Posts Tagged ‘easy to sew’

Good Foundations for Your Piecing

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Let’s imagine you’re looking for the perfect Winter project.

It should have a real wow factor, but also be doable in small pieces. Maybe you’ll be working by the light of a single lantern in your sewing room…or maybe your Bernina will bask in Ott-Light bliss…. Whatever the circumstances, pre-printed muslin foundations are a really clever idea, and once your quilt is finished no one will know you used them — unless you tell them.


New Pieces has three new bolts of Benartex muslin foundation cloth right now. There is also a lovely quilt on display that was made using the fabric foundation method. (If it looks familiar it appeared in the last blog entry, too).

Small Challenge for 2012

Thursday, December 8th, 2011


Birds of a Feather

Next year is 2012 — We challenge you to make twelve 12″ x 12″ quiltlets next year, one per month, using a minimally invasive theme and incorporating a challenge fabric, somewhere on the surface of the piece.

Each month’s fabric and theme will be available in the Store on the first of the month, or at an optional preview/show & tell held as late as possible the previous month.

All finished pieces will be displayed on our website. Each month we will pick a “winner” from the completed quiltlets, to display in the Store the following month.  That quiltlet’s maker will also receive a small gift certificate.

“Flower Power” with Kim Butterworth

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

The photo above is a detail of the class sample quilt for Kim Butterworth’s one day (September 24th) class “Flower Power”.

This class is appropriate for students at all levels, and is a wonderful example of a simple, but stunning, quilt top that could easily become a gift for someone very special. “Flower Power” is considered to be both “Beginner Friendly” and a “Quick Quilt” class.

There are only a handful of spaces available at this point — don’t get closed out!


Extra-wide Fabric (We Have Your Back!)

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

With the latest arrivals, we now have a wonderful selection of extra-wide fabrics for quilt backs, comforter covers or anything else for which you need stunning 100% cottons in widths from 106″ to 112″.

  Amazing and easy — and less costly than piecing a comparable back!

Have you Made a New (School) Year’s Resolution?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

There’s a new school year right around the corner — Children are sharpening their pencils and laying out outfits and backpacks for return to the local grade schools. High school students are upgrading their high-techery and scuffing their shoes for an optimal first-day cool.  UC Berkeley is filling up, and classes start on Thursday; many of us have college students long gone for the Fall term. It was 78 degrees (F) in Berkeley today — a sure sign that the cool Summer weather is coming to an end, and a hot Bay Autumn is at hand. It’s time to get started, on something!

Becky Keck showing off a Freshly Quilted Work of Art (FQWA)

What’s your plan? Are you ready to do something new (or get back to doing something you used to love before life got so hectic?) Why not make your New Year’s Resolution NOW, at the beginning of the school year — instead of waiting until January when days are short, veggies are scarce and hibernation beckons?

Maybe this is the year you join a quilt guild; you can choose from the likes of  EBHQ , a venerable and powerful local group that meets in Kensington, the last Monday evening of the month (August 29th), or East Bay Modern Quilt Guild, a smaller newer group that meets at New Pieces on the last Tuesday (August 30). Here’s a list of other Quilt Guilds in the area, if you’re from farther out. You could finally take that class you’ve been meaning to at New Pieces. Maybe you can just make a promise to make yourself, and your sewing, a higher priority than it may have been lately.

Now is a perfect time to think about sharing a quilt or your skill with others:

You can make something for a loved one. You can teach a loved one, or an acquaintance, or a a classroom full of children to make something.

You can donate a quilt to either Quilts4Japan or Children’s Quilts/EBHQ . Q4J has collected hundreds of quilts to send to those in need; Children’s Quilts has packets of pre-selected, pre-cut fabrics available (free!) for you to assemble. You can pick one up at New Pieces Quilt Store; you can also drop off donations for either group at the Store, any time we are open.

EBHQ members can show off a quilt at the November meeting (“Show-and-Tell”) or start planning to display one in Voices in Cloth 2012 a sensational biennial quilt show to be held on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond.

There are so many other ways you can share your skills and knowledge. We just want to give you a little nudge, and encourage you to get started on what’s next. We’re living in challenging times. Sewing something is a calming, reassuring, affirming way to deal with uncertain times. Quilting is good for us and for everyone.

Happy New Year!

Amateur Hour…

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

This one’s personal: Last week I was getting ready to visit my family and wanted to take a present to my lovely mother-in-law. I found a pattern for a simple, reversible bag and decided to make a practice bag or two before using the fabric I’d been saving for her. Each bag was made from two pieces of fabric, each piece was almost 1/2 yard x 42″.

The directions are simple when you know the tricks… but, I had to learn every trick the hard way. I kicked myself several times for being such an amateur.

