Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stitchin' Queen 2014 #3

Another month gone by, and along with it another tutorial for you!

This month we are going to be combining the methods from week one and week two to create this pretty label.

This month we will be using the prepared method of week one in combination with the freezer paper method of week two to create our label. Combining the two methods helps speed up the process, especially when making circles. I can never seem to get that circle perfect using the freezer paper method, so anytime I choose to apply a circle, I use the prepared method and a couple dabs of basting glue to keep the applique in place until I have time to stitch it. This weeks lesson takes a bit longer, around an hour and a half.
Begin by printing out your pattern HERE.

This week we are going to switch things up a bit. Trace the grape design onto freezer paper and cut it out. Place the 5" white fabric square on top of the print out and center the design; then place the freezer paper grape template into place and pin to the fabric.

Take a minute and look at the grape design. When you are appliqueing a design like this, you need to consider which pieces are further away than the others. The order in which you applique them will change how your finished design looks. Appliqueing them in the wrong order will throw your eye and make it look like something is off. My patterns always contain instructions indicating the order in which the pieces must be appliqued to get the best outcome, however, I wanted to bring up this point so that when you are appliqueing something you have at home, you can consider this idea when beginning your appliques.

For this design, the leaf on the right is behind all the grapes, so it should be appliqued first. I also numbered my grapes, (which ones should be appliqued first, second, etc.) so that the overlapping grapes will look correct and match the design. I also added registration marks in order to line up the appliques later keeping my design as close to the picture as I can.
Use your scissors to cut away the leaf on the top, leaving the rest of the design pinned to the fabric.
 Iron the freezer paper leaf to the right side of your fabric and cut out a scant 1/4" bigger than the paper. Make small little cuts in the middle of the inside curves, (2-3 threads away from your paper edge) and put a tiny bit of fray check on each cut as shown.
 Use the pinned paper template to place the leaf, positioning it right where you cut it from the paper. Pin it to the background using at least two pins. If you only use one pin, the leaf may move as you are stitching it; then your design may not match up later.
 Use a perfect circle template, or one you have made yourself, the size of the center grape. Cut out and prepare eight circles as shown using the method in Lesson 1.
 Position the two grapes that are behind all the rest into place and use some basting glue to adhere it to the background fabric.
 Remove the grape template, and start stitching down that leaf.
 When the leaf is completed, bring back the paper grape design and just touch the iron onto the leaf on the right to adhere it into place while you begin placing the grapes.
 Cut out one grape labeled 2 and iron the freezer paper onto the fabric prepared circle. Also cut away and iron grapes labeled 1 to their respective circles. Begin assembling the grape cluster one at a time - cutting it out, ironing it to the fabric circle, applying glue, and placing back where it belongs; using the remaining paper design to help in placement.
 Continue cutting and ironing one grape at a time until all the grapes are baste glued into place.
 Keep the stem design attached to grape 3 so that later you can use it to transfer the embroidery line.
 When all the grapes are in place, take off the appliqued leaf's paper and cut out the embroidery lines. Use a pencil to transfer the lines onto the leaf within the cut out.
 Leave the paper template on the two grapes shown above to help in placement of the second leaf. Take the paper leaf, and iron it to the right side of the green fabric. Cut and fray check the inner curves, then pin into place using the grape paper templates to line it back up.
 Begin stitching the leaf to the white fabric.

 When stitching an inside curve, use the tip of your needle to pull the seam allowance under your applique by pressing against your thumb with the needle in a counter-clockwise motion.
 Hold the seam allowance in place with your thumb and fore finger until you can stitch it into place.
 When finished, and after you have transferred the lines using the same method described above, iron the grape with the stem back onto your design. Transfer the embroidery line onto your project.
 Stitch down all of those grapes using coordinating thread.
 Use a satin stitch - two strands in brown to embroider the stem.
 For the leaf lines, I am using two strands and a stem stitch in green. Always keep your thread to the same side of the needle when doing this stitch.

 When I got to the end of my line, I turned my work over and slid my needle between the white fabric and the fabric of the applique to hide my thread under my work to start the next embroidery line.
 Before continuing, use this same stitch to embroider the white lines on the grapes using one strand in white and a stem stitch. (sorry no picture for this step.)
 Next, we want to add that dashed line. Trace the inner circle, and the outline of your grape design onto freezer paper and cut it out.
 Match up the outline to your applique and iron the design onto your applique. Use the freezer paper edge as a guideline to stitch your dashed line. When your applique and embroidery are complete, trim and pull the design over your outer circle template as we did in previous weeks to finish your label.
And there you have it... another label.
Wouldn't this one be cute on a drawstring wine bag?
The gifting possibilities are endless.

Keep in mind though, I am designing a project for these to be incorporated into as we move along on this journey. Keep them handy, and hope to see you next month!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Introducing Twisitn' Tulips!

Finally, after all of the seam ripping, and re-quilting I have finished up my newest pattern shipping next week! Even though the quilter did quite a number on this quilt. I am happy with the outcome. It could have smoother quilted lines, but I settled with quite a few crooked lines, to save myself from ripping out every seam on this quilt. I decided that I would only fix what was really crazy. As with all quilts I learned some valuable lessons this time, and I hope you also like the result.

