cross-hatching

Elaine's Quilt

This quilt was partially hand quilted, and then Elaine decided to try stitching the outer border on her sewing machine. After trying to tackle something so large on her home machine, she called me to ask if I could finish it for her. Only half of her blocks were cross-hatched, and none of the sashes or cornerstones were stitched. There were lots of basting threads holding everything together, and grey pencil marks in all of the backgrounds on the un-stitched blocks!

Elaine had drawn a cable pattern around the outer border of the quilt, and managed to complete machine stitching the entire area. The remaining sections to be finished were all of the sashes, the cornerstones, and half of the cross-hatched blocks. The beautiful applique needed to be held in place too.

 

Elaine has been doing hand-applique for a long time, and has really shown that she is ready (willing and able!) to tackle any pattern she wants to try. With numerous projects started, she really wanted to see this one finished. It was going to be a gift for a special family member.

 

I duplicated her cross-hatching and chose the designs for her sashes and blocks. After the quilt was finished, she was thrilled with the results. Enjoy the gallery below to see close-ups of the blocks in Elaine’s quilt.


Sketches of Spring

Truly a labor of love, this quilt was a combination of log cabin blocks and printed panels featuring butterflies and flowers that are so realistic!  Pieced by Lyn Christian of A Design by Lyn and quilted by Candy Apple Quilts, this quilt is a treasure.  It finishes at 90 inches square --- perfect for a queen sized bed.

The log cabin blocks in the center feature a beautiful quilted motif, and the blocks with the birds have a nice grid pattern to them. I just love all of the borders because it really gives an opportunity to play with lots of designs, such as these hearts:

PinkHeart Corner

Side

Be sure to see all of the pictures so you can examine the quilt in detail. Price is $1,000 plus shipping costs --- continental US only please.

Update: The Sketches of Spring Quilt has been sold.

Don't throw it away -- SEW it away!

Don't give up on that project! Reading the book "That Dorky Homemade Look" by Lisa Boyer has really energized me to finish my UFO's. How could I resist buying her book when her first "Principle of Dorky Quiltmaking" is to buy fabric that you "feel sorry for"! That is soooo ----- ME! Many times I've bought something that I thought would make an adorable project, and my husband and kids would look at me like I had finally gone over the edge. I would dive head-first into my idea, get half-way through the project, and then run out of steam. Whether it was my own creation, or whether I was following a pattern, sometimes things just didn't look quite right.

Quoting Lisa Boyer, "Enjoy the process. Don't worry about judgements, and realize that the rules are something you can embrace or reject at will, whatever suits you. Quilting styles, fabric colors, opinions and rules change with time. The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

How many times have you gotten half way through a project, and then gave up? It just wasn't turning out the way you expected that it would. The disappointment was strong, and it was easier to toss the project aside than it was to think about wasting any more time finishing. it. After all, you thought.... how could it possibly get any better if it looks this bad now? Of course, then the guilt sets in --- and you think of not just the time that has been wasted, but also the money for all of the materials that are in your project. Occasionally, you question your own skill set, thinking that your project doesn't even resemble the picture on the front of the pattern!

If this ever happens to you, try to find a box to store this project, and consider finishing it someday. Why store it in a box? Because throwing everything into a bag just leads to having the contents become wrinkled and messy. If everything is in a box, ready to begin work again, chances are that you will want to "play" with this project. Store the fabric, any pieces that have been cut, embellishments, the patterns, etc. in your box. A clean pizza box can be wonderful for this. Next time you are in the pizza shop, get a few boxes for yourself. You can label the top or front with the project name, and stack the boxes neatly on a shelf. Almost every project is worth finishing, even if you use the item for a different plan than the original idea. Taking a break from the frustration can give you a fresh outlook, and you can return to finish the project sooner if you actually "can't see it" for a few days.

Consider the project below. Susan bought a pattern for a beautiful Asian wall-hanging. She carefully chose a printed panel and all of the coordinating fabrics, trims, medallions, border fabric, backing, batting, and metallic thread. Following the directions closely, she executed every step with careful consideration. The piecing was perfect. All of the ribbons were inserted in the correct places. Even a soft satin binding was added to the outer edge.

But for some reason, Susan wasn't pleased with all of the work she had done on her project. The directions called for stitch in the ditch between blocks, and stitching around the graceful flying cranes with metallic thread. All of the steps were done perfectly, yet Susan felt something "just wasn't right" with her finished project, and it had been tossed aside for many months. Last week, she brought the wall-hanging to my studio for my opinion.

After one glance, I decided that the thick fluffy polyester batting was the culprit. While it served the intended purpose of making the detail stand out on the flying cranes, it also made the entire background puffy. The outer borders were five inches wide, and without any quilting inside to hold the layers together, each one looked slightly lumpy. The weight of the metal medallions pulled on the fabric, and without any support, the fabrics in those two squares hung there limply. Each of the squares looked pretty.... but again, puffy. We had to plan a way to save this project. In it's current condition, Susan didn't want to hang it up on her wall.

We looked through lots of designs for the various areas, and chose patterns and borders to add to her project. Two of the medallions that were on the quilt were glued on, and could not be removed, so we had to plan around those. Also, there were ribbons and braid to avoid. I love a challenge!

Here's a picture of the five inch wide puffy border without any quilting:

Puffy

And this is how it looks with quilting to hold the layers together:

New Border

I've had many projects come through the door that just need a little bit more work to make them truly finished. When Susan came to pick up her wall-hanging, she was jumping for joy. Her Asian wall-hanging had been set aside for months, and now it's ready to hang. A few days later, she wrote to me saying "You inspired me to try another quilt!  Thank you from my heart! " It's a great feeling of accomplishment to finish a project. Having my partially completed projects neatly organized has helped me to finish some that I had thought would never be finished. Some of my UFO's have become gifts, and other's have been donated to charity upon completion. I will always remember Lisa Boyer's words of wisdom: "The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

And for another great book by Lisa Boyer, check out "Stash Envy and other Quilting Confessions and Adventures"!

Quick idea for setting an autumn table

I needed a quick idea for dressing up the kitchen table for autumn. I quilted two yards of fabric, and then added a binding to it for a quick tablecloth.

Then, I used a pattern from One Song Needle Arts to do these placemats. The pattern has cross-hatching built right into the sides of it. It's easy to decide how large to make your placemats by using the following method:

Open the pattern on your screen in Creative Studio, and use a grid to see the size of the central area. You can use a grid of 1-inch to make the pattern size easy to measure. Decide if you want to adjust the pattern up or down a little bit after studying it on your grid. I cut three strips of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide, and pieced them together for each side. The inner square was cut 14 1/2 inches wide. After piecing the placemat, I basted it to my batting and backing on the machine. Using the head of the machine, I placed a p2p line on the exact edge of my center section of the pieced placemat. I then marked this line as sewn -- this is very important to do so your line doesn't stitch. You can then tweak the design on the screen to line up perfectly with your edges of the center section by sizing with the handles of the design. Click on start, and your design will stitch exactly where you need it to be. Add your binding while you still have the placemat on the machine, and then all you have to do is hand-sew it to the back. Very quick and easy!

Connie celebrates her mother

I had the rare privilege of working with Connie to complete a quilt that her mother Eunice pieced. It was done in bubble gum pink and apple green, and completely hand-appliqued. Eunice duplicated this beautiful pattern that was originally published in the mid-1800's, and her applique is so perfectly done! Connie will be keeping this quilt in a special place to honor all of the beautiful hand work that her mother used to finish this beautiful quilt:

Garden Party Quilt is a prize winner!

I posted pictures of a quilt called A Mother's Love last November, and have received many compliments on how beautiful it turned out to be.... but the real credit for this amazing quilt goes to a wonderful lady named Leslie Clarke. She spent countless hours piecing it, with applique and crystals in perfect proportion. She even added her own border to the entire edge that included more applique and crystals! This quilt was made with love for Leslie's daughter Nicole, and it was truly a labor of love. I had named the quilt A Mother's Love, but the actual name of the pattern is A Garden Party, and is available from Smith Street Designs. This past week, Leslie received word that she had won second place in a quilting contest for this quilt! Congratulations, Leslie! Here is part of the story that Leslie included with her entry:

"This quilt was my first quilting project on my new embroidery machine. When the instructor teaching the class on how to use the machine pattern became ill, I decided to forge ahead and also to really stretch and make the queen-size quilt. My daughter was moving to a new apartment, and -- since her favorite color is red -- it had to be for her!"

If you're anything like me, the first thing you think of when you are this happy is the Snoopy Dance theme song --- this music has been dancing around in my head ever since Leslie told me she won the prize!

Placemats to embroider!

embroidered1
embroidered1

There have been lots of requests for these placemats, and we have various colors to choose from! Just think of what you can do with these! You can use them unadorned, and embroider them when you have some free time. You can make a set for yourself, and your best friend at the same time. You can turn them into book covers, cake or bread baskets, tote bags or make-up bags --- the possibilities are endless! 

This has been one of our top sellers in embroidery blanks! Check back often for new colors, or feel free to contact us with a specific request. You can also send in your own fabric --- this makes it easy for you to coordinate with your existing items! With custom orders, we will need a 2-3 week lead time to create your special items.

