Well, I'm off to drop my Meg's Garden quilt off at Nancy's Notions so they can be ready for QuiltExpo. then I'm going to Mukwonago to teach Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks at Quilt-agious. I'm having so much fun!
Six lovely ladies finished their tuffets at Quintessential Quilts in Madison Tuesday night. It was, as they say, a dark and stormy night, but their tuffets were bright and fun! And we laughed a lot! Never underestimate the sense of a humor of a woman drilling the button pilot hole on her tuffet. Or making her dimple, for that matter.
Here's a little more information about the fabric used in the last tuffet. For those of you not from Wisconsin, this is an exclusive line designed by Jeanne Horton and Julie Hendricksen for Windham Fabrics and was available at shops participating in the Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop. Very cool! If you're curious about the Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop fabric line and want to see more of it, visit their site here.
Well, I'm off to drop my Meg's Garden quilt off at Nancy's Notions so they can be ready for QuiltExpo. then I'm going to Mukwonago to teach Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks at Quilt-agious. I'm having so much fun!
We had a different kind of tuffet class this past weekend. Instead of doing two classes separated by a week or two for homework, we had one longer first day and then finished the next. So all of these ladies made their tuffets in two days, despite the high heat and humidity.
All five of these tuffets were made using eight fat quarters. And all of them feature at least a little bit of Kaffe Fassetr (or Brandon, or Philip) fabrics!
As you may have heard, I'm going to be giving a lecture at QuiltExpo this September! I'm very excited to do this as it's my first introduction to teaching that isn't through a shop or school. Normally, I give "Rinky Dink" as a three hour hands-on class. I've taught this since roughly 2008 and it's not only the first class I ever taught, it's also one of my most successful classes. People have commented things like, "this was the best class I've ever taken." That meant so much to me! At QuiltExpo, I'm shortening the class to a one hour lecture. The great thing is, you could still take it as a three hour class afterward and benefit greatly from it.
So what is this class, you may ask? It's a confidence-building free motion quilting class. I had heard so much from people who had taken a free motion quilting class but were petrified at the idea of actually quilting one of their quilts. Some people thought their machines weren't good enough. Some people had tried but were worried about their stitching not being up to par.
This class was made for those people. It's not a replacement for your free motion quilting class at your local shop. It can be taken either before or after you take the "official" free motion class. I like to say that taking free motion quilting is like taking drivers' ed and taking my Rinky Dink class is like driving around in an abandoned parking lot with your older sister. No one will get hurt.
In Rinky Dink we don't do feathers. We don't do cables or scrolls or even pebbles. All we do are three or four very basic designs. The idea of the class is to get you used to moving with the machine. At some point you'll get that feeling, that feeling that you've become comfortable and want to do more. This class is to help get you to that point just a little bit more easily.
So, if you can't come to my lecture at QuiltExpo (it's all three days and only $10), then be sure to try to catch the full class at an upcoming shop. And if you learned about me through this website, I'd love to hear from you!
I took a little hiatus from teaching tuffets last week to take my daughter to a sychronized skating summer camp at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio. It was a great experience and I didn't even make one tuffet! But the week before? Two finishes for me!
First, the Amy Butler tuffet. It's not all Amy Butler, but it's close.
The other one? So fun... a Bucky Badger tuffet!
I have two pieces of great news! One is that I'm going to be giving my lecture, "Quilting with Less Stress on a Rinky Dink Machine" at Quilt Expo! If you haven't been to Expo before, it's a great show put on by Nancy Zieman Productions as well as Wisconsin Public Television.
This lecture is a great way to learn how to build confidence as you approach quilting your first pieces. It's only $10, and I'm giving the lecture all three days of Expo. Here's a link to sign up!
The other news is that my quilt, Meg's Garden, has been accepted into the show as well! I'd love for you to come and see this quilt in person!
If you are able to come, please keep an eye out for me! I'd love to say hi!
