Monday, September 10, 2018

5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Going on a Quilting Cruise!

We had a FANTASTIC time cruising to Alaska with Stitchin Heaven; it was our first quilting cruise. While on the cruise we were thinking of things that we wish we had known going into it. Perhaps this will help you too as you prepare for your at-sea quilting adventures! 


1. If you can, cruise with a friend! Even if they don't quilt, it's fun to be with a friend on shore days. If you don't cruise with a friend - it's a great opportunity to make life-long quilting friends. Unlike taking a class at a conference, you will sew by the same people day after day. Prepare to be social and make friends, it's fun to be with people that also share the same passion (aka obsession).

2. You will need more non-sewing items than you think! 

  • Portable Phone Charger - That phone battery dies fast when it's constantly looking for service and used for picture taking. 
  • Good Walking Shoes - Yes you will be sewing a lot, but when you're not sewing you will be walking. Bring two or three pairs of walking shoes. Your feet will thank you when you switch up your shoes day to day. 
  • Case of Water - We constantly wanted water all week! 
  • Good Camera - A phone camera can only capture so much. Invest in a basic (but quality) point and shoot camera, totally worth it. 
  • SCARVES! Let's face it - our necks get cold! A scarf is just a good travel item in general, regardless of where you're going.
  • Snacks - although all meals are provided, by day three we wanted a basic snack to take on the go. 
3. Prepare to fall in love with other quilting projects that you can take home! Stitchin Heaven setup a "mini store" on the ship where you could purchase basic sewing things. Along with basic sewing items, they also had fun fabric, pre-cuts, fat quarter bundles and other quilt kits! 

4. Bring your own portable sewing light for your work station! Our eyes get tired, help yourself out by brightening up your area of work. 

5. This is YOUR cruise! Stitchin Heaven was fantastic about making sure you knew that this was your getaway. If you need to step away for a moment from sewing, do it! Walk around, give your eyes a break, or check out one of the entertainment shows on the boat. 






Monday, July 9, 2018

4 Ways to Use Your Quilts as Home Decor


If you’re like us (and most other quilters) you have a stack of beautifully hand-crafted quilts neatly folded and sitting on a shelf or in a basket; IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THAT! Let’s get our quilts out and USE THEM! Using your quilts as home decor is the perfect way to utilize those beauties, and to show off a little ;) The following are things to consider when deciding which quilt to put where. 


1. Texture
Texture is incredibly important in interior design, it can take a one-note room and transform it. Texture creates dimension, thoughtfulness and interest for the eye. You can achieve this from lots of different items: baskets, picture frames, a rug, pillows, and of course… QUILTS! Whether as a table runner or hanging over a chair, try putting one of your most texturized quilted quilts in a room that needs dimension! 

 


2. Make it Cozy
We all have that one room in our house that is the “cozy/relaxed” room. Usually it’s the room with the TV, the well-loved sectional and some clutter here and there. Even though this room is relaxed, it can still look put together and well thought out. A great way to mix coziness with good design is through none other than textiles, aka quilts! Get out your softest quilts and throw them on the back of the couch and encourage people to USE them! The more they are snuggled with the softer they will get. We have always been big fans of cuddling with quilts that we make rather than just looking at them (but don’t get us wrong, we also love a stunning quilt hanging on a wall).



3. Statement Piece
Speaking of stunning quilts on a wall… a quilt is a PERFECT way to make a statement. Every room needs a lead actor and supporting roles. If the room has too many lead actors it can be overwhelming, if the room has too many supporting roles, it can be boring. Take one of your intricate quilts (that you know is just folded up somewhere not getting the love it deserves) and throw that baby on the wall, show it off, be proud of your creations! A fun way to hang a quilt is to “frame” it with other items, such as a side table underneath it and other decor items around it that vary in height and texture.

