Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fusible Web Mysteries Revealed!

Don't you love an intriguing headline?  Hehe.  But in reality I get a lot of questions about fusible web when I teach and lecture.  So here are a few thoughts on fusible web.  I thought I would share my preferences with you since I tend to publish a LOT of patterns with raw-edge applique applied with fusible web. 

Everyone has their preferences but here is some information about using fusibles to help you make the best choice for your projects.

1. To use fusible web your applique pattern needs to be reversed. This is because you trace the pattern on the fusible web paper backing then apply to the BACK of the fabric. This process reverses (creates a mirror image) of the original design. 

When you get ready to trace your applique templates check the pattern carefully to see if the templates are reversed. If not, you will have to reverse the templates FIRST, then trace them onto the fusible. If you have a light box or an easy-to-reach window, you can tape the originals up backwards and trace onto fusible in one step.

In the picture above I show a block design with the applique placement guide. The templates are traced off of a set of templates which are first reversed than separated into individual templates on the page.  This is more work for me, but less work for you when you get the pattern!

Now what kind of fusible web should you use.  There are a lot of them out there on the market, so let me talk about a few of the brands I have used and the ones I like the best.

  1. Light weight fusible webbing is best for most applique which will have overlapping layers. It is thin and keeps your pieces from being stiff. But lightweight fusible MUST be stitched down as the edges can become loose in handling or washing. The optimum stitches to use are a machine blanket stitch, and small zig zag stitch with matching thread, a blind hem stitch or a satin stitch.  Some use a straight stitch close to the edge, but I don't think that looks as well.  Satin stitch is the hardest to get looking good and takes the most skill.  The zig zag and blanket stitch are pretty forgiving and can look good with a little practice.
    Machine blanket stitch using a variegated thread.
  2. Heavy weight fusibles are great for mending and securing heavier fabrics to your background. They do not need to be stitched down unless they will receive a lot of handling, washing or wear - think denim patches your mom used to put on the knees of your jeans. I prefer to use these on craft-type projects and resist using them on quilts. 
  3. When deciding which brand of fusible webbing to use it helps to know what the characteristics of each brand are. Here is a great review of various brands of fusible web.  
  4. My favorite brand of fusible web is Shades "SoftFuse." It is a thin and light weight fusible with paper backing. It can be used with a hot dry iron, and holds extremely well when fused. It is my brand of choice when I am doing overlapping layers as it does not add any stiffness to the applique. On the down side it is also one of the most expensive brands on the market and you have to look for it, since it is not commonly carried everywhere. You can buy it online and it does come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
  5. Next on my list of favorites is Steam A Seam which is made by the Warm Co (they also make batting). They make a light and a regular product and they also make a product called Steam A Seam 2. The 2 means that it is sticky on both sides and will stick to both the applique and background fabric. It is movable or positionable until you fuse it. I love this characteristic since I often move pieces around a lot until I am satisfied with their placement. They won't slide around or move while I am working with a lot of pieces at a time. I typically use "Steam A Seam 2 lite" because it is light and flexible, sticky on both sides, easy to work with, available everywhere in lots of sizes and shapes, and can stand a very hot iron.
  6. Heat N Bond and Heat N Bond lite are also widely available and good for applications where a hot iron would damage the fabric. They require a medium iron -- too much heat will dissolve the bond between applique and background. Since I tend to use a hot iron I have to be careful when using this brand, and remember to turn down the temp on my iron before fusing.
  7. Wonder Under is a common fusible web available in the chain stores like Joann's and Hancocks. It is very inexpensive, comes on a bolt so you can get big pieces if you need it, and is easy to use. Watch your iron temperature with this and follow the instructions carefully. I have had mixed results with Wonder Under, and find that it adds a bit of stiffness to my work. I have had some difficulty removing the paper after fusing.
  8. Pellon made a knock off for Steam A Seam. It came out to replace Steam A Seam during the last two years when the Warm Co had suspended manufacture of their product while experiencing a shortage of parchment paper. It was a complete disaster. You cannot remove the paper backing. Pellon is a highly respected brand but they scored a miss with this product.


