Archive for the ‘Fun stuff’ Category

The Quilt Show–Sarah’s Episode!

Friday, April 12th, 2019

What a delight it was to be invited to tape a show for the Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson online “tv” show, The Quilt Show (TQS)! In the past I have taped for two seasons of Quilting Arts TV (on PBS) and did a video workshop for Interweave (Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork, available as a download), but TQS is on a whole other level of professionalism. It was filmed in the Comcast center near Denver…as you walked by the main office there was an entire cabinet of awards including a few Golden Globes! And to get it up front: THANK YOU ADELE Merrell for all these great photos and Gayle Schliemann from Bernina for a bunch more!

Intro segment with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims…yes, they color coordinate their tops with the guest’s outfit! My dress is a Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 9112
I was so excited that I was able to pull off my surprise gifts for Alex, Ricky, John and Justin: custom TQS aprons made with a thermofax screen I made for them (with behind the scenes help from Producer Shelly to help with a graphic and favorite colors for them).
After the intro we got together and everyone modeled their custom TQS aprons. Sorry folks, there are only four of these that exist, but I’m delighted they are already using them with other guests. I bought all cotton colored aprons on Amazon (where else?). If you like the milkweed design on mine, I am selling my custom screens on my website for a limited time (maybe six to 12 months) so you could make your own!
There are two guests taped each day–I had Saturday morning. They hang the quilts first as all the other prep begins, and well before the audience comes in. The lighting is SUPERB…both of the guests and the quilts. There are light colored walls behind the seat walls with bounce diffuser lights that reflect off the exterior studio walls to create a smooth even light, then each quilt has a spot…there wasn’t a single “hot spot” or deep dark area (unless it was intentional)

And a panorama shot…the detail isn’t great because of the re-sizing I had to do for the blog, but I am standing in the center of the audience area. There were four large quilts including this year’s BOM, Sizzle, then the door to the Green Room, a monitor, the areas of the set from the “brick” wall, seating area, gallery space. The big tables are all on rollers as is the longarm and Q20 so everything can be moved easily for each segment. Another monitor on the middle-right, the staff and guest cubbyhole is behind that wall, you can see a long light thing that is the longarm, then Alex’s quilt (which is gorgeous in person) and right bank of the audience seating. There are usually 50-70 guests for each show. Tickets are free but you must reserve in advance…check the TQS website for info.
Justin Shults, Ricky’s partner, consults with the team in an area to by one side of the set where they collect the guests’ “stuff” for the episodes and serves as staff work space. I love that they said “welcome to the family.” Everyone staying at the DoubleTree collects in the same zone of the restaurant for breakfast (travel, meals, hotel are on your own dime, but it is so worth it!) and eat together. It is a delightful way to get to know the crew and principals. Left to right: Lilo Bowman, Justin Shults, Mary Kay Davis and Katie. Justin is the guy coordinating things on the set while Shelly Heesacker, the Producer, is in the control room. They communicate by headsets.
This is pretty close to the image folks will see when the show airs online sometime this autumn.
And here’s what that looks like from the sidelines
Sarah Ann Smith visits The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims
My first segment was about using paint on cloth (and I now have custom paint kits available here) and using shrink fabric to make my sunflower quilt (a blogpost to come). Here Ricky and I reviewed what I brought and what we could fit into the 10-14 minute segment. While the guest and hosts review the segments, groups of folks from the audience are allowed to come up and see the quilts up close.
In the breaks between segments, John Anderson (Alex’s husband) keeps the audience entertained, shares quilts from upcoming guests and more. This one is at the end of the day when Ricky came to chat with the audience.

Rehearsing for the thread segment: Ricky, Alex, me and Mary Kay Davis taking a close up photo.
Thanks SO MUCH to Adele, who dresses the set, for taking a billion photos for me. I especially wanted this one from inside the control room that shows what a polished and complicated production this is. Producer Shelly Heesacker is in the bottom left and she crafts each episode and runs the show.
And a close up of the screens as I am taping my second segment, with Alex, on how I do my Threadwork.