Over the course of two afternoons I made 8 different bags (there’s just a smidge of the 8th one on the left side of the picture above). While making them I made almost as many mistakes. On two I miss-read the directions for seaming the bottom corners, so those ones don’t stand flat. On two others I forgot to leave an opening in a side seam so the bag could be turned right side out. That problem was solved two different ways – once I seam-ripped an opening, once I put the opening in the bottom seam.  On one bag I sewed the bottom seam without re-orienting the bag; I fixed that by cutting the seam off and re-sewing it. My favorite mistake resulted in:

I forgot to cut the “handle” along the fold of the fabric, and solved that by cutting the pieces and re-arranging them, so this bag has both fabrics on both sides… (The bag is actually the same size and shape as the others, though the picture looks different.)

Somewhere in there I made the originally planned bag – with birds on one side and geranium leaves on the other  (my mother-in-law is both a birder and a gardener).

As far as I know her bag has none of the “mistakes” the other bags did — but here’s the thing — All the bags turned out nicely, and all the people I gave them to liked them. I learned lots from making them, but I learned even more from making and fixing my  mistakes without worrying about them. Each bag ended up looking perfect, with seams and boo boos sealed up inside. I hadn’t planned to make so many bags, or to give them all away, but have now done so joyfully.

Several times I accused myself of being an amateur  — but then remembered that the term “amateur” has nothing to do with perfection — it means “one who is a lover of”. I had a blast working on this non-quilt project, and it turned out well.  There was no mistake there!

Back soon, Heather!

Circles and Squares

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

In July and early August you have the opportunity to take two wonderful classes over three consecutive Saturdays:  Check out Cindi Cossen’s Jewel Squares (Quik Quilt) on Saturday July 30th, and Rebecca Rohrkaste’s Circles Another Way on July 23rd and August 6.

Jewel Squares with Cindi Cossen.  Saturday July 30

Cindi will show you how to make a quilt that almost sparkles, using many different fabrics and only one rectangular pattern piece.   Quick cutting and sewing techniques will get your quilt off to a fast start.

Join Cindi for this class that is easy enough for beginners and fun for all levels of quilter.





Circles Another Way, with Rebecca Rohrkaste

July 23 and August 6

Rebecca will show you free-hand cutting and sewing techniques (no templates, no pins!) that make stunning quarter-circle blocks for your next improvisational quilt.

There will be time to try variations, work on color choices with Rebecca, and begin a quilt top using your new skills.



Two Classes with Carol Lee

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

New Pieces is pleased to announce that our beloved Carol Lee is back on the class schedule in June, teaching two great classes on Thursday evenings.

On June 2nd she will reprise her perennial “Zen of Hand-Quilting” . Those of us who learned hand-quilting the hard way (trial & error, or from a book) can vouch for the wisdom of learning this skill from someone who knows all the tricks and tips.

While you practice your stitching Carol Lee will answer your questions and discuss supplies and resources for hand quilters.

If hand quilting is a meditation, Carol Lee is our guru.

On the following three Thursdays (June 9th, 16th and 23rd)  Carol Lee will teach a class that’s good for beginners, but appropriate and valuable for students at all skill levels —  “Begin with the Bento Box” .

This Bento Box pattern is a New Pieces tradition when pieced with dark and bright Asian fabrics (available in kit form in the Store).

The pattern is equally wonderful when done in batiks, or prints, or…..whatever you can imagine.

If you’re looking for a next project that looks harder than it really is, has straightforward construction and color combinations that sparkle, Bento Box is the class for you.


Disappearing Nine-Patch Class

Thursday, May 5th, 2011


with Cindi Cossen

May 21st, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Disappearing Nine-Patch is one of those patterns that seems more complex than it really is — the piecing is doable by quilters at all levels. With Cindi’s help you’ll make color and design decisions that can range from whimsical to sophisticated. (This could be the perfect place for that focus fabric you’ve been saving…)

Cindi teaches you what you need to know to complete your quilt top at home, unless you already finished it in class…

This class carries both new icons from the New Pieces class schedule.

That means it’s an adventure — but with an experienced tour guide!

Begin With a 9-Patch; Make a Stunning Quilt!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Detail of Becky’s Nine-Patch Quilt

2 Mondays, May 9 and 23

6:15 pm – 9:15 pm      All Levels


Begin With the 9-Patch is perfect for quilters of all experience levels who want to master a basic pieced quilt, while concentrating on color and pattern scale to make a quilt that really ‘sings’.
Teacher Becky Keck says, “The 9-patch is one of the most basic and easiest blocks to make. It either blends with the focus fabric or contrasts with it and moves your eye across the quilt.”
Beginners will learn use of the rotary cutter, basic piecing rules,  strip-piecing, block construction  and bordering. This class is one of the first marked with the “Beginner Friendly” icon, but it will still challenge anyone who takes it.