Thursday, April 30, 2015

LunchTime Lesson!!!!! Let's Quilt!

Good Afternoon!
Hope you have something good for lunch today!

Without boring you....... if you would go back to Monday's Lesson on Sewing Kit essentials, we can add to that list for your quilting necessities!

You will need a self-healing Cutting mat in one in my opinion the bigger the better to fit your workspace.

A Rotary Cutter for making it easier to get clean and straight cuts on your pieces.

A good rigid ruler is a great tool to have to aide in cutting the can find them with cork or felt feet that won't slip when you are cutting pieces.

Quilting needles ---Hand sewing needles in the number 7 -12 range are the best for hand quilting. If you are machine piecing the needle must match the fabric weight as you add layers you will need a heavier weight needles to go through the layers smoothly.

Templates ---- can be added as you grow..........

So many other items can be added to your kit!  As you become more accomplished in your quilt work, don't be afraid to experiment with some of them.

Next week I will go over fabrics, what type to use when, how to prep them, and more!

Today I have a tip from one of my fellow artisans to aid you in your quilt work!

Ann Gately from Putman Lake Quilting let me know of a marking pen that she has been using. 
"I have been using FriXion markers lately. It says that you can erase them with the eraser, I couldn't, BUT they also disappear with heat.... totally disappear."  That's a great tip!  many times we go to wash out the marker and it won't fully leave us!
Take a peek into Ann's wonderful creative shop!

LunchTime Lessons will be back tomorrow with a great craft you can make for Mom, or Grandma, or Godmother, or Auntie.........or just because you want one!

And I will be adding photos along with descriptions!
See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's Wednesday's LunchTime Lesson! Crochet is the Case!

Welcome to today's LunchTime Lesson!

If you have been following along this week, you can see we are getting our "kits" ready for sewing & knitting.
Today we will tackle what we need for getting ready to crochet!
The old argument is which is better? Knit or Crochet..........hmmm it's a tough question to that's one war I will stray away from!

Here again, as in knitting, need basic supplies.

I won't bore you with a repeat of yesterday's needs, I will just add to the list!

So you have your pattern ready.........what needle size, what weight of yarn, etc.........

Crochet, like knitting, uses yarn and a needle........not a pair, but a single needle with a hook at one end and a thumb hold in the middle.

They also come in various sizes, but nowhere as many as we have in Knitting. The hooks have metric, numerial, and letters assigned to them.......and that's where we will begin.

Steel Crochet Hooks are for working with fine threads and cottons.........the hooks sizes go from US 14-00 BUT unlike what we are used to the larger the number the smaller the hook. That means that size 14 would be used to crochet something as delicate as sewing thread and 00 closer to fingering weight yarns. These are the hooks that your Grandmothers would have used to create beautiful doiles, Baptism gouwns, bedspreads, and more, including laces and edgings that have become to cherished and sort after.

Standard Crochet Hooks start In the US with B-1 metric 2.25. and they go up to size S.

in both Knit needles and Crochet hooks there is one odd ball size and that is 10.5 knitting needles and it's crochet equivilent 7 (there is no letter designation for this size). These are the only US needles that are not whole number..........IE:   B-1, C-2, D-3 etc..

Hooks also come in a variety of materials:  there are bamboo crochet hooks (very comfortable in the cold weather on the hands), metal, balene, and wood.......
One of the metal hooks is also available with ergonomic handles for comfort for those who have arthritis or other hand and arm inflictions..........definitly worth the investment!
Hooks can be found as far back at the Viking days when the men used them made from whalebone to make and repair fishing nets............

Some items that are great for your crochet kit are:
besides hooks, yarn and patterns.

Scissors, darning needles, paper and pen, row counter, stitch guide, open-ended markers, needle gauge ( the needles sizes correspond to knitting sizes and gauge is just as important to crocheting clothing as to knitting them).

Yes Knitting and Crochet have been around for a very long time!  From the Viking ships to modern day.
there is a lot to explore and learn............

I will touching on Tatting, Lace Making and more in future LunchTime Lessons!  Hope you will join us and explore something new!

If you have any suggestions------please feel free to contact me!
Hope you had a great lunch!
Tomorrow we will get our quilting bags ready to work!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

LunchTime Lessons! Stock your Knitting Bag!

Tuesday is Knitting Lesson day!

Not so much a lesson today, but a let's make sure you have all you need to get started in Knitting!

A list of suggested supplies is where we will start today.

Must haves:

Knit guide with stitches is always a good must have for your knit kit.
       one that goes over the basics including cast/on, cast/off, stitch keys and such.

Knitting needles.....where do you being?  there are so many on the market it's actually crazy....there's bamboo, metal, wood (different from bamboo!), plastic, baylene and more!  What ever needles you get make sure that the needles match the yarn.   ex: some yarns slide better on metal, some better on becomes a very personal perference....
if you are working with a slippery yarn, plastic is probablly the way you want to go.
Circular needles may be a necessary evil but don't be scared they aren't hard to use!

