Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wool Crazy Round Robin…The Final Leg of the Journey

Whew!  What a busy time the last couple of days has been.  My “IN’ box has never been so full.  But now that the dust has begun to settle, I’d like to share with you a little of what’s been happening in my little corner of the world.

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Our Wool Crazy Round Robin is winding down.  Each of our pincushion bases has reached the fourth and final destination and will be making the final leg of their journey home in the next little while. 

I received Karen’s base from Lori earlier this week but because of my GO! giveaway and the fact that I’m suffering from a doozie of a cold, I didn’t get to start on it until last night…

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And I finished it early this morning when I couldn’t sleep because of coughing and having to blow my nose.

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All four participants…Paulette, Lori, Karen and myself have each added our ‘artwork’ and now it gets returned to it’s owner, who in this case is Karen, to finish off as she sees fit.

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This round robin has been so much fun.  Each of us was committed to the task at hand which made this journey such a pleasure.

I look forward to mine coming home and to finishing it for you all to see.  I know that it will be one of my most prized possessions.

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Friday, September 24, 2010

GO! Giveaway Winner!

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and enter my giveaway for an Accuquilt GO! cutter.  The response has been overwhelming and I hope that you enjoyed your visit while here.

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Well, my friend Mr. Random Number Generator selected a number but before I announce the winner, I’d just like to touch on a few things…so please indulge me.

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I tried as best I could to stress that if you had your settings set as ‘no-reply’ then your comment would be automatically ignored because I’d have no way of getting in touch with you should your number have been drawn.   I even went back and edited my post to alert you to this but I think most people have the tendency to just skim giveaway posts and head straight for the comments without reading the post itself.  As a result, almost 40% of of those who entered my giveaway for a GO! cutter were automatically disqualified.  What a shame!  Thank you to those who chose to remain as ‘no-reply’ but read my post in it’s entirety  asking that they insert their email address into the body of their comment and did so.

For those of you who are not sure what ‘no-reply’ means, I would ask you to visit SewCalGal’s blog by clicking HERE.  If you scroll about halfway down the page, she explains it in detail.  Just think of how many opportunities you’ve missed out on and will continue to miss out on just because you can’t be contacted, not only here but on other blogs as well.

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Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the GO! cutter is Karen of Briarside Lane.  Congratulations, Karen!  I will be contacting you for your mailing address.  In the interim, please visit the Accuquilt website HERE to select the three dies that you would like to accompany the GO!

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Once again, thanks to all who entered.  And a special thanks to the Accuquilt company, not only for making these cool machines but also for their generosity by allowing us to host these giveaways.

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It’s GO! Giveaway Time!

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for stopping by.

Well folks, I’ve got the GO! ahead from Carolyn of the  Accuquilt company to tell you all about my giveaway.  Woo hoo!

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You all must know by now that the GO! cutter is the hottest new item for quilters.  It certainly has made my cutting life much easier and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

Here’s the deal.  Courtesy of Accuquilt, I will be giving away a GO! cutter and three dies of your choice to one of you.  All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post telling me that you’d like a GO! of your own.  Plain and simple…easy-peasy. 

Me and my friend Mr. Random Number Generator will be selecting a winner on Friday, September 24th at approximately 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

EDIT:  8 out of the first 23 comments came up as “NO REPLY” bloggers.  That means that all eight will be excluded from the draw.  Please check your settings or include your email address with your comment.

If you come up as a “no-reply” blogger, then your name will be automatically discarded.  If your email address is not included in your blog profile, then you are set as “no-reply”.  If you wish to remain that way then please include your email address with your comment.  If I have no way of contacting you then you can’t be a winner.

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And I’ve got a little inside information to share with you…Accuquilt is expecting!

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And the new arrival is due on October 1st.  Read about it HERE.

GO!od luck and…

Happy Stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Monday, September 20, 2010

Raggedy & Friends BOM – Block 3

The 20th of September already…can you believe it?  The leaves have started to change color and probably by this time next month, the gorgeous colors of Autumn will be just about over.  The nights are crisp and the days are cool…my favorite time of year has arrived!

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Thank you all for sending me photos of your first two blocks of Raggedy & Friends.  There are no two even remotely similar and it’s so cool to see how you are all putting your own spin on them.  You are more than welcome to upload them to my Flickr Gallery which you can access HERE.  Then everyone will be able to see them.

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Block 3 is ready to go and is available HERE.

Remember to click on the blue download button and follow the instructions.  For those of you who might have missed Blocks 1 & 2, you can find the links to them at the top of my right sidebar.

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See you on the 20th of October for Block 4. 

In the meantime…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Friday, September 17, 2010

GO! Update

The jury is in!

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I’m an honest and straightforward kinda gal.  Yes, I joke around a bit and try to make for some interesting reading but there are times when I do take things seriously too…really!

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A couple of days ago I wrote about finally getting up the nerve to play with my new GO! machine.  If you missed it and would like to read about it, just click HERE.  