In the last post I talked about the first of the eleven students in two days; today: Reedsburg! Specifically, Quintessential Quilts in Reedsburg.
Don't ask me why, but somehow I didn't get everyone's individual tuffets photographed. I hope to rectify that very soon!
......aaaaand I need to chase down the tuffets I failed to photograph. Coming soon I hope!
It's been a busy summer here in Wisconsin! This past Tuesday, we had a wonderful group of ladies who made some wonderful tuffets at Quilt-agious in Ripon.
Such a fun group! Let's check out their tuffets one by one:
Somehow I missed getting a photo of Sandy's tuffet from above. Time for me to hunt her down!
Next post: more tuffets, this time from Reedsburg!
So remember that post where I said I'd talk about other backing topics? So here are some of my thoughts that aren't related to just figuring out the math.
I'm talking about backings that have two pieces of fabric running in one direction and another running perpendicular. Thusly:
I can tell you that longarmers hate T-shaped backs. This is because of the warp and weft (or crosswise vs. lengthwise grain of the fabric). There is a little bit of stretch in the weft (crosswise, that is, selvedge to selvedge) grain of the fabric. When a longarmer is loading a quilt onto the frame, she has to work against gravity. That gravity is pulling down on the backing, which isn't actually attached to anything but a couple of roller bars on her frame. This means that the backing may sag and if it's sewn together in a T shape as illustrated above, it will sag weirdly. So, if you're sending your quilt to a longarmer, skip the t-shaped backing. In fact, if I were sending mine off, I would piece the back as little as possible. I know, I know, it's very popular to piece the back, and I'm not saying I wouldn't at all, but it does present possible issues when quilting on a longarm.
Wide backings are a popular choice, but keep in mind that they are often not made from the same high quality greige goods your regular quilt shop fabric is made from. So, wide backings can also be hard to square and they can be squirrely.
I also understand that longarmers aren't fans of using bedsheets as backings. this is because the thread count on sheets is often too high to easily quilt through. However, though I haven't used a sheet as a back before, once I scored a used duvet cover from Crate and Barrel for under ten bucks and used that as a backing and it was just fine. But, it wasn't really a sheet, and because it was Crate and Barrel, it was of reasonably high quality.
This is the super soft, furry stuff that is so wonderful to touch. Longarmers don't seem to mind minky fabric on the back of quilts. Remember that quilting stitches will really disappear into your quilt if you use minky fabric on the back, so if you're wanting to highlight the quilting on the back, minky might not be your best choice.
A note about using minky: please don't use the yucky stuff they have at the discount fabric stores. That stuff feels okay (not as good as quilt shop Cuddle) but once you wash it, yuck. And contrary to popular belief, it isn't too bad to quilt with, as long as you use basting spray and not pins to baste.
Quilting at home
So all of the things above that I mentioned that longarmers aren't fans of? Well, they're often more do-able at home. If you're basting your quilt on a table or the floor, you don't have gravity working against you, and you're always going to be attaching the backing to the batting. No sag! The other thing about quilting from home is that you can deal more easily with things like pieced backs.
Ah yes, quilting at home. That will be a whole new series!
This week I had four finishes. Three were at The Electric Needle and one was at my house.
This is Cheryl from the class where she hadn't been able to finish due to her grandchild being born the day after class 1. We live near each other so she came over to finish her tuffet.
Here's the top-down view:
Today, the happy tuffeteers walked out into the insane humidity.
This group had such variety! Everyone tried something different on their tuffet bottoms, too.
I'll be scheduling another tuffet class at The Electric Needle soon. Be sure to follow me on Facebook for updates, or keep an eye on the calendar.
* I probably have this spelled completely wrong.
** I have no idea if this is actually French Provençal.
As some of you may know, I had a blog called My Feed Dogs Are Down for some time. I wasn't very good at updating it, but there were a few good posts. My plan is to migrate some of those over here on a semi-regular basis (read: as I remember to do it). I'll start with one of my more useful ones about backings. Depending on how easy or difficult the migration process is, I may or may not start with an introduction like this. I'll always tag them TBT, though, in case you need to know.
