Monday, November 13, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Share and Share Alike

I have been playing with my walking foot on my home machine lately so I pulled out some Dreamfield fabric (affiliate link*) and pieced a Share and Share Alike Cutie Quilt just so I could quilt it.  That's perfectly normal, right?  Lie to me.

The pattern calls for fat eighths and border fabric, but I had a half-yard pack.  I cut the blocks as instructed and pieced a border and binding from the rest of the half-yard pack.

I've always been intrigued by quilting spirals.  Fortunately, the fabulous Pat Sloan taught me how to quilt a spiral with my walking foot in her Teach Me to Machine Quilt book! (affiliate link*)

I threaded Hedwig, my HQ Stitch 710 machine, with my FabuLux Giggle thread

and started quilting my spiral!

This quilt is now bound and has already been given away.  A sweet woman in my church is confined to a wheelchair.  This quilt was the perfect size for her lap.  She loved it and that works for me, because I love her.
*If you purchase something using an affiliate link I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission to help keep the quilty love flowing.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

This & That from Jillily Studio Blog Tour

I am so thrilled that today is my day on the Blog Tour for This and That from Jillily Studio for PennyRose Fabrics! 

I just returned home from the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.  Daylight savings time plus dropping temperatures in upstate New York have me yearning for some brightness and cheer in my life.  I swoon over every piece of fabric that Jill has ever designed but This and That is especially wonderful because of the text on some of the prints.  It is an absolutely bright and cheerful line!

I chose a pattern that would contrast a white background with the luscious prints.  As a machine quilting teacher, the design of the quilt doesn't end with the pieced top.  I used wool batting which has loft to help show the contrast between the quilted and unquilted areas.  I chose geometric and organic quilting designs and used white thread throughout.

I'm always asked "How do you know what to quilt on your quilt top?"  I thought I'd show you how I decided on the quilting patterns for this quilt.

STEP ONE:  Decide where the ribbon candy quilting will go.

I'm very serious about this.  I think ribbon candy quilting is the most perfect machine quilting design in the whole quilting world.  When I look at a quilt, my first decision is "Where does the ribbon candy quilting go?"  In this quilt, it went in the inner border and sashings:

This is a 3-inch border which is a little wide for plain ribbon candy, so I added some loops inside each ribbon to fill the space well.

STEP TWO:  Pick a background design.

After I placed the ribbon candy, I added feathers in the background squares.  The feathers give the background a really rich texture:

STEP THREE:  Throw in some high-contrast texture.

This entire quilt is bordered by a three-inch checkerboard.  I wanted to quilt the border, but not distract from the beautiful prints.  I chose to stitch continuous curve in each square.  This simple design stands out beautifully next to the densely quilted ribbon candy:

STEP FOUR:  Frame what you want to feature.

The last decision I had to make for the machine quilting was "What do I do with the large star in the middle of the quilt?"  I decided to leave a one-inch unquilted border around each star point and to fill the middle with a swirling pattern:

I thoroughly enjoyed working with this fabric and quilting this quilt.  It is now on my sofa offering some much needed cheer in my dark and dreary house:

Check out each stop on the blog tour for This and That by Jillily Studio.

Tuesday 11/7/17 -- The Clever Quilt Studio -- Crystal Delaney --
Wednesday 11/8/17 – Ameroonie Designs – Amy Chappell –
Thursday 11/9/17 – Debby Brown Quilts – Debby Brown –
Friday 11/10/17 – That’s-Sew-Kari – Kari Steiger –

Friday, November 03, 2017

MAIL CALL: The Letter "I"

The simple letter "I" doesn't make an exciting postcard, but you can't spell R-O-C-K-E-T-S-H-I-P without it!

I stitched the "I" down with FabuLux Cloudy Skies so it would contrast with the turquoise fabric:

I chose FabuLux Wisteria for the satin stitch because I wanted to add more colors to this card:

My "I":

Ready to mail:

Next week I'll finish this series with the "P"!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Squared Away

All quilts are a treat, but this one was a huge treat to piece and quilt!

I had some Coming Up Roses fabric from Jillily Studios for Penny Rose Fabrics and decided to remake my Squared Away Cutie Quilt.

I (obviously) quilted it with ribbon candy because

1.   It's fun to quilt
2.   It looks GREAT!

Thanks to Nicole at Bits N Pieces Quilt Shoppe, I now know how to machine bind:

What did we ever do without machine binding clips (affiliate link*)?

I plan to travel with this quilt for the rest of 2017.

Come and visit both of us!
*If you buy something using an affiliate link I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission to help keep this website running.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Blueberry of Happiness

Yesterday I showed a quilt that I quilted with my FabuLux Neon Blueberry thread.  Many of my students look at a neon thread and get scared that it will make their quilting show up A LOT!

