Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rosie's Tidbits

Well I woke up early (about 3 AM) last Tuesday morning and realized that I had forgotten to post my Monday Night Tidbit. Almost did it again too! But here goes with two sweet short ones:

Had this bright idea the other day while I was trying to put elastic through a tube. What if I added a safety pin across the elastic to keep it from coming through the tube? It worked! No more worrying that I will pull the elastic too far inside the tube.
Happy Stitching! Rose ♥

And here's one for those of you who use a scanner or may use a scanner some day. I like to scan odd objects now and then and worried about scratching the glass on my scanner until now. Now I just place a blank unused transparency sheet on the bed. It doesn't interfer with with scan and my glass bed is protected from scratches. Try it I'm sure you'll be happy you did!
Happy Scanning! Rose ♥

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rosie's Monday Night Tidbits

Things I like in my sewing room:
Sticky Notes

When I’m working on a project that requires adjustments to my sewing machine, stitch length, stitch type, feed dogs, etc. I make a note of what I’ve done on a sticky back notepad. That way if I’m interrupted and have to turn my machine off (or if I’ll be using it over the course of days) I can stick the notes to my machine and I’ll have all the settings I need to continue. No more trying to remember what I did the last time!

Index Cards

If you have something that you do frequently but not every day, jot the steps down on an index card. Punch a hole in the corner of the card. Slide it unto a binder (book) ring and hang it near your work area. That way the next time you go to do it you have the steps to follow.
Happy Stitching! Rose ♥

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rosie's Monday Night Tidbits

I have always had pinking shears in my supplies but I never used them much until now.
I started using them recently to pink around some round shapes. Now I discovered they are better then cutting the corners of new fabric before washing. It helps to keep the fabric from fraying so much. I pink the whole cut edge before washing. Now if I could only find my pinking rotary blade! Better yet if we could get fabric stores to use the pinking blade!
And yes I prewash my fabrics because they contain chemicals that could be harmful to your body.
I also have been using my pinking shears to eliminate bulk in my seams. This has been great for a crazy patch quilt I am working on.
Tips I learned this month

I was having trouble with my pinking shears not cutting good and they were very stiff so I did some searching on the internet. Here’s what I found from two different sources:
When not in use oil the cutting edges with regular sewing machine oil do not use cooking oil. After a few cuts on waste material there will be no harm done to the fabric. To prevent rust regularly wipe the blades with an oily cloth, preferably of natural fiber. A spot of oil placed on the screw will help to keep an even tension of the scissor. Irreparable damage at the pivot can occur if not oiled.
Remove the scissor from the original plastic packaging and replace with either a leather cover or one made from natural fiber such as calico. This will prevent any condensation forming from the plastic. Gently wipe off the blades with a soft fabric scrap after each use to prevent lint and tiny particles from building up on the blades and clogging the screw-assembly pivot area. Scissors can be washed with soap and water if they're thoroughly dried and oiled.
A drop of oil makes a big difference. Several times a year place a drop of sewing machine oil at the screw assembly between the blades. This reduces friction so cutting feels smoother. After oiling, wipe off the blades and make a few cuts on scrap fabric to remove any excess oil.
Keep scissors in a safe, cool and dry place. In high humidity areas, regularly wipe the blades with a light coating of oil to prevent rust or corrosion.
Happy Stitching! Rose ♥

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rosie's Monday Night Tidbits

Things I like to keep in my sewing area:

Parchment Paper
Use when working with fusible material , place fusing between parchment paper to protect your iron and ironing board. The fusing won’t stick to the paper and you can clean the paper with a dry green scrubbie and use it again.
Use parchment paper to protect delicate material when pressing. Place paper over the delicate area and then press.

Things I can’t live without: Binding and Hem Clips
I recently used these while finishing the binding on a quilt. No more pin pokes and scratches, no more thread getting caught on the pins. It made stitching down the binding a pleasure and a breeze! And yes they look similar to the ones used as hairclips which would work just as well.

Something else I’ve fallen in love with: White Marking Pen by Clover
At first I didn’t like this pen, then I discovered if you wait a few minutes after marking the line shows up just fine. It doesn’t rub off as you are working either. But the best thing about this pen is the marking is removed with heat from an iron. So when you are done just touch a hot iron to it and it’s gone. Just be sure you are done with the mark before using an iron on it. Also if you need to make a change to your marking just erase it with the iron. And of course be sure the item you are working on can take heat and always test on a scrap first.
How cool is that!

Happy Stitching! Rose ♥

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rosie's Monday Night Tidbits

Candy for your sewing needlesOkay so I've been meaning to start this for some time now. Why I chose Monday nights I'm not sure but it seems like I always forgot it was Monday night when Monday night rolled around. I'd wake up Tuesday morning and remember what I had planned to do the night before. And it is still Monday night here in Hawaii! So here goes the first one!

I've decided to add a post to my blog to hold my sewing, crafting hints, tips, and tricks. Welcome to the first of many (hopefully!). Please plan to check back weekly to get the latest.

