Christmas Quilt Show

This is my entry in this year’s Christmas Quilt Show. Entries are to be submitted from Nov 23 through Nov 30. This is one of my favorite blogland quilt shows. It is so fun to watch new entries being submitted every day. So, if you have made a Christmas quilt, join the fun and show it off.

My Christmas quilt was made last year and quilted in late summer. It has already been shipped to it’s new home with my sister here in NC. Last year, she was given a table runner and this quilt completes the set.



To make this quilt I used 8 inch blocks and 2 inch sashing. The embroidery blocks were made with the AccuQuilt Holiday Medley die and machine embroidery. The Irish chain blocks use a 4″ square in the middle and 2″ squares in the corners. I just went back through all my blog posts so that I could link a tutorial for this Irish chain variation and realize I haven’t done one. So, a tutorial on making these 8″ Irish chain blocks will be forthcoming very soon.

Fall Machine Embroidery Blog Hop Winners

Drum roll . . . . And we have winners. the week was lots of fun and I learned so many things. And I want to say thank you to all of the participants and to let you know that there were winners of every day and that they have all been notified and that all but one of the prizes has been received. Here’s the lineup of winners:

Monday, Nov 5 – LeAnne

Tuesday, Nov 6 – Kathleen

Wednesday, Nov 7 – Kathy

Thursday, Nov 8 – Sue

Friday, Nov 9 – Vicki and Rita

If I don’t hear from Sue (Thursday, Nov 8) within the next week, Kelly at I Have A Notion, and I will select an alternate winner.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Quilting Zoo Animals Carousel

Just wanted to share how I figured out the curved lines for quilting on this quilt. I wanted to be able to follow the curvy lines of the rickrack applique . My attempts at following the lines kept getting off track and it would end up too wide or too narrow at the top or bottom. And then the light flickered. Recently I read (and can’t remember who or where it was) on a blog about using masking tape for marking a quilt for straight line quilting. This person suggested that one could use masking tape and rather than stitching right next to the tape, it would be better to stitch 1/4″ away so as to not stitch into the tape.

I decided to use the rickrack die to make a quilting template. First, I layered painter’s tape on the foam over the top of the blade, then ran it through the cutter. I actually added more tape to the straight edge to make it stay completely straight when I put it on the quilt. In the beginning I marked the quilt with a blue line following the tape, but that was just too time-consuming. So, I put the tape on the quilt and stitched a quarter inch away and used it for two or three lines and then moved it.

Quilting the Pumpkin Table Runner

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this blog post by Megan over at Canoe Ridge Creations. I was really intrigued by the quilting on her mini-quilt, so I just had to try it. And I had the perfect table runner for practice. This is the table runner that I made using Judy Danz’ Have a Pumpkin Good Day machine embroidery set. These applique shapes are cut with the AccuQuilt GO!™ Pumpkins die # 55323. 

Quilting was done by stitching a free-style squiggly line that was the width of my hopping foot. I just went up and down. Then I went back across filling in a squiggly line between each of the original lines. I didn’t try to match the squiggles in anyway, each was independent. The table runner looks great, was fairly easy to do, and not using a ruler with my longarm was far easier for me. I can definitely see that this would work well with free-motion quilting on a regular sewing machine as well as a longarm machine and that it may work better on smaller areas rather than going across an entire large quilt. Wouldn’t it be fun quilting for a mug rug?

Quilting wavy lines


This is the full runner on my kitchen table. I opened the leaves so it would lay flat.


This is a view at an angle so you can see the effect of the quilting and how it makes the pumpkins stand out–almost like trapunto. Quilting around the vines was a dilemma for me, and I did it a couple of different ways. The leaves were stitched in the ditch, but after awhile, I started stitching straight over the redwork stems instead of trying to stitch beside them as an outline. I really couldn’t tell that it changed the overall look and the stitches hardly showed. The thread used on this is Aurifil 50 wt in a color to match the background.

And you can see that the Irish chain squares are done with a freehand continuous curve as they’re definitely not perfectly even. The squiggly line piano keys in the border were also done free-hand. This whole thing really went fast and gave me the exact effect I wanted.





Crazy Hearts

Just wanted to show you some pictures of the crazy hearts quilt that I’m quilting this week. My friend, Sherry pieced this from a set of embroidery hearts I gave her. The hearts are made from crumb blocks and are cut with my AccuQuilt GO™ hearts die like this. They are cut from fabric that is randomly pieced together from scraps.


And then they are stitched onto background fabric with the basic hearts machine embroidery set.

And this is the way I’m quilting these. I am using this quilt to practice the swirls that I plan to use on Sherry’s bargello quilt.


Day 5 Machine Embroidery Blog Hop – Two Fun Projects

Sat morning 11:20 EST – Yay – Cherry’s post has come back from the cybergremlins. Thanks for stopping by.

It’s Friday and there are two really fun projects that I think you’re going to love. Stop in at Cherry Blossom Quilting Studio and Cheeky Cognoscenti’s blogs and enjoy! It’s almost Christmas – so get your gift list out because you can certainly start marking names off the list with these great ideas.

And a little surprise: I am so excited because AccuQuilt is now carrying my machine embroidery designs on their website. Just this morning, there are six designs for the AccuQuilt GO!™ that are now available through AccuQuilt. AccuQuilt and I have been talking and working on this for a very long time, and this is a nice Christmas gift for me to have this come to fruition. I will still maintain my own embroidery shop that has all of my designs, but will also offer as many as possible on the AccuQuilt website.

