As part of my 10K Celebration, I’m running a special on virtual trunk shows for quilt guilds for a limited time.
Stash Bandit is celebrating with 10 days of giveaways and this is Day 1!
I have two great books on quilts made from 2-1/2″ strips and a specially-curated bundle of those strips in blues and neutrals.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not being paid for this and I don’t get a commission on the books. I really just like this title and want to share it with you. 😊
And if you’re a scrap quilt lover like I am, I hope that you’ve discovered Susan Ache.
I hope you’ll join me to celebrate a milestone! Stash Bandit reached 10,000 Instagram followers on Sunday, Feb 14 and that calls for a party!
- 10 days of giveaways
- “Scrap Quilt Secrets” Class Launch (it’s complimentary!)
- A new pattern that’s fun and easy (and free!)
- Sneak peeks of what’s ahead
- Booking specials on Stash Bandit trunk shows
Let’s first talk about the launch of my complimentary series of classes: Scrap Quilt Secrets. Why am I giving away six hours of instruction on fabric, color and making dynamite scrap quilts? Here’s why:
I want to visit your quilt guild!
I’m doing this series to give people a sense of my style and a taste of what I share during my trunk shows. And there’s another reason:
I love to talk about scrap quilts!
People are hungry to know how to use the fabric they already own to make beautiful scrap quilts. They want projects with cohesion rather than a messy jumble of chaos—and that’s what I will teach you.
You can sign up for one, any or all of the six one-hour sessions. I will give a presentation on a scrap quilt topic and then we’ll have discussion where you can ask questions or show me your fabric and get help.
The first session is Sunday, Feb 21 from 2 to 3 pm CST. It will happen on six consecutive Sundays: Feb 28, March 7, 14, 21 and 28. Sign up for one, any or all. Missing one won’t put you behind. Each one stands alone.
Starting Tuesday, Feb 16 we’ll have 10 days of giveaways with all sorts of great treasures!
There are books and bags and bling! Some of the giveaways will be here and some will be on Instagram. You can enter either or both; the giveaways will be for US addresses only. Find me on Instagram @stashbanditquilting.
If you subscribe to the blog, that’s the easiest way to be sure you never miss a thing.
I’ll also publish a new complimentary pattern this week for my easy, simple, modern design called Nights in White Satin.
I designed this quilt in EQ8 and I’ll start piecing it this week. Join with me if you want to! It would be a good time to get EQ8 for yourself or to learn how to use it. Lots of great info at The Electric Quilt Company.
Pattern coming later this week!
But wait! There’s more! 🤣
For quilt guilds, I’m running booking specials this week.
Discounts plus a quilt!
I am giving a 15% discount on virtual lectures booked for any time in 2021 or 2022. And for the first three guilds that book a virtual lecture, I will send you a quilt which you can award to a member, donate or use as a fundraiser. This offer only applies to new contracts not already in place or in progress.
Offer ends March 31, 2021.
Thank you for your support over the first four years of my business adventure. I so appreciate it!
My friend LeeAnn is this sort of person: kind, smart, analytical, take-charge, open, wise, funny. So when LeeAnn says something, I listen up.
LeeAnn recently mentioned trimming the “dog ears” from half-square triangles.
“I don’t understand why everyone thinks you have to trim the dog ears. They don’t hurt anything. It’s just extra work to cut them off.”
This started me thinking about the dog ears: those tiny triangles—the seam allowance overhang, if you will—that appear when you make half-square triangles.
Dog ears are innocent enough when there are just a few, but here was my carpet when I did a big project recently:
I have always cut the dog ears off, but I can’t say exactly why. After LeeAnn’s comment, I thought about it long and hard. Know what I finally remembered?
Alex made me do it.
That’s right. When I had kids at home and did not have another full-time job, I watched every episode of Simply Quilts that I could. And Alex Anderson said to cut off the “bunny ears.”
Who was I to argue?
I went to the Bible of quiltmaking, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes. What did these experts think?
There it is, right on page 104 of the Second Edition, in the section called Making Half-Square Triangles that begins on page 103. Number 8 says to “Trim the extensions and check the accuracy of the unit size.”
I’ve never heard them called extensions but hey, Diana and Laura’s book had sold more than 800,000 copies by the late ’90s, and I’ve never even written a book, so there you go.
By this time I was having fun and my curiosity was burning, so I pulled out Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Sew Triangles. And with that I opened another can of worms, which is this:
Making half-square triangles larger than necessary and trimming them down.
That’s a topic for another post. But right on page 10, Pat Sloan has a plop-box called Dealing with Dog-Ears:
She says, “Notice how by trimming the triangle-squares to size, you’ve also trimmed off the ‘dog-ears.’ Removing them makes sewing multiple units together so much easier! So even if you don’t need to trim your units to a smaller size, be sure to cut off the dog-ears before assembling your quilt blocks.”
I checked one more source: Becoming a Confident Quilter by Elizabeth Dackson. This is an excellent book, written more recently (2013). And I find not one jot about the dog ears.