Yarn........ah a very grey area when it comes to what type, cost, allergies etc.......the one thing you want to make sure it this.........a beginner is fine with cheap yarn,,,,,,,,, but as you progress in your knitting skills, the better the yarn, the more expensive it will be. My rule is this: if it's worth doing and you want a great garment or afghan that will last for years..........don't go cheap. the item you create will be cheap looking and not last as it should. Your worth every penny, don't skimp on the good stuff.
Make sure your yarn, your needles, and your pattern are all in can't knit a baby pattern that calls for fingering weight yarn with size 8 knitting needles, and bulky yarn.
The right yarn, the right needles for the pattern you choose everytime!  Unless you are good with altering a pattern, this is a step you should make sure is correct. The shop you are getting your supplies from should have people on hand to help you get started.

Patterns:-------now this is where you start when you are done practicing your stitches........a good pattern with plainly written, concise and easy to follow directions and charts.  And if you do choose a pattern that isn't quite written in plain English, make sure that the shop you get it from is able to help you with it......
That's the one thing I always tell my customers when they purchase from me....if you need help with the pattern, please do come in for help......

Now you have a pattern and your yarn....let's see what else we need to get you stocked up to start.

Stitch holders..........they look like giant safety pins, made to hold your stitches for necks, shoulders, and more. Different brands, different sizes are available.  I do recommend that your kit should have at least two sizes and two of each. I like the 4 1/2 -6" sizes.

Needles Gauge.........a good gauge will have the holes for all the needles to size them, a little ruler for checking gauge, (that's a class all by itself!) in both metric and standard sizes. and the real good ones will also have the corepsonding Crochet hook sizes.  Susan Bates makes the most acurate gauge I have ever used.

Measuring tape........cloth is want it to be many of the patterns and books of today are written for all the world, many will have metric and standard measure. Your measuring tape should have both on it to allevate guessing.

Point protectors..........great little tools to keep those stitches from falling off your needles when transporting your work.... as in all else...........get a variety of sizes to match your needle sizes........something that fits a size 2 needle won't do any good holding the stitches onto a size 13 needle.

Darning Yarn Needles......they have big eyes to put the yarn through for finishing work.  You can get them in Plastic, Metal, balene (in the old days it was celliduid or bone also!)  I prefer the metal...........always afraid I am going to break the plastic ones!

Stitch counter---- that will help you keep track of your rows, stitches, increases and more!

Stitch Markers...........they are an invaluable for counting stitches, and are used in many patterns for indicating where increases, decreases, and pattern changes are done. There two types....the solid round markers for general use as described above. And there are open-ended makers for temporarily making a spot.

A good pair scissors................6" snips are fine!

Some people like to keep a crochet hook handy for dropped stitches,  we actually have a neat little tool with a pick on one end and a hook on another!

Notebook and pen!  yes those are a necessity in your knit kit!

and of course a must is a good sturdy bag big enough to carry your project and your supplies in.

Other options to your kit could be..........needle case for circular needles (don't be scared!), straight needles in both 9" and 14" sizes for a case that holds both...........keeping your needles organized will keep them from getting damaged and lost....

Page Protectors to put your pattern in to keep it from getting mangled as you use it.

Post-it Note tape is a great addition to your kit. It's repositionable and you move it about the pattern to follow the rows as you go.

There are many many gadgets for sale for knitting.........these are the very basic that I would suggest you keep handy in your kit........the rest you can aquire as you grow!

See you Tomorrow with LunchTime Lessons -----------Wednesday is Crochet Day!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday ----LunchTime Lessons...........Sewing Kits

Hi everyone and welcome to your first Lunchtime Lessons!
Monday----- Sewing
Tuesday ------Knitting
Wednesday -----Crocheting

taking the weekends off!

So on to today's lesson!

What should you have in your sewing kit!

Whether you sew by hand or machine there are basics you need to make up a good kit!

Measuring devices---I like to keep 6" and 12" hard rulers (I have wooden ones) in my kit, along with the standard fexible measuring tapes......they used to be made from cloth, but most of today's tapes are usually a vinyl ( why is that word hard to spell?).

Common Pins---- a must for holding things together so you can properly sew them in place! I like nice long ones with the pearly heads to hold the parts together and make them easier to find at the machine! (don't want to be breaking needles on hidden pins!)

Pincushion ----- makes using the common pin more accessible and a good place to put them when you remove them from your work. The best pincushions have sand, crushed pecan or walnut shells in them....this keeps your pins and needles from rusting.

Needles.....Hand Sewing----------- sharp needles in various sizes are a must!
                 Machine Sewing----------again a variety of sizes and types is a must!  the needle used for cotton fabric is not the one you would use to sew denim.

