Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Recent Quitls and Giveaway Winner!

Not very good pictures, but here are a few of the quilts I have been working on over the past few weeks.  Darlene always sends me really cool quilts to work on and these two were no exception.  I wish I had time to get better photos before they went home but I just didn't this time around.  Both were wall hangings - around 45"/50" square each.  I think the snowman quilt is something like 45 x 50.

For the lilac quilt, the centerpiece is embroidery, similar to the style of embroidery Darlene did for her Feels Like Spring quilt.  I did not do any quilting in the applique itself as we had some thread pulling and I had a needle break in the center so I left that area alone.  The borders I did some pinstriping and free hand design, keeping it somewhat loose as to not distort her lovely piecing.  We used one layer of cotton batting provided by Darlene for this one.

For Darlene's fusible applique frosty she asked me to do something different.  Another long armer had used a tulle overlay overtop the applique so they did not require being stitched down.  We kept  the quilting loose and mostly free hand here as well.  I ditched around the snowflakes and each of the pieces in the body of the snowman, and did some pinstriping again in the borders.  Not alot showed unless it was a more solid area but the tulle added a really neat dimension.  This time I am pretty sure she sent along a batting scrap of Hobbs 80/20 from another quilt I did for her.  One layer - and I used Bottom Line to quilt both pieces.

I just grabbed a little snapshot of this baby quilt as I quitled it out using the pantograph Counting Sheep by Patricia E. Ritter for Urban Elementz.  It really quilted up cute!!  I have another panto/all over for Darlene on the frame and I'll try and get some good photos of those before they head home.  I believe she sent cotton again for this one, and once again I used a white Bottom Line thread.


Thank you so very much to everyone who commented and expressed interest in Lara's book, Crafted Applique!  I know this meant an awful lot to Lara and also it meant a lot to me!  We had a total of 141 commenters and instead of writing all those names down I decided to use a random number generator...and the comment chosen was number 7! 

Daryl at Patchouli Moon Studios you are the winner!

I will email you shortly for your contact information to forward to Lara!  Again - thank you so very much to all who participated!!!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Crafted Applique - Review and GIVEAWAY!

***Please scroll to the bottom of this post for GIVE AWAY details and instructions!

Months ago, gosh, I think more than a year ago now, my quilting friend and client Lara Buccella sent me a beautiful applique quilt to work on for her.  She told me it was going to go into a book that she was writing about a "new method" for applique.  I was beyond thrilled to be asked to participate on a piece from her very important book project, but more than that I was intrigued to learn what this book was all about!  I waited patiently for the release and boy oh boy - let me tell you it was worth the wait! 

I have been quilting now for more than a decade - and sewing as far back as I can remember.  I connect with a really large pool of quilters from all over the United States and abroad and I dare to say my connection to the quilt world is more than the average hobby quilter.  Despite that I had yet to hear of anything like Lara's method, and I have to tell you I'm very impressed.  Now - I don't say that lightly about just anything.  Lara has really put together a clever and sweet collection of projects, and her method is really ingenious.

I am a big fan of turned applique because I love the look, but it takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R!  I usually reserve it for quilts that have a special purpose like a show or heirloom...sometimes I really just want the ease of fusible applique.  My beef with fusible is that the raw edges just do not hold up to wear.  I always sort of feel let down when I put tons of work into a project with fusible and it ends up looking haggard and worn looking in a short amount of time.  So the reason I was so delighted to get my hands on Lara's book is because she has a new little idea that GREATLY improves the look, feel, and longevity of raw edge applique.  I promise you I'm not being dramatic here, and Lara is not compensating me in any way but rather is just a pal with a really good idea that I believe in.  This has really changed my view of raw edge!

Now I'm being a bit elusive here on purpose because us quilters who do this for a living really do appreciate the support of a book or design purchase.  (So I truly encourage you to run out and support this fantastic quilter who has put her heart and soul into this book!)  But I do want to share with you my results and honest thoughts after trying Lara's applique method for myself.

