Finally Back to Normal

February 4th, 2017

fall2

Whew!  This has been a long and highly stressful past few months.  Much of it was spent out of town caring for ill parents, and a fair amount of it was spent feeling crappy with respiratory tract infections from being so tired and sleep deprived.  We are finally back home and both our moms are doing well, so we can breathe a sigh of relief.  Yesterday was the first time I’ve free motion quilted since mid-November, (if you’ve taken a class with me in this time, I’m not counting classes) and it felt so good to be back at my sewing machine once again.  I am hoping to spend a lot of time in my sewing room over the next couple of months!  If you’ve emailed me and haven’t heard back, it’s because  my life has been on hold while caring for out-of-town family.  I am way behind on every part of my life and it will take me awhile to get caught up, but I’m making progress.

 

I have a few photos of things I worked on last November just before my life took a tumble.  One was a Christmas-themed table runner I made:

CM_5

The “framework” for the quilting was all done as ruler work.  This part went very quickly and this next shot shows one of the reasons why.  If you are a lazy quilter like me, ruler work enables you to get by with minimal marking.  You can see this in the photo below.  Those temporary blue dots are the starting and stopping points for the curves that I wanted to create using rulers.  That long straight blue line is simply the “midpoint” line that keeps me on target for using that as my midpoint:

CM1

Here’s another after I was a bit further along:

 

CM3

Notice that many spaces are simply filled with small featherettes.  If you go into the design with the goal if completely filling the area with a featherette, you end up with symmetric-appearing featherettes, even thogh they aren’t truly symmetric.  Here’s a closeup shot of a center section:

 

x7

Do you have a little sense of deja-vu when you see this table runner?

 

CMtable-shot

If so, it’s because I made another table runner using this same pattern earlier last fall.  Here’s a shot of it:

 

swirly-floral-table-runner

Both are quilted using ruler work and featherettes, but the quilting on each one is different:

 

blk-trn4

 

blktrn2

I call it the Swirly Floral Quartet Table Runner and it’s made using machine embroidery applique.  The CD for it is now available by clicking here . If you don’t want the whole CD, the downloadable version is available by clicking here.

All Over the Place

November 14th, 2016
thread-mound
I caved and indulged myself in the thread sale at BFC stash.  I don’t need any more thread but these spools were an incredible deal and I’ve been happy with their trilobal polyester thread for both quilting and embroidery.  I’ve also been running through thread as I’ve had my hands in all kinds of quilty projects over the last few days.  I started making a Christmas-y version of the serpentine floral table runner I designed recently:
 
christmas-in-progress
I also went back in and added small featherettes between my border motifs on my Kissed by a Butterfly Quilt.  I stitched these in a different thread color than the border design, one that is closer to the background fabric color so it’s not as noticeable:
 
KBB-altered
 
I did this because a judge commented that the un-quilted areas looked “too blank.”  Here’s the before shot:
 
KBB-before
 
 
 
I’d honestly thought about doing this when I first made the quilt, but then decided it didn’t need it.  Have to say that I like it better now.  Here’s the after shot:
 
KBB-after
 
I also started a Christmas version of my recent black quilted tablerunner.  Here’s the center green block:
 
Xmas-grn
 
…and here’s what one of the red blocks looks like:
 
xmas-red
 
Ern has been busy making all kinds of ruler holders for quilters:
 
CB1
He makes them in different types of wood and different inlay designs:
 
CB2
 
He also makes gorgeous thread racks.  I have a different thread rack next to each of my embroidery machines and use them all the time:
 
CB3
He even makes really beautiful ice cream scoops like these:
 
ice cream scoops
 
If you’ve been thinking about one of these as a Christmas gift, now is the time to place your order as he makes these to your specifications.  You can find them in our online store by clicking here for ruler holders and here for thread racks.  He’s also been making lots of seam rippers, stilettos, and keychain screwdriver/stilettos:
 
key-chain-set-assembled-1
 
The shot above shows a couple of keychain screwdrive/stilettos in their “resting state.”  If you unscrew the end, you see that they hold 3 different screwdriver tips and 1 stiletto tip:
 
key-chain-with-screw-driver-tips-exposed
Once you choose a tip, you slip it into the end, and you’re ready to use this beautiful tool!  I use my screwdriver tips all the time to put my ruler foot onto my sewing machine:
 
screw_driver_assembled
Ern can make these up in all kinds of colors to match your taste.  If you want to have them ready for the holiday, now’s the time to order and you can find all of Ernie’s handmade gifts in our online store by clicking here.
 
