Monday, April 29, 2013

Ask Monique - Quitling Ann Landers

Happy Monday!

Sorry that I didn't blog last week but it was a busy week.  I lectured in Decatur, Illinois at the Decatur County Quilt Guild.  Everyone was so wonderful and I had a great time.

On Friday, I left for New Hampton, IA to demo my rulers at my friend, Denise's quilt shop, Quilter's Window.  She was involved in a 9 bus tour and we had over 400 ladies come through her shop.  It was a great turnout and it looked like everyone had a blast!  They got to travel to different shops in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa on a 2 day bus tour.  Everyone that came through seemed to enjoy the experience.  I know that I enjoyed meeting everyone!  I'm sure she will do it again so look for a bus tour at your local shop.

I had every intention of writing my new Ask Monique column last Monday but as you see it was a crazy week.  So, I decided to do it this Monday.  My first question comes from Tracey and she asks:

Most patterns say 1/4 inch seam, some say scant 1/4 inch seam.  What is the difference?  How do I achieve the perfect 1/4 inch or scant 1/4?  and why 1/4 inch?
 
ok maybe thats 3 ?'s
 
Dear Tracey:
 
What is the difference between a scant 1/4" seam and a 1/4" seam and what do you use?
 
It is actually a scant 1/4" seam.  The full 1/4" is measured from the side of your thread to the edge of the fabric.  If you sew a scant 1/4", you measure your 1/4" and include your threads.  The reason that you need to use a scant 1/4" seam is if you use a full 1/4" seam, then the fold from pressing and thread width will make up a little bit of bulk and your 1/4" becomes a fat 1/4".  
 


How do you achieve the perfect scant 1/4"?    
 
First, it depends on the type of foot you are using.  If you use a 1/4" foot, you will need to be just inside the foot, not where you can see your fabric.  If you are using a regular foot and move your needle to the correct position, then you need to make sure that you sew several test pieces to make sure that you are achieving your 1/4".  How you do this is, sew a piece in different positions of your needle, measure and ascertain which is the correct scant 1/4".  It's a great idea to do this for any foot that you use.  
 
Second, there is a really great tool by Perkins Dry Goods that helps you achieve the perfect 1/4" seam.  It is called the Perfect Piecing Seam Guide.  Check it out.
 
Why 1/4"?
 
That is a good question, Tracey!  I don't really know but it seems that it's always been a 1/4" in quilting.  Maybe to reduce the bulk for smaller pieces?  That makes sense to me.
 
Thanks for the great question and continue to write in with them!
 
See you Wednesday for Block #5 of the Blogger Girls Block of the Month!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marquis

Coming up with diamond names for the quilts in my book was fun!  I looked up names on the web because I don't have a lot of diamonds in my jewelry collection to pull from :)

I think my favorite in the book is Marquis.  It is a combination of 1/4 square triangles and courthouse steps blocks.  I love the way the blocks sewed together and the interesting effect when you pieced the quilt top.  Here is Marquis:
For this quilt, I used a French General fabric line, Rouenneries Deux and is all fat quarters except for the border and the binding.  This is done in pinks, reds and creams but can be made in any colors.

If you are interested in taking a class from me and live in or want to travel to either the Michigan or Missouri areas, I will be teaching this quilt in those areas. 

On June 7-8, I will be in Elkton, MI (The Thumb), teaching two quilts from Diamond Traditions.  Marquis is one of them and Diamonds & Pearls is the other.  The retreat is organized by Gail Brown and you can get further information through her website.  During the weekend, we have special gifts, great food, show & tell, games and Sue and I bring a mini shop with Open Gate items and fabric.  I have taught at Gail's retreat for the past 5 years and we have so much fun each and every time! 

On July 19-21, I will be in Brunswick, MO for a retreat with Sew Sweet Quilt Shop.  I will be teaching two classes, Marques and Victoria Rose.  On Saturday night, I will also be speaking at the retreat.  So, a whole weekend of yours truly!  You can get more information from their website.  This is the first time that I have taught at the Sweet Sewfull Event but I am very much looking forward to it.  It promises to be lots of fun and I'm sure there will be a few surprises too!

I am thinking about doing a "Dear Ann Landers" type column on my blog.  I wouldn't answer question on lifestyle but about quilting.  If I didn't know the answers to the questions, I would do my best to find them.  What do you think?

Here is an example of a question: 

Dear Monique,

When I am piecing quilts, I find that the thread on my machine comes out of the needle, how do I stop this?

