Winter Survival Kits
These have been a big hit, but the name turned out to be unfortunate, since much of the country was actually in survival mode for a few weeks! I haven't said much about them for a bit, since it sounded insensistive..., but hopefully you have all recovered your water, power, and a bit of normal life after the polar vortex 😢 I promised they'd be available until the end of February if supplies last (it will be close!) so that's four more days to take advantage of this offer!
Here's what you get:
1. A wall hanging or table runner kit of your choice
2. A hand carved Alaskan birch point turner, handy for all of the kits
3. A full yard (by weight) of hand dyed fabric scraps from Starr Design Fabrics, $18 value
4. A 5 inch reclaimed barn wood quilt block to paint (our design choice) from The Reclaimed Nation
5. A card pattern (our choice)
6. A little treat with custom On the Trail wrappers 😊
The sets are $59 or $79 depending on which big kit you choose. Click here or on the photo to see your options, and happy sewing! Beret
I'm pretty excited over here, I've been working on this for a long time. The Framed Collage Class is ready to go! I hope you will design your own, but there are four different designs with specific instructions to choose from if you wish. I love the idea of this format, because I can keep updating it. For this first one, I made it self guided, there won't be any live sessions, it's much less complicated that way. You can work at your own pace and have permanent access to the class. Lots of text, photos, and videos, and a PDF file for pattern pieces. But if you take it, I hope you will join my Beret's Online Classes facebook group for questions and support! I'm working on another class too, so hopefully that won't be far behind.
Introductory price, through this weekend only! The class will normally be $35, but for this weekend it will be $25. At this time, there are no kits available, choosing fabrics is part of the class! But while supplies last, I will have this tree fabric available in 1/3 yard pieces if you want to do that version.
These are very fun, pretty quick, and very forgiving to make, I hope you will give them a try! Beret
As usual, it's been way too long since I posted. I've been chipping away at my list of goals for the winter, but that one is still lacking 😜 I did, however, get a new card kit made, with my own chickadee artwork printed on velvet, which prints the colors really well. It's a very quick project, as all you have to do is a little quilting and then binding! The panel is square, so the card can be made in either direction. Click here to go to the kit! Out on a Limb card kit
Also, I made a very short video that is an overview of the process for my wall hanging kits and patterns. (Most of them, the Sandhill Sunset is pieced like normal) Since my methods are a little unorthodox, I thought it might help to show that they are really not scary 😃
I hope you are still thriving and creating during this unusual season! Beret
One of my goals for being home this winter was to do more blog posts with tutorials, and not just 'newsletter' updates. So, I'm finally doing one! I'm in a lot of quilt groups online, and I often see people asking how to quilt with appliques. There is no 'right' way, as there are some variables, which I will hopefully cover here. I'll show you four (and a half 🤣) options, so if you know of another, I'd love to hear it!
For all of these examples, I used raw edge applique and machine quilting. Most of it translates to other types of applique, and hand quilting doesn't have some of the issues these methods are trying to address, but some of it still applies! Most of them also work with the 'quilt as you go' method.
Quilt the background before adding the appliques. This is often the easiest, because you don't have to deal with the appliques at all. It's especially good if you want to use straight line stitching, as that would be extra hard to do while working around applique shapes. The drawbacks to this option are, one, you can get 'ghosting' of the quilt lines through the applique. (see second pic) With this one I had to bend it to get that to show, but washing may cause it to appear also. (But if that doesn't bother you, it's fine, no rules!) The second drawback is that you have to save all of the appliques until after the quilt is otherwise mostly done. Often people like to applique the individual blocks before even stitching them together, but you can't do that with this method. (Unless you are doing 'quilt as you go') With my designs, however, most of the stitching is done before the appliques anyway, so this would work fine, plus the wall hangings and greeting cards are unlikely to be washed.
