Thursday, November 19, 2015

T-Shirt Quilt Gift Certificates for The Holidays

Oh no!  You just now figured out that giving a T-Shirt Quilt for Christmas is the best idea you ever had!  Oh wait...  Christmas is just a little over a month away.  Yeah really.  5 weeks.  In the best of times, it takes five weeks to create your special t-shirt quilt.  What to do?

Give a T-Shirt Quilt
Gift Certificate for Christmas
Give a gift certificate.  This way it will be a surprise - AND the best part is that you don't have to figure out what t-shirts you should use.  Most of the time Mom is in the kids closet trying to figure out what t-shirts mean the most to their child.   Or, hubby knowing this will be the best gift ever, does not have a clue how to get started.  Last year, a husband bought a gift certificate thinking that his wife would get the standard 12 block generous throw quilt.   Instead,  she dug out a big box of baby clothes and !had a quilt made from all of the clothes from when the child was newborn to toddler.

Christmas is just a few weeks away.  You can order your Gift Certificate clear up to Christmas Eve and we will email you a  personalized PDF file that you can print out and put under the tree!    What could be easier?

If you are not sure about a t-shirt quilt.  No worries.  We have several quilts already made that you might consider as a gift for that special person.  Just let us know what you are looking for and we will help you find something.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Quilt Festival Wrap-Up

The largest convention in Houston each year is the  Houston Quilt Festival.  Quilt Mecca.  That is what the locals call the last 10 days of October each year.  I moved to Texas over 10 years ago, and have been attending Market and Festival every year since then.  What is it?

Well, Market  is a credentialed trade show, not open to the general public.    This is a whole different animal and is for quilt shops, book writers, pattern designers, longarm quilters  and other quilting professionals.  While there are several quilt displays, this is just the preamble to Quilt FESTIVAL.

Aaahhh, Quilt Festival.    This is the best of the best.    I remember my first Quilt Festival in 2003 (the first weekend that we had moved to Houston, the moving truck had not even arrived yet).  I went by myself.  Who cares that I  would not know anyone.    I went up and down the rows of quilts, my mouth hanging open.   Oh my,  the next row, how could it be more awesome than the last row...  I was in awe.    THEN, I discovered the vendors.  OMG...  Quilt shops from all over the country in one place.  Fortunately, my birthday is the same weekend.  I called hubby and told him not to worry about any birthday presents.... I had it covered....

Anyway, update to 2015.  My sister-in-law is visiting from out of town, and we are both taking classes.   This year we are commuting from Cypress to downtown Houston (about 30 miles) each day and learning about HOV lanes and Houston construction.    No worries.  We make it to our 8 am classes each morning.  Note to self -  next year bring DOWN JACKETS as classrooms are freezing.  Oh wait.. folks in Houston don't HAVE down jackets as it does not get that cold here!

Friday, November 06, 2015

BattingUsesAs a longarm quilter I have PILES and PILES of leftover batting scraps.  I have lots of uses for these leftover scraps, but here are some other suggestions that I have collected over the years.  Some may be similar, but that is OK.

1. Rough cut a 9 x 12 rectangle to use in your Swiffer - bonus, you
can turn it over and use the other side too! .

2. Cut into 5" squares to use to make coasters

3. I use small odd shaped pieces to dust with.

4 . Use small piece of batting at your sewing table to collect loose  threads ( I keep a stack of randomly cut rectangles at the end of my longarm table to collect thread scraps).

5. have another one at the ironing station to collect threads that you  trim off while ironing

6. use them to pretest thread tension settings by sandwiching pieces between muslin trimmings, cutting them into squares of 6-10 inches and moving the sandwich around under the needle as the machine runs  in constant or manual mode and with the longer pieces, you can clamp to the
take-up roller (I have PVC pipe clamps) and lean on the other end with your tum and also use that to test thread tensions..

More on those muslin sandwiches: use my scraps with Muslin to practice, but my difference would be that I often zig-zag stitch a bunch  of them together to get a bigger piece (on my sewing machine), and this  gives me a "challenge piece" because I sew all different types together,  and I can see how my practice looks on different battings.