Day 4 Machine Embroidery Blog Hop – Turtles

Kelly at I Have A Notion (IHAN) is today’s blogger. And she is amazing–she broke her hand last week at Quilt Market and is still stitching and blogging away.  I do not know how she does it.

And I have been browsing around the IHAN store. If you haven’t been there, you should stop in and browse. She has quite a wonderful selection of quilting and stitching and crafting supplies, but especially some wonderful machine embroidery supplies–there are some scissors there that I must have, and I want to try a couple of her stabilizers. In addition, she has a folio blank in several colors for machine embroidery that I think will make a perfect Christmas gifts with some of my machine embroidery designs on the insert instead of the monogram.

And yesterday I got a fabric package in the mail. This fabric is absolutely luscious. It is The Woodlands Palette hand dyed by Vicki Welsh. I have wanted to buy her fabric for a long time and finally took that big step. It is even nicer than I had imagined. The fabric is the perfect thread count for quilting and the colors are beautiful. I can see using some of the machine embroidery designs using this fabric. I love the gradations and the soft, clear intensity of these colors.


Day 3 Machine Embroidery Blog Hop – Fall Medley

Today is Day 3 (and the day after the election) of the ME blog hop and SewCalGal has some great machine embroidery fun for you.

In addition, I’d like to share a couple of links to encourage all quilters to donate quilts to victims of the Hurricane Sandy disaster in the northeast. You can be sure that both of these organizations will deliver. Here are the links:


Day 2 Machine Embroidery Blog Hop

I am just blown away with the creative ideas that Trish at All Things Crafty has for using the Sue and Sam machine embroidery sets. I can’t wait to try her ideas, and I won’t have to wait long because today is a teacher workday and my grandchildren will be visiting, What fun!


Machine Embroidery Blog Hop Day 1 – Zoo Animals

Today is my day for the blog hop – and I’m excited to show you the Zoo Animals machine embroidery set, give you some tips about machine embroidery applique, and to offer a giveaway of the embroidery set of your choice from the machine embroidery shop to one lucky follower (comment on this blog and become a follower to enter).

Zoo animals is one of my favorite dies, but I also use the GO!™ Elephant die embroidery set with the Zoo Animals set as I think that makes it just perfect. I have created a couple of quilts with these animals and love both of them. The first quilt is one I made for my grandson, and the second quilt is one I made for myself.

Following this slide show you’ll find tips for machine embroidery applique. I will offer more tips throughout the week.

.The focus is on machine embroidery though, so the most important message today is to tell you some things I’ve learned using die cut fabric shapes for machine embroidery applique. Check the ‘how-to” section of this blog to get more information about machine embroidery applique.

1) Stabilizers – I have used almost every kind of stabilizer and don’t see a lot of difference when they’re cut or torn away and the applique blocks are put into a quilt. Theoretically, the tear away is better because it softens with washing. But I haven’t had any problem with stiffness with any of the stabilizers. When I use cutaway, it is a soft, but medium weight cutaway and the tear away stabilizers I have used are also a medium to lighter weight. The only caution is that when one is using the traditional applique stitch, a lighter weight tear-away is better so as not to distort the stitches when it is torn away. Of course a cutaway works just fine with the traditional applique stitch too.

2. Fusible – Again, I think there are a lot of fusibles that will work. The key is to use a fusible that is lighter weight–with the goal of keeping the applique soft. The applique stitches hold the applique in place well enough that one can use washable glue (instead of fusible) applied to the background fabric to hold the applique in place until the stitching is complete.

3. Cutting with the die cutter – This is one of the most critical steps because it is important for the applique not to shrink or stretch during the cutting process. This is the main reason that I use a paper-backed fusible – because the paper assures that the cut does not shrink or stretch. However, using old catalog pages when cutting with the layers from bottom to top as follows: die, paper, fabric, mat, will work quite well.

4. Fitting the applique shape to the placement lines – This is also a critical step in the process. I use a mini iron and am careful to fit the edge of the shape just inside or on the placement stitches. Sometimes the die cut shape is slightly small or slightly large for the placement lines. When this happens, I “ease” the shape to fit the placement stitches by using the iron to fuse around the outer edges and then fuse the center. And the shapes never look “eased” after the stitching is complete. It almost seems like magic, but it works. Here’s a tutorial.

5. Fabric choices for applique – I think this is important and really depends a lot on the applique stitch that you are using. With the designs that I digitize, there are traditional applique stitches, a free-form applique stitch that I created, a candlewick stitch, and a satin stitch. For the traditional applique stitches and the free-form applique stitch, I like to use a fabric that has a higher thread count and is a firmer weave, like a batik. The batiks are dyed all the way through the fabric and have a harder finish, so there is less fraying. For the candlewick stitch and the satin stitch, any good quality cotton or even silk, works quite well. However, any fabric with a lower thread count is more likely to stretch or shrink during cutting.

6. Thread choices – I love thread and use both polyester and cotton. When I use cotton thread, it is always Aurifil. With polyester thread I use primarily Isacord and Madeira polyneon. However, if the color is right, I would certainly use others. Sometimes, the tension on my machine acts up and I can see the bobbin thread on top. When that happens, I simply wind a bobbin with the same thread I am using on top and continue to stitch away. And speaking of bobbin thread, my machine prefers cotton. I use the YLI 60 weight cotton thread pre-wound bobbin.

It is so much fun to use die cut shapes for machine embroidery – and I can’t wait to see the projects that everyone has created each day this week. Here’s a list of stops on this blog tour:

Monday, November 5th
Tuesday, November 6th
Wednesday, November 7th
Thursday, November 8th
Friday, November 9th