Monday, May 30, 2016

All in Stitches, Zumbrota, Minnesota

Since it's a holiday weekend I decided I needed to visit a new quilt shop!  My mother insisted we go to All in Stitches in Zumbrota, Minnesota which is about 50 minutes south of my home.  I am so glad she did!  We had a blast.

Mom is working her La Passacaglia quilt and is trying to pick a border for it.  We think we found one.  Yay!

I had a ton of fun poking around the shop.   It's quite impressive.  They have the largest collection of thread I've seen locally: Sue Spargo, Invisifil, Aurifil Wool, and many others.  I of course came home with 8 spools!  I told you....I am addicted to threads.

Here are a few pictures of the lovely shop.

Orange is this kiddo's favorite.  He must take after his mother.  I love it too!

There were lots of different trims and rick rack and buttons and embellishments.  It was great fun to poke around and check everything out.  I'm sure I missed a lot.  I look forward to my next trip!

We also had fun picking out fabric for my 7 year old son's first official quilt.  He wants to enter it in Machine Quilter's Exposition Midwest this fall.  He's a very competitive kid and really excited by the idea.  We bought a simple pattern and I too am excited to get started on it once school is out.

I hope this all brings you some inspiration.  It certainly did for me.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How to Quilt Double Bubble

I fully intended to shoot a video of how to do this, however it being two weeks before the end of the school year my teacher self just didn't have the time!  So pictures will have to suffice for now.

I used this "double bubble" stitch on my Playful Pinwheels project for Island Batik Ambassadors.  I believe it is an original fill pattern, but who knows, it may be out there somewhere.  Here is how I stitched it.

Step One:  Stitch a 1 to 1 1/2 inch circle.  I started at the top where I put the dot.  Then stitch two bubbles inside the dot.

Step Two:  Stitch two circles around the entire circle starting and stopping at the dot again.  You can do more circles if you need to switch direction or fill a little extras space.  Two is simply a guideline.  This particular drawing is a little oval shaped, but as you add more circles a little inconsistency here and there won't matter.

Step Three.  Back stitch over a part of your last circle and then start over at step one.

Continue to repeat steps one through three adding more and more circles:

Sometimes you won't be able to make a full circle because the pattern will run off the quilt or into a different color fabric.  In this case you either have to back track over your stitches back to the dot or stitch along the edge of the quilt/fabric as you see below.

Happy Quilting and Happy Memorial Day!  Don't forget to visit my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook Group.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Quilting my Island Batik Playful Pinwheels

I am a doodler.  I almost always sketch out an idea for quilting before I do any stitching.  Below you can see the original idea I had for quilting Playful Pinwheels made with gorgeous Hollywood Hills Island Batiks.  I knew it was going to be a lot of straight lines, but I really liked the effect.

Now that I knew what I wanted to quilt, I picked out threads.  You can see that there are two green threads and two pink threads.  To check which I wanted to use I lay a little of the thread out on top of the fabrics and make a choice.

Below you can see some of the quilting I started with.  I put a rope in the darkest purple areas and in the pink and green areas I simply did curves from corner to corner.  I know this has a name, but I can't remember it right now.

In the background I decided to simply do a filler over the whole surface.  As a show quilter I usually do very small fillers.  I decided to do something in a larger scale for this quilt and I'm really happy with the results.  This is an original filler I designed I'm calling Double Bubbles.  Come back Saturday to see how it's stitched!

Here is the whole quilt with binding, but without binding stitched.  I ran out of time!  Such is life sometimes.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chinese Restaurant Plate Inspiration

Over spring break I was at a Chinese restaurant in California with my family.  This is the plate they set on our table.  I love the whimsical flowers on it.

So I decided to try drafting my own version of the flower in the lower left corner.  Since it is almost symmetrical I started drafting half of the pattern.

Once I had half the drawing done I took it to the window and traced the other half on the opposite side of the paper to get the full image.

