Free Craft: Magnetic Bookmarks

By Beth Novak

We now live in an age of e-readers, whether it be a Kindle, a Nook, an iPad, or some other device, but I still find nothing more relaxing than an old-fashion page turner at the beach! As you’re reading this I’m soaking up the sun on my favorite island in North Carolina (okay, really I’m hiding under an umbrella, but you get the idea). I have a stack of library books to work through – and the only thing I have to worry about is losing my bookmark to the stiff ocean breeze.

magnetic bookmarks

Even if you’re not outside, it’s handy to have a bookmark that stays put. Little fingers love to pull my bookmarks out of my books, and as long as I make one of these for my son as well, I get to keep my page marked.

Magnetic Bookmark Supplies:

*A note about the magnets: They need to be strong enough to hold through two layers of fabric and two layers of interfacing, as well as your book’s page. The black ones you see in the photo below ended up being too thick, and two pieces of adhesive magnet strip were too weak. I ended up using smaller “super strong” magnets (inset) I found at the local craft shop. They were perfect.

use strong magnets

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric 4.25” x 2.5”. Repeat with interfacing.

cut fabric and interfacing

  1. Iron the interfacing to the wrong sides of the fabric. If you haven’t used fusible interfacing before, the most important thing to remember is that the shiny side of the interfacing has the glue on it. Simply line it up with your fabric and iron. If the shiny side is up, you will get a mess stuck to your iron!

iron interfacing to fabric

  1. Now is a good time to check the strength of your magnets. Take one of your fabric/interfacing pieces and fold it over a page of a book. Put a magnet on either side. If they hold you’re set. If they slide off, you’ll need stronger magnets.

check magnet strength

  1. Place fabric right sides together (you should see your interfacing) and sew 1/4” seam around the edges, leaving a turning hole. Backstitch or lock stitch at your starting and stopping points.

place fabric right sides together

  1. Clip the corners, being careful not to cut into the thread.

clip the corners

  1. Turn your bookmark right side out. Gently poke out the corners either with scissors (this can be dangerous so be careful not to poke through your seams!), or a laying tool.
  2. Now it’s time to add those magnets. You want to create “pockets” to keep the magnets in place, and you want to make sure that the polarity of each magnet is correct so they attract each other rather than repulse.

Start by sliding one of your magnets through the hole in your bookmark to the bottom. With a zipper foot on your machine, hold the magnet in place with your finger and sew a square around it so it stays in place.

turn bookmark right side out

If, like me, your sewing machine is made of metal, this might be difficult. That magnet is strong! What I did instead, while holding the magnet in place, draw (with a water soluble pen or chalk) on either edge of the magnet.

draw around magnet with water soluble pen

Slide the magnet back out and sew on either line. Slide the magnet back in and then sew a seam across the “top,” locking the magnet in place.

sew around magnet

Repeat with the other magnet at the other end, making sure you leave enough room to close the seam, and when the bookmark is folded in half, the magnets attract each other.

  1. Sew the hole closed, either by edge stitching around all four sides of the bookmark, or by whip stitching with a needle and thread.

sew the hole closed

Relax and enjoy!

enjoy book with bookmark


beth novak headshot

 

Beth Novak is a mother, wife, sewist, blogger, and comedienne (in her own mind) living in southeast Ohio. She also finds time to work full time as a professor of digital media. Contact her at modernJax@gmail.com, or find her on FlickrTwitter, and Pinterest, too!


60mm-rotary-and-cutting-mat-set_cta

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Quilts Have Improved My Life

By Kathy Mathews

The wonderful thing about being a quilter is that the impact on my life is so deep and varied. Being a quilter and making quilts has ripples in my life that are fun and immediate as well and profound and long term. In fact, before I wrote this I had really fully realized how much better my life is because I make quilts.

quilting has improved my life image 01

First and foremost, the very action of planning a quilt is positive. It activates the creative recesses of my brain as well as sequential and logical thinking. I have to measure, be accurate and figure things out. It’s stimulating for my thoughts and keeps my brain lively and awake.

In addition to doing the math of fabric purchasing and placement, color theory is utilized. Does this match? Will this stand out? Are these colors complementary or clashing? Do I want a soothing palette or a bright combination that will jump out and say hello?

My arms, hands and legs all get a work out as I cut, design and cut some more. Hand/eye coordination is essential as I piece my blocks. I have adequate lighting, ergonomic chairs and items just far enough away to keep me moving in the process.

All these physical improvements to my body are terrific and nearly enough to justify quilting. Lucky for me the benefits just keep on coming.

In order to keep up with quilting, I have to learn how to use new tools and techniques. Learning new skills makes me feel pretty darn clever. And when I finish my masterpiece, I have wonderful feelings of worth and self-esteem. It’s a pretty great feeling to have produced a work of art, I am happy and proud.

Learning new ways to communicate is key to being a quilter as well. I am on Twitter just to keep up with my twilter buddies. I joined Instagram so I could see pictures of modern quilts. I learned how to write a blog so I would be able to spread my love of quilting.

Mastering different aspects of Facebook is part of my sewing life also. I have a page for my blog, a secret group of blogger buddies and another of quilting friends. I look up YouTube videos to learn new techniques. I text pictures of my quilts to guild friends.

If I was not a quilter, I would not be proficient in half the technology advancements which I have mastered. This allows me to communicate better with family members and know what is going on in the world. I love knowing about antique quilts and cutting edge technology.

quilting has improved my life image 02

My body and brain are kept sharp with quilting. I am more creative, have good feelings about myself and keep up with technology. But these fabulous attributes are perhaps not what I love most about quilting in my life.

For quite some time, I was a solitary quilter, blooming in the desert in a way. Now with all the ways to communicate, my quilting community has mushroomed in size. I exchange messages and comments with quilters all over the world.

I see quilts from many countries, read blogs from various locations and meet up with friends I know only digitally at large quilt shows. All of these quilters have added to my life in so many ways. Not only do they provide tips and ideas but love and support.

When I was grieving my stillborn granddaughter, quilters I had never met in person were there for me. I received books, messages and gifts. These quilters helped me get back up on my feet and flourishing again.

I have talked with quilters in shows, shops and guild meetings. We have the love of quilts in common and know that the rest really doesn’t matter.

Quilters help each other out without regard for borders, ethnicity or religion. I have been part of quilts for quilters who needed a quilt and no one cared about their politics, race or language. Quilts transcend the superficial and address the basic human needs of love and compassion.

People in nations across the world should follow the example of quilters. Their physical and mental would improve as well as their tech skills. Love, compassion and understanding would prevail instead of hatred and violence.

And everyone would sleep better, ensconced in a handmade quilt.


head-shot-2-134x200Kathy Mathews has been sewing for 49 years and quilting for 31, which is odd as she’s so young. She taught Spanish and French full time for 35 years in Illinois Public schools and then continued at the college level until 2014. During all that time, quilting and sewing allowed her a creative outlet and kept her sane. In addition to needle arts she is an avid reader, swimmer, traveler and yoga newbie.  She blogs mainly about quilting at www.ChicagoNow.com. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to the cutest two year old girl in all the land. You can email her at quiltingsewingcreating@gmail.com.


 

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Quilting Through Life

Making a Quilt is Just Like Living Your Life

By Kathy Mathews

I was lucky enough to do a tiny bit of quilting and sewing at a young age. I was visiting my Aunts who never sat without doing something with their hands. They let me pick out some orange scraps and taught me how to make a simple nine patch, by hand. I admired all their quilts and the fact that in their basement there was always a quilt on a frame. I was a child so my sewing was simple, non-accurate and full of delight.

kathy mathews with family

As I got a bit older, I no longer could just sew whatever, I needed to learn skills. I was lucky enough to take Home Ec in Jr. High and have a drama director’s wife who was my stitch mentor. I was encouraged and slowly learned how to sew with accuracy. I could actually create what I wanted to create and it was intoxicating. By honing my abilities and learning boundaries, it became way more fun.

But into each life some criticism must come and mine did in my twenties. I took a tailoring class in college and a quilting class in my late 20’s. Sewing was no longer, YAY for you, it was rip it out and do that again. To fascination and satisfaction, I was adding discipline. I liked being really accurate and knowing the exact way to do something even if I have changed things up since then. Precision and discipline added to the enjoyment.

As I added family, jobs and duties to my plate, my sewing became something of an outlet for me. I began to learn how to quilt for pleasure and it was my therapy in those busy years. I was repeating what I had learned, I was adding muscle memory and understanding why I was doing what I was doing in my 30’s and 40’s. In life and in quilting, I made mistakes. I had to redo and decide if it was good enough.

