I have TUBS of linens and embroideries! One of my good friends, Shelley, mailed me this linen she found in an antique store recently. This did not get to the tub! I was compelled to stitch it the day I got it, but oogled over it for a few weeks before loading on the longarm. Originally, this was a 100ish year old pillow cover.
Having found a few of these, they date somewhere between 1900-1920. They were pre-printed/tinted pillow covers and were dyed in the areas where you would stitch. Some ladies chose to embroider the whole area, while others did smaller areas, leaving some of the printed colors showing. A few companies that produced these were Richardson’s, Royal Society and Vogart. I love when the selvage has the name of the maker as it can also give me clues to the date of the embroidery. This one did not have that information.
This treasure had quite a few stains when I received it, but I’m never bothered by smell or stains as I’ve experimented plenty with great results. My favorite cleaner is called Retro Clean. It is a powder that is dissolved in warm water for best results. You can find it in antique shops and quilt stores, also on the internet. I soaked this piece for 24 hours and it sparkled when it dried! The heavy stains were gone and it brightened the linen considerably.
I always begin by basting around the edge of the entire piece. I work like that is my frame. Then I stitch around all of the embroidery, as you would stitch in the ditch around applique. I use my very favorite palm size ruler to use as resistance against the hopping foot to guide the machine.
Once I have all of the outlining done, the fun begins! I did a very small fill in the center and the outside felt like it needed some flowing feathers to move with the stalks of what I think may be milo. I’m pretty sure I created the movement I wanted.
I always begin with what the linen is “telling” me. They don’t all speak the same way, but I definitely get a feeling from each one. The density of the french knots made me start with the pebbles and spirals in the center. YES, those are all french knots! The trapunto effect was caused naturally by using two layers of batting, 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and 100% Hobbs wool on top. This double batting will cause some drag on the machine when starting, but the effects are dramatic!
I made sure to work the feathers into the same direction as the stalks of milo. Beginning with a spine to follow that line, I worked the feathers right up to the original embroidery.
What was I thinking when I made a 1/2″ grid! It was a bit tedious, but the end result is fantastic! This ruler is so great for small areas. For design purposes, I often balance straight lines and circular forms. You don’t want too much of anything!
I can’t decide which is my favorite, the checkerboard or the feathers!
AAAAAAND the almost finish! I can’t ever wait to share these things, so no binding yet. For traveling purposes, I’ll put a tiny binding on so it lays flat in my suitcase! Have a fabulous weekend folks!
I LOVE these unique pieces of handwork! I found this one at D. Palma & Co. Mercantile last weekend and I just had to get it on the frame!
This style of lace is called Teneriffe. I sent a quick note to Mary Corbet, Needle ‘N Thread, who was a doll to identify this for me. I’m always concerned with correctly identifying handwork. I visited YouTube to see how this is done and WOW! Amazing!
The lace piece is about 10″ square. It’s so delicate, which intrigued me when I saw it. I did my best to press and give it a good starch. Those circle laces were rather loose, so they took a bit of moving, stretching and starching, to get them to behave!
My favorite background these days is satin! On this particular piece I used a double batting of Hobbs 80/20 on the bottom and 100% Hobbs Wool on top. You’ll see this gives some great loft to this piece. I stitched around the perimeter of the inside square first.
Next, I stitched around the outside edge, outlining around all of the lace circles. My hand gives you an idea of size.
Once I have all the outlining and edges stitched down, I start the design process.
I added a “piano key” border with my longarm ruler.
Beads and rhinestones add the finishing touch!
I bought this beautiful, framed silk embroidery, last week on a trip to Maine. It was purchased at Liberty Tool, in Liberty, Maine. I was even able to take it to a free appraisal day at an auction house in a neighboring town. The few things I know, the embroidery dates to about 1850, the frame to 1902. Thankfully, framing kept it clean and in great shape. However, the lack of acid free mounting has made it very fragile. This is how I found it.
I plan to re-frame and enjoy it’s beauty. No quilting of this piece! Now, the mystery. I have had it on my Facebook page, out to many foreign friends, and no one can exactly distinguish the word or origin. The appraiser thought it could be Asian stitched, the possible middle word, “dai”, is possibly Japanese detection, says Google. I’ve asked Mary Corbet, who has inquired with other embroidery experts, with no answers. She thought it might be Thai.
