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3 Nov 2017

My favourite foundation piecing papers

Anyone who has done foundation paper piecing (FPP) knows how frustrating and tedious it is when struggling with bad piecing paper. I've tried most every FPP on the market. I've also tried various tissue papers, tracing papers, parchment paper, copy papers, phone book paper ... well, you get the picture. After all my research, my favourite FPPs are Fun-dation and Sulky Tear Away Stabilizer.

Because I do a lot of FPP for my designs, I was excited to see Fun-dation brand piecing paper go on sale recently at Amazon.ca for $5 CDN. I ordered five packages. A package has 25 sheets. I'm glad I ordered when I did because the price went back up to $7.69 CDN (which is still not too bad). Fun-dation brand FPP is the best I've used. It tears away beautifully, it's translucent enough for fabric placement, and it prints well; I love this stuff. One package of Fun-dation works out to about 0.31 cents a sheet. 

Fun-dation Foundation Piecing Paper

Another very good option for FPP is Sulky Tear-Easy Stabilizer in the 12" x 11 yards roll ($15.11 CDN at Amazon). Sulky Tear-Easy is very much like Fun-dation. An 11-yard roll of Sulky makes [47] 8.5 inch wide sheets at 0.32 cents a sheet.


Sulky Tear-Easy Stabilizer

21 Oct 2017

How to Resize Quilt Blocks and Patterns


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Quilt patterns can come in many sizes. But what if the size of the pattern isn't the size you want? Maybe you want a throw instead of a mini quilt or a baby quilt instead of a king-size. To resize your pattern or block, you need to know the percentage to reduce or enlarge the pattern templates. Read below to learn three easy ways to get the percentage you need to resize templates.

THREE METHODS FOR RESIZING YOUR QUILTS AND BLOCKS

1. DO THE MATH
Below is the very simple formula to get the percentage for reducing or enlarging.

ENLARGING:

Measure the shortest length of the original block size? e.g. 6 inches
What size do you want the new block to be? e.g. 8 inches
Divide the new size by the original size, e.g. 8 ÷ 6 = 1.33.
Move the decimal point two steps to the right to get your percentage = 133%.
Enter 133% into the copy machine to enlarge your 6-inch block to an 8-inch block. 

REDUCING:

Do the opposite of above.
Divide the small size (e.g. 6") by the large size (e.g. 8") to get your reduction
percentage, e.g. 6 ÷ 8 = 0.75 = 75% reduction. 

2. PROPORTIONAL SCALE
Proportional Scales may look a bit intimidating at first but they're easy to use.
You can buy a Proportional Scale for quilters HERE.



How To Use a Proportional Scale
  1. On the bottom wheel, find the original size of your block (e.g. 6"), [Fig 1].
  2. Line up this number with the new size (e.g. 8") on the top wheel, [Fig 1].
  3. In the window, you'll see the percentage of the reduction or enlargement you need to resize your block, [Fig 2]. 
Note: The math formula and proportional scale results may be off a tiny bit. This is okay.


Figure 1


Figure 2

3. PROPORTIONAL MEASUREMENT CHART
  1. Download my enlargement and reduction charts to find the percentages you need at a glance. Download PDF
  2. Find the original measurement on the left side of the chart.
  3. Go along that row until you get to the measurement you want on the top row.
  4. The number in the intersecting box is the percentage you'll need to reduce or enlarge your block


4 Oct 2017

Halloween Decor 2017: Beautiful Halloween wreath

A couple of years ago I posted a Halloween floral arrangement that I made for my home. This year, I made a Halloween wreath for my front door. I turn 60 this October and I love Halloween, so I'm having a birthday/Halloween party for my big day. I wanted a pretty wreath on the door to greet my guests. I saw some beautiful wreaths on Pinterest with skulls and ghoulish stuff, but I wanted a floral wreath. Everything I used to make this wreath is from the dollar store. It cost about $15 to make which proves you don't need a lot of money to pretty up your home for Halloween.  Happy Halloween one and all!


