Pioneer Cosplay

Heritage Day Logo_SB

Logo by Simone

Recently a few of us here were involved in the Heritage Day Celebration, honoring the early pioneers in this valley. It happened last Saturday, on a mildly hot day.  Good day to be wearing all these layers, right?

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Didn’t Thoreau say something like “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”?  I think the dress looks like a cross between Mary Poppins and the mother from Little House on the Prairie, an ancient TV show that forever colored our view of what women in the 1850s wore around the farm, and notable for the final show: they blew up all the set houses with dynamite to keep them from the local evil corporate guy.

We hosted a “quilting booth” but instead of that tired old trope of setting out a quilt top so people could mangle it with their stitches, we ran a hexie booth, based on the research I found that quilters at the time were doing English paper piecing.

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We had some work to do.  We, meaning, several of us who have attended our quilting group for many years, plus some others we conned into asked to participate.

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First, combine four patterns to make a pioneer outfit (seen above). Then start working on the demo goods: hexies.

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I appliqued them to a tote bag I picked up a couple of years ago at Quilt Market, figuring the “maker” theme was a good fit for hexies.

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l to r: Julie, Melissa, me, Laurel, Simone, Lisa. (PS Simone doesn’t really look like this. She likes to pull faces. Her texts always make me laugh.)

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We figure we glued up about 500 hexies, total, between this and what Leisa did later on.  It was so good to have these!

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It was a team effort: our friend Dennis brought us tables and chairs, and Leisa was the “set decorator,” using quilts from near and far. We arrived at 7:10 a.m. and left at 2:20 p.m., the right amount of time.

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We also had some modern hexies there to entice the participants; that is Laurel’s beautiful Modern Millefiore Hexie quilt on the left, with Simone’s hexie pillow (pattern here), and other props.

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We had Color-A-Quilt pages for the littlest visitors, as well as create your own quilt block (below).  We had to remind them that it was a visual treat–take a photo with your phone sort of thing–as people kept walking off with my design boards.  That is Julie’s hand you see there, making a mock-up.  She kept these two sections rolling the whole day.

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from l to r: Cindy, Julie, Denese, me, Laurel and her husband Ralph, Leisa, Simone

The original crew, plus my husband, Dave (who is taking the photo).  We swapped out two for four others mid-day; we were swamped, so were glad to have them.  Here are some photos from our day:

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We were suprised by the number of teens — and teen boys — who sat down and made a three-hexie patch from start to finish.

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Most did not look like this–they sewed them up properly, although sometimes with an interesting twist or two, but we thought this won the prize for “Most Interesting Hexie” of the day.  We had to teach many how to tie knots (about half had no idea how to do that), and we saw that lots of youngsters (and oldsters) liked to be able to sit and sew, a skill not often available to them in other places.

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We had a sample quilt set up in a hoop in case anyone wanted to try hand-quilting.  Most were more fascinated by the hexies.  And most wanted to pick through the baskets of cut fabric squares and glue their own shapes, too.

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Wee Pioneers

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I love sharing our craft with some new quilters!

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Stats: 3,000 paper hexies purchased
60 needles (only 35 were brought home–don’t know where the rest went)
3 needle-threaders: one from Clover, my friend Laurel, and my husband Dave
2 ten-gallon jugs of water
4,000 cut squares prepped up: fabric donated by Paintbrush Studio and Primitive Gatherings
Project boards that are not dusty: 0
Number of pioneer outfits that will never be used again: 7

On Your Mark Create! Blog Hop and Giveaway

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I was recently sent a stack of fabrics as I was asked to be a part of the On Your Mark Create! blog hop; I jumped at the chance to work more with my friend Simone’s On Your Mark fabrics.  I stewed over what I could sew, since I’d already made a baby quilt. This time I wanted some quilty project that would be fun and helpful for me and for you.

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Then it was time for lunch.

What?

Yes, lunch, and when I looked those placemats on the table, I knew they were way past their Sell By date.  It was time for some new ones.

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I hunted around for placemat tutorials that had some style and were quick and easy and that would show off the fun prints in Simone’s fabrics.  (As a former English teacher, I’m totally in love with the exclamation point fabric.)

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I found this free pattern on Craftsy by Samelia’s Mum, and thought it would be perfect.  I had toyed with another design by Fabric Mutt, which had pockets for paper plates and plasticware at picnics, but opted instead for the leafy design on “All Seasons Placemats.”

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The fabric has a soft hand, and to make sure I didn’t have the placemats shrink out of shape (and, as a mostly-I-prewash-fabric quilter), I threw the fabrics into the washer, then dryer, until they were damp-dry and then pressed up the fabric.

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I had fun choosing which leaves to go where.  I also made some changes to how the pattern went together.  First I constructed the placemat completely, following her instructions for fusing and stitching.

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But then I layered the placemat on top of batting without quilting it down first.  I layered the backing on top of that RST.  I stitched around the edges, leaving an opening.

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I turned it inside out, and closed the opening by top-stitching around the outside edge of the placemat.  It looks poofy, but it settles down when you quilt it, which is the next step.  After stitching around the outside edge, I’d say to do it again, 1/4″ away.  Then quilt the plain spaces in the mat.  I went around the leaves first, then stitched more leaves in a random fill pattern all over.

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Did I mention they are reversible?

I know a lot of folks don’t set proper tables anymore, but there’s something so lovely about a well-set table that shows love to all who join in. After using them for a few days, I think I should have places the leaves on the RIGHT side of the placemat, for then the glass would be like the flower at the top of the leafy stem.  Next time.

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PS.  That’s my grandmother’s napkin ring you see up there.

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Here are my On Your Mark placemats, gracing our table for dinner.  By the way, one night we spilled on them, and I tossed them in the washer then laid them out flat on top of the dryer to dry, and they look as good as new.  No shrinking.

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Paintbrush Studio, who makes these fabrics, is offering one fat quarter bundle to be given away each day of the blog hop (like what you saw at the beginning of the post). (So you can hop around for more chances to win!)

UPDATE: Giveaway closed now.  Thank you all!

To win one from me, leave a comment telling me when the last time was you purchased placemats (if you can remember), and I’ll draw one name randomly (USA only) to win.  Winner will be contacted via email and the bundle will be mailed out from Paintbrush Studio.  (But if you don’t win, you can purchase them here.)

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Please visit the others on the blog hop (the first listing is the Instagram address, and if there is a second, it is their blog):

Tuesday, April 17: Simone @simone.g.b  ; Simone Bradford
Wednesday, April 18: Elizabeth (me!)
Thursday, April 19: Stephanie @spontaneousthreadsSpontaneous Threads
Friday, April 20: Linda @quiltlady63
Saturday, April 21: Joan@alaskanquilter
Sunday, April 22: Carol @carolanngillen
Monday, April 23: Sarah @nohatsquilts
Tuesday, April 24: Afton @quiltingmodQuilting Mod
Wednesday, April 25: Alison @quiltstudio62
Thursday, April 26@pbstudiofabricsInspired by Fabric
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The Visual Story of a Sewing Kit

Rescue boats fill a flooded street at flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Okay–here’s what helps keep me busy while I’m watching hours of footage about the Hurricane Harvey disaster: hand-sewing.  So I came up with my own little sewing kit.  Start Here, with this rough sketch of a pattern: Sewing Kit_opquilt-pattern

SewingKitESE_1and these dimensions:
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Cut out.  Quilt Soft & Stable lightly to backing, as you just want to hold it in place, you don’t want to distort it. NOTE: although it doesn’t show really well, I cut two of the notions pocket (thimble and thread glide); the dotted one (you can see it below) is the lining.  Remember to cut with wrong sides together, as the pattern piece is not symmetrical.

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Stitch it together along the curvy top, and the right side.  Turn inside out, topstitch along the curvy edges. and make the pleats.  Top stitch along the two sides and the bottom, holding it in place to the inner lining. I like light linings, so I can see what’s going on.SewingKitESE_3

SewingKitESERefer to above photo for the rest of these sketchy detailed directions.

Sew down one long side of the scissors pocket; turn and press.  Turn in 1/4″ on the other long side; press.  Top-stitch the scissors pocket onto the lining.  Slide your scissors into place, and figure out where the ribbon needs to go: backstitch a ribbon into place.

Match up the backing with the lining and all its decor, putting wrong sides together and pin. All the edges will be raw edges.  Find the center line (where you will fold this closed) and stitch down the center to anchor the parts together.

