AGF Sewcialite, News

Mister Domestic Aura Blog Tour

Hawaii. Need I say more? Mister Domestic’s new Aura fabric line for Art Gallery Fabrics was designed and created from a trip to Hawaii. When I see it and sew with it, I feel like I’m IN Hawaii! It’s like Mister Domestic is giving us each a little slice of Hawaii right in our homes!

When I picked which fabric I wanted to use from Mister Domestic’s new Aura line, I had such a hard time narrowing it down. Here are all the fabrics from the new collection:

See what others are making with this fabric line by clicking on the photo!

I finally decided to go with Hawaiian Honu Dusk (the cute sea turtle print in blue), Aloha Spirit Habiscus (pink geometric / floral design), an Art Gallery Pure Element solid called Ocean Waves, and for my background fabric, I chose Loulu Fans Sand (an off-white sandy looking fabric). The funnest addition for me was choosing the backing. I decided to go with Laki Island Daylight, and I LOVE the bright blues and the florals. I think it was the perfect choice, if I may say so myself. 😉 . It’s what really gives the quilt that ‘island’ feel.

It was fun to see the colors and quilt top come together. I love how Mathew’s fabrics bring such a warm and happy feel to your quilt. Now I just need to get to a beach with this quilt!

It’s been SO fun working with this new fabric line. You definitely want to get your hands on some of this fabric. And if you’re smart, you’ll buy a bundle with each of the fabrics in it, because the hardest part for me was narrowing down which fabrics NOT to use! It’s also the perfect time to start making a quilt for the summer that you can bring to the beach with you!

Be sure to see the other AMAZING things people are making with Mister Domestic’s new Aura line for Art Gallery Fabrics here.

Triangle Jitters quilt pattern by Suzy Quilts
If I can’t be at the beach, I’ll bring the beach to me!
News

Hand Quilting / Stitching

​​XL​Have you wanted to try hand quilting?  I have been wanting to try for a while, but felt paralyzed.  I didn’t know how to do it or where to start.  So, as with most things in my life, I watched a video on it, read an article, and jumped in!And guess what?  I LOVE hand quilting!  And I want to help anyone else who is wanting to try it out.First things first, you need a few items to get started.  Here is what I used:1. MATERIALS – Click HERE for a link to buy any of these.Valdani Cotton Pearl ThreadNeedle PullersLeather ThimbleEmbroidery NeedlesStencilFriction Pen OR mechanical pencil of your choiceLittle ScissorsThread wax.  This is only if you have a hard time threading your needle.  With this wax, you rub the end of your thread through the wax, and it makes the ends not fray so it is easier to thread your needle. Spray Baste2. BASTING YOUR QUILTWhen you finish your quilt top, spray baste the batting and the backing together.  I love this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew on spray basting.  Here is the link to it: SPRAY BASTING TUTORIALTIP: After spray basting, iron the quilt and backing.  This really helps hold everything together.  In fact, I didn’t need to use an embroidery hoop at all during my hand quilting process.  I didn’t know that was unique until a few people who watched my Instagram video tutorial commented that they always need to use one.  They wondered how I got my quilt to stay so flat and smooth.  So – pretty cool!Photo from Cluck Cluck Sew’s blog.  Link Here

​​XL 3. MARKING YOUR QUILTAt this point, decide where you want to do the hand quilting.  That’s when you take the template from the book, “The Geometry of Hand-Sewing” (see the link for Stencil above), and using a friction pen or mechanical pencil, make little marks on your quilt for your needle to follow.  I used the words on the stencil as a guide to keep my markings straight-ish. 

​​XL 4. HAND QUILTINGThread your needle, tying one knot at the end of the thread, and starting at the bottom of your quilt, pull the needle and thread through to the quilt top.  Follow along your stenciled path until your thread runs out, or until your path ends.  Take out the needle, tie a little knot at the end of the thread on the back of the quilt, so that it’s right up against the quilt, and you’ve finished your first row!In this picture, you can see where one of my hand quilting rows ended because I tied a knot.  This knot is the bigger one.  Then I started my row again where you can see the next little knot,  This is the back side of my quilt. 

