Catching Up and Some Quilt in the Hoop Tips

Little did I realize how much had been forgotten about process when offering the Christmas Tree and Star Table Runner as a freebie. At the same time I was so happy to be reminded how wonderful and welcoming the stitching community is. It is such a warm feeling to get the lovely comments from everyone.

If you haven’t downloaded the Christmas Tree and Star Table Runner and would still like to have it, click here.

My methods for getting the files to you were not good and the blog framework didn’t work well for getting your comments to me in a format that made an easy email reply. This morning I got up with new determination to renew my previous experience with the file download site so that I didn’t have to be the slow middleman in the process.  Yesterday I was not able to answer your emails and enjoy chatting with each of you. Now that there are systems in place for dealing with file downloads, I look forward to responding to each and every comment and catching up with those of you I know and getting acquainted with new correspondents.

Now let’s talk about quilting in the hoop. A big contributor to success or failure of a block quilted in the hoop is stabilizer – I like to use a fabric type water soluble stabilizer. Water soluble stabilizer is nice because it’s not at all stiff and it lets the quilt block look really “quilty” with good stitch definition. The first time the quilt is laundered, the water soluble stabilizer completely disappears.

What about the embroidery? The soft fabric type water soluble stabilizer does not provide the structure needed to hold those beautiful satin stitches of the embroidery applique.  There is a solution. Add a soft tearaway / washaway stabilizer on the back side of the hoop while stitching the embroidery to provide the structure needed for the satin and decorative embellishment stitches. Then when the embroidery is complete it is easy to tear away the stabilizer on the back from around the embroidery without disturbing the water soluble stabilizer. Once that is done, the quilt batting and backing can be added to the back of the hoop and the quilting is completed.

The tearaway / washaway stabilizer needs to be soft to the hand. I use a 1.5 oz weight stabilizer. And if I buy a different brand, I always test it to be sure that it will tear away easily and it falls apart easily in water.

I hope this helps as you are working with your quilt in the hoop projects.

Happy Stitching!

Marjorie 
 

What I’ve been doing when I wasn’t quilting this past year

This is my afternoon post for December 4. I promised to tell you why I have been “dormant” on embroidery and quilting for the past year, so here it is.  And it’s a short explanation—I wore out my hands. 2018 was a year when I made quilt after quilt and did very little machine embroidery. Those quilts were very pretty, but were mostly for AccuQuilt’s free pattern library.  Most of them had seams that were pressed open and used the unusual shapes in the Companion Qubes.  That and crocheting some afghans for my children and grandchildren ended up leaving me with very painful arthritis/tendonitis in my thumbs. So with delivery of the last quilt at the end of November 2018, I have neither quilted nor done much machine embroidery.

I did try a few things—I love breadmaking and became a semi-expert on pizza dough and made some great artisan pizzas. But it’s hard to eat that much pizza. And kneading pizza dough is not great for the hands.

Another thing I did was sign up for software classes at a couple of online training sites and spent time honing my skills in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Procreate. In addition, I have taken a number of classes in Machine Embroidery Digitizing and have learned a lot from those.

After a trip to Biltmore at the end of May and a review of the photos from the trip, it was apparent that I needed to lose some weight. So at that point, I threw myself into a daily exercise routine and cut out all the extra snacks that were so enjoyable. By the end of October, I had lost 20 pounds and that still feels so much better than where I was in May.

And that’s all there is to it—I took a year off from quilting and two years off from machine embroidery and now I’m back. Even so, it has been a very productive time for me.  My hands are much better too and knitting and sewing are easily done without constant pain. 
 

Holiday Stitching Time is Here – New Projects and a Freebie

Some might say that the time has past, but for those of us who don’t get into the holiday spirit until the holiday is almost here. . .it’s the perfect time to start stitching. I’ve been working on a couple of projects the past month. Since the blog and embroidery shop have been fairly dormant for the past year, I thought it would be the perfect time for a giveaway. (And I’ll tell you why I’ve been away for awhile in tomorrow’s post).

These are my projects. They are quilted in the hoop table runners. The giveaway is a Christmas Tree and Star Table Runner.