After-taping shots: here, I am holding a photo by Chris Maher from the online Photo Critique Group–it is a mock movie poster, with Ricky, Justin and many of our classmates in the assorted cast and crew roles. Too much fun!
I made TQS screen prints on my hand-dyed fabric for the audience as a little gift. MAJOR thanks to Iris Karp of MistyFuse for donating a package of MF (which changed my life and makes what I do possible!!!!! and that is NO exaggeration) so I made up a pattern for the sunflower that I demonstrated on set.
Time for some portrait shots with my quilts…this was one of the best!
Going to use this one for my FB profile photo for a while…THANK YOU ADELE!
Question and Answer session with the audience (and you can see that fun dress!) after taping.

I have to say, I wasn’t all that nervous thanks to being UBER prepared and having done Quilting Arts before, but I was wired for sound LOL..by the time of the Q&A I was relaxed and ready to have even more fun sharing.

At the end of my segment saying “It’s a new day EVERY day,” the TQS motto. Can you tell we were having fun?!!!!


My episode will air sometime in late summer/autumn. Star Members of The Quilt Show will have the first view, then there will be one week where the episode will be free to everyone. I will be sure to post, but gosh there are so many wonderful guests that I am so glad I am a member–and did you know I joined the very first day TQS began: January 1, 2007? And now, here I am as a guest! WOOT! Life is GOOD!

Free and quick Shannon Cuddle Fleece Hat pattern!

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Hi everyone…is anyone else madly trying to figure out what to do for Christmas gifts?  Here’s a FREE pattern by me, with major thanks to Shannon Fabrics for the Cuddle fleece.  Literally you can make a couple of these in an hour or so–give yourself three hours and a yard and you can make half a dozen in production-line mode!

How many selfies do you need to take to eliminate many chins or no chin? LOL! I love my soft hat!

And here is what the hat looks like, flat:

Two hats…I mean I used up EVERY LAST BIT of scraps! One hat for me, one to send to Shannon for them to use as they wish!

Here’s the pattern in PDF form…and typed out below:

Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Hat in an Hour

You’ll need:

¼ yard (about 8 ½ lengthwise grain by 22-23 inches) fleece for main fabric

5” by 22-23 inches for contrast

Scraps or yarn for hat tassels

How to:

  •  Measure your head around the forehead:  ______ + 1 “ =  ________  cutting width

Tip: In my case, my head measures 22 ½”.  I found that I wanted my hat to be snug so it would stay on in the wind, so I used a larger seam allowance.  My hat **finishes** at 21 ½” or one inch smaller than my head circumference. Depending on what you find comfortable, you may find that a cutting width exactly the same as your head circumference is just perfect.   

  • Cut main body fleece 8 ½” high by cutting width.  Make certain that the lengthwise (not-stretchy) grainline runs vertically and that the stretchy cross-grain is what goes around your head!
  • Cut hat band fleece 4 ½” by cutting width (if folding under) or 3 ½” by cutting width (if using raw edge).

Option:  vary the width of your band depending on how warm you want it to be and the pattern (if any) of your fleece.  My main fabric is not fuzzy on the inside and I wanted soft, so I have 1 ¼” of the red checked fleece on the inside and about  1” folded under on the outside edge so that there are two layers of fleece to keep my ears warm on a windy winter’s day.

  • Pin seam and test the fit: now is the time make adjustments to snug it up if needed.
  • Sew seams on hat body and hat band using a narrow zigzag, about 1.0 width and 3.0 length.
  • Pin the seams open.
  • Place the hat band and hat body WRONG sides together, matching the seams and overlapping about ½”. Stitch with a serpentine (wavy multi-stitch), 3-step zigzag or narrow zigzag to secure each raw edge.  You will sew two lines of stitching, one on each side of the overlap.
  • Because the fleece is thick, and because I wanted the soft part next to my forehead, I didn’t use a typical garment seam. Instead, I overlapped the two fabrics, wrong sides together, and sewed them with a serpentine stitch. I did this twice, on either side, so I would catch both edges of the overlap.

Sewing the other side of the band

I then turned the plaid to the outside and brought it up above the seam that joins the top of the hat to the “cuff.”

