Tips + Tools to Begin Quilting

have you ever been out shopping, and a quilt catches your eye, and upon closer inspection, you think to yourself, i can do that..yes you can!

do you have a basic sewing machine..? can you sew a straight line..? then you can quilt!

…but you’re not sure where to begin, what tools you’ll need or how much it will cost. today we’ll talk about what you’ll need to get started, you just may be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable quilting can be.. and your quilting journey will begin, but beware, it’s addictive!

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Help Birds Build Their Nest

Bird nesting materials..

today, as i sat and blogged about how to troubleshoot your sewing machine, a bird caught my eye outside on our fence, i watched as she tried to grab a string that was attached to the gardening trellis. i felt so bad as she tried over and over to grab it and take off, poor girl..

that prompted me to create this little saucer of bird nesting materials, a few different colored yarns, because i thought it would be cute to think of a birds nest having a ‘pop’ of color, tiny strips of warm and natural batting, and a little pet bedding.

this would be a fun activity to do with your kids, be sure to cut up the nesting materials into short 2″-3″ pieces, that way birds won’t get any materials caught around their legs.

you can even, go all natural, take your kids on a ‘nature hunt’ and gather small twigs, dry grass, straw, moss and leave it for the birds to discover in your yard.

Bird nesting materials

place materials that might blow away into a small basket, or fill suet cages or mesh bags, and hang them on a branch.

How to Troubleshoot Your Sewing Machine

How to troubleshoot your sewing machine

if you’ve sewn on a sewing machine for more than a month, you’ve likely come across some minor issues, skipped stitches, uneven stitches, thread breaks, tension issues, fabric bunching… and the list goes on.

the good news is, there’s usually a very simple solution, let’s talk about them.

  • power your machine off and on. make sure your needle is in the up position, prior to powering off. just like many electronics, sometimes your machine just needs a reset.
  • check your settings. is your tension, stitch length, width, etc correct?
  • check your needle.
    • do you have the proper needle for your project? read more here.
    • is your needle bent? a slightly bent point is all you need to ruin a project, replace needle.
    • is your needle dull? a dull needle will easily ruin a project, be sure to replace your needle each time you begin a new project.
  • check your thread. often times simply rethreading your machine will resolve your issue, be sure you’re threading your machine correctly [refer to your user manual]. only use a good quality thread, cheap thread will cause all sorts of issues. read more here.
  • check your bobbin. remove and reinsert your bobbin. only use the manufacturers suggested bobbin type [refer to your user manual], using an improper bobbin can damage your machine.
  • clean your bobbin casing, feed dog, etc. lint build up in your bobbin casing and feed dog, will certainly cause your machine to run poorly, work harder, and reek all sorts of havoc.  read more here.
  • oil your machine. [if applicable] many newer machines do not require oiling. refer to your user manual for instructions. if you do not have a user manual, a quick google search should provide you with one.
  • annual or bi-annual maintenance by an authorized service center. when was the last time your machine had a check up? depending on usage, your machine needs to be serviced every 1-2 years.
  • call your manufacturer. if the above steps fail, call your manufacturer to see if they can help you troubleshoot over the phone.

if you’ve gone through each one of the above steps and your machine is still running poorly, it will need to be seen by an authorized service center.

[Mini] Scrappy Kona Pixel Heart

Scrappy Kona Pixal Heart Mini

a cute little pixel heart mini quilt created with 2 1/2″ scraps of all the Kona cottons solids that i’ve worked with thus far, somewhat of a ‘milestone marker’ quilt..

it’s not perfect, and that’s okay, i think it’s adorable and when i look at it it makes me smile, isn’t that all that matters when you’re done with a project..

Scrappy Kona Pixal Heart Mini - back

i’m still finding fabric designers i love, but Kona solids are the first fabric i fell in love with, so a heart somehow seems to fit!

..and by night, this mini pixel heart covers my baby lock Melody!

Scrappy Kona Pixal Heart Mini - cover

  • size: 21″ x 17 1/2″
  • fabric: kona cotton solids
  • batting: warm and white
  • thread: aurifil

i hope you’re having an amazing monday!

