While teaching and traveling in Australia this last February, I was given quite a few lovely pieces of handwork and Aussie fabrics. I have them all hanging in my studio and a few weeks ago I was inspired to create something special with two of the pieces.
On my longarm I have a backing, then Hobbs 80/20 batting, then the super cute, Koala background fabric. At this point, I ran an edge to edge design over the background fabric, THEN, laid the two doilies on top of the fabric.
Let’s start at the beginning and I’ll take you through the process. Under each linen I added a single layer of Hobbs 80/20 batting to give an extra loft. It also hides the print that is under the doily. I cut the batting larger than the doily and trim it away after I have quilted the linen.
I stabilize the piece by “ditch” stitching around the inside edge of the crocheted trim. I leave that scant 1/8″ so that I can trim away the batting later. You’ll see what happens when I finish quilting. I quilt on a Handi Quilter Fusion and here I am using the “Glide” foot. It is almost a necessity when stitching lace and embroideries. You can see it glides right over all the thickness.
At this point I will stitch around ALL the embroidery. I never stitch over the handwork, but around everything! It gives the piece great definition and pops it right out of the linen. Deciding on the design usually comes as I am outlining all of the embroidery. You can see the spine I have created for the eventual feathers. I like to use a blue, water soluble pen for marking. (TIP: to remove blue marks completely and seemingly forever, mix 1 t baking soda to 1 cup of water, place in a spray bottle. This mix must be fresh each day it is used.)
I trimmed the batting to the inside edge of the trim crochet, using a curved pair tiny, sharp scissors. My favorites are a simple pair of cuticle scissors!
After the batting is trimmed, I lay down the crochet and stitch the outside edge to cover any of the batting that might have not been precisely trimmed. It always covers that raw edge of batting.
You can see here how much stitching I put into the embroidery.
The full piece was taken off the frame and split in half, therefore, creating both sides for the tote bag. I made both sides a bit different. I also TEA stained the pieces once I had the quilting done to make the fabric match the age of the linen. This really made the whole thing come together!
Next, I sewed the halves together and also made a lining WITH a pocket for the inside.
Handles were added, also tea stained.
And there you have it! A new tote bag made by repurposing an antique linen. It’s also a fabulous reminder of the great friends I made in Australia! (Special thanks to Lynne for the handwork and Caroline for the fabric!)
I hope this post helped to see the process for some of the bits of handwork we all have hiding in our drawers. Try it, you’ll become a lover of vintage repurposing!
I was completely intimidated by this 100+ year old linen! Probably because it was a commission piece by another fabulous long arm quilter, Nancy Fishpaw, at Sew Easy To Quilt. Created by her Italian great, great, grandmother over one hundred years ago, this piece is very well done! To find out more about Reticello needlework, I contacted Jeanine in Canada, Italian Needlework expert! Now, let’s get this process started. I will warn you this is a long post, with as many steps as I could remember to photograph.
I quilt on a Handi Quilter Fusion long arm. At times I use the Prostitcher computer, but this linen was completely free motion quilted, which means I drive it myself. I start with my backing, then layer two battings, Hobbs 80/20 on the bottom and Hobbs 100% wool on top. On top of the batting is a layer of satin, right side up, which will be my background fabric. The dimension of the linen is 22″ x 33″. As you might notice, the piece is slightly out of square and not very flat. I don’t get too concerned about the squareness of a piece this old, it is what it is, embrace it!
These close up pictures show the delicacy of this needlework. The satin backing will give it a shiny pop when the work is completed. I also found a Reticello tutorial on YouTube that will really blow you away!
Once I have the linen centered, I run a stitch across and down the inside drawn thread work, using the horizontal and vertical channelocks, so I can get it as square as possible.
I also outline all of the needlework so there is no movement. When I have this all squared and outline stitched, the fun begins! This is where I can really see the canvas and the designs start to swirl in my mind.
This wide open space stumped me for awhile. It usually helps to break down the negative space or look to the embroidery or needlework for some design features. That’s exactly what I did! If you’ll notice the close up picture above, I decided to mimic those shapes as much as possible. I rarely mark my pieces, but this one needed to be exact, so I used a disappearing, purple pen. Sometimes I will choose the blue water erase pen, but frankly, they all scare me just a tad. What will happen 100 years from now? Will that ink decide to pop out again???
I always start stitching with what I know FOR SURE. I knew this would start with the center circle and work out from there.
You can see things start taking shape. I like to do most of the outline before I fill, but you can also see I couldn’t wait to see what it would look like. I had to stop myself and continue with the outline.
After so much geometric line work, I thought it needed some softness, so I started adding some circles and arcs.
It was also such a traditional piece that I had to add some feathers. I really didn’t know what to do in that arc area at this point. After studying the lines for a bit and taking a few pictures, I figured out what to do next. Sometimes it just takes squinting your eyes!
Cream on cream is NOT the best piece to photograph, but I think you can see the purple pen to know my plan!