We removed it from the frame and now I am enjoying the beauty before I frame it again. My question to you is, what does it say? Is it a surname, a warm welcome, a brand, a first name? The stitching is amazing. The individual who embroidered this would have spent a lot of hours stitching, so maybe it was a gift. Following are some close up pictures in varying light. The last image has been photoshopped in black and white. That may help you distinguish the letters. I’ve looked at it every day for a week and still am not 100% sure!
Thanks in advance if you spend time on this puzzle! The unknown is driving me and a few others, crazy!
***A HUGE thank you to Kathy, a follower here who emailed me last night. After recognizing the origin, she sent a photo to a Greek cousin, who in turn took it to her Greek church festival yesterday! It is Greek and translates to, “this too shall pass”!!! Which, by the way, is my mantra! There could be nothing more perfect than this saying for me. I’ll be framing it soon and enjoy it’s original beauty! Thanks to all of you who attempted the puzzle 🙂
I love this quilt, designed by Jenifer Dick. It was quilted last year and she will be teaching this quilt and others next year at the Road to California show. See her website for more details.
Simple quilting for a simple, yet powerful message.
Only ruler work on this quilt! Thankfully, I LOVE ruler work!
Have a wonderful weekend, be kind.
Many times a quilter needs to keep a quilt “under wraps”. I’m good at it, but it’s probably the worst part of my job! I have learned to quilt a top, then absolutely forget about it. This quilt is a prime example! Quilted for Mary Kerr’s latest book, “Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist”, it’s at the top of my favorites list!
In this book, Mary takes abandoned blocks and vintage fragments, then incorporates them into modern settings to create one-of-a-kind quilts. She then sent them off to longarmers across the nation, with no rules, to finish them as they desired. This book is a wonderful collaboration of many talented quilters. I am thrilled to be a part of this group!
Mary asked everyone to send pictures as we worked, so there are progress pictures from each quilter. We also shared our reasons why we quilted it a certain way or what inspired us. My ideas originated from a dream I had about the quilt! It has to do with “stirring my coffee”, hence, the appropriate title!
This top was very simply created. Mary used vintage Dresden Plates and treated them as applique on white fabric. I was thrilled I had taken a photo of the original top right from the box! I must have stared at it for a month, all that white space!!! I had so many ideas of complicated background designs. Then, I realized the simplicity of this quilt was just that, KISS……..keep it simple, sister! Thankfully, I had a dream. I was stirring my coffee, and the cream would NEVER stir in. It was making me crazy; but in the morning, I knew this had to do with swirls on those Dresden Plates. I got started right after that dream!
I used various swirls from my ProStitcher computer on my Handi Quilter Fusion long arm. The lines were created using the channel locks on the machine. My greatest feat was creating the half circle swirl in the largest area of the quilt.
You can see the texture on this quilt is outrageous! Trust me, I wanted to keep touching it; and I did, right until I packed it up. The back is just scrumptious texture!
One last closeup on the swirl. I used Glide, white thread, and two layers of batting, Hobbs 80/20 on the bottom and Hobbs 100% wool on the top. If I know a quilt will be in a show or photographed for a book or magazine, I will use double batting. You can see from my pictures that it’s automatic trapunto, without the work!
NOW, if you enjoyed this story, there are 21 other stories in this fabulous book that are must reads! You can order it directly from Mary on her website. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
Many times, my readers ask questions or give me inspiration for ideas. This morning was a question that might be a learning tool for everyone. I know when I first started quilting on the longarm, I had NO clue how to work around applique! So, how do I use rulers to work around applique?
I made a very quick video about my method that you can find here on YouTube. Nothing at all professional, just my trusty little Iphone!
I use my favorite quilting ruler as resistance against the hopping foot. I travel very slowly! Also, make sure you are using a ruler base that is made for your longarm machine. I work on a Handi Quilter Fusion which has a specific base made especially for my machine.
Sometimes I get into tight places, but the size of the ruler allows me to work this way. Remember, light touch and move slowly. Don’t push or pull on the ruler or the base. Let the machine be somewhat guided by your ruler. I hope this helps! Have a fabulous day!
This is a small project I’m doing for a friend. She will be doing a giveaway next month and I’ll be sure to report back and show the final piece when she’s ready! You may want to follow Stephanie Palmer at Late Night Quilter 🙂
When I say small, I mean the linen was tiny! All of 5″ square. I almost didn’t choose this piece, but I’m glad I did. This was a drawn threadwork coaster. I used a satin backing and placed the linen in the middle.
I used my rulers for the piano key border before I began the inside work.
I stitched an inside line, then pinned back the outer edge so I could finish the border.
