New Favorite Notion….Pinmoors!

You know those gadgets that you look at on the shelf at the store and think…”well thats neat, but I’d never buy it”? This is one of those items- but I’m telling you, once you own some Pinmoors, you will wonder how you lived without them!

Aurora Sewing Center PinmoorI’ve known about this handy gadget for a while, but for a long time the vendor was not selling them wholesale so we weren’t able to get them into the shop for you. A week ago I finally spotted them through one of our vendors and ordered immediately!

These great little guys aren’t candy, they are used along with any straight pins you have at home instead of safety pins to bast your quilt for quilting!

Aurora Sewing Center Pinmoor

Aurora Sewing Center PinmoorYou simply push them onto the end of your straight pins to baste. I’ve found it to be a much quicker process than using safety pins and then going back with my trusty Quik-Clip to close them all. It’s also much faster to remove them while quilting. Instead of trying to pin in such a way that won’t interfere with my quilting so that I don’t have to remove them while quilting, I am able to pin in a much more uniform way since it’s one simple motion to take them out!

Check out this video from the inventor of Pinmoor on why they are so great!

We’ve got these amazing little guys at both locations- stop in and grab a pack- you won’t be disappointed!

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Coming Soon…the BERNINA Longarm Quilting Machines!

Have I told you guys lately that I love my job? Barb sent me to Chicago this past week to take part in the very first session of the dealer training on the NEW BERNINA Longarm Quilting machines!   Some … Continue reading

July’s Quilt of the Month, Cluck Cluck Sew’s “Inside out” In Botanics.

Can you believe it’s August already? If only the winter went as quickly as Summer seems to. Oh well..I spent the weekend finishing up my July’s “Quilt of the Month”.July’s quilt is Cluck Cluck Sew’s “inside out” pattern, which I … Continue reading

Quilt Market Pittsburgh, Day 4!

Well, day 4 is over which means we are closer to leaving Pittsburgh than we are to just having gotten here. I’m trying to to be too sad about that and instead focusing on the fact that we’ve got another … Continue reading

Quilt of the Month, April edition. Carpenters Star.

It’s that time again! As many of you know April’s quilt has been hanging up at our Williamsville Location for a few weeks- thank you all for your kind words about this quilt! For April I chose the Carpenters Star, Bali … Continue reading

New Summer Classes Now On-line!

The first few weeks of the new semester are always a little bit tricky. The new Sewing times is not done yet (so not available to view online), but there are classes that start in the next week or so. In order to try to give these classes a fighting chance at getting some enrollment, I thought I’d write a special blog post just for them!

First there are a few new Sewing Labs coming up quick.

SewinglabFor those of you who don’t know what a Sewing Lab (also known as a U.F.O/ Unfinished Object) is- think of it as open sewing time. Arlene or Diane host these classes, and you can bring whatever project you are working on to class and they are there to help you out with any questions. I’ve seen people use these classes to layout quilt blocks and get opinions about layout, or get some help with assembling a complicated purse pattern, or even just get out of the house to finish a project! These classes are tons of fun- sometime I think the gals spend more time laughing and eating than sewing…but don’t worry- I won’t tell anyones husband! The upcoming dates and times are:   In Williamsville, on Sunday May 4th from 10am-3pm and/or Tuesday May 21st from 9am-2pm with Arlene, and In East Aurora on Monday May 5th from 9am-4pm and/or Monday May 19th from 9am-4pm with Diane. 

We’ve got a few new Silhouette Cameo classes coming up as well;

silhouette-cameo

 

 

If you have purchased your Cameo from us you are entitled to free guide lessons on the operations of the machine- There will be a Cameo guide class in Williamsville on Wednesday May 7th from 6pm-8:30pm. If you are looking for more hands on projects for the Cameo, Cathy N. has put together a variety of Cameo project classes- one called “Silhouette to Sewing” will be held in Williamsville on Saturday May 17th from 9am-11:30pm and in East Aurora on Tuesday May 27th from 1pm-3:30pm.  Cathy describes this class as: “Design a shape in Silhouette to either send to your Digitizing software, or cut out to appliqué by hand.” So you can use your cameo software to create a shape and then cut that shape out of fabric to use as an applique! There are so many amazing things that can be done with this machine!

