Saturday, June 30, 2012

Let's Figure It out Together: Facebook Tutorial

Have you signed up for the 100th blog giveaway?

This little How-To is part of Plum and June's Let's Figure It out Together Series with the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop. Folks are writing super helpful posts about how the digital world can support your creative habits, so stop sifting through Google search results. Your crafty peers are happily sharing their firsthand know how.

Plum and June

Having a Facebook page to accompany your blog, brand, or online shop is a great way to share your activities with your existing friends and family, but it's also a very convenient way for new followers to keep up with you. 

It's crazy easy to add a new page to your existing Facebook account:

1) Log into your Facebook account and visit this link:

2) There are six different types of pages you can create. Unless you have a physical storefront, though, you'll likely select the "Company, Organization or Institution" category or the "Brand or Product" category.
- If you're wanting a Facebook presence for your blog, Brand or Product > Website would be a good fit.
- If your main focus is your online shop, then you might choose Company Organization or Institution > Small Business.
- You can still reclassify your page after it's been created, so don't agonize over it too much ;-)

3) Facebook will walk you through the steps to upload a profile picture and fill in some basic info like your site's URL.

4) Add a pretty cover photo to give your page some personality.

5) Invite your friends

6) Get posting.

See! It's completely easy. Now you can update your Facebook page when you update your site or have content specifically for your Facebook followers.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Sampler Series: Rocky Road to Kansas

Have you signed up for the 100th blog giveaway?

I settled on a quilt design for some Austin Modern Quilt Guild donation blocks from the Summer Sampler Series, but I was annoyed that two identical blocks I made ended up in this quilt top. I figured that one would get swapped out and one would stay in the donation pile, but it didn't happen that way.

I love the Arkansas Traveler block, but there was one too many in this quilt, so I crafted up this Rocky Road to Kansas block that I haven't tried yet. 

There's only two more Summer Sampler Series blocks that I haven't made yet - hence the duplicate blocks. I can't wait to make them for my own set!

Taadaa! Swapping out my duplicate block makes me feel so much better. That means I'm crazy, right? Oh well, at least there are pretty blocks to look at in my rubber sewing room.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pezzy Scrap Pincushion

Have you signed up for the 100th blog giveaway?

I was trying to clean up my sewing space, ya know, so I could get to my sewing machine again ;-) I've had some Pezzy Print scraps sitting around since I made my flying geese mini.

I've needed a hard clean for awhile. 

In any case, I whipped them up into this cutie pin cushion. 

I know what you're thinking. That looks like procrastination sewing. 

Well, you're right. I dunno, this just needed to be made before any legitimate sewing. It did let me clean up my pins. That's something, right?

I sewed a bit of giant gold ric rack in the middle, because I like a good handle on a pin cushion. I wish I'd worked one into my giant cupcake pin cushion. From now on, I'll make them all with handles. 

I thought it needed to be squished in the middle like a doughnut, so I used a button and a giant scary upholstery needle to sew the top tightly to the bottom with some hand quilting thread. I broke the thread once. I probably should have used button thread, but I doubled up the strands and got it to hold. 

This was a super fun instant gratification project. Don't you love those? I'm dying to make a pin cushion from Penny's tutorial, though. A gal can never have too many pin cushions, right?

Here's to a little instant gratification in your sewing as well!

I'm linking up with Somewhat Simple and Wild West Thursday.

Somewhat Simple

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

100th Post Giveaway!

This is the 100th Sewing Over Pins post. Can you believe it? It's been a long trip from November 10, 2011, and the first blogspot domain to I've made a few lovely quilts:

I abandoned the original plan for my queen-sized Storm at Sea when it was doomed due to my user error:

I've made lots of blocks and picked up some new skills along the way:

Even better, I've met so many wonderful people through their blogs, through the Austin Modern Quilt Guild, at International Quilt Festival in Houston, and through Talkin' Tuesdays.

Speaking of getting to know people through Talkin' Tuesdays, Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies and daughter of Sharon Schamber likes to get her Twitter chat on during Talkin' Tuesdays as well. You've heard me sing the praises of Sharon's binding videos on YouTube, and in discussing them with Cristy, she generously offered to provide a rocking kit of binding goodies. It was perfect timing with this little blog milestone!

