quail hunting 1.23

==========================
The Poore Farm is a working farm established by R.D. Poore in 1905, just south of the Solomon River valley in an area of gently rolling hills. Larry and Barb (BJ) farm with Larry’s parents Alvin and Venda Poore. Our crops are wheat, milo, and forage sorghum. This land is also managed for optimum bird production, nature trails, and fantastic photo opportunities. On the farm we produce beef for our own consumption and the feedlot industry. We also raise chicks from day old to the freezer and always have a good supply of farm fresh eggs.

Hunting has always been a big tradition on the Poore Farm. Larry started hunting with his grandfather who instilled a great love of the sport and good dogs. With our location in North Central Kansas we have some of the best hunting to be found. We specialize in pheasant and quail with the opportunity to shoot both with either a gun or a camera.

If hunting isn’t your sport come walk around our farm and experience quiet country life. Go on a nature walk and you might see wild turkeys, deer, skunks, coyotes, snakes, badgers, pheasants, quail, rabbits, birds, and owls. At night the stars host a show that is beyond words.

After owning several breeds of dogs BJ influenced Larry to go with Labradors because of their superior hunting instinct and their super family disposition. Our dogs will hunt all day or are just as much at ease in the house keeping you company. The Poore Farm began their breeding program to provide high quality purebred Labradors with the pointing instinct at an affordable price. All our dogs have several field trial champions in their background and our producing females have an OFA certificate of at least good. Come play with the puppies and talk to us about taking one home.
=====================
I have raised and hunted beagles, hounds, retrievers and pointing dogs for hunting as well as a couple of stock dogs for working cattle. I guess all dog people that raise pups with the hopes of hunting them look forward to the day when they come of age, or the proverbial light comes on, or however you describe it when they start to figure out what they are here for, and it always feels good to see them start to come into their own.
This story s about a lanky English Pointer I bought from a guy in Midland, TX. My wife Karla and I drove from Hondo, a small town West of San Antonio, one Saturday to pick him up after picking him out of a line up sent to me by email. Karla wanted to name him after a gun of some sort and so he was named Colt.
At 12 weeks he showed that he was going to have the makings of a good bird dog, pointing and retrieving pigeons in the yard. By five months old he was pointing and holding until I flushed the bird. And as he grew older, he just kept getting better. When he was just under a year old, we went to the Texas Panhandle pheasant hunting. The second pheasant hunt of my life and Colt’s first.
The first day, he busted a couple of roosters in some heavy cover. I wasn’t really concerned since he was still basically a pup, and I figured he was due a few mistakes. The second day, my son Zach took Colt and his lab Chester and headed in one direction, while I took 2 of my Brittanys and went another. It wasn’t long before I heard Zach shoot. When we met back at the truck he had a big rooster, and told me how Colt had pointed in some thick cover and held while Chester went in and flushed the bird. Zach shot it, Chester retrieved it, and then Colt checked it out and after Zach spoke to him he took off again. I was impressed that he held while Chester flushed the bird. Later that afternoon, Colt pointed for me and I shot a nice rooster over him. Again, he never budged until I flushed the bird. He had a pretty good trip for a 10 month old pup and I was happy to say the least.
In January, my wife and I loaded the dogs for the weekend and went to the Chaparral WMA for the last quail hunt of the season there. It had been a weak year, but it was the only quail spot I had available. The first afternoon was about 50 degrees and clear. After a few minutes Colt was on point. I called to Karla and we moved in and shot a pair of quail. A few minutes later, he was on point again. I went in and got another. The rest of the afternoon was a blast. It seemed as if Colt was making quail. He found I forget how many coveys and a few singles. He handled like an old dog and never broke until after the birds went down. Sunday morning’s hunt was a short repeat of Saturday afternoon. The trip home had me thinking I might have myself a special dog.
Towards the end of January, my Dad booked us a shoot at a preserve in Navasota. Zach and I loaded up and left early to meet him there. After we were shown the pasture we would be hunting in, I turned out my Brittanys first, saving Colt for later. We found and shot a bunch of quail, pheasants, and chukar partridge before I turned Colt out. Dad said he would sit this round out and stayed in the truck watching us, and Colt put on a show. He found bird after bird, and this was after we had run Dad’s German shorthair pointers and my Brittanys for about 2 hours. We found singles, twos, and threes here and there. Then he pointed in a grown up fence row and when we got there, we saw what must have been about fifty quail bunched up under the brush, leftovers from previous shoots. Colt was locked up in the midst of them, but they were across the fence and we had been told not to cross the fences. So I threw a stick behind the quail hoping they would flush our way so we could get a few of them. At that point, they ran and flew and Colt had quail hitting him in the face and running down his back and he just stood rock steady with his eyes bugging out. I was pretty sure at that point he was a special dog.
All that next spring and summer, he worked the quail here close to the house. I would let him out of his kennel while I cleaned it, and would look out to see him on point, usually with a Brittany honoring his point. I was really looking forward to the upcoming ’08 season.
Opening weekend at the Chaparral found us in camp early on Friday waiting for Saturday morning. When it finally came the temps were in the 50’s and it was clear. From 8 o’clock until 11, Colt had found 7 coveys. It was game on and he was doing a fantastic job. Dad’s German shorthaired pointer and my Brittanys had their share, but once again it just seemed as if Colt was making birds. We went in for lunch and to wait until evening to make another run.
About five that evening, Colt had found two coveys, and on the last bird he retrieved it to my hand. He had gotten to the point where he let the Brittanys do the retrieving and he just went ahead hunting after the shot. He went on with his new running mate, my little 7 month old English Pointer Willi, right along with him and Zach close behind. They went around some brush out of sight when I heard Zach screaming with a pleading in his voice for Willi to come in. I just knew what it was and when I heard him shoot three times, I knew I was right. They had run over a huge rattle snake. When Zach saw him, the snake was reared up about thigh high and Willi was trying to get away from it. We started looking her over for fang marks when Colt ran up to me and howled and fell against my legs. I started looking frantically all over him for fang marks. On his legs, his face and neck, everywhere. And then I saw them, straddled across a rib, back on his rib cage, just below his loin, fang marks that were 2 inches apart.
Zach picked him up and took off for the truck. I was in tears as I followed behind. Colt was current on his rattle snake vaccine, but I felt that he had been hit in the lung and the vaccine wasn’t going to do much for him. We headed out of the ranch and Karla started calling vets in Laredo, Freer, Dilley, Devine, and finally we just headed to San Antonio to the emergency clinic I knew about. We got there and took Colt inside. The folks there had him for a long while, and told us what they felt they needed to do, they called me in again and said he was going downhill fast. Long story short, I decided that if he was going to die, he would die with family and I took him to the truck. I had him in my lap in the back seat while Karla drove home to Hondo. About four miles from the house, he took his last breath while the tears ran down my face.
Zach and I buried him in the back yard the next morning where he could hear the quail calling next door and then went back to the Chap to load up our camp and other dogs that Mom and Dad had been watching for us. It was a sad day. Colt was 22 months old, coming of age, and taken from me all in one swift stroke.
I have a new English Pointer pup, Waylon, to go with Willi, who is now coming into her own as well as my four Brittanys, but Colt was special, and often times I wonder if he was that “ Once in a life time” dog.
=======================

The other day we took our friend Nais (pronounced “Nye-eese) to the pistol range. Nais is a young schoolteacher friend of ours from Taekwondo. Formerly dating a Border Patrol Agent (also a friend of ours), she has developed a desire to shoot guns.
Heck, I don’t see how anybody wouldn’t want to shoot guns. I mean, the heft of the cartridge, the careful aim, the pressure of the blast on your skin, the sharp smell of nitrocellulose vapor in the air, the satisfaction of the bullet punching a near perfect bulls eye in the paper, far down the range produce an ethereal natural high better than any drug or drink could ever come close too. It simply cannot be found anywhere else. Accept no substitutes!
I have been involved in the shooting sports since my father first put that little .22 pistol in my hands on that range in Quail Valley California that I still vaguely remember. He gently guided me through the process of firing my first shot as well a allowing me to shoot several other guns that day including his .22 Mossberg match rifle and I watched as he fired his old model .70, .270 that day. It was as big as a cannon and I was instantly in love.
That day launched me on a life of hunting and fishing for close to half a century now.
I found myself giving encouragement to Nais as we drove toward the range. Getting there we found ourselves alone with the entire facility, a true treat. Inside, D and I unpacked the guns we brought, the two Glocks, the XD-9 subcompact, the Kel-Tech and the two Browning Buckmaster .22’s. Before we began I gave Nais the standard, time honored safety lecture, and let D coach her in the art of aim, fire and follow through. Timid at first I beamed like a proud dad when she finally conquered her initial hesitation and begun punching very pretty little groups through near the center of the target at 10 yards. I’ve always believed that women are the best shooters by and large.
While we were coaching our friend, another shooter walked in and set up his .22 at the far corner of the range. American Firing Range is an indoor facility and only has six lanes so it wasn’t too far away. As always we were polite and friendly, but this guy just seemed to have an air of superiority. One of those kinds. He also had a mid western accent, specifically Minnesota. Great. Probably a Winter Texan.
Reloading magazines, this guy pauses to do so and sort of smugly says; “ I can shoot this .22 all day long for what it costs to shoot my .380. I nod and agree. I sure enjoy our Buckmasters, but there’s also nothing like shooting bigger calibers, and besides if you carry one for defense it’s essential to stay comfortable with that weapon. Hell, we even shoot IDPA…..
Then he says:” Besides, .380 ammo has been pretty scarce. I can’t even find any. Know where I can get some?”. “I’ve had some problem getting .40 caliber, but lately I’ve found a few boxes here and there” I say, thinking back to about March of last year when it was essentially non-existent here. “Yea” I continue…”ammo has been pretty short ever since that guy took office last fall”. “Well” he says, “I heard the government needed it to supply the war in the middle East.”
Now, I’ve heard this preposterous statement before so I told him: “You know, the military doesn’t shoot .380 and the only folks in the military that shoot .40 cal are the MP’s and that’s by choice. I was beginning to suspect this guy was one of those people that can’t figure out if they’re liberal or conservative, a child of the 60’s that just never shed the social affectations of liberalism a la Woodstock. The most pathetic kind.

So I continued on, now getting just a bit impassioned. “Man, can you believe what they’re doing to limit our second amendment rights”. I get NRA’s America’s First Freedom and read it from cover to cover to stay abreast of what’s being done to rob us those rights. “ He just shot back; “Well, I don’t see that anywhere’…..letting his thought trail off down the range.
I could tell I was dealing with an idiot. Unfortunately a somebody that there seems to been too many of. I felt weary. The elation I felt over Nais’ accomplishments were quickly succumbing to a sense of morose.
“We’re doomed” I mourned to myself.
I thought for a moment about trying to enlighten this guy, and then I realized it was folly. He was as set in his ideas as I am in mine. It would make no sense.
So I just turned away and shook my head, mumbling to myself:
“Maybe Texas will Secede”
===========================

=========================
San Felipe is a sleepy little fishing village on the north central shore of the Yucatan Peninsula. For 15 years our guides have been hunting quail in the fields of the ranches surrounding San Felipe. This area is a quail hunting paradise – the exotic black-throated quail is king in these parts. The terrain is rugged, but manageable, with the quail coveys scattered throughout open cattle pastures and in the dotted brushy cover. Lightweight waterproof boots and light chaps are recommended.

Typically, Yucatan quail hunting begins at around 5:00 AM with drives from 20 – 45 minutes to the ranches. Once in the field you will meet your guides and their expertly trained English Pointers. Quality dog work is the mark of a quality quail hunt, and our Yucatan quail hunting guides provide this in spades. The morning quail hunting ends around 9:30am and are followed by a quick trip to town for breakfast and a siesta. Afternoon quail hunting begins around 3:30 PM. Snacks and drinks are always provided during the hunt. Hunters can expect 15-20 coveys per quail hunt, and under optimal conditions, 20+ coveys are not uncommon. Our Yucatan quail hunting rivals, and often surpasses, any wild quail hunting found in the US. With pristine quail hunting conditions, limited hunting pressure and the area’s boundless natural beauty, it’s easy to understand why more and more quail hunting aficionados are heading to the Yucatan.

Our quail hunters are accommodated in a small charismatic San Felipe hotel, just blocks from the beach. Groups are normally limited to just eight at a time to ensure the most personable service and quality quail hunting for all.

* Make it a Yucatan mixed-bag hunt – Click here to learn more about our Duck / Quail combos!

Side Trips
The Yucatan offers endless adventure options. Side trips and adventure options include trips to Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the area’s many Mayan ruins. Fishing and golfing packages are also available year round.
================

=================
Jun 1

Posted in: Quail Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida quail hunting, how to hunt quail, Quail Hunting, quail hunting guide

Quail hunting isn’t easy. Quail are small, elusive birds that don’t scare as easily as other game birds. It takes being a great shot, as well as mastering terrains so you have a basic understanding of where you might find quail, to be successful at hunting them.

Quail are usually hunted by flushing them out into the open in some fashion. Most hunters use dogs to achieve this, and there are certain dogs that are favored:

• Beagles – hunters love beagles because they’re close to the ground and can get into areas that larger dogs can’t. They also have a good sense for hunting, and can be trained to both point or baying in their own unique way that notifies hunters of their quarry

• Curly-coated Retriever – among retriever dogs, this is the favored dog for quail hunting. It’s a large dog with a thick coat that can handle thorns and burrs, as well as cold water, if it needs to get wet. It’s considered one of the smartest dogs for training

• Wirehaired Pointing Griffon – this dog is considered one of the best pointers for quail. It’s a medium sized dog with a rough coating, and a strong nose that’s great for both pointing and rooting out game. Its color also works well in helping to camouflage it in the wild

• American Water Spaniel – this is a dog that loves to hunt and seems like it can run all day. They’re also very good swimmers, but their specialty is getting into the woods or rough terrain in scenting out their prey

Of course, many other dogs have been trained for hunting, but these would be your best bet.

Also, when it comes to hunting quail, there are debates about the best kind of gun to have. The one thing everyone agrees on is that you need a scope with great accuracy, because a hunter will need all the help he can get to bag a quail, as it is a smaller bird. Many people like using a lighter gun because they’ll be carrying them around for a long time. When it comes to gauge, it doesn’t take much to kill a quail, so large shot might be a bit of overkill, but small shot means you have to be on target to get a quail.

Something else a hunter might want to think about is a good pair of binoculars. There are two features one wants to concentrate on when it comes to quail hunting binoculars. The first is to buy binoculars with range finder options. These send out a laser beam to whatever a hunter is looking for and sends a signal back helping hunters calculate the distance the quail is away from them. This works best if the gun doesn’t have a scope on it.

Of course, even with a scope, you might want binoculars that have some sort of night vision capability. Even though they don’t work great in sunlight, if you’re in a dark, wooded area, or even on an overcast day, they may help in seeing the quail.

Using these tips will help you in your quail hunting endeavors.
===================
Jun 4

Posted in: Florida Hunting | No Comments
Tags: central florida hunting, florida hunting, hunting guide

The central Florida area of the state, one of three zones, is the largest hunting area in the state. It comprises of 44 counties, including Sarasota and Orange Counties, so if you’re into a full experience with the family you can set yourself up for the hunt during the day and take the kids to Disney World in the evening.
Something that hunting in central Florida adds that many other areas don’t have is a more lush background of woods and swamps, as well as many lakes and waterways. For instance, Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake within the United States, not only offers some of the top fishing in the nation, but also has deer, duck, turkey, wild boar and alligator hunting as well. Other game that can be hunted in central Florida includes quail, pigeon and dove hunting, and a few clubs even purchase pheasant for hunting.
One of those clubs that has pheasant hunts is the Quail Creek Plantation in Okeechobee. On certain days, they’ll release up to 400 pheasants and 300 wild pigeons and let the hunters enjoy the shoot from one of 12 shooting stations.

Quail Creek Plantation is indicative of the type of terrain that most plantations and clubs have in central Florida, that being landscapes of trees rising from the swamps and uplands carpeted with native grasses, and most of it untouched or unchanged for centuries, except for modern additions such as living quarters. This type of terrain offers lots of lush vegetation that all sorts of animals can enjoy and hide in, which makes hunting an even more enjoyable event.

Also like Quail Creek Plantation, many plantations in the area offer not only live hunting, but sporting clays tournaments and range target shooting. Quail Creek Plantation hosts one of the hundreds of shooting clays tournament Florida has each year.

There are over 240 species of bird in the Ocala National Forest, the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River. Some of these birds are endangered, therefore no hunting of some species is allowed. It also contains over 600 natural lakes and ponds, along with lots of slow moving rivers. The Florida Black Bear population has its highest concentration here, but they’re also not allowed to be hunted. Alligators, white-tailed deer, wild boar, and numerous small animals, including bats, coyote, gray fox, red fox, opossum, raccoon, the North American river otter, bobcat, Southeastern pocket gopher, and nine-banded armadillo can be found as well. The sandy soil is home to the Gopher Tortoise. Out of these, the otter is the only animal which can’t be number.

There are also five species of poisonous snakes in the forest: the cottonmouth, coral snake, and three species of rattlers. Some other snakes, which can grow as long as 20 feet or so, reside here as well, each with its own way of damaging or hurting you, and many of them can climb high into the trees, so it’s another challenge for hunters to be on the lookout for.

Hunting in central Florida can be a major challenge, but it can also be a lot of fun if you decide to hook up with one of the plantations and allow their guides to be with you.
========================Jun 4

Posted in: Portfolio | No Comments

Hunt the true wild and elusive Osceola gobblers under 100% fair chase conditions.

Jun 4

Posted in: Portfolio | No Comments

Experience the true joy of pursuing bob-white quail. All hunts are fully guided.

Jun 4

Posted in: Portfolio | No Comments

Come join us for a round of sporting clays at the newest course in Okeechobee. 14 fully automatic stations.

Jun 4

Posted in: Portfolio | No Comments

Located centrally in Florida, Quail Creek is the premium location for hunting in the South.

Jun 4

Posted in: Turkey Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida turkey hunting, Turkey Hunting

Florida is a great place to hunt for turkey, as they are plentiful and there are many areas where turkeys are so that one can get different hunting experiences. For instance, even though turkeys like dry flatlands, there are some turkeys that live close to water, including rivers, lakes and swamps. This makes it challenging, not only because turkey hunting involves patience and stealth, but because there are other animals one has to watch out for including some pretty dangerous ones.

Of course, like other states, Florida has some specific rules for hunting turkey in its state. For instance, there are two turkey hunting seasons in Florida, one in the middle of autumn, the other in spring. In the northwest hunting zone, there’s actually a third special hunting period of only a few days. Holmes County, in the northwest zone, doesn’t allow turkey hunting in the fall.

In the fall turkey hunt, only males are allowed to be hunted. This is to make sure there are enough females for mating season in the spring. Males are known to literally have a harem of females, so this makes turkey hunting even more difficult in the fall because hunters have to make sure what it is they’re shooting. This means that, if you shoot a turkey during this season, you must leave the head on so you can prove that you’ve killed a male.

Hunters are allowed a daily limit of one turkey, but for each season they’re allowed only two. Therefore, if you kill your allotted number of turkeys early, you’re heading back home. However, turkey hunting is more difficult than that, so it could take the entire season to catch one. Not because you may not see one, but because of how you have to hunt turkey. They’re smarter than people have been led to believe, and they learn hunting patterns within a few days and figure out how to stay safe.

Dogs, which are prominent in hunting quail and other feathered game, are not allowed to be used to hunt turkey. The reason for this is that turkeys don’t fly up and out into the sky like other birds do, which means dogs could mutilate turkeys and spoil the hunt.

You can’t shoot turkeys while they’re on the roost, nor can you shoot turkeys if they’re in a baited area. Baited areas are meant to draw other animals, but turkeys will wander into these areas and become easy prey.

The state of Florida has a couple of certifications you can apply for based on your kill. One of those is known as the Outstanding Gobbler Certificate, and to qualify the “beards” of the turkey must be at least 11 inches long, the spurs at least 1 ¼ inches. The other is known as the First Gobbler Certificate, and is awarded to hunters under 16 years of age.

Overall, the best way to hunt turkey in Florida is to hook up with a club, lodge, or plantation. They offer a full hunting experience in the safety of a group and guides who will go out with you, show you the basics of hunting turkey, and try to make sure you stay safe. Even on private lands, there are things that owners have no control over; after all, nature doesn’t always follow the rules. However, you could also have a lot of fun if turkey hunting is something you’d like to try.

Jun 4

Posted in: Florida Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida hunting, florida hunting tips

Florida is a great state for hunting, but like every other state, it has its rules, and it has things you should consider as a part of your hunting experience.

The first thing to know is that you have to have a license to hunt in Florida. There are different licenses for different game, and if you’re not from Florida, it’s going to cost you more for a license. There are also special licenses that will cover multiple game or multiple areas. You can learn more about licenses, including downloading forms, at this link.

Another thing to think about is whether you want to hunt on private or public property. Private property means hunting lodges and plantations; public property refers to the few WMA’s, or wildlife management areas, available. You need a special license to hunt in WMA’s, but if you’re an experienced hunter this might be just the thing you want to do.