Insert the zipper between the two zipper pocket pieces, cutting zipper down to size after sewing thread tacks on each end to keep the zipper on its track.

If you want a needle holder, cut a piece 1-3/4″ by 4″ and stitch to the zipper pocket as shown in photo above.  Then fold the zipper-pocket-assembly in half, creating a pocket.  (You can see the aqua ribbon sneaking into the pocket in the above photo.)  Place zipper pocket on right side of lining and stitch around this narrowly–just to hold it in place.

Lay a spool of thread on all the corners and trace; cut the edges into a rounded edge.  You can omit this step, and just do the corners like a quilt binding.

Bind the edges with a double-fold binding: cut a piece approximately 20″ long and 1-1/4″ wide.  Fold raw edges into the center and press.  Open out binding; first stitch WST with binding to back.  Fold to the inside, pinning or glueing to keep in in place, then topstitch.  Make two other double-fold pieces, roughly 12″ by 1-1/4″ and zig-zag.  These are your ties.  Stitch them to either side of the outer edge (refer to photo way below).

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Add other trim: two buttons for the “String & Button” closure (yes, that is its official name).  I found some interesting thick string and sewed that through the little pocket at its tallest point and then knotted it behind the pocket.  I used Fray-Chek on all raw edges of string and ribbon and ties.  To close, you wrap it around the button (shown, above).

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I use the Superior Threads Bobbin Donut in doing my hand stitching.  I tried and tried to think of a way to get it attached, and finally resorted to sewing a ribbon to the center. SewingKitESE_10

I also tried it out on their new Super Bobs box, which is what is replacing the Donut.  They still have a few donuts for sale on their website if you hate to see it go.  Truth: I probably won’t shove the donut or the box into the sewing kit…but I might.

I realize that I assume you have some sewing knowledge when I posted this, but another Truth: it’s also for my reference if I ever want to make another one.  The very cool fabric on the outside is from Timeless Treasures Fabrics a few whiles back.  It’s called Lux, if you want to go looking.

Why did I make this?  I have lots of pouches and bags and I love them all, as most came from friends.  I also have a couple of sewing cases, too, but I found myself toting around my stuff in a zipper baggie, as nothing quite suited me.  So I know this is what works for me, but maybe you can find something in here that will work for you.

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It matters little how much equipment we use; it matters much that we be masters of all we do use. ~Sam Abell

I have to say that my attention has been preoccupied with the victims of the Houston flooding.  My son and his family moved there a week ago (I know!), and I try to keep tabs on them as much as he is able to.  I’m not the only one focused that way, with loved ones being flooded.  We’ve contributed to the Google Hurricane Harvey Response (they’ll contribute matching funds), and there are many other charities where you can donate.  Please consider helping in this way, as this is catastrophic.

And One More Thing: Get your own Emergency Supply Kit.  Have water, basic necessities, food that’s portable.  None of us can expect that rescue will be a part of our community’s offerings, in case of disaster (and you know what your own disaster can be).  We have to expect that we’ll need to help ourselves first.

Samaritans help push a boat with evacuees to high ground during a rain storm caused by Tropical Storm Harvey along Tidwell Road in east Houston, Texas, U.S. August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX3DRSF

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Beachside Quilting Retreat

quiltretreat2016_Shortly after meeting Mary at QuiltCon, she texted me to say we ought to get together for a weekend at the beach, and suggested a date: September.

quiltretreat2016_1 quiltretreat2016_1aThat seemed so far away, but finally the weekend arrived and Lisa (L), Leisa (R) and I drove over to Carpinteria, where her beach house is located.  We were more than happy to spend time with her as we think she is the Cat’s Meow, besides being a great quilter.

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First up: exchange little gifts with each other.  I always like what Simone de Beauvoir said: something to the effect that if the universe were run by women, they would bestow little gifts upon each other all day long.  She certainly knew about quilters!  I had a package which contained socks, a candy bar brought from Denmark with funny words on them, and a few other trinkets.  We set up our machines and began sewing.

