A Friendly Challenge

My daughter and her friend Jillian are jewelry artists. They met early in their college years. They went to undergrad and grad school together, then Annie moved to Wisconsin, and Jill moved to Texas. Shortly after their moves, they decided to do a collaborative challenge. Each made a “part,” then sent it to the other, who finished it into a piece of jewelry. They did this three times, and ended up having an exhibit and lecture at their undergrad alma mater. (You can read about this and see the pieces here.) Much to their delight, their beloved teacher and mentor came from California to see them!

Annie, Jill, Mrs. Schick

Well, they had such a great time doing this that I was inspired to do something similar. So, around a year ago I asked my friend Kimberly Einmo if she would be interested in doing a “parts exchange” quilt collaboration. She jumped at the opportunity, and I’m so glad!

We decided to use Cherrywood fabrics (because, really, who doesn’t love them?!) We would each start with the same colors, and add two main fabrics and up to two accent fabrics. For the first exchange, we decided to make four 16″ blocks, which the other would finish to make a 54″ square quilt.

Kimberly picked the first Cherrywood pack. Tropicana. Yummy!

Image of Tropicana

For my blocks, I added black and white Kona cotton for my main fabrics, and these are the blocks I made.


I used an OESD machine embroidery applique design set to make the paisleys, and embellished the appliqued black frame with 1/4″ strips of the focus fabrics.

block detail

Because I used a bit of silver metallic in the machine embroidery, I wanted to add that to the rest of the block, so I did a triple straight stitch with the silver thread along all the edges of the strips and frame.

These are the fabrics Kim decided to use for her blocks…


…and this is one of her finished blocks.


Now, at this point, if you know me and my work, you’re saying, “Wow, these are so not your style!” And you’d be right! But that’s what makes it a challenge!

So, I in Kansas sent my blocks to Kimberly in Virginia, and she sent hers to me. We hadn’t seen them until we opened the packages! Then it was time to go to work to figure out ways to finish the other’s blocks into a quilt.

I was able to finish my quilt by the time of the Paducah show last April, so I had the fun of “revealing” it to Kimberly, who was teaching there.


I turned those blocks on point and added wide blue sashing, then filled in the big corners with simple piecing. Then I got to work embroidering!

Trop A full

Trop A detail

The leaves and stems are a portion of a design from Emblibrary, and the FSL flowers and narrow dot border are from Zundt. I was going to do one of my FSL edgings, but I tried several designs and colors, and they just didn’t go with the rest of the quilt. By this time, the quilt was quilted, of course, and was too small to be finished at our agreed-upon 54″ size, because I had allowed for a lace border. What to do? Add prairie points, of course! Double prairie points! These ended up looking soooo much better for this quilt than the lace I had planned.

Here is Susan Cleveland checking out those prairie points!


Okay…on to Kimberly’s quilt. We were both at the Craftsy Instructor’s Summit in Denver this past weekend, when she revealed her quilt to me! I love it!



She ended up turning my blocks on point, too, and adding a wonderful Irish chain-ish type setting.


She carried the narrow strips and silver stitching out into the border.


Birgit Schueller did the gorgeous longarm quilting on this, and you can see how she repeated the paisley motifs in her quilting.

We had such a great time doing this that we decided, long before this most recent “reveal,” that it was something we wanted to continue. So last fall, I chose the Cherrywood fabrics for our next set of quilts.

Image of Thistle

I wanted something different, so I picked “Thistle.” It was the purple-y blues that got me. But what I apparently didn’t pay attention to were the taupe-y grays and tans. Those are not colors I like, and neither does Kimberly! Again, that challenge! We had to use all the colors in the pack. We decided that for this challenge, we would each make a 24″ medallion, and the other would finish it up to 54″ as before.

We got to unveil our medallions in Denver, too. Kimberly decided to make a traditional Lone Star, adding a couple of batiks, and some burgundy and acid green accents.


For a while now, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at drafting and stitching a Mariner’s Compass. This was my chance! I added an ivory fabric and a lovely print that I’ve been saving for just the right project. I also added turquoise and dusty pink accent fabrics.