There are wild animals in Florida that aren’t in other states, or many other states, that you’ll need to be cognizant for. The main one everyone knows about is an alligator, and it’s bigger and faster than you might think. Not only that, but they’re also quiet and stealthy, and many a hunter has either walked right up to one or had one sneak up on them. There are also rattlesnakes and bobcat to worry about, but you may not have to worry about bobcats as much if you’re at a hunting lodge.

Next is researching the type of clothes you should wear depending on the game and the location where you’re going to be hunting. Camouflage works well for some animals, but doesn’t work well for others. Some lodges will offer clothing for you, which may be included in the price of staying there.

You’ll also need to think about protecting your skin. Florida is a hot state, especially southern Florida, and much of it is surrounded by swamps. That means lots of mosquitoes and other biting bugs. So, you may need to think about including netting as a part of your clothing. You definitely want to wear both waterproof and steel toed shoes, to protect your feet from the water and from the snakes. Alligator bites will go through even steel toed shoes, so no protection there. Also, don’t forget sun screen, because it’s sunny often, but make sure whatever you select doesn’t have scent to it, as animals can smell pretty well.

The best tip to give anyone deciding to hunt in Florida is hooking up with a hunting lodge or club. They will offer guides who will show you where the game you’re hunting might be, and they’ll also be able to handle the dogs that you’ll go out with. Guides also make sure you’ll stay safe and make sure to watch your back.

One final thing; don’t be overly disappointed if you end up not shooting anything. Shooting is tough to begin with, and it’s tough even if you can hit a standing target. A moving target is even tougher, because you never really know where it’s going. Make sure to learn at least a few rules for whatever it is you’re hunting, not only to make sure you’re not violating any Florida laws, but also to give yourself the best chance to actually bag something. That, plus safety must always be taken; you don’t want to shoot your best friend like former Vice President Dick Cheney did.

These tips should help to enhance your Florida hunting experience.

Jun 4

Posted in: Quail Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida quail hunting, Quail Hunting, quail hunting tips

There’s lots of good hunting of quail in Florida, and it’s a nice, long season that’s helped by Florida’s wonderful climate. Whether you’re an expert or novice at hunting, quail or otherwise, it never hurts to learn some tips on how you might take care of yourself, become a better hunter, and get more enjoyment out of hunting. Below are ten tips that you might want to follow.

1. Hook up with a quail hunting lodge of some kind. The experienced hunter might not believe this is true hunting, but for everyone else this is the best way to go. Each year, quail hunting lodges, many of which are old plantations from the antebellum days, actually purchase more quail to let loose on their grounds, making sure everyone has plenty of opportunities to at least have a shot at bagging some quail. Also, most of these lodges will not only have guided tours to help you find the best spots for hunting, but many will supply both guns and dogs to help you flush out your quarry.

2. The best time to go quail hunting as it pertains to the season is at the beginning. Quail have finished mating, there are more quail to go around, and, of course, if you followed the first tip and hooked up with a lodge there are even more quail available.

3. The best time of the day to go quail hunting is late afternoon, when they’re more liable to come out of hiding on their own instead of having to have the dogs to and flush them out.

4. Quail like open lands, weedy cover, and, when threatened, will look for thick briar patches, where most predators can’t get to them. Don’t waste your time shooting an animal you can’t get to even if you kill it.

5. If you’re hunting for quail by gun, you need a gun that you can fire and reload fast. Unless you’re a marksman, you probably won’t hit a quail with your first shot, and it may take multiple shots just to graze a quail. But quail aren’t sturdy birds when it comes to killing them, so even grazing a quail might be good enough to catch one. You don’t need a gun that can bring down big game; speed counts when hunting quail.

6. Don’t make too much noise. Like most prey, quail can be skittish when they hear sudden noises, and will make a break for it. If you’re calm and steady, it’s even possible that a quail will walk right up to you. Have your gun at the ready, though, otherwise even a close target will be missed.

7. Never shoot a low flying quail, and unless the shot is extremely easy, never shoot at a quail still on the ground. This is for safety reasons, because you never know if another hunter is in the area tracking the same quail, and many dogs have been killed this way. If you have dogs with you, wait until they’ve flushed out your quarry and shoot them while they’re in the air.

8. You’ll need good clothing, that’s thick and waterproof, especially in Florida. There are two schools of thought as to whether it’s best to wear camouflage clothes, which can help you get closer to quail, or bright colors to help protect yourself from being shot at by other hunters. It’s best to ask the people at the hunting lodge you decide to go to what they recommend, as each lodge might have its own rules.

9. If you’re tracking quail with or without your dogs, it’s always best to keep your gun aimed relatively high, since they will fly up.

10. A big part of hunting is being out in nature and absorbing its overall beauty and calmness. Don’t waste the opportunity to drink in its beauty and splendor; you never know when you’ll get another chance, especially in a state like Florida, which has nature and scenery unlike most other states.

Jun 4

Posted in: General | No Comments
Tags: florida skeet shooting, skeet shooting, trap shooting

Skeet shooting is a challenging sports to learn for novices, whether they’ve hunted before or not. There’s a great difference between shooting at a live animal and shooting at something where your skills have more to do with timing and great aim. The state of Florida has clubs all over that either totally geared towards skeet shooting, or combine skeet shooting along with other forms of hunting, both live and “non-live”.

Skeet shooting came to America in the late 1800’s after being developed first in Britain. It started out as a recreational sport for only the wealthy, as early hotels and plantations would set it up along with pastimes like golf, horseback riding, and bicycling. It really became popular in the 1920’s, and the first Florida clubs started popping up in the late 1920’s, after it became known as a real sport, which led to the National Skeet Shooting Association and, in Florida, the Florida Skeet Association.

The first skeet shooting tournament in Florida was held by the Jungle Gun Club of St. Petersburg, which opened in 1928 and held its first tournament in 1929. It was so popular that the second year the number of participants almost doubled from the previous year, and skeet shooters from 16 different states came to the event, which was a series of 100 target shoots for 16 classes. The best performer actually hit 99 out of 100 targets.

How does skeet shooting work? Clay disks are flung into the air at high speed by what are known as “traps” from different angles. Shooters alternate positions, as they’re usually standing somewhere between two small houses. The houses, known as a “high house” and a “low house,” contain the traps. Shooters move to different stations, eight in all, to get through their round. They don’t have a lot of time to catch the clays either, as they’re moving at an estimated 50 to 60 miles per hour.

The difficulty in the sport isn’t necessarily the speed, though it’s a component. Usually the difficulties are figuring out the distance of the clays, and learning how to track the clays. Experts know how to get themselves into a position where they can estimate where they believe the clays will appear so that they can do what’s known as “swinging through” towards the target instead of having to jerk their guns up and down. They also have to learn how to shoot while their moving their guns, which most shooters usually do not have to learn.

Although there many clubs and lodges that have skeet shooting throughout the state, only 19 clubs are registered with the Florida Skeet Association, which has close to 100 skeet shooting tournaments a year throughout the state. One doesn’t have to be a member to participate in a tournament, though, which is usually broken into four classes, which gives shooters at all skill levels a chance to compete against each other. Tournament locations and dates can be found on the Florida Skeet Association website.

Jun 4

Posted in: Sporting Clays | No Comments
Tags: florida skeet shooting, florida sporting clays

Shooting sporting clays is one of the fastest growing participation sports in the United States. People like it because they’re not shooting at live animals, and there’s no one season set aside to go it. As long as the weather is good, one can shoot sporting clays.

Sporting clays began coming into prominence in the early 1980’s in Florida, and the Florida Sporting Clays Association, which is affiliated with the National Sporting Clay Association, was founded in 1989 to oversee all sporting clays competition in the state.

Since most sporting clays tournaments like having conditions that look and feel like real hunting, Florida is a great place for both personal and competition sporting clays. That’s because many clubs that have already been set up for live game hunting such as for quail and pheasants already have the vegetation and landscaping, thus that part is covered, and all anyone has to do is set up the course.

Florida also seems to be a leader in what’s known as 5-stand shooting. This is different than traditional sporting clays in that there are five stands, or stations, to shoot from, and no two are alike. Participants shoot in turn at each of the 5 stands a between 6 and 8 targets, with different combinations of targets being thrown. It’s usually performed in a smaller space that normal sporting clays, which makes it great for training.

In February 2009, there was an event known as the Rhino Rally, a four-day event held at a place called Rhino Outdoors in Williston, FL. About 188 shooters participated in this event, one of the first of the year, and it was being followed the next week by the Seminole Cup, held at the Quail Creek Plantation in Okeechobee, and the Caribbean Classic at IRTS & SC in Vero Beach. The owner of Rhino’s, Joe Morales, also announced he was creating an RV resort for sporting clays, which would be the first of its type in the United States.

It was known as a premiere resort because shooters in sporting clays competitions like a mixture of different sizes and shapes, as well as changes in speed from the release of the clays. That, plus weather conditions that are normally pristine, are great backgrounds for a shooting clays competition (although the last day of this particular competition was a bit cooler and windier than the first three days had been).

There are close to 100 different sporting clays competitions in Florida every year. You can get a full listing of every competition off the Florida Sporting Clays Association’s website here.

Along with competitive shooting clays competitions, there’s a great number of sporting clays clubs throughout the entire state of Florida as well. Most of the clubs also have other game and shooting competitions as well, so you can get a little taste of almost anything. If you’re from out of state, it’s best to pay for a full package of accommodations, which will allow you to try out pretty much everything, although the cost of your ammunition and the rental of guns aren’t free.

You have many choices for shooting clays in Florida; take a look to see what Florida has to offer.

Jun 4

Posted in: Florida Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida hunting, florida hunting laws

If you’re going to go hunting in the state of Florida, you need to make sure you’re not going to put yourself into a position of not knowing all the rules and regulations. There’s nothing worse than being hit with a fine or being put in jail for ignorance.

You can check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website where you can find all sorts of information. Some of that information and the links to it are:

General Hunting rules – these can be downloaded from here.
The most important link that every hunter should check out, which will download a pdf to their computers, is the Hunting Regulations Handbook, which can be downloaded right to your computer.

Florida also requires licenses for hunting in their state. They will be more costly if you’re not a resident, and if the hunter is under age 16 or over age 65 and are residents of the state, they don’t have to register or pay any fees. The link for license and permit information and applications is right here.

So, what kind of hunting laws does Florida have that you should be aware of? The most important rules to follow are the very specific hunting seasons and locations. For instance, Hudson County in northwestern Florida has shorter hunting seasons for many prey, and even some seasons that they don’t participate in with the rest of the state. Also, Florida is known to stagger the hunting season for some animals depending on which area of the state you want to hunt in, as they’ve broken it into three zones, northwest, central, and south. The staggering of seasons isn’t only for prey, but for different types of hunting, such as with crossbows.

There are types of weapons not allowed to be used when it comes to hunting in Florida. One big type of outlawed gun is semi-automatic rifles that have magazines that shoot more than five rounds at a time. Fully automatic weapons, and any weapon with a silencer, aren’t allowed. You also can’t shoot game from moving vehicles, even on the water; you must turn off the motor before shooting at anything. You’re also not allowed to use nets, snares or traps to catch prey.

There are other rules for places one isn’t allowed to hunt. You can’t hunt on state, federal, or county maintained roads anywhere. You can’t hunt on private land unless it’s been licensed for hunting. You can’t hunt in private sanctuaries. And you can’t trespass on private lands for any reason, even if you shot and wounded prey that ended up landing on private land.

There are a few more things that you need to know about hunting in Florida. There are specific times during the day when hunting is allowed, and those times may change based on the type of prey being hunted and where you’re hunting. You need a special permit to hunt in WMAs (wildlife management areas). Also, remember to stick with the quotas set by each county, which can range from very generous to very stringent (Hudson County, for example, only allows one turkey kill a season).

Following these, and other rules, could keep you out of trouble while hunting in Florida. To learn more state rules, don’t forget to download the hunting regulations guide, in pdf form, from here.
=============================
Jun 4

Posted in: Turkey Hunting | 1 Comment
Tags: florida turkey hunting, Turkey Hunting

Florida is a great place to hunt for turkey, as they are plentiful and there are many areas where turkeys are so that one can get different hunting experiences. For instance, even though turkeys like dry flatlands, there are some turkeys that live close to water, including rivers, lakes and swamps. This makes it challenging, not only because turkey hunting involves patience and stealth, but because there are other animals one has to watch out for including some pretty dangerous ones.

Of course, like other states, Florida has some specific rules for hunting turkey in its state. For instance, there are two turkey hunting seasons in Florida, one in the middle of autumn, the other in spring. In the northwest hunting zone, there’s actually a third special hunting period of only a few days. Holmes County, in the northwest zone, doesn’t allow turkey hunting in the fall.

In the fall turkey hunt, only males are allowed to be hunted. This is to make sure there are enough females for mating season in the spring. Males are known to literally have a harem of females, so this makes turkey hunting even more difficult in the fall because hunters have to make sure what it is they’re shooting. This means that, if you shoot a turkey during this season, you must leave the head on so you can prove that you’ve killed a male.

Hunters are allowed a daily limit of one turkey, but for each season they’re allowed only two. Therefore, if you kill your allotted number of turkeys early, you’re heading back home. However, turkey hunting is more difficult than that, so it could take the entire season to catch one. Not because you may not see one, but because of how you have to hunt turkey. They’re smarter than people have been led to believe, and they learn hunting patterns within a few days and figure out how to stay safe.

Dogs, which are prominent in hunting quail and other feathered game, are not allowed to be used to hunt turkey. The reason for this is that turkeys don’t fly up and out into the sky like other birds do, which means dogs could mutilate turkeys and spoil the hunt.

You can’t shoot turkeys while they’re on the roost, nor can you shoot turkeys if they’re in a baited area. Baited areas are meant to draw other animals, but turkeys will wander into these areas and become easy prey.

The state of Florida has a couple of certifications you can apply for based on your kill. One of those is known as the Outstanding Gobbler Certificate, and to qualify the “beards” of the turkey must be at least 11 inches long, the spurs at least 1 ¼ inches. The other is known as the First Gobbler Certificate, and is awarded to hunters under 16 years of age.

Overall, the best way to hunt turkey in Florida is to hook up with a club, lodge, or plantation. They offer a full hunting experience in the safety of a group and guides who will go out with you, show you the basics of hunting turkey, and try to make sure you stay safe. Even on private lands, there are things that owners have no control over; after all, nature doesn’t always follow the rules. However, you could also have a lot of fun if turkey hunting is something you’d like to try.
=====================
Jun 2

Posted in: Turkey Hunting | No Comments
Tags: florida turkey hunting, Turkey Hunting, turkey hunting tips

Turkey hunting can be an enjoyable sport for some hunters. Those with skills understand that hunting for every animal has its similarities and differences. Here are some tips for hunting turkey that will help to enhance your experience.

1. You can’t stalk a turkey. This isn’t because turkeys are necessarily smart and will know it’s a person stalking them. It’s because other hunters may not be able to tell that you’re not a turkey before shooting. Most turkey hunting accidents occur because someone else thinks you’re a turkey.

2. Try not to wear red, while, or blue if you’re going turkey hunting. Those are the colors of most turkeys, along with brown, and another way to be mistaken for a turkey.

3. Motion is your enemy if you’re going to hunt turkey. Most hunters will find a spot and remain there, as quiet as possible, until turkeys show themselves. They’re faster than they look, and if you spook a turkey too soon, you might not get another chance at getting one. Turkeys also tend to move in groups, so attracting the attention of any of them and they’re all gone.

4. Camouflage is helpful if you’re looking to catch a turkey. Blending in always works well. The standard camouflage clothes work well, but many hunters will also buy camouflage paint for their faces and hands to try to blend in even better.

5. Camouflage isn’t all you need. In the woods, there are lots of bugs, especially mosquitoes and gnats, and they will bite, you’ll move, and you won’t see any turkeys. Wearing scented bug repellant, however, is a major tell to turkeys, as it’s a foreign scent they’re not used to. Netting and gloves can go a long way towards protecting your skin; they have them in camouflage colors as well. Make sure the netting you buy covers your full face also, and pick netting without eyeholes. Sure, they’re just as effective, but you’re looking to protect all areas of your face, and eyeholes still offer skin that these insects will go for.

6. Be careful if you’re going to use something to call a turkey, such as a gobbler call. Other hunters might think you’re a turkey, and won’t follow what the next tip is going to be.

7. Don’t shoot at anything until you see a turkey. Don’t shoot at sounds of any kind, including scratching of branches. Don’t shoot at movement in the trees or leaves. Don’t shoot just because you hear a turkey call, ala the tip above. Don’t assume anything while hunting turkeys.

8. If you’re going to call a turkey with your own voice, try cupping one hand near the mouth before you make the call. This will help the call be more directional, especially if you’re trying to get a certain group of turkey that you may have an idea of where they might be.

9. If you spot an area with lots of grasshoppers, turkeys might not be far behind. Turkeys are attracted to grasshoppers because they offer protein to them, and they might even be used as a lure for turkeys.

10. Turkey hunting takes a lot of patience. If you’re going to wait for a turkey, find a comfortable spot where you can not only sit, but keep your gun ready for your shot. You might want to try to find a place where you can either sit or lay and aim your gun forward. If a turkey sneaks up on you from behind, you’re probably not going to be fast enough to shoot it anyway, so try to stay trained on your targeted spot.

These tips will help your turkey hunting experience go better and safer if you employ them well.
=====================
h”Located in the heart of Lake Fork”

HIDDEN LAKES, named by my wife Kathryn, like all good things is the fulfillment of our personal dream to own and operate a hunting resort. The Resort is located one mile east of Highway 17 on County Road 1912 in Yantis, Texas 75497.

When we first purchased the farm I started constructing lakes and ponds on every draw. When completed we had eight ponds and lakes. Now with the additional ranches acquired we have fourteen in all. Two years ago we stocked every lake and if you like to fish just bring the rod and reel (catch and release only).

You can also look for the ducks, deer, coyotes, bobcats, and other wildlife that roam the ranch. Part of our uniqueness is we are very secluded but an easy drive from major urban areas. The Resort is accessed by two entrances, one to the cabin and guest house and the other to the working facilities, both are half of a mile off the main road. The north, south, east, and west boundaries are the back side of other farms. You will not see a highway from any location on the Resort. This year we added two adjoining ranches to our hunting resort but we still maintain our seclusion.

Wing hunting is the only hunting we do. Years of hunting and visiting other resorts has allowed us to create the ultimate wing shooting resort. To facilitate our hunting, we purchase birds but in addition we also have the facilities to hatch and raise about 14,000 birds.

There are six flight pens from 130’ to 160’ long. The birds are kept secluded from sight of humans and protected from predators until they are released for hunting. Birds are raised in seclusion so they react and fly as if they were wild. This makes for an exciting hunt.

For prime pheasant hunting, we planted seventeen and a half miles of milo and sorghum in 30’ wide strips. There are two rows of milo and then two rows of sorghum repeated until we have a strip 30’ wide. The hunters walk through the waist high milo. The sorghum, which grows to about 7’ tall, causes the birds to get up faster and fly higher. We left all the natural grasses and cover on Hidden Lakes. The scattered trees, briar patches and grown up fence rows are excellent cover and provide prime natural habitat for the quail and chuckers. To facilitate hunting we shred a 20’ path every 200’ in the open field in all pastures. We have six different hunting areas which provide hunters a diverse hunting experience and provides safety by keeping hunters well separated.

Lodging

The guest house is located half of a mile off the road. It has a large bedroom with three queen size beds and a second bedroom with a queen and a half bed. The dining and living area is where meals are served. The guest house can sleep from five to nine depending on arrangements.

The cedar cabin is about 100 yards due south of the guest house nestled in trees by a lake. It has 2 half size beds downstairs and 2 bedrooms upstairs each with a queen size bed. There is also a queen sized sleeper sofa downstairs. The cabin will sleep four to six depending on arrangements.
======================
Hunting and Fishing Community – The Ultimate Hunting and Fishing Community – GHF’s goal is to be built for its members. We want you to build this sight as if it were your own. We have implemented the ability for our members to be a part of this website and submit there information and knowledge of the outdoors including articles, photos, field journals and marine reports. This will not only spread the love and passion for our sport, but also help to give notice to those individuals that are the real reason our sport exists today and continues to grow.

Gray Ghost Plantation – Gray ghost plantation is a family owned and operated hunting outfitter in Middle Georgia just 1 hour and 45 minutes south west of Atlanta international airport. This region of Georgia is becoming well known for trophy whitetail deer, the abundance of wild turkey and some of the best Georgia Quail Hunting in the state. We hunt 1100 acres of a mixture of planted pines, hardwood timber, ponds and food plots. The property is privately owned and operated. The property is managed for quality Whitetail deer, large flocks of Turkeys and Quail. We take pride in our quality management of whitetails, turkeys and Bobwhite Quail . To help us do this, we have food plots of high protein clover, soybean, corn, wheat, winter rye, off season feeders, as well as natural acorns from oak timber.

We offer Turkey hunting in the spring, Deer hunting in the fall and winter and Wingshooting during Quail Season. The spring turkey season is gun and/or bow and the deer season is split up for archers who want to get a head start on hunting season and we also cater to the rifle hunters later in the season. For some of the most exciting bird hunting action reserve you trip today.