Once I have the border finished, I start the work on the inside. I also put a shiny little piece of costume fabric underneath the linen. It’s amazing what a tiny bit of sparkle will do for one of these pieces!
I’ll add a few beads, mat and frame this piece. I’ll be sure to show you the whole thing when I can! Until then, happy quilting!
One of my most recent favorites! This began as a 100 year old pillow cover. Lovingly embroidered, most likely by a woman from Iowa. Because, only a lover of her state, would spend the time embroidering kernels of corn! OH MY GOSH, I love this piece! It was stunning in it’s original state, but of course, I took it to a whole new level.
These early patterns were color tinted, so the embroiderer could decide what parts they would like to stitch and could choose more or less embroidery. I’ve seen some that are very heavily stitched and some that have only been outline stitched. This is the way I found it, a little wrinkled and a few aging stains. I chose not to soak this one as I really didn’t know what might happen to the floss. I recently had soaked a piece in Retro Clean, which I consider very safe. I had also put Shout, Color Catchers, in the water. I still had bleeding from the brown floss. I sure couldn’t take a chance on this beauty!
When working these old patterns, I also remove this tiny edge with the pattern name and number, then attach it to the back when I’m finished.
Mostly, when I quilt a piece like this, I know what I’m going to do and the designs are free flowing. This one was different and seemed to need a plan. I have a few different methods for auditioning designs. I used Handi Quilter’s Preview Paper. It comes in a roll with a dark black line, so you don’t accidently take your design over the edge and onto your fabric. I use a black sharpie so it’s fast drying, then rubbing alcohol to wipe the slate clean.
I always start a piece like this by outlining the entire design. It stabilizes and sets the boundaries for me to start the background work. I used two layers of batting on this piece, 80/20 Hobbs on the bottom and 100% Hobbs wool on the top. This makes for an easy trapunto look without all the work. I also stitched inside the original embroidery and chose to go around each and every kernel of corn for some fabulous dimension!
And there you have it! Finished piece is 20″ square. All free motion quilted. I always hope the original maker would be thrilled with what I have done with her work. I think she would!
It all began this way. On the left, is a simply printed tea towel from my granddaughter. On the right, is the fabulous print that will create the border. HERE WE GO!
This may have been the most fun I’ve ever had in quilting! Probably because it began as the very simple artwork of my 3 year old granddaughter, Juniper. She printed it using fruit dipped in paint. I always say, I’ll quilt anything, but kid art is the BEST!
Appropriately keeping with the theme, I added this fabulous fruit print border I had picked up from my guilds’ “share pile” the night before. I made it 6″ wide, really not knowing where I might go with this project.
I wasted no time and got it on the frame as fast as I could. I didn’t mean to work on it for so long, but it did consume about 3 days. I’m guessing it might have been 15 hours of quilting. I had no pre-plan and designed as I worked. Thread color is always difficult for me. It scares the BA-G-BEES out of me to use a contrasting color, always afraid I will make a mistake and it will JUMP out of the quilt! Thankfully, I had a couple of longarm friends who encouraged me to GO GREEN, so I dove right in!!! (the color is Kiwi, by Glide)
I used a double batting of 100% wool because I wanted some big fluff! This was all stitched free motion, so I used round templates and eyeballed a lot of the circles. I wasn’t terribly concerned about perfection on this piece. I wanted to keep some of the child and whimsy that it was screaming!
Before going any further, I wanted to make sure to get a signature in. Since it is a collaborated piece, it deserved both our names AND a date!! Label and date your quilts! I like using my own handwriting. Try it, you’ll be surprised that writing with your longarm will look a lot like your regular handwriting!
Then there were the lines! I’m a little particular about lines, maybe OCD about them!!! I like them straight and I use my ruler, moving it along and beside the entire time. These are 1/8″-1/16″ over the entire piece. Eeeek!!!!
It’s hard to see, but I continued the line work into the border, adding a line of pearls at random spots.
After getting the circles where I wanted, lines where they needed to go, I went inside the painted circles and organically stitched where the paint had landed. I like the juxtaposition of the inside and outside circles.
Then there were the rhinestones!! OMG!! I have waited for the right quilt to do some intense embellishing and this was the one! Once again, hard to see in photos, but I placed about 150 stones throughout. This was the icing on the cake!
At this point, I was so thrilled I had put our names in before I even started. I got a little carried away and before I knew it I had filled in all the space! I let a few circles and ghosted shapes flow over into the border. I love asymmetry and use it whenever I can.
