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: 2016 Craftsy Block of the Month


Friday Favorites

Just Another Email? –

I receive multiple emails everyday tempting me with offers for discounts on fabric, patterns, classes, etc. Most often I open the messages, browse their content then file them in the recycle bin.

Every once and awhile I visit the website, drop a few items in the shopping basket, ponder their purchase then close the site without buying anything.

Not This Time –

On rare occasions the offer is just to good to ignore. The opportunity I’m about to share with you was too inviting to pass up. The tempting kit was for the 2016 Craftsy Block of the Month by Lynette Jensen. One look at the quilt photo and I was smitten.

2016 Block of the Month_9762

The block of the month, which I thought would last twelve months, only goes until June. I did have to think twice about the cost. Then I reminded myself that the fee included all of the fabric as well as the online classes.

Decisions, Decisions –

Keeping that in mind I figured it was actually a pretty good deal. Aside from the fact I had aready made a vow to work on Smashing My Stash, without looking, I took a leap and jumped with both feet.

Arriving not to long ago was this box

2016 Craftsy Block of the Month_9721

with these beautiful fabrics

Getting Started –

I’ve already started viewing the introduction to the class along with downloading two of their documents. I’m looking forward to adding this to my stash. As I make progress I will provide updates.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

 

Friday Favorites: Yet More Chocolate


Friday Favorites

Lately I seem to be focusing on chocolate. Who knows why? It could just be simply because I like it!

We follow a modified Paleo diet. Snack bars that fit this food profile are few and far between. Most bars contain grains, peanuts or lots of sugar. All of these are not included in the Paleo lifestyle.

Trying to find even one that comes close to fitting takes a lot of research. I’ve read many, many labels hoping to find just one that comes close. So often one of the first two ingredients automatically eliminates it.

Not to long ago I found one that I think is too close to pass up. The bar is made by Larabar and its called

Uber Dark Chocloate Pecan with Sea Salt Flavor

It’s positive attributes are:

  • It has dark chocolate in it
  • There are only nine ingredients
  • It is Non-GMO
  • It is Gluten Free

I highly recommend adding this bar to your shopping list. Try it! I know you will like the yummy combination of sweet and salty, chocolate and crunch.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

 

Disclaimer:

I do not in any way receive compensation from Larabar. I simply share my experience because I like the product.

 

Friday Favorites: My All-Time Favorite Food


Friday Favorites

There is one food that resides at the very top of my favorite foods list. Studies have been done by numerous people and organizations on this food. Those studies have yielded multiple health benefits derived from consuming it which means I am absolutely thrilled that I can experience positive changes in my health just by eating it.

What is IT?

My all-time favorite food is

CHOCOLATE!

But, not just any chocolate. It has to be dark chocolate with a cacao content of 75% or higher.

My current chocolate bar of choice is:

Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout

with a cacao content of 85%.

Why did I choose it?

  • There are only four ingredients
  • It is on the Fair Trade list
  • Has a minimum of 85% cacao
  • Non GMO
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Carbon Neutral Product
  • Certified Organic

Now all of these traits are great to boast about but my overwhelming reason for eating this chocolate is the taste. I like rich, dark chocolate. PERIOD!

Buy a bar.

Try it.

If you are not afraid of the dark side I’m confident you will like it!

Enjoy!

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

 

Disclaimer: I do not in any way receive compensation from Alter Eco. I simply enjoy eating their product.

Friday Favorites: The Block


Friday FavoritesWelcome to Friday Favorites!

Over the years I have tried a variety of magazines with topics ranging from food to quilting to the arts. Some of them I received via subscription while others were purchased on an occasional basis from the newsstand. For one reason or another all but one of my subscriptions has expired. The only one surviving the ax is Block by Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Block by Missouri Star Quilt Company_The magazine, a quarterly publication, is available either by individual copy or via subscription through Missouri Star Quilt Company’s website. The publication has been in print since 2014. I began receiving it midway through that year. Unlike most of the periodicals I have read, rather than ending up in the recycle bin, my shelves contain every issue that I have ever received.

Contained within the front and back covers are patterns for a variety of items such as table runners, totes and of course quilts. Along with patterns you may also find helpful tips for general quilting issues as well as personal stories written by the author. If you were to decide to make one of the many patterns, which I’m sure you will, in most cases the pattern instructions include a web address to an on-line tutorial as well as a link to a set of pre-cut fabrics specifically chosen for the project. Of course you are free to choose your own but for those that prefer to skip that step these kits eliminate the guesswork. Here’s a sample.

Part of being human is making mistakes. The Block, since it’s run by humans, is not immune to this phenomena. If and when a mistake is found there is a website address to follow to find the pattern corrections. You may find it here.

Missing from the layout are the annoying advertisements that monopolize most other publications and there are no annoying postcards to fall out as you thumb through the pages.

Every time I receive my quarterly magazine I’m provided with hours of entertainment. From each Block I find at least five patterns I would love to try. Written on the back cover of each magazine are my notations of the quilts I would like to make. Judging by the number of names recorded I think it would have been easier to record the ones I’m not interested in.

So far I’ve purchased fabric from Missouri Star Quilt Company for two of the patterns. Unfortunately I haven’t found the time yet to make them. Since I’ve declared 2016 to be my year to SMASH MY STASH it’s very possible they will find their way into my DONE pile. When that day comes I will definitely share my experience here on my blog. Until then why not check out the magazine for yourself.

Disclaimer:

The words contained within this post, aside from the provided links, are my own. I have not in any way received encouragement from, nor compensation in any form from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I have featured this magazine on my blog simply because I am thoroughly impressed with its content and felt it might be of interest to you.

 

Cindy Anderson @ In A Stitch Quilting

 

Friday Favorites: Missouri Star Quilt Company


Friday FavoritesWelcome to Friday Favorites!

If you surf the Internet you probably have heard of Missouri Star Quilt Company. If you haven’t heard of them, let me introduce you. They’re family-run quilting business, located in Hamilton, Missouri has been in existence since 2008. You may read about their heart-warming story here.

Missouri Star Quilt Company is one of my favorite online resources for quilting supplies. They carry a huge selection of fabrics, notions and gadgets all related to the world of fabric. Along with their massive inventory they also are a great resource for instructional online videos.

Missouri Star Quilt Company introduced the concept of pre-cut fabrics to the fabric industry. What is a pre-cut fabric you might ask? Pre-cut fabrics are color coordinated groupings of fabrics, bundled together, in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes all focused on a designer fabric line. Four years after introducing the pre-cut concept to the world of fabric, Missouri Star Quilt Company became the largest supplier to the world.

I like supporting small-town companies and that’s why Missouri Star Quilt Company is one of my favorite vendors. If you haven’t visited their website I strongly suggest you do. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer:

Aside from the links provided to the Missouri Star Quilt Company website the content contained within this post is my own. I have not in any way received compensation from this vendor.

Cindy Anderson @ 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.

IMG_6955

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