March 2011 - Posts

When you quilt, do you like to stitch in the ditch or free motion?

For me, I like the free motion because I don't have to follow a specific pattern. Partially patience and partially, the artsy side of me.  

For my Time Square, which is scheduled for the Sept/Oct issue of Love of Quilting, , I think the design, itself, and the use of color gives it motion, which fit with the free motion movement instead of the starts and stops of stitching in the ditch and straight line quilting.  I'm sure someone is dying to tell me I'm wrong, but hey! it's my quilt!

On another note, Jean's Imperial Diamonds, which is scheduled in the July/Aug issue of Love of Quilting,  is geometric, which works quite well with the straight lines and stitching in the ditch. She's patient and meticulous when it comes to quilting and this works with her style and design well. It takes practice, and some tricks to make those nice straight lines, but it sure makes the design of the quilt blocks and fabrics pop! A curvy design could make it look like a very different quilt!

So what's your style? There's alot to take into consideration, but in the end, you have to be happy with it. 

After all, it is your quilt!  

Do as you like! It will not only make your quilt unique, but make it yours.

Happy quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor




What about the frosting?



Quilting can be like frosting on a cake!  Like Chef Duff on the Ace of Cakes, I want to rise to meet the challenge!

I am working on finishing my Crayon challenge quilt and Jean, our Editor is working on finishing her cruise to Alaska quilt!

We have some great  Sulky and Florianni  threads we've been wanting to try. Both of us used batiks, and both of us love the range of colors that these companies offer! 

But before I actually started stitching, Jean, who is a seasoned quilter, reminded me to take time in not only choosing my thread, but also in the preparation work before I even took one little stitch!

In choosing thread, don't just lay the spool on the fabric and expect the thread to look the same when you stitch. You need to pull out some thread and lay it on the fabric you will be stitching over. I was quite surprised at the results compared to how it looks on the spool!  Lighting also affected it. I found that it is a good idea to walk around the thread and fabric to see if there is anything that bothers you about the color you chose.

Also keep in mind, that whether it is in your regular sewing machine or a long arm, you may need to adjust your tension, especially if you are using heavier, lighter, synthetic, or decorative threads that you are not used to sewing with.  

Make sure you have test strips of the quilt sandwich on which to test your tension. There is nothing more annoying than quilting for a while and finding out your bobbin thread is leaving loops all over the back of your quilt. Make sure the top and bottom threads are meeting in the middle and there is no looping on the top or bottom.

Also, check your needle. If it is dull, it can poke batting through the quilt backing. It can also affect the tension. A rule of thumb that some quilters use is that they change needles every time they start a new project. I'm sure you'll develop your own way of knowing when it's time to change the needle.

It's a lot to think about before you actually start to quilt, but like using good ingredients in a cake, the results are worth the extra effort!

Happy quilting...and frosting!

Diane, Assistant Editor



GO! Baby

Just in! The Shop Fons and Porter store has the Go! Baby by AccuQuilt. It's a great tool to make repetitive cutting a breeze! It's not only accurate every time, but speedy and very portable! What a fun toy to take to a quilt retreat!

I love that you can cut multiple layers at a time. I'm thinking I can precut shapes for a future quilt, and use up some of my stash. I'll include a container for future charity projects!

Sharon, our retail manager and fabric ordering guru, found an appliqué quilt she really wants to make. For two years, she's been dreading cutting out all of the little pieces, which number in the hundreds. She said it may as well be a mountain of them since she is not a fussy cut kind of person! Was she surprised when she found the fabric cutting die in just the right shape and size!

Check it out! The GO! Baby cutter just may be the right tool to get you started on that quilt you've been thinking about!

Happy Quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor

Best of Scrap Quilts and Table Toppers is here!

Everyone has their favorites! You've spoken and we're delivering!

We are so excited to tell you that Best of Fons & Porter Scrap Quilts and Best of Fons & Porter Tabletop Quilts are now available at Shop Fons & Porter!

You'll find skill levels from easy to challenging, and quilts and table toppers for every season and decor. Whether you are a batik lover, traditionalist, or a fan of contemporary, you'll find plenty to love about  these books. 

You'll also enjoy the trademark Sew Easy lessons that will guide you via step-by-step lessons. 

 We predict you'll have a hard time choosing only one project to add to your to-do list!  

These are must-have books for your quilting library and great gifts for a special quilter! 

Happy Quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor


Is it in the paper or someone to help you tear it away?

As you may have read, my color challenge is also to use paper piecing.  It's by far the most labor intensive quilt I've ever made, but as it goes together, the most rewarding!

I've learned a lot about paper piecing. All the papers I tried copied well. I did find out that when using my printer at home, using the best quality print setting is not necessary.  I use the lightest setting, and I can see the printing just fine. In fact, the heavier ink marks up my ironing board cover when pressing more than the low quality printing did.

I think the deciding factor when choosing a paper is in how easily the paper tears away when the piecing is done.

The paper that tore off the best, was Carol Doak's Foundation Paper, but I did find that if you have to remove stitching, the paper also tears more easily. All in all, it was worth printing a few extra patterns just in case.

Unfortunately, the paper I used the most, does not tear off so easily!  I recommend a wooden stiletto to help remove the paper pieces. It helps rip and pick at paper without the danger of poking a hole through the fabric.

Depending on the size of the project, I also recommend the help of a friend or husband, as it is very time consuming!  

Mmmm—do I show him this picture I took with my phone?

I think I'll wait until he's done!

Happy paper piecing!

Diane, Assistant Editor



What?— me English paper piece?

Our sewing specialist Cindy said she would never English paper piece. She tried it and why frustrate herself again when she can piece other shapes on a machine?

Mind you, she's tried about every tip and technique there is to piece blocks for magazine test blocks in Tried & True and Sew Easy steps, and is responsible for setting up almost every step and sample needed for our Public TV shows. No matter what it is, she's a trooper and works it out.

So when this technique came up for a future PTV show and magazine project, not only did she look like a deer in the headlights, but she started searching for volunteers in the office!  That was, until Gail Kessler, from Andover, who designed this project, explained her machine technique to Cindy!  

You too could be pursuaded!  Stay tuned for an upcoming project called Jewels of the Garden, due out in a fall issue of Love of Quilting and is scheduled for an upcoming PTV taping.

Happy Quilting!

Diane, Assistant Editor