So here's what's up for grabs!
• Some Elmer's glue with a pack of two fine line tips. The super skinny line of Elmer's you can lay down with these tips is about to make your binding life so much easier. (Charlotte of Displacement Activity tells me that PVA is the British equivalent of Elmer's.)
• Then, when you're ready to ladder stitch your binding to the back of your quilt and make those mitered corners permanent, you've got a Bohin rubber thimble to protect your finger. Got nails? There's a perforated section you can remove to let your nails poke through.
• Finally, the awesome Perfect Binding DVD has Sharon walking you through the process of creating contest-worthy bindings. Yes, please!

Just to up the awesomeness factor, Cristy is offering a 20% discount off of anything in the store to the Sewing Over Pins crowd with coupon code SOPBlog20. It expires on Sunday, July 8th.

If you want to win the goodies, leave a comment below. Mr. Random will pick a winner at noon Central time on Monday, July 2nd. I'll happily ship worldwide!

Thanks so much for reading along and sharing your experiences with me over these last hundred posts! It's been so much fun :-)

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, Whatever Goes Wednesday, and Rae Gun Ramblings.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Sampler Series: Minnesota Block

I've got another black and white Summer Sampler Series block today to swap and donate with the Austin Modern Quilt Guild at our next meeting in July.

I was hesitant to jump in with this one, but it came together nicely. Then again, everything seems easy after paper piecing that last block with directional prints ;-)

I sketched out this block to plan the direction of the prints for the finished block. Unfortunately, I took a break in between cutting sessions and totally forgot my plan. Oops!

The direction of my turquoise print is consistent, but the wavy Shine print from the Cocoon line is all over the place. I meant to have the Shine print running parallel in opposite corners, but I forgot to do that, too. So, now the prints are running the same way in corners on the top and bottom of the block. Furthermore, my points didn't line up as precisely as I would have hoped for paper piecing. It must be my Storm at Sea curse.

I think it looks silly, but not silly enough to undo it! At least there's enough noise going on in the background that the turquoise pops out at you, huh?


I traveled over the weekend, and it feels so good to be sewing again, even if I am botching blocks. Is sewing withdrawal normal?

I hope your crafting goes as planned!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Designing a Donation Quilt

I know what you're thinking: All of those Summer Sampler Series blocks that Austin Modern Quilt Guild members have been working on actually go somewhere, right? They do. It's true. Once we have enough that go together to make a quilt top, someone will volunteer to piece the top and start putting it together. Other gals have some quilts rolling, so I volunteered to piece this batch.

I've never tried to piece a quilt with blocks made by different folks, but this is what I'm thinking so far. The background will be white. I'm going to sleep on it and see how I feel in the morning. Come on Friday!

Big money to you and your crafts ;-)

Claire Jain

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Moving On

I can't say THANK YOU enough for all of the words of encouragement on my last WIP Wednesday post regarding my Storm at Sea debacle.

Storm at Sea Queen-Sized Quilt

I do still want a huge queen-sized version of this quilt. While the blocks I have aren't destined for the trash, they won't become that quilt either. When I do make the giant Storm at Sea, I'll get new fabric and start from scratch. I don't know exactly what I'll use the flawed blocks for yet, but thanks to all of you I have some really great ideas! Thank you :-)

Rose Star Blocks

These are coming along quite nicely thanks to a few hours of design work I put in to plan some new blocks. I've found that it takes me about an hour to design and cut the pieces for one block. I still haven't timed myself to see how long it takes to baste them on the paper and whipstitch the star together, but I'm curious. Here's the tutorial if you need some take-along sewing for your summer travels: Clare's tutorial at selfsewn.

Summer Sampler Series Blocks

Blarg. I haven't made any more of these to keep for myself. I love doing them in Kate Spain's Terrain fabrics with some other prints thrown in. While I haven't made any more for my own pile, I did get some blocks made to swap and donate to the Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I haven't finished a quilt in over a month, so this could be a fair game candidate.

Summer Sampler Series Donation & Swap Blocks

I can't wait to see everyone's WIP updates! I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, Whatever Goes Wednesday, and Rae Gun Rambling.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rose Star Block 9

Ok, if I keep it up, I'm going to be pulling out all of my fabric again to design more blocks. If only I'd gotten my sewing space completely picked up since the last design wave . . . So close! Here's my latest finished Rose Star block:

Oooh, so purdy. I like this one. I'm very pleased with the fabrics and the way it came out. If you need the perfect hand sewing project to take along on your summer travels, here's the wonderful tutorial on selfsewn!

I'm off to see if I can do some more sewing. Happy Crafting!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Sampler Series: Star Block

I'm determined not to end up in a time crunch, busily working on donation and swap blocks before our next Austin Modern Quilt Guild meeting in July. I'm doing something about it this time by making this block ahead of time. So. Unlike. Me. I'm more of a deadline-driven kind of gal.

