Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome Redbird Quilt Co. Lets Celebrate with a MONTH of Giveaways!!

Hi everyone -- thanks for visiting today!

I'm so excited to announce and celebrate the creation of my new design, pattern, and quilting company "Redbird Quilt Co." 

Yep, this little business is getting off the ground and for the next month we're going to celebrate this and some other fun milestones with weekly giveaways!!   Woohoo! 

I have some awesome and generous giveaway sponsors lined up including Aurifil, Sew It Is Quilt Shop and Bear Creek Quilting Company just to name a few!! 

This week lets talk about milestones and the creation of Redbird Quilt Co!!

I've been sewing since I was in high school but only began the quilting journey a few years ago when my sister Janet invited me to join her in a LQS block of the month.  Well -- the completion of that BOM, along with many hours of guidance and love from my sister Janet -- and I was hooked on quilting!!

Now, 6+ years later, I've learned the joys of free motion quilting, needle turn and wool applique, lots and lots of fun quilting skills, and I've started designing my own patterns!!  

About 2 years ago I started blogging and what a world of adventure and opportunity that has opened up -- learning from the most talented and giving quilting community on earth!!   I'm so very thankful for blogging -- it's allowed me to get exposed to and write Recipes for the Moda Bake Shop AND to just share my love of quilting with others -- not to mention the bazillions of things I've learned from all the talented quilting bloggers out there -- Thank you all for embracing me and encouraging me to move forward...

 Here are some blogging milestones to celebrate!! 
  • Published more than 100 posts
  • Exceeded more than 650 followers (and I appreciate each and every one of you!!  Thank you! Thank you!)
  • Have had nearly 70,000 views on my blog -- how exciting!!
So, hey -- what do you say we get around to this week's giveaway. 

Aurifil has generously provided a set of Aurifil Botanics threads for me to give to one lucky reader!!

The Thread pack contains 10 - 220 yard spools of 50wt 100% cotton thread in some bright and cheery colors.  You can read more about the talented Carolyn Friedlander and her Botanics line on Aurifil's blog by clicking here.    
If you've never tried Aurifil thread it's really a MUST DO step in your quilting journey.  As many of you know, I quilt very densely on most of my projects and I just LOVE Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread!!

For quilting I use it in the top and bobbin thread.  It glides on like silk, doesn't break, shred, or leave piles of lint behind.... and you can do very dense quilting without unsightly thread buildup.  It is my GO TO thread for quilting!!

For piecing, the fine cotton fibers allow for nearly invisible and totally flat seams.  It's just a joy to work with.

Ok onto the fun part - - here's the scoop.

You have several ways to gain chances to win this Thead Pack of Aurifil Botanics -- choose as many or as few as you like!!
  1. One chance if you're a follower (old or new) of my blog -- leave a comment letting me know.
  2. One chance if you are an AURIbuzz blog follower (old or new)  - leave a comment on this post letting me know.
  3. One chance if you "Like" Redbird Quilt Co. on Facebook - be sure to come back to this post and let me know!
  4. One chance if you "Like" Aurifil on Facebook -- oh what scrumptious projects they post each day -- be sure to come back to this post and let me know...
  5. One chance for "Following" Redbird Quilt Co. on Twitter  "@RedbirdQuiltCo" be sure to come back to this post and let me know.
  6. One chance for "Following" Redbird Quilt Co. on Pinterest!!  Woohoo!!  
  7. Oh -- and if you give a shout-out about the giveaway on your blog or any other social media avenue -- take another chance for that !   
Be sure to leave individual comments below for each chance you decide to use!!

This giveaway will be open for one week -- so sometime on Monday, April 7th I'll use Mr. Random Generator and announce a winner!!

One more thing -- check back each Monday for the next several weeks as we celebrate some other new and exciting milestones -- new giveaways will be announced each Monday through the end of April!!

Many thanks to my husband, both of my sisters, and a couple of dear close friends (you know who you are!!)  for always encouraging me to follow my dreams - love you all!