Here are some fun ways to hang quilts:


          



4. Color Balance
If you’re one of those home decorators that loves neutrals, we feel you! Who doesn’t love a monochromatic soothing room?! But try throwing one of your most colorful quilts on an antique ladder and leaning it against the wall, it can add interest and bring color balance to your neutral room. If you’re someone that LOVES to decorate with color then add in your neutral quilts, fold them up and put them in a wire basket next to a couch, signaling that they are to be used. You can also bring the whole room together with a quilt that incorporates all of the colors you used in other parts of the room. We always need that balance in life and in decorating!

 


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

6 Tips for Quilting Success!

Here are some best practices for pattern making; it's all about setting yourself up for successful, happy quilting!


Step 1: If there is a free pattern that comes with your tool - make the free pattern first!

  • Make the free pattern that came in the packaging of your ruler (QCR and/or QCR Mini). You can also access these free runner patterns by clicking here (QCR) and here (QCR Mini). 
  • Read the whole pattern from beginning to end
  • Watch the YouTube video Urban Runner or Mini Runner. You can find them here:  
  • Play around with your blocks! Get those creative juices flowing with a unique layout or odd colors that you normally wouldn’t put together. Of course, you can always make the pattern exactly how it is displayed, or you can create something unique to you - do what works for YOUR creativity! 



Step 2: Read the WHOLE pattern from the first word to the last BEFORE you cut your fabric! 



Step 3: If There is a Youtube video for the specific pattern you're making, watch it! Then watch it again :)

  • You can check out our Youtube channel by clicking here


Step 4: Make a practice block! 



Step 5: Do color research and select your fabric! 

Check out our hashtags on Instagram for the specific pattern you’re wanting to make (i.e. #metrorings #chiccountry). There are countless fun versions that others have made and posted, for our viewing pleasure! Inspiration can come from many sources! 


Check out some of these other blog posts below that can help you with color selection! 



 Custom Color Bundles


Step 6: Make your quilt; you can now cut your fabric with confidence! 

Be sure to post your Sew Kind of Wonderful creations to social media and tag them with #sewkindofwonderful


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Building Your Fabric Stash

Building your fabric stash can be a daunting and overwhelming task.  I know that we as sewers and quilters have quite the collection of fabrics already but do we have the right type of fabric in our stash that can be easily pulled and used for a particular project?  I wanted to share some simple ideas and questions to ask yourself the next time you are at the fabric shop and wanting to buy some fabric to build up your stash.

What color of fabric do I need or want? 
 
We all have a color we are drawn too, for example, I love anything in the aqua/blue/teal colorway and when I am shopping for fabric I have no problem picking out fabrics in those colors.

 
This is a current picture of my aqua/blue/teal stash overflowing in quite a messy way!
So think about colors you are not drawn to and force yourself to pick up a couple of pieces in those colors each time you are at the fabric shop.  For example, I'm not a big lover of purples and reds so I try to buy at least one piece in those colors each time.  My purple stash is slowly growing and I'm still working on my reds.


Do I have a good collection of all colors of fabric?

If you think about the color wheel, ask yourself if you have a good balance and mix of all colors in the color wheel.  You have your primary and secondary colors.


 These are the basic colors in the color wheel.  There is also the tertiary colors, colors produced by mixing two secondary colors together.


Shopping for all shades of colors can be overwhelming, so one idea is to start with your primary and secondary colors and once you've mastered that then move onto the tertiary colors or of course do it all at one time and little bits at a time.  It takes time building up your stash.  
 
Do I have a good collection of fabrics for background quilt fabric?

Background fabric can either be very simple or more complex.  Most quilt patterns call for yardage for background fabric but if you would like to explore the idea of having more scrappy backgrounds than you will want to build your low/medium volume stash.  



These fabrics can be a little boring and aren't as exciting as your colored fabrics but if you pick up just a couple each time you are fabric shopping then you will be very pleased when it comes time to make that all scrappy quilt including a fun scrappy background! 
 
Now that we have talked about building your fabric stash in color and background fabric lets talk about the print of the fabric. 
 
Do I have the right fabric prints for my stash?

This can be an overwhelming thing when we are at the fabric store or shopping for fabric online and have so many fabrics to choose from.  One thing to think about is this if the fabric has a defined color scheme, that can sometimes be more difficult to use in a quilt or project.  Those fabrics are usually good for a particular quilt or project in mind and not necessarily good for building your stash. 