Twistin' Tulips is a bright and cheery spring quilt that is sure to chase away those winter time blues. I used the minty greens in Bonnie and Camille's line Scrumptious for Moda that was released last fall. At present there are not too many shops who still have these fabrics, so if you find them, be sure to snatch them up. I am in love with this pretty quilt. It looks so cute on my bed with the little zig-zag border hanging over the edge of the bed. It has such a happy feeling to it. I intentionally quilted it quite lightly. My husband was complaining about the quilts currently on the bed feeling a bit like rugs....so I decided to let my Mormon quilter out, and quilt me a nice puffy quilt.

There is a story that goes along with that. When I was young, my mother took me into a fabric shop on occasion that we loving referred to as "The Wicked Witches Lair." This shop owner seemed as old as the hills to me, and not very friendly. She used to tell my mother which fabrics she could buy, and which she couldn't depending on her opinion of our project requirement.One day when I was in shopping for a quilt back with mom she suggested, "You Mormon's do not know how to quilt. You need to take a class. A quilt should not be puffy. You are in luck, because I am teaching one." Mother signed up, and went to class to learn the proper way to quilt....unfortunately she only finished a couple of blocks before deciding that it didn't matter to her what the wicked witch thought, she was going to make as many "Mormon quilts" as she wanted, because she liked puffy! I tend to agree, and this is such a cozy quilt.

The red tulips just pop off of that snow white background. I can't help but to imagine this quilt in different colors, and I am tempted to start another one with each new fabric line I see, especially Maribella by Fig Tree for Moda. I saw that line in the shop the other day, and it is just so pretty and soft. I would love to see it done up in that line.
Wouldn't it be pretty? I think I may have to start another one!

If you would like to order your pattern of Twisitn' Tulips visit my website

and place your order today! Patterns will be shipped around the middle of next week and cost $12 + shipping.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I had so hoped to show you my new project.

I have been working on it for months....

100+ hours of work went into it.....
And it only took a few hours to turn it into a mess...

For now I am pulling out seams, and quilting in new ones. I just can't "seam" to be happy with this kind of stuff...

I may be a while before I can show you this pretty quilt, but for now it is more of this....

and this.....

I marked this whole quilt so that my lines would be symmetrical, and evenly spaced. Oh the joys of in-experience. Can't a quilter just be honest and say whether or not they can do this quilt justice? Needless to say, I am extremely frustrated.

Note to self: Ask to see an example of your quilters work, pay the extra money for a good quilter, do not rush the quilter and cause her to "hate quilt" your quilt.

Despite my rotten mood and instead of complaining about this stumbling block, I have decided to show you something else.

Around July of last year, my husband brought home a box of bowling shirts and towels. A co-worker of his, that he has worked with for some time, had been ordered by his wife to get rid of these relics from his bachelorhood. His wife and I had decided to make up a special Christmas gift for him. I took out all of these strange shirts with embroidered logos, and really thick towels and wondered "How am I going to make these into a quilt?" After a few days of drafting, I finally came up with a plan to incorporate all of those different sized shirts and logos into a design. I thought you would like to see it, I think it turned out pretty good don't you?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stitchin' Queen 2014 #2

Hello again! Has it been a month already??? How time flies when you are stitching! I can't wait to show you what I have been up to, but I will save that for next week when my project is finished and ready for print.

On to this months lesson of becoming a Stitchin' Queen! This month we are going to be making another label (I sure hope you are coming along with me on this journey. It is going to make a really cute project by years end.) This time we are going to start with something just as simple, and can be done the in the same way as last month, but I really want you to focus to see if you can give this new method a try. This is my go-to method and I use it most often on the projects I create.

We will be using a freezer paper technique this time. We will be making another label that you can use on a dish towel, bag, or a quilt block. I am designing a project for these pieces to be incorporated in, so hang on to them if you are planning on making the final project at the end of the year with me. We are starting with the easy things first.

This method is my very favorite method. It uses freezer paper just as we did last month but without the preparing part. We will be turning the edge of the fabric under to match the freezer paper, the freezer paper takes on a leading role this month. This project took me about an hour to complete from start to finish.

Pros of this method:
1. This method takes little time to prepare before beginning to stitch.
2. This method is quilting freedom. The options for applique shapes are limitless. Whatever you can trace/draw you can applique.
3. Using freezer paper on top of your fabric helps by stiffening up the fabric and making it easy to turn under along the edge of the freezer paper.
4. This method speeds up the process. You only have to trace your design once allowing you to use the piece to aid in overall placement, and also to transfer embroidery lines to your project.

Cons of this method:
1. You have to stay close to an iron to prepare the additional pieces as you create more complicated designs.
2. Pins catch up your thread as you are sewing.
3. The freezer paper can be cumbersome.
4. A bit of shifting of the fabric can occur making it more challenging to replicate your design exactly as printed on the pattern.

Lets Begin with the same steps as last month. First print out the design for this month HERE.
Follow steps 1-3 from my post  HERE  using the strawberry design instead of the orange design, and some red embroidery floss instead of orange. Then follow the steps below.