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View from the balcony towards Arco Island.  While the official name is Rincon Island, the locals call it after the oil company.  They also never call the city by its full name of Carpinteria, but rather, call it “Carp.”quiltretreat2016_4a

After sewing all afternoon, and after dinner, it was time to go and watch the sunset.  We adopted the rhythm established by Mary and her family, and were always happy to have a break out in nature before we tackled the evening’s sewing.quiltretreat2016_4b quiltretreat2016_4c quiltretreat2016_5

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Many of the rocks on this area of beach have holes in them and through them.  We joked that all our suitcases were pounds heavier with our souvenirs from Carp.quiltretreat2016_5goodbye quiltretreat2016_6

Saturday morning, Mary told us all it was National Sewing Machine Day, so I documented us all at our machines.

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Since Mary and I like to cook, I’ll give you an idea of the food we had all weekend, beginning with her shashito peppers from her garden, lightly heated with a bit of oil, then dipped in soy sauce.
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We all contributed to this stack.quiltretreat2016_11c

Mary’s Tomato and Cheese Galette, served with fresh greens.quiltretreat2016_11d

Melon wrapped in proscuitto, tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella.  I’d forgotten my vinegar, so Mary’s BIL lent some and it was amazing (the “good stuff” he said, and he was right).quiltretreat2016_11e

For lunch one day we were out at The Spot, where the ladies were photo-bombed:

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Another day we went to Summerland Cafe, known for its breakfasts. . . so I had breakfast, while the other quilters had a lunch entree. quiltretreat2016_11g quiltretreat2016_11h

After finding two pumpkin-shaped Le Creuset pots in an antique store, Mary taught us all how to make her famous bread.  Link to the story and the recipe is *here.*  We also visited the famous Roxanne’s Quilt Shop; write-up with photos in the next post. I’m still recovering.quiltretreat2016_orchid1

We visited one of the local orchid farms, Westerlay Farms, where there were a gorgeous array of colorful orchids.quiltretreat2016_orchid1a quiltretreat2016_orchid1b quiltretreat2016_orchid1c quiltretreat2016_orchid1d

Westerly also had a planter of beautiful succulents out front.
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So did we do more than eat and have field trips?  Yep, yep.  I brought my unfinished Traveling Threads Bee quilt, as it had languished too long.  After we taped up the design wall (see below), I slapped all my blocks up there and began moving them around.  And around.  And around.quiltretreat2016_project1a

I went downstairs early the first night to be the first in her jammies, and got quilt-bombed with Lisa’s batch of 50 nine-patches.  This was Lisa laughing with me in the morning, as it took me a minute to figure out why my quilt looked so great, but then she made me give them back.  Pity. They were sunny and bright in my quilt of fall colors.  She did this set of 50, and then another set of 50 three-inch nine-patches for a guilt swap she is participating in.quiltretreat2016_project1b

After noodling on this for a very long day (asking everyone what they thought of it about every time I moved something an inch — they were very patient), I finally got it sewed together.  Now to quilt it.  I took mine down and Lisa put hers up:

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This is the photo at the end of the weekend, after she sewed and sewed and sewed. It’s a Lizzy House pattern.quiltretreat2016_project2 quiltretreat2016_project3

I completed two backs for quilts: Oh Christmas Tree, and Halloween 1904.  Sorry they are so wrinkled.
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Mary had the actual First Finish, when she held up this appliquéd chicken, quilted and bound.  She used a special technique to appliqué the pieces down.
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Leisa worked on several projects, but this is her quilt from a Road to California class using Little House on the Prarie fabrics. quiltretreat2016_project8 quiltretreat2016_project8a

Leisa also finished up her Halloween 1904 quilt (on the right).  It was part of the Quilt-A-Long here on the blog this summer.quiltretreat2016_project9

Mary finishing up her Christmas Tree skirt, using the trick of a glue stick to hold the binding in place for top-stitching. quiltretreat2016_project9b

Here it is!quiltretreat2016_project9a

She also finished up a quilt-a-long with Bonnie Hunter, with stars and strips.
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Lastly, Mary made two red Xs for the 70273project by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, found *here,*  with Introductory Post *here.* Mary’s set is on top, mine’s on the bottom.  We had one more set by the time the weekend was finished.

quiltretreat2016_goodbye2Stuff ready to get packed into Lisa’s car.

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Good-bye until next year!

