Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ditch Quilting

I have been machine quilting the TQS block of the month quilts: A to Z For Ewe and Me.  There are so many seams and small pieces that it seems to call for a lot of stitching in the ditch, which is my least favorite thing to do when it comes to machine quilting!!
No matter how hard you try to stay "in the ditch", you are at some point going to stray out just a bit, as you can see in this photo where the ecru thread I was stitching with strayed out on the the black sashing fabric.

I used to go back and unpick the quilting every time I strayed and re-quilt it.  That was time consuming and caused more knots on the back of the quilt.

One day I decided to color the stray threads the same color as the fabric to try and blend them in and make them not so obvious.  I keep a range of colors of micron permanent markers just for this cause!

In this case I used black, and you can see in this photo that those ecru threads are MUCH less noticeable, in fact you can hardly see them at all!  Much less time consuming and a lot less knots :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Harvest House

Here is the last of Michelle's card table playhouses made for her grandchildren.  These are so unbelievably cute.  I plan to make one someday and hope it turns out as nicely as her have.  She calls this one The Harvest House because it is made with pretty Fall fabrics.

It is snowing today, much needed around here!  And when it's snowing outside, it seems like a great opportunity to sit in my warm sewing room and work on a quilt.  Today I plan to work on quilting those TQS A to Z with Ewe and Me quilts!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Cannot Count My Day Complete...

I recently received an email from a quilt shop, My Girlfriend's in Logan, Utah, with this quote:
I cannot count my day complete till needle, thread, and fabric meet.
The email went on about her love of handwork (yes!  me too!) and encouraged everyone to try some hand embroidery.  She mentioned a site with very good video tutorials on some basic embroidery stitches.  If you're interested, go check out:

For the past couple of months I've been having pain and swelling in the thumb/wrist area of my right hand (and more recently my left)!  It's sad to think that is might be caused by or limit my hand sewing!  So sad indeed because my hand sewing is what keeps me awake while watching TV programs :)  Plus I just enjoy doing it and making pretty things.  Anyway, I've self-diagnosed my problem via the internet (of course :) and I'll try some helps and see what happens.  If my self-diagnosis is correct, it can get better, so that is good news.

Check out this cute little bunny that my friend Michelle made, by hand.  Fun embroidery stitches and embellishments and just in time for Easter and Spring!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bigger Minis

I have been working on the larger wall hangings that I am making for my daughter-in-law.  I finished appliquéing and embroidering the ones for May, June and July and got them pinned and ready to quilt.  I needed more handwork so I was going to get out the next three and get them ready, then decided, if I'm going to pull out all my fabric for three, why not just get the last six all ready for hand appliqué.  So that's what I've been working on.  It was a job, but now it will be easier to finish them up because the hard part, picking out all the fabric, is done!
The process was:
Pick out fabric for background and borders - cut and piece together.
Trace the appliqué pieces onto a large sheet of paper so I have my lay-out (I had to tape four pieces of computer paper together).
Trace the reverse of the pattern to the back of the background/border fabric.
Choose fabric for all of the appliqué pieces and cut the size chunks of it that I needed.
Now I'm ready to sew, using my favorite back-basting hand appliqué technique!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beautiful Bride!

My Aunt June did it again!  She made a beautiful bride doll, all hand crocheted and beautifully crafted.  This time it is for my daughter-in-law Jessie.

These pictures do not even do it justice, but take a good look at all of the fine detail.

The long veil...

The tiny beads in the little rosebuds that encircle the gown...

The heart shaped necklace and the beautiful crocheted bouquet with tiny beads in the roses.

All of the detail work in the skirt, bodice and sleeves of the gown....

The beads and flowers on the veil...


Monday, February 23, 2015

Awesome Bag

Check out this amazing bag made by my friend Lori.  She amazes me with the quality of her work.  I love this bag and the TEN pockets is very appealing.  She sent me the pattern so I am going to have to give it a try!

Look at all of those zippers though!  Ah!  I'll have to be like the Little Engine Who Could and tell myself, "I think I can, I think I can..."  I'll let you know how it goes :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

So Sweet

I love seeing quilts I've made being used.  It warms my heart :)

I had big plans yesterday.  I was going to get the rest of those larger mini wall hangings traced onto the backs of the background fabric, in preparation for back basting hand appliqué.  (I have six more to make).  My plan was to get the tracing done before lunch, and then after lunch I was going to quilt the three that I have pinned and ready.  My husband was working all day and I had nothing else going on, so I planned to get a lot done.  Well, I worked on them all day (while listening to Hallmark movies) but the tracing took way longer than I planned, so  while I got all six patterns drawn out, I only got four traced onto the fabric, and none quilted....  Ah well.... I still got a lot done!
And I had a really nice evening with my book club group :)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quilt For Sale!

