Basting Review Part 2: Pins and Pinmoors

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Hi Friends! Welcome to week two on this little adventure in basting!  I first saw this method of basting on Leah Day’s website, and it intrigued me, so I wanted to try it out.  It is the same basic idea as using safety pins, but instead you bend some straight flower head pins and stick a little silicon pinmoor on the end of the pin.

The Method

I prepared my quilt sandwich exactly as I did when basting with safety pins.   The only difference is that instead of securing safety pins all over the quilt, I bent a straight pin and stuck a pinmoor on the end of it.  I used about 150 pins and pinmoors for this lap size quilt.

The Stats

Cost: The flower head pins I used are size 32 and they were about $6 for a pack of 50.  The pinmoors are about $19 for a pack of 50 or $35 for 100.

Time: My quilt measured about 52″ x 72″ and it took me 45 minutes to baste it.  Because this was the first time I have used this method, I had to bend all of my pins, and that time is included in the 45 minutes.  Next time it will go even faster

Efficacy: the quilt layers stayed very stable as I quilted it, and I didn’t have any puckers or pleats on the back

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The Review

Pros:  It was faster than basting with safety pins and didn’t put the strain on my hands that safety pins do.  It was also really fast and easy to remove them at the machine.  I felt like I shifted the layers less when using these.  Sometimes in fastening and unfastening the safety pins, I felt like I was moving the backing and quilt top a little, but everything stayed put when using this method.

Cons: It is more expensive than pin basting.  For this lap sized quilt, the supplies cost around $75.  They are completely reusable though, and shouldn’t have to be replaced (their website claims they should last forever…).

For me, the cost is worth it.  I found it to be much easier, faster and less tedious than basting with safety pins.  They kept all of my layers secure and I was really happy with the results.  Plus there is something kind of cute about them.  I like any product that gives me a pink option!   All things considered, I would highly recommend this method!

Come back next month when I try basting using a needle and thread!

Basting Review Part 1: Curved Safety Pins

 

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I’m pretty sure that no one really loves basting their quilts.  Part of what makes a long arm machine so appealing is that that step is completely eradicated.  But since I have no room in my crowded nest for a long arm frame, I am on a mission to find the best way to baste my quilts.  I have several tops that are ready to be quilted, so I will be trying out all of the methods I can think of and filling you guys in on the results.  Sound good?  I hope you’ll come back and join me on this adventure in basting.  If you have a favorite way of basting, I would love to hear about it! Or if there is something you’ve seen that you’re curious about, let me know and I will give it a try.

The first method I wanted to do was pin basting with curved safety pins.  This seems to be the most common way to baste.  I have done this in the past, but I tried it again so that I could time myself and be more thoughtful about the process for this review.

The Method

The first step is to sweep away all of the Goldfish and crushed Cheerios from my kitchen floor and give it a quick mop.  Then I tape the quilt back to the floor, right side down, making sure it is nice and flat, but not pulled tight.  I use several pieces of masking or painters tape, about 6″ in length, placing them about a foot apart.  Then I layer the batting on top of the back and smooth it out.  Then I layer my quilt top on top of the batting.  I try to keep all of the edges of the top parallel to the edges of the back.  (I am pretty sure that I will be making my quilt sandwiches very similarly for all of the methods)  Now it’s time to start pinning.  I divided the quilt into quadrants and pinned each of them from the center of the quilt out, placing pins about a hand’s width apart (for my lap sized quilt, I used roughly 250 pins).  I also slid an old cutting mat under all of the layers so that the pins didn’t scratch my floor, moving it to each area I was pinning.  I try not to disturb anything while I’m pinning; I don’t want any of my layers to shift.

The Stats

Cost: the pins I used were a size 1, and they were about $2.50 for 50 pins.

Time: my quilt measured about 55″ x 70″ and it took me right at an hour to baste it.

Efficacy: the quilt layers stayed very stable as I quilted it, and I didn’t have any puckers or pleats on the back

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The Review

Pros:  It is an inexpensive, secure way to baste a quilt.  I really didn’t feel like any of my layers were shifting as I quilted.  The curve of the safety pins makes it easier to pin through the layers.

Cons: It takes forever.  I mean, I guess an hour isn’t actually forever, but it is a loooong hour.  Also, it’s a little hard on my hands to close all of those pins.  I know there is a tool that is supposed to help, but I tried it once and it just felt awkward in my hand, however I know that a lot of people use them and love them.  Removing the pins as I quilted was also a little time consuming and annoying.  I probably could have been more careful to avoid placing my pins right on a stitching line as I basted, since I was doing a lot of stitching in the ditch, and that would have helped.