Premier Texas Shooting – This website is dedicated to promoting the wingshooting in the great state of Texas. Here you will find some of the best wingshooting outfitters and lodges in Texas. Whatever your wingshooting desire, you will find it here. Take your time and look over the many lodges that have chose to promote their wingshooting on PremierTexasWingshooting.com. Please fill out the contact form and someone from the lodge will contact you ASAP. “Your next Texas wingshooting adventure begins here. Happy Hunting!

Florida Everglades Bass Fishing – FloridaEvergladesBassFishing.com gives you all the information you could ever want to know about bass fishing in Southern Florida. If you live in Florida or are looking to take a bass fishing vacation in the Sunshine state, you should definitely check us out. We offer great bass fishing trips for the beginner and the seasoned angler, as well as for men, women, and children. We offer several varieties of bass fishing trips such as half day, full day, or weekend trips depending on what the client wants.

Flats and Backcountry Fishing – Your Backcountry Inshore Flats Fishing Charter Boat and Guide for Snook, Redfish, Tarpon, Trout, mangrove snapper and sharks. If you’re searching for the ultimate back country experience you’ve found the right place, the right Captain and the right boats. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first time fisherman, we will tailor a trip just for you. Ride on the quickest, most comfortable boats and use the best tackle to land that trophy fish. It is the ultimate backcountry experience for the guys, gals, families or small corporate groups.

Cypress Airboats – Cypress Airboats offers the best backcountry everglades airboat rides there are to offer in south Florida. We bring you deep into the heart of the everglades were the big gators are. Our custom high performance boats are second to none. We cater to both the individual who wants that scenic tour of the everglades and to the thrill seeker for the ride of a lifetime. We are not your typical airboat tour company; we are the real thing, third generation natives of south Florida born and raised in the everglades offering private tours and rides with smaller high performance boats that take you places that you would not normally get to see on the bigger boats.

Ft Lauderdale Airboat Rides – At Ft Lauderdale airboat tours we provide you with the real thing, a custom tailored tour of the old Florida Everglades. We are not a tourist trap or side show. We are the real thing. Our airboats are smaller, quicker and custom. We offer a variety of tour packages from 1 person to small groups. We will customize a tour to fit your needs starting with 1 hour tours to an all day excursion. We also do night tours with advanced notice. When you book a tour with us we will also see how good you are at driving the boat.

West Palm Beach Airboat Rides – At West Palm Beach Airboat Rides we provide you with the real thing, a custom tailored tour of the old Florida Everglades. We are not a tourist trap or side show. We are the real thing. Our airboats are smaller, quicker and custom. We offer a variety of tour packages from 1 person to small groups. We will customize a tour to fit your needs starting with 1 hour tours to an all day excursion. We also do night tours with advanced notice. When you book a tour with us we will also see how good you are at driving the boat.

Miami Airboat Tours – Our tours will take you into the heart of the everglades were you will have an opportunity to see different birds, possibly some animals and a lot of alligators. We will get you up close and personal with the big gators. We at Miami Airboat tours are third generation air boaters and have been in the everglades since the 1960s we know the everglades it’s our back yard.

Key Largo Home Rental – Key Largo home rental offers only the finest accommodations there is to offer, we believe that if you are vacationing locally on a get away weekend, visiting for a week, or spending the winter in Florida you deserve the very best. The home is located in Key Largo on the bay side tucked into a finger canal just off the bay. The home was custom built in 2008 and has a new dock and a boat lift if you would like to bring your boat or jet ski.

quilting 4.012 – gtg

=================================

Question

What’s wrong with my sewing machine and how much would it cost to repair it? While I was sewing, I heard a loud pop and then the machine sounded like it was running low on power. I turned it off and realized the needle was bent. So, I replaced the needle. But when I pushed the foot pedal the needle did not move, but I could hear the motor running. When I turn the nob on the side, the needle moves. Do you think it’s a belt, or something, that broke? If you think you may know the problem, how much would it cost to fix it?
Best Answer Impossible to say from the information given. Broken needles are generally the result of trying to push or pull the fabric under the presser foot instead of letting the machine transport the fabric. Or trying to sew through fabric too dense for the machine, or with too light a needle. Start by taking out your manual, turning to the section on cleaning the machine, and start by taking all the thread out of/off of the machine. Remove the bobbin, bobbin case, needle plate and any and all lint, bits of thread and needle shards you see. Use a vacuum, not compressed air, and brush to get the machine clean. Oil only as directed by the manual, and use only sewing machine oil, not 3-in-1 types nor WD-40 types, both of which will freeze up a machine (for different reasons!). Reassemble correctly. Once you’re done cleaning, rethread the machine from scratch and try again. Does the needlebar move? Does it stitch? (If it doesn’t, is the needle in the right way around?) Do the feed dogs move properly? Does it sound right? Is the machine in time? What you’ve done (new needle, clean machine, rethreading correctly) may fix the problem. I’ve become the neighborhood “last stop before taking the machine in for professional service” person, and in my experience, about 90% of the dead machines I’m asked to look at are magically fixed by cleaning and rethreading and new needle. My guesses as to what might be going on that you can’t fix with the above treatment include timing, a broken gear or cam, a broken belt (though most machines now lack one), an electrical fault, a broken sewing hook, a popped fuse or circuit breaker…. could be a lot of things, and the cost to fix may range from nearly free to “not worth fixing this machine”.

Question

Do you know how to fix my sewing machine? When I push down my foot pedal, my needle gets jammed. when I take the fabric away, it works fine, with nothing under it. I usually solve this problem by re-threading my needle, this time that didn’t work. I would really like to avoid going to the repair shop because they have lost my foot pedal on my previous machine. Its a Singer Tradition so if anybody can PLEASE help. 🙂
Best Answer Try a fresh, new needle of the right type and size for the fabric being sewn.

=====================gtg

Question

How much money to repair sewing machine? timing might be up on my sewing machine, and if that is the true problem, i will have to take it to get repaired. Anyone know an estimate on how much it would cost to readjust timing on my sewing machine? I called a sewing machine repair place and told them my needle was running into the bobbin case, so they said i might need the timing readjusted.
Best Answer Typically a COA (clean/oil/adjust) aka tuneup around here is $50-90, usually a bit more if the machine is electronic. Why do you think the machine is out of time and not just a bad needle or mis-threaded or in need of cleaning? http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090925205957AAq0xc4

Question

Is there an online guide to sewing machine repair and problems? We have 2 Singer sewing machines that have bobbin problems and are quirky at times. I would like to diagnose the problems and fix them at home. Anyone have any ideas or links that might help? Thanks!
Best Answer My first suggestion is a good, thorough cleaning and oiling. Use a vacuum, not canned air, to get dust out, and pull the needleplate to get good access to the bobbin area. Oil per the manual’s recommendations using genuine sewing machine oil, not 3-in-1 type household oils nor WD-40 (it’s a solvent, not a lubricant.) If these machines are modern (last 10-20 years) non-mechanicals, and they have not had a COA (clean-oil-adjust), they’re probably more than overdue. If they’re mechanical machines, you can learn a lot about doing a basic COA by joining the yahoo group “wefixit”. Electronic and computerized machines probably need to go to the sewing machine mechanic for a COA. At any rate, first try the cleaning and oiling regimen found in the owners manual, and then put in a new needle and rethread with manual in hand. Make sure you’re using the right bobbin — visually, there’s not much difference between a class 15 and a class 66 bobbin, but the machine will pitch a fit with the wrong bobbin. Many user problems are directly traceable to mis-threading, poor quality thread and worn or damaged needles. Give yourself a break when troubleshooting and start with good quality replaceables and the full instructions. Fault tracing: http://sewandserge.com/tshoot.asp http://sewing.about.com/od/sewingmachineindex/a/mtroubleshot.htm http://www.sewusa.com/Sewing_Machine_Repair/Sewing%20Machine%20Troubleshooting.htm http://cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/c-202.html http://www.singerco.com Most of the problems I talk people through are traceable to mis-threading (especially threading with the presser foot down), bad needle, crummy thread and bobbin in backwards. Next most common problem is filthy machine that also needs oiling. Timing is almost never an issue unless you’ve broken a needle or had loud noises just before the machine quit. Suggested reading, probably available at your library: John Giordano’s Sewing Machine Book and Gale Grigg Hazen’s Owners Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting Machines. Hazen’s section on bad sewing habits is excellent, btw.

===================================gtg

Question

On-line sewing machine repair? My machine’s foot pedal isn’t triggering a response. if I wiggle my foot it will eventually make a connection but it starts and stops suddenly. Sewing is next to impossible and I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Can someone point me to an on-line DIY repair site so i DON’T have to take it in to a shop where they will charge more for repairs than the machine is worth?
Best Answer I have similar problems every few years with one of my old Kenmore machines. Rather than trying to fix it, I’ve bought a replacement for about 25 bucks. Mine seems to be not with the switch in the machine, as others have suggested, but with the cord, as I could get it to work if I kinked the cord just so, but it is such as hassle. No reasoning as to why it happens – my cat isn’t chewing on the cord or anything.

=============================gtg
==================

Quilter’s Profile

I am thrilled to introduce you to the first quilter I ever knew: My mother. Mom discovered the joys of quilting during its great revival period in the mid-seventies; but, how she was first introduced to the concept of quilting is a story worth sharing.

One day at work, Mom saw a fellow 3M co-worker going through the machinery rag bag. Mom asked Barb what she was doing and learned that Barb was looking for new cottons to give to her aunt for her patchwork quilting. Mom asked Barb to explain further and was absolutely fascinated by what she heard. While Mom’s own mother made tied woolen blankets from worn out trousers, it was done out of necessity and never was the word quilting mentioned.

Not long after this introduction, an ad appeared in the newspaper announcing quilting lessons at a local college. The instructor, Anne, eventually become one the founding members of the Oxford Quilter’s Guild. Mom signed up for that 10 week course and never looked back.

It was from Anne that Mom learned the fundamentals of quilting: drawing on graph paper, cutting templates, layout, hand piecing and appliqué, English paper-piecing, hand quilting, color and design. And from Anne, Mom acquired her strong belief in accuracy and her love of a good quilting library.

The greatest challenge for Mom and all quilters at this time was finding good cottons which were few and far between. My fellow employee soon had competition at the 3M rag bag. It wasn’t until two extraordinary women opened a quilt store on the outskirts of town that quilters found a home away from home. They made an annual pilgrimage to the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas and everyone waited for the new products to arrive just before Christmas.

Another difficulty for Mom was balancing a full-time job, looking after a household and trying to squeeze in time for her new passion. Her ability to get by on five hours of sleep a night was awe inspiring. Until she joined the Oxford Quilter’s Guild in the mid-80’s, Mom continued to learn on her own from her extensive library. With guild membership, came workshops and new friends with whom to share her love of quilting.

Mom finally retired from 3M in 1992 but within a year she lost her husband, my step-father. Mom decided to fill the void by teaching quilting in her home. She continues to teach at her new home which she shares with her sister, Elizabeth.

Mom is now in the process of finishing the many quilts constructed in the years before retiring. However, working with her hands has taken its toll and she will only hand quilt small projects. She has discovered a wonderful machine quilter and now sends the big projects out to be finished. The love and passion for quilting remains and she is passing those sentiments on to a new generation of quilters. Mom was delighted when I finally decided to take up quilting after years of encouraging me to do so. The exposure to her quilting has meant an easy learning process for me as I already knew the basics. A true quilter loves to share! Also, I am now the lucky recipient of Mom’s stash culling and overflow and have become extremely easy to buy for at Christmas.

Women who are taking up quilting today owe a great deal of gratitude to women of my Mom’s generation; it is because of them that the art of quilting flourishes. So, Mom, thank you for sharing, thank you for your passion, and thank you for being you. I love you!

======================= gtg

If you’re looking for a beginners guide to quilting, Alex Anderson’s Start Quilting book is a good choice.

Like a typical beginner quilting book, it starts off with a series of instructions. If you are like me, you may be tempted to bypass this section, to “get to the good stuff” like the quilt patterns.

Actually, the instructions are “the good stuff.” A quilting book at this level assumes you are an absolute beginner. So, while you may be anxious to start your first quilt, take time to read through the first part of the book.

Yes, it may be boring. But what you’ll learn is worth the time you take to read.

So, let’s go over what you’ll be getting.

This quilting book contains pages on tools, fabric, rotary cutting, pressing, basting, hand quilting (yeah!) and machine quilting.

Her supply list is on point. It is brief. It is thorough. And you can feel like you could easily purchase the items.

The keyword for this book is “fundamental.” If you read all the information and follow Alex Anderson’s advice, you will end up with great quilting fundamentals.

A couple of things make this beginners guide to quilting stand out.

First, there is a section on fabric. It is hard to find a beginners book that will give you through fabric selection tips.

Another good thing is the section on hand quilting. Like the rest of the book, you will get just enough information to get started. This is the only beginner quilting book this small that will even tackle hand quilting.

The book contains six projects. All are wall hangings. All include either squares, triangles or both. The book does not cover applique. A good suggestion would be to go through all the patterns from front to back.

The fabric selection for these quilts really makes the difference. These are not some practice projects that will sit in the back of a closet.

You will want to put these on display.

What could be improved on:

There is an easier method to attach binding than what is presented here. Every time I’ve used this method, it looks bulky on the edges.

Also, the author assumes you know how to slip stitch. I don’t. (Is this where I admit that I never took Home Ec?) It is why I machine stitch my bindings.

I only mention this because I am the type of person that one thing would stop me from buying the book. I would say in my mind – I can’t finish it so I’m not going to buy it.

There’s an easy fix for this, though. Just machine stitch your binding down. Use the invisible thread for the front of your quilt. Done.

All in all, this is a great book for your quilting library. It is also a great book to give to someone who is interested in starting to quilt. It is both thorough and encouraging which makes this quilting book a winner.

==================================gtg

How do you find an easy quilt pattern from all the patterns available? After all, you want to spend your time quilting, not struggling to finish a quilt top. First, I’ll go into how you can spot this elusive quarry. Then, I’ll give you some examples from my own pattern stash.

The first thing you want to do is read the pattern’s instructions. I’ve never had a problem at a quilt shop looking at the actual directions for a pattern. If someone did raise a question or request that I not look at them, I would ask the assistant questions about the pattern.

Actually. Can I be honest?

The folks at my local quilt shop know me. They know what I like. And the second sentence out of their mouths when describing a pattern is usually, “It’s so easy to make.”

So, if you can not get a look at the directions, ask for help. This could come from someone who works at the shop or another customer. Quilters are very giving people. I’ve just looked lost, in the past and folks have offered assistance.

Now, you need to do your part, too. Ask questions. Let folks know what tools you have at home. If you are not comfortable with triangles, let them know. On the other hand, if you have a triangle ruler and want to try it out, let them know that, too.

The great thing about local quilt shops is their expertise. That’s why you pay a little bit more than with on-line shops. I consider it a consultation fee.

But what if you don’t have a local shop? What if you’re happy just to have a Joann’s or Hancock’s with folks who are there strictly to cut fabric and ring you up?

Then you’re going to have to go on what you see. Here are some questions to ask when trying to find an easy quilt pattern:

Is this a Strip Piecing Quilt? – Strip piecing is always good. These patterns are mostly made of squares and rectangles. Go for it. If you are not familiar with curves, this is not the time to experiment. We’re talking about an easy quilt pattern, here.

Do the instructions have lots of pictures? – Are there lots of pictures? I like pictures. I like knowing how I’m going to make this pattern when I get home. Actually, I like knowing that I can make it when I get home.

Pictures and different layouts help me make that decision. Which brings me to another point.

Can I understand the directions? OK. I’m sure none of y’all reading this has fallen in love with a pattern, taken it home and realized you had no idea what you were doing? Right? And, uh, I haven’t either.

OK. I have.

Again, make sure you know you can make this thing at home when you get it.

If you can not look at the directions because the pattern is on line, see if you can find a free pattern by the same quilt pattern designer. If you can understand their directions for their free patterns, you will probably be good with a purchased pattern.

How large is the block size? – More blocks mean less piecing. Everyone needs this type of easy quilt pattern. You need a baby quilt in a weekend or you want just an easy project? You can take this one out and whip out an easy quilt.

Of course, if you are really in a hurry you could just purchase a quilt panel. But if you have to make a stash quilt, you do what you have to do.

What are examples of an easy quilt pattern?
Log Cabin Quilt Pattern

Y’all I have not found any book as detailed and picture-intense as this one. This was done by strip- piecing.

The finished block size measures a nice 14 inch. It meets all my easy quilt pattern requirements.

BQ – A favorite.

You want a big block?

How about 18-inch block?

Notice the squares and rectangle shapes?

Yep, this is another strip-piecing pattern.

The picture is of the mini size I made for my laundry room. That smaller size measures a respectable, finished 9-inch block.

Turning Twenty This is a pattern where you cut up twenty different fat quarters a certain way and then have fun mixing and matching.

My version is more like turning twelve because the largest size quilt I make is a lap size.

This is a great pattern if you just want to select a package of fat quarters and start quilting.

=========================================gtg

Make a Quilt in a Day Log Cabin Pattern by Eleanor Burns is a great book for absolute beginners and a good reference book for quilters in general. It oozes with step-by-step instructions and lots of pictures.

You may be thinking, yeah, but there’s one quilt pattern. But, you can work off this one pattern for years if you had to.

I’ve made lap quilts, baby quilts and mini quilts from this one pattern. The book contains the fabric requirements for different sizes from a wall hanging up to king size. Plus, there are layouts galore.

For the absolute beginner, you’ll get a list of supplies you’ll need for your very first strip quilting project. At first glance, the list may seem intimidating, but this supply list will last you a long time.

The actual strip quilting instructions are detailed with a picture to demonstrate every single step.

Most folks I know are fine when it comes to finishing a quilt top. They get scared, however, at the actual quilting and binding or finishing the quilt.

The Make a Quilt in a Day Log Cabin Pattern book details instructions on how to finish a quilt two different ways. You can either machine quilt or quick turn and tie. Both have step-by-step instructions.

The book does not cover hand stitching. But with a title called quilt in a day, you can kind of expect that.

Other projects included in the book are a pillow sham and a tote bag. Yeah! These are basic instructions that you can use for other quilt patterns. See why I love this book?

When it comes to machine quilting, most quilt books for beginners only mention stitching in the ditch (stitching in the seam of your blocks to give it an outline effect). This book suggests quilting lines. The difference in batting choices are also discussed.

I was able to move on to individual quilting patterns from this foundation because the book was short enough to not be overwhelmed, but detailed enough to tell you everything that you need.

Alas, all is not perfect.

There is not an emphasis on pressing your blocks as you are piecing. Pressing makes a difference. I was surprised to discover this after I came back to the book to make a mini-quilt. Another nitpick is that the binding strips are not cut on the bias.

And, uh, a first-time quilter would not care about either one of those things. I used this book to make my first quilt and even without bias-cut binding strips and blocks unpressed until the end, it turned out fine.

Bottom line – this book can get you help you finish your very first quilt totally on your own. It is a book you can not pry from my quilting library.

===============gtg

Looking for a quilt book to start or add to your quilting library? There are three types that you’ll need – reference, pattern and inspirational.

The Reference Book or How do I Do That Again?

Most quilting books of any kind will include basic instructions on how to quilt. But, unless they are a beginning quilting book, that is all that they will contain.

Even beginner quilting books will not contain a lot of information because they want to make things as simple as possible for the beginning quilter. You will usually only get one way to perform a quilting technique such as binding a quilt with a minimal amount of pictures.

So, what’s the solution? A reference quilt book. A reference book will give you options. Instead of one way to baste a quilt, for example, you may get three with step-by-step instructions.

Sometimes even a pattern book can be used as a reference book if the General Instructions section is good enough.

The thing to remember about reference books is that you pull them out when you want to know how to do something. That can be a quilting technique or even how to complete a quilt in 90 minutes. It’s a good quilt book to have in your arsenal.

The Pattern Book or The Good Stuff

This is what most folks think of when they think of a quilt book. A pattern book is just that – a book of patterns. When looking for this type of book, look at what techniques you are familiar with.

If you a strip quilting type of person, look for a book that contains strip quilting instructions . Do you love fat quarters? There are plenty of fat quarter specific books out there. Want to try scrap quilting? There’s a book for that. It’s also a good idea to have a pattern book that is just above your current level . This book should should stretch you and force you to try new techniques or develop the patience that it takes to make a beautiful quilt.

I usually have a rule of three when it comes to pattern books – I’ve got to be interested in making three quilts from the book. That makes the book cost effective when it comes to purchasing a book versus individual patterns.

The main piece of advice that I can give you to make sure that either you are comfortable with the techniques in the instructions of the pattern quilt book or you are ready to make the next leap in your quilting development.

Inspirational Book or Ooh and Aah

Some may call these coffee table books. They are usually huge and oversized. I like just looking at them and getting inspired to quilt and also for quilt designs.

Some books, like Quiltmaking by Hand by Jinny Beyer are supposed to be instructional/reference books, but I get inspired by flipping through them because of their intricate quilts.

I also have the book from the Gee’s Bend museum exhibit that traveled the country. That book reminds me that you can make art out of anything.

