Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MAIL CALL: The Letter "M"

I'm making a series of fabric postcards for a special little boy.

I printed out an M in a fun font.

I traced the letter "M" on Steam a Seam 2


and fused it to a scrap of purple fabric:


I fused the letter to a scrap of yellow fabric and I added some Tearaway Stabilizer behind the fabric, threaded my handy-dandy Handi Quilter Stitch 210 machine with Neon Lime FabuLux thread in the needle and Sage DecoBob in the bobbin.

I started stitching down the letter "m" using a blanket stitch (set at 5.0 width and 2.0 stitch length):


For the record, all of those tight curves were a bit fussy to stitch around.

I tore away the stabilizer and fused some scrap backing fabric, Peltex, and my top fabric together.


Then I trimmed the card to 4 1/4" x 5 1/2".  I set my Stitch 210 machine for zig-zag (set at 5.0 width and .4 stitch length) and stitched around the edge of the card using Paradise FabuLux thread:


Another card, ready to mail!

  
I sent the card off in a clear mailing envelope and am now planning which letter to make next.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Going My Way?

Going My Way? is one of my early Cutie Patterns and I'm so tickled to have made this new sample!


I used Allison Glass Sun Prints for this quilt:


Because the fabrics are so colorful, I chose to use white thread for the quilting and quilt it quite simply:


I need to make another one of these soon.  Hmmm..... which fabric should I choose next?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MAIL CALL: The Letter "A"

Let's start at the very beginning.  I'm making a series of fabric postcards for a special little boy.  Last week I made him the letter "S" and this week I started at the beginning of the alphabet.

I printed out an A in a fun font.

I traced the letter "A" on Steam a Seam 2 and fused it to some funky turquoise fabric.


I fused the letter to a scrap of yellow fabric.



I added some Tearaway Stabilizer behind the fabric, threaded my handy-dandy Handi Quilter Stitch 210 machine with Blue Heaven FabuLux thread in the needle and Gray DecoBob in the bobbin.

I started stitching down the letter "A" using a blanket stitch (set at 5.0 width and 2.0 stitch length):


For the record, all of those tight curves were a bit fussy to stitch around.

I tore away the stabilizer:


I fused some scrap backing fabric, Peltex, and my top fabric together.


Then I trimmed the card to 4 1/4" x 5 1/2".


I set my Stitch 210 machine for zig-zag (set at 5.0 width and .5 stitch length) and stitched around the edge of the card:


It was a quick project!


I turned the project over to Grandpa who wrote a silly note and we packaged our gifts into a clear mailing envelope.  

Which letter should we make next?

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Cutie Quilt workshop: Summer's End

I recently taught a Summer's End workshop for my local quilt guild.  At the last meeting, several of my students brought in their finished quilt tops.

Louise made this lovely green quilt:


Trish used her ah-ma-zing snow-dyed fabrics:


Dawn made a sweet baby quilt:


All of my students did a great job.  I can't wait to see the rest of the quilts as they are finished!

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Batting, Batting EVERYWHERE!

I'm so excited to be involved in the Spring Clean Your Studio blog hop again this year!


I've been working hard on improving my studio space this year.

Being a WonderFil thread designer, I own a lot of thread:


No, reallly -- a LOT of thread:


This is only the thread that's on display.  There's so. Much. MORE!

I've kept my cutting table clear for most of the year:


I've added a new sewing machine and a design wall to my studio:


I love my design wall more than I can possibly express.

I'm a high-volume quilter and I have been for many, many years.  I make a lot of samples of my Cutie Quilt Patterns.  I make a lot of quilts as gifts.  I make a lot of charity quilts. I have developed systems to deal with my fabric scraps and I'm 80% (ok, 75%) on top of them.


But there are other scraps produced by high-volume quilters -- batting scraps!

I use many types of batting and have bags of leftovers in various locations in my sewing room.  I try to join my scraps by hand stitching, machine stitching, or fusible tape and use the "Franken-batts" in charity quilts.  A few years ago I started sorting my batting scraps by type, but then I ended up with a bag of wool scraps, a bag of cotton scraps, a bag of polyester scraps, etc.  The bags were taking over!

Pet beds to the rescue!  I sorted through my scrap bags of battings and filled several pet beds with the small pieces.  The animal shelter is happy, and so am I.

I gathered all of the remaining large batting scraps into one bag:


I hope to keep making pet beds from my batting scraps so that my batting always fits into one IKEA bag.

I now store that single bag under Sergio, my suave and debonair Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen.


But what shall I do with all of the empty bags?


Thanks for visiting my studio today.

Check back daily for my Spring Cleaning inspiration!

