Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One of My Favourite Tools

Do you have a favourite tool or gadget for quilting? I do. I actually have a number of favourite tools and they each have a special purpose.

A stiletto is the tool pictured here in the picture. It is great for doing a variety of tasks. I use a stiletto for piecing and appliqué.

The reason I decided to blog about this today, other than the fact that I couldn't think of anything better to talk about, was because yesterday one of the classes here at the shop started work on a new project. We decided to make a table runner with two gorgeous and complicated blocks and a machine or hand appliqué block in the centre. Now, what in the world has that got to do with using a stiletto. The answer is simple. Everything! The more complicated the block, the smaller the pieces, the more you need that extra finger that the stiletto gives you.

Some of the flying geese in the block we are working on are 1 1/2 x 3 inches. Sewing these are tough especially when you have big fingers. The smaller the piecing the less room for error and the stiletto helps you keep control of your fabric as it moves under the needle, in other words it fits where your finger doesn't.

In other news, we had a fantastic day on Sunday with 8 very eager and enthusiastic beginners.  Patchwork and quilting is really on the up and up.

Happy sewing!
Anne Marie

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bags with Zippers

We all love to make bags. They make great gifts, both for our friends and relations, as well as for ourselves! The beauty of making bags is that they can usually be completed over a weekend, economical compared to making a king size quilt! Bags also can serve many purposes; handbags, knitting, sewing, and books, you name it a bag is useful. Most of the patterns we use are "bucket" style and are open at the top. Do you know how to insert a zipper in your patterns? It isn't that difficult and some of our most popular designs can be adapted to use a zipper. If this is something that you want to learn, come join us on 18 February, Saturday for a day long workshop making a bag. The cost of the day is €25 and kits will be available in a variety of colours and prices.

This bag is from Penny Sturges, she is the designer behind the very popular Charm Bag.  Penny places her zipper at the very top of the bag and you have the option of leaving zipper out if you desire. The zipper has tabs at each end, if you click on the picture above you can see what exactly I am talking about. This bag was made this past Sunday and is a great size with loads of interior pockets.  I made a few changes; I left off the exterior pocket and I added an inch to the width of the shoulder strap. I love the fabrics, really bright and spring like.  They are from the Ohhh La La Collection from Henry Glass Fabrics.d

I'm going to make a second bag that has a different method of installing a zipper so that you can see the difference.  The second bag is from another of my favourite "bag" designers Lazy Girl Designs by Joan Hawley.  Her zippers are sewn into the body of the bag and in my very humble opinion it is a better finish. Now that is just my opinion, both designs are easy and look great in a variety of fabrics.

Happy Sewing!
Anne Marie

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Quilt in a Weekend!

Can it be done? Sure, why not. On the 10 - 12 February we are hosting A Quilt in a Weekend. The project is one of Monique Dillard's of Open Gate Quilts and is using Fat Quarters. There are only a few spaces still available, this will be a great weekend. Now I can't give a great deal of details about the project except to say that you will be using 10 light fat quarters and 10 dark fat quarters. And according to Monique you will have no waste! I will be giving out cutting instructions prior to the weekend so that people have the option of doing their cutting before they arrive or can spend Friday evening working in the classroom doing their prep.

On to other news, the classes and workshops are filling up and only a few classes have spaces available. The Wednesday morning beginner class has three spaces remaining while the Tuesday beginner class is full.

On Sunday, 29 February we are running a one day beginner class and there is one space still available. The second option for a table runner is completed and I have to admit that is very pretty and would be perfect for spring.

Welcome to our New Shop!

This is my little slice of heaven! I know how lucky I am and thank the man above everyday for this building. I have been so tied up in the building of our shop and classroom since August. Just as we were moved in I had to get my act together for the Knit and Stitch show at the RDS in Dublin. The past 4- 5 months have been beyond busy.

So here are a few pictures of our shop/classroom. I have had a few workshops this past autumn and my weekly classes have been meeting here since the beginning of October. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my husband for all the work he put into this project. He and I did all the slabbing, both ceiling and walls as well as the plastering. We removed the bathroom walls that the blocklayers put in incorrectly (they made it way too small) and rebuilt the two walls. The blocklayers also incorrectly measured the exterior door on one side of the building and my DH had to jack up the ceiling and chisel out the lentil above the door and move it up.

