Gosh, I’ve Been Missing My Sewing Machine!

December 28th, 2010

After more than a week away from any sewing, I finally got a bit of time to quilt today! I’m plugging away on a quilted wall hanging for a new class to experiment with Sizzix fabric cutting machines. I began by outlining all my applique shapes with invisible thread, then I moved to echo-outlining my feathers with a nice shiny polyester thread. As you can see from the above photo, that echo outlining helps to make the feathers a focal point and it accentuates their voluptuous curves.

Next up, I began adding quilted feathers to my applique tail feathers:

…and then I added my second feather offshoot:

…and then the third feather offshoot. I want these to appear to flow naturally as if they are also tail feathers, so I mark my spine guideline in the same curves that the real feathers have:

And that’s when I could let my hair down and start doodling away to fill space! I switched to a very lightweight Invisifil thread and began the doodling:

This is all so much fun! I’ll only have a bit of time to quilt before work the next 2 mornings, then I’m off to hit the road again! I’m living for next week, when I plan to hole up in my sewng room and really put the pedal to the medal! Until then, Happy New Year!

And the Winners Are…

December 24th, 2010

We’ve heard back from all the winners in the birthday marathon give-away, so I can post all their names now:

Day 1 – Karin Callander from Texas won Tonga Treats Sugarplum Batik Fabric Strips

Day 2 – Emma How from Australia won “Feather Adventures!”

Day 3 – Rebecca (Bec) Clarke from Australia won 5 yards of Nancy Halvorsen fabric

Day 4 – Carol Hulbert from Michigan won Quilting Arts 2011 Calender

Day 5 – Rhonda Phillips from Indiana won “Hyperquilting!”

Day 6 – Jenny Marsden from Oregon won Tonga Treats Lemongrass Batik Fabric Squares

Day 7 – Deserae Fiedler from Utah won 4 yards of fabric of her choice

Day 8 – Dianne Giles from Australia won “Applique Takes Wings”

Congratulations to the winners and thanks so much to everyone that played along! Here’s hoping that everyone has a safe and joyous holiday and all the best in the new year!

Day #8 of the 8 Days of Patsy’s Birthday Give-Away Marathon

December 18th, 2010

Gosh, I am really getting this post up just under the wire! I’ve got less than 1 hour left of my birthday and it has been an action-packed day! Too bad you only get one birthday a year! I never did get time to do much actual sewing or quilting, so I don’t have any new “in-progress” pictures to post. But…I need to get one more give-away posted before midnight! I had posted this photo when the give-away marathon began:

…and I received many comments about it. This bird was my version of a really beautiful appliqued bird from the book “Applique Takes Wing” by Jane Townswick. You can see her version of the bird on the cover of the book:

and I just changed the bird’s tail and those two wings. I made those beautiful wings really easy to make by free motion embroidering all those wing parts instead of appliquing them…talk about lazy! (Now that you’re seeing my version next to hers, you can see how much more beautiful that bird could have been!) Anyway, it’s a great book with lots of beautiful applique projects, so that’s the give-away for today. If you’d like to enter this competition, all you need to do is post a comment to this blog post by 12:01 am on Mon 12/20/10. The drawings for all give-aways in this marathon will taken place sometime during the following week and I’ll get them posted on the blog once they’re done. I’ve got some travel, work, Christmas shopping, then more travel coming up, so that’s why I need a week to get this done! Thanks to everyone who has written a comment or wished me happy birthday; it means a lot to connect with people who are reading this blog. Sorry I have not been able to respond to all the comments and emails and please don’t think that means I didn’t appreciate them. Good luck in the give-aways and happy holidays to all!