I made this quick little mug rug for a quilting friend in an afternoon.  You can see the pineapple turned out nice and crisp and I did not stitch over the raw edges of the pieces AT ALL.  This is the brilliance of Lara's idea...you can stitch right on the edge of the applique, making it EASY peasy, and be done.  When I was very into country primitive style of quilts I loved blanket stitch around all my appliques, but sometimes you just don't want that look.  I also have a straight stitch machine set up permanently in my sewing room and I didn't want to have to dig out the zig zag machine and fiddle with stitches, so this was perfect.  Even with my busy life raising four children and running a business I was able to PLAY and that is the best feeling.

I began by designing an applique motif based on the logo of my quilting pal...*cough*...you may have heard of her...a slightly famous quilter named Linda Hrcka from the Quilted Pineapple!  Alirght I'm shamelessly name dropping.  She is a great gal who has been extremely supportive of my quilting journey and so I wanted to make something personal for her.

I treated the back of the fabric first using Lara's book as my guide, and then cut the pieces out.  I will say that I did not use the SAME treatment that Lara recommends most and it made a big difference.  In addition to sharing her book with me she also shared a book mark that she made using her preferred treatment, and it is pliable, soft, raw edge, and MACHINE washable.  MACHINE WASHABLE!  That's a BIG deal.  Pretty impressive, take a look...

Above is the adorable two sided fabric book mark Lara made and sent to me.  She printed out a cute little saying onto the front, with a bee theme (that just happens to coincide with the them of her blog).

Unlike traditional fusible backed raw edge applique, Lara's fabric stays soft and flexible.  You can barely feel that there is anything at all between the two layers of fabric.  She explained to me that she simply treated both pieces of fabric, then ironed them together, and stitched around the edges of the cut book mark.  You can run your fingers along the raw edges even with no fraying.  I'm so impressed by that!

So back to my project, which isn't quite as soft because as I shared, I used a slightly different option than her preferred best results suggestion, but still I am so tickled with the results.

After placing my pieces onto the fabric, I simply ironed them into place.  I stitched pretty far from the edge and Lara actually recommends stitching a little closer to the edge than I did here.  I didn't worry about it as this piece is meant to be used and loved and I'm not too concerned about perfect, but I was pretty happy with the results.

After stitching the appliques in place I did a tiny bit of quilting and turned the edges of the backing fabric rather than make a biding.  There was no gunking up of my needle and I did not have any difficulty stitching through the fabric at all with a regular universal needle on my Juki TL 2010Q sewing machine.  I am so pleased with the final outcome!

I have so many ideas for future projects using this and I think you will too!  In addition to being well thought out and well written Lara has included a selection of very cute and clever projects inside using her method to create them.  Her directions are easy to follow and very thorough. 

If YOU would like a chance to win a copy of CRAFTED APPLIQUE by LARA BUCCELLA comment below (be sure to leave an EMAIL to contact you if you are chosen or else I'll unfortunately have to draw a new name) between now and 11:59 pm on May 15th and shortly after give away closing (when I escape for a few free minutes from my four children and busy work schedule) I will draw a name and announce a winner!!!  Lara will be generously sending out a copy of her book personally to one chosen reader of this blog.  Names will be tossed into a bowl and one name will be chosen at random.  If you cannot wait to get your hands on a copy you can order it today on Amazon.

A big thank you Lara Bucella  from Buzzin' Bumble for including me in your wonderful Crafted Applique book project and giving me an advanced chance to preview your unique method for raw edge applique!  I really think the book is FANTASTIC and the method will change your look on raw edge forever!

For those so inclined to visit here is Lara's Blog Hop schedule!  Check out some of these amazing blogs!  :)

