Dream Big

19 07 2019

I know these are all over the internet, so nothing new! However, it is something I just finished, and I very much enjoyed the process. In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen one of these, it is the Dream Big panel from Hoffman Fabrics. This is my first one and I used the designs from Wasatch Quilting. It is really just like a very large paint by number project only with thread. It is an excellent way to practice marking blocks and using all the editing tools on the IQ  I have three other colorways to play with,  plus a bed size one.  IMG_5883





I Go to Extremes

11 07 2019

My last post was about computerizing my quilting machines, today I’m talking about the other extreme– handwork.

I’m teaching a year-long class using the book Home Sweet Home An Embroidered Work Box  by Carolyn Pearce. This is a stitch intense project, however i’s a great deal of fun for me. I’m getting to use stitches I’ve learned and never had a place to use them.  I just finished this side panel this week.

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I have already finished the front and the back of the house.

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To make this useful rather than just “eye candy,” I’d like to explain the transfer technique I used. This is stitched on a linen cotton blend, which meant it was too opaque to see through, in order to trace the design using a light table. My initial plan was to use an iron on transfer pencil, trace the design on the back of the pattern and then transfer to the fabric.  I traced the whole front. When I went to transfer, the pattern slipped so that piece wasn’t usable.

I considered using Sulky Sticky Fabric-Solvy. However, I don’t enjoy stitching through the extra thickness and I don’t want to get this project wet.

A light bulb went on. These panels are small, they easily fit onto an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet. So why not use an INK JET printer.  Here’s how I did it:

  • Cut fabric 8-1/2” x 11″ and Freezer Paper 8-1/2” x 11” (you could iron the freezer paper to the back of the fabric first and cut both together.
  • Press the fabric to be sure it is smooth. I sprayed it lightly with Fabric Sizing to make it a little stiffer. Then carefully line up the Freezer paper with the fabric, the shiny side of the freezer toward the fabric. Press well to make sure the Freezer paper is stuck firmly to the fabric. Trim away any loose threads.
  • Copy the pattern onto regular paper lightening the copy if possible.  Use White Out to remove any marks that won’t be covered by embroidery – charm placement, the seam line etc.
  • The fabric/freezer paper goes into the paper tray with the fabric facing down.
  • I tested different settings on my printer/copier, but found that running it through as regular paper worked fine. Depending on your printer/copier you may need to adjust settings for heavier paper i.e. brochure  Then I just hit copy. It worked like a charm!

Clear lines, with much less time spent on transferring the design. My ink didn’t smear. I do not intend to wash this ever, so I don’t have to worry about it possibly running. Finally Ink Jet ink is acid free.  Now I need to figure out a way to print larger projects.

There is nothing new under the sun. After my experimentation I came across an article from Inklingo talking about printing other types of patterns on an Ink Jet printer.





Change of Pace

9 07 2019

Wow! It has been two and a half years since I posted anything.  Life has changed in that time. Both boys have graduated from college, which meant it was possible for me to quit working at the quilt store at the end of last year (I still teach a little). This means I get to reinvent the way my day looks.  One of the things I’d like to do, is get back in the habit of writing here.

Since I last posted, I added Intelliquilter (IQ) systems to my longarm machines. This means I am back in the business of quilting without doing further damage to my neck and shoulder. I had wanted this system since I first saw it demonstrated in the Beta version somewhere around 2005 or 2006. However, I was convinced I needed to get my boys through school before spending that money. I’m thrilled with this system.  My only regret is that I waited to have it installed. One of the subjects I intend to explore here is how I use this system.

In the time since I posted here regularly, I’ve done a lot of videos for the various classes I’ve taught. They were uploaded on this channel on YouTube. I think all but one video on that channel is me. All that, just to say I intend to link videos here. I like my posts to be educational and I’ve gotten fairly comfortable with the video format, although you can expect to see written content as well. Please just realize my videos are a one person show. I do the camera work, the content and the editing. I am not a professional.

To kick off, what is hopefully more posting, here’s a video on using the IQ to do piano key borders.

Lucky Duck, from Under the Garden Moon, is a quilt that I taught as a mystery last year. The borders are where I first used the method shown in the video.

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The Power of Suggestion

15 12 2016

Working in a quilt shop, especially when your job is to check-in new merchandise can be a costly endeavor. Things you were sure held no interest for you may suddenly have appeal when they pass through your hands.

I lost interest in cross stitch years ago, in fact I think there are still a couple unfinished projects from the 80s somewhere in the house. But when a pattern for Snow Country Sled ornaments from Foxwood Crossings passed through my hands, I “needed” to do cross stitch again!

So last year at Thanksgiving the pattern and perforated paper made the trip with me to Oregon, and I did manage to stitch out the designs for three sleds. I didn’t get around to actually finishing the project until yesterday, when I glued the designs to the top of the sleds. This will need to qualify as my handmade ornaments for this year. (I try to do at least one each year.)

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I think my interest in cross stitch has once again waned  — until something else exciting passes through my hands.





The 4th after 4 years

29 06 2016

Since the first day of summer I’ve felt too bad to do anything creative. For me that’s bad. Today I finally felt good enough to get up for a while. I looked around at the house thinking Spring decorations need to come down and summer go up (if they finally do this year), and I remembered a project I’d intended to do four years ago!