Quilt around the appliques after they are on. This solves both issues of the first method, but creates a new one. It can be tricky to quilt around the appliques, depending on the quilting design and the applique shapes. A simple free motion design like stippling is a good option, while something like feathers might be more challenging, or even just straight lines! You may have to make decisions like whether to quilt in that little space between the second two mushrooms, which I didn't in this case. Another benefit of this method is that the appliques 'pop' up a bit more than other methods, almost a trapunto effect.
The next option is to quilt both around and on top of the appliques. This is especially important with larger appliques that are too big to be left unquilted. If you echo quilt, or something that complements the shape, it becomes part of the design.
Option three and a half:
A related option is to quilt an overall quilting design right over the top of the appliques. In my first sample, it would look better if I had used matching thread to stitch around the applique shapes, because it's competing with the quilting. I left it in to show you something to watch out for! Or needle turned appliques without visible stitching, or maybe appliques stitched with invisible thread would be good candidates. I could tell it wasn't my favorite method, because my brain had trouble doing it🤣 Longarm quilters are probably used to it!
This one is a relatively new discovery for me, I saw it online somewhere as a good option for kids, which I have found to be true! But it's not just for kids, I have definitely used it myself :-) It's similar to option three in that you quilt over the top, but with matchstick quilting (close lines). This eliminates the need to do any stitching around the applique pieces, which is great for beginners, or just to save time. It's always amazing how much the thread disappears. On each of these examples, I only used one color of thread. For the crane, I used the color of the head, since that was the part I least wanted dark lines to show on, but the light ones don't really show on the dark. I should try one with dark thread to see what happens! The lines show, but not really the thread color. The drawback to this one is it makes for a stiffer quilt. That's fine for a wall hanging, but maybe not for a snuggly quilt.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there is no right way. It depends on a lot of things... what the quilt will be used for, your skill level, and what you want it to look like, to name a few. I hope this was a helpful explanation of the most common options. If you have another, please let me know! And of course, check out our kits and patterns (click photo below) while you are here! Happy Sewing, Beret
Since the world went crazy, I don't have any bazaars scheduled for this fall. So I'm very excited to be participating in the Raven Art Show 2020, which is being done virtually this weekend, so you can attend from wherever you are! Some of the proceeds will go to support the Alaska Songbird Institute. There are lots of great artists participating, I hope you will check it out. Items will NOT necessarily be all raven themed. To attend, join this facebook group, which will just be for the weekend.
New items for sale will be posted at noon every day from today through Monday the 9th. I have several going up today! Here is one sneak preview: Midnight Ravens
I hope to see you there! Beret
I've almost always lived in small houses/cabins, and usually haven't even had a designated room for sewing. Then for the last five years, I was blessed with crazy amounts of space! Now I'm at least temporarily back to MUCH less space, from 1500 sf down to about 330, and that is split between three places! My son's vacated bedroom is now my sewing room, (about 80 sf) a storage room in our previous building is storage and kit packing, (220 sf, we're calling it The Warehouse as we are Warehouse 13 fans🤣), and some shelves in our bedroom has more storage. (about 30-40 sf)
So I have had to refresh my memory on all the things I've learned about maximizing space, which has always been an interest of mine. Here is an interesting quote I heard years ago, not sure where:
"Time, Space, Money-you can have any two, but it will cost you the third."
Focusing mostly on space in this post. But I get excited when I find solutions that cover all three! I read a home organizing book years ago that I still reference now, it had so many great ideas! And not just ideas, but the principles behind them, which I appreciate. The book was called "Confessions of an Organized Housewife" by Deniece Schofield. Here are a few tips I remember in particular:
1. Store things where you first use them
This is kind of obvious, and yet we don't always do it. Most of us DO keep our rulers and rotary cutters by our cutting table, and thread and seam rippers near the sewing machine. I also keep fusible web near the iron, since that is generally where I use it first. I planned my sewing machine area to have the things I use the most close by.