Sunday, May 1 - Introduce the Hop and post the schedule on BuzzinBumble
Monday, May 2 - Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
Tuesday, May 3 - Dana Gaffney - Stormy Days
Wednesday, May 4 - Lorna McMahon - Sew Fresh Quilts 
Thursday, May 5 - Mary S. - Needled Mom
Friday, May 6 - Heidi Kuntz - Red Letter Quilts
Saturday, May 7 - Alycia Carmin - Alycia Quilts
Sunday, May 8 - Amy DeCesare - Amy Made That
Monday, May 9 - Sherri McConnell - A Quilting Life
Tuesday, May 10 - Lara Buccella - Sew Mama Sew 
Wednesday, May 11 - Christina Cameli - A Few Scraps
Thursday, May 12 - Melissa Corry -  Happy Quilting
Friday, May 13 - Sarah Craig - Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Saturday, May 14 - Soma Acharya - Whims and Fancies 
Sunday, May 15 - Val Reynolds -  Val's Quilting Studio
Monday, May 16 - Angela Pingel - Cut to Pieces
Tuesday, May 17 - Sandra Walker - Musings of a Menopausal Melon
Wednesday, May 18 - Cheryl Brickey - Meadow Mist Designs
Thursday, May 19 - Judy Murphy - Quilt Paradigm
Friday, May 20 - Yvonne Fuchs - Quilting Jetgirl
Saturday, May 21 - Cindy Pieters - Stitchin' at Home
Sunday, May 22 - Susie Zlogar - Susie's Sunroom
Monday, May 23 - Connie Kresin-Campbell - Freemotion by the River
Tuesday, May 24 - Ruth Bourke - Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner
Wednesday, May 25 - Kaja Zieslar - Sew Slowly
Thursday, May 26 - Ann Brooks - Fret Not Yourself
Friday, May 27 - Cynthia Brunz - Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Tuesday, May 31 - Jenn Trott-Zisserson - Quarter Inch From the Edge
Wednesday, June 1 - Paulette Horn - The Way I Sew It
Thursday, June 2 - Sandra Jansen - Studio Sew of Course
Friday, June 3 - Christine Sherman - Triangles and Squares
Saturday, June 4 - Darlene Simmons - Quilt Shop Gal
Sunday, June 5 - Announce BuzzinBumble Giveaway Winners - Lara Buccella

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Few Client Quilts

So many things are happening in my world I don't even know where to start!  First, I have another article coming out very soon in Machine Quilting Unlimited.  This time I wrote about using pantographs, focusing quite a bit on ways for those of us hand guided quilters to use them more efficiently.  Some day I completely want a computer for my machine, possibly a second machine too - but for the time being I'm quilting those babies out as carefully and neatly as I possibly can by hand...with good results I might add that folks often cannot tell is hand guided!  That's definitely the goal for me.  :)

Here's one panto quilt I just finished up for my client Jane...the pattern is Scenic Bypass by Antler Quilt Designs.  It measures approxmiately 86" x 66" and we used Deja Vu by Patricia E. Ritter and myself for the quilting, Glide thread in Light Olive, and one layer of Hobbs 80/20 batting.

Originally Jane had requested a deep purple shade of thread.  I have a handful of purple thread on hand but none looked quite right so instead I suggested this pretty deep green to pull from the green in her fabrics, and also the green leaves on her backing fabric.  I think it turned out so great, now I cannot imagine if we had used another color!  I really like the blending look of the green in the lighter fabric, the only other shade I think would have looked equally as nice would have been a golden/honey color.

People often ask me what to use for their backings.  My suggestion is generally a medium tone (unless your front is all very dark fabrics) that will look good with whatever color thread is going to be predominant on the front.  I tend to use the same or similar shade thread in the top and bobbin, so you want something that will compliment the thread used to blend with the front.  Many times folks like to send an all white or all dark colored backing - this is fine so long as there isn't going to be a lot of backtracking and you don't mind high contrast thread against it.  No matter how impeccable my backtracking or how thin the thread, a couple of passes in white against navy blue is just not going to look as nice as a lighter blue.  While the quality of the quilting is extremely important, I have really learned that color choice and quality of fabric matter just as much for the best possible outcome.

In the case of Jane's beautiful quilt, I think the green really worked beautifully with both the front and back of the quilt - she chose well!  :)

Another recent finish that I have been itching to share is my client Michele's Gravity quilt!  Michele is the cousin of my neighbor and I'm super excited about the quilts she is going to have me work on as she is a big fan of solids.  To me that means I get to have some SERIOUS fun! 