Although these fabrics are beautiful they aren't my "go to" fabrics when I'm in the middle of a project. 
Try looking for fabrics that have 2-3 shades of color likeness within the print.  For example a red/pink print could be used as a red or pink within my project.  Here are some examples of these type of prints. 


These fabrics can be easily pulled for a project and blend in nicely.   Another thing to think about is the size of print and making sure you have a good mix of small/medium/large print.

How much should I buy of one print for my fabric stash?

I'm sure there are many different opinions and ideas on this but I like to buy 1/2 yard cuts.  I've been doing this for years and like that I can use the fabric a few times before running out and that I don't get tired of using it.  
 
We would love to hear from you and your thoughts and ideas on how you build up your fabric stash! Mine is a work in progress and I loved sharing my thoughts on this subject today!
 
~Jenny~


Friday, April 14, 2017

9 Essential Quilting Supplies for Beginners

Whether you've been quilting for thirty years or just a few, you have to start somewhere! 

Don't over-think, over-complicate, or over-spend - keep it simple! Here is a list of basic, but essential, quilting supplies that a person usually needs when starting out in quilting.

1. Sewing Machine
Don't overthink your machine! You could simply purchase a straight stitch machine  to meet your basic quilting needs. Better yet, start by asking your friends, family, neighbors, etc. if they have a sewing machine that they would like to sell or giveaway - I'm sure you know someone with a machine stuffed in a closet not being used! 

There are a couple features that we do recommend to look for when looking to own a sewing machine; these are needle up/needle down and a walking foot and/or a hopping foot. 

Tip: when purchasing a machine, test the weight of the machine; you want it to be heavy! Some of the newer machines are made of all plastic and are too light, which causes the machine to move when sewing large projects.

2. Cutting Mat

Cutting mats run all price ranges. Make sure you purchase one that is at least 18 x 24 inches - this will give you more room to cut your fabric! 

3. Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutters run in all sizes. The standard size is a 45 mm cutter. Start with this size, it is more universal and will work for the projects a beginner usually tackles. 

5. Quick Curve Ruler ;) 

A ruler gives your rotary cutter a guide for a straight (or curvy :)) cut. The Quick Curve Ruler gives you options of serving as a straight edge ruler and a curved ruler. Our ruler will give you the functionality of two rulers, for the price of one! 

You can find our Quick Curve Ruler and Mini Quick Curve Ruler by clicking HERE

6. Scissors 

Scissors are worth the investment! Buy the highest quality scissors that you can afford, nice scissors make a big difference! 

Tip: Do NOT cut (or let any one else cut) anything but fabric with your quilting scissors. Cutting anything other than fabric will dull your scissors and make them less effective. 

7. Needle & Thread

Keep it basic here - nothing fancy! Start with one medium/dark (we recommend a gray) spool of thread and one light spool.

Purchase basic and economical needles.

8. Seam Ripper

Don't overthink this one, keep it simple and affordable! Chances are you will purchase more of these in the future, as these seem to get lost easily ;) 

9. Iron & Ironing Board

If you already have an iron and ironing board, just use those! They will most likely work just fine for beginner projects. Helen, one of Sew Kind of Wonderful's designers used a basic $6 iron from Walmart for 5 years! 

Once you get more advanced in your quilting you'll probably want to invest in a nicer iron and pressing mat, but start with what you currently have! 


Here is Sew Kind of Wonderful's Director of Business Operations, Kimbra Lovgren's, quilting zone! Her mom gave her an old sewing machine she had lying around! Kimbra began quilting in January. 

What would you add to this list? What are some of your favorite sewing products and brands you would reccomend to a beginner quilter? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

How to Sew Curves!

Are you hesitant to sew curves?  Do they seem a little like green eggs and ham?  You’re just not quite ready to try them…. But then you do!  And you like them Sam I Am!!!

Well its time to give it a try!

Watch this video to see an easy step-by-step method to sewing curves.  Give it a try! You can also view this video on Youtube by clicking HERE



Eight steps to an easy curved sewing technique Sew Kind of Wonderful uses for sewing curves in our patterns!  