I recently stumbled upon a question in a quilt group on Facebook asking, "How much fabric do I need to back a 6' x 8' quilt?" Instead of just giving an answer, I decided to write this post to teach her (and others) how to figure it out herself. Sort of a, "tell a quilter how much backing fabric she needs, help her with one project; teach a quilter how to figure it out herself, help her for all of her projects" situation.
The first thing to do is take those numbers in feet and change them to inches. Instead of 6' by 8', we need to think of it as 72" by 96". Quilting fabric usually comes in widths ranging between 40 and 44 inches. I'm going to assume 40, because it's better to have too much than too little.
If we double 40, we get 80. Since 80 is generously bigger than 72, she won't need to sew more than two widths of fabric together. So we know that we will need two times the longer dimension of the quilt, which is 96. So, if we double 96, we get 192 inches. Divide that by 36 (because there are 36 inches in a yard) and voila, we get 5.33 yards. Of course, because we don't want to have to be super precise, and because shops don't cut perfectly, and everything else, we need to increase that amount. So, I would advise her to buy 6 yards of fabric.
This method works with larger quilts, too. If your shortest dimension is 90, you would simply sew three lengths of fabric together using the longer length multiplied by three (along with -- no kidding here -- about another yard of fabric to allow for cutting, sewing, and shrinkage).
Keep in mind that my method above is assuming she is doing her own quilting. If she is sending the quilt to a longarmer, she needs to add 8 inches to each dimension (most times the longarmer will describe this as "four inches on each side"). So in that case, we would be looking at a backing that needs to be 80 by 104. The 80 is okay in this case; we were assuming we would only get 40 inches of usable fabric when in reality we will probably get a little more. Plus, though I'm not a longarmer (and I don't even play one on tv), I think most can get by with a smidgin less than four inches all around. But we would still need to double the 104 number to come up with 208. Divide that by 36 and we get 5.778 yards. Personally, I'd probably still go with 6 yards, but if she wanted to be really safe, she could get 6 1/4 yards.
So, that wasn't too painful, was it? I'll talk about wide backings and T-shaped backings in another post.
It was a beautiful day yesterday, and it was a beautiful day to finish tuffets! Lynne and JoAnn finished these two beauties at Bungalow Quilting and Yarn in Ripon yesterday.
I also couldn't resist doing a little shopping myself. I really love all of the fabric at Bungalow. If I lived closer, it would be very dangerous!
Leave it to me to wait until the last minute. I literally started this project yesterday morning and finished it tonight. Lucky for me it's only 20 inches square!
The June Focus Through the Prism challenge block was the Friendship Star. My Cherrywood fabric this month was indigo. This block has meaning to me because this block was my first foray into triangles so many years ago.
I often tell my beginning students that the best way to improve their quilting skills is to try something new on each quilt they make. Often times I don't have the time to do that myself. But for this quilt I took my own advice an I made a facing. I used Susan Brubaker Knapp's awesome instructions.
After so many classes this past week I'm running low on some of my tuffet supplies. Going through the process of ordering more supplies, it occurred to me that you might want to know just what goes into a basic tuffet kit. After all, it's not an inexpensive purchase. You need to know what you're getting for your money.
First, the plywood base. It's the perfect size and thickness for your tuffet and is strong enough to withstand regular use.
Now to the foam. Hooray for foam! I love the foam I supply. It's already sized and beveled and is high quality furniture-grade foam. You can certainly find cheaper foam out there, but if you want to create a tuffet that will last, this foam is the ticket.
Next we have the upholstery batting. You'll get the right thickness to smoothly shape your tuffet without being so thick that it's hard to work with. This isn't the same thing as quilting batting. I wouldn't want this in a quilt I made, and I also wouldn't want quilt batting in a tuffet.
The button form provided with the tuffet kit is strong and can take the force of making the tuffet dimple. It's a bit startling how much I love this button form.
