Favorite pins for piecing

I’m re-posting my two cents’ worth on quilting pins, (first posted in May 2013), as I still have the same favorite pins and would like to recommend them to you. When I’m piecing my quilts I like to pin at intersections to help keep everything precise. I always place my pins perpendicular to the seam line. If I use narrow pins and sew slowly, my machine will run over them without any problems. I’m always cautious about telling my students that they may sew over pins. Some machines are very finicky especially if the pins are fat, or positioned at an odd angle rather than at right angles to the seam line. If in doubt, take them out just before your machine reaches them. There are a variety of choices out there. Here are some of the options.

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The pins on the far left are my favorite. These are Clover Extra Fine patchwork pins. They have yellow or turquoise glass heads and a nice slender shank of 0.4 mm. They are hard to find in the stores. I buy them wholesale and have them available for my students to purchase. Please contact me if you’d like to buy some. The ones next to them are Fine (0.5 mm) and work well too. The Fine ones seem to be more readily available in the quilt stores than the Extra Fine. If you want longer pins, the flat headed flower pins, (far right), are good. The shank is narrow (0.45 mm) and the head is easy to grab. The second from the right and other similar pins, which are often called “quilting pins”, are too fat in my opinion and not appropriate for use when machine piecing. They do have their uses. When I’m auditioning fabrics on my work wall, I use them to pin the fabrics, (which are often folded several times), onto the board. Some people swear by forked pins, but these are pricey. One of my students told me that the forks bend easily. They are problematic if the forks aren’t exactly parallel and can cause puckers.

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Of course, when you have pins, you need pin cushions. I have several including a Shaker one with bobbin holder, tapestry, little basket, blue-bird with green wings, a rather angular chicken, and a round felted chicken.

Quilt Artist, Kathleen Bond, AZ (3), Quilt Backs

In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. I’ve already written two posts highlighting some of Kathleen’s quilts. This post shows a couple of her imaginative quilt backs. Many of us have been tempted to purchase pre-printed fabrics for making stuffed animals, dolls or Christmas ornaments. Here’s a way to use up those fabrics to make your quilt backs more interesting. I love the striped binding too.

 

Mongolian Quilting Center booth at craft fair

On the first weekend in December, we hosted a booth at Christmas in the Country, (a craft fair with several locations), at St. Barnabas Church, Bainbridge Island, to raise funds for the Mongolian Quilting Center. All the products were made by Mongolian women. As you can see, it was a colorful and inviting booth. I’m happy to report that we were very successful and raised $3,315.

St. Barnabas Church is our generous host for the Mongolian Quilting Center non-profit in USA. They donate the book keeping costs, which means that 100% of the funds generated from the sale of products and donations, is sent to Mongolia to assist with the running costs of the Mongolian Quilting Center. The Center employs as many as 40 women who would be otherwise unemployed. Many of these women are disabled, or are care-givers for other family members young and old. For a variety of reasons they are unable to work at a regular job, so having the opportunity to do piece-work for the Quilting Center makes a huge difference to their quality of life. The Center also employs five part-time teachers, two designers, a manager, an accountant, three seamstresses and the Director, Selenge Tserendash.

We sold many wonderful products such as patchwork horses, camels and goats made from scraps of cashmere and silk from the garment industry, felted slippers, hand-stitched animal ornaments, beautiful decorative silk table runners and wall hangings, as well as a variety of bags.The ger (yurt) grocery sacks were popular. These light weight, sturdy bags fold up and are zipped inside the ger. They are easy to carry in a purse, so that you always have an extra bag at the ready. So many of us keep bags in our cars and forget to take them into the store with us! Here’s an easy solution. They come in a variety of colors.

I’m so impressed with how Selenge Tserendash and the Mongolian women at the Center continue to develop new, high quality products. They are extremely creative and excellent seamstresses. Read more about this project on my website.

Quilt Artist, Kathleen Bond, Prescott, AZ (2)

In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. Last week, I posted pictures of two of her quilts and this week I am presenting another three.

This Serptentine 1930’s Fans quilt was made from blocks that Kathleen purchased at a Guild rummage sale. She assembled them in this striking layout and filled in the white spaces with beautiful quilting using her long-arm quilting machine. Of course, the person putting the blocks in the sale loved the finished quilt and regretted parting with them!

Pretty Rosettes, is Kathleen’s original design. The nine sunflower blocks were hand-pieced and appliqued. Once again, Kathleen has used an eclectic selection of fabrics to create this beautiful quilt. Surprisingly, the wide striped sashing and wide borders work well to display the attractive blocks.

Going Away Eagles, is a quilt made from eagle blocks appliqued by Kathleen’s friends and given to her when she moved from Colorado to Arizona. The fabric in the border is Colorado toile depicting historical Colorado scenes. I love the triangles separating the eagles in the center from the border and adding more contrast to the piece to make it alive and to highlight the toile fabric.

Kathleen’s quilts are inspiring. As well as making a strong initial visual impact, they display her attention to detail as well as fine workmanship. It was a delight to stay with her and to be privy to her work.

Quilt Artist Kathleen Bond, Prescott, AZ

In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. My next couple of blogs will feature some of her work.

This hexagon quilt was one of my favorites. It was hanging wrapped around a curved wall in the Kathleen’s hallway. Large print fabrics are featured in windows created by English paper-pieced hexagons with rows of diamonds in between. The pattern is 13 Panel Hexagon Quilt, designed by Brigitte Giblin.

Kathleen made this gorgeous applique bed-quilt using a pattern by Jan Patek. She calls the quilt, Cowboy Christmas because many of the fabrics included are cowboy themed. It’s a little hard to see this, but there are fabrics with cowboys on horse back, horse shoes, cowboy hats and boots and more. This quilt is stunning from a distance and so interesting close up to see the variety of fabrics used and what is hiding in there.

A Thanksgiving tribute to Nancy Zieman

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you are sharing the day with family and friends delighting in good food and fellowship. I have much for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving, including the recent birth of my twin grandchildren! I also greatly appreciate the friendships I have made through quilting and traveling to share that passion throughout the United States and beyond.

Last week, we said farewell to Nancy Zieman who passed away after a battle with cancer. She was such an inspiration to so many people and she will be greatly missed. Thank you Nancy for your wonderful contribution to the quilting and sewing world. Sewing with Nancy was the longest running sewing and quilting TV program ever, with over 30 years of programming in which Nancy taught numerous techniques and invited other teachers to share and participate. I had the privilege to be interviewed about the Mongolian Quilting Center twice for Nancy’s Corner and to do a two part series with her on my Bargello Quilts with a Twist technique, and so I appeared in four Sewing with Nancy programs. The photo was taken during our recording of the Bargello Quilts with a Twist programs. Nancy had friendly and comfortable manner which came across in her TV teaching and endeared her to her large audience and devoted followers. She immediately made me feel at ease in the TV studio. She was also extremely professional and thorough in her approach. It was a pleasure to work with her and a great experience. The company that she founded, Nancy’s Notions, lives on and is a great resource for sewing and quilting supplies.

For a wonderful YouTube tribute to Nancy, click here.

Quilter’s Store, Sedona, AZ

In October, I traveled to Arizona to teach at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild. I stayed an extra day and two guild members took me to Sedona, where we had an incredible hike to the Devil’s Arch. It was my first time to Sedona and I was blown away by the spectacular scenery and rock formations. There’s always time to squeeze in a visit to the local quilt store, in this case the Quilter’s Store. They are easy to find on State Route 89A not far from the town center.

I was tickled by this skeleton sitting outside the store with phone in hand and sign saying “Waiting for wife”! This shop is well endowed with 3,000 bolts of fabrics including around 700 batiks. They have plenty of patterns, books and notions as well providing opportunities for quilting classes.

There are several rooms featuring sample quilts and a variety of products. I was amused by the snake made from Arizona Diamondbacks, (a baseball team), fabric.

They have an excellent selection of southwestern themed fabrics and several of the new laser printed fabrics that are really colorful.

There is a gallery next door to the shop which is open for limited hours. Ask at the shop and you may be able to go in there. Local textile artists are featured and it is well worth a visit.