In my next post I will share some of my favorite tips for using fusible web, including great machine stitches and hints for making them look professionally done.






Sunday, May 3, 2015

May is Finally Here!

How I love May!  It is warm, the flowers are in bloom, the trees are leafed out, and the Chinese Elm row behind my fence completely hides the neighbors' houses.  My screened in back deck is the perfect spot for meals, and the kitties love stalking birds from the safe
ty of the wicker chairs.

The front porch redo is finally finished and the guys put in my new front sidewalk on Easter Sunday.



The mess is now all cleaned up and grass is growing in all the bald spots.  I will plant hostas along the front of the house and finish landscaping along the walkway next week.

Of course May would not be complete without a beautiful new free block!  The free May block is posted and ready to download.  And I gotta admit, it is one of my favorites.  Despite loving the turquoise color, I love the funky tulip shapes and graceful art nouveau lines.


Click on the 2015 BOM Tab at the top of the page on my blog to download your free block during the month of May.

The bonus block is available to my newsletter subscribers.  This month it is a stylized rose in shades of lavender and blue-violet.  You don't want to miss it.


Not a subscriber?  You can purchase these blocks Here.

The other reason I love May is that it heralds the beginning of camping season.  I love spending time outdoors, at the lake, in the woods, just about anywhere.  And of course that means getting the Whale out of storage.


Since we traded up from a tent, it is a bit more stuff to haul around with us and there is still the problem of cooking in a camp kitchen,


but I am willing to put up with the inconvenience!  :-)

Next week I am heading off to Cedar Rapids, IA to teach at MQS.  I will be doing three EQ7 classes, so if you are in the area or coming to the show, it would be a great time to sign up.  Then we head up to Minneapolis for Spring Quilt Market the next week.  Really looking forward to that.  If you are going please stop by the Quilt Woman booth where I will be helping out.

The end of May the Whale will be going to our annual 39th college reunion at Mohican in central Ohio.  It will be quite a trip and I am so looking forward to spending time with quilty friends along the way.

OK, now off to recover some chairs for the whale.  What are your plans for May?


Monday, April 6, 2015

April Blocks

The free block for April is posted and the Newsletter for April has gone out.

Block 4 Tiger Lily

Did you get my newsletter?  If so then you already received your free Bonus Block and half price pattern offer.

April Bonus Block: Too Toolips


April Sweet Pea Half Price Pattern.

What, you don't get my newsletter?



Geez just fill in your email and click subscribe!  I will send it out on the 15th again so  you won't miss your free blocks.


So down on the farm this girl has been busy.  You were right. . . those of you who said I would be busier retired than I was working.  Yup, sure is true.  I have had some great trips to speak to some wonderful guilds.  The Ladies in El Paso totally rock and I so enjoyed my time with you.

Then I had a much needed quilt retreat in the Arkansas Ozarks which gave me time to work on a new project.  Sorry, no peeking until it is done.  Watch for a new pattern coming in the June issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

Last week I was in Washington DC to attend the Creative Arts Business Summit with Morna McEver Golletz.  What a fabulous experience that was!

This week I am so excited to be attending the first ever EQ Academy in Ohio to get totally edumakated in using EQ Stitch embroidery software.  I can't wait to be inspired by all of those EQ7 Geeks at the Electric Quilt Co.  What a dream come true! I'll let you know how it goes.
+


Monday, March 2, 2015

Sisters Weekend

I just returned from Ohio and a fabulous sisters quilting weekend.  My sister MJ completed her Dear Jane quilt and take a look at this masterpiece.

MJ's Dear Jane quilt top

Is this a WOW or what?  She has been working on it for 7 years! She began in a class at her local quilt shop and worked on it as she had time over the years.  Mostly a winter project, as she is an avid gardener and works outside in the warm months, she pieced all the blocks and triangles, many by hand, over the past years.  Finally done she trusted me with it to take to my favorite quilter, Brenda Weien, to quilt.

Sisters MJo and Gail came down to Columbus from Berea and Mansfield to round out the group.  Good eats, good drinks, and good times!

