Back to School Blog Hop – Basics of Ruching!

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

Read More

Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2019 – I’m a mess.

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

Read More

The QATV Blog Hop Stop – Plus a Giveaway!

What a great idea it was to introduce everyone from this season of Quilting Arts TV by doing a blog hop!  I’ve been on the show a few fair number of times, and I have even had people tell me they recognize me by my hair, which is pretty neat!

Here’s a few behind the scenes photos of the show and set…
14qm17_2

Make up! I do my own hair for the show, but I had it colored the week before by my very talented stylist Cara.
IMG_2606

Selfie time!  I’m known to post these fun selfies on Instagram all the time.  IMG_2711

Susan and I taped an episode about using Sharpie markers for tie dye effects on fabric!
IMG_2609

We also taped one about using shaving cream to make marbled prints on your fabric with acrylic inks.
IMG_2618

Sounds like fun, right?  I can’t wait for you to try these methods in your fiber art.

sharpieTo that end, I’m giving away a 24 pack of Sharpie Markers so you can try this at home!  And you can also use them for your journaling, drawing, and other stuff too.  Here are the rules:

1.  Please only enter one time.  Multiple entries will be disqualified. (Comments are moderated, so you won’t see your entry online right away)
2. International entries are welcome!
3. You must leave me a way to contact you, so please leave your valid email address when leaving a comment.
4. The drawing will be open until Tuesday July 29th at 5:00 PM CST.
5. The winner will be chosen randomly the evening of July 29th.  Check back to see if you are the winner!  GOOD LUCK

Now, leave a comment, and go visit these other fine folks in the blog hop!!
July 18: Vivika DeNegre 
July 19: Luana Rubin /Linda Friedman 
July 20: Sarah Ann Smith /Karen Gloeggler
July 21: Carrie Bloomston/ Catherine Redford that’s me!!
July 22: Sue Reno / Rebekah Meier
July 23: Lyric Kinard  / Margie Ullery
July 24: Cheryl Sleboda  / Jane Sassaman / Julie Creus
July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp

***COMMENTS ARE CLOSED*** Check back for the winner shortly!

Read More

Announcing the Blog Hop for my DVD!

I admit that I don’t like to watch myself on TV. I’ve acted in productions throughout high school and college, and have lots of public speaking experience through my day job in the comic book industry. But when I’m recorded, I just can’t bring myself to watch it. I am my own worst critic. I see everything that’s wrong with my own work, and a recording of me speaking is no different.
We had a little fun when I sat down to watch my DVD. I thought it would be neat to record myself, watching myself. Then my dear husband edited it down to just the “good parts”. If you want a little laugh, take a look here:

I’m happy to announce my blog hop for my DVD starts TODAY! WAHOO!

First up is Susan Brubaker Knapp. I’m a huge fan of her work. Her painted surface quilts and gorgeous stitching are a real treat. I think what I like best about Susan is that she’s one of those folks who shares her knowledge with others. When I met her finally on the set of Quilting Arts this past March, she was just the person I expected her to be: kind, helpful, interesting, and extremely talented! Please check out her blog over at http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/ and take look at her artwork. While you are there, comment on her blog post to win some cool prizes!

Each day of the hop, I’ll post here, but here’s the list so you can follow along. Check them all out, they are all super fabulous folks who I’m proud to call my friends!

June 9 – Susan Brubaker Knapp – http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/
June 10 – Maddie Kertay – http://www.badassquilterssociety.com/
June 11 – Faith Jones – http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/
June 12 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgedtextilesstudio.com/blog/
June 13 – Julie Creus – http://www.latodera.com/blog
June 16 – Catherine Redford – http://catherineredford.com/
June 17 – Megan Dougherty – http://thebitchystitcher.com/
June 18 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/
June 19 – Jamie Fingal – http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/
June 20 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://muppin.com/wordpress/index.php/blog/

Read More

BLOG HOP PARTY! (and giveaway!!)

thank-you-blog-hop-party

 

Welcome to my little corner of the world for a giveaway!  So what am I thankful for?  EVERYTHING!  I can’t believe how far my quilting career has come. I’m also super thankful to Michele at the Quilting Gallery for the opportunity for this awesome giveaway!!

If you are new to my blog, welcome!  Please poke around my website, check out my art, sign up for my newsletter, like me on Facebook, etc to follow along on my adventures.

RDxI’m going to be giving away a DELUXE LED SEWING KIT so that you too can put lights into your quilts or sewing project!  This kit includes:

1 sewable Battery Holder
1 CR2032 20 mm battery
3 yards of conductive thread
2 LEDs (you get to pick red or yellow)
Directions on how to sew your circuit
Muppin.com lapel pin
Bonus outline design for a mini Zombie quiltlet!

To win, here’s the rules:

1.  Please only enter one time.  Multiple entries will be disqualified. (Comments are moderated, so you won’t see your entry online right away)
2. Sorry, but this giveaway is only open to residents of the USA.
3. You must leave me a way to contact you, so please leave your valid email address when leaving a comment.
4. The drawing will be open until Nov 26th at 5:00 PM CST.
5. The winner will be chosen randomly the evening of Nov 26th.  Check back to see if you are the winner!

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WINNER!

Read More