Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wool Applique

It's no secret that I love wool applique with embellishment.  Since I want to highlight my embellishment, I don't want the applique stitches to show.   My favorite method is to quickly make small whip stitches with a matching wool blend thread that "hides" in my wool.

Unfortunately, the thread is expensive - close to $10 per spool, which results in a sizable investment if you are just getting started in wool applique.  Even a simple project could cost $100 in just thread!  Here is a solution you might be interested in - a bobbin case wound with 32 colors of Aurifil wool blend threads.

As you can see, this is an excellent pallet of colors, including black and white.  Each bobbin contains approximately 12 yards and you can reorder a single color when you run out.  The bobbin cases are available in my Etsy Shop along with chenille needles which are excellent for wool applique.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Take a look around.  There is inspiration for a new flower, color combination and embellishment everywhere you look.  I just recently found stitching inspiration in a somewhat unlikely place - a children's book of nursery rhymes.  Now, I'm not quite certain how I found it - perhaps lost in a web of Pinterest sites. But here it is... A Pocket Full of Posies by Salley Mavor.

The illustrations for each nursery rhyme are stitched in amazing detail rather than drawn and painted.  I keep looking at the pages over and over, amazed and how tiny stitches bring the story to life.  I shared it at my quilt group last week where everyone loved it.  I purchased my copy through Amazon where it is available today for $14.95.  The creativity and stitching is amazing on every page and I think you will enjoy it too..

It's raining here - a good time to look through the pages again.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hanging a Quilt

You've worked so many hours to make a beautiful quilt and now it's all quilted, the binding is finished, and the label is sewn in place.  You want to hang it where you can enjoy your masterpiece but for me, putting on that sleeve is absolutely the worst part of making a quilt.  I'll admit, I've been so lazy that sometimes I just grab the stapler and staple it to the wall.  Yikes! I know, it's awful, but I tell myself that the staples are no different than pins, and if I do it myself, my husband doesn't know and can't complain about holes in the wall.

There are all types of quilt hangers on the market but I like having my quilt hang right against the wall, nice and straight, and I don't want to spend a lot of money.  I need my money to buy fabric for another quilt!  Lately, I've been trying to mend my lazy ways and have developed a method of quick and easy quilt hanging. Just in case you too are looking for an easy hanger - here are my steps:

First, you need to go shopping at Home Depot or a similar type hardware/lumber store.  Go to the molding department and look for this board (they call it trim).  It is about 1" wide and 1/4" thick.  Make certain you buy one that is straight so your quilt doesn't bow out from the wall.  Now, go to the hardware section to find nails.  You need 2 small nails, about 2 inches long that don't have big heads.  This sounds like a girl describing hardware, but you know what I mean.

Measure the width of the quilt and cut the board about 3 inches shorter than this measurement so the ends of the board won't show when the quilt is hung on the wall.  Now, drill small holes close to each end big enough that the holes can easily slip over the nail heads.  This doesn't require a big drill, a Dremel will work. If you don't have a saw at home, they will cut the board at the store for you so have your measurement ready.  If you find the right sales person, they will even drill the holes. 

Using your board as a guide, pound the nails straight into the wall (the nails should extend a little bit from the edge of the board) and then remove the board.

The fabric for the sleeve is 4 1/2" wide and the length between the holes in the board plus 1".

Turn under 1/4" twice on each end of the sleeve and stitch.  Fold in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together, and sew with a 1/4" seam.

Press into a flat sleeve with the seam somewhere in the center.  Following this method, you don't have to turn the sleeve and the seam will be hidden when you stitch the sleeve in place with a simple whip stitch.

Center the sleeve on the back of the quilt, about 1" below the binding edge and pin in place.  I stitch on both long sides of the sleeve, careful to catch only the back of the quilt and a little of the batting.

Slide the board into the sleeve, place the holes in the board over the nails, stand back and admire your work.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ups, Downs and Plans Gone Awry

How many times have we heard, "the best laid plans of mice and men (women too)".  I recently had some BIG plans to go to the Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City next month, rented a booth, worked feverishly on some new patterns, incurred expenses for publishing, made hotel reservations, convinced Teri to tend my dogs for 10 days, planned to visit my son in Chicago, etc., etc. Without further explanation, not everyone thinks I should be in the big show and since I'm not going to fight it, I won't be going to Market.

Unfortunately, I need to cover some of my expenses, so I have placed a few quilts for sale in my Etsy Shop.  It's always hard to part with a quilt after spending so many hours on every stitch.  Each quilt was stitched and embellished with my own hands and then machine quilted.  If you have any questions about the quilts please contact me.  I would love to know they are going to a good home where they will be lovingly appreciated.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sick and Stitching

That's Sick And Stitching, not sick of stitching.  A few hours after teaching at Elaine's a few weeks ago, I started feeling that awful scratchy throat.  Believe me, I tried every home remedy and get well quick medicine to no avail.  Within a few days the virus was in full bloom and in full control.

Who wants to just sit around - even when you're sick.  I decided to keep stitching and I can tell you, it's not a good idea.  Everything looks ugly and I spent a lot of time unpicking.  My main stitching victim was Block 1 of Yoko Saito's new Mystery Quilt.

This photo is NOT my block.  Mine is still wadded up on the sewing table waiting for me to try that little dog.

I was invited to join a stitching group at Sweet Lavender that will be making this quilt.  I don't like making houses, because mine are always crooked, and I don't like mystery quilts because I like to know what I'm getting into.  But, I really wanted to be in the group!

We met last Saturday and I had a great time.  Block 1 is almost finished and I have my kit for Block 2 - more houses!

I'm still coughing and wheezing, and stitching, planning to finish that little dog today and cut out templates for Block 2.  It's wood carving night at our house tonight so I will be sequestered with the dogs for close to 4 hours keeping them from the carvers.  That means I have plenty of time to sew and watch Dancing With The Stars.

Before you ask, no, I didn't go to the Doctor.  Our health care system only allows me to pay ridiculously high monthly premiums, for a plan with a deductible that is so high it only covers catastrophic disease, leaving very little to pay an outrageous office visit - if you could actually get an appointment.  By the time the overworked Doctor, who works 3 days a week, has time to see me, I would be well. My Doctor did respond to my email and call in a prescription for cough syrup, which I finished drinking a few days ago.  My husband was a hospital administrator and retired after 35 years so we are told we are lucky that we have excellent healthcare coverage.  Reallly? There - that was ranting!

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