The result is similar, but to me it looks more like a butterfly than a flower.  I'd need to go back and stretch out the flower so it is a lot wider.  I always learn things when I doodle!

Happy Doodling,

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Piecing my Island Batik Playful Pinwheels Quilt

Here is my finished quilt top!  If you missed Wednesday's post click here to see how I developed the pattern for this quilt.

As an Island Batik Ambassador I was given a lovely layer cake of Hollywood Hills Island Batik fabrics. I decided to open it up and use it in my pinwheels.  It's hard for me to cut into precuts.  It makes no sense, but they looks pretty in their packages!

I was looking for 2 fabric combinations for the two different pairs in the pinwheels.  Here are a few combinations I tried:

I really like this color combination, but I felt that the fabric on the right would get lost when I cut it into small pieces so that was out.

Here are two lovely greens I was thinking about using together.  I decided that the light green looked kind of washed out on the tan background fabric.  It didn't stand out like I wanted it to.

Here are my final color choices.  The pinwheels have a thin border (the dark purple on the left) and then there are two sets of colors.  The two pinks became on combination and the green and blue the other pair.

Since I had a layer cake I wanted to make sure that I had enough fabric to complete the two blocks.  The best way I know to do this is to carefully precut all my pieces.  I cut strips the right width.  Then I drew a template the size of the final piece I needed.  I then add 3/16-1/2 inch extra all the way around to allow for paper piecing.

Using my template I cut out the pieces so that they were just about the right size with little fabric wasted.  You can see how I do this in my picture below.  I just run my rotary cutter right along the edge of the paper to get pieces the exact shape I want without a lot of waste.  I had plenty of fabric left in case I made a mistake.

I was so excited to see what my pinwheels would look like!  Here is the first one all laid out once the pieces were completely pieced.

And here are both pinwheels together.  I wanted to use the same color combination, but make them opposites of each other.  One pinwheel has long green spikes and the other pinwheel has long pink spikes.

After making all the pieces I set in the square blocks.  This was a little easier because of the paper, but of course I still had one that I had to resew four times before it came out without a pucker.  Such is life.  Then, once I had the squares inset, I had to figure out how to construct the quilt so those two points would touch.  This took some creative thinking, trimming and unsewing (my seam ripper has had a workout lately!), but I was able to piece it successfully and not revert to my usual fallback of appliqueing something I can't figure out how to piece.

Here is the final top of my quilt.  I love the way the two pinwheels play together and complement each other. They really draw my eye around the quilt.

One thing that was a challenge for me in sewing this quilt was thread color.  I know it may be a strange thing to think about when piecing, but I had a problem.  When I was sewing the background fabric of this quilt I obviously used tan.  When I sewed the paper pieces I used blue and pink thread on the two different colored pieces.  Then, when it was ready to sew together I didn't want to switch thread color as I went from colored fabric to tan fabric as that would've made it a lot more complicated.  I decided to just use tan thread and go for it.  If you look carefully at the picture below you can see the tan thread showing up in the center seams of the block. this a big deal?  Since it's not for show and it's just for me?  No.  However, the reason I bring this up at all is to talk about how to fix this problem.  There are two possibilities.  One is to change thread colors while sewing those seams (what a pain).  The other is to color the thread with a fine point sharpie in the fabric color the thread is next to.  If the tan thread shows near a pink fabric color the threads with a pink marker.  If it's near a blue fabric color it with a fine blue sharpie.  There are enough colors of sharpies out there right now finding the right color is very possible.  And close is good enough.  Yes, I know this for a fact.  I've done it on show quilts!

Did I do the coloring this time?  No, not yet.  Will I?  Maybe, if it bugs me enough.  Right now I'm just happy with how it turned out and I really don't feel like going on a sharpie hunt.

