applique, friends, sewing

I’ve Got it Covered

My best friend’s daughter goes to a private school here in town. In the first grade the children are presented with a prayer book. Now, my Marnie is pretty fabulous and can do a lot of things. Sewing is not one of them. She called me and asked if I’d make the cover. She sent all the information and here’s what happened.

Marnies’s daughter is a girly girl that loves purple and BFF loves hearts so I incorporated those onto the back. Two of the hearts have photos of the twins.  The candle pattern was sent in the info packet as were the Hebrew letters. Other than trying to put the letters on backwards putting the cover together was fun.

I added handles to the sides of the cover so the book could be carried easily. I also added ribbons to use as markers in the prayer book.

The inside has a fun Kaffe Fasset fabric. I appliqued a dedication from her parents inside the front cover and a small note from me on the back cover.

The best part of making this was seeing the HUGE smile on a sweet girl’s face when she saw her cover.

Oh, and Marnie liked it, too.

applique, quilt

Your Safe with Kaffe

I was browsing quilters blogs and websites one recent evening and kept seeing a pattern that I have loved for ages. It’s kind of  haunted me. I showed it to husband and he actually liked it! Surprising for me since husband openly admits he doesn’t care for a lot of my quilts. He likes very streamline, linear, simple, quilts. Occasionally I make one he likes but not often. Luckily I’m quilting for me! Buuuttttt, if I can make a quilt that we both like and may even (gasp) get used then even better!

I went to my favorite shop to pick up a copy. You are probably familiar with it. Kim McLean’s Lollipop trees. It’s really a fabulous pattern.

Of course, if I buy a new pattern then I was going to have to pick up a few more Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Oh, drat! I picked up a few to supplement my collection but think I need more. Actually, I know I need more but am going to try to get them as needed. My sewing room is small and husband has a third of it, well, he’s supposed to have a third of it. I may have, ahem, taken it back over recently. But that’s temporary.

The squares are much larger than I thought. 18″ square when finished. That’s one large block! It took me something like five hours to get the first one traced on templates, cut and partially basted. Yikes!

I did change a few things. Initially I had a brown stem but didn’t really like it so I decided to go with green. I cut out the center three times before settling on the current iteration – one was too dark and the yellow didn’t make the grade – and I had to buy a few more pink/red fabrics so I could make the bubbles/circles/lollipops at the end of the leaves.  I put a few down and they were too light but I think I’m happy with this version.

applique, quilt

Progress

I finally got my tree quilt basted. The top has been finished since February 2010. Yep! Over an entire year ago, though I’ll lovingly blame it on having a new baby.

I was thrilled to dig through my stash to find the backing fabric. It couldn’t be any more perfect!

I also received a package of some Japanese taupe fabric from a cute little shop in New Hampshire. I’ve never been to the shop but they have lots of taupes online. woot!

The fabric has been washed and dried and is eagerly waiting for me to cut into it. I have some applique work calling my name.

Just. Can’t. Wait.

applique, craft, quilt, sewing

Needle Know How

I wrote and posted a blog for my favorite quilt shop and thought I’d share it with you.

There are quite a few hand sewing needles and sooner or later you’ll need one, but do you know the difference? After some research I realized that I do occasionally (gasp!) use the wrong needle for projects. As long as it works I’m relatively happy, and while I can’t speak for all of you, I suspect you have from time to time been guilty of the same. So, what is the purpose of each needle?

If you are going to pick buy one kind of needle (not that we recommend that) the best needle to buy is a sharp. Sharps are good, all-purpose needles. As the name suggests they have a sharp point and are a medium length, compared to its shorter cousin the between (but we’ll talk about that needle further down). Sharps needles are good all purpose hand sewing needles and work well for attaching bindings or other hand work. Sharps have a rounded eye and come in a variety of sizes.

Betweens were specifically designed for traditional hand quilting. The shorter shank provides good control and the needle is thicker than others, giving it strength to move between the layers of the quilt. The small size of betweens allows the quilter to make small, even stitches. Like a sharp, a between has a rounded eye making it easy for threading. You can buy betweens in several sizes, the smallest of which usually speaks to those that have been hand quilting for a while (or have really small hands).

Straw needles have a narrow shank and the eye of the needle is punched within the existing shank – that makes a straw needle great for hand applique since the eye won’t hesitate when pulled through the fabric. Straw needles are also great for hand basting.

Long needles, or basting needles, are used to hand baste a quilt. The needles are long, hence the name, and the added length makes hand basting faster. The needles have a slender shaft to decrease movement between the three layers while basting. The larger eyes of long needles make them great for tying quilts, too.

Sashiko needles have significantly thicker shafts than traditional needles. The thicker shaft prevents them from bending and a larger eye enables the needle to be easily thread with perle cotton or embroidery floss. Sashiko needles are the perfect needle for big stich, Japanese sashiko or embroidery. Sashiko needles are available in several sizes. The shop typically carries a variety pack.

When choosing a needle size, it’s best to consider the type of fabric you’ll be using. In general, the lighter your fabric, the thinner the needle you’ll want to use with it. We carry variety packs if you are unsure of the best needle. If you’re unsure of the best needle, just try passing a few different-sized needles through an inconspicuous place on the fabric to determine the needle that passes through the fabric most easily and leaves only a small hole. Keep in mind that needle size increases as the number decreases so a 10 is larger than a 12 (I know, seems counter-intuitive to us, too).

Happy stitching!

applique, quilt

More Japanese Taupe Applique

Blocks three and four (from this book) are complete except for some embroidery. I don’t have the correct color perle cotton and need to order that from here. If I’m lucky I’ll accomplish that in the next day or two. Fingers crossed (sigh). I was planning to mix pieced and appliqued blocks but I love the applique so much that I think I’ll just stick to that.

All in all the blocks have turned out really well – including the 1/4″ bias tape that I made AND the 5/8″ wide yo-yo’s (and quite frankly, it’s kind of fun to make such itty bitty yo-yo’s!).