spring 2014 quilt market review

May 22nd, 2014

If you, like us, were overloaded with Quilt Market photos on Instagram last weekend, let us help you make sense of it all. After a couple days to think about it, we’ve sifted it down to a few key trends and news items of note. Here’s our take on what we saw…

current quilting trends

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use it up series: bubble patch

April 24th, 2014

After making the Use It Up mini quilt, Kathy and I got really into the idea of patterns that use all 42 pieces of a mini charm pack. So of course being the genius that she is, my mom immediately sketched out this baby quilt that also “uses it up” as you might say. Such is how this has become a series, which gives us a reason to keep doing more! We’ll continue posting free patterns using 42, 2 1/2″ squares and call it the Use It Up Series.

Bubble Patch is a little quickie with a 16-patch, two 9-patches, and two 4-patches. If you prefer less negative space you could use two mini charm packs and fill it up a bit more. This quilt was quite the team effort: pieced and longarm quilted by moi, appliquéd and bound by Kathy. That’s the only way we can get anything done! The fabric is Ducks In A Row by American Jane.

You can use any applique method you like, Kathy prepped her circles using freezer paper templates as in her tutorial here, and then machine finished it with a tiny buttonhole stitch. That way you get finished edges with seams turned under, but the speed of machine applique. To make your own Bubble Patch, just download the template and instructions below. (I was too tired to figure out how to merge PDFs so, sorry there are 2 files!)

Download Bubble Patch Templates HERE

Download Bubble Patch Instructions HERE

As usual, we’d love to see your quilt if you make one. Email us photos or tag us on Instagram!

simplest ever rules for pressing

February 2nd, 2014

There’s always lots of talk about pressing when it comes to quilts… Open or to the side? Steam or no steam? And then there’s the admonition “press, don’t iron!”  So much of it is personal preference, but I’ve realized lately that to get the best results it really all comes down to two simple rules that can be summed up thusly: use starch & press from the right side also.

Being a longarm quilter gives me the privilege of seeing many quilts by many quilters. Being up close with all those quilts, and handling them the way you do for attaching them to a longarm table, you learn things about construction that you might not think about otherwise. About wavy borders, tight vs bulky piecing, things I could teach a whole class on. But pressing is the one thing that is the easiest way to get the best results.

Good pressing will:

  • prevent fabric from shifting, stretching and distorting
  • make it easier to fit blocks together and match seams
  • give you flatter, prettier, less bulky seams
  • help you catch problems like holes, folds, unravels, and crooked seams
  • give everything a smooth, crisp finish that is easier to sew or quilt across

And here’s all you have to do to make that happen.

1. USE STARCH

I always keep Flatter by Soak and Best Press by my iron. These are starch alternatives that are gentle and smell great. (I’m addicted to that Yuzu Flatter!) You may prefer heavy starch from the laundry aisle of the grocery store or your own vodka mixture.  Starch all your fabrics before you cut.  I had a time when I was lazy and quit doing this. Then when I started again, I was so amazed at how much more precise everything was. The little bit of stiffness keeps everything in place as you cut and piece and it all matches up so well. No more tugging and pulling and easing. I also use starch when pressing each seam to get things really flat, but if you’re into dry pressing just the pre-cutting starch will still help.

2. PRESS FROM THE RIGHT SIDE

Most of us were probably taught to set a seam and then press it from the wrong side so you can control where the seam allowance goes.  And then what? Bluntly put, I’m shocked at how many quilters are not also pressing from the front of the quilt. We spend so much time cutting and piecing and cutting and piecing and we want out quilts to look good, so don’t forget to check the side you’ll actually be looking at when it’s done! Even if you think you have pressed your seam flat from the wrong side, you can only see the fold of the seam from the right side. You can press the wrong side to push the seam allowance the direction it needs to go, and then press from the right side to fully flatten the seam. Without that, this is what happens. Can you see it?That pesky little fold will get sewn across and quilted over.  If every seam has a little fold, a block could end up half an inch smaller than it should be which can cause quite some trouble when trying to fit things together. Every time I quilt over a fold, I feel so sloppy. Hopefully this doesn’t sound too nitpicky. At least it’s easy to do. And satisfying! I love turning my piecing over at each stage after I’ve pressed from the back, getting to see what I’ve done and giving myself a little credit for it. (We all deserve to give ourselves more credit for lots of things!)