1.  Cut the curves….

2.  Position the curves with concave on the bottom and convex on top…

3.  Sew a couple anchor stitches…

4.  Manage the fabric one piece in each hand. (Switch hands and use the most comfortable.)

5.  Bring the two curved edges together as they feed under the pressure foot…

6.  Take care not to stretch the bottom or top piece. (move the bottom piece from the far edge instead of pulling on the bias cut….)

7.  Press

8.  Square-up

Practice by making the free runner pattern which comes with either the Quick Curve Ruler or the QCR Mini Ruler.

It only takes 4-8 curves to get comfortable sewing them.  Chain piece projects so you get some curved muscle memory going!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tuesday Tips, Chic Country Square Up


Our Chic Country pattern continues to be one of our most popular patterns, for good reason! It's amazing!! :) We've taken a wonderful traditional design and simplified it using the Quick Curve Ruler!! 

Many quilters have had a lot of success and satisfaction with our Chic Country pattern and the quilts they've been able to make using our pattern are breathtaking! 

Some of our customers have had questions about a few steps in the pattern and in particular the "square up" step. 

Here is a picture tutorial of a few steps in this pattern, including the square up. 

These first few pictures show the process of sewing on the background pieces and directional pressing for one block.

 Right sides together, sew on first background piece. Begin with the ends meeting, as shown...



Press towards focus fabric


Right sides together, sew on second background piece, begin with top piece down about an inch.


 Press towards the background piece that was just sewn on.



 Right sides together, sew on third background piece, beginning down about a 1/4 inch.


Press towards third background piece that was just sew on.


Your block should resemble this.


Place 3 small dots on your Quick Curve ruler with a sharpie marker (these marks can be easily removed with rubbing alcohol). These dots will help when squaring up blocks. Be sure your ruler is face up with the "1's" in the upper right hand corner. Place the first dot down and in a 1/4 inch.


 From the upper right hand corner count over 4 3/4 inches and down 1 3/4 inch and mark your ruler with another small sharpie marker dot.


 From the upper right hand corner count down 4 3/4 inches and in 1 3/4 inch, make another sharpie marker dot.


Place your block under your ruler (as shown in the picture below) with the three points of your "petal" shape sitting under the sharpie marker dots that were previously placed on ruler. Line "petal" points up under the dots as close as possible. 


Some of your blocks will sit under the dots almost perfectly.




However, some if not most of your blocks, the points will be off just a smidgen or more. Don't let this concern you. Just get the points as close as possible under those dots then square your blocks to 5" x 5".



Press all seams open.


Four 5x5 blocks sewn together should resemble this flower shaped block.


Do not let points that do not match up perfectly, concern you! In the end, all the blocks will come together beautifully and the inconsistent points will not matter or take away from the finished quilt. 


As you can see in one of our Chic Country quilts, some of the points match up perfectly and others do not. However, the overall finished quilt is gorgeous and the inconsistencies are not noticed! 


The mesmerizing and beautiful interconnecting circles are definitely the signature look of this traditional design!! Everyone, including us, loves it! Each Chic Country Quilt is breathtaking!


We have taken a relatively difficult and time consuming traditional pattern and simplified it using the Quick Curve Ruler! What used to take quilters months if not years to complete, quilters are putting our Chic Country quilts together in days! :)

We hope these Chic Country tips have helped! We know many have enjoyed and been very satisfied making our pattern and we know many more of you will as well! :)

Here are some more recent Chic Country eye candy that we've seen popping up on InstaGram recently! (Credit is under each quilt)

Enjoy!! 

@heatherkojan 

@dareroth 

@uhenique_quilting 

@oldredbarnco 

@simplesewendipity 


@Clammon

We are excited to see all of our customer's Chic Country Quilts! Please hashtag #chiccountry or #chiccountryquilt or #sewkindofwonderful on Instagram or Facebook. 

Happy Quilting Everyone!

~Sew Kind of Wonderful~
Jenny, Helen and Sherilyn