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!

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!

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!

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!

 

 

A TRUE Heirloom Quilt

Last month I helped my cousin, Bonnie, make her family heirloom complete. She had given me the top months ago, but traveling and teaching kept me from getting it finished. Her county fair in July made it a priority! All of the bits and pieces of embroidery were done by her mother, Mildred. She used a churn dash block to frame the beautiful work done by her mother over many years. Her mother, my aunt, was a prolific embroiderer and quilter. There is no pattern to this quilt. Maybe these photos will inspire you to gather your family heirlooms into one big beautiful quilt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnie is the maker on the right and I know her mother is smiling from heaven!

Make a Name or Letter Pillow on the Long Arm

I often scroll through Pinterest in the evenings, admiring quilts, embroideries and crafts in general. I came across some ‘name’ pillows and decided that’s exactly what my granddaughter needed for her new bed. I don’t know about you, but when I see something I like or get a new idea, I MUST make it immediately! I love to make a pillow directly on my long arm, so this photo heavy post will cater to the longarmmer, however, you can sure do this on your regular sewing machine. The first thing I did was free hand draw the letters onto freezer paper. With the shiny side down, I ironed the letters onto the fabric.

 

Next, I added a layer of fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric, then I cut everything at the same time. This way, I can iron my letters to the background fabric and I’m ready for handstitching the edges.

 

 

I spent a few evenings, using a buttonhole stitch and pearl cotton to embroider the letters. I love the background fabric! A hand dyed piece I found somewhere on my travels.

The background piece is about 20″ x 30″. I basted around the perimeter of the piece so I have a nice frame and area to do the quilting. I used one layer of Hobbs 80/20 and Glide 40 wt. thread.

I use my notched rulers to outline around the applique before I set off on the free motion quilting. I had a blast doing a whimsical, free flowing design.

 

Yes! I quilt every tiny space, yikes!

You can see I added a stitch line at the halfway mark.  This way I will be able to easily add the fringe and have a cut line to split the pillow.

Can you believe I found this perfectly matching fringe at my local Hobby Lobby! I couldn’t believe the colors were so perfect and who doesn’t love fun fringe!

I used the horizontal channel locks on my long arm to stitch down the fringe. Of course, this could all be done on your regular sewing machine, but I try to do everything I possibly can on the long arm so that when I take it off, it’s just assembly!

 

Now that the fringe is all stitched, I’m ready to take it off the frame and give it the old, ‘right sides together’!

You can see how easily it split apart.

Right sides together now and I’ll take it over to my sewing machine. I will tell you, it takes a bit of thought. I kept repeating to myself, ‘right sides together, inside out’, things like that.

As I worked on this pillow I thought, how much fun would Junie have if she had a treasure pocket! Juniper is a treasure LOVER and a pretty good treasure hunter. SOOO, I created an envelope with a secret pocket underneath. Hopefully you can follow my photos to see what happened!

 

 

I stitched on ready made patches for some fun!

The most special part is this secret pocket under the false envelope that ONLY Juniper will know about! 😉

 

There you have it! What a fun project that can be completed pretty quickly. I think any child would love this. I hope you’ll give it a try!

 

 

Machine Quilt a Vintage/Antique Top on the Long Arm

Tutorials, Vintage Quilt | October 6, 2017 | By

I adore old quilt tops. Antique, vintage, ancient, or old, whatever you like to call them! They are cool! A lot of the attraction for me is the fabrics from the early 1900’s. I can spend hours just looking over ever part of an old quilt. The technique also attracts me. Simply cut with scissors, most likely patterned around a piece of cardboard, then often hand stitched piece by tiny piece to create a WHOLE quilt! I’m astounded by it all!

I stopped at an antique store, Fleas An Tiques, in Independence, KS, last week and found this treasure. It was half price! I absolutely had to have it for $12.50! I’m going to take you through the process from found treasure to a usable quilt. I always feel the maker is smiling down on me when the quilt is finished!

I knew right away from the musty smell that it would need a bath! Most of these old tops I can’t even touch or work on the machine until I have soaked them overnight. I have a terrible mold allergy! I first soaked this one in Retro Clean, which can be found on Amazon or sometimes in quilt or antique shops. It will take out age stains, yellowing, and give the fabrics a general brightening. You notice I said SOAK, not wash! Never agitate a top that hasn’t been quilted, you will have massive amount of fraying and you take the chance that the whole top will fall apart.

 

Retro Clean will only take out stains, not the mold and mildew. This one had a second day soak in an ammonia water bath. I mix 1 part ammonia to 5 parts water. Except for bleach (which you wouldn’t want to use), ammonia is the only thing I know of to actually remove mold spores. I do this soak for another 24 hours at least. There have been times I’ve had to do a 2 or 3 day ammonia soak because a top is so mildewed. My nose never lies!

After a multiple rinse, I gently squish out all the water I can, then take it to the grass. Yes, smack dab on top of the grass! The ozone rays of the sun and the chlorophyll in the grass will brighten and whiten a fabric. I give that about a day in the sunshine.

