Thursday, October 29, 2015

BHG Quilts & More Magazine Winter 2015

Hello world,
It's been an amazing week. Last weekend, I attended the International Quilt Market in Houston. I came prepared with an agenda and meetings to drum up more business. I'm happy to say, it was a success. I can't wait to start talking about it. Unfortunately, I can't. Sorry, a bit of a teaser. I did post some pictures on my instagram and facebook pages of my market experience. Check them out.
As I was walking the floor at market, I noticed a couple of my quilts hanging in the BHG booth. Fun! Hot off the press, my last installment of the Sew Sampler and The Crossing. They are in the Quilts & More magazine winter 2015 issue.

The Sew Sampler. All fabric by Michael Miller's Cotton Couture Solids. Warm & White batting by the Warm Company. 50wt 100% cotton thread by Aurifil.


The Crossing. Fabric prints by Anna Maria Horner. Fabric solids by Free Spirit. Warm & White batting by the Warm Company. 50wt 100% cotton thread by Aurifil.

I hope you enjoy these quilts. I enjoyed making them.

Back to the grind,

Images used with permission from Quilts and More and Meredith Corporation. Copyright 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

McCall's Quick Quilts Magazine D/J 2015 Issue

Hello Friends. I'm thrilled to announce my quilt publication for McCall's Quick Quilts D/J 2015 magazine issue. My quilt is called Rotation. Isn't it lovely?
I have never done this before... Meaning, I made this quilt top twice. Please direct you eye to the beige fabric in the quilt. The first quilt top was in a darker beige. I had reservation during the entire construction process, but I kept telling myself, "O Sandra, it'll turn out fine." Unfortunately, it didn't. I felt the quilt didn't have contrast. The rainbow of colors didn't pop. Luckily, Robert Kaufman understood and sent me more fabric to make a second quilt, which is the one you see below. Thank you, Yael.
It's hard to see in the photo, but the beige fabric in the quilt is the Essex Yarn Dyed Linen/Cotton Blend. The rest of it is Kona cotton solids. All by Robert Kaufman. Not only does the quilt have contrast, it has texture. The linen/cotton fabric does give weight to the quilt and just in time as we enter into the winter season. I can't wait to get it back and snuggle up with it.
Some quilters have asked me if it is difficult to machine quilt the linen/cotton fabrics and how does it wash. Well, for starters I don't prewash any of my fabric. Just don't. Don't have the time for the extra steps when juggling family and my day job. The same is true for the linen/cotton blends.
I have used linen/cotton in my other quilts, which you'll see in my first book coming out in February 2016 and in my Tula Pink City Sampler (the black and white stripes are cotton/linen and the backing). When the quilt is finished and I toss it in the wash, I don't have a problems with shrinkage. The linen/cotton does soften, which I love.

As of today, I have quilted all my published quilts on my BERNINA 820. I use an Universal 80 needle when quilting. The same is true when quilting with linen/cotton fabrics. I don't have any problems with tension. The tension is set the same for 100% cotton fabrics. As for the city sampler, the weight did get to be too much. This quilt was already a king size, then add the backing in cotton/linen, it was just too much. I managed and it turned out beautiful. I love the mix of texture and solids. It is something to consider if you're going to quilt your quilt.
As I wrap-up this post, I do need to say thank you to my sponsors in making the Rotation quilt. As mentioned, the fabric is all by Robert Kaufman. The batting is Warm & White by the Warm Company. The thread is 100% cotton 50 wt by Aurifil. Thank you and can't wait to see you in person at market!
How to get yourself a magazine copy:
Please use the following permalink to link to the issue:
Subscription issues began shipping October 13, 2015. By October 27, 2015, the issue will be available on newsstands, as well as in print or digital download format at at the following link:  
I'm headed to quilt market early tomorrow morning. I'm pumped up about going, pitching new ideas, and networking with people in the industry. I'll post pictures of my experience on facebook and instagram.
Wish me luck,

Monday, October 12, 2015

Machine Needles for Quiltmaking

Hello all.
How are all of you doing? It's October and Christmas decoration are in stores. No. Stop the madness. It's too soon. :)

Quilt Market is coming up in 2 weekend. I have one more weekend to pull all my stuff together. As I bring my ideas to paper, I have phases. Phase 1 is like, "this is an amazing idea, can't wait to visualize it." Phase 2 is "why can't this go any faster, my family needs me." Phase 3 is "no one is going to get it, maybe I should start over." Phase 4 is "yay, I'm glad I pushed through and this is exciting, can't wait to show it." I'm happy to say, I'm in phase 4. I just need a little more time for fine tuning. 

Though none of my work is every "perfect." Yes, I'm able to get to a point of happiness, but to say it's absolutely perfect, well, I haven't achieved it. I don't think I ever will, nor do I try. I feel if you're striving for perfection, either one you'll never get it and then be discouraged, or two, do get there and lose motivation to continue to create. I do try to improve, learn, continue to be inspired, and grow. To evolve as an artist is all I ask for.


Today, let's talk about machine needles for quiltmaking. What do you use? Short and simple, I use an Universal 80 needle for both quilting and piecing. Sometimes, I use an Universal 70 when piecing  with Art Gallery Fabric or other similar weight fabrics. But most of the time, the safe bet is always 80. My thread of choose is the Aurifil 100% Cotton 50 weight thread. I use it for piecing and quilting.

It can be quite overwhelming to browse the machine needle options when selecting the needle package for your project. When reviewing a package of machine needles, you’ll observe two numbers separated by a slash. The number on the left of the slash is the Eurpenze size that ranges from 60 to 120 at increments of 10. The number on the right is the American size that range from 8 to 21 at increments of 2. Common used sizes for quilting are 70/10, 80/12, and 90/14. The bigger the number, the larger the eye of the needle. Now that’s the size of the needle, but there’s also the type of needle.

It is important to choose the correct needle size to match your fabric type and weight. As the needle size grows larger, the size of the needle is bigger. Most of my piecing and quilting is sewn with an 80/12 Universal needle. It is important not to select a needle too big, as a big needle can create holes to your quilt as the quilt ages. Let light shine through your stitches and do you see little holes, perhaps a smaller needle is best. For piecing, I could use as small as a 70 needle, but for quilting, I rarely go bigger than 90. Really, my happy place is 80.
The types of needle consists of differences in the shaft, eye, and points of the needle. An Universal 80 needle works well for me, but that's because I'm using quality quilting fabric and thread. Say, I wanted to use metallic or variegated threads, you'll have to play around with other types and sizes. I have quilted with both metallic and variegate threads, successfully. At those times, I use a Topstitch 90 needle. The reason, the eye is more rounded, rather than squared (with sharp corners). I find that running these threads through a Universal, Sharp, and yes the Metallic needles can fray the thread because it gets caught in the corners of the needle hole. If you are experimenting with a new thread, then ask around to see what other have used, browse the internet, and experiment on scraps to achieve the perfect tension on the right needle.

Market in 2 weeks. Wish me well.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Quiltmaker N/D 2015

Hello Friends.

So sorry I haven't been blogging on my regular Sunday nights... After the Summer Sampler Quilt Along, I took a mild break, in tangent with wrapping up summer and the start of a new year. Can you believe it? It's October. Crazy how the time has passed.

Right now, I'm gearing up for quilt market. I'm pitching some new ideas, have scheduled a plethora of meetings, and really trying to get my business moving to the next level. Wish me well.

In the meantime, Quiltmaker published one of my quilts, they call Candy Crush. It's in the November/December 2015 issue. Check it out.

Really, this quilt is fast to put together. Nevermind those little one inch squares. It's all stripped pieced. I would love to do this quilt again, but scrappy or low volume with a dark background. Hum. One of these days, I'll get around to it.


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