How I Spent My Day and Day #7 of the 8 Days of Patsy’s Birthday Give-Away

December 17th, 2010

I didn’t get any sewing or quilting done today because I drove to Tennessee and when I got back home, we started filming a video tutorial about how to use a Sizzix machine for quilting. I’m sure you’re sick to death of me blogging about my Sizzix machine, but it’s just made it so much easier for me to create a wide variety of quilt projects fairly quickly. The dies we use in the tutorial are these 2 dies:

I’ve fallen madly in love with that particular flourish die! The project in the tutorial is a table runner like this one:

…but it can also be used as a wall hanging above a door. The table runner in the tutorial is not a holiday-themed table runner; it will end up being in spring-like fabrics. Here’s the first layer of the flower all fused up on an applique pressing sheet:

…and here’s the flower with the 2nd layer on top. I’m not sure I like the 2-layer form so I may end up just sticking with 1 layer:

This is one of the things I like about these dies; there’s a lot of freedom to play around with the pieces until you get an end result that you like. Here’s another Christmas table runner I made earlier:

and I stopped at 1 layer for those flowers because the 2nd layer I’d made just didn’t cut the mustard:

But the thing that REALLY makes these table runners are those delicate flourishes. I know what you’re wondering…yes, you can stitch them down! It looks good whether you use a buttonhole stitch:

…or whether you do a simple straight stitch just inside the perimeter of the applique:

And once we finished filming for the day, I got to go out for dinner with 2 dear old friends that I’ve known since seventh grade-how’s that for a pre-birthday treat?!

And now for tonight’s give away…what shall it be? How about 4 yards of fabric of your choice (minimum cut 1/2 yard) from our store…I think that might be fun! To enter this giveaway, just post a comment to this blog post by 12:01 am on Mon 12/20/10. Only 1 more day to go in the give-away marathon!

The Power of Scraps and Day #6 of the 8 Days of Patsy’s Birthday Give-Away Marathon!

December 16th, 2010

Oh my gosh, just look at this mess cluttering up my cutting table! This is but a mere fraction of the scraps I’ve accumulated from using my Sizzix machine. When I first started using this machine, I really worried about waste, but I’ve found that this cutting system uses fabric more efficiently than I can. I save all these scraps because they are very usable. Here’s just a fraction of the petals I created by running scraps through the Sizzix this evening:

If I don’t use pieces like this right away, I save them in small zip lock bags like these…

and then I’m all ready to go when I get a hankerin’ to fuse up a wall hanging or just fuse up some design that has multiple parts. Here’s a large green flower that was made using scraps (except for the large outermost leaves; those were cut out by hand):

…and here’s that flower’s cousin, a large yellow/green flower:

I have plans for these bad boys but I need to find time to fuse up some more “cousins” first. Do you sometimes have so many different projects going on that your head is just spinning with ideas? That pretty much sums up where I am lately, but it’s kind of a nice place to be!

And what’s up tonight for day #6 of the give-away marathon? Well here’s a shot of it opened up:

You may recognize this as a different set of Tonga treats, this is a set of (40) 10-inch squares of “lemongrass” batiks. You can see what it looks like in its normal packaging here, but I brought this set home a couple months ago and opened it up with the intention of making a fall quilt. I’m finally realizing that I’m just not going to find the time for it, so I’m offering them up for this give-away and they’ll look like:

when they arrive on your doorstep. All you need to enter yourself in the drawing is to post a comment to this blog post by 12:01 am on Mon 12/20/10.

And one more thing…having this Sizzix fabric cutting machine has really changed my quilting life and has taken it into so many fun and unexpected places that I really want to encourage any of you who are on the fence about a machine to take the plunge. Everything in our store is already 20% off through 12:01 am on 12/20/10, but for any retail orders of $70 & above until then, we’ll throw in any one of our DVDs of your choice FOR FREE! Did I just say “for free?” You bet I did! You can choose a single disc DVD that normally retails for $29.95 or a 2-disc set that normally retails for $49.95; either way, you’ll pay 0.00! (Just tell us the title of which DVD you’d like in the “order notes” section at checkout.) Think about it…you can get a Sizzix Big Shot and a 2-disc set for $79.99 and the normal retail cost for these would have come to $149.94…that’s just shy of 50% off! Take this opportunity to tell your family you’d just love these gifts for the holidays. There are some really exciting things happening for these cutting machines in the next few months, and you won’t be able to join in the fun if you don’t have one!