Springtime and a New Fabric Shop

April Showers by Bonnie and Camille

it was a gorgeous day today, 79 degrees and it definitely feels like springtime in cali, i wore flip flops and a tank top, realizing that i’m overdue for a pedicure..

after being sick for a week, i went shopping! i found this amazing little fabric shop, the ‘quilted angel’, the shop has over 5000 bolts of fabric, it was a lil slice of heaven. i walked around and around and around again, admiring, touching, in awe over all the beautiful fabrics. this was, exactly what the doctor ordered, ok not really, but i sure felt better walking out the door with my bag of goodies

i’ve been ooohhhing and ahhhingg over Moda’s april showers by bonnie and camille for a couple weeks now, and guess what i found… a jelly roll and a charm pack..mine, mine, mine!

Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille

but alas, they had just sold their last jelly roll of Moda’s scrumptious by bonnie and camille yesterday, boo! that’s okay, i picked up this mini charm pack and a quarter yard of that ober cute striped fabric from the same collection.

but it didn’t end there..Fresh Fabric Treats

i bought fresh fabric treats, and can honestly say this book has 16 very yummy projects, including quilts, totes, organizers and more, i want to create them all!

there’s nothing like new fabric and a new book to inspire and excite a quilter, i’m inspired and excited.. and off to work on my first project!

i hope you’re having an amazing day!

Sewing Machine Care + Maintenance

Sewing Machine Care and Maintenance-

one of the major causes of poor performance in your sewing machine can be summed up in one word… LINT! ..those micro dust bunnies can reek all sorts of havoc.. uneven stitches, poor tension, thread breaks, and a clunky, noisy machine.. a little sewing machine TLC goes a long way toward the longevity of your sewing machine, and your happiness!

i used to be intimidated at the thought of taking apart my machine, but don’t fret, take it slow, it’s much easier than you think. in fact take a quick photo of your bobbin casing prior to removing it, that way you’ll know exactly which way it goes back in.

lint build up happens quickly, in fact i suggest you clean out your bobbin casing, feed dog, etc. at the end of each project, especially if you’re a quilter, that way your machines ready for your next project.

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Red + Aqua Springtime Spools

Red and Aqua Springtime Spools

one of my current ‘works in progress’.. i’d been collecting these red and aqua prints for a quilt, but what pattern..? half square triangles..? triangles..? nine patch..? i had no idea, until the other day when i was searching for inspiration and stumbled upon camille roskelley’s ‘Spools #154′ at Thimble Blossoms. a new adventure for me, since i’m fairly new to quilting and i’ve never pieced a spool quilt..

so i downloaded the pattern and went to town cutting. i’m not going to lie, i’m not a fan of those 64 pesky little 1 1/4″ squares that i had to sew onto the ends of the spools, but i got through it and now i’m moving onto piecing the spool together.

…and in case you didn’t notice, this is the same fabric in the 5 minute DIY jelly roll..

5 Minute DIY Jelly Roll

5 Minute DIY Jelly Roll

it dawned on me this morning while i was cutting strips out of some aqua and red prints i’ve been collecting, that a DIY jelly roll of your favorite fabrics would be a great gift for a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker who also has the quilting ‘bug’ aka addiction..

i thought i’d share my technique for cutting quick 2 1/2″ strips aka jelly roll strips.. this likely is not new for the seasoned quilter, and i’m sure there are other ways, but it’s been the technique that gets the job done for me.

note: a standard jelly roll consists of 40 strips of various “dark & light” prints cut along the width-of-fabric [WOF=selvage to selvage].

the gift of a DIY jelly roll.

  • create your own unique jelly rolls with scraps, new or vintage fabric.
  • your jelly roll does not need to consist of 40 strips, the choice is up to you. a lap quilt can easily be made with half a standard jelly roll [20 strips].
  • once you’ve cut your strips, carefully roll your jelly roll, smoothing as you go, and use a rubber band to secure.
  • wrap twine or ribbon around your jelly roll, tie, removing the rubber band is optional, attach a note and your gift is ready for the giving.

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