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Monday, April 30, 2012

An Autumn Trip

By:  Rose Marie Castonguay

This is my latest hand quilting project that I recently finished.  If you would like to read more about this quilt, please visit my post.  On my blog, there is also a tutorial (in 3 parts) that shows you how to make this same pattern .
I'm very happy with the results!  And all hand quilted .... nothing can be better than this!  With this quilt and my pumpkin quilt that was also finished this year, I'm all set for the fall.  I have one more pumpkin quilt on the go and that one will make a nice trio of autumn quilts.

I was so determined to get this quilt finished before we move.   Mission accomplished.  We are 4 weeks away from moving and the packing has started seriously now.  That being said, my time to be spent on quilting will become very limited over the next few months, so anything that got finished this year so far ..... bonus!  :o)

Quilt size:  58-1/4" x 78"

Have a great day!

Rose Marie
Applique 'n Patch Quilting

Sunday, April 29, 2012


by Caron Mosey, Michigan Quilts!
imagesWe interrupt your regularly scheduled blog on hand quilting to bring you this important public service announcement.  Whether you are a hand quilter, machine quilter, seamstress of clothing or any form of fabric consumption anywhere in the world, please note this:

Fabric that contains any color that isn’t white or off white has the potential (nay, GOAL) to shed excess dye and run (bleed).   Run or bleed like the dickens onto any other fabric it comes near!  Anyone who ever purchases fabric is encouraged to prewash the fabric to release this excess dye and any chemicals that were used in the manufacturing process.  If you have never been told this, you must be living under a rock or at the North or South Pole. 

But there are people in the world who believe that they will be spared any evil or wrongdoing no matter what they do.  To these brave souls, prewashing is a fallacy to be ignored, and they opt to begin their sewing projects with fabric fresh out of the bag.  At times, this may work.  At times, there may be no excess dye to reek havoc. 

But sometimes there is. 

I’m not sure if you can see it in these two blocks, but after spraying each block VERY lightly with water to take away the blue marking lines, and leaving it to air dry, the color in each block ran (bled) onto the white fabric on the front, AND through the batting onto the backing material.



When this quilt is finished being hand quilted in perhaps a month, it needs to be tossed into the tub with cold water to remove the rest of the blue marking lines.  I need your advice as to how to do this without more fabrics in the quilt running, and without these two fabrics running even more than they already have.

I know adding color catchers to the water is a must.  Someone else has recommended tossing a new white cotton towel into the water as well.  What else do I do?

This is the quilt for President Obama that has been worked on by about 80 different people over the course of 3.5 years!!!  Your suggestions are appreciated. Please leave them in the comment area below.
Edited 4/30/2012 8:33 AM EST to add:  I sent my online friend, Vicki Welsh, an email after posting this article.  She directed me to a post on her blog and I think this sounds like good advice.  I would still love to hear from anyone who has suggestions or experience!  You can read her suggestions here.  If you go to her site, stay awhile and look around.  Vicki is a very talented lady, and her hand dyed fabrics are outstanding! 

The Quilt Show

By Karen Goad

I had a wonderful day at the Paducah Quilt Show on Thursday and although I know we are not to post photos of the quilts themselves I have a couple little bits to share of hand work.  They are lovely.  In my opinion there was not enough hand work at the show – it is indeed a dying art and I am so glad that those of us on this blog are trying to keep it alive.  I’m lucky that I live only 6 hours away from the show and was able to make it over to see everything.  A longer trip will have to be planned another time so I can see more.

I barely even found any hand work supplies in the main area of the convention center and finally found items I wanted in the big “bubble” building that is set up for more vendors outside.  There was more in the two big rooms inside the convention center also– one on the second floor and another on the bottom floor in back of the main entrance area. The big area where most of the big quilts are set up was just about completely taken over by long arm machine quilting vendors, and various supplies for that part of quilting.

I had hoped to find AnneMart from the Netherlands who is one of our contributors on this blog at the show as she was there to sell her book and show people how to decorate shoes with quilting designs – I’m sure she will post after she gets home – it was so busy though and I was there only one day and she was not around the booth she was too be at when I was there – another day perhaps – you all in Michigan of which I know we have several might find her at the quilt show in Michigan this year?