Those women used what they had, they broke the rules and in the process of making a functional quilt to keep them warm, they made art.

If that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is.

So, if you are looking to start or add to your quilting library, consider a good balance between reference, pattern and inspirational books. A good mix will allow you to get more quilts finished, while still pushing you to become a better quilter. And isn’t that what we all want?

======================gtg

There are a lot of Gees Bend Quilts products out these days. There are quilt kits. There are books. There were even postage stamps.

But in this mass commercialization, have we forgotten what these quilts were really about? So, how can you can truly bring their spirit into your quilting? Here are three tips:

Tip 1 – They Used What They Had

There were no quilt shops where these ladies lived. When you look at their fabric choices, it is simply because these were scrap quilts in their most basic form – scraps.

The Gees Bend quilts used denim taken from worn clothes. They used corduroy scraps because their quilting bee had a contract to make corduroy shams for Sears.

They did not select material because they were interesting fabric choices. They selected material because it was free.

I mean, when’s the last time you saw a quilt pattern that used the corduroy fabric? I’ve never seen it.

How to put this into use for your life – Think of making a true scrap quilt. I’m not talking about a stash quilt. I’m talking about a quilt from fabric from clothes you are about to throw away or give to charity.

This can be an on-going project. One of mine is a denim quilt. Every time I wear out a pair of jeans, I cut it up and put it one of my gallon plastic bags for use in an upcoming rag quilt. It may take a while, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate the quilt even more.

Tip 2 – They Broke the Pattern

These women prided themselves on breaking patterns. They opened themselves up to experimentation and in that process, they made art.

It’s tempting to follow a pattern to the letter. I mean, I have a tendency to do it even with scrap quilts. I’ll want to make the quilt exactly like what’s on the cover because that’s what drew me to the quilt. I’m guessing that you may be the same way.

The Gee’s Bend Quilts ladies took a different approach – they intentionally took a pattern and made it so that it did not look like the pattern in the book or on the cover. They made their own twist on a traditional pattern.

How to put this into use for your life – Experiment with breaking a pattern. You could have a designated ugly quilt (one of my favorite techniques for getting through a quilt where you are just experimenting.)

You don’t have to copy something exactly. You don’t have to use the sizes given. If a quilt calls for 2 and a half inch strips, you can use 2 inch strips or 3 inch strips. The patterns are only a guide. Strive to make your quilts your own by breaking the pattern.

Tip 3 – They belonged to a network of quilters

For the most part, quilting was woven into the community of theses ladies’ lives. They had a community.

It is hard to be out here on your own. If you don’t have a quilt guild near you, check out some of the on line groups. Consider starting a blog and commenting on other quilting blogs.

I don’t belong to a guild, but I do have a quilting buddy who I visit for a monthly quilting trip. We set goals, hold each other accountable and get each other’s opinions on quilts. It is good to have someone you can bounce ideas off of.

So, you can use the spirit of the Gees Bend Quilts in your own projects. Consider using up what you have, breaking the pattern and expanding your quilting network. Be on your way to making your quilts works of art.

==================gtg

Quilting Tables

Quilting Tables for Your Sewing Machine
The simplest sewing machine can attach two …..

The Quilting Notions You Have Today

I was talking the other day with a friend who just started quilting as a hobby. If things work out, maybe she will even go in for a cottage micro-entrepreneurship online. In the meantime she was educating herself on the different quilting notions available in the market.

Her great grandmother was master quilter, quite famous in her time (it seems she was booked sometimes six months to one year in advance for quilt making by the then-aristocracy). However, other than a legacy of know-how and some splendid patterns and closely guarded trade secrets, she left no explanations about this art.

The Net Is The Best Teacher: Checking Out The Quilting Notions

Fabric Squares For Quilting

Create with fabric squares for quilting Any Desired Pattern
Quilting has become a …..

I have a great deal of confidence on the Internet. Hence, instead of looking here and there for advice and explanation, we run a search on the Net and came up with a carload of articles which gave in depth description of the many quilting notions available in the market today. I am not at liberty to elaborate too much in the present article, hence I will just touch the highlights of four most popular ones that we stumbled upon during our search.

Maybe these quilting notions are not the best; and maybe these are not the most popular either. However, these will be enough to give a surface idea of what we are talking about here. In case you need a more in-depth analysis you might also go the internet and seek your answers on whatever quilting notions you need elaboration on.

Basing spray is nicknamed as one of the most popular choices available, this is preferred because it is the easiest possible way to do it. Just spread your quilt on a straight surface and then pray. It is simple as 1-2-3. Be careful about the color bleeding, though.

Quilting Fabric For Babies

How to Choose the Right Quilting Fabric for Babies
Quilts are used for many different purposes from keeping warm to decorating the bed, sofa and …..

Quilter gloves are a must-have for the people who have a lot of quilts to make and have no time to waste in arranging it all the time while stitching it. These gloves move the quilt with extreme ease and expertise because they have tiny rubber tips on the fingers and palms region.

Sponge bottom hoops are meant to help you keep your fabric tight while you run it through the machine. Basting guns shoot a plastic tag through all the three layers of the quilt (something like a stapler) and it much more convenient that pinning. The downside is that sometimes, if the material is not compatible, it will leave holes in the quilt.

The bottom line is that you have to be diligent in finding the quilting notions that work the best. Proper quilting notions lead to beautiful quilting.

===================gtg

Looking For Simple Quilt Patterns for Projects?

Quilting is a skill that anyone can learn. It is smart to start with simple quilt patterns that are easy to understand and doesn’t take too much time to complete a project. These little quilting projects can be used as gifts for most all occasions because they are so beautiful.

if you are looking for some free patterns that are easy to make, you can do a straightforward search on google or any other search engine. Just type into the search bar something like’free quilt patterns’ and you’ll probably find something you can use. There are dozens of places to get free or cheap patterns that will be easy to start with.

Here are one or two ideas that little projects can be turned into something beautiful as well as helpful. Always use your imagination and you can come up with ideas of your own that you’ll be pleased with.

1. A Potholder is a helpful present

A potholder is a great gift when selecting a block from simple quilt patterns to use as the top. I love to use a 6 and a half in. to 7 and a half inch block for this project. You would just duvet and bind the potholder like a regular cover with one or two exceptions. Make efforts to use 100% cotton for your covering thread. If you use invisible thread, it’ll melt when handling hot pans. You may also want to use insulated batting.

two. Give a set of Place mats

I made a set of four place mats and 4 coasters for my parents last year and they loved them! You can use the easiest of simple quilt patterns for this one – a checkerboard. What is great about this idea is that you will get plenty of practice binding quilts.

3. Youngsters love Tote Bags

Make it a market tote and give it to folks who need to break themselves of using plastic bags at the corner store. A quilt block can be employed as decoration. If you make the bag out of novelty fabric such as Sponge Bob or Barbie, you can give it to your favorite pre-teen as a library bag.

Once you start putting these ideas into projects using simple quilt patterns you will become a quilting pro in a brief short time with much pleasure and enjoyment.

4. A Cover for Recliner Headrests

I found out about this idea by mistake. I made my mom a mini duvet version of the larger quilt I had given her as a gift. She used it as a cover for her recliner’s headrest. It looks great. So much so that my dad wanted one for the next year. You will need to make a quilt approximately sixteen by nineteen inches. If the planned recipient has two recliners, be certain to make two.

5 A lovely table topper

Does anyone you know have those accent tables? Make them a table topper. Fab present. Just ensure that it matches the decor of the room. You could also make a table runner with little cover blocks. Anyone would be proud to display such a nice table runner!

Now you have 5 great homemade present concepts where you can use your simple quilt patterns, why not start on your quilting project today?

==============================gtg

============

Sewing

Sewing Machines for Beginners

The process of choosing the best sewing machines for beginners is a daunting process. Most sewing machines boast features that can easily entice new users or beginners. There are machines that flaunt very ambitious elements that seemed so easy to undertake. As a beginner, you must always be equipped with proper information and knowledge about the machines. Furthermore, you also have to assess your personal requirements against those available in the market.

The variety of choices can make your head spin, so it is essential that you already have a list of what you need and your budget. And remember to stick to those two things.

Below are our top choices for sewing machines. Take note that these can also be used by more experienced users but are also user-friendly enough to be used by complete beginners.

The Janome sewing machine’s price may set you back a few steps but based on both the reviews and features this is actually a sewing machine that is surely a value for money. Whether you are a complete newbie or a pro, this machine can most certainly live up to your standards and skill. If you have the budget, we would suggest to just go with this one as it will prevent you from having to upgrade to a more advanced sewing machine in the near feature.

Before you start to use your sewing machine, make sure you gear up first with the essential beginner’s kit that you will need during the course of sewing. As a beginner, your sewing machine, will need to have the supporting cast to make first few experiences less challenging.

Perhaps the most important support that you can get while going through activities with a sewing machine will come from scissors and shears like the following: bent-handles shears for cutting fabrics only, sewing scissors for facings and trimming seams, pinking shears to create fray-resistant edges and thread clipper to cut through threads easily.

Aside from the scissors, you will need to prepare and buy materials like measuring tools, marking tools, pins, pin cushion, thread, seam ripper, sewing machine needles as you may need to replace them from time to time, buttons, sewing box as your storage and sewing guide books perhaps. Sewing machines usually have sewing manuals and kits with them.

Choosing Sewing Machines for Beginners

There are tons of sewing machines that boast a lot of features and ease of use for the beginner. You might be confused, because oftentimes the attributes you like are not in one machine.

When choosing sewing machines for beginners, you must be certain of the purpose it will serve you. Is it for clothing, crafts, repair and alterations or home decorating? Do not easily be tempted by multi-purpose machines that are available. It is advisable that when selecting sewing machines for beginners, start with something that will dole out the chief intention. This is because you will have the tendency to try out new things with a machine that does several things without having the mastery of one.

For clothing, crafts and repairs use, choose a sewing machine that has good stitch options, such as fast stitching and it will probably be an electrical sewing machine. If you just have started sewing, the basic electronic sewing machine will best suit your needs. The more creative or ambitious your activities will be, the more you need those complex ones. If you plan to sew on a regular basis, a computerized machine might be a good investment.

For home decorations like pillow cases and curtains, use a sewing machine that has programmed embroideries.

Other Important Things to Consider

Aside from the kit, your interest and the purpose, you also need to have answers for these questions: Where will you sew? In the kitchen, in your own room, living room or will you have a designated spot in the house for sewing? This way you can choose the size, arrange wirings and allot proper space for your sewing machine that you will purchase.

It is also recommended to visit local dealers and inspect their sewing machines at hand. With this, you can also bargain on the price and freebies.

4 Fabrics Beginner Sewers Should Avoid

As a beginner sewer the fabric and pattern choices out there can be overwhelming, but the worst thing you can do is choose the wrong fabric. As a beginner there are just certain fabrics you should avoid mostly because they’re difficult for even experienced seamstresses to work with and partly because they’re just too expensive to experiment with. Everyone wants to work with pretty silks and luscious leathers, but save these fabrics and others for when your sewing skills are more advanced and you’re sure of what you’re doing.

Silks, Satins and Delicate Fabrics

Delicate fabrics are often shiny and luxurious, but they’re also slippery and some of the most difficult fabrics to sew. From the fraying, to the ability to easily snag, sewing delicate fabrics like silk is just a pain in the behind. When you’re starting out as a sewer, your focus should be on learning how to sew straight lines and finish seams, not how to keep silk from slipping as you try to sew it. Additionally, delicate fabrics are expensive. Some silks go for hundreds of dollars per yard. Sewing silk and other delicate fabrics also may require special presser feet, pins, needles, and other tools that can quickly make a dent in your wallet.

Chiffon, Organza and Sheer Fabrics

Similar to delicate fabrics, sheer fabrics like chiffon and organza are slippery and tricky to sew. The transparent nature of sheer fabrics makes even the smallest flaw visible from any angle, so you really need top-notch skills to sew sheer fabrics. The most challenging thing about sheer fabrics is stabilizing and cutting them. You have to hold these fabrics extremely tight as you cut them, and it’s not uncommon to only cut through one layer at time for some sheer fabrics. For example, if you’re sewing chiffon and the project would require you to make a cut in the fold, you have to make two of the pattern pieces, tape them together, and then cut them out so you don’t have to put a fold in the fabric. If that just confused you, then yea, you’re not ready to sew sheer fabrics.

Denim

Denim is one of the world’s most popular fabrics, perhaps the most popular in America, but don’t let the popularity of denim fool you– it’s challenging to sew. When you sew denim, you want to use the right thread, needles, and presser foot, because the material’s thickness will do a number on your sewing machine if you fail to use the proper tools and accessories. Denim is notorious for breaking needles, even when you use the right type. The trouble with sewing denim is that the thick material can cause the presser foot to tilt, which puts undue stress on the needle, so if you don’t know how to keep the presser foot level, expect to go through tons of needles and experience lots of frustration. Additionally, believe it or not, denim is well-known for fraying, so if you haven’t gotten your seam finishes down perfectly, denim should never be your first fabric choice as a beginner sewer.

Stretchy Knits

The great thing about sewing stretchy knits is that the fabric doesn’t have to fit as perfectly as other types of materials, and that’s thanks to the stretch. However, stretchy knits can be a bit challenging to sew if you’re a beginner. Stretchy knit fabrics pose two problems if you don’t know what you’re doing. Pulling or tugging the fabric can cause stretchy knits to pucker, and on the other hand, the fabric can gather and become quite lumpy in areas where you want it to lay flat, such as the shoulder area of a top or dress. It is also recommended sewing stretchy knits with a twin needle to give the seams some extra stretch, so if you don’t have a sewing machine that has that capability, it’s best to stick to simpler fabrics that only require basic tools and accessories.

Two Things Sewers Should Always Splurge On

The two sewing accessories than can make or break your sewing are needles and thread. These basic tools are the things that sewing disasters and/or sewing successes are made of. Don’t be lulled by a “deal” on cheap needles or thread, because low-quality thread and needles could end up costing you more money than you bargained for. Most of the common sewing machine problems, such as skipped stitches and tension problems, can be attributed to cheap thread and needles. Quality threads and needles not only produce better looking results, they’ll allow your machine to perform much more efficiently.

Thread

If you think there is no difference between the 3 for $1 spools of thread and the more expensive spools of thread, think again. Cheaper threads tend to be made from cheap fibers which are far more likely to fray. Those loose fibers, although unseen to the naked eye, will impact your sewing machine and cause undue wear and tear. If you want to dampen your sewing machines performance, possibly damage it’s tension disks, and ultimately shorten its lifespan, go right ahead and sew with the cheapest thread you can find. If you want your sewing machine to perform at optimal levels, sew stitches evenly, and ultimately last for decades, invest in high-quality thread.

Some of the best threads are Mettler Metrosene Plus 100% polyester, Gutterman polyester thread, and Molnlycke polyester thread, all of which have very few or no visible stray fibers. Many sewers also like Coats & Clark cotton threads, but it varies from person to person.

Sewing Needles

When you have problems with your sewing machine, the first thing any good sewer or sewing machine repair person will ask you is, “what kind of needle are you using?” Cheap, low-quality needles are the number one culprit behind malfunctioning sewing machines. Cheap, blunt sewing needles can cause severe damage to your machine, and make sewing an absolute pain. Many people erroneously believe that sewing was much more difficult than it actually is because they used cheap needles that caused their machine to lag or improperly stitch their projects. Don’t let something as simple as a cheap needle ruin your sewing technique. Choose the highest-quality sewing needles you can afford.

So what makes a good needle? First, a good needle has a nice, smooth eye. A smooth eye is important because you don’t want the needle to cause the thread to fray or create loose fibers. You should also opt for needles that are chrome plated with a smooth tip. These needles tend to last longer and they’re strong enough to penetrate thicker fabrics and multiple layers of fabric. Lastly, you want a needle that is elastic. It sounds counterintuitive, but elasticity is important when it comes to needles because you need a needle that won’t bend or break when sewing heavy fabrics. Bent needles can damage your fabric, sewing machine, and possibly you.

The second question any good sewer or sewing machine repair service will ask you when you’re experiencing problems with your sewing machine is, “how often are you changing your needles?” Sewing needles aren’t made to last for long periods of time; in fact, the average needle is only good for eight hours. Sewing with a dull needle causes your sewing machine’s motor to work twice as hard, so that means your sewing machine’s output and performance is automatically cut in half. Changing your needle after you’ve used 2 three full or pre-wound bobbins is another good rule of thumb. Additionally, if you’re sewing fabrics that are known to dull needles at a fast rate, such as leather or fleece, you should change your needle before moving on to the next project.

So there you have it; never skimp on these two sewing tools, and cut the probability of experiencing sewing problems down drastically.

Comprehensive Guide to the Best Sewing Machine for Beginners

Shopping for the best sewing machine for beginners is no easy task. Since their invention during the Industrial Revolution, those machines have gone through continuous improvements to make sewing easier for artisans who make a living out of it and people who just do it for leisure. Modern machines now have more sophisticated parts, threading technology and bobbin placement. Which means that, with these new features, it can get quite confusing to choose a machine to start out with. Also, there are more types of sewing machines now than ever, and this may just add to the confusion.

This is a simplified and comprehensive guide for anyone interested in starting out a sewing business or hobby, but has no idea where to begin.

Types of Sewing Machines

The first step to buying a machine is familiarizing yourself with the different types that exist. This is so that you’d know which one you want to work with and that you aren’t buying something that would turn out to be too complicated for your current level of skill and knowledge.

1. Manual Sewing Machine-These old heritage models require you to turn a hand wheel with one hand and guide the fabric under a needle with the other. For obvious reasons, manual sewing machines are no longer in production. There aren’t very much of these around anymore, unless you’re in a dusty attic, museum, antique shop or a collector’s room.

2. Mechanical Sewing Machine-A basic mechanical sewing machine has a foot pedal which drives the motor at different speeds depending on how hard you put your foot down. The idea is that the harder you step on the pedal, the faster the motor drives the needle. In the lower part, it has a bobbin and feed dogs that automatically place the material into the machine right under the needle plate. An electric model works faster and is more accurate than manual machines. It also has a dial that allows you to choose from a range of stitch sizes and types.

3. Computerized Sewing Machine-A computerized machine offers everything an electric model does, plus several other new features. It has built-in computer chips that program the machine to work on an exact length, width, and tension for each stitch style. Most models have touch pads and computer monitors. There are some downloadable programs that can be transferred from your PC to the machine for added features. Some applications memorize past works and hundreds of stitches that you can use without you having to study them anymore. It can also let you do embroidery.

4. Electronic Sewing Machine-This is a sort of hybrid between the mechanical and computerized models. It also typically has an LCD screen that helps you make precise adjustments to your stitches. It allows you to do utility and decorative stitches, buttonholes and alphabets. The only thing it probably lacks is the option to do embroidery.

5. Overlock Machine-This machine can be bought as a sort of added accessory to your sewing machine. It is used to stop fraying, to give a professional finish to most garments’ seams. The machine basically trims while sewing the seams to make it neater. Although you can simply cut the fabric yourself and neaten its edges, this takes more time and usually creates slight ridges in the seams. Overlocks can also have attachments that can be used in stitching rolled hems and in attaching or gathering bindings.

As a beginner, it is definitely more preferable to go for the ease of use that computerized and electronic models offer. The LED screen could show you instructions and generally does all the adjustments automatically. It may also have warning indicators for when you’re running out of thread or when the thread has broken.

However, if you are still unsure as to whether or not you will be using it frequently, you might as well opt for a mechanical machine, which is a lot cheaper than the other two options. Although the down side is that there is more risk of human error and you won’t be able to do fancy stitches unless you study them, it still pays to know how to do things manually.

All in all, choosing the best sewing machine for newcomers to the craft boils down to how often and for how long you will be using the machine, how much you are willing to spend for its purchase and maintenance, and whether you prefer ease of use or complex sewing techniques.

Three Most Recommended Models for Beginners

The SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist is a top choice for beginner machines under this brand. It has an electronic autopilot for an easy and controlled stitching pace. It offers 600 stitches, 13 buttonhole styles, and 5 alphabet fonts. It also has a stitch editing feature to take care of possible mistakes that you might commit as a newcomer.

The Brother XL2610 is an inexpensive machine that is perfect for beginners who are still unsure of how far they wish to go into sewing. It has directions that are easy to understand, a stitch chart, and other convenient features to guide the user.

The Janome 3128 is a good choice for children. It is a lightweight and portable model that has 8 basic stitches to choose from.

As a final advice, you should note that there isn’t a single machine of any brand or type that can be said to be the best sewing machine for beginners. To be sure that you are investing in the right model, it would do you good to research on the features of each model and see if they are suited for your skill level and for the kind of sewing projects you want to do.

==========gtg

For some of us, working intuitively is a difficult task; however giving yourself permission to “play without a plan” is a great creative exercise. Sometimes some of the most interesting creative results will simply come from out of nowhere with little forethought or preparation.
Setting boundaries by limiting yourself to a set time period is an excellent way to approach this. It allows you a controlled sense of freedom in which to explore and experiment without feeling a relentless pressure to perform and produce results.
Give your creativity a real workout and take the 15 Minute Challenge. Learning to work intuitively and without planning or preparation, helps to build self-confidence in your decision making process. The ultimate result of these type of challenges is not that you create a great sample or project, but it’s the process of “letting go” that’s important. Letting go of the need to control; the need to plan; the need to be perfect.