What you will receive with your order: Four placemats measuring 18 x 13 inches that are all in one large panel. You will have extra fabric surrounding the placemats that you can use to test your embroidery stitches, or painting techniques, or coloring ideas. You will be supplying your own binding fabric so that you can coordinate colors with your embroidery stitches or make a set of matching napkins. If you want the exact matching fabric for the placemats, please make sure to order it as a separate item.

Due to high demand, placemats are temporarily out of stock --- please check back soon.

The design that is embroidered on the peach placemat above is from A Design by Lyn and is called One by One. Thank you, Lyn!

tea-time
tea-time

This placemat features an adorable butterfly from Designs Sew Fine and is part of the Butterflies II collection.  A contrasting fabric was added to the edge of the placemat, and finished just like a small quilt. This is a great idea! You can make napkins to coordinate with your binding! Download a PDF with instructions now, and you can see how easy it is to create your own custom look!



Christmas Table Runner

I had so much fun doing the Christmas Mantel Scarf, and I wanted to use the pattern in a different way. The design is called Heirloom Lace. I turned the shapes sideways, and added some cross-hatching in the center section to highlight embroidery.

I used embroidery patterns from Carolyn Faulk at Embroidery Designs by Carolyn --- they stitched out beautifully. You could make one of these for each season, or for everyday use.

After all of the embroidery was complete, I made a facing for the table runner to hide the embroidery on the back. Then I added a cluney lace to the edges. You can click on each picture twice to see the largest version.

Now available! These table runners are available in kit form, so you will be able to add your own embroidery and edging trims! Click here to order!

Lou Ann from Maryland had this to say about her Table Runner Kit: "It is every bit as beautiful as I had expected.  My weekend project will be to finish it and put it on my table.  Thank you so much for your beautiful work!  Now, do I want to add a monogram to the small area like you suggested ………. add something to the middle ………. to the ends of the middle so I can use my candelabra.  I have a lot of thinking to do as I loved your suggestions – all of them!!!"

Quilted Mantel Scarf

christmas-mantel-scarf
christmas-mantel-scarf

Here's a project I've been wanting to do for quite some time .... a Christmas mantel scarf.

Using a design called Heirloom Lace from One Song Needle Arts, I quilted six repeats of the design across a fabric panel that was 84 inches wide. The total height of the design is just a little bit over 18 inches. When the designs were complete, I put another layer across the top of the "quilt sandwich" while it was still on the machine.  Straight lines were sewn down the sides and across the bottom --- leaving the top edge open for turning. I trimmed all of the excess fabric, clipped the points, and turned the facing inside out. Minimal pressing was required to smooth out the points, and the top edge was serged closed.

I have had many requests for this item to be included in our section for embroidery blanks! Coming soon -- a bright winter white, and an antique shade of off-white.

See below for more pictures. 

A Mother's Love

This quilt was one of my favorites to work with! Brought to me by a wonderful woman who embroidered every block, she told me the story of how she was making it for her daughter. It has more work, joy, and talent, and love than any other quilt I have had the honor of doing. Here is a picture of the entire quilt: Each block demanded different treatment, so we put our heads together, and came up with designs that incorporated hearts --- to play on the theme of love and family. My favorite: We added lots of hearts throughout the quilt, in many surprising places!

Receiving a hug from Leslie when this quilt was done was one of my happiest moments!

Cross-Hatching Across Satin Stitches

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This one was a bit of a challenge --- but then again, I just LOVE a challenge! I received an embroidered quilt top that just "demanded" to be cross-hatched in the center. I didn't want to stitch across any of the letters, because that would squash the satin stitches. I also didn't want to do tie-offs at every letter, though.... so I came up with this little technique for "cheating".

Do the cross-hatching as you normally would. Take a close look at the small photo that shows a close-up of the letter with the crystal in it. If you look at the blue satin stitch portion of the letter itself, you can see where I "jumped" over the blue portion of the letter during the cross-hatching process. The width of the jump stitch is less than 1/4 of an inch, but if I had stitched right through the letter, it would have crushed the satin stitches.

This was done with white thread, so as a result there were little tiny white jump stitches showing on most of the letters. I went to the fabric store, and bought a fine tip permanent fabric marker -- the kind with the tiny micron tip -- in exactly the same shade of blue as the letters. That's the most critical part -- matching the thread color.

Now, all you have to do is "color" the white thread that is laying on top of the satin stitches. The single thread will fade into the background of the satin stitches, and look just like another single stitch. On the back of the quilt, you will not want to cut those tiny stitches, or there will be some unraveling of your cross-hatching in the future.

For the jumps over the pink floral portion of the quilt, I did tie-offs, and started again on the other side.

And by the way, this alphabet is available from Platinum Embroidery! You will also be able to read a newsletter that has all of the instructions for making this wall-hanging project! Here's a link to the page that shows the entire collection:

Platinum Embroidery Make It Special Heirloom Collection

These letters stitch out beautifully! Enjoy!