 

 

This top is a mix of feedsacks, shirt cottons, and just your average bits of clothing. You can almost see the worn blouses, pants, baby blankets, and family wardrobes that are mixed together in a quilt like this. That’s the fun! I swear I even see the fabric from my grandpa’s boxer shorts! Can you imagine not having the fabric resources that we have now? This reminds me that life was certainly different 100 years ago! Women were frugal and used every bit of what they already had. I’m sure my closet alone could make a dozen quilts!

You can see from the back that someone worked diligently on the piecing. Would we even begin to piece a quilt top by hand? I find hand stitching to be mesmerizing and intriguing. Hand piecing does cause a few issues in modern day machine quilting, but nothing that can’t be worked out!

I do give these tops as good a press as possible, always from the top. There really is no way to press as we do nowadays, seams pressed a certain direction. I try to get them as flat as possible, always using a good spray starch.

 

There are also the random holes. Since these are not collectible, heirloom quilt tops, I am usually looking for a quick fix. I use a piece of fusible interfacing and any piece of cotton to make a patch on the underside.

 

Once I’ve soaked, shined, fixed and pressed, it’s finally time for the quilting. Let’s go!

I load a backing on my longarm, a Handi Quilter Fusion with Pro-Stitcher computer. On these particularly wavy tops, I usually choose a 100% polyester batting, this one is Hobbs brand. The fluff of the polyester tends to fill in the excess fabric, eliminating any stitched in wrinkles.

The next important tool is my Glide foot by Handi Quilter! I couldn’t quilt so many of the things I quilt if I didn’t have this foot! It’s magic for me! On these lumpy, bumpy, uneven tops, this foot glides over everything. It’s easy on, easy off with a quick flip of my allen wrench. I can pop my regular hopping foot on at any time.

I start by basting a horizontal line across the top of the quilt using the channel locks on my machine. This locks the machine in a horizontal position. I manipulate the top with one hand while moving the machine with the other.

After I have a line across the top, then I do a vertical line down both sides. Once again, I use the option on my machine called a vertical lock. I manipulate the fabric as much as possible to the vertical line. Both of these locks will square the quilt as much as possible while it’s on the frame.

I keep a spray bottle of water at my side, using it to spray the top, keeping it pliable and easily manipulated.

Another tip, when choosing a design for these busy tops, choose an all over design. Custom quilting on anything like this is really not even possible and would be lost. I look for a dense and flowing design, something that will secure a lot of seams and give the quilt strength. On these beauties, I’m looking for some great texture. I chose a digital design by Susan Mallett, called “Paisley”.

While I’m working each row, I often run into excess fabric that can actually be flattened with a good can of spray starch and a steam iron. You can see a quick video here on how I do that, but simply, spray your starch over the fabric, then run a steam iron (mine is a cordless Panasonic) over the area. You will see almost an immediate tightening of the fabrics. FYI, this only works on cottons.

 

 

The last row definitely tells the true shape of the quilt. Sometimes, you can try as hard as you might, but you can’t make a wonky quilt, square. I get very close though 😉

I did one more soak in ammonia water after the quilting. I realized when I started to put on the binding that I had used an estate sale fabric for the backing, which meant mold and mildew. I couldn’t work with it again until I soaked that fabric! Dang!!

Finally, I stitched on the binding. I usually don’t tell anyone this, but binding may be my favorite part of the quilt. Honestly, I love to hand stitch.

 

I hope you were inspired by this post to finish an old quilt. If everyone reading this did just one, think how many quilts we would have!!! Have a wonderful day!

“The Difference Between Things”, by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Customer Quilts | August 11, 2017 | By

I LOVE this quilt by Victoria Findlay Wolfe! It is currently being exhibited at the Festival of Quilts in the U.K. The exhibit is called, “Victoria Findlay Wolfe:Traditions Made Modern”. I’m so excited for Victoria and the adventures she is having. How cool to have an entire exhibit with your name on it!!! You go girl!!

I quilted this quilt for her last summer and had forgotten about it until it showed up in my Facebook feed this morning! What a surprise! It’s hanging in Birmingham, UK, August 10-13. I hope some of you will be visiting what looks to be a fabulous show!

Victoria and I met a few years ago when she visited my quilt guild in Lawrence, KS, and also did a workshop. I typically sew the way she does, improvisational and never follow a pattern! I loved her workshop and always try to get in ’15 minutes of play’ when I’m home and near my machine.

She had asked me to quilt this quilt in the spirit of artist, Matisse. I had SO much fun with each area, using bits and pieces from his artwork.

It’s such an interesting quilt and you’ll need to see it close up to really understand the Matisse influence.

 

 

There was an incredible amount of ruler work on this one, but then again, I LOVE ruler work, so WIN WIN!!

 

I hope you will get to see this in person one day. It’s just fun! Have a lovely weekend folks, especially those of you attending the Festival of Quilts.

“Quilting Vintage Linens” is on YouTube!

Just what you’ve asked for and so many have waited for! Finally, a video that shows you how I approach quilting vintage linens on the longarm. Thanks to Handi Quilter, who recently filmed a 45 minute segment on this process. I hope you enjoy the episode and don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you are interested in my rulers or lectures/workshops, find those tabs for more information. Thanks for visiting!

Make a Tote Bag with Vintage Doilies

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!

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