boy and quilt

machine quilting blog hop {week 3}

Welcome to the Machine Quilting Blog Hop Week 3! Or, as I like to call it “Quilting with Friends”. It’s so good to hear from people in the comments, on Instagram, or on my Facebook page that are following along both in practice and in spirit. And I have loved reading about Jen, Vicki, and HollyAnne’s experiences along the way.

This week was fun! It started with some straight line quilting–which I was doing on a quilt anyway–so “check!” I really enjoy straight line quilting, or as I like to say, “straightish line” quilting. This design is one that I find myself cringing when I see the wobbles as I’m quilting–but when I stand back and look–those wobbles pretty much disappear. It is so easy to be critical when you are close-up, so stand back and give yourself a break.  I was truly in my happy place quilting line after line, listening to the soundtrack from Les Miserable.

domestic machine quilting

Then it was on to a similar design, but using a decorative stitch. This is one that I do all the time right now: the elongated wavy stitch.

domestic machine quilting

I had never done it in a triangle shape before, so that was a bit challenging. You want to switch from the wavy stitch to a straight stitch to travel to the next starting point, so that you don’t have to keep breaking thread. I found it very inconvenient to keep switching stitches like that–especially because I need to modify the wavy stitch on my machine. I make it longer and wider than the default setting. This was a lot to mess with every time I switched back to the straight stitch to travel. So I actually dug out my sewing machine manual and looked up how to save stitches in memory. I saved the wavy stitch with the settings that I like, and I also saved the straight stitch. Then it was just a couple button clicks to move back and forth between the stitches. I felt like a genius!

domestic machine quilting

Next was irregular zig zags and then came irregular chevron shapes. The chevrons were so fun and easy to do! I love the way they came out. This is going to be a very useful design, I can already tell. I switched over to a bending thread, but I actually like the one with the high contrast thread better. The stitch length is all over the place–but I’m finding my rhythm. I could really use one of those Bernina stitch regulators–and the Bernina to go with it 🙂

domestic machine quilting

I am so glad that my new free motion foot finally come in from my dealer! (Queue angels singing!) I Iove this thing! I can see! I can finally see! Having this foot really made a difference in being able to see where I am, where I have been, and most importantly, where I am going.  (I talked about my issues with my other darning foot last week. ) I practiced those darn pebbles again–and it is a lot easier–but they still need work.

open toe darning foot

Then on to small scale stippling. Stippling is the one free motion design that I feel I have the most experience with. When I was a new quilter I joined a guild that has a huge charity group. I used to take home 2-3 quilts each month just to practice stippling. But, I had never done it on such a small scale before. The stipples may not actually be micro-stipples, but they are pretty small for me.

domestic machine quilting

Lastly, was a fun triangle spiral–which I did once across the practice piece and then when back and filled in all the remaining spaces with more triangle spirals. I’m still working on keeping my stitch length consistent, but this was a fun design.

domestic machine quilting

After last week’s pebbling challenge, I felt that this week was pretty fun and easy–a good confidence booster. And it is a mix of both walking foot and free motion designs, which is a nice change up. I’m still practicing those pebbles though…

Don’t forget–The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is on sale all month long over on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy!

Are you seeing progress with your own stitches? We’d love to see! Don’t forget to share on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop

Check out what the others are doing:

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

HollyAnne at String and Story

Or just click the image below to get all the links.

 

boy and quilt

Your precious handmades. Do you use them?

tea, tea pot, handmade coaster

It all started with this coaster. I was having coffee with my friend Minki the other day and as always, we talking about sewing and the things we love to make. Then she said the nicest thing to me.

“I learned from you to actually use the things I make. Not just take a picture of them and then put them on the shelf.” Aww. To think that I have had an influence on a talent like Minki’s was a nice moment for me. But then I had to confess.

“I’m kind of having trouble with that now. You know that hand embroidered coaster you gave me a couple of years ago? I do use it. And it’s a bit of a stained mess now and I feel bad about it.” I didn’t tell her that sometimes I actually tuck it away in a drawer when she is coming over, so that she won’t see what has become of her hard work.

Then she told me, “I actually think that stained linen is beautiful.”

hand made coaster, Minki Kim

And you know what, she’s right. (This coaster actually looks worse in real life, for some reason.)

