Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sarah's Revival

I really like to see vintage quilts redesigned and interpreted for today.  Sue Garman recently did this with a quilt made by Sarah Holcomb in 1847.  Sarah Holcomb's quilt was made as a remembrance of her friends and she wrote about this in the center circle of the top border.  Each of her friends wrote sentiments on various blocks.  For more information and to see more detail on the original quilt, click HERE.  Sarah Holcomb made her quilt with pinks and greens, and it is very pretty.  I can't imagine coming up with this design on my own.  Sarah was obviously a very talented quilter.
Sarah Holcomb's quilt made in 1847
Sarah's Revival by Sue Garman 2011

Sue Garman designed Sarah's quilt in reds with a touch of green and gold.  I just love Sue's version of the original design and couldn't resist making one of my own.  Last night I finished my first block.
Sarah's Revival by Sue Garman
Block 1
These blocks are so enjoyable to stitch mainly because all of the prep work is done ahead of time so there is no stopping to change thread color, add another piece, etc.  I'm hoping to get more than one of these finished each month as I also work on 2 other applique quilts, Ladies of the Sea and Roseville Album.

Thanks for sharing a little bit of your day with me today.  I hope you are all having a good week : )

Monday, February 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday

What's on your design wall as you start a new week?  My design wall hasn't changed much since last Monday (see below) with the exception that I have finished the final block for that quilt, Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor quilt. 

Shepherd's Light
Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor
Jennifer Chiaverini, Designer
The final block is called Shepherd's Light and it is one of my favorite.  Over the weekend I finished sashing my quilt and am now working on the final border blocks.  My goal is to have it completed and ready to send out to my long-arm quilter my the end of February.  It is a great feeling of accomplishment, and I'm already planning for the next Elm Creek Quilts BOM, Cornucopia of Thanks, which begins in May.  If you want to join in on the fun, you can join our group by clicking the Yahoo Groups button at the bottom left.

Wishing all of you a week full of seeing your creativity blossom!

Friday, February 24, 2012

February Finishes

Happy Friday everyone!  I don't know about you but it seems like these weeks keep going by faster and faster, and that's okay with me because it feels like spring is getting her faster too : )

I am presently working on 3 applique projects simultaneously:  Roseville Album, Ladies of the Sea, and Sarah's Revival.  So far this month I have finished blocks for 2 of the 3 projects. 

Yesterday I took the final stitches in my first Roseville Album block:

Roseville Album
Kim McLean, Pattern Designer
This is a fun quilt to work on because I get to work with all Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and that is a nice diversion from my usual, more traditional applique projects.  I began my Roseville Album journey on January 22, 2012, and hoping to complete one block each month.

My other February Finish is my second block for Ladies of the Sea, The Bluenose:

The Bluenose
Sue Garman, Pattern Designer
My husband and I both love the water and our dream is to own our own sailboat some day.  I guess in some ways this quilt represents that dream, and I promised my husband that when it is finished, it will hang in his office.  He is really enjoying watching me 'build' these ships.  I have already started the third block, The Xebec Pirate Ship.

There are 5 days left in February and I'm hoping to get my first Sarah's Revival block done before the month ends ~ wish me luck!

I hope all of you have a great Friday followed by a weekend full of creativity and whatever else brings you joy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Here we are at the beginning of a brand new week and what that means for me is blogging about what is on my design wall.  I am the owner of a Yahoo Group called SBS & Other Elm Creek Quilts (SBS is short for Sylvia's Bridal Sampler).  The members of my group are all focused on finishing their Sylvia's Bridal Samplers in addition to working on others Elm Creek Quilts.

Beginning in April of last year, 17 members got together to sew 'Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor' as a BOM.  Here we are almost 1 year later, and I am happy to say that I stayed on track with this project and next month will sew the final block.  Yesterday I got out all of my blocks and medallion and started sewing on the sashings.  It went a lot faster than I thought it would, and I have to say that I'm pleased with how this quilt is coming together.  Here is what is on my design wall this morning:

Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor
Pattern by Jennifer Chiaverini
More Elm Creek Quilts
by Jennifer Chiaverini
I cut and sewed the sashing strips for in between the blocks and still need to add more sahing strips in between the rows as well as around the outside.  The final task will be to sew all of the border blocks together and then sew onto the quilt top.

I have always admired this quilt and happy to add it to my collection.  I will use it as a wall hanging each Christmas.  The quilt is from Jennifer Chiaverini's pattern book, More Elm Creek Quilts.

My Yahoo group has also done other patterns from this book including The New Years Quilt (featured on front cover), Lucinda's Gift and Mill Girls.

This year we will be beginning a brand new pattern to sew as a BOM (block of the month).  Connie Boulay is the coordinator of our BOMs, and I know she will come up with something beautiful.

So, what's on your design wall this Monday?  I enjoy reading your comments, and it's also fun to read about what other quilters are working on.  Have a great week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Flimsy Friday!

