Monday, September 24, 2012

Fabulous Kaye England Class on Accurate Cutting and Patchwork

Kaye England
Happy Monday, friends!  First of all, I want to send a big thank you out to all of you who voted for my Sugar Shack Leaves quilt in Quilting Gallery's "Fall Glory" themed quilt contest over the weekend.  My quilt was selected as one of the winners, and I won copies of two Quilter's Cookbooks.  Thank you!

Moving right along...  I attended a fantastic class taught by Kaye England on Saturday at my local Bernina dealership.  When I signed up for the class, I had no idea who Kaye was or what the class would be about, but it turned out to be time and money well spent.  I've learned most of what I know about patchwork and quilting from books, magazines, and the Internet, so the whole experience of a room full of quilters learning together was a novelty for me.  Although I didn't expect to know anyone else taking the class, I was pleasantly surprised to see the realtor who helped us find our first home in Charlotte in 1999 AND my very first customer, back from when I first started sewing draperies to justify my expensive sewing habit in 2001.  This is a woman who lost my unlisted phone number and actually went knocking on doors in my neighborhood to find me again the next time she wanted to hire me.  It was so nice that she recognized and remembered me after so many years!  I had no idea either one of these ladies was even a quilter.

But, even without the surprise reunions and hugs, this class was more than worthwhile, and here's why:
  1. Kaye showed me a little engraved line on my sewing machine's stitch plate, just in front of the needle, that marks a perfect quarter inch seam for patchwork.  I've had this sewing machine since 2005 and I had NO IDEA that little guide line was there.  This is going to make it a lot easier to get a consistent quarter inch patchwork seam so that all of the pieces fit togethe properly and my blocks finish the correct size.
  2. I learned that my rotary cutting tool was skipping because it had a dull, nicked blade, and that the blade was screwed in too tight, causing me lots of unecessary aggravation, difficulty, and wasted time when cutting fabric.  I bought a new blade for about ten dollars, and now my rotary cutter is gliding through fabric as effortlessly as a hot knife goes through butter!
  3. I learned -- and this is going to sound blasphemous -- that I can get better results by NOT ironing every seam after the entire block is completed!  Hallelujah! 
The focus of the class was on how to use the special Cut for the Cure rulers that Kaye designed for Nifty Notions (and yes, I did buy the whole set of 'em).  A portion of the proceeds from this line benefits breast cancer research.  My old rulers were a motley assortment of Creative Grid and Omnigrid, and I only had a couple of strip cutters that I was using for everything.  My new rulers have sight lines for aligning my fabric edge on every single line, and I love how the special half square and quarter square triangle rulers eliminate the necessity of cutting multiple strip widths for every block.  My next quilt is going to be a Storm at Sea, and I am going to want every little triangle to have a sharp point and every seam intersection to match up perfectly.  These rulers will make that much easier to accomplish, AND I got a DVD with the set that shows exactly how to use each ruler. 

Anyway, I highly recommend that you take a class with Kaye if you ever have the opportunity to do so.

Next on my sewing agenda: I want to finish up an in-progress window treatment for my laundry room in the next few days that my husband has been nagging me to make for over a year, and then I need to complete Paula Reid's September Free-Motion Quilting Challenge, hosted by SewCalGal, before the end of the month. 


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Congrats on winning! So, tell us why you have more success NOT pressing your seams? Perhaps a blog post about that? That is revolutionary to me!

Rebecca Grace said...

Two reasons, Jenny. First, because it's so easy to distort a bias triangle seam when you're pressing it. So Kaye says to finger press it in the air instead, at your machine. Second, if you don't press until the block is done, you get to decide which way the seams go as you're sewing instead of making that decision at the ironing board. She presses each completed block before assembling the quilt top, but by that point you're dealing with squares instead of stretchy bias seams.

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Hi Rebecca...thanks for your comment on my FMQ sample. I usually like the air soluable pens; but lately they don't seem to be marking dark enough. They are all acting like they do when almost worn out! it makes me wonder how long they last even when not

Have you tried the water soluable??

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Thank you for the answer on pressing seams-it makes total sense!

Elaine said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and checking out the September challenge design. I left a response to your comment ;0)

Now back to quilting!

Ivory Spring said...


I chuckled at the part about the dull blade. I keep forgetting to change out mine too!