Diane will be teaching this very striking “Spiderweb Table Runner or Quilt” in Williamsville on Thursday May 8th from 9am-4pm. 

spiderweb runner

 

Use the Creative Grids spider web ruler to make this runner- the blocks create a kaleidoscope effect that is so quick, easy and striking! You may want to keep making blocks an turn this project into a quilt!

One of our most popular tote bag patterns is called “The Chubby Charmer”

Donna will be teaching this great bag class in Williamsville on Thursday May 8th and 15th from 5:30-9pm. This easy pattern is a great BIG bag! Its wide bottom is fantastic for many uses. As an overnight bag, beach bag, diaper bag, etc. The bottom is wide enough to fit a 9″ x 13″ casserole pan! Approx. 14″ tall x 18″ wide x 10″ deep. We made ours using Soft and Stable interfacing which give it a great “vera bradley-ish” feel.

A really exciting new class we are offering this semester is called “Bonding with your Embroidery Machine” which is being taught by Barb Perry in East Aurora on Friday May 9th, 23rd and 30th from 9:30am-12:30pm. 

Bonding with your emb machineThe cool thing about this class is that it’s open to ALL brands of embroidery machine. If you bought an embroidery machine from us or someone else and just haven’t used it much- this class is for you! You’ll be using your machine making 3 different projects to be sure you and your machine will be “bonded”! (There will be kits required to purchase for this class).

Have you ever wanted to use your embroidery machine to quilt?

Quilting in the HoopDiane will show you how to use your embroidery machine to quilt your quilts! “Quilting in the Hoop” will be held in East Aurora on Tuesday May 13th from 9am-4pm.

Ready for some new spring Decor?

tulip garden“Tulip Garden” will be taught by Diane on Saturday May 17th in East Aurora from 9am-4pm.  This is another great runner from Disa Designs, and uses fresh fabrics and applique to create a great table runner for your spring and summer tablescape!

Want to use your Serger to make a fun summer scarf?

Flouncy Serger ScarfJoin Cathy N. for “Flouncy Serger Scarf” in East Aurora on Thursday May 22nd from 9am-1pm. She will be showing you how to use your serger to make this adorable light weight summer scarf.

Speaking of serger classes, join Arlene on Tuesday May 20th from 9am-12pm in Williamsville for “Serged Satchel”.

serged satchel

This flirty feminine purse features ruffles galore with serged edges highlighted using variegated or contrasting thread. The ruffles can be made using jelly rolls or 2 1/2” strips of your favorite fabrics. There are two handle attachment options included; one handle is attached directly to the purse, while the other handle is connected with rings. An inside pocket completes the purse. How cute is this purse?!

Last but certainly not least, Diane will be teaching this adorable quilt;

candy store north

it’s called “Candy Store North” and the class will be held in Williamsville on Tuesday May 20th, 27th and June 3rd from 6-pm. This quilt is a modern presentation of half square triangles artfully arrange with bright colors in a borderless quilt. Perfect for a baby quilt for that modern mom!

I think that will do for now….all of the classes are posted online, you can view the East Aurora classes by clicking HERE. and the Williamsville classes by clicking HERE. I promise we’re working as fast as we can on the print version of the Sewing Times, but isn’t it great to live in an age where we can share these great classes with you in the  mean-time?

Some important things to note for May, both stores will be closed on Sunday May 11th so that all of our employees can celebrate Mother’s day. We will also be closed on Sunday may 25th and Monday May 26th for the Memorial day weekend, so mark your calendars!

So tell me…what classes are you most excited to take?

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To Market, to market! The Bayport Bag in Botanics.

It’s the time of year here at Aurora Sewing Center when minds start to wander towards Quilt Market. We attend the International Quit Market in the spring, although it’s held 2 times per year- we don’t attend the fall market … Continue reading

New in the shop; Botanics, Gray Matters, Color me Happy and more!

