Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet and Greet - National Quilting Weekend - Aurifil Giveaway!

Hello friends and welcome to
Meet and Greet Stitchers Around the World blog hop!   Many thanks to Mdm Samm @ Sew We Stitch for hosting this lovely event.  To see a complete list of participants, drool over some beautiful stitching, and checkout the blogging giveaways, click the button below.  
This first day of Spring AND start of the 2015 National Quilting Weekend I'm excited to share a #slowstitching post AND a fantastic giveaway including Aurifil thread and my latest Wooly Wren pattern.

If you're a current follower, you know that I LOVE to use Aurifil 50Wt Cotton thread for dense machine quilting -- but today I'll share projects that work perfectly with 6 strand AuriFloss and Aurifil 12Wt and 28Wt Mercerized cotton threads. 

I just LOVE to hand stitch with Aurifil floss and thread.  
Image Courtesy
For those of you that are new to my blog, Welcome!   I'm Karen Miller, chief cook, bottle washer,  blogger, designer, editor, pattern maker, and welcome committee for Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals blog and Redbird Quit Co.

I've sewn for most of my life but became obsessed with quilting about 8 years ago when my sister Janet invited me to join her in a $1 block of the month at a Local Quilt Shop. So thankful to have my sister as my mentor, cheerleader and support system while I learned the art of quilting.

Although I enjoyed learning to piece, I really started having fun when I took my first applique class from the very talented Sharon Stroud in Upstate NY.  Oh My - I fell in love with needle turn applique!!

This is my first applique project, "Dancing Flowers", a Sharon Stroud design that includes needle-turn applique, reverse applique, ruched flowers, berries, bias stems - just all sorts of applique fun!  What a great learning adventure with a wonderfully skilled and patient teacher.
Once I realized how much I loved applique, I branched out and took two different Wool Applique classes from the very talented Debbie Wick.

This is my version of "Folk Art Melody" - design by Lori Smith - a wool on wool wall quilt.
It was fun to customize this block to incorporate a Redbird.   Love this!
When you're hand stitching wool applique, 1 strand of Aurifil 12 Wt Cotton thread works perfectly to for the blanket or overhand stitch.  The mercerized cotton has a pretty sheen to it and stitches without knotting or twisting.    It's really FUN!!

My 2nd Wool applique class and quilt was "Flower Baskets" by Wooden Spool Designs.  Here is one of the sweet blocks of this pretty wall hanging -- there were 6 blocks in all.
You can see more Folk Art Melody and Flower Baskets by clicking here.
One more wool applique class, this time from the designer herself, Kim Diehl.   This is my revised version of Kim's "Penny Garland" pattern.  We revised the center from a 9 patch to a circular design - I love the way it came out.
Kim came to Material Rewards in Upstate NY and a few of us traveled to attend her trunk show (swoon) and Penny Garland class... You can find the Penny Garland pattern published in Kim's latest book "Simple Appeal". Of all the wool applique projects I've completed, this one is my favorite -- well, at least so far ;)
I love the texture of wool applique with dense quilting around it. I used wool batting on this piece and, once quilted, makes the wool applique just POP.   You can read more about Penny Garland Revised by clicking here.

Penny Garland is another great project where you can use 2 or 3 strands of Aurifloss, 2 strands of Aurifil 28Wt Cotton or 1 strand of Aurifil 12 Wt Cotton.  I've done some comparison of Aurifil 12Wt cotton with other 12Wt embroidery thread and found the Aurifil to stitch with less twists and knots.  I also just LOVE the sheen that the Aurifil cotton has -- it looks beautiful on my wool applique.
In 2012 I started Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals blog and in 2014 Redbird Quilt Co where I released my first wool applique pattern, Spring Basket:
Spring Basket is an 11" x 13" half-moon WOOL on Cotton Mini-Quilt.  It is so much fun to work-up because you don't need to turn-under wool that is felted or fulled - just cut and sew!!    It uses very simple embroidery stitches and, with the addition of a little wren, looks just so sweet on an entrance or end table.  I really enjoyed using both AuriFloss and Aurifil 28 Wt Cotton on this piece.  Sew much fun!
Spring Basket can be stitched on a dark background with Big Stitch quilting (above). or you can use a background that is lighter and brighter and with dense machine quilting... Here's a sample:
You guessed it... Aurifil Mako Cotton 50 Wt thread for dense machine quilting.  Minimal buildup, breaks, and lint - love that thread!! 