Floral Halloween wreath by Monica Curry

29 Sept 2017

Halloween Witchy Boots

Halloween is almost here again. This is my favourite time of year. Costume parties, treats, tricks, and spooky stuff; I love it all. Today I'm launching my new Halloween pattern Witchy Boots for 2017. This mini quilt is a simple applique pattern that's perfect for a confident beginner. The finished size is 13" x 15" (32.5cm x 37.5cm).

The pattern was inspired by the image from the Wizard of Oz (1939) of the Wicked Witch of the East's boots after Dorothy's house crushes her. Dorothy had a whole mess of problems after that. My version looks the Wicked Witch of the East was stuffed in a trash can, but you get the idea. 

15 Sept 2017

Three DIY Pin Cushion Ideas with Tutorials and Free pattern


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1. How to Make a Vintage Planter Pin Cushion
Pin cushions are an absolute necessity in any sewing studio. You usually don't realize this until you don't have one around when you need it. If you go online or on Pinterest, you'll see hundreds of different variations of a pin cushion. There was, however, one pin cushion I fell in love with. It's the vintage planter pin cushion.



I came across these little cuties at Lovely Little Handmaids and knew I had to make one. I picked up a vintage planter at the flower shop and, in no time, I made this adorable little pin cushion. See the instructions below to make your own. I think they would make great gifts for your sewing friends.

INSTRUCTIONS

You can probably find one of these little planters at a thrift shop or rummage sale for a few cents. You may also want to check out your local florist shop to see if they have any kicking around from days gone by. That's where I found mine.

Step One
To give the pin cushion extra weight, glue pebbles to the bottom of the container with a glue gun.

Step Two
Measure the diameter of the opening of the container and cut a circular piece of fabric two inches larger than this measurement.

Step Three
With a strong thread, stitch around the edge of the fabric. Pull the thread to gather the fabric leaving an opening large enough to insert the filler.

Step Four
Stuff the fabric with lots of filler then tighten the thread and secure it with a knot.

Step Five
With a glue gun, apply hot glue around the inner edge of the container. Place the "fabric ball" into the container making sure it adheres to the glue.

2. How to Make a Juki 2010Q Wrap-Around Pin Cushion
I recently made this pin cushion for my new Juki 2010Q. I can't work unless this is wrapped around my machine. Don't you love the thread spools fabric? It's from the Cute As a Button fabric line by Delphine Cubitt. NOTE: This pattern can be customized to fit any sewing machine by adjusting the length of the end straps.


MATERIALS

  • [2] 4" x 24" strips of fabric of your choice.
  • [2] 1" pieces of hook and loop tape (Velcro®).
  • Toy stuffing or leftover quilt batting.
Download pin cushion pattern HERE

INSTRUCTIONS 
1. Layer the two fabrics and fold in half at the center.



2. Pin the pattern on the fold and cut out the pieces.



3. With right sides facing, stitch a 1/4 inch seam from end to end as seen below.
Leave the ends open, and leave a 3 inch opening on one side.



4. Turn stitched piece right side out and press.



5. Fold the piece in half vertically and place the template on it.
6. With a fabric marker or pencil, mark on the fabric the vertical lines on the template.
7. Stitch both vertical lines.



8. Stuff the pin cushion tightly with filler then hand or machine stitch closed. 
9. Fold in both ends 1/4 inch and stitch closed.
10. Stitch on the hook and loop tape at each end.

3. The Classic Mason Jar Pin Cushion
This is my go-to pin cushion for small mending jobs. The Mason jar (mine is a Gem jar) pin cushion is an all-time classic. You can find hundreds of these on Pinterest. There's that cute thread spool fabric again. Here's a great tutorial from The Seasoned Homemaker.



4. How to Make a Picture Frame Pin Cushion
Here is another pin cushion idea I used for my Pfaff machine. If you don't have any buttons on the front of your sewing machine, this pin cushion works great and looks ultra stylish.