In those days my life as a whole was like a scrap quilt – a pleasing look but boy oh boy, there were some really ugly fabrics and even blocks in there. I quilted my way through sadness, disappointment and even resentment. I used my sewing to celebrate my children and their triumphs in life. I learned that there was good and bad in life and quilts.

kathy mathews' quilt

As my life got easier in my 40’s and 50’s, I didn’t need the structure and rigidity of traditional quilting to help keep me stitched together. First I began to experiment with color and make more difficult quilts. I learned to love again and to expand my quilting skills. When life was happier my quilting started to become more risky. I didn’t need a guaranteed sure fire success; I could hope rather than know that something would
turn out.

Now I am in my early 60’s and my quilting reflects my life, as always. I am retired and have more free time. I have made many of the quilts I had wanted to make, the obligatory sewing. Now I can fly free, try wild combinations or the most traditional. I can use bright colors or just black and white. I am a modern traditional quilter, a combination.

But more than that, I am an unfettered quilter. I have time to do challenges. I have the confidence to attempt whatever piques my interest and the skills to pull it off. And even if I don’t, that’s okay also. I have had enough success that now I can deal with failure. Doesn’t look exactly like I wanted, let’s try it again.

At this age, peer pressure is gone. I can wear funky clothes and shoes or very comfortable utilitarian duds. I can have short greyish hair or put in some highlights. I can quilt with solids, imported cottons or a super bargain I have in my stash.

Freedom in life, freedom in quilting they are both magnificent to achieve.



Kathy Mathews has been sewing for 49 years and quilting for 31, which is odd as she’s so young. She taught Spanish and French full time for 35 years in Illinois Public schools and then continued at the college level until 2014. During all that time, quilting and sewing allowed her a creative outlet and kept her sane. In addition to needle arts she is an avid reader, swimmer, traveler and yoga newbie.  She blogs mainly about quilting at www.ChicagoNow.com. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to the cutest two year old girl in all the land. You can email her at quiltingsewingcreating@gmail.com.


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Free Project: Quilted Christmas Pillow

Make This Easy Holly Jolly Christmas Pillow

By Terry White ©2012

01-holly-jolly-pillow-401x336

Here is a cheery bright modern holiday pillow pattern. This simple construction includes a flange edge and a sham back…so no fooling with trying to stuff and hand stitch an edge…yay!

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It really is the fabrics that make this a great pillow. For the background of the design, I chose a heavy canvas decorator fabric (it was a remnant). Cut the stripe fabric 15” x 13”. For the holly berries and leaves, I chose single color on color print fabrics that “read” as solids in contrast to the multicolored stripe. After trying out a few fabrics for the flange edge, the red polka dot really seemed to compliment the whimsy of the other fabric choices. The red and green fabrics are sort of polka dotty.

trace-and-fuse-448x336

Trace the berry and leaf shapes onto the fusible web. Rough cut and press them onto the fabrics according to the manufacturer’s directions. Then, I do a little pre-pull of the paper back so that when I cut out the shapes with the fabric it will be easy to take that pre-pulled paper and peel it off.

04-fuse-and-layout-383x336

Cut out the shapes and lay them onto the background stripe. You can arrange these shapes in a variety of ways. In fact, I think it would be neat to make three pillows with each arranged in a different manner.

Fuse shapes. If you want, you may stitch around the edges of the shapes – I didn’t.

Cut the polka dot fabric 2 inches wider than the striped background on each side. So, I cut my fabric 17” x 19”. This will add body to the pillow and be the border flange.

05-measure-border-448x336

I keep different widths of hem tape. This is fusible web cut in a ribbon with or without paper backing. The one I used here is ¾ inch wide. I used it to fuse baste the
panel onto the polka dot fabric.

06-fuse-baste-448x336

I cut my hem tape shorter than each edge of the fabric, placed it, then fused
the edge of the fabric to the polka dot.

07-stitch-choice-336x391

Next – to stitch the top fabric to the polka dot, I chose an edge stitch. The fuse basting helps me to have a nice flat surface on which to stitch…no pins on this step.

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I used a 30 weight cotton thread to stitch along the edge. Use a 90/14 machine embroidery needle on this step. The needle works with the thread and the heavy combination of fabrics. I also loosened the top tension on the embroidery stitch for a fuller look. I used the open toe appliqué foot so that I could see to stitch right along the edge of the design panel.

This completes the pillow top…give it a press.

09-prepare-back-448x336

The next step is to make the pillow sham back. Cut two pieces of fabric 13” x 17”, I chose to use a different red polka dot fabric. Why did I do this?…because I used scraps
for the whole project, that’s why.

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Fold and press ¼ inch along one long side of each fabric piece. Notice that I have
a piece of ¾ inch hem tape which I will use along the edge.

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Fold and press 3/4 inch hem.

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With the hem tape in between, fuse the hem and do the same for the other piece of fabric.

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Overlap the two hemmed pieces of fabric, so that they measure 17” x 19”. I used to stitch baste these pieces together, but now I fuse baste them.

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Cut a piece of hem tape the length of the overlap. I also cut it so it would
only be ¼ inch wide. Fuse.

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This is what the sham back looks like. It is the same size as the pillow top
with a hemmed overlap.

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Place pillow top and backing right sides together.

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Give it a little press.

18-pin-pin-pin-448x227

Pin, Pin, Pin.

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Stitch around the whole pillow with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

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Press the seam.

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Turn right side out. I like to use this little wooden point to poke out the corners
and edges of the pillow.

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This is the pillow at this point. Give it a press.

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Pin along the edge of the design panel, pinning the back and front together.

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This is a picture of the stitch I chose to stitch the pillow front and back together at the border flange. It is called a lightning stitch. I think it is more fun than a regular zig zag or satin stitch. I used the same machine settings and set up as the first stitching.

25-edge-stitch448x336

Edge stitch the along the design panel. This stitch complements the first stitch.
It is also a sturdy stitch as it is the pillow edge.

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Stuff the pillow or add a pillow insert into the back of the pillow.

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Add a button to the back if you like – and you’re done!

For more free Christmas patterns, click here.
And click here, for the best quilting/embroidery scissors.


TerryWhiteTerry White is a studio fiber artist. She has been doing this work since 1996, and she discovered the techniques she uses (threadpaint, machine appliqué, piece, quilt, embellish with beads, fibers and minutiae with sewing machine techniques) through experimentation and self-study. Terry teaches these techniques through classes and videos. Over the years Terry has been published in over 50 articles in magazines and books, including McCall’s Needlework, Quilter’s Newsletter, Machine Embroidery and Textile Arts, CMA trade magazine, Stitch n Sew Quilts, Quick n Easy Quilts, Quilt World magazine and Calendar, Quilting Arts Calendar 2003, America from the Heart, America’s Best and America Sews. She is a wife, stitcher, artist, sister, mother, friend, nana, gardener, baker, writer, student, teacher and American.  See more of Terry’s work at www.threadpaint.com.

 


 

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Craft Project: Fan Scissor Wrap

By Terry White

Fan Scissor Wrap #1

This project was so much fun that I kept making more in different styles. The first one received enough ooohs and ahhhs from friends that I knew this would have to become presents for my girls … all my girls!! AND, each one will suit the personality of the friend.

When you open up the wrap, there are three pockets for three different scissors. The pockets will hold scissors eight inches and smaller. This is my personal fan scissors wrap and such a fun craft to make!

The three scissors I use the most are:
1. Havel’s Bent Embroidery Scissors when I thread paint and use the decorative embroidery stitches on my Bernina.
2. Havel’s 7″ Serrated Scissors when I cut most fabrics and slippy trims.
3. Havel’s 5 1/2″ Curved Scissors when I cut appliqué shapes.

Fan Scissor Wrap #2

Supplies:

  • Four fabrics — I used cotton, but you can use anything you want!
  • 6”x12” scraps of three, and 17”x24” piece for the lining and pocket
  • Fusible interfacing — one piece 12”x17”
  • Fusible web — one piece 20”x20”
  • Beautiful threads for embroidery — I used Star Cottons, multi-colors (from the group which I designed). Choose threads and colors which will enhance your fabrics.
  • Shank button
  • Large two hole button
  • Elastic cord — 5” length
  • Beads and baubles for decoration
  • Permanent fabric markers — to color the elastic and (optional) to color the edge before or after edge stitching all around the wrap.
  • Havel’s Jumbo Rotary Cutter
  • Havel’s Bent Embroidery Scissors
  • Havel’s 7” Serrated Scissors
  • Felt or ultrasuede scraps — for labels
  • Clear plastic scraps — for label windows
  • Cardstock for ID’s

There are three main pieces to this project: the decorated cover, lining and scissor pocket.

