Sunday, December 23, 2012


Wishing You All
    Faith, Hope, and Love

                   And A Very Merry Christmas

Isaiah 9:6

New International Version (NIV)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Padded Posies

I have been working on the red and green applique quilt again.  I am still not sure how this quilt is going to end, but I enjoy working on the blocks.  I liked this applique pattern from the book, The Circuit Rider Quilt, however I did not want to do the Dresden Plate pieced posies.   I decided to do a  little off block applique and make try making them in the padded roses fashion with just one fabric.  I used a light weight interfacing to work on, this one happened to have a grid printed on it.

 I traced the posy and center with a fine line sharpie pen on the interfacing and on a piece of freezer paper. 

 After cutting out the freezer paper template I ironed in on quilt batting and cut it out again. I cut the batting posy out about 1/8 inch inside the freezer paper template so it is just slightly smaller than the pattern on the interfacing.  

Next I glued the quilt batting to the interfacing and placed my applique fabric on top of the batting.  Back basting is my preferred method of applique so from the back of the interfacing I stitched a running stitch around the drawn outer edge of the posy. 

 I trimmed my applique seam allowance a little wider than my usual 1/8 to 1/4 inch so I would have enough seam allowance to allow for the added height of  the batting. I also like to connect my running stitch basting stitched with a white iron erasable line for needle turn.  

 Besides having my white line to guide my needle turn, I also could easily see the posy outline drawn on the interfacing. 
After I had completed the needle turn (I used a wider apart applique stitch, just to sort of baste the edges under, since I would be appliqueing the finished posy to the background with my regular applique stitch). At this point you could add some quilting or embroidery embellishment to your applique.  I am going to quilt the pedal lines when the quilt is completed. 

I trimmed the interfacing to 1/8 inch around my padded posy. It is very easy to turn under the interfacing as I applique the flower to the background fabric.  The advantage to working off block is that I am able to applique my flower and keep my background very flat, not having to worry about puckering while working with the extra thickness of the batting.  

I added a padded center and built up my posy layer cake style.   I tried to take a picture from the side so you could see the raised effect of the flowers, they will look more padded after the quilt is completed and quilted. 

I have two more blocks finished, so the count is up to 22 blocks. 

Happy Stitching All,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Getting Closer

I just finished the 2nd border on Ladies of the Sea (pattern by Sue Garman).  I am beginning to see the end getting nearer.  I was so anxious to sew on this border (the right one) I forgot to do all of the embroidery work on it. 

Happy Stitching,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Free Motion Quilt Challenge with Sarah Vedeler

This month's Free Motion Quilt Challenge (from SewCalGal) concentrates on one quilting motif, spirals. Sarah Vedeler presents very good guidelines for adding spirals to any quilting projects.  The best way to practice spirals is in rows.  The tutorial includes sheets of spirals to print off and practice tracing with a pencil to start building muscle memory.

  Next is sectioning off a fat quarter practice quilt sandwich with my trusty Hera marker into two inch and one inch grids.

This is actually my 2nd practice sandwich, I have just kept this by my machine and tried to practiced a row of two inch and one inch spirals whenever I sit down to sew.  I am currently doing some machine applique work on the Ladies of the Sea (pattern by Sue Garmen) and every time I change thread colors, I just pop on the quilting foot and do a row of spirals for practice.

 I like to throw spirals at random into my background filler quiting or also in small corner stones and this tutorial has definitely improved my spirals.  I have found a little sing song going thru my head as I practice: "leave yourself an escape route"  "leave yourself an escape route".

I am all caught up with the Sally Post Floral Sampler (from Sentimental Stitches)  love how this quilt is coming together.

As well as the Sally Post  is coming, the red and green applique is just not turning out as I had hoped.  I bought three yards of this beautiful new Jo Morton fabric

 thinking I would like it as sashing.  My usual formula of sticking with the same fabric lines for success has let me down.

 I used mostly Jo Mortons for the applique blocks, but I am just not liking this fabric as a sashing for the quilt.  I was thinking a setting sort of like this one

 on the back of Elly Sienkiewicz book Beloved Baltimore Album Quilts.  The sashing in this quilt is a very "busy" fabric.  I think maybe my blocks are too simple for this fabric, so I tried just a solid red:
Hmmm, still not really there, maybe no white corner stones:
Closer, but still not what I thought it would be.  I have totally enjoyed working on these red and green blocks, and I have 21 of them completed, but for now they have been packed away in a tote and put on the bottom shelf...
So, this is what I have been up to lately.  Hope you are all having a great Thanksgiving weekend.  I have one parting shot, this is the fabric I found in my stash for the back of my spiral practice quilt sandwich

Ha Ha, in what life did I think I needed THAT fabric. I could do a whole post on ugly fabrics in my stash.

Happy Stitching All,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Last Crystal On

For the last few weeks my focus has been on Let Heaven and Nature Sing by McKenna Ryan.  This afternoon I put the last crystals on. The label is finished and it is ready to go to it's new home.  I made this for my friend Jan, who loves batik fabrics and McKenna Ryan quilts. 

 There was a lot of embellishing on this quilt and it worked very well to use my mini iron on the Swarovski crystals - after I did a practice one on the label.  Members of my applique group wanted to see it before I let it go, but we do not meet again for a couple weeks, so I took lots of close up pictures.  Here it is girls...Let the Holidays begin :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My applique class with Elly Sienkiewicz

I have just returned home from my trip to Houston and the International Quilt Festival.  I took a wonderful  applique class with Elly Sienkiewicz.  This was a two day class called Peahen in a Crescent Wreath.  The focus of the class was to learn some advanced techniques for off block construction of applique elements.  We worked on the peahen and one of the flowers on a gridded interfacing type material that Elly called gossamer. 

We worked on embellishing our rather plain peahen (you know the female bird is always the duller less colorful of a pair of birds).  Elly had lots of her beautiful album blocks in plastic sleeves

 that she would pass around the class room for us to get embroidery and embellishing ideas.  The rose was a padded technique where we would layer quilt batting under each section of the rose using just one fabric and quilting the different petals of the rose to give it dimension. When the peahen and rose are completed I will then trim the gossamer to 1/8 inch around the applique and because it is so thin, it will easily be tucked under the applique as I sew it onto the background.  We also worked on adding inking to our blocks.  Elly has beautiful lettering skills and she wrote on each of our blocks. 

 This little bandoleer on my block is only about one and a half inches long and she wrote my name in the banner of the design and then dated it and wrote her name and the words "scripts it" which means she did the lettering.    She also wrote beautiful comments in our books if we had brought any of her books for signatures.

  She is the most gracious person, it was just a joy to listen and learn from her.  She has so much knowledge about Baltimore album quilts and the women of 1850s Baltimore, Maryland.  I could have just listened to her for days. 

The rest of the quilt show was also wonderful, always so much inspiration and new ideas and products.  This post is getting rather long so I will share just this picture of  this quilt featuring wind turbines.

 I think the wind turbines are so graceful turning in the wind and I love to watch them if we drive by a wind turbine field.    I come from a Dutch heritage and I love windmills,

 I though it was clever that this quilter added an image of an old fashioned type of windmill in her quilt-gold half square tirangle in the upper right corner of this photo.   I am sorry to say that I did not get the name of this quilter.

I picked up a great new book by Jeanne Sullivan called Simply Successful Applique. This is a technique book more than a pattern book, but there is a DVD and patterns included.  

She has a great technique for preparation of her applique pieces that I am going to have to try and good illustrations of each step of her process.  There is good  review of all the basic steps of applique from the starting and ending knots, to the applique stitch, to properly cutting your applique background fabric.

The rest of our trip to Texas was spent with family.  A few days at a beach house in Galveston with the cutest grand child  in the world.

We did some flounder fishing, spent lots of hammock time and played in the sand.   We are back home now and the short sleeved and warm weather  cloths have been unpacked and sadly hung in the back of the closet. 

I am appliqueing with new passion and am anxious to start a Baltimore Album quilt. I will have to figure out a way to include the peahen block with it's very special signature.

Happy Stitching All,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Very Productive Weekend

Okay, so you know how you go to quilt retreat with your quilting buddies and you forget something?  Well, I remembered by projects, thread, all parts to the sewing machine, but forgot my camera.  So I do not have any pictures taken at the retreat but I did take some pictures when I got home of all the projects I got to work on.  The picture above is all the blocks so far for the Sally Post Floral Sampler that Gay at Sentimental Stitches is posting each week.

 We had a group demonstration of the twister quilt technique.  This little quilt started out with 20 five inch squares sewn together in a 4 X  5 grid with a 3 inch border, then you cut it all apart with the aid of the twister ruler and sew them back together and get one of these. 

I also got this small quilt sewn, it is called pixie sticks because the 2 inch block are made of eight one quarter inch strips.  Loved the reproduction fabrics in this little quilt. 

I also got a little hand applique completed and another block finished for the red and white quilt.

The week before retreat I got the Heaven and Nature Sings (McKenna Ryan pattern) quilt top completed, it is all layered and ready to start quilting. 

So I feel like I have gotten a lot of things done lately.  I am all unpacked from retreat, but packing up my hand applique things for an upcoming trip to Texas that will include a visit to the International Quilt Festival and a class with Elly Seinkiewicz.  This is not a very good picture of the class project

but you can check out her teaching schedule here and see a better picture of the beautiful peahen we will be working on in this class.  I am so excited to be taking  this class, and just soak up all of her knowledge about Baltimore Album quilts. 

Happy Stitching All,