Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition Expanded and Revised

Hello everyone and welcome to a book tour and review of Karen McTavish's latest release  "Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition ~ Expanded and Revised" ~ published June 2014 and available for purchase from

Photo Courtesy On-Word Bound Books
You all know that I absolutely love using McTavishing on my quilts -- especially as a background for wool applique.
If you're looking to learn Karen's beautiful signature technique to enhance your quilts, 
this is the book for you!

I received a "review" copy from the delightful Sara at On-Word Bound Books, and couldn't wait to dive into it.  

The book is 128 pages long and includes 2 DVD/Videos (2.5+ hours) with awesome, down to earth, McTavish instruction.

The fun part of this publication is that you receive both the 1st and 2nd Edition DVD/Videos for the price of one book!   If you already own the 1st Edition you'll be thrilled with the new content and teaching approach of the 2nd Edition.

One of the finest things about this book is the inclusion of more than 45 quilts from National and Award Winning quilters showcasing a more modern use of McTavishing on these types of quilts:

Art Quilts and Apparel
As Background Fillers
With Victorian Feathers

There are literally hundreds of full-color, beautifully photographed, McTavished pieces on the pages of the book.   Some were quilted by Karen McTavish...
Courtesy On-Word Bound Books Quilt Artist Jan McTavish - Quilted by Karen McTavish

And some were quilted by contributing quilters and modeled by Karen.  
I think it's awesome to see how other people interpret Karen's stitch.
Courtesy On-Word Bound Books... by Linda Alexander - Modeled by Karen McTavish
On the 2nd Edition DVD/Video, Karen shares a sampler of McTavishing designs that can be used for a more Modern look -- she explicitly shares these McTavishing variations:

Mini McTavishing (my favorite)
Curls and Swirls (my next to do!)
Clam Shell
Motorcycle Flames
Freehand Victorian Feathers (another favorite)

Also included in the DVDs, Karen and the contributing quilters cover McTavishing on Long-Arm machines, Domestic Machines AND via Hand Quilting...  Pretty Awesome!

While watching the videos, I jotted down a few things Karen shared that really hit home:

  • Match your thread to your background fabric
  • Use thin thread -- 50WT or finer - Karen uses silk and nylon (I'm a cotton girl myself ;)
  • Strive to have as few stops and starts as possible!  (Love this)
  • McTavishing is very forgiving -- you can backtrack, sneak around your quilt, and rework areas that need it without it being obvious. 
  • When necessary, picking (ripping) out McTavishing takes forever !!  (I can relate to that statement ;)
  • Think small, be relaxed and do the best you can!
  • There are no rules!!
Wait until you see how Karen Stops and Starts her quilting -- I just LOVE it....   (She does a video of her stops and starts on her Facebook page too-- click here for the video).

I think what I like the best about Karen McTavish is her style -- she has a flair of her own, one that can't be mimicked.   I really enjoy her simple, honest, and laid back approach to sharing McTavishing.  
Image Courtesy On-Word Bound Books - Karen McTavish
What you see is what you get.   

Thank you Karen McTavish.

After reading the book and watching the videos I couldn't wait to get stitching.  I work on a domestic sewing machine -- so I followed the first 10 steps in my "Do You FMQ" Tutorial (see it by clicking here).

I loaded up my #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread  {{*love*}}  with every intention of following the "New" Basic McTavishing instruction,  but found myself falling right into my favorite McTavishing stitches:  Mini McTavishing and Freehand Victorian Feathers. 

I guess I've established a McTavishMillering or McMillering style of my own.... I'll let you decide if you like it -- but I'll have to rework on a larger piece to get the feel for "The New Basic McTavishing".

I'm calling this my "McTavishMillering Milkbone" ha ha ha.  It's a 14" x 22" cut of Mini McTavishing and Freehand Victorian Feathers McTavish style.
I started with marking the feather spine (only) around the 14" x 22" muslin.   I used two layers of batting, one Hobbs Heirloom 100% Wool and another cheap medium loft poly.

Of course I always quilt with my favorite thread, Aurifil Mako Cotton 50 Wt (in the top and the bobbin).  I quilted this entire top on my Janome Horizon, using 3 full bobbins, and with NO BREAKS!!  That amazes me!!   I love #Aurifil thread.  
I stitched the inside feathers first, using Karen's freehand Victorian feather "bump back" technique (included in the DVD's), and then I stitched the outside of the feather.   NOTE TO SELF:  Next time leave a little more room around the perimeter of the sample for better control/grip as you stitch. 
I proceeded to McTavishMiller the inside of the feathers, taking care to only start and stop once.   (Well... except I had to change my bobbin twice :)
After that I started McTavishMillering the outside of the feathers and I didn't like it - I felt it needed a small border between the feathers and the McTavishing....  So I picked (aka ripped) out a 6 inch x 2 inch section...

