Monday, December 23, 2013

Pressing Matters

Standing over my ironing board, I realized this is a topic often overlooked in beginner classes.

An ironing board should not be called an "ironing board" but a "pressing board" in the quilting world. To iron cotton fabrics can stretch them out of shape. Instead, we press.

Here are a few other tidbits I have picked up over the years:

> When pressing many pieces, set a timer near the board. Bent over, performing a repetitive motion, in an action that causes stress to your lower back can be harmful over time. Give yourself regular breaks - stop and stretch.

> These breaks will help your pressing, too. Your iron cools with continued use. Taking regular breaks will allow it to re-heat to optimal performance temperature.

> I've used many brands of irons over the years. Even following their using manuals (use only distillers water, empty after each use, etc) they all tend to leak. I currently have two irons I use on a regular basis, and I don't add water to either. If I need steam, I keep a spray bottle handy. To press wrinkles (depending on what I'm using the fabric for), I will use water or Mary Ellen's Best Press or Mahic Sizing (for a stiffer hold).

> I'm not sure if this is an Old Quilter's Tale in regards to pressing units. I was taught to press the units closed along the stitching first (to set the seams) and then open the joined pieces and press the right side. It seems to work for me.

> When pressing paper-pieced units, I use a fat quarter of muslin to protect my ironing board cover (prevents the transfer of ink to my board). I'll also use it on top of the blocks if I'm pressing the back sides of the blocks (to prevent transfer of ink the the iron).

> If I do get ink or adhesive on my iron, I rip off a square of kitchen wax paper and iron it. The gunk transfers to the wax paper and polishes my iron plate.

> Finally (I just read this today - Reader's Digest, I think - and have yet to try it), here's a trick when pressing really wrinkly bits of fabric. Tear off a length of tin foil and place it under your ironing board cover. As you press, it will heat the tin foil and your fabric will be treated to heat from both sides.

Hope this helps. Now, back to my 80+ units! If you want to see a really cool idea for a traveling board, visit my post here:

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Present to Myself

A new rotary cutter!

When I started quilting, I was a Fiskars girl. When that finally fell apart, I saw an ergonomic Olfa and crossed to that side of the aisle.

Today, with my 50% off JoAnn's coupon, I went shopping for a new cutter as the Spring on my old one wore out (the blade now cuts wobbly). I saw this new Fiskars on display so I decided to give it a try.

I'll let you know how it works out!

No Thumbs

work with new employees and many are visiting this week. One brought me Virginia chocolates and another a Maryland crab. Woot!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Quilt Time!

It's that time of year when I must decide which holiday/Winter quilts to put out. I only have room for a 1/3rd of them and I still haven't extracted the beautiful ones my dear friend, Lisa, has made me over the years!

Why is it so hard to take good pictures of quilts? Believe it or not, all of these have 90° corners!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Noel Night - Detroit 2013

We had the most awesome night this past Saturday.  It was the 41st annual Noel Night in Detroit!  Normally, we don’t get a chance to attend as it coincides with several December birthdays, but luck was with us this year!

Steve and I parted at the WSU parking garage (only $6!).  Even though it was a bitterly cold night, we were dressed for outdoors so we skipped the shuttle buses and walked to the Cultural Center (geocaching to and from the garage!).

What an amazing experience!  The All City Marching band roamed the WSU campus, giving impromptu performances.  Everyone dressed up in holiday wear and costumes.  The roads were blocked off around the Detroit Public Library and the Detroit Science Center, giving it a huge block party feel!

After passing a petting zoo and coffee vendors, Steve and I ducked into the Cathedral Church of St. Paul for a totally fascinating history of the cathedral (and weird cathedral trivia, in general).  The Cathedral is STUNNING!  The altar is made of tiles from Pewabic Pottery.  There were reproduction tapestries on the walls – the reproductions were made in the 1500’s.  Fascinating sculptures and ceiling tiles.

After the Cathedral, back out into the cold for kettle corn, roasted almods, hot dogs, hot cocoa, and music everywhere.  The venue stretched around 70 locations in the Cultural Center of Detroit – shops, musical performances, giveaways.  We went into the Detroit Public Library – after a tour of the oldest part of the library, we stopped to watch the teen drama performances downstairs and the teen line dancing upstairs. 

It was in one of the older rooms that we stopped to have our picture taken in front of the tree.

Wandering back outside, we stopped to appreciate the ice sculptures displayed under Rodin’s Thinker on the steps of the DIA.  It was such an amazing festive spirit – everyone from all walks of life having impromptu chats, enjoying the holiday lights and sounds.

We didn’t even make a dent in the venues, but there is always next year.  It was glorious seeing Detroit at its holiday finest!

Sunday, December 1, 2013