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Archive for the ‘Michael Miller Fabrics’ Category

When to pre-shrink!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Over the past week to two weeks, I have been working on ….sit down and prepare yourselves for this… a **pieced** quilt. Yes, me. A very simple pieced quilt, but nonetheless.

Eye-candy…my 214 colors, test-driving super wide borders with possible squares or rectangles. I’m going with nothing to distract from that glorious grid of color. Hopefully the quilting will make the wide borders look good. Want them that big so they will fit on a king size bed–we’ve got a queen but the pug takes up a ridiculous amount of room for such a small dog! The center is 72″ and overall I’m hoping for about 100″ square.

I’ve also been experimenting with the AccuQuiltGO! that was given to this year’s crop of Michael Miller Fabrics Brand Ambassadors. To my distress my block was not perfect–too small! I KNEW it had to be something on my end (it was), so I triple checked my seams (perfect to scant). I checked the size of the fabric cut on the dies: perfect. I checked that I used the correct dies: I did. Then I noticed something. After ironing, the block seemed off. Look at what I discovered:

First I placed my half square triangles on the dies, and look how much smaller the pieces are after sewing and ironing! So then I checked the start of the square-in-a-square center of the block. Same thing: after steam ironing/pressing, a unit that finishes at 2″ and one that finishes at 3 1/4″ are each 1/16-1/8″ smaller!

I decided to get a bit more scientific about it: Cut, measure, dry iron, measure, steam iron, measure. Here is what happened with the Cotton Couture, a delightful solid with a glorious feel in the hand:

Batiks are made using hand-dyeing processes that include a resist being applied (usually wax of some sort), then the wax is washed out, more dye applied, and so on. This means some of the shrinkage should already have happened.

As cut with the AccuQuiltGO! Perfect 4 1/2″
One last image: Here I created the center square-in-a-square for a pieced block. I cut the purple fabric to 4 1/2″ thinking that might help my accuracy, and sewed on two half square triangles. I then used navy for the central square and piled on identical half square triangles. All are cut with the lengthwise grain as suggested by Accuquilt for accuracy. LOOK at how much smaller due to more pressing and moisture from the iron. ERK!

So my lesson is, when I am not fusing things up, I really need to either pre-steam-iron everything, or prewash and mostly-dry it and then iron dry and smooth. I can now use the perfection of the AccuquiltGO and actually achieve as close to perfect as I will ever get! Now, off to order backing fabric for my BIG quilt.

Accuquilt GO!

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Part of every new year should be learning new things…and I’m starting with the Accuquilt GO!

As part of the Michael Miller 2020 Brand Ambassador program, we received the Ready. Set. GO! Ultimate Fabric Cutting System from Accuquilt. It includes an AccuquiltGO! plus the 8″ Qube (a set of dies to cut shapes often used in piecing 8″ blocks) and a ginormous die to cut my own 2 1/2″ strips. I’ve never seen one of these used in person, let alone done it myself. They are supposed to be lots faster than traditional rotary cutting and more accurate to boot. That makes two things where I need improvement–grin!

Lookit those amazing colors…don’t you want to dive in face first?

A while back, I was deliriously delighted to learn I had WON all 214 colors (above and below) of Michel Miller’s Cotton Couture (this was before I even applied for the Brand Ambassador program). I’ve been wanting to make a quilt I shall call “214.” As I’ve been waiting to upload this post, I realized that I can use the AccuquiltGO! to do the majority of the cutting, even the sashing! If I use the die for 2 1/2″ strips, I can then manually cut those in half vertically to get the 3/4″ finished strips I want to use for sashing. And then (!!!) I can use the die to cut 4 1/2″ squares (4″ finished) — if I am careful — to subcut the strips into 4 1/2″ lengths to match the size of squares I’m going to use in the quilt! Stay tuned…guess what I’m going to do today!

So, with that I am going to sign off and go play with my new fabric and toys!

Christmas arrived early thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics!

Monday, December 30th, 2019

I mentioned earlier that I am DELIGHTED to have been selected as a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador for 2020. As part of that we received, just before Christmas (Squee!), a box of goodies to use. I cannot WAIT to get into the studio to play. As a reward for getting all the gift wrapping and prep actually done before the 24th, I treated myself to opening the box on December 23rd, but waited until today to post and share the joy.

There are so many goodies in this package I hardly know where to start, but since I am prepping for a new 3-day workshop, Exploring Paint on Cloth (details here) August 5-7 at ProChemical and Dye in Massachusetts, I think I’ll start with the Krystal and some of my thermofax screens and paint!

These are the “color cards” for this year, and OH MY what joy awaits inside. It’s going to be a FUN year!
Here’s those color cards opened up. Top to bottom: Fairy Frost, Marbles, Krystal and Cotton Couture–all 214 colors!!!!!!! SWOON!

Thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics @michaelmillerfabrics for selecting me. Can’t wait to get started on my projects!

The good news continues! I’m a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador for 2020

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

That’s it in a nutshell! I really need to go buy a lottery ticket! During International Quilt Market, which I recently blogged about, I stopped in the Michael Miller booth while swooning over many things, including the indigo design minky (!!!) and the Cotton Couture solids. One of the staff members mentioned the Brand Ambassador program….when I got home I followed up, submitted an application and this morning this happened ……

Ta DAAAAAAAAA!

Today started off with a great big WHOOOP when I saw an email titled “2020 Michael Miller Fabrics Brand Ambassador Selection” and that began with “Congratulations! You have been chosen…..”

I wasn’t sure as an art quilter I’d be up their alley, but clearly they are willing to give it a go and so am I. Early next year I’ll let you know more about what it that means and what I’ll be doing as a Brand Ambassador, and in the meantime I have already ordered 3 yards of a print minky of theirs coming to help me make a lap quilt of a top I finished at least a decade ago from a charm square pack purchased in Hawaii circa 2002! And I ordered 7 yards of an aqua in Cotton Couture (Luna) to play with those amazing fat quarters in the giveaway I won….remember this? Can’t wait for it to arrive!

That’s how happy one looks when you’ve just won 214 glorious fat quarters in the softest cotton fabric around!

Now, alas, reality intrudes and I’m going back to cleaning the kitchen (so it can get really mucked up over the next couple of days…makes total sense, right?)! But I’ll go back to work happy as a clam!

Int’l Quilt Market Part 1, a sale and a win!

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

So much has happened in the past 2 1/2 weeks: International Quilt Market, International Quilt Festival, and a whopper of a cold, a lovely weekend with my older son and DIL, and some home improvements. So I’ll start at the beginning…with one detour: I sold a quilt at Festival after all! I’ll post on that in a few days (I shared on FB), but first let’s start with Market. And read to the end for the big surprise!

I arrived on Sunday of Quilt Market–usually I fly in on Tuesday or Monday and begin teaching the next day. It was wonderful–so much less stress about finding my boxes of stuff shipped and making sure everything was there and organized for each day of classes! Then, following my roommate’s example, I planned to see all the quilts BEFORE Festival when I wasn’t tired from teaching. Well…instead I got sidetracked by the lure of Market. I had SO MUCH FUN visiting the booths. One of the first was Michael Miller Fabrics.

While in the booth, I was mulling over how to bump up attendance for a workshop, and have finally conceded that I have to offer half day classes with complete kits. I have always loved the hand of the Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids, so I was brainstorming in the booth. Since it was late on Monday, the final day of Market, it was quiet and two staffers came to chat. I asked about purchasing fabric wholesale to use in kits, which led to a wonderful and productive conversation.

First I spotted this eye candy…don’t you just want to dive in face first? It is a box of one fat quarter of all 214 — yes TWO HUNDRED FOURTEEN — of the Cotton Couture colors. And they were having a giveaway…fill out the form, and if you got all the answers in the quiz (fun stuff about Michael Miller Fabrics) the winner would be drawn from those with correct answers. Of course I filled it out with what I already knew…I googled up their website and found some answers I didn’t know, and with paper in hand, asked a staffer if I could ask Michael’s favorite dessert–luckily I had guessed the correct answer. Turned it in, and moved on.
Can you believe this is that glorious soft Minky fabric???? I had to walk up to 12 inches away and indeed it is…looks like indigo shibori on cotton! I so want some of this…I need an alternative to my wintry sofa throws. I’d make a top, quilt it on the thinnest cotton, the back with this and bind. LOVE IT!
They also had this really cool teaching tool for new quilters to learn color. I don’t teach that sort of class, locally or on the road, but it’s a brilliant idea for a shop.

Can you tell I spent a lot of time in the booth…today’s post will be all Michael Miller, then I’ll do another about the rest of Market soon!

The quilting on Modern Quilts enchants me–perhaps what I like best about this fresh approach to quilting. Not to mention these are SO my colors. And yes, I am a member of Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild and the MQG itself!

Well, after I got home, and spent several days first doing bookkeeping (ugh ugh UGH and may I say UGH) and then feeling sick….I got laryngitis on about Tuesday on my first class day. By Weds. I was feeling worse. By Thursday I could barely squeak—ladies in the audience at the Machine Quilting Forum were dropping cough drops on my table! Then it morphed into a sinus infection. I soldiered on through my last class Saturday, but was honestly glad it has lightly attended. I wouldn’t have had the energy for a full 24 and it was a FUN group of students as it was. So when I got home, I went into chair-potato/get well mode.

Then I got an email from Michael Miller: I WON THE 214 FAT QUARTERS!!!!!! They arrived about two days ago. I mean, first I sell a quilt and THEN I WIN THESE????!!!!! I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

Yes, I am HAPPY! I just can’t believe it…I never EVER win stuff…so what a boon! And yes, there is a quilt coming! 214 fat quarters…over 53 yards!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU to Michael Miller Fabrics…you ROCK. I am so thrilled to have this bounty. I’m already planning a quilt called 214…and one that isn’t too complex, one where I can have FUN and get it done and revel in color!

This post has gone on long enough, so I’ll break here and carry on with the REST of International Quilt Market in my next post. But yes, Thank you to Michael Miller–stay tuned for what I do with these!