Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quilts at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum

I am spoiled. 

Every year my sister and I plan adventure’s for the other’s birthday.  Another birthday rolled around this past Monday.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, I’m now the definition of “middle age”.  (< Thank you to Steve for letting me know this).  Not too bad…. I spent all last year saying I’m 45 already and it was a fabulous year so it’s OK to re-live it, right?

Early Monday morning my sister, Lorna, picked me up and headed off.  Destination unknown.  We are great in car trips – we can gab away the hours and love watching the world go by the car windows.  140 miles later we pulled into Kalamazoo.

I’ve got a gal… in Kalamazoo!

We spent the morning in the Kalamazoo Valley Museum: The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is a "hands-on" museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The museum is largely aimed at families, and focuses on science, technology, and history.

Although small, it had an impressive assortment of displays and programs (including the Challenger Learning Program and Evidence Found: Explorations in Archaeology).  They utilized their space phenomenally and the museum had a great flow about it.  

Truly hands-on – we had to try everything!  I regret I don’t have pictures from the hands-on weather exhibit – we were too busy playing!  But I did take pictures of us live in the newsroom!

One of the main features of the museum included the history of Kalamazoo.  It included Checker Cabs, Gibson guitars, and medical breakthroughs.   

And even though the museum had limited space, they did incorporate some very pretty scrap quilts in their Kalamazoo in the Union (Civil War) collection.  My favorite is the log cabin mourning quilt with the embroidered binding.  It really made me itch to pick-up embroidery needle.

Afterwards, we headed over to the Olde Penninsula Brewpub and Restaurant and off into the sunset for geocaching.  

Another amazing day in the record books!

Elisa and Lorna at "Big Red"
Holland State Park

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cross Stitching 12 Days of Christmas Freebies!

Look at this adorable pattern! It's the first release in the CrossStitcher and Cross Stitch Collection's "12 Days of Christmas" series!

According to the site, each day they're releasing a new freebie, and each freebie is only available for a few days.

I'm not affiliated with either site - I just wanted to post this here so nobody misses out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Excitement Arrived in Today's Mail

A dear friend of mine sent me a fabulous package (talk about “antiparcelation”, Lauri!)  Inside were some fabulous pieces of her work (she is nimble with the ink and iron).  How long, Lauri, does it take you to setup and print a single-color page?  Honestly, I really am surrounded by some seriously talented friends!

She also included some fabulous quilt books.  But one made me cry…. The new Gail Pan book.  She is my FAVORITE embroidery designer (check out her free Christmas patten here), but she’s from Australia (where the cost of the books and shipping is very prohibitive).  I’ve wanted this book since I first read about it on her blog… and now I have it! 

I need to stitch!  I need to go home and pull out my Christmas embroidery and hang it up!  Why is it not the weekend so I can pour myself into my quilt room and start pulling fabric?!? I’m going to vibrate with anticipation for the rest of this very long work day!

I am blessed.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Big Reveal: Japanese Butterfly Quilt

Here it is!  My sister’s Birthday gift!  I saw a quilt like this on a Japanese quilt magazine’s website and knew it would be a lot of fun to make for my sister.  My sister’s house has a lot of wood, world prints, about-to-travel-the-world-out-of-a-leather-satchel feel to it.  I could just imagine this quilt strewn across her white and tan divan (with a cat or two holding it in place).

There was no pattern so I pulled out the draft pad and set to work.  It’s made from a Kate Spain Terrain layer cake with very little waste! I drafted a way to paper-piece and THEN piece the butterflies.  I hope to one day share the pattern with everyone. 

Now to make one for myself…

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tip: The Ease of Adding a Label

I'm so geeked - so close to finishing my sister's quilt!  But I wanted to make sure I didn't rush the ending of it so today I focused on the label.  I've discussed tricks to creating decorative labels in the past, but, since the rest of the quilt is pretty "busy", I wanted something simple and sweet.

Here's my method for adding a label to the quilt. I perform these steps after quilting & trimming the top but before adding the binding.

1. Using leftover fabric from your backing (I normally used the strips leftover when I trim my quilt after quilting), sew 1" strips to each side of your label.

2. Using the edge of your white fabric as a guide, press the top and left edges of your backing fabric to the back of the label.  These will be your applique edges.

3. Align your label to the lower, right corner of the quilt back.  Pin in place.  Hand-applique the upper and left edges of the label to the back of the quilt.

4. Perform your normal steps for adding the binding to the quilt, catching the right and lower edges of the label in your machine stitching.  When you sew the binding down in the back, it will cover the raw edges of the label.


This method has several advantages:
  • Because you border all sides with coordinating backing pieces, the applique stitches blend in beautifully into backing.
  • Also, since I'm not appliqueing the white square directly to the background, the seam won't "shadow through" to the front of the label.
  • For those that don't enjoy appliqueing, you only have 2 sides to stitch down.
  • The other two sides are secured in the binding. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Binding in Solid Black

These eyes aren't getting any younger!

Too often, lately, I've had to use a black or dark blue binding on a quilt (love the way it frames it).  Do you know this trick?  Since the front and the back of the fabric is solid - you can't tell them apart - make sure you mark both ends with a yellow or white pencil.

That way, when you join your binding strips, you can place "right sides together" instead of sewing haphazardly and creating a serpentine mess!

Why does this matter?  You don't want to sew 7 strips together and then discover, when pressing, that some seams face up and some don't.  AARGH!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!