  • Turn the hat band to the outside of the hat body and turn up.  If you are making a thicker band, turn under about an inch; if you are not making a thicker band, simply fold up.  Pin the edge in place; carefully put on the hat.  If you want a narrower contrasting band, now is the time to trim or fold under more.
  • Sew the top edge of the contrasting band using the serpentine  / 3-step zigzag / narrow zigzag stitch.

Optional:  make some tassels. I used a 1” strip of fleece from the selvedge (leftover from another project) and folded it in half wrong-sides together and sewed with the serpentine stitch.  Cut into 9-11” (or thereabouts) lengths.  I opted for four strips which I then folded in half. 

  • Turn the hat inside out. Centering the seamline in the center back, pin right sides together.
  • If using tassels, tuck them into the seam at the corners so that the folded edge is even with the raw edge of the seam.  I placed two at each corner.
  • Sew the seam using a narrow zigzag.

Tip:  sew from the center to the outside edge, pivot at the end and sew back to the center about ½.”  Repeat from the center to the other end.  This is easier than sewing all the way across beginning at the bulky outside edge.

  • Turn right side out and wear with joy!

 

 

 

 

International Quilt Festival #4: Fine Finishes (to be retitled to Bindings and Piping and Facings, Oh My!)

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

Bindings and Pipings and Facings, Oh My! class in Houston 2018:  Truth in teaching: this is usually what my teacher’s table looks like: a hot mess!

I LOVE teaching this class!  I LOVE that EVERYONE gets how to achieve a perfect mitered corner no matter what width your binding!  I LOVE showing students how to use Susan K. Cleveland’s Piping Hot Binding tool–students come into class thinking “I’ll try it but don’t think I’ll ever use it” and leave with the tool in hand planning how they CAN use it because it rocks!   Then I teach my perfect facings for art quilts which by the way is also how you can do perfect prairie point “bindings” etc.   I LOVE that this class has something for everyone:  traditional, modern, art, contemporary, whatever you do, it works.   I also LOVED that this class more than any I have ever taught immediately embraced the idea of taking notes ON their class samples:  that way the notes don’t get lost, what you need to remember about how YOU sew and what to do to improve is right there on the sample.

YES! They got it! Put the notes ON the sample to remember how to get is JUST right!

One older quilter in the class was BEAMING when she left–she was so delighted as she had never done a corner, let alone a piped corner, this good. I think I will remember her smile forever–THIS is why I teach this class!

Doesn’t the pink bandana fabric look great as piping?

More notes, during the “perfect corners” part of the class in the morning

Midday/right after lunch we get to the piping (do the precise and time-consuming stuff first). LOVE Susan K. Cleveland’s Piping Hot Bindings tool. Available here.  It may be available at larger online sites, but I like buying things direct from the creator–Susan’s website is Pieces be With You (in the link).  I wrote my own instructions for the class handouts (without looking at Susan’s), but her more in depth instructions are worth every penny!   

The best part of Festival is FRIENDS–Linda Cooper

The absolute BEST PART of International Quilt Festival is FRIENDS!   Over the summer I learned that Linda, a BFF from my life on San Juan Island, would have a quilt in a special exhibit and was coming to Festival.  On Tuesday she showed up at my classroom door at lunch break with her friend from SJI.   They decided on the spot to take my Bindings class on Friday, their last full day at Festival (pitter patter, tear in my eye)!   It was like the intervening 14 years since I left the island evaporated.

She and Barbara managed to get the stuff to make the quilt sandwiches (class prep) and amongst the three of us came up with the requisite thread, scissors, rotary cutters, etc. to use.

Class….the lunchtime lull.  Thank you Kathy Spier for being my “Teacher’s Pet”—so much fun, met Suzy Webster when she took one of my classes a couple years ago.  This year her mom took Bindings, and we all had lunch together!   Like I said, the BEST PART of Festival is friends, old ones and making new ones!

Time permitting, we even get into some fun alternative edge treatments…couched yarn is perfect for postcards and small works

And miraculously, I remembered Linda and I needed to get a photo before she packed up for the day!