We installed the maple laminate click flooring ourselves and contrary to popular folklore it was not that easy. DH also did all the prep work for the plumber. We did all the painting both inside and out and when all was said and done, he made furniture for the shop. All of the bookcases that sit below the windows, the bolts sit in the cases and the fatquarters and half yard cuts sit in the boxes above them .

And then he created my cutting table with big interior shelves for all my rulers and assorted treasures or as he refers to it "junk". The cutting table is on wheels and was custom built for my height.

I am truly blessed, but don't tell him I said that. It could be used against me, we start lambing very soon and I will be repaying him plenty.

Sewwww, let m take you on a tour. The top photo is of the Lakehouse Fabrics corner or the bright corner. The building has 5 windows and has gorgeous views of the surrounding farm land. It is so peaceful and quiet, you feel like you are miles and miles from nowhere.

The second picture is of th opposit corner. I call this the Thimbleberries corner. The wood stove is at this end of the building which is convenient since this is where I seem to spend a good deal of time cutting!

Continuing along, imagine we are spinning around in a circle. This is the kitchen area and next to the kitchen area is the Kansas Troubles wall. I love Kansas Troubles and so do many of my customers. Traditionals are classic and you can collect these fabrics year in and year out and they will always work together.

I have also added Buggy Barn designs to my inventory. These are a trendy traditional fabric, or at least this is how I describe them. Henry Glass Fabrics are excellent quality fabrics and they have fabulous designs. I am carrying more and more of their fabrics.

We have oodles of Jelly Rolls and even some Honeybuns in the 4 tier basket stand by the door. There is a little something for everyone. I keep all the notions, books and patterns spread out around the shop. You will find Eleanor Burns' books as well as books by today's up and coming designers. We recently received Carrie Nelson's new Schnibbles book and it will not disappoint those of you that love working with layer cakes and charm packs.

All the lovely tables in the centre of the room, enough space for up to 10 quilters. The space works extremely well and all of the plugs are in the floor beneath the tables so it is safe and there is not potential for getting tangled in the electric cords. Oh and the bathroom is down in the corner of the room, extremely convenient for those marathon sessions and even more so when it is raining.

So, now you know where I have been for all these months and you can see why I have been missing as usual from blogging.

The views from the windows on the side are good for the soul, I love standing at my cutting table or ironing board and looking out at the views.

There are new classes and workshops listed so take a peak and if anything seems of interest please get in touch.

As always, if you are passing by please don't hesitate to stop in and have a peek at what we have in stock. Right now we have a large selection of fabrics and kits marked down for clearance. Need to make space for all the new lines of fabrics that have been arriving.

Happy sewing!
Anne Marie
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Beginner Workshop

Beginner Workshop - 29 January 2012
This very easy tablerunner or wallhanging is going to be the project for the 1 day beginner workshop on Sunday, 29 January. This project has three necessary elements that make it a great starting place for beginners. First, you will learn how to make half square triangles which will be used in the construction of a Churn Dash block. The Churn dash is the block furthest to the left or the top block in the bottom photo. The second element is Flying Geese and these are used in the two remaining blocks, the swirling geese and the Sawtooth Star. The third element that you will learn is the construction of the blocks which are fairly easy and will give you a sound foundation on which to expand your skills.

There will be kits available on the day in different colourways. Some of the cutting will have been done for you and some of the cutting will unfortunately have to be completed by you the student on the day! All part of learning I'm afraid.

We will be learning to use the rotary cutter and ruler, and you will have to do some cutting. The construction of the blocks will be done by machine and I am hoping the you will leave with your table runner close to completion.

The class is from 10:00am until 4:30 pm, I ask that everyone try to be at shop by 9:30 to set up your work area, have a cup of tea/coffee and meet your fellow classmates. You will need to bring with you a sewing machine, thread, scissors, rotary cutter, quilters ruler and mat and sadly a seam ripper! Bring a packed lunch, tea and coffee as well as some goodies are complimentary and will help to keep us sustained. The class is €40 and kits will be available for purchase at a nominal fee. If you have fabric at home that you wish to use then by all means bring it. You will need a fat quarter of cream, and three or 4 fat quarters of mediums and darks.

Patchwork and Quilting is all about the journey and the friends that we make along the way, come and enjoy yourself and don't get stressed. Call or email us to reserve your place. As of today we have 3 spaces remaining.
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