Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday - Winter Apple

What an awesome few days it's been since my Family Tree Quilted Pillow was published on the Moda Bake Shop -- I really couldn't be more honored!

It's so much fun to see how quilters react, what they like, what catches their eye, and what is meaningful to them.  I want to thank everyone for your "Oh so kind" comments!  Thank you, thank you !

I'm replying to comments via email, so if you haven't received a reply from me you may be a "no-reply" blogger :(  Click here to learn more about no-reply settings.  Also, please send me your email address so I can write back AND be sure you're entered into the giveaway for the awesome Family Tree fabric!   Thank you.  ** Sunday, November 3rd 11:50pm, the giveaway is now closed and a winner will be announced Monday November 4th - thanks to everyone who entered and left such wonderful feedback **

Now back to Work in Progress Wednesday -- do you remember this little gem?
"Winter Apple" by BlackBird Designs...   Read more about Winter Apple here.
Winter Apple Stitching Last Pomegranate - 8/30/13
I started this Needle Turn applique a v-e-r-y long time ago and was thrilled when I finished the flimsy mid-September.

It's been laying around on a spare bed, layered with Hobbs Heirloom Premium Wool Batting and a pretty little Primitive Gatherings backing for more than a month now.  I guess I was a little busy with a fun tutorial ; )

Winter Apple Flimsy -  9/18/13
I'm happy to report that I found about 8 hours this past weekend and was successful in basting and quilting the Winter Apple background.  Woohoo !!

Sure hope ya'll aren't getting bored with Karen Miller's "McTavishing"; it had been my plan all along to McTavish this little piece.   I'm pretty happy with how it is turning out. 

I started in typical Free Motion Style with my darning foot on, feed dogs dropped and a Queen Supreme Slider on bed of my machine. I stitched in the ditch around the outside all of the applique before doing any background quilting.

Stitching the applique ditch 10/27/13
 I regret to say that I did NOT use Aurifil thread on this piece and I'm kicking myself for that. It's hard to see in these shots but the quilting thread I used was just too heavy and didn't lay down as nice as the Aurifil.
A Lesson Learned and Noted...

More to do: You can see that I've yet to do any stitching on the applique -- It hurts to think about... I'm having a hard time bringing myself to stitch on it -- I will, one day soon, stitch in the ditch of the inside applique layers and then stitch an inside echo stitch on the applique as well.  That's my plan !  (Convincing myself).  Thanks Debbie and Bonnie for sending pictures of your completed Winter Apples.

Before I do anything else though -- I guess I should fix this little boo-boo. 

Ooops...  better get the ripper out!
 More lessons learned:   Take your time, check your backing fabric, and don't stitch after 11pm ;)

I hope you enjoyed my progress today -- I'm still having fun !!

Linking up to some great Work In Progress Linky Parties -- you can check them out on my sidebar!  Click around to see some beautiful creations in progress.

Have a wonderful day! 


Monday, October 28, 2013

My Family Tree Pillow Recipe on the Moda Bake Shop !!

Will someone pinch me?   Really!   I am so happy I can hardly contain myself....

I'm honored to share a tutorial for the Family Tree Quilted Pillow on the Moda Bake Shop today! 

Having trouble viewing the Family Tree Pillow recipe or downloading the PDF ?   Get the PDF download here.   

Do you remember this post?  I won a box of scraps of Family Tree by Deb Strain (for Moda) fabric.  I was very excited and immediately fell in love with the birds, paisley, and the colorways of Family Tree.

On that post I shared a design for a pillow....  and started thinking about publishing on the Moda Bake Shop.   I reached out for guidance from someone who had previously published on the Bake Shop (thank you Casey York), prepared a proposal, and it was accepted!!

Happy Dance!!

To view the recipe jump on over to the Moda Bake Shop

Having trouble viewing the Family Tree Pillow recipe or downloading the PDF ?   Get the PDF download here.  

But before you go, let's Celebrate my First Moda Bake Shop recipe with a Giveaway!

