September 2014 Postage Stamp Charm Swap Begins!

Sept-Oct 2014 PSQ Charm SwapWelcome to the eighth PSQ charm swap here at The Curious Quilter! The September/October 2014 Postage Stamp Quilt Fabric Charm Swap begins today. You can sign-up to swap, or request a Newbie Gift by leaving a comment on THIS post, anytime between September 20-October 5, 2014. Complete details follow, and even return swappers should read on to learn more.

Cut b4 signup reminderStart packaging your sets and sign up to swap. I KNOW that many of you are already hooked, but I encourage you to invite a friend to join this time. The more swappers, the more variety. Returning swappers, I am glad to have you back. If you are a new swapper, you must review all the rules below carefully, look through the links included. You can find inspiration in the Postage Stamp Quilt pages on the menu bar above.

© CQ PSQ Flickr Photo SamplerYes, I am repeating my words from previous swaps, but there are new swappers out there too, so bear with me please. Even if you didn’t take part in a previous swap, you are most welcome to take part in this one. And if you have been here before, I am comforted to know that my obsession is shared. Be sure to put your collections and progress shots up on our Flickr pages! We have lots of photos, and there are a couple of really fun variations shown.

What is this all about? Postage Stamp Quilts (PSQ’s) are made with small square charms, ranging from 1″ to 2.5″ before sewing. Most quilters strive to make one with as few duplicate fabric squares as possible, but there are some really striking quilts out there that have alternating solids, or lots of repeats. A lot of people are like me, they collect fabric scraps or charms with the plan to make a PSQ sometime. The goal is to get people to actually MAKE a postage stamp quilt. Sooner, not later.

Me? Obsessed? HA! My collection of two-inch treasures reached well over 40,000 charms, and I started stitching them up a couple of years ago. I have finished seven of them, with 3-4,000 charms in each. And yes, I do keep cutting and collecting them. Every quilt fabric that comes into my house gets a few charms cut out of it. If you are new here, or just want to prove to your family that SOME people have more piles of charms than you, read more, and even more, about my journey to use my collection.

Postage Stamp Quilts Playing with Color

There are many ways to play with little fabric charms!

Help a New Quilter start a charm collection! Newbie Gifts are included in the swap this again round. I hear from new quilters who want to make a PSQ quilt, but do not have 100 fabrics to cut charms from. This is NOT a swap, it is a gift. If you are a new quilter who cannot swap, but would like to start a charm collection, sign up below. If you are a quilter with charms to spare, please sign up to donate a set or two. Details below.

Special note about newbie gifts. Many previous Newbie Gift Donors do not want to do it anymore because their Newbie Partners never acknowledged receiving their gift. Some common courtesy is absolutely required. Your donor makes the effort to cut and pack your charms, and pays the postage to get them to you. Let them know when the package arrives!

I am repeating the basic rules (updated here!) for swapping below, but also want to refer you to the main Postage Stamp Quilt 2012 Swaps and Challenge page, and the FAQ’s About Postage Stamp Charm Swaps.

One note for returning swappers: I am not a meanie, really, but if your partner(s) still hasn’t received their charms from you, I will not be matching you with a new partner this round. Fix it, and you can join!

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comHow to Swap PSQ Charms

Preparing your Charm Sets to Swap Sign-Up to Swap Newbie Gifts! Puzzled? Find help!

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comPreparing Your Charm Sets To Swap:

Before you sign-up to swap, you MUST have your charm sets ready to mail. That saves time at the mailing week, and ensures that you actually have as many sets as you want to swap already cut and ready. Last minute cutting messes up swapping big time! Please note, for the Sept/Oct 2014 swap, you are limited to swapping 8 charm sets in each size that you select.