​​XL Tips:*If you’re right handed, start your needle at the right side of your stencil mark and work to the left.  Do the opposite if you’re left handed.*I wear the needle pullers on my pointy finger and my thumb, and I use those two fingers to pull my needle.  Then I wear the leather thimble on my middle finger, and I use my middle finger to push the needle.*You can visit my Instagram account and click on my profile.  There you can watch a video tutorial about this! My Instagram name is @quilterscandybox

News

Quilters Candy Box Blog by Elizabeth Chappell

Have you ever seen fabric that you KNEW you needed? This was Amy Sinibaldi’s new Sonata line for me.  I love the hand drawn florals, instruments, windows, and yes, even the three dots that I used as my background fabric.  This line was beautifully put together, and to top it off, it was inspired by Beethoven, who I love.Sonata Fabrics

When I designed my quilt for this fabric, I wanted to show the hand drawn images.  I wanted the windows and the edelweiss blue florals to be seen.  I knew I needed to make a pattern with large enough blocks to do this.  Here is my mock-up.

As you can see, I stuck with traditional flying geese and half square triangles, but made them extra large.  This gave a simple, clean, modern feel, while also showing off Amy’s designs.I also decided to use the instrument fabric for the backing.  It was a fun contrast to the front, and you can see a glimpse of it here.

And here

And as it turned out, my sewing machine decided to act up on me, so I hand quilted instead of machine quilting the top. I think my machine knew what it was doing, because I love the heirloom look that hand quilting added to this!  You can see some of the hand quilting details here, on the pink stars and blue triangles. You might also be able to see a bit in the center on the background fabric. 

I still haven’t decided on a name for this quilt, so if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!  The pattern is in the works, and should be ready in a few months.If you want to see the other designers making LOVELY things with Amy’s fabric line, visit the link here.Thanks for visiting!  I hope you enjoyed seeing a showcase of Amy’s new Sonata fabric as much as I enjoyed sharing it. 😘

News

‘Zakka Home’ Book Tour

If you haven’t see Sedef Imer’s new book, ‘Zakka Home’, you need to!  It is beautiful and full of fun projects you’ll fall in love with.  The hardest part for me about this book tour was choosing only one project to showcase.  

I decided to make the ‘Sweet Pouch’ on page 91 of the book.  The Holidays are around the corner and these bags are such a fun way to give a gift. 

This little pouch has drawstrings that pull it closed, and the finished pouch measures 5″ x 8″.  I love the little details of the bag, like the beads on the ends of the drawstrings, and the decorative tie on the front of the bag.  I think I’m going to tie a little gift card to that!

The best part of this pattern?  It took me a little less than 1 hour to make this bag, and I have never made anything like this before.  Now that I have one pouch under me, I can make these in no time!  So even if you hav never conquered a project like this, you can make this.  I am here as an example. 😉

Be sure to visit Sedef’s blog, Down Grapevine Lane, to see the other projects people have made from her book.  Click HERE.

News

Quilter’s Moonshine Free Printable

I have heard a lot about Quilter’s Moonshine lately.  What is this, you ask?  Well, it DOES include Vodka, but it’s NOT for drinking.

Quilter’s Moonshine is a DIY spray starch! I found a simple and easy recipe from this blog post. I will be the first to tell you that spray starch DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE when quilting. Your fabric becomes stiffer, which makes cutting more accurate, and therefore your corners meet up.  

I spray my fabric with starch, then iron it, then cut it and sew.  It’s not as helpful to spray and iron after cutting your fabric.