A little known trick has to do with emery powder used to sharpen needles. You know the little strawberry thing attach to the tomato pincushion. Yes it's full of emery powder and it's use is to sharpen your needles. Nowadays people are coming up with all sorts of cute ways to get your needles sharpened. To get the emery powder (or sand) to work it's beNeedles in the candyst magic just squeeze it between your fingers and push your needle through several times. This creates enough friction or pressure to really do the job. Kinda like how you use an emery board to file your nails. And did you know that you can sharpen your sewing machine needles too? Just don't push it in past the start of the shank or you will make a large hole in the fabric and some powder may come out. Sand works much the same way as emery powder. A coarse sand will actually help remove corrosion/rust that you get in a humid place like Hawaii. I use a mixture of emery powder and sand in my needle candies. Yes candy for your needles,Squeeze the candy and push the needle back and forth to sharpen they'll love you for it and sew much better! Check them out in my Etsy shop.
Tune in next week for amother one of Rosie's Monday Night Tidbits!

P.S. I have a cute little owl coming to my shop soon whose ears have a secret! I'm going to post a picture of them on my facebook page soon so look for me there and become a fan of Big Island Rose Designs!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Sansei Quilt - A Love Story

My first sighting of the Quilt as it appeared in the new restaurant
The phone rang. A familiar voice greeted me, "Hi mom". A little chitchat with my daughter and then the famous words “Mom can you do something for me?” Now what mom can resist a request like that? She continued “remember how you made a friendship quilt for the pastor's wife?” Hesitantly I replied “yeah” wondering what was coming next. “Well the workers and I thought it would be really cool to give one to Sansei's mom.”

A sampling of the fabric used in the quilt

My daughter at this time worked for Sansei Restaurant in Honolulu. Most of the crew consisted of young kids about her age. The owner’s mother Sandy was like a mother to them, helping them on the job, listening to them, encouraging them, and being a mentor and good role model. Her love for her son, his restaurant, his crew and his patrons shone through. She lit up the restaurant whenever she was there. It was her love for her son and for people that drove her. So I agreed to help the crew make this surprise gift for her. It was to be presented at their annual Christmas party. We agreed to get the plans laid out for it, buy the muslin, paints, get the workers to decorate their squares, and have everything ready for me to start sewing by Thanksgiving. Well my daughter became sick and there was a delay in the plans. She worked hard to get the crew to paint their squares. I finally received them on my birthday, December 8th. Oh boy only two weeks to put this baby together! Still much can be accomplished when a mother's love is involved.

I had already begun to shop for fabric. I looked for Japanese looking fabrics that had some purple in them. I knew I wanted the purple becausThe Sensei logo done on fabrice one of the requirement for the quilt was that it have the restaurant’s logo on it - a big purple octopus! My daughter had faxed me the logo with the instructions that it was to include the words Sansei’s Mom. I painted the octopus, laser printed the words, and iron transferred them around the octopus, and then painted them gold. The letters didn't stand out enough so I embroidered around them (by hand of course) in gold thread. I work full-time so mind you I'm squeezing all this into an already full schedule.

Once I received the squares I could start laying out the quilt. And were they colorful! It was an odd number of squares so I had the top and bottom laid out but wasn't sure how to do the center. My daugher called me one day and shared her dream, seems “I had shipped the quilt to her and as she excitedly opened the quilt there was this large, empty hole smack dab in the center. Confused and alarmed she called on her sewing cousin to try and salvage the quilt.” I laughed and explained to her the dilemma I was having with the layout. She said she was going to pray for me and that must have worked as the layout came to me shortly after that. As you can see it worked out okay!A sampling of the painted squares
I added a hanging sleeve and finished stitching the binding on by hand the morning of the party. My husband agreed to take the quilt over to her. As he left on the plane it was all I could do to drive back home and collapse from exhaustion. How I would have loved to be there as my daughter saw it and as it was presented to Sansei’s mom! But sleepless nights and nonstop sewing prevented me from going.

Building that quilt was quite the challenge, from designing, to shopping for just the right fabric, to mad dashes to the store for more of one fabric. Once, my husband had to drive me on a 50 mile round trip in monsoon like weather just to get me to the store before they closed. (I had called to make sure they had what I needed and would hold it for me.)
The quilt as it was hanging in the restaurant
Needless to say my daughter was surprised and thrilled by the quilt. She said “I thought you would just sew the squares together”. (lol) And Sandy, Sansei’s mom, was overjoyed with the gift. I was able to meet her and her husband and the crew later. She told me how she cried and cried because she was so touched by the thoughtfulness of the staff and the love I put into the making of the quilt. Sandy decided to have the quilt mounted behind Plexiglas and hung in the restaurant for all to enjoy. She felt bad and apologized more than once because the framers had to remove my hand stitching of the binding in order to stretch it.

After it was hung in the restaurant I had a chance to visit her again. We laughed together because - well the bottom was a little wavy after being stretched. But Sandy said it was like ocean waves. She always pointed out how wonderful the fabric selection was “this reminds me of the mountains of Oahu, and that reminds me of …” but always the love shown through.

A few years later I had a chance to go back to Oahu for a two-day class. As I was on the web checking out the hotel where I would be staying I discovered her son had opened a restaurant in the hotel. I was excited but not sure how I would get to the restaurant where the quilt was since my daughter had moved to San Francisco. After checking into the hotel I decided to scope out the hotel complex and find the restaurant. As I began to approach it I couldn't believe my eyes! There right in the entrance hung the Sansei’s Mom Quilt! Well I began to examine it and criticize my work. My quilting in the ditch wasn't always in the ditch and then of course there was the wavy bottom.

Then I brought myself up short – “wait a minute that isn't what this quilt is all about.

It was not made to hang in a museum or compete in a contest, it was made to show love. A mother's love for her son, a mother's love for her daughter, a crew’s love for their mentor.

In other words this quilt was meant to be - a true love story!