Charm Size Comparison - stitchedYou have to decide which size charms you want to swap. (My personal favorites are 2″ charms, but most beginners use the 2.5″ ones.) Check out the info in Let’s Talk Size, which compares sizes and the number of charms needed for a quilt, then pick 1.5″, 2″, or 2.5″ charm squares, get out your scraps, and start cutting. Cut some for you, and some to swap. Please use only 100% cotton fabric that is suitable for quilting. When you hold it up to the light, you should not be able to see through it. Homespuns or flannels should not be used for this swap. Yes, a few solids are fine in a set, and if you have the pinked-edge pre-cut charms a few of them can be included as well. Hopefully, your fabric has been pre-washed before cutting, but that may not always be possible. Be sure to use good cutting practices while preparing your charms, no selvages, never torn, no ripped-out stitch holes showing, and so on. No one cuts perfectly, but strive for accuracy in your cutting.

For this swap, if you are interested in one inch charms, please cut two-inch charms to swap. You will have more people available to swap with, although you will have to quarter the ones you receive.

Novelty Charms

Novelty charms are fun in these quilts!

Keep cutting. Fussy cut some fun novelties. Solids, stripes, plaids, prints, metallics, embellished, almost anything goes. Bust up as much stash as you want. Cut up strips and charm squares that you are not using.

Make sets of 100 to swap. Count them out into stacks of 100, with no duplicates in each stack. (Large-scale prints may read as different fabrics when cut into small charms, which is acceptable.) So every set of 100 charms will have no duplicates, and is a UNIQUE set. If you cut 400 squares from 400 fabrics, you have four unique sets. If you cut 400 squares, 4 each from 100 fabrics, you have four matching sets. OK, that may sound confusing, but think of it this way: with unique sets, you could swap them all to one person, but with matching sets, you would swap one set to each of four people, so no duplicates came through!* Don’t sweat it, justRed Star Means Changedholler if you are stuck. If you have 100 charms to swap, you will get 100 charms back. If you have 800 charms to swap, you can get 800 charms back. You are limited to swapping 1-8 sets in each charm size you select.

*Note: A UNIQUE set has each one different. Two UNIQUE sets have 200 different fabrics. If you only have one set, with all different fabrics, it is UNIQUE. Two MATCHING SETS means that you have two sets cut from 100 different fabrics, but each set is the same. The sets match each other. A goal with postage stamp quilts is to have few or no repeats, so ‘coordinated sets’ – say with 4 each of 25 fabrics, are not acceptable for this swap. That said, however, some duplicates are acceptable in Newbie Sets, read below.

Keep some for yourself. Set aside the number of these stacks that you want to keep for your own stash, after all, they are YOUR little treasures! Once you get started, you may want to make more than one quilt.
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comSign-Up To Swap!

A favorite Postage Stamp Quilt.

My classic PSQ that I made with over 4,000 two-inch charms.

Now that you have cut and counted, you are ready to sign-up to swap. I will be matching you up to one or more other swappers, and emailing you both so you can share mailing addresses. I will be getting those emails off as fast as I can, but please do not worry if you do not hear before March 31st! (Remember, I have a job and write two blogs, so it takes me a little while to pull it all together.) Once you have the swap info, you should contact your partner/s and arrange for mailing your charms and get them out within one week.

SWAPPERS! Any time between September 20-October 5, 2014, leave a comment below ON THIS POST ONLY, stating each of these items: (it will be helpful if you use the numbers to answer.)

  1. Your first name, middle initial, and the first letter of your last name. (I am asking for more info, as last time I had three people named Cathy R. sign up, two from the same state, and I messed up their swap partners.).
  2. Your City, State or Territory, and Country.
  3. Are you willing to swap with people in other countries? (Often more variety, but higher postage rates may apply. Check out the postage rate discussion included in my 10/6/2013 post.)
  4. What size charms you want to swap, 2.5, 2 or 1.5 inches. If you are doing a 1 inch project please swap 2 inch charms.
  5. How many UNIQUE sets or MATCHING sets of 100 you have to swap. LIMIT 8 SETS per charm size.
  6. How many NEWBIE GIFTS you have to share.
  7. A brief comment progress report on what you are doing with your charms. Please, start sewing asap, do not just save charms!