Needle Threader-------makes it easier for getting that silly wimpy thread into that tiny little eye of the needle......must have been an eye doctor who created the needle anyway.......if all else fails cut your thread on an angle (YES this is possible!) and most of the time it will slide right in!
Many of today's sewing machines come with built in needle threaders......take the time to learn to use it! It will save you headaches further on down the road!

Thread--------there are different types of threads for different sure to put a general thread in your kit for hand sewing and when you buy fabric, buy the thread that goes with it to insure a smooth sewing session.  Polyester is usally the standard thread choice.  Basic black, white, cream are good to start with if you are buying by the spool.........many times you can get a kit with several small spools of various colors..but if you intend to do any major sewing, invest in the larger spool of thread.........nothing is worse than running out in the middle of the project.

Sissors--- a great pair of sharp dressmaker sissors is a real MUST HAVE for your kit.........and lock them up, hide anything you need to, to keep anyone from using them on paper!  they for your fabric only!   I like to keep a full size and a pair of 6" snips in my kit.
By the way if you are left handed, you can get sissors especially for you!  Makes doing the job easier with the right tools!

Seam Ripper-----oh boy did mine get a workout this past Saturday when I sat down to sew it wasn't a pretty sight!  A good seam ripper will have a sharp point to get under the stiches and remove them without damaging your fabric.............NEVER rip a seam apart by pulling the two pieces of fabric and breaking the stitches......(your guilty of that I can see it on your face! LOL). That method will either tear the fabric or weaken the threads of the fabric and that may cause an issue later on down the road.

good idea to have but not a necessity:
Thimble.........I could never get used to using them........I do have a leather one for hand quilting for when I am doing the ties on my quilts. (posting pics of those soon!)

Fabric Marker pens-------the best kind to get are the washable ink kind. The lines will wash away and never be seen again. These are great to have to help you with your seam lines! no more crooked seams!

Safety Pins------I keep several different sizes in my kit in case I pop a zipper or some other castastophe happens.......ha I even have some in my purse! just in case!

Dressmakers Chalk.------yes this is the good old fashion chalk to make darts, seams and more! The good ones come in a little case with a sharpener build in!

Machine Sewers----should also have sewing machine oil to keep theirs machines running smoothly!

and of course you NEED a case or box to keep it all in one place with easy access.
Machine sewers: don't forge to keep your manual closeby in case you need to trouble shoot.

I just thought of something else........but it seems to have escaped me............ahh I have it!

Put some Press on hem tape in you kit........when you need to do a fast hem or repair it will be an invaluable item to have on hand!

Well that's if for today! My lunch is now over and back to my machine I go!

Oh Spring.........Where did ye go?

Spring is finally here!
Warmer temps, longer days and flowers!
 beautiful purple crocus and yellow jonquils!
and lots of them!
 the tulips are closing in on opening their buds and the daffodils are close behind!
 My hydrangea brances have life in them and birds are busily building their nests!
Yes Spring is finally here!

and into my garden I will go.

Sunday is shapping up to be a beautiful warm day and I am itching to get the string beans and sweet peas into the ground. and clean up the fallen branches and rake up the leaves that got over looked last year.
Time to spruce it all up!

I got the Front yard all done on Sunday and took three hours to shape up the hydrangeas where I want them to be..........I have been letting someone else do them and one cares about your stuff the way you I will do it myself, my way.

the daffodils are brillant yellow and the birds are singing way!  yes Spring is finally here.

That was last week............this week is cold and rain is on tap for most of the week............Oh Spring where did ye go????

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Small Things.........

Every day we go about our lives just waking, walking, running through the day, the week, the month.
And then we get "those" days, the ones with the disasters, the things that don't go just know the ones that make you wonder why you got up that morning, and can you please have a "do-over".
Those days are all too plenty. And then you get those days that the "small things" make your day the best.

Meeting old friends, having your coffee paid off.......sitting with good people and chatting, all the while crafting a quilt, a sweater, a scarf.
I have at many times been giving the task of finishing projects for others.
The Black sweater that someones' mother started and never got put together, the afghan that I had to lay on the floor to figure out what design Grandma had in mind when she crocheted those 300 squares,,,,..........and then the Teddy Bears.
The Teddy Bears that are made from old clothes, not any old clothes, the clothes that Pappa wore, or Mom's old robe. The hankies that she collected or the fabic from the arm of that favorite couch........or the clothes of a child's first outfit...........
Sometimes the task is difficult because that person has passed, sometimes it's a pleasure because that loved one is starting a new phase of their own life.
Whatever the reason it gets left with me, the end result is that someone trusted me with the squares, sweaters, clothing of their loved ones. And that makes me smile! to know that after all these years, people still come here because they believe I can do a task for them that they don't feel they can handle.

and I sit here and feel blessed. And I smile.