Come back Saturday to check out the quilting I did on this Playful Pinwheels quilt!  And don't forget to join my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook group.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Designing my Island Batik Playful Pinwheels Quilt

The Island Batik Ambassador Challenge for May is Playful Paper Piecing.  I knew I wanted to do a star of some kind.  So I started sketching and ended up with the star you see below.  I then put it into Electric Quilter so I could play around with color.  After looking at the star I knew I wanted to add more to it or a border or something.  I just wasn't quite sure what, so I cute out the pieces of a second star and started playing.

One of the things I love about some of the blogs I read is their descriptions of the creative process.  It's really fun to see how other people work their own personal magic.  I started my journey with the idea of doing a broken star where it extends all the way around the edge.  It wasn't my favorite and I moved on.

Next I tried doing a diamond border.  It was okay, but didn't seem like it was worth all the effort it would take to make it.

Next I tried putting diamonds in the corners.  Okay, but not great.

Then I tried putting diamonds off the centers.  I like this a little better than the picture above, but it's still not my favorite.

I tried putting it on point too, but it still didn't quite work.

Next I tried extending one of the sets of diamonds to twice it's original length.  I really liked this!  It was different.  So, now what to do with it.  Below you se it where the original block is still vertical.

In this image below I've tipped the block so the outermost points are at North, West, East, and South.  I like it, but it didn't add much and would make it much more challenging to construct so I decided to skip it.

If one is great, two must be better, right?  Wrong.  I added the extra set of purple and red points, but it made the block messier than I wanted and challenging to construct as well.

Okay, so what if I put an extra set at the tips?  Nope.  It spreads the block out, but didn't really add anything.

What if I made two?  OH...I like it!  Now to pick fabric and create it!  Come back Saturday to learn all about how I constructed this quilt.

My son has decided this quilt needs to be called Playful Pinwheels.  I like it.

Happy designing!

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Grandmother's Flowers Inspiration

When I was in San Francisco for Spring Break I took these pictures of my grandmother's flowers for inspiration in future applique projects.  I should've asked her what they were!

I love the shape of these leaves....

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Flower in a Pot Quilt Along - Pattern #7

Here is the pattern for Flower in a Pot #7.  Please make sure to join my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook group and share what you've done with my patterns and any other applique project too!

Here are the links you'll need for this block:

You should also check out my posts about how I made this block:

And be sure to join my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook group to share your progress on the blocks and any other applique too!

In case you missed it, here are the other blocks in this series:
Flower in a Pot Pattern #4
Flower in a Pot Pattern #3
Flower in a Pot Pattern #2
Flower in a Pot Pattern #1

Donna just started working on her pots!  Here is her Pot #1.  I can't wait to see what else she creates.

I hope you get to quilt today,

Friday, May 13, 2016


As those of you who follow my blog know, I entered quilts in the Home Machine Quilting Show last week.  I was ecstatic when my new show quilt, Kaboom!, took third place in the Conventional Machine category.  A few days ago I received the comment sheet and will be making a few adjustments on the quilt.

Then, two days later I received the judging sheet for my miniature I made as an Island Batik Ambassador, All Fired Up (it's called that because it uses their Fire Island Batiks line).  It had Honorable Mention circled at the top.  However, when I looked at the winners list that wasn't listed.  So I anxiously awaited my box to come back in the mail to see whether or not it had indeed gotten an Honorable Mention.

Today when it arrived I quickly opened the box and sure enough, there was an Honorable Mention!  I was surprised and excited.  And there was a CD with quilt show photos on it in the box too!  I can't wait see what's on it.

Later in the day I was showing the quilt to my fifth grade students as part of a vocabulary lesson on the word elated.  As I was holding up the quilt my principal and the superintendent walk pass my classroom and paused.  I invited them in and my principal asks, "Is that the quilt coming back from Kentucky?"

"No, it was in Salt Lake City last weekend," was my response.

The superintendent said, "Paducah?"  Clearly there is a quilter in his family!

Happy Quilting!