Teaching Schedule through Late Summer

I’ve signed up to teach a few classes at our local quilt shop, The Quilter’s Cocoon, and thought I’d let you know about them.  The first three are mini quilts, where you learn a new skill with each one.  There’s a discount for signing up for all three.  Then in June, I’m teaching the Wonky Baskets quilt, to use up a lot of scraps.  July’s class is Machine Appliqué, making an originally designed Lollypop Tree block (pattern included in class) in either Christmas colors or summery/spring colors.

Finally, we’ll finish off with Beginning Machine Quilting, using your domestic sewing machine.  Hope you can join me for one or all!

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April 19, Tues: 10:30-2:30 Rolling Rainbow Star
This brightly colored mini quilt is where you’ll learn about the color wheel and how to piece Y-seams (easily). Class materials fee is $2.00.  I’ll be teaching a series of three mini quilts.  It’s $30 for one class or $75 for all three.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
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May 3, Tues: 10:30-2:30 Spectrum
This mini quilt is composed of multiple Kaffe Fasset fabrics, all done by hand with English Paper Piecing.  Class materials fee is $10 (pattern included). You’ll learn the basics of paper piecing, and some tips in working with the color wheel. I’ll be teaching a series of three mini quilts.   It’s $30 for one class or $75 for all three.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
May 17, Tues: 10:30-2:30 Home, Sweet, Home
This fun neighborhood centers around a town star!  Pick up the cutting directions when you pay for the class, and come with all your pieces cut. We’ll talk about how to get the perfect points on a half-square triangles and snowball blocks. Cost: $35.  Class materials fee is $10 (pattern included).  This is the third in a series of three mini quilts.  It’s $30 for one class or $75 for all three.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
Wonky Baskets
June 7, Tues: 10:30-4 p.m Wonky Baskets Quilt
A scrap-happy quilt with wonky baskets.  You’ll need one short ruler to help you cut the sides and one long ruler (to cut the bias), but other than those two things, it’s wonky happiness!  Bring a collection of scraps (more info on class handout, available when you pay) and we’ll sew sew sew all day long.  Instructions for the borders will be handed out at the end of class. Class cost: $45, at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)
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July 16, Sat: 10:30-4 p.m Christmas Treat
This Christmasy wall hanging can also be made in spring colors in Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  (See below).  In this class we’ll talk about combining fabrics, freezer-paper machine applique.  Instructions for the borders will be given out in class, in case you don’t get to them.  See class supply sheet for more information. Cost: $35.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)

Spring version of Christmas Treat

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August 27, Sat: 10:30-2 p.m  Beginner’s Free-Motion Quilting
If you know your machine well, and are ready to finish off that stack of quilt tops in your closet, this is the class for you. I can not do tech-support for your machine, so make sure you are familiar with the basics of your sewing machine, have a free-motion quilting foot (see your dealer if you are not sure) and are ready to learn how to quilt with your domestic sewing machine.   Cost: $35. Class materials fee: $15.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)

–OR–

Sept. 8, Thursday: 10:30-2 p.m Beginner’s Free-Motion Quilting
If you know your machine well, and are ready to finish off that stack of quilt tops in your closet, this is the class for you. I can not do tech-support for your machine, so make sure you are familiar with the basics of your sewing machine, have a free-motion quilting foot (see your dealer if you are not sure) and are ready to learn how to quilt with your domestic sewing machine.   Cost: $35. Class materials fee: $15.  I’ll be teaching at Quilter’s Cocoon, in Riverside, California (951-351-0346)

Oh Christmas Tree-QAL–Step 2

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I’ve been haunting the IG feed #ohchristmastreeqal and love seeing all the progress of where the trees are and how things are coming along.  We’ll finish this tree up in no time flat, but I think I’d like to keep sticking to the schedule (below).

Giveaway BannerWe also have a giveaway at the end of this post, so please read all the way through, and then follow the steps to enter.

First up, this post is co-authored by Wendy of Wendy’s Quilts and More (blog) and wendyquiltsandmore (IG).  Wendy has been a great partner in this Oh Christmas Tree QAL.  Because she is about 4 months ahead of us, and I can send her different questions and she is unfailingly helpful.  I asked her if we could use a lot of her photos for this particular post about the flowers, and she was happy to allow me to post them, so get ready for a photo-heavy post.