My goodies that I found at the show that I just had to have! Edyta Star patterns – 2 of them! one was the last they had and the only vendor I saw them at – I teased the lady that was running the booth that she must have saved it just for me! Roxanne needles, my favorite, needle pulls (those little circle rubber pieces), adhesive circles for the little metal stick on thimble that I use for hand work, fray block, mylar oval pieces – one of Karen Kay Buckley's new items, glue, freezer paper, a Fons and Porter sewing machine threader (lighted) I hope it works. And last but not least – a little bit of fabric – I wanted more but controlled myself as I have plenty at home.  This year I will save on shipping and handling charges as I just do not have a quilt shop near by that carries the hand work items I use Sad smile


Little bits of hand work from a winning quilt



A wonderful applique border – such beautiful work


I hope it was ok to show these little bits of the quilts as I believe the rule is not to post photos whole quilts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bluebird of Happiness

Bluebird of Happiness is a Pat Sloan design.  I must say I thoroughly enjoyed making this whimsical wall hanging.  It started out as a practice piece to learn how to needle turn applique.  I found Pat's pattern  in one of my quilting magazines and just pulled fabrics from  my stash.  The grid in the backyard is one half inch and the border has leaves quilted into it.

I think it is hilarious that my  practice piece turned out to be my favorite project. It now hangs in my foyer and each day that I pass it I take a moment to enjoy it.

Floral Star of Bethlehem

by Caron Mosey

I don’t remember if I have shared this quilt here or not…
so here goes!

This quilt is one that I worked on for years… and years… and years.  The star was machine pieced one triangle at a time… I mean one LITTLE triangle at a time!  The flowers and designs in the white spaces were designed free-style.  I sketched the basic shape that I wanted, then started creating freeform flowers one petal and leaf at a time and appliqued them down.No two flowers are alike, no two heart wreaths are alike.
I discovered that in as much as I love the border and its green vine, it was a royal pain in the you know what to applique that many leaves.  I’d say I’ll never do that again, but I can’t say that in all honesty.  You never know!
2010 Longway
Each September, there is a large quilt event in Flint, Michigan near where I live.  Longway Planetarium in Flint holds a quilt show each September for quilts that have something (anything) to do with stars.  For 2010, Floral Star of Bethlehem took Viewer’s  Choice, and I could not have been happier!
The quilting was all done by hand, as was the applique embellishment.

On the right side of this blog there is an area that lists what the upcoming topics for this blog will be. Those are just suggestions for our writers… not rules for what must be written.  We’d also love to hear from you!  If you have something you’d like to show that fits the “hand quilting” theme of this blog, PLEASE!  Contact us and let us know, and we’ll help you get it on the blog! 
Upcoming topics:
April Spring flowers in quilts
May Spring cleaning: How can you clean out your quilting stash or dusty UFOs? Show us what you've got!
June Anything goes!
July Patriotic quilts and fabrics

Flowers in quilts

By Ann-Mari Duffy

The theme for april is flowers, and this quilt is all about that.

I am currently hand quilting my Dresden plate quilt.
I used different fabric for all the petals. Most of them are 1930`s reproductions.  It is 15 of them in the quilt, put in 3 rows with 5 in each row.  The blocks  is 14.5" finished.
I used EPP to make the flowers. Then appliqued them on the background, which is a unbleached cotton.
Used wool batting in it, and a neutral coloured backing.

Had a professional longarm quilter do the basting for me.
I am outlining the petals, and quilting the background with lines 3/4" apart.

I had a note in my mailbox today. The quilting stencils I ordered for use on  border is waiting for me at the postoffice.  The parcel being to big for the box.

It should finish at about 64" x 91".

Inspiration for the quilt is from a old issue of  "Australian Patchwork and quilting" magazine.

I fell in love with the colours and hand quilting on it.
Started working on it about 3 years ago, had a problem finding the right pink colour for the small border and circels of the flowers. But got it at the end!  There is still a lot of work to do on it, but it is a really fun quilt to work on.

Happy quilting


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My First Hand Quilted Quilt

by Suze

The center is a hand drawn batik panel from Bali that my Aunt brought back for me as a souvenir  many, many years had little white dots around all of the edges of the birds and leaves..and that looked a bit like hand quilting to me..When I started quilting 10 years ago, I decided to tackle this panel..I asked for some help with designing the borders on the Quilting forum and one lady was kind enough to off I went to Joann's for some coordinating fabric to make the flying geese.. I used some icky puffy poly batting that bearded dreadfully in the border fabric (the batik is solid enough there are no pokeys in it!) - but it needled really well! I toiled with this project for several months..working on it in the Barnes and Noble bookshop while I waited for either my DH or my DS to pick me up - I carpooled to work with a couple of friends and that was a convenient drop off point.. The backing was pulled around to the front for the binding..but for a wall hanging..that's ok..

