Road Trip Case

This year for the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild we did an end of the year gift swap with a mix of  handcrafted and purchased items.  We drew names at the November Meeting, and the person I chose had been eying the Road Trip Case by Noodlehead.  My partner likes Autumnal colors and Alison Glass designs, so I selected a palette  of her batiks and prints.

Road Trip Case Exterior

There are several different pockets and pieces of trim, so it was fun to choose where each fabric would go.  The pattern suggests batting for the quilted case exterior, but I switched it out for Soft and Stable foam, and I’m really pleased with the result.  I incorporated a few lines of walking foot quilting on the exterior using 28wt Aurifil.

Road Trip Case Interior

There are two options for the fabric pockets in the bag; two long or four short.  I wasn’t sure which to go with, but I ended up choosing the shorter pockets since it will most likely be used for sewing notions.  The pocket flaps with hook and loop tape (velcro) closures seemed useful to help contain smallish notions.  I often don’t care for hook and loop tape closers since the hook side can pick up so much fuzz.  I briefly considered replacing the tape with magnetic snaps.  Ultimately, I decided that the velcro allowed more leeway in where the pocket flap could close depending on how full the pocket was.  Hopefully it will work for my partner!

Road Trip Case Pocket detail

The case itself went together fairly easily, and I’m sure if I were to make more it would go quite quickly.  Like most bags, I felt like it took as long to cut out and interface the pieces, as it did to do the actual construction.  The vinyl pocket has the potential to be finicky, but I was pleased how well my machine handled this fabric especially since I don’t have a teflon foot.  I didn’t even end up needing to lay tissue paper over the vinyl while sewing.

The Road Trip Case looks like a great bag for small sewing projects, and would be a fabulous art kit for kids.  This would definitely make a fabulous holiday gift!

Ten Gifts for Quilters (Other Than Fabric!)

As the holidays approach, I’m sure there are a lot of friends and family looking for gifts a quilter would love.  If you are a quilter, you may be looking for a fun or unusual notion to include in a guild gift swap.  This list includes a few of my favorite non-fabric gifts at a variety of price points- from just over $5 to around $50.

10 Gifts for Quilters

Duo Marking Pen and Eraser:  This two part pen set is fabulous for marking quilts that won’t necessarily get washed immediately.  The dark pink pink marks your dots or lines with a brown line, and once its quilted, you trace over it with the white pen to erase the mark.

Duo Pens

Full Line Stencils and Pounce:  These stencils and pounce pad are super easy to use and any residual chalk washes out or disappears with the iron.  I have the 1″ grid stencil, and it is perfect for subdividing areas of negative space.  The next stencils on my list are the 1/2″ grid, a diamond grid, and a clamshell.  They also carry more detailed designs if the quilter in your life prefers the design to be completely drawn out.

Full Line Stencil

Spiral Eye Needles:  These are hands down the best needles I have found for burying quilting threads- they are a massive time saver!  My favorite size is the 8 Quilting, but if the quilter you are buying for likes a larger needle you may want to try the 8 Sharp or even a 6.

Spiral Eye Needle

Safety Stiletto:  Not the shoes :)  A stiletto is used to guide fabrics near the machine needle, and is also great for picking out threads left after seam ripping.  I like the safety version so I can toss it in my sewing kit and not have to worry about ripping the bag or impaling myself or others.  (The stiletto I linked to here is very similar to the one I own, but I can’t remember what brand I have- it may be this one, but it may not be this one) The pointed end unscrews and turns inside the handle for travel and storage.

Safety Stiletto

Clover Protect and Grip Thimble:  The scallop shape allows this thimble to expand and contract slightly to provide a perfect fit, even if your finger swells a bit at times.  It comes in a few sizes- I use the medium.  It is so much more comfortable than any other thimble I have used, and it doesn’t turn your finger green like the metal ones!