I personally love when my quilting shows up a lot, but bright threads can blend if used on the right fabrics.  "But I don't make bright quilts!" you might counter.  Consider this quilt:

It is not bright but it is busy, Busy, BUSY.  OK, it's a little bright, but only the border and binding.   You can't see the Blueberry FabuLux in a photo taken six feet away.

Take a closer look:

That is Blueberry FabuLux (with one line of blue marker that I haven't yet removed).

My backing is a white fabric with a fine black print on it.  I didn't use this bright thread in my bobbin.  I used gray DecoBob instead.  The gray blended with the Blueberry and also made a great stitch on the back.  The bobbin lasts longer with a finer thread and this quilt took less than two size-15 bobbins (home sewing machine size).

Do you have any bright threads that are too scary to use?  Check your stash to see if you have any fabric (or complete tops!) that might carry that thread well!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wild for the Walking Foot

When I taught at Sanford Sewing Center, I found a deliciously twisted black and white check fabric.  It needed to border this Share and Share Alike Cutie Quilt that I pieced on Errol, my HQ Stitch 510 workhorse of a machine:

I grabbed my FabuLux Neon Blueberry thread and sat down at Hedwig, my HQ Stitch 710, and made some walking foot magic:

I tried to mimic the twisting check with the quilting pattern and I'm so excited about how it turned out!

This quilt is bound and ready to be loved:

I'm having so much fun making these Share and Share Alike Cutie Quilts.  They are quick to make, fun to quilt, and a great size for babies.  Since I'm surrounded by babies and expecting many more, you'll have try to not be bored with all of the photos of this quilt in all different fabrics!

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Postcard Edging Tutorial

Last week I shared a tutorial on how to assemble a postcard, but I wasn't specific on how to stitch the edging.  Folks have messaged me asking about it so I shall oblige.

First, I set Hedwig's (my HQ Stitch 710 machine's) tension to zero so that the top thread wraps all of the way around the edge and very little bobbin thread shows:

I set the zig-zag stitch to 4.5mm wide and .4mm long:

I use my even-feed foot and stitch along all edges of the postcard:

I like to stitch around my card twice to make it thicker and fuller because I think once is not enough:

For the second round, I set the zigzag to 5.0mm wide and .2mm long:

I stitch all of the way around again, cut the thread, and secure the edge using Fray Check:

Once I'm done with the edging, I pop the postcard in an envelope and spread a little love through the mail.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Squared Away

Can one make too many Squared Away Cutie Quilts?  My answer is a resounding NO!

I had a fat quarter pack of Moda Elementary fabric, bought some Grunge fabric, and had a blast making this quilt.

I quilted it with ribbon candy, naturally.  The loft of the wool batting shows the difference between the quilted (cream) and unquilted (colored) sections of the quilt and makes it look much more complicated that it really is!  I machine bound it with strips from leftover fat quarters.  Quick, fun, and already given away to a friend.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thread: My Secret Weapon

When I designed the FabuLux line of thread for WonderFil, I included a collection of pastel variegated threads.  I planned to use these for baby quilts, but I use them as neutral threads on many different types of quilts.  Is it wrong for the designer to admit that she was surprised (pleasantly) by the outcome?

Yesterday I showed a quilt using one of my secret weapons -- Rocking Horse:

See how well it blends with Heidi Boyd's Country Days fabrics:

Isn't that pretty?  I've used this on modern quilts, southwestern quilts, baby quilts, and more.  

I don't use this thread in the bobbin.  I prefer to use DecoBob in the bobbin for nearly all of my sewing/quilting projects.  It's thin, the bobbin lasts a loooong time, it blends beautifully with the backing, and it makes tension a dream.

Rocking Horse is sold on 3000 yard cones as well as 700m spools so you'll have the right amount for any project (or projects!).

Do you have a surprising secret weapon thread color?  I have a few and can't wait to share more with you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wild for my Walking Foot

I have a new obsession:  the walking foot on my HQ Stitch 710 machine.

My quilting journey started with hand quilting, then longarm quilting, then free-motion quilting on a home machine, and now I've hit my final frontier -- the walking foot.  It was even my focus of the Machine Quilting Club at the Quilt Basket last week.  The students enjoyed their walking feet as much as I do and look forward to more Walking Foot instruction at the next meeting!

I recently remade my Share and Share Alike Cutie Quilt using Heidi Boyd's Country Days fabric from Red Rooster Fabrics:

I grabbed my FabuLux Rocking Horse thread and had fun quilting this with my walking foot:

Fun, right?

Do you enjoy machine quilting with your walking foot?  Follow along with my fun journey.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Postcard Tutorial

I was away from my sewing room for about six weeks and they were a difficult six weeks to be away.  I had some medical treatments that made me feel icky and quilting makes me feel better.  Sadly, I felt too icky to quilt.  International events made me want to turn off the news for a while and go sew something, but I was thousands of miles away from my sewing machine.  The steady stream of natural disasters kept me riveted as I prayed for those affected and waited to hear news from loved ones.  Sadly, natural disasters are coming fast and furious these days.  Finally, the ever-present political strife in the US has me calling for a time out.

