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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Introducing our new combo pattern: WHALE WATCHING.... & JUST WAVES

WHALES.... OR JUST WAVES - the choice is yours

This is a perfect pattern for quilters new to this fun technique.  The whale block is super fun and fits together like a puzzle.  In my travels I often get asked about my curvy borders.  This inspired me to use the wavy borders in "Whale Watching" to design a fun and modern bonus quilt:  "Just Waves".

The whales offer so many possibilities:
One single whale block makes a great pillow.  Combine several whales for a modern table scape. 

Whale Watching on Purple background, using Island Batik fabrics.

Alternate setting:  Just Waves with purple background and fabrics from Island Batik.

This quilt is easy to make bigger.  The curvy waves are made using larger pieces and are super-easy, fast and fun to piece.  I quilted the purple quilts myself using just curvy lines made with my walking foot and different color threads.  It was just fun and relaxing to play and quilt these.  

Whale Watching on Bermuda Background, using Island Batik Fabrics, quilted by Angela Hugli Clark from Thread Waggle Quilting

Use the Whale blocks any way you want:  
Play with your blocks until you find an arrangement that pleases you.  I just placed some blocks together to simulate a possible whale table scape.  The possibilities are endless.

Please sign up for my Newsletter:  Southwind Inspirations
Here is a link to the latest edition:  Whale Watching....

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mariposa - means Butterfly

Mariposa . . . 

means Butterfly and seemes like the perfect name for one of my new creations!

This is one of the eight Butterflies, using a coordinating blue batik and blue batik print

Another Butterfly using a coordinating gold batiks

 First, make the half square triangles for the two-tone wings

Cut them apart and press seams open

A neat stack of butterfly wings - almost ready.

Using this nifty pressing bar makes pressing super easy.

The wings are designed to be a bit over-sized and are easily cut down to the correct size.  

Use a square ruler with a diagonal center line to make this even easier.
 Ta Daaa - all cut and ready!

Mariposa Sneak Peek

Here are the Butterflies - there are a total of eight in the large quilt and four in the table runner.  I am putting the finishing touches on the pattern so it is ready for release by May 2015


Hope you enjoyed this picture presentation.  Stay tuned for more upcoming patterns.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Great fun teaching at Quilting at the Lake!

Quilting at the Lake in Lake Havasu City, Arizona
January 2015

Traveling to Quilting at the Lakes bright and early in the morning from Raleigh Durham direct to Las Vegas.   
I had to be at the airport at 5am and once in Las Vegas the trip really started when I took a 3 hour shuttle ride to 
Lake Havasu City.

It made for a very long day.  A special treat was the view out of my airplane window.  Flying over the snow covered mountains was spectacular.

I was excited to be part of the faculty of this year's Quilting at the Lake event and was teaching two classes; a variation of Tulip Dance and the Dance of the Dragonflies.
It was fun to introduce my dimensional curves to a great bunch of ladies, many of them had traveled from far away to be part of this quilting retreat.  The classes were busy and students got a lot accomplished during class.  As usual I marvel at how my designs change with all the different fabric choices I get to see.  Everyone has their own color preferences and it is fun to see quilts in all colors made from the same patterns.

Quilting at the Lake in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Class 1 was Tulip Dance variations and everyone made at least one tulip block, which was used either in a table runner or large quilt.  

Tulip Blocks were made in all colors! - Pink or red - they are the start of a beautiful quilt!

 Quilting at the Lake  Tulip Dance workshop.

Some students wanted to make a smaller quilt including the border of the larger Tulip Dance.  We reworked everything to fit.  
So much fun.

Quilting at the Lake - Dance of the Dragonflies workshop.  

This workshop was very full and despite limited space everyone was successful and completed a dragonfly block and panel.

One of my students decided to use her dragonflies in an artpiece she was developing.  
I just love to see these variations and its fun to see me know how students are inspired by the pretty dragonfly blocks they were making.