Then, after that compass was all pieced (and it ended up flat the first time!) I embroidered the Zundt lily in the center to coordinate with the lilies in the print. I did not want that embroidery to go wrong!!!


So now it’s time for us to take our exchanged medallions home and figure out ways to take someone else’s choices and finish them off as our own. We’ll have the big “reveal” sometime down the line.

Kimberly is a very popular Craftsy teacher, with four (yes, four!) classes. If you want to learn how to make the most of your piecing, I would highly recommend this delightful teacher! These links will give you 50% off her classes!

Magical Jelly Roll Quilts Title Cardwww.craftsy.com/ext/KimberlyEinmo_81_H

Title Card for Blogwww.craftsy.com/ext/KimberlyEinmo_3933_H



Then, if you want to see a bit of how I add machine embroidery to my quilts, you can take my class 😉


If you’d like to read Kimberly’s version of this exchange, check out her blog post.

I hope we’ve inspired you to grab a friend and start your own challenge! Let us know what you make!





McCall’s 6513

McCall’s 6513 is a knit top pattern that I have made three times over the past few years.


It’s comfortable, it goes together well, and those diagonal lines are almost universally flattering.

The first one I made was View D, from a poly lightweight sweater knit from Emma One Sock. It’s a very interesting fabric, and unfortunately out of stock.


It’s a little shiny, which I normally would not like, but in this case, I do. The fabric contains every color of the rainbow, and then some, I think!


You can see the crossover neckline. On this version, I cut the front pieces so that the crosswise grain was pretty much parallel to the front neckline edges. It’s a pretty stable knit, with not a lot of stretch, so it worked well.


Here you can get a really good look at the fabric, and see the gathers at the side seam.

The second version was View C, which is the same as the previous version, except that the sleeves are ruched at the wrist.


This is an 11 oz. rayon/lycra jersey from, again, Emma One Sock. (Sorry, it’s a bit wrinkled.) This fabric is a lot stretchier than the knit I used in the first top, and so the neckline drapes a lot more. It’s best if I wear a camisole or tank top under this, especially if I plan to bend over!


To accent the gathered side seam, I added some Zundt FSL after it was sewn. Honestly, in real life, the colors match much better, and there is a tiny touch of light blue metallic in the embroidery.


I also added a lace motif over the ruching on the outside of the wrists.

The third version, which I made a few months ago, is also View C, this time in a poly/lycra matte jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think this fabric is also no longer available, which is sad, because I love this color! But they have lots of similar knits.


You can see the ruching at the wrists, which is done with narrow elastic. I like the ruched sleeves, because I almost always push my sleeves up to 3/4 length, and this does that for me! This fabric is intermediate in stretchiness between the multicolor poly knit and the light blue rayon knit. In any case, the pattern needs to be sewn in a drapey knit fabric.

This must be a popular pattern, because I’ve had it for at least three years, and it’s still available. I can see why!

StyleArc “Fleur Tunic”


My Craftsy class went live on Monday, and (yay!) it’s doing very well. I have already had several questions about the white tunic shown on the mannequin behind me in Lessons 2 and 3, about basic heirloom sewing techniques.  Well, here’s the “scoop” on that garment!


Here’s the top on me. I made this from StyleArc’s Fleur Tunic pattern. This is a size 10, so it’s a little small on me. It was made for the mannequin on the Craftsy set and fits her better 🙂


I wanted to make a ladies’ garment that was truly wearable. I really like that StyleArc patterns have a great size range – this one is available in sizes 4 – 30!


I wanted just a bit of lace, with no frilliness. The neckline insert in this pattern seemed like the perfect place for that. I stitched together lace and embroidered insertions to form pieces large enough for the front insert pattern piece. I did not line the insert, as directed in the pattern, because I wanted the look to be more delicate. I used a teeny, tiny Swiss trim for the center front edge, for stability, and I edged the insert with entredeux, instead of using a regular seam.

