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Hand Applique and Embroidered Wall Art

Hand Applique and Embroidered Wall Art

on Nov 19, 2019 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Recently, I shared this new-to-me hand applique and embroidery obsession. I talked about using recycled wool/garments to create improv quilt blocks for a quilt that I have no real idea when I’ll finish. Read more here. It occurred to me I could use the same method of creating an improvisation block, to create small wall art. The Process First, I start with a wool background. The fabrics I used here were from a thrift shop wool blazer. It did not have darts, so there were larger pieces with which to work. I cut pieces 8″ x 10″. Then I arrange my designs with: base (basket, vase, square, trapezoid)stems (made from homemade bias strips)flower tops (anything goes here)leaves and maybe berries This one looks like a Pea Shooter from the game Plants Vs Zombies. Happy accident! And this last one of the three looks like a plant I’d be in charge of watering… drooping and falling over to the right. Le Sigh. Mounting the Art I opted to mount the wool artwork onto 5″ x 7″ pieces of quarter inch foam core board. You can buy this board, 20″ x 30″ in the school supply section of Walmart for cheap. Of course, if you are like me, you hit that aisle only when one of the kids say they have a project DUE TOMORROW. So here’s an amazon link, just in case: Small Foam Core Boards Trim the boards with an exacto knife to 5″ x 7″.Apply glue stick to the front of the board and center the artwork. Apply glue stick to the perimeter of the board’s back.Wrap the wool around the board using painters tape to hold it in place. I used a thread that would be easily concealed in the wool’s color and nap to then stitch around the whole design, holding the edges in place. There are large stitches on the back, but much smaller little stitches on the front holding everything together. I stitched THROUGH the actual foam core. Next, remove the painters tape from the back. All I have left to do is either punch a small hold in the back with an craft knife, or, more likely, make a large span of thread...

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Woven and Felt Wool Applique

Woven and Felt Wool Applique

on Nov 12, 2019 in Blog, Featured, quilt, recycle, sewing | 0 comments

That’s it! I’ve fallen down the wool applique rabbit hole. I’ve spent a good bit of my sewing time talking about ways to avoid hand sewing and here I am… HAND SEWING. I’m still operating on a thrifty budget. Most of the wool I use comes from thrift shops, with the exception of a robin’s egg blue and a cream color. I shop the women’s blazers and long skirts sections to find fuzzy, 100% wool. Then I go home and break down the garment into flat pieces. I’ll wash the pieces on HOT, koolaid dye any sections for more variety and tumble dry. Improv Being absolutely inspired by Kim McClean and Sue Spargo, I’ve decided to take an improvisational and whimsical approach to my wool and cotton applique. I’ve started to prep shapes with no real vision. Yes, you read that right. Start by identifying shapes that are in traditional applique blocks, traditional Baltimore Album and Basket blocks, leaves, stems, circles of all sizes, etc. Then I start prepping an 8″ pizza box full of shapes. The piece above was all glue based in place when I decided it looked too messy. I ended up taking the elements off and repurposing them in other designs and blocks. (Although, now that I’m seeing it on the computer, I don’t mind it as much. Shame.) Other times, I’ll start with artwork and actually make the shapes to fit the block. This one, above, is from a Scandanavian/Folksy design I created. I appliqued the design onto mens shirt fabric. If you’d like to try to make that design, I have the sketch scanned for you. Feel free to right-click -> save as and print off these shapes below. Quilt Blocks While working with my more random classic shapes, this is how I go about making an improvisational wool applique block: First, I start with a neutral or low volume fat quarter or fat eighth if I have one. Then I arrange my designs with: base (basket, vase, square, trapezoid)stems (made from homemade bias strips)flower tops (anything goes here)leaves and maybe berries Once everything is arranged, I use Dawn Heese‘s method of glue basing my shapes to the background. Maybe it isn’t her...