Please DO NOT include your email address or your mailing address in your comment below! You email address is held privately when you submit the comment form. By joining the swap, you are giving me permission to share your email information with your swap partner/s.

Here is a sample blank SWAPPER comment, you could copy it and replace the info with your own:
1- Mary E. W.
2- St. Paul, MN, USA.
3- Yes Int’l.
4- two inches.
5- three matching sets, and two unique sets
6- two Newbie gifts.
7- After I finish two wedding quilts, I will finish my 7th PSQ this year for sure.

If you swapped in previous swaps through The Curious Quilter, an effort will be made to give you different swap partner/s this round, to help you get more diversity in your charm stash. But this will not always be possible, so please just enjoy what comes your way!

Red Star Means ChangedBefore you sign up, double-check that your charms are all set to mail! That is why we have a week to sign up, if you want to swap but aren’t through cutting your sets, do not sign-up until you finish cutting and counting them. Please do not directly point a comment at another swapper asking them to swap with you. The only sharing of info between swappers should be through me. I am not trying to be controlling, REALLY, just trying to keep it fair.
Lovely Color Sorted Charms
NEWBIE QUILTERS! Are you requesting a NEWBIE SET? Read those rules below. You can only be a NEWBIE once, though. To actually sign-up, any time between September 20-October 5, 2014, leave a comment below, stating each of these items: (it will be helpful if you use the numbers to answer, you can copy and paste sample below and type over my info.)

  1. Your first name, middle initial, and the first letter of your last name.
  2. Your City, State or Territory, and Country.
  3. What size charms you are collecting, 2.5, 2 or 1.5 inches. If you are doing a 1 inch project please request 2 inch charms.
  4. A brief comment about what you are planning to make with your little squares; or share some comments about progress on your project.

Please DO NOT include your email address or your mailing address! You email address is held privately when you submit the comment form. By signing up for Newbie Gift/s, you are giving me permission to share your email information with your donor/s.

Red Star Means Changed*Note: Please Do Not Share Info once you get your swap lists! I really am not a total control freak, but I work hard to keep swapping fun. So I have a firm reminder for everyone. Looking ahead to the matching, please remember that you simply can not share your swapper’s names and emails with other swappers. This is a privacy issue, as well as a swapping issue. Also, do not offer to swap with people in the comments, all matching is done behind the scenes, not by comments.

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comNEWBIE GIFT INFORMATION!

What is a Newbie Gift?

Two Inch Treasure Frames

There are many ways to use PSQ charms, even if you do not have thousands of them.

A Newbie Gift is a set of 50 fabric charms in the size requested. All fabrics must be suitable for quilting, with no homespuns or flannels. Preferably, all 50 fabrics will be different, but, since these are probably ‘overstash’ from a seasoned quilter, some duplicates will be acceptable. (After all, the new quilter can trade them with a fellow quilter.) In no case shall a set include fewer than 25 different fabrics, so two of each.

Who Donates Them?
Any quilter with charms to spare! As you probably know, most quilters are very generous people. They may be stash-busting, or have duplicates to share. Or they just may take delight in helping stash-less quilters become fabric addicts!

Red Star Means ChangedBut they are donations, not swaps, so they REALLY MUST GET an email when the gift gets to you. Sounds so basic, but well over half of our NEWBIES in the past have not acknowledged receiving their gifts. Do let your donor know!

Who Can Receive Newbie Gifts?
Red Star Means ChangedAny quilter who has insufficient stash to create a charm set of 100 different fabrics AND HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED NEWBIE SETS! you will receive one or more Newbie Gifts depending on how many donors sign up! But please note, if you sign-up to swap, you cannot receive a Newbie Gift. While you are waiting for gifts, you might enjoy my PSQ tutorial. Then, keep cutting so you can be a SWAPPER in the next round of swaps. When you GET your gifts, remember to send your donor an email letting them know it arrived safely. (I simply cannot stress that enough!)

How Do I Participate?
Follow the directions in the Sign-Up section, above! Donors, use the SWAPPER instructions. New quilters will find their own instructions there as well.