May 1 - Teri Lucas - www.terificreations.com
May 2 - Tammy Silvers - www.tamarinis.typepad.com
May 3 - Emily Breclaw - www.thecaffeinatedquilter.com
May 4 - Amalia Morusiewicz - www.FUNfromAtoZ.com
May 5 - John Kubiniec - www.bigrigquilting.com/blog/
May 6 - Debby Brown - www.higheredhands.blogspot.com
May 7 - Melissa Marie Collins - www.melissamariecollins.blogspot.com
May 8 - Delve MIY - www.fronddesignstudios.wordpress.com
May 9 - Misty Cole - www.mistycole.com
May 10 - Sam Hunter - www.huntersdesignstudio.com/blog
May 11 - Dale Ashera-Davis - www.dalead.wordpress.com
May 12 - Sara Mika - www.mockpiestudio.blogspot.com
May 13 - Sarah Trumpp - www.Wonderstrumpet.com
May 14 - Carma Halterman - www.beanstrings.blogspot.com
May 15 - Jessica Darling - www.jessicakdarling.com
May 16 - Lisa Chin - www.lisachinartist.com
May 17 - Sally Johnson - www.sallysquiltingcorner.blogspot.com
May 18 - Mandy Leins - www.mandalei.com/blog
May 19 - Shruti Dandekar - www.13woodhouseroad.com
May 20 - Jane Davila - www.janedavila.com
May 21 - Ebony Love - www.lovebugstudios.com
May 22 - Cheryl Sleboda - blog.muppin.com

Friday, May 05, 2017

Quilt Finish: Spring Along Charm Quilt

A few weeks ago, Moda Bake Shop tempted me with their Spring Along Charm Quilt pattern.  I tried to resist, but resistance was futile.


I grabbed a stack of my scrappy blue charm squares and started piecing:


 I was done with the quilt in no time:


I quilted it with a simple overall design, Elements, that I teach in one of my Craftsy Classes (50% Craftsy coupon HERE*):


My local quilt guild sent out an email asking for quilts for teen boys at the local children's home, so this quilt will be sent to love on a teen who lives there.
_____
*Coupon Details: Get 50% off the full retail price of select Craftsy classes taught by Debby Brown - Instructor. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires July 18, 2017.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

MAIL CALL: The letter "S"

I solemnly swear I am up to no good.  I had an idea to send some love through the mail in the form of fabric postcards.  I enlisted my husband to help with this project since we are both rather fond of the intended.

So, here's what I did:

I printed out the alphabet in my desired font.

I traced the letter "S" on Steam a Seam 2 and some black and white scrap fabric.  Then I fused it to some green leftover from another project.  I added some Tearaway Stabilizer behind the fabric, threaded my handy-dandy Handi Quilter Stitch 210 machine with Lime Green FabuLux in the needle and Sage Green DecoBob in the bobbin.

I started stitching down the letter "S" using a blanket stitch (set at 5.0 width and 2.0 stitch length):


I tore away the stabilizer and fused some scrap backing fabric, Peltex, and my top fabric together.  Then I trimmed the card to 4 1/4" x 5 1/2".

I threaded my Stitch 210 with FabuLux Cloudy Skies and a DecoBob bobbin and set my machine for zig-zag (set at 5.0 width and .5 stitch length) and stitched around the edge of the card:


It was a quick project!


Someone (cough*Grandpa*cough) wrote a silly sentence of "S" words and we packaged our gifts into a clear mailing envelope.  

Which letter should we make next?


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Go With The Flow

I've decided that I need to make more Go With The Flow Cutie quilts.  It pieces up so quickly and looks much more difficult than it is.

I just finished this Go With The Flow quilt using Thicket fabric:


This was a Christmas present for a special young lady (don't look at the current date, and if you do -- DON'T JUDGE ME!).  My daughter's friend named the pattern for me and loves this Thicket fabric.  This quilt was the perfect quilt for her!


I finished the quilt, let her know the quilt was finished, left town , and when I returned the quilt was GONE!

Be careful, quilt thieves are everywhere.  Especially when your daughter routinely does her laundry at your house.

Monday, May 01, 2017

What's on Your Ceiling?

Quilting is my livelihood.  Many are jealous because they think that I make quilts all day, every day.  While I do quilt a lot, it is always on a deadline.  I also spend a great deal of time in airports, airplanes, cars, and at my desk.  The time spent at my desk is the cruelest time.  My desk is in my sewing room and I can see fabric, but I don't get to touch it while I am working on contracts, travel arrangements, handouts, lesson plans, social media, blog posts, magazine articles, and the like.

Please don't think I'm whining.  I love my job and accept easily the less-than-thrilling aspects of it.  Until May.  Quilt Market is in May and many industry professionals are a little stressed out right now as we prepare for this twice-a-year trade show.  I'm stressed.

I'm spending ridiculous amounts of time sitting at my desk these weeks and often gaze at the ceiling trying to think of the word I want to type.  I can never remember why I went into the kitchen and often forget the word I want to use next (Keeping it real, folks).  I see far too much of my ceiling and decided that it needed a little sparkle and fun to help me get through the next few weeks.

This is now hanging from my ceiling:


Who can have a bad day when there's a disco ball?