Here is the CO West Quilt Guild's quilt all finished and ready for sale at the quilt show that is coming up on March 20th and 21st.  The quilt show coincides with National Quilting Day and should be a lot of fun!  I submitted four quilt entries and have not heard yet if they all made it in the show or not.  I guess we'll see!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

12 Dear Jane Blocks!

 I set a goal to finish 12 Dear Jane blocks a month this year.  Here are the 12 I made this month.  Some were fairly easy - some were really hard!  It's always fun to pick out the fabric because each block only requires two fabrics - keeps it simple :)

This one was simple machine piecing, then I appliquéd the circle on by hand. I used Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circle templates to make the circle, much like making a yo-yo.

I really like the way this one turned out and it was pretty easy to machine piece.

This one I actually had to make twice.  The first attempt ended up in the garbage.  I am following some directions that I bought from Sarah K. Francis, which are very plain and clear, if you read them carefully and don't jump right in before knowing exactly what you need to do!
This is machine pieced and the two corner triangles are hand appliquéd on.

Machine pieced - not too difficult.  It didn't press out very well though....

Nice and easy paper piecing!  I like this one.

Machine pieced - not terribly difficult.

This one is paper pieced and it was kind of complicated.  The curved pieces in the bottom section are hand appliquéd.

Paper pieced - a little harder than it looks, but I like it!  The directions suggested using a stripe fabric and I'm glad I did but it was a trick to keep the stripe going in the same direction and straight up and down.

The quarter circles are hand appliquéd on before I machine pieced it.  I really like this one.

I like this one too.  I especially liked how easy it was to make!  I was really for an easy one.

I had this one all done and I really liked it, then I trimmed it wrong and cut off more than I should have!  You can't glue it back on!  I had to start all over and I didn't have enough of the background fabric left to make it again so it ended up becoming the picture below.  My husband says it likes the dotty background better.  Maybe he's just being nice.

This one was easy to piece but appliquéing those little diamonds on by hand was difficult  As you can see, they're not perfect but they will have to do.

Off to more sewing - have a great day!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Quilt For Sale!

Last week I was working on quilting a quilt for the CO West Quilt Guild sale booth at the quilt show coming up in March.  Gini pieced the quilt and donated it to the guild.  I volunteered to quilt it.
It turned out to be a very fun quilt to quilt and I am happy with the way it turned out.

I did a leaf motif in the border and did the swirl hook throughout the center of the quilt.  I'm loving that swirl hook motif that I learned from Angela Walters YouTube video.  I watched it again to freshen my memory before beginning to quilt this quilt.

Whenever I change threads or get interrupted, I take off my quilting gloves (I like Machingers).  At one point, I couldn't find them anywhere.  I searched and searched and couldn't find them.  I decided to pull out my tub of Trianon.  It's a tip I learned years ago in a class from quilter Nancy VanAken.  It's a dry skin cream, so it's good for your hands and doesn't harm your quilt, but it has a slight tackiness to it that helps you grip your quilt better.  Voila!  I was ready to quilt again.  I was however sure that I was going to end up stitching my gloves to the back of the quilt....

But, alas,  I found them on the floor after I was all done quilting, along with several other items I knocked off with the quilt, like my ironing cup, phone etc.

I have a folder of free motion quilting ideas that I cut out of magazines, plus numerous books.  I like to search through these before I begin quilting to give me ideas.  I found the idea for the leaf border in my folder.

Gini had the binding all prepared and ready to sew on.  Very cleverly she had wound it on an empty thread spool to and tied a ribbon around it to keep it nice and neat.
I thought this was a great idea to pass along.  I love getting the binding sewn together and pressed before I start quilting.  This will keep it all nice and ready to go.
 I was sorting through a box of sewing stuff my Mom had given one of my daughters and found this little gem.  At first I wasn't sure what it was, but as I was messing with it, out pops the softest silkiest brush I've ever seen.  And when using it to clean lint out of my machine - wow - the lint just clings to it, making de-linting my machine so much easier.  I am learning that my Bernina likes oil!  I've realized if I give her a new needle and a few drops of oil (after I've de-linted) before beginning a new project, she is much happier, and so am I :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Michelle's Tula Blocks

I had to show off my friend Michelle's Tula Pink Modern Quilt blocks.  I just love her choice of fabrics and the precision pieced perfection of these blocks!  (She took Harriet Hargrave's class - perhaps I should have!)
She had them nicely packaged in bags and I didn't want her to have to remove them so you see a little bit of shine in the photos, but you get a really good idea of how wonderful they are.  I can hardly wait to see her quilt or quilts all finished!
I can hardly wait to start working on mine!

I have been working on Dear Jane blocks which I will show soon.  I'm trying to use some of the precision piecing techniques passed on to me by Michelle from her class with Harriet.  The tips really help - like starching and pressing the fabric before cutting.  The Reliable iron - amazing.  And I really like using the Tailor's block I got from Nancy's Notions.  I'm loving my DJ blocks, but I did have to do one completely over for failure to read the instructions fully before diving in and sewing.  Like not fully reading the clues on the Amazing Race.....