Here is the finished piece before I stretched it onto an artists’ canvas, next step! I wanted it to hang and be self framing, so the hubs helped and we stretched it over a canvas, stapling to the inside as we stretched. The hardest part was making sure we kept it centered and equal on all sides. I had also quilted it to the edge, so I had plenty of excess fabric to use for stretching.
And who doesn’t love a back!!! Oh my gosh, I may love it even more!
I always believe the back of a quilt tells the real story. You can see things you will never notice on the front. I was sad that by choosing to stretch on the canvas, I lost the back view! Ah, well, “C’est la vie!”
Before I let Juniper have it back, I hung it on my wall for a few days. I decided if it were me, I might hang it sideways. Pieces like this are so great, they can go a few different ways and you can have a new piece of artwork each direction! I hope you enjoyed this piece and are inspired to re-purpose a special fabric from a child. I guarantee fun!!!
I may be biased, but these are the best quilting rulers ever! They were created quite by accident in December 2015, when a woman was commenting on my Facebook page and asked where might she get the rulers that were lying on my work surface (rulers I had my glass man cut out of acrylic, just for me). The moment she asked, the bells started dinging in my head and I answered, “From me, if you can wait a bit!”
I started my research, found a manufacturer, and before I knew it they were in my hands. The next week, I sold out of the first 200. The rest is history and I am thankful for those of you who are using them now!
This cool ruler, the smallest one that I call the Palm Ruler (because it fits in the palm of my hand), is really great for tight spaces. I also use it as resistance when I travel around an applique or shape. Both of these great rulers can be used with either a long arm machine or a domestic machine. You can purchase the Palm Ruler here.
When using the rulers with a domestic, make sure to use a quilting foot on your machine. There is such a thing as a ruler foot, which is thicker than the free motion foot, but I find that the quilting foot works just fine. The pressure that I use on the ruler against the quilting foot is very light. What makes this the best ruler for quilting on a domestic is the size! It is 5 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide.
The fit on a regular machines’ throat is ideal, even without an added table base. Because I am a long arm quilter, when I quilt on a domestic machine I am thinking backwards! It takes awhile to get my rhythm, but once I do, it’s very meditative. On a domestic, you are moving the ruler with the quilt, definitely opposite from long arm quilting!
In this photo you can actually see the size in my hand, which is why it is one of the best rulers for quilters. The clear acrylic ruler is 1/4 inch thick and has 2, 1/4 inch stitch lines around for easy measuring. I also put 1 inch marks on the side for another measure.
I have been asked if I would have a hole placed in the ruler for hanging, but I have chosen not to do that. When I am working in quick movements on the long arm, I find that the hole can get caught up on a raised seam. I know, you’re thinking, that’s crazy! Well, this quilt is what made me decide NOT to add the hole. I can show you a very small bit of this quilt that must have 3,000 or more flying geese. Having gone into each “goose”, I will guarantee a hole in the acrylic, will hold you up!
The other reason this is probably my favorite quilting ruler are the curved ends! Do the sharp corners of your rectangular ruler ever get caught up in the seams of your quilt? The curved ends allow smooth movement over a quilt when working on the long arm.
The long, Slim Ruler is a fabulous quilting ruler. It is 9 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide. It is also made of 1/4 inch acrylic and has a 1/4 inch stitch line going around. Again, I like this one because it fits easily in my small hand. It is great for longer work, ditch stitching in particular. Once again, it maneuvers well on a domestic machine or a long arm machine. When using this quilting ruler on the long arm, make sure you are using a table base that fits your machine. Like the palm ruler, the slim ruler also has curved ends so it lends to quick movements and no catching on seams. You can purchase the Slim Ruler here.
These quilting rulers also double for wonderful marking rulers. I multi-task with them all the time, using a purple air erase pen when doing quick work. The edges are also marked at 1 inch intervals. Mark, position, quilt, using the same ruler! How much more efficient is that?
This is a work in progress, a vintage hankie on my domestic machine. I’ve taken two incredible classes from the great, Sharon Schamber. She is as capable on a domestic machine as she is on a long arm. A particular comment she made that has stuck with me is that when she quilts on a long arm she is moving quick and while working on a domestic, she says she gets into a meditative state and it’s much calmer. I have found this too!
There are other rulers I keep in my quilt toolbox. Some of my favorites are made by Handi Quilter, the Versa Tool and the Mini Scallop. These are great rulers for their versatility. Others I use and like are by Jane Hauprich. Jane’s rulers are most helpful when I need a curve.
I hope you are playing with some fabulous rulers! Once you get the rhythm, they are super fun!