I am a creature of habit, especially when I find a comfort zone with something.  So having an assistant in the form of a machine to help me do something that I was already comfortable with doing manually was something that I was a little apprehensive about. I’m referring to hst’s…or half square triangles.

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Being a self-taught quilter, virtually all that I have learned has been through trial and error…and mostly error.  *wink*  But because I love what I do, I persist.

I promised a thorough and accurate report on the GO! cutter without any sugar coating.  Well here it is because the jury is in and a picture is worth a thousand words!

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The whole truth and nothing but the truth…

The first couple of hst’s that I pieced together were a bit off and not up to my standards at all.  Yes, I’m anal…to the point where I drive myself crazy at times.  But, I’m also as persistent and tenacious as a bull dog and I hate to admit to defeat.

I put everything away for a couple of days because of other commitments and I went back at it again last night.  The same thing happened and I was not a happy camper.  Here was this bright and shiny new machine that promised to make all our cutting lives just a little bit easier and it wasn’t working…at least not to my stringent specifications.  Dang!  All that work and all that fabric (even though I used scraps), not to mention the trepidation and anxiety of using a new machine…all gone to waste.  *sigh*

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Sew…I sat back and regrouped.  Something was not right.  How could hst’s that match up perfectly after cutting them using the GO! not come out just as perfectly after sewing them? 

LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

It can’t be the machine because all the pieces were IDENTICAL in size after using the GO! cutter.  It had to be something to do with the OPERATOR!  

Who?  Moi???  Horrors!

Well, duh!

In the first paragraph I mentioned that I am a self taught quilter.  It took me a while to get the hang of piecing manually cut hst’s but once I figured out how to place them together and exactly where to place my needle when starting to sew, everything after that was tickety-poo.  Perfect hst’s “almost” 100% of the time.

“Sew what is different and what am I doing differently?” I asked myself.

LIGHT BULB MOMENT #2!

DOG EARS!  No dog ears!  That was the only difference.

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When cutting hst’s using a rotary cutter and after piecing them together, there are always dog ears to be cut off.  With the GO! cutter, the dog ears are eliminated, ultimately saving us that sometimes annoying step.  What I was attempting to do was to line up the GO! hst’s in the same manner as the “traditional” hsts’s…which is okay…but it was where I was placing my needle where I went wrong.  (Insert thwak on the forehead with the palm of my hand).

Once I figured that out…well now I know what the person meant who coined the phrase, “easy as pie”.

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How cool is that?

I’m thrilled to bits with how this little pinwheel doll’s quilt turned out.  I hope to set aside some time today to finish it.  It measures 16” x 16” and I plan to machine quilt it, just to save some time.  After all, there are other shapes that came with this die that I have to play with!

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Verdict…because after all, the jury is in.

Do I like the GO! cutter?  Yes.

Will I use it again?  Absolutely!

Would I recommend it?  Most definitely.

Will I be giving away a GO! cutter soon?  Yessiree!

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So stay tuned…and in the interim..

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wool Crazy Round Robin Update…and…

Yesterday when I went to the post office to check to see if we had received any mail, much to my delight…apart from the fact that there were NO bills…Paulette’s pincushion was there waiting for me!  Lori had already worked her magic on it and sent it on to me.

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Paulette chose “The Four Seasons” as her theme and she started out with Spring using the lamb as her focal point.  Lori chose to do Autumn and added some pumpkins and sunflowers.

Then it was my turn and and I decided to do something Winter-y.

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I added a snowman decked out in a black fedora with a cardinal perched atop his head.  He has a colorful scarf, twig arms and a carrot nose, of course!  And right next to him is a fir tree, laden with freshly fallen snow.

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Tomorrow it will be on it’s way to Karen for it’s last stop in it’s round robin journey and from there it will make it’s way home to Paulette who will finish it off as she sees fit. 

Just to give you an idea of the miles that this particular pincushion has travelled, it originated on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and was then sent to Oregon.  From there it made it’s way back to Canada across the country to Eastern Ontario where it will head to south Florida.  From there it will be returned home to Vancouver Island and I’m estimating by that time it will have travelled between 8-10,000 miles.

So three legs of the Round Robin are now complete with one to go.  I can’t believe how much fun this has been.  We will all end up with a pincushion to be treasured for years to come.

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And…if you’ve read this far, then I’m GO!-ing to share some great news with you.

By now I’m certain that you are all familiar with this…right?

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The Accuquilt company is GO!-ing to provide me with another GO! cutting machine along with three dies to give away right here in the very near future .  If you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor.  GO! visit the Accuquilt website HERE to read all about the machine that everyone in blogland is talking about.

If you’ve been trying to win one but haven’t yet, this one could be yours!  Check back regularly because it could happen as soon as________!

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wool Crazy Pincushion Tutorial

Remember when I showed you this?  

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Many of you asked if I would show you how to make one either as a FFF or as a tutorial.  Since October’s FFF is already done, I decided to do a tutorial instead.

