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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

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Win a Private On-Line Session

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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

 

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Happy New Needles

 

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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

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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

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Too Good To Be True!

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If it looks too good, it probably is too good. In this age of internet shopping, we can become victim to all kinds of fraud. I have come across some ads on social media lately for products that just seem to be priced way too low. So I did some investigating and you know what? I was right. These usually fall into one of the following categories.

Knockoffs:

This is when someone copies another person’s/company’s product. Can be a sewing notion, pattern, picture, etc. This often ends up in a legal mess, but the damage may already have been done. Dealing with international copyright and patent laws is best left up to the lawyers. But guess what? As soon as ABC company is caught, they reappear as Company XYZ. Same people; new name.

The scary thing is they look legit with addresses in your country of residence. They have stores that take credit cards, just like the stores you use on a regular basis. Chances are if you actually receive the product, the quality will be far inferior to what was described. Continue reading Too Good To Be True!

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Ways to protect your sewing equipment from an electrical event.

canva-lightning,-electricity,-pattern,-render,-design,-power-MACZWEKUXjwMy house was hit by lightning.

An important reminder that we often take modern conveniences for granted. Electricity, hot and cold running water, access to the internet, and communicating by telephone are a few that pop into my head. Then there’s indoor cooking; with the holidays approaching, I have cooking on my mind.

I am lucky. There was no fire; it hit a metal chimney and then ran havoc thru my home trying to ground itself. Which it did, in multiple places. One being the hot water heater where it toasted the gas connection and yes that caused a gas leak. Again lucky, as I came home within a few hours and immediately smelled gas. The clues kept coming over the next 24 hours; kitchen appliances, HVAC, ceiling fans, Audio/Visual equipment, phone lines, internet, outdoor timers and circuit boards. Some of these items are hard-wired so “unplugging” isn’t an option; others had surge protectors and some did not.

My die-hard habit of unplugging my sewing equipment when not in use most likely saved me from not only thousands of dollars more in insurance claims but also the heartbreak of not being able to use them during this stressful time. Even a few minutes at a machine is helpful.

How can you prepare for an electrical event?

. Continue reading Ways to protect your sewing equipment from an electrical event.

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My Gold Foot!

20170910_221848This past weekend, I had the honor of attending Teacher Certification training by Leonie and Bill West of Westalee Designs. We all met in Eugene, OR; the home of Sew Steady.

I started my education by touring the manufacturing process of Sew Steady Extension Tables and Cabinet inserts. Tables are cut to order and then hand finished, one at a time. The time from order to shipping can take up to 3 weeks, but it is usually less. I loved looking at all those new shiny tables awaiting to be boxed.

Next up was the laser cutting of the quilting templates. This amazes me. First there is the computer design file which is magically sent to the laser cutter. Eventually a huge sheet of acrylic becomes a handful of templates. The process is not as quick as I thought even though they manage to get as many templates in one file as possible. Think cutting cookies. Acrylic cannot be rolled up like dough, but I am happy to report that the left overs are recycled. Manufacturing runs 24/7. Even though there are computerized cutters involved, it is still a labor-intensive product. I honestly think the price could be more; especially considering the cost of acrylic.

Continue reading My Gold Foot!

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Why I Love to Teach/Learn

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Photo Credit: Cel Lisboa

 

School is back in session; seems like a perfect time to share my love of education.

I have always loved the process of learning and I am fortunate to be able to teach. For over a year now, I have been hosting the Quilt as You Go Sampler Quilt designed by Leonie West of Westalee Designs. In this course, students learn Ruler Work on their domestic sewing machines by using 7 different templates. Currently, I am conducting the course on-line.  Leonie’s husband, Bill, filmed while she quilted every block. In these videos, she guides the students with her extensive knowledge of the products she invented. The two of them are an amazing team. The brilliance behind their collections of quilting ruler templates is beyond compare. They are so perfectly engineered and paired with their true 1/2″ ruler foot, a quilter will never lack for inspiration.

Why do I teach online? Ruler Work requires a flat surface and many quilters have their machines in a cabinet.  The bigger machines that so many of us love, are too cumbersome to transport. Then there are those who either don’t live close to a local quilt shop or lack the means to get to one. I provide a place for them to go.

Continue reading Why I Love to Teach/Learn