Maybe you already do just this and you’ve got some pressing tips of your own for us? Everyone has their own little tricks and I love hearing them.

“use it up” mini charm quilt

January 5th, 2014

I’m a little obsessed with mini charms lately. They have the itty-bitty cute appeal, but it’s also a great, cheap way to get a variety of prints. Plus lots of cutting eliminated, so duh. We recently got a whole bunch of new minis in and I probably audibly squealed when we opened the box. And this isn’t even all of them.

The Suppose Creative Guild recently had a small quilt challenge and I knew I wanted to use my April Showers mini charm from quilt market. This Bonnie & Camille line doesn’t come out until March but we’ve got the mini charms in. The colors and prints are just a perfect mix of retro sweetness and modern graphicness. Plus, it reminds me of the days as a kid when I’d play in the warm SoCal rain with my huge, clear dome umbrella.

I wanted to make something simple and I wanted to be able to use every piece in my charm pack, so I doodled until I came up with this. The background is Kona Ocean, which isn’t in any of the prints so none of them blend in too much (which some would have if I had chosen navy as I almost did). I love how happy the bright blue ended up being.
It finishes at 22 1/2″ square, and I quilted it kind of densely with horizontal quilting so that it would lay good and flat in case I use it on a table. I also used thin polyester batting, since it’s nice and stable (not stretchy or wavy) for when I hang it on the wall. I’m calling it “Use It Up” since I didn’t have to have any leftover charms.  I wrote it up into a little pattern in case you want to make one too. And if you do, I’d love to see it! Post a photo to Instagram and hashtag it #supposequilts!

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE “USE IT UP” MINI QUILT PATTERN HERE

welcome to the laboratory

November 26th, 2013

Quilt Lab Fall 2013Quilt Lab is one of my favorite labs (it’s a tie with Il Laboratorio del Gelato, the most amazing gelato shop in the world). This is a new thing we did at Suppose on Saturday. Our classroom became a lab where customers could experiment and play with some of the new quilting products on the market. It turned out awesome, although it could have used more gelato. So I thought we’d share a few of the items we tried out.

Sew and Fold On A Roll

Sew & Fold On A RollThis is a new product from Triangles On A Roll, which is foundation paper with guidelines so you get perfect piecing. The Sew & Fold paper can do either flying geese or braids/herringbone. I wanted to try the braids, so I used a bunch of light scraps and got really into it. I’ve got lots of quilt ideas brewing for this and it would also be great for medallion quilts. The best part is that you don’t get stretching or distortion, which would otherwise be bound to happen with all those small pieces sewn on the diagonal.

 Kraft-Tex

Kraft-TexKraft-tex isn’t totally new, but it’s now available by the yard off the bolt. One cool thing about it is how the developers, C&T Publishing, isn’t marketing it for any specific purpose and is really letting the creative community show what it’s endless uses are. It’s pretty crazy stuff, it looks and feels like paper but acts a lot like leather. Kathy pointed out that it’s very similar to the label on the back waistband on Levi’s. It’s really strong and you can’t rip it, and you can do almost anything with it that you can do with either paper or fabric. Cut, sew, paint, fold, stamp, draw, print… That underneath piece in the photo has actually been washed and dried! I’m really curious to see what everyone comes up with. We heard some good ideas for it at Quilt Lab like a child’s tool belt and for a base on purses. There are more ideas on Flickr too.

