Saturday, January 14, 2017

Clearing older fabrics to start a New Year of Sewing

 Happy New Year Everyone!

This is my first blog post for 2017 -- and it is appropriately dealing with fabric and sewing room organization.

After the holidays are over, my focus shifts to organizing and preparing for the next year and in my case sewing or more accurately my quilting year. 

I try to time block my travel and pattern writing activities and get prepared for all the fun and also challenges the new year will bring.

The first thing I noticed this year that my level of distraction was super high.
I am starting to realize that it is getting harder and harder for me to focus over the "low murmur" of my sewing clutter, usually left overs from previous projects.  - OK sometimes it sounds more like a scream :)
Yes, these left over fabrics and tools from past projects seem to produce some type of noise that keeps me from focusing on what I would like to or should be doing.

To get rid of some of this "visual noise" I started bagging my leftover bits and pieces of last years projects in clear bags.  This makes it easy to find things, if I need to make step-outs and blocks for upcoming classes or Quilt Market. 

Here are some examples on how I deal with my left over project fabrics.

1.  First, if the fabrics in question are about half a yard or less, you might consider saving everything together in one group. 

This works especially well if you might need to access some of this fabric to make another piece in a series, or a matching accessory to your project or quilt.

2. Fabric can also be sorted by color.  I have some clear drawers, actually there are sixteen, to organize leftover fabric by color.  The drawers come in handy, since they slide open and I don't have to move boxes or bins out from the bottom of the stack to look at everything. 

As an added bonus, the boxes provide the base for my home-made, rectangular ironing surface.  It is great to have a larger area to press fabrics.  Just be careful not to pile it full of fabrics or projects. 
The large, flat surface is begging to have stuff piled on top. 

 (below right) Plastic baskets with CLEAR project baggies on top of one of my fabric shelves.

(left) This shelf has folded yardage inside and small fabrics on top. 
Left of the shelf are  large plastic drawers with extra blocks, either of existing quilts, or try-outs that never made it beyond one block.  That may be a blog post for another day.

3.  Fat quarters to half yards, folded and stacked in bins against the little piece of straight wall before the slanted ceiling takes over.  A few months ago I kept them all sorted in wire drawers, then noticed that my collection of smaller folded fabrics never got any smaller.  I finally realized that if I don't see the fabric it will never get used.  So I keep them out and try to make them look as nice as possible.

4.  Fabric can also be cut into popular scrap sizes:  squares in a variety of sizes can be stored together to make scrap quilting extra easy.  Since my focus is not specifically on scrap quilts, I haven't cut my fabric down, but with my color drawers filled to the rim, this is becoming an attractive option. 

Just don't organize away all your time.  I am trying to achieve some sort of BALANCE between taking care of old project pieces, starting new projects and designs and quilting all of them as desired. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Quilting the Victorian Table Runner: Guestpost by Kari Schell from On Point Quilter

Hi Everyone,

I would like to introduce you to Kari Schell, On Point Quilter, a fellow quilt designer and teacher who has posted a great tutorial on how to quilt the Victorian Table Runner her blog: 

On Point Quilter

So here it is in Kari's words:

Quilting a Victorian Table Runner

Guest Blog Post by Kari Schell from On Point Quilter.

Years ago saw a Victorian Table Runner at Quilted Treasures in Rogers and immediately needed to buy the pattern and make the quilt.  I don't remember who the recipient of the gifted table runner was. But the table runner remains a favorite of mine.

Fast forward to a week ago... a customer brought me her Victorian Table Runner.  She wanted something "custom".

This table runner can present a bit of a challenge for long-arm quilters as problems can develop if you are not careful around the fold-back curves. Also - because of the nature of the fold back technique there can be some slight variation from unit to unit.

I spent some time in Art and Stitch creating two major designs that I think complement the Victorian Table Runner and would keep me away from the fold-back curves.  Art and Stitch is digitizing software for machine quilters and embroiderers.

Victorian Table Runner by Southwind Designs
Fast forward to a week ago... a customer brought me her Victorian Table Runner.  She wanted something "custom".

This table runner can present a bit of a challenge for longarm quilters as problems can develop if you are not careful around the fold-back curves. Also - because of the nature of the fold back technique there can be some slight variation from unit to unit.