Remove your freezer paper and cut out the strawberry design using the faint line of the strawberry under the green leaves.
 Iron the paper strawberry to the right side of some red fabric and cut out 1/4" bigger than your paper strawberry. 
Make a small cut 2-3 threads away from the inner curve at the top.
Apply a tiny dot of fray check to the cut so it looks like the picture below.

You don't want to apply too much to your cut. This product dries hard and is difficult to sew through. You just want enough to keep the fabric from fraying when you applique it. The fray check will also keep your applique fabric strong. Each cut you put in your applique weakens the fabric and can help your applique to deteriorate faster over time.
Iron your outer paper template back onto your fabric square. Then use a pin to loosen up the edges about 1/4" to make room for the seam allowance to fit under.

Position your strawberry into place by sliding the seam allowance back under the outer paper template. The cut edges of the paper should line up exactly where you cut it out of the paper.

Use the pin to move the applique and make any adjustments while positioning the applique into place. 
When your applique is into place, pin it to the background fabric keeping in mind that you are going to turn under the seam allowance. You don't want to place your pins too close that you would have to move them while stitching.
Remove the outer paper template and set aside. You will be using this piece later on.

Start on the straight side. I start here because this makes a good place to line up the fabric edge near the end of stitching. Use the tip of your needle to grab the seam allowance and tuck it under the applique.
The fabric will naturally fold at the edge of the paper. The paper tends to make the fabric stiffer allowing the seam allowance to turn under. If your paper is not adhered very well, consider turning up the heat on your iron so that you get a real nice adhesion of the freezer paper to the fabric. When the fabric edge matches the paper edge, bring up your needle from the back side through the fold of the applique. Make sure you use thread that matches your applique color.
Use the tip of your needle to tug the fabric under until it matches that paper edge and then hold it into place with your thumb and index finger.

 Stitch down the applique using the blind stitch. Go down through the background fabric just under the fold of the applique and back up through the fold. My stitches are about 1/8" apart. 
 Sometimes your fabric does this as you are going around an outer curve. Try to avoid making these points, because it will alter the look of your applique.
As you are tucking the seam allowance under with the tip of your needle, the fabric will fold over itself and make a point. I have folded down the edge to show you what is happening under your applique when a point is made.
 To get this point to smooth out, you will take the tip of your needle and pull out the fabric under the point using a counter clockwise motion. I turned over the applique just to show you where you want the tip of your needle to grab on the fabric. You will be working from the top at all times.
 Using this counter clockwise motion, manipulate your needle in this fashion to pull out the fabric from under the fold and smooth out the edge matching up the fabric to the paper edge, and continue to sew down.
 When you get to the inner curve, use this same motion - counter clockwise - to smooth out the fabric to match the inner curve of the paper. Grab the seam allowance with the tip of your needle; pushing upward with your needle against your thumb, sweep the seam allowance under to match the paper edge.
 Continue sewing and tucking the fabric under with the tip of your needle as necessary.
Once you have completed the stitching, peel away the paper to reveal your beautiful work!
 Press your work from behind to keep it flat.
 Next cut out the leaves to transfer your embroidery lines. I use an old pair of embroidery scissors that have lost their sharpness for thread to cut out these lines.
 I use a pin to poke a small hole for the dots.
 Also cut out the leaf design from the outer template and iron both pieces back onto your fabric square. Then with a pencil, trace the embroidery design onto the strawberry within the cutout.
Peel the paper off, and now you are ready to embroider.
 Lets start with a French Knot for the dots. With two strands of matching floss on your needle, come up through the fabric at your penciled dot mark.
 Wrap the thread around the needle three times and keep taunt.
 Angle the needle towards the background fabric a thread or two away from where your thread comes out.
 Position your needle upright keeping the thread taunt and push your needle down through the fabric.
 Holding that thread taunt slowly push your needle towards the back. Hold the knot into place while you thread the additional thread through the knot towards the back.
 Your knot should tighten nicely against the fabric. Don't pull your thread too tight from underneath on this stitch, because it can cause your knot to tighten changing its look.
 Embroider the highlight in white floss using a satin stitch with two strands just like we did last month.
 Embroider the leaves in green floss using a satin stitch as well. If you hate this stitch, you can always eliminate a leaf on each side so you don't have to embroider so many if you like.
Trim off the corners of your square to make a circle and sew a basting stitch all the way around your circle just like the instruction last month.
Pull your threads tight over the template of the outer circle, leaving them long. Starch and iron the circle until dry, then remove the template and re-tighten the strings to hold all of that seam allowance in place.
You have finished your second lesson! Next month we will be combining lesson 1 & 2 to create our final label. Are you having fun yet?

Whenever I stitch strawberries I feel blessed. I was fortunate enough to have the love of my life work hard for our needs in order to give me the time to do what I love. I think of that rhyme....

Curly locks, curly locks wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes nor yet feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
and feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream.

And.....to be honest that is what I am doing. Dirty dishes in the sink and no dinner made, but I am sure enjoying my stitching and fresh strawberries!