** Sunday, November 3rd 11:50pm -- The Original Family Tree Giveaway is now closed -- the winner was announced Monday November 4th.  Thanks to everyone that entered and left such wonderful feedback! ** 

** Thursday, November 7th -- A new giveaway is now underway -- click here to enter. **

I have plenty of Family Tree scraps and Jelly Roll strips that I would LOVE to share with one lucky reader.

To enter leave a Comment below describing what you like most about the pillow.

For extra chances to win... Become a follower, share on your Blog, Facebook, or Pinterest and leave a comment here for each one you do -- that's a total of 4 more chances to win.  

I'll use Mr. Random Number Generator to choose a winner on Sunday, November 3rd.

Good luck everyone!!

Oh, by the way, you can find a great deal on the Family Tree Jelly Roll at Sew It Is

Now for a few "outtake" pictures...

Stitching the bird to the background
The backside of the bird
Everyone agreed - this wing is too light - it's gotta go!
Auditioning a new wing - it's perfect!
Off with the old...
On with the new!
Stuffed Pillow
Stuffed Pillow back
Special thanks to my husband Cliff, my sisters Janet and Michele, and my friends Debbie, Bonnie and Cindy for always encouraging me to follow my heart.   It's sew much fun!

Thanks for stopping by today and have a wonderful day!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Quilted Bird Pillows

Oh boy, Oh boy !  We can place two entries in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  So for the fun of it I thought I would share the "Quilted Bird Pillows" that I made for my sister and her DH for their 10th Wedding Anniversary this summer.

11/1 Update:  Voting is open -- you can see all the Home Machine Quilted entries here:  and vote for your favorite by clicking the heart in the upper right hand corner of the image.


Before I begin, Special Thanks to Amy at Amy's Creative Side, for hosting the semi-annual event.  What a great way for the online community to share their creations and find inspiration!  If you haven't done so you must jump over and check out the linked up talent.  It's amazing.  Thanks so much Amy!!

Meet "Nest" by Valorie Wells for Free Spirit!

When my sister saw these panels she fell in love with them -- and commented at how beautiful they would look in her living room.   How is that for a "hint".   I purchased them because of the birds and I really wanted to quilt them but I had no idea where to begin (or who's house they would go in).

Once I knew she wanted them I started by choosing thread colors:  Doesn't that Aurifil thread match perfectly ?  The panels are layered with Hobbs Poly and an inexpensive muslin fabric (it won't show once you've made the envelope back).

Panels off the bolt -- choosing thread color
 The next step seemed logical - with a neutral color, stitch around the beautifully printed birds and flowers.

 Oh my, I'm loving how these look!

At this point I was stuck -- where to go from here?  I considered stopping but was fearful that the pretty yellow fabric would get snagged, dirty or torn over the years, especially in the living room.   So I took a chance and emailed one of my favorite Free Motion Quilting Mentors, Wendy Sheppard. Check out Wendy's fantastic blog here: Ivory Spring and her free motion Thread Talk here.

It's my lucky day... Wendy writes and suggests a McTavishing approach to finish the pillows!  Really?  But...I've never done that!  Now the panic sets in.   Deep breaths... OK, following my own advice I jump over to Wendy's Thread Talk, find Wendy's Nifty Little S's tutorial.  I practice on paper and on sample fabric before I give it a try.

Here is the first panel after quilting (I used Aurifil Mako 50/2 for the FMQ).

And another view:

Here is the bluebird:
Oh my gosh at this time I was turning cartwheels!! What is apparent is that McTavishing is VERY forgiving.  This was the first time I had tried it, talk about inspiration.

Here are a few more pictures of the completed pillows:


My sister and I were both thrilled with the pillows!  I must say that if you're just learning to Free Motion Quilt choosing panels to "cut your threads" on is a great idea.  They allow you to practice without fear of hurting a pieced quilt AND you'll have something to use when you're finished.  I hope you give it a whirl!