The best way to begin is to gather your supplies: a coordinating range of fabrics; threads, yarns and embellishments; whatever you think you might need to complete a small project. Then simply sit down at your machine and begin. This can be difficult – a little like staring at a blank page, but just try it. The first step is always the hardest, but try to relax and allow the process to guide you. Again, these small pieces don’t need to be a work of art, they simply need to demonstrate a willingness to open your mind to possibilities and allow your creativity to take over.

No-one ever has to see these pieces and they can be thrown out or recycled for other purposes, but you just may be surprised at your results.
There is no win or lose, no success or failure with this exercise – what’s important is your awareness of the process and your ability to let the intuitive side of your creativity guide the process.

=========================gtg

Creativity, whether in art, business, or life, is the act of making new things or finding unique solutions to difficult problems. Creativity, just like writing, public speaking, or goat herding, is a skill that can be developed and improved with effort over time.
Besides being a skill anyone can learn and improve, creativity is also variable and fluid; depending on our mental energy, motivation, and circumstances, it can come and go like the ocean tide. However, by taking a few simple steps, you can develop a little more control over those tides.
1. Change Your Perspective. Imagine you were somebody else. How would they approach your task? Would a person of a different social background, gender, race, or nationality approach what you’re doing in the same manner? When you change your perspective and question your assumptions about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do a thing, you’ll begin to see multiple solutions to the same problems.
2. Free associate. On unlined copy paper, write down everything that comes into your head. If possible, fill an entire sheet with ideas. Don’t edit yourself or censor what you think are bad ideas. You will only have good ideas after you have a lot of bad ideas. If you like, you can use mind maps.
3. Keep an Idea File. You can’t always create on demand. Sitting down and staring at a blank screen is hard, but when you have a pile of undeveloped ideas, you always have something to draw from. Keep blank paper and pens handy, and carry a notebook with you wherever you go.
4. Keep Your Life Rich. Whenever you can, attend concerts, go to art galleries and museums, meet friends, and read great books. Alter your routines and the routes you take. Try new foods. Give yourself a little unstructured free time.
5. Imagine Your Outcome. When you start thinking about the final destination, you’ll begin to see the different paths you can take to get there. What do you want as the final result of your project? Personal satisfaction? A marketable product? A world-changing work of art?
6. Put In the Hours. The more often you do something, the more likely you’ll find inspiration on a regular basis. The more time you spend actively seeking and developing new ideas, the more new ideas you’ll have. Look at the most creative people in any field, and you’ll see they have put in thousands of hours.
7. Listen to Classical Music. Studies have shown that listening to some types of classical music gave temporary increases in problem-solving abilities and cognitive functions to college students. Putting on Mozart, Bach, or Vivaldi on the stereo is like an on-demand creativity boost.

==============================gtg

First of all, we need to examine how much time we spend procrastinating. Think of all the things in your life that you do, that is really just wasting time. Things like, wasting time in front of the television, playing video games, surfing aimlessly on the Internet etc. These things and more can be the cause of major procrastination in your life. You need to examine the effect that this could have on your life. If you don’t stop these bad habits the chances are you will live a frustrated life.
Step one: Start Setting Goals
Go buy an exercise book dedicated to writing down all your goals. Choose one day a week where you can sit down and think about the week ahead and the things that you would like to achieve in that week. Each day review what you have written that week and try to achieve at least one of those tasks in that day. You can also write down long-term goals such as what you would like to achieve in three months, or six months or one year, or five years or 10 years. Setting goals is a great way to stop the mindset of procrastination because if you focus on your goals you have something to work towards and once you’ve achieved each goal you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
Step two: Create a New Habit
Sometimes there are things that you may not want to do right now, but you need to start thinking of how you can become more efficient in doing these things so you can complete the task and get on with something else. Set time periods where you can do the things that you like doing. If you enjoy watching TV set yourself a time limit. Watch television for half an hour- One hour and then start initiating the tasks that need to be achieved from your goals.
Step three: Approaching Tasks in Small Intervals
Dedicating time to these goals may seem daunting i know, especially when you’re just getting started, so set half an hour to one hour time periods to concentrate on tackling your task. If you start dedicating all your time to the goals/tasks and not give yourself the time you need to enjoy yourself, ie watching television, you will burn yourself out and get caught in your old procrastinating mindset again. So divide the task/goal over a week or a month or several hours, depending on how big it is.
Step four: Give Yourself a Reward
just by completing your set out goals should be reward enough, but you should also reward yourself along the way, take a short break, watch a movie or something that will relax your mind. But make sure it doesn’t take your focus off to set out goals and set out tasks, remember, set time period for these rewards.
Step five: Keep Focused
You need to start building your confidence and your ability to make choices, start saying no to those things that distract you, say “no”, to picking up and playing that guitar, say “no”, to playing that DVD or texting those friends. These things can be achieved once you’ve completed your goal for that day.
Step six: Perfection is Not Achievable
You’ve heard it before, but the truth is, no one is perfect, so that means you probably will make mistakes along the way, you probably will start slipping occasionally into your old habits, but the important thing is, is to jolt that old mindset and replace it with your new goal orientated mind. So when you start slipping back into those old habits pick up that textbook that you bought and read through those goals that you made. If you set those goals correctly this should jumpstart your mind again and get you back on track to achieving them.
Step seven: Get Started Now
If you don’t get started now after reading this, your procrastinating mind will tell you to “do it later”, But don’t let your procrastinating mind prevent you from getting this done. Just going from doing nothing to doing something is definitely the hardest part. But just imagine how good you will feel when everything is put in place and your goals are achieved.
Final Tips:
It is always good to ask for help along the way, remember you don’t have to do this alone. Why not do a course in time management. Try to avoid saying yes don’t take too many tasks on a once, make sure you actually have enough time if you say yes to something.
Buy a motivational CD and make your mind work. There are new mind power techniques that can improve your memory and help you with procrastination and more.
The final thought that I want to leave you with is this, TAKE ACTION NOW! Start planning your future don’t let your future plan you, don’t live your life day by day with no goal. Life is a game so play it and don’t get played!

=======================gtg

=================================

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the various messages we’ve received over the years and generally highly regard. Many success and self-help experts have told us that we need to “Seize the Day”. “Carpe diem” they tell us.
Well, what the heck does that mean? How does one “seize the day”?
“Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.” ~Margaret Fuller
The dictionary defines the word seize as:
– take hold of; grab
– take or capture by force
– assume, seize and take control without authority and possibly with force
What are we supposed to do? How does one seize a day? Do we wake up in the morning ready and willing to force the desired events and goals of the day to happen? Do we push ourselves and other people to get things done when and in the way we want them done? Do we stay attached to how our day must unfold?
If that’s what “seize the day” means then I’ll pass, thank you very much. No seizing of days for me! Too exhausting! And I’ve learned that whenever I force anything to happen I usually don’t get a good result over the long term.
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton
I have learned to “allow the day”. Allowing your day is to be open to all possibilities. It is showing up present, and in the moment, ready and willing for whatever comes next. When I detach from how a day must happen I permit the events of my day to unfold in ways I might not have thought of.
Allowing my day doesn’t mean that I have no goals, objectives or intentions for my day. I wake up each and every morning with a clear vision of what I intend to create for that day. I just let go of how it has to happen and allow intuition and inspiration to guide my thoughts, choices and actions that will deliver the desired outcomes I have intended for the day.
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams
Have you ever wanted something and had no idea how you were going to get it? And soon there came the day when you got it? You had a clear vision of what you wanted and focused upon that thing or event that you desired. Intuition and inspiration gave you ideas that you took action upon and before you knew it, you got what you wanted. Or, the thing or experience you desired came to you as an “out of the blue” opportunity.
“Out of the blue” coincidences are not random coincidences. Without getting too metaphysical, I call them meaningful coincidences because they are the seemingly miraculous fortunate events that deliver what we desire. We could not have planned for that event to happen in the way it did. When you detach from how, you open up to the possibility of a meaningful coincidence.
Instead of using a lot of energy running around trying to seize the day try setting a clear intention and then just allow your day to unfold. Allow your intuitive messages your inner wisdom, what I playfully call the Inner Wizard, to orchestrate the how of what you intend to become reality. It is important to take action on this inner guidance because intention without action is only a dream.
“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mode of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change; happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.” – Charles Morgan

============================gtg

An inspirational article

I’m a quilt and fabric arts lover, a writer about the topic, and dabble a bit. For several years I’ve enjoyed sharing this interest through my blog. And this past year several guest bloggers have joined me in sharing their experiences, tips, trials, and loves, too. I was pleased to support and give a little shout out for one blogger and her efforts to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Her success inspired me.
When it came time to find a way to raise funds for the ALS Association, my thoughts immediately turned to quilts. There is nothing more comforting than a quilt and it just seemed the most appropriate medium for a fund raiser. Particularly a fund raiser for a novice at such things as I am.
One woman took on the challenge and created a charming and vibrant double tulip quilt, using an Eleanor Burns pattern and Hoffman batik fabrics. She machine quilted it in a design that gave the quilt a sense of movement and carries the eye from one block to the next. And a special bonus of this pieced design – it includes my favorite – the humble four patch.
She blew me away with her ability to move this project forward. We were on a short time deadline and she worked long hours to reach the goal of a beautifully crafted quilt. She outdid anything I expected. And she added some advice on raffles.
For anyone attempting a fundraiser, there obviously are more things to consider than the product. Thankfully the ALS Association administration has jumped in to help me and have offered their website as the place to go to purchase tickets for this quilt raffle. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10.
You may ask why I chose this disease to support or this organization. Glad you asked. For you see, my husband is dying of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He’s one of those rare birds who has a rare inherited form of the disease so not only is he fighting for his life, but he has a dozen or so family members who have already lost the battle. His brother died at the age of 18. His aunt died at 70. His cousins at 17, 39, 60, 43, 80…. There’s no explanation as to why the disease attacks voluntary muscles, usually beginning at the extremities weakening hands and feet and moving inward toward diaphragm, throat muscles, and face and voice muscles. So far scientists have found nothing to stop it.
The ALS Association offers patient support, information and supports for an extensive and impressive array of researchers and their research around the world. Yet the dollars spent on administration costs is 1 percent. I’ve met these people personally and every one of them works for the association because they have lost a loved one or known someone who had died of the disease. They are devoted to finding a cure and caring for each ALS patient and caregiver – but that takes funding.
My husbamd and I were utterly lost when he was diagnosed and we both still wonder what we would have done without the ALS Association. The quilt community is full of comfort and love – just like the ALS Association. It just seemed a natural fit to offer a quilt in exchange for funding to cure this horrible disease that strikes anyone at anytime, anywhere in the whole world – for no reason.

=================================gtg

Some art quilts were just not meant to be! And it’s usually the ones you’ve spent hours and hours on, and used up all your most beautiful coveted fabric (sigh!!!).
Our vision can sometimes be lacking. Even though we can see a design clearly in our head and transfer it successfully to paper, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will turn out the way we planned.
Picture this: a trapunto peacock, with long flowing tail feathers outlined in thread and maybe bobbin work for effect, surrounded by a beautiful free motion quilted background in delicious threads.
The concept is simple, easy to visualize and put on paper. Then hours spent:
deciding which fabrics to use – there’s only three fabrics mind you, but they must work together of course
deciding what thread to use
transferring the design from paper to fabric
sewing the trapunto design
decorative stitching
decorative quilting
deciding on borders
The peacock looks good!
The background free motion quilting is beautiful (even if I do say so myself).
And so is the border quilting.
The tailfeathers look good also.
But wait! Something doesn’t look right. How did I miss that? Oh my goodness, how the heck can I fix that! A little paint on the tail feathers perhaps. Maybe a little more paint and some more stitching.
Oh rats, I give up !! That is one legless bird!!
If anyone has suggestions on how to give this bird it’s legs, please feel free to post a comment with a hint or two.
At the moment, he sits abandoned in a crumpled heap in the corner (he has no legs to stand on remember), and I am ready to slice out the good bits to use on another more worthy project.
I like the design so I’m going to do him again, but I have no more beautiful watercolored yellow cotton lame (boo hoo!) However I did find some white cotton lame online which I’m going to dye when my dye room is done (a couple more weeks, woo hoo!!)
Stay tuned for the follow up!

=======================================gtg

Some art quilts were just not meant to be! And it’s usually the ones you’ve spent hours and hours on, and used up all your most beautiful coveted fabric (sigh!!!).
Our vision can sometimes be lacking. Even though we can see a design clearly in our head and transfer it successfully to paper, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will turn out the way we planned.
Picture this: a trapunto peacock, with long flowing tail feathers outlined in thread and maybe bobbin work for effect, surrounded by a beautiful free motion quilted background in delicious threads.
The concept is simple, easy to visualize and put on paper. Then hours spent:
deciding which fabrics to use – there’s only three fabrics mind you, but they must work together of course
deciding what thread to use
transferring the design from paper to fabric
sewing the trapunto design
decorative stitching
decorative quilting
deciding on borders
The peacock looks good!
The background free motion quilting is beautiful (even if I do say so myself).
And so is the border quilting.
The tailfeathers look good also.
But wait! Something doesn’t look right. How did I miss that? Oh my goodness, how the heck can I fix that! A little paint on the tailfeathers perhaps. Maybe a little more paint and some more stitching.
Oh rats, I give up !! That is one legless bird!!
If anyone has suggestions on how to give this bird it’s legs, please feel free to post a comment with a hint or two.
At the moment, he sits abandoned in a crumpled heap in the corner (he has no legs to stand on remember), and I am ready to slice out the good bits to use on another more worthy project.
I like the design so I’m going to do him again, but I have no more beautiful watercolored yellow cotton lame (boo hoo!) However I did find some white cotton lame online which I’m going to dye when my dye room is done (a couple more weeks, woo hoo!!)
Stay tuned for the follow up!

====================gtg

===============================

The issue of copyright is always a hot topic amongst artists and the rules are confusing and difficult to understand.
I recently came across the Free Culture website which offers up some very interesting information, video and audio articles, including a link to the Creative Commons website. The Creative Commons website provides information on how to go about creating your own copyright policy as well as information on how to police it. In other words, you can now apply your copyright in language that anyone can understand. This copyright can be applied to work published on the internet as well as off the internet.
I am beginning to see more and more around the internet, that people are using a Creative Commons copyright. Images in particular are freely available under a Creative Commons copyright.
As textile and quilt artists, most of us live in fear of our copyright being abuser, a fear that is like a double edged sword. On one hand we fear having our work copied and ripped off, and on the flip side we fear having to deal with the repercussions because we simply are not sure of what they are.
I, for one, have decided to embrace the “Creative Commons” license and will in fact be revising all my online works to be covered under one of these licenses. A great idea in a world gone mad!
It’s amazing what you can do with scraps and leftovers. This little quilt (approx 18×12) was put together from samples and scraps leftover from a surface design workshop I recently taught.
Included in this sample is
tyvek (green squares in middle)
color washed brown paper (prairie points and leaves)
paper fabric with some cheesecloth attached (main pink square)
The color washed brown paper was fused onto some peltex and cut to shape. Then I added some machine wrapped cording around the edge of the prairie points to define them against the background.
Since the paper fabric looked very organic, I quilted organic type lines that look like flowing water and pebbles.
The tyvek was also fused to some peltex and cut to shape. I then hand stitched the edges to finish them off.
Everything was layered onto a machine quilted background and the end result is very three dimensional. I have yet to add a few more embellishments (it’s not finished till it’s embellished!) and then it will be done.
All in all – a cute little art quilt.

======================gtg

=========================
Machine Quilting threads, and threads in general, are usually labeled with two numbers. The first number refers to the size thread (denier), and the second refers to the ply, or how many strands are twisted together. The lower the thread size number, the thicker the thread.
Generally, man made fibers are stronger than natural ones. Therefore, threads with polyester, acrylic or nylon content will be less apt to fray and break than a cotton thread.
When selecting threads, compare color, sheen, texture of thread to determine the effect that you desire, e.g. metallics are shiny and sparkling, rayon produces a high sheen, silk a subtle sheen, and cotton provides matte luster.

Cotton
Cotton is easy to use, readily available and comes in a multitude of colors including variegated. Most cotton threads are colorfast and have little to no stretch. Not all cotton thread is made equal though: a poor quality cotton thread will have a fuzzy finish, whereas a good quality thread will have a smooth finish. Polyester wrapped cotton is stronger than cotton, but the wrapping process also produces a more abrasive thread with a rougher texture.
Rayon
Rayon thread has a high sheen, but is not as strong as cotton. It is neither colorfast nor shrink resistant and it should be used only for decorative purposes.
Polyester
Polyester thread comes in a wide range of colors including variegated, and is strong, durable and colorfast. It can be used for construction or for decorative purposes.
Metallic
Metallic thread can add sparkle to your project. These threads are generally more fragile and difficult to use than other threads, however with the proper machine needle and tensioning, are well worth the effort.
Silk
Silk threads have a wonderful luster and are strong and easy to use, although expensive.
Monofilament
Monofilament, or invisible, thread is available in clear, black and smoke colors. It is available in both polyester and nylon, and is made to “disappear” against the quilt surface. It does have a slight sheen which can produce an undesirable visual effect, and has a tendency to stretch. If using in the bobbin, it should be wound on by hand or very slowly using the machine winder.
Polyester
has a higher heat resistance, does not go brittle or yellow over time, and is softer than nylon.
Nylon
has a tendency to go brittle and turn yellow over time, and has a low melting temperature.

Monofilament Comparison Chart
Sulky: poly
Superior: poly
Coats: nylon
YLI nylon
Madeira: Polyamide (nylon)

======================gtg

Information
Using the correct type of sewing machine needle for your project will go a long way to determining your project’s success or failure.
Selecting a sewing machine needle is not difficult. The “Types Chart” details the different types of needles available as well as their unique applications.
Use this chart as a guideline only when selecting your needle. Just because one type of needle is recommended for a specific purpose, such as metallic needles for metallic thread, does not mean that another needle will not produce as good or better results.
If you find that one needle does not produce good stitching quality, swap it out for another type of needle.
Remember too, that the eye of the machine needle should be just large enough to accommodate the weight of thread you are using. Too large an eye will result in holes in your project; too small an eye will result in possible shredding of your thread.
And always remember, machine needles do dull over time. Make sure your needle is sharp and this will go a long way towards producing good stitching.
Parts Chart
Shank
The upper part of the needle is called the shank. It is usually round on one side and flat on the other.
Shaft
The shaft is the lower part of the needle that extends from the base of the shank to the point.
Groove
This part is located on the shaft on the same side as the rounded part of the shank. The groove, or indentation, acts as a thread guide and provides a channel for the thread to lie in as the needle passes through the fabric.
Scarf
The scarf is visible on the flat side of the shaft. It is a short indentation located just above the eye of the needle. The purpose of the scarf is to allow the bobbin case hook to get close to the needle eye and catch the thread to form a stitch.
Eye
This is the hole above the needle point through which the needle thread passes. The size of the eye varies with the needle type and size. A needle should be selected with an eye that is large enough to accommodate the weight of the thread that is being used.
Point
The point is the tip of the needle that pierces through the fabric. Each needle type has a different point which is specifically designed for different types of fabric.
Sizing Chart
Sewing machine needles are sized according to two systems – European and American – and both numbers are usually marked on the package.
Needle sizes range from the finest which is 60/8, to the thickest which is 120/19.

European American
60 8
65 9
70 10
75 11
80 12
90 14
100 16
110 18
120 19
Types Chart
Sewing machine needles come in a variety of types. You should always make your needle selection based on the type of fabric, and the weight and type of thread you are using.
Ball Point Needle
Made especially for sewing on knits, its unique point does not damage or break knitted fibers.
Denim Needle
For jeans and similar densely woven materials.
Double Needle
Two needles mounted on a crossbar with a single shaft. Can be used with zig zag sewing machines that thread front to back. Sews two rows of stitching at the same time.
Hemstitch Needle
Sometimes called a Wing Needle, it is used to create decorative openwork or cut-work on tightly woven fabrics. The needle is very sharp and is made to cut the fabric.
Leather Needle
Has a slightly sharp cutting point suitable for leather and heavy non-woven synthetics.
Machine Embroidery Needle
For use with rayon and other specialty machine embroidery threads. The needle has a special scarf, long smooth groove, and large eye which helps to protect these more fragile type threads and guards against excess friction.
Metallica Needle
For use with metallic threads. It has a double sized, polished, and Teflon coated eye to assist with smooth flow of thread. The large eye helps to make threading easier, and also helps to prevent shredding and breaking when using metallic threads.
Quilting Needle
Made especially for piecing and machine quilting. The thin tapered design of these needles allows them to pass through many layers smoothly, which helps to eliminate skipped stitches.
Sharp Needle
A very slim needle with a thin shaft that helps make very straight stitches. The point is very sharp and because of this, is more fragile and needs to be changed regularly. Good for piecing high thread count fabrics like batiks, silks, and microfibers. It is also used for beautiful topstitching or edge stitching.
Stretch Needle
Made especially for synthetic suede or highly elastic synthetic knit wear. This needle has a medium ball point to help prevent skipped stitches.
Topstitch Needle
Has an extra large eye and large grooves to accommodate topstitch thread. This needle helps stitch perfectly straight lines and even stitches.
Universal Needle
A general purpose needle that can be used on knit or woven fabrics. It has a long scarf so it does not damage knits. It has a slight ball point which makes it unsuitable for stitching multiple layers or for use with high thread count fabrics.
=========================gtg

==============================
What does embroidery have to do with quilting?
Our friend Joan would like an embroidery machine comparison.
She has been busy looking at quilting machines and has visited several dealers and has done her homework. She was introduced to embroidery machines along the way and before making a final decision she would like a comparison of the different types of embroidery machines that would be suitable for a quilter.