That got me thinking about all the handmade, everyday use items I have around that house. Knitted dishcloths are my absolute favorite, but I am always a little sad when one starts to come unraveled. I actually usually merely move it to the rag drawer until it is nothing but a pile of string.

grandma's dishcloth

These are the coasters we use every, single day. They are about eight years old and I hope that I have learned to sew a gap together better than I did in those days. But this illustrates my point exactly. When you use things–you use them up. And sometimes that’s fine, but sometimes its hard–like not saving your fancy china for that dinner party you’ll never actually have.

quilted coasters

I’ve spent countless hours embroidering these tea towels, and they are stained and faded and have holes in them. I will never be able to bring myself to throw them away–so I’m already starting to think about what I can do with them when their useful lives as tea towels is over. Any ideas? What I need to do is start planning for that day now and simply make some more. That’s what we makers do, right? It’s just an excuse to make some more.

dish towels, handmade dish towels

My favorite table runner has definitely seen better days

quilting, linen, patchwork

And so has my favorite tea cozy. Okay, maybe a trip through the wash might help this one.

high tea fabrics, lecien

And even my first quilt, only eight years old, is already looking like this. But this is the most loved quilt in the house. It is exactly the right weight for our warm southern California weather and is the first thing that every family member grabs from the quilt basket each morning. It gets washed because I pick it up from the floor a dozen times a day and it comforts the child with the flu. And over Christmas it cradled my dying cat. So, I’m looking at those frayed edges a little differently now.

French General quilt

So, what to do? I think the only thing to do here is to embrace the beauty of the well-loved and worn. There is a story behind every handmade item. A story about the person who made it and what was happening in their life as they sewed each stitch. There are the stories of the everyday life of the people who are blessed to use it daily. To wash the dishes after a regular, weeknight dinner. To wrap the child reading a book. To set the morning coffee cup on, before dawn everyday.

And if they are not as perfect and pristine as they once were–it’s because they bear the marks of an everyday life well-lived. And I can live with that.

boy and quilt

Just a few heart quilt blocks

quilt blocks

I’ve been a bit between quilting projects lately. Actually, I’m very impatiently awaiting a fabric delivery, but the UPS truck seems to have lost its way. So when I saw that HollyAnne of String and Story was making and collecting charity blocks for Smiley for Kylie, it seemed a perfect opportunity to rifle through my stash and spend a fun evening or two sewing up some blocks for a good cause. And, as a cancer survivor myself—I know what a handmade blanket means for a person during chemo. I actually took a knitted blanket that my sister-in-law had made for my then 2-year old son to my chemo treatments. I felt both wrapped in love and reminded of what I was fighting for at the same time.

quilt blocks

The heart blocks are supposed to be yellow, navy, and or white, 10” blocks using the Cluck Cluck Sew pattern (there is also a tutorial). It turns out that I have very little yellow and virtually no navy blue in my stash—but I pulled out what I had and was able to sew up a quick six blocks. It was totally fun sewing and I enjoyed every minute of it. And I was able to pop them in the mail to HollyAnne the next day. But then what?

As it turns out, if you use the construction technique that Cluck Cluck Sew recommends, you can simply sew one extra seam and end up with some spare, rather large half square triangles. I learned this trick when I made my Swoon quilt several years ago (and I have yet to do anything with that bag of HSTs, but let’s not talk about that). Determined not to let these HSTs suffer the same, stuck in a baggie fate, and since staring out the window was not making the UPS guy appear with my fabric order—I started to play around with the leftover HSTs.

trimming half square triangles

I tried many layouts and landed on one that looks like flying geese, but it’s not. It’s HSTs–I swear.

I decided to turn these “free” blocks into a quilting practice piece and ultimately a dish drying mat. We hand wash a lot of dishes in this house and you can never have too many dish mats. And since most of mine are ratty 10-year old towels, this was a definite improvement. Except that it’s a little small. I guess I should have made twelve charity blocks instead. Next time.

I used some leftover Warm and Natural batting and terrycloth for the backing. Then I pulled out Walk by Jacquie Gering, a Christmas gift that I was excited to put to use. It was a tough choice, but I decided on organic waves for the quilting. The book is filled with fun designs–I’m looking forward to exploring it more.

walking foot quilting

I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun quilting. I make no bones about the fact that my happy place is piecing—not quilting. But I’m trying to make friends with quilting. This motif is so fun and easy and I love the results! I can’t wait to try this design out on a full quilt; I can totally picture relaxing and getting into the zen of it, instead of my shoulders all tensed up to my ears, which is my usual quilting posture.

walking foot quilting

I have recently begun experimenting with leaving 1/4″ of batting when I trim up a quilt. It results in a nice plump, filled binding.

trimming quilt tops

So that’s it—the tale of some charity blocks scraps that made their way into our kitchen to live out their useful life. As it should be.

handmade dish drying mat

Now, where is that UPS guy?

boy and quilt

last stop on the sew illustrated blog tour & giveaway!

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

Well, that was fun! I hope that you have been following along with the Sew Illustrated blog tour. I am in complete awe and amazement at the beautiful projects that were created over the last couple of weeks. Though really I shouldn’t be surprised–this is such a crazy talented group of makers.

