Quilt Ruler Manufacturing Report–Good News at Last!

I’ve been keeping a bit quiet about the progress on the InchieSee & InchieDo Viewer Tool & Ruler Set because I wanted to wait and see how everything worked out with the new manufacturer. I was also waiting to post until I had something fairly positive in the way of an expected availability date to share as well. I’m thrilled to tell you that the new manufacturer that I’ve been working with is none other than Rulersmith, the same company that manufactures the Omnigrid rulers!

I received the prototypes of my tools from Rulersmith two weeks ago, and let me tell you, they are awesome! They are every bit as wonderful as I hoped they would be in the beginning, and the quality is, of course, perfect. The ruler is absolutely perfect just as it is, and the tool only requires a very minor modification to be perfect as well. If only I’d been able to find this company before I’d gone so far with the first one! (I looked, I really did, but somehow didn’t find Rulersmith until the second go round, and I don’t even remember how I found it then!) My experience with Rulersmith has been completely opposite in every way to the one I had with the other company.

I sent Dave at Rulersmith pdf files of my designs (instead of the original Corel Draw files, Photoshop files, graphics and fonts, etc.), and from just those pdf files, his team drafted the designs and made the prototypes that were perfect and nearly perfect. Continue reading Quilt Ruler Manufacturing Report–Good News at Last!

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Bookish Things

AQS put up a lovely introduction to Inchie Quilts on the AQS Publishing Blog. I think Bonnie Browning writes the entries on the blog, but I’m not positive. Whoever the mystery writer there at AQS is, she said some really cool things about the book! I realize that as the publisher it’s their job to say wonderful things about the book (and if the publisher didn’t think it was great, it wouldn’t be a book at all), but it’s still pretty cool. 🙂 Continue reading Bookish Things

Moda Bake Shop Boxes=Cute Overload

Remember these?

Moda Bake Shop Sweetrolls

I got these from my Moda rep (the lovely Kim, whose daughter is also a rep) at Quilt Market in October. They are just too cute to actually use for anything, so they sit in their little box on my sewing table with my bunny from Build-a-Bear, and a lovely framed antique stencil that was used by young French ladies to stencil their undergarments for their trousseaux (a gift from Kimberly that she found at the quilt show in St. Marie aux Mines last year). Continue reading Moda Bake Shop Boxes=Cute Overload

Easy Grid Quilting

I did a small bit of machine quilting today, and I thought I’d share some quick tips to make machine guided grid quilting easier. I’m making a small background quilt to display Inchies, so all I needed was some straight line quilting to hold the layers together and create some visual interest.

Clover Hera MarkerOn a small quilt sandwich with unpieced bali fabrics on both sides and Hobbs 80/20 Black batting in the middle, I used a ruler and a hera marker to mark the straight quilting lines on the sandwich. A hera marker is simply a piece of plastic with a nicely tapered, curved edge which, when pressed on the fabric, compresses the fibers and leaves a mark that is fairly easy to see. Note that this particular model by Clover is the one I’ve had the best luck with; the others that I’ve tried have been made of softer plastic and didn’t make as nice a mark.

I marked the lines on the quilt sandwich in one direction only, meaning all the lines that are parallel to each other in an up and down direction. If you mark all the grid lines in both directions before you start quilting, you may find that when you mark the second set of lines across the first, the first set of lines will have little waves or points where the second set crosses them, and it will be difficult to quilt straight lines later.

When I’m quilting a grid, whether it’s big or small, I always start with a line of quilting close to the center of the quilt or space, and then work outward to the right and left. I always begin quilting at the top of the piece or area, and quilt toward the bottom, which means rolling up the bulk of the quilt to fit under the machine head when working on the left side. Even with a walking foot or IDT/dual feed, the layers of a quilt sandwich will shift; it’s just a fact of life.

Starting each line of quilting at the top will prevent diagonal wrinkles from forming on the quilt top or back from stitching lines in both directions. Remember this “top-to-bottom” stitching technique the next time you’re putting down stitch in the ditch between rows and blocks on a large quilt, too, as the same idea applies and the same diagonal wrinkles can happen, just on a larger scale.

Once the first set of gridlines was quilted, I marked the second set perpendicular to the first. The second set of quilting lines needs a bit more attention to detail than the first. When you start adding quilting lines that cross other lines, you can run into trouble when the fabric starts shifting. As you come up to a previous line of quilting, you may find that the top fabric of the quilt sandwich starts to form a little hill, which will become a pleat if you keep sewing.

Fabric pleating at quilting line

The solution is to slow down and pay special attention in this area. You can use your fingers on the top of the quilt to gently nudge the top fabric toward the presser foot, essentially forcing the top fabric to feed more quickly into the machine to reverse the negative pushing effect that the presser foot is having on the quilt sandwich. Not just for grids, this little nudging technique is infinitely useful whenever I do any kind of machine guided quilting with a walking foot or IDT/dual feed.

Nudging the top fabric

A few simple techniques made quick work of this little display quilt, so stay tuned for pics!

Pressing Style

When Paula talked about her homemade Big Board topper, I told ITMan that he might have to help me make one. BUT, I did have some reservations about the whole thing, since my old German wooden board is kind of tiny and I was worried that the whole thing would be unstable, not to mention that I could probably wait for a really long time before ITMan would get to it in the first place.

Anyway, I scrapped the idea when we moved. The owner left her board here for us to use if we wanted it, and it was a really wonderful specimen from Leifheit that had an attached iron rest and even a power socket on the board itself. I went on the hunt for an even bigger, better model, and found the perfect thing. It’s big, it’s beautiful, and far and away the most stylish ironing board I’ve ever owned: the Leifheit Dressfix Plus.

Here she is in all her plaid-covered glory, next to the old board:

The new Leifheit board

Notice that instead of a standard shape, it tapers asymmetrically so that there is a longer straight edge, perfect for pressing yardage or quilt tops. There’s also a movable iron rest with an attached power socket and cord minder. The iron plugs into the rest, and the rest plugs into the wall, which leaves more cord length available to travel with ease over the wide open spaces of the board.

Movable iron rest

To add to the list of lovely features, this baby is a mile high. I’m tall, and I was always bending over the other board to get up close and personal with intricate pressing tasks. The new board saves my back because it’s about eight inches taller than the old one! At the highest setting it’s right at low waist level for me, which is perfect.

The mile-high board

Seemingly well made, it should last quite a while, if not forever. I told ITMan that when he (predictably) asked “And how much was that thing?!?” It’s all in the name of comfort and functionality, my dear. 🙂

Ford’s Virtual Quilt and Warrior Mustang

Warriors in PinkYeah, this is cool! Three of my favorite things (quilts, Mustangs, and clothes!), pimped out in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness: Check out the Virtual Quilt at the Ford Vehicles Warriors in Pink site and add your message. Be sure to take a look at the Warriors in Pink Mustang. If I didn’t already have a Mustang, I’d go for it! (if it came in a GT model, anyway) Kelly Clarkson serves up unique ways to Rock your Warrior Gear, and 100% of the net proceeds from Warrior Gear are donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Tell a friend and spread the word about Breast Cancer Awareness! Way to go, Ford!

Note: I found this site through AskPatty.com, a great site for women to get advice on cars and automotive related issues. Check it out!