Hello and welcome to the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge! This is the fifth year I have hosted this challenge! Wow. Time really flies.
I’m Cheryl and I’ve been doing this blog since 2006 and run my business since 2010. I’m so excited that this year I have prompts for the blog challenge because I sometimes need to lean on another idea if I’m stumped.
So I’m mainly known for heirloom sewing and fabric manipulation techniques and also lights in textiles. Two very different things.
If you are new to the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge: WELCOME! Be sure to list your blog here so we can follow along with everyone else.
I hope you enjoy the fun things in store for 2019’s blog challenge and have a great time!
Ever since I bought my very first copy of Quilting Arts Magazine, I have wanted to be in it. It was my dream to grace it’s pages as a writer, and have my art be included. Back in 2010, I was able to write the first of many articles for my favorite publication. But I still never made the cover.
Until now, that is.
OMG! This was/is a HUGE bucket list item for me!
You can watch Vivika DeNegre, the fabulous editor and good friend of mine, surprise me at Quilt Market and Threads of Success with the good news. So many happy tears!!!
Welcome back friends to my little blog where I’m participating in my good friend Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop! I’ve been a participant for several years in a row with Sam’s wonderful blog hop and I am so so so happy to teach you something near and dear to my heart – Ruching!
Ruching (pronounced rooshing) is a very old fabric manipulation technique that’s been used on gowns and quilts and home decor since the early 1700’s. Ruching can refer to any kind of fabric gathering technique, but here we are going to be specifically gathering strips of fabric. In Quilting, ruching was used on Baltimore Album quilts in the 1860’s. In historical clothing, you can see lot’s of gowns from this same era featuring ruched strips of ribbon adorning them as trims.
Your materials list is very simple: needle and thread (I like Jeana Kimball Wool Needles #7), a strip of fabric about 22 inches long and 2 inches wide, a pencil, an iron and ironing surface, and a Smocking Template to make some marks (I like using my mini smocking template for this technique, but you can use the large one too). Optionally, you can get some Thread Conditioner, like my Mind Your Own Beeswax, to strengthen your thread.
To begin, iron your strip so that the raw edges are in the center. The wrong side of your fabric, should yours have one, should be encapsulated in the middle, and you should only see right sides up.
Next, you need to mark your fabric on the side with the raw edges with a pencil, just at the top and bottom of the strip in a alternating pattern. This is so you have something to sew towards as you make your gathers. The smocking template makes quick work of this, but you could alternately use a ruler.
With your needle threaded (and optionally waxed), start in the bottom corner of the strip, and take an extra stitch so your knot doesn’t pull or pop out. Then take running stitches at an angle toward the opposite side of the strip to the mark you made with your pencil.
Here’s the trick of this whole process. No matter if your needle ends up on the top or bottom side of the strip, you want to make sure that your next stitch loops the thread over the edge of the fold of the fabric. I flip the thread over and start stitching towards the next mark.
After about 3 or 4 “zig zags” on your strip, you can start gently pulling the gathers. You do not want to wait until the end of sewing the whole strip to do this, or your thread will break in the middle! (Ask me how I know!) After you pull them and gather the fabric, take an extra stay stitch at that spot to keep them in place.
Keep going until you have gathered the whole strip! Now here’s where you can see some variations. If you skip a space on your smocking template when making your marks, you will create much wider gathers. This can create softer flowers or shapes. Remember, the raw edges and the marks are technically the back of your strip. You will use the other side as the “right” side.
Also, if you want the colors in a particular strip, you can select a fabric that has a print, but the print itself will be lost in the technique and just leave behind the pretty colors.
Once you have your strip gathered, you can hand applique it down like you would any other fabric. I use the points of the ruching as the spots that get tacked down to the background. I like to spiral them into flowers, tucking in the raw ends to hide them. But they can be stems, or swags, or whatever you like!
Ruching can add some beautiful dimension to your next quilting or garment project! I hope you give it a try! If you like this technique, you will love my online class! Check it out here.
Be sure to check out all of the other blogs participating in this year’s Back to School Blog Hop! Go back and read the previous days and be sure to check them out further along in the month!
Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com
Day 2 – September 2 – Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com
Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com
Day 4 – September 4 – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/blog/
Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com
Day 6 – September 6 – Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com
Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com
Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com
Day 9 – September 9 – Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com
Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com
Day 11 – September 11 – Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net
Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com
Day 13 – September 13 – Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com
Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com
Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com
Day 16 – September 16 – Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com
Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com
Day 18 – September 18 – Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com
Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com
Day 20 – September 20 – Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/
Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com
Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com
Day 23 – September 23 – Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com
Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com
Day 25 – September 25 – Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com
Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com
Day 27 – September 27 – Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com
Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com
Day 29 – September 29 – Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com
Day 30 – September 3 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com
First of all, you should go to this list of everyone else in the hop and see their amazing studios!! If you are like me, you love to see how other people set up their spaces.
