I’ve got a really fun project on the longarm this week, compliments of Mary Kerr. This is for an upcoming book of Mary’s, but you’ll have to wait to see the whole quilt until the book is published, so sorry!! These blocks can be shown though! Mary has such a knack with taking old blocks and repurposing them with other parts and pieces. Check out her other books here on her website. https://www.marywkerr.com/ They are all fabulous with loads of ideas on what to do with vintage quilts, embroidered linens, tops, blocks, etc.
This was the beginning of a block. I did a small bit of ditch stitching to stabilize the center and used the Kelly Bean ruler to make the ‘rays’ in the yellow and also to stitch around the center. FYI, that circle center is stitched in, not appliqued!! Whoa, I know!!!
I’ll continue with lots of ditch stitching and ruler work for a few days, then I’ve got an idea for that pink background. We’ll see how that goes, maybe next week I can share that!
I did a quick video this morning with rulers on one of the blocks. Have a great day and I hope you’ll try ruler work, on your domestic or longarm machine, it’s super fun!
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!
Starch and steam are my best friends on a quilt that needs a little help. Lots of piecing, hand stitching and over handling of fabric, can cause a quilt to change shape. Sometimes this isn’t known until a top is on the frame and the quilting has begun. This particular quilt was found by some friends at a garage sale for $5!! Oh my gosh, all that piecing! I finished it for their church raffle coming soon. All the starch and steam was worth the beautiful finish. I’ve got a video at the end to show the flattening process.
Before starch there is quite a bit of wave to the border.
This is after the starch and steam trick. I did have about 8 ‘sessions’ with the starch and iron. If it doesn’t happen on the first go over, don’t be afraid to do it again. After the first spray of starch, I only use water on the next rounds.
The finish is fabulous! I used thjis digitized design by Anne Bright Designs, Snowballs. It’s a great design that also settles down any of the puckering that might have been in the quilt top.
There you have it! If you’ve ever had this wavy border on a quilt top, check out my YouTube video.
Have a great day everyone!!
I’ve done 3 live feeds on my Facebook page on quilting a vintage hankie. I’ve figured out how to take that to YouTube, so you can see how I start, design and then begin quilting on my longarm. I hope these help and inspire you to get started! I’ll post photos here when I finish, but if you want to follow the process, find me at Kelly Cline-Quilt Artist on Facebook for daily updates.
I sometimes get so busy making ‘stuff’, that I forget to either take photos or talk about it. I’m SOOO not a writer, but love my right brain, artistic tendencies! I could make things all day, all night, and really never sleep. Except, I love sleep!! 😉
I recently made this pillow for a class sample, using a random vintage block that I’m sure I picked up in a pile of other things at an antique shop. I did a quick sew on my domestic machine, just to put on an extra border and some rick-rack. The rest was done directly on the longarm.
I’ll take you through my steps and we’ll start from laying it out on the longarm. I’ve used a piece of muslin for the backing since it really won’t be seen when finished.
I used a tatted coaster for the middle. I had recently picked up a set of these and just LOVE the tatted edges. I start by using channel locks to square the piece on the longarm, horizontally and vertically. Makes for a great square ‘canvas’ to work inside. ***If you spritz a bit of regular water on your small piece, it can easily be manipulated and directed where to stretch!***
I like the grid stencils that Dorie Hruska sells and I always use a blue, water soluble pen to make my marks.*** Don’t let these get heat set or “sunshine” set before you remove them. My favorite mix is 1 cup of ice cold water with 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda. Put this in a spray bottle and remove marks. They shouldn’t reappear.***
Once I had the quilting done on the front, I needed to quilt a backing. I like to use vintage tea towels or tablecloths for backing. Uses them up and they keep the piece in the era.
From this, to that!
I made my life easy and used a digitized computer design for an all over pattern. Stitched up in less than 5 minutes! I have a new, Handi Quilter Forte with Prostitcher computer, an upgrade from my 5 year old Fusion. Loved my Fusion, but maybe love the Forte more!
My favorite type of pillow is an envelope pillow. I’ll pop along the photos for a brief look at the process. Try looking for a YouTube video, I’m sure there are many!
I split the piece in half (it began about 4-5″ wider than my pillow top)
I turned under both edges for a finished edge, machine stitched.
Then overlap these two edges about 2-3″.
At this point you simply lay the right sides together, adjusting your backing to be the same size as your pillow top.
Take this sandwich of pillow top and back, pin the two halves together, and sew around the entire perimeter. You’ll be able to turn the pillow inside out by using the opening in the middle.
I also stitched 1″ inside the perimeter to have a nice flange around the pillow.
Here’s a flat look at the finished product! I usually make a stuffed muslin pillow specifically for the inside, using leftover batting scraps. Each pillow finishes in different sizes, so makes me not conform to specific pillow forms. This pillow is about 20″ square.
Here is the super cute backing!
So there you have it! Let me know if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help or guide you. I just love making things like this from forgotten or tossed out vintage parts and pieces. I always think someone is looking down and smiling over my shoulder. Have a great week folks!
This weekend, Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8, is my guilds quilt show, Kaw Valley Quilters Guild. I’ve finished a fabulous hankie to put in the silent auction. I’ll share a few pictures from the process, beginning to end result. I’ll admit these pieces are hard to give up once they are finished!
This beautiful hankie is bordered with exquisite lace. I couldn’t resist re-purposing this one!
I started with my backing, then 2 layers of Hobbs 80/20 Heirloom, and a piece of satin on top, about 20″ square.
My first order of stitching is to “ditch stitch” on the inside edge of the lace. This gives me a ‘frame’ to work with.
I use this Kelly Bean, notched ruler, to work around any shape or embroidery. Only on a longarm, just nest your hopping foot in the notch. Use one hand on your handle and the other to move around the ruler and hopping foot, magic!!
I love to use Cindy Needham’s Ultimate Stencils for designs in negative spaces. She has a fabulous E-book to go along with the stencils which I highly recommend. You can start to see the design take shape in the following photos.
At this point I have finished all of the inside quilting. I leave the lace loose and will use beads to tack down where needed. Lace lends itself nicely for embellishment!
I usually choose a simple piano key border. It calms your eye and doesn’t take away from the focus of the lace.
I love handwork of any kind and can spend countless evenings, watching TV and stitching. This piece required 3 solid nights of handwork. I used glass beads, pearls from a broken vintage necklace (my preference), and the tiniest of Hotfix Swarovski crystals. I like the glimmer, but I also want it to be subtle.
I love to frame these pieces or make into a pillow. With the heavy amount of beading, I decided a frame was in order!
You can find this on the silent auction block, this weekend, in Lawrence, KS. Here’s the flyer. It doesn’t say Lawrence, but it tells you everything else. Hope you can make it if you live in the area!
I love to find these beautiful, vintage pillow covers. They tend to be about 100 years old and were created in the early 1900’s. Pillows became trendy about 1907, so many began to appear about that time. Many of these use silk floss and came in a kit with a pre-tinted linen, just as our kits come today. What makes these very special to me are the quirky sayings and silk threads that were used. I quilt these on a Handi Quilter Fusion, longarm.
This the the original cover. I removed the backing, which was a depression era, green linen.
I’m pretty sure the maker would be mortified if she knew she missed a spot. The magenta stitch is hers, the satin stitching would have gone over it to give some padding.
When placing designs on cloth, I use a blue, water soluble pen. I only make registration marks and try to do the smallest bit of them. A great tip for removing the blue marks, mix 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of water. Put in a spray bottle and marks disappear, forever! At least I’ve had no reappearing marks since I’ve used this method!
I usually don’t have a big plan for these pieces until I begin them. I let them ‘talk’ to me while I stitch and they usually SCREAM at some point! 😉
I use my rulers for all straight lines. The longer one is great for ditch stitching and long runs and then the smaller, Palm ruler, is super for short lengths.
The maker on this piece did some luscious embroidery!
I use these notched rulers for guiding me around the embroidery.
Viola’! Another great finish! I adore these pieces and hope you’ve enjoyed the beauty and re-purpose also!
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!
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!
I LOVE parts and pieces of vintage linens! Most of us have doilies, embroideries, old quilt parts and various linens from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and maybe just found treasures from long ago. I’ll take you on a “how to” journey so that you might be able to bring those pieces out of their drawers and make them into something usable and memorable. Let’s go!
This particular piece began with an unfinished block of applique. I was given a bag of treasures from a friend, who felt that I would be the best ‘keeper’ of her grandmothers’ linens. I would guess these fabrics to be from the 1930’s or 40’s. Baskets with flowers have long been a popular pattern for quilters. When I find a one block wonder, it makes me think the maker made one and then said, “boy I’ll never do that again!” LOL!!
This block is about 20″ square. It was relatively clean so there was no need to give it a bath. If a piece has stains, I like to give it a soak in Retro Clean. You can see from my work table that I am NOT a tidy girl. I usually have multiple projects going at the same time! Plus, I like to pull out everything that might work with a piece.
The first thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted to use a bag of reproduction fabrics I had picked up at a garage sale. Yes, 5o cents for all this!!
I always like to share the back of a piece because you see the real work of the original maker.
I started by cutting 4 strips that are 1 1/2″ wide. I wanted a simple border using colors from the appliqued flowers. These are not the same fabrics, but they blend nicely.
I also wanted to bring in some of the hundreds of doilies I own. Who has doilies?? I’m guessing LOTS of you! Seems our ancestors loved to crochet, tat, and do all sorts of lace work. I will be the first to admit that I will never use them all in my lifetime, but I do admire them and the hours of work that someone put into making them!
I put them around the perimeter of the block and cut them, yes, I cut them. Trust me, it’s OK! Lightening will not strike you 😉
I sprayed each doily with some 505 temporary baste spray. This way they would stay where I placed them until I could get them sewn onto the block.
With right sides together, I stitched the border to the block, catching in the doilies.
Working around the piece, I stitched each strip to make a frame around the block and envelope the doilies.
I put a total of three small borders to frame this piece. I ditch stitched them on my domestic machine and then put the piece on my longarm to do the quilting. Any of this work can be done on a domestic or longarm machine, but I wanted to try out my new, notched rulers, so I worked on the longarm to finish this piece. These rulers are ONLY for use on the longarm because the hopping foot nestles in the notch of the ruler and gives complete control around the applique shapes.
Before I start to free motion quilt anything, I stabilize the entire piece by outlining each and every applique and embroidered line. This gives definition to the block. Now I’m ready for the fun, quilting!
This photo shows the definition created when the outlining is finished. While I outlined, I also went into a few of the flower centers and leaves. I always to try to work in an area while I’m there, that way there are less starts and stops and I am able to do a continuous stitch line.
Here are a few technical details of this piece. I quilt on a Handi Quilter Fusion, longarm machine. I used a layer of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and my thread is Glide, 60 wt, color Cream, by Fil-Tec.
At this point, I changed to the Glide foot. This may be my most used tool! It glides over crochet, applique, anything that is not flat on the surface. A few other machine brands have their version of this foot. Check with your dealer to see if your machine has one! Even on my Bernina, I have a disc type foot that I think they call an echo foot. This can be used with great ease over doilies and embroideries.
I used my favorite pebble, spiral mix and when the entire piece was finished, I added a few pearls and glass beads to pull down the trim edges. I rarely stitch down an edge as I like to save that for embellishing.
When I make the back of a pillow, I also use batting to give the finished pillow a sturdy structure.
I put together a few pieces of fabric, sandwiched with batting and a piece of muslin for the backing, then quilted on my domestic machine with a random wave. I think it makes a great texture and is super simple!
I’ve made an envelope pillow with this one. If you’ve not seen that done, check YouTube for a tutorial. They are super easy and go together almost quicker than a regular pillow. Put the right sides together and then stitch around the perimeter.
Turn inside out and there you have it! A usable, beautiful, heirloom pillow, with possibly a lot of sentimental value if you’ve used your family treasures!
I used a Hobbs pillow form for a very quick fill!
I hope this inspires you to pull some things out of your drawers and closets and create something to use from your parts and pieces of vintage linens. There is a challenge and a thrill that come from these creations. More than anything else, HAVE FUN!