I loved the idea of making my own spray starch.  I know exactly what’s in it, it’s a great price, and I love adding a few drops of my favorite essential oils.  (My favorite is orange with peppermint.)  If you want to print this off, you can keep it for yourself, give it as a gift at a quilting retreat, or simply give it to a good Quilty friend!  I hope you enjoy making your own Quilter’s Moonshine! If you do try it, let me know what you think of it!

Click HERE for Printable Version

News

Perfect Half Square Triangles part 1 – THANGLES

If you’re like me, Thangles is a new word to your vocabulary.  Thanks to Instagram and my awesome Quilty followers, a few of you shared that Thangles are your secret weapon for perfect Half Square Triangles (HST).  When I heard that, I HAD to try them for myself and share what I found with y’all. 

What ARE Thangles?
Thangles are a pack of paper you can sew on and iron on that help make perfect HST’s. As it says on their website, “You never have to cut triangles, use 7/8″ math, or square up every piece.   All you do is cut straight grain strips.”

How do they work?
1. You order Thangles based on the size of the finished HST you want. The finished HST size in inches is printed on each Thangles paper. (Mine is 3″).

*Remember that the FINISHED size means what it will measure when the quilt is made, not the size of the HST before it is sewn to the other HST’s.  I forgot this when I first started and I MAY have freaked out when my HST was a perfect 1/2″ bigger than I was expecting.  Ooops!

2. Cut your fabric in strips that are the same width as the Thangles paper. This will end up being 1/2″ wider than the finished size of your HST.  So for mine, I cut strips that were 3 1/2″ wide. 

3. Place one background and one patterned strip of fabric right sides together (RST).

4. Pin one Thangles onto the wrong side of the background fabric. I pinned it in 3 places so the paper was nice and secure and didn’t move while I sewed.

5. Sew along the dotted lines on the Thangles paper.

6. Cut on the solid lines. Each Thangles paper will give you 4 HST’s. (The picture below is only half of one Thangles paper).

7. Keep the paper on, finger press the HST open, then iron press seams to the darker fabric.  THE PAPER WON’T ALLOW YOUR FABRIC TO GET PULLED WHEN YOU IRON!  This was a huge plus for me!

8. Now you can tear the paper off!

9. You will now have a PERFECT HST.  Like magic! You can use your HST’s for any pattern you wish!

My favorite quote to say to myself while I’m quilting is, “Slow and steady wins the race.”  With Thangles, like anything else in the quilting world, you have to take your time.  It takes time to pin the papers, sew, cut, and rip off each paper.  But it leaves you with PERFECT HST’s!  I’m also not convinced Thangles takes longer than other methods of making HST’s.  I am testing out a few other ways of making HST’s and I will share which one is the most accurate and which one is the quickest.  Hopefully they will end up being the same method! 😉 What is your favorite method for making HST’s?  