I worked on blocks from last year's BOM.  I never got them made last year as I was so busy designing and teaching.  So it was the perfect weekend to work on them, at last.  Blocks 1 and 2 are made and ready to be machine stitched.

Block 1 Agave Block 2014 BOM

Block 2 Splash Block 2014 BOM

The new BOM block for March 2015 is posted and the newsletter will go out tomorrow.  Had to do some catch up after being away last week.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Newsletter with Bonus Block

My newsletter went out last night with Block 2 of my Deco Garden Block of the Month and the second Bonus Block.


I have to say that I am having fun designing these bonus blocks.  If you haven't signed up for my newsletter you can do that right here.

Subscribe to my newsletter to get another free Bonus Block each month and the setting (sashing and border) instructions.

I send it out twice a month, so those of you who sign up after the first of the month can still get the bonus block for that month.  And this year I am running a year long promotion.  Send me a picture of your completed block and I will send you a free pattern.  Yup, really is that simple.  

Here is my first block. 



I used the fabrics from the Fabric Kits available from ConnectTheBlocks.com and they are just beautiful!  There are only a few kits left if you want to subscribe. 

Just to tempt you, here is the bonus block for this month!  

Remember you get this free if you subscribe to my newsletter.
The link to the bonus block will be in the newsletter sent out 
the 1st and 15th of each month.


Bonus Block 2

Also this month, my February Violets table runner is half price!  If you like doing English Paper Piecing with hexagons, here is an easy small project that you might enjoy making. Click on the picture below to purchase.

February Violets Table Runner
Also wanted to give a shout out to all the wonderful ladies I met in Ponca City, OK I met on Monday this week.  It was a great visit and I so enjoyed the group's hospitality and warm welcome.  My thanks to my hostess Jackie Bufton and all the board and members.

   

I shared my grandmother flower garden quilts with them and they shared a few of theirs during show and tell.  It was great fun to see those old treasures.

So far my first 2 weeks of retirement have been busy! I am spending the rest of this week relaxing and unpacking. And of course, I am gearing up for the next event on my calendar:  two days of teaching EQ7 classes at the Lawton, OK quilt show February 13-15.

If you are in the Kansas City area and have been looking for a beginner EQ7 class I am teaching at Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora on February 21, a Saturday, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Call to enroll at 785-542-2080.



Friday, January 30, 2015

It's Official . . . oh and the February Block is Posted

It seems like I have been anticipating this date for years, but it is finally here.  I am now officially retired.

My first week of retirement was a whirlwind.  Last weekend was my grandson's first birthday and the festivities for that were a blast.  He is finally crawling and oh so cute as he expands his abilities everyday with new discoveries.

Then I flew to Milwaukee to do a presentation of vocal effectiveness on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was a great trip, but a very fast turn around and a bit of a cluster changing planes in Chicago.  Did I ever mention that O'Hare is my least favorite airport? Next time I have a layover in Chicago I am bringing roller skates.

I spent Thursday running errands all over Lawrence, and still didn't get everything done in town I had planned.  I was pleased to take 10 boxes of theatre play scripts (remnants of my life as a theatre teacher) to KU to donate to their theatre department script library.  Perhaps some graduate student will enjoy them as I once did.

I filled 2 dumpsters cleaning out my office at work. . . .holy mackerel, who knew I had all that junk.  With great sadness I parted with all my high school and college papers.  Yup I really did save all that stuff. . . for years!  It was a real catharsis to let it all go and topple the boxes into the dumpster.  I shredded old student records, pay stubs going back 20 years. . . . .oh my, I had no idea what a pack rat I was.

Now I have a small -but dwindling- mountain of stuff in my living room which I brought home from my office.  My entire collection of cat figurines. . . books of poetry from my mother. . . 3' tall moving lighted flamingo. . . hey, you can't part with that stuff!!!!  I did get rid of the life size stuffed panther several years ago, and donated my jar of "ashes of problem students" to my replacement.

Today. . . Friday??. . . I cooked, baked, ran errands, shipped orders, scheduled new bookings, worked on email and organized my office.

Didn't some of you mention I would be busier after retirement than before??  LOL

Tomorrow I am going to a sew day with some friends and will enjoy a day completely devoted to working on my Deco Garden blocks!!  Phew!

So when does the relaxing start? :-)



Oh, I nearly forgot. . . block 2 is posted!  Enjoy.  If you make a block and send me a picture I will send you a free pattern by email.  Send the picture to reeze (at) morningglorydesigns.com.



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Block Hop winners

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to take the studio tour!  I so appreciate all the comments (and congrats).  It was a fun blog hop and I sure got some great ideas from the other designers.

Here are the winners from among those who posted, chosen at random:

Jennifer Padden is the winner of the free pattern and two charm packs.

Pattern winners:

Gill Watson
CatthyQuilt
Gretchen
Karen Wendel
Nancy A
Donna W

Please email me to collect your free pattern!
reeze (at) morningglorydesigns.com


Those who would like to purchase this pattern may do so at http://morningglorydesigns.com



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Last Day: Studio Spotlight Blog Hop

Studio Spotlight Friday -- Morning Glory Designs

Well, after two weeks of touring great studios how do you feel?  Overwhelmed?  Me too.  These great designers have wonderful spaces!   But I am pleased to invite you to take a quick tour of mine.

My studio is in the basement of my small house in Ottawa, KS.  So that means everything has to go down or up these stairs.


Yes, that really is pink carpet, and I have to say it's not my fault!  It was here when we bought the house 21 years ago and we have not changed it.

Turn right at the bottom of the stairs and you enter the Man Cave where my husband has his room for all things guy-related.

Turn left and you enter my studio.  First a word. . . My studio used to be my son's bedroom but when he went off to college he was no sooner out the door when we were remodeling the space.  Go HERE and see the complete remodel.

That was in 2009.  Here is what it looks like now, nearly 6 years later.

As you turn left and walk into the studio you see a glimpse of the "veranda" and my machine table.


My machine table is part of an old computer desk and the veranda is a huge wallpaper mural which covers the whole end of the room and wraps around the corner.

 Just behind my sewing chair is my ironing table and an old pie safe that I use to store supplies.

First, this is my sewing station.  You can see part of the veranda and my thread storage.  I wish I had a better way to store thread to keep the dust off, but as you will see this is a relatively small studio.


My comfy chair spins so that I can turn around and press.  I have a Bernina 440 machine and another smaller Bernina 240 which I keep packed up ready to travel to classes or retreats.  All of my tools are within easy reach.

To the right, I keep all the notions I use all the time in a spinning Pampered Chef tool caddy.  Works great for me and everything is at my fingertips.


Then my machine and large acrylic table sit in the middle between two big Ott Lights and a smaller bright light on the machine.  Machine needles and bobbins are close by.


Just to the left of my machine you can see a pink cutting mat taped to my table so I can do paper piecing right here at my machine.  The acrylic table can be removed when I put my embroidery module on the machine and all my embroidery threads are close where I can reach them as I sew.

In the corner of the table is my serger.  My husband bought this for my birthday more than 20 years ago, and it has been so good I have had no reason to replace it.   I sure would love a new one with self threading and more bells and whistles, but this one has served me well for many years.


The space behind my chair is the pressing station and you can also see my cotton thread (Masterpiece) nearby.  The two drawers contain my sewing gloves, machine manuals, pressing hams and machine accessories.

 And of course there are quilts on every wall.  They are mostly small ones, but they are ones that I love which I made or were made for me by others.  Several are by master quilter and expert in miniature quilt Jayne Turner, who wrote and incredible book on Miniature quilts.  I have several of Jayne's quilts on my walls, including the one on top in the picture above.  I made the stained glass quilt below it at a workshop by Linda Everhart some years ago.
 In the basket I put pressing supplies and the pattern I am working on.  More tools hand on the hook on the side of the Pie Safe.  I hang applique pressing sheets from a hole I punched in each one and a caddy that packs into my sewing tote when I go to class.  I really work on finding ways to use the space efficiently since the room is only 12' x 24'.