Its hanging in my living room, in desperate need of blocking, which I shall do... one of these days.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My First Quilt

My first quilt started as a simple embroidery project. I had never made a quilt but found an embroidery patter for state birds. After doing the embroidery I followed the instructions and sewed the blocks together layered the top batting and backing and machine stitched between the blocks. I hated it so I added some "decorative" machine stitching between the blocks...still hated it, It didn't look like my image of a quilt. So I bought a package of quilting needles and some hand quilting thread and a hoop and learned to quilt.

It took forever! But it was a learning experiance, and I love the quilt now.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not My First Quilt But My Most Recent

By Candace Carlisle of Southern Girl Quilts

Normally, it takes years for me to take a project from picking out fabric to taking photos of a piece of finished work. This is my exception to that rule. From start to finish, this project took less than a year after I won the fabric at the heart of the quilt (Joel Dewberry's Aviary II Collection in Granite) in an online giveaway.

This quilt is hand-quilted using no. 12 Perle Cotton in Ecru and Black in an echo pattern using a utility stitch. The number of lines within each shape vary since I didn't mark the quilt and went straight to quilting once I had basted it.

What I love about this quilt is that showcases my aesthetic as a quilter the best: the quilting coordinates with the 'top' and shines with the 'back'.

One of the First Quilts

By: Karen Goad

I don’t have photos of the very first quilts I made.   I made my first quilt 37 years ago.  I didn’t really know what I was doing and did a horrible job on them.  About 20 years ago I started to keep photos of the quilts as that is when I really got serious and making more than one a year – that is also when I actually started to learn the correct way to make them although I didn’t have the good sense to use good fabric!  This quilt that I made back in 1991 is taped to the floor for basting.  I have no close up of the quilting done.  My younger daughter has this quilt and it is completely worn out.  I used cheap inexpensive fabric and she literally washed the cheap batting out of it!!  This quilt went though the baby years with her – the grandchildren who are now 11 and 9 vomited up on this quilt god knows how many times – they were both sickly babies going through bad asthma for several years. She must have been washing this quilt once a week for 4 years!  The border of this quilt is completely falling apart now and it is folded up and put on a shelf in the closet!


Stirrup skinny leg pants and 10 pounds lighter! wow who is that woman in that photo – I look like my daughter Smile

My first quilt project

By Marjorie Rich

My first quilt project was an overly ambitious pillow. (Why start with a 9-patch when you can make something elaborate and pretty?)  You can guess by the colors that it was made in the late 1980's.  A friend and quilt mentor taught me about color, scale, and hand piecing with this project.  We carefully straightened the fabric, created plastic templates, marked and cut out each piece with scissors.  I was left to quilt it on my own.

At the time my needle-craft was limited to cross stitch and needle point.  So naturally, I did the quilting the same way, resulting in a product with 28 stitches per inch on the front, and an absolute mess on the back.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My first hand quilted project

by Caron Mosey

This is not the first quilt I ever made, but it IS the first quilt I ever hand quilted.  And, I admit, it’s pretty sad looking. It was supposed to be a flying geese quilt, but I guess I didn’t know that the triangle in the middle had to have three points on it!  LOL  
This quilt was made for our youngest son and was made to use up scraps I had laying around.  I grabbed some stencils and drew the quilting lines on the quilt in no random order to “fill up the space.”  The binding was not too bad, now that I look at it.  I learned not to keep a quilt folded in one position where the light can get to it. It kept the baby warm, and a lot of love went into it.  That’s what counts… it IS what counts, isn’t it?

My first hand quilting project

Found it. 1974. I think it was a kit.

What Was Your First Hand Quilting Project?

By Audrey Easter
Everyone starts out somewhere in the hand quilting world, then gains experience and knowledge with each subsequent project. This is the result of my very first hand quilting effort ever.

I learned the basics of hand quilting from my husbands cousins wife while they were staying with us for a week in the year 2002. Following that instruction, my learning curