Do You Use A Portable Pressing Board?


What's Your Style

This is the twelfth entry in my series What’s Your Style? In our everyday lives, we all have our own way of doing things; quilters are no exception to this trait. Even though there are standardized techniques to follow, when creating items with fabric, many of us choose to do our own thing. This series explores those individual habits. Let’s see what today’s question is.

One of my favorite quilting gadgets is the pressing board I made several years ago. I found the how-to instructions on Cristy’s blog. The board has been my preferred pressing surface ever since.

My board measures 27 1/2” x 30 1/2”. This size fits very nicely into my carrying case for my Sew Steady table. Being able to take it with me means I always have my own portable pressing surface.

Every now and then the cover needs to be replaced. Washing it would be my preferred option but the fabric becomes so stained it’s next to impossible to get clean. Unfortunately, changing the cover is not quite as easy as your regular ironing board. Instead of un-tieing a string or releasing a hook-and-loop fastener you must remove the staples securing the fabric to the back. This step is not incredibly time-consuming but it does require tools.

I tackled this project recently when my board started staining my fabrics. My cover had become scorched and stained from hours of use.

Stained Pressing Board & Fabric
Scorched Pressing Board and Stained Fabric

To change my cover I first had to gather tools. From my tool box I grabbed a screw driver and pliers. I also located a roll of duct tape, a staple gun and staples. I used the screw driver and pliers to remove the old staples. Once they were out and the old cover was removed I noticed the padding (layers of batting) were stained as well.

Stained Batting.jpgRather than adding a brand new cover over the obviously used batting I made the decision to replace the batting too.

Being a longarm quilter I have an abundance of batting scraps. Finding pieces to fit my board was very easy. After cutting batting and a new piece of duck cloth I reinstalled all four on my existing board. Using the staple gun to secure the layers was the best part. My newly covered pressing board was all ready for use. This is how my new cover looks.

Recovered Pressing Board.jpg

How lovely is that!

This is today’s question?

Do you have a portable pressing board?

Now it’s your turn to share your opinion by adding a comment.

  • Don’t be bashful!
  • Nobody will judge you!
  • The quilt police will not come knocking on your door. 🙂
  • Let’s have some FUN!

Thank YOU for participating in this fun survey!

P.S. Are there questions you would like to discuss in future editions of this series, if so, share them in a comment.

Cindy Anderson
Cindy Anderson

 

 

The Neighborhood


Finally Finished!

After three months of cutting, pressing and stitching, my last Mystery QAL art piece has finally been completed. The art piece I am about to reveal has been titled Neighbors, AP # 37. I chose this name because the overall appearance reminds me of the diversified neighborhoods often seen within the confines of a city. Contained with a metropolitan community you might find

  • single family dwellings,
  • multi-family units,
  • ranch style homes,
  • bungalows,
  • multi-story and
  • high-rise buildings.

I believe the collage created by the unique blocks sandwiched together in my piece are similar to that of a city. With no two blocks the same, each one has the opportunity to add its own flair to the neighborhood.

It All Started

This art piece began on January 1, 2018. I shared its history via a series of posts; thirteen to be exact. You may find those posts listed under the category Mystery QALNeighbors measures 72” x 34”. This quilt, as with most others, was sandwiched with a layer of Warm & Natural batting along with a backing of a very pretty floral fabric. I purchased the floral print sometime ago from the discount table at a local fabric store. As soon as I saw it I just new it would make a wonderful quilt back someday. I’m so happy I decided to add it to my shopping bag.

The Quilting

To secure the sandwich together I used a variegated King Tut thread. The colors in the thread nicely complimented the fabrics used in my project. My piece is filled with straight and angular lines. Using those lines for inspiration I stitched a geometric quilting motif over the entire surface, with each block receiving individualized attention.

A Surprise

In the bottom right corner I personalized the quilting by adding one of my signature stitching designs. Early on in my longarm quilting career I had fun experimenting with the endless possibilities for quilting stitches. The stitch I grew to like the most was my very own version of a flower. Typically I don’t stitch it on quilts that are quilted with straight or angular lines. In this case I thought it would be fun because after all this art piece was titled Neighborhood and who wouldn’t want to have flowers planted in their neighborhood! To add even more bling I stitched  a handmade bead I purchased from jimenastreasures on Etsy. Parmila lives in Spain and creates the most unusual items. Shown below is a photo of one of my favorites.

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A Bead From Jimenastreasures

To cap off the really cool bead I added a small teal one to the very top. Take a look below.

Neighbors, AP # 37 Flair
Neighbors, AP # 37 Flower Embellishment

The Finishing Touches

Most quilts are finished with a binding surrounding all four edges. I could have done the same with this art piece but I really didn’t want to add another fabric. I also didn’t want the binding to take away from my design; I wanted to leave the edges unobstructed. To secure them I made facings from the same material I used for the backing. I also added a hanging sleeve and of course a label.

Lets Take A Look

I think that pretty much covers everything I have to say about this piece; other than the fact that I am absolutely in love with the final outcome. With nothing more to say let me share photos of the art piece I call Neighbors, AP # 37.

Neighbors, AP #37
Neighbors, AP # 37

The next six photos are of my favorite blocks.

Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 1
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 1
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 2
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 2 This one is my all-time favorite!
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 3
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 3
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 4
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 4
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 5
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 5
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 6
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 6
Neighbors, AP # 37 Label
Neighbors, AP # 37 Backing and Label

Thats All Folks!

This brings to a close my adventures in the Mystery QAL. I hope that you have enjoyed flowing along and witnessing the process I took to create my many pieces. Don’t forget to check out my Mystery QAL Category for a complete listing of the posts pertaining to this adventure. If you missed seeing the other three pieces here they are.

Munga Tusen Tak!

That’s Norwegian for Many Thanks! My husband is 50% Norwegian. Aspects of his heritage often filter into our daily lives so I thought it would be fun to honor him by sharing a Norwegian phrase. 🙂

Thank you so much for faithfully following this series. Your comments and likes have made it even more enjoyable.

Talk with you soon!

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AQ # 23: On The Fringe


15 Minutes of Play
I recently purchased a book written by Victoria Findlay Wolfe called 15 Minutes of Play. This book teaches how to turn leftover scraps into new fabric. The new fabric is used just like any other fabric.

How Did I Use It?

After working with patterns for days on end 15 Minutes of Play inspired me to shift gears and try my hand at improv once again. 15 minutes turned into hours and hours into days. The first piece of newly crafted fabric was sliced into multiple sections. Each of those segments are being transformed into individual works of art.

The First Section

The first section of new fabric along with an old curtain, denim from the leg of an old pair of jeans and hand-dyed burlap were merged together to make this quilt.

Art Quilt # 23: On The Fringe
Art Quilt # 23: On The Fringe

Fringe
If you look closely at the photo above you will notice the edges have been intentionally unraveled. The exposed threads add a rustic appearance. The idea to unravel the edges came from the old pair of jeans. The tattered jeans along with a childhood memory provided the inspiration for the art quilt’s name, Art Quilt # 23: On the Fringe.

Flashback

As a child I remember wanting a new pair of shorts. My family didn’t have a lot of money to purchase clothing so I decided to improvise and create my own pair by cutting off the legs on an old pair of jeans. The raw edge of the jeans, or should I say my new shorts, was left as is. Needless to say the fabric eventually began to fray. The fringe created from the fraying was therapeutic to play with. I also found the act of encouraging additional threads to unravel entertaining. The more threads I removed the longer the fringe became. The longer the fringe got the more I removed additional threads. Thankfully I stopped before they became too short.

More Details

In the center of my piece you will notice a denim section. This addition is currently just resting on top. I won’t stitch it down until after the quilting is finished. Waiting until then means I can sail right across the top without interruption.

Surrounding the art piece is a layer of black fabric. Rather than cutting and adding borders I used Misty Fuse to sandwich the two pieces together. I like using Misty Fuse because it doesn’t add a noticeable stiffness.

Time to Wait

My AQ # 23: On the Fringe is now ready for quilting. As soon as the quilt is finished I will post an update.

Thank you for your visit!

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Collage Art Cards


I’m sitting in my warm bed, drinking cup after cup of my echinacea tea and reading a post by my blogging friend Tierney Creates. Her post reminded of the absolutely adorable cards I purchased on one of my visits to the coffee shop in Downsville, Wisconsin. The cards, handmade by Jane Foos, are, as stated on the slip of paper inside the package,

  • Collage Heart Cards
  • Made from: Upcycled textiles
  • Using: Raw edge appliqué and free motion stitched
  • Suitable for Framing: in a 5″x7″ frame

I discovered Jane’s cards during my first visit to Woodland Ridge in June of 2016. She stopped by the center to replenish her inventory. Just like back then, I simply couldn’t resist purchasing a few more cards. I enjoy giving these cards on special occasions. I think they add a special touch to the recipient’s day. As an added bonus I think of them as forever cards because of their unique nature. They definitely are worthy of framing.

Here’s a look at one of the cards.


If you turn the cellophane package over you will see this.


That’s my contribution for today! Make today a good one!

Cindy Anderson

A GIANT Reconfiguration: Part Three-Art Bins


Friday Favorites

Here we are again about to tackle the third and final post in my series A GIANT Reconfiguration. Are you interested in reading the first two posts? You can find links to them here and here.

Now, let’s get started.

Somewhere along the line a company decided to design prepackaged methods to sell fabric. No doubt their intention was to make the fabric easier to purchase, which in turn would result in higher sales. Among the available units are rolls of 2 1/2″ strips (aka jelly rolls), 5 1/2″ squares (charm packs), 10″ squares (layer cakes) to name a few. The terms jelly roll, charm pack and layer cake are used by a specific vendor. Not all jelly rolls, charm packs or layer cakes contain the same quantity nor are they the same size. Other vendors use their own terms.

Of course the invention of the pre-packaged fabric units meant pattern creators could take advantage of these new sales methods by designing their patterns around the consumption of these units. 2 1/2″ strips, while not the only size used, are a very common measurement utilized when assembling quilts.

In a previous post I mentioned that I had cut one 2 1/2″ strip from each of my fat quarters. I cut these strips because it gave me a quickly accessed resource for making my art quilts. Rather than pulling out the whole piece of cloth, which wouldn’t usually be needed in its entirety, the 2 1/2″ strip gave me a smaller, much more manageable size. Of course I could have just as easily cut 1″, 2″, or even 3″ strips. There’s no limit to the sizes available. All that matters is that it suits your needs.

Managing my stacks of 2 1/2″ strips was made easy by storing them in my Art Bins which are designed specifically for that purpose. I have four bins that I purchased through an online vendor. Rather than purchase a bin for each color I divided the strips into groupings such as red, yellow and orange. Now when I’m looking for strips to audition for my projects I grab the bin containing the colors I want and search through for just the right piece.

I highly recommend the Art Bin Strip Case. It’s an awesome way to not only store your strip stash but also to transport them when traveling to retreats, a class, sew days or even on vacation. Here’s how one of my bins looks.

Art_Bin.jpg

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Friday Favorites: Something New


Friday Favorites

For twenty plus years I have proudly used my Pfaff 1475 sewing machine to assemble countless items, mend clothing, add buttons, attach achievement badges, among other items. It traveled with me to sewing events, retreats, and even on vacation. Throughout all of that it faithfully performed day after day with barely a hiccup.

Late in December of 2015 a new resident moved into my home. Inside the cardboard box was a brand new Pfaff Performance 5.0.

Pfaff Performance 5.0.jpg

So how did this come about, you might ask? As 2015 drew to a close my spouse suggested that we shop for a new sewing machine. I was quite surprised when he offered. Although I was very satisfied with my faithful companion I just couldn’t turn down such an opportunity?

Before setting out for a local vendor we did research on the available machines. We eventually decided to stay with the same brand as my current machine.

As is our custom we took several days to contemplate the purchase. We weighed the pros and cons carefully. After thoroughly analyzing our options we jointly decided to move forward with the purchase. We chose the Pfaff Performance 5.0. Before the close of 2015 the machine was paid for and brought home. Unfortunately it sat unused until early in February.

After unpacking the machine and all of the accessories I connected each of the cords and plugged it in. With the users’ guide on my left I paged through the manual learning how to thread the machine, wind and install bobbins, select a few options from the menu, then put the machine to work. The machine worked flawlessly! I’m very, very thrilled with the choice that we made.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

Friday Favorites: Long Arm Quilting Thread


Friday FavoritesWelcome to Friday Favorites!

Thread for a long arm quilter is as important as her machine. With 100’s of available colors and fibers there’s certain to be something to satisfy your need.