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At the outset, let me say that all the wool that I used came from scraps that I have saved over the years.  Whenever I work with wool, I save all the bits and pieces and store them by color in separate zip lock bags.  When I’m working on a project that requires small pieces of wool in a specific color, I just reach into the plastic bin that holds all my baggies of scrap wool and pull out the appropriate bag.

If for whatever reason you don’t have any wool or you might be allergic to wool (perish the thought), you can also make this pincushion in the exact same way that I am about to show you using fabric.  The instructions are identical.

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The pincushion pictured above now resides in Connecticut.  I made it specifically for a pincushion swap that I took part in on the Jo Morton Yahoo group.  At the time I made that base, I made three additional ones and used the last remaining one for this tutorial.  As you will see, most of the elements are the same but I’ve added a few new ones as well.

This is the one we’ll be working on today.

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I’m not going to repeat how to make the base because I’ve already covered that step HERE.  I would recommend that you review that step first and read through the entire tutorial to familiarize yourself with the steps.

I made the base for this particular pincushion at 6” in diameter.

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Once you have constructed the base, you will need to trace the elements  to be appliqu├ęd onto a piece of fusible web following the manufacturer’s instructions.  I use Steam-a-Seam 2 and find that works best to accommodate the weight of the wool.

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The PDF file for the line drawings of these shapes is available HERE.

Cut around the shapes about 1/8” away from the line. 

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Place on the appropriate color of wool…

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And affix to the wool according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Then cut out the shapes to size along the drawn lines.

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Place the shapes on the prepared background and move them around until you are pleased with the layout.

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Affix to the background according to the manufacturer’s instructions then stitch around each of the elements with the appropriate color of thread/floss using the blanket stitch.

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Now comes the fun part…the embellishing!

The only rule when making crazy quilts or variations thereof is that there are NO rules.  Anything goes…color, type of stitch, French knots and add-ons such as seed beads, charms and ribbons, etc.

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The sky is the limit!

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Make sure that all of the overlapping seams are either stitched down with a decorative stitch or some decorative design to “seal” the edges and  remember to remove the basting stitches as you proceed.

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Cut out a piece of backing the same size as the front.  I made mine from wool but you could also use flannel.

Place the front and back pieces wrong sides together and blanket stitch around the perimeter, leaving a 2” opening. 

The front…

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The back…

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Stuff with polyester fiberfil and stitch closed.

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And a few closer looks…

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Have fun, enjoy and…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Friday, September 10, 2010

Preliminary GO! Report

Yesterday was my GO! day.  I finally worked up enough courage to unpack the box and take out the lovely, shiny and bright GO! machine and accessories…right on my kitchen table.

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If the truth be known, I have to confess is that I’m very apprehensive when it comes to machines.  There’s always been this kinda love-hate relationship with me any any kind of machine.  I’ve been known to break into a cold sweat in front of a photocopier…and that’s even before a paper jam!

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I diligently read through all the instructions to familiarize myself with all the do’s and dont’s and the various components of the GO!  Pictured below is the standard die that comes with the machine which includes the half square 2” finished triangle, a 2 1/2” square and a 4 1/2” square.

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Because I love working with hst’s (half square triangles), I decided that I’d start with those. 

In order to minimize the wasting of fabric, it is best to cut only one shape at a time.  It is also recommended that the fabric be cut on the lengthwise grain to achieve the most accurate cuts because this is the grain that has the least amount of stretch.  I decided ahead of time that this was only going to be a practice run, so I used only scraps and off cuts of leftover fabric I had on hand.

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I started off with five layers of quilt shop quality fabric but I had trouble turning the handle and the machine kept lifting off the table.  I reduced the amount to four layers and that seemed to be the magic number because everything went smoothly from there.

What you see below are the results after passing the fabric through the GO! using the hst die.  Can you see that there are 4 individual half square triangles…minus the dog ears?

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This next photo shows the excess or wasted fabric that remains after one pass of cutting the hst’s.

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Some things you might want to consider at this point…waste, accuracy and speed.

In order to minimize wasting fabric, you have to precut the fabric to the recommended size before passing it through the machine.  This takes time. 

To achieve the most accurate cuts, it is recommended that only quilt shop quality fabric be used and on the lengthwise grain in order to minimize shrinkage when cutting. 

However, once the fabric is cut and stacked for the machine, the speed of the actual cutting of the shapes using the GO! is exceptional.  It literally takes about 10-15 seconds to make one pass through the machine.  Sixteen hst’s in a turn of the handle!

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Another positive feature about the GO! is that it is VERY user friendly.  

It took me about an hour and a half to cut approximately 200 hst’s.  If you take into consideration my phobia of machines and the fact that everything was new to me, this probably wasn’t too bad.

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At this point, all I’ve done is cut the hst’s.   I haven’t sewn any together in order to test the accuracy of the cutting.  So until I actually start to piece some of these half square triangles together, I will not be able to say for certain whether it’s a GO! or not.

Stay tuned for my next report.  In the interim…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