This month is the flowers.  The basic idea is to layer up felt circles, or use a piece of medallion-style fabric appliquéd to a felt circle, then embellish it with embroidery stitches, using pearl cotton.  I originally started cutting out a lot of circles, from the prepped up freezer paper circles in my numbered baggies (see previous Oh Christmas Tree QAL post on tab above), but realized that it might be better to be more of a one-by-one process.  So let’s do one circle and you’ll see what I mean.

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I cut out a medallion print (meaning that it’s a design that is self-contained in a circle), and pinched the edge under all the way around the outside, to set the edge for turning under (a Becky Goldsmith tip for appliqué). Here are some examples of medallion fabrics, from Wendy:

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And here are some of mine (above).  After writing back and forth with Wendy, I went through all my fabric stash and found even more than this.  It’s surprising how many I’d overlooked.  We do have some the same. Okay, back to the stitching.OhChristmasTree2_flowers2

Placing the circle on a larger piece of felt, I sewed down the edge, stitch by stitch, scooping the raw edge under with my needle, sometimes swishing the needle tip left and right under that edge if there was a tuck/sharp point (above).  Often it’s what’s happening underneath that bumpy edge which determines the smoothness of your appliqué, so pay attention to what your seam allowances are doing, even trimming them further to a scant 1/4″ inch if you need to. I also try to have my needle come out the “center” of that folded edge, not on the top.  That way the stitches won’t be too obvious, and then I don’t pull it too tightly.  I want my circle to float.
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As I mentioned, I am appliquéing this medallion to a larger piece of felt.  Wendy picked up this tip from Wendy Williams, the author of this pattern (and found on IG at Flying Fish Kits–also a resource for stitching ideas), and this tip is also found in Williams’ book, Wild Blooms and Colorful Creatures.
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Then just cut around the circle evenly, and you have your first completed appliquéd medallion. Wendy of Quilts and More recommends a medium-blade scissor (although I used a lightweight pair of larger shears, shown in the photo, but they are SHARP).  Her scissors are below:

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She writes “Once the fabric flowers are on, Wendy just cuts the felt circle free hand, keeping an even margin around the fabric.  She says it’s meant to look hand made, and the circle doesn’t need to be perfect.  Keep the scissors in the same position and turn the felt with the other hand, rather than cutting around corners. Use very sharp scissors with medium length blades. Not tiny embroidery scissors, not huge dress making scissors. I use the orange ones in this photo.”
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Layer it up, and save it for a good TV program (Wendy of Quilts and More has a great shot of herself stitching while she watched a cricket match) when you can stitch away.  This is circle #1, and is the largest circle of the bunch.

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Next up is my auditioning another fabric medallion against several colors of wool felt.  I added more info about where to buy wool felt to the original “Prepare” post, and yes, you can mix the felted wools and the wool felt, without any Quilt Police coming after you, if you want to purchase some.  I am using Kaye Buckley’s scissors, which have one serrated edge that grips the fabric and helps me trim them evenly. OhChristmasTree2_flowers7 OhChristmasTree2_flowers8

Being the Nervous Nelly that I am (it took me weeks to screw up the courage to start the flowers), I layered  the circle over one of the smaller appliquéd flowers to kind of get the size I needed, then cut halfway around.  I took off the freezer paper, and finished up the job.OhChristmasTree2_flowers9

So here is my first batch of prepped-up circles; some have fabric and one doesn’t.

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To make my life easy, I pulled out my Sue Spargo book and leafed through some ideas. OhChristmasTree2_threads

I’m using two weights of pearl cotton: size 12 (recommended) and size 5 (larger, more visible).
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I am using wool appliqué size #22 needles, which have a nice big eye and a sharp point and aren’t too long.  Then I pulled up Wendy’s IG feed (all the photos below) and got a few more ideas, then just put my needle in the center and began. OhChristmasTree2_flowers10I happened to think about what I wanted to do and decided to stitch them all layered up like this.  However, you may, on some circles, choose to embroider one circle, then add it to the next.  I was still trying to gather my courage when I began this, so stabbed my needles into the center of the magenta circle, close to the edge and ran the orange #5 thread all the way out to the edge of the yellow-green circle, working my way around.  Then, I took a small catch stitch over each of those “rays,”  close to the outer edge of the magenta circle.