Pat Inspired Me
I can't believe it's Friday already.  Boy, this week has really gone by fast but I'm glad Friday is here so I can work on my flimsy again.  Remember when I posted about this a few weeks ago?  For those of you who are new to my blog, I will explain.  Recently a group of quilting friends and I have decided to set aside every Friday to work on our unfinished quilt tops also known as flimsies.  This is not an exclusive group, if you want to join in on the Friday fun, feel free to grab the button and share your progress : )

When we first started working on our flimsies, I was somewhat limited as to what I could do because I was recuperating from surgery.  Now, I am able to work sitting at a table which will make the entire process go much easier.  Last week, I just about finished the marking on my quilt that I call 'Pat Inspired Me.'

As I've been working on marking my quilt for hand quilting, I think about all of the wonderful tools we have out there that make this process easier, and here's what I enjoy using.

I'm a stencil girl . . . I love collecting stencils and I love using them creatively for unique quilting designs.  I usually pick up a nice supply of different stencils every time I go to a quilt show and my favorite vendor is The Stencil Company.  They also have a website, and I can spend hours looking at all of the different designs, notions, etc.  To learn more about The Stencil Company click HERE

Since I chose a flower/leaf vining border for this quilt, I thought a leaf design in some areas would be great.  Here's my quilting plan:

On the on-point blocks (just inside the inner border) I will be using this design:  (The leaf design only on the left side of the stencil).

I thought a simple design would look nice on the inner border so chose this:

My favorite marking pencil is the Sewline pencil.  Instead of using graphite lead, the Sewline pencil uses a ceramic lead which is much easier to remove with either the Sewline pencil eraser or a damp cloth and it does not smear.  I have the single pencils but recently purchased the Sewline Trio pencil. 
It has a 360-degree rotating mechanism that lets you choose the tracing point for your project.  You can put any color lead into the pencil but I use black for tracing light fabrics and white for darker fabrics.  The third choice you have is a tracing roller which works really nice when using design  transfer paper such as Saral or Transdoodle.

Since the fabric I chose for my border is a floral/leaf vine design, I thought the best way to quilt this will be to just outline stitch around the flowers and follow the vine around the quilt.  This is one of those fabrics where it is difficult to choose one color for marking.

Border Fabric for Pat Inspired Me
I am hoping that I get a lot accomplished on this Flimsy Friday as I am really anxious to start hand quilting!

Whatever your plans are for today and the weekend, I hope you find a little time to sew!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

When I got up this morning, my dear husband, Tom, surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of roses and a lovely card.

I have to share with you the words on my Valentine:

My Wife, My Forever Valentine

In sharing everything together
through the years,
I've found that I've grown more in love with you.
The smile I fell in love with ...
your kind and thoughtful ways...
your loving, warm embrace...
these have become more beautiful
and more meaningful to me each year.

I love you more than you could ever know.

Happy Valantines's Day

Tom always gives me nice cards for all the special holidays but I have to say that I think this one touched my heart the most.  He isn't just my husband but my best friend.

Thanks for taking the time to share this special day with me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's your favorite thread for hand applique?

This question comes up a lot not only in my online quilting groups but also when I'm out shopping at local quilt shops.  I do have a favorite thread or I should say 2 favorite threads for hand applique that are very similar:  Aurifil and Superior's Masterpiece.  Both of these are strong, 50 wt., 100% cotton thread but what makes them great for applique is that they are 2 ply instead of 3 ply.  The strength comes from the fact that they are made with extra-long staple, Egyptian grown cotton.  I have heard that Superior is going to change Masterpiece from 2 ply to 3 ply.  Superior says that with their smooth, tight, even twist, you will hardly notice the difference . . . we'll see.

If you are into applique, then you know how great it is to have a nice variety of thread colors.  However, with the price of thread increasing as it has in the last year or two, this can get quite expensive when buying an entire spool.  A couple of years ago, I ran across what is called a 'Frosted Donut.'  It sounds yummy and it is but not in the way you might think.  The Frosted Donut is a bobbin ring filled with bobbins full of a nice variety of thread colors from the Superior Masterpiece collection.  They are sold at Piece O'Cake Designs and come in 2 sets:
Frosted Donut ~ Set 2

Frosted Donut ~ Set 1

The cost for each donut is $39.00 but look at all the color variety you have at your fingertips.  I love taking these with me when I travel.

If you run out of a particular color, you can order the bobbins individually for $1.00.

You can get additional information about the Frosted Donuts by clicking HERE

Elly Sienkiewciz, the queen of applique, likes to use the YLI silk thread.  I have used YLI silk and do like it because it truly does sink into the fabric.  Even though I love this feature about the thread there is one thing that frustrates me so much that I have refrained from using it.  The YLI silk thread is very, very fine and delicate and as a result it tends to slip out of my needle most of the time.  Because of this, I end up stopping to re-thread a lot which wastes a lot of time that could be spent stitching.

 As long as I am on my lecturing about the threads I like, I may as well say something about how I like to organize my thread.  The Frosted Donuts shown above really don't need much more organization as long as you remember to put the bobbin back in place when finished with it.  But when you have lots of different spools of thread like the Aurifil threads, I have found one of the best ways ever to keep them organized and portable ~ The Thread Caddy by Pat Campbell.