Lets party!
Have a wonderful week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Finish: Wren in Spring Wool Applique

Greetings!  I'm happy to report that the 7" x 7" mini quilt is quilted, labeled, and delivered to the Council of the Arts for their upcoming fundraiser.   You can read more about the mini art challenge here.  I used Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread Color #2000 to free motion quilt the background.   Have I mentioned how much I *love* Aurifil thread ?  Swoon!!
I wanted to share a few steps of the process. 

Once I completed the bird and flower stitching, I made a paper template to determine where I should make the 8" cut for a no binding finish.   The paper template allows you to "fussy cut" the quilt front. 

The inside border frame represents the desired 7" finished block size.  The outside frame is 8" wide and high.  I planned the 8" square to allow for a wider seam allowance (1/3" seam vs 1/4").  I also accounted for a little shrinkage from quilting.
After marking the outer corners of the frame I used a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out the 8" x 8" piece.  I then cut backing and batting pieces 8" square.  I used one layer of Hobbs Wool batting and one layer of Warm and Natural Cotton batting.  When you densely quilt these two different bats your quilt has both loft and stability - perfect for a little wall hanging.  I decided to NOT bind this quilt -- I wanted a quick finish ;)

Once all the layers were cut the same size, I placed the top and backing right sides together and placed the two layers of batting under them.  Below you can see the back of the top pinned to the other 3 layers.  Ready to stitch.
I stitched about 1/3" seam allowance around the outside of the quilt leaving less than a 2 inch opening to turn right side out.  I then trimmed the seam to less than a 1/4 inch (to reduce bulk).  I also trimmed the corners before turning right side out. I hand stitched the opening closed and "big stitch" quilted around the perimeter about 1/4 inch from the edge.   In hindsight, I should have done the border big stitch after the Free Motion quilting was done - the Quilting foot tugged on the threads and pulled them a little wonky :(
I loaded Aurifil Mako Cotton 50wt thread in color #2000 onto my domestic and slowly free motion quilted around the stems, flowers and bird as close to them as I could without stitching the wool.

That echo/outline stitch stabilizes the fabric (although not necessary on a 7x7 square ;).   I then slowly stitched a McTavish type filler in the negative space. (See Wendy Sheppard's nifty little S's here).  I really love that I can densely quilt a piece and not have a nasty thread buildup when using 50wt Aurifil thread.  If you haven't tried it you really should!
Quilting all done -- label and hanging sleeve added - - and ta-daa!!   All ready to be delivered to the Council of the Arts!   You can see my Computer Printed Quilt Label tutorial here.
Before it was delivered "downtown" I snapped this picture on the road not far from home. 
Thanks for stopping by everyone -- have a wonderful weekend and stay tuned for some fun next week. 

I'm linking up to some great parties - check out my sidebar and hop around for some Quilty Fun.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Windy Wednesday Share

Hello everyone!    A quick and simple share for this Windy Wednesday.

I'm stitching away a 7" x 7" mini quilt to be donated to our local Council on the Arts for their 2nd annual "Artfully Squared" event.  The council collects and display hundreds of 7" x 7" pieces of art from local artists.  The work is on display for the month of April and each piece is available to purchase for $20.  All proceeds benefit the Arts Council.  It's a great event and I'm excited to participate this year -- just need to add some quilting to this "little" guy...

One very exciting thing to note on this stitchery is the THREAD!!  ... Thanks to the lovely bunch of coconuts {wink} at Aurifil Threads I had my hand at using their 28wt thread to stitch the bird and the stems.  Oh what a JOY!!..  

I used a double strand of Aurifil Mako Cotton 28Wt to blanket stitch the wren and stems by hand and I enjoyed every stitch of it.  The thread glides through fabric and wool just beautifully.   Insert Happy Dance here!! 

