Random Friday Tidbits

We made it to the weekend!  I did a little of this and that this week and tried to finish up some quilt tops hiding away in my closet. 

Free motion quilting

In my post a couple of weeks ago I added a link to Lori’s blog…and then I noticed she had a book out!  I’ve been feeling stuck-in-a-rut with my quilting, so it was perfect timing.  So this week I’ve been trying some new designs.  Nothing too crazy, but still a little out of my box (so anything other than loopty loops!).  

Free motion quilting

You can always tell which end I start on because the quilting goes from pretty horrible to pretty good by the end!  If you need some new quilting inspiration I highly recommend this book.

I bought a great stack of fabrics from ilovefabric.com this week.  They have an amazing sale section!  Most of these were on sale…I have no plans for the globes but I couldn’t resist. 

I’m teaching on a quilting cruise next year!  Come cruise with me!  I was supposed to go last year…and then it was changed and rescheduled, and I got pregnant.  Whoops.  Anyways…come cruise with me!   Info is here. I promise I won’t get pregnant again and have to cancel.  😉 

Blues fabric stack

I started cutting a new project last night.  I love starting new projects!

This girl is 10 months old.  Where is the PAUSE button?!

I’ve had quite a few emails asking for a picture of the finished Star Wars quilt I made my son for Christmas (details in this post).  This is about as good as it gets until it’s not raining buckets outside everyday.  It’s super simple…just 8 1/2″ plain blocks and four patch blocks with four – 4 1/2″ cut squares.  Make 44 four patch blocks and cut 44 plain blocks and lay it out into 11 rows of 8 blocks each for a quilt of 64″ x 88″.  I didn’t figure out fabric requirements but my guesstimate is about 11 half yards would be enough.  Super easy! 

Star Wars Quilt

Have a great weekend! 

 

 

 

 

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Shortcake in Hello Jane

Shortcake Quilt Pattern, Jelly Roll Friendly

(photo by Holly)

  I’ve been in a funk the past week…the kind where I want to laze around the house and ignore the world.  Then today, the sun was shining bright and all 4 of my kids slept in until 8 o’clock (cue the angel chorus), and I gave the house a good cleaning.  It’s amazing what good sleep, sun, and a freshly cleaned house can do for my soul!  

Anyways…back to the quilt!  

Shortcake Quilt Pattern, Jelly Roll Friendly

I absolutely love this quilt so much.  The pattern is Shortcake (found here) and the fabric is a jelly roll of Hello Jane (it comes out in May!).  

I thought maybe this pattern would be too busy for all of these fabrics together, but I ended up really loving it…this one will stay out all summer long.  

Shortcake Quilt Pattern, Jelly Roll Friendly

I backed this one with a 108″ wide print from the Story collection for Windham Fabrics.  The backing is crazy simple to piece and yet I love not having to piece it with the wide backings!

Shortcake Quilt, Jelly Roll Friendly

I quilted this one myself, and bound it with my machine binding technique you can find here.  

Shortcake Quilt, Jelly Roll Friendly

Shortcake Quilt, Jelly Roll Friendly

I’m curating April’s Quilters Candy Box!  They do a great job of putting together a fun box full of quilting goodies.

 You can find out more about it here, and I hope you’ll love what I chose! 

Quilters Candy Box

Have a wonderful and hopefully sunny weekend!  

 

 

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Healthy Sewing

Healthy Sewing, tips for sitting properly, stretching, and staying healthy while sewing

After I had my 4th baby last May, I had really bad back and shoulder pain anytime I would sit down at the computer or sewing machine.   I started rehabilitating my core muscles, but the most important part of healing was retraining myself how to sit, stand, and use my core muscles properly so I can sew for many more years to come! 

Today I’m sharing a few reminders (because I know you know this stuff already!), of how to take care of yourself while you sew:

 1.  Use a comfortable chair at the correct height.  For years I used a cute chair, instead of a comfortable chair.  A comfortable chair with an adjustable height is so important!  My chair is from Costco and I love that I can fold back the arms and get the height just right.  Your chair should be high enough that your shoulders and neck are relaxed when sewing, but not too high that you are looking down and hunching over.  A well lit work space is also a must and will improve your posture, I have a lamp above my works pace, and a special LED light on my machine (more about that light at the bottom of this post). 

Sitting properly at a sewing machine2. Sit properly.  In the left photo my back is curved and my pelvis is tucked, which makes my shoulders hunch and my neck stick out awkwardly.  Instead try to untuck your pelvis and sit on your sitz bones, straighten your back, and relax your shoulders.  Use the back of your chair for support if you need to, or use your core muscles to keep your back straight while sitting.   Keep your feet flat on the floor, with knees and legs at a 90 degree angle.  I have a bad habit of putting my feet up on the bottom chair rails! 

3.  Relax your shoulders!  This goes along with “sit properly” but deserves it’s own special number.  Try relaxing your shoulders and neck right now, and then take a deep breath and relax them even more.  When you are quilting it’s easy to hold tension in your shoulders, and pretty soon your shoulders are creeping up towards your ears and making the neck muscles strain.  When I teach beginners to free motion quilt I’m constantly staying RELAX…take some deep breaths, lower and release tension in your shoulders, do some shoulder and neck rolls, and try not to let tension creep in.  

4.  Get up and move often.  Get up every 20 minutes or so, and set a timer for yourself if you need to.  My ironing board is across the room, so it forces me to stand up often.  If I’m sewing for a long period of uninterrupted time (a girl can dream right?), I make sure to get up often and walk downstairs.  Take breaks often and throw in some activity…go up and down the stairs a few times, do some squats, and throw in some arm circles!  You get the idea…just move more and get blood flowing.  

Leg and foot stretch during sewing

5.  Stretch, stretch, and stretch some more.  Sitting makes your muscles tight and short, so stretching is important!  I can only handle so many photos of myself sitting and stretching in one blog post…so you’ll have to Google some basic stretches if it’s new to you.  Make a list of some stretches, and start a routine of doing them often.  The calf and shin stretches above are my favorite after sitting a long time, and make sure you add in stretches for your quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders and neck too.  If you are cutting or snipping a lot with your hands, wrist stretches and exercises are vital.  It only takes a few minutes and you will feel better and protect yourself from injury…so more sewing for future you! 

Trimming with a Rotary Cutter

6.  Avoid repetitive motions.  After I was done making all of those flying geese units above, I could have used my fabric scissors and trimmed off each one of those corners individually, but it would have left me with a sore wrist and hand from cutting (especially on these large squares).  Instead, I lined the seams up with the lines on my cutting mat, and trimmed the corners using my rotary cutter in one swipe.  It might only be a bit faster, but it saved my wrist and hand repetitive cutting and soreness.  I know many quilters with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, and cutting can be hard on hands and wrists.  Use a rotary cutter that feels comfortable in your hand, and that doesn’t require you to grip it too tightly.  Change out your blade often, and use sharp fabric scissors.  Pressing can also be hard on wrists, so take breaks if needed or don’t press all at once, and use a lighter iron if needed.  Make sure you are doing regular stretches (there are tons of great stretch printouts on Pinterest).  Invest in your hands and wrists!   

I just found this webpage (click here) and it has great stretches and exercises!

I could go on and on and on…but you get the idea.  Take care of yourself while you are sewing.  Now go do some stretches! 

 

 

 

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