Old friends reunited!

 

 

The last bits of fleece make an easy peasy hat!

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

So I decided to use up the very last bits of my buffalo check fleece.  I began with 4 3/4 yards of the 58-60″ wide cloth.  The second photo shows the last bits!   These hats are SO FAST to make…including figuring out the best sewing sequence it took less than an hour for the first one.  If you wanted to make a half dozen, you could do that in an afternoon–quick and easy winter gifts!

How many selfies do you need to take to eliminate many chins or no chin? LOL! I love my soft hat!

This is all that is left of 4.75 YARDS of fabric….that is 10,260 square inches. Under 200 left! I even made some tassles/trim out of the selvages!

This hat will be a free pattern soon–not sure yet if it will be here or at Shannon’s site, but you can make one of these in well under an hour from scraps.  Truly, I used maybe 10×25 for the white part, 5 x 25 for the bottom, and a bit more for the tassles/dangly bits.   I just sewed two tubes to fit my head, one of the white print, one of the buffalo plaid.  The white print is here at Fabric.com.

Because the fleece is thick, and because I wanted the soft part next to my forehead, I didn’t use a typical garment seam. Instead, I overlapped the two fabrics, wrong sides together, and sewed them with a serpentine stitch. I did this twice, on either side, so I would catch both edges of the overlap. My finger is pulling the two pieces apart so you can see the overlap.

I then turned the plaid to the outside and brought it up above the seam that joins the top of the hat to the “cuff.”  I pinned the fabric at both edges so that I kept the amount of black that shows at the bottom even all the way around.  As I mentioned in my earlier posts about the throw and the jacket, the inside of Cuddle is slippery, so pin well. Because the fabric does not ravel, I didn’t need to turn under the upper edge of the plaid cuff.  I used the serpentine stitch to it down.

Finally, I made some dangly bits using the trimmed off selvages (they were about 1″ wide plus lengthwise grain of course):  fold in half wrong sides together and use serpentine stitch.  Cut to length, insert two, each folded in half, at either end of the seam at the top of the hat, and sew the final seam.  Because of the bulk from the dangly bits, I found it far easier to sew from the center to the ends, lock off the stitch and repeat for the other side.

Two hats…I mean I used up EVERY LAST BIT of scraps! One hat for me, one to send to Shannon for them to use as they wish!  Talk about a quick and easy Christmas gift!

 

THANK YOU Shannon Fabrics for this wonderful fabric and an October full of fun, fast and easy fleece projects.   I look forward to making more…I’ve got some Christmas gifts already made which I can’t share due to friends looking at my blog, and another big length of fleece to use on a snuggle quilt for winter!

Call me a Shannon Cuddle fan!

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

A heavenly combination: my studio, my Janome 9400 and Shannon Fabrics cuddle fabric–I’m ready for winter!  This fabric is so soft you just want to pet it, snuggle under it, and not give it away as a gift!

Last May, Janome America had its first ever Janome Education Summit, and one of the presenters was Shannon Fabrics.  From the kit they provided, I made the lovely summery top in this blogpost.  But they also shared samples of their fabrics, including these two.  True confession:  I have this Elmer Fudd-esque love affair with red and black buffalo check.  When I got home from the Janome event, I searched for the cuddle buffalo check on the internet wanting to buy multiple yards of it it but couldn’t find it anywhere, so contacted the presenter from Shannon Fabrics, who told me it wasn’t available until summer for the new fall season.  I ordered some other Shannon Cuddle and Luxe Fur from Fabric.com (still waiting to make that up, stay tuned in December).  Mid summer I still couldn’t find it, so I wrote to her again, and she SENT ME a big box to make not one but TWO projects.   This throw is SO fast and easy and it would make an awesome holiday gift. Literally, I made it in a short afternoon!

Me by the fireplace, wrapped in my jumbo throw. This is big enough for two people on a sofa. Or one person a cat and a pug in a chair. Ahem (photo below).

