Pincushions!

pincushions | December 19, 2019 | By

I have become ADDICTED to making pincushions! It all started this summer when I was homebound (well, not traveling anyway) to undergo radiation treatments for breast cancer. This is where I scream, GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!! Seriously folks, mine was found on a 3D, annual screening. It was extremely small and easily treatable. SOOO, back to pincushions. They exist in my world because I was home and looking for a distraction I believe. A pincushion is the perfect small project! Fun to make, uses scraps, and it’s hugely satisfying to finish a project in a few hours.

They also were an accidental beginning because I had bought a cute little used, Hello Kitty sewing machine for my granddaughter. I started pulling out scraps to sew on that machine and had so much fun, that it never left my dining room table!

The first pincushion, made from tiny half square triangles

Honestly, the last few months have gone by SO fast! I’m not very good at keeping up my posts here, but check out my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kellycline.quilting/ for almost daily pincushion ideas. They’ve grown into vintage focused pieces. All I need to do is look around my studio and I find inspiration. My stash is probably on the ridiculous side of LARGE!

This pincushion started with a piece of vintage embroidery

Each pincushion has a personality of its own. Depending on what machine I’m working at, the Hello Kitty, mom’s Singer 401A, the Bernina 440, or even my longarm, they all look different! I’ve enjoyed free motion quilting on some, ruler work on others and sometimes I’ve used the computer on my longarm machine. It’s pure fun just trying so many techniques and playing on different machines.

Free motion quilting on a hankie corner

The smallest pincushion is probably 3″ square and the size is only determined by the original embroidery or handwork. Some are large, going up to 5 or 6″. I find it’s difficult to cut into really beautiful embroidery, so I try to keep intact what I can.

Sweet vintage bird embroidery with 1930’s prints

I’ve also tried to keep the fabrics I use in line with the era of embroidery. I’ve been gifted so many beautiful feed sacks recently, so those have been my choice when they fit the embroidery. I also love to use Dupioni silks with some of the fancier cut work and drawn thread handwork. They show off nicely with the sheen of the silk.

Beautiful crocheted butterfly, hankie corner

Where do I find all of these beautiful vintage pieces? Mostly antique and thrift stores. I’m also gifted so many fabulous hankies, embroideries, tablecloths, you name it! Most people don’t know what to do with their generations of linens. It’s become my passion to teach, share and inspire, to get those wonderful pieces out of their drawers and made into something usable. (I keep a class schedule in the tab above of where I’ll be teaching, 2020 added soon!)

Always one-of-a-kind, never duplicated

I’ll be spending my winter mostly holed up in my studio, quilting and probably making pincushions, along with a few other projects. I don’t travel during winter months and leave that my time to really create. When I have a group of pincushions, I will sell them in my online shop https://kellyclinequilting.bigcartel.com/ . I never know when that will be, but I usually post on Facebook when it happens.

Thank you all for following my quilting journey. The adventure is ever-changing and I love to see what happens next. Creating is like breathing for me! Happy holidays to you all and I hope there will be some sewing in your winter months!

***RULER GIVEAWAY TODAY!!!*** winner selected!

Quilting Rulers | December 15, 2019 | By

***** Nancy McKenzie ***** YOU’RE THE WINNER!! Email your address and I’ll get those rulers in the mail!! Thanks for playing everyone. I hope you have a great holiday, whether having a big adventure travel or have a peaceful time on your own. No matter how you spend it, I do hope you get some time to sew!!

I’m giving away 3 sets of rulers today and you can enter once or 3 times for a chance!! Comment here, Facebook, or Instagram, or all 3 for a better chance to win a set of my rulers!!! Tell me where you are spending your Christmas holiday. I’ll draw a random winner on each social media page about 8pm CST, tonight! Ready, set, GO!

Set of 4 rulers, for long arm or domestic machine quilting
https://kellyclinequilting.bigcartel.com/products

Schmetz Ballpoint Needles…. AMAZING in a Long Arm Machine!

Schmetz long arm needles | December 11, 2019 | By

If you know me or have heard me speak, you know I am passionate about the needles I use in my Handi Quilter long arm. They are labeled as an embroidery ballpoint FOR THE LONGARM. Schmetz needles, to be specific, a light ballpoint. System 134 SES is generally used in single needle lockstitch industrial sewing machines. It is also known as 135×5 SES, 135×7 SES, 135×25 SES, 1901 SES, DPx5 SES, and DPx7 SES, and these are the reasons why I love them………

  1. The ballpoint tip spreads fibers instead of cutting them,
    preventing holes in the fabric. Forget what you think about
    ballpoint needles only being for jersey knits. These are
    not for sewing, they are for quilting purposes. Batiks? Never have a hole again if you must unsew!
    2. Reduces and almost always eliminates thread breaks and shredding when a moving machine goes from right to left.
    3. Round shank needles, for multi-directional use
    4. For use with most machines HandiQuilter, Gammill,
    Prodigy, Nolting, Tin Lizzie and Innova.
    ***** (these are a ROUND shank top, with a thread groove
    in the front and scarf in the back) I don’t believe these
    will work on an APQS, A1 or a Bernina
    longarm. They will work on an HQ Infinity at a lower speed.
    5. Prevents skipped stitches
    6. High stability and prevents deflection.
    7. Precise stitches
    8. Reduces wear on machine parts
    9. Long-lasting, no need to change the needle after every quilt.