EDIT: I found a service that will allow you to download the file directly without leaving a comment  although I must say how much I love to see your comments. It also means I can spend time responding to your comments rather than creating an email with a file attachment.

Click here to download the file. It will require you to leave your email address but rest assured that will only be used to send you more information from time to time. I won’t clog up your inbox with lots of email and you can unsubscribe any time.

NOTE: I love your comments, so if you have trouble finding a way to comment, click on the title so that only this post is on the page and the comment box will appear at the bottom.  And if that fails, send me a private message on Facebook. 

This is the completed table runner and the star and tree designs shown below. I used a metallic thread to stitch the tree stars and it really makes the whole table runner sparkle. The quilting is done using an echo stitch and works beautifully on the embroidery machine. Assembling the blocks into the runner is very easy. I have tried many methods for assembling quilted in the hoop blocks and finally feel like this is the easiest thing yet. All you have to do is comment on this blog post and then have fun stitching this embroidery.

           

This is the snowman table runner and it definitely has more moving parts and thread changes. But it still stitches in a flash and those snowmen are just plain fun as they come to life. You can get the snowman table runner from my web store and will be priced at half price ($6.00, regular price $12.00) for the entire month of December.  

 

 
 

Let It Snow Wall Frame

This blog post was published on the AccuQuilt blog yesterday and has the machine embroidery for the lowercase alphabet die that was recently released as well as my Holiday Elements machine embroidery design set.

As always, if I made this again, I would make snowflakes that showed up just a bit more—a darker thread for the stitches around them would give that little bit of additional contrast that is needed. But I absolutely love those cute snow people as well as the lettering.

This is stretched on a 20″ x 24″ canvas frame and has batting underneath, but does not have quilting stitches through the layers.

 
 

Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt

I just finished this Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt made with the AccuQuilt GO Crazy Quilt die. I love the Crazy Quilt dies (both Studio and GO!). They are just incredible. There are so many different layouts that one can create with it–and the blocks stitch up faster than almost any other block. I used Square in a Square (aka Economy Block) blocks alternating with Crazy Quilt blocks.  Read the full tutorial on the AccuQuilt blog.

Crazy Quilt Star
Crazy Quilt Star
 
 

Log Cabins and Signature Block Ribbons

This is a blog post that I wrote for AccuQuilt in July. The quilt uses the log cabin die as well as the signature block from the Qube Companion set and machine embroidery from the Holiday Medley embroidery designs. This looks like a difficult quilt, but it’s actually easy to make. The instructions include diagrams for quick and easy piecing of the log cabin blocks. 
 

Jelly Roll Race Quilts with Grandsons

A couple of weeks ago, we spent a full week with our grandsons in Ohio. They are twins (8 years old), middle child (5 years old), and youngest (2 years old)–such an incredible amount of energy and fun and imagination in one house is amazing. This is one of all four boys at the zoo. You can see the little one in green running ahead.

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The twins have wanted to sew for a long time. Mom’s sewing machine needed service and repair the last time we were there. It had not been used in such a long time that the presser foot would no longer go up and down. Thus, in the interim we found a Pfaff dealer and the machine was serviced and repaired.

My friends, Wanda and Sherry, have made jelly roll race quilts with their granddaughters/nieces and that gave me the idea of what to make with the boys. One full jelly roll (42 strips) will make two lap quilts with a three inch border all around.

This was much more difficult than I imagined. Somehow my daughters learned to sew when they were 8-10 years old, making things like t-tops and shorts and it seemed easy for them. However, they both had been sitting at a machine (first on my lap) from the time they were old enough to sit. And then they made fancy stitch samplers using variegated thread by just selecting the stitches and pressing the foot pedal.

The boys had a very hard time stitching a straight seam–the seams always seemed to veer into the middle of the strip or off the edge. One of the twins wanted to race with the pedal to the metal and the other twin wanted to stitch one stitch at a time–both methods had serious issues for the teacher. Fortunately the Pfaff has a “sew slow” button.

We did get the quilts finished. I brought the tops home with me to add borders, quilt, and bind. I didn’t gete any pics of the boys sewing, but here are pics of the quilts on the quilting frame.