All in all, pin basting with curved safety pins works well, but I’m not convinced that it is the best way (which is basically why I’m doing this whole series).

Come back next week when I try pin basting using flower head pins and pinmoors.

 

 

Hello, Ollie Blog Tour and a giveaway!

Hi Friends! Today I have a whole bevy of swans to share with you.  I have been waiting a long time to blog about this quilt!  And today it’s my turn on the Hello, Ollie Blog Tour (yay!).  This line from Bonnie Christine is Art Gallery Fabrics‘ first organic line.  It is the softest, dreamiest organic fabric I have ever encountered.  When it debuted at Fall Market, Bonnie wanted a big paper pieced swan for her booth, and I was so excited to jump right into that project. I’m thrilled with the result!  (The pattern is available on my “Patterns” page)

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This project was a true collaboration, with the amazingly talented Andrea Walker of Walker Quilt Co. finishing her off with this perfect quilting. (Click over to her site and read about her process on the swan!) I am constantly in awe of what she does. And this project was no different.

I knew immediately that I wanted to make some projects for my girls with this line. The prints are just so sweet!

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Isn’t this picture the perfect representation of “Big Sister/Little Sister”  it cracks me up…

Back to the fabric: I used the beautiful organic canvas to make Cora a pair of skinny Emilya pants from The Simple Life Pattern Company.  The canvas is soft enough to wear, but has the perfect weight for pieces like pants and skirts that need a little structure.  Then I made Lily this dress, with a knit bodice and woven skirt, using the Adelyn pattern, also from The Simple Life Pattern Company.  All of their patterns are adorable and very well written.  I actually have a few more on my to-make list…

 

And with the scraps from my quilt, I made myself a new wallet, using the “Have It All Wallet” pattern.  I diverted from the pattern a little by piecing my outer piece. And I just love it.


And now for my giveaway!  I will be giving away this little zippered pouch.  I used my Cameo to cut away this feather from the vinyl.  I bought the design from the Silhouette store, and it’s also designed by Bonnie :).  To enter the giveaway, make sure you follow me on Instagram, and comment on the giveaway post.  Tag a friend for an extra entry.  Regram the image for 10 extra entries; be sure to tag me in the post!  I will be drawing in one week, on Wednesday, November 2.  If you aren’t the lucky winner, keep an eye out, because I’m going to be listing a few of these in my Etsy shop.

 I had a blast making all of my projects from the “Hello, Ollie” line, and I’m sure I’m not done.  If you want to make some projects of your own, we carry the full line at our shop, with free shipping!  Be sure to check out everyone’s project on the Blog Tour.


Happy Creating!

Heartland Blog Tour and a Giveaway!

Hi Friends! I’m am so excited to be included in the Heartland Blog Tour! This line from Pat Bravo is just beautiful. When I saw the preview, it was love at first sight.   I knew I wanted to do something bright, and modern. Pat asked for something. “Quilty Scandinavian.”  So this is my modern interpretation of a Scandinavian quilt!


I am really happy with how it turned out!


Quilting isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but luckily I have a friend, Andrea who is amazing and she helped me decide how to quilt it.


I just did some straight diagonal lines and a floral motif in the resulting triangles. I love the texture of a quilt after it’s been washed ☺️

I will be releasing this pattern, called “Anne (with an e)” on Friday, the same day I announce the winner of my giveaway!


This little bundle is up for grabs. It includes the leftovers from my quilt (two 6″ cuts and a 9″ cut) and two additional fat quarters. To enter, follow me on Instagram, find the giveaway image, and comment with what you would make! Tag a friend for an additional entry. Regram the image (be sure to tag me!) for an additional 5 entries. Free shipping to US only.

I have loved every minute of making this quilt! Be sure to check out Happiness in the Making and Robot Mom Sews who shared their gorgeous projects yesterday. And today Dorthe is sharing a quilt too!

Happy Creating!

Forest Floor Blog Tour!

Hi, Friends!  I am so excited that today is my turn on The Forest Floor Blog Tour!  I am in love with this line by Bonnie Christine from Art Gallery Fabrics.

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I have adored these prints since I first glimpsed them, and I immediately began designing this quilt.  These hexagons are paper pieced and there are no Y seams (hooray!).

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I used prints from another of Bonnie Christine’s lines, Hello, Bear as the neutrals.  Don’t they work well together? So soft and woodsy!