2. Things should be easier to put away than get out.
For example, if you have a big stack of boxes, ranging from larger on the bottom to smaller on the top, getting the bottom one out is not impossible, but putting it back requires an extra step. If the boxes were the same size, you could put it back on top, increasing the likelihood of it actually happening. We have more motivation to get things out, since we need them, but putting them back needs to be easy. My fabric is folded and sorted roughly by color, and I can always put it back on the top of the pile when I'm done even if it came from the bottom.
3. Have 'centers' for different activities
Quilters are generally pretty good at this one too, a cutting area, an ironing area, a sewing area, etc. I'm using a mini iron and ironing board by my machine, and the big iron is in my bedroom, much less convenient... But usually the mini one is enough so far!
4. Prioritize items and store accordingly
The book even recommends giving things a value, like A, B, C, and D. "A" items get stored between hip and eye level, and ideally not behind or under something else. "C" items can go on a high shelf or in another room. (I think "D" is get rid of it!) Make sure something isn't seldom used simply BECAUSE of how it is stored though.
5. Try not to store things more than two high or two deep when possible/minimize motions required to get or put away.
Again, try to make them easy to get out AND put away, but easy to put away is the priority. I get pretty excited about things like my button shelves where I can get and put away any jar without moving another one! Normally I wouldn’t like to use up a whole wall with shelves that are only 5 inches deep, but that’s all I had room for here anyway, so it’s great. Even in my big studio most of the buttons were in boxes, so this is fun! My rulers are in a holder so I can get each one without moving others, and my “Stash n Store” (lime green) by the sewing machine is better than the rummaging in a drawer I used to do for those items. Books are a good example of things that are stored well. (Really, anytime flat things can be stored vertically, they are easier to get at and put away, like extra cutting mats).
6. Store things in containers when possible
You can usually fit a lot more things in a space if things are contained. And you only have to move/grab one box instead of 30 tubes of paint, etc. Just try to make sure there is no wasted space in the containers, find as close to the right size as possible. And while I love my button jars and shelves, in that case I am ultimately choosing saving time over space. My buttons would all fit in a bucket without the containers, but yikes!🤣 I have a box in the windowsill above the cutting mat that has cutting and marking tools in it so those are contained and accessible.
7. Look for wasted space
Often we have a lot more space than we think we do! Places to look for wasted space are: containers that are too big, shelves that are too tall, wall space above furniture, space under furniture, round containers instead of square. We don’t have to be OCD about it, sometimes we need empty spaces to function also. But if you need storage space, there are often ways to find it! I wanted my button shelves to be adjustable for that reason. I’m still working on that wall, but I’m sure there will be some rearranging of jars and shelves before it’s over! I couldn't really use the closet, as it has a ladder going up to a loft bed that I wanted to still have accessible, but I was still able to use the walls for hanging strips. (Yes, this tiny room has a whole twin bed in it, up by the ceiling! It's even storing an extra mattress at the moment!😂 See the corner of the first pic)You usually can’t have everything though, there will be choices to make, like keep books of similar types together, (saves time) or size (saves space).
8. “A place for everything…”
The more often something is used, the more it needs it’s own specific spot to live, so you can always find it. Sometimes it is worth using a little more space to have dividers for commonly used items in a drawer, for example. Also label whenever possible.
A little time and money invested in thought and containers can save you a lot of time and space in the long run! Of course these principles apply to other areas of your house too, like the kitchen. It’s been close to 30 years since I read that book, but I think of the principles often! It’s been great to have a little extra time to work on applying more of them, and my sewing area, even though it’s a fraction of the size, is actually even more functional so far because I was forced to be very careful about everything I put in it! And it’s definitely a work in progress, I haven’t even used the back of the door yet, hmmm...
What are some of your favorite space or time saving tips? Thanks for joining me and Happy Sewing! Beret
PS: In case you think I have a really organized house, I definitely don't! But I've gradually been working on that too. Below is a pic of what used to be a messy shelf, and is now a tea/cocoa area. The mugs fit in some otherwise wasted space, and are more accessible and visible than if they were on a shelf.
Click the photo to see all of our kits and patterns!
Between moving my studio, cramming in as many RV trips as we can before freeze up, and another big Keepsake Quilting order, (which we are doing while the studio is in transition😅), I'm just now getting around to posting my big excitement from last week! I'm very excited to have a couple of my cards in Art Quilting Studio magazine! It's a great magazine with endless inspiration, I hope you will check it out if you haven't 😊
Also, for locals, I have two upcoming classes at That Old Sew and Sew! Friday, Sept 18 is quilting the Dream Big panel, and Sunday, Sept 20 is any one of my six wall hanging designs. I hope you see you there!
As many of you have already heard, thanks to a nasty bug going around, I decided not to renew the lease on my studio. So, for the time being, I will be split between my house and probably a storage unit, or small room. Sales have been much better than anticipated, in spite of no tourism and no bazaars, so I'm a little nervous about working with less space for a few months, but I'm excited to have more time and freedom to be creative without that rent payment pressure too. I've even been back in the Keepsake Quilting catalog, and will be in two different Art Quilting Studios magazine issues this fall/winter! I'm also getting several classes scheduled at That Old Sew and Sew, so watch for those. My business isn't going anywhere, just downsizing our space until the crazy blows over...😅 Hopefully next summer we'll have an even better place to land:-) Online shopping will not be affected, which is most of what we do anyway!
In the meantime, I have to get rid of some stuff!! So I'm having a sale this Saturday, August 8, 12-4, and I'll do another day later in the month if necessary also. I will have a wide range of things, from FREE to yard sale type things, to bazaar/gift shop items, mostly discounted so they go! I have been given many things, so generally I will not charge for any of those I'm parting with. I'm not currently scheduled to do any bazaars this year, which may change, but in case it doesn't , here is your chance for some of those items!
Here are a few things I will have in particular:
Eversewn Sparrow 30 sewing machines, new, reg. $499, now $350, I have two
Lots of free paper crafting items
Quilted wall hangings 25% off!
Kits and patterns, 25% off!
The popular 'stuff a bag of scraps/fabric' that I did last time I moved. $15 for up to 4 yds, including hand dyes!
Fabric panels, Teresa Ascone and others
And lots more!
I hope to see you there! Text or call 687-6703 or email email@example.com with questions.
On a happier note, we used some of our rent savings to buy an RV, which has been soooo much fun! I should be able to find lots of inspiration traveling around Alaska!
Happy Sewing! Beret
I've been pretty quiet on here again, but not for lack of activity! 😅 I have mostly been making masks, for donations and a few for sale for individuals. Now I'm doing a big order for an organization, paid this time which is nice! I've still been learning, so I made a video with some time saving tricks. If you are making them, I hope it helps!
We also sent out a huge kit order to Keepsake Quilting, look for us in the next catalog! And in the middle of all that, I was invited to submit something to a favorite magazine. It was a mad rush to squeeze it in, but it would be really fun to be accepted!
Last week I got an order of my favorite Starr fabrics. She's been experimenting with dyeing wool, so she sent a few samples. I'm in big trouble if she adds wool to her collection 🤣🤣 The samples made me laugh, because it reminded me of the small package of samples of her fabrics that I got from Keepsake Quilting almost 10 years ago that ended up being a huge factor in both my card making and my wall hanging kits! I used every sliver of that little package. You never know what little thing will change your life. As C.S. Lewis once said, "A stone can change the course of a river."
I hope you are all staying healthy and hopeful in the chaos! Beret
I don't know about you, but I've been feeling kind of overwhelmed by the number of mask designs out there for this Coronavirus pandemic! I want to help, but at first I had no idea where to start. The best thing is to know who you are making them for, and see what requirements they have. Fairbanks has a fb group to coordinate requests, which has been really helpful!