We need black and white blocks with a pop of color, but somehow most of the black and white fabric I grabbed for these blocks were directional prints. Tricky. I'm working my way through the Summer Sampler Series, so I made a little sketch to plan which way the prints should run in the Star block.

Next, I printed out the templates and arranged them in the block formation. I numbered each template and wrote the fabric type to be used on each section. I also drew an arrow to indicate which way the directional print should run. I printed an extra page of the A and B templates and cut out each piece. I used those pieces to help me cut the fabric in the right direction.

Using directional prints for this paper pieced block was much more tedious than using all solids or random prints. In fact, cutting and positioning the black pieces was the most relaxing part. The effect is totally worth it, though. The illusion is definitely enhanced by the extra effort.

I'm pretty pleased with the way the points came together. All but the center lined up perfectly. This is close enough, though. I can certainly live with it ;-) 
I just wouldn't want to start any rumors that all of my blocks come together flawlessly.

Putting this Star block together was super fun! I'm pumped to do all of the blocks in the Series for the AMQG and keep working on a set for myself!

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Raffle Winnings!

I told you about all the fun we had at the Remnans: fiber[culture] Post Quilt Market Soirée last night. The shop owner, Jessica, plans to make it an annual event following spring market, so keep that in mind for next year!

In addition to the celebrations, Jessica had amazing raffle items to win. Check out that spread! I'm excited to report that I won some goodies in the many, many drawings.

I won this spectacular Anna Griffin bucket tote and coordinating zipper pouch. I love the tropical floral laminate and the fact that it stands on its own. I like a bag with structure! The sides seem to have some sort of foam lending the shape. Austin Modern Quilt Guild member, Gina, is a purse and pouch-making pro. She guessed there might be a combination of Peltex and auto ceiling upholstery foam between the laminate and the lining.

I also left with this Liberty corduroy tote in deep fall colors. Folks are pumped about Liberty's upcoming prints after fondling them at Quilt Market. I'd love to get my hands on some, too, but this tote will hold me in the meantime ;-)

Finally I won this beautiful charm pack of Michael Miller's Cotton Couture solids, and they. are. beautiful. I've seen the super cute color card for the solids, but having all of these beautiful colors in 5" squares sitting in front of me in my sewing room is so much better.

Many thanks to Jessica for grabbing goodies at Quilt Market and for reaching out to the great folks in the quilting community to to gather these amazing raffle prizes! I had a blast and look forward to next year!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Remnants: fiber[culture] Partay!

There's a super cool quilt shop in Austin, Texas. Remnants: fiber[culture] has only been open for about three and a half months, but this shop has already changed quilting in the ATX. The amazing and energetic shop owner, Jessica, has kindly hosted the Austin Modern Quilt Guild monthly meetings at her shop. Tonight she threw a fabulous post Quilt Market party where she shared the wealth of goodies she scored in Kansas City raffle-style.

In addition to the raffle, there was quilt trivia, word jumbles, bean bag toss, and quilt pong for extra raffle tickets and prizes. There was also beer, BBQ with all the fix ins', and good times to be had! AMQG members were present along with the Austin Area Quilt Guild. The gals from the AAQG brought their amazing raffle quilt to serve as a backdrop for the festivities. They sold raffle tickets for a drawing taking place in September to win that beautiful quilt.

I'll share my Remnants: fiber[culture] raffle winnings in the light of day tomorrow. I hope your Saturday night was equally replete with beer and quilty awesomeness!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Sampler Series Swap Blocks

The Austin Modern Quilt Guild held it's June meeting tonight. It was a great time, and I was happy to show up with my two blocks: one to swap and one to contribute to a donation quilt. The idea was to use black and white with a pop of color for these two Summer Sampler Series blocks. I actually had to buy some black fabric for these blocks, because I didn't own any. Oops. I like color.

This block was a tedious lesson in patience, especially as I squared up a gazillion half square triangles. I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Though, I'm tempted to try the alternate piecing method when I make one for myself. Would that be so lazy?

This one wasn't too bad, and the block has so much movement in it. I'll make one out of Kate Spain's Terrain fabric to keep for myself sooner rather than later!

The tutorials for these two blocks were fantastic. Have you fallen in love with any tutorials lately?