How Can I Build My Stash?
Red Star Means ChangedOur Newbie Gift Goddess from 2012, BARB K., had a few super ideas for building your own stash quickly, and moving into being a swapper.

  1. Join a local quilt group, as quilters are always willing to share the wealth. Ask for small pieces they don’t need anymore, tell them why!
  2. Check at your local quilt shops, one near Barb has a basket that people leave their leftovers!
  3. recycle or freecyle! Check online for local free-cycle sites, Craigslist, and more. Join these groups locally online and place an ad that you are looking for unwanted fabric suitable for quilting. You will have to pick it up.
  4. Buy SMALL! Buy from your local quilt shop, or the chain stores like Joann’s and Hancock Fabrics. Barb buys a 3″ piece when they are on sale and cuts it into squares. Most of the time the fabric piece is around 35-50 cents. She doesn’t know how small a quilt shop will cut but most Joann’s and Hancock’s will cut as small as 2″ BUT allow for crooked cutting and shrinking and get at least half an inch extra. (Mary says: When I find nifty small novelties, but feel broke, I treat myself to an eighth of a yard, and get as many fussy-cuts as I can out of that!)

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comHave fun! Keep watching for more Postage Stamp Quilt goodness. And thanks so much for taking part!! Oh, and do not forget to start SEWING the charms together. Collecting is fun, but a finished quilt is an accomplishment. And a QUILT is the goal of all this swapping!!
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comHere is the SWAP sign-up model, repeated so you can copy, paste, and change to share your own info:

Any time between September 20-October 5, 2014, leave a comment below ON THIS POST ONLY, stating each of these items: (it will be helpful if you use the numbers to answer)

  1. Your first name, middle initial, and the first letter of your last name.
  2. Your City, State or Territory, and Country.
  3. Are you willing to swap with people in other countries? (Often more variety, but higher postage rates may apply.)
  4. What size charms you want to swap, 2.5, 2 or 1.5 inches. If you are doing a 1 inch project please swap 2 inch charms.
  5. How many UNIQUE sets or MATCHING sets of 100 you have to swap. LIMIT 8 SETS per charm size.
  6. How many NEWBIE GIFTS you have to share.
  7. A brief comment progress report on what you are doing with your charms. Please, start sewing asap, do not just save charms!

Newbie request? Please scroll up for your sign-up directions.

Matches will be made after sign-up closes, and it takes a few days to a week to get that accomplished. Do be patient, please! Will there be another swap after this one? Of course! One next fall for sure, but perhaps one in March 2015, if this one goes smoothly!

Happy swapping, and have fun drooling over little fabric charms!

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comMarch 2014 PSQ Charm Swap Sign Up Begins © 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

Posted in PostageStamp Quilts/Charm Swaps | Tagged , , , , , , | 69 Comments

Back to Blogging, and the next PSQ Charm Swap!

Yes, I have run away a good part of the summer, and I need to thank you all for patiently putting up with my unusual silence. But that is over. Today I am sharing a quick announcement.

Sept-Oct 2014 PSQ Charm SwapThe next Postage Stamp Quilt Charm Swap signup will run from September 20-October 5, 2014. This will be the 8th swap! Only comments left on the post that will be put up on Sept. 20th will be in the swap. Click here to go to that post.

Why am I mentioning this a month early? Because you MUST have your charm sets all cut and ready to ship BEFORE you can sign up to swap! So start cutting and counting today!

The rules are the same. A set is 100 charms, all one size, with no duplicate charms, cut from 100 different fabrics. Quilting cottons only, no flannels or homespuns. We swap in three sizes, 1.5″, 2″, or 2.5″ squares, and you can choose one size or do all three sizes.  You can swap up to 8 sets in each size. Or you can swap just one set if you want!

© CQ PSQ Flickr Photo Sampler

Click the photo to visit our Flickr group to see some things swappers have done with their PSQ charms.

