Quickie Quilt (Warning-Lots of Pictures to Follow!)

November 16th, 2014
I did a demo on the George sit-down quilting machine a little over a week ago for Sheridan Kay Quilting Studio in Hendersonville, NC and you can find her web site by clicking here.  Sheridan is the local APQS dealer in western NC and I can personally attest to what a great studio and shop she has.  Anyway, I needed to come up with a quick quilt that I could work on during my demo.  I wanted to demo some basic ruler work on a sit-down machine, so I came up with this quilt:
When I was creating all the digitized feathered wreath designs for the 2 Majestic Feathered Wreaths CDs which you can find right here, I ended up with about 10 million quilt blocks with wreaths quilted on them because I needed to test out every design in every size.  I decided to use a bunch of them up in this quilt, so throwing this together got me a quick quilt for the demo as well as used up some stuff I had lying around.  You can see the pieces of it starting to come together in the photo below:
Once I’d pieced the whole thing, I threw it into a quilt sandwich and did my stitch in the ditch quilting, followed by outling each “zone” of the wreaths.  (The reason I do that is it causes the trapunto to really pop!).  For my ditch quilting and my outlining of the various “zones” of the feathered wreaths, I always use Monopoly Thread by Superior Threads.  This lightweight thread will not be seen but it allows you to create these kinds of fabulous effects and I use a TON of this thread in my quilting.  Once done with that “anchoring” kind of stitching, I switched to my ruler work.  I am a relative newbie at ruler work but I’ll tell you, I am really learning that a little bit of ruler work can add a whole new level of interest to your quilt.  I’m talking about a big time level of interest!  In this shot below, you can see how basic this ruler work was:
The side setting triangles and corner setting triangles are all done with easy straight edge ruler work that creates a “skeleton,” or framework, and then you move in and add some fill in freehand work.  Once you’ve done a few of them, you start to appreciate the secondary designs they create.  For the blue blocks in the center, I used curved rulers and started by creating simple double arcs inside the blocks:
I then marked the center of each block and a few guidelines and created these spinning something-or-other shapes:
Notice that all those lines are double lines with a channel in between.  You’ve got to have that channel or the design will not have much punch, so take the time to create 2 thread lines.  My original plan was to hyperquilt something inside, but I decided against it…at least for right now!  I then filled in  my arcs with a row of pearls and you can start to see that this creates a secondary design of a frame of pearls in this next shot:
The wreaths really poof out nicely because they have a trapunto layer of a lightweight polyester batting behind them.  You can appreciate that in this shot:
…and here’s another good shot for that effect:
Ooh-la-la, I can’t get me enough of that splay-of-fireworks feathered wreath!  Anyway, this was a very fun quilt to quilt and I am falling more and more in love with ruler work.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really must…

Day #5 of the Machine Embroidery Blog Hop

November 14th, 2014


Today is the fifth stop on our blog hop so head on over to SewCalGal’s blog to read about her project.  She created the The Love Birds Wall Hanging in a class with me, and this is a derivative of the Harmonic Song Birds Quilt which you can find here.  (It is created by using bird block 1 and the corner setting triangle feather pairs files.)  Here’s a shot of the full  Harmonic Song Birds Quilt:



If that’s a bit of an overload of color, here’s another version of it created with less color:



It’s quite easy to isolate a block from a large quilt like this to create a small wall hanging.  For instance, this little wall hanging was made using Bird Block 3:



SewCalGal spent some time playing around with these files and did some really cool stuff.  She took the bird block #2 files and stitched part as machine embroidery applique and the other part as purely embroidery with a trapunto layer!  She also isolated the swirl shapes from Bird Block 2 and created a beautiful pillow using them in a mirror image format!  This is a fabulous lesson in the versatility of machine embroidery…you can take a set of design files and play with them in many ways beyond their original purpose.  To see what she’s done and learn more about how to play with design files, head on over to SewCalGal’s blog now!  While you’re there, be sure to make a comment so you can enter the give away!

I hope you have enjoyed the machine embroidery blog hop and if any of you have been on the fence about getting an embroidery machine, I hope this blog hop helped to tip you over the edge!  When you combine machine embroidery applique and quilting…look out!  The results are fabulous! If you haven’t visited all the participating blogs, here’s the full lineup:

I Have a Notion Blog Mon 11/10/14
Gene Black An Alabama Artist and Quilter Blog 11/11/14
Marjorie’s Quilting Bee Blog 11/12/14
Jean Creates Blog 11/13/14
Sew Cal Gal Blog 11/14/15

Day #4 of the Machine Embroidery Blog Hop

November 13th, 2014


Today’s blogger is the wonderful Jean of Jean Creates Blog!  Jean used a simple machine embroidery applique design called the PA Dutch Flower which can be found here.   It’s the same flower I used recently to make a quickie pin cushion using blended wool felt and bamboo felt:




This flower with a pair of leaves at the base is stitched in only 1 hooping so it’s an easy-peasy design.  Jean did a wonderful tutorial showing how to stitch out a machine embroidery applique design if you don’t have pre-cut applique shapes and want to do it in the fashion of placing fabric over the placement outline and then cutting away the excess material.  It’s  as simple as stitching the placement outline, placing the over sized fabric in place, then repeating the placement outline stitching sequence before cutting away the excess fabric!  Run over to Jean’s blog to see how to do this in a step by step tutorial that is very clear.  Check out the wonderful mat she created with these shapes on each pocket-I love her idea!  And don’t forget to leave a comment on her blog to be entered in the give away of a free digitized design!  Designs like this that are stitched in single hooping are very easy to convert into larger quilt block designs.  Here’s an example of the exact same file stitched in 4 quadrants of a square to create a whole quilt block:



Keep checking back as there will be an upcoming lesson in how to create an entire quilt block using a single design like this one!  And don’t forget…tomorrow is Day #5 of the Machine Embroidery blog Hop, and you’ll want to head on over to SewCalGal’s blog for that!

Day #3 of the Machine Embroidery Blog Hop and a Follow up on My Current Project

November 12th, 2014


It’s the 3rd day of the I Have a Notion Machine Embroidery Blog Hop  and today’s post is by Marjorie of Marjorie’s Quilting Bee Blog.  She created 2 small wall hangings/table toppers that are each created using an easy multi-hooping technique and they came out beautifully!  Here are the pictures of what she created:



…and here’s version 2 where she has played with the orientations of the swirls.  This one almost has a sense of movement because of the positioning of those swirls:



Gosh she did a beautiful job!  To read about how she did it and to enter for a chance at a free digitized design give away, head on over to her blog by clicking here.  While you’re at her site, be sure to check out her online shop because Marjorie creates her own digitized designs and you may well find just the right designs for your next project!  And here’s the line up for the whole week again:


I Have a Notion Blog Mon 11/10/14

Gene Black An Alabama Artist and Quilter Blog 11/11/14

Marjorie’s Quilting Bee Blog 11/12/14

Jean Creates Blog 11/13/14

Sew Cal Gal Blog 11/14/15

Before I sign off, I wanted to check back in about the project I was working on last week.  I had a few days of sweating bullets as I went to finish the sides and corners of this wall hanging with setting triangles:



You can kind of see my dilemma in this next shot.  Because the setting triangles always “begin life” larger than they will actually be at the end (the excess is trimmed once all setting triangles have been added), it’s dicey when you digitize the applique shape placement because you won’t know their positions are too close to the edge until you’ve stitched everything out and pieced it all together.  Here is what it looked like after the side setting triangles were in place:



Check out where the arrow falls in this closeup of a side setting triangle in the next photo:



The nail-biting part was not knowing if those applique shapes near the edge would end up being cut off in the final trimming or, if they weren’t cut off, would they be so close to the edge that the design wouldn’t work and I’d have to start over?  In the end, it worked out ok.  This next shot is after the corner setting triangles were added and everything was trimmed:


You can see that those outermost applique shapes will barely be out of the way of the seam, but I think it will work.  This will be the center section of a much larger quilt, but it will be left alone for awhile.  I have a couple other projects that I’m going to focus on in the short term.  Now get yourself over to Marjorie’s blog!


Day 2 of the Machine Embroidery Blog Hop and a Quickie Gift project

November 11th, 2014
Today’s stop on the blog hop is Gene Black’s blog!  Gene has done a great tutorial that shows you how to get the most out of a digitized file by selectively eliminating certain stitching sequences.  He has taken the feathered star digitized quilting motif and created multiple offshoot designs from it by choosing which sequences to stitch and which to leave out.  He is working with the feathered star shown below:
…but he’s taking it to a whole new place!  Check out his post by clicking here and don’t forget to enter his give away for a free downloadable digitized design from our store! 
I have a weakness for pin cushions, partly because they are small and cute and partly because they are so fast to make.  I have been meaning to do some machine embroidery applique using hand dyed wool and bamboo felts and finally got around to it last Sunday.  Is this not the most adorable pin cushion you’ve ever seen:
The thing that I love about it is all the 3-D texture created by the felted portions.  It’s really hard to capture that in a  photo:
The flower/petal pair unit is stitched in a single hooping and I merely substituted the hand dyed felts for fabric.  I began with  a 6 in x 6 in piece of green fabric for my background and once it had been appliqued/embroidered, I quilted it using a scrap of batting.  I cut the shapes using Appli-K-Kutz dies on my Sizzix machine so that part went very fast.  Here’s a shot of it once it had been quilted:
I attached it to another piece of 6 in x 6 in quilted fabric and then stuffed it with poly pellet beads and voila!  These make wonderful gifts for fellow quilters and sewists!  Who doesn’t love a pincushion?