I had been just WAITING for someone to send me one of these! I'm not sure if just quilting it has satisfied my urge to make one or not...there never seems enough time to make all that I want to make, and because I really get my kicks from making and entering show quilts I'm not sure how soon I'll actually get to it. This certainly was fun to play on though!

We used one layer of Quilter's Dream Cotton Select for this one as this is Michele's batting of choice.  We opted for Bottom Line thread in the top and bobbin in a light gray shade.  Her backing was a black and gray print so much of the detail shows best on the front.

I just cannot get enough of those colors!  There were a lot stretchy bias edge triangles to the outer edge of the quilt with this one but they did not give me much issue.  Luckily much of the quilting allowed for me to pull and extra fabric in and (hopefully) we tucked it hidden pretty well.  No pleats or tucks but some creative quilting happened here.  :)

The Gravity quilt pattern (by Jaybird Quilts) measured approxmiately 96" x 95". 

One more show and tell piece...this is Wanda's quilt.  The center pattern is called a Stargello and she created it using a Stargello ruler tool - the borders were added by guild members to create one beautiful and awesome quilt!

This one was somewhere around 85" x 85".  We used two layers of batting - I believe she sent Quilter's Dream cotton and I used a layer of Hobbs 80/20 overtop.  This one I approached a little differently.  I stitched in the ditch the entire quilt first.  Then I went back and filled in.  I have been hesitant to do that with quilts that do not have a significant amount of piecing in the past but I really think it made for a neater, crisper finish.

My favorite part is the quilting in this open space around the star...

I also really enjoyed quiltnig in the snowball border!  The sort of curly cue design was something different but really effective I think.

The back is where I think stitching in the ditch prior to adding filler quilting really made a difference.  If you look carefully the ditched lines show little to no backtracking - not because there wasn't any backtracking but because it was very little.  Long continuous lines were done all at once in one long smooth motion - where as often when you ditch as you go, things don't always line up and look neat.  The difference is small - but overall it really adds to the polished look of the quilting.

I think there are always things you look at after and say, "oh, I could have done that better or differently".  I'm pretty pleased with this one!

I have been so fortunate to work on some very lovely quilts lately!  I have started a new show quilt and I'll get to that in an upcoming post, along with some of my thoughts on MQX.  I did not place this year but I'm happy to say I DID receive a teacher's ribbon from Angela Huffman!  How exciting!

More to come...happy quilting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Checking In - Sue's 30's Reproduction Quilt

I always tend to start blog posts like this - but so much has been going on around here!  I always have a quilt on the frame, usually some sitting in wait, and of course I have other projects in the works as well to keep me busy...but then we had Easter, spring break, and the entire house coming down with a stomach bug in the matter of two days!  UGH!  Hello laundry.  Not fun!  I do have another post full of pictures from the Lake Farm Park show but it is just a matter of finding time to sit and write a blog to go with it.  I like to give everyone credit for their quilts and it takes a hot minute to sort through photos and credits and all of that.  So for now I'll share some of the other things going on.

 This is one of two quilts that Sue sent me to work on for her - the more detailed quilted of the two.  I had a lot of fun with this and while we worked out some of the quilting plan beforehand she pretty much let me go to town.  :) 

Sue really likes feathers so I tried  to incorporate a lot of them!  I used my favorite custom thread Bottom Line by Superior Threads in the top and bobbin, and we again used two layers of Hobbs 80/20.

That polkadot flange was adorable but did NOT want to lay down.  I did try to help it along with ditching but it was a stinker.

I think my favorite part of the quilting is the curved cross hatching in between the log cabin blocks.  They turned out so pretty and I think they added a lot to the quilt.  I also love the pine trees and how cool it looks when the triangles made from flying geese are extended into each other.  I really gives added dimension I think to an already really cool quilt.

Another closeup of feathers...

I kept the majority of the detail in the white fabric.  As usual there is a patch I missed (so when someone spots it and emails me...) rest assured I fixed it!  LOL  Really, thank goodness for photographs to catch the errors! 

This quilt measured 97" x 105" and the backing was MASSIVE!  It took up almost my entire frame...and I can get 140" of quilt on my giant frame.  Above you can see a few little flower details I quilted in the baskets...I tried to keep with the cute theme of the quilt.  I really love how it turned out!