You can see other completed Spring Basket quilts on this Pinterest board.   

You can find Spring Basket for sale in PDF form at my Craftsy Store -- or locally, in printed form, at Quilters Corner in Ithaca, NY.

Stay tuned for another Wool Applique design by Redbird Quilt Co -- Wooly Wren -- on Craftsy soon!

I really enjoy the process of designing and hand stitching wool on cotton quilts.   I also LOVE sharing detailed tutorials with the quilting community (See my Free Moda Bake Shop Recipes by clicking here -- and be sure to check out the "My Tutorials" tab my blog header). 

My latest Moda Bake Shop recipe "Chevron with a Twist" shows you how to make a Faux Ruched flower with just a few gathering and tack stitches.... you can see that recipe here:

Finally -- I not only love to hand stitch, but I consider myself a BIG advocate of teaching others to Free Motion Quilt on their domestic machines. 

Be sure to Read my last blog post -- where I demonstrate how to use The QP Curved Templates to stitch curved crosshatching on your domestic machine! 

Note:  On that blog post, there is an Active Giveaway for a complete set of QP Curved Templates, courtesy Linda Hrcka of the Quilted Pineapple.  

Click -->  The QP Curve Template Giveaway Open through midnight 3/28/15.

Whew!!  Now that was a bunch of information - hopefully some of it was helpful and/or inspirational to you. 

Since it is International Quilting Weekend we need to celebrate!!

The wonderfully generous Aurifil thread company donated a beautiful 12 spool thread collection for one lucky winner.   This collection of Bari J Splendor 1920 12 Weight threads are perfect for cross stitch, embroidery or any wool applique project!!    These 12 large spools will be a wonderful addition to someone's stitching stash.   Just look at those colors, aren't they beautiful ??
To read more about the very talented Bari J Ackerman click here.
To go along with this lovely set of threads, the same winner will receive a PDF version of my soon to be released pattern "Wooly Wren".  The BariJ threads will work perfectly with this spring wall hanging.
 The Giveaway:

This giveaway will remain open until midnight on the last day of 
National Quilting Month
March 31st, 2015

For one entry:

I would love for you to follow me on at least one of my social media outlets:

Leave a comment below letting me know which one you follow - if you follow more than one - let me know that in the same comment.  (Don't forget your email address).

For a 2nd chance to win - lets show our Giveaway Sponsor some thanks!

Jump over to the Aurifil Facebook page or Twitter account and share the love - tell them Redbird Quilt Co sent you -- If you don't have one of those accounts, consider following Aurifil's blog here.

Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you did to gain that 2nd chance (Don't forget your email)

If you haven't already, be sure to get in on the QP Curve Templates Giveaway - click => here

That's it -- Again I want to thank Mdm Samm for the awesome blog hop and I do hope everyone has  fun getting to know all the talented stitchers that participated - click button below for the list!

Have a great stitching weekend all -- and many thanks for stopping by

Monday, March 16, 2015

FMQ - Chevron with a Twist - Part I - QP Curved Template Crosshatch (Giveaway too!)

Hi everyone -- I hope you're surviving this crazy March weather.  Here in the Northeastern USA we've had a few days of nearly 50 degree temps and sun - but many more days with sub freezing temps, nasty wind and snow.  Although the sewing days have been fun, we're all ready to break into spring.  Here's hoping it comes soon - these are the evenings I'm dreaming of...
Keuka Lake - Summer 2013 - Family Fishin'
In case you missed it, my latest free quilt design, "Chevron with a Twist" was published on the Moda Bake Shop on February 23rd.  You can read my introductory blog post here or go directly to the Moda Bake Shop recipe by clicking here.

In the recipe, I outline all the cutting, piecing and applique details for making the quilt, but only a few images and details about the free motion quilting.  What's fun was that the free motion quilting was stitched using Aurifil 50Wt Mako Cotton (love that thread!!) on my Janome Horizon domestic sewing machine -- YOU can do it too!!
In today's post I would like to share more about free motion quilting
Chevron with a Twist
and let you in on a great giveaway!
Let's start with detailing the Curved Crosshatch quilting.

Some background:

Chevron with a Twist was my first attempt at using EQ7 software for designing a quilt.
Although the learning curve was big, it was well worth the investment (time and $$).
EQ7 Chevron with a Twist Design Print
Just prior to finishing Chevron with a Twist, Linda Hrcka of The Quilted Pineapple announced her brand new QP Curve Templates for Free Motion Quilting (long arm, mid-arm, and domestic machines).
Linda is one of the amazingly talented quilters that I follow on social media.  She has a great blog, a Facebook page and an Instagram account that I stalk.  I'm always inspired by what she creates on her long arm machine -- really -- over the top beautiful every time!  

Follow her - I promise you won't be disappointed.  Even if you don't FMQ your own quilts, Linda's quilting designs will give you tons of ideas to share with your long arm quilter.

Here is a sample of Linda's beautiful quilting.
"Portland Rose" was created by the amazing Lisa Bongean (Primitive Gatherings Quilt Shop) and quilted by Linda Hrcka.  The Linda and Lisa quilt won a BLUE RIBBON at AQS Paducah in 2014!  What an honor and certainly much deserved by these two talented ladies.
You can read/see more "Portland Rose" on Linda's blog here.
Image courtesy The Quilted Pineapple
SO, here is this very talented professional long arm quilter with a awesome set of curved acrylic templates that SHE DESIGNED... The QP Curve Templates.
I had to have them! 
I ordered the entire set and started on a mission to find a way to use them.

Back to EQ7 -- What's neat about EQ7 is that you can print a black and white image of your design (layout only) and use it to sketch potential FMQ motif.

I was pretty sure I wanted to stitch feathers in the Chevrons, and because I was itching to use the QP Curve Templates, I came up with this new to me "Feather Fireworks" aka "Feather Star-Burst" design for the non-Chevron blocks
I kinda liked the sketch so I started quilting.  Chevrons first... after considering two different designs for the Chevrons I settled on feathers.  What a great way to hone your feather skill - that's a lot of feathers!
I will share the chevron feather process in a separate post.
Next quilting step:  Feather Star-Burst aka Feather Fireworks!  Here's the design and I'll share how to stitch this one too -- in a separate post.
The full-size on-point blocks were all filled with Feather Star-Burst.
I'm really having fun with this quilt and learning The QP Curve Templates!
 At this point I realize I need something a little different in the half blocks or the setting blocks....
A new sketch...
 Hummmh... this might work...Curved Crosshatching!  

Note: I'd been itching to stitch a curved crosshatch on my domestic machine since I purchased Karen McTavish's "Custom Curves" book.  Karen and Rhonda Beyer make beautiful designs with curved templates in that book (a must have book for anyone that FMQ's).

Ok - lets see if I can actually create a acceptable curved crosshatch on my domestic machine using The QP Curve Templates...
I used the #20 QP Curve Template for the Curved Crosshatch
Remember, I'm new to using rulers of any type on my domestic machine... 
Here's the trial run with a narrow Crosshatch...
Trial run for the large Crosshatch
Trial run for "Just the right size" Crosshatch

It was fun to learn how to use The QP Curve templates on practice pieces ...  Once they were created and I placed them near the quilt -- it was obvious that I should go with the "not too wide, not too narrow" design... ha ha ha!! (I won't mention that it had a lot to do with how much time I wanted to spend quilting...).  The "just the right size" crosshatch had 11 lines each side of the crosshatch.

Because I'm new to using acrylic rulers/templates  I chose to mark each line on each block - it gave me piece of mind to get the quilting done with minimal ripping (picking).
I used a run of the mill water soluble marking pen to mark each line.
(Details in the video below)

 What's in a Foot?

To work with acrylic templates on a domestic machine you need a foot that won't slip under or on-top-of the template.  Many thanks to Amy at Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures for sharing her knowledge on the subject last year.  I ordered the Janome "Free Motion Frame Quilting Feet Set" for the 1600P - Part# 767-434-005 which included a 1/4" Ruler Foot and an Open Toe Quilting Foot.  Also showing (below) is the closed toe foot (not included in the kit) I use when stitching around wool applique.

The 1/4" Ruler Foot is similar to a hopping foot for a long-arm machine.  It is perfect to ride against an acrylic template that is 1/4 thick.

On the Janome, if the template was much thicker than a 1/4", I may have run into trouble with it hitting against the built in walking foot mechanism.  I'm just sneaking under it with The QP Curve Templates (thankfully).

So I marked and quilted 13 outside 1/2 blocks, 6 inside 1/2 blocks, and 2 corner 1/4 blocks with the curved crosshatch.  
By the time I finished them I was feeling pretty confident -- maybe the next time I'll only have to mark my starting lines.
Now I'll share with you my Not So Professional YouTube videos outlining the marking and quilting process using The QP Curve Templates.

The first video shows you how I marked this particular quilt using
The #20 QP Curve Template.
(Click the image below to watch the video)
 The second video shows you how I quilted the blocks using The #20 QP Curve Template and my Janome Ruler foot.
(Click the image below to watch the video)
Please note -- these are first takes of videos AND the first time I've prepared anything like them.
I stumble over a few words - but I hope they will still be helpful to you.  
Prepare yourself to see and hear me at my quilting finest ;)

Do you want to see more of my quilting videos ? 
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for upcoming videos.


Wow... that was a bunch of information...
Now we're at the fun part of the post!
The wonderfully talented and always gracious Linda Hrcka of The Quilted Pineapple is providing a 
The QP Curve Templates 
to one lucky reader!  

Yes, that's right, an entire set of QP Curve Templates - that is 6 different templates including the smallest template that Linda has coined the "BFF Template" (Best Friend Forever).
Image Courtesy The Quilted Pineapple
The giveaway is open to domestic AND international friends alike!!

The giveaway will close at midnight on Saturday, March 28th. 

To enter the giveaway, leave One comment below letting me know what YOU would like to use The QP Curved Templates for, what kind of machine you're stitching on and how long you've been free motion quilting (if you are).

For a 2nd chance to win, hop over to one of The Quilted Pineapple social outlets (Blog, Facebook or Instagram and let Linda know how much you appreciate her sharing TheQPCurveTemplates with us.  Be sure to come back and leave me a second comment letting me know how you reached out to Linda. 

Please Note:

If you are NOT A BLOGGER and/or you're not sure if blogger shares your email address on a comment, please, please leave your email address in the comment(s).  For the last giveaway the random winner was tossed out twice because I had no way to contact them (So Sad).  Blogger does not always share your email address with me - so please, if you're not sure, leave an email address in your comment(s).   Thank You!!

Also, many thanks for the support and encouragement you've shown me lately -- It's been a little nuts and I haven't been able to reply to each comment.  Know that I read and cherish each and every one and I so appreciate you leaving them.

Stay tuned - I'll share more FMQ details for Chevron with a Twist in near term posts.

PS - Linking up to other blogging friends like Hope Studios Tutorial TuesdayQuilt Story Fabric Tuesday, and FreeMotion by the River...

Friday, March 13, 2015

We Have A Winner! Recreating Antique Quilts

I want to thank everyone who participated in Blog Hop 2 for Wendy Sheppard's fantastic book "Recreating Antique Quilts".  We really appreciate the sweet comments and feedback you shared.
There were a total of 82 entries for the giveaway!   

If you didn't get a chance to read Wendy's recap of the blog hop -- you can checkout her post (and see images of all the projects) by clicking here.   

Each blogger really had fun with their project and put their own unique spin on it.  
If you like quilty eye candy -- you'll want to check it out.

Here is my version of Ivory Baltimore - done with a flannel background and wool applique.
Sew much fun!!
 (For anyone that is local, I will be teaching this class next semester at Quilter's Corner in Ithaca -- look for it on their upcoming schedule -- Yippee!!).