Using Art and Stitch I created two major designs that complements the Victorian Table Runner.
My Art and Stitch video tutorai will share with you my process for creating one of the designs - which I am calling Victorian Scroll.
Here are some pictures of the finished quilt.  This quilt was pieced by Carolyn Oakes and will be on display at the Forest Lake Quilt show today (April 19th).  Thanks Carolyn for letting me share photos of your quilt!
quilting designs
Victorian Table Runner pieced by Carolyn Oakes and quilted by Kari Schell
Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victornian Table Runner Close Up of Block and Quilting
Victorian Table Runner quilting designs
Victorian Table Runner Close-Up of Corner
Here is Annette's cover quilt from the pattern with the quilting designs super imposed on her quilt.
Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner - Sothwind Designs Cover Quilt (copyright by Annette Ormales). Quiting designs (copyright by Kari Schell) .

Featured Products - Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs

Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner Full Quilt Layout
Victorian Table Runner Digital Quilting Bundle:

Includes all the designs listed below, plus a layout to show suggested placement of the quilting designs.  These designs are suitable for all major quilting systems.

Piecing pattern must be purchased separately from Southwind Designs.

Individual quilting designs total $30.  Bundle on sale for $10.

Purchase quilting designs here.

Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner Scroll Sashing
Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner Scroll Pantograph
Victorian Scroll Sashing or Pantograph

This would work well for any narrow sashing settings.

The pantograph should be stitched with a 50% offset for alternate rows.

Regular $7.50.  On sale for $3.25.

Purchase here.

Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner Eight Pointed Star Block Quilting Design
Victorian Star Block

This block design would work well for any eight pointed star (particularly if you don't want to quilt into the corners).

​Regular $7.50.  On sale for $3.25.

​Purchase here.

Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner Border Scroll
Victorian Border Scroll

This triple scroll is sized to fit perfectly in the border of a Victorian Table runner.

Regular $7.50.  On sale for $3.25.

​Purchase here.

Victorian Table Runner Quilting Designs
Victorian Table Runner Block Triple Scroll
Victorian Block Triple Scroll

This triple scroll is sized to fit the blocks of a Victorian Table runner.

Regular $7.50.  On sale for $3.25.

Purchase here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Alphabet Soup is Going Live tomorrow! - Express yourself with these fun letters.

Welcome to Southwind Inspirations

Inspiring Today's Quilters with Dimensional Curves

A whirlwind of creativity is swirling around as our brand-new program
A L P H A B E T   S O U P  is getting ready to launch.  Designed for all Quilt Lovers, it is sure to enrich your quilting experience.
dimensional curved piecing patterns
Are you getting excited?

Its getting closer, just a few more days before the kickoff of our brand-new program: 

A L P H A B E T   S O U P

If you haven't heard, ALPHABET SOUP is a super cool new Block-of-the-Week program developed for the Southwind Inspiration Community and registration is open for a limited time only.  ALPHABET SOUP starts on Superbowl Sunday and this is how it works:

After you sign up, you will get a welcome letter with more details, then a fun letter pattern is delivered right into your email inbox every Sunday.  Something to look forward to just like the Sunday paper.  Make sure that is in your address book, so your email is not diverted.

These letters are not just ordinary quilt blocks, they are a great way to express yourself and say whatever you want right on your quilt!

You will want to collect all the letters and numbers.  Spell out a name, birthday or special message.  Two sizes of letters give you flexibility to spell smaller in the border, or make an entire quilt using large letters.  Just take a look at the cute Alphabet Quilt below, or see more ideas in the sidebar!

You can sign up for
ALPHABET SOUP  for the introductory price of just $39.95, that is about 50 cents per pattern.

Register Here!
This is your opportunity to be part of the fun!  Feel free to share this newsletter with your quilting friends, there is a convenient forward button at the top of the email.

I have started a special ALPHABET SOUP Facebook Group, which will go live on Sunday and I will post the link to it in the first mailing.  This group is a forum to share and discuss projects made with these fun letters and even more alphabet examples, so the more participants the more fun we will have.

If you have signed up already - thank you! Your first letter pattern will come to your inbox this coming Sunday along with a link to participate in the Facebook Group if desired.