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I had so much fun making this quilt!  I named it Eowyn (side note: in my post-giving birth haze, I wanted to use “Eowyn” as my daughter’s middle name.  My husband intervened.  The romantic/nerd part of me slightly regrets caving, but the sensible part of me recognizes it was probably the best choice.)  I’ve decided to sell the pattern, and it is available on my Patterns page.

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And to celebrate a new pattern, I will be hosting a GIVEAWAY!  Choosing just four prints was really hard!  But I will shipping these four fat quarters to one lucky winner!

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To enter, head on over to Instagram and follow me (@mycrowdednest), then comment on the above image with what you would make. Tag a friend for an extra entry.  I will be drawing next Friday, July 1st, so get your entries in!  Shipping to US is included in the giveaway.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these fabrics, my favorite quilt shop carries all of the prints in the line, including the knits and canvas!

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Be sure to check out the beautiful skirt yesterday on Little Lizard King and on Monday, visit Skirt Fixation to see what Audrey makes! Click the picture above for the full line-up.

Thanks for stopping by!

Paper Piecing Tutorial, Part Two

Hi Friends!  I am bringing you part two of my paper piecing tutorial.  If you missed the first part, catch up here.  Today I will be going over how to put together your paper pieced blocks or sections and sharing some tips and tricks I learned the hard way.

Tip #1:

(Maybe not really a tip, just something I wish someone had told me…does that qualify as a tip?)

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When paper piecing, you will start and stop a few stitches outside of the sewing line, resulting in the picture on the left.  Those stitches get in the way when trying to attach the adjacent piece (8 in the pic).  To fix that, pinch the seam with one hand and use the other to gently rip the foundation paper away from the stitches (right pic).  Then you can fold back on the solid line to trim and attach the next piece.  If you get a little overzealous and need to fix your foundation paper, you can repair any damage with Scotch Magic Transparent tape (yes, it is important that you use that kind)

Tip #2:

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If the piece on the end is a little larger, it can slip and shift  away from the paper when you start to attach the pieces.  A little dab of glue can help everything stay in place.  This tip is applicable in most areas of life.

Tip #3:

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When attaching pieces at an angle, as in the left picture, line the pieces up to sew so that the side edges meet at the seam line, as pictured to the right.  Sew on the seam line.  (This is one of the reasons I like to leave my papers attached until after they are all sewn together)

Tip #4

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To check that the seams and points all line up when sewing pieces together, use a pin. (Some people baste the pieces together with a longer stitch, but I find this method to be quick and effective)  After lining up both pieces and securing them with a pin or a wonder clip, insert a pin on the seam line on one side (left pic) then flip it over and make sure the pin falls right on the seam line on the other side (right pic, it’s really hard to see, because the pin is right on the black solid line).

Tip #5

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After sewing two pieces together, remove the paper just from the seam allowance; that leaves the remaining seam lines in place.  Remove the rest of the paper after the entire quilt is assembled.  Because the paper doesn’t stretch or shift like fabric, it keeps the fabric stable until it is all sewn together.

And I think that’s everything! If you have any other questions or need some clarification, please leave a comment, or feel free to email me (mycrowdednest@gmail.com)!

 

Paper Piecing Tutorial Part One

Hi, Friends!  Today I am going to share with you the steps I take to paper piece!  I love paper piecing (sometimes also called “foundation piecing”) because it is incredibly precise and opens up quilting to irregular shapes and forms.  I just released “The Tony Danza Mini Quilt” which features paper pieced blocks (and I have another paper pieced quilt pattern in the works), so I thought now was the time to post a tutorial.

First things first, gather your supplies:

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1: A mini iron.  I love this one from Steamfast and I use it all the time, for all of my projects!  When paper piecing, I don’t use the steam, but I am grateful for the option when I’m doing traditional piecing

2: A piece of template plastic, cut into a strip, about 2″ by 8″.  The size isn’t really important, as long as it has a straight edge.  I’ve seen people use cardstock for this, but if you have access to template plastic, I would recommend using it! (A coworker/paper-piecing guru gave me mine, and now I wouldn’t go without it)

3: A small rotary cutter.

4: A glue stick.  I like the one pictured from Sewline and this one from Fons & Porter.  Both hold the fabric in place, but aren’t too tacky or sticky.

5: A small cutting mat.  I like having this little guy next to my machine so I don’t have to get up to trim my blocks.  There is A LOT of trimming in paper piecing!

