Hand Quilting - a new adventure with an old friend

Back in September my friend and quilting mentor, Gwen Marston, gave me a most precious gift. Gwen is well, but said she's having a little bit of arthritis and needs to back off hand quilting. She is using her trusty old Singer machine for quilting her quilts now and has passed her quilting frame to me. She purchased the frame in the 1970s, and said this about it, "The legs that hold the quilting boards were made by the husbands of the Mennonite quilters that taught me to hand quilt and all of my quilts have gone through that frame since day one. In my work that frame was indispensable!"  She said giving me her quilt frame is like The Changing of the Guard and so now it's my turn.

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In this frame, the whole quilt is stretched flat between the boards. First the backing, then the batting, and the quilt top is layered and pinned on top. 

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You quilt what you can reach from the edge and then roll the quilt on the end bar and reclamp it to stitch the next area.

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As you quilt, the frame takes up less space in the room. The parts that you have quilted are hidden from view until the whole quilt is finished. 

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I quilted this quilt with free drawn fans and purposely wanted them to look unique and not like they were drawn with a template. As I was progressing on the quilt I feared that my repeated markings had gotten too even and I worried it would look too controlled. On the last few passes I really tried to make them look like fans but not all the same. 

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Unrolling the quilt for a full view was quite exciting! The quilt looks strangely tiny in this photo. 

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This is the first in what I hope will be many quilts stitched sitting at this frame. I love the slower pace of hand quilting. It allows me time to think about all the joys in my life, to plan family activities, and even ponder upcoming quilts. I also have been listening to recorded books while stitching. 

Thank you, Gwen, for trusting me with this treasure.

Unconventional and Unexpected

Last week I started a quilt based on this one on page 35 of Roderick Kiracofe's Unconventional and Unexpected.

The original quilt is made with polyester double knit fabrics. I started with this selection of cotton fabrics from my stash and a few others added later and some thrift store shirts that were cut up.

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The blocks alternate between plain and string pieced. I tried to keep the string pieced blocks looking "chunky" like the ones in the original quilt.

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I started off with a "random" placement of the blocks.

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I really wasn't thrilled with the layout I had so I went back to study the original. On closer study I noticed that the original quilt had like fabrics clumped together. My guess is that the quilt was made stitched together as the blocks were cut. When one fabric ran out another was started. I tried rearranging my blocks and was much happier with the result.

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I have it all sewn together now and while I'm waiting to get king size batting I'm thinking about how I will quilt it. 

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Old School Sewing Workshop

Last week six students attended a three day workshop in my local studio.

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It was great fun! All students sewed on featherweights, a couple brought their own, the rest used mine. We learned a lot about sewing small. 

I also did a little featherweight maintenance lesson. 

It was lovely to have talented quilters sewing away in the studio. I hope I can host another one soon. Let me know if you and some friends are interested. 

Wonder Woman Cosplay

Miss P and I saw Wonder Woman two times this summer. We both loved it and enjoyed the strong female leading character. After the second trip to theater she knew she wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween. 

We did some google searching for ideas and found Methyl Ethyl Cosplay on Facebook.


We followed her tutorial to make the corset

The first step was to make a duct tape mold of her body. 

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We then cut the duct tape shape apart into flat pieces that could be used as a pattern. We used the pieces from one half and made left and right versions from them so that the design would be symmetrical.

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The corset was made from craft foam. After making a base layer, P designed the second layer that was made of smaller pieces. 

We followed the steps in the tutorial for shaping with a heat gun, and sealing, painting, and coating with various products. I used leather from a pair of thrifted leather pants for the base of the corset lacing in the back. 

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The belt and headband are also made from craft foam. 

I purchased scraps of blue leather on etsy for the skirt. I cut shaped pieces and sewed them to a strip of grossgrain ribbon the leather was also painted with diluted black paint to make it look aged. The ribbon is pinned around the waist and worn over black dance pants. 

For the cape, we used the Kinsale Cloak pattern by Folkwear.

The Lasso of Truth is an ordinary rope painted gold.


Miss P is THRILLED with the result and is sad that there aren't more occasions when she can wear the outfit. 

Studio Time


I'm thoroughly enjoying working in my studio downtown. The morning light there is wonderful! 

At first I was progressing on several projects each week but two weeks ago I put a quilt in the floor frame and have pretty much only been quilting on that. I'm stitching free form fans all over the quilt. I'm eager to see how it looks when I unroll it to reveal the whole quilt. 

I probably should go back to working on different projects because my under fingers are quite raw/calloused. I'm eager to get this finished though. So, I keep on stitching. 

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I am enjoying the bustle of downtown. I've started a yoga class right around the corner and have also been sampling the bakery and coffee shop goodies. 

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After School Sewing Club is well under way. The students have been making a variety of projects. Here's one from this week. We learned how to machine applique! We cut up old jeans for the pennant backgrounds and solid scraps for the letters. 

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I've added a few quilt classes to the studio schedule

I'm also starting to schedule some "private" workshops for groups who want to come.  Group size for my workshops is limited to 5-8 participants. Let me know if you and your friends are interested and we can get something scheduled!

Studio Time

September was busy and I'm settling into a studio rhythm. Early last month I attended the Holly Girls Quilt retreat as I do every fall. While there, I designed and prepared the last two strips of my Susan McCord inspired strip quilt. 

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After basting the applique for stitching later, I pulled out my Oakshott scraps and made some tiny little basket blocks.

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As I go through my home sewing area and deciding what to take to the new studio, I am finding lots of treasures like this stash of leftover 2" stars from my Stardust quilt that is on the cover of my book. I am now feeling the need to put them together in another quilt.

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The downtown studio has no computer or distractions of home and I am enjoying a bit of focused sewing time there each day. Look at that light!!! 

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After school sewing clubs on Mondays and Tuesdays are well underway. We are having a lot of fun sewing and making projects.  

I'm also ready for hosting quilting workshops in the studio. Let me know if you and your friends are interested.