 Here is Wendy's version of Ivory Baltimore - so very beautiful!! 
I just love the colors in Wendy's version - and those feathers!!
Without further adeau.... 
I used Mr. Random Generator to choose a winner
And the winner is:

Congratulations Jan - I'll be sending you an email and Landauer Press will be mailing a book your way soon -- good for you! 

Thanks again for joining in the fun!! 
If you're interested in getting your own copy of Wendy's book, be sure to click over to this page to order from Landauer Publishing or - check it out on Amazon - or ask your favorite Quilt Shop to carry it!!   

Stay tuned for more fun on the quilting and giveaway front - I promise!
Take good care,

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Great Projects - Awesome Giveaway

If you missed out on entering the Giveaway for Wendy Sheppard's latest book, jump over to the giveaway post and get in on the fun before 
midnight March 12th!!

On the giveaway post you can:

1. Checkout my review of Recreating Antique Quilts
2. Be reminded of the project I made during the first Blog Hop and Book Giveaway
Garden Lattice 
(Just look at all the area for FMQ Feathers!!) 
Learn about the project I created for the 2nd blog hop
Ivory Baltimore 
(in Wool)

Visit 3 other very talented bloggers also giving away copies of Wendy's book!!


Be sure to leave a comment (and your email) on the Giveaway Post to enter!

Thanks so much for stopping by - there's more fun and giveaways coming up - be sure to visit again!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blog Hop and Book Giveaway - Recreating Antique Quilts

Welcome everyone!

I'm Karen from Redbird Quilt Co and I'm thrilled to be sharing the stage with some wonderfully talented ladies for Blog Hop Round #2 celebrating Wendy Sheppard's latest book:  

Recreating Antique Quilts

You're going to Love this book!
Be sure to jump to each person's blog today - see their beautiful projects, and get signed up for the book giveaway -- 4 books will be shared during the hop!!


Many thanks to Landauer Publishing for sponsoring this hop and giveaway!
Image Credit Landauer Publishing
If you've been following along on Instagram or Facebook you'll know that I've been sharing some teasers about my latest project from Wendy's book.
Well, the time has come to tell you about the book and reveal my project!!

Wendy Sheppard according to Karen:  

Let me first say that Wendy Sheppard is one of the most talented designers and domestic free motion quilters that I know!

I've been motivated and inspired by her awesome designs and free motion quilting classes and tutorials for several years now.  Matter of fact, Wendy, in her sweet and graceful way, has encouraged me to become a better designer and quilter and I'm so very grateful for that.
(Thank you friend). 

One awesome thing you'll find on Wendy's Blog ( is Wendy's free motion quilting tips, Thread Talk.  If you FMQ then you must check it out!  All the most fantastic tips and tricks for quilting on a domestic machine!!  Really -- Thread Talk has helped me out of more than one FMQ jam.

Thread Talk

To learn even more about Wendy check out this blog post by Landauer Press and also this interview with Pat Sloan!  Woot! Woot!

Recreating Antique Quilts Review:

(From Blog Hop Round #1 ~ My original review ~ Nov 2014)

Recreating Antique Quilts is all about re-interpreting antique quilts for the quilters of our time using contemporary fabrics and methods.  It's pretty neat to see antique quilt designs recreated with fun and modern fabrics in sizes that 
won't take forever to complete. 

Here is the book cover,
isn't it just beautiful?
Fresh colors, a beautiful bird, love!
Book Cover ~ Image Credit Landauer Publishing
The 96 page book contains patterns, complete instructions, full-color images, and full-size templates for 5 quilts, 2 table toppers/runners, 1 pillow, and 2 stunning wall hangings.   WOW!! 

In typical Wendy Sheppard style, the designs are fresh and unique and each pattern contains applicable cutting, piecing, applique and quilting tips including an awesome writeup sharing Wendy's machine applique methods.  Sweet!

In all, the book contains more than 27 full-color quilt images!   I love this because you can see full view images of the quilts that inspired Wendy's designs along side her updated design.

There are detail images that show you the beautiful piecing and applique along with the fantastic quilting stitched on Wendy's domestic machine.  
Wendy's Garden Lattice ~ Image Credit Landauer Publishing
You'll also love the detailed and helpful applique templates and quilting diagrams.  

The applique templates are full-size, color coded, reversed where applicable, and easy to follow.

