Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Purple may not be the designated color for St. Patrick's Day, but it certainly is the color of Spring. Even in Indiana in the middle of March, the blossoms find their way to the surface of the earth, seeking the warmth of the sun. Mmmmmmm............

Friday, March 13, 2009

I just registered at Art Fire today. It's a somewhat new venue for selling homemade arts and crafts. Right now, they are offering a promotional special for $7 per month. Unlike eBay and Etsy, there are no additional fees, you sell as much or as little as you want with only a $7 per month fee. This special is only being offered until the first 5000 artisans register, then it will go to $20 per month. The $7 will not increase for these first artists unless they leave Art Fire and come back at a later time.

All this sounds good but it will take awhile for Art Fire to gain the recognition of eBay and Etsy. You're taking a chance, of course, not knowing if it will ever gain a large audience. The risk is small though, as you may remove yourself from Art Fire whenever you want. If you aren't making any sales, just drop out.

Now, all this being said, I joined with another option.....the FREE one. Being financially challenged, I really can't commit to $7 a month. They have a free version that only allows you to sell 10 items at a time and there are fewer whistles and bells than the $7 version.

I don't know if I'll ever even try and sell anything, but the option is mine. Certainly, I had nothing to loose and I wanted to make sure that I could get the Art Fire name of my choice, "GracieOliverArts"!

Oh, I forgot to add that if you would decide to join Art Fire, would you please use "GracieOliverArts" as your referral source. If 10 people use me for their referral, it allows me to have a free account for life! Thanks in advance!

Monday, March 9, 2009

If you have never made your own piping and rely on the fabric stores for your piping, I hope this will change your mind. Even the best fabric stores have limited colors of piping and only one, small diameter of piping. If you make your own, you can match the fabric of any project that you are working on and make your piping any diameter.

This shows the two sizes of cording that I considered, not knowing which one would work the best. I decided that I needed to use the largest diameter in order to frame my wall hanging with a little more definition.
After you choose your cording, you will need to cut your fabric into strips and then sew your strips together to make a piece long enough to trim your project. If you have lots of curves, you will need to cut your strips on the bias. If your edge is mostly straight, you may be able to get away with cutting on the straight edge. I cut my strips 2 1/2" wide, although this measurement can be adjusted to the thickness of your cording. It obviously needs to wrap around the cord and have enough extra to sew around the cord and then trim off.

This shows the covered cord which has been trimmed to 1/4", the width of my seam allowances on my wall hanging. I used a 1/4" guide that is used for marking seam allowances on quilt pieces for hand quilting. With piping this thick, a regular rotary cutter ruler would have to smash the piping and it would be awkward, wobbly, and probably not very accurate. This little guide, designed to be used as a guide for a marking pencil, snugs right up to the cording and works great with a rotary cutter.

Now I have the piping sewn to the the wall hanging. Use your zipper foot for this type of sewing so that you can stitch close to the piping. It's hard to see, but the cream thread is the first seam where I just sewed the cording into the fabric strips. After sewing the cording into the strips, I moved my needle over a smidgen to sew the piping to my wall hanging. The dark brown seam is the final attaching seam. The cream seam is no longer visible on the right side and it's nice and snug along the piping.

And finally, the right side of the wall hanging, showing the finished piping edge. It makes a nice, bold, clean, neat edge and I like the way that it turned out. Even though I cut my fabric on the straight edge, I was able to wrap it around my rounded corners without any trouble. Be sure to check your corners, your piping, and your fabric flexibility before you decide whether to cut your fabric strips on the bias or straight edge. You don't want to find out later that your piping will not flex enough at the corners.

Have fun customizing your projects, from quilts to pillows, and anything in between!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's been a long time since I've posted.....sorry about that. My energy levels are so sporadic and I only have so many hours in any given week (or weeks) that allow me to craft. I do try and make the best of those precious hours!

This is the center block of my wall hanging. I'm only showing the back side so that you can see all of the pieces in one block. This is a 7" block and I believe there are 52 pieces. With paper piecing, this is simply not a problem. Accuracy is easy if you just take your time, follow the numbers on the paper, and sew a straight seam. Take your time and be patient.....take your time and be patient.........take your time and be patient...........

This is a pile of the completed blocks. Surrounding the center 7" block will be a row of 3" blocks, along with various borders. I sewed all of the blocks and borders together last night and now need to make my piping for the edge. I decided not to use regular binding, but finish it off with piping. Piping gives it a neat, finished edge that is especially nice for wall hangings. Of course, all this is subject to change pending how things turn out!

And then comes the dreaded quilting! I'm not very good at quilting by machine and this wall hanging would be extremely difficult to hand quilt, due to all of the seam allowances and bulk. One step (stitch) at a time, I guess, machine or hand.
To be continued.........