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A Quilting Dilemma

Are you like me, once you have finished a quilt top you are faced with the decision of “how am I going to quilt it”? While looking for ideas you discover a sea of choices? Itching to start but not certain where to start? Which quilting design, motif, style or pattern will look good where?

It doesn’t matter what type of quilter you are, a domestic machine quilter or a longarmer (standing or sit down). Getting started creating a quilting design map is probably the most difficult part of the process for many of us.

Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

When I need quilting inspiration or direction my ‘go to’ is my personal library of BOOKS.

I have these at my finger tips. Having a personal  library keeps me on the path of quilting and not making a trip to the local library or waiting for a guild meeting or bother a friend to borrow a book from.

The ability to bookmark the pages of designs I like, those for future projects, highlight patterns that work really well and reference the pages again when I need a refresher.

The opportunity to take two of the designs, (or more), and combine into one design or pull out just a part of a design for my project….

Best of all I don’t find myself down the rabbit hole of Pinterest looking for ideas or inspiration.

Solution

The solution I  recently found is a trio of books that fit all of the above and are inexpensive enough to have the whole series. These books are filled with designs from many designers, some of the designs we’ve seen and others are fresh and new. Lets start with what I would consider the first book of the series, although you could start with any of the books, because they are a la cart books and don’t require a “start”.

 Free-Motion Quilting Inspiration

The books are published by C&T Publishing. “Free-Motion designs for Allover Patterns” is where we are starting, but there are two more titles just as promising “Free-Motion Block Designs” and “Free-Motion Designs for Borders, Triangles and Cornerstones“. All the books are all 158 pages, but have a varying number of designs. The Allover Patterns has more than 75 designs by 8 well known quilters! They are all bound with a spiral for flat easy reference with full page spreads of each design. The best thing about the books is you get a great sampling of several Free-Motion Quilters.

the Cover of the Allover Patterns book.
The cover of free-motions designs for Allover Patterns.

Have I intrigued you? Of course you will find them right here at I Have A Notion!

More Later- Beth

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Quilt Show

Last weekend the local quilt guild had our annual quilt show “Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show. We set up on Thursday for a Friday and Saturday Show. This was where I spent all 3 days and I shared a REVOLUTIONARY new ironing product! 

The Booth

ihaveanotion.com had a booth at the show, I think I am going to need some more quilts for the tables! I had a blast. I love meeting quilters and helping them find just the right tool to help them make the most of their sewing, cutting, ironing  or creative time. It is precious.

A ‘Revolutionary’ sewing room aid

I think I have found one of those REVOLUTIONARY tools for the sewing space or household. I had heard of these “spray misting bottles” a few months ago and before there was one for the sewing industry! They were either black or white and only available at beauty supply stores for the professionals and retailing at a much higher price.  I started using one… immediately and I LOVE it. It was featured prominently to show this special spray bottle off at the quilt show. I set up an ironing station with a fabric that would show moisture so I could share… the REVOLUTIONARY benefits… and the poor quality spray we were using from ordinary spray bottles. So what makes them so special?

The Benefits

1 The first benefit is the super fine mist that the bottle produces. No large or super large drops are deposited on the fabrics that then have to be dried instead of just pressing out the wrinkles.

2 Benefit 2 is there a pump built in, so one pull on the trigger delivers a continuous spray, (about  1.5 cc’s) and will spray continuously with multiple pulls. Also if you only want a little… you can spot shot, with short pulls. No hand fatigue…. from pulling on a trigger from a dime store spray bottle that can’t decide if it spits or sprays.

3 And third is the ability to spray 360 including upside down!!!  It will spray right down to the last drop of moisture in the bottle. How helpful would that be? 

Its not a Plain Jane

Fill it with water or your favorite pressing aid. I use a homemade ‘pressing aid’ and I include the recipe with your order and it comes in 3 different designs.

Iron Maiden
Color Therapy
Quilt Shops

Have I intrigued you with the “newest tool” to make your time creating more productive? Check it out over here! What do you use at your ironing board?

More Later! Beth

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A “Needle” Question

A friend and I were driving to a meeting together earlier this week. One of our discussions was about the sewing machine needle.

She said, ‘I know you don’t like the regular chrome needles, but I don’t mind them”.

My response was, “it isn’t that I don’t like them, I just find them to be too expensive. I like titanium needles better because they last 5-8 times longer than chrome plated needle” and cost less.

WHO WOULDN’T want to use a needle that lasts longer and costs less?

The Difference Explained

A standard chrome plated needle (Universal, Sharp, Jeans, Topstitch, Stepp Nadel….. etc), that comes 5 to a package and sell for about $4.99- give or take a dollar, is only rated to last for approximately 8 hours of sewing time. That is about the number of hours it would take to make a blouse if you were garment sewing. If making a crib quilt it might be the number of sewing hours for a simple block baby quilt. But for another article explaining the Titanium Needle check out the Superior Threads Education article.

A Titanium Needle (Topstitch, Embroidery, Sharp…. etc) is a steel needle that is coated in titanium. The Titanium coating cuts down the friction, keeps the needle cooler when stitching and keeps the point from becoming dull as quickly and lasts 5 to 8 times longer. The needle is NOT made of titanium and will not damage your machine any more or less than the old fashioned chrome needle, so don’t let that fear make you spend more on needles than you must.

The Math

Of course your needle mileage will vary depending on the type of fabric you are stitching (density of the fabric weave, content and thicknesses) for the actual stitching time. If you can sew 8 hours with a chrome needle for approximately $1, how much more cost effective is that same dollar with a titanium needle that lasts from 40 to 64 hours of sewing time. ihaveanotion.com has Titanium Topstitch Needles here, Titanium Embroidery Needles here; and if you still prefer the Standard Chrome there are some here.

The Benefits of a Titanium Needle

What are some of the benefits of using the Titanium needles? I find these 3 to be the most significant… and some days the order of significance changes….

  1. not having to spend so much time changing needles
  2. saving money on one of the most important parts of the sewing machine
  3. achieving a nice neat stitch!

For my primary needle I use the Titanium Topstitch needle, whether I am piecing or quilting or playing with thread. On had in the needle box are some Titanium Embroidery or Large Eye needles  for those times when I need a larger eye or thread groove to accommodate a larger thread. I still have a lifetime supply of those old standby chrome over steel needles, but that is because I inherited them, so even for free -I like the titanium better.

Speaking of the lifetime of needles, how do you dispose your dull, bent or broken needles and pins?

More Later- Beth

PS …. if you haven’t yet left a comment on the Welcome post, please do….