Next post I will share photographs of Wanda's Stargello - but you can get a sneak peak of it on the MQResource website as it was a featured quilt of the week on their forums last week.

Happy Spring and Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Painted Daisies Essential Elementz Club Set


Look what's new?  I'm super excited that Painted Daisies by Patricia E. Ritter and I is the March club set for Urban Elementz Essential Elementz club...it turned out SO cute!  I love these club sets because you get so many different options for them, and there is still time to sign up and receive this as your first set!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Exciting News and Lake Farm Park Quilts 2016 Post #1

My little business has grown exponentially this past year and boy oh boy is my schedule c-r-a-z-y right now!  Among other exciting news I have to share with you, I am currently arranging a number of speaking and teaching dates for 2016 and 2017.  I will share more on that here on my blog as contracts come in and official dates are booked.

Probably the most exciting news this past few weeks?  My first article for Machine Quilting Unlimited  has finally appeared!

I am so completely excited and even more thrilled that I am scheduled for two more articles and hopefully it is the beginning of more to come.  I have SO enjoyed writing about quilting and what an honor it is to have an article published in this magazine.  It really is the magazine for machine quilters.  I really really love what I am doing right now and the direction I am headed with quilts...and am feeling quite blessed!

In other news...

  ...Impermanence is going to MQX East!  This is very exciting for me because it is the very first full sized quilt of mine headed to an MQX show.  Well - full sized for me - which generally means large wall hanging!  I am thrilled and nervous and excited and all of the things that come along with being accepted into a juried show.  I entered in a different category than I have attempted in the past and I hope it was a good decision.  Today on my agenda outside of loading up the next client quilt I have in line will be to fix a few little things that the Road to California judges commented on.  Outside of that - it is just about ready to be boxed up once again and shipped off to another show.  Exciting!

   Now - I have been promising some photos from Quilts 2016 at Lake Farm Park in Kirtland, Ohio!  I may break this up into several posts as there were just so many beauties there and I took many photographs!

  This show is still going on for just a few more weeks and it is a must if you are in the north east Ohio area.  Certainly my favorite quilts donned loads of quilting.  It is definitely the trend in the quilt world and even in this regional show - quilts were stitched to the hilt!  Needless to say I drooled.  I have been saying for a decade now that every single year the quality of the entries get better and better, and this year was no exception.

 This quilt pieced by Harriet Treynor and quilted by Linda Sekerak was just an absolutely gorgeous quilt.  Wouldn't you love to have this displayed on your wall?  Just beautiful piecing, embroidery, and quilting.  These ladies really created something beautiful together. 

I really really loved the machine quilting on this simple quilt below pieced by Joyce Hillick Ely...and how funny when I noticed the quilter was also Linda Sekerak!  I think I like Linda's style! 

Look at that texture!  The border fabric is gorgeous too...and the judges were pleased as I spy a pretty ribbon hanging there. 

Now, I am not a hand quilter but look at this beauty pieced and hand quilted by Carol Morris...I couldn't help but take a photo.  It is absolutely lovely!

I took a hand quilting class from Carol years ago when I was still discovering my place in the quilting world and when I still had a quilt shop fairly local to me.  I still have the hand out she gave us!  She was a very kind and thoughtful teacher and I really enjoyed the time I had learning from her.  I always look for her quilts at the show and am amazed at the incredible patience she has.  Just gorgeous!

Now this quilt pieced and quilted by Joanne Fox - oh DROOL!  This was my absolute favorite quilt of the show.  Hands down!  The piecing is FABULOUS and the quilting...oh love!   

Gorgeous gorgeous feathering and cross hatching...and how creatively how she quilted the piecing.  Everything about it is just beautiful!

I told you this is a good show!  I didn't even see the little flowers in the quilting behind the name card there until just now!  There was quite a crowd around this one and so I had a hard time getting good pictures, but I managed these few...what a stunner.

I will save the rest for the next post...along with a couple of recently finished customer quilts that I have yet to share.

Happy quilting...and happy spring...almost!