Victoria Meets Woodstock

Once in a while, I make a quilt that is not exactly my style!

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“Victoria Meets Woodstock” (35.5″ x 42″, made in 2009) started with a gorgeous hand-dyed cotton sateen fabric panel from Bryerpatch Studio. It was originally intended for this little quilt I made for Mark’s office door (Mark’s Little Quilts) but I decided the fabric was too pretty to use as a background, and that I needed to do something special with it instead.

So, I embroidered designs from one of the Martha Pullen Kent State book/embroidery CD sets. Not the white or light-colored embroidery as shown on the antique garments, but black embroidery on bright swirling colors! Lots of black free-motion quilting, stitched with fine silk thread, creates the appearance of black Victorian lace.

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I had made a black scalloped, machine-embroidered Zundt free-standing lace border, but the quilt ended up too small for the border.  So I used that black lace on a jacket I made for myself! This is not the best picture of me, but it shows the jacket well!

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I have worn this jacket so much! It’s a texture-y poly knit, it’s comfortable, it goes with everything, it washes well, and it looks good – what else is there? I made it from the t-shirt pattern in The Sewing Workshop’s Trio pattern. Of course, this doesn’t look at all like that pattern! I changed the pattern to have a front opening, V-neck, and long sleeves 🙂 I made facings for the neckline and front opening, then stitched that unused black lace on top.

Okay, back to the quilt…Instead of the black lace, I machine-embroidered individual little free-standing lace flowers (again, Zundt, from the Adorations 3 collection) in the colors of the fabric, and stitched them on the outer edge. If you look at the full photo of Victoria Meets Woodstock at the top of this post, you can see that I matched the colors of the flowers to the colors of the outer edge of the quilt, so that the color flow continued into the flower edge!

I had used those same FSL flowers in Gloria’s Garden. The design is one of the dark purple flowers in the upper left hand corner of this photo.

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Again, back to Victoria Meets Woodstock! I like my quilt backs to relate to the front – after all, the back is half the quilt! I found this wonderful flowery stripe that was perfect!

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I usually bind my edges in some way, but in this case, I used the backing fabric to make a bias facing.

And check out the label!

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This quilt won 2nd place in the Wall Quilts – Machine Quilted category at the 2011 AQS Knoxville show. That was the only show into which it was entered – I forgot about it until it was too old to enter into any other shows! It’s hard to imagine forgetting about a quilt this bright!

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Learning Something New – Day 4

I’m still taking advantage of the Craftsy sale, and taking classes. Actually, this post is about the first class I took this week, not the fourth, but I was so thrilled with the class that I wanted to make a sample, and I wanted to be able to show it to you!

This is the class I took:

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I’ve admired Cindy’s work for a while. She has much the same quilting style as I. What I love most are her wonderful quilts using embroidered and cutwork linens as the top! I discovered that her method for quilting around the embroidery is exactly the same as I use to quilt around my machine embroidery! And like her, I quilt a lot of repeating lines, both echo quilting and parallel straight lines, as a counterpoint to flowing, focal motifs like feathers. But I learned other, new tips, and had to try them out.

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I wanted to try using linens, so I found this little silk embroidered handkerchief in my “stuff.” I layered it over shimmery gold silk/cotton Radiance, then over batting and backing, and quilted it with Superior Kimono silk threads in several colors. Then I added a crocheted doily to the plain center of the hanky after it was quilted.

The new techniques I tried are making parts of the feathers “hide” under the edge of the hanky, so it looks like the hanky is floating over the quilting.

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I also used the fill pattern in the center of the handkerchief for the first time. I’ve seen it before, but the instructions were great, and I was able to do it easily. I love this Art Deco repeating fan shape!

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Another technique suggested in the class was the use of beads to secure and embellish. She suggested fresh-water pearls for crochet work.

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Wow! The color is perfect (even with inexpensive pearls from a hobby store), and the pearls don’t get lost in the crochet the way smaller seed beads might.

Because I’m a detail person, I added tiny rickrack piping to the outer edge.

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There’s only one thing I wish I’d done differently on this little quilt. I wish I’d used wool batting instead of 80/20 cotton/poly batting. I didn’t have any scraps of wool batting, and I didn’t want to cut into a big piece, because I have a big quilt ready to layer, and I didn’t want to run short. The wool batting would have made the feathers puff more. But even so, I’ve very pleased with this. Thanks for the help, Cindy!

If you’d like to try this class, click here on my affiliate link.

Learning Something New – Day 3

Several months ago, I was working on a challenge quilt with a friend, and was trying to figure out the design for my part of it. I started with a block of black fabric, and stitched radiating lines of triple straight stitch in silver metallic thread. Well, I didn’t like the way that looked with the embroidery designs I was using, so I tried out this beautifully digitized dragon design by Lindee Goodall.

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I suppose I’ll quilt it at some point and make a small wall quilt, but that will have to take a back seat for now. In any case, I think the dragon looks great!

