw!) of the first ten posts in the Quilter's Tool Chest series. These are the basic tools that we'd recommend a new quilter or sewer invest in (or be gifted!) when starting out. Not a beginner? Use this as a checklist to see what basic items you might add to your tool chest to help making your quilting and sewing even more successful! 


Rotary Cutter
1. Rotary cutter
Self-healing cutting mat
3. Self-healing cutting mat

Flat-head pins
4. Flat-head pins

Good quality thread
5. Good quality thread

Scissors
6. Scissors

Iron with steam
7. Iron with steam

Sewing Machine
8. Reliable sewing machine with both a straight and zig-zag stitch

Sewing machine needles
9. Good quality sewing machine needles


What are some of the basic tools that you keep in your Quilter's Tool Chest? 






Quilter's Tool Chest-Seam Ripper

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

We've talked about a lot of tools for sewing in our first nine posts of the Quilter's Tool Chest, giving suggestions and ideas of the gadgets that might be especially useful for a new quilter. Our tenth post, however, is about the importance of having a tool to UN-sew: the seam ripper.

Quilter's Tool Chest Seam Ripper

The reality is that even the most experienced sewer will make mistakes and need to take out a seam. Or many seams. As you quilt and sew you will have that moment when you realize that you have not only sewn one block wrong, but you have chain-pieced 100 blocks wrong.

There are other ways to rip out your seams, such as a rotary cutter or embroidery scissors.  We'll plan another post (and hopefully a video!) showing several different methods, but for the beginner we recommend starting with the trusty seam ripper.




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! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-A Crafting Community Link Up

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Prairie Sewn Studios Crafty Comment Karma

Hi there everyone, and happy Friday! We're trying something new here on the blog that's focused on community building with us crafters, sewers and quilters who are online. 

One of the absolute BEST parts of writing this blog (in addition to working with Mom, of course), is when my email dings to let me know that someone has left a comment on the blog. I do a little happy dance each and every time, knowing that somewhere out there, another crafter took a few moments out of their day to contribute to our community. 

Short comments, long comments, any kind of comments are wonderful. They help me feel connected, and like what I'm doing does have value. I love getting thoughts about our works in progress, or talking about how someone purchases sewing machine needles in 100 count batches. 

I love reading blogs from quilters and crafters with blog followings both big and small, and try to leave a comment on almost every crafty blog that I read, even if it's just a "I love the fabric you chose here!" Even if I'm the only person commenting, and even if I'm the 200th person commenting. Based on my own experience I really and truly believe that this can be one of the best ways to support others and build your own community. I've also found that when I give a little joy into the world, I get a little back, hence the karma connection. 

So... we're going to try hosting a weekly link-up called "Crafty Comment Karma."

Link up Rules:
1. This will be a space for people to list a link to any kind of crafty, sewing or quilting blog post. 
2. I ask that each person who posts a link comments on the posts of at least THREE other people. 3. 3. More if you want to, but at least three. 

This won't take more than a few minutes out of your day, but it will add so much value to the online crafting community.  Not sure what to say? We have a helper-cat to give you some ideas! 

Prairie Sewn Studios Crafty Comment Karma


Obviously this only works if people participate. So link up below, and spend a few minutes giving comment love to others!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#31

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

Hi everyone! It's my turn to share a peek of what's up on my design wall. Sometimes I see a pattern and then see a fabric I really like and think to myself, I wonder what would happen if...... Thus began my journey using Moda's Slice and Dice fat quarter pattern with French Quarter fabric by Dover Hill for Benartex.

The pattern was given to attendees at CUAQ Therapy last month (February) at Cut Up and Quilt store in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Participants can make the quilt for the next CUAQ Therapy session; unfortunately I won't be able to attend the session this month.


Prairie Sewn Studios Slice and Dice Moda Nine Patch


I saw this new fabric in the shop and fell in love with it. The scientist traits came out and I decided to experiment. The Slice and Dice pattern calls for 6 light fat quarters and 6 dark fat quarters; however, I opted to use one fabric as both light and dark (the French Quarter fabric). The additional fat quarters were in shades of green or persimmon, picking up some of the shades of colors found in the original French Quarter fabric. The other requirement was that the additional fat quarters had to come from my stash.

Prairie Sewn Studios French Quarter by Benartex

I'm still not sure how this experiment with colors will end, but it has been an interesting challenge. What I thought would work as light colors has not worked out as expected. I still need to make more blocks and will continue to use my design board as I arrange and rearrange blocks with different shades of green and persimmon.  I'm also always open for suggestions! 

Laura here again...

Mom's design wall is very cool, and based on recommendations Kaffe Fasset's lecture we attended a few years ago in Paducah. For more information about it, see this post about creating a design wall

As usual, I'm linking our blog up with Sew Fresh Quilts and Freshly Pieced

Monday, March 16, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Quality Sewing Machine Needles

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Last week we talked about the value of a reliable sewing machine that can do (at least) both zig-zag and straight stitches. In addition to the machine itself, it's also important to use good quality sewing machine needles.

Although small, sewing machine needles are one of the mightiest parts of the sewing machine. Using a good quality needle that's the right type for the project your working on can make the difference between a joyful sewing experience and wanting to gouge your eyes out with the needle in question.