Thread Caddy by Pat Campbell

The Thread Caddy holds 48 spools of 220 yd thread, and it has a special pocket for your applique notions.  Plus, the fabric strips along the top (shown in red) make it possible to pull the thread through so you don't have to unzip to remove the spool every time you want to use a particular color.  I love this feature because it really helps to keep my thread neat and organized.

Here's what it looks like when closed:

Thread Caddy Closed

I got my Thread Caddy from the Pacific Rim Quilt Company but I'm sure there are other places where it is available.  The Pacific Rim Quilt Company has a very nice variety of great applique notions and Aurifil thread in addition to beautiful fabrics and Hawaiian applique patterns. It's one of my favorite online places to shop.  If you are interested in checking out this great shop, click HERE

There are a lot of thread choices as well as thread organizers out there and today I just wanted to share with you the ones that work the best for me. 

Whatever you have planned this week, I hope you get the chance to carve out a little time just for you ~ doing something that makes you smile ~ and thanks for sharing a part of your day today with me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Prairie Pointer

Prairie Pointer by Susan K Cleveland
I recently watched an episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  The featured guest was Susan K. Cleveland, and she demonstrated a really neat way of making prairie points using a tool she developed called the Prairie Pointer.

Since I am participating in Flimsy Fridays (setting aside every Friday for working on and finishing my unquilted quilt tops), I thought that adding prairie points to some of my flimsies would be a fun thing to do.  On The Quilt Show, Susan shares her simple method of tackling priarie points and also shows different ways that you can use prairie points in your quilts.

Here Susan demonstrates just how easy prairie points can be using her new tool:

And did you know that you can use prairie points in other areas of your quilts?  I love the way Susan gets creative with them and even adds beads to some of them.  If you are intersted in finding out more about using prairie points for other areas of your quilts, check out this You Tube video:

I have no affiliation with Susan K Cleveland but when I saw this tool and how it would make my quilt life a little easier, I wanted to share it.  If the Prairie Pointer looks like a tool you would use, you can purchase it by clicking here

I really enjoyed this episode of The Quilt Show and after seeing how simple it is to make prairie points using Susan's tool, I'm pretty sure that I will be adding them to more of my quilts.

Wishing you a day of creativity and experiencing at least one thing that brings you joy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Finishing Flimsies

What in the world is a flimsy?  Webster defines flimsy as: lacking in physical strength or substance.  In the quilting world, the word 'flimsy' is quickly becoming known as an unquilted quilt top.  When you think about it, an unquilted quilt top is flimsy and it does not get its subtance until it is layered with batting and backing. 

I have a group of friends that I quilt with.  We mostly do applique but recently our conversations starting shifting toward finishing flimsies. It was apparent that all of us had numerous flimsies that were either stuffed in drawers, hanging on hangers or stacked on a shelf.  The more we talked about them, the more we thought that it would be good to dedicate a day each week just to work on our flimsies and thus, Flimsy Fridays was born.

Pat Inspired Me
The first flimsy I have chosen to finish is a basket quilt I made from blocks that were swapped this past fall.  This quilt is named, 'Pat Inspired Me,' after my good friend, Pat Harrell who is always there for me and on this particular occasion helped me come up with a way to put these baskets together into a quilt top or flimsy.

Even though I am still recuperating from hip surgery, I found a way to start marking a quilt design on this quilt using a large sandboard and tracing my design using a stencil ~ all done propped up in bed.  I didn't finish all of the marking this past Friday but will soon and then it is time for basting the backing, batting and flimsy together.

I have always admired the work of Sharon Schamber and with good reason as she has won the 'Best of Show' award at the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky several times.  Sharon is a generous woman and creates You Tube videos to teach various techniques.  I recently viewed one on basting a quilt and found it to be a very accurate, inexpensive way to keep the layers straight and tight while basting. 

Sharon breaks this into 2 parts, which is really nice because it allows you to fully understand all of the steps.  All you need for this method of basting are prepainted trim boards cut to a little larger than the width of your backing fabric.  You can find these at your local hardware store, Lowes or Home Depot, and they are very inexpesive.

I am looking forward to trying Sharon's way of basting.  I plan on hand-quilting this quilt and believe that Sharon's way is much better than using the temporary adhesive spray (which is very expensive) or using safety pins (which often times leaves puckers).

Lastly, today is the Super Bowl here in the USA.  Die hard sports fans live for this day at the end of the football season every year.  This year the game is between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.  I am a Chicago Bears fan and since they are not playing, I will not watch this year.  From what I know about these teams, both are deserving to be in this championship game and may the best team win. 

I am sure the game will be exciting but for me a more exciting version of the Super Bowl is what quilters call the Fabric Bowl and many quilt shops on the Internet as well as brick and mortar shops throughout the USA are having special sales.  So for those of you who are planning to go out and take advantage of these sales, watch out!  It may get rough out there!

Wishing you a week of finishing your beautiful creations . . .