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My goal for this week has been to take a new class every day (or as many days as possible!) and learn something new. I am almost entirely self-taught, and have rarely taken classes, although I have read extensively and worked very hard to develop my skills. But I figured it was time to get a fresh perspective, and be the student for a while, even though it is as an online student.

The Craftsy class I chose for today was “20 Things Every Embroiderer Should Know,” taught by Lindee. Lindee has been digitizing, embroidering, and teaching for a long time. I remember meeting her in an elevator, although I don’t remember where that elevator was! I have also been machine embroidering for many – about 20 – years, but figured there would be things in her class that could help me make my work better.

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If you do any machine embroidery, this is a great class! It covers hooping, stabilizers, needles, threads, tension, and avoiding “un-embroidering.” Most of it was not new to me, but I did pick up some very helpful tips; I especially liked the ones involving duct tape and a disposable razor! (Honestly – nothing kinky here!!!) The last segment on using Embrilliance software didn’t do much for me, but I don’t do any digitizing at all; if you do, you might like it.

If you’d like to improve your embroidery, you might like to take this class, which, like all Craftsy classes, is on sale this week. Click on my affiliate link here to sign up!

Learning Something New: Day 2

Several years ago, I taught this tote bag at a couple of the Martha Pullen schools.

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The animal print is an upholstery fabric, the ivory and orange fabrics are silk dupioni, and the brown is cotton sateen. The embroidery designs are from Zundt. The ivory tiger panel is a large pocket, edged with double piping. The side pockets are piped with single piping, and are just the right size to hold a bottle of water.

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The body of the tote – like the back shown here – was easily made this way…layer lining, lightweight batting, and outer fabric, then machine embroider the light, open designs to quilt the layers. Student loved it because the positioning and orientation of the designs was random! Hoop wherever you want! Quick and easy. You can see the folded prairie points at the top of the back; they are on the front, as well. Again, easy – folded squares of fabric, stitched into the top binding, then secured at the point with a feed-dogs-down zigzag.

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Here you can see the zipper that closes the tote. I used a heavy-duty coat zipper. And you can see the detail on the straps, too – straight-grain strips of fabric run through a bias tape maker, then stitched to the backing fabric for the strap in random spacing and angles. The backing is cut wider than the animal print strip, so that when it’s turned right side out, the backing wraps around the seam allowances and forms a kind of built-in bound edge.

I’ve used this tote a lot, which is quite surprising, considering that I rarely wear brown, and I am NOT an animal print kind of person! Leopards, zebras and such are not in my closet or home (well, unless cats count!) But the tote is sturdy and a good size, and it has a secure zipper closing, which most totes do not.

Okay, this brings me to “learning something new.” I am also not a purse person. I don’t change purses with seasons or outfits. I put my stuff in my purse and leave it there until the purse falls apart. I have a good quality black leather shoulder bag that I’ve been using for at least 10 years. Before that, I had a nice black leather shoulder bag that I used for 10 years. The problem is, my current one is worn out, and good quality leather purses give me sticker shock!

Soooo, here comes another Craftsy class for me! I’m taking advantage of this week’s big sale and learning some new things.  This afternoon I watched this class

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…and I’m ready to make my own leather bag! What a great class! The instructor goes over designing, choosing and cutting leather, supplies, sewing on a home machine, adding zippers, pockets, and lining. He really made it seem very do-able. Leather is one material I’ve never sewn, but I’m more than ready to try! If you’d like to try this class, too, click here.

Maybe if I make my own, I can have a new purse more frequently than once every 10 years!

This post contains affiliate links.

Learning Something New!

Because Craftsy is having a BIG sale right now, I thought I’d try taking some classes for myself! The first class I tried was “Sweet Elegance: 16 Cookie-Decorating Techniques.”

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Now, I like to cook, but I’m not much of a baker. But these cookies look like lace, and I’m a sucker for lace (okay, I’m a sucker for cats, too, but we won’t talk about that right now!) I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and came away convinced that I could make cookies almost this lovely. Amber covered decorations that look like netting lace, eyelets, quilted looks, monograms, painted roses, and, my favorite, embroidered flowers! She also included a recipe for not only the royal icing she uses, but a very tasty-sounding cookie recipe. I kind of wish I’d kept those Wilton cake decorating supplies from the class I took way back in the early 1980s!

Use my affiliate link below to try out this fun class:

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/SusanStewart_4873_CP

Those lacey cookies reminded me of the very first class I taught at a Martha Pullen school, in 1991, I think.

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It’s really just a lace collage stitched on cotton netting. I always thought this looked kind of like a lace turtle! This was supposed to be a pillow, but it never got a back or pillow form. Actually, I’ve taught a lot of pillow class projects, and almost none of them have pillow forms – they take up too much room in luggage and storage, so they are all flat pillows!

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The very center was a little embroidered netting motif, surrounded by mitered insertion and edging. Curved insertion and edgings were stitched around that.

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I cut out little flowers from the gorgeous wide insertion, and appliqued them to the netting background in various places. A wide 3″ edging was gathered around the outer edge. The laces used in this project were really exquisite!