Perhaps modern quilt makers have bigger fish to fry? Are they trimming their dog ears or leaving them in place? If they’re not trimming, is the accuracy of their quilts in question?!
I have a big pile of quarter-square triangles waiting for me right now. I’m not even close to being finished—I need hundreds more. So it would save me a lot of time if I could just leave those dog-ears alone.
I’d like to know what you think. Let me know in the comments:
Do you trim off the dog-ears?
Why or why not?
I am seriously thinking about leaving them alone. Because honestly…
I think LeeAnn has a point.
Would you like to learn to bind your quilts with a method that is easy, fast, sturdy and beautiful? Then my easy quilt binding by machine might be exactly what you need!
Friday, Feb. 26, 11 am to 2 pm CST
Saturday, March 27, 1 to 4 pm CST
Class will happen on Zoom and is open to anyone, anywhere. I’d love to have you join me!
Would you like to see the supply list before you decide?
You’ll practice all the steps of binding in class and leave well-equipped to bind your next quilt in a fraction of the time. Now you can finish a quilt more quickly and still be proud of the result.
Some of the things we’ll cover:
- Auditioning fabrics for binding
- Using stripes for binding
- Tricks for cutting
- Pressing for success
- Mitering the corners
- Adjusting your machine
- Joining the ends
Tickets are available through Eventbrite and your cost will be $39.99. Here is the link:
I can’t wait to see you in class!
Fabric Fun with Benartex
A while back Lisa Ruble with Benartex got in touch and asked if I’d like to take part in a feature in their ezine, Modern by the Yard. I said yes!
If you haven’t discovered Modern by the Yard, this is your invitation. It’s full of inspiration in the form of new fabrics and complimentary quilt patterns. What’s not to love?!
If you don’t think of yourself as a modern quilter, not to worry. There are plenty of projects with broad appeal, like Prismatic Shadows by Jen Shaffer, above.
Look at some of the fabric lines featured, like Crescendo by Amanda Murphy, above. Isn’t it pretty? I think the lines between modern and traditional or any other type of quilter and quilt practice are becoming less distinct.
I’m a fan of Radiant Paisley, above. Won’t that make a great fall quilt?
My part in Modern by the Yard was to curate a fabric bundle from current Benartex, Kanvas and Contempo collections. It was great fun!
Three “modern quilters” took on this task and our selections became the Mix & Match feature. I named my group (bottom right in the photo above) Merry Merry Mod, because I envision making a Christmas quilt from it.
It’s what you might call an alternative holiday palette, but I love it! And yes, I’m dreaming up Christmas quilts because I do that all year. I want to add to my Jingle Bells Trunk Show all the time to keep it fresh!
My favorite quilt design in this issue is by Charisma Horton and is called Connections. Those colorful triangles in a sea of white are so peppy! The fabrics are from the Good Vibes line by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts.
I found some of these at my local quilt shop and let me tell you, the hand is fabulous!
Oh! Did you know…
The way that a fabric feels to the touch is called its “hand.” And these Good Vibes prints have a luxurious, silky, drapey hand that I love. They’re a pleasure to sew.
I enjoyed being part of Mix & Match and I hope you’ll check out Modern by the Yard soon!
Here are links related to today’s post:
My latest design for Fons & Porter’s Quick + Easy Quilts was inspired by two things.
The first was a vintage quilt I saw on the auction site eBay. Tiny red triangles sparkled against dusty old tones, and I was smitten.
The second inspiration was my father.
His name was John Volk and he was a farmer here in Nebraska. He loved agriculture and he loved us. I could write a book about him, but for now let me tell you about his everyday attire.
My dad wore denim overalls and a blue chambray shirt. And he carried a bandana-patterned handkerchief in either bright red or navy blue. For all or our lives, day in and day out, we could count on this one thing. (Unless it was Sunday, but that’s another post.)
He died in 2011 at age 91, but I still have a pair of his overalls. I’d like to make something from them, but in the meantime, there is this quilt:
Father & Farmer
All of the blues and creams are from my stash, and they echo the colors I associate with Dad. And sewing from what I already have? That’s significant too, because my father was a child of the Depression. Born in 1920, he lived through some very lean times in the ’30s.
There’s a story about one of my brothers chiding him for saving what seemed like an excess of scrap wood behind a small building on the farm. And Dad went on a little rant about that, declaring that until we had lived through a time when you could not get the things you needed, we’d better zip it.
So I like to think that he’d approve of me pulling fabrics from my stash to make a quilt in his honor.
I made the quilt for a king-size bed, which is why it has a wider border at the bottom. Another row of blocks would have made it too large; this border brought it to just the size I wanted.
This issue is on newsstands now so I hope you’ll pick it up when you see it. I love the cover quilt by Nancy Mahoney called Weaving Stars. There’s an easy veteran-appropriate Quilt of Valor pattern, a nice baby quilt, a fabulous modern design called Tweens by Dodi Poulsen and much more.