You can find them here on my website in sizes 14, 16 or 18, at $10 for a package of 10 needles. You can add as many packs as you like for one shipping cost of $3. I am NOT a machine expert, so I can’t tell you if these will absolutely work with your machine or not, but have listed above the machines I know that will use them, according to customers who have purchased and used the needles. They compare to a Groz-Beckert 134 needle in the green package. Give them a try! You’ll never look back!

What is Society Silk Embroidery?

I speak often about the embroidery termed, Society Silk. What is it and what does it refer to? I’ve collected quite a treasure trove of linens, but I always come back to these, delicate and finely stitched by women of a by gone era. I’ll share a few of my favorites. Beware, they are not pressed and lovely, YET! Shown as found, usually in antique stores or many times, gifted to me by dear friends.

The Society Silk style of embroidery began as a past time in England long before it came to America.  For some women, it eventually became a way to earn a living from home. Perhaps the original American cottage industry, fine silk embroideries could be produced at home and then sold as lots to linen houses for sale in a wider market.  “Society silk” is a popular reference to the Royal Society of Embroidery that produced the silk floss, embroidery patterns and promoted the cottage embroidery of finer pieces. Additionally, they promoted embroidery “clubs” that brought friendly competition between members to produce the finest work.   This beautiful piece of embroidery came from that period and represents the very best of technique, materials and design.

A basket of Roses, my most prized piece of Society Silk

Royal Society was not a company, it was a trademarked brand name for needlework patterns and supplies owned by the H.E. Verran Company of New York. The company was incorporated in October of 1912, shortly after the silk art embroidery craze fell out of popularity. The company ceased operations in 1930.

Roses and flowers were popular subject matter

Also termed, Art Embroidery, Art Needlework, Kensington Embroidery and Silk Embroidery, Society Silk was also known as “Fancy Work”. In the nineteenth century, any decorative work created for ornament had these names, since they were the opposite of “plain sewing”.

Strawberries were another popular subject

A common myth is that this beautiful type of embroidery was only done by wealthy, society women. Those that could afford the silk and linen, with servants doing their housework. Actually, what seems more the reality, is that silk embroidery was introduced in America to help those women who had an economic need. Imagine, at the end of the Civil War, how many women were left without husbands, fathers, brothers and sons to support them. The upper and middle class Victorian ladies were thrown into a difficult situation–no income, no skills, no options for training. It was an unwritten rule that these women did not work outside the home.

Finely stitched holly and berries

Enter Candace Wheeler, who in 1877, formed the Society of Decorative Art, in New York City. She began this cottage industry to help these women learn an art form that could be created without leaving their homes. Mrs. Wheeler also began numerous auxiliary Societies all over America and Canada.

Look at those butterflies!

At this time, instruction books became popular and embroidery clubs were popular places for women to meet and socialize. Women who excelled in embroidery, often became traveling embroidery teachers.

Now, not all pieces with silk floss are considered Society Silk. The Art Embroidery phenomenon is only present in the years 1877-1912 in America.

There is often a ‘sheen’ to the silk work

Personally, the best part of this story, is that women could be trained to use artistic needlework to make a respectable living. Exactly what many of us have accomplished in this career of quilting, sewing, crafting and creating.

More strawberries, these are padded!

I have made it my mission to take the beauty of a long ago makers’ handwork and bring it into the 21st century. Can you even imagine what she would think of this world and our fancy machines? Most of my Society Silk pieces will eventually be framed for everyone to enjoy. I like being part of a 100+ year old story!

Free motion quilted on a long arm

This last piece was free motion quilted onto Dupioni red silk. The doily measures about 10″ round. The framed piece is about 17″ square. It now resides in the home of a dear friend.

The next question is usually, do you sell these? The answer is, not yet! I’ve given them for silent auctions, given them to friends, and carry them with me on my speaking travels and trunk shows. I like them to be seen and enjoyed, as well as an inspiration to those of you who have these types of linens. Bring them out of their drawers and hiding places. Let everyone enjoy the amazing handwork of women!

**********

To read more about Silk Embroidery, check out the book, “Silk Art Embroidery: A Women’s History of Ornament & Empowerment”, by Donna Cardwell. Much of my information comes from this book, as not much is written about this needle art form.

