Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cutting Mats….

Did you know that there are two different types of cutting mats?  There is the self-healing and the self-sealing.  I think most people are familiar with the self-healing mats because these are commonly found at crafts stores.  The most common brands are Omnigrid and Fiskars.  Personally, I use a Salem mat which is also a self-healing mat.   I have been using this brand of cutting mat for about 30 years and still have the first mat that I purchased.

What are the differences between the self-sealing and the self-healing?  The self-healing mat is generally a little thinner, softer mat with some being pinnable.  The self-sealing mat is a thicker mat with a harder surface.  The self-sealing mat is harder to find.  The self-sealing mat is better to use with a knife because the surface will not damage the blade.  It is not recommended to use a knife on a self-healing craft mat because they are thinner and you might cut through it. 

I found a buying guide at -

I also found a youtube video that talked about cutting mat care - 

Here’s a good video from olfa regarding care -

Here’s a blog post on Olfa cutting mat care - 

Only you can decide whether to get a self-sealing mat or a self-healing mat but there are other features to look for:

1.  Surface Texture     
2.  Gridded or not  
3.  Translucent or not 

I couldn't find any information about whether the harder surface would dull you blades faster.  The only mention that I found regarding the blades was to change them often to extend the life of your mat. A dull blade means that you are working harder to make a cut and most likely pushing down harder on the mat. 

So, do you have more than one mat?  Are they different types?  I have two mats --  a large 2’ x 4’ and as small mat.  Do you have any specialty mats?  Like a rotating mat or a mat and ironing pad combo? I would love to hear about your experiences with these two type of mats.  Are they worth the money to purchase?

Happy Stitching!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Why Is It Easier to Purchase Than Use?

Did you hear the little thud on my porch?  Of yeah, more fabric arrived.  I always think that I won't buy any more until the last purchase is used but it never happens.  I was drawn in by one of the Fabric Mart emails earlier in the week.  Here's what I purchased:

The fabric on the left is a sheer stripe Maggie London shirting.  I accidentally cut this when opening the package.  I think it will be OK.  The fabric on the right is a white/black ponte.  The shirting was a spur of the moment item with no idea on what I'm going to do with it.  Any suggestions would be appreciated. The white/black ponte I want to make a t-shirt with it.  Hopefully it will happen. I think there is an inspiration photo in one of my pinterest folders.

I actually received this in April.  This the Cone Mills denim kit that I ordered.  The one on the left is a black stretch denim.  The one on the right is a non-stretch denim.  I also received zippers, thread, and other jean notions with the order.  Now, I just need to decide if I want to use the Ginger pattern or another jean pattern.

I'm hoping that some of this fabric gets used up soon.  Now, that I have a washing machine again (yes, two weeks without one is hard). I can get the fabrics washed.  The new machine will get a huge workout this weekend because the old one decided to quit during the spring clean.  There are still lots of blankets that need to be washed.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gardening 2015...

I have enjoyed the early garden this year.  The flowers have been beautiful.  The asparagus was prolific and we enjoyed every bit.  I did forget all about weighing produce picked to this point but I will try to remember going forward.  Here are a few pictures of flowers:

So many plants didn't survive the extreme weather that we had including the vegetable garden.   There was not any early spinach and lettuce. I suppose it is a chance to start again with new perennials. Many of these plants, I don't know what they are because they came with the house.  Hope everyone is getting the chance to enjoy their spring flowers. All of the pictures were taken in April.  I haven't taken any in the last couple of weeks.

The herb garden didn't mind the severe winter and is really popping out.  There is a huge parsley plant, lots of cilantro, lots of chives, etc.

Off to attempt to create something.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sewing Curves Part II...

This weekend, I returned to my sewing of the curves for the drunkard's path.  I ended up matching 21 blocks to create a table runner and of the additional 13 blocks that I made I had an issue with one.  This makes me think that the issue is with me and technique that I'm using to feed the fabric through the machine.  Once the blocks were created, I played with the layout a bit.  Here are the two options that I came up with:

I think both options are good but my husband liked the first one a little better so that is the one I did.  I'm guessing that if I had mixed the colors up a bit more there would have been more arrangement options.  I will try it out next time I'm playing.  Here's the finished table runner top:

It went together easily with no matching issues.  Now, I need to get the backing pieced and decide on the quilting design.

I also decided to work on my free form curves.  Here's my start:

I liked the look of my first two sets of free form curves so much that I decided to do two more so that I could make a set of four place mats.  Above is the second set of fat quarters that I cut and you can see two of the five cuts that I happily made.  Do you see my mistake?  The fabric on top was suppose to be right side up instead of right side down.  I suppose I should be happy that I didn't make a big stack of fabric and cut.  I will get the first two trimmed and ready to turn into place mats.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Summer Butterick....

