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Hello! From here you can access your My Star Collection subscription (button on the left) and visit our bookstore (button on the left or top menu). Also, enjoy your favorite cartoon Mrs. Bobbins, read some fun blog posts, and get to know our authors. Enjoy!

June 20, 2016

Mrs. Bobbins Is Back!

You read that right: starting this month, there will be a new Mrs. Bobbins comic, right here on this blog, every month! We couldn’t be more excited to have Mrs. Bobbins back in our lives, so without further ado, here is June’s comic.

Looking for more great laughs? Mrs. Bobbins cartoonist Julia Icenogle has a whole collection of Mrs. Bobbins comics: The Big Book of Bobbins.

Filed under Books

June 17, 2016

Fine-Tuning the Stitch & Flip with Bonnie Hunter

Hello everyone!

I’m back again for a June blog post, hoping to share with you something that makes my quilting life easier as I work from project to project.

On our previous post, Making the Best Cut, Ellen commented: “I love all of Bonnie’s tips. Since I read her blog my accuracy has improved significantly. I am however still having trouble with flip and sew corners. No matter how careful I am it seems that I get a wide variety of results and so I am unable to diagnose my own problem. I would like to see any help on these.

Thanks for all the valuable information so far and I’ll look forward to more.”

Ellen also asked for help cutting with specialty rulers, and I’m happy to cover that in a future post, as soon as my new Essential Triangle Tool by C&T hits the market and we can do a video as well as a photo tutorial. It’s coming!

So today, let’s tackle the first of Ellen’s requests: the stitch & flip corners!

Shown here are some common units now easily made with stitch & flip corners.

I’d love to thank whoever first invented these. Remember life before these? We’d have to cut triangles, octagons, or trapezoids and actually sew cut half-square triangles in place, hoping that things would line up and we’d get the desired result.

Not so easy when sewing a triangle to a trapezoid! When that didn’t work, I resorted to paper piecing the units because it was the only way they would come out accurately.

Then along comes the technique of placing a square on top of the unit, sewing across the diagonal of the square, and folding up the triangle and clipping away the excess beyond the seam. AWESOME!

Only.

There appear to be some issues and some various ways of dealing with these issues.

Here is my experiment:

Today I’m starting with two identical units made from 2 1/2″ X 4 1/2″ rectangles with a 2 1/2″ square for each corner.

I have drawn a diagonal line on top of each neutral square.

There are many reasons WHY I draw lines instead of using something that tapes down to my machine bed allowing me to feed a diagonal square from point to point through my machine. The first reason is my vision. I need the line on TOP of my work so that I can get a straight seam. I am sewing blind if there is a line underneath my unit.

Yes, drawing lines takes time, but I can make up for the two seconds it takes to draw a line in the time it takes me to sew it accurately because there IS a line.

The second reason might not be obvious to everyone, but I want you to think here. Most of the time we read the directions, “Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner and SEW ON IT.”

IF you sew ON that line, your unit will ALWAYS be a bit short and will never reach the end of your base unit because the fold has to be made from the LEFT of the thread. If the stitching is on the fold line, you’ve short sheeted your unit!

I’ve got two identical units going through the machine. The first one will be sewn ON the line. The second one will be stitched to the RIGHT of the line, just into the seam allowance, with the thread up against the line but not on it.

When sewing diagonals like this, I make sure to sew a bit slower and aim for accuracy. It’s important to just breathe, slow down, and watch what you are doing.

If you have a foot that has a 1/4″ edge guide that doesn’t like to travel “across country,” you may want to switch to any open-toe foot that gives you good visibility for sewing across the fabric. Here I am sewing on my 1958 Singer 301, and I can see quite well where the needle is as I sew because it has a slant shank for greater needle visibility.

The proof is in the FOLD OVER! Look at the difference!

The one on the left was sewn ON THE LINE. The one on the right was sewn NEXT to the line, to the right of the line just into the seam allowance. Same thread, same machine. BIG difference.

Those patterns that direct you to stitch ON the line may also say that “it’s okay if it doesn’t reach all the way when you fold it over, just leave your base unit in place and only trim out the middle layer.”

I beg to differ, especially if the stitch & flip corner is a light fabric. The dark fabric underneath may show through, dulling the brightness of your lights.