The body of the tunic is made from Spechler-Vogel Imperial batiste – it’s inexpensive and easy-care.


I used French seams for the construction, which is pretty minimal – shoulder seams, shirt-type sleeve seams, and side seams.


The roll-up sleeves are secured with a buttoned tab. I interfaced the tab with a lightweight interfacing, so the lightweight batiste would hold up to a buttonhole. I did find that the marking on the pattern for the placement of the tab was a little too high for my taste, so I lowered that mark about 3 inches.

This is a roomy pattern. As I said, I made a 10 for the mannequin. My measurements are between a 12 and a 14. I  would use a 12 and not a 14 for myself, and I think I would lengthen it a bit – but then, I’m pretty tall. I think it works well with jeans, and I think it would make a great swim suit cover-up if lengthened, although I wasn’t thinking much about swimming when we took the pics today, as it was barely above freezing!

If you want to learn about the simple techniques I used to create the lace insert, and save 50% off the regular price, check out my class, “Heirloom Sewing Essential Techniques“!

“Heirloom Sewing Essential Techniques” is Live!

Today is the day! My newest Craftsy class is now live!titleCard

To celebrate, I’m offering 50% off the cost of the class. That’s not a bad price for a class you can watch as often as you want, for as long as you want. You can interact with me and with other students, and you can show off your projects to the Craftsy community and be inspired by other students’ work. (And, I’m so pleased – the photography and production of this class, which I just got to watch for the first time yesterday, is superb!)

You can see a short introductory video here.


I’ve been looking forward sooo much to the launch of this class! It has something for everyone, I think.


…and lots more! I had so much fun doing this class.


Have a great day, and have fun sewing (heirloom sewing, I hope!)


It’s Almost Here!

My new Craftsy class, that is! Today is your last chance to sign up for a chance to win the class for free. Just click here. The giveaway ends tomorrow night, so don’t miss out.

I’m really excited about this class! There are lots of heirloom sewing techniques covered, and I think it will be of interest to those of you who have been doing this for years, as well as those of you who sew, but have never done these fascinatingly addictive techniques!


I don’t want this blog to be just promotional, so here’s some sewing from several years ago. I taught this little machine-embroidered and quilted banner a couple of times at the Martha Pullen school in 2011.


I really like this. It incorporates strips of lace, and illustrates how machine embroidery can be stitched so that it flows over the lace. The large flower is just, well, beautiful! The butterfly and the lower V-shaped piece are free-standing lace stitched on water-soluble stabilizer. (The embroidery designs are all from Zundt.) And I quilted my favorite flower chain.

Then, because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I made it in two other colorways, so students could see how it looks.


Then, I re-did the project with a smaller flower (for smaller hoops in the classroom) for teaching at the AQS Paducah show in 2012.


In this second sample, I used digitized designs from Janome to quilt in the hoop. It’s not my favorite, but it’s a good option for someone who doesn’t want to do free-motion quilting.

I’ve given away several of these little banners as gifts. Maybe someday, when I have lots of time (ha!) I’ll have to make some more! 🙂


’70s Embroidery

I’ll bet a lot of you (who are of a certain age!) had a shirt like this.


It is a Levi’s chambray shirt embellished with simple hand-embroidered motifs, and this was all the rage in the early and mid 1970s. This was from either late high school or early college for me, and I don’t know for sure if I did all of the embroidery, or if my Mom did some of it. All I know is that I’m thrilled that I can still fit in it, even if it is a bit tighter than it was 40+ years ago!

I had the same problem then with purchased shirts that I’ve always had – sleeves that are not made for my long arms!


Here is a closer look at the embroidery on the front…


…and the back.


Lots of variegated embroidery floss, and some very long satin stitches!


It was a fun shirt, and I wore it a lot. I also embroidered one for my younger sister. She has always loved horses, and at the time she would draw this cartoonish, sway-backed horse that was really cute. I traced and stitched that onto the back of her shirt. I wish I had a picture of it!

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for a chance to win my new Craftsy class, which will be available soon, soon, soon!!!