Thursday, May 30, 2013

Brand Loyalty

Seems it's been far too long....

I really haven't ever been loyal to one specific brand name; generally I use products from a variety of companies, as price and availability are two constants that determine my purchasing trends.

However, since I love working with fused applique I've ALWAYS used Steam-A-Seam fusible web. It was the product that was recommended and used in my first applique quilting class I took. It still is what I like using today; until... the company had manufacturing issues and the stores ran out of it.

Stop all applique work until it returns; or.. try another fusible web product, for now.

At the time, I was working on my Flag Quest project and it used a LOT of fusible web; thereby, depleting my Steam-A-Seam supply to mere scraps. Had I known ahead of time, I could of used another product for the larger pieces. But... that isn't how life dishes out opportunity, now is it?

After waiting several weeks to get to check another quilting store, I was faced with that opportunity. No Steam-A-Seam!! The product that was available was 805 Wonder-Under and as quilting must go on, I purchased four metres of the stuff; hoping I could work with it.

I came across a blog post that gave me hope and helped me feel it was going to be okay. (Sorry, I can't give you the link as I can't locate it again.) With this method, large pieces of fabric are fused and the paper is taken off before the appliques are created. This solves the issue of  accidently fraying the applique pieces when taking off the release paper.

For me, this method is not workable, as I only want to fuse small individual pieces on a large variety of fabrics. I still did not think it would be the solution for my projects. Now, how to get those applique pieces to release from the paper?

My new project--a family tree quilt--has lots of tiny and odd shaped pieces; and if I was going to survive the applique process, I needed a solution to getting those pieces to release from the paper.

My Alternate Method: (Wonder-Under)

This transfer web works differently than my favorite fusible; and it didn't take too many times to "retrain" my brain to remember to do this one extra step.

Release one edge before cutting out the applique design.

Required is a loose edge to grip when tearing off the paper after the image has been fused; then you will be able to separate it successfully.
When the piece has been fused properly, it will lift easily. If the web seems to tear from the paper as you try this; then refuse as it hasn't melted properly onto the fabric. Cool, and try again.
Tip:   If you still can't easily separate the paper from the fabric with your fingertips, use a seam ripper as it works well to get in between the paper and the fabric. Then if fraying results at this edge, which is outside the cutting lines, it won't ruin the applique piece.


Pull the paper back to separate it from the fabric, about 1/4" or so within the cutting lines. Then finger press it back down. Hold this piece in place and begin cutting out your design from this point. After the applique is completely cut out, lift this edge and gently pull off the release paper.


So, this is how I developed my plan:

With this web, I allowed extra space between drawn images. This gave me extra white space outside my drawn lines after cutting the applique pieces apart. I thought I would need this space all around the design; however, it is most important to have extra on the edge you will pull to start releasing the paper.

In this case, I could not get the paper to release, no matter what I tried. So my method was what actually worked.... Before cutting on the lines, remember to release one corner or edge of the applique. Then begin cutting out the piece from where you lifted the edge. This is easier to cut first as the rest of the applique is still held securely in place.


So with this worked out, I can actually say that my project is going very well. Would I go back to using Steam-A-Seam when it returns to my quilt shop, well, yes I would!! There are some other features that it has that I love.

Sometime, I'd like to do a review on several types of web to compare their features. This would help me know which products are best for certain projects. And, it certainly would be a good idea to have more options because running out of your favorite products is undesirable.

Hang in there and happy crafting.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Flags Are All Posted

It seems like an extended journey took place since I began stitching up my flags for my "Flag Quest" theme. Now that they are all sketched, templates reversed, cut out, fused, and appliqued; here's the list of flags that are now a reality....

Central African Republic
United States
Dominican Republic
New Zealand
St Vincent & the Grenadines
United Arab Emirates
The Soloman Islands
United Kingdom


If you wish to take a closer look at the finished designs, visit "My Craftsy Store" for more posted photos on any of these designs.

--36 Appliqued Flags--



I was just doing some revisiting of blog posts from when I started blogging; and was impressed on how many have checked in to take a peak at my posted stuff. It certainly is amazing that we can visit blogs from all over the world  from our living room.

And what impressed me most was seeing places from far away come up on the blog feed... and thinking--"Look, I made a flag from that country".

So, what popped into my thoughts was this: I'd love to share links to your amazing blogs on my blog for anyone that would love to take a trip with a click of that computer mouse. Since this group of flags was created for mini mouse pad quilts... let's take a trip....

See your country's flag on the list above; and love to have more followers of your own. Then... send me an email or submit a comment below. And, I'll take a look at your blog.

So I'd love to add 2 or 3 links under as many of these countries as possible. I will be the judge of who gets added as they should be quilt-related and be active blogs.

Hang in there and happy crafting.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cleaning Your Iron

I prefer to work with appliqued elements on my quilt projects. And, my favorite technique is still machine fused applique using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible web. Therefore, this gives me the added task of ensuring my iron stays away from that sticky fused residue.

But, does it.....

Simply, no.
So here is what I do to keep my iron clean, longer.

Keeping It All Clean

Method One... 

I know there are great products on the market to keep that iron base clean; however, it isn't usually the thing I think about when out shopping. And... I would still rather spend my money on fabric!!

So, when I need to clean my iron; and I either don't want to spend money for it or am not near a store to buy some. I head down to the kitchen and get the Comet and a damp cloth. I've used this method a few times and am very happy with the results.

Here is my proof on all this...


PS.. I also used the Comet on my green cutting mat, and it took off a lot of black marks and grit. I have no idea what one should use to clean them, but this did work.

Method Two... 

Since all things still do get dirty even after our best effort and wishing it wasn't so.... that iron will still give it's best effort at ironing and pressing our projects. And in the process, will pick up whatever it comes in contact with, such as: pencil, ink, or fusible web.

Sometimes it just has a hissy fit and sputters out water when the steam feature is used. So if or when any of this stuff happens, I've adopted another way to keep both fabric and iron clean.....

by using a pressing cloth. I have some thin, white cotton fabric that never gets picked for any quilt projects. Now, it works perfectly as a pressing cloth. If you look on the photo, I placed an "x" in the top corner to show you that it's important to mark the right side. This way, it always faces up; not allowing the iron to mess up the fabric or the fused applique pieces from messing up the iron.

Generally, one wouldn't think the pressing surface would get so dirty, but it does. If all we used our irons for, was pressing freshly laundered clothing, that may be so. However, it's all that other stuff we prefer to use the iron for; creates opportunity for this to happen.
Now, all I need to clean are those quilting gloves.  Haven't ever remembered to look at the package instructions or go online to see how to clean them.   ....perhaps one day I'll get to that as well.

Hang in there, and happy crafting!!