The Decorated Cover

1. Use pattern piece A: Trace the shape onto fusible interfacing and cut out.

2. Use pattern pieces B, C, D, E, F: Trace each shape onto desired fabric and cut out.

Fan Scissor Wrap #3

Fan Scissor Wrap #4

Fan Scissor Wrap #5

Fan Scissor Wrap #6b

3. Lay the fabric shapes side by side onto the fusible interfacing and press.

Fan Scissor Wrap #7

4. Decorate with decorative stitching and beautiful threads.

*Tip: Because this is a project that will get a lot of use, I don’t add too many delicate
details. This will be different for different styles, but add what you like!

5. Trim the excess interfacing and rough edges of decorative cover. Use this as a pattern and cut out your lining piece and a piece of fusible web. Set aside.

Scissor Pocket

6.Use pattern piece G: Trace shape onto lining fabric. This is the scissor pocket.

Fan Scissor Wrap #8

7. Fold the top edge of the pocket piece 1/2 inch and press. Use a piece of fusible web to tack it down.

Fan Scissor Wrap #9

8. Add fusible web to extra strips of lining fabric. Iron them to the wrong side
of the pocket along the fold lines. This adds stability to the pockets.

9. Decorate the top edge with decorative stitching.

10. Decorate the two sides of each scissor pocket fold with a row of decorative stitches.

Fan Scissor Wrap #10

11. Lay the pocket onto the lining fabric. Stitch the pocket to the lining with a
lightening stitch along the fold lines.

Final Construction

12. Apply fusible web to the back of the decorative cover according to manufacturer’s directions.

13. Press the pocket and liner to the back of the decorative cover.

Fan Scissor Wrap #11

14. Finish edge all around. I used two threads through a 90/14 needle with an overcast stitch. This is a great place to use a serger.

Fan Scissor Wrap #12

15. Attach a two hole button to the cover with colored elastic cord. Use a permanent marking pen to color the elastic. Make a loop and knot it.

Fan Scissor Wrap #13

Pull the two ends of the elastic through the back of the button. Use an awl to make two holes large enough for the elastic to go through the cover. Knot the elastic on the back.

16. Sew a shank button on the cover to finish the closure.

Fan Scissor Wrap #14

Fan Scissor Wrap #15

17. Add a bead drop to the bottom.

18. The bead drop was made from parts of old jewelry and lovely one-of-a-kind glass beads. The heart pin is from a box of costume jewelry I bought years ago. The big pink button I used is vintage, but one I considered using is from Blumenthal called “Cut Outs” which I picked up in the Green Room at a Quilting Arts TV shoot!

Fan Scissor Wrap #16

19. Follow the photos to make the label windows and ID’s.

Fan Scissor Wrap #17

Fan Scissor Wrap #18

The plastic window is glued to the inside of the suede frame. The frame is glued to the scissor pockets on the sides and the bottom — this way, the cardboard ID label slides right in.

Fan Scissor Wrap Pattern A (A,B,C,D)

Fan Scissors Wrap Pattern A (B, C, D, E, F Combined)

Fan Scissor Wrap D, E, F

Fan Scissors Wrap Pattern D, E, F

Fan Scissor Wrap Pattern G (H Combined Three Times)

Fan Scissors Wrap Pattern G (H Combined Three Times)

Click here for a printable PDF version of Terry’s Fan Scissors Wrap.

Havel's Sewing quilting, applique and embroidery scissors


About Terry White:

TerryWhiteTerry White is a studio fiber artist. She has been doing this work since 1996, and she discovered the techniques she uses (threadpaint, machine appliqué, piece, quilt, embellish with beads, fibers and minutiae with sewing machine techniques) through experimentation and self-study. Terry teaches these techniques through classes and videos. Over the years Terry has been published in over 50 articles in magazines and books, including McCall’s Needlework, Quilter’s Newsletter, Machine Embroidery and Textile Arts, CMA trade magazine, Stitch n Sew Quilts, Quick n Easy Quilts, Quilt World magazine and Calendar, Quilting Arts Calendar 2003, America from the Heart, America’s Best and America Sews. She is a wife, stitcher, artist, sister, mother, friend, nana, gardener, baker, writer, student, teacher and American.  See more of Terry’s work at www.threadpaint.com.

 

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