J: Linda, I’ve been to a couple of dealers’ stores looking at quilting machines, and while I was there they showed me some home embroidery machines.
I’ve never seen a home embroidery machine and I can’t imagine that it would be useful for quilting although I was told they were quite popular. What do you think? Can you give me a comparison of machines that would be suitable for a quilter?
let’s get creative

L: Joan, lots of women are discovering creative ways to use embroidery machine designs on their quilts, both traditional quilts and art quilts. Machine embroidery is also used a lot on garments, particularly jeans, jackets and dresses, as well as children’s clothing.

J: The machine I saw looked a little different from a normal sewing machine and somewhat complicated.

L: Joan, a home embroidery machine is really not all that complicated. It does have a learning curve but if you have a little knowledge of computers and their filing system, then it is a fairly simple transition to understand and embroidery machine.
Also when you buy an embroidery machine from your local dealer, they normally offer lessons so that you understand how to use the machine. So if you are thinking of buying an embroidery machine, here are some things to consider. Consider this
There are two main types of home embroidery machines and I’ve listed a comparison of the main pros and cons for you:
EMBROIDERY ONLY MACHINE
Pro:
Because embroidery is all it does, this allows you to sew on your quilting machine at the same time you are using the embroidery machine.
Con:
Space – having two machines, one for quilting and one for embroidery, takes up more space than a single machine.
COMBO EMBROIDERY AND SEWING MACHINE
Pro:
If space is an issue, then a combo embroidery and sewing machine would be the way to go.
Con:
A combo embroidery/sewing machine will not offer the special features of a quilting machine unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money.
decisions
So now you have a comparison to work with, you need to make a decision about what’s important in an embroidery machine:
space saving with a combo embroidery and sewing machine
or the benefits of having two machines – a quilting machine and an embroidery machine
Also the more expensive machines tend to have many great additional features and some top-of-the-line machines have features of a quilting machine as well as offering larger hoop sizes. So if money is not an issue, you could research embroidery machines further and look into it.
J: Thanks Linda, that explains a lot however I don’t think I’m quite ready to go in that direction. Maybe later.
I do have another question though about small sewing machines. I’ve heard that they are a great machine for a quilter. Can you elaborate on that.

===================================gtg

Art quilters have never had it so good with the variety of machine quilting thread that is available to them these days.
Basic Cotton
Cotton thread, originally the quilters’ choice of thread, is now available in a wide variety of colors and weights, with Egyptian cotton particularly, making a huge statement.
And for machine quilters, while cotton thread is still a favorite, it now gets to compete alongside other beautiful and tantalizing quilting threads made of polyester, rayon and metallic.
Price and Quality
Machine quilting thread can be expensive, but cheaper threads will add little to the end result of your project, can sometimes contribute to poor sewing machine performance, and if your project is to be functional such as a lap or bed quilt, it will certainly shorten its lifespan.
Poor quality threads will also produce poor results:
Short staple cotton threads tend to throw off a lot of lint which not only clogs your bobbin area, but can get caught up in the thread itself and result in “bumps” in the stitching line.
Polyester, rayon and metallic threads can also suffer from poor quality and result in weak thread that breaks and shreds easily. Sometimes it is not the fault of your machine or needle, sometimes it is just simply “bad” thread.
Remember also, thread deteriorates over time and becomes brittle and loses strength. So your mother’s collection of old thread, while maybe having some sentimental value, is not going to guarantee you a beautiful finish or trouble-free sewing.
Personality Clashes
Learning to work with your threads is important, and when you work with threads long enough particularly when machine quilting, you begin to notice that each brand and type of thread has its own little personality.
Some threads like a vertical spool and some threads prefer a horizontal spool. Monofilament thread sometimes prefers rolling around in a cup and metallic thread can often act kinky and needs taming with a net.
Understanding that your sewing machine is often not to blame when thread issues occur will go a long way toward a better relationship between you and your machine, and taking time to do a stitch and tension test before you begin on your project will alleviate a lot of anxiety.
Don’t throw it out
Old, finicky or poor quality thread can still be put to use, so never throw it out.
It may be quite suitable for the back of a project
Consider using it in your bobbin for bobbin work
Snip it up, sandwich it between two layers of sheer fabric and use it to make “thread fabric”
Hand quilting thread – a word of warning
Some hand quilting threads have a wax coating which allows the hand quilter to easily work with the thread. These types of threads however, are not good for your sewing machine as it is possible for the wax coating to create slippage through the tension discs causing tension problems with your stitching. Normally the thread label will state if the thread is coated, so make sure you read the label if using hand quilting thread in your machine.

=============================gtg

Machine wrapped cording is a simple technique that produces cording that will color coordinate with your projects.
It’s a great way to use up old yarn, “what was I thinking” fabric and difficult or brittle thread.
It has many applications, both decorative and functional and can be made in any thickness. It can be used on garments, art quilts or even three dimensional fabric art.
By including optional variations you can add interest, texture and uniqueness.
Supplies
Supply List
Sewing machine
Machine Feet
You can use a standard sewing machine foot, however a foot with a “tunnel” underneath, such as a beading foot or cording foot is ideal.
Base Cording
Anything that is flexible and thin enough to fit under the foot of your sewing machine will work for this type of cording.
yarn – a great way to use up old, ugly yarn
strips of fabric – a great way to use up that “what was I thinking” fabric
string
embroidery thread
piping
twisted cording
Thread
You will need a variety of threads in cotton, rayon, polyester and metallic. This is a great technique for using up any old thread that you have lying around
Things To Know
Things To Know
Keep the yarn taut as it passes under the needle
Use the same color or a coordinating color thread in the bobbin
Use up your old thread for the first and/or second layer of stitching as this will become invisible or barely visible by the time you’re done
If your thread breaks or you run out of thread, simply rethread and pull the broken threads towards you alongside the cording, stitching over them as you go
Don’t plan on completely covering the base cord with only one layer of stitching. Depending on the type of base cord, it may take two or three layers of stitching to completely cover it
For soft, flexible cording use yarn or a soft fabric as your base and stitch a minimal number layers on top
For a firmer cording, use a stiffer base such as string, or add more layers of stitching
When cutting the cording, use a little fray check to stop the stitching from unraveling
Basics
Sewing Machine Setup
Machine Feet
The best foot to use is a braiding foot or a foot with a “tunnel” underneath such as a beading foot. These types of feet are the easiest to use as they will allow you to easily guide the cording.
You could also use a standard foot with feed dogs up, or a darning foot with feed dogs down and manually guide the cording under the foot.
Tension
At normal tension, the top thread will wrap halfway around the cording and you will need to use the same thread in the bobbin as on the top.
If you use a slightly loose top tension, the top thread will wrap all the way around the cording and you can use either the same thread in the bobbin or a coordinating color.
The Basics
Cut your base cording to the desired length. Three strands of 8ply yarn will produce approx 1/8” diameter cording.
Set your machine for zigzag stitch wide enough for the needle to swing entirely over the yarn on either side. Length should be about 1.5 – 2.0.
Allow about 2-3 inches of cording to extend out the back of your machine, and holding the tail of the cord with your left hand and twisting the front section with your right hand, guide the cording under the foot. You may need to pull slightly in order for it to feed through smoothly. Zigzag along the length of cording.
Shorten the length of your stitch to about .5, or shorter if you are using fine thread and holding the cording in the same manner, satin stitch the length of the cording.
Using the same stitch length, change your top thread and bobbin thread, and satin stitch the length of the cording.
Lengthen your stitch to 1.5 – 2.0, change to a metallic thread in the top and bobbin and zigzag the length of the cording.
Options
Options
There are many options you can use to add surface texture, color and design to your cording that will make it unique and interesting.
Following are just a few ideas:
1. Stitch a length of fine craft wire into the first or second layers of stitching. This will allow you to manipulate the cording so that it will retain shape.
2. To add texture, you can make bumps in the cording by moving backwards and forwards a number of times whilst stitching. Do this on your final layer of stitching, or before you add a final metallic layer.
3. Wrap strands of fiber around the cording and stitch in place at intervals, or cut short pieces of decorative yarn or fiber and stitch into the cording.
4. Cover your base cord with white thread – cotton or polyester – and hand paint. If you want a bit of sparkle, use a glitter topcoat, or use a metallic paint. If you are adding metallic thread, stitch it after you have dyed the cording.
5. Use bobbin work thread. Wrap the base cord with your main color. Change to a contrasting or blending color bobbin work thread, then stitch over the top. You can play with the tension in both your top tension and your bobbin tension to achieve different effects. This sample is Ricky Timms Razzle Dazzle, one of my favorite bobbin work threads.
This should give you a starting point to work with, but what else can you do; how far can you take this?
Applications
Applications
Now that we know how to make the cording and add variety and interest, what can we do with it? Let’s explore some applications.
Couching
The cording on “Circles” has been couched down around the outer edge of the main circles to add definition. The thread used on the cording is the same as was used for the free motion quilting. This offers a sense of unity.
Attachments
Using cording is a great way to join paneled quilts.
Small buttonholes were sewn close to the edges of the panels and the cording was threaded through, cut to length, and then the ends were tied in a knot to prevent them from slipping through the holes.
This is a good application for irregular shaped panels such as “Scrapbook” since the cording can be cut at varying lengths to provide overall balance and alignment.
Decorative beads were threaded to the cording on “Scrapbook” to provide interest.
Decorative
The cording can be used for decorative purposes. A wrought iron gate on “What Lies Beyond” was designed by using cording with fine craft wire stitched into. The wire enables the cording to be easily shaped. Once the design was complete, the pieces of cording were handstitched together, and then the completed unit was hand stitched to the background of the quilt.
The cording on “Puddles” was shaped without using wire, and hand stitched to the background of the quilt.
Additional Ideas
Weaving
Frogs and Chinese Knot Buttons
Edging
Decorative Cording for Jewelry/Purse Straps

======================gtg

An artist statement is a necessary component of any professional artists’ portfolio or promotional packet.
When writing your artist statement, DO:
*Write in the first person. It is a statement, after all.
*Be brief, 2-3 paragraphs at most. Always err on the side of brevity. You can write more, but why would you want to? People have short attention spans these days. Load as much punch into the delivery as you can. Combine sentences and delete ones that aren’t vital. As Henri Matisse said in his treatise on painting, “All that is not useful to the picture is detrimental.” The same could be said of your statement.
*Describe the current direction of your work and your approach, particularly what is unique about your methods and materials.
*Sit on it for a few days and come back to it with a fresh mindset. Most artists, in my opinion, hate their statements because they rushed them in preparation for an exhibit and didn’t care to spend any more time on them. How do you expect it to be any good if you don’t work at it?
*Consider more than one statement if you are trying to discuss more than one body of work. If you try to get too much into a single statement, you run the risk of saying nothing and trying to be everything to all people. This is bad marketing/bad promotions.
*Allow your artist statement to grow, change, and mature along with your work. Don’t let it sit on a shelf and collect dust. It should be organic and you shouldn’t be afraid to change it and make it better.
*Make sure your statement passes the litmus test. Above all, viewers should be compelled to put the statement away and look back at the work. Your statement isn’t successful if people read the words on the page, and then put them down and go on to the next artist.
When writing your artist statement, DO NOT:
*Use too many personal pronouns. Yes, I said to write in first person, but try to severely limit the number of “I”s, “me”s and “my”s that are used. You’ll be amazed at how many other ways there are to phrase things. You want people to relate to your words and to your art. Too many personal pronouns will put up an unnecessary a barrier.
*Tell your life story. You can keep that for your bio (as long as it’s interesting). Your artist statement is only about the current direction of your work.
*Quote or refer to anyone else by name. Keep the focus on you and your art. Mentioning another name shifts the readers’ attention from your art to the other person.
*Forget to use spell check and ask someone else to read it over for you.
View the time to write your artist statement as an opportunity to clarify your thoughts. A well-written statement, approached deliberately and thoughtfully, can be a boon to your self-promotion efforts. You’ll use the language on your Web site and in grant applications, press releases, brochures, and much more.

============================gtg

No matter what walk of life you may find yourself in, creativity is an asset. I’ve seen people be creative in career endeavors and others be creative in putting together dinner parties. It adds spice and zip to life, not only to your own life but to the lives of those around you. Here are my five tips for stimulating your creativity.
1. Turn off auto-pilot. Ever drive somewhere and suddenly realize that you didn’t recall making a turn, only to discover you’d been on “auto pilot?” When we repeatedly perform the same tasks over and over, there’s a natural tendency to find ourselves giving little awareness to what we are doing.
To stimulate your creative juices try going a different way to work, turning down a different street. When you comb your hair, put the part on the other side. Stir your coffee with the other hand. Brush your teeth with the other hand. It will feel a bit peculiar, but you’ll be very much in the moment.
2. Variations of a theme. Just as Mozart or Beethoven may have written a theme, and then variations, be creative. Practice this same approach in your day to day life.There are many things that we do without much thought or enthusiasm. Find a way to make them more fun and more interesting. Find ways to stimulate your creativity in every little task you do.
Anything that must be done more than once is an opportunity to use your creativity. It’s a way of creating a slight variation each time; not just once but every time. Dare to be creative. Make it a game to come up with a slightly new twist. Just changing the time or location can make a difference. Try eating with the fine china, or with real cloth napkins, adding candle light or simply eating in the dining room if you seldom do. You will create an experience that feels totally new. Change your writing style, vary what you normally say or how you say it; write more or less than you usually do. All these things can get your creative juices going.
3. Try some new food. Try some new food that you’ve never had before. Consider something that maybe you’ve always avoided but never really tried. So, how do you know that you don’t like it? Personally, for many years I would just not try sour cream. The name turned me off. When I finally tried it I discovered, of course, something delicious and wonderful that I’d been missing out on.
Be creative, visit a new restaurant. Be bold and daring if you’ve always been conservative. Try a different sauce, maybe some foods that don’t normally go together. You might just come up with something totally new; maybe even start a new trend.
4. Take on a new hobby or course. Taking on something new makes us stretch. It creates new pathways in the brain. It stimulates brain activity and causes us to feel a greater sense of wellness and being alive.
So, if you’ve never taken yoga or martial arts, or a belly dance class, try it. Be creative. Perhaps try painting or take up playing an instrument. Try something you’ve never done before, maybe something you’ve even secretly thought that you didn’t have the ability for. Stretch and try something new. Guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing. And you might just discover a talent you didn’t know you had!
5. The “Mozart Effect”. Don Campbell’s book explains how Mozart’s music, played in schools affected the minds of the young students hearing it. They were more creative and they performed better. He broke the music down into three categories, producing cd’s for each. One, of course, was for “stimulating creativity”. On that cd were very simple themes with variation after variation. It didn’t take me long to see how it did indeed stimulate creativity; how it opened the mind up to new possibilities. I often found that I felt like painting when I heard that music.
I don’t say that it has to be Mozart, but I do recommend listening to some music that is a theme with variations, to stimulate your creativity and get those creative juices flowing. You hear the same thing presented many different ways. It is particularly helpful if you are a musician. And you certainly can’t go wrong by choosing Mozart either.
If you try these five tips to stimulating your creativity, you’ll find yourself paying more attention to your day. You’ll find yourself more creative. You’ll find yourself more involved in your day and I dare say that you’ll find it more interesting too! By constantly thinking and making conscious choices, you are stimulating, using and practicing your creativity. And then when called upon to perform, it is honed and ready to go to work for you.

===========================gtg

By William Larson, Ph.D.

“My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz. It’s the letter I use to spell yuzz-a-ma-tuzz. You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond ‘Z’ and start poking around!” ~ Dr. Seuss
Creativity gets better and better with practice. The more you “poke around” beyond z, the more fascinating and successful your life will become.
Here are some simple techniques that will help you improve your creativity skills:
1) Be open to new ideas. Creativity requires that you be open to ideas and concepts that are new even if they seem impossible. Do not simply dismiss what you do not understand. There is no better way to open your mind to new ideas than to try a new task, learn a new skill, or begin a new hobby. You will be amazed at how doing something new will open your mind to new ideas. Suddenly new worlds will open for you.
2) Be inquisitive. Extremely successful people are always asking questions and seeking answers about better ways of doing things. Curiosity is a way of life for them; it is the hallmark of their success. They are never convinced that anything is as good as it gets. They always believe there is a better, faster, safer, smarter, and more efficient ways of doing things. Never stop being inquisitive.
Revive your childhood curiosity. Never be afraid of asking questions.
Next time you think one of your questions is “silly,” remember the questions asked by these creative geniuses:
Leonardo DaVinci once asked, “Why does the thunder last a longer time than that which causes it?” and “Why is the sky blue?”
Socrates asked, “What is beauty?”
Albert Einstein in his youth asked himself, “What would it be like to run beside a beam of light at the speed of light?”
Just think of the inventions that have benefited humanity in countless ways. Most of them came into being because someone answered the simple question, “What if . . . ”
3) Learn to think illogically. Thinking things through logically is something each of us has learned to do. This is how we “process” information in order to make sound, rational decisions.
It is a process however, that excludes creativity. Choose any idea (whether it is yours or someone else’s), no matter how illogical it may seem, and begin to think of ways that the impossible might actually happen. Connect ideas and see where it takes you.
4) Spend time with creative people. You will soon discover that the most consistently creative are children, especially the ones who have been given a box of crayons but have not yet been told to color within the lines. Their imaginations run wild. They can teach you a priceless lesson: how to think “out-of-the-box.”
5) Quit trying to be perfect. You will never achieve perfection on the earth anyway. There is nothing as inhibiting to creativity as perfectionism. Imperfection is human. Learn to become uninhibited by concern for doing something that is correct. Creativity flourishes in an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance.
6) Be open. Do not judge creative ideas that come your way no matter how “silly” or “obvious” they may initially seem. Creativity thrives in people with nonjudgmental attitudes. Creative people are tolerant of ambiguity, do not impose boundaries on ideas, and take risks in order to achieve great results.
7) Sleep improves creativity. In a recent sleep deprivation study conducted by the Sleep Research Laboratory, scientists using clinically oriented neuropsychological tests found that lack of sleep has a significant impact on creativity. As little as one night of sleep loss has a major affect on innovative thinking and flexible decision-making. Remember what your mother taught you and get a good night’s sleep.
Never stop thinking of yourself as creative. Think positively about the fact that you are creative, and that you are becoming even more creative every day. Remember, creativity is learned. The more you learn about it, the more you practice it, the more creative you will become.
Never forget that you have the right to be creative because you were made in the image of God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

=======================gtg

quilting 3.21 – gtg

Learning to Quilt

I’ll admit it. I was a little intimidated, thinking that I was probably going to be the youngest and only inexperienced member of the beginning quilting class. What would the other ladies think? Did I even have a chance at keeping up? And was the instructor going to be patient enough for a true beginner? Let’s just say I was nervous walking into my first Learning to Quilt class.
As it turns out, I had no reason to worry. The experience was wonderful, and so were my classmates.
Our instructor was a very personable woman who obviously loves to quilt. She began the five-session course by confronting our fears. She wanted to know what aspect of quilting worried us the most. Our class decided unanimously that it was the necessary precision. The evening class had been more concerned with how to choose complimentary fabrics for their projects. Armed with this information, She gave us solid information on how to overcome both of these obstacles.
Other practical information offered in the course included using the rotary cutter and mat, measuring the fabric (measure twice, cut once) and even the best type of thread to use. As we occasionally botched a seam or (in my case) scorched our fabric, the class members became very supportive of one another. Often everyone would gather around to see a classmate’s newest block and to remark on the great color choices or the lovely, straight seams.
Another great aspect of the course was the venue. By attending class right in a store, we had access to any tools we might have overlooked needing, as well as staff members occasionally interjecting really useful bits of advice. I found it encouraging to have shop customers occasionally wander through the classroom to view quilts displayed on the walls. Something about all of those people enjoying the craft would renew my energy.
Aside from my personal distaste for being awake before 11 a.m., the only real complaint I had with the class was that I thought it probably should have been a week longer. Unfortunately, the final class was only an overview of finishing your quilt top, and I would like to have had a little more time with the instructor for those steps. So, since the only problem I found with the class is that it ended, I feel confident in urging others to consider signing up.
I really recommend this class for anyone who wants to learn to quilt but just hasn’t had the chance or has been scared to take the first step. The teacher is patient but knowledgeable, and the shop’s staff is cheerful and supportive. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I have already signed up for this month’s Triple Irish Chain class and have a couple of others in mind. Not bad for someone who was clueless about quilting a month ago, wouldn’t you say?

=============gtg

How to prepare your quilt top for quilting.
The time spent preparing your quilt top is well worth it to achieve the best result.
Wavy borders and uneven edges will not magically quilt out and I could be forced to pleat the edges – you may end up with puckers.

Prepare your Quilt Top
• Press all of the seams well during the piecing process, ensuring that they lay flat to one side.
• Trim all loose threads from the top as they can get caught in the machine foot and tear the quilt.
• Clip all loose threads from the back, dark threads on light fabrics will be seen through the quilt.
• Remove any added accessories, such as buttons or trinkets as these will catch in the machine foot
• Ensure your borders lay flat. Wavy borders can not be quilted out.
• Fullness that is pieced into the quilt may not necessarily be quilted out.
• Stay stitch 1/4 ” from the edge of the quilt if the outer edges are on the bias or have lots of seams in them Your Backing
• Your choice of backing is very important to the finished look of the quilt and should not be an after thought.
• Please use a weight similar to the top and 100% cotton where possible.
• If you have washed the fabric for the top then also wash the backing to allow for equal shrinkage.
• Size – The backing should be at least 6 inches wider and 6 inches longer than the quilt top. This is to allow for the backing to be               attached to the rollers, to allow for take up of the fabric and to give some space to support the fabric at the sides during quilting.
• Color – Keep in mind the thread color for the top will be the same for the back.
• Pattern – small busy prints will `hide’ the quilting on the back of the quilt. All over patterns can look great on a plainer fabric making a       reversible’ effect on the quilt.
• Joins please remove selvedge from the seams and sew a seam at least 5/8” wide. If at all possible have the seam running across the quilt as opposed to down the center. Please note that pieced backs cannot be centered.
• Square – the backing piece needs to be square or it will not attach correctly to the rollers and it will not run squarely during                         quilting.
• If you supply your own batting it should be a minimum of 6 inches wider and longer than your quilt top.
Please do not attach the batting to the quilt.

======================gtg

Where to Sell Your Quilts
Once you have created a couple or 10 quilts you might want to consider selling them. You can give them away to friends and family members and you can even sell them for FUN AND PROFIT. After all, you will need to recoup all that money and time you spent creating your fabulous creations and what better way than to sell a few. Of course, the more inventory you can create before you decide to sell the better. And the more the make the faster you will get at making them. There are various avenues for selling your quilts and Spring and Fall are probably the better times to try and sell them. You can pay the fees for a booth at a local quilting show or even pay the smaller fees at your local Flea and Farmers Market. But if you don’t want to schlep all your inventory to any of these places you can create a website.

If you go the traditional route you will have to pay for a domain, pay for website hosting fees and setup a shopping cart. And absolutely set up a PAYPAL account. PAYPAL is a secure credit card/electronic check processing website that keeps yours and your customers information safe and secure. Check out the GODADDY website for an inexpensive website solution that will give you complete control of how you website looks like, feels like and interacts. If you are not internet or web savvy then you can even try a websites that we use by going to ETSY.

ETSY is a seller/buyer website that gives you a little more leeway in your shop. They do charge $0.20 per item that you list and a small percentage of the amount you sell. They help you get the word out and offer videos and instructions on how to list, take pictures, involve your friends, even pay a small fee to have your items featured quickly. You have to renew your items every 4 months and pay the $0.20 per item fee again. The fees are due by the 15th of the following month. That gives you a little time to list your items and hopefully make a sale or two before they are due. Read through the help sections of any site or service you decide to use. So far we have been happy with the services we are recommending.

=================gtg

Sashing and setting the blocks
Well congratulations!!! All 20 of your sampler blocks are made and ready to be set into a quilt top.

The next step is setting the blocks together. We will be putting sashing strips between the blocks as a frame to set each block off from the other. Blocks can also be set without the setting strips. This is often done when all the blocks in a quilt are the same and a secondary design is created where the blocks join.
Sashing strips are simply strips that are sewn between the blocks. We will be doing simple sashing of just one fabric. You can also put corner squares at the corners of each block to add another design element.
Traditionally sashing was made with short strips going in one direction between the blocks and long strips the other way, i.e. all the vertical strips short and the horizontal long. This leads to difficulty in keeping all the columns in a straight line since the long narrow strips stretch some.
Instead we will use short strips for both the horizontal and vertical strips. Two sides of most of the blocks will be sashed and then the blocks sewn together. This is where you will use the large segment cuts. Review this technique in the basic lessons.

1. The sashing strips will finish to 2″ and so will be cut 2 1/2″ wide. The strips will be cut as a large segment cut the length of the strip needed and then the 2 1/2″ strips will be cut from the large segment cut. These will be cut at 12 1/2″ large cuts and 14 1/2″ large cuts.
Cut 1 large cut 12 1/2″ wide and 2 large cuts 14 1/2″ wide. You should get 16 (or more) 12 1/2″ strips and 32 (or more) 14 1/2″ strips from these large segment cuts.
2. Now cut the strips into the 2 1/2″ wide sashing strips. You should get 16 strips from each large cut.
3. Cut from 4 of the 14 1/2″ strips 2″ so that they measure 12 1/2″. You will need 20 this 12 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ size.
4. Sew the 12 1/2″ sashing strip to the top edge of each of the sampler blocks. They don’t have a up or down so whichever side you choose is the top. Press toward the sashing strip. Lay them in a pile right side up with the sashing strip to the top.

5. Sew 14 1/2″ sashing strips to the right side of the blocks. Press to the sashing strip. All the blocks now have 2 sashing strips, 1 on the top and one on the right.

6. Now lay out your blocks on a table, floor or bed and arrange them in the way you like. I do it on the floor so I can stand back and look at them from a distance. Below is the arrangement that I did but don’t feel that this is the only or “right” way to arrange them.
Your blocks should be all laid out in the arrangement you want. It you need to put the blocks away before sewing them just start on the top left block, pick it up and set it on top of the block to the right. Pick both up and set them on the next block to the right. Pick them all up and set them on the last block. Pin them together with a piece of paper labeled “ROW 1” onto the pile of blocks. Continue in the same manner with the remaining blocks labeling correctly until the rows all are pinned together. This will keep your arrangement in the proper order.

7. Onto the bottom of the bottom row sew 14 1/2″ sashing strips. Press to the strip. These 4 blocks now have 3 side sashing strips.
8. Onto the left edge of the left most column blocks 1, 2, 3, and 4 sew a 14 1/2″ sashing strip and press to the strip. These 4 blocks now have 3 side sashing strips.
9. The bottom left corner block now has 3 sides on it. It will need one more. Cut a 2 1/2″ strip of the sashing fabric. From this cut a 16 1/2″ segment. Sew this to the remaining side of the block. Press to the sashing.
All the blocks now have the right number of sashing strips.

Sewing the blocks together

There are different ways of sewing blocks together to form the quilt top. I will explain 2 different ways, Rows & Columns and Square Sets. Choose one way on this quilt and then try the other way out on another quilt and see which way you like best.

Rows & Columns

1. As the name indicates the quilt is sewn together in rows and columns. Lay out the top in the arrangement you want. Check with the diagram to be sure your sashings on the blocks are on the proper sides of the block.

2. Starting at the top right (row 1), flip the block over onto the block to the left. Pin the blocks together. Now do the same with row 2, row 3, row 4, and row 5.

3. Sew the blocks together chain stitching them. (Don’t cut the blocks apart).

4. Press the seam of row 1 to the left, row 2 to the right, row 3 to the left, row 4 to the right, and row 5 to the left. This will make the block seams “marry” easier when you get to that point. Remember odd is left and even is right.

5. Now do the same with the next 2 columns of blocks. In this quilt this will get all the blocks combined. If in another quilt you have more blocks just continue in the same way. If you have an odd number of rows, after you sew the next to the last rows together pin and sew the last row blocks onto the left side of the previously sewn column.

6. Now sew the 2 sets of blocks together down the center. Again chain stitch and don’t cut the rows apart. Press as before, the odd rows left and the even rows to the right.

7. Sew the rows together marrying the seams that should all go in opposite directions since you pressed them so well. Press the seams down. The next lesson will put on the borders.

=====================gtg

quilting 3.20 – gtg

General directions for quick half and quarter square triangle blocks.

To make quarter square triangles units: Place two squares right side together. On the back of the lighter of the fabrics, draw a line diagonally from corner to corner. Then another line diagonally from corner to corner making an X. These will be cutting lines. Then 1/4″ on either side of one of the lines, draw 2 stitching lines on either side of the diagonal line. With two squares, right sides together, sew on the two outside stitching lines. Then cut into 2 halves on the line between the two stitching lines. Then divide those two parts on the other line. Press out and you will have 4, 1/4 square triangles. (Diagram)

To make half square triangle blocks: On the back of the lighter of the fabrics, draw a line diagonally from corner to corner. Then 1/4″ on either side of one of the line, draw 2 stitching lines. (Diagram)

With two squares, right sides together, sew on the two outside stitching lines. Then cut into 2 halves on the line between the two stitching lines. Press out and you will have 2, half square triangle blocks.

Directions for Chained Star

Center square:

Fabric B: Cut 1 strip 2 1/2″ by 5″

Fabric C: Cut 1 strip 2 1/2″ by 5″

Sew strips together, matching long sides. Cut across in 2 1/2″ segments and sew together to make a 4 patch.

Corner Squares

Fabric B: Cut 1 strip 2 1/2″ by 10″

Fabric C: Cut 1 strip 2 1/2″ by 10″

Fabric D: Cut 2 strips 2 1/2″ by 10″

Sew a B strip to a D strip, long sides together. Sew a C strip to a D strip, long sides together. Cut both pairs across in 2 1/2″ segments. Sew segments together in 4 patches so you have 2 B/D 4 patches and 2 C/D 4 patches.

Side Squares:

Fabric A: Cut 2 Squares, 5 1/4″

Fabric D: Cut 2 Squares, 5 1/4″Layer each fabric A square right sides together with a fabric D square. Follow the included directions for quick quarter square triangle blocks. Sew together in squares, matching long sides of the triangles.

Square all sections up to 4 1/2″ and assemble as a 9-patch using color photo for placement of 4 patches.

======================gtg

Greens this month…. you will need 3 darks (Green), 3 lights (Beige on Beige) and a bright contrast (Yellow).

You will cut 2 logs from each dark and each light according to the following measurements.

Cut:

Center:: 1 square each of Bright & Dark 3, 4 7/8″

Darks:

Dark 1 1 Strip 4 1/2″ x 1 7/8″ and 1 Strip 7 1/4″ x 1 7/8″

Dark 2 1 Strip 7 1/4″ x 1 7/8″ and 1 Strip 9 7/8″ x 1 7/8″

Dark 3 1 Strip 9 7/8″ x 1/7/8″ and 1 Strip 12 1/2″ x 1 7/8″

Lights

Light 1 1 Strip 4 1/2″ x 1 7/8″ and 1 Strip 7 1/4″ x 1 7/8″

Light 2 1 Strip 7 1/4″ x 1 7/8″ and 1 Strip 9 7/8″ x 1 7/8″

Light 3 “1 Strip 9 7/8″ x 1/7/8″ and 1 Strip 12 1/2″ x 1 7/8”

Assembly:

Layer the Bright & Dark squares right sides together and make half square triangle blocks.

To make half square triangle blocks: On the back of the lighter of the fabrics, draw a line diagonally from corner to corner. This will be your cutting line. Then 1/4″ on either side of this cutting line, draw 2 stitching lines.

With two squares, right sides together, sew on the two outside stitching lines. Then cut into 2 halves on the line between the two stitching lines. Press out and you will have 2 half square triangle blocks. You will use one for the center of the log cabin and have the other left over.

To add the logs:

Sew the 4 1/2″ Light 1 strip to the bottom of the center and the 4 1/2″ Dark 1 strip to the top of the center.

Sew the 7 1/4″ Light 1 strip to the right side of the center and the 7 1/4″ Dark 1 strip to the left side of the center. Square up to 7 1/4″.

Sew the 7 1/4″ Light 1 strip to the bottom of the center and the 7 1/4″ Dark 1 strip to the top of the center.

Sew the 9 7/8″ Light 1 strip to the right side of the center and the 9 7/8″ Dark 1 strip to the left side of the center. Square up to 9 7/8″.

Sew the 9 7/8″ Light 1 strip to the bottom of the center and the 9 7/8″ Dark 1 strip to the top of the center.

Sew the 12 1/2″ Light 1 strip to the right side of the center and the 12 1/2″ Dark 1 strip to the left side of the center. Square up to 12 1/2″.

Press seams outward after adding each pair of strips.

=================gtg

Quilting Is For My Generation And Your Generation

Many people think of quilting as something a group of older women do by sitting in a circle and sewing until their fingers bled. Surely this still happens today, yet there are new and improved methods of quilting. And, believe it or not, this hobby is coming back. It has become easy to find and purchase quilting supplies such as quilting fabrics, quilting patterns, and even quilting machines. And just about anyone with a small amount of talent can turn out a beautiful work of art.

Quilting is an art form to say the least. While it is possible to purchase patterns in department stores, fabric and craft stores, and even online, creating a new design is greatly satisfying. And, the market for handmade quilts is huge. Just take a look on ebay. They have many quilts available and the buyer can even have one made by a crafter in the colors and style they prefer. A great way to find a new pattern or design is to look for quilting groups. These people will design their own square or group of squares and swap them with someone else’s. Say they choose a color pattern of red, white, and blue, with an obvious patriotic theme. Each person within the group designs their version and they then trade. Together the squares make a beautiful display of artwork.

How to begin. First, plan to spend some time, and finances, to learn the trade. It is not something to jump into with the ideas of having a finished quilt in no time. Techniques need to be learned. Venture into a craft or fabric store and look at what is available. Ensure that the cost of the equipment will fit the budget. There are many choices of quality whether it is in the quilting fabrics or the threads purchased. Taking a few quilting classes may be a great option. For these, look into community colleges or recreation centers. They often offer beginner classes for next to no investment. Another great tool for learning this trade is the Internet. It is easy to find scores of people willing to help teach a beginner. There are many websites and many forums with just about every question answered. To find one, just search for quilting in a major search engine.

Yet another option available today to quilters is quilting machines. Yes, the average person can purchase and use one to enhance and quicken the process of quilting. But, they are expensive and unless there is a serious quilter about, they are unnecessary. If need does seem big, quilting squares can be sent out to companies who will use the machines and huge frames to build the quilt for a fee. To find these companies, again, do a simple search on the Internet for quilting machines.

Whether a beginner or an advance quilter, quilting is a wonderful hobby to learn and love. It does take some talent and an immense amount of patience, but the satisfaction of a completed quilt will surely out weigh the cons. Begin slowly and learn slowly. Experience is the best teacher in this field.

========================gtg

Preparing your Quilt Top

The Quilt Top: Please press your top carefully. Press all seams as flat as possible. Clip all loose threads from the back of the quilt top. These threads can show through the top in the lighter color areas and cause unsightly lines and will take away from the beauty of your finished quilt. Please identify the top of the quilt if you have a preference by placing a safety pin along the top edge.

– Your quilt top should be completely pressed with all excess threads and borders trimmed neatly.

– DO NOT baste or pin your quilt. If I hit a needle that is left in your quilt, my machine will be out for costly repairs for weeks.

– Please try to measure your borders when piecing your quilt. Excess fabric in the borders will make your quilt misshapen, and makes it more difficult to quilt without pleating. If you have questions on how to get your borders to come out squared up, I am more than happy to teach you.

Quilt Top

– Clip all threads on the top and back.

– Square the pieced top.

– Press the top, (pressing all seams flat), fold carefully, and place into a pillowcase or proper mailing container(be sure to adequately insure your top).

– Do not baste, pin, or tack the quilt together.

– Indicate the head of the quilt with a safety pin.

– Indicate the pattern direction – lengthwise or crosswise on the quilt. (Note this on the instruction sheet.)

– Be aware that fullness and puckers, which have been pieced in, cannot be quilted out. (I will ease them in as well as I can.)

– Please take the time to snip loose threads from the back of your quilt top. These may show through the lighter colors of your quilt.

– Make sure quilt top has been ironed with all the seams pressed properly. Iron back as well. NOTE: On those tops with photo transfers DO NOT iron directly on the transfer as they will become shiny. Iron them with a pressing sheet or towel in between.

– If you have a pieced border, for best results, stay stitch 1/4″ around the edge of your quilt top. This helps keep the borders from stretching while being quilted.

===================gtg

Lesson on Borders

It is very important that you take care when applying borders to your quilt. If they are not applied properly, you can expect to end up with wavy border or wrinkles and pleats in the border fabric when it is quilted.

When I receive your quilt, I will measure it and analyze any problems I might have quilting it. If your quilt has flared borders, I will contact you. You may decide to have me correct the borders at my $10.00 per hour rate. I will give you an estimate of the charge before I begin.

Applying Borders

Many of our quilt customers have asked for information on borders. The following lesson should help you get your borders on and your quilt flat before quilting.

After the body of the quilt has been pieced, gently press before adding borders. The logical place to measure the finished top is along its outside edges, and this is a useful measurement. However, measurements should be taken across the center in two or three places for both the width and length. If these measurements are different from that of the outer edge, accidental stretching has occurred. To keep the finished quilt as straight and square as possible, you must measure the centers.

To make a border with straight-cut corners:

Determine the length of the quilt border by averaging the distance of two or three center measurements (see Fig. 1). Cut two borders that length and pin them to opposite sides of the quilt matching ends and centers and easing in the fullness. Sew and press.

Determine the width of the quilt border by averaging the distance of the two or three center measurements (see Fig. 2) Cut these borders that length and pin – easing in the fullness. Sew and Press.

To make a border with mitered corners:

To determine length of top and borders, measure across middle width of the center. To this, add width of border twice plus 1/2 inch (seam allowance). For side borders measure across middle length of center. To this, also add twice the width of border plus 1/2 inch (seam allowance).

Cut borders to length. Fold and press ends at 45 degree angle – this marks miter seam.Fold border in half lengthwise to find center. Find center of top and pin together. Pin each end of border through the mitered crease and center of top (last square etc.), then pin together remainder — distributing fullness throughout.

Sew with border on the bottom. Begin and end sewing at pin that is through center and miter crease. Now just align creases and pin and sew. Sew from outside toward the top. Clip and press.

======================gtg

I decided to make an art quilt. This was a new venture for me. Even though I have been quilting since the 70’s, I have never tried making an art quilt, but I wanted to stretch myself and try something outside of my comfort zone.

My inspiration was a photograph I had taken of my daughter who was 6 years old at the time.. Both of my children are adopted and are of Indian heritage being born in Calcutta. Among the mothers in my adoptive parent support group, we have observed that many of our children have similar large, sparkling brown eyes that we have coined “Calcutta Eyes”. In the photograph of my daughter, her “Calcutta Eyes” are the dominant feature. I have tried to capture her beautiful eyes in my quilt.

I ended up painting her face in the quilt since I couldn’t get the right look from fabric. The face, hair and shirt are all hand appliqued. The other appliques are applied with fusible web and machine stitched with a pin-stitch. I used some of my daughters favorite things in this quilt — flowers and butterflies. The peacocks were added as a symbol of India because the peacock is India’s national bird. I used a piece of clipart from my computer as the pattern for the peacocks. The butterflies and flowers are patterns from various quilt magazines and books that I own. The leaves are cut freehand.

The fabrics in the quilt are mainly Moda marbles and batiks with homespun used for the hair and the base of the peacocks as well as some of my own hand-dyed fabrics used for the leaves.

The thread used in the machine applique is rayon and the quilting is done with Signature 100% cotton solids and variegated threads as well as Gutermann metallic threads. I used a trapunto technique on the face and neck because I didn’t want to heavily quilt these areas. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the results I wanted and ended up quilting the face anyway.

To make a pattern from the photograph, I scanned the photo and printed it out in an 8 x 10″ size. I then taped the copy to my dining room window and taped another sheet of paper over the print and traced the outline and the details of the face as well as the details of the shirt.

Next, I scanned the penciled drawing and exported it to my “Paint” program on my computer, enlarged it to the size I wanted, and printed it out. The picture printed out on 15 sheets of paper. I had to tape these sheets of paper together to make my master pattern. From this master, I made the pattern pieces by tracing the pieces onto freezer paper then ironing the freezer paper onto the fabric and cutting out the pieces.

I hand appliqued the face, hair, and shirt first. Then I painted the face with acrylic paints and a fabric medium. After the face had dried for 24 hours, I ironed the painted areas to make them permanent. I then applied the borders.

The stems are bias cut and machine appliqued. The flowers, peacocks, and butterflies are applied with a fusible web and machine appliqued. Once all the applique was completed, I loaded the quilt onto my Gammill Classic quilting machine. Using a batik fabric for the backing and Warm and Natural batting, I machine quilted the entire piece.

This project took 6 months from beginning to end to complete.

================gtg

By 1860 sewing machines appeared in many homes in the U.S. to assist women in the home production of clothing, bed clothes, etc. From the beginning some adventurous sewers used their human powered treadle machines to quilt their unfinished quilt tops. However, in general, hand quilting was the favored means of quilting the quilts to be especially valued. It took more than 150 years for machine quilting to be readily accepted by many quilters for their heirloom quilts.

When hand quilting, most of the quilting thread ends up in the batting between all three layers. With the continuous flat line created by the sewing machine’s locking stitch most of the thread remains on the surfaces. The graceful curves and feathers of hand quilting were hard to duplicate on the sewing machine. Until, that is, the later part of the 20th century when more elaborate sewing machines with more functions became available.

In 1989 Caryl Bryer Fallert won the Best of Show at the American Quilter’s Society quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky with her quilt, Corona II, the Solar Eclipse. This was the first major award for a machine quilted quilt!

Most quilters agree the it was Harriet Hargrave’s 1985 book Heirloom Machine Quilting (Burden Design Studios, 1987) that began the revolution. The Hargrave book was subtitled A Comprehensive Guide to Hand-Quilted Effects Using Your Sewing Machine. In recent years Diane Gaudinsky has won awards at both the Houston Festival and the AQS show for her exquisite machine quilting.

Gaudynski in her 2002 book, Guide to Machine Quilting, includes these words in the introduction, “The arrival of Harriet Hargrave’s machine quilting book sent me into a world of discovery, of joy, of completion. Finally, I could make quilts with the simplicity of my grandmother’s everyday one’s but with extensive machine quilting.”

Some of the tools helpful for doing quality machine quilting on your home sewing machine are included here. The walking foot, also called an even feed foot, will quilt straight lines and gentle curves. This is a good place for those new to machine quilting to start developing their skills. A basic, inexpensive book with a series of exercises designed to help you build your machine quilting skills is Maurine Noble’s book, Machine Quilting Made Easy (1994). Some home sewing machines have a built in walking foot or have one available as an optional attachment. To purchase a walking foot for your machine you need to know whether you have a low shank or a high shank or an exception (like a Bernina).

To create stippling curves and feathers you need a foot that has various names: free motion foot, darning foot, open-toed embroidery foot. This foot allows you to move not just forward and backward, but in all directions which is the point of free motion quilting. Selecting a foot that allows you maximum visibility in all directions is important.

Another must for creating well done machine quilting is a smooth, flat surface surrounding the needle. Your goal is to create a flat surface so that the weight of the quilt does not pull on the needle in any direction.

Some people find quilting gloves with many small grips useful in moving all three layers under the needle. Using quality needles and thread of appropriate weight for your project is vitally important.

===============gtg

FABRICS

The quilts you will make from the blocks you send and receive in this swap are meant to be VERY SCRAPPY! Each month you will use different fabric combos and you will NEVER use the same fabric in any other set! You MIGHT receive a block from another quilter who by chance used the same fabrics you did in one of your sets, & that is OK! But do not duplicate any fabrics in the blocks that you make!

Small prints work best, although some medium prints will work. Remember these are teeny tiny cute little blocks!

We will be using a wide variety of the following types of fabrics:

Traditional prints such as calicos, repros of all kinds, checks, stripes, plaids and Contemporary prints such as bright & fun, dots, geometrics, and checks, stripes, plaids, etc.

NO SOLIDS, NO WOW’s & NO COC’s for the LIGHT fabrics! AND NO 30’s! Prints should have only a MINIMAL amount of white or cream in them. Please access the links given on the previous page to see what the blocks look like in the quilts done by other quilters who’ve done this kind of swap. Notice that usually the LIGHTER of the 2 fabrics in each block can be a TOT or a PRINT and does NOT have to be a pastel…it just has to be LIGHTER than the DARKER of the 2 fabrics.

And VERY IMPORTANT: Use ONLY 100% quilters quality cotton fabrics, prewashed and pressed before you cut!

In the 9-patch formation there are 5 darker patches and 4 lighter patches. The DARKER of your 2 fabrics ALWAYS goes in the 5 position. The LIGHTER of your 2 fabrics ALWAYS goes in the 4 position.

INSTRUCTIONS

Now that we’ve discussed FABRICS, here are the instructions for making your blocks.

For one set of blocks:

Sew one of the dark strips to one of the light strips. Watch your 1/4″ seams, sew nice straight seams. Press to the dark. Then sew a dark strip to the other side of the light strip and press again to the dark. Repeat this two times. You now have 3 strip sets with dark on the outside and light in the middle.

Repeat this procedure, using two light strips on either side of a dark strip. Make two of this set.

At this point you should have 5 strip sets, three that are D,L,D and two that are L,D,L and each of them should measure 3 1/2″ wide.

A note on pressing:

When you are pressing these strips, it is good to ‘set’ your seam first, that is, lay the strip down with the side you are going to press TO up, lay your iron down on the seam you have sewn, and lift and press all along the seam – lift, press, lift, press, etc. Then pick up the raw edge of the dark (top) fabric and fold it back to reveal the right side of the fabrics and the seamline and press carefully so that the strip lays down with the fold right at the seamline. (You are pressing on the right side of the fabrics at this point). This should give you nice crisp seams and your strip set at the first pressing should measure 2 1/2″ wide. After the final strip is attached and pressed they will measure 3 1/2″ wide.

Now to the actual blockmaking. First you will crosscut each of your strip sets by cutting them up into 1 1/2″ pieces. These will measure 1 1/2″ by 3 1/2″. You should be able to cut about 13 or 14 of them from each strip set if all your fabrics were 21″ or more to start with. You will need (2) of the D,L,D and (1) of the L,D,L cuts for each block you are making.

First, trim off the first end, taking off just enough to get rid of the selvages there, lining up marks on your ruler with one or both of the seamlines so you get a nice clean cut on that first end. Turn your strip around and start lining up your ruler at the 1 1/2″ mark, and at the same time, line up the marks on the ruler with your seamlines. This will ensure all your pieces are cut nice and straight and your blocks will go together and measure up to be 3 1/2″ square when you are finished. As you go along you may have to stop and re-trim your leading end to ensure you continue with those nice 90 degree cuts.

Once you have all your crosscutting done, line up your little strips in stacks, so they look like the blocks above. I usually sew vertical seams on these, goes really fast. Sew the first two stacks together, then take to the ironing board and press all to the strip with the dark at top and bottom. Then sew the remaining strips to these sets. If you have pressed as suggested throughout, you are still nestling those seams and you will notice instantly if you are starting to sew to the wrong side. As shown above, the darker squares are to be in the ‘X’ position in your blocks.

Press these last seams and you are DONE!!! Wasn’t that fun?! Now get out your square up ruler, measure your blocks and they are ready to mail! Best of all you will soon be receiving some from your friends that are swapping with you in this 9’s Alive swap!

=============gtg
Gift Ideas for Quilters on Your List

If you have a quilter on your holiday gift giving list this year, consider yourself lucky. Christmas gifts for quilters are abundant and fit in any budget.

Give a gift card or certificate to the quilter’s favorite craft, hobby, or fabric store. The gift recipient can use the gift for whatever quilting supplies he or she needs.

For those who believe giving a gift card is taking the easy way out, there are plenty of other Christmas gifts for quilters.

How about a nice pair of scissors? Good scissors are a tool that every quilter needs. When you shop for scissors as your Christmas gift for the quilter on your list, you will see just how many kinds of scissors there are on the market. Take time to read the packaging carefully. You wouldn’t want to give your quilter a pair of embroidery thread snips instead of a sturdy pair of fabric cutting scissors!

Books and magazines about quilting styles and techniques make great Christmas gifts for quilters. It does not matter how many your quilting friend already has, books and magazines that show new techniques or trends are always a welcomed gift. Quilters often find inspiration for new color choices, quilting patterns and project ideas in books and magazines.

Give the gift of an Internet quilting club membership. Many online quilting clubs give their subscribers great quilting tips and offer one-on-one assistance for members who email them questions. Some websites even feature regular interviews with quilting pros or offer video streams which show demonstrations of various quilting techniques!

Make a quilt yourself. Even if you’re not a quilter, making a quilt (or quilted wall hanging, throw, or even a potholder) will show your quilting friend that you recognize his or her love for quilting. Use your imagination and see what you can quilt. If you’re not a quilter, give yourself plenty of time for your first quilting project.

Give the gift of a quilted look in accessories for the home or office. Even if you yourself are not a quilter, there are plenty of unique Christmas gifts for quilters you can create yourself. Decoupage a picture frame to look like a quilt. Or, cover a frame, desk calendar and inexpensive business card holder in coordinating fabrics. A fabric printed or woven with a quilt pattern would be an extra nice touch!

Give a quilter’s gift basket. Search for a nice basket that will match your friend’s decor. Include several quilting products in it. Good choices are various strengths of quilting thread, a rotary cutter and cutting surface, scissors, scraps or fabric remnants, and quilting needles (if your friend quilts by hand; machine needles if your friend quilts by machine). Don’t forget to add a copy of your favorite quilt pattern or a book full of patterns! If you’re giving the gift of a quilting web club membership, it would be nice to “wrap” your gift in a small gift basket.

If your quilting friend likes to craft with vintage fabrics, take a trip to your area thrift store to pick up a few samples. Keep an open mind. When shopping in thrift stores, you’ll rarely run across a bolt of fabric. Your vintage fabrics may be recycled old ties, old blouses, old socks or old t-shirts!

Any of these gifts would be appreciated and enjoyed by the quilter on your holiday gift giving list. Wrap them in fabric or tie a nice fabric bow on top of whichever gift you decide to give for a great finishing touch!

=================================gtg

Handmade Patchwork Quilt
What Is A Handmade Patchwork Quilt?
A handmade patchwork quilt is commonly a bed covering made up of three layers: a quilt top, a layer of batting, along with a layer of fabric designed for backing. The layers are usually combined using the procedure of quilting. Quilting is the practice of using a needle and thread to join two or more layers of fabric. This step may be merely practical, or else more elaborate, for decoration and design.

A handmade patchwork quilt or even a quilt wall hanging might sell for hundreds of dollars along with hang up on museum walls, not only bed frames. Amish quilts from Pennsylvania as well as Ohio are in particular sought after, to the same extent are vintage and antique quilts. At present designing quilts has turned into an art form. Talented quilters are often called fabric designers instead of the out-of-date seamstress or quilter. Not just are bed quilts all the rage, but quilted outfits in addition to wall hangings are as well. Once upon a time a handmade patchwork quilt was made for basic needs.

If you are lucky enough to have inherited or bought such an heirloom, taking proper care of it will uphold and possibly add to its worth. A handmade patchwork quilt must never be stored inside plastic bags, cardboard boxes or wooden trunks. A handmade patchwork quilt ought to be aired at least twice a year, however not in direct sunlight. Extremely old quilts should be aired level to avert stressing the stitches. There is always a risk in washing old fabric. Spot test it firstly. If you are using a machine, wash in cold water using a mild detergent along with a gentle cycle. Dry the quilt lying on a flat surface. Using a fan and rotating it will speed up the drying process.

Quilts all the way through times past tell the stories of their period and makers. This is especially true during the depression as fabric was not easily available. A few historians even think secret messages and codes had been concealed in handmade quilts at different times right through times gone by. One such story relates to the Underground Railroad. A specific quilt pattern would suggest it was safe for escaping slaves to continue on their journey. Not all historians support this notion, in spite of this it is correct that signature quilts ended up being a popular method of raising funds both prior to and after the Civil War. Signatures ended up being added once a donation was made. These quilts are also known as friendship quilts.

While not all historians be of the same mind on this practice in the past, it is becoming increasingly general these days. To date a handmade patchwork quilt can still be used to raise funds at raffles along with charity events. Quilt guilds are being created and are developing at a rapid rate, preserving and passing on cherished designs and systems. Know-how has even made it possible to add photos to material. Memory quilts plus t-shirt quilts are widespread as well as being precious presents.

If you are a beginner, you can learn to quilt by means of simple quilt patterns that can easily be found to assist you in creating your own treasured heirloom to be. Quilts make great presents for the person who has the lot, they show how much you sincerely care not simply by what you’ve put on your handmade patchwork quilt but the time and effort you’ve taken to create it.

==============gtg

Handmade Patchwork Quilt – Great Gift Idea

A handmade patchwork quilt makes an awesome gift for someone you love. It is the kind of gift that can be given to someone who has pretty well everything. In times gone by, quilts have been made of scraps of material left over from clothing, linen and basically anything that can be cut up and applied to other pieces of material to form a pattern.

These days with digital photography being prominent and technology improving on a daily basis you can actually use photographs on your quilt. Hence you are then able to create a handmade patchwork quilt out of something other than scraps of material. This will alter the look of your quilt and it will appear to be a little more thought out than perhaps in previous times when scraps of material were the only things that could be used.

A handmade patchwork quilt made from photographs can be made as personal or as artistic as you like. It may well be that you are going to use a compilation of family photographs when you make your quilt. This is a great idea for someone who is hard to buy for especially at Christmas time and around birthdays.

Another option when making a handmade patchwork quilt and using photographs is that you use photographs based on a theme. The photo’s do not have to involve people. The person you are making the quilt for could have at one stage loved a special location like a town, or a beach or even a country and the quilt can be created with that special location in mind. Colors of the quilt can be taken into consideration for this choice of design as well.

Think of a hobby that is of a main interest to the person you are creating your handmade patchwork quilt for. Do they like gardening, if they do, plants can be used as a design together with appropriate colorings. It may well be that they like cooking and you could include several recipes or pictures of their favorite meals they have created in the past.

Handmade Patchwork Quilt – If You Are Not A Quilter
If you want a handmade patchwork quilt and you are not the type of person to actually make one, you can find someone to craft it for you. There are a lot of people out there who love these beautiful crafted quilts but do not have the ability to design and create one themselves. If you “Google” “Handmade Patchwork Quilt – Forums” you should find many forums out there you can become a part of to find the right person to make a quilt specific to your needs.

If you are wanting to learn the art of quilting, a handmade patchwork quilt makes the perfect gift for your loved one as it is made out of love with love. And that does really mean a lot to the person you are giving your quilt to. A handmade patchwork quilt can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

===================gtg

Learn To Quilt – Handmade Patchwork Quilt

If you are preparing to learn to quilt, or an advanced practitioner of quilting you are able to discover a lot of publications that will be able to assist improve your knowledge. Quilting books fall generally into several categories, and numerous titles proliferate within each. The different types of books are how-to, pattern encyclopedias, historical, books about the joy of quilting, as well as art books.

Each quilter needs at least one of these publications in their library, and more often than not will manage to collect a number of them. You’ll find it amazing how many times you want a ready reference when you are in the focal point of a quilting task. How-to books are possibly the most well-liked, and the initial stop for the individual who wants to learn to quilt. They extend from books which discuss the whole craft of quilting and offer step-by-step advice, to publications that will capture one feature of quilting then describe how to do it. The instructional publications start with such pre-requisites as cloth choice as well as which accessories you’ll require and proceed through instructions for assembling the blocks of the quilt top and the quilt itself, down to explanations of quilting, both hand and machine.

You must learn to quilt and have on hand an encyclopedia of patterns which include simple quilt patterns – great for the beginner. Every quilter will more than likely end up with one of these in their library as well. These publications collect numerous different quilt block patterns as well as explain the principles of their assemblies. Because their goal is to cover a lot of ground, these publications are beneficial beginning points but will not go into intimate detail. For that you have to turn to books which feature training on a particular pattern. With the wide category of quilting block patterns and techniques, you are able to picture that this category of quilting books is reasonably extensive and stocked with titles.

Since quilting has its roots in American times passed, quilts and the craft of quilting have been studied in detail, and a lot of historical quilting publications exist. Looking at these textbooks as well as seeing what our ancestors accomplished having a small percentage of the equipment and supplies existing nowadays can be a great source of inspiration to modern quilters. Along the similar lines are books that talk about the enjoyment to be derived from quilting, both in its community form (such as quilting bees) or as a private pursuit. Lastly, there is a full segment of quilters who have advanced the craft into art. These quilters often show their handiwork in galleries in addition to museums, for instance the quilt wall hanging. They print publications not only about their quilts, but the thoughts and techniques that went into making them. Sometimes collectors of quilts will bring out books, too. These art quilt books are as inspiring in their way as the historical quilting books.

Irrespective of whether you are choosing to produce a handmade patchwork quilt or a quilt wall hanging, even quilted outfits for that matter, you should make certain you have a book or 2 easy to hand to help you along the way. Part of the thrill of quilting is finding books on the subject, and fortunately for modern quilters, there is a mammoth array of titles to pick from. Learn to quilt is made quite simple with the right books!

===================gtg

Learn to Quilt: Discover Top Tools of the Quilter’s Trade

When I first started quilting I was just learning how to sew as well. It took a while to figure out which were the tools, also called notions, that I used the most. To help you on your journey to becoming a quilter I have created a list of the tools you will use the most:

1. Rotary Cutting Supplies. This includes a rotary cutter, acrylic rulers, and a cutting mat. These tools are made for precise cutting. Quilter’s worldwide wouldn’t think of starting a quilting project without them. You’ll find that the more accurately you cut your quilt pieces, the more accurately your quilt top is sewn together. Olfa is an excellent brand, and is the leader in the quilting community.

2. A Decent Steam Iron. You can’t start a quilting project without one. Now, you can buy the really expensive Rowenta professional iron, or, you can go to Walmart or Target and buy their steam iron. Both will get the job done. I’ve learned from experience that they both last about the same amount of time, will both do a decent job, but one is a lot less expensive to replace. I highly recommend using spring water in your irons—tap water can lead to hard water stains on your quilt top, and most manufactures say that you shouldn’t use distilled water.

3. A Good Seam Ripper. Most quilters have two or three of them on hand at any given time. Dritz makes a variety of excellent seam rippers. You’ll find they have everything from seam rippers with magnifying glasses to ergonomic seam rippers for those of us quilters who rip out stitches on a regular basis.

4. Spring Loaded Scissors and Shears. These scissors and shears are spring loaded to prevent hand fatigue while cutting repetitively. Quilting, and sewing for that matter, involves a lot of cutting. I have a pair of blunt tipped, which work really well for cutting threads, and a pair of sharp tip, which I like to use for cutting appliqué pieces. I don’t know many quilters who don’t own a pair of these. Fiskers, in this instance, is my brand of choice.

5. ¼ Inch Foot. A quarter inch foot for your sewing machine will get you going toward an accurate ¼ inch seam allowance. Almost all quilt patterns instruct you to use an accurate quarter inch. Many sewing machines come with these feet. However, if you bought a simple hobby machine, you’ll most likely need to purchase one. I would like to recommend a brand, but in this case, there are so many brands for different types of machines that you’ll want to check with your local machine dealership to buy the right one. Don’t worry, they aren’t expensive, but they’re definitely necessary. You may even find them at your local quilt shop.

You’ll discover quilting can be an adventure. Anyone with the proper directions can create an heirloom quilt that will stand the test of time.

Fortunately, with proper instruction, quilting is as simple as following a proven set of steps. Take the first step and learn how fun and easy creating heirloom keepsakes can really be.

=========================gtg

Machine Quilting Patterns- Tips about Quilting Themes and Shopping

The term machine quilting refers to the art of creating a quilt using a sewing machine. A sewer can either do the machine guided sewing or free motion sewing. The former technique results to straight or curvy stitches. The later makes beautiful quilting designs. If you love pattern quilting, you should buy one of the best free motion sewing machines. Using machine quilting patterns makes your task quick and accurate. It acts as a template for a quilt design you plan to make and it can be cut out, joined to a piece of fabric and used as a sewing guide. The quilting patterns are very important. They are sold in a range of designs, each featuring a unique theme. You can get a pattern that complements your sewing tastes and preferences. The various examples of quilting patterns include:

Holiday themes- if you want to buy patterns inspired by a certain season, you can easily find different ones. For example, you can buy Christmas, Easter, or any other famous holiday patterns.
School themes- you are likely to find many patterns featuring college themes
Animal/cartoon themes- when you are making children quilts; animal and cartoon patterns are the most preferable.
Sporty/classic patterns- you can find any sport or traditional theme you are interested in.
Gardening and landscaping patterns- you may want to make a quilt inspired by beautiful landscapes, countryside, or backyards.
Environmental themes- these include floral patterns.
Baby patterns- you have many baby themes to make an interesting quilt for your baby.

Think about your quilting project very seriously before you can spend any money. Once you draft the ideas you have in mind, the next shopping step is easy:

Go shopping for your quilting patterns

It is possible to find a range of machine quilting patterns in a variety of sewing and fabric stores near your home. However, in this day and age, many people prefer shopping online. You do not have to step outside your house if you have a home computer connected to the Internet. Some online sites are available that provide free patterns.

Most of the sites sell different types of quilting patterns though. This explains why you must know exactly what you are searching for. Some web stores only specialize in a given category of patterns. It is much wiser to save up money to buy an Ebook with many patterns. You can use it in the future, without doing any further research online, unless you want to find updated patterns.

Amazon is a major shopping store where you mainly find the Amish and patchwork quilting patterns. Perform a window-shopping exercise first if you plan to purchase the patterns offline. This will make your budgeting efforts much easier. Offline shopping does not compare to online shopping in terms of the ranges of patterns and suitable price deals you can get. All you have to do is to investigate every website you are keen on using. Legitimate online stores exist and you should take your time to find them. Buy from a vendor who gives you a range of machine quilting patterns at the most affordable rates.

================gtg