Collect all the Letters to Play and Create your Personal Messages!

Happy Quilting,

Click HERE to join the fun and dive right into the

Quilt Patterns


Southwind Designs
Hope to see some of you on a future Teaching Trip!



























and many more

Dimensional Curves are so easy and fun!

Dimensional Curves may look complex, but they are fun and best of all stress-free to sew. Even the smallest curves can be made easily using this technique.
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Monday, January 18, 2016

Alphabet Soup - a new block-of-the-week.

Alphabet Soup !

Big news:  This year I am rolling out a brand-new program called Alphabet Soup.

If you have been following me you know I like to play with letters and numbers and I have finally found the perfect way to publish and share those fun letters with you.

I developed this special program for the Southwind Inspiration Community and it is available for a limited time only.  Registration is open now until April 3rd.

After sewing out the entire alphabet I saw that I had actually developed two distinct fonts, I call them:
  • SouthwindGreek:  A font with straight lines
  • SouthwindRoman:  A font with a curvy flair. 
For even greater variety you can combine the two fonts and choose which letter you want straight, which to make curvy.  The varieties are endless and so is the fun of spelling out  words on your quilt. Just think of all the possibilities!

You will get:  26 letters, the numbers 0-9 and several secret bonus blocks (psst... one of them is the heart as seen in the Alphabet Soup image).
That is a total of 80 patterns, which are delivered right to your inbox every Sunday for 40 weeks.  The program will start in February and continue as a super fun sew-along all the way into the beginning of November.

At the end of the program you will have all the blocks to make a fun alphabet quilt in two sizes and you are ready to spell anything you like.
Here are just a few of the many ideas: 
  • Add a baby's name to the top or bottom of a quilt, even include the birthday!
  • Make a table runner or banner with a special message: I ❤︎ QUILTS, LOVE 2 QUILT, or anything else you want say, simply spell it out on your quilt.
  • A Christmas or Holiday quilt with words like :  PEACE, JOY, HOPE, MERRY.
  • Spell LOL, BFF, OMG, or other fun texting acronyms to make a pillow for your favorite teenager.  Let them suggest something.
  • There are endless applications for these fun letters.  The sky is the limit.
My intention was to design a usable, affordable alphabet in two sizes; large and small, 4" and 8" letters (blocks are just slightly larger to frame letters). I am thrilled to be able to offer this program so everyone can add a message to their quilt, easily.
As an added bonus I am opening an Alphabet Soup Facebook group as a forum for sharing ideas and inspirational words using these letters.

You can sign up for Alphabet Soup for just $39.95, that is about 50 cents per pattern.

Click HERE to join the fun and dive right into the

Alphabet Soup!

Have Fun and Happy Quilting,

P.S.  Welcome to new subscribers! Please let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, January 11, 2016

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tips for Curving Small Curves on the Turtle Tots

My dimensional curves can be made with the smallest pieces:  For example on the turtle Tots Pattern there are several curves made from 1" folded squares and there is a little trick to make these curves trouble free.

Turtle Tots

Use a glue-pen as shown in the picture.  I also use a cardboard square to keep the glue on the little triangle only.  Put just a little glue on the folded edge of the folded triangle and then place your finger in the "pocket" and  lift up the folded triangle, fold it back, press and hold it in place for a few seconds to make the glue stick firmly.  Repeat for all small curves. 

Use a glue-pen to position and keep the glue just where I need it.

Use a cardboard piece and slip it into the pocket of the small folded triangle

Lift up the folded triangle and peel it back on itself.

After one curve is glued back, position cardboard and glue on the next one

Firmly press on the folded back curves to make them permanent

Two small curves, perfectly formed and ready to stitch.

Not all curves need to be glued.  In fact, it is just as easy to smooth larger curves back while top-stitching them.  A stiletto is very helpful for top-stitching any size curve, and essential for stitching small curves, when fingers are too big to hold the fold in place.  Use a foot that allows visibility of the needle and always use a sharp Quilting needle to top-stitch through woven fabrics.

The hind legs of the turtles features a double curve;  use a pin to separate the two parts of the curve.   Pin very close to the folded edge of the triangle and weave the pin into the layers to keep it from shifting.  Peel-back the first part of the curve, hold, then stitch from the corner to the pin, secure (by stitching in place), pull out the pin, peel back the next part of the double curve and continue stitching to the other side.