OH MY... I can certainly tell you that you don't want to have to pick McTavishing -- especially Mini McTavishing.   Why, oh why, am I so fussy ??

I picked out the Mini McTavishing to the right side of the feathers below to add some echo stitching:
 Took me at least 2 hours.
So after the picking was done, I echo stitched the outside of the feathers twice and filled with Mini McTavishMillering...

In this picture my spines are still wet from removing the blue water soluble pen marks.  The Clover Eraser Pen that Karen uses on my wish list...  it seems to work like magic!
Generally I like the way it came out -- it was great practice and Karen's DVDs, guidance and encouragement helped bunches!!  On my to do list is to change the Milkbone to feathered hearts -- won't that look sweet ?   For those that don't know what a Milkbone is -- click here ;)
Also next time -- I will try to break my old habits and follow Karen's New Basic McTavishing instructions so the quilt will look like this !!  Isn't it just stunning ??   Love, love, love!!
Image Courtesy On-Word Bound Books

Now for the Giveaway -- Use the Rafflecopter below to gain up to 6 chances to win my copy of "Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition Expanded and Revised".

If you don't have a Facebook account -- no worries - simply use your name and email address to enter.  International entries are welcome!!    

The Raffelcopter will give you one mandatory (blog comment) and several optional ways to win -- try it out!

If the Raffelcopter widget doesn't load right away, refresh your screen and give it a minute -- sometimes it's fussy!!

The Giveaway is open until the end of day, Saturday, August 9th and the winner will be announced on Sunday, August 10th.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

PS.   You can see more of my McTavishing here, here, here, here, here, here, and in this Facebook Album.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial: Family Tree and Redbird Christmas Quilted Envelope Pillow

Greetings fellow quilters -- I hope you're enjoying some summer fun or sewing time. 

We're fortunate to have spent the last week with family at the lake.  A few more days before they all head for home, so we'll squeeze as much fun as possible out of our family time together. 

Thanks for your patience with my lack of sewing and blogging -- family fun is the best!

Oh, and those reviews and giveaways I mentioned here -- they're yet to come -- stay tuned.

This week I would like to feature a two pillow designs that share techniques but use unique applique templates. 

Both tutorials include a little bit of piecing, a little wool applique, the fantastic #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50wt Thread for beautiful Free Motion Quilting, and are just fun to make!!

First up is the Family Tree Quilted Envelope Pillow.
This was my first Moda Bake Shop recipe and was the result of my winning some "Family Tree" fabric scraps from the very talented Moda Designer, Deb Strain. 
One thing led to another, I submitted a design to the Moda Bake Shop, and they accepted!! 

Woot Woot!  That started the grand adventure that I am on today.  

I had at least one Quilt Angel providing guidance -- so if you ever have any questions about submitting a design to the Moda Bake Shop, please feel free to contact me so I too can give a helping hand.

You can see the original Moda Bake Shop Recipe for Family Tree by clicking here

You can see the Family Tree announcement on my blog by clicking here.  

As always -- thanks for your continued feedback on my tutorials -- I love to hear constructive feedback from you.

Next up is Redbird Christmas -- Redbird Christmas uses the same design and sewing tutorial as the Family Tree Pillow but features a different season and applique template. 
You can download the Redbird Christmas tree and bird template by clicking here. 

You can read my original blog announcement for Redbird Christmas by clicking here.

You can download the original Moda Bake Shop recipe by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy the featured Throwback Thursday Tutorials this week -- I would love to hear what you think.

I leave you with a picture of our family (missing only 3) that were with us at the lake this week... Lovely bunch of coconuts!!
Enjoy !

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial - Wool Applique Tips and Tricks and Free Design

Hi everyone -- and welcome to another Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial.

It's been a busy week here in the Finger Lakes, USA - the weather is perfect for lake fun!   Swimming, skiing, tubing and just having fun with our family - there is no better way to spend the summer.

A couple of other fun things going on this week -- first the Throwback Thursday featured tutorial "Wool Lovers Tips and Tricks" was written last year for the Wool Lovers Blog Hop.

This tutorial features Wool Applique Tip and Tricks and includes a free bookmark design for your personal use.  I hope you enjoy reviewing it.

You can see a complete list of my tutorials by clicking the "My Tutorials" tab on my blog header ;)

Next, my blogging friend Carole at
"From My Carolina Home" blog finished a beautiful pillow rendition of my "Spring Basket" pattern and is having a giveaway of Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors on her blog.

