May Flowers: Block of the Month Calendar

May Flowers

The block for the month of May, called “May Flowers,” makes good use of a fabric style called “Ombre’.” Ombre’ has gradations of color in layers through the fabric. A good example of this is seen in the ‘Gradations’ collection by Caryl Bryer Fallert. If you place the petals in a similar position throughout the shading of the fabric, as they are sewn onto the block they give a beautiful effect.

For the pattern for our May calendar, click here.

How Small Are Your Quilting Stitches?

Caron Mosey, 1986

 

I made this little quilt in 1986.  It is machine pieced and hand quilted, and has had a lot of use and love, mostly by my son Loren.  He was 6 in 1986, and it is the perfect size to snuggle under to watch television. Notice the colors?  When I made this quilt, I was also attending the University of Michigan. 

Go Blue!

I like to pull out my quilts and look at them periodically.  It’s also good to get them out, shake them and refold in a different way so that creases don’t set in (which you can see in this picture).

As I was looking at the quilt, I realized how thin the batting was.  I used to use Mountain Mist exclusively.  It was a thinner polyester batting, good for hand quilting, and gave me very tiny stitches.  Of course, in 1986 I was doing a LOT of hand quilting!  The more Close-up of quilt stitchespractice you have with hand quilting, the smaller you can get your stitches to be.  Mine were very tiny!

I’m finding as I get older, I’m using different batts than I used to.  I like an 80/20 batt; I love cotton in my quilts.   They feel warmer than straight polyester, and I love the pucker that comes from washing quilts with cotton batting. 

I also notice that as you get older, age has a way of increasing your quilt stitch length.  I don’t know if it’s my eyesight or a little arthritis or what, but I don’t like it.  Not one little bit!

If you are a machine quilter, this probably doesn’t mean a hill of beans to you.  But for a hand quilter, stitch length is important. Size DOES matter!!!

Blogging For Quilters (and other interesting people)

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If you are reading this blog and would like to start a blog of your own, please visit

Blogging for Quilters

It’s spring.   Grow something new… let’s plant blog seeds and grow them together.

Quilting Outside of the Box

What kind of quilter are you?

Do you always design and sew the same types of quilts? If your friends and family had to choose from any of the following descriptions, which style below would they say most sounds like you?

  • Country quilter
  • Scrappy quilter
  • Piecing only person
  • Applique only person
  • Bright, loud colors
  • Civil War style and colors
  • Funky art quilter
  • Intensely detailed quilter
  • Big picture quilter
  • Machine quilter
  • Hand quilter

Insidethebox My day job finds me behind a desk staring at a computer.  I am a proposal writer.  I do research in the medical field, and write 100+ page sales proposals.  I love what I do!  During the past two weeks I’ve been very stressed.  Instead of mailing the finished proposal to the intended company, I had to enter all 187 question responses into little squares on a website.   187 pre-determined little boxes that would each hold only 2000 characters.   Now, 2000 characters might seem like a lot.  But trust me, when you have a lot to say, 2000 characters is very limiting.  I don’t do well with restraints.

Sometimes other people put restraints on us.  Sometimes we put them on ourselves.  We do what we do because it is comfortable.  We couldn’t possibly do… anything else!  And why?  Is it the fear of the unknown?   The lack of belief in our abilities? No self-confidence? For whatever reason, we have put ourselves into a box, and we are stuck there.

I am working on a little quilt for an exhibit.  It’s coming along rather nicely, and I’m pushing myself to do things I haven’t tried before.  I’m making myself grow.  One little item on my quilt is about 3.5 inches wide.  I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I will show you:DSC03427

See those tiny little blue circles?   I had planned on doing those with applique.  Every little circle a tiny piece of needle-turned applique.   Applique is something I like to do.  But you have no idea how small those circles are! And then I thought to myself, THAT’S NUTS!  I can embroider those and they will look much better.  So I did.  I stepped out of the box.

We all have our own boxes.  Tomorrow is National Quilting Day.   It’s a day to visualize yourself stepping outside of the box.  It’s a great day to make a commitment to try something different.

This year, I am trying new things.  I’m using new colors, new kinds of fabrics (not all 100 percent cotton), new techniques (including paint and pastels) and new styles. 

Join me outside of the box.  Come on… you can do it!

Climb on out!

Stunning Applique Work

Texas A quick post – I want to pass along a blog post by Susan for my applique friends to check out.   Check out her links to two stunning quilts.  Amazing work!

And while you’re on Susan’s blog, look around.    She has some great things there as well!

Have You Seen My Foot?

zipperfoot My main sewing machine is an old Bernina Nova, circa 1978.  My zipper foot, BERNINA #4 ZIPPER FOOT, seems to have had a mind of its own and has gone walking off on a journey.  I have NO idea where it is, and I use it a lot.  I looked everywhere! 

Not being able to locate said foot, I checked several sites online looking for a replacement.  The best I could find was:

#54 Zipper Foot With Teflon – Fits model number 1630 and Older $79.99 plus S and H.

OMG!  Off to eBay I went and put in a bid.  Don’t you dare bid against me!  And if you’re wondering why I am still using this old machine, there are two good answers.  Number 1:  I like it.

Number 2:   I am cheap.  New machines are expensive.  I bought a Pfaff Grand Quilter almost two years ago.   When my ship comes in, I will buy another new machine that does fancy things.   I’m not a fancy person.  I can wait.

A Great Link

baskets Take a little time this weekend and make an easy fabric basket!

I love these little baskets. Great directions have been provided at the link above.

Have I ever shown you Stormie’s quilt? It’s on the bed in our guest room. Stormie uses it more than anyone else. You can tell by the extra warmth provided by leftover fur, spread evenly over the quilt. With Jacob and Samantha spending the weekend at Grammy’s house, maybe I better remove that fur. Hmmm.Stormie's Quilt

Have a great day!

Embroidery Enhances Applique’

Flowers need stems!

Do you applique’?  I find that when I do applique’, I usually add some type of embroidery to my work.  Whether it is simple veins on a leaf, a stem for a flower, eyes to a person or animal, a short line from a Add a simple quotationpoem or a quotation or textural element – most of my applique’ quilts include embroidery.

 

I love adding texture to quilts.  It’s not as difficult as you may think.Red on brown Red on blue for texture Here, simple straight rows of a variation of red and burgundy thread adds dimension to the piece.  Notice how the look changes with the color of the background fabric?

Straight stitches   It’s a simple process… load your needle with 2 or 3 strands of floss, then take small stitches in either a straight line or scattered area.  Repeat… over and over.   NOTE:  This is easy work to do while watching television. 

As a quilter, I collect embroidery thread just like I do DSC03369fabric, only it is much less expensive!  I try to keep it organized in a little case, and label each card that I wind it on with the number of the floss color.   I stick with DMC so they are all the same quality.

What have YOU embroidered lately?   Share with the Michigan Quilts! readers using the comment section below.  Feel free to include a link to a picture of your own embroidery.   We will love you for it!