Quilting

Happy Birthday, Eleanor Burns!

Eleanor Burns’ PBS series is literally the reason I got into quilting. She is by far the best teacher for anyone learning to quilt. I agree there are a lot of great videos available today, but Eleanor’s step by steps demos will hone anyone’s skills. Whether it is ¼” seams, pressing, nesting, or picking up a great tip or two or a hundred, you cannot go wrong watching any Quilt In A Day video. I learned about strip piecing, trimming, and the ever-useful twirling seams from Eleanor. I learned my favorite method of applique from her and it is still the method I teach the most.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Quilt in A Day’s teacher training events. Learning from her and spending time in her studio was magical and I came home with a wealth of knowledge and tips that I added to my teaching toolbox. I will tell you that the Eleanor you see on YouTube (the modern version of PBS instructional shows) is the Eleanor I met. She is kind and generous with her time and her talents.

I see so many new quilters get frustrated because they don’t know how to check for a ¼’ seam or the proper way to press or fill in the blank. I encourage you to watch her videos, especially the older ones,  to learn the “right” way to piece. Yes, I am saying I think Eleanor’s way is the right way. Once you have the piecing skills, venture off to a myriad of quilting demos and fill your up your toolbox with endless piecing options.

We do have our differences; Eleanor prefers to do the quilting process by credit card, I prefer using a ruler foot and templates. The great part? Differences make us who we are and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Grab yourself a beverage and click on over to YouTube. I am confident you’ll become a fan too.

Quilting · Sew Steady · Step by Step · Tips and other useful info · Videos · Westalee

Westalee Snowflakes; Tips and Tricks

Thinking about snow in October? Some places have already had their first flurries, but I suspect it will be a while before we see any in the Desert Southwest.

Thinking about snow in October? Some places have already had their first flurries, but I suspect it will be a while before we see any in the Desert Southwest. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be making them out of foam board, pom poms, pipe cleaners, paper & glue, or any other items you can think of.  I’ll be sticking to fabric, batting, and Westalee Templates this season.

Like the other templates in the Spin-E-Fex collection, the Snowflake templates have reference lines that work with the 8 point Crosshair Square. I want my snowflakes to have 6 points. Oh, and I don’t want to mark my fabric. Then it occurred to me. I don’t have to if I spend a little time preparing my templates. In the following video, I show you how to mark your templates instead of your fabric, how to stitch out the snowflakes and stick around to the end for how to clean your templates.

These are the products I used.

Mini Cross Hair Squares

Snowflake Templates

Grid Glider

Quilting · Sew Steady · Videos · Westalee

Jewel of a Pillow

JewelPillow

Whenever I start with new templates, I almost always work the design out on paper first. The Jewel Series was an exception as I couldn’t wait to see the results. I ended up making a few mistakes which turned into a great design. I call those “Personal Design Variations” The following is a tutorial, including a video of how this pillow came to life.

Supplies, etc

Templates: The Jewel Collection; Pearls, Diamonds, and Hearts. All 1” and of course a Westalee Design Ruler Foot
A foot that can do a zig-zag stitch
6 Point Crosshair Square

Sew Steady Table and Circle Sewing Tool (I used my Wish Table)
1 yd of fabric (can get by with ¾: see cutting diagram)
16” square batting
Thread for quilting
Thread for construction
Needle, scissors, and pins.
Something to stuff the pillow with, like FiberFil.

Optional:

Stable Tape: I use this exclusively to keep my templates from slipping.

Grid Glider: Makes everything sew much easier.

Westalee Design Adjusting Locking Ruler: If you haven’t seen this system, you really need to check it out.

Waxed Dental Floss: I use this for gathering. The person who came up with this idea is a genius!
Two 14” squares of muslin for the pillow form.

Continue reading “Jewel of a Pillow”

Baby · Bags · Quilting

Celebrating National Quilting Day

Baby Quilt 2007 Pam Varner
My First Quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sharing the first quilt I made from start to binding. I didn’t have a pattern; mistake one. I’d never done the quilting process and backed with Minky; mistake two. I’d never used a walking foot. Never the less, I forged on. I had seen a block like this somewhere, looked easy. I didn’t know that the borders could be cut in 2 pieces, so I didn’t. The only way I could figure out to make it work was with partial seams. I’ve put arrows so you can see what I am referring to.

Continue reading “Celebrating National Quilting Day”

contest · Quilting

Win a Private On-Line Session

500win

I’m celebrating! I now have over 500 subscribers on my mailing list. Sew to celebrate I’m giving away a Private 2-hour On-Line Session. Simply post a comment on this post telling me what you would like to learn or discuss if you win. Entries will be accepted until midnight January 28, 2019 PST. I will choose a winner from the comments at random on January 31, 2019. I’ll notify the winner by email, if I have that info. I will also post a comment here, so be sure to check back. Better yet, be sure to sign up for my mailing list and feel free to share with fellow quilters.

~Pam

Update: The contest is closed and a winner will be announced on January 31, 2019. Good Luck Everyone.

And the winner is:

winner

 

Quilting

Happy New Needles

 

needles2018
2018: A Year in Needles

A new needle can make all the difference in the quality of your sewing, not to mention the hours of frustration saved trying to get a good stitch only to realize your needle needs replacing. I keep a pill bottle next to my sewing machine and fill it with needles and pins that have served their purpose, but no longer work. I remember last New Year’s Eve emptying it to start 2018 fresh.  Check with your local recycling center to see if they will take them.

As this year was winding down, I sat down to start a new project; knowing I had to put a new needle in my machine. There it was, a bottle full of used needles and a few bent pins. A year in review so to speak. I reflected on projects I have done; the table toppers and runners, coasters, quilts, embroidery projects, bags and wallets, costumes, and a few hems. I used topstitch, microtex, ballpoint, jeans, and metallic needles. Sizes 75/11 to 100/16. I’m not sure I even own a universal needle anymore.

You and your machine will be happier using the right needle for the job. Superior Threads has a great needle handout. If you’re not familiar with the different types and sizes available: click here to read.

No matter what your sewing plans are for 2019;

I wish you Happy New Needles and Spools Full of Thread.

~Pam

Quilting

Try an On-Line Ruler Work Class

QAYG Westalee Template Quilted by Pam Varner

Getting a machine and table to a class prevents many from taking them. Then there’s those of you with cabinets….try putting that in your vehicle. Perhaps your closest quilt shop is hours and hours away.

Come join us. Classes are live and there is ongoing support via email and Facebook.

I sew love teaching this online course designed by Leonie West of Westalee Design.  You will gain confidence using your ruler foot and Westalee templates in this 7-month series sew before you know it, you’ll be quilting all your pieced tops.

Not a beginner? There’s also a Feather Series I designed and more in the works.

Click here to read more.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

~Pam