Change is a Good Thing

As I’m writing this, I’m just back from a 2 week vacation in Europe and trying to adjust to “normal” life again - what, no castles, palaces or cathedrals to visit today?! While I usually try to fit in some quilt shops during my vacations, this is the first one in a long time where I didn’t do that. Granted, there weren’t many quilt shops in the countries I was in, but I actively took a break from the quilting business side of my life to take a much needed rest.

There have been some changes in my personal life recently (I retired from my day job) and this will allow me to spend more time on my quilting business and my own personal quilting (which never seems to take first place!).

As you know, there are never enough hours in a day to do everything you want to do and so I have been reevaluating how I currently spend my time and how I want to spend my time going forward, which brings me to this blogpost.

As a loyal blog reader, you’ll know that I publish YouTube videos every week, work as a Janome Canada artisan, host a Facebook page and group (hello, Chatties!) in addition to creating courses and content for my email subscribers. Of course my most important “work” is hosting and managing The Quilter’s Way, my online quilting membership. All of these ventures take a significant amount of time and while I can’t find more time (still haven’t been able to clone myself or invent a time machine), I can decide how and where I want to spend my time on my business.

So, I have decided to discontinue the Chatterbox Quilts’ blog effective today.

Don’t panic! You can still get the same information on my YouTube channel or by following me on social media, such as on Facebook or Instagram or by joining my Chatterbox Quilts’ Facebook group (and becoming a Chattie). I also have lots of free information that will come right to your inbox when you subscribe to one - or all - of my email newsletters. Just click here to get access to this valuable information.

If you want to get the most information from me, you can also join The Quilter’s Way where you’ll become a new member of an active and fun community of quilters from around the world. In addition to connecting with other members, you’ll have access to a wide variety of quilting information in the form of articles or video courses. It’s an ever evolving membership that grows based on members’ requests.

If you have been one of my blog readers, thank you for reading. I appreciate your support and comments. If you aren’t yet following me on social media or haven’t yet subscribed to my YouTube channel, I hope you’ll do so to continue keeping up with what’s happening at Chatterbox Quilts.

Looking forward to keeping in touch with you!

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

How to Quilt as You Go

Have you tried the Quilt as You Go or QAYG (try and pronounce that acronym!)? If you haven’t, you’ll have to try it. It is fun and, while you can create a regular block with it, I like to use an improvisational approach to this technique.

We’re going to work on a QAYG block together and you’ll need:

  • Batting - cut into a square, whatever size you prefer (I used a 9 1/2” square)

  • Fabric Scraps

  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat

  • Seam roller (I loved using my Violet Craft seam roller in this project) or iron

  • Sewing machine

What you’re going to be doing is adding fabric scraps onto the batting ala log cabin technique, either adding each new scrap in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. You’ll be sewing the fabrics right to the batting and doing additional quilting on them too.

Lay your first scrap down on the batting, right side up and then add the second scrap, right side down, being sure to align the raw edges that you’ll be stitching together. Piece them together with a 1/4” seam, just as you would for any block. The nice thing about this technique is that you don’t have to be too accurate with your 1/4” seam, but don’t let this stop you from using this to practice achieving an accurate one.

After you have pressed open these pieces, you will be adding additional quilting stitches to them. Traditionally, quilters would add straight lines of stitching, parallel to the seam line. For my block, I wanted to utilize the stitches on the Janome MC9450 and while I could’ve chosen from the hundreds of fancy decorative stitches, I decided to see what utility stitches would look like when used as quilting stitches. Guess what? They looked really great!

To see exactly how to create this improvisational QAYG block, click on the image below.

 
 

Have you ever tried QAYG with decorative or utility stitches? Let me know in the Comments below how your block/project turned out.

If you’d like to get your own Violet Craft seam roller, click here.

Creatively,

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Print
 

P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Getting Fabric from Clothing

You don’t have to go to a quilt store to get fabric to use in your projects. Let’s talk about other places you can source fabrics for your quilting addiction, I mean, hobby.

NOTE: These are previously published videos so they might look a bit familiar, but if you haven’t yet watched them, they are worth a look.

While quilters typically use cotton fabrics in their projects, other natural fibre fabrics, such as linen, wool and silk can also be used especially in appliqué projects or as embellishments. These fabrics can be expensive, so I like to source them at thrift shops. Yes, I buy clothing to cut it up for its fabric. Don’t judge!

 For silk, I like to buy men’s ties. There is more fabric than you’d realize in a tie. Be sure to check the label to ensure that it is 100% silk. For more tips on what to look for and how to dissect a tie, watch my How to get Fabric from Ties video by clicking on the image below.