Oh, I had high hopes for these new patterns but there was very little jumping out at me saying "Take me home."  It's making me feel old.  LOL   Here's the patterns that caught my attention:

This is 6228 and it is packed with car organizers.  I am tempted by this one and may purchase it.  Who can resist the idea of more organization in the car?

This is 6213.  I like the idea of this dress but I can't imagine the pockets on the side like that being particularly flattering.  Well, at least on me.  The buttons, I'm not so fond of but I do like the view with the zipper.

This is 6208.  Doesn't it look like a comfy T-shirt?  This has a little bit of a retro feel to me.

This is 6210.  This is a maybe for me.  I think this looks like a great everyday type of dress.  You know the one that you having for hot summer days around the house and running errands.  A bonus with two views of this dress is that is has bust darts which makes that FBA/SBA a little easier to deal with.

What do you think of the summer offering?  How do you feel about the 70's retro feel of it?

Happy Stitching!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Threads arrived...

The June/July Threads arrived this past week and I finally got the chance to look/read through it.  The cover caught my eye with the "Rediscover the Ruffler" and "New Techniques for Accurate Fitting".

The first one the I read was the ruffler article.  I had done a small series of posts on the ruffler last summer.  I had meant to more spend my time figuring things out.  Maybe I will add additional information on gathering and pleating in the future.  Here's the links to the posts: The Ruffler Foot, The Ruffler Foot - Beginning the Exploration, and The Ruffler Foot - Gathering Part 1.  The Threads article is full of pretty pictures and gives an example of how to calculate the necessary fabric.  I have not worked through it to see how accurate it is but I would love to hear about it if you do.

Then, I read through the new techniques article.  You know there wasn't a specific article "New Techniques for Accurate Fitting".  I did find two articles on fitting though.  One was fitting the bust and the other was skirt fitting.  I think I will need to spend much more time with the bust fitting article to digest what she is trying to say.  I may even need to work through the whole process to figure it out.  The skirt article was really good but to follow it exactly would most likely be a two person job.  It was for fitting a straight skirt.

There was also an article on sewing piping without puckers.  It suggested that the puckers were caused by too much thread and staggering the seams was the answer. Of course, I had to double-check the a slipcover that I had made to see how I had inserted the piping.  It was really hard to tell but I would have to say the I put the piping in the bias strip and stitching it in.  Then, using a piping foot to sew all the parts together.  There was no indication that I had basted the piping to one of the layers of fabric.  Although, I am very sure that I would have snug the stitching by moving the needle over on click.  This would have staggered my seams without me thinking about it.  Sorry, I couldn't find a picture other than the one on Pattern Review and it's really too small to see the piping other than to know it is there.

Hope you're enjoying your issue of Threads.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Wardrobe Thoughts Revisited and It's Time For Summer Sewing....

I looked back to my Spring Wardrobe post and all I can say is wow, I did have good intentions but didn't accomplish much.  The only wardrobe sewing that I accomplished was my dress which I suppose could count as spring sewing.  I'm still eyeing the Yoga Skirt and Yoga Pant patterns.  So, they will get used sometime in the future.  The Spring 6-pac sew along is finished and it's time for the Summer 6-pac sew along.  The guidelines for Summer sew along have already been posted.  Here they are:

1.  Light weight jacket or sweater in a neutral
2.  Light weight jacket or sweater or shirt in a color or a lighter neutral
3.  A pair of shorts, trousers or capris in a neutral
4.  A skirt in a neutral or color
5.  A short sleeve shirt, blouse or t-shirt in a neutral
6.  A short sleeve shirt, blouse or t-shirt in a neutral

This is about as basic as you can get.  I'm not ready to post any sewing plans for summer right now.  I'm still in the middle of sewing curves and would like to finish that.  Hopefully, this weekend I will find some time to sew, sew, sew.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cooking...Ham, Egg & Cheese Bread Bowls

I'm addicted to trying new recipes from Pinterest.  Sometimes, they are really good and sometimes, not so great.   This time it was pretty good.

This pic is from Pinterest.  Mine didn't look that nice but they tasted fine.  You can find the recipe here - Ham, Egg & Cheese Bread Bowls.   I always try to follow the recipes the first time that I make them.  Here are the changes that I made:

1. Whole Grain Buns from the local grocery store bakery.
2. A whole large egg was too big for the buns that I used.  So, I made two with the whole large eggs and two using 1 egg mixed,
3.  I used a pepper jack cheese instead of the mozzarella.
4. Using a convect oven at 350, the buns took between 20 and 25 minutes to  cook.  I don't like runny whites.

These were pretty close to a basic breakfast sandwich.  I can see making a bunch of these on the weekend for a quick breakfast or lunch through the week.  Just think of the extra time for stitching with one of these to pop into the microwave.

Happy Stitching!