6: Add-A-Quarter ruler.  This notion is a must have.  It has a little ledge on the bottom of the ruler that makes it easy to trim seam allowances to a perfect 1/4″.  I have the 12″ long ruler as well as the 6″ ruler in the picture.  I use the longer ruler for working with larger pieces, and I’m glad I have both, but I get the most use out of the little one.  I also have an Add-An-Eighth ruler (not pictured) for when I’m working with itty bitty pieces.

7: Creative Grids 1″x6″ ruler.  I use this for the final trim of my blocks.

8: (Not Pictured)  Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper.  It tears away from the fabric easier than regular printer paper, and can be used in your printer at home.

There is a lot of prep work before you actually get to sew, but it is all worth it!  If you have a digital pattern, you will need to print out your foundations and templates.  Be sure that your printer is set to “Actual Size” and/or “No Scaling”  Even when I’m sure I have my printer set up right, I still like to measure my blocks or pieces to make sure everything prints out as it should.  Print the foundations on foundation paper, and the templates on regular printer paper or cardstock.  (You will sew the fabric onto the foundation papers.  The templates are guides for cutting out your fabric.  Not all patterns come with templates.  If you want to make your own, you can.  Just trace around each piece in the pattern and add at least 3/8″ all the way around the piece.  Use that to cut out your fabric.  I like to use templates because it gives me assurance that the piece I cut will be the correct size and it makes placement a lot easier.)

Cut out as many foundations as the pattern requires.  For my patterns, place the templates right side up on the right side of the fabric, as pictured below.  Not all patterns are this way, so be sure to read the pattern instructions.  Cut out the fabric pieces, your pattern instructions should tell you how many of each template you will need.

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Next, using a glue stick, glue the first piece to the back of the foundation paper, with just a little smidge of glue.  Place the fabric so that is right side up on the unprinted side of the foundation paper (the middle picture). Make sure that the fabric extends at least 1/4″ beyond all of the solid lines for piece 1, and at least meets the outer, dashed line (the right picture).

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Place the template plastic on the line between piece 1 and piece 2 (left picture).  Fold the foundation paper back along that line, using the template plastic to keep the fold crisp (middle picture).  Place the Add-A-Quarter ruler on the fabric so that the little ledge butts up to the folded paper and trim away the excess, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance (right picture).  (It’s almost time to sew!)

step 2

With the foundation paper still folded back, position piece 2 right sides together with the previous piece.  Make sure that the piece extends at least 1/4″ beyond the solid lines for piece 2 (I’ve outlined it in pink in the left picture).  You may want to pin here, but I usually just carefully unfold my foundation paper.  Stitch on the line between piece 1 and piece 2, starting a few stitches before the solid line and ending a few stitches after it (middle pic).  Be sure to shorten the stitch length for paper piecing.  The shorter stitches perforate the paper more, making it easier to rip away later.

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Fold the foundation paper back on the seam that was just sewn.  Using the Add-A-Quarter Ruler, trim piece 2 to leave a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Unfold the paper and press piece 2 away from the previous piece.  (Be sure to use a dry iron.  The steam can distort the paper).

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Just repeat those steps for the remaining pieces on the block, adding them in numerical order.  Using the template plastic, fold back on the line between the piece just attached and the next piece (left pic).  Trim, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance (middle pic).  With foundation paper still folded back, place next piece, right sides together with previous piece, making sure there is at least 1/4″ all the way around the solid lines of the piece you’re adding.  It can be helpful to hold it up to a light, so that the lines and the fabric can be seen more clearly (right pic).

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Unfold the paper and sew on the line between the previous piece and the new piece.  Fold back on the seam and trim away the new piece, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance (left pic).  Unfold paper and press the the new piece away from the previous one (middle).  Continue until all of the pieces have been added to the foundation (right).

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The last step is to trim the completed block.  To do this, I don’t use the Add-A-Quarter ruler because I don’t really have anything for that ledge to rest against, and the ruler can easily slip.  Using a small ruler, line up the 1/4″ marking with the solid line on the foundation and trim away the excess fabric on all four sides (left). Doing it this way assures you have a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance and makes sewing the blocks together easier in the next step.

OK! I know that seems like a lot of steps, but once you get started, you’ll fall into a rhythm and it just gets easier and more fun!  Come back for Part Two and I will show you how to sew all the blocks together.  I will also be sharing with you some of the things I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to!  See you then!  And please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.  Happy Paper Piecing!

Mini Quilt and a Giveaway!