News

How to Start a Subscription Box

​​XL First things first: Know that there is room enough for everyone.  There are a few quilting related subscription boxes, and it’s wonderful!  Each one is unique and offers something different.  Don’t be scared if there is competition.  Your box will be unique because you will be behind it.  And you will bring something no one else has, because you are different from everyone else.Second: Do your research!  Here’s where I can help a bit.  I’ll share with you some tips I have learned along the way.  Here are a few things to look into:1. What will make your box different from other boxes?2. How will you let people know about your box? (Marketing)3. What will you charge per box, and how much will you earn per box?4. How will you mail your boxes & where will you get the actual boxes?5. How often will you send out your boxes?6. What website will you use?Wow!  That’s a LOT to think about.  But it’s a good place to start.  Let me go through each one and share what I have learned and what I think will help you the most. 1. What will make your box different from other boxes?        No one can answer this but you.  This is where your signature style comes in.  But one thing to consider is this: boxes that are the most successful reach a niche audience.  For example: quilters!  Other examples of successful niche groups are: boxes for Young Adult book lovers, knitters, cat owners, people who do Yoga, and these are just to name a few.  So first, find a niche audience you want to reach.  Then look around.  See what boxes are already out there.  What do they offer?  How can you offer something unique?       For Quilters Candy Box, I knew I wanted to have a treat to eat in the box.  I wanted something people could enjoy right when they opened their box. I also knew I wanted to find unique items from small business owners, things you won’t find at a big chain store.  So reaching out to Etsy shop owners and the like has been great for me.2. How will you let people know about your box? (Marketing)      You could have the best box out there – but if no one knows about it, it won’t do you any good.  Marketing is KEY to success!      There are SO many options for marketing.  There are Facebook adds, Instagram adds, Magazine adds, having a booth at a craft show, the list goes on.  I tried a few different venues for marketing, but for me, the most successful marketing tool has been Instagram.      Thankfully, the quilting community is the friendliest community!  I reached out to some influential Instagramers when our first box was in the works.  I asked if I could send a free box to these people, and if they would post about our box.  They did, and their followers were interested!  We had a good product, and people were excited to get in on the action.  So right off the bat, for our first box, we had over 100 subscriptions filled.        To keep the excitement and marketing going, I offer one free box per month.  To be eligible for this, all anyone has to do is post a photo of a Quilters Candy Box on their Instagram feed or Facebook page with the hashtag #quilterscandybox.  Each month, one person is selected who posted a photo with the hashtag, and they receive a free box.  It doesn’t matter if they subscribe or not. I want everyone to be posting and I want to reward everyone, subscribers or not.  This has been a great way to encourage people to share about the company.  And every month since the company started, there has been one free box given away.3. What will you charge, and what will you earn?       This is crucial.  Too many companies start off not charging enough, and then not earning anything.  To make sure I was earning money for each box sold, and making sure it was worth the time I was putting into ordering, cutting fabric, bundling, and packing, I had this nifty calculator to help.
                                                        CALCULATOR4. How will you send your boxes & where will you get your boxes?       Before I was ready to commit to a custom designed box (there is a much bigger price for all that goes into this), I used boxes from Uline. This is a great way to order boxes without paying and committing to mass amounts of boxes.  You can also order stickers or stamps to add to your boxes to make them more personal and decorative.      Once you have your product marketed, subscribers signed up, and boxes ready to go, you’ll need to actually print out shipping labels and get these large number of boxes shipped.     I have used ShipStation for my shipping from day one.  I purchased a thermal label printer on Amazon along with label stickers.  I HIGHLY recommend this after you have a large number of subscribers on a consistent basis.  This saves you from cutting and taping labels on each box.        I also have used USPS from day one because they are the cheapest way to ship.  WARNING: with that said, shipping is not cheap!  Be sure to look into how much, on average, your boxes will weigh, and how much it will cost to ship your boxes to different locations.  (More about this in number 6 – What website will you use.) The cost will most likely shock you – so make sure to decide how to incorporate that cost into your product so you don’t lose money on this.      One great thing about USPS is that you can schedule a mail carrier to come to your door (business or residential) and pick up your packages.  And guess what?  This service is FREE!  Anyone can do this for any number of packages.  But how wonderful is it when you have hundreds of packages and you don’t have to worry about bringing them to the post office?  Let me tell you, it’s a game changer!5. How often will you send your boxes out?     This is just a decision of having a weekly, monthly, quarterly, whatever amount of time you choose, in between each box that goes out.  There’s no right or wrong answer.  I would just consider how likely your audience would be to want the boxes, and how often you want to be packing. 6.  What website will you use?     This is where I feel like I can be a BIG help!  I tried a few different websites, and a few different ways of having people’s payments auto-renew.  The research alone was exhausting.  I can not tell you enough how amazing it has been to use CrateJoy.  I avoided it at first, and I can’t even remember why.  I wish I hadn’t!  They have multiple web page layouts for you to choose from.  You can add your own pictures and words and it looks completely custom.  They take care of all of the hassle of the renewal charges (and trust me – this can be a real headache!).  There is customer support if you need it.       Remember when talking about shipping costs, I said I would mention more?  CrateJoy has a nifty feature where you can put the weight of each subscription box, and it can figure out automatically what the shipping fee will be.  All you need to decide is if you want the customer to pay for shipping, or if you want to incorporate that fee into your box price.      So yes, if you are considering starting a monthly subscription box, do yourself a favor, and go with CrateJoy!There you have it!  Is there anything else you want to know?  If so, feel free to leave a comment or you can email me at quilterscandybox@gmail.com.  If I have an answer for you, I am happy to help!  I can’t wait to see what boxes you come up with!