Insert pins in the center of the folded triangles, close to the fold

Secure, then stitch from one corner to the pin, remove the pin and continue stitching

Hind legs of turtle tot with double curve

Finished Turtle Tot block, with curves.


 I hope you have fun playing with turtles and dimensional curves. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Quilt Borders: How to sew borders to your quilt

Borders have many different functions in quilting

First and foremost borders are designed to enhance the quilt.  They often create a balance to the quilt design and help showcase and enhance the quilt blocks.  For many quilters borders are there to make their quilt larger.  This is also true, but the size of the border should not overwhelm the quilt design.

In my quilt designs I use a variety of borders.  Many times I use straight borders, often multiple borders to frame my quilts and make the colors pop.  This was my intention for my latest quilt:  The bear quilt.  There is a certain art to sewing on straight cut borders, especially to larger quilts.  

We never stop learning and I learned recently that staying up late at night, sewing on multiple borders in a limited space and low light is a bad combination. 
The result:  My borders were too dark, not as straight as I wanted and of all things in the wrong order.  What was I thinking?? - or was I sleep-sewing??

I have to make another confession.  Teachers often teach the right way to do things, but sometimes (just sometimes, in extreme time crunch situations) we take a short cut or two which oftentimes works out great, but other times can turn into - well - for me a time eating disaster.  Always on a deadline and trying to beat the clock, I decided to take some unfortunate short cuts with the multiple borders on my bear quilt, which I then had to un-sew - multiple times of course - making me think I should write and share this little border primer.  It might be useful to other quilters under pressure and save them from making mistakes. 

How to attach borders to larger quilts.


We've all done it .....

.... sewn on borders, then cut and trimmed after each addition. 
I fell into this fast and easy trap, sewing borders to my bear quilt and had to spend much more time fixing my borders than if I had done it right the first time - the way I teach it of course!

Step 1:  Square up your quilt! If you have a large square ruler, this is the time to use it.  Square up each corner to 90 degrees to make sure your quilt is square to start with.

Step 2:  Take three measurements.
I measure through the middle and on both long sides of the quilt.  Compare the measurements and if there is a large discrepancy it is an indication that something is not quite right.  The measurements should be the same or very close.  Use the center measurement if possible, provided you are not off by an inch, then of course there are other problems to fix.

Step 3.  Sew and cut the border-strips to the measured length.  Sometimes you need to sew border strips together to make them long enough.  Sew them together end to end.   Then measure the strips and cut them to the measurement in step 2.

Step 4:  Pin on your border strips equally.  An easy way to do this is to fold the border strips in half and half again, mark with a pin or chalk and do the same to your quilt.  Then line up the border-strip on the quilt, match the registration marks, pin and sew.  Repeat for the other side.

Step 5:  More measuring.  Do this as described in step 2 and include the first border strips in this measurement.

Step 6.  Repeat step 3 and 4.
Now that border 1 is sewn to the quilt on all sides, start again with step 1 and square up the quilt.
This will prevent your corners from stretching and make your quilt nice and straight.

Quilting will be so much easier and make you or your favorite long-arm quilter happy. :)

...and the lesson is:  The fast way may work for small projects such as table runners, but for larger quilts it is better and faster to play it safe.

Curvy Borders to enhance your design


I use a lot of different styles of borders in my quilts.  My favorite borders are pieced using my easy dimensional curves.  These curvy borders enhance the overall design of the quilt and are a lot of fun to piece.  In some cases the border blocks match the size of your quilt blocks so every seam acts as a registration mark and helps match up the borders for a perfect fit.  This is not always possible, but as long as some points match, sewing on the borders is a snap.

 Dance of the Dragonflies

Dance of the Dragonflies has flowing, curvy borders that fit the overall design.
Dimensional curves make borders interesting, easy, and fun!

Another great example of a pieced curvy border is shown on this quilt:

Fishy Fishy.
The borders are pieced in a wave designs to enhance the quilt and carry on the movement of the fishy blocks.

 I hope you enjoyed my little border primer. If you have any questions about borders, feel free to ask or comment on the blog. 

Happy Quilting.... Annette