WF
In sad news, our beloved western NC is literally on fire because of the extreme drought.  The air here is very hazy and smoke-filled and we haven’t been able to spend anytime outdoors for several days because the air quality is so poor that it’s dangerous.  Say a prayer for these wildfires to come under control soon…
hazy air
 

Flowers and Swirls and a Product Update

October 24th, 2016
It seems like some motifs just always go well together and I learned that again as I played around with a new floral machine embroidery applique design.  Here is what one of them looks like in reds/pinks:
 
swirled-flower1
I love how much those embroidered details add to the overall “feel” of the flower.  Here’s one that was stitched in oranges:
 
swirled-flower2
Ooh-la-la!  I made this to use as a short border design for a quilt.  Here’s how the whole border came out:
 
swirled-flower4
I think I’m in love!
In completely other news that has nothing to do with the design above, I need to announce a large price increase in both of our suspension systems that will occur beginning 11/1/16.  Our costs have risen and there is no way around this.  If you have been thinking about purchasing one of these systems (what a great Hanukkah or Christmas present that would be!), I would make that purchase before 11/1/16.
QSS-purple-backbone
#1 suspension system (pictured above) will rise from $74.99 to $94.99…
 
QSS-for-Tiara
and suspension system #2 (above) will rise from $94.99 to $109.99.  We apologize for the price increase and hope you will take advantage of the current prices.

Winner-Winner, Chicken-Dinner and a Craftsy Sale

April 22nd, 2016
water-lily-1A
Thanks to everyone who participated in the drawing; I learned a lot about what people are interested in.  The winner of the $25 gift certificate to our online store is:
 
Nancy Runnels-comment #18: “I am a beginner FMQ on my Janome 7700 QCP and I love it. I am curious about George and would welcome the class. Living in Virginia I could manage the travel. I enjoy moving the quilts and regularly do king size on my machine now. I am looking to be more refined and detail on quilting.
Thanks for the opportunity to learn.”
 
Congratulations, Nancy!
mug-2-for-web
It is so nice to see trees in bloom and  flowers opening up-spring has officially arrived!  Craftsy is celebrating with a great sale on their classes; sale prices are 50% off the normal class price!  Instead of spring cleaning, why not pick up a class or two to learn some new techniques?  If you click on my affiliate link here to get the discount, I’ll receive a small “tip” for referring you. In the meantime, enjoy the sights and sounds of springtime!
 
 
birds-with-4-corners

Turret Rulers are Now Available and New Video Tutorial is UP!

February 28th, 2016
turret-rulers-all
Our 3 Turret Rulers are now in stock and available for purchase!  As you look at those 3 rulers above, aren’t you kind of wondering what the heck they’re used for?!  They were inspired by the architectural lines of turrets, Turkish mosques, and Russian onion towers.  They can be used to create beautiful turret swag designs for borders and for fancy frame designs.  Swags can be simple types of designs or complex types of swags and you can fill them in with all kinds of free motion designs.  Here’s an example of just 1 of the turret swag designs you can make with the Turrets 1 ruler:
 
T1-empty
You might just recognize this filled turret swag border from a quilt I blogged about a few months ago.  These turret swags were filled with mirror image feathers:
 
blrw3
 
 
…and here’s another example of how you might want to fill that swag design:
 
T1-filled
 
…and if you really wanted to take that swag design over the top, here’s another idea:
 
T1-filled-and-HQ
 
Whoa!!  Here’s just one example of a Turrets 2 swag border design in the bottom row with an empty Turrets 1 swag design on top:
 
T2empty
 
…and here’s the same border design once the upper swags have also been filled:
 
T2filled
Here’s an empty Turrets 3 swag:
 
T3-empty
 
…and here’s an example of a Turrets 3 swag filled in:
 
T3filled
You could just as easily fill in any turret swag with a background fill design instead:
 
T3-filled-2
Don’t misunderstand, you can also create very simple swag designs with these Turret rulers as well.  Here’s an empty one that’s very simple:
 
turret1-simple-empty
…and here’s a simple one filled with a featherette:
 
turret1-simple-filled
Honestly, there is no end to all the fun things you can create with these Turret rulers!  Each ruler has both a positive and a negative side of the same contour, so you can work from both sides of the ruler.  They are available in both the traditional 1/4 inch thickness as well as in a 3mm thickness if you are using a Westalee low or medium shank ruler foot.  (And notice that the thinner rulers are markedly discounted!)  You can purchase them individually or as a bundle (by clicking here) to save some $$!  And if you’d like to see how easy they are to use, here’s a video tutorial that explains them all:
 
 
 
 
 
 
  And don’t forget, you can also use them to create fancy frame designs as well!  Here’s an empty frame created with the Turrets 3 ruler:
 
turrets3-frame-4
 
…and here it is filled
 
Turrtes-3-frame
If you haven’t tried playing with rulers yet, now’s the time to get in on the fun!