I needed an eye “resting place” around the crazy inside, so I stitched piano keys around the inner border.
At this point I worked the rays in the satin background by lifting the outer border and stitching underneath. I did use the Prostitcher computer to do this work because I wanted it to be exact and honestly, it’s just easier to let the computer do the stitching sometimes!
After I had all the rays created, then I went back and stitched the outer edge of the linen and did an all around traditional feather border. This is one of those beautiful corners of the needlework. To bring down the incredible pouf that was created by the double batting, I added glass beads at each intersection.
Here is the fabulous finished piece! The best part of the whole thing, that makes it “human”, is the NOT square nature of the corners. The entire piece was relatively square and then I got to the outer edge. I wonder if great, great, grandmother would be upset that it really wasn’t completely square? Or would she be shaking her finger at Nancy and myself for doing this to her incredulous linen?
My granddaughter walked in as I was photographing the back and you can see she loved texture! I always enjoy watching her feel a quilt.
Nancy has talked about binding and framing this piece. I can hardly wait to see the end result! Thanks for allowing me to quilt this special heirloom, Nancy!!
It’s finally here! I filmed this episode, “Quilting Vintage Linens”, for QNN TV, with Jodie Davis this August. Waiting is hard! This particular show is called, Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show, and is filmed at the Handi Quilter headquarters in Bountiful, Utah. What a fabulous place filled with wonderful people! It would be like the Willy Wonka factory for quilters 😉 This is a teaser segment since QNN is a subscription only, online site. I think for quilters it is worth every penny. Always my go to internet site for all things quilting!
The hubs and I took a gorgeous, two week road trip through Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, for this big adventure.
You can’t find any nicer people than at the Handi Quilter studios in Utah! The educators and staff made me feel right at home and took care of EVERYTHING!
The crew, hair and makeup (yup, that helped!), they all know how to do what they do and are great at their jobs!
Yes, that’s Joe Cunningham lurking on the side. He was filming after me, so he was hanging around visiting while Marie Eldredge pinned on my backing. Marie is a fabulous Handi Quilter studio educator, who together with the other educators, made me feel like a rock star.
Vicki Hoth, quilt know all and machine know all, she is one fabulous lady!! They filmed 6 quilters in 2 days, so their schedule was a hectic and crazy one. A few other quilt “celebs” filming were Stephanie Palmer, Late Night Quilter, who is a super creative soul. Stephanie creates with four kids at home!! Maybe that’s why she’s called the Late Night Quilter! She has also just launched The Quilter’s Planner. Check her out!
I couldn’t have done any of it without my CEO, Carry Everything Officer! What a hubs! He carried everything, waited for me, drove me, and anything else I needed, he did.
What a fabulous adventure and opportunity this was! Thanks to everyone who supported and followed me along this tremendous quilting journey. Experiencing the unexpected always makes life fun!
The Stitching Post North Store
2630 W Britton Rd
The Village, OK 73120
I’m on a hankie kick! I realized, everybody has them, many collect them, and grandma left a LOT of them!
Yes, these are all hankies! Unbelievable really. The variety is stunning! This entire quilt was created on the long arm. I started with a 1950’s tablecloth, quilted a nice circle meander over the whole thing, then began a sort of applique on top of the quilted tablecloth.
I started with laying it out on the floor, placing each “block”, and then using a blue water erase pen to mark where they would all go. I also numbered each hankie with the corresponding place on the tablecloth.
I actually started with the middle square and worked out. I used a mix of computer designs and my own free motion. Under each hankie is a piece of white fabric and another piece of batting. I also double batted the tablecloth, so there’s a lot of batting on this quilt!
Now, imagine these were your grandmother’s hankies, put away in a trunk or dresser drawer for years. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to put them on display?
My home state, Kansas. I realized there really aren’t many rivers across Kansas, especially when I needed more quilting lines! I let each hankie take on it’s own personality. Enjoy the show!
If you are a lover and quilter, or wanna be quilter, of vintage linens, join our Facebook group Quilting Vintage! for inspiration and support, and always, always, ALWAYS…..sign and date your work! Your great grandchildren will thank you!
I’ve had a lot of small linen pieces on the long arm recently for an upcoming project. This table runner was an experiment with color and a loose weave linen. I made sure to use something that was NOT sentimental or expensive. I found this piece for a whopping .25! You can find a fabulous linen stash in Wilson, KS, at Granny’s Junktiques, that I wrote about in a previous post.
I used a double batting of 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and Hobbs wool on top. This will give the finished piece a nice loft.
When there is cut work, I like to add a layer of something shiny underneath. I’ve never tried a dark fabric, but this time I used a burgundy piece of satin. I think I saved it from an old bridesmaid dress!
When I start any linen piece, I simply stitch around the outer edge. I usually blend the thread to the color of the background. I used Glide Cream on this one.