When the events above and other difficult circumstances seep into my soul in a devastating way, I am learning to take a few minutes for myself and quilt.  As much as I love starting new projects, I don't do that; instead, I make a postcard.  The quilted postcard has several benefits:
  • It is small
  • It can be completed quickly
  • It can be mailed, and the peace can spread
Monday morning, I needed to get away from the political divide so I pulled out my LOVE pattern and started stitching:

The pattern is free on my website.  Click HERE.

After I finished piecing the front of the postcard, I pulled together a 5"x6" piece of stabilizer and a 5"x6" piece of white fabric.

I fused all three layers together, centering the top of the postcard on the 5"x6" backing/stabilizer.

I then trimmed it to 4 1/4" x 5 1/2."  I used my Postcard Trimming Tool for the job because it takes the "what is half of 4 1/4 inches?" question away:

I sat down at Hedwig, my Handi Quilter Stitch 710 machine, and stitched satin stitches along the edges of the postcard:

How perfectly lovely!

I can write a message on the back using a permanent marker:

I can stick a stamp directly on this card and mail it, but I prefer to mail it into a cellophane envelope:

To whom shall I mail this little bit of love?

I don't know much about much and am hesitant to give life advice, but when the world starts getting you down:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Health Hazard

Yesterday I discovered a health hazard in a place I thought to be safe.  Not only safe, but healthy!  I was nearly killed by fruit and chocolate.  Yes, you heard me correctly.

Late yesterday afternoon, I was still in my PJs (don't judge me) and taking the laundry down from the back deck.  I wasn't wearing my hearing aids and was in my own little world, enjoying my fresh-smelling laundry.  I live in the middle of nowhere and no one ever comes to my house.  It's safe to walk on my back deck in my PJs knowing that no one will ever see me, so imagine my surprise when I suddenly heard someone say "Hello."

And that's when I screamed and fell dead on the deck from a heart attack.  In my PJs.  And a messy bun.  A delivery man was in my driveway looking up at me lying dead on my deck.  Apparently I can't hear trucks in my driveway without my hearing aids and this delivery man snuck right up on me.

He jumped, but then started laughing.  After my heart re-started, I said "Obviously you startled me."* I met the delivery man in the driveway, still trying to regain my breath.  The kind man said, "I could see the laundry lines jiggling so I figured you were back here.  I didn't mean to scare you!"  He was just trying to deliver an Edible Arrangements bouquet from my cousin.**  I explained to him about not wearing my hearing aids and then signed for this beautiful bouquet.

I picked the wrong week to stop drinking Dr. Pepper.

The delivery man will likely never recover from being screamed at (and seeing me in my PJs). 

I eventually revived myself with chocolate and fruit.  "Hair of the dog" and all that.

*Understatement, much?

**"Cousin Eddie" was very nearly listed as my cause of death.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Are you ready for Cutie Madness?

I design Cutie Patterns and 16 of my patterns are battling against each other to see which is YOUR favorite!

This week Summer's End and Squared Away are going head to head.

Summer's End:

Squared Away:

Vote for your favorite HERE and be entered to win a random drawing of these two patterns.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome Home!

As a traveling quilt teacher, I travel for as little as a day at a time and as much as 37 days at a time (only once; never again).  The average, though, is 4-5 days away.  My last trip had me away from home for 7 days.  This was on top of 3 weeks away and 2 weeks of medical treatment.  To say I was missing my quilting time is an extreme understatement!

My first day at home, I decided that extreme quilt therapy was in order.  I grabbed one of my "waiting to be quilted" Cutie tops and started ribbon candy-ing as if my life (and sanity) depended upon it:

I finished ribbon candy-ing my Squared Away Cutie Quilt.  This quilt was a delight from start to finish because PennyRose Coming Up Roses fabrics (affiliate link*) by Jillily Studio are just the happiest fabrics ever!  And Jill makes me just as happy in person.

Even though I ribbon-candied an entire quilt, I was still jittery.  Clearly I needed more cowbell ribbon candy:

Fortunately I had an unquilted Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt top just lying around, as one does.  I'm still ribbon candy-ing, but I have no idea if this quilt will be enough.  Just how many ribbon candied quilts will it take to feel like I'm me again, do you think?

Are you a ribbon candy fan?  I teach ribbon candy in one of my Craftsy classes (50% off link HERE**).
*If you purchase something through an affiliate link I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission to keep this website running.

**Coupon Details: Get 50% off the full retail price of select Craftsy classes taught by Debby Brown - Instructor. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires December 19, 2017.