Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

All About Hoffman Fabrics

For the quilting enthusiast, one of the most important considerations is the choice of fabric. Let’s face it; a quilt’s beauty is totally dependent on what fabric the quilter chooses. If a quilt is unattractive and doesn’t beg you to reach out and touch it, it probably has a lot to do with the fabric chosen to create it. Quilters in the know solve such potential problems by choosing fabrics from companies that they trust. Based in California, Hoffman Fabrics is a company who has proven their value to quilters over many years, since 1924, in fact.

Visit any quilting website that sells fabric and the name Hoffman will pop up. They specialize in high-quality screen-printed cottons and blends. Hoffman also produces hand-painted and dyed fabrics. Every year the company introduces two new lines of fabric, which they call “colorful prints and luscious Balis.” They call their fabrics “inspiring” and that is not marketing hype. One look at the abundant richness of the color and designs of Hoffman Fabrics and you will see why they have been adopted by quilters as a must-have cloth. In return, Hoffman has shown incredible support to quilters. This is evident in the Hoffman Challenge, a contest which started in 1987.

Every year, the talents at Hoffman Fabrics choose one of their upcoming fabric designs to feature in the Challenge. Quilt-makers, clothing and accessory designers and doll-makers are then challenged to use the fabric to design an original item. The winning entries are then featured in a traveling show which stops at galleries, museums, shops, and quilting guilds. The first year of the Hoffman Challenge, 94 quilters entered. Since then, up to 700 entries a year have been received. The traveling show itself is so popular that 12 collections now travel nationwide, with some stops in Canada as well.

You can see that there’s practical value in learning more about Quilting. Can you think of ways to apply what’s been covered so far?

Besides the Challenge, Hoffman actively promotes the art of quilting in other ways. The company has paired with designer McKenna Ryan of Pine Needles Designs to create patterns based on Hoffman fabrics. Ryan says she likes to use Hoffman batik fabric for appliqué work because it has a high thread count that prevents fraying. The designer, like so many other quilters, is also appreciative of the depth of color and texture in Hoffman fabrics. Using these fabrics, she can design incredibly lush and intricate quilts based on nature.

Perhaps one of the secret’s to the company’s success is the family nature of the business. Three generations of Hoffmans are currently involved in the daily operations of the firm. It may interest contemporary quilters to know that much of the company’s design philosophy stems from the fifties, when Philip and Walter Hoffman, sons of the original founder, joined the company. They brought with them their love of surfing and translated it to original designs of the ocean, beaches, and surfing life. Combining their passions with a knack for seeking out unusual printing processes for fabrics, the Hoffman sons helped to create a company that is beloved of quilters everywhere.

That’s the latest from the Quilting authorities. Once you’re familiar with these ideas, you’ll be ready to move to the next level.

About the Author
By Anders Eriksson, now offering the best guide on movie downloads over at free movie downloads

Quilting 101

The best course of action to take sometimes isn’t clear until you’ve listed and considered your alternatives. The following paragraphs should help clue you in to what the experts think is significant.

There are many decisions to be made before a quilting project begins. The first is choosing what design you will use. This choice may vary from project to project.

Traditional quilting involves following the outline of the block’s design. You would stitch 1/4 inch from each seam line on your pieced or appliquéd patch. This would be just outside the pressed seam allowances.

Stitching in the ditch is another quilting process. In this method you stitch right into the seam. The shape of the design becomes distinct and the stitches are almost invisible as the fabric on each side of the seam puffs up around them.

In Design quilting, you embellish your quilt block with a set design. You simply purchase a quilt stencil and trace onto your patch in any open spaces.

Echo design quilting is when lines of stitching follow the outline of the block, then are repeated every 1/4 inch. This repetition makes sections of very heavy quilting and is not practiced by beginners.

Overall design quilting ignores the block’s pattern and uses an overall design. Three overall designs often used are grids of squares, diamonds and clamshells.

The best time to learn about Quilting is before you’re in the thick of things. Wise readers will keep reading to earn some valuable Quilting experience while it’s still free.

What quilting design you choose will also affect what pattern and fabrics you choose and vise versa. What you need to learn to do is visualize the completed project before you even begin. Obviously, if you want to use stencils and the design quilting method, you must choose fabric that has room for you to stencil on it.

Now that you have chosen you pattern, fabric and design you may begin piecing you quilt top. This involves creating a template, cutting all the pieces and sewing the blocks together. Once the blocks are completed they too must be connected to form the quilt top. You should first lay out all your blocks to make sure they are uniform in size, as well as in the correct position. Try not to place blocks that are too similar in design or color next to each other. Once you are satisfied with the design just divide the quilt into rows, either horizontal or vertical and begin sewing.

Once your quilt top is finished you are ready to layer it together with the batting in the middle and the backing fabric on the back. Polyester batting is the most popular and easy to use filling available today. All you have to do is open the bag and unroll it. This type of batting comes in different lofts or thicknesses, the thicker the loft, the warmer the quilt.

Backing fabric should have a low thread count and be loosely oven. The backing and the batting should be just slightly larger than the finished quilt top. Backing fabric usually needs to be seamed together. The traditional way is to seam three lengths of fabric, of equal widths, vertically down the backing. Cut off the selvage first, than shrink the fabric before you use it. Sew together the seams and press.

Place the backing on the floor, wrong side up. It should be about 2 inches larger than the quilt top. Roll out the batting. It should be cut about 1 inch smaller than the backing and one inch larger than the quilt top. Center the quilt top on top of the batting face-up. Pin all three layers together. Baste the layers together, beginning in the center of the quilt. You may use running stitches or Z stitches for basting.

If you are hand quilting your project you will require either a quilt frame, or a large hoop. Hoops are more portable, but require more basting. Once your project is secure you begin stitching the three layers together in very small uniform stitches, using the design you chose earlier. Start With about 18 inches of thread and begin working in the centre of your project, quilting toward the outside edge.

About the Author
By Kenneth Allan Crosby jr,feel free to visit his top ranked recycling site: recycling, tips, history

Four Methods Of Basting A Quilt

Although basting is the least favorite task of many quilters, it is an important part in the entire quilting process. It keeps the quilt sandwich?top, batting, and backing layers?together, making sure they are properly aligned and do not slip apart during the actual quilting process. This in turn prevents puckered and sloppy quilts. When basting, the three layers are placed flat on top of each other?with the backing laid beneath, the batting in the middle, and the top over the batting?and are joined through different methods. There are four methods of basting a quilt. Quilters choose which to execute depending on the quilt size and, mostly, personal preference.

Hand Baste
The most traditional basting approach, hand baste involves hand-sewing. Hand basting is done at the center toward the outer sides using horizontal and vertical stitches across the quilt, leaving a grid-like stitch pattern. Stitches should be around three to four inches apart. A thin needle is recommended so as not to create big and visible holes in the quilt.

Machine Baste
Machine basting is faster to do than hand basting, but it adapts the same stitching pattern. Stitches should be made at the center and progress outward and should come in a grid pattern.

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you’re fully informed about Quilting, keep reading.

Pin Baste
This requires a huge amount of pins. A small project may need around 75 pins, while a big one may require, at the very least, 400 pins. Like the previous methods, pin basting should be started at the center, with each pin placed 4 to 6 inches apart from each other. The last rows of the pins must not touch the edges of the quilt and so must at least be an inch away. Pins should also be in a horizontal and diagonal pattern to keep the layers securely joined. While pinning, it is best to smooth out wrinkles and press the layers flat. Although fine pins work well in pin basting, safety pins are more often recommended.

Spray Baste
When hand, machine, and pin basting all seem to be quite a task, spray basting comes as a good alternative. It is a sticky adhesive formulation sprayed over the sandwich layers. To use this, the batting must first be layered flat over the backing. Its top half must then be folded toward the backing edge and sprayed. When put back, the batting must be smoothed out to remove any wrinkle. The same procedure is done to the other half. Next, the top is placed over the batting. The top half should then be folded and sprayed. After which, the top is put back over the batting and pressed flat. The same applies to the bottom half.

When basting a quilt, it is important to have a spacious working area. Others lay their quilt on the floor, on a table, or on a similar flat and large working space. Whichever method to use and wherever basting is done, the goal remains the same; that is, to properly put the layers together without creating crumples and puckers in the quilt. With that goal kept in mind, basting is not anymore a dragging task.

This article’s coverage of the information is as complete as it can be today. But you should always leave open the possibility that future research could uncover new facts.

About the Author
By Anders Eriksson, proud owner of this top ranked web hosting reseller site: GVO Hosting

Where to Find Free Quilt Patterns

The more you understand about any subject, the more interesting it becomes. As you read this article you’ll find that the subject of Quilting is certainly no exception.

Back in the early days of American history, women made quilts with scraps of whatever fabric they had on hand, using patterns they had memorized or shared freely with each other. That trend continues today within the quilting community, and if you are in the market for free quilt patterns, you’ll find a wide variety of them available from many different sources.

Many online sites offer free quilt patterns as a way to get you to visit their site. Google “free quilt patterns” and a huge number of listings will come up. Many sites list hundreds or thousands of free quilt patterns. Among the categories of free quilt patterns you will find there are quilts for babies, traditional American quilts such as the Log Cabin, Hospitality Pineapple or Lone Star, holiday designs, designs with animals or flowers on them, and many, many more. There are even free quilt patterns for food and drink, nautical designs, or angels and butterflies. While many sites feature free quilt patterns for old traditional designs, some also offer original patterns. Some sites have lists of links that will take you to more sites full of free quilt patterns. Quilting is such a time-honored craft that many patterns have been passed around from quilter to quilter for years. It’s a good idea to look at several different sites that offer free quilt patterns as you may find one particular site’s patterns of more use to you than others. Variations in the way the free quilt patterns are written are common, and it takes only a bit of research to find a site which is compatible with your needs. You may get so engrossed in the free quilt patterns on one site that you’ll never need to go any further!

Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there’s more to Quilting than you may have first thought.

But it is a good idea to keep browsing, because while searching for free quilt patterns you will also find yourself on sites that offer all kinds of other goodies for quilters, from fabrics to notions to books to patterns to purchase. Spending time looking for free quilt patterns is actually a good way to acquaint yourself with what’s available in the world of quilting and learn more about the craft along the way. A sure way to expand your knowledge about your hobby is to become familiar with all the tools and notions that are available.

Another place to find free quilt patterns is to ask your friends, family and neighbors. Many people have learned to quilt from their grandmothers or mother and they may have written down patterns from family members. These are wonderful free quilt patterns to get your hands on! All quilters can be grateful that quilting has been a social activity-first out of need, and later for reasons of entertainment-and this has caused quilters to share not only information but patterns as well.

Browsing for free quilt patterns, whether on the internet or asking friends, is an enjoyable aspect of the hobby of quilting, one that is certain to keep you engrossed for many hours.

Now that wasn’t hard at all, was it? And you’ve earned a wealth of knowledge, just from taking some time to study an expert’s word on Quilting.

About the Author
By Anders Eriksson, now offering the best guide on movie downloads over at free movie downloads

Tips In Choosing Quilting Fabrics

Choosing the fabric materials is one of the most critical decisions in quilt-making. This is because there are so many things to consider ? the colors, textures, patterns, styles, characteristics, etc. ? all of which are important in quilting.

Here are some random tips.

Quality

First, be sure your quilting materials are colorfast, whether these are old scraps you had been saving to use on your quilt or new fabrics you have bought specifically for your project. Wash a piece to check if the colors don?t run.

Is the fabric strong enough? Too tightly-woven fabrics are difficult to quilt. Fabrics that are woven loose, on the other hand, are good candidates for rips, tearing, and damage.

Pure cotton had been proven to be the best materials yet for quilts. Man-made fibers (synthetics) and some cotton-combination fabrics are difficult to handle. They have a tendency to curl at the most inopportune places.

The good point, however, is that these fabrics have more options in terms of colors and designs than plain old cottons. The colors are more brilliant and designers have done more work (and experiments) on them.

If you are an experienced sewer, you may be able to surmount these handling difficulties. These same difficulties are also present in knitted, stretch and crepe fabrics.

Color and fabric design

Expert quilters always remind beginners to choose colors and combinations well. This may sound easy but once you have your finished quilt, it is not easy to undo things.

People declare the best judgment call is to trust your instincts. It might also be good to add some time-tested formulas from the arts and from general consensus.

The best time to learn about Quilting is before you’re in the thick of things. Wise readers will keep reading to earn some valuable Quilting experience while it’s still free.

It is said that blue-based colors are ?cold? and that red and yellow-based colors are ?warmer?. Black will dim any color next to it, and white brightens any color placed side by side with it.

Generally, people are said to be energized and active with warm colors. With cool colors ? like green and blue ? people tend to become calmer and relaxed.

This is an important consideration if you are intending to give away your quilt to someone important to you (a friend, a loved one, or your boss perhaps). It is worthwhile noting their prospective responses to your present.

If it is for your personal use, you may also have to consider your own feelings of your finished work.

Backing materials and quantity

Always try to have your backing materials similar to your top quilt material in weight and color. The rationale for this is ease of sewing. It is difficult to sew through uneven levels of materials or materials of unlike textures, thickness or weave.

Buy a little more than what you need for your quilt. This is to preclude any eventuality of your running out of materials. The extra fabric you bought will always have some use for you in the future, especially now that you are into quilting.

Your choice

In the end, your fabric choice will depend on your design, the colors you want, and the quality of your work. Of course, once you become a confident quilter, you can always choose any fabric that catches your fancy and imagination.

Quilting is such an exciting art and there is no limit to what you want to create.

About the Author
By Anders Eriksson, proud owner of this top ranked web hosting reseller site: GVO Hosting

Essential Supplies for Quilting

If the quilting bug has bitten you, you may be confused about what exactly you will need for supplies for your new craft. A huge part of the fun of starting a new hobby is learning about what kinds of supplies you will need to accomplish it. There’s something so satisfying about working with tools and supplies. While the craft of quilting doesn’t technically require much more than a good sewing machine, needles, thread and scissors, there are so many wonderful supplies on the market that will make quilting easier and much more enjoyable.

Start with a sewing machine, the most basic of your supplies. Though it is technically possible to sew a quilt without a machine, and some people still prefer to do it, most busy crafters today like to use a machine. You’ll want to at least use it for piecing together the blocks for the quilt top, and after that you can choose to do the actual quilting by hand or machine. But most quilters would agree that the sewing machine is the most essential of your supplies, and so the soundest advice is to buy the best you can afford. There are many wonderful brands such as Bernina, Pfaff, Janome, and Husqvarna Viking, to name a few. Bear in mind that most quilters only need a machine to sew a straight line, so you don’t need to worry about buying one with a lot of fancy stitches.

Next on any quilter’s list of supplies is a cutting tool. Plain old fashioned scissors are good, and you’ll need a pair dedicated to fabric and one for paper only (paper dulls scissors very quickly). However, as a quilter your new best friend is sure to be a rotary cutter and mat. A rotary cutter is a much more efficient tool than the scissors you may be used to, and you can also cut pieces for quilt blocks in volume with it. You’ll need a rotary mat to protect the surface you are working on. Don’t make the mistake of putting a rotary cutter and mat at the bottom of your list of essential supplies-they will make your life easier and your new hobby much more pleasurable.

If you find yourself confused by what you’ve read to this point, don’t despair. Everything should be crystal clear by the time you finish.

You’ll need fabric, of course, and most quilters swear by 100 per cent cotton fabric. The array of color and pattern that cotton fabric comes in is truly staggering. You’ll also want to put thread on your list of supplies. Cotton thread is good, with a high luster and long-lasting strength. You’ll need pins for a variety of reasons. Pins seem to be one of those notions that quilters have very specific preferences for-you might prefer good old fashioned straight pins made of all steel, or T-pins, or pins with the brightly colored heads. Why not put a variety on your shopping list of supplies and experiment with which ones you like best? You’ll also need needles and a seam ripper.

Many quilters also consider a bulletin or idea board as an essential. This can be placed near where your sewing machine is set up and used as a place to pin swatches, arrange fabrics in potential color combinations, and post ideas torn from magazines.

Start your list of essential supplies today, and you’ll be a happy quilter.

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