If you would like to read the original tutorial and make an envelope pillow like these, the tutorial is found here or by clicking on the image below:

Oh, the details:

Entry Name:  Quilted Bird Pillows
Category: Home Machine Quilted Quilts
Creator: Karen Miller
Size: 10 x 14
Fabric: Nest by Valori Wells for Free Spirit
Thread: Aurifil Mako 50/2 
Machine: Quilted on my home Janome Horizon

For more pillow fun -- check out my Family Tree Quilted Envelope Pillows featured here and on the Moda Bake Shop!

Thanks again for stopping by!

Linking up to Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventure (3/2014) where she is hosting an awesome McTavishing Series

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Penny Garland Revised

Hi everyone!   I'm excited to be a first time participant in the "Blogger's Quilt Festival".

Many thanks to Amy at Amy's Creative Side for organizing this semi-annual event.  The festival is a place to share your creations with the blogging community.  There are some awesome inspirational posts out there so please jump over to Amy's site and scroll through the multiple categories of quilt related posts!!  

11/1 Update:  Voting is open -- you can see all the Applique Quilt entries here and vote for your favorite by clicking the heart in the upper right hand corner of the image. 


In the "Favorite Applique Quilt" category I want to share "Penny Garland Revised".    Penny Garland Revised is a wool / cotton hand stitched applique piece that was quilted on my domestic sewing machine.  The batting is Hobbs Tuscany Wool.

The original "Penny Garland" was designed and taught by Kim Diehl at a not so LQS.   I had the opportunity to attend this class with my friends Debbie and Bonnie -- we had so much fun!

Kim shared her wool applique techniques and the pattern for Penny Garland.

Holding true to form, I revised the layout of "Penny Garland" and I did not fuse the wool to the cotton.    I'm not one to use glue or fuse if I can avoid it.

A Clover bias tape maker was used to create the cotton fabric stem.  It was hand stitched down with an invisible applique stitch.

Each outside penny has two layers and is hand stitched with Valdani Pearl Cotton thread using an Overhand or Whip Stitch.  If there is any threat of the wool fraying, then a Blanket Stitch is perfect to use too.

Here is a picture of the back side of the applique - showing the Overhand / Whip Stitch.

The FUN part of taking a wool applique class with friends is that you can mix and match your wools!  Allows for a great scrappy look.

Most of the wools were hand dyed, and were purchased from a Local Shop, Liberty Cottage in Canandaigua, NY.  Sue has such beautiful wools -- it's heaven to visit her shop.

I love Valdani thread for wool applique.

Quilting this piece was fun too!   I've taken online quilting courses and scoured the blogs of Wendy Sheppard, Angela Walters and Leah Day amongst others.  Check out the wealth of information these ladies share.

An inside lighting view of Penny Garland Revised:

A view of the back - love to see the quilting from the backside!
Penny Garland Revised Quilt Back

Mr. Redbird enjoying a fall day by the lake on Penny Garland Revised.

If you would like to see more of my Wool Applique click here!

Oops I was suppose to include:

Title: Penny Garland Revised
Made by:  Karen Miller
Size: 29" x 29"
Division: Applique Quilt
Inspired by: Kim Diehl's Penny Garland

Thanks again for stopping by and have a wonderful day,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Busy Busy!

Can't share yet but I'm having fun!

Happy Wednesday!

Oh, and I have a Recent sunset to share with you...  Happy Fall!


P.S.  Linking up to some great parties... Check them out on my sidebar and you'll find some awesome work!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wool Lovers Tips, Tricks, and a Winner!

Hello everyone - I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  As promised today I will announce the winner of the Wool Lovers Blog Hop Giveaway!

Thanks again to all those that visited, offered the most gracious comments, and decided to follow my blog!  Your kind words are very much appreciated and it's exciting to read so much positive feedback for wool.

Several of you asked basic questions about working with wool.  Using this cute little wall hanging (appx 9" x 3") that I designed and made for a friend, I would like to share a few wool applique basics.  Feel free to duplicate this pattern for your personal use or a gift if you like -- it is FUN to make and can be done in a range of colors!