7.  Wipe the machine down with it!  Several variations on this theme.    I cut  cotton batting into small squares and keep a stack next to my machine to  collect thread snips, and an easy grab to wipe down oil leaks.

8. Make small quilts for use in front of your coffee pot or other  places where you get drips!

9. Make quilt as you go place mats.
Another placemat suggestion: I love to use my scraps for placemats for  myself and to give as gifts. Cut into approx. 14" x 20" pieces and add  to whatever you choose for top and backing. I also use this same size of  batting scrap to make strip cut mats. These are easy, fast and help use  up my fabric scraps, making great placemats or mats for tables under  lamps, plants, etc.

10. Use for 'diaper' for your longarm.  Tuck a small piece under the   bobbin area when my machine is parked.

11. Donate the batting scraps to your local senior center where they  can be used to make small crafts.

12. Donate scraps to a group of ladies who make raggedy quilts for charity.

13. The Cotton Theory uses small strips of batting. I have made one of the table runners.

14. A small piece of 80/20 batting around the thread in the guide on my serger type adapter *keeps the thread from knotting*  or getting loose. Kind of the same idea as the sponge cube on the Gammill.

15. I use my extra batting for my dog kennels and even donate some to  the local animal shelter.   The practice muslin pieces I donate to the  local animal shelter for doggie or kitty blankets.

16. use small scraps for small projects like pot holders etc.

17. Our local hospital ladies auxiliary uses batting scraps to make  "heart" pillows for heart surgery patients to hold to their chest when  they have to cough or (heaven forbid) sneeze. Another idea: they use it  for pillows to give to all the children who come in the ER 18. I use batting scraps to pack in boxes when I send a package. It is great because it doesn't weigh as much as newspaper and nothing ever gets broken when wrapped in it.

19. Another use for batting scraps - cut them in 5" squares and give them for auction items along with a pattern for one of the 'rag' quilts like the Christmas tree one.

20. How about a *base for fiber post cards* and journal sized quilts?

21. Wrap a big enough piece *around the seat belt* that bites your neck!

22. whack off a chunk (whack off is  technical term!) and safety pin  it to my right shoulder. When I have loose threads, I don't toss them  over my shoulder, I toss them TO my shoulder

23. I use them for fill when I mail out quilts.

24. If you ever use fusible batting you won't have any left over as it can be "pieced" pretty easily

25. My friend uses them to make "envelopes" for holding kits that another friend uses in classes she teaches. Anything over 10" goes there.

26. I have also given them to the Girl Scouts to sew together and use  for their first quilts (usually one block pillows)

27. Use them in the winter to "chink" leaky windows or make draft stoppers.

28. Then there are biscuit quilts, raggy quilts, raggy jackets, etc.

29. Wrap it around the broom and use it to knock down the spider webs.  (WHAT?  you have dust bunnies???- LOL)   Just throw it away, no messy broom bristles.

30. Wrap it around that casserole you are taking to the potluck. If it  leaks, just throw  it away! (96" width goes around a lot of times!)

31. Cut it a bit smaller than your lamp base and protect your table.

32. I also use them to clean the wheels and tracks.

33.removing chalk marks on quilt tops.

34. I use small, potholder size scraps to erase the black marker lines  off my white board. When the batting gets dirty, I just throw it away.

35. give it to a friend that uses it for stuffing in teddy bears and  animals she makes to sell at bazaars and craft sales.

36. I use some of my batting scraps to make quilted purses

37. use for making the front portion of your anatomy appear to be more  ample than it really is. Batting scraps are MUCH better than socks for  this purpose. (Stuff your bra!!!)***

38. pincushions

39. fabric Christmas ornaments

40. Christmas stockings

41. pad photo album cover.

42. Cut batting in 2" by 2" squares  bundle a dozen together with ribbon and give them to customers for make-up removal.

43. Give to guild members for craft projects - I try to remember to  measure and tag scraps as to size just to know if they are big enough  for table runners etc.

44.. I make a 6" quilt block and use the smaller piece of batting with  it, quilt it up, bind it and give it!

45. You know the small drawers you can get from Walmart in the tool section that holds your nails, and bolts and washers? I use that for my jewelry.   I place small pieces of batting on the bottom of the drawer so my rings, necklaces, and bracelets don't slide around when I  pull the drawer open.