Tee nuts and cording. Okay, they're not the most exciting part of the kit, but they're important. The tee nuts are the right size to fit with the threads of the feet I supply. I recommend putting a little E6000 (or similar) glue around the shaft before hammering in the nuts. We don't want accidental slippage at any time. The cording is designed to withstand 35 lbs of tension. I include enough to gather your tuffet top as well as creating the tuft.
Lastly, if you are planning to make a tuffet, you may want to consider buying a 12 inch needle. I don't include it in the kit because it's really a tool; once you own it, you shouldn't need to buy another one unless something happens to it.
If you don't want to go through the process of building the tuffet form, I also offer pre-made tuffet forms. You still get the button form and the button cording if you buy this kit.
The complete kit includes a pattern/instructions, interfacing, the upholstery needle, muslin, an Add-a-Quarter ruler, the basic tuffet kit and your choice of feet. You just supply the fabric and basic tools like your sewing machine, iron, rotary cutter, etc.
There you have it. If I missed anything or you have any questions about my tuffet kits, please leave a comment or contact me via email. Thank you!
We had a nice size class at Quilt-agious that finished yesterday. Six tuffets!
Today we had another tuffet finishing class, this time at Bungalow Quilting and Yarn in Ripon, Wisconsin. If you ever get a chance to visit the area, you should make a point to stop at Bungalow because every fabric they have is gorgeous. And if you enjoy knitting or crocheting, they have a ton of beautiful yarn, too!
Only two finishes today due to some unforeseen circumstances, but that will all be rectified next Thursday. I promise! But the two we have, oh, they are stunning. I'll include extra photos just because I'm in a good mood.
We had a great group of tuffet students at Quilt-agious in Mukwonago today! Everyone had great fun and ... oh, never mind, let's get to the photos!
We had finishes at different times, so no big group photo. But that's okay!
Let's check out the closeups. One of these days I'll remember that the lens on my phone is not right in the middle of my phone. Sorry for the slightly lopsided photos!
Another successful group of tuffeteers! Quilt-agious has another class finishing Saturday. If you haven't been to the shop yet, you should really check it out. Beautiful fabrics!
It's been a busy week here! I've had a total of sixteen student in the past week! Two classes have been at Quilt-agious in Mukwonago and one class at Bungalow Quilting and Yarn in Ripon. All of the students have been wonderful and they are making great progress!
Stay tuned for lots of photos. We finish up Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I'm so excited to show you these new tuffets!
In the meantime, if you aren't close enough to take a class with me, check out my shop. I've added new feet and the option to buy an already-built tuffet form that just needs to be covered.
I've been working on a skating dress for a friend of my daughter's. She wanted a 60s mod vibe. I found the fabric on SpandexWorld. I think it's actually swimsuit material, but it worked out great for this. I fully lined it because the fabric was not completely opaque. This is a zip-front pattern by Jalie.
This was a fun pattern to make. I am pretty happy with the invisible zipper (though it was a bit of a cheat because the bottom of the zipper goes into the skirt seam, so I didn't have to make it look truly invisible). Here's the dress (with a different belt) for a closer look.
The part I'm most proud of, though, is the pair of boot covers I made to look like go-go boots. The stretch vinyl is the same as what I used in the belt. The boot covers also feature zippers. I made hook and loop tabs so they could be adjusted at the top and the bottom.
My newest tuffet. It's six batiks from my stash.
These are new legs for me. What do you think of them? They're a little more expensive than my other ones are but I think it's nice to have a taller option.
If you'd like to make your own tuffet but you don't live in Wisconsin or near one of the other tuffet affiliates to take a class, then you can find what you need in my shop. In this post, I'll go over exactly what you'll need to make your tuffet.
1. Tuffet pattern and printed interfacing. This includes the instructions for making the tuffet. It also includes a full set of printed interfacing to make one tuffet. If you want to make more tuffets after the first one, you'll just need the interfacing.