Coming Soon to Morgantown, West Virginia!

I’ll be visiting Morgantown, WV, April 12 & 13, for the West Virginia Quilters, Inc. We will be meeting at the Hampton Inn for 2 days of quilt fun! The workshop on Friday, “Quilting Vintage on your Domestic Machine”, is full, but they are taking names on a wait list. On Saturday, all are welcome for my talk, trunk show and demo on the long arm, “Quilting Vintage!” See their website https://www.wvquilters.org/Meeting.html for more information. I’m super excited to visit that area of the country!



Why I LOVE Ballpoint Needles for the Longarm

Today’s quick video about ballpoint needles on my Facebook page today.

Update on Quilted, Cut Work Tablecloth

My Own Quilts, Vintage Linen | February 27, 2019 | By

I attended QuiltCon last week, so my quilting was suspended! I’m back on this beautiful, wholecloth quilt. You can see the beginnings on my post from Jan. 28 if you scroll down. It’s a slow process, especially filling all the backgrounds that I decided to fill. Sometimes I wonder WHY I did something, not thinking about how many times I might have to repeat the process. That’s usually when I get bored! I love the challenge of new projects and figuring things out, but once I’ve done that and the first stitching, the rest may be monotonous. Do you feel this way when you create? The morning light across a quilt does get me excited though, so you’ll find me in my studio all day today!! Have a great Wednesday!

Need a New Suitcase??

Travel | February 26, 2019 | By

YES, this may seem like a strange post coming from a quilter, but you guys, these are the BEST SUITCASES EVER!! I travel A LOT and put a lot of miles on my luggage. I bought this set of 3 hard cases about 2 years ago on Amazon. I liked the thought of a hard case so if there was anything wet or sharp, it wouldn’t penetrate a cloth suitcase and touch my quilts. On my last big trip overseas, the largest case broke a wheel and cracked the case where the wheel is attached. I took my time writing the company because hey, that takes time out of my quilting day! 😉

Yesterday, I sent a picture and a short note about the wheel. By the way, there is a 2 year warranty on this luggage!!! I had a quick response that they would refund me $70 for the large case, since sending it back would be inefficient. Score!!! I paid $139 for the set almost 2 years ago (2 more months before my 2 years is up!) and used it hard. I plan to buy another set with the $70 refund because I LOVE these suitcases!!!

This is how my dear case looks these days. A little beat up, but what a good travel companion it has been!

PS. If you have AD blocker on your computer or phone, this link may not show up that I’ve posted above. They are called, Coolife luggage, 3 piece set. (affiliate link)

Quilting a Cutwork Tablecloth

I’ve got a new project on the frame, it’s a vintage cutwork tablecloth. I actually went at this a little backwards because I saw a fabulous design by Telene Jeffrey, AKA Lady Jane Quilting. Telene is a phenomenal quilter and designer and has just published a few of her designs that can be purchased in PDF form. I knew I had to have one immediately when I saw her post these on her Facebook page. This is the one I chose. When you purchase them, they come to you in a PDF file (these are not digitized designs) and you have the freedom to enlarge or reduce as you wish. Telene gives very specific directions, once purchased, on how to do this.

I didn’t want to spend time changing the size of the design, so in my lazy way I picked a tablecloth that would fit the print out! Yup, that’s how I roll!! If I wasn’t so anxious to start quilting, I might have taken that time, but I didn’t. I printed out the quadrant that she provides and decided my best light box would be my glass kitchen table. If you don’t have a glass table, tape your design to a window or door, it works great too! I put a lamp, without the shade, under my table and voila, a very large light box!

 

 

I spent the afternoon tracing the design, a quadrant at a time. Once I had half of the design traced, I flipped the entire half over and then traced the other half. I used a blue water soluble pen for the marking. Any brand will do. To remove when finished, I use a mix of 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda, dissolved in 1 cup of ice cold water. I’ve been told that this mix changes the PH of the pen and it’s always worked for me. Do NOT let an iron or heat touch this until you have removed the markings. Heat will permanently set the markings, yikes!!

I printed out one detailed section and one with just the base lines, this way I could get an idea of the spacial relationships AND I wouldn’t need to refer back to her drawings when I started quilting. Telene said feel free to change fills, etc., but I really want it just like she designed.

This may be the biggest ‘chore’ for me. I’m always so anxious to get started that planning and drawing are not my strong suits. Many times I will load right on the frame and start stitching a drawing there and then while I work, letting the design come as it may. This time, it’s all about the planning!

I put the tablecloth (roughly 36″ square) on top of a piece of Antique Gold, Dupioni silk. I buy my silk on Etsy from Fabric Supplier. They have great colors and it’s $15 a yard with free shipping. You can’t beat that! They usually ship within a day or two of ordering.