This post will by no means cover all the options, but hopefully it will help. I was going to do several design tutorials, but then I realized that the parts are kind of 'mix and match'able, so I will just show the parts separately and you can choose each one according to your needs. (That's how I try new recipes too, look at several and take what I like from each 🤣) All of the masks have a main body, lining, ties or elastic to hold it on, different ways of attaching the ties, and some have a pocket for adding another filter layer. I will cover each part separately, because for the most part they can be used in any combination. There's lots of "if this, then this" in here, so I will sum them up at the end!
First let's talk about the main body of the mask. Most of them are either the pleated version, or the shaped one. But I also like the one that has neither (blue in the photo above) and the sides get gathered up with the cord to give it some shape. I also saw one that has the shaped front, but with darts instead of two pieces, AND pleats at the sides.
Pleats (coral one in above photo):
For the pleated front, start with two rectangles. I've seen anywhere from 6-8" tall, and 8-10" wide. Mine is 7 x 10 cut size. Put right sides together and stitch the top and bottom edges with approximately a 1/4" seam. Turn right side out and press. Fold three little pleats in the sides, about 1/2" each, making sure they are at least 1/2" from the top and bottom. This doesn't have to be exact, just make sure it ends up about 3 to 3 1/2" tall, and that the two sides are at least close to the same! You could mark them, or make a paper folding guide, but I just fold and pin. We'll cover the rest in the tie section!
Shaped version (pink in above photo):
The pattern for this came from a website called Craft Passion, https://www.craftpassion.com/ so please go there to get it, it's a free download with four sizes. (I modified mine, which I will explain below) Cut out four pieces, two each for the lining and the outside. (Fold your fabric in half before cutting so they are mirror images of each other) I tried a lightweight interfacing on this one, but I've heard mixed reviews on that. Stitch the center front seams, right sides together, and make a few notches so it presses better. Press the seams open. (A pressing ham is great for that, but a rolled up towel might work?) Decide on ties before proceeding, you may need to add them now. (Only if you are using elastic or ties stitched into the corners.) If not, put the lining and the front right sides together and stitch the top and bottom. Clip the curves a bit and turn right side out. Press. On mine I did the casing method (see below) for attaching the tie. So I had extended the sides of the pattern by 1 1/2" so I could do about a 5/8" rolled hem. (Technically only needs 1 1/4", but I didn't want the stitching to go too far into the mask.)
Flat version (no pleats or seams, blue above):
For this version, cut two rectangles, mine were 11 x 7 (outside) and 8 1/2 x 7 (lining). I made a pocket on this one, so I will explain that. First mark the center of the top of each piece (by folding in half). Then do a narrow rolled hem on one side of the lining. If you don't want a pocket, simply skip this step. Put right sides together, matching the pins you used to mark the center, otherwise you can't tell where to put the lining piece... Stitch across the top and the bottom edges with a 1/4" seam.
Turn right side out and press (I took the pic before pressing😅) Starting with the side that does NOT have the hemmed lining, fold the outside 5/8" toward the lining, it should just meet, then fold again over the lining and stitch close to the edge. This is your casing for the tie. (This is the only tie method that works for this design since it is what creates the gathers at the sides)
For the other side, do the same 5/8" rolled hem, but this time it should just meet the lining after BOTH folds, and not overlap it at all. (first pic below) Stitch close to the edge. This is so you can access the pocket. I found the pocket got kind of gappy when the sides were gathered up with the tie, so I made a pleat in the middle of it to minimize that.
Ties and attaching them
Most masks I have seen have either elastic or bias binding for ties. Elastic can be uncomfortable, less durable, and hard to find at the moment, so I'm doing binding on mine. If you do use elastic, usually it gets stitched in between the lining and the outside, approximately 5" pieces. If you do the pleated version, you will have to pleat at the end. I have also seen some like the second photo below, with a continuous piece of elastic going through a casing.