Hi Friends!  I’m so excited to share this mini quilt and giveaway with you!  Pat Bravo asked for makers to make mini quilts featuring her two new lines, Dare and Essentials II.  I was thrilled when I was invited to participate!  I doodled the first draft of the block the ended up as this quilt on a post it at work (don’t tell my boss…).  I went home and mocked it up and hoped the fabric that was on its way to me would work for my design.  I think it was a perfect fit!! I adore each of these prints and the way the two collections work so well together.

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To quilt it, I stitched in the ditch, focusing on different lines in the block on alternating rows.

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This mini quilt is made up of 4″ completed paper pieced blocks. I love paper piecing because of how precise it is.  My points always line up!  I designed these blocks so that the seams will nest when the blocks are sewn together, which makes it easier to sew the blocks together and everything will line up perfectly!  This pattern, “The Tony Danza Mini Quilt”, is available in my Pattern shop.  Included in the pattern are instructions, printable foundations and printable templates.  (I love using templates! I don’t have to worry about cutting a piece too small, there’s hardly any waste, and it makes fabric placement a lot easier.)  If you’re new to paper piecing, but want to give it a try, this would be the perfect first project! It’s small and easy! PLUS I will be posting in depth instructions for paper piecing TOMORROW.  So come back for my tutorial plus my tips and tricks!

I am offering up TWO prizes for my GIVEAWAY!

The first is this bundle of Fabric!  It includes 6 fat eighths, and some leftover scraps from my mini quilt.

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The second prize is all three of my mini quilt patterns!  Pictured here are “The Tony Danza Mini Quilt,” “The Jason Bateman Mini Quilt,” and “The Scott Baio Mini Quilt.”

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To enter the giveaway, head on over to Instagram, follow me @mycrowdednest, and comment on the giveaway image with what you want to make.  Tag a friend for an additional entry.  I will be drawing on Friday, May 13th, the final day of the blog tour, so be sure to get your entry in by then!  Good Luck!!

(Shipping to US residents is included in the giveaway.)

The Minis BlogTour-Blog Banner

There have already been so many wonderful mini quilts featured on this blog tour!  Click the pic for the full lineup.  Yesterday Christine Blessing (@cblessing0) and Cat Noonan (@tincat13) shared their adorable minis on Instagram.  Today Jyoti Haeusler is also sharing her mini quilt. Tomorrow we get to see what Faith Essenburg and Lesley Storts have created.  I’m so grateful to be included in such a talented group!

**A note about the names of these mini quilts: You know how sometimes parents ask their child to name their other child? And  how that seems really risky, because they could end up with a baby named Numerica??  Well, that’s sort of what happened here.  I asked my (adult) sister to name this quilt and she suggested “Tony Danza.” And it made me laugh.  And I kind of thought it might make someone else laugh too.  (I asked her how she came up with that name and she said “It was very early and I’m a genius.”)  So we decided to just go with it and name this collection of mini quilts after some of the men that made 80’s TV so wonderful.

Super Toddlers!


These are my super toddlers. They are committed to fighting organization and tidiness. Their super powers are being so cute that I don’t mind.

Lately they have been asking us to tuck dish towels into their shirts while they zoom around the house. So I decided to make them capes. But I don’t like things that tie around their necks (it just doesn’t feel safe).  And I’ve seen the kinds with snaps but they only work with the corresponding shirt. So my solution? Magnets!!

 


I used tiny 1/4″ super strong magnets. I sewed three into these tabs and then I sewed another three into the little facing strip. (I reinforced the stitching around all of the magnets so they won’t escape). The tabs wrap around the collar of whatever shirt they are wearing and stick to the magnets in the facing. It works really well!

Then I used my Silhouette Cameo to design and cut out these super hero logos. (I love that machine!)



They are a big hit! That makes me a super mommy, right?!?

It’s Giveaway Time!

 

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Hi Friends!  Bonnie Christine’s look book for her new fabric line, Forest Floor with Art Gallery Fabrics, was just released.  Check out all the beauty here.  Notice anything??? Hint: those two clutches up there… and my tiny tote too!  (All three patterns are available on my patterns page.)

To celebrate, I will be giving away a custom completed clutch! 

All you need to do to enter is follow me over on Instagram (@mycrowdednest) and tag a friend on the giveaway thread.  Share the above image for an extra entry, be sure to tag it with #forestfloorclutch.  I will make a random selection on Thursday, March 10, and the winner can choose either style and from a selection of fabrics, to be hand made by moi!

Details: All entries must be made by 5:00 pm Thursday, March 10.  Shipping to US included in giveaway.