I'm always looking for sources of spiffy fabric, so when I saw a link to an Etsy shop called the Fabric Bee on Red Pepper Quilts, I had to surf on over. Red Pepper has a weekly feature called "Sunday Stash" that always gets my fabric envy juices flowing. This week was no exception.
Lynett, the owner of the shop, does business out of Arkansas. Lovely, bright fabrics, offered as yardage or in nifty bundles, and great prices. The bundle on the left, for example, is 10 one-half yard cuts from Patty Young's Mezzanine Collection. $38.50, plus modest S & H. Fast shipping as well -- I ordered online on Sunday & the package arrived at my Pennsylvania doorstep on Wednesday.
I'm going to share a tip here that I picked up at a class this weekend. The class was taught by George and Virginia Siciliano. For those of you who are not familiar with this dynamic duo from Lebanon, PA, go check out their website.
They team teach their classes, providing an information-filled, very entertaining day of doing one of George's unique patterns. This particular class did Birds of Paradise, a pattern also available on their website. If you ever have an opportunity to take one of their sessions, please do yourself a favor and sign up for it; you will not be sorry! You will have a great time, and feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you see what you are able to create. The Sicilianos are also available for guild meetings -- check out their site for details. By the way, Virginia's area of expertise (other than keeping George in line) is hand quilting. Her work is so fine and so exact, you would swear on your featherweight that it was done by machine. She is a indeed a master.
George told the class that he always had trouble making an exact match at critical seam joins. No matter what he tried -- pins, double pins, even a stapler(!) -- the fabric would always shift ever so slightly. Sometimes he guessed correctly & was able to compensate for the shift when he pinned, but that was hit and miss. Then he came up with the idea of using double-sided Scotch brand tape. The kind marked "permanent", not the kind marked "repositionable". First, he takes a couple of stitches at each seam on the edge of the block so that the seams won't separate when he starts to sew the blocks together. Next, he matches his joins using the old pin-through-the-seam/point method, holds it tight from the 1/4" side, lifts the fabric up from underneath, then puts a piece of tape on the fabric just beneath the join but below the stitching line. Then he squeezes the taped portions firmly to make sure they're good and stuck, checking the join from the top to insure it's spot on. Voila! No more shifting!
Virginia uses tons of the tape herself to help with pattern matching on borders and to ensure perfect miters. Together they use so much of the tape that they buy it in bulk at places like Sam's club. The tape is reusable a number of times; George just sticks the used pieces on the top of his machine where they are at the ready to use for the next block, kind of like you would do with pins in a pin cushion. In case you are wondering, the tape has no adverse effect on the fabric whatsoever.
The class that I took with the Sicilianos was wonderful. I had never done foundation piecing before, so I learned a new skill in addition to meeting two gifted teachers/artisans. But even with a not-so-great class, sometimes all it takes to make that class worthwhile is one great tip you can take away. This tape thing is going to make matching geese and other types of seams a breeze for me. Kudos to George (and Virginia) for coming up with it! Feel free to share, but make sure you give George credit -- I wouldn't want an ex-Marine coming after me.
My friend Kimberly Einmo has started a new Mystery Quilt on her website, and it's not too late to catch up on the clues. It's free! It's fun! This time Kimberley's featuring pre-cuts -- a jelly roll and a layer cake. I am especially excited about my fabrics, and cannot wait to see how the mystery plays out!!!!!
You can also check her out in the latest issue of Mark Lipinski's magazine, Quilter's Home. They asked a number of professional quilters about what they felt was their most important quilt. Kimberly's was one that she was asked to make in honor of Air Force General Greg Martin when he was presented with the prestigious Order of the Sword. Lovely article and great picture on the inside of the mag. That's Kimberly's name on the cover, cupcakes, right under the adorable gray pug. Sure hope that pup doesn't drool.
I'm gettin' my quilt on & heading out to the QuiltFest, in Oaks, PA this week. This show has been on hiatus for a few years, but just resurfaced in the new convention center in Oaks. Everyone has told me it's quite a spiffy facility. I signed up for a few classes, a lecture or two, and plan to wear out my feet cruising the exhibition & vendor areas. You can bet that my camera will be all charged up & ready to go as well.
One of the show sponsors is my very favorite sewing machine dealer, Byrne Sewing Connection. They will be participating as dealers for Bernina, Babylock and Brother (are you sensing a pattern here?). They are the best for quality machines as well as for machine repair, so I am thrilled to see them have the opportunity to strut their stuff at the show.
I spent last night packing up my goin' quiltin' stuff, and putting all of the supplies for each class in separate Art Bin organizers. My house may be a mess, but I am very organized when it comes to my quilting. Tonight I will go through my check list to make sure I haven't forgotten anything -- don't laugh, the last time I went to Lancaster, I forgot my Bernina cord and foot pedal (duh). Fortunately, that show was sponsored by a fabulous Bernina Dealer in the area who was very happy to lend me some spares. Aren't quilty people wonderful?