News

To Starch or Not to Starch?

I like to think there are two types of quilters: 1. Those who spray their fabric, and 2. Those who don’t. Are you type 1 or  type 2?

I want to share which type of quilter I am and why.  And maybe, along the way, you might jump ship and join me!  Or not. There’s no “right way” to quilt, after all!

I’ll stop the suspense.  I am a type 1. I spray my fabric!  I haven’t always, but that’s WHY I’m a fabric sprayer.  I have seen the difference.  When you get your quilt back from a long arm friend, and they tell you, “You should try starch spray.  It will really help your points match up and your fabric to lay flat,”  you know you have a problem.  AND you know you have a good friend who is willing to help you out even if it’s a little uncomfortable.  It’s like the friend who tells you that you have something in your teeth.  While humbling, you are in reality grateful.

And so it was with the starch spray.  I decided to try a science experiment of sorts. I tested which spray I liked the best, and just how different they were compared to NO spray at all. 

The products I used were: Faultless, Flatter, Best Press, and no spray at all. 

When I used the Faultless spray, I tried two different methods.  For the first, I sprayed my fabric all over, and tossed the fabric in the dryer on the highest heat for 5 minutes.  Then I sprayed the fabric again and ironed it.  This made my fabric feel like a sheet of card stock.  I LOVED it!

The second method using Faultless spray was to lay my fabric on the ironing board, spray it with Faultless, and iron.  This was good, but nowhere NEAR as crispy as putting the fabric in the dryer first.  I love the crispy fabric because my sewn lines and cutting tend to be more accurate, but I realize some prefer their fabric less crispy.  

Because that level of crispiness might not be for everyone, there are other great options.  Namely, Best Press and Flatter.  While my fabric in NO WAY felt as crisp and flat as with Faultless, it was very smooth and wrinkle free.  I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the Flatter and Best Press.  Best Press was a TOUCH stiffer, but they were overall very similar.  *For the record, Best Press has starch in it, while Flatter is a starch free spray.

Lastly, I had the fabric that I simply ironed.  I added no spray to it.  Ironing is a game changer, and much better than doing nothing at all to your fabric.  But let me tell you, as one who has made many quilts with my points off, if you are open to that extra little step of spraying your fabric before you iron it, you will totally notice a difference in your quilting!  And if you’re like me, you will take all the help you can get when it comes to making those points a little more accurate.

I’m curious if you are a type 1 sprayer, or a type 2 non-fabric sprayer?  Do you have a favorite product if you are a type 1?  I would love to hear about it!  Who knows, maybe I’ll have a 2nd science experiment down the road with your suggestions!  😉