To be completely honest, when Minki and I set out to write this book, we weren’t completely sure how it would be received–it was, um, different. But different turned out to be what people are looking for! Since the release of the book and all along this blog tour, I have heard over and over again how people are a little nervous to give sewing illustration a try. But once they do–they are a little amazed that it’s not as hard as they thought. And we keep getting reports of it being a bit addicting. 🙂

So, thank you to everyone that has cheered us on along the way and shared your projects with us on social media! We love to see what you are making, both from the book and just sewing illustration in general. Please tag us and use the hashtags #sewillustrated and #sewingillustration on Instagram so that we can find out what you are making and be inspired by you!

I am also super excited to be able to giveaway a copy of Sew Illustrated to one lucky blog reader! The giveaway will end on September 10, 2016. You can enter below.

Let’s just take one last look at the amazing creations that were featured over the last couple of weeks. Thank again to all the bloggers who shared their talent with us.

Amy at nanaCompany

amy

amy3

Wynn at Zakka Art

wynn

wynn3

wynn2

Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

sedef

sedef3

Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

lisa

lisa2

Amy at chick chick sewing

chick

Stacy at Stacy Olson

stacy2

stacy

Debbie at happy little cottage

debbie

debbie2

Faith at Sarana Ave

faith

faith2

Ayda at  cafenohut

ayda

ayda2

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

melissa

Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

jemima

Veronica at Vivid Felicity

veronica

veronica2

Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

sharon2

sharon

Nadra at ellis & higgs

nadra

Kristyne at pretty by hand

krystine

Elnora on Instagram

elnora

elnora4

 

elnora3

Jennie at Clover and Violet

jennie

Would you like to win a copy of the book? Enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

boy and quilt

blog tour stop 20 :: Aurifil

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

auriful

We are winding down from this amazing  Sew Illustrated blog tour. And today takes us the the Aurifil blog, Auribuzz. Why, you might ask? Because great thread is an essential tool in sewing illustration. It is the “pen” or “brush” of your illustration. You can’t beat the quality of Aurifil thread, or the fact that it comes in so many different weights–which is so useful when doing sewing illustration.

But wait! Look at that! Minki has a brand new thread collection to get you started! How amazing is that? This new Sew Illustrated collection features the colors and different thread weights that she uses most often in her sewing illustrations.

Cllick on over to the Aurifil blog, Auribuzz, to read an interview and enter to win not only the book, but a box o f Minki’s thread!

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

 

boy and quilt

blog tour stop 19 :: clover and violet

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

jennie

Jennie at Clover and Violet is finishing us up with the last make of the Sew Illustrated blog tour–this sweet  Liberty pincushion. This fabulous project proves once again that the combination of sewing illustration, Liberty, and linen cannot be beat. Click on over to her blog for more pics and to read about her first experience with sewing illustration.

Though this is the last make–we are not done! Check in tomorrow for an interview and giveaway on the Aurifil blog Auribuzz.

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

boy and quilt

blog stop 18 :: elnora on instagram

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

elnora

Elnora is sharing her absolutely adorable make for the Sew Illustrated blog tour on Instagram today. Just look at her fussy cutting! It is just the cutest pouch ever! Click over to see her amazing video.

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

 

boy and quilt

blog tour stop 17 :: pretty by hand

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

krystine

I have admired the work of Kristyne at Pretty by Hand for as long as I’ve been on Instagram. I’m thrilled that she is up on the Sew Illustrated blog tour today with one of my favorite projects–this long handled bag. An accomplished bag maker, Kristyne shares her apprehension about trying sewing illustration–and she even very bravely shows her first practice pieces! Pop over to read all about it!

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

boy and quilt

blog tour stop 16:: ellis & higgs

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

nadra

Just look at those! Nadra of ellis & higgs made these absolutely charming coasters with her Backyard Roses fabric line. I don’t know whether to talk about coasters or the fabric first. Fabric wins. I have to tell you that Backyard Roses is one of my very favorite fabric lines of this year. Those colors! There is something very different and unique about this line and I have loved every project I have made with it.

I love all the fabric choices she made with these coasters–and her work is just amazing! I absolutely love the dark hand stitching around the outside edge. It really sets it off!  I think I’m going to go make this coaster set right now! But you should click on over to Nadra’s blog to read more about her makes from Sew Ilustrated and don’t forget to comment for the book giveaway!

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

boy and quilt

blog tour stop 14 :: vivid felicity

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

veronica

Just look at this hand stitched goodness! For those of you a bit intimidated by sewing illustration on your sewing machine, (but you shouldn’t be! Have you been following the tour and all the confessions that people were nervous–but it turns out that it was WAY more fun and easier than they ever thought?!) every design in Sew Illustrated is perfect for hand embroidery as well! Just look at those sweet pincushions! But Veronica got over her nervousness about trying the designs on her machine.Pop on over to her blog to see how the story ends.

And don’t forget to comment on her post for a chance to win a copy of the book!

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast