The Folded Corner Clipper

The Folded Corner Clipper by Prairie Sky has got to be one of the most practical and versatile tools you can have at your cutting table.  Many patterns call for the triangle in a block to be made by drawing a line that you will sew directly on and then trim away the seam allowance.  With the Folded Corner Clipper you can put an end to that.  Simply place this triangle shaped ruler on the square, trim away the excess leaving a seam allowance, then sew with a ¼” seam from the cut edge.  Let me show you how it's done.

I am working blocks 9 and 10 for the Be My Neighbor Block of the Week from Moda Fabrics.  Here I am making a flying geese block for block 9.  You know how that is done.  

Here my triangle begins with a 3” square, so I lay this on the 3” rectangle; lay the Folded Corner Clipper on them as shown above with the 3” line at one edge and the top of the ruler at the other edge.  

Cut along the edge of the square through the rectangle. The diagonal line you see here represents the seam line.  Remove the waste and sew ¼” from your cut edge. Press background away from rectangle.

Then repeat for the other side of the flying geese unit.  Be sure you have positioned your ruler properly, like the picture above, so that you make the geese block.  

You do not want to place the ruler on the unit horizontally like on the left, (unless that is the kind of block unit you are intending to make) nor upside down and vertically like on the right, which will put your seam allowance on the wrong side of the seam line.

With accurate cutting and sewing you will end up with nicely made units.

Putting a triangle on one corner of a square is another use for the Folded Corner Clipper. Just keep placing and cutting, lining them up on a surface you can just pick up and take to the sewing machine.

Here I am making little bow-tie units for block 9.  Whoops! I sewed the square to the wrong side of one of them. A little ripping out to do here.

The trees in block 10 can also be made with the Folded Corner Clipper.  I really like my quarter-inch foot with the ledge on the side.

Here I'm using it for the floating star, too. Notice how the seam allowance does not go to the star points. No star tips getting in the seam allowance here!  I love this technique.  Check out our Jane Austen Stars quilt pattern, or Squares Baby Quilt & Floating Stars pattern.

Here you can see what your finished units look like for the floating star made with this technique. See how your 1/4" seam allowance is a distance from the points?  Really cool!  Your patterns will not instruct you to use this tool, but now you know how to apply it and can use it in any of your patterns.    

Many quilters love the Folded Corner Clipper so much they have bought one for a friend. Now that is a true act of charity.

You can use the Folded Corner Clipper to trim the ends of your binding strips before you sew them together. Use it for flying geese and snowball blocks and absolutely any time your pattern tells you to, "draw a line... sew on the line... trim away."  The tool comes with complete instructions and Prairie Sky Quilting has many patterns designed for the Folded Corner Clipper.

Come in to Prairie Point and we will show you a demo if you would like.

International Quilt Market

I was at the International Quilt Market this week, and international it was--there were vendors and quilt retailers there from all over the world.  It was truly an amazing experience.  The convention center in Houston is huge.  Wendy went with us, and John did all the grunt work including driving, hauling our stuff around, and buying our meals.  I posted a few pictures on Facebook, and Allison has put some on Instagram as well for you all to see.  Many of you show so much interest in this retailers' event that I thought I would give you a bit of a peek into what we experienced.

Wendy and I attended a few early morning classes including Pleachet.  We'll be telling you more about this handwork technique later as we perfect it and feel ready to teach it.  We also learned more about using the Stripology ruler from Creative Grids, taught to us by the designer Gudrun Erla.  That was exciting and there is much to share with you.

Schoolhouse was super fun.  From 10:00am until 5:30pm we took thirteen classes, each one thirty minutes or fifteen minutes.  With five minutes between classes, we had to find the next classroom in this huge convention hall.  The Schoolhouse event began with a presentation by Aurifil with Alex Veronelli on how threads are made and the processes they go through.  Now I see why the better quality threads cost a bit more.

Can you find Wendy?

There she is.

Barb and Mary of Me & My Sister Designs gave a great class on their new book coming out next month -- 12 Pack Quilts.  We can't wait to share this with you.

One of our Schoolhouse classes was a presentation by Annie Unrein, designer of the ByAnnie bags.  She is offering a bag of the month class program that we will be sharing with you.