Leaving the background unit in place also adds a lot of bulk in areas where units join to each other. Who wants double the thickness in these areas?

Always remember that the diagonal line is where you want the fabric to FOLD and in order for it to fold there, you need to stitch next to it, not on it.

And then there is that whole issue of the fun of bonus units that are possible—be watching for that in a future post!

If you want to give stitch & flip corners a try, head on over to my free tutorial for lozenges! You’ll get lots of practice, and sew up a bunch of scraps in the process!

Is there a topic you would like me to discuss or a question you would like answered in a future blog post? Leave me a comment below and we may feature you in a future post.

Bonnie K. Hunter is the author of several C&T titles, including Scraps & Shirttails, Scraps & Shirttails II, String Fling, Adventures with Leaders & Enders, and More Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

Be watching for a new book release from Bonnie and C&T in the fall of 2016!

Bonnie is also the Addicted to Scraps columnist for Quiltmaker magazine, giving hints, help, and tips in every issue to help put your own Scrap User’s System to good use, making more quilts in less time.

Follow Bonnie’s Daily blog at http://quiltville.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/quiltvillefriends

Facebook Group: Quiltville’s Open Studio

Instagram: @quiltville_bonnie

Filed under Books

June 16, 2016

Spring Quilt Market Recap

We went. We saw. And now we’re here to share all about Spring 2016 Quilt Market and what we experienced with you!

Clockwise from top to bottom:

1. Jocelyn, tradeshow coordinator, and Tristan, marketing coordinator getting ready to unload the crate to begin setting up the booth!

2. The talented panelists: Kristin Link, Heather Givans, Becky Goldsmith, and Angela Walters with moderator Amy Marson during the Make It as a Maker business seminar. We were so excited to have Craftsy there to announce their Quilt Designer fellowship program! Find out more here: http://craftsy.me/20RTSrb

3. Prepping for a series of YouTube video shoots with some of our authors. Look out for new videos coming soon to our channel! Featured quilt: My Cozy Village by Felicia Brenoe.

4. Diane Knott during her book signing of Scrap Quilt Secrets.

Spotted outside of our booth…

1. Angela Lan, author of #OOTD Sew & Style in the Babylock booth. How cute is the skull tee that she made?!

2. We’re still drooling over the gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. and Cotton and Steel fabric collaboration that debuted at market.

3. Sew Timeless’ booth display was adorable. These are some dresses made from patterns in Doll Days (pictured on the wall) by Erin Hentzel.

4. Michael Miller Fabrics was serving up some serious design inspiration with these pretty paper flowers in their booth!

We hosted a grand total of 13 Schoolhouse sessions the day before Quilt Market began. It was a whirlwind, but a blast because many of our authors got to meet and present their books together.

1. The Schoolhouse schedule.

2. Becky Goldsmith presenting her quilts from Piecing The Piece O’ Cake Way.

3. Sandra Clemons showing her gorgeous ‘Birds’ Quilt.

Curious to get a behind the scenes peek at the presentations? Many were streamed live on our Facebook page, and they are still available for viewing!

Take a peek at all of our #QuiltMarket photos on Instagram.

Do you know if your local quilt shop attends Quilt Market? Let us know in the comments!

Filed under Books

June 1, 2016

Choosing Fabric with Stashbusters!

As quilt shop owners, Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith get a lot of questions about how to choose fabrics for a quilt. So in their new book, Stashbusters!, they made sure to cover a few of their favorite approaches, including controlled color placement, a limited palette, and a focal fabric. And these gals are true experts—even if you think you know how to work with one of these color schemes, Sarah and Dolores throw in plenty of tips that’ll have you going, “Oh, I never thought of that!”

A great example of a controlled placement color scheme is the stunning cover quilt, Scrappy is as Scrappy Does. Sarah wanted to use a wide range of fabrics in the quilt (there are more than 50 in the final design!), so she decided to plan where each color would appear, controlling the randomness of the design. Black and red were used to anchor the Odd Fellow’s Chain blocks, and she settled on a black and red border to tie the whole quilt together.

Blueberry and Butter shows off the power of a limited palette color scheme. By sticking to only blue, brown, and yellow fabrics, Sarah ensured the quilt would come together beautifully—plus, the distinctive color scheme gave the quilt its name! One of her best tips? Look for fabrics that combine the colors you’ve chosen for your palette.

We’ve all heard of the idea of choosing a focus fabric for your quilt—a fabric you love with three or four colors that guides your color choices for the rest of the quilt. It’s All about Love takes this concept and runs with it, including anywhere from four to ten different fabrics for each color drawn from the focal quilt. Plus, Sarah works in brighter greens and reds, adding a spark to the quilt and drawing the eye.

How do you choose colors for your own quilts?

Filed under Books

May 31, 2016

Quilter’s Bucket List: Bonnie Hunter

Hi there! I’m Heather Kojan, and I’m excited to bring you the first in a series of interviews we’re calling Quilter’s Bucket List. As quilters, it seems we’re always looking two to three (20–30?) projects ahead and have an ongoing list of “some day” or “bucket-list” projects. Your favorite C&T authors are no different. They have bucket list quilts as well!

We’re kicking off the series with  Bonnie Hunter! I first became aware of Bonnie Hunter about five years ago (I know, I’m a little late to the party). I had recently moved to Baltimore and met a group of quilty friends. They were all abuzz about an upcoming quilt cruise with Bonnie Hunter. Bonnie who? Clearly I needed to educate myself. After several hours of Googling and blog bingeing, I understood my friends’ excitement. Then I became lost in her world of scrappy goodness and leaders and enders. I was hooked. And now, a full-circle moment, as I interview Bonnie!

Bonnie, thanks so much for chatting with me!

First question: What are you working on now?

Along with working on quilts for my next book down the pipeline for a Fall 2018 release, I’m working on some things for ME as well! I’ve always wanted an initial quilt. My last name is Hunter, and after acquiring a couple of vintage H quilts during my travels, I started my own.

I’ve been making little H blocks for a bit more than a year, just out of scraps that found themselves on my cutting table. I’m up to adding the sashing and will soon be sewing the top together. I’ve enjoyed the whole process, designing as I go.

No name for this one yet, but I’m thinking of For the H of It… or H Is for… It will come to me!

I love the whole process of quilting, from a simple block idea, to how to set things, to the top assembly, to the quilting, and on to the binding.

Those H’s!! What a happy quilt! I think I need one of those too (being an H and all!)

Do you have a favorite quilt you’ve made?

Many! But if I had to pick one, it would be Pineapple Crazy from my book String Fling.

I paper-pieced those blocks while on the road, using gleaned scraps from student discards, as well as small scraps from my own projects, combining them all into one big, happy, scrappy mess.

This quilt makes my soul smile.

What a fabulous quilt! A memory quilt of your travels. I can see why you love it.

Do you have a favorite quilt you own (not made by you?)

I do! And at first glance, you might wonder WHY this quilt is a favorite. It’s not the most beautiful; it’s not museum quality and it doesn’t hold great monetary value. The points aren’t perfect, the fabrics are ordinary—everyday scrap bag!

This quilt is called Periwinkle Star or Hummingbird and was made in the 1940s. Of course, that cheddar orange grabbed me from the get-go, but I also love it because it is machine quilted.

If you look closely you will see that there is a section that has a huge “crazy-pieced” PATCH JOB right on top of the quilt, also machine quilted in place.

I love things that give us little life lessons, and as I go through life I realize that we all carry patches on ourselves from things we’ve been through and have overcome. Some things leave scars, but we are still valuable, maybe even more beautiful, as we go through the obstacles that life throws at us.

I wish I knew the story of this quilt, but I don’t. I just have to imagine that someone loved this quilt so much that they patched it with what they had so they could go on loving it and using it, making memories with it along the way.

So what’s on your Quilter’s Bucket List?

I have two projects that have languished in the hand-quilting department.

Life hasn’t given me time to sit and blissfully hand quilt those. I need to be in a very relaxed, unfrenzied place to pick up needle and thread and do hand quilting. Finishing those two quilts is on my bucket list. I need to MAKE myself carve out time for them, or I know it will never happen.

Anything non–quilt-related on your bucket list?

I want to take a cruise, just the four of us: The Hubster Dave, my two sons Jason and Jeff, and me. Go somewhere wonderful; make some memories, the four of us as a family, NO QUILTING ALLOWED! Okay, maybe a bit of hand stitching on the deck, but that’s it. Sometimes you just have to step away from the fabric, thread, machines, and projects and make some other kinds of adventures happen.

Sounds perfect! Book it now!

Just for fun, here are some lightning-round questions about how you quilt:

Barefoot or shoes?

It depends on the season, but mostly I sew with shoes. I bind barefoot! Or in socks. Because I sew on vintage machines, both electric and treadle, the foot pedals and the treadle pedal just work better with shoes on for me. My feet are more comfortable in shoes, even if it is a pair of Birkenstocks in the summer.

Quiet or music/movie/TV/podcast?

I love instrumental music when I need to think and don’t want lyrics clogging my head. If I’m writing or designing, I love my Pandora with the Jim Brickman channel on. If I’m happily piecing, you’ll find me with everything from 1970s and 1980s pop to John Mayer and Adam Levine.

If I’m in the mood to watch something, I am a Netflix girl. Drama, romantic comedy, and anything criminal/legal/police/detective-related.

Salty or sweet?

Salty. Mixed nuts. Chips & salsa. And fizzy flavored seltzer water.

Self-taught or schooled?

Self-taught, mostly. My fist projects came from magazines in the early 1980s. The first book I ever owned was It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt by Mary Ellen Hopkins. It’s the one that turned the whole “patchwork is basically just a grid” light on for me. There was no stopping me after that book. I still have it. Thank you, Mary Ellen—you are greatly missed!

I too loved Mary Ellen and her PPM (Personal Private Measurement).

Planned or scrappy? (Wait, don’t answer that—I think I know the answer!)

I am firmly of the belief that “once you go scrappy, there is NO going back!” That said, scrappy CAN be planned by choosing certain color families to work with and using that palette to add some uniformity to the quilt through color and value. But why choose one blue when you can have 42? It’s more fun on the scrappy side! I just want to play with the whole box of crayons.

Perfect or done?

Oh, definitely throw the perfection out of the window. Give it your best shot, but don’t let perfection be the main goal. Don’t be shoddy just to get it finished either. I often say that “I live happily in the Land of That’ll Do,” and it’s a great place to be!

And one last question: You’re so prolific—do you ever sleep?

YES! Oh my goodness, I have people ask me this EVERY day, as if I should be ashamed of what I get done in a twenty-four-hour period. I think we all work at our own pace, whatever that pace is. My pace just might be a bit more ramped up than the next person, but we all do what we can with our quilting around what life throws at us daily. This is my norm. This is the frequency I’m tuned into.

Do what you can, accomplish what you can accomplish. Choose what’s important and throw those things out of your life that end up being a huge time suck.

I also found that once I distanced myself from those things that were an emotional suck as well, my creativity was restored, wide open.

Please stop trying to keep up with your neighbor. No comparing! Quilt at your own pace. It should bring you peace and joy, not frustration that you aren’t accomplishing enough fast enough.

I take naps! I love naps! I’m an early morning person and get my best work done before noon. I love a midafternoon snooze.

I’m off to bed by 10:30 p.m., that’s when I turn into a pumpkin. And I am lucky that I do sleep well. And I’m ready to go again the next morning.

Bonnie, you’re a gal after my own heart: naps, naps, naps! Thanks so much for talking with me. You’re an inspiration (and an all-around really nice person!)

Do you have any more questions you would like answers to? Please leave a comment below!

Bonnie K. Hunter is the author of several C&T titles, including  Scraps & ShirttailsScraps & Shirttails IIString FlingAdventures with Leaders & Enders, and More Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

Be watching for a new book release from Bonnie and C&T in the fall of 2016.

Bonnie is also the Addicted to Scraps columnist for  Quiltmaker magazine, giving hints, help, and tips in every issue to help put your own Scrap User’s System to good use, making more quilts in less time.

Follow Bonnie’s Daily blog at  http://quiltville.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/quiltvillefriends

Facebook Group:  Quiltville’s Open Studio

Instagram:  @quiltville_bonnie

Heather Kojan is a quilt teacher, lecturer, and author living in Baltimore, MD. She’s the founder of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild and a contributing author to Classic Modern Quilts. You can read more about her quilting life on her blog www.heatherkojan.com.

Filed under Books