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Where to Purchase

I prefer to buy my thread locally. There is nothing like being able to take your project to a vendor’s location and pulling cones from their shelves to match with your item. If you don’t have thread available locally, then the Internet is a wonderful resource. There are numerous websites offering threads of every kind.

What Brands Do I Use

The brand that currently occupies the largest space in my inventory is Perma Core. I have more of this thread because it’s the primary brand my long arm dealer sells. Perma Core has been a reliable product. Omni holds second place. Of the two, I prefer Omni. I find it to be a much cleaner thread producing far less lint.

Among the other brands and/or other types of thread I have used are variegated King Tuts, and Magnifico metallics. Variegated threads like other specialty fibers are fun to work with. Stitching with them is like painting with a paint brush. Each stroke or stitch adds a varied rainbow of colors. Metallic fibers are the most interesting of all to use. Their shiny nature adds sparkle to anything they touch. Both variegated and metallic threads can be a bit pricey so keep that in mind if budget is an issue. Using metallics takes a little extra care when adjusting the thread tension and selecting the proper needle size but once you have that figured out the possibilities are endless.

Deciding Which Color/Type of Thread to Use

As I mentioned earlier long arm thread is available from a variety of resources. Many of those vendors have thread charts available for purchase. While they can’t match the ease of being able to hold cones of thread next to your fabrics in person, they are the next best thing. I have several of them in my own inventory.

Superior Threads Color CardsPersonal preference and/or a products intended use are the biggest deciding factors when choosing thread. When selecting your thread, always make sure the thread was designed to be used on a long arm quilt machine. Thread used on a long arm machine needs to be able to survive the stress and heat imparted by the rapid movement of the needle.

Next decide whether you want the thread to fade into the background or make a statement. If blending-in is your goal then choose either an invisible polyester or a neutral colored thread. If you want high visibility you might lean toward bright or variegated colors and if pizzazz or a bold statement are in order choose metallics. No matter what direction you go the thread choice you make will either make or break your quilts overall appearance so choose wisely.

One Other Thing

Each type of thread has its own preferred tension setting as well as needle type/size. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for best results. Some threads need a net or some sort of cover placed over the cone to keep the thread from slipping down in an unwanted manner. The cone nets can often be purchased through your favorite vendor in person or online. If you cannot find the nets or do not want to purchase them you can make your own out of a women’s nylon stocking. Here’s a video showing how the nets work.

Superior Threads Handy Nets

A Thread Mishap

Of all the thread I have ever owned there is only one cone that has every sent me over a cliff. The brand of cone is Omni. The color is # 3024 Medium Gray.

Omni #3024 Medium Gray

This cone has always tested my patience. The only reason why it has remained in my inventory is because of its popularity with my customers.

I was recently reminded of the thread’s problems when a repeat customer chose it for her project. Hoping that this particular cone was somehow not the one that has given me fits I agreed to use it. Not long into the session I was reminded of its awful habit. No matter how many times I replaced my needle, un-threaded and re-threaded my machine, uninstalled and reinstalled the bobbin the thread breaks…..frequently.

This is the only cone that has ever caused this problem. I’ve been plagued by this issue numerous times on all sorts of quilts. After finally finishing the latest quilt I made certain the cone of thread was removed from my inventory. Never again will I use it in my machine. While the cone is no longer a part of my inventory I haven’t decided if I will toss it in the trash or contact the manufacturer to discuss its fate.

Conclusion

I’ve enjoyed sharing with you my limited knowledge of long arm quilting thread. While the information was not presented in great detail I hope you find it a great place to start. If you have any questions about my experience feel free to leave a comment.

Disclaimer

The content contained within this post, aside from the attached links, is my own. I do not in any way receive compensation, reduced or free product, nor endorsement from any thread manufacturer or supplier. The experiences and shared opinions are my own.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

Friday Favorites: Binding Clips


IMG_7639_ffWelcome to Friday Favorites!

All quilts have a frame around their border.  The frame or binding, as it’s referred to by quilters, serves more than one purpose.  The obvious intention is a means to provide an envelope to encase unfinished edges.  I like to think of it as the ribbon around a package.  The finishing touch.