2. Tuffet kit. This includes all of the "innards" of a tuffet. In it you get a wood base (with strategically-drilled holes), four tee nuts, furniture-grade upholstery foam, upholstery batting, a button form, and cording. These are all of the unusual things that aren't going to be readily available at your quilt shop or, really, anywhere else easily accessible. These are things that I generally order many of at one time in order to price them reasonably.
3. Fabric requirements. Oooh! The fun part! It breaks down like this: you really just need 64 strips that are 2 inches wide. You can do that to have every strip different. You can also use 32 strips and have them repeat. This makes a mirror-image tuffet which can be quite striking. My Kaffe Fassett tuffet is like that.
You can also use a jelly roll. These are quite often 44 strips and they are 2 1/2 inches each. There's no need to trim them; they just produce more waste. Of course, if you use a jelly roll, you will likely end up using half strips, so you'll have some fabric left over. That's okay. Just know that it will happen.
So, aside from your strips for the top, you'll need a fat quarter for the bottom of your tuffet, and a square of about six inches for your button. This is a great time to fussy-cut something.
Also fabric, but not the fun kind, you'll need 1.25 yards of muslin to which to fuse the interfacing.
4. Quilting-related tools. Aside from fabric, you'll also need the following tools that you probably already own: Rotary cutting mat, rotary cutter, sewing machine, thread, an iron and ironing surface, scissors, and straight pins. Additionally, you'll need a 12 inch Add-a-Quarter ruler. I'm thinking of adding these to my shop. Let me know if you think I should.
5. Weirdo upholstery tools and supplies. Here's where you discover the benefit of taking a class versus making a tuffet at home. When I teach classes, I bring things like safety glasses, ear protection, upholstery-grade staplers, staple pullers, pliers, files, hammers, and other tools. I also bring upholstery foam adhesive spray, upholstery thread, staples, and upholstery needles, including a 12-inch upholstery needle. I've also thought about offering those in my store. Any thoughts? [Update: I now offer the 12-inch upholstery needle in my store here.]
Nail heads are an option for finishing the bottom of your tuffet. You don't need them if you are going to glue some sort of trim, or if you don't expect to be showing the bottom of your tuffet much. Many of mine just have staples, but nail heads can be attractive.
6. Feet. I stock many different kinds of feet. Unless you want to set your tuffet on the floor, or you have your own source for feet, you'll want to choose a set.
So, if it's your first tuffet and you can't take a class with me, you'll want to order the pattern (which includes interfacing), the tuffet kit, and a set of feet. If you already have the pattern, then you just need to order the interfacing, tuffet kit, and a set of feet. Nail heads are optional for either situation.
UPDATE: I now offer 12 inch upholstery needles and Add a Quarter rulers in my store, as well as a finished tuffet form. Also check out the Complete Tuffet Kit which includes everything you need except a sewing machine, fabric, an iron, and basic sewing supplies.
I've officially completed my Focus Through the Prism Challenge for May! The challenge is through Project Quilting and you can read about it here on the Persimon Dreams blog! There's still time to join in the fun; since there are seven months in total.
To join, you buy a special fabric pack from Cherrywood Fabrics based on the ROYGBIV rainbow. Each month a new inspiration block is announced, and you use one of the fabrics from the bundle, as well as any other fabrics you choose, to make a 20" x 20" quilt. You can use whatever fabrics you'd like, but the quilt should read as whatever your Cherrywood fabric choice is.
May's inspiration block is the Monkey Wrench block. It's an old block that has been around a while and is known by many names. I'm calling my quilt, "Monkey Green, Monkey Do." The tiny Monkey Wrench in the middle is embroidered with perle cotton (it's what I happened to have). The square it's in is only one inch by one inch! I also tried matchstick quilting for the first time. Tedious, to be sure, but it was a small quilt and I love the effect.
If you're interested in participating in the challenge, head on over to Kim's blog and check it out!