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Get a small pretty frame and remove the backing and glass.
  2. Cut a piece of thin cardboard the size of the backing.
  3. Cut a piece of fabric one inch larger than the cardboard piece.
  4. Glue some stuffing to the cardboard.
  5. Wrap and glue the fabric edges 3/4 of the way around the stuffing and the cardboard and let dry.
  6. Add more stuffing as needed and finish gluing fabric edges to the cardboard.
  7. Put the stuffed cardboard through the frame.
  8. Re-attach the frame backing to hold cushion in place.
  9. Use sticky-back Velcro® to adhere the finished pin cushion to the front of the sewing machine.

5 Sept 2017

Little Puppy Placemat

Last week I launched my cute Kitty Cat placemat pattern. This week I'm introducing its partner, my new Little Puppy placemat. Both placemats are great for kids or grand-kids, but could also be used as hot pads in the kitchen. They are simple to make with basic fusible appliquè. This pattern is perfect for the confident beginner who wants to learn bias binding and fusible appliquè.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store

29 Aug 2017

Kitty Cat quilted placemat

My favourite cat is the orange tabby. I had an orange tabby when I was young. Her name was Abby; Abby the tabby! I loved her, and it broke my heart when she didn't come home one day. Later in life, I developed an allergy to cats, but I still love them to pieces. I designed this cute Kitty Kat placemat pattern for a child, but a real cat lover could also use it in the kitchen as a hot pad.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store



16 Aug 2017

A Taste of Honey Placemat Pattern: Honouring our precious pollinators

Who doesn't love the sweet taste of honey? These stylish and modern hexagon placemats showcase the Bee Creative and Bee Inspired fabric collections by Deb Strain. But no matter what colours you use, these placemats are sure to make a statement.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store




A Taste of Honey Placemat Pattern - detail

I love the quilting on the back. It reminds me of sacred geometry.

A Taste of Honey placemat back quilting

Our Bees Are In Danger! Why Bees Matter

OUR HONEY BEES ARE IN DANGER!
After being here for thousands of years, their population is declining and one species of bee is on the endangered list. It’s scary to imagine what would happen if all our honey bees were gone. Most of our non-grain foods are dependent on honey bee pollination. There are 90 different food plants that depend almost exclusively on the honey bee. When my husband and I heard several years ago that the bee population was declining, we planted more flowers and plants that would attract and feed them. Also, we use only non-toxic, natural pesticides.


honey bee on blanket flower
Photo by Monica Curry

Here are five things you can do in your garden to help the bees:

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering plants in your garden and yard.
  • Honey bees love weeds, i.e. clover, dandelions, so leave a few in your yard.
  • Don't use chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden.
  • Buy local, raw honey.
  • Bees are thirsty; leave a tray of stones and water to give them a place to drink.

Here are three good websites with information about honey bees and honey bee populations:

http://www.panna.org/our-campaigns/save-our-bees

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-lists-a-bumble-bee-species-as-endangered-for-first-time/

http://foecanada.org/en/

21 Jun 2017

Wooden Scissors Pattern Now Available!

About a year ago I posted my wooden scissors project that my husband and I worked on (see post HERE). This was such a popular post, I decided to make the pattern available for sale in my Etsy Store.

These would be a great gift for the sewist or quilter in your life. They would be a wonderful addition to any sewing studio. I think it would also be a great project for a woodworking student learning the basics of using a scroll saw.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store



wooden scissor pattern

wooden scissors pattern detail

wooden scissors pattern on the wall

4 Jun 2017

Blue Diamond Quilt Block

Who doesn't love a little bling? My cute Blue Diamond quilt block, designed in facet art style, would make a sparkling quilt.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store





While designing my diamond I soon realized that the facet colours had to make sense. The biggest challenge in doing faceted art is positioning the colours so that they look just right.

blue diamond mini quilt pattern detail

Below is the inspiration for my little diamond quilt. This stunning quilt titled Bling was designed, pieced, and quilted by Katherine Jones. Bling won Best in Show at the 2017 QuiltCon Quilt Show, and you can sure see why. The details in this quilt are stunning! 

bling by katherine jones
Bling by Katherine Jones