I have other Aurifil products to try including their Lana Wool and Mako Cotton 12Wt - keep an eye out for my feedback/review on those threads ;)
Be sure to stay tuned because in that shipment of Aurifil threads and flosses Aurifil gifted several items for YOU!   Lots of things to celebrate and what better way than a Giveaway (or two or three)!!   Here is a sneaky peek!!
See you next week with the start-up of some fun celebrations and giveaways!

Linking to bunches of parties today -- if you have a need for inspiration -- just hop around and see who's linking what -- ALWAYS a tremendous amount of beautiful projects and tutorials to view!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Archives with Val's Quilting Studio

Morning everyone!  Top of the day to you?
...or maybe you had one too many green beers yesterday? {wink, wink}

I'm joining in the fun with Val at Val's Quilting Studio today where she hosts two different linky parties to share your old quilting posts.

Themes in Val's linky party this week are "Animals" and "Awards".

I've never really posted about them but I did receive awards once for two of my favorite quilts.
Both ribbons were awarded at a local Quilt Show hosted by the "Common Threads Quilt Guild" in upstate NY.   It was actually the first time I'd ever entered anything into a show - I was very honored to win these ribbons!!

Even more exciting was at the same quilt show my granddaughter Emily won 1st place in the Juvenile Category for her first ever quilt!!.  Now that is something to crow about! 

Below is a wool on wool applique quilt, "Folk Art Melody" by Lori Smith - and it took 1st place in the "1st Time Entrant" category.  I've done a little more quilting on the blocks since I took this picture -- there is a 1/4 inch echo quilt on all the blocks now -- it added a nice border effect to each block - sorry I don't have a good picture to share.
 A close up of one of the blocks - I designed the bird on this one -- can you tell ??
You can read and see more pictures about Folk Art Melody here and here.

The other ribbon was 1st Place "Applique Wall Hanging - Machine Quilted" and that was for "Flower Basket" - Pattern by Wooden Spool Designs.

A close up of my favorite block:
You can read/see more about my "Flower Basket" here and here.

Last but not least is my granddaughter Emily -- she had just turned 15 when she won this award, she was 13 when we bought her the fabric and 14 when it was completed.  She won 1st place in the "Juvenile" category.  We are so very proud of her!
You can read more about Emily's quilt here:

Well thanks for stopping by today and be sure to jump over to Val's Linky Party to see a bunch of neat Award quilts.  Thanks for the fun Val!

Val's Quilting Studio

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Printed Quilt Label Tutorial *Updated

Greetings !  I've a new tutorial to share with you on this National/Worldwide Quilt Weekend....
But first....
  Many thanks to the gracious ladies of the New Quilters on the Block Guild in Candor, NY for hosting my "Show and Tell" this weekend!    This lovely and talented group of women meet twice a month to share their love of sewing with one another.  They have semi-annual retreats, regular classes, and you can tell they all love to sew.  Lots of smiles, yummy snacks, and plenty of eye candy at this very relaxed meeting.  It was a special time -- Thank you ladies for inviting me to share my love of quilting with you!  I had a fantastic time.

Inquiring minds want to know...  Do you struggle with getting labels on your newly completed quilts?   I sure do... I write one by hand, grumble because my handwriting is sloppy and/or the pen ink smeared, my lines weren't straight, there wasn't enough room for all the details... YOU name it and I have an excuse for the delay of the label.

So a few months ago I decided "No more excuses" for not labeling a quilt. A computer generated label allows me to get the job done quickly and easily (and it looks neat and tidy). 