The first thing I do on the longarm is use my channel locks to square the tablecloth. This gives me a great frame to work within and I know it’s square. Linen fabric has a loose weave, so I can manipulate the fabric to make it square. Sometimes, I spritz some water to make it more manageable, but since that would remove my blue line work, I couldn’t do that. I was able to square it up very easily without the water.

At this point, I use my Notched Ruler to help stabilize areas of the linen. It nests nicely in my hopping foot for precision stitching around all the cutwork. You can see how this ruler works here in a YouTube video.

This gives you an idea of the kind of exacting work I can do with that ruler. I love the way the Dupioni silk shows through the cutwork!

I’m using one of my smallest rulers that I call the 1/2 Slim (1 1/2″ x 5″) to do most of the line work. It fits in my hand easily and I can move it quickly. Yes, my stitches are tiny too, 16 SPI (stitches per inch). When doing these tiny feathers and curves, small is best. I’m filling the areas with a scribble stitch to make the open areas really pop!

I couldn’t wait to see how this looked without the blue line, so I use a Q-tip dipped in my removal mix, to take away just a bit of the design. LOVE how this looks! My thread colors, you ask? Glide 40 weight thread, in colors Coffee and Cleopatra. I love the gold because it looks like metallic, but I don’t need to fight with that. Admittedly, I have struggled with using metallic threads, therefore, I don’t! 😉

This is what I have so far. I’ll post again at some point, but wanted to get the beginnings put to words so I could inspire you all to do this as well. Honestly, it’s not difficult, it’s just a process. As I tell folks, it just takes practice, as does riding a bicycle, learning cursive, playing an instrument, or anything we do well. It’s a habit that takes time and you can’t expect it overnight. If you want to be good at something, practice. Quilting is just that for me, something I love and want to do well!

You can also follow me on my Facebook page for daily posts. Enjoy your day folks, whatever you are doing!

 

 

 

Use a Vintage Tablecloth for a Quilt Backing

I am frugal and I rarely buy fabric. I collect vintage,  mid-century tablecloths and they have stacked up. A few years ago, I was at a loss for a quick backing, so I thought ‘why not use one of these tablecloths”? I did and it’s now my favorite backing! Last week in that, IT’S AFTER CHRISTMAS AND I GOTTA ORGANIZE SOMETHING mood, I started in on my vintage tablecloths to put some order to the mess. When I saw these beautiful colors, I HAD to create a top to go with it, of course! I set out to quickly cut some appropriate blocks from my stash and thought I’d whip up a simple 4 patch quilt. Well, the top grew, then I had to add borders to the tablecloth, then border the top. Each kept growing and finally I was ready to quilt the whole thing.

 

 

 

I sure didn’t mean for this to be a week long project, but it quickly “asked” for more! I never know what a quilt will be until it goes on the longarm frame. They start talking back once they arrive!

 

I further complicated my quilting life by adding this flange. Super cute I thought when I was sewing, but a bit of a pain in the you-know-what once I started quilting! This required lots of ditch stitching and ruler work. Thankful for my favorite 9″ Slim Ruler to make this job enjoyable! Honestly, I do love ruler work.

This quilt is a mix and match of a computer digitized motif and free motion quilting. The white blocks are done with the Handi Quilter Pro-Stitcher computer. The 4 patch blocks and outer borders were done with rulers and free motion quilting.

 

 

I love this double sided curvy ruler by Jane Hauprich. You can order it on her website.

 

 

A quilted top begins to take on a personality, if you can call it that, very quickly. At the end of a day I stand back and take it all in. Something about that texture is just exciting to me!

 

 

Probably the best part of the adventure is the end! I flip it over my back rail to get a good look at my stitching. I’ve learned over time to take a moment and study it all. There is nothing worse than taking a whole quilt off the frame and then realizing you missed a spot and have to put it back on, UGGGHHHH!!! Isn’t she a beauty!!!

 

 

Much better to see in natural light! I always take my photos in front of my front door, snapping the photo TOWARD the light. You get incredible shadowing over your quilt this way and don’t we want to show that off?!!

 

 

 

Details on this quilt…….55″ square, Hobbs 80/20 batting, and Glide thread. I quilt on a Handi Quilter Forte with Pro-Stitcher, new to me this year. Before that, I quilted on a Handi Quilter Fusion. I love this new machine with all it’s bells and whistles! The digitized design is called Serenity, by Christy Dillon, My Creative Stitches is her website.

The question I keep getting most on my Facebook page page is, “how did you center the back to the front?” The real answer is, I don’t know!! Really, I did a quick eye ball and then winged it! I know, not very helpful, but I figured it would end up as a kids’ quilt and they really aren’t too picky.  Where WILL this go, you ask? I’ve added it to my trunk show collection for a great, ‘use a tablecloth’ example. I hope you’ve enjoyed this quilt as much as I have! Enjoy your day folks!

 

 

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