Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 8: GIVEAWAY Announcement

I love to write. I so enjoy the creative process of forming a plan and writing a blog post. But darn it if I can't find the time to do so this year! It's a good thing, though. Really, it is, as I'm working on a couple of huge projects that will be out over the next few years.

In the mean time, I wanted to announce a marvelous giveaway that Quiltmaker is hosting, but you must act fast!

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 8 is out on newsstands, now!

Image compliments of Quiltmaker Magazine

The giveaway is for the first 8 issues of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. That's a total of 800 unique quilt blocks! A bevy of creativity!

You can also read about Ian Davis, the creative lone-wolf guy on Quiltmaker's team!

Here is my applique block found in Volume 8, called: Bouclier de la France. I used coordinating Aurifil 50 wt. cotton thread to machine applique my pieces in place. I felt that the 50 wt. cotton gave the block a cleaner, smoother look and am so pleased with the results.

Image compliments of Quiltmaker Magazine

Looking back, I probably should have used a contrasting thread on the pink flowers to help the petals stand out better.

Fabric is from my stash. Although, I did end up purchasing a fat quarter for the green tulips and the mini print used for the pink flowers from Snappy Quilts (love that store!).

So be sure to hop on over to Quiltmaker's blog, Quilty Pleasures, for a chance to win the pack of 8 magazines . . . good luck!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Aurifil's November Designer of the Month: Laurie Tigner

Please enjoy reading about my friend, Laurie Tigner, and the processes she goes through to create her works of art. She shares a her free block design as Aurifil's November 2013 Designer of the Month.

I had the pleasure of meeting Laurie in person at the Fall 2013 International Quilt Market, recently. She's just as lovely as I knew she would be. Her smile lights up a room and her personality is warm and inviting!

When finished, check out Laurie's work by visiting her website.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Decorative and Quilting Stitches

This is going to be a quick one that I hope will help your creative wheels move into action.

I love texture. Whether it be gorgeous detailed crown molding, or embroidery hand stitched on a piece of cloth. It's all good.

Take a new look at your sewing machine's decorative stitches.

As I was planning what I'd present for today's tutorial, I was paging through the PFAFF expression line Owner's Manual. On page 7 of the Sewing section, I found an image showing stitches that give a look of handwork. I thought I would select a few of these stitches and see what they look like using my machine.

Disclaimer: I'm essentially sewing out ideas, not unlike jotting down quick sketches for future designs. This is a great way to get some thoughts down on cloth so that you can perfect your ideas for a later date!

Before I began, I wanted to do a little experimenting, so I tried out a decorative stitch down the center and surrounded it with a different stitch I liked. By the way, for this experiment, I'm using a piece of Air Lite 80/20 batting between two scrap pieces of a white solid left over from my "Hey Girl..." quilt. Thread is Aurifil 50wt. 100% cotton thread.

I tried two more stitches, surrounding what I already had. I liked the results and will hold onto this thread jotting piece as an idea-prompter for a future project.

Food for thought: How about planning out a sequence of stitches that appeal to you and use it in the center of a pillow? Coordinate fabrics with your choice of thread colors and make a quick accent for an occasional chair or bed. A modern-day sampler, of sorts.

The following stitches are ones I selected from the image I found in the Owner's manual. They suggest for a hand-quilted look. In this case, I used Aurifil 28wt. 100% cotton because I wanted to see how a thicker thread would show more texture. I love to experiment! The results were great, but this thread truly is not made for this purpose. I'd say that if you are doing small projects, it's fine.

So in conclusion, play! explore! experiment!

If you're planning to use a straight stitch to quilt your next quilt, try something new! I think I'm going to try that one on the far right (#53 on the quilt expression 4.2) on an improv quilt I'm making for a friend of mine. It's perfect, and with occasional changes of thread color, it could enhance my design in a unique way!

I hope you enjoyed this rather basic post and will also re-visit your decorative stitches! Please let me know if this interested you. I love to hear your thoughts!

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: PFAFF 4.2, Two New Features To Learn

So your machine is humming along and all of a sudden you're out of bobbin thread.

 Dang it! Why now, when I'm in the middle of chain piecing 40 half-square triangle units?!

Here's your solution:

You no longer have to unthread your machine to rewind a new bobbin (sweet!).

Pull your bobbin out of the bobbin case. Be sure the PFAFF logo remains on top. You'll also see in the background that I have the universal foot on . . . a plastic foot.

The PFAFF manual asks that you use a metal foot when filling an empty bobbin the way I'm about to show you, so I selected the 1/4" foot (any metal foot will do).

Pull the spool thread off to the right side (By the way, I'm using Aurifil 50 wt. 100% cotton thread. It's thin, extraordinarily strong, and amazing!) . . . Oh, and be sure your presser foot and needle are raised.

Maneuvering a camera while performing this task can be challenging, but with your left hand, you'll want to guide the thread so that it doesn't leave the stability of the foot (i.e., slip out the front).

Pull the thread up the left-hand opening of the face of your machine. 

Thread it through the first thread guide.

Then, thread it through the second thread guide. 

Double-check that the PFAFF logo is facing up and bring the thread through the opening on the top of your bobbin.

Place your bobbin on the bobbin winding shaft. After I do this, I like to roll the piece of thread I brought through the tip of the bobbin with the thread that connects to the spool to give it some security. Keeping the "rolled" threads between my fingers, I push the bobbin shaft to the right.

I like to hang onto the rolled threads as I press the foot pedal.

 Hang on until its gone through a few rotations on the bobbin to secure the end.

A quick glance down to the faceplate, and you'll see that the thread is perfectly secure (and still in the eye of the needle!).

The screen also shows that your bobbin is winding perfectly.

In a very short time, your bobbin is wound. The bulkiness of the camera didn't allow me to capture this, but you can use the thread cutter to the left of the bobbin to cut the thread and remove the bobbin by first moving the shaft back to the left, then simply pull the bobbin up and off.

Pull the thread out from the thread guides.

Pull the thread down and out of the face of your machine.

Trim the thread, then pull it off to the back and left.

Insert your bobbin. Pull the thread through the guides and pull the long end of your thread through the trimmer.

Replace your bobbin plate and you're ready to roll.

So now we're on to feature number 2 I'd like to share with you today . . .

"How do I move the needle?" and "Why would I want to move my needle?"

Before we tackle those questions, I wanted to make a comment on the programmed stitch length when you turn your machine on. A glance at the screen and you'll see that its 2.5. Personally, I like to stitch with a 2.0 stitch length.

To change your stitch length, simply use the "-" and "+" buttons on the second row to the right of the screen. In the future, when I begin to teach myself how to free-motion quilt (hopefully, in September . . . hope you'll join me), I'll be using a longer stitch length.

About 2 months ago, I was working on a project where I was inserting cording into a seam. Due to time constraints, I was working with what I had on-hand. I attached the Universal foot and found that if I use the top "-" and "+" buttons, I could move the needle either to the left or to the right. The screen starts at "0.00". To move the needle to the right, press the right "+" button.

Pressing once will give you a miniscule .3 move to the right.

But it will go up to a 4.5.

Perfect for sewing covered cording into the pillow I was making. I do believe there is a special foot available for this procedure. However, when I'm on a mission, I just want to get it done. :)

As mentioned, depressing the "-" will allow you to move the needle to the farthest left-side of your Universal foot.


Thanks for hanging out with me. Please comment. Let me know if this was helpful or not. I will be continuing my tutorials next week. I hope you're enjoying your summer. Have a great week!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Back-at-it This Week

This year is proving to be my busiest to-date. I've received many requests that I continue my Tutorial Tuesdays on the PFAFF quilt expression sewing machine.

I will resume my tutorials beginning this Tuesday, August 6, 2013.

Image compliments of PFAFF

So, please stay tuned and get those motors revving!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tutorial Tuesdays . . . Update!

I've had so many great comments on how helpful my PFAFF Tutorial Tuesdays have been, where I've been learning about my PFAFF quilt expression 4.0 sewing machine. You may have wondered why I've been on hiatus.

While I was hosting the tutorials about the 4.0 through my blog, PFAFF came out with the quilt expression 4.2 machine. Since it is a part of their newest release of the quilt expression series of machines, they were kind enough to send it to me so that I could continue to talk about their latest technology. I believe that those of you who have the 4.0 machine will still find benefit from my tutorials.

PFAFF quilt expression 4.2 sewing machine. Image courtesy of PFAFF

 I am wrapping up 4 deadline projects in the next few weeks and will then resume my Tutorial Tuesdays, so please stay tuned!

Thanks for your interest!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Giveaways Announced!

Mayhem ensues in my SuzGuz Designs world with lots going on! Also, I was out of town last week for a few days attending my niece's graduation from Rice University. I am so proud of her. It was so nice seeing her and spending time with her and a few other family members. I felt sad when I realized that it's been over 3 years since I've seen any of them, other than my niece. I believe that our next get-together will be much sooner!

With that being said, here are the lucky winners of one issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 7:

Winner Number 1 is:

Winner Number 2 is:
(Jean, I tried sending you an email message, but did not find a link through your Blogger profile page. Please contact me through mine so I can get your issue in the mail to you. Thanks!! :)

Winner Number 3 is:

Congratulations, ladies! I will send you an email so that I can obtain your mailing address.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I read every one of your responses. It was so nice to get to know of you better and thanks for all the new friendships through social media, too!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Welcome To Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

I hope you're enjoying the Blog Tour as much as I am . . .

My block is: Groovy, block #633.

You can find it on page 38 of Quiltmaker's Summer 2013, Volume 7, 100 Blocks magazine (I LOVE this magazine!). The magazine will be on newsstands by May 7.

