Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I've Joined Stampin' Up!

I've been stamping for many years now, and for a long while I didn't make the time to get "inky" - to set aside a few hours each week to immerse myself in the creative process. I have a hard time getting out of my work/deadline mode! LOL.

That changed when my good friend and neighbor Peg became a Stampin' Up Independent Demonstrator a number of years ago. I decided at that point I would like to support her in her business, actually *use* a lot of the supplies I had purchased in the past, and also take the time to get out of the house for a few hours each month plus meet some new people. I joined Peg's monthly stamp club and we are just finishing up our 3rd year with a party at my house this Saturday!

Recently I began to want to stretch myself a little further, by designing my own projects and workshops, so it made sense to become a demonstrator myself! I'm excited to begin this journey, a little nervous, but mostly looking forward to the creative process.

If you don't have a Stampin' Up demonstrator, I would be thrilled to help you with any of your stamping and scrapbooking needs! You can shop with me any time by clicking HERE, or if you are in the Naperville, Illinois area, I will be holding an open house on July 17, 2010 and starting workshops in August 2010. Please feel free to give me a holler!

Let the FUN begin!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 3

Most blocks will fit nicely in the 14" x 14" format. Some will not. There are many ways to build your 14" blocks using smaller images.

Sometimes a t-shirt is very small and there just isn't 14" of fabric to work with. In this case, I trim the image down to a nice square, then add a coordinating cotton quilting fabric on all four sides, then trim the entire thing to 14" square. Press seam allowance to the outside. Add it to your block pile!

Long, skinny images can be sewn together in a stack, and then trimmed to 14" square. Four chest sized logos can also be sewn into a square. I usually press the seams OPEN when sewing t-shirts directly to each other to reduce thick/difficult seam intersections.

At this point in the process I have a pretty good idea of how big the quilt will be. Generally I can get a nice sized lap quilt from 9, 12 or 16 blocks. A twin would be 20-24 blocks. Double, 24-30 blocks, and so on.

Once my blocks are made, I sketch out the quilt layout, determining the final size of the quilt and audition coordinating fabrics for the cornerstones, sashing, borders, binding and backing. This can be hand calculated on paper, or I use a program called Electric Quilt to do the same task on the computer. I'm able to enter my finished block size, and play with the size of the sashing and borders to build the quilt out to be the desired size, in this case about 50" x 70" a generous lap quilt. In EQ I can also play with color selections, but I usually do that by hand. I write detailed notes on the printed layout regarding how much fabric is needed, and how it needs to be cut.

I try to choose fabrics that tie together the various colors in the t-shirts so they blend somewhat. I tend toward choosing the brighter colors and so far this has worked very well! Tone on tone fabrics are also great if you have various shades in a particular color.

Next we'll piece the quilt top.

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 2

Let's get started!

One shirt at a time, trim off neck, sleeves with seams, side seams, bottom edge, to make a large, rough cut about 18" square.

Layout bolt of stabilizer on cutting mat with bumpy (fusible side) up against wrong side of t-shirt. Trim stabilizer to be just smaller than t-shirt.

Keeping the two pieces together, transfer stabilizer and shirt to the press or ironing board. Place press cloth over area to be pressed. Spritz with water from the squirt bottle. Press for 10 seconds, then move to next section until t-shirt is entirely pressed.

When ALL the shirts have been fused, use a ruler to find the shirt with the LARGEST image. Give yourself a little extra space around this image for seam allowance and find the next whole number. This will determine your block size! Most of the time my blocks are 14" square. I keep everything in whole numbers as this makes the assembly of the quilt top easier to figure. Trim all blocks to the same size. This is where the large square ruler really comes in handy. You can also place a mark on the ruler at the 7" (halfway) point to help center the image in the square.

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 1

What do you do with an ever expanding stack of t-shirts collected over the years from vacations, sporting events, gatherings, school, etc? When life gives you t-shirts, why not make a t-shirt quilt?

I make many t-shirt quilts every year for my clients through my company, West Branch Studio. This series of blog posts will take you through the process of creating one of these special memory quilts.

Tools needed to get started:
t-shirts or clothing to be used in the quilt
fabric scissors
rotary cutter (mine is 60 mm)
rotary cutting mat (mine is 24" x 36")
rotary cutting ruler (mine is Creative Grids 16.5" square)
iron or ironing press
large scrap of muslin to be used as a pressing cloth
squirt bottle with plain water in it
light to midweight iron-on stabilizer
sewing machine in good working condition with walking foot

I usually buy my stabilizer by the bolt and have successfully used Pellon P44F, P911FF, and P906F in white. If I don't have time to get it through my wholesale supplier, I will use a JoAnn's 40% off coupon and buy an similar bolt locally. I figure about 18" of stabilizer per shirt. In reality less may be used but it's always good to have enough stabilizer for a few extra shirts just in case.

A regular household iron will work just fine, but takes much longer than a press. My press is dry (no steam), so I use a squirt bottle to provide some moisture on top of the pressing cloth when I'm fusing shirts. I set the press to a little cooler than cotton, and I press for 10 seconds at a time. My machine beeps at 10 seconds so this is very handy.

Next post - prepping the shirts!