Penny Haren and Gudrun Erla shared their tips and techniques with log cabin quilting and the Stripology ruler.

If you think all the beautiful fabrics and quilts you see at Prairie Point are amazing, you should see this place.  Our heads were swimming with ideas we could implement into our offerings here at the shop.  Let me show you a few.

Cheryl Phillips showed us what she does with the 10-degree ruler.  Yes, we bought these patterns.  This will make a great class.

Elizabeth Hartman has a new fabric collection out and new patterns.  It's amazing to see the youth in her creativity.  

Jenny Pedigo and her sister Sherilyn have new patterns out with the Sew Kind of Wonderful Quick Curve Ruler®.  Yes, I bought these patterns too.

Bloc-Loc has a new pineapple ruler.  Wendy is on top of that one.  Good for her!

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Under the Garden Moon's Amy McClellan and her sister were there with Amy's Stitching Society hexagons.  She made hers into a whole quilt!

Susan Marth with the Suzn Quilts Tiny and Mini Dresden rulers showed us what is new with her: a monthly program we will offer.

Remember Anne Marie and her quilts from our own Schoolhouse last March?  She had a beautiful display. The last day we were getting tired.

Wow!  Deb Tucker is a vibrant person!  She can match Wendy in enthusiasm any day.

Moda Fabrics has an outstanding presence there as always.

Julie Hermann with her design company, Jaybird Quilts, is another young designer. 

What new trends did we see at Market?  Lots of new tools and techniques to help both the beginning and the seasoned quilter be more efficient and accurate in her or his sewing techniques.  Young designers are continuing their creativity; so many of these creative ones are not even thirty yet!  This is very encouraging for the industry.  Wool continues to grow in popularity.  Traditional is still in.  Modern is not going away.  There is so much for baby.  Cuddle, double gauze, and clothing are everywhere.

Wendy wanted a picture with Deb Tucker; I wanted one with Alex Veronelli.

The entire event would not be complete without a few trips to our favorite grocery market in downtown Houston.

The whole event gets us pumped up.  Our goal here at Prairie Point is to provide you with the fabrics, tools, and information you are looking for in an independent quilt shop.  We are so excited to go to Market and find new things for you!

Tiny Dancer Quilt with the Hex 'N More

Tiny Dancer is one of my favorite quilt patterns by designer Julie Herman for Jaybird Quilts.  When Corey Yoder's Sundrops collection came into the shop, I knew the twirly design, Tiny Dancer, was just the one to make up with this fun fabric.

To make this pattern, begin with strips cut 6 ½” wide for the half-hexagons. Lay the Hex N More ruler on the strip lining up the 6 ½” hexagon line with the edge, then cut with rotary cutter on side edge of ruler. Flip fabric over and align the 6 ½” line with the newly cut edge. Your first half-hexagon! Now make two more from the 21” strip.

It’s important to cut off the little excess fabric on the edges.

Using the triangle section of the ruler, lay it on 3 ½” wide strips for the background.

Then the sewing begins. Place a triangle on the top edge of the half-hexagon and piece together with ¼” seam. Make six of these units for one block.

However, you are going to make half-blocks with three units first instead of sewing all six units together to make one block.  You will see why in a minute.  Repeat this step until you have the required number of blocks for the quilt you are making.

Lay the half-blocks out in vertical rows; by matching one row with another next to it, you will get the complete block.  I would suggest laying out the entire quilt before you begin sewing the rows together.  No Y-seams in this quilt!

It is fun to see this quilt come together so capably, and yet look challenging.  Certainly this one is for the experienced beginner.  

The Hex 'N More ruler will also help you with placing hexagons together.  Again, the hexagon and the triangle are both on the same tool.

Sew fabric strips together and cut triangles, then place them together into half-hexagons which will then form one two-color shape.  The Jawbreaker pattern will get you started with this technique by making a pillow.  American Jane's Merry-Go-Round pattern has this same look, but in a full quilt.

The Tiny Dancer pattern can be in any size from a baby quilt up to a king size.

Let me know if this inspires you!  I'm already making plans to use this tool again.  I think 1930's reproduction prints will look great and give a traditional look to this design.  Whatever you choose, be sure the background will contrast well with the other prints.

Happy sewing!

