Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rotary Cutter Care

If it takes more than one pass of the rotary cutter to cut through fabric, it might be time to change the blade. Disassemble the parts of the cutter and lay them out in the correct order for easy assembly. I keep a container marked for used blades and when there's 4-5 in there I toss the lot. Use a Sharpie pen to write the month/yr. on the new blade to keep track of when you changed blades. Periodically check your blades by cutting strips of scrap fabric. Sometimes loosening the nut on the cutter will result in a smoother cut; these are often too tight when taken from the package so try this and it could improve cutting without having to change the blade.
Copyright Sharon Baggs, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Camie's Cat Quilt

Twelve blocks of playful kitties adorn this whimsical quilt. Camie purchased the pattern through the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon. She asked me to quilt it and this post is to let her know things are moving along. Camie is a patient woman. Here's a look at three of the cats. Quilting tip: After stitching in the ditch with Sew Art smoke nylon thread in the top and Aurifil 50 Mako Cotton thread in the bobbin, I used the same threads to free-motion quilt around each of the cats and other appliqued items. Next I put Aurifil in the top and bobbin to stitch swirls on Cat #1, flower shapes (following the print on the fabric) for Cat #2, and finally several rows of pointed straight lines for Cat #3. After quilting all the cats, I'll tackle the backgrounds. Aurifil, a 2-ply thread, works for this quilt because it will be a wall hanging; for a bed quilt I'd use a 3-ply thread. The quilt contains Dream Poly batting, a flat polyester that hangs well.
Copyright Sharon Baggs, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

It was a ho-hum Memorial Day weekend here in Beantown. Couldn't afford to pull the car out of the driveway, the rain ruled out any chance of a barbecue, and I was hit with a pretty nasty head cold. Long naps and lots of movie watching. I did spend time cleaning out and organizing my quilting closet, which is always a step in the right direction. I'm forever getting organized! I've lined up the UFO's and will get to some of them (pep talk) later this week. Yes, I will.

Copyright 2008, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mark Lipinski

Gregarious Mark Lipinski was in Portland last week for Quilt Market. When he held "the wildest half hour at Schoolhouse" you couldn't get in the door. Sheesh. Kinda like the Barak Obama of quilting (who ironically was in town the same weekend), he needed to be staged at Pioneer Square or Waterfront Park. Later I wandered over to Mark's booth where he was signing copies of his magazine Quilter's Home; three ladies surrounding him asked me to snap a picture. He had been telling them he was no writer. Gimme a break. Talking with such flair as Mark does translates into an entertaining read. When it was my turn to get my two minutes of xoxom, I mentioned that in a much earlier life, I did some writing and think he writes very well. He said, "You're a writer? Well, you should write for me!" As if. For the last 20 years I have been staying at home to raise my kids. His response? "Dude, before this...I was a stripper!" That must explain why he signed my magazine "Quilt Naked Cupcake!" Enough said.

Copyright 2008, Sharon Baggs

Monday, May 19, 2008

For the love of...Soak

Recently I picked up some samples of Soak™, a rinse-free wash care product for fine fibers. Excellent stuff! Daughter Becca purchased a white sweater on Friday and embellished it with raspberry stains by Saturday. The 15 min. recommended bath yielded just OK results, so I decided to treat it like dried beans and submerged it overnight. Next morning there wasn't a trace of any stain. Amazing. Going beyond the recommended soaking time is perfectly acceptable, according to Soak's President Jacqueline Sava. Soak is safe. Dip your dainties for as long you like.

For quilt washing, stick with pure and simple products, such as Soak or Orvus Paste. Avoid detergents that strip the binders holding the colors in the fabric. A small bottle of Soak would make a nice fiber care addition when gifting a baby quilt, covering the inevitable infant stained clothing as well. Check out the full line at

Copyright 2008, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Simple flower motif

A student showed me a quilt top she needed quilting suggestions for. It had simple pink and blue flowers appliqued on a white background. Taking a cue from the applique, I drew the basic shape of a flower on a dry erase board. Then I used my sketch book to connect one flower/leaf to another and created an all-over free form design. Quilting tip: start with a rounded hook and add arched petals to the outside of the shape. Add a leaf shape and continue to a new space to quilt another flower. For this particular quilt a pastel variegated thread would look great.

Copyright 2008, Sharon Baggs