Next, I outline stitch around all of the original embroidery. I learned quickly that this weave was too loose! I could barely see the thread I was stitching with. It disappeared into the cloth.
I do, however, love the texture it created in the sunlight!
I love to watch a design take shape! I did a minimal sketch with a blue, water erasable marking pen.
The texture on this piece is fabulous! I’m not crazy about the actual stitching, but I do like the burgundy satin underlay.
To finish, I trimmed the back inside edge.
My stitch line was about 1/4″ inside, so I trimmed to that line and then stitched a satin seam tape over the raw edge.
My dining room table is the final destination for this piece. I really like something that is not quite up to my “giveaway” standards because then I can keep it! I hope you enjoyed the process. Have a fabulous weekend!
Last month I was gifted a beautiful society silk piece by Cindy Needham. She was letting go of a few linens and asked if I would like one. How could I refuse an offer like that? What a treat! I love this squishy kind of mail!
I was determined to get it quilted and not let it get lost in my mound of linens.
This round is about 18″ in diameter. The handwork is stunning and very precise. I gave it a very light ironing on the back and then on to the long arm.
I like to use a double batting of 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and Hobbs Wool on the top. This gives the piece a really nice loft.
The first task is to stitch down the outer edge. It’s almost like making a frame for the inside stitching. I go really slow with my fingers, usually way to close to the hopping foot!
The beginning is overwhelming with “fluff”. Due to that double batting, the machine tends to drag a bit until more stitching is done. I like to outline the embroidery next to pull down that crazy pouf!
You can see I stitch right up to the edge of the embroidery. I had the hubs video what my hand and ruler placement look like while doing this. Not the clearest video, but you’ll get the idea! I hold a long arm ruler, any straight edge you like, next to the foot with my left hand, while guiding the machine with my right hand. The ruler is only for resistance, don’t use it for pushing. Try to use that right hand to do all the maneuvering.
This particular pattern is called, “Branson”, by Helen Squire. I knew I wanted to wrap some feathers around something. I liked the small swirls, also knowing I might repeat some swirls in my feather frenzy! You might be able to see that I also took my fingernail and made an impression in the fabric. I do very little marking on these vintage pieces, not knowing what might happen to them 50 years from now. I could see 3 definite areas I wanted to work in. You might be able to see that from this view.
I first stitch my spines for the three feather areas. I was on such a roll that I didn’t stop to get a picture of spines only. Sometimes it’s hard to stop the groove!
Then I started to fill with feathers! Feathers flow, once you practice enough to get their rhythm. I used pebbles and swirls for filler. A friend on my Facebook page said it looked like a merry-go-round. I agree!
Once I had the middle where I liked it, I moved on to the outer edge. I like to use repetition to unify any kind of quilting. You can see the outer crosshatch in the original embroidery. I loved it and decided to continue that design element.
This was the most tedious part of this whole piece! Lots of ruler work. My curved template is something the hubs cut for me last year. He had some extra plexiglass and then used a hole saw to add some circles. Not often do I require an exact circle, but when I do I simply lift my hopping foot inside the size circle I need.
OH, and what to do with the edge, you ask? It will depend on the end use, but this one I plan to mat and frame, so I trim to the edge on the back side.
A few hours later you have the finish! I also did some micro stippling for filler. Cindy calls this “sand”. I use Glide thread exclusively because I like the sheen it has. It compliments the silk embroidery nicely.
You can see how nicely the computerized motif in the center works into the free motion quilting work. I enjoy mixing up the computer work and my own quilting.
I hope you have enjoyed the process and will give it a go yourself! I love to encourage and inspire you to use those linens that past generations have lovingly stitched and left behind. Most are hidden away in drawers and attics and I’d like to get them out, one piece at a time! Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to check out Cindy’s free form quilting classes on Craftsy. Click on the banner at the top and search Cindy Needham. She’ll show you how to create free form stitching on a domestic machine if you aren’t a long arm owner. She is AMAZING!!
This beautiful quilt was made by a customer for a wedding gift to her daughter. She found me through my Facebook business page, Kelly Cline Quilting, and I’m so glad she trusted me enough to mail her top across the country!
I know I yelled, “WHOA!”, when it came out of the box. It is also 98″ square, so that was a big part of my gasp. The pattern is called, “The Mill Girls”, by Nancy Rink Designs. It was a large quilt just to fit in a photo. I’ll let you enjoy the parade of photos that make up this beautiful quilt!
Did I mention that this was double batted with 100% cotton? It will be super warm on those winter nights! I used Glide thread exclusively and blended most threads to the color of fabric. Exception being the gold thread used in the burgundy star area. I really wanted that star to pop! I used my computer for 10% of the stitching, the rest is all free motion.
I always say each quilt I am working on is my favorite, but then it has to go back to the owner and the next quilt becomes my favorite! I’m so glad I have another on the frame to look forward to, kinda takes away the sadness of losing this one. Until next time!