Don't Be Afraid to Cuddle

Don't be afraid to cuddle!

That's what Toni Steere talked about at Prairie Point last Saturday.  She gave us lots of tips for sewing with Shannon Cuddle® fabrics and Embrace® Double Gauze.  We had great attendance - nearly 46 enthusiastic ladies - that filled up the classroom.  Everyone received a bag with a few patterns, recipes, and a 5" Cuddle square packet to practice some of their new knowledge.

Toni began the class with some tips of sewing with the Cuddle fabrics (which are generically known as minky).

  • Use a ball-point needle (also called a stretch or jersey needle)
  • Use a walking foot, and pin the fabric well
  • Vacuum your cuddle dust after cutting
  • Reduce the pressure of your presser foot so that it is not pressing down too hard on your fabric. (Note: You may need to look up your machine manual for directions on this.  Don't forget to change it back when you're finished sewing the Cuddle)

Strips of Cuddle can be sewn in rows, often with a quilt-as-you-go technique.  Kits are very popular for this project, making it sew convenient to get a project started and finished.

"The Self-Binding Baby Blanket and Lovey" is one of the more popular projects right now.  The pattern for it can be found on our website for you to download and print.

In the shop, we have lots of kits made especially for the self-binding blanket pattern.  There are so many cute choices!  You can choose one of our Cuddle and Embrace combinations, or pick out your own.

Some of the Cuddle textures we have are rose, arrows, chenille, hide, and others.

The Embrace® Double Gauze is a new trend in receiving blankets.  It just gets softer and softer with each washing.  It is preshrunk, but will crinkle up when washed and look nicer.

Embrace is used in the receiving blankets along with the Cuddle.  Toni also showed us blankets made with two layers of double gauze put together with a soft Cuddle binding, and then a blanket/burp cloth of two layers of embrace with thin batting sandwiched in between.  Bamboo batting is lovely for this.  Use simple, minimal quilting to hold it all together, and finish it off with Cuddle binding.

And don’t forget to use Cuddle on the back of your quilt. It can be used in free-motion quilting on your own machine, or applied on a long-arm machine.  Click here for tips on machine quilting with Cuddle.

There is so much to show and tell!  We will continue to provide you with more tips and project ideas for Shannon Fabrics here at Prairie Point and offer some classes. Let us know what you would like us to carry in the shop.

Susan's Marble Squares

I came across this recipe from Kraft Foods several years ago when I was teaching middle school Home Ec.  It was a great classroom activity for that age level because it is not made using the traditional method for cakes.  The kids learned baking techniques making this recipe and it is practically no-fail; so if you don't consider yourself a baker, give this a try.  You can serve it right out of the pan or place the squares nicely on a pretty plate. 

Now, gather your ingredients and begin!  It helps if the cream cheese is softened. I use my Kitchen-Aid to mix this with egg and sugar for the topping. 

The 2-1/2 qt. saucepan works best for mixing the rest because the butter and chocolate are heated with water; then the dry ingredients are added to this. I like to use real butter for baking; margarine has too much water for most baked products.  I also use only Hudson Cream flour.  The wheat is grown and the grain is milled right here in Kansas! That's why I buy it.

Click HERE for a printable PDF version.

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Mixture

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

Chocolate Mixture

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup water

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate or baker's chocolate

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F.  Combine softened cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar, mixing until well blended.  If the cream cheese is very soft it will spread better on the cake batter.

Add one egg; mix well.

Combine butter, water, and unsweetened chocolate in medium saucepan.  I use a 2-1/2 qt. saucepan.  Bring to a boil but do not cook. You just want to melt the chocolate and butter.

Combine flour and 2 cups sugar, then add to the chocolate mixture and mix well.  Add 2 eggs, sour cream, baking soda, and salt; mix well.

Pour batter into greased and floured 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 inch jelly roll pan.

Spoon cream cheese mixture over chocolate batter.  This is a little tricky since the cake isn't baked yet! Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until done in center.  Makes 24 servings. Store at room temperature or freeze for later.

This is a fabulous recipe to make up when sharing with others.  Take it to the next potluck or family dinner.  

I have never met anyone who did not love it.  I get lots of requests for this recipe because I serve it a lot, even here at the shop!