For quilting with cotton quilting fabrics you'll want to use a Universal needle. If you're sewing a specialty fabric, you'll want to use the needles that corresponds with that fabric type. Examples include Denim (shown above), Stretch, Jersey, Quilting and Suede. It's also important to use a reliable needle that works with your individual sewing machine. You can often find needles made specifically for your machine type (as the Bernina ones above), but Schmetz is another solid brand.

Needles are one of the cheapest and yet most important sewing notions out there. They generally have a lifespan of 6-8 hours of sewing time, but that could change depending on your fabric and stitching type. Whenever my machine is acting cranky, the very first thing I do is change the needle and completely rethread my machine. Many times that clears up whatever the problem is and I can keep on stitching.



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! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#30

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Oh daylight saving time. You are not my friend this year. Usually the time change doesn't bother me too much, but this year I'm really feeling it. Perhaps just a sign that I'm another year older?

It's been cooler here in San Francisco for the last few days, and my sewing has definitely had that autumnal feel to it. I've only been in California for a year and a half and I'm still getting used to a very different concept of "seasons" than back in the Midwest.

Just two flowers were completed this week, one in browns and one in oranges.



Here's a glimpse of the two of them from the back.


My hexagons are 3/4" (per side) and I use 2" squares to make them. Many English paper-piecers cut their fabric down to hexagons to eliminate the excess bulk of fabric on the back, but I don't for two reasons. First, I don't think it makes THAT big of a difference. Second, I'm FAR too lazy to do that! Squares are so much simpler and fast to cut.


Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and Freshly Pieced!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Sewing Machine

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Today we're talking about one of the basic items that every new quilter or sewer needs in a tool chest: a reliable sewing machine. Let me start by saying that a sewing machine is definitely not a required tool to sew or quilt. Much of the work done in our book is with hand sewing based on an English paper-piecing technique. That being said, I still use my sewing machine and love its fast, even, and reliable stitches.

Both Mom and I use Bernina sewing machines. Mom started out with a Bernina 930 and then gave that machine to me for Christmas when I was a junior in college (Dad conveniently gave her a new Bernina that year as well). The Bernina 930 is the perfect workhorse machine. It has all of the basics that I need to sew and quilt (including free motion quilting), but none of the extras that I probably wouldn't make use of. Mom actually missed her 930 so much that she went onto Ebay to buy herself a replacement for the one she gave to me!

Bernina 930 Sewing Machine


For a new quilter or sewer a machine needs to be reliable (meaning it doesn't constantly jam or need repair) and can sew two basic stitch types: straight line and zig-zag. The top dial selects the stitch type on my machine.

Bernina 930 Sewing Machine


Straight line stitching is definitely what I use the most and my machine also allows me to change the stitch length to adjust for the fabric, thread and desired result. Zig-zag stitching is not only a great supportive stitch (like on the edge of a knit fabric to keep from it unraveling), but also useful for attaching applique pieces and serving as a basic decorative stitch. My machine allows me to adjust the width of the zig-zag (in addition to the stitch length) so that I can choose exactly the right stitch for the project I'm working on.

Although the 930 isn't computerized, it does have a great selection of decorative stitches that I can use. I don't use these a ton (it's something I should probably work on using more), but they are great for adding that little something extra to whatever you're working on. They also can be a fun way to make your machine quilting look fancy and complicated even when it's easy.

Bernina 930 Sewing Machine

There are lots of great sewing machines out there. I've sewn on some of the computerized and fancier machines and they're lots of fun, but not what I need with where I am in my everyday sewing. Right now the ability straight stitch and zig-zag statch on a machine that I trust is the most important thing to me. Perhaps some day I'll start collecting other machines to do different things, as so many advanced quilters and sewers do.

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! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#29

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Woohoo Wednesday! And woohoo for sewing more flowers this week than last week (although not by much). But first, I blame this little guy for not getting more than three flowers completed.

Prairie Sewn Studios helpercat

How can you not just want to stop sewing to snuggle him? He's also been trying to "help" as I write this post and is now sitting on the floor, looking up at me dejectedly.

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden Hexagon

Three flowers completed this week, which is up one from last week. I was excited to make three completely different ones this week with three very different colorways.

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden Hexagon

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden Hexagon

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden Hexagon


I decided to start keeping track of how many I've made in 2015, too. I think it'll be fun to see how many I have by the end of the year!
Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden Hexagon
As is usual, I'm linking this up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts!


What have you been working on this week?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Iron with Steam

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

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.

Today we're talking about the importance of having an iron with steam. In an earlier post I shared how I use my Rowenta travel iron to set up a portable pressing station and iron small items with ease (and without burning my fingers!)


There are lots of different kinds of irons out there including cordless ones. You might need different irons for different purposes or different stages of your creating. I tend to use irons for three different purposes.

1. Prepping fabric for cutting and sewing. Ironing helps get all of the little wrinkles out so that you're cutting and sewing your fabric at its true size and shape.

2. Fusing fabric together with fusibles. This is where having an iron WITH steam is super important since many fusibles require steam to adhere. Mom and I tend to do a lot of work with quarter inch fusible tape for our containers from Contain It!.


3. Getting fabric into the shape we want by folding and steaming. The most common example of this is when we make binding for our quilts. Mom and I make our binding by cutting our strips at 2-1/2", folding and pressing it wrong sides together so that we end up with a 1-1/4" piece to attach to our quilts.

Here are a few links to irons (with steam!) on Amazon. What are some other ways that you use an iron to help you sewing and crafting?



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!