While recently applying hand stitches to the back side of a binding I reminisced about the encounters I have had when stitching similar items.  I remembered the pricks and jabs that have marred my fingers and often drawn small droplets of blood from the straight pins holding the binding in place.  While attempting to avoid such encounters I have, over the years, tried several solutions.  I have used

  • Paper clips:  These worked OK but they often easily fell off.
  • Binder clips:  You know the kind you can find in the office supply section.  I found these to be quite effective but I worried about the chance of paint transfer or rust.

Although the above options served their purpose I just knew there had to be a better way . . . an invention perhaps.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on these amazing clips made by Clover called Wonder ClipsWonder clips are made out of plastic.  To open them you pinch it much like one would a clothespin.  In fact they remind me of mini clothespins.

These minis clips are exactly what I was looking for.  They

  • are easy to use
  • don’t prick your body parts
  • will not draw blood
  • are durable
  • and above all stay put

I just love using these little guys. Here’s a close up.

Wonder Clips can be purchased in quantities of ten, fifty or one hundred. The clips are available for purchase through Nancy’s Notions as well as many other vendors.  I just checked Nancy’s current pricing and she lists the cards of 10 Wonder Clips at $5.49, boxes of 50 at $24.99 and packs of 100 at $46.99. If you haven’t tried these nifty clips I would highly recommend you do!

Thanks for stopping by this edition of Friday Favorites!  Until next time, happy sewing.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

Friday Favorites: Slipping Rulers


IMG_7639_ffWelcome to Friday Favorites.  This is my chance to step up to the podium and present my latest and greatest item.  So sit back and relax, and let’s share the next few minutes discovering what’s new.

Oops!

I can’t count how many times I’ve carefully lined up my ruler, grabbed my rotary cutter, clicked the release, zipped my cutter through my fabric, then discovered my ruler drifted as I cut.  Now, instead of an evenly cut strip I have what looks like a wavy line.  Darn!!  That means once again I must square up my main piece of fabric and attempt to take yet another stab at cutting another strip.  How many times have you done that?

I’m sure there are those out there that never have that problem, or perhaps they would never admit it.  Even though the misshapen strip can be trimmed to a narrower width and used perhaps in a “Sandy Quilt Block,” making fewer mistakes is the cheaper route to take.

Quilting Gadgets

A few years back, I had the privilege of attending the Wisconsin Quilt Expo.  What a wonderful opportunity for sampling a smorgasbord of quilting gadgets.  Not only can you touch them but you also can observe them in action as the vendor entertains the crowds with a demonstration.

One of the demonstrations I took a fancy to was Booth # 1132 .  It wasn’t a very large space.  No fancy decorations or displays.  Just a simple curtain draped table.  The lack of bells and whistles didn’t, in any way, hinder my attention.  What grabbed my eye was the pleasant demeanor of the young lady as she willingly demonstrated, over and over again, very clever gadgets for cutting and assembling bindings as well as a solution for slipping rulers.  The binding gadgets I will share in a future post.

The Solution Is

The solution to my sliding ruler is a nifty set of True Grips.

1.  They’re small round, clear, stick on disks that adhere to the back of your ruler.

2.  They’re clear and thus don’t obstruct your view.

3.  What makes them work so effectively is the, how do I describe it, gel like texture.  A ruler that stays put, how awesome!

I Was Skeptical

Initially I was a little bit skeptical.  I’ve tried the stick on sand paper disks but the grit eventually wears off and the disks, because they are not opaque can hinder your view.  Since they seemed as though they could solve one of my many pet peeves I decided to purchase a package.  True Grips are sold in packages of fifteen.

I Couldn’t Wait

Excited and eager to try out my new gadget I installed the True Grips on the back of one of my rulers.  I wasn’t about to put them on every ruler until I had put them through a test drive.  From the very first moment I was pleased with the outcome.  My first, second and third passes with my rotary cutter produced perfectly cut strips, all exactly how they were meant to be.

Immediate Success

My immediate success encouraged me to remove the rest of the disks and install them on as many rulers as I could.  Fifteen disks sounded like a lot but when I began gathering my rulers I realized they wouldn’t go far.  Not to worry though, I can always purchase more.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the effectiveness of these simple disks.  So, if you are adventurous, why not try out a package of True Grips yourself.  What do you have to lose?

Disclaimer

I must tell you that I do not in any way receive compensation from the maker, nor the distributors of this product.  My only motivation in sharing this information is my own enthusiasm for a product that I believe works.  Whether or not your experience has been or will be the same I can not guarantee.