Newbie quilters who do not have a stash of 100 fabrics can ask for a Newbie Gift. This is a donation of a set of 50 fabric charms in the size requested. Swappers, please donate at least one Newbie Gift in the size of your choice (2.5 is most popular, and 1.5 is the least.)

Go to the FAQ & Basic Swap Info pages to get all the details. Please read that carefully before you start cutting your charms to swap. You may find it helpful to read all the links on the FAQ and Links pages under Postage Stamp Quilts on the menu bar above.

There will not be a spring swap in 2015, but there will be a late summer or early fall one then.

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comSignature© 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

Posted in PostageStamp Quilts/Charm Swaps | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

AMB Blog Tour Winners, Tutorial, and Kites!

Thank you all for your kind comments on my Minnesota License Plate block, as my stop on the AMB Blog Tour. We have a pair of winners!

random numberWinning the selection of fat quarters from Clothworks AMB is comment #51: Kellie from Indiana. Winning the set of 5″ charms (and Minnesota goodies) is #155: Sewing Bird from Nevada. Congratulations to you both, and watch your email for details.

And thanks for your patience on the MN License Plate Block tutorial! All tech issues have been resolved, and it is up and running! I am relieved, I was about to completely redo it. If you make a block, I would love to see a photo.
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com
Fly a Kite Day is June 15!
kite_Guatemaln_Joelsyok_wikimedia commons (1)The photo here is a Guatemalan festival kite made of paper. Isn’t it a gorgeous piece of quilt inspiration? Many kites are beautiful. And flying even the simplest kite can be a lot of fun. When I did a post on Fly a Kite Day for that other blog that I write for, I learned that even in the 6th century kites were used for communication and weather watching. Go fly a kite this week!

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comSignature © 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Welcome to Minnesota!

The American Made Brand Blog Tour 50 state road trip continues, and today I am thrilled to welcome you to Minnesota. I hope you enjoy your visit.

Let’s start with the Minnesota License Plate that the good folks at Clothworks, asked me to make. Here is my final design for Minnesota:

Finished License Plate Blog from MInnesota

Made entirely of AMB Cotton Solids, using fusible applique, read on to take a look at Minnesota in all four seasons.

When I started to design my license plate, I asked lots of friends from all over the state to share what they thought was the essence of Minnesota. I got lots and lots of great answers, but two themes came through in most of the responses. We have water everywhere, and Minnesotans enjoy being out and about in all four of our beautiful seasons.

There are five components in my license plate. The first is water. Then, left to right, the four seasons shine through. Winter’s beauty with a gracious snow-covered pine. Spring fields in the rolling farmlands. Summer in the North Woods, where the tall pines form cathedrals. And Fall, when the trees put on their finest show, the fields are caramel-brown with hay and corn stubble.

Boundary Waters  in Northers Minnesota

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area covers 150 miles of the Minnesota/Canada border.

Water is front and center in my license plate. We are called the Land of 10,000 lakes, but that is a serious understatement. There are over 13,000 lakes with areas larger than ten acres, and twice that over 4 acres. That does not include the 8,100 rivers that flow in three directions here–towards the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. When you add up all the shoreline from the lakes and rivers, you find we have 180,000+ miles of shore, darned respectable for a state smack-dab in the middle of a continent! Then add all the wetlands, well, we do have a lot of water in Minnesota.

MississippiRiverHeadwaters

The Headwaters of the Mississippi River, in northern Minnesota.

That water gets used and enjoyed. Ocean-going barges navigate Lake Superior to reach Duluth. One in six families owns some type of boat. The barge traffic on the Mississippi starts up the minute the ice is declared “out” in the spring. Lakes are full of cabin cruisers, houseboats, speed boats, canoes, kayaks, water-skiers, fishermen and women, swimmers, and windsurfers. The Mighty Mississippi starts in Minnesota, as does the chain of the Great Lakes.

Split_Rock_Lighthouse_7

Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior.

GooseberryFallsMinesota

Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota.

800px-Minneapolis_from_the_Central_Avenue_Bridge mississippi

Mississippi River flowing through Minneapolis.

Winter wraps our state in snow, and wraps people in cozy jackets and caps. People may be snuggling under quilts inside, but they trek out to soak up the brisk fresh air and sunshine. We play as well! Sledding, downhill and cross-country skiing are lots of fun. Cross country skiersIn winter the ice fishing is grand, ice-sailing is fun to watch, and people flock to the lakes for skating and pond hockey. Crisp, clear nights make for chances to star-gaze and watch the northern lights. In rural areas you will hear the roar of snowmobiles. You may also hear wolves and an occasional moose. Sled-dogs are very happy for the cold weather and the chance to run. The polar bears at the zoos think winter is heavenly.

Despite all our water, Minnesota is about 65% farmland, represented in the Spring section on the licence plate. arboretum_capples-thumb-500x332Corn and soy are the largest crops, but oats, barley, spring wheat, sugar beets, sweet corn and sweet peas, pumpkins, apples, grapes and berries, and many other things are grown here as well. In the Spring the new green shoots in fields are a welcome sight after the winter. Minnesota leads the country in turkey farming, but also has chickens, milk cows, goats, sheep, bison, and mink farms. Oh, and wind farms!

800px-Northwest_View_-_Lake_Calhoun,_Minneapolis,_MNSummertime, and the living is, well, often hot and muggy! We flock to the lakes. We camp in our 67 state parks, we canoe in the Boundary Waters. We swat mosquitoes with a vengeance, and love to hear the cardinals in the morning and the loons in the evening. We live in our backyards, bike the trails all over the state, and visit the vineyards and bed and breakfasts scattered about the state. Urban dwellers dine in outdoor bistros, and walk the trails around city lakes. Families all over the state frequent softball games and ice cream shops. Sure, we work, but summer is meant to be savored, and we love it!

In Fall, the harvest rules the state for some time. Once the corn is out, the pheasants and deer run in the stubble, and hunters are sure to follow. St. Croix river fallcolorsThe trees put on a spectacular show. Tamaracks turn brilliant yellow, rivaled only by the aspen forests. Maple trees don shades of orange and red, and the oaks stubbornly hold their deep red leaves right through winter. Squirrels bury things everywhere, often to the dismay of gardeners like me. The evenings are full of the scent of fire-pits being enjoyed. High school football heroes are celebrated, and pilgrimages are made to apple orchards and pumpkin patches.

Win an AMB Cotton Solids BundleTime for a Giveaway! Isn’t it amazing what a pile of fabric can bring out of you? I am happy that Clothworks is giving away a fat quarter set of selections from their new AMB Cotton Solids, and you can win one just by commenting below. (this giveaway is now closed) I am also having a fun little giveaway, featuring 30 five-inch charms of AMB Cotton Solids, and some fun little Minnesotan goodies. Winner will be selected randomly from all comments received by Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM CDT. Winners will be announced on Saturday. Then be sure to visit all the other states on the Blog Tour, and enter their giveaways as well! Sorry, no international entries this round.

Want to make your own Minnesota License Plate Block? Well, you can! There is a complete tutorial to be found here, just hop over and have fun.

If you are new to fusible applique, you might want to check out my Fusible Applique Demonstration and learn how it’s done. It is easy, and very forgiving! If you make the Minnesota block, I hope you will send me a photo of it to share with my readers.

AMB Road Trip Button

Click to see the tour list!

The blog tour is visiting Minnesota and California today, and you can head off to Oregon and Kansas tomorrow. Be sure to check out the complete list and visit all 50 state this summer.

Yes, I know. The license plate omitted many things like cities, the arts, the schools and universities, the famous companies that started here, and the Mall of America. But give me the great outdoors in any season, and I am one happy Minnesotan!

Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com Signature © 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 226 Comments

Tiny Scraps: Magic Trick Number One

1 small pile of tiny scrapsWe all have them, bins or bags of little fabric scraps we simply cannot bear to part with. Some of the scraps are small, perhaps enough to squeeze a 2″ charm out of. Some are funky, like little strips that run 5-10 inches by less than 3/4 inches. But there are some that are just plain tiny. Those little snippets trimmed from flying geese. That last little bit of a favorite fabric, now no bigger than a quarter, or less. If you are like me, sometimes you wonder just why you are holding on to these!

And I know that there are lots of quilters who are somewhat afraid of sewing small or tiny pieces together. When the postage stamp quilt charm swaps are going on, someone always comments that they will only do 2.5″ charms, because they simply could not sew with smaller bits.

Well, I want to invite you to use your tiny scraps. I want you to let go of the fear, and dive in and PLAY! While you are gaining confidence with these little pieces, I need you to let your sewing be imperfect, just as it was the first time you sewed anything. I am sure you will build confidence as you go, and get lots of ideas of your own for ways to use your own stash of tiny scraps.

So I am going to do a series of posts with demos or tutorials. I am calling this my Magic Tricks for Tiny Scraps series.

Magic Trick Number One
b5 Two Finished coastersThis particular magic act is being demonstrated on coaster-making project. They are a bit rustic on purpose, to keep it simple and “scrappy”! You could easily make something larger, like mugrugs, or placements. I have a few other suggestions for using this trick at the end of this post. If you need a closer look at one of the photos, just click on it.

This project requires a pair of slightly larger scraps as the base for the coaster. Two 5″ charms would be great. I selected solid colors for my coasters, since my tiny scraps are so colorful. You can use anything, as long as you have enough contract between the base and the scraps to make your design pop!

Every magician needs props, and this is what you will need to use for each coaster:

  • a1 assembled parts tfor coastersTwo fabric pieces for the coaster base. About 5″ square works well, but if your pieces are 4.5″ and not so square, they will work too!
  • A fabric glue stick, or a washable school glue stick.
  • A scrap of double-sided fusible craft batting, the same size as your base pieces. I use the kind that works well for placemats and wall hangings.
  • A selection of little tiny scraps. This will become clear as you go through the demo, but I suggest sticking to a color oor shape these to create your design. You can see I used little triangles in warm colors for the first coaster.
  • And the usual sewing staples: thread, scissors, iron, sewing machine.

Assemble your coaster base:
Photo 1: Trim the batting piece so it is 1/8 inch smaller than your two fabric pieces, and sandwich it between the two base fabrics. Photo 2: Fuse both sides, following batting manufacturer’s directions. If you aren’t sure, a medium hot iron with no steam will probably do the trick. Press on each side for about 10 seconds. Photo 3: Once the sandwich is cool, run a row of stitching around the entire outside of the base, close to the edge, but catching all layers. If it isn’t a perfect square it is quite alright! Use any thread you want, for the demo I used a high-contract color.

a2 fubible batting sandwich

Photo 1.

a3 securing batting

Photo 2.

a4 stitched outer edge

Photo 3.

Add your scrappy design:
Think abstract. Think shapes. I used triangles on the purple coaster, and tiny strips on the green one, but little circles, or random shapes would be great too. Sticking to a color theme can tie random things together very nicely. Abstract flowers to give to a gardener? Team color collage for a sports nut? There is no right or wrong, just pick and play. Feel free to trim scraps to fit your layout.

Photo 4: After settling on the design, use the glue stick to “baste” the scraps in place for sewing. Using one continuous stitching run, secure all sides of each piece. Stitch close to the edge of the scraps. Photo 5: Stitching in progress, I just went right across the middle to keep it rustic and continuous. Photo 6: all stitched!

a5 scraps glued in place

Photo 4.

a6 stitching to secure

Photo 5.

a7 stitched and ready for finishing

Photo 6.

Voila! The Finishing Act:
Photo 7: This is what the back of the stitching looks like. Notice the little bit of magic, in that stitching on the scraps also quilts the coaster? Photo 8: Run a second row of stitching around the outside edge of coaster, juts inside the first one. Hey, you could make it a round coaster if you want! Of course, with only a couple of inches to go, I ran out of bobbin thread. Photo 9: Bobbin refueled, merge point back-stitched, and the second row is done.

a8 Back of coaster

Photo 7.

a9 out of bobbin thread

Photo 8.

b1 bobbin solved

Photo 9.