 
 

You can easily find wool in various garments at the thrift shop. I like to look for 100% wool sweaters and also men’s jackets and pants. Again, checking labels is a crucial part of this as you want to ensure that you purchase 100% wool items. Find out more about how to take apart sweaters and jackets to get that precious wool fabric. I have two videos: How to Get Wool from Sweaters

 
 

and

How to Get Wool Fabric from Jackets with information on how to do this.

 
 

 Thrift stores aren’t the only places to get fabric: there are estate sales and other types of sales that you might find in your location where you can get fabrics at amazingly low prices. In Finding Fabric for Projects, I’ll show you some of the fabrics I was able to pick up at the annual Ujamaa Grandma’s sale in Calgary as well as items I did find at the local Goodwill Store.

 
 

Do you find fabric in unusual places? Let me know the places from which you source your fabric for your quilting projects in the Comments below .

Creatively,

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Print
 

P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Spend Money to Save Quilting Time

Most quilters struggle to find time to quilt, but even when they do find the time, they may not be making the most of that time.

There are many ways you can save time in your quilt studio. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Electronic or Die Cutting Machines

Cutting the fabric for your projects can take quite a bit of time, especially if you have to use templates. There are a wide variety of fabric cutters available that can make this part of the project much quicker by cutting several layers of fabric at a time into precise shapes. Some cutters, such as the AccuQuilt GO!, GO Baby! or Studio 2 allow you to layer up to 6 pieces of fabric and cut through them by cranking the handle. There are a wide variety of cutting dies available for most of the shapes that we use in quilting. I especially like the 2½” die that allows me to cut jelly roll or binding strips quickly from the entire WOF.

You can also get other brands of machines, such as the Sizzix Big Shot Pro that cuts larger dies and uses dies from other companies, such as AccuQuilt. This cutter can go through 8 layers of fabric very quickly and before you know it, the cutting is done and you are ready to piece.

You can also get electronic cutters, like the Brother Scan N Cut or the Janome Artistic Edge which allow you to create your own designs or scan in designs and cut them very accurately. If you do appliqué like I do, this can really save you a lot of time. While they will only cut one layer of fabric at a time, they cut intricate designs that you would never be able to cut out precisely by hand.

Quilt Kits

While you may not think that buying a quilt kit could save you time, just think about it: the fabric is already chosen for you, the amount you need is there and all the fabrics match perfectly. How long does it usually take you to go through your stash picking fabrics or going to a quilt store or two to get exactly the right fabric? Kits do that work for you and you can get to the cutting and piecing that much quicker.

Quilting by Cheque

Once you’ve finished your quilt top, you can quilt it yourself, or you can quilt by cheque – take it to a longarm professional quilter. If you love to piece, but dread the quilting part, why not take it to a longarm quilter who will do a beautiful job for you and you can start into your next project while she is quilting your last one. I know many quilters who do this all the time. They know that this is the part of quilting they don’t enjoy or don’t think they do well and they prefer to have it done well by a professional.

So, if you want to make the most of your time in the quilt studio, consider these 3 tips:

  1. Use a fabric cutter to cut out your fabric

  2. Buy quilt kits

  3. Have a longarm professional quilt your quilt

Click on the image below for more information on these 3 ways for saving quilting time.

Do you spend money to save quilting time? Let me know what you do to “create” more quilting time in the Comments below.

Creatively,

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Print
 

P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Book Review: Sew Illustrated

Sew Illustrated has 16 projects in it and is by Minki Kim and Kristin Esser. If you love Minki Kim’s adorable little appliqué sketch creations, you’ll love Sew Illustrated. If you haven’t heard of Minki Kim, where have you been? I adore her small sketches where she uses bits of fabric and black outline stitching to create charming projects.

 
Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

 

All of the designs are included in the back of the book as iron-on transfers, which makes it very easy to put them on your fabric. There are other ways to transfer these designs and Minki explains these other options in the beginning of the book.

Minki’s designs are small, so this is a great book if you have lots of scrap fabrics that you’d like to use up. The projects are a combination of appliqué, hand embroidery and free motion quilting to finish off the appliqué pieces.

You’ll find a variety of projects in the book from mug rugs to pin cushions. Due to the small nature of the projects, they won’t use much fabric and they won’t take a lot of time to complete. Many of these projects would be perfect for quick gifts.

 
Sew Illustrated pillow.jpg
 

You’ll find a variety of projects in the book from mug rugs to pin cushions. Due to the small nature of the projects, they won’t use much fabric and they won’t take a lot of time to complete. Many of these projects would be perfect for quick gifts.

I like the full-size templates in the book (I really don’t like to enlarge any pieces!) and the complete step-by-step instructions that she provides in Sew Illustrated.

Click on the image below for a more detailed look at Sew Illustrated. If you’d like to add Sew Illustrated to your quilting book library, click here.

Creatively,

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Print
 

P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!