Here are the steps:
  • Design a label on a computer program that you are familiar with.  I use MS Office "Word" to prepare my labels.  In the example below I prepared 3 labels for a single run.
  • Use an 8.5" x 11" sheet of freezer paper (if you don't have a sheet cut an 8.5 x 11 sheet from freezer paper in your kitchen drawer).
  • Use a 5" x 11" piece of muslin (or whatever width works for your specific label).
  • Place the muslin on your ironing board (if there is a right and a wrong side to your fabric, place the right side down).
  • Place the shiny side of the freezer paper squarely on top of the muslin (on the wrong side of the muslin).
  • Using a DRY iron, press the freezer paper to the muslin -- the shiny side of the freezer paper will stick to the muslin (and slightly to your ironing board too -- don't worry it peels right off).
  • Now, place the prepared freezer paper/muslin combo in your INK JET printer and Print the label as you would print it on a piece of paper.  Be sure to run it through the printer so the muslin side is printed.   I normally run a plain piece of paper through first, to be sure that the positioning will work on the muslin run.
  • Once you run the freezer paper/muslin through the printer let it sit for a couple of minutes while the ink dries.   
  • Once the ink is dry, peel the muslin from the freezer paper.  
  • (Be sure to save the freezer paper for another set of labels (it is re-usable)).
  • Now, to set the ink, use a steam iron and press the printed muslin label(s).
*** Note:  If you are going to be applying this label to an everyday quilt (one that will be washed and dried often), I would recommend these extra steps to set the ink even more... ;)
  • Soak the printed muslin in a bath of White Vinegar.   Give it 5 - 10 minutes in a shallow layer of vinegar - laying flat in a baking dish
  • Remove the printed muslin and rinse in cold water (this removes the vinegar and its smell)
  • Allow it to dry 
    • Allow to dry flat - OR - 
    • Throw it in a hot clothes dryer - OR - 
    • Dry with a hair dryer - OR - 
    • Press with a DRY iron.
  •  OK -- now you're ready to square up your labels.  Leave 1/2 inch or more of "white" space around the entire perimeter of the label.
  •  Next turn appx 1/2 inch of all 4 corners toward the center of the label and press with steam
  • Once all 4 corners are turned, pick two opposing sides and fold them toward the center so the raw edge is flush with the edge of the turned corner (see next two pictures).
  •  Don't steam your fingers ;)
  • Now flip the label, pin it to the back of your quilt, and stitch in place with your favorite Aurifil thread.   
  • I find that Aurifil Mako 50Wt Cotton thread in color #2000 works perfectly with muslin fabric -- and, as you know, it glides through your needle and fabric with ease!  Love that thread.
Many of you know that I try to avoid glue and glue based products, so, although you can fuse or glue this down... I jut pin it and stitch it ;)

Well that's all for tonight - lots of other fun stuff to share with you soon -- I always appreciate your feedback and thoughtful comments.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Happy Sunday!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quilting the Garden - Summer Cottage Progress

I wanted to share a bit more progress on the Quilting the Garden "Summer Cottage" block.

If you're just tuning in, you can see more of my "Quilting the Garden" by Blackbird Designs needle turn applique blocks here, here and here.

Also, if you're new to needle turn applique, please visit my "Teardrops of Love - a needle turn applique tutorial" on my blog header or sidebar.  Teardrops of Love is a multi-part needle turn applique tutorial - you'll learn about tools, prep, turning inside and outside points and much more!!

Here is where I left off last post:
Since then the fascia has been traced on freezer paper (Love that Chelsea Boutique fabric).
Cut out, marked with a Sew Line pencil and scored with a Hera Marker:
Layered over the house and roof -- aligning with the use of an overlay as shown below:
And stitched!
Door, windows and window box fabric outlined:
Door attached and windows positioned:
Struggling with pin holes in the fabric?   Notice the holes in the circles below...
Just dab the pin hole with a bit of water (using a Q-tip or your finger) and rub gently while damp.
Let dry and taa-dah !   Pin holes are gone!
Chimney next (bottom of windows are raw to attach window boxes):
Window boxes next -- still not sure I like the way these look -- reserving judgement until the remainder of the block is done - what do you think ?
The final picture for tonight.  I am excited about making progress on this block - it's fun.
If you have any questions about the process, please leave me a comment or email me directly.  I would be happy to help if I can.

Linking up to a bunch of fun parties - check them out in my sidebar!
Have a good week all.