News

What Shade Are You Blog Tour

If told, “You can make ANY quilt design with ANY colors you want,” what would you choose?  That’s exactly what RJR is doing with their ‘What Shade Are You’ blog tour.  They are asking different pattern designers to come up with a new quilt pattern and choose ANY of their Cotton Supreme Solid fabrics to make it. When RJR asked me to participate, I MAY have had an, “Oh my goodness – I can’t believe they asked ME!” moment.  And right after, or possibly at the same time, my mind went to work thinking up designs for a quilt and choosing which colors I wanted to use.After lots of toying around with design ideas, I kept coming back to the one you see on this post. Side note:  I have yet to name this pattern.  Any suggestions are welcome!The quilt pattern is a design that plays with triangles, yet uses them to make circles.  If you notice the quilting, I decided on a circular pattern for that as well, to go along with the larger circle shapes on the quilt. But  the colors?  Oh man!  I had so many different options going on in my mind.  In fact, I still itch to make more quilts with some of those color options I didn’t go with.  But don’t let that fool you that I wish I had chosen different colors for this project.I LOVE how the bright colors mix together!  The colors I used are RJR’s Cotton Supreme Solids in the following colors:1. Paris2. Julep3. Harlequin4. Sweet Pea5. SwanSo take a gander at some of the photos I took of my newest quilt.  And I HIGHLY recommend visiting their blog to see what others have created with the same question, “What Shade Are You?”.Also: I will be making this into a pattern soon.  If you want to be a pattern tester, be sure to email me to be added to my pattern tester email list. Email: quilterscandybox@gmail.comThanks for taking a moment to read about my fun adventure with RJR fabrics!. Happy quilting, my friends!

​​XL 

​​XL 

​​XL 

​​XL

News

Hand Quilting / Stitching

​Have you wanted to try hand quilting?  I have been wanting to try for a while, but felt paralyzed.  I didn’t know how to do it or where to start.  So, as with most things in my life, I watched a video on it, read an article, and jumped in!

And guess what?  I LOVE hand quilting!  And I want to help anyone else who is wanting to try it out.

First things first, you need a few items to get started.  Here is what I used:

1. MATERIALS – Click HERE for a link to buy any of these.

Valdani Cotton Pearl Thread

Needle Pullers

Leather Thimble

Embroidery Needles

Stencil

Friction Pen OR mechanical pencil of your choice

Little Scissors

Thread wax

This is only if you have a hard time threading your needle.  With this wax, you rub the end of your thread through the wax, and it makes the ends not fray so it is easier to thread your needle. 

Spray Baste

2. BASTING YOUR QUILT

When you finish your quilt top, spray baste the batting and the backing together.  I love this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew on spray basting.  Here is the link to it: SPRAY BASTING TUTORIAL

TIP: After spray basting, iron the quilt and backing.  This really helps hold everything together.  In fact, I didn’t need to use an embroidery hoop at all during my hand quilting process.  I didn’t know that was unique until a few people who watched my Instagram video tutorial commented that they always need to use one.  They wondered how I got my quilt to stay so flat and smooth.  So – pretty cool!

Photo from Cluck Cluck Sew’s blog.  Link Here

3. MARKING YOUR QUILT

At this point, decide where you want to do the hand quilting.  That’s when you take the template from the book, “The Geometry of Hand-Sewing” (see the link for Stencil above), and using a friction pen or mechanical pencil, make little marks on your quilt for your needle to follow.  I used the words on the stencil as a guide to keep my markings straight-ish. 

4. HAND QUILTING

Thread your needle, tying one knot at the end of the thread, and starting at the bottom of your quilt, pull the needle and thread through to the quilt top.  Follow along your stenciled path until your thread runs out, or until your path ends.  Take out the needle, tie a little knot at the end of the thread on the back of the quilt, so that it’s right up against the quilt, and you’ve finished your first row!

In this picture, you can see where one of my hand quilting rows ended because I tied a knot.  This knot is the bigger one.  Then I started my row again where you can see the next little knot,  This is the back side of my quilt. 

Tips:*If you’re right handed, start your needle at the right side of your stencil mark and work to the left.  Do the opposite if you’re left handed.

*I wear the needle pullers on my pointy finger and my thumb, and I use those two fingers to pull my needle.  Then I wear the leather thimble on my middle finger, and I use my middle finger to push the needle.

*You can visit my Instagram account and click on my profile.  There you can watch a video tutorial about this! My Instagram name is @quilterscandybox