Hexagon Trim Tool

Hexagon Trim ToolHexagons are everywhere now which also means hexagon tools everywhere. This one is pretty cool because it can serve a few functions, from just cutting various sizes of hexes to making more fancy blocks. And like all Creative Grids rulers it has that awesome non-slip surface in strategic places on the back. The ruler comes with lots of instructions for blocks like this one, or simpler blocks like the one below. It makes fussy cutting easy too with holes placed at the corners of the hex for marking. There are lines printed on the ruler so you can add borders to a hex and trim it up after each round, which means perfect blocks. Kathy has been making more of these blocks with Sarah Jane’s Out To Sea and if she’s not careful they might disappear…
Hexagon Trim Tool

Then there’s Flatter by Soak which I am obsessed with. Smells aaaamazing and doesn’t make me cough like some stuff. I’m a major presser and like things to stay flat and smooth so they line up more easily. And this stuff does what it says!

Like a dummy I missed out on a lot of photo ops, like playing with the Iron Safe, so you’ll just have to actually read what I have to say about it. This non-stick cover attaches with a spring to your iron to keep stuff like fusibles from getting on your iron and keeps delicate fabrics from being damaged. It lets you easily apply iron-on vinyls, and makes it so you don’t have to always press your fusible applique from the back side. Sweet!

We’ll surely be doing Quilt Lab again, which is good because our staff all have lab coats now!

fall 2013 quilt market recap

November 4th, 2013

It takes a few days to recover from the quilt market hangover before I can rustle up the strength to go throw all the photos and write about it, but I’ve managed it and you’ve got to see what is coming out of all the quilting geniuses lately. Let’s tell this story through pictures. Though oddly somehow I got no pictures of Lizzy House, which is a shame because every day she wore an adorable dress made of her upcoming fabric line Catnap, which you can probably see on Instagram. Anyway, on with the show.

There are some great fresh voices in fabric these days, like Carolyn Friedlander. She really has a unique voice and we are so excited to get her Botanics collection in soon.

Botanics booth

Sarah Jane is another standout among fabric designers. Her lines always evoke the charming carefree happiness of childhood without being childish. Her upcoming line Wee Wander depicts tree-climbing, horse-riding, lightning bug-chasing days that are so irresistable, I sure hope people aren’t scared to use these fabrics for things other than just kids’ quilts.

Sarah Jane's booth

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batting basics

August 30th, 2013

One of the questions we ask when customers drop quilts off at our shop to be quilted is what kind of batting they’d like to use, and more often than not they don’t know what to use or why. Or maybe you’ve never thought to ask your quilter what kind they use. So I thought a post on some common batting questions was in order so you’d know why to care and what to choose.

What brand do you like? The short answer to this is Quilters Dream, hands down. We also love the battings from Moda/United Notions, especially Kyoto Bamboo and Soy Soft. As a shop owner and longarm quilter I have seen lots of not-so-great battings which makes me even more loyal to QD’s amazing quality. It’s so sad to see a well-loved quilt whose innards have become a total mess, when it would have held up much better had it contained better batting. I believe in being picky. I’ll break it down for you.

Why I love Quilters Dream:

  • They use high quality materials, like longer fibers, and methods, like thorough needle-punching. This means those fibers don’t come apart so easily, the batting is stronger, stretches less and doesn’t distort.
  • It has the most consistent thickness and density. Have you ever opened up a batting and noticed that light shines through more at some places and in others it’s more opaque, like in the photo? I won’t say what brand it is, but it’s a very popular one. I’d rather not have a quilt that’s part thin and part thick. QD are so evenly needle-punched or bonded (depending on the content), which also makes them very easy to work with.
  • It has the smoothest and softest texture. No rough or crunchy spots and no little brown bits of the cotton boll left in. And they don’t use thick scrims or yucky bonding chemicals.
  • The price is competitive with budget brands.
  • They are an independent company and sell only to local quilt shops.
  • It is made in the U.S.