Hi all! Today I thought i’d try to share with you a few of the great new fabric lines we have gotten in recently. Both stores are freshly restocked with beautiful fabrics- and with Quilt Market right around the corner … Continue reading

Stash Stars- March’s Quilt of the Month

One of these days I will get around to posting in between the “Quilt of the Month” posts…but for now it’s been hard to find the time! ( I am making a quilt a month after all!!)

A YEAR OF QUILTS LOGO For those of you who are new here, I have been working steadily though a goal to make a quilt every month this year. I’m on #3 (March) but if you’d like to read about #1 (January) you can click HERE, or #2 (February) you can click HERE.

For March’s quilt I chose “Stash Stars” a great pattern by Terry Atkinson.

 Stash Stars

We were lucky enough to have Terry come teach at our store a few years ago, and I was so impressed with the clear way she is able to both teach and write patterns. If you have never made one of Terry’s quilts, you should! They are so easy to do and come out beautifully. I chose my favorite Andover Textured Solids for my stars, and just plain white Kona cotton as the background- it was such fun to stack all those colors together and play with combinations. The basic block construction was very simple, and the beauty of the stars is that the points are floating, so if you are a little bit off with your accuracy (which of course none of us EVER are), you can easily hide it!

Stash Stars Geese

You essentially make a whole bunch of flying geese with fat bottoms (fat bottomed geese?) and then arrange them around your center block.

Photo Feb 16, 7 37 18 PM

Because I am a serial chain piecer,  I made all my geese at once and then sewed as much as I could at once (maybe I was trying to avoid the quilt aerobics, you know cut, sew, press, pin, repeat- all while running circles around the sewing room).

Stash Stars Stacked Geese

Once you have all of your blocks done you have to figure out how to arrange them…

Stash Stars Layout

I wish I had taken more photos of the various layouts I played with, but I eventually decided on this one, (looks like I need a bigger design wall!)

Stash Stars Layout Final

By now you know that the quilting is my favorite part of this whole project, and after last months heartbreak of not seeing all the quilting I did because it got lost in the busy background- I was determined not to let the quilting get lost on this quilt! I conducted a quick Facebook poll on what color thread to use to quilt this with- I didn’t want to change colors in every block (I’m not THAT crazy), and I wasn’t crazy about the idea of using monofilament. The internet and I decided that using a light grey thread would be the way to go this time, although I debated using off white, yellow, or even a pale green- I don’t think there’s a right answer to the thread color question, but it’s what I decided on!

Stash Stars Quilting

I used white thread for the white borders and filled them in with a random pattern of lines, bubbles and stars. I haven’t done a whole lot of marking on my quilts up to this point, but for the stars in the borders I cut out a card stock version of the big star and traced it with a water soluble pen.  I use a 1/4″ thick acrylic quilters ruler for my line work- it’s one of my most used sewing room items!

Progress..

Stash Star Quilting Detail 2

 

 

This quilt took a LONG time to quilt, but it was SO worth it in the end. I LOVE looking at the finished product-

Stash Stars Finished(1)

This quilt is on display at our East Aurora location..stop by and see!

And as always- here’s a sneak peek of next month’s quilt!

heart good wished sneak peek

What are you guys working on?

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Science Fair- February’s Quilt of the Month

Two quilts down and ten to go! I am still excited to be doing my “Year of Quilts” project and am thankful to have a job where I stress about what quilt I will make next!  Believe me, this job has many stressful aspects, but I am truly lucky that I love my job, and to be able to make things and write about it as part of my job…amazing!

Science Fair Finished

So on to February’s Quilt of the Month.  As some of you may already know, I chose “Science Fair” by Jaybird Quilts for this month. I really wanted to try and do something different that I had never done before.  Believe it or not, I have not worked with any specialty rulers before and I certainly have not made anything with hexagons. This quilt utilizes a ruler also designed by Jaybird Quilts called the “Hex N More”.