If you prefer a digital issue (save the trees!) you can order it from Quilting Daily for $7.99. I’m always amazed by what a great value a magazine is. When a pattern costs at least $10 or $12, less than eight for a dozen projects is a steal.
Thank you for letting me think happy thoughts about my father today. He was a keeper.
I am not an organized person by nature. I keep track of things only because I have to, and anything that isn’t important—isn’t recorded any place except in my brain. (Dangerous.)
Enter Plan to Quilt.
Now, stop right there: If you’re thinking that we’re already into January and you’ve missed the new calendar boat, think again. Plan to Quilt is calendar free! This means that it’s not tied to a certain year or month. Instead, it’s centered around your quilting projects! You can start any time at all.
The year that nobody saw coming will soon be over. What began with optimistic themes like “Seeing Clearly in 2020” turned into a worldwide nightmare in February and March.
Stash Bandit has fared better than many small businesses. I resisted doing virtual programs for months because I felt overwhelmed by the technology and everything else that was happening. But by mid-summer I decided it was sink or swim. It turned out to be a really good thing.
Just as I was feeling comfortable with guild programs via Zoom, quilt professionals realized widely that classes were also possible in a virtual format. So I jumped in there, too. There were definitely bumps but I taught some successful workshops and met a lot of wonderful quilters in the process.
Then another development: Teachers realized we didn’t necessarily have to wait for a guild to call us. We could schedule a program or a class on our own and invite people to come. It seemed like the best of both worlds. I figured out a platform and a way to collect class fees. I started to plan and advertise. I taught one class and it went really well. But then, seemingly out of the blue:
I hit a wall.
It wasn’t any one thing. It was the cumulative effect of too many unknowns. And it was not out of the blue.
It was missing my children and grandchildren, missing my friends, missing my extended family, missing my guild, feeling trapped at home, the onset of winter, the bleak prospect of holidays without family, missing my parents (gone for 10 and 20+ years), feeling old, eating too much, exercising too little…I could go on, but you get the picture.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s how to recognize when I’ve reached my limit. And how to treat myself gently as needed. When I slammed headfirst into that brick wall, gentleness was definitely in order.
I cancelled my open enrollment classes. I spent time safely with a few trusted friends. I talked and talked and talked with my husband. I went to church on Sundays. I quieted my spirit.
I have kept up with the essentials: my freelance gigs and keeping the kitchen and bathrooms clean. Everything else was put on hold. And two weeks later, I’m starting to emerge from the fog. I’ll be good to go for everything that’s scheduled for January, but I really needed this down time (even if it was not in a hammock on a tropical island).
I am sharing this openly because it’s easy to think that what you see on Instagram or Facebook is the whole story. It isn’t.
I’ve had productive times during the pandemic, but I’ve had many dark days when I accomplished nothing at all. I just could not. In August, an extended family member who was also our neighbor took his own life. We reeled with disbelief, sadness and anger for weeks, and then we got on with things because we had to. And I wonder if some of that isn’t catching up with me now.
I’m also writing this in order to say thank you.
If you’ve read a blog post, left a comment, liked something on social media or come to a virtual guild meeting, thank you for supporting my small business. It means the world to me. Thank you, thank you for all the large and the many small kindnesses in the form of words, clicks, notes, photos and more. I appreciate each one so very much.
And while we’re not out of the pandemic woods just yet, let’s bid 2020 adieu. Farewell, so long, sayonara. Don’t come back.
Quilt on, my friends. I hope YOU will come back! There will be lots more lighthearted fun and quilty shenanigans up the wazoo.
I’ve been binding my quilts on the machine for more than 20 years with a technique that’s fast, beautiful and sturdy.
Are you free on Saturday?
Join me for Mock-Hand Binding by Machine, a live class with me, Diane Harris from Stash Bandit, from 9 am to 12 pm Saturday, Dec. 12.
The fee is $35.
(Yes, this will be offered again and next time it won’t be so early for people on Pacific time.)
or read on for details.
This all-machine technique imitates a binding sewn down by hand, but in a fraction of the time. I’ve been binding my quilts with this method since the 90s so I know the tricks to make it work along with the pitfalls to avoid.
PLEASE NOTE: It’s best if your sewing machine has a blind hemstitch, but you can make a regular zigzag work if need be. I’ll also show you other binding secrets to make your quilt look its best!
I have 36 years of quiltmaking experience along with many years of teaching. From beginners to pros, everyone in the US* is welcome in this class, which will be a live demonstration of the technique along with written instructions and photographs in the handouts. You’ll leave with everything you need to start binding your quilts quickly and beautifully. Let’s do it!
*The platform I’m using on Zoom is still in Beta (testing) mode and is limited to US users right now. Word is that it will open to international registrants at some point before long.
Mock-Hand Binding by Machine
9 am to 12 pm CST
Saturday, Dec 12, 2020
You’ll get a link to the supply list when you register. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!