Thimble

Waxed Silamide Skein:  This is the best thread for basting!  I use it to baste english paper piecing templates and needle turn appliqué pieces.  It  comes in a skein, so once you tear off the bottom of the package and cut through the end loop of the thread, you have precut sewing thread in the perfect length.  Since it is pre-waxed, there is virtually no tangling!  I do not use this for any permanent stitching on a quilt.Waxed Silamide

Commercial Lint Roller:  Have you ever seen the quilter in your life covered in thread and lint?  They need this!  The handle is super sturdy, and I recommend the set with a dozen rolls.

Lint Roller

Quilters Select Rulers:  They somehow managed to come up with a rotary ruler that grips the fabric really well, has thin (and therefore accurate) lines, and is still translucent enough to see what is going on with the fabric under the ruler.  You can find a retailer on the Quilter’s Select website.

QS Ruler

Bobbins:  If you know the type of machine your favorite quilter has, I am certain they would appreciate some more bobbins- You can never have too many bobbins!

Bobbins

Gingher Rotary Cutter:  This is a sturdy rotary cutter that is available in both the right-handed and left-handed version.  The best part is when you do have to change the blade (they last a really long time!), it is set up so you never have to touch the blade.

Rotary Cutter

What quilt-y gift would you like to give or receive this year?

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Have you seen the new book by not one, but two of the most prominent (and awesome!) current modern quilters?  Angela Walters and Christa Watson have joined forces to create The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, a resource that is a must have for any quilter.  The title of this book is perfect because it really does embrace machine quilters of all types:

  • Longarm Quilters
  • Sit-Down or Domestic Machine Quilters
  • Anyone contemplating purchasing a longarm or sit-down longarm
  • A Quilter who is interested in sending a quilt out to be longarm quilted (more on this later)
Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

The format of this book moves fluidly between longarm quilting with Angela and sit down machine techniques with Christa.  This creates a conversation between the experts and the reader.  The projects provide a common starting point for each artist to demonstrate quilting options on their respective machines.  This is where things get really interesting- for each quilt pattern in the book we are given two possible quilting options.  So many people worry about making the “right” choice when it comes time to quilt their painstakingly created quilt tops.  By showing multiple options for quilting the same top, the idea that there is only one correct design is thrown out the window.

Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

Beyond showing us quilting options, Christa and Angela openly discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of each type of machine.  This is a topic that I have hardly ever seen discussed, and this is some seriously useful information for everyone who quilts.  I love my longarm, and I do use it for almost all of my quilting, but if my sit-down machine would be a better option for a design that I would like to do, I’m going to use it instead.  It can be really tricky to determine what is the best tool for the job, so it is exciting to see these comparisons included throughout the text.  This information is valuable for everyone, even quilters who send their projects out to be quilted.  Longarm machines do have some limitations, so this will help quilt top creators to have an informed conversation with their quilters.  A perfect example of this is the “Exploding Star” Quilt on page 104.  Christa quilts this project with large, stunning spirals, and then Angela tells you why a spiral design would not be the best choice for a longarm before offering up her lovely quilting options.

Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

Even more than the specific projects, I love the information at the beginning of the book and all of the fantastic tips in the sidebars of the pages.   The first 19 pages are packed with information regarding the different machine types, thread options, tool recommendations, and general quilting tips.  Then as you work your way through the book, the sidebars provide tips that specifically address the techniques and challenges presented in specific projects.  Directional quilting, thread amounts and weights, starting and stopping (or how to avoid it!), using two layers of batting, quilting fusible appliqué, and turning corners are just a few tips found throughout the book.

This is one of the most exciting machine quilting books I have used, and I really think most of you would like it too!  It is available on Christa’s website, Angela’s Website, Martingale, and Amazon as well as other quilt shops and book stores.  (Full disclosure:  I receive no compensation for your purchase through any of these websites, but I did receive an advanced digital copy of the book for this review. This review is my honest opinion of the book.)