And just for fun–this was a “quiet” moment: 
 

An “Orange” Hunter’s Star

There are six grandsons and three granddaughters in our family now. The boys love quilts. Recently the oldest boys (twins) made their own jelly roll race quilts in blue and green.Their brother (a middle child) has chosen orange as his signature color. Even though this is not my favorite color, last year I did crochet my way through a very large orange “blanket” for him.

And then, this week, as he’s lying on the couch with a 102 degree fever, he announces that he wants Momma B to make him an “orange star quilt”. Orange is not a dominant color in my stash, although there are some pretty orange-gold batiks and one bolt of orange cotton that is truly not a pretty color.

Needless to say, I have spent time over the past few days auditioning and making star blocks to find a color and design that he likes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how picky a five year old can be. First, let me show you the one he finally chose, and then the pictures after that are the ones that were rejected.

The one he likes best:

And all of these color combinations are the rejects. I agree the final color, even without as much contrast, looks better than the others:

 
 

Scrappy Flower Block or Cross Block with Bricks and Squares

Do you ever get tired of four patch blocks and want to do something different? Seems like cutting scraps into something usable often ends up in strips or squares–although sometimes I do tumblers too. The cross or flower quilt block is a classic quilt block but is usually made with all squares. Because I especially like brick quilts, I decided to adapt this block to my Qube and use the brick (Shape 8) as well as the square (Shape 2). By using the brick, one seam can be eliminated. And because I have a whole basket of 2-1/2″ strips already cut, it only makes sense to use up some of them as well as any new scraps that are cut, thus I chose the 8″ Qube Mix & Match Block set for this one. If I were starting with new fabric or scraps, I’d probably use the 6″ Qube Block set as I like smaller blocks more than larger blocks.

It’s also good to note that these blocks don’t finish at the size of the Qube because they are five “patches” across rather than four. Thus, the

  • 6″ Qube makes a 7-1/2″ finished block, the
  • 8″ Qube makes a 10″ finished block, the
  • 9″ Qube makes an 11-1/4″ finished block, and the
  • 12″ Qube makes a 15″ finished block.

If you’re making these for comfort or charity quilts like I am doing, you will need to adjust the layout so that the quilt is the right size. Just think how fun this would be for a baby quilt with four blocks and sashing using the 12″ Qube.

Here’s a picture of the individual block made with completely scrappy bricks and squares. As much as I like this block in a single color, the random scrappy look seems a little too scrappy and disorganized to me. Guess that’s my left brain kicking into gear.

So, I decided to try each block with a color theme, i.e., red, green, purple. That appealed to me much more, so this is what I got and I like this much better for a scrappy quilt and using up all those extra pieces that have been cut. There’s a lot more contrast between the background bricks and the flowers and each block has a color theme.

This is the basic unit that is a little more fun than a four patch and is nice for variety. So, it’s pretty easy to make these if you have the two patch units already stitched (which I usually do have as leaders and enders).

And then, it’s just a matter of making this block adding the colored bricks and center square. You can see that the individual unit is turned to get all the color squares around the center. I made this in three rows and then stitched the rows together. 

QUBE Tip: The nice thing about using the 8″ Qube was that when I wanted to use up pre-cut 2-1/2″ jelly roll strips, all I had to do was fanfold the strip across the Shape 1 die to make bricks and fanfold the 2-1/2″ jelly roll strip across the Shape 8 die to make squares. Just line the strip up with the blade on the long side of the strip, place the mat, and cut. Likewise, if you are using the 12″ Qube and have pre-cut 3-1/2″ strips, you can do the same thing–or the 6″ Qube and have pre-cut 2″ strips.

Here’s a picture of what the quilt would look like with sashing. I like the idea of a light flower/cross in the sashing to reflect the larger flower/cross pattern.

 
 

Sister’s Choice with Log Cabin Border

Finished the quilt for my sister for Christmas and thought I would share the layout and block construction with you. It looks complicated, but really isn’t. I was inspired by the Circle of Nine Quilt Book by Janet Houts and Jean Ann Wright. It’s possible to use their layouts and create beautiful quilts, but I came up with my own connector blocks and added some additional negative space for quilting.

This is the finished quilt:

sisters-choice-web

This is a closeup of the quilting:

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You can find the layout and diagrams of each block here