A “cuddle quilt” I made for my mom this year to
take with her when she went to the hospital for surgery.
So, since today is worldwide quilting day, it seemed like a good idea to have another post about quilt related stuff. I know some of my sewing readers are very interested in quilts and others are more interested in other types of sewing, but on a day like this, we really “need” to go with the quilting theme, right?
What is worldwide quilting day? Well, it’s just that. And, there are various special activities available at some quilting shops. I’m not participating in any, so you may pursue that at your own leisure. :-) I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some links to various quilting things that I have found useful or helpful in one way or another.
Favorite fabric stores - Because that’s where it all begins:
Now, I should say right here that I don’t just buy quilting fabric from some of these places. From some I also have purchased fabric for clothing, home décor, etc.
Fabric.com – This is a big site with LOTS of choices – not all just quilting fabric for sure, so pay attention. As far as I can tell, they are some kind of discount company, but they get a lot of variety – though not always whole “lines” from the many that are available. The customer service here is great! I’ve had issues with mistakes in orders or flaws in the fabric and they have always been most generous and helpful. They have an online chat help available which I’ve used with good success. They also offer free shipping on orders over $35! If you know anything about buying fabric online you know that’s LOW, people! AND, if you aren’t happy with the fabric they offer free return shipping within 30 days of purchase. In case you didn’t know, that is also Generous! Having said all that, their service is probably not quite as personal as some of the smaller fabric shops and individual sellers on places like Etsy, but the helpfulness of their service I think makes up for that. You do earn credits by registering, but I’m not sure how great it is. I’ve not used it much - perhaps because sale items don’t count?
Smallest increment they allow you to order: 1/2 yard. (Not great, not terrible.) They also sell some precuts.
Missouri Star Quilt Company – Be sure to sign up for their Daily Deals email list. They have some really exceptional offers sometimes for quilting precuts and tools. I’ve had good service from them and if you register you can earn points for all purchases which you can later apply to future purchases. I used my points once to order a Daily Deal and literally only paid shipping! This is a hometown, family run type business, by the way, so if you especially like to support that type, this is a good one. :-) Jenny Doan is also my favorite quilting tutorial teacher. More later on that. :-)
Smallest increment allowed: 1/4 yard – this is good. They sell yardage and precuts.
Hancock’s of Paducah – This is another site I’ve bought from and had good service and quality. No problems so far, so I don’t know a lot about their customer service.
Smallest increment allowed: Seems to be one yard – not great! BEWARE! Most prices are for HALF yards, not yards. So, you’ll be paying twice that for a yard of fabric – and you’ll need to order 2 for every yard you need. NOT GREAT. Still, they have some good sales, which is one thing I watch for. ;-)
BugFabric.com – This place has a huge variety of specialty fat quarters. This is great if you like “I-spy” quilts or to add whimsical prints to your quilts (like in the center of a star). The prices are reasonable, though not always exceptional; however, it’s very handy for buying just a small piece of something where you only want a picture or two of a specific fabric for your quilt.
Smallest increment – fat quarters, otherwise whole yards. They sell yardage, precuts and individual fat quarters, but I’ve used them only for fat quarter specialty prints. Prompt mailing.
The Fabric Fairy – They have a limited selection of many kinds of fabric. Pay attention to what you are buying. Some prices are quite good. Service was very satisfactory.
Smallest increment allowed – I think it’s one yard. Hohummish, but at some prices, it’s worth it.
Favorite tools – thus far.
I am not one to collect a huge variety of tools, so I don’t have a lot to compare things with. Having said that, though, my rotary cutter, mat and rulers are among my favorites. They are VERY great tools for quilting projects, but they can also be used in some aspects of clothes making.
I have an Alvin brand 35x24 inch double-sided cutting mat. It is great! Lots of room.
I’ve used a couple different brands of cutters and they were both fine. Not as keen on the Fiskars model I have due to the catch arrangement. Find something that works for you.
I don’t have favorite scissors. I did have some Fiskars, but I ruined them. What I got in place of them don’t impress me a lot.
My favorite rulers so far:
22 inch square ruler,
a long O’lipfa ruler,
and a smaller 3x16” (or so) ruler that I got at Wal-mart.
I would like to add a 12 1/2” square ruler for cutting smaller squares as well. These have been quite handy.
I also like my Frixion pen, but I try not to use too much in areas that might eventually show on the actual quilt top. The ink erases with the iron and I’ve had good results so far, but I haven’t used it or tested it extensively. They do say that the ink can reappear in sub-zero temperatures, so in some places it might be an issue in a car or shed. My thought is to make the quilts “ironable” so that if the ink should reappear it can be ironed off again. That’s also why I use it in specific places and not all over the quilt top.
My sewing machine is an old Babylock – great work horse, very simple (very few stitch options, unfortunately), and not in production any more.
Now, I’m a shortcut kind of quilter. I like fast and easy, so these are not necessarily going to appeal to all! :-) I also like paper piecing.
365 Foundation Quilt Blocks by Linda Causee and Rita Weiss
I tend to “get ideas” from seeing other people’s stuff and looking at books, but I don’t often follow a pattern to the letter! Kind of like I cook. ;-)
Tutorials and Teaching
Jenny Doan from the Missouri Star Quilt Company is my favorite online teacher/tutorial instructor – hands down. :-) She isn’t necessarily for the totally inexperienced beginner. She assumes that you know some things about basic sewing. But, she tries to keep things simple and easy, she is not a perfectionist, and she does beautiful work. She reminds me of an “old” friend and I really like her style of teaching. Some of her older ones are a little “stiff”, but she’s very comfortable with it now. :-)
I’ve also appreciated some of the free tutorials done by Mary Fons on Quilty. Her style is a little “goofy” and not for everyone. She is especially geared to help the “newbie” to sewing/quilting.
Craftsy is a well developed teaching and learning community for quilting and much more. There are free classes and pay classes available if you sign up. I really enjoyed the free block of the month (BOM) class last year (as I mentioned in my Quiltcon post). Once you purchase a class (you “purchase” even the free ones, but there’s no charge), you can access it at any time, take the course at any time, have unending access to the course so you can review or put off watching it, post photos of finished projects, ask questions of other students and the actual teacher, and more.
There have been quite a few individual tutorials on YouTube that I have found helpful and inspiring. I won’t list them all. ;-)
A couple favorites:
10 minute block from Suzanne McNeil. I’ve made this one using charm squares (5” squares) and it’s really neat. And, yes, I did have to watch it numerous times! :-) I might still have to to get it right.
As I mentioned, I like paper piecing. I thought this was the best instructional free video I saw on the subject.
Of course, blogs are too numerous to go into. I can’t say I have a particular favorite quilting blog, though I have found inspiration at Stitchery Dickory Dock by Amy Gibson and at Oh, Fransson! by Elizabeth Hartman several times. (Guess that makes me a modern quilter, but I’m not entirely. I just like creating with fewer rules – and rulers. :-) ) I don’t read any quilting blogs “faithfully” though I have a few online quilting friend whom I visit often. :-)