I think I told you that I’ve been travelling a lot. Like, A LOT. This was hard on my poor studio as I had to prep for two TV shows and multiple teaching gigs. At one point I was looking for something and just pulled stuff out of boxes and left it laying there. I would open the studio door and shove stuff inside. Here’s where it was before I started cleaning…
On top of this hideous mess, my poor thread rack had finally weighed the plastic tub it sits on down enough where I could not open the top drawer.
Plus, the top of my ironing board was so stained that I needed a new cover, and I had found the perfect fabric while in New Mexico with an awesome quilt guild!
So the great clean up began. I had to address the thread rack issue since it was an expensive piece of equipment. So I went to IKEA and picked up a drawer unit I had my eye on.
Next up was to tackle the rest of the room and recover the ironing board.
The Ironing board fabric is a skull fabric that matches my sewing chair from Arrow Cabinets.
The rest was just grunt work, picking up my messes and putting away all the tools, fabrics, and junk I pulled out from various places.
You can see the floor! You can see the sewing table! The ironing board is cleaned off! I just have to put away the fabric, but it’s folded and ready to be put away. Also, I just plain have TOO MUCH STUFF, so be sure to follow me on Facebook so you can be part of some giveaways!
I want to take a moment and shout out all the blog hoppers on this year’s Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop for making it the best one yet! Be sure to go visit each of these blogs and give them some love!
The 5th Annual Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hoppers!
April 29 – Linda Bratten – http://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/
April 30 – Sandra Johnson – http://www.sandrajohnsondesigns.com
May 1 – Jennifer Schifano Thomas – http://www.Curlicuecreations.com
May 2 – Becca Fenstermaker – http://www.prettypiney.com
May 3 – Sue Griffiths – http://www.duckcreekmountainquilting.com
May 4 – Kate Starcher – http://katiemaequilts.com/blog
May 5 – Jo Westfoot – http://www.thecraftynomad.co.uk/blog
May 6 – Sam Hunter – http://www.huntersdesignstudio.com
May 7 – Simone Fisher – http://simonequilts.com/blogs/news
May 8 – Elisabeth DeMoo- http://www.brownbirddesignsquilts.com
May 9 – Sarah Myers – http://www.quilted-diary.com/blog
May 10 – Amy Bradley – http://www.purplepineapplestudio.com
May 11 – Kathy Nutley – http://www.QuiltingsByKathy.com
May 12 – Carla Henton – http://createinthesticks.blogspot.com/
May 13 – Sherry Shish – http://www.poweredbyquilting.com
May 14 – Kate Colleran – http://www.seamslikeadream.com/blog
May 15 – Pamela Boatright – https://www.pamelaquilts.com/
May 16 – Cathy McKillip – http://wishuponaquilt.com/blog
May 17 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com
Years ago, when I started out in the quilt industry, I was HUNGRY for information on how to make it in this business. I was a successful executive at a specialty retail niche distributor. I taught retailers how to be better retailers. I thought I was positioned well to do well in the sewing industry.
Well, I was, but there was a very steep learning curve in this sewing world. Most people held on to the info they learned, but there was one place I got good information and kept coming back to: Quilt Market. Not only walking the show floor, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see a track of education in the form of seminars.
Now, mind you, many of these classes were geared towards quilt brick and mortar retailers. However, if I have a knack, it’s for seeing BETWEEN the lines and the info and learning how it can apply to me. But truly, I always wished that Quilts Inc., the folks that run Market, would do something for the other side of the entrepreneurs in the quilt industry. Namely, the folks like me.
I have been lucky to be in a position to be able to teach the seminars I always wished were available to me at Market. I pitch them every time and hope to make it on the schedule. But a couple of years ago, I was honest with Quilts Inc, and plainly told them how I wish there was more for the other side of the quilt industry, the people who are coming up as pattern designers, fabric designers, teachers, writers, tool makers, and other types of entrepreneurs outside of retail. Retail, both online and brick and mortar, have the seminars. What could they offer for the rest of us?
That’s what makes me soooo happy about Quilts Inc.’s Threads of Success. It’s a track of education, for those who are serious about their business in the quilt industry. And I’m happy to have had a very tiny small part in helping it off the ground. I’m even teaching at it.
If you are thinking about being in the quilt industry as a pattern designer, fabric designer, tool maker, teacher, writer, or any other kind of entrepreneur (even retail) then you need to checkout Threads of Success. It’s the EXACT education I wished I had when I was starting out. There’s an incredible opportunity to network with folks who are in the industry and learn from their expertise. There are four tracks of learning, but you can take whatever classes suit your business best. Plus, there are additional general interest classes on legal and finance topics that affect every business.
If you are a creative business, think about this kind of opportunity as an investment in your business. The kind of networking and individual classes offered are high value, and it’s worth it to spend 3 days with this kind of intense focus on your business. Take a look at the names in the classes list: Alex Anderson, Charlotte Angotti, Ricky Brooks, Ebony Love, Tula Pink… These are industry powerhouses…
So, please, entrepreneurs…. take a look at the classes, and if you sign up, be sure to tell them that I sent you!