 Here’s what and how:

The two fabrics pictured are available at Fabric.com here/minky buffalo check and here/Studio minky forest park, both in the scarlet color way.  It is also available in a blue version, and there is a lovely silvery gray and white buffalo check too.  I used two yards of each, but had a little of the print leftover–gonna make a hat out of that!  You’ll also need some thread–color doesn’t really matter as it disappears into the pile, but I did use red. If I had found the Shannon free pattern and video (keep reading) I would have ordered 2 1/3 yards of the check since you need a little extra to wrap.  Instead, I trimmed down my white print to work.

A blogpost with lots of pictures is better. Here is the throw on the love seat / reading zone in my basement studio. You can see how large it is!

TIPS and HINTS for working with Cuddle, Minky and Luxe Fur:

  1.  The BEST tip for minimizing lint came from Ellen of Shannon Fabrics in May:  you know you when you cut Minky and similar fabrics you end up with little bits of fluff EVERYwhere forever?  Not any more!   First, especially with the long fur-like fabrics (in my upcoming December project), cut your fleece from the back cutting only through the knit backing.  This minimizes the snipped bits of fluff.  You can also do as I did with the regular pile cuddle (what I used here) and use a rotary cutter.  Then scoop up ALL the pieces (including leftovers if you keep them for small projects later), perhaps into a basket or large plastic bag, and take them to your DRYER.  Yes, the clothes dryer.  Tumble on no-heat for about ten minutes, then CLEAN THE LINT FILTER. About 80+ percent of that fluff will end up in the lint filter and not all over your sewing space and house.  OMG it really worked!
  2. There is no stretch on the lengthwise grain.  At all.  If you make a garment (my next project) make sure you keep grainline in mind when fitting the garment.
  3. The fabric DOES NOT RAVEL.  At ALL.  That means you don’t have to turn under edges!!!!!!  That means these projects are FAST!
  4. Stitch length:  The fleece will hide your stitches.  That means it will be challenging if you decide you need to remove any of the stitches, so pin carefully to avoid ripping out!   Also, it is good to use a slightly longer stitch length.  I used a 3.0.
  5. Best stitch for seams on knits: For garments, using a zigzag or “lightning” zigzag will at a 1.0 width will look like a straight stitch seam from the outside, but adds a little bit of flexibility and therefore helps avoid popping stitches in the seam.

Shannon Fabrics has many free patterns available.  I used this one for my throw, a youTube video called Cuddle Self-Binding Blanket from Shannon and FleeceFun.com.  I hadn’t found this video when I requested my fabric.  If I had, I would have ordered 2 1/3 yard of the buffalo check and 2 yards of the forest park print and had a slightly larger (better!) throw.  WATCH the video before you order fabric…it is only 7 minutes long and will help you.

I used a serpentine stitch on my Janome 9400, an “S” shaped stitch to sew down the edges. You could also use a blanket stitch or a 3-step zigzag (the one that takes three stitches in one direction, then three stitches the other way).  I mean, you can’t even SEE the stitches.

Here’s what the serpentine stitch looks like from the back. I used red thread and you can’t even SEE the red on the black square!

I have been a Janome Fan-Girl for 15+years now.  I am now a Shannon Fan-Girl too! I’m finishing up a winter jacket with more of the buffalo check and a cream cuddle fleece lining, and will share something else that will be a gift for Christmas–perhaps in late November which is plenty of time for you to whip up a few of them in time for holiday giving.  Or keeping.  Ahem!

This is what I expect to look like most evenings in winter: in my chair in the living room, me and pug under the throw, cat checking things out, ready to make a dent in my pile of reading!

And because it is boring, this photo is last, but it shows the throw out flat.

THANK YOU SHANNON FABRICS for this fabric which I was totally prepared to order!   I have purchased more of their fabrics own my own and know I will be using it again.  If they ever make their “Spa” line in some bold colors (not pastel, not purple) I am so gonna make a bathrobe…..in the meantime, I have more snuggle quilts and gifts to make to keep me plenty busy.  And as always, Thank You Janome America for making the best machines EVER!

laid out flat on my studio floor (cement painted green!)…big, warm, SOFT. And did I mention, SOFT!