46. I have done strip quilts with strips 8" or wider batting just to  practice on.

47. I use really small pieces to wipe up scraps of cloth that have  dropped on a smooth tile floor.

48. I cut some of the batting into squares to hook my earrings/pins  onto for my garage sale...........

49. I have also torn up the poly scraps to use for stuffing or filling  of small throw pillows that I made the forms for.(Shred into small pieces for best results)

50. I usually keep the scraps of batting to stuff baby toys.

51.  I roll larger pieces and put them at the folds when folding my  quilts for storage -- keeps the fabric from breaking down

52.  I make TONS of the raw edge quilts and have taught all my  relatives to do likewise. We take two 8" squares of fabric and put a 6"  square of batting in an X over the sandwich - this makes  one block. Then sew all those squares together into a quilt with the raw  edges all to one side, either the top or the bottom. Clip the raw edges  up to about 1/8 of the seams every 1/4" or so, and wash till it's  fluffy. I've also taught school kids to make them, and our church  quilting ladies. This is the BIGGEST use of the batting scraps that I have.

53.  I use them to *wrap breakables* when mailing items.

54.  I place them between my good seasonal glass plates so they  don't scratch each other.

55.  I sew cotton batt scraps together to make rice bags. Then I  either use these hot or cold for soothing my achy body, OR ... I lay  them on my quilts to take up the slack while I'm quilting a non-square,  non-flat quilt. Kinda like bean bags.

56. I contribute it to anyone that will accept it -- quilt shops, church  groups, school groups, relatives, etc.  Actually, my trash guys LOVE my scraps.  They are always going through the trash cans and rescuing scraps that they want to keep.

57. I occasionally zig-zag scraps to do table runners or wall hangings that I am not particularly concerned about. You can't tell when it's done anyway

58. I also sew larger scraps together and use them in my own personal crib-size quilts

59. Use as snow at Christmas for decorating around little trees or your nativity scene.

60. Use in trapunto

61. I made a *small padded camera case* to wrap around my point and  shoot camera. Put a little pocket in front for extra memory cards. The case and pocket are kept closed with Velcro and the neck strap comes out of the side of the top alongside the Velcro.

62. Mug Rugs? Coasters? Pot holders?

63. I use small scraps of batting as interfacing in little zipper pouches and they are cute little bags etc... If that interests you, you should to check the tension of my machine before quilting by making test quilt sandwiches. You could also make some cute coasters or maybe a padded strap for a camera?

64.  They make great dusting cloths. I cut them to fit on my Swiffer and use them to clean my wood floors.

65. Key Fobs  - There are several patterns that use 2.5" strips of batting and it's perfect to use leftovers that you've been hanging on to.

66. Quilted mobile phone cases are a great way to use up little bits

67. If batting is all cotton, you could make a microwave potato or tortilla bag.

OK, so a few more than 60 suggestions.  Always like to give more than expected.  But, granted, some are similar.

Let me know how YOU use batting scraps in the comment section.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

10 Ways to Cut a Fat Quarter

How many of us have a huge pile of fat quarters that you don't know what to do with? You can cut these fat quarters into the popular pre-cuts that fabric shops are offering to make quilts and use them that way.  Popular sizes are  layer cakes (10" squares), charm packs (5" squares), and jelly rolls (2 5" x 44" strips).

As most of you know, fat quarters are a quarter of a yard. But, instead of cutting 9" the width of the fabric (WOF*), it is 18" cut WOF, then that is cut in half. In other words, this is a half yard cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise. The fat quarter should be approximately 18" x 22".

If you are lucky and get a fat quarter from someone who thinks in 'meters' instead of 'yards' you will get a few extra inches in your fat quarter.

*WOF - Width of Fabric

Here are the Numbers:

You can cut the following from one fat quarter:
    1. (99) 2" squares
    2. (50) 2" squares
    3. (42) 3" squares
    4. (30) 3" squares
    5. (20) 4" squares
    6. (16) 4" squares
    7. (12) 5" squares
    8. (12) 5" squares
    9. ( 9) 6" squares
    10. ( 6) 6" squares

      And a Bonus- Number 11
    11. ( 2) 10" squares (not very efficient)