Winter collage

Winter collage

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Attention Downton Abbey Fans!!

Are you going through withdrawal after the last seasonal episode of PBS Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey? I sure am...now we must settle down and await Season 3....

In the meantime - here is something to occupy our playtime...




Oh yes! Paperdolls...wicked fun...

Here is the link....(and thanks to Jan over at Be*Mused for giving us a heads-up)


http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/print-out-vultures-downton-abbey-paper-dolls.html

I sent this to a friend last night who has a passion for collecting paperdolls - she said this morning she could hardly sleep in anticipation of printing these out and applying them to cardstock...

Another way to embrace our inner child...have fun!!



  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Stitching Faerie and Bias Tape Maker Success!

Perseverance, fortitude and dedication...a quilter must have all of these traits...but having a very clever and creative friend tops them all! Thanks to one of my applique stitching friends who also owns one of the Simplicity Bias Tape Makers, the mystery of the non-folding 1/4" tip has been solved. At a recent get together, we had dueling bias tape maker machines...
Barbara Jean discovered that if you cut the bias strips 1/8" wider than recommended in the instructions...(we are told that if the final bias tape or stem should finish to 1/4", then cut the strips at 1/2" - just like using one of the Clover bias makers)...


...in this case, cut the strips 5/8" wide...then you can see by the photos, a perfectly folded bias stem emerges from this lovely little machine and we are now on very good terms with each other...most of the time...
Still have a little issue with how yards of prepared bias feed when the joining seam hits the narrow tip end...


As you can see, the edges have a tendency to open up, so I am playing with how the seam is tapered.
It is important to have the seam allowance going away from the entry point on the tip.

At any rate, it is minor as those little edges can be needle-turned in when appliqueing. 


I made 5 yards though in less than a minute...I know, I know, this isn't a race...but it is kind of fun! And once my borders are set up, it means I can get to the appliqueing that much sooner...and I didn't burn my fingers.


So, in my final report about the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker - I would give it an A-.  End of story!


Look what Lemon Verbena Lady sent me...isn't this little Stitching Faerie the sweetest??!!! (Love the strawberry held by the bird - like William Morris' The Strawberry Thief)

She will hold a place of honor in my sewing room and watch over everything. The people I have "met" through blogging are so incredible - Nancy is so knowledgeable about herbs and gardening in general. I have learned much from her and her friendship is one of life's treasures. 


Life is very good at Taylorsoutback these days...hectic, but good. The back is 100% better, my seed order from Renee's Garden has arrived and even though there is snow in the air, the daylight lingers a little longer each day. Lots of things going on quilting wise and there will be more posts coming soon to show you what I have been up to.

Have a good week and come back to visit soon!











Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little Scrappy Houses & Simplicity Bias Tape Maker - Part Deux

Well, I could say things have been quiet around Taylorsoutback lately, but that would not be true. It has actually been very busy with road trips of all manner...and stories for another time...

But first an update on my Simplicity Bias Tape Maker situation with the problematic 1/4" tip...I contacted Simplicity via email and connected up with a helpful staff person who gave various recommendations to try - all of which I had all ready attempted with no progress. They did send me a brand new tip to see if that would work...I had to chuckle when it arrived though...do you think the packaging is a little overkill? It was safe and sound!

I will give it a try as soon as my back is better - moving boxes around and steering the 4 wheeler with the plow attached really did a number on my ability to stand or walk. Ouch!
I do have a growing stack of little scrappy houses - and started putting some rows together to see how they were looking. Just had to piece the main center house to build around it. We live in a log home with a dark green roof, green doors & window trim and stone accents. 


 (Note: - this quilt is turning out to be one filled with many memories - fabric exchanges with friends, fabric used in another special project. On the middle row of houses, third house in from the left, a piece of pink print fabric on the house is from the very first bolt we received when the quilt shop was getting ready to open - 1991. We numbered each bolt as it was unpacked and it was #0001. More of it went into the frame containing the 1st dollar the shop made on the 1st day.
 I admit it - I am a very sentimental quilter....

A fun road trip to Hazelhurst and Minocqua in Northern Wisconsin - with friends not seen often enough - a good day together filled with sunshine and clear roads. And a shopping bag containing some new fabric...


Auditioning sashing & cornerstones for my Civil War quilt blocks...

All for now - heading off to my comfy chair and a warm heating pad...

Wishing each of you a good week!













Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reviewing the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker

Having emerged from a month long cleanout of our basement, victorious and decluttered, I welcome February with open arms and vow to be like William Morris - only have things that are useful and beautiful in the future...all righty, then...will see how long that lasts! For now, the house feels lighter and I am smug with accomplishment. 

Back to quilting - have been playing with my new gadget.
The Simplicity Bias Tape Maker, purchased at Joann's with a 50% coupon which saved a nice bundle of pennies......I tend to be slow to embrace technology but after seeing a friend demo this, I was smitten with the possibilities.


It claims to make miles of bias tape in minutes...I did a trial run using the standard 1" tip which comes with the machine...and it made very nice single fold tape...perfect for using on the scalloped edges of quilts and something I will be happy to use.

Because Joann's does not offer the 1/8" or 1/4" bias tips, I ordered those through Nancy's Notions. The 1/4" tip is particularly important to me because of all the border vines needing to be made for the Cherry Tree Quilt project. Unfortunately, that tip is the one giving me grief at the  moment. You can see in the photo what is happening. The strips refuse to emerge from the ironing platform in a folded state. All I can get is nicely pressed FLAT strips.
NOT GOOD - COMING OUT FLAT, SHOULD HAVE BOTH EDGES FOLDED INWARD


Grrrrrr!!!! I don't know if the tip is defective or there is a design issue, but I have contacted Simplicity direct with my concerns and will post on this blog if I get a followup from them. I sure hope so!


I then went on to the 1/8" tip fearing poor results again, but incredibly, it worked very well...just think of the possibilities when appliqueing tiny stems...this is a photo of both the 1" and 1/8" strips...
So, if I had to grade this machine, it would be with a B- at this point. If we can get the 1/4" tip to working properly, it would be an A+ in my book. I have used the individual Clover tips for some time and they work very well, but the idea of mechanizing this is so cool...

I would love to hear about any experiences you have had with this gadget - positive or negative. 

In the meantime, my tiny 3" houses are growing and I have just completed Cherry Tree Block #23 and am on to #24.  Only one more after that. Will be posting images soon.


All for now...wishing each of you Happy Stitching.