The quilting tips, notes and diagrams are equally impressive.

I was excited to see a page dedicated to quilting an Off-Centered Feather Wreath.
I can see my FMQ skills improving already!

Blog Hop Round #1 Creation: Karen's Feathered Garden Lattice:

Here is a quick recap of what I created for Blog Hop Round #1.
Shown is Wendy's Garden Lattice quilt design - so beautiful!!  
Image Credit Landauer Publishing
And I interpreted the design like this:  Karen's "Feathered Garden Lattice".
You can read my Blog Hop Round #1 post and see more of Feathered Garden Lattice by clicking here:    What a fun project!!

Here we are!! Blog Hop Round #2  

I was thrilled and honored when Wendy invited a few of us to the 2nd round of her book Blog Hop -- it means creating yet another design from the book!  Woot!  Woot!

Of course I was drawn to this applique,  
Ivory Baltimore Wall Hanging.  
It's a mini -- 17" x 21"
It was first on my list of things to make.  
Isn't it beautiful?  
Ivory Baltimore ~ Image Credit Landauer Publishing
Wendy wrote an exceptional overview of how and why she created Ivory Baltimore -- you can read it by clicking here.

I was excited to adapt Ivory Baltimore to wool applique using somewhat more traditional Baltimore Album colors....
and here it is...  my Wool on Flannel version of Ivory Baltimore Wallhanging:
As I did with Feathered Garden Lattice, I decided to jump outside of my comfort zone with this project.  Although I rarely use fusible methods - it sure came in handy on this petite little applique wall hanging.
 For the background fabric I used Primitive Muslin Flannel (by Primitive Gatherings for Moda) and various and sundry pieces of hand dyed wool for the applique.  I used Heat 'n Bond Lite to prepare everything except the stems, baskets, and 3D flowers.  I was happy with how things anchored using the fusible (but you know me, generally I wouldn't use fusible or glue based products).   
 I used Aurifil Mako Cotton 12Wt Thread (and a little Valdani 12Wt) to hand stitch the wool pieces to the background.  I find it relaxing to hand stitch #slowstitching.  
If you want to create this design with machine applique (like Wendy did) and wool, the fusible would help stabilize the wool for you -- so you can machine blanket stitch it. 

I used a combination of a blanket stitch and an overhand stitch on the applique and added a little batting to the wool flowers to give them dimension. Where Wendy used YoYo Flowers, I had fun creating something a little different with wool!!
For the quilting, I paired the quilt top with a layer of Quilters Dream 100% Wool batting, a layer of 100% cotton batting and a flannel backing.  I used Aurifil 50Wt Mako Cotton for the quilting with a size 90/14 needle (because of all that batting).
I *LOVE* the way Aurifil thread stitches (hand and machine). 

 Don't you just love the look and dimension quilting adds to the overall pattern?
I could go on all day showing you pictures of Wooly Ivory Baltimore, but I want to be sure you have time to get to all the blogs that are reviewing and giving-away Wendy's book today.

Use the image below to see Wendy's main blog hop post from today:  And don't forget to hop to the other blogging friends...
Image Credit Landauer Publishing

Now how about that Giveaway!

The great folks at Landauer Publishing are giving away one copy of
Recreating Antique Quilts
at each blog hop stop today!

The book giveaway is open to United States and Canadian followers -- however, if an International follower is chosen, I would be happy to share a PDF copy of my Spring Basket pattern - so please everyone, join in the fun!

 To enter the giveaway, leave a comment and let me know what you thought about the book review or the projects in the book -- just let me know whatever you like!

The Giveaway will remain open through March 12th and the randomly drawn winner will be announced on March 13th.
In summary, I couldn't be more pleased with Wendy Sheppard's new book  
Recreating Antique Quilts.

The designs (and variety of designs), patterns, instructions, diagrams, layout, colors - just everything about the book is beautifully done.

Here are a couple of helpful links:

You can order the book from Landauer Publishing by clicking here.  

You can order a signed copy of the book from Wendy Sheppard by clicking here:
You can also find the book on or ask your favorite Patchwork shop to order it in.

Thanks for stopping by today and have a blessed week!