Welcome to Sew Inspired, the new blog by Sew Steady! This is the place to find all kinds of quilting inspiration, ruler work tips and techniques, and beautiful projects by talented quilters and sewers.
Feel free to leave comments, ask questions and be inspired. We’ll be uploading lots more soon!
We’re so excited to bring you our first Inspiration Team feature! This week’s project is by Pam Varner, an amazing quilter. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for a fun giveaway courtesy of Pam!
Another month, another Sew Steady challenge. I was sent a collection of Woolfelt by National Nonwovens with the direction: “Fall Themed.” I love that my only limitation is my creativity. For me, Felt always brings to mind applique done by hand. Personally I’m not a fan of doing handwork although I admire projects that use this technique. Autumn is my favorite season and Thanksgiving is on the top of my list of best holidays; so I thought that this challenge would be fun. The problem with felt is that it is thicker than quilting cotton so applique by machine would require some manipulation. Then one day I was looking for something in my kitchen and came across cookie cutters – what if I were to do applique using a cookie cutter method? Flat applique here I come! (Full disclosure: if this technique has been done before, I have never seen it. If you have, please let me know as I’d love to explore more)
First up, come up with a project. I love table toppers, but often the design gets lost when you start decorating your table. I have a lot of autumn decorations (see above about my love for autumn) and I wanted to create something that could accommodate a centerpiece. Hexagons and equilateral triangles would give me consistent shapes to work with and end up in a somewhat circular finish.
Next up, cut shapes out of felt. I chose 3 colors to use. I cut my shapes using Accuquilt dies, but any fabric cutting system would work. The key is that the shapes must be identical. Decorative stitching gets the best results when using stabilizers and luckily I had some black cutaway. I tried a couple of quilting/decorative stitches on my machine, testing width and length and eventually settled on a variation of the blanket stitch. It is important to choose a stitch that goes both left and right of center.
Now for the piecing. I considered using the same flat applique method (yep, it’s officially a thing now) for piecing and want to explore this in the future but didn’t have a stash of felt to pull from. A finished piece using all solid colors seemed lifeless. I found some orange and cream fabric to bring it all together.
The double edge sword of thinking outside the box is that you don’t know what the challenges are going to be so you don’t know not to try something. Due to the difference in thickness, I choose to press the seams open. When doing this again, I would probably fuse the quilting cotton to something as thick as the felt.
Time for the quilting (aka the fun part.) I intentionally chose the darker brown for the center and quilting that would make it flat; the perfect place for a vase or other centerpieces. This design was done by using the curved side of the Westalee Design 12” Arc. The method of parabolic curves made with straight lines is as old as art itself; a while back I started experimenting doing this using a curve for class exercises. I like the way the first curve complements the hexagon shape.
The cream triangles were marked using the Westalee Design 6 Point Crosshair Square. This gave me the intersection of the three points.
The pumpkins and leaves are my favorite. The pumpkins were done with the Westalee Design 4” arc. The echo side of the Westalee Design Hearts-a-Plenty (from the Quilt Class in a Bag Kit) made perfect leaf veins. Both were done by starting in a centralized location, stitching out and then back to the starting point. Originally, I was going to add quilting to the outside of the fall shapes, but when I saw what I already had, the decision to stop was made for me. This is one of the few pieces I have done where “The quilting made the quilt.”
At Sew Steady, we appreciate the great work and passion our promoted Instructors and Accredited Teachers put into every project! Shown here is a BEAUTIFUL Continuum Table Runner Project that Linda Hall created using the Westalee Design Decorative Thread Ruler Foot and the Quilt Class in a Bag!
Linda originally planned this project to be a bed runner using the Westalee Design Quilt Class In A Bag Continuum set. She photocopied the layout plan from the booklet, cut it apart and assembled it back together to make a smaller version of the original Continuum Quilt Design by Leonie West for a bed runner rather than a large quilt. She auditioned, then chose several fabrics that go with the print to include in my project. She then decided to try her hand at the new Westalee Design Decorative Thread Ruler Foot in some of the blocks to make them stand out.
This project is reversible and in order for that to work Linda had to make sure both sides were presentable. She used heavy gold Glamour thread on the purple ombre side to make the stars. On the flip side, She used the same thread on the solid green side areas to make the gold designs. Linda used invisible thread in the bobbin so that no quilting pattern would interrupt the pretty prints. The prints were quilted at the same time as the solids – you just can’t see the thread design because of using invisible thread in the bobbin.
Linda used Leonie West’s Sashlee Quilt technique and her Westalee Design Bound To Fit Binding tool. Great work, Linda!
A Sew Steady Table is a great piece of equipment to have in your sewing arsenal, and like any investment it does require a little bit of special care. Our tables are made of high-grade acrylic, so we recommend using our Sew Steady Polish Kit to clean them. You can also use Turtle Wax Paste or Goo Gone Gel. Use a soft micro fiber towel or soft cloth that does not have any fabric softener or anything else that will leave a residue, and buff until the table is smooth. This works very well and will give the table a nice shine, allowing the fabric to slide easily.Any other harsh cleaners (like glass cleaner) will damage the surface and void your warranty.
Even though we ask that you DON’T use glass cleaner to polish your table, we do recommend that you treat your table like glass! Dropping your table, banging the edges against a hard surface, storing it with items on top of it, or storing it flat may result in damage to your table. We recommend storing it upright in the back of a closet, either in the original shipping box or one of our padded Travel Bags. Just make sure that other items are not pressing up against it.
With proper cleaning and care, your Sew Steady Table should last a very long time!
Oh my, we have some great projects we’ll be sharing with you in the next few weeks for our June Tailor Challenge using Westalee Design Templates! But for now we’re just going to tease you with these sneak peaks from Kate Quinn