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Accidental Watermelon Quilt

Accidental Watermelon Quilt

on Jun 18, 2019 in Blog, Featured, pattern, quilt, quilting, tutorial | 0 comments

I accidentally created a Watermelon Quilt. Yep. Sometimes things work out perfectly and a splash of green looks great with a splash of pink, but other times: Oops. Watermelon Quilt. On the upside, I love watermelon. Wait until you see the quilting design, too. You’ll laugh. Here’s How It Happened I wanted to try making the LARGE scale Scrappy Trip Around The World using a rectangle design instead of creating perfect square blocks. It was surprisingly harder. If you missed it, here’s a quick picture of the large square quilt: For my Accidental Watermelon Quilt I used 5″ cut strips, instead of the recommended 7″ cut strips. I chose that size because I had used 5″ squares for something previously and had leftover strips already cut. All I needed to do was fill in the gaps with a couple more fabric colors. Here’s my fabric pull. Laying out as a fabric pull, this didn’t immediately scream “WATERMELONS,” but here we are. The test for this quilt was to create four large-scale quadrants that were rectangles rather than a squares. I learned by making rectangles, that you do not have the luxury of simply shifting your pieced strips to put a different focus fabric on the diagonal. Oops. So, I guess we are going with white. Or I could have opted to stitch the row of squares back into a tube and rip the seam between two different colors. This is one quadrant: Its starting to look a bit more like the festive summer-time snack. The rectangle design also required I to add in a horizontal and vertical row to join the quadrants properly and keep the design. I think you can see the horizontal and diagonal center row/column in the picture below. And yes, guard dog is in full-effect. Finishing the Watermelon Quilt Although I free-motion quilt on a HandiQuilter Avante longarm, I’ve recently dabbled in the computer-guided longarm options. This was the second quilt I stitched on my new-to-me ProStitcher. I kid you not, this computerized pattern looks like watermelon seeds! I figured I should just go for it. Embrace the watermelon! Changing The Sizes I’ve made this Scrappy Trip Around The World in a few sizes. Check...

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Fabulous Franny Flamingo Quilt

Fabulous Franny Flamingo Quilt

on Jun 11, 2019 in Blog, charity, Featured, quilting | 0 comments

Finally, let me introduce you to Franny Flamingo! Apologies for having my blog dormant for so long. I had a bit of trouble with WordPress not wanting to save any drafts. Who knows what I clicked or what has been updated to allow me to post today. Just know, this was originally planned for August. Yes. AUGUST and here we are at the end of October. More on Franny Flamingo: The Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild hosted a speaker who shared curved log cabin techniques. Man, this definitely fell in the “I didn’t even know I needed that. BUT I DO!” category. So I made a large blue and white log cabin. I think this curved log cabin presentation was in March or April 2019. Around that time, I purchased a used, second longarm with a computer. This blue and white block was the first thing I pieced to quilt on the computerized frame. The computerized design looked cool, but the fabrics were so busy that you really cannot see too much going on with the quilting. I decided to remedy that with applique. Wool Applique Every applique starts with a drawing, in my mind. Metaphorically and literally. I thought it’d be funny to have the rich winter-y wool juxtaposed with a nice beach-Florida Franny Flamingo. Thanks to a different GSAQG lecture by Dawn Heese, I’m full-on the wool applique movement. She recommends using freezer paper and glue stick to prep your wool applique work. Say no more! My wool is mostly all sourced from thrift shops. I buy women’s 100% wool blazers and skirts to take apart, felt in the washer/dryer, and press. Ok. Franny Flamingo is all prepped. She just needs a few stitches to hold everything in place. I had a great plan to hand-stitch all the wool, but it turns out, I was more successful by using the machine through the quilting layers. I’ll save hand-stitching for a different time. Finishing Franny Franny ultimately needed something to ground her into the space. I’m not sure I achieved that effect, but I was able to add some grass and sunshine to the design, before binding. Those elements are quilter’s cotton, not wool. Prairie points, facing inward,...

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Chicken and Rooster Pincushion

Chicken and Rooster Pincushion

on May 28, 2019 in Blog, Featured, tutorial | 0 comments

Wanna make an adorable pincushion with me? I have never been a big pincushion gal until I started using a pincushion. Holy smokes. And why not have an sweet little chicken pincushion? Side question: Is it a chicken if it doesn’t lay eggs? Mine definitely do not lay eggs, so maybe these are rooster pincushions? We can overthink this on another day. Supplies: Two fabric rectangles 4″ x 4-1/2″ (body)One fabric square 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ (beak)One small swatch of felt for combOne small swatch of felt cut into a heart for wings Ground Nut Shells (filling)Two small beads or buttons for eyesHand sewing needle and threadEmbroidery floss & needle (for wings, optional)Elmer’s glue (optional) Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide (optional) Prep Beak and Comb: Start by first folding the 1-1/2″ square on the diagonal, matching wrong sides. Fold it in half again. Pin this folded triangle to the right-side of a fabric rectangle. Pin the beak along the 4″ side, approximately 1/2″ from the right-hand corner.Make sure the beak is pointing into the fabric square, opposite of how it will look finished. From the felt scrap, basically cut a letter M approximately 2″ wide and 1″ tall. *You might consider swapping the felt for ric-rack if you have that on hand. Pin the M-shaped comb along the 4-1/2″ side of fabric, 1/4″ from the right-hand corner. Make sure the beak is pointing into the fabric square, opposite of how it will look finished. Construction: Lay the remaining fabric rectangle on top of the prepped rectangle, matching right sides. Pin. Use a 1/4″ to sew around three sides, leaving the bottom shorter edge completely open. The Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide has 1/4″ marks along the entire bed of your sewing machine throat. It allows for consistent seam allowances, no matter the project. For the pincushion, simply line the cut edge up with the first 1/4″ mark from the needle line. (To see more uses for the fantastic seam guide, check out these videos.) Now, you’re all set with 1/4″ seams on all three sides. Turn the little pincushion right-side out to check the placement of the beak and comb. if you don’t like where they fall along their respective seams, simply...

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On Ringo Lake Inspired Quilt

On Ringo Lake Inspired Quilt

on May 21, 2019 in Blog, Featured, quilt | 0 comments

Have you stitched On Ringo Lake by Bonnie Hunter? I decided back in October that I would try Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt. Of course, I then decided to overthink the whole thing, unnecessarily. Here’s what happened: I thought it’d be fun to sew a mystery quilt, but I hadn’t made any previous Quiltville Mysteries. Time to dive in and give the planned patchwork scrap style a try. I opted to make a version of On Ringo Lake. Channeling Bonnie, I used only fabrics from my stash. My patches are considerably bigger than the original Bonnie Hunter design. All my pieces are stored in an un-used small pizza box. I worked in unit-sections, just like the mystery structure. Each week Bonnie releases a unit or block-type to stitch. “Make a zillion of this.” OR “Make 24 of these.” type unit-based directions. My Quilt: So, in my On Ringo Lake test-it-out quilt, I made a total of 12 blocks. Once I had these rad blocks made, I wanted to come up with a unique sashing. The sashing I used features the 9-patch block on a smaller scale and points on the sashing to create stars. Wait ’til you see the effect, though. This quilt is definitely On Ringo Lake Quilt inspired, and it turned out to be an excellent test piece for working in a quilty-patchwork style out of my own comfort zone. NOTE: Since this isn’t my original block design, I cannot share any sizes or fabric requirements with you. As for the 2018 mystery, stitched along in real time: It was fun. Highly recommend! The annual mystery starts around October and finishes around January. 2018 was Good...

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Giant Trip Around The World

Giant Trip Around The World

on May 8, 2019 in Blog, Featured, quilting, tutorial | 0 comments

I have a fun easy pattern for you! It is a GIANT Trip Around The World. Not a jaunt across town; think of it as a BIG trip. Think of more like Jackie Chan’s Around The World in 80 Days, or maybe a leisurely boat ride with Magellan. The blocks are big; the quilt is big and the best part- You can stitch it quickly while using up your less-than-one-yard fabric pieces. The quilt finishes at approximately 88″ x 88″. Please note that the fabrics in the digital blog tutorial are different than the two actual quilts pictured above. The pattern is the same. Supplies: 28″ of SIX different coordinating fabrics. NOTE: You’ll need exactly 28″ cut straight, if you need to true-up or square your fabric, you may opt to work with 30″-32″ x Width of Fabric (WOF) pieces. 12″ solid fabric for inner border1-1/4 yard fabric for outer border2/3 yard fabric for bindingSeamingly Accurate Seam Guide (optional) Tips for Selecting Fabrics If you find that you do not quite have the required 28″ of one single print, consider pairing it with a fabric of a similar hue or value. This will trick the eye once the quilt is finished. Cutting: Cut each of the six different 28″ fabrics into four 7″ x WOF strips.Cut eight 1-1/2″ x WOF strips from 12″ inner border fabric.Cut nine strips 4-1/2″ x WOF from 1-1/4y outer border fabric.Cut nine strips at 2-1/2″ x WOF for binding. Construction: Arrange the 7″ strips into four piles with six unique fabrics each. Keep the strips in the same order in each pile. Use the Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide to get perfect 1/4″ seams. Join the strips, using a straight stitch and 1/4″ seam allowance, in each pile. Press seam allowances in one direction. Here’s where the magic happens. Join the far left strip to the far right strip to create a tube. CAUTION: When joining these, note that the fabric grain may have shifted. The strip ends may not necessarily line up. It is more important to make sure there is no wavy or ripple in the fabric than it is to have the strip ends line up. Press.From here, I work with one...

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Patriotic Celestial Star Quilt

Patriotic Celestial Star Quilt

on May 1, 2019 in Blog, blogging others, charity, Featured, pattern, quilting | 0 comments

Patriotic and Paper Pieced Paper piecing isn’t all that bad! It seems to be everywhere, and although I’ve foundation paper pieced in the past, I didn’t love it. That disposition has changed! After learning a few more tricks about sewing through paper, I decided to try a favorite Celestial Star quilt pattern. This pattern is so versatile. I stitched it once during From Blank Pages pattern launch/quilt along. (See my first attempt from 2014) You’ll have to check out her blog to see all the amazing variations that are possible with this foundation paper pieced design. The Right Tools I don’t know if this is the right-right tool for the job, but it was an OK tool that had me enjoying the heck out of the process. It is elementary school writing newsprint paper. I grabbed a pack from Amazon, 500 sheets for less than $7. It is so light weight and tore very easily when I needed to remove the paper. Is there better paper? Sure. I’m certain. But here’s why I chose this 500 sheet bundle- value. Since I wasn’t sure if I’d ever print more than the 18 pages needed for a single Celestial Star block, I’m not out too much cash. The Block My block is going to be a wall-hanging entered in the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild’s 2019 Silent Auction at our quilt show. San Antonio is known as Military City, USA, so I opted to feature a Patriotic theme. The quilt has twelve points coming to a point in the center. Luckily, From Blank Pages has information on making that points’ intersection fantastic. Unfortunately for me, I found it right after I finished my top. But good news, I’m going to make this beautiful block again.My wall hanging is 29″ x 29″ finished. It is a BIG block + a border. The piece is quilted with four corresponding thread colors. Navy, Red, White, and light Blue. Turns out, when the thread matches the fabric exactly, you cannot see the quilting as well. If It Were A Quilt Because I love photoshop, I felt compelled to see what this layout would look like if it were a quilt. I like it, but man,...

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GSAQG Challenge Quilt 2019

GSAQG Challenge Quilt 2019

on Apr 30, 2019 in Blog, contests, Featured, free spirit fabrics, quilt, quilting | 0 comments

Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild is gearing up for the 2019 quilt show with a challenge! This blog post showcases how my 41″ x 41″ quilt came together. It was an absolute evolution of design. The Challenge Whirling Dervishes Deco by Philip Jacobs The challenge issued to our quilt guild was to create a small quilt, no bigger than 250″ perimeter using a fat quarter of this Philip Jacobs print. I fell in love with the fabric instantly. It has every color and is the brightest print I’ve seen! The Inspiration My design process started with the idea that I wanted to stitch various New York Beauty blocks and add applique shapes at the points. I tried making the block once by paper piecing and once by raw-edge fusible applique. Each of the squares above measures 10″ x 10″. That seemed like a good place to start. My test pieces for the quilt challenge quickly became out of control. (No one saw that coming!) I had raw-edge fusible shapes on everything. I was adding stuff left and right in all the bright colored fabric scraps that I could get my hands on. Instead of roping it in and editing myself, I decided that I love MORE IS MORE. This was my jumping off point. Buckle up, buttercup. The Progress Some days I feel like I’m learning to quilt. Specifically, learning to hand applique small shapes. I don’t know if a perfect circle would look like a circle when appliqued. After all, this isn’t a large Learn to Sew Easy Curves situation, though I did use the facing technique as I added a few quadrant arches. The small fabric circle problem is fixed with FELT. I thought, “Hey, wool felt applique is pretty popular. I bet there’s a reason.” Then, I priced wool felt. Cough. Cough. Since this was a small challenge piece that may turn out to be a total circus, I treated myself to a rainbow sampler of synthetic felt from amazon. Quadrant One Ok. Now I’m on my way. I just need some shapes and an idea… I drafted the New York Beauty portion of the block in Adobe Illustrator. The pink and white background fabric is...

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Scrappy Quarter-Square Log Cabin Quilt

Scrappy Quarter-Square Log Cabin Quilt

on Apr 23, 2019 in Blog, fabric stash, Featured, quilt | 0 comments

My newest Scrappy Quarter-Square Log Cabin quilt started innocently enough. We had company over the winter holidays and when they were busy or not yet awake, I’d slip into my sewing room and grab a few scraps. (I have LOADS of fabric scraps, it turns out.) I’d start with small pieces and add longer strips to two sides. It is a surprisingly fast, mindless process. A few years ago, I made this quilt as a gift for one of my Sister-in-Laws: I liked that quilt so much, I thought in this holiday-down-time sewing, I’d make a small scrappy quarter-square log cabin. Each block is trimmed square. It quickly got out of control. I’m sure no one saw that coming. Haha. Setting the blocks on-point made for a really unique design. Now, in my mind, these are completely different quilts. The blocks just kept going and going. The quilt kept growing and growing. (That sounds like something straight out of Willy Wonka. If only my quilts were made from chocolate!) Since the quilt was created entirely from fabric scraps, I now needed to come up with a solution for the setting triangles around the edge of the quilt. I snapped a pic, but it is tricky to see, since the design wall is also white. For the setting triangles, I made templates from white cardstock paper. Then I pieced random white/light/low-volume fabrics. I laid the templates over the white patchwork pieces to cut my shapes to size. I’m happy to report I have a LARGE bed quilt ready to hit the longarm. I debated on whether or not to post the quilt as just a quilt top. Of course, when this quilt is finished, you will not be able to see the quilting on it since the body of the quilt has so much movement and color. On that note: Here’s the Scrappy Quarter-Square Log Cabin 2019. Get out there and use your scraps! Sew in brief little spurts when no one is watching. It is crazy what will turn up from, what is essentially a minimal level of sewing/quilting...

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Just Draw

Just Draw

on Apr 16, 2019 in Blog, Featured, quilting | 0 comments

Just draw as much as you can. I know that sounds silly but as I tell my quilting students, muscle memory is important. Muscle Memory mus·cle mem·o·rynoun the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement.”typing relies heavily on muscle memory” Sketchbook In college we were required to keep an inspiration journal & sketchbook. At the time it was to add in photos, notes, sketches, really anything. Building on that sage advice, I’d like to encourage you to keep inspiration at your fingertips. Pinterest boards, photos on your phone from quilt guilds and quilt shows, and sketches from anywhere. The importance of a sketchbook, to me, is that while I can find amazing photos of cool-looking designs on the entire internet, my sketchbook is the place where I can see what I can actually draw. From here, I can plan to build on skills sketched on previous pages to create something intricate and useful. And while it may seem like I’m just sitting there with a random marker-color-of-the-day, I’m actually building muscle memory and creating a resource to flip through at a later date. Quilting Using the sketchbook to completely inspire your quilting has been made quite popular by Karlee Porter with her Graffiti Quilting style. I’m a huge fan. I’ve found, though, that I’m even able to break out some designs and add them into my own brainstorming. Recently taking a Handi Quilter class, I used my sketchbook ideas to help draft a couple blocks. You never know when these ideas will come in handy. I encourage your to just draw as often as you...

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Free-Motion Framework Video Trailer

Free-Motion Framework Video Trailer

on Apr 9, 2019 in Blog, Featured, FMFWQ, Press, quilting | 0 comments

In October 2018, I was honored to be included in C&T Publishing’s video series of book trailers. At the Quilt Market in Houston, TX, we shot almost an hour worth of footage for the promotion. Through the magic of editing and the genius of youtube, the video is only 7 minutes long. Hopefully, it will give you a good idea of how Free-Motion Framework can improve your quilting skills. Take a peak here: It was a blast to film, but my time slot was 3p. That is 3p after an entire day on the quilt market floor, buzzing around seeing friends and quilts. I promise I do not always look this exhausted. However, I do always talk about quilts. I asked the producer, Amy to snap a picture of me before I left the shoot. And yes, I did wave a bit of a photoshop-magic-wand on this one. Updated to add:See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples...

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