Photo 10: Trim away the excess edges close to the first row of stitching. It is quite alright if the batting shows a bit! This is a rustic little magic trick. You could use a pinking shears if you like, but I strongly suggest stitching your edge rows not quite as close to the edge the, so the shears don’t cut the thread. Photo 11: I made a second one in green, with little scrap stripes. My green base fabric was smaller than the purple, but I think it works just fine. Photo 12: This is the back of the green one. Notice the continuous stitching that serves to attach the scraps, and quilt the coaster.

b2 Trimming purple coaster

Photo 10.

b3 green coaster

Photo 11.

b4 Back of green coaster

Photo 12.

This is a technique that can be used in countless ways. Besides the coasters or placemats, consider skipping the base sandwich and simply attaching your design to a blank quilt block. The glue basting will work just fine, and the free-form stitching can be contrasting or blend in. Alternate these blocks with pretty prints and create a masterpiece of scrappy goodness.

How about a zipper bag? Make bases in sizes to fit your favorite little bag pattern. They could be done with the batting, or not, depending on your preference.

What ever you make, the little scraps will wash up just fine if you secured their edges. I would dry them flat, and press as needed.

Watch for the next Tiny Scraps Magic trick! Oh, so many ideas . .
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com Tiny Scraps: Magic Trick Number One © 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

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Giveaway #2: Celebrating 500.000 hits

This giveaway is now closed. Update June1, 2014: thanks for the great song suggestions! I made two hats full of comments, and asked my birthday boy son (30-something) to draw. Congrats to Angie S who gets Fabric Artistry. Angie suggested a tune about the not always nice quilt police. And congrats to Janet J. who wins Row by Row. Her tuneful thought was a song set to Move Like Jagger by Maroon 5.

This month is slipping by so fast, and I am late with getting this giveaway going. But here it is! This round I am giving away two books. When you enter, tell me which one you want, and I will draw for each.

Fabric Artistry Cover

Fabric Artistry applique jacket detail

An embellished jacket from Fabric Artistry.

The first book is for all sewers, not just quilters. It is an oldie but goodie. Fabric Artistry is a Singer production from 1996, and chock-full of techniques and projects for embellishing clothing, pillows, and anything made from fabric. This copy was in my local used bookstore but show absolutely no signs of wear.

If you have every wondered how to do openwork, cutwork, weaving on fabric, embossed velvet, pleating, trapunto, couching, double needle trim, and other embellishments, there are detailed directions and projects for all in this book.

Row Quilts from AnniesNext I have a brand new book, just issued this month. Row Quilts by Annie’s has several projects, for beginners to intermediate quilters. All the quilts are assembled row by row, but some include stars, patchwork, or even pieced fish! Click on the book title to see an Amazon preview of some projects. Both of these books would be great additions to any quilter’s library!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment here and suggest a tune or a topic for a future Curious Quilter’s Glee Club performance! If you aren’t familiar with the Glee Club, click here to see some of the posts that include classics like “Shall We Sew?” I am really hoping to expand our non-Christmas set of tunes, and would love to hear your ideas. THEN tell me which of the two books you want. I will draw two winners on May 31, 2014.

Again, leave a comment stating which book you prefer, AND suggesting a tune or topic for a CQ Glee Club song. Open to International readers, of course!
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com
AMB Blog Tour Widget buttonAre you following the fun on the American Made Brand Blog Tour? Some of the state license plates are stunning! My turn will be June 9th, when you will see the Minnesota license plate, and have a chance to win some of these great new solid fabrics. But don’t wait! All 50 blogs have giveaways! Visit the Blog Tour website for the updated list of blogs–and visit them all between May 19-June 20, 2014!
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comGiveaway #2: Celebrating 500.000 hits © 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

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