Can I get a Whoop ! Whoop!!??
Last Year for Christmas I gave each of my family members a set of Claudia’s Pillow Talk holiday pillow covers. I think these are cute little holiday decorations that do not take up much storage space . I had the Christmas pillow covers done and was working myself up into a real snit trying to get the other 5 holidays done before everyone rolled in on Christmas when my husband said “ why don’t you just make them as the year rolls along and send them” ….well that sounded like a plan to me!
I really liked mailing them to my family throughout the year letting them know that I love and think of them. I think that even if I had finished 6 sets in time for Christmas, I would still hold them back and mail them out for each holiday.
That part felt really good.
Problem is they kind of hung over me all year and I never really worked ahead. I did each Holiday as it approached. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not really good at doing the same project over twice let alone 36 times. I tend to lose my enthusiasm as time goes by ….and look! …something shiny! ….I’m off and running in another direction…..
Valentine’s Day wasn’t too bad to crank out , but each holiday has taken a little more determination to “get er done” in time. I am so relieved to have mailed the last 2 holidays- with this year’s Christmas season coming at us fast! In general I am not a big procrastinator in my life, but making Christmas gifts just doesn’t seem to fall into the same category of organization. I have friends that I see working on Christmas presents for their loved ones in …May. I think “that’s a great idea to start now”….but nope- that’s just doesn’t seem to be who I am. LOL If I ever make another multi-part gift for my family members I will be sure to just wait until they are all done before the giving begins so I can just enjoy the short trip to the Post Office!
Just as a little side note, I made Pillow sleeves using Claudia’s More Pillow talk for some good friends of mine. I took her embroidery design into my editing software and changed the words to phrases that were relevant to us, like knitting, quilting, hiking and happy hour , etc. I just mention this to let you know you can make your own very easily….I’m thinking St Patrick’s day may be my next after I take a break from pillow sleeve making 🙂 .
I hope you all have a Happy Halloween with only fun tricks and sweet treats!……
Have you started your Christmas projects???? ( no pressure or judgment here my quilting friends- just wondering 🙂 ).
Have a Boo-tiful Day,
With less than 2 weeks to Halloween I’m finishing this little Halloween table runner none too soon! This blackwork embroidery design is by Bird Brain Designs and is available for hand embroidery or digitized for your embroidery machines. They have so many cute designs- I have several stitched out for various times of the year. The hand embroidery is great for watching football with my husband, on the airplane or long car trips. The digitized versions are just wicked cute and fast! This particular design(WITCHES HOORAY TABLE RUNNER) was stitched out on an embroidery machine in two hoopings. The half square triangles are “left overs” from the flying geese from another quilt that I saved (is that a sign of a fabric hoarder??!!), so my quilt dimensions/design are actually different than if you were to make the runner according to their pattern instructions(click above link to see original pattern design). If I had this runner to do over I would have added another narrow border to the outside of the half-square triangle border, framing this border a little more- oh well- next time!
The quilting on the cream area was done in #100 wt Kimono silk from Superior Thread. I just love this thread- if you haven’t splurged for a spool yet, give this a try. It is really fine (obviously), feeds through your machine beautifully (not fussy) making it perfect for detail areas. I could stitch over a blackwork area here or there and you can hardly see it (and if you are looking that close you are not my friend! 🙂 ). I used a Magna Glide Classic in the bobbin (60 wt. polyester) .
On the half square triangle border I used Filtec’s Essence monofilament nylon on the top and the same Magna Glide Classic in the bobbin. This was the first time I tried Filtec Essence and really liked this thread too. I usually use Superior’s Monopoly. Both threads are super fine, stitch out well with minimal tension adjustments, have minimal breakage and seem to hold up well to a light pressing with the iron. I think the Essence is less expensive and has a little less sheen than the Monopoly, but otherwise they behave similar. I know people out there have definite opinions as to nylon vs. poly, but honestly, I would be happy using either of these products. Having said that – what monofilament do you prefer and why?? What Halloween projects have you been up to??
PS: I am in no way affiliated with Bird Brain Designs, a friend exposed me to these and I have loved then ever since!
I finished my batik table topper and I think it looks bright and cheerful on my kitchen table. I used Hobbs 80/20 batting, Superior’s 60 wt. Bottom Line on the top and FilTec Magna-Glide Classic in the bobbin to quilt the center of the quilt. The feather border I stitched in Superior Monopoly on the top, and Bottom Line pre-wound in the bobbin.
The things that I found most helpful : ( if you press on and are wed to the idea of quilting with difficult fabrics 🙂 )
1. My Supreme slider- if I didn’t have that in place, my shoulders would have quit on me!
2. Towa tension Gauge- Helpful to know you are at least controlling one of the variables that could be going wrong when your stitches don’t look pretty. It’s not that it gives you a number written in stone, but it puts you in the right “ballpark” and lets you know you are not crazy as you check and recheck factors that could contribute to your difficulties. The thick batik batting was like canvas, causing the bottom stitches to lay on the backing. I had to increase my top tension much higher than I would have normally thought.
3. Martelli Quilt Grippe Rings- For the small swirls in the center of the stars and the stippling of the white background it helped hold the fabric firmly. The knobs that it has for handles kept the tension off my shoulders. For difficult to maneuver fabric it was great- I used the 8″round and quilted this puppy to death!
4. Needle size- I usually use a smaller needle on batiks as I found smaller pierces batik fabric easier, but in this case with the thick canvas like backing, bigger was better. Once I bounced up to a #100 needle on my sit-down longarm I got a better stitch and less shredding of thread ( if you are on a DSM a 90/14 topstitch should be fine).
5. Bottom Line thread- quilting with a higher top tension, the thread wasn’t fussy at all.
6. BFF Longarm small curved ruler ( made by Linda Hrcka at Quilted Pineapple) to guide the continuous curve design. I tried a bunch of different sizes- you never have the exact size you seem to need. What I really learned is that you don’t need one to fit perfectly. It just has to have a gentle enough curve that you gently pivot to guide your ruler foot toward the point that you are shooting for. This little template is super small, fits in your hand easily and just very handy to have around. On a small square or triangle (like 1 or 1 1/12 inches) you can free motion from one point to the next, keeping your eyes focused on where you are going and the needle usually follows pretty smoothly. The larger the square the more wibble you can get especially if the fabric doesn’t slide well. I found the stability of the template against the foot helpful.
The other things are the usual- wash batiks (several times if necessary) , starch that fabric well, if it’s the backing giving you grief….just say no or go shopping for something better!
After watching me stitch this for way too long, my husband looked at me when I finally finished and said” we better not use that one!” I told him I was so over the little quilt I didn’t care if we ate spaghetti off it! LOL
Well I’m off to my sewing room to quilt somethings that I actually find relaxing :)! What do you find to be some of your most helpful tools when faced with a quilt that wants to misbehave???