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