These serrated edge scissors work wonderfully on wool.   Hop on over to Carole's blog to see her lovely and creative work and be sure to enter the giveaway - it ends Thursday night, July 17th, so don't delay!!  
Image courtesy
If you're interested in purchasing the "Spring Basket" pattern, you can click on the link on my sidebar to jump to my Craftsy Pattern store.

Stay tuned early next week for my review of Karen McTavish's latest book -- I think a giveaway is in order on that post!!

Happy Quilting!

PS - If you're on Facebook be sure to follow Redbird Quilt Co .  Thank you!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial, A Good Deal, and UpComing Giveaways...

Summertime in the States... Sew much fun!!  Hope ya'll are enjoying summer vacation.   

For those of you outside of the states enjoying a different season -- good for you!  Here's to finding time to sew. 

We're having fun making memories with friends, family, and grandchildren at the lake.

We're very blessed to have all of our children nearby so they can spend time with us as their schedules allow.  Very thankful for our time with them.

I wanted to share this picture of me with our granddaughters, Emily (16) and Jenna (11).
This year was Jenna's 1st year swimming across the lake - about a 3/4 mile swim. 

We are so very proud of her!  

Grampa, mommy, and the rest of the cheering squad were in the boat spotting us and taking pictures.  We had fun!

I haven't had much time to sew or blog lately but I did do some late night updating of the "My Tutorials" page on my blog header recently.

Click on the image below (or on the My Tutorials tab above), check out the updated page, and please leave me some feedback letting me know what you think. 

If you like a tutorial, feel free to share it on your favorite social media by clicking one of the share icons immediately below the blog post.   This is what the share icons look like at the end of each post.

To be completely honest, I didn't know how to use these icons for the longest time. 

As it turns out, it's really easy to share via e-Mail, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google Plus.  Click one of them on this post and try it out.

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial:

For the next few weeks I'm going to feature one of my previously published tutorials for "Throwback Thursday". 

This week, in anticipation of an upcoming giveaway,  I've decided to share the Quilted Bird Envelope Pillow Tutorial that I wrote in July of 2013.  Click on the image below to review it.

I had a blast making the sweet pillows for my sister and her husband and I hope you enjoy the tutorial and other posts featuring the pillows.

A Good Deal:

As most of you know I am sold on #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread.  I use it for piecing, hand applique, and free motion quilting on my domestic machine.   I came across the best deal this week and wanted to tell you about it.

Our friends over at Green Fairy Quilts, Judy and Clint Madsen,  recently started selling Aurifil Thread.  If you're not familiar with Green Fairy Quilts you need to check out Judy's blog -- she creates beautiful quilt designs and works Free Motion Quilting miracles with her long arm machine. 

Judy is also the Author of "Quilting Wide Open Spaces".

Now back to the thread -- Green Fairy Quilts is carrying Aurifil 12wt, 28wt, 40wt, and 50wt Mako Cotton, AND they are also carrying the 12Wt Lana Wool and 6 strand floss!  WOW....

The best part of this is that the entire stock of #Aurifil threads are on sale NOW!!  

I'm so excited because I got ordered two different collections of 12wt Cotton Embroidery threads for an unbeatable price.  Can't wait to stitch some wool with it.

Anyhow - if you're in the market for a collection of Aurifil threads, jump over and get busy.  When you buy a 12 spool collection at the sale price, each spool is less than $8.00 with FREE SHIPPING.  

No kickbacks for me -- just a good thread deal and I wanted to share it. 

Click on the image below to see the awesome collections AND fantastic prices at Green Fairy Quilts.


Upcoming Giveaways:   

Some more good news... I've found several excuses to give "stuff" away soon -- so keep an ear to the Blog, Facebook page, and/or Twitter account for your chance to win.

The wonderful folks at On Word Bound Books have provided me with a Review Copy of Karen McTavish's new book: "Mastering the Art of McTavishing - 2nd Edition Expanded and Revised " -- That's all I'm saying for now....  hint, hint.  

You know I love McTavishing -- I used it on this little piece:

I'm really excited to review Karen's new book!

More giveaways ?  I won a Fat Quarter Bundle of beautiful Benartex fabric earlier this year and it needs a home... wink, wink.

Who knows what else might crop up in the coming weeks....

One thing I can tell you is that Commenting or using the Share Icons on the "My Tutorials" OR the Featured Tutorial for the week will increase your odds of winning.

Be sure to follow me here on the blog using the "Follow" buttons to the right
Follow Redbird Quilt Co on Facebook
Follow Redbird Quilt Co on Twitter 

So you don't miss out on any of the giveaways!!

Have a wonderful weekend all,