You can tell I like a lot of light on my work, so I have lamps on every surface and overhead pin lights focused on each area in the room.

The pressing table is a Big Board sitting atop a folding table.  Under the pressing table (set at a height to sit and press) are baskets for scraps.


The flooring is actually cushioned vinyl that looks like wood!  I love the look and it is easy on the feet.  The floor under it is cement!

Turn around and you see the rest of the room.


The cutting table folds up and has drawers and cupboards on both sides.  I only have one of the leaves up on the table.  When I am doing large projects I can turn the table and open the other leaf.  I have a mat the size of the entire table when I have the  need to open it up fully.

The blue box in front and the red one beneath it have all the things I need when I set up a booth at a show.  It is convenient to grab the booth box, and off I go with everything I need for set up on there.


Along the wall on the right, next to the pie safe,  where I store pressing items, embroidery frames and stabilizers, and some small quilts.  Beyond the cupboard is a set of three large shelving units my husband got for me last Christmas.

On the end are projects, batik bins, template bins, and accuquilt dies,


then there are fabric bins,



then quilt storage.  Since I do a lot of trunk shows I need quilts handy and ready to pack up. There are large suitcases on the floor beneath the shelves which I can use to haul quilts.



At the end of the room is a window and book shelves for my quilting books  and magazines.  the window is at ground level and under the deck so there is no light coming in.  To keep the room bright and cheerful I painted the walls yellow and the ceiling light blue!  The plastic drawer units hold quilting stencils, embroidery supplies, serger thread, batting scraps, and tote bags.


In the middle of the room is my sit-down long arm.


It is a 22" Martelli long arm with a 4'x 4' electric table.  It has a build in cutting mat on the back side and I can raise and lower it for work standing or sitting.  I really love it.

My new Brother Scan N Cut is set up on the cutting side, ready to work on a  new Block of the Month pattern. Below the table are bins with large batting scraps and another bin with projects in process.


On the wall opposite the shelves are two big closets.  One is my fabric storage closet, and the other is my husband's closet and entry to the under stairs storage.
Here is the fabric storage closet.  It has shelves and bins.  The drawers store holiday fabric, my collection of flamingo fabric and patterns, fusible web, and fabric for special projects.

 The other half of the closest has fabric bins sorted by color, and large drawers with wide backs and large yardage cuts.  The doors are covered with vinyl back tablecloths I use as a design wall.

My posable dude sits on the top of my long arm to keep me entertained while I quilt.  Below is another picture of my long arm with some fabric I was practicing on and the round holder used to move the fabric.  You can see the cutting mat better in this view.



This set of white drawers are all UFO's.  Ok not proud of the fact that I have alot of UFOs but at least I know where they are.  These are some of my retirement projects.  LOL  Above the drawers, in this alcove, are shelves with sewing notions, zippers, ribbons, and pattern boxes.  You can see the ruler racks on the left.

Now we are back around to my cutting table where I store all my rulers on the table in a stand and on the wall in a rack.



And that is the WHOLE studio.  Yes, it is all in one room.  OK, I have an office upstairs where my computer is located where I do all my design work, but it is pretty small and currently a mess, so we aren't going there!  haha

Next to the door is a small shelf where I keep an embroidery basket, a tin of pincushions, binding scraps, and my helper, Rockie.


 On the day I took these pictures, it was nearly 70 outside so I worked at my outside office, on my back porch.  Of course I can never go anywhere alone, my helper Buster and Rockie were nearby.


My outdoor desk with laptop where I do a lot of my design work in nice weather.



Thanks for taking the tour of my studio.  Leave a comment and you will be entered to win a free pattern.  I will give away 5 patterns to five random commentors.

If you go to my Facebook Page and like it or leave a comment you will be entered to win a pattern and two charm packs to make the pattern!


Don't forget to check out my website for my new patterns, my January sale, and my January 10% pattern special discount when you use the MGD10% coupon code at checkout.  Good through January 30!

Thanks and happy Friday.

Oh, and did I forget. . . . .??  

Today is my last day of work as a college professor.  

As of 5 pm today I am officially retired!  Oh yea. . . . . .:-)