I was honored to be asked to make Amy Butler's Alchemy Quilt: her free PDF quilt on her website. Here is an image of the quilt I made, hanging in Amy's booth during Fall Market, 2012.

Quilt designed by David Butler, using Alchemy collection by Amy Butler for Westminster/Rowan

At that same time, I came up with this idea of using strips of her Alchemy fabric collection in an easy foundation paper piecing block and submitted it to Quiltmaker for their widely successful 100 Blocks series.

Are you enjoying the blog tour so far? I hope so!

I'm giving away 3 copies of the current 100 Blocks magazine (1 copy directly from Quiltmaker, 2 copies from me, and giving away more this summer!). To enter to win, please let me know what your favorite type of quilting is by leaving a comment, below:

Is it piecing? Or, perhaps, using a special method, such as foundation paper piecing or applique (hand or machine)?

AND . . .

I sure would love it if we became friends on Facebook or Twitter, follow my Facebook Fan Page, follow me on Pinterest (I've just switched my personal page over to my business page, so more quilt-related items will be coming!), or sign-up for my SuzGuz NuzLetter through my Contact Us page! I've met so many wonderful people across the country and around the world and you make such an important difference in my life! :)

Enjoy the blog hop! And thanks so much for stopping by!

Winner Announced Monday, May 6th, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: PFAFF quilt expression 4.0, Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of my PFAFF Tutorial Tuesday. Each week, I'll be showing new features of my PFAFF quilt expression 4.0 sewing machine. The purpose of these tutorials is to familiarize ourselves (self-included!) with the numerous features of this machine.

This week, we're reviewing the remaining buttons in the first section of the sewing machine's face plate. I thought I'd have enough time to also cover the various presser feet and how to achieve a perfect 1/4" seam. However, I'm thinking it may be a bit too much information to share with all we're covering today.

There are five button options to the left of the graphic display screen that we didn't cover in last week's tutorial.

Stitch Restart Button
The first of these last five options is the stitch restart button, shown here (2nd button down on left with  image of arrow pointing left):

If you are working on a project and have to stop in the middle of a stitch, simply press the stitch restart button and you will start sewing at the beginning of the stitch again without having to reset any special settings you've made. This button is a must-have if, for example, you are using a decorative stitch and need to replace your thread in the middle of sewing a motif. The built in stitch restart feature makes it easy to resume right where you left off.

Let's say that you are sewing a decorative stitch and see that you only need one more motif for your project. While sewing the last motif, press this same stitch restart button. The stitch will finish and the machine will then stop after your motif is finished!

Speed Control
The third button down on the left is the speed control button:

The speed control button can come in handy for a variety of reasons. Here are a few for you to consider:

1) If you are a beginning sewer, what better way to learn than to take it slow? Simply press this button until you are comfortable with the given speed and you will learn at a pace that is comfortable for you!

2) Another reason to use this great feature is if you are a beginner when it comes to machine quilting. Using this slow-down feature will allow you to build your confidence without worrying you may accidentally "put the pedal-to-the-metal" and mess up a planned quilting motif.

3) How about this . . . you've just discovered how much you love a quilt block with a curve (i.e., New York Beauty, Drunkard's Path, or a simple circle patch you'd like to sew to your quilt top). If you've never sewn an arc or circle before, slowing your machine down to a comfortable pace will take away your fears and allow you to finish your task with finesse.

Immediate Tie-off
The button on the top right is the immediate tie-off button.

When pressed while sewing, the immediate tie-off button will sew a few tie-off stitches, then automatically stop. What a great feature to have, right? Gosh, I sure wish I had this feature when I was making Amy Butler's Alchemy sample quilt for her booth for Fall Market last year. Making all of those triangles would have gone so much smoother! :)

Presser Foot Up and Extra Lift Toggle
Press the second button down on the right for the presser foot to raise:

Once pressed, the presser foot raises up, like so, to a comfortable height . . . (note: needle is down in this image because I had the 'needle down' button engaged from last week's tutorial. This shows you how the presser foot up button still works, whether your needle is up or down!).

Press the button a second time, and your presser foot will raise to an extra height . . .

This second, higher position will allow you to easily insert and remove bulky projects, such as a sandwiched quilt top. Isn't that fantastic? :)

Presser Foot Down and Pivot Toggle
The final button we're covering this week is the third button down on the right . . .

Since my images on how this button works would simply show the presser foot in the "down" position, I'll share with you that if you press this button a second time, the presser foot will raise to a height where you can pivot your work when needed, then lower automatically when you start sewing again.

Thanks so much for learning these buttons right along with me! Next week, we'll be covering the presser feet, as well as how to achieve a perfect quarter-inch seam!

Please be sure to ask any questions you may have and I'll address them in an upcoming blog.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Issue Winner Announced!

To all who participated in my Giveaway of 1 issue of "Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks", thank you! I thank you for sharing the projects you're working on! I always enjoy hearing what you all are sewing!

The winner of my extra issue of the magazine is . . .

. . . using an online random number generator:

Congratulations to Dee!