Friday, October 23, 2009

Me and "My" Machine

Ok, let’s just put this out there: I am afraid of my sewing machine.

I say “my” sewing machine, as though I have some sort of ownership interest in it.  Which I don’t. I didn’t buy it, and I still don’t really know if I want it.  Mom is just short of relentless on urging me to embrace all the joys of machine quilting, and after one particular disaster piecing a quilt together, I finally cracked and let her send me a starter machine.  Nothing fancy, just the basics. But now that it is here, I am having serious second thoughts.

I come by my aversion to sewing machines honestly.  It began in that viral incubator for all childhood neuroses – junior high.  In my particular case, it was home economics and a less-than-patient instructor who could not possibly understand how an honor roll student couldn’t thread a simple sewing machine.  She would stare at me with a strange mix of exasperation and astonishment, marveling at my ability to turn a simple bobbin into a giant nest of snarled thread, exploding out from the bottom of the machine.  In her defense, I really did create new and innovative ways to destroy one sewing project after another. Still, I challenge any of you to turn 6 pieces of raggedy old felt into a pillow the shape of a radio. Send pictures, please.

Having gladly left the saga of home ec behind me, I am now a 31-year-old woman who can’t work a sewing machine but loves quilting. You can see my dilemma. I started quilting by learning crazy quilting, entirely by hand.  There were no patterns to follow, no corners to match, nothing to constrain my imagination or test my limited sewing skills.  After attempting a slew of crafts in my late 20s – scrapbooking, crochet, one disastrous day of decoupage – I had finally found the hobby that fit me.  So I worked on the crazy quilt (still a UFO – unfinished object), put together an adorable Christmas wall hanging, and made a handy little tote bag…all by hand. Then came the wedding quilt.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Go go gadgets!

I am a gadget fanatic. Sometimes when I’m quilting I’ll use an old gadget or ruler and it makes me feel like a little kid in the middle of summer who just found a toy not played with since Christmas. This happened earlier this week when I made the Wild Goose Run wall-hanging from our Start Quilting line of SassyPacks. The pattern is super easy – it has a large square in the center and a couple of borders around the outside. The outer border, as you can see below, is made up of 36 flying geese blocks. The flying geese block is one of my all-time favorites. They can look whimsical or traditional; they can run in a row or make up into stars; they can blend into the design or pop with color to liven up a quilt; I’ve even used them in a border to create a chevron effect that seems to “move” around the outside of the quilt. Suffice to say, I “heart” flying geese!

So, anyway I had to make 36 of the same block – all out of the same two fabrics. I got out my trusty flying geese rulers and thought about the great minds that come up with things like this. The Flying Geese ruler is actually a combination ruler/technique used to make 4 FG blocks at one time. For instance to make 36 the “regular” way, I would have to cut 36 little rectangles and 72 little squares and piece and cut each one separately. With this technique, to make 36 blocks, I simply cut 9 bigger squares and 9 medium squares. Then, following the clearly-written instructions, I’m able to put one larger square with a medium square and stitch and cut to make 4 blocks! And they’re sooooo accurate – I love those rulers!

BTW – I just ordered some more for! They’ll be in stock on Tuesday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

This just in!

We've got batiks!!

These beautiful new fabrics are hand-dyed cottons ~ perfect for blending with bold prints or just building your stash. Check out all our batiks at

Friday, October 2, 2009

So, what is a SassyPack?

Great question!

A SassyPack is a quilt kit ~ with a kick! All of our SassyPacks feature bold, contemporary fabrics. The patterns we select are generally appropriate for beginner and novice quilters, but experienced quilters may also enjoy the simple elegance of our projects.

Many of our SassyPacks are designed to make quilting a breeze ~ so we may add in backing fabric, hard-to-find batting or notions, or a little note from us full of tips for completing the kit!

For, example, consider our Alpine Wonder SassyPack:

This beautiful holiday wall hanging requires glue baste-it and invisible thread ~ two products that can be a little tricky to find. So, we include them in your SassyPack, along with backing fabric and batting. Everything you need to complete the project, as soon as it arrives in the mail!

Plus, if you want to add a little sparkle to the stars and snow, we sell the crystals on

As grows, we will add more and more customization options ~ allowing you to opt to add backing fabric or other key kit components, multiple fabric options for each SassyPack and more. Our goal is to make quilting fun and simple!

A final word about SassyPacks ~ as you will come to learn, there is a raging debate in SassyPacks about hand quilting vs. machine quilting. :) Many of our SassyPacks are suitable for either method. As a beginner quilter myself, I find hand quilting to be easy and forgiving. For that reason, we make an effort to select patterns for our SassyPacks that are appropriate for hand quilting.

Hope that helps answer your questions!