 Wool RULES!
  1. When you first start out:
    • Choose a small project
    • Acquire wool at your local 2nd hand shop.  Look for 100% wool sweaters, coats, scarves, hats and other wool items.
    • Don't worry about stitch perfection -- wool is often used in primitive projects -- and perfection is not the goal -- it's hand made!
    • My favorite thread for wool applique is Aurifil 12wt/2ply in either cotton or wool.  No 12wt on hand, 2 strands of Aurifil 28wt works wonderfully too.  Use a Bohin Crewel/Embroidery Needle Size 5 or a Clover Gold Eye Chenille Needle (No 22).
  2. To felt (or "full") your 2nd hand wool pieces, wash in hot water and dry on high heat.
  3. Once woven wool is felted/fulled properly it should cut without fraying - making wool quick and easy to applique.  No need to turn the edge under and you can get by without using glue or fusible products.
  4. To cut a design out of wool -- use freezer paper!
    • Trace your design or template onto the dull (paper) side of your freezer paper (no need to reverse the design)
    • Cut the freezer paper template out, adding no more than a 1/4 inch allowance around the outside of the traced design. 
    • Iron the freezer paper onto the right side of your felted wool (use a medium heat dry iron).  
    • Cut through the wool and the freezer paper along the traced design.
    • Peel the freezer paper away from the wool.
  5. To attach your newly cut wool piece to the background (cotton, wool, flannel or any other type of background), try a wool felting needle (thanks Doreen and Janet).  This will hold the wool piece in place while you blanket or overhand stitch the wool to the background.   You may choose to glue it in place -- but personally I try to avoid using glue or fusible products on my wool projects.
  6. Ready to stitch ?  I flip flop between an overhand stitch and a blanket stitch.  If the wool edge is showing any signs of fraying I will opt to use a blanket stitch, as it reduces the chance that the wool will continue to fray.  Otherwise, a simple overhand stitch will work.    
  7. If you are layering wool pieces (like the flower below), consider layering it from the top piece down before attaching the layered piece

    to the background -- then you won't have to stitch through layers and layers of wool.  Once all the layers are placed, stitch it to the background fabric.
  8. More on stitches -- because the edge of wool shouldn't fray -- consider attaching some of your wool pieces with a decorative stitch -- avoiding any stitch along the outside edge.  See the berries? It's OK!
  9. Even more on stitches -- Thread -- I use a variety of threads when I am stitching and choose a color that best compliments my wool.  Some choices are:  Aurifil Mako 12Wt Cotton, Aurifil 12wt Lana Wool, a few strands of Aurifil Cotton Floss or 2 strands of Aurifil 28Wt Cotton. As you become more experienced with wool applique you will invest in more colors and more high quality threads like #Aurifil or #Valdani Perle Cotton in Size 8 or 1.
  10. Wool does not always need a center batting - think about how it will be used.  If you want a warm snugly piece add batting.  For a wall hanging or a small gift, batting may not be required.  Also consider the quilting method you are going to use.  Batting will certainly add to the dimension of your piece as well as the thickness that needs to fit under your machine.
For more of my Wool Applique Tips, Tricks and Tutorials visit these links:

Do these tips help ?

Would you like a more detailed tutorial for this project ?

Leave me a comment letting me know.

Now, onto the WINNER !!   As of 9:30pm there were 105 comments on the original post!  Woohoo!

Using Mr. Random Number Generator with a range of 1 to 105...  Lucky 16 is the winner!!

Counting 16 comments down from the top (where the 1st person to comment on the post was #1):

Congratulations "Wendy B" !  You've won wool roving to make for Mr. Redbird along with 5 swatches of fall wool pieces.   Please send me your mailing information and I'll get your package shipped out right away!

I hope you've all enjoyed today's post -- special thanks to my friend and mentor Debbie Wick for teaching me to work with wool.

Keep an eye out on the Winter issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects Magazine -- Debbie's "Pomegranate Holiday" Wool/Cotton table mat is featured !  It is just beautiful!  If you have access to Facebook you can see it here!   Congratulations Debbie!

Have a wonderful week all -- I'll be back later this week with some exciting news!