I switched to the thinner #8 thread and did straight stitches in between the others, then went back and added the yellow French knots at the top of each of those “rays.”  I threaded on the blue thread, and did a few more French knots (odd number) in the center, not really caring how they landed, as I wanted a clustery look to them.  Then I did an open Laisy-Daisy stitch on the outside, creating a row of “petals” with my thread.

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Truth-in-Stitching: the back.

OhChristmasTree2_flowerTop

Here’s another.  On the left, the beginning.  You can see on this flower, I chose to echo the print of the center fabric.  I am doing the first layer of felt by itself.  I then layered it onto the second (gold) layer and kept stitching.  This is the biggest flower, destined for the top of the tree, so I wanted something bright, yet echoed the colors throughout.

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Again, here they are, unadorned.
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After a couple episodes of Downton Abbey, they are embellished. I wrote to Wendy and asked her how long they took her to stitch (hence that hashtag on IG of #startyourneedles), and she replied that she can get two done in an evening.  That’s about my speed, although I think I as get more familiar with stitches, I’ll be faster. Pay attention to your pearl cotton/felt colors.  I loved the fabric in the pink one, upper right, but after I stitched it?  Not so much.  Either I’ll put that one where it’s not really noticed, or stitch another.  I also started with the bigger circles; I’m sure the smaller ones will go faster.

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Okay, now for the photo gallery from Wendy:

OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers6 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers9 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers8 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers7 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers5 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers4 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers11 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers3 OhChristmasTree2_Wendyflowers2

You can see Wendy has a great variety of stitches, and uses the appliquéd fabrics to great effect.

I searched “embroidery stitches” on Google Image and came up with tons, including these two:

Embroidery Stitches101 embroidery-stitches-29dmwg9

A recap of where we are:

January, Step “prepare”: buy the magazine, books, gather your fabrics, buy the felt/wool, buy/find the pearl cotton. 

February, Step 1: Make the tree on the background and stitch it down.  

March, Step 2: Make 21 flowers.

—->  I just have to make a comment here.  We have until June to get our flowers done, as well as the birds (which will go really fast because we’ll be so experienced, right?)  So no panicking, please.  Just #startyourneedles, steadily stitching and by the time it comes to stitch down the flowers, you’ll be ready.

April, Step 3: Make 10 birds.

May, Step 4: Scene at bottom of tree.

June, Step 5: Appliqué down the flowers.  (Wendy gave me some tips for this last week, which I’ll pass along.)

July, Step 6: Appliqué down the birds and the scene.

August, Step 7: Sawtooth border (reds); sew together and attach.

September, Step 8 (finish up Quilt-A-Long): Make wonky star blocks, sew them together and attach border #2.

See you April 2nd for the next step: birds.  I have a few tips on these, too, courtesy of Wendy.  You’ll enjoy visiting both her website and her IG feed for great ideas and to see a master quilter and stitcher at work, and take a look at how far she is on her tree.  Inspiration!  Thank you, Wendy, for all your help.

ChristmasTreeLogoSM

Reminder: If you tag your IG photos with #ohchristmastreeqal, we can all help each other out with ideas for stitching, plus it’s just fun to see what you are all doing!

Giveaway Banner

Here we go.  I have two giveaways, and I’ll choose the winners from comments here.

Simply Moderne ScanFirst is another magazine, if you know someone who wants to jump in, or doesn’t have their own copy.  It’s courtesy of QuiltMania, who gave it to me at QuiltCon, when I explained what we were doing.  I’m sure if you wanted to subscribe, they wouldn’t mind a bit, or order the Simply Moderne #4, if you want another eye-popping design (way below).

Second giveaway is an envelope full of fabric medallions, my choice (I’ll cut from my extensive stash of medallions).  You can use some, share some.  There will be at least a dozen to help you get going on your stitching.

I’ll announce the two winners on Friday.  Indicate in your comment which you are most interested in: Simply Moderne #3 magazine (with our tree on it) or medallions.  Yea, you have to choose.

UPDATE: Comments closed.  Winner announced tomorrow mid-morning.

#startyourneedles for the #ohchristmastreeqal

See you April 2nd for Step Three!

SimplyModerne#4

Of course you want to subscribe! (I’m an enabler, for sure)