Needled


Dear Needled,

There are a couple ways to prevent this, but first, always make sure that your needle and the race are in the top position on your machine.  If it is, your thread shouldn't pull out.  If you have a machine that has a needle up feature, you shouldn't have to touch your wheel at the side to move your needle.  Get used to using your foot and not your hand wheel and it will help a lot. 

First, when you start sewing, grab both your bobbin thread and your top thread and hold onto them.  This is actually how I do it.  It takes a bit to get used to but once you do, it will make sewing less frustrating!    


Second, many people use leaders and enders.  This is a piece of fabric that you can re-use to start and end sewing.  Some people use 2-4 layers of a small piece of fabric and feed it when they start, cut it off and then again feed it in when they end.  Other people, like Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville, actual sew 1/2 squares, 4-patches, or smaller pieces for their leaders and enders.  They have a pile of them at the ready at all times and they actually get some piecing done while they are preventing their machine from jamming up.
Leader

Ender

Let me know what you think of this column idea and if you have questions that you want answered, email me:  info@opengatequilts.com.  If I choose your question, I will send you a free pattern to enjoy!

See you next week!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Diamond Traditions

Hello and Happy Monday!  Last week I received an advance copy of my book, Diamond Traditions with C&T Publishing.  It is due to come out in May.  The cover is SO cool and I am just thrilled with this book!  It is another fat quarter book and with this one, I use fat quarters as backgrounds for some quilts and 1 fabric for background for others.  There are 11 different quilts and most have multiple sizes.  Here is the cover:
The quilt on the front, Blue Heart Diamonds, was pieced by my friend, Peggy Drake and quilted by another friend Danette Gonzalez.  Here is a picture of the entire quilt:
This is one of the quilts in the book that uses a scrappy fat quarter background.  In the book, I also provide instructions on using either my rulers or the traditional method of piecing. 

Are you wondering where the name of the book came from?  Well, when I was designing the quilts, I saw a diamond theme coming out in each of the quilts, so there you go!

I will keep posting pictures of each of the quilts in the book in the next couple of weeks. 

Have a great week!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Blogger Girls Block of the Month Block #4

Happy April Fool's Day!  I won't pull any tricks on you and I will give you the block!  Hope everyone had a nice Easter and are ready to sew your next block. Click on the link to get the instructions:  Blogger Girls Block of the Month Block #4.  Note that on step 6, square to 8 1/2", not 6 1/2".

Don't forget to check the other Blogger's blocks, here is the list:

Sherri from A Quilting Life - aquiltinglife.blogspot.com
Thelma from Cupcakes ‘n Daisies ~ cupcakesndaisies.blogspot.com
Lissa from Moda  Lissa  ~ ModaLissa.blogspot.com
Denise from Quilter’s  Window ~ Quilterswindow.com/blog/
Nicole from Sister’s Choice  ~  sisterschoice.typepad.com
Lisa from Stashmaster ~ The-Stashmaster.blogspot.com

AND make sure that you check out the flickr group: Blogger Girls BoM to see other participants blocks.  There are even a few that have put their sashing blocks up!

Block #4, version 1:
Block #4, version 2:

Blogger Girls Block of the Month Block #4:

First, sew the triangles together to go on your center square.  For block 4, version 1, make sure that you sew mirror images.  For block 4, version 2, make the triangles look all the same to create a pinwheel.

For Block 4, Version, 1 center
For Block 4, Version 2, pinwheel center

On the back of your center square, draw two diagonal lines from corner to corner.

Trim, using the Companion ruler to cut off the corners.

Match the seam from the triangles from the first step to the diagonal marks.  Press towards the center.  (I know it is awkward but you will be happy when you sew on the flying geese.)


Sew on both sides and trim, using the Fit to be Quarter 6.5.

Trim of the corners, using the companion and sew the remaining two triangle sets to the center. Square using the Fit to be Quarter 6.5.


Make 4 flying geese, two with the red and two with the black (here I used brown).  Follow the directions in the instructions and the Fit to be Geese ruler.
Sew the center together using the center, the 4 flying geese and 4 squares of main light.
Sew 8 flying geese with the red and the black with 4 mirror images of the other 4.  Also, for the first red that you sew onto your main light, press towards the light.  Again, this will help you when you put your block together. 


Sew the block together using the 8 flying geese, the center and the remaining 4 main light squares.

Here is Kathy's version:
Don't they look different!?  So cool!

Hope everyone has a great week and enjoys working on their blocks!