Thursday, June 13, 2013

We're opening soon!  Quilts by the Sea is now a quilt shop located on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.  We're hoping to be open around the first week of July, and we'll keep you posted.  We will offer a fine selection of quilting fabrics, notions, threads, patterns & books, classes and demos.  

So stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Get Ready for Free Motion Quilting

The quilt class quilt is nearly done.  I've been machine quilting it, and I started by stitching in the ditch. Stitching in the ditch is a great way to machine quilt your quilt -- it's easy to do and can be done quickly.  I prefer to do my stitching in the ditch with a walking foot, but you can also stitch in the ditch using your free-motion foot.  More on this technique later. 

I'm going to fill each quilt block with a simple flower motif; and, after much thought and doodling, I'm going to free-motion quilt the sashing areas with a quilting design that will look great and be easy to do.  Here's the page from my sketchbook --->--->--->

Til next time - happy quilting!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Time to Learn to Quilt!

Come along with me and learn to quilt.  I'm putting together an easy project for you.  From start to finish, I'll show you how easy and enjoyable quilting can be.  We'll start at the beginning with gathering supplies, setting up your machine, cutting and piecing.  We will finish with quilting the quilt on your home machine and putting the finishing touch on your quilt with a beautiful binding.  You'll be surprised how fun and easy quilting can be.

The quilt top you see above is the quilt we'll be making.  I've almost finished the quilting and binding, so you'll see the finished project soon.  It's a simple but stylish design that can be done in any color set you like.

To start this project, your first assignment is to find a suitable sewing machine.  You don't need to have a fancy sewing machine; it can be old or new.  You'll want to make sure your sewing machine works properly.  Make sure to read the owner's manual, and clean the machine before starting.  You can find instructions for cleaning your machine in the owner's manual.  NOTE:  If you have a sewing machine and can't find the owner's manual, you can locate most manuals online with a simple search and download a copy for free. 

If you're going to purchase a new machine, there are a few basic features you definitely want to look for. It's nice to have an assortment of stitches (all machines have the basic stitches you need), the ability to lower and raise the feed dogs and the ability to set a "needle up" or "needle down" position.  I also recommend that you purchase a "walking foot" for your machine.

So let's get started.  You get your sewing machine ready, and I'll finish the quilt and post the pattern and instructions.  Then we'll move on to the next step - the Supply List and Choosing Your Fabric.

Send me any questions you may have.  I'd love to hear from you.

Patty's Recommendations


Monday, November 26, 2012

Studio Talk - Minimizing the Clutter

My quilting studio (a reclaimed bedroom approximately 12' x 14') had become a "catch-all" of late, a place to put things, any "things,"  just to get them out of the way.  Working in the studio meant pushing those "things" aside.  It meant not being able to find notions, tools, swatches without a great deal of effort and frustration.  It had to stop, or I was doomed never to create again!
After three trips (and about $87) to Walmart, I figured I had enough totes of varying sizes to plan my attack on the studio.  So quietly and deliberately, I began my war against clutter.  With slow, methodical pursuit, I was able to go through all of the nooks and crannies, sorting, storing and throwing away anything that was in my path.  And after a week long siege, I was done.

Here's what I did:
1.  THREAD:  Because I love to create art quilts, I have a LOT of thread. I used to store my thread on spindle racks mounted to the walls; I had a huge Wall of Thread."  To minimize the visual clutter, I took the racks down, and I now have my thread color coded in small plastic totes that stack well on the shelf. 
2.  RULERS:  I purchased a ruler caddy to store my rulers on top of my design table.  It's a flat piece of wood with grooves carved in it.  The rulers stand upright in the grooves where they are easy to see and grab.  I used to keep all my rulers in a big canvas tote and would have to dig and dig to find the ruler I wanted. 
3.  UFOs:  I could write a book on this subject.  Suffice to say, all of my UFOs are in one spot, and my goal is to finish or get rid of all of them.  More on this later.....
4.  FABRIC:  I organized my fabric into medium-sized plastic bins by color and style. I have a bin for blues, yellows/oranges, reds, green, white, black.  I have a large bin of Laurel Burch fabrics. Because I make quilts for my two beautiful golden retrievers, I have a bin of animal prints.  I have a large bin of batiks, juvenile prints, seashore prints and several medium sized bins of civil war reproduction fabrics.  I also have a bin labeled "Large Cuts" as I use these pieces to back my quilts. 
5.  NOTIONS:  I store most of my notions and tools in two "rolly-style" plastic stacking bin systems.  Pins in one drawer, scissors in another -- you get the picture. 
Now, with everything in it's proper place, I'm able to spend great quality time in the studio creating to my heart's content.  I'm able to find the notion I need, that fabric I want or a pattern I know I have without a frustrating all-out search.  And if my good habits continue, I figure I should get through another year before I have to reorganize again. 
Here are some "after" pictures of my studio.

My sewing table.  Thread in bins on the right, notions in rolly bin on left.
Design table.  Ruler caddy & bins to the right.
My sewing tables are all very portable, I use a SewEzi table for my machines.  (One of the best investments I made for my studio set up.)

Vintage 1939 Singer sewing machine that I purchased for $25.  Works great!
Design wall
Design table with plenty of light!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Welcome To My Blog

Welcome to Quilts by the Sea blog.  It's a blog for all things quilty -- current projects, techniques, events and more.  So stay tuned for more!  In the meantime, take a look at these fabric postcards that I made recently.  These are quilted postcards.  It's a very easy technique, and it's lots of fun.  And you can send these through the USPS.