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Storm at Sea Woes

Here it is, the shame of my sewing room for almost a year. I'd love to finish the top this year, but this quilt has problems. I desperately need your recommendations for the best way out of this pickle. Here's what happened ...

The Backstory

When I committed to making a quilt eleven years ago, I knew I wanted to jump in with a queen-sized Double Wedding Ring. It was a bold choice, bordering on stupid. My mom sounded concerned, but she didn't dissuade me. (Thanks again for hand sewing that scalloped binding, Mom!)

One of the books I picked up with the Double Wedding Ring pattern also had instructions for a Storm at Sea quilt. I was sold. All straight piecing with the illusion of undulating curves seemed like a sweet deal.

After ten years, when I was recovered from (mostly) hand piecing and hand quilting the Double Wedding Ring, I decided I should pick up where my quilty dreams left off and begin a Storm at Sea. I rounded up over ten yards of fabric with extra to allow for mistakes and increasing the size. Then I logged serious hours to cut more than the 1,367 pieces called for by the original instructions.

User Error

I use my mom's Bernina 1630 Update '96 sewing machine. She's had this machine since I was twelve, but this time last summer I was googling which way the bobbin should spin. Hooray for online PDF manuals!

This machine is all about the computer. You depend on the screen and the rollerball "mouse" to change its settings. I didn't have a 1/4" presser foot when I started piecing the Storm at Sea, so I just moved my needle position to create a 1/4" seam. It worked great.

Until I turned the machine off.

Just because my sewing machine thinks it's a fancy computer, doesn't mean it is one. While it retains some contents of memory when you turn it off and on, needle position isn't one of them. Somewhere in the middle of a marathon block piecing session, I realized I was sewing a 3/8" seam instead of a 1/4" seam.

I had pieced so many of the 195 blocks called for in the original instructions that I decided to soldier on and piece the rest of them with 3/8" seams. I figured the only consequence would be that my quilt would be smaller, so I would need to cut and piece more blocks to make the quilt as big as I wanted. That didn't bother me, because I was already thinking of making it bigger to go on a queen bed with bigger drops.

Now, after a year of reading quilt blogs everyday, looking at patterns, and making six quilts, I realize that everything has to come together with a fairly high degree of precision . . . especially when there are points involved . . . and solid fabrics . . . with a high contrast white and navy situation.

My favorite quilty quote is "If you can't see it while riding by on a galloping horse, don't worry about it." I'm usually more of an "It's just crafts" and "It'll be FIIIIIIIIINE" kinda gal, but the whole point of this quilt is the illusion created by the seams lining up just so.

uneven sashing rows with blocks that don't line up


By the time I started assembling blocks into sashing rows, it was clear I was in trouble. I thought I could ease a few seams and everything would settle together without any major issues. I played with four sashing rows, sewing, ripping, and resewing the seams between the blocks. Significant size differences began to show immediately, though.

squished points and way off seam with the row above

It's not just a matter of having slightly squished or slightly floating points. We're talking about losing a 1/4" off of a point and seams not lining up by an inch by the time you get to the end of a sashing row. Assembling a couple of large squares with sashing went just as badly.


Here's what the original quilt instructions describe:
• Finished size: 76"x88"
• Blocks
     - 42 large blocks
     - 56 small blocks
     - 97 sashing blocks

I'd love to make this a queen-sized bed quilt with longer drops, though:
• Ideal finished size: 100"x112"
• Blocks:
     - 72 large blocks
     - 90 small blocks
     - 161 sashing blocks

Here's what I have pieced:
• Large blocks: 42
• Small blocks: 56
• Sashing blocks:
     - 73 fully pieced
     - 44 half pieced

I have extra fabric, and I have some extra pieces cut. I would need to do more cutting to make a bigger quilt, though. 

A Request for Your Guidance

So now what?

• Do I rip out all of the seams and start fresh with my 1/4" foot?
• Do I rip out all the seams and use foundation piecing to guarantee success with my next attempt?
• Do I fudge it the best I can and hope those floating and squished points aren't so noticeable in the washed quilt?
• Should I scrap the whole thing, buy new fabric, and start again?
• Should I just forget making it bigger, because this is not the pattern for adding extra rows?
• Is there an option I haven't considered?

Surely I'm not the only one who's ever screwed up a quilt this badly, I would so appreciate any suggestions on how to move forward at this point. Please don't be shy about leaving a small novel in the comments field, clearly novel-length writing is the thing today ;-)

Many thanks for your input!

I'm linking up this tragic tale with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, Someday Crafts, and Rae Gun Ramblings.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced