Thursday, March 31, 2011

Congratulations Quilting 101!

I want to congratulate my first Quilting 101 graduating class! I had 5 enthusiastic and talented students learn quilting using the Yellow Brick Road pattern by Atkinson Designs. For most of them this was their very first quilt ever!
Here are some snippets of them with their quilts!
Samantha- all cool with blues and greens. She used a zig zag stitch to quilt the quilt with a variegated thread that matched her color scheme.
 Susan: She is custom quilting her pink and green quilt with arcs that give the quilting a cathedral window look. She mixed several lines of fabric with stunning results. 
 Melissa- has a lovely mix of batiks and prints which she did an all over stipple on.  She came to the last class on crutches! She was determined to finish her first quilt though! She also already has another quilt in the works!
 Sarah- had rich colored fabrics from Northcott's Bliss line which she did some meandering on and also some swirls on the border which just makes those blocks pop. Her colors were so electric, it is a gorgeous quilt!
 Paulette selected many fabric from the shop's Hydrangea line which she mixed with some solids for a beautiful effect. Her quilting was top notch and must have taken her a long time to mark on and then stitch!
Great things ahead for all these ladies I know! It was great getting to know them and seeing how their personal styles were reflected in their projects. Everyone's product was so different but all from the one pattern. I think they all caught the quilting "bug"!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mug Rug Tutorial

Mug rugs are all over the internet right now.
 I just had to make one! 
I started with a 5"square which I will be using as a foundation for my selvage strips.
I weeded through my pile-o-selvages.
And found 8-10 that are sort of the same color family so they'll look like a spool of the same color thread in the end. I chose yellow here so I also chose to use yellow thread since it will show:
To make your spool: Lay a selvage strip at the bottom of your square and top stitch it down along the bottom edge. 
Lay another selvage strip on and overlap it with the top of the first strip and topstitch it down along its bottom edge as well.
Continue laying strips on, always overlapping with the last strip sewn, and stitch them down. Your edges will be goofy but you'll square them up later. Stop when you fill your square with strips as shown.
Trim your block down to (wide) 4" x 5" (tall).

Add background strips to each 5" side by sewing 1" strips on.
Next add the top and bottom of the spool with 1.25" strips of brown.
And here the little spool!
(***The block colors will now dramatically change, this is due to the fact that I did not take photos when I did the first spools because I hadn't made them before and wasn't sure if they would turn out. I went back and remade one in yellow so I could show you a full tutorial!*****)
For my mug rug I made two spool blocks and turned one sideways. I added an extra strip of background above the sideways one for the word to be embroidered on. I also attached a narrow 1" strip between the two spools just so you could see each spool a little clearer.
After I embroidered "Spools" on it my mug rug top was done and ready to be quilted!
 I wanted to have the option of hanging my mug rug so I added these super easy hanging corners. To make them start with two 3.5" squares of fabric:

Press them diagonally wrong side in.
Pin them to the upper back corners of the mug rug.
Baste in place.

Next I made and sewed on the binding just as I would with any quilt:
And when I turn the binding over to the back I hand stitch it in place just as always pulling the binding edge over the triangle edges and basting stitches, then I can just slide a chop stick in the little pockets created there.
And hang it on the wall!
In my new sewing room where else? Pictures of that will have to wait though!
I hope this inspires some mug rug making out there. I am kind of in love with this one now so I will have to make another to swap at the shop!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sad today

Many of you knew that some friends of ours had a baby girl hoping to get a liver transplant in Pittsburgh.  Sadly, baby Marina passed away yesterday. Her little body just couldn't fight any longer. Our thoughts are with her parents Dan and Joann and her big brother Mason.

"The death of a baby is like a stone cast into the stillness of a quiet pool; the concentric ripples of despair sweep out in all directions, affecting many, many people."
--De Frain 1991

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jane Eyre

I am still marveling that I haven't read this book before now!
I have always been a pretty big classic reader but the year in high school that most of the students read Jane Eyre they ran short of books and our teacher gave us a something else to read-- I think it was Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. It wasn't a bad book but all I remember about that book was one of the female characters was very strange. Her name was Eustacia Vye and in one passage it said that when walking if she happened to catch her hair in a branch as she passed it she would turn and walk by it again just to feel it catch her hair again. For some reason that stuck with me.
So I just finished reading the book last night during the supermoon!
Here is our best picture of it- I guess I need some photography lessons? It looks more like a sunrise than a moonrise but that was what the night shooting setting on me camera did. Not sure why? It was pretty though.
My friend Charmaine loaned me some of the older versions of the Jane Eyre movie and of course the new one is now out in some cities and I can't wait to watch them all! The trailer on youtube looks really good for the newest version click here to go watch it!
I have a large book with all the collected Emily and Charlotte Bronte novels in one volume:
but I found on my shelves also an older copy of Jane Eyre from 1945 that Random House put out. It  has these wonderful wooden engravings by Fritz Eichenberg in it. Eichenberg was an anti-Nazi German who came to America before that got him into trouble in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. He lived in New York City and during his later years experimented with Zen Buddhism and later became a Quaker. He was a believer in non violence and much of his art was of a religious nature. ( I know I am such a nerd...)
My copy of the Jane Eyre, with his art, has sadly seen better days but, I really enjoyed that edition of the book. Here are a few pictures from it of Eichenberg's work.
Title Page:

 The type is set in an older style with two columns of text per page.
What a treasure to find on my bookshelf!
The details in the pictures are unbelievable.
When I searched on etsy for Jane Eyre it had some interesting items from many different sellers. Several used the engravings in the 1945 edition of the book in their jewelry and things.  It sort of made me want to try using them in a quilt of some kind?  I am as always full of inspiration and full of ideas and short on time and execution!  It is still very enjoyable to plan and dream out projects even if I never hold them in my hands.
So now back to quilting....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Shamrock postcard made from hexies!
Having a daughter who is an Irish Dancer always makes St.  Patrick's Day a busy one. So while we are out spreading Irish cheer through dancing, here are some fun facts for you!
Shamrocks have only three leaves.
Some years it is nearly impossible to find a novelty St. Patrick's day shirt that doesn't have four leafed clovers on it instead of Shamrocks!

Pin made from 2 yo-yo's, 3 buttons and some beads.
St. Patrick used to use the shamrock to teach the Irish about the whole Trinity.

The legend about there being a pot-o-gold at the end of the rainbow did not originate in Ireland. It came from Silesia in Eastern Europe. The full legend was that angels traveled down the rainbow from heaven and put the gold there AND that only a nude man could retrieve it.
I made this table runner a few years ago and has been a St. Patrick's day decoration in my home ever since but I feel awful because I can't find the pattern I used to credit its creator.  It is very very cute though.
The first St. Patrick's Day parade was not held in Ireland but in New York City!
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! 
Don't forget to wear your green!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lee Ann's Treasure

A customer, Susan, brought in a partially pieced quilt top with swatches of silk screened Lilly Pulitzer fabrics she had collected for her daughter Lee Ann as a child. She had pieced them together in a grid and wished for it be made queen size and finished for Lee Ann's birthday earlier this month. This was a long time UFO for Susan and, a dream quilt for both Susan and Lee Ann.
Another customer had most helpfully grabbed some likely fabric candidates for adding on to the pieced Pulitzer patches ( how is that for alliteration!).  The batik was as soft pastel that had all different colors blending in and out in it much like the patches and looked great together.  Many thanks to our helper!
Details of the "freestyle" quilting 
Susan and I discussed the project and I was let loose to finish it!  
I had never heard of Lilly Pulitzer but I really liked the patches and looked at some of her work online so I could match my quilting to her style as best as I could.
Details of the freestyle from the back
The center patchwork strip just has a meander over it so as not to detract from the artist's work and on the other strips on each side of the patchwork I did a random freestyle quilt collage incorporating feathers, swirls, flowers, roses, daisies, leaves, waves, wiggles, hearts and echoes. It was so much fun to have so much creative space to play on as a quilter! I used 22 bobbins of King Tut's Mummy Dearest thread on the bottom of the quilt, just to give you an idea of how much quilting there was on it. It measured 86"x 93" and is one of the largest I have ever done on my Bernina.
Susan picked up the quilt and was delighted.  I can't tell you how great it feels to see someone so pleased with the job I have done for them. She further rewarded me by sending me pictures of Lee Ann receiving the quilt and gave her permission to have the pictures on my blog. Thank you so much to Susan and Lee Ann it really was a pleasure to work on this project.
 Here is Lee Ann with her quilt!

15 years ago today...

I got married to a guy who I am still very much in love with and who somehow loves me too. He is a wonderful father to our children, a friend and supporter to me, a provider and protector for our family and on top of all that he is an excellent cook!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Big and Little class sample

Here are the completed projects for the Big and Little Class I am teaching at Quilters Crossing on June 9th and June 11th.
We'll be making a snap on fabric bracelet, an embellished tank top and a tie on headband seen on me below. 
All are patterns from Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan. A book available in the shop now. They are all quick and easy patterns which will go quickly enough the keep the attention of a younger but enthusiastic girl interested in sewing.
I am also teaching a Kwik Little Klutch class 
on April 6th and May 29th. 
You can sign up at Quilters Crossing for either class. I also wanted to note that both of these classes are fat quarter friendly and you'll only need 2 fat quarters of fabric for each-- along with patterns, embellishments and notions.  Pretty economical and very fast!