Party on.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Quilt Finish: Bricks and Bars

A long, long time ago I made a quilt top.  Six (eight?) years later, I finally quilted, bound, and gifted the quilt:


I used my Handi Quilter Fusion with Pro-Stitcher to quilt this.  I quilted rows of flowers in the white strips and used the "mark" feature to stitch Xs in the blue rectangles:


It was a fun and accurate way to quilt this well-seasoned UFO.

I gave the quilt to one of my favorite medical professionals and she absolutely loved it!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quilt Retreat Finishes

I was away on quilt retreat at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing Center last weekend and it. Was. FABULOUS!!!  I had fun with my friends, stitched like the wind, and never wanted to come home!

My theme for this weekend was "Baby Quilts."  I brought along many baby quilt kits, but was only able to complete three of them during my weekend.

I made Jack's Star using Clothworks Safari Sweet 2 fabrics:

I plan to keep this quilt in the family since it is named after my father Jack.

I found a kit I purchased at Patchwork Plus in Dayton, VA years ago.  A brief search online dated this fabric at 2012, but I thought it was much older.  This is Karma Baby fabric by Mint Blossom from Northcott:


The last quilt I finished was a kit I purchased at Quilters Attic in Pinebush, NY about 15 years ago.  The pattern is Lucky Stars:


I have at least 10 more baby quilt kits, so I think I need to schedule a month of quilt retreat to get them all finished.  Who wants to quilt along with me?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Scarves to Share

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a local guild presentation and workshop with Victoria Findlay Wolfe!

To be properly dressed for the occasion, I gathered some of my precious Mostly Manor fabric and made a new scarf to wear:


Believe it or not, this was the least bizarre facial expression out of the 15 selfies I took.

My Cutie Pattern Scarves to Share pattern makes two scarves from a Cutie Pack.  I've kept about ten of these scarves.  Have you made any?  Did you manage to give any away?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilt Finish: St. Patrick's Placemats

You might think that these are a little late, but I prefer to think of these as very, very early for St. Patrick's Day 2018.


I found some cute shamrock fabric and wanted to make placemats for my mom.  I quickly quilted them up using a decorative stitch on my home sewing machine as recommended by Pat Sloan in her Teach Me to Machine Quilt book.

Since Pat has never let me down, I used her machine binding technique, my FabuLux Hint of Lime thread, and some life-saving binding clips to finish the binding:


Happy St. Patrick's Day, Mom -- a little early.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Top-Secret Sewing

"T'was the month before Quilt Market and all through the studio, not a quilt photo is showing...."

I'm sewing my fingers to the bones and fabric is flying, but I can't show you what I'm making.  Trust me, this hurts me far worse than it hurts you.

My house and studio are usually destroyed by the time I leave for Quilt Market, so I'm trying to keep up with the quilting debris as I finish the unshowable quilts.

I'm often told I'm a tease for talking about quilts but not showing them, so I decided to show a peek of the last quilt I finished:


Don't you just love it?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tempted: Dandy Flowers

Oh, the temptation is killing me!

Designs by Sarah J is hosting a Quilt Along and it. Is. ADORABLE!

Read about it HERE.

If I have to choose between starting this project and finishing up a bunch of UFOs to improve my sewing room greatly, won't these fabrics look great for this quilt?



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Mend Pants

My children are the most supportive and helpful young adults imaginable.  Somehow they knew that I wanted to write tutorials about how to use a sewing machine to make simple clothing repairs and they brought me torn garments just so I would have something to show you!  Aren't they the greatest?

So, courtesy of my children, I bring you:



Dear Child o' Mine:

If I understand the problem correctly, this nearly new pair of work pants lost the seam under the zipper.  The pants could be returned, but it's so much less work to have Mom mend them.


Even though you are grown and no longer live with me, I still have a thing or two to teach you -- like how to mend pants.

I know that you have a sewing machine because I gave it to you.  Watch and learn how to use the sewing machine that is sitting and doing nothing at your house.

I found some matching thread:


I threaded my sewing machine, put on the zig-zag foot, and restitched the missing seam:


I made sure to back-and-forth stitch each end of the seam so it wouldn't come out any time soon:


You know I've always said "If one is good, two are better," so I stitched the seam a second time right inside the first stitching line:


I changed my straight stitch to a zig-zag stitch:


And stitched over the edges of the seam, remembering to back-and-forth each end of the stitching:


The seam was repaired and the pants were serviceable, but there were a few missing stitches that I couldn't reach with my sewing machine:


I threaded a needle, made a knot, and pulled my needle through to the front of the pants keeping the knot on the inside of the pants:


Once the needle was through the seam at the beginning of the un-stitched area, I took a small stitch alternately from each side of the opening.  One stitch through the top seam:


One stitch through the bottom seam:


Once that seam was stitched closed, I put my needle through the seam so I could make a knot on the inside of the pants:


When the needle was inside the pants, I began to wrap it with the thread:


After wrapping two or three times:


I pulled the needle through the threads to make a knot.  I cut the thread and the pants were fixed:


And that, sweet child o' mine, is how you will mend your pants from this moment onward,

Love,
Mom
(aka "The Pants Whisperer")