I think most people are going with binding now. Since premade binding is hard to come by now too, you will probably have to make your own. It doesn't have to be cut on the bias, straight across the fabric is fine. I like about 1 1/2" strips to start with, but I've seen anywhere from 1 1/4" to 2". Length needs to be a minimum of 36-40", I just do the WOF (width of fabric, or 42-44") If you have a bias tape maker, that helps a lot. There are some paper ones out there too, I'll add that if I can. I rigged one up out of foil! You can do it without any of those things, they just help. Fold the sides to the center, and then press in half. If you don't have a tool, pressing in half first helps you see where to fold the sides.
If you are using the binding to also finish seams on the mask, you will finish sewing the long side of the binding and attach it at the same time. Find the center of the binding, pin it to the center of the side of the mask (unfolded).
I find it is worth stitching across the mask section first, (if you start a bit before and go a bit past the mask body you don't have to backstitch and it will still hold together until the next row of stitching) then go to one end of the binding and stitch the whole side.
The ends of the binding can be tricky, so here are a few tips. Guess what, my favorite beginners and enders tip works here too! If you stitch across a folded scrap before starting at the end of your binding, you have more to hold on to. At first I was folding the ends under, then I switched to satin stitching the ends, now I just do a straight stitch back and forth. It helps to do a few stitches along the side you will be sewing first, then back up to the end, then pivot and go across the end. Then pivot again and go along the whole side, making sure you catch the other half by the mask edge. Another option is to start at the mask section, stitch to one end, then go back to the middle and do the other side. (Some masks have the binding on the top and bottom instead of the sides, those had the sides sewn first instead. Either way works, you just need a bit more if it goes the long way. In the purple one below, I used binding for all of the sides)
If you are using the casing method, as shown earlier, you need to make a casing to put it through. I like a 5/8" rolled hem, so if your pattern doesn't allow for that, you will need to add it. It's not ideal for the pleated version, it would be more work than the previous way. But for the other two styles it's great. For that you need more like 45-48" of binding, (so will probably have to be pieced) but only one, so overall it's less binding and only needs to be tied once to put on.
I think any of these designs can be modified to add a pocket for people to add another filter layer if they want. Basically, you just need to finish one side of the lining before putting it together, and make sure it doesn't get caught in whatever way you finish the edge of the outside on that side. Usually a small rolled hem will do both at once, since it makes it shorter also. I did that on the pleated one below, but you could also use a small piece of binding to finish that edge. If so, you may need to trim a bit off so it doesn't get caught when you finish the edge of the outside. (With that one I finished both side pieces first, then joined them with binding on the top edge. I think that was my first experiment 😅)
Hopefully that wasn't too confusing... Basically, these all have main body that has an outside and a lining. They get shape either from a curved seam, or pleats or gathers at the sides. The four edges all have to be finished in some way, either by a 'right sides together' seam, binding, or a rolled hem. Then they all need a way to keep them on, elastic or ties. Still no way I could cover all of the possibilities, I see new ones almost every day!
Some of the "ifs":
If you do all four sides with seams instead of binding, you need to leave a hole for turning it right side out, and you usually need to catch the elastic or ties in the corners.
If you want a pocket, finish one side of the lining, and make sure it doesn't get caught when you finish the edge of the outside.
If you use binding stitched to the sides, you need 36-40" each side, probably a few more inches if you go across the top and bottom. If you do a continuous strip and a casing, you need one piece that is 45-48" long.
If you want a casing for binding, you need to make sure the pattern has an extra 1 1/2" on the sides for that.
As I'm sure you know, these are not meant to be as effective as the 'real' ones, but they have to be better than nothing. And it helps us feel like we can help when so many things are outside of our control these days. I hope you are all well and healthy during these crazy times! And I pray that you know Jesus, the One who IS in control, no matter how crazy it looks to us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
Happy Sewing, Beret
Feel free to add your tips and ideas in the comments!
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Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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