This is a great ruler and Julie at Jaybird Quilts has a ton of awesome quilts designed using this ruler. I’ve got plans for making another one up my sleeve. To make this quilt you start by cutting strips and making pairs of those strips into stripsets.sciencefairStrips

science fair cutting You use one end of the ruler to cut those strips into little wedges, one strip set makes two opposing colors of the hexagon. For example, this blue and yellow set will make one hex with a blue outside and a yellow inside and one hex with a yellow outside and a blue inside.

science fair hex layout

Ta-Da! It’s so tempting to sew these pretty little wedges into complete hexagons (which I was this close to doing) but if you stop and read the directions (something I have to often remind myself to do) you learn that you only get to sew them into half hexagons, and the gratification of seeing them all done will have to be delayed a bit.

The next part of cutting involves flipping the Hex N More around and using the fatter end to cut the background half hexies. For some reason I did not photograph this process as I was having a battle with myself about the background color. Here is my original color choice for the background which I was totally committed to at the time:

science fair blue trialBut after I got the whole thing cut and up on my design wall, something just didn’t click. So I tried out another option:science fair pink trial

Yikes! I promise it wasn’t quite so harsh in real life, but obviously the pink wasn’t working either. In the end I settled on this:sciencefair layoutI ended up using a text print from Allison Glass’s “Sun Print” collection for a few reasons. First, I love these prints and I loved how it lightened up my quilt. It reminds me of a summer day with all the hot citrusy colors.   Another reason I made this choice is that I wanted to show that you can use a print like this as a background fabric and that it would read like a neutral. These patterns are nothing to be afraid of! They are much more versatile than you might think. To see more of Allison’s “Sun Print” line click HERE. We carry many of these prints at both locations of the Aurora Sewing Center.

Once you get your layout decided on, you can start to sew your pieces together. The neat thing about this pattern is that it’s all done in long strips.science fair sewing rows togther

Julie even explains just how to line up your half hexies to make them all behave when sewing them into strips.sciencefair lining upYou can see that the background fabric has the tip of the point snipped off where you line it up with the colored piece, which makes for a perfect match when it’s all pressed. This quilt calls for you to press all of your seams open, which is not something that I normally do, but it helped reduce bulk when sewing in those areas where all of the little wedge points come together. I didn’t do any stitching in the ditch on this quilt so I’m really not worried about those areas becoming weaker because of the seams being open.

After your strips are all ready it’s time to sew them all together. I was excited to try out a new kind of pin we got into the store, Clover Fork Pins.fork pin These little guys are pretty handy for helping make sure all your points end up matching. I will often put a pin on either side of my seams to make sure they stay lined up, and these are two pins in one!Science-Fair-Fork-PinsI haven’t thrown out my standard glass head pins or anything, but these guys are pretty cool!

Science-Fair-MarkingI did a little TV magic here and voila! Here’s the whole top assembled and spray basted! This was the first quilt I have ever spray basted and while I do not mind the pinning process, I have to admit, spray basting rocks! I used THIS video as guidance and sprayed with another new product we have at the store, Mettler Web Bond.web bondAs you can see in that picture above, I prepared myself well for quilting this quilt by marking my straight lines with a blue water erasable marker.  As I’ve said before, one of my goals in this Quilt of the Month project is to learn new things and with this quilt, one of the BIG things I’ve learned is that if you want  your quilting to stand out, then picking a more subtle background is key (remember how happy I was with my background fabric choice?)!  I still love the fabric I chose, but it’s pattern combined with the low loft batting I used (Quilters Dream Blend) makes it very hard to see the custom quilting I did. As soon as I started quilting I knew it was not going to be as pronounced as I would have liked, but I considered it good free motion practice and finished it that way anyhow! Here’s a finished product picture taken with the contrast tweaked a little bit so that you can see the quilting.Science-Fair-Finished

This quilt is currently hanging at our Williamsville location and because of the way the light hits it, the quilting is almost invisible.  But I know it’s there, and now you do too, so come see it and Ooh and Ahh over it for me –OK?  All in all, this quilt was a BLAST to make and quilt and Julie’s pattern was wonderfully written and easy to follow. I highly recommend it and all of  the Jaybird Quilts designs.  So there you have it, February’s quilt of the month! Want a sneak peek of March? Here you go…

march preview

I can’t wait to show it to you!

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