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!
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 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.
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!
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!
I finished this beautiful July 4th themed quilt last week. Made by Suzanne, it was a UFO she couldn’t even remember where it came from. I agree, it always feels great to finish a project you put away many years ago!
I kept with the patriotic theme and used lots of stars and shapes that were in the quilt fabrics. Lots of ruler work, which I love!
My lesson for today, don’t think too hard about the quilting! Let the fabrics be your guide.
This dresser scarf was more of an experiment than anything else. I wanted to see how tiny I could quilt this wine glass/orange peel pattern. The linen is only 6″ x 12″, if that gives you an idea of small!
The layering of this piece is backing, a layer of wool batting, satin and linen. I always like something special to show through the cutwork. I usually don’t mark on my linens, but I had to for this pattern. I created a grid of 1/2″ squares with a purple air erase pen.
The next step is to stitch down the outer edge, which I stay inside the satin embroidered edge so I’ll have an area to trim off at the end. Before I start quilting, I also outline all the embroidery. I loved this piece because it was so perfectly stitched. I can’t even imagine doing the work that these ladies did so long ago!
This gives you an idea of scale. I’m thinking this would be easier on a domestic machine, but on a long arm it’s really tedious. I usually love working small, but this was crazy small!
Each linen has it’s own personality, which means every edge is treated differently. After I took it off the frame, I used a curved scissor to stitch as close to the stitch line, on the back, as possible.
This shows the completed back. You can see it’s cut close! I don’t worry about the raw edge on this one because I plan to mat and frame it soon.
Hard to see, but I added a few rhinestones in the tiny flower middles. I always try to pop in a few beads or sparkles to finish a linen.
Such a sweet little piece that was given new life! Have a wonderful weekend!
I antiqued through the states of Iowa and Nebraska last week. My favorite shop was found in Missouri Valley, Iowa, at Missouri Valley Antiques, just west off Hwy 29. I had a particularly good time in this booth!
I spent a whopping $23 and I gathered at least a dozen linens. My choice to pop on the frame when I got home, was this beautiful, drawn thread embroidery. I started with a cotton backing, then a layer each of 80/20 and wool batting, then a piece of shiny, blue polyester.
Next, I put a piece of lightweight, shiny white poly. I always like a little bit of shine under the open work. I could have left the blue to come through, but I wanted to tone it down just a bit.
I use the channel locks on the long arm to square the linen to the backing. The locks allow the machine to literally lock into a horizontal or vertical track, therefore keeping my stitching square. I spray a bit of water on the linen so that I can manipulate and slightly stretch the piece to square.
I stretch and stitch with a vertical channel lock in this photo. Lots of one handed work on these linens. I also let the embroidery or cutwork guide my lines.
Next, I cutaway any of the excess underlying material.
I like to outline all of the embroidery and cutwork before I start to quilt. It’s like getting my canvas ready for the paint! At this point all of the prep work is finished and the quilting begins.
You can see at this point how much pouf there is to the drawn thread areas that weren’t quilted. This is where I like to add glass beads, then I always yell, TA-DA!
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!