I had seen this pillow in Pottery Barn’s Catalog. While I liked the pillow, I thought I could come up with something I liked even better. I’ve had all the materials and a plan since that time, but every year the 4th of July rolls around and I realize I’ve missed the window again.  Today was the day!

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My pillows are not intended to be indoor/outdoor, and they have a plain back, They are also made from three different fabrics rather than one printed fabric.  If you’d like to see the process, read on. If not thanks for looking at my show and tell.

My pillow forms are 20″.  The star fabric is 19″ wide bunting from a Minnick & Simpson line a few years ago. I started by determining the best place to cut the bunting to keep the most stars intact.  It turned out about an 8″ finished strip was what worked for me. If I were using other star fabric, that number could change. I could have used solid blue fabric and appliqued, stenciled or stamped the stars. Because I wanted to do flat felled seams on my pillows I used 5/8″ seam allowances throughout. (They looked huge after probably years of working with a 1/4″ seam allowance). So adding the 5/8″ seam allowance to both edges meant I needed to cut a strip 9-1/4″ wide. Once the I knew 8″ was taken up with the star strip I divided the remaining 12″ of the pillow form by four stripes to arrive at 3″ finished stripes or 4-1/4″ cut strips. Because I was making two pillows I chose to piece one big section the width of the solid fabric.

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To condense the cutting directions:

  • Cut one 9-1/4″ x 42″ strip of star fabric
  • Cut two 4-1/4″ x 42″ strips of white/cream
  • Cut two 4-1/4″ x 42″ strips of red

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Because I wanted the double line of stitching on the front of the pillow, I sewed the strips together with the wrong sides of the fabric together. The thread color will show on the right side.  I opted to use navy thread through out, but you could match thread to the color of fabric that will be on the top of the seam.

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Next trim one side of each seam allowance to at least half the seam allowance width, I did about a quarter-inch. The side you trim will be the side you will enclose, so you can decide now what color will be on the top.

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The remaining side of the seam allowance that was untrimmed, now needs to be pressed under so the raw edge meets the previous stitching line.

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To finish the flat felled seam, stitch close to the folded edge of the seam allowance. I used an edge stitching foot to keep it even. There are flat felled feet available for most sewing machines. I didn’t have the energy to get to the machine that had one. Press the whole piece well at this point.

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Cut the large strip into two pieces approximately 21-1/4″ square.

I used the envelope back method I’ve shown here before. Just a slight change — width of fabric isn’t wide enough for the back on a 20″ pillow.  I cut two rectangles 21-1/4″ x 30″ for the back of each pillow.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a flat felled seam this was a good refresher. I’ve been creative, so now I can go back to bed.





Where Do All the Samples Go?

24 10 2015

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the samples at your favorite quilt shop?  At Ruth’s Stitchery if we make it, it is ours when it has run its course.  After working and teaching there for over four years I’m starting to have a fair collection of samples that have come home.

My house is finally decorated for Fall and a large number of samples have found a spot this year.

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The table runner draped over the top of the ladder was a sample for the wool felt class I taught for 3 years.  (The pattern can be found at Nutmeg Hare.)  The quilts rolled in the egg basket in back weren’t samples, but were class projects at some point in time.

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Another table runner from Nutmeg Hare found its way to the top of the buffet.

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Here’s a better photo.

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A table mat from Brandywine Design made it home, and onto the top of a can turned end table.

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The turkey (pattern from The Wooden Bear) was just something to keep me busy while I went to watch my boys in a soccer tournament.  The penny rug below it coordinates perfectly, and that was a sample (the pattern is from Annelle’s Originals).

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This Harvest Moon Penny Rug (pattern from Penny Lane Primitives) is sitting on my Martha Washington sewing cabinet.

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This wall hanging found a home on the wall in the stairwell.  (Pattern from Wooden Spool Designs)

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This pumpkin table runner which I used at one point in time to teach fused applique now resides on the kitchen table. (Pattern from Bloomin Minds)

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Finally just a shot of the fireplace mantle.  No samples here, just playing around.  You’ve heard of time in a bottle, how about kids in a jar.  OK, I doubt they’d appreciate it, but they are away at college so I can do what I want.

Now you know where some samples go.





The Reveal

3 09 2015

Are you a person who likes a surprise, or like me do you read the end of the book long before actually progressing to that point?  I admire the people who sign up for a mystery quilt with little to no idea of what to expect for the end result.  I may admire them, but I’m not one of them!  I want to know what I am making!

All this leads up to how I am involved with a mystery quilt.  It’s simple, I choose them and lead them, so yes I do know the  end.  Today is the big reveal .  It is very different from the one we did last year, and the colors might not be for everyone. But, I love how it turned out.

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I took the photo in a classroom with flourescent lighting so the colors aren’t true.

It seems there are other people wanting to “read the end before it’s time.”  I loaded the tutorial video for putting the whole quilt together last night and when I looked at 6 am there had already been 20 views.

We will be having another mystery beginning Oct.1 and today is the deadline for sign-ups at Ruth’s Stitchery.  Next year’s mystery is quilt blocks A to Z, the only applique is optional at the end, and the fabrics will be mostly from Civil War reproduction lines. Here’s a sneak peek–

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Finally to give credit where it is due, the pattern for this year’s mystery was “Little House in the Garden” by Under the Garden Moon,.