Batting up to the light to show unevenness. The dark area is thicker/denser

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weekend on the hollow

August 23rd, 2013

 

The kids are going back to school, but we need a little last hurrah while the weather’s still good. So we’ve decided to reprise our Retreat On The Hollow, but for 2 days instead of 1 this time. When you get into the flow, the more time you have to sew the better.  This is a great opportunity for a little escape and getting some projects finished. Here’s a little tour of the retreat spot at our co-owner Kathy’s home here in Idaho.

The house overlooks what is locally known as Creamery Hollow. Plenty of parking in the front, and plenty of privacy in the back.

entrance

The backyard faces east, so it’s nicely shaded most of the day. We set up to sew on the covered deck and in the living room just off the deck, so if you prefer you can have air conditioning and still enjoy the view. The light is gorgeous at dusk.

view from the deck

When we do these retreats, all the food is taken care: snacks, drinks, and every meal, most of which is catered by our local favorite, the NY Deli. We serve buffet style in the kitchen and there is seating enough for all in the adjoining dining room.

kitchen

With this multiple day retreat, we’re opening up the guest rooms in the house.

bedroom

Some rooms are big enough for a couple beds–it’s like Summer camp for quilters, except you’ve got en suite bathrooms! Yup, in every single bedroom.

en suite

The deets:

when: Friday, September 27, 2013; 10am – Saturday September 28, 2013; 9pm

price: $98, additional $20 to reserve a Queen guest bed (may be shared)

includes: meals, snacks, beverages, 2-day shop discount, neck & shoulder massages on Saturday, gift

provided: cutting tables, pressing stations, design walls, wifi

where: meet at Suppose in Preston, Idaho. We will  caravan 1 mile to retreat location.

bring: sewing machine & projects to sew on. There is no group project or class but we are happy to help you plan a new project, and you’ll get a retreat discount on all fabric and kits.

Register early to secure a spot! To register: visit the shop, call 208.852.1449, or email CustomerService@SupposeCreateDelight.com

 

quilting with a view

August 22nd, 2013

It’s a good sign that I didn’t take tons of photos at our Day Retreat On The Hollow, because it meant we were having too much fun to even think about it. It turned out to be a perfect day.

Lovely company (even authors & bloggers)…

sewing on the deck

Everyone must be off refilling their Diet Coke, but there's Konda!

lots of sewing…

string progress

Speedy Marion & string blocks

chevron progress

Joleene's chevrons

and a great view.

dusk

dusk on the hollow

It was such a treat to not worry about a single thing, have all the food taken care of for us, and just sew the day away. I even experimented with (virgin) mojitos, and they were a big hit! We’ll definitely be doing this again.

diy design wall

August 21st, 2013

I recently made a few upgrades to my home sewing space, which is really just half of my large bedroom. You’d think that having a fully stocked classroom at my shop would be enough, but as it turns out, being able to sew at odd hours in my pajamas makes me a much more productive quilter!

I added a little cutting table–this Ikea desk turned out to an excellent cheap option that would be wide enough for a 36″ x 24″ cutting mat and high enough (with its adjustable legs) to not kill a quilter’s back.

Then for a design wall. My mom suggested using insulation boards, which turned out fantastic. Here’s how it went.

used:
2, 4′ x 8′ x 1″ insulation boards from Lowe’s (barely fit in the back of my SUV, fyi)
1 cotton/poly Queen sized batting (I had a couple inches uncovered at the bottom, King would fit generously)
hot glue gun + lots of glue

cost: $45

time spent: 1 1/2 hours including shopping
I simply cut the batting in half…cutting batting

wrapped it around the boards…batting + insulation = design wall

and hot glue-gunned it to the back.glueing batting

I didn’t attach it to the wall because I like that it can be portable. It’s lightweight so I can easily move it for use at our deck sewing parties. It’s thick enough to stick pins into, unlike regular foam core board. And it’s almost as tall as the ceiling so I can make a big quilt without having to take over a carpeted room of the house.finished design wall

And as it turns out, being able to get the blocks up and see  progress is just what I needed to finish my projects faster.