We had a very fun, yet small, tuffet class at Quintessential Quilts in Madison. This shop is so excited about tuffets that they wanted a class right away. So we did! Why wait for the fun, after all?
We had three students, but we sure had a lot of fun! If you haven't been to Quintessential Quilts in Madison and know them as primarily a machine shop, you should stop in -- they're adding lots of fabric and have a beautiful new classroom.
Hmmm. One of these things is not like the other! Well, Cheryl had a very good excuse for not having her tuffet homework done. The day after the first class, she had a new granddaughter! Of course we had to see photos before anything else. If that's not a good excuse to not have your homework done, I don't know what is!
Let's take a closer look at the tuffets.
Let's talk about quality. Wow, it's so important!
The very first quilt I made was out of quilt shop quality fabric. It was a Laurel Burch print with a couple of coordinating blenders that I made into a rail fence quilt during a class at Stitchers Crossing in Madison. This was back in 2003. I even knew who I wanted to give it to: some friends who were expecting a baby. However, I was nervous about quilting it myself. That was part of the class, after all, and I didn't want to mess it up.
I had a great idea. I'd give the top that I made in class to a longarmer to quilt, then I'd make a second top to catch up to where we were in class. So I ran out to Joann's and bought fabric to make that second top. Off went my Laurel Burch top and soon I had sewn the new top out of the Joann's fabric. I brought it to class to finish. It worked out just fine. My teacher didn't even blink, but now that I know better, I bet she was taken aback. Shortly thereafter, I got pregnant myself and we ended up using the Joann's quilt for my daughter.
Well, not really. See, after washing it maybe three or four times, it was already showing wear. The colors were fading. The sparkle that had been in the blue was essentially gone. You could see the wear marks where the seam allowances had been pressed under the fabric. It was awful.
Comparing that to the second (quilt shop quality fabric) quilt I had made shortly after the Joann's quilt, the differences were obvious. She still uses that quilt today and she's almost 11. It's been washed literally hundreds of times -- while she was in diapers, she'd leak every single night. It's finally starting to show some wear, mostly on the binding.
The saddest thing is, both quilts look like they've been used the same amount.
I know fabric is expensive, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to buy high quality fabric. Why would you want to put so much time and effort into something that's not going to last? I look at quilts as either functional or art (of course they can be both, but this is for the sake of making my point). If they're art, I want them to last long enough for my daughter's kids to enjoy them. So I want them to be of high quality materials. If they're functional, I want them to stand up to repeated washings. Again, high quality material.
There are ways to get such fabric without breaking the bank. Several local quilt shops have clearance sections. I love the fabric at Quilt-agious so much that I could buy just about everything in clearance and you wouldn't know it was clearance. Maybe you can't make your whole quilt from the clearance section, but you could certainly get your backing fabric there, and maybe your background or a main print. Massdrop is a great way to get brand new, designer bundles of fabric for a very reasonable price. Join a guild; lots of times people bring in scraps or leftovers from projects they've finished. It can be done.
I'm participating in the Focus Through the Prism Challenge featuring Cherrywood Fabrics. It's a seven month challenge and it's based on the ROYGBIV colors -- hence the prism.
Each month features a different block for inspiration. The May block is the monkey wrench block. Here's my top:
It has to be quilted and bound by the end of the month and for some reason I've decided to do matchstick quilting on it. The question is, what color? Any thoughts?
And now for something not related to tuffets and tuffet supplies:
I'm working on a Lone Star quilt for Quilt-agious. I don't know when the class will be scheduled yet, but I'll let you know!
It's based on a QuiltSmart foundation. I love how close the points are. And there are no diamonds to cut or sew; instead it employs a stitch, flip, trim method. The perfect points come from sewing on a line and it's pretty darn near perfect every time.
Because the star is fused into lightweight interfacing, it's stiffer than if it were just fabric. I'm not sure how that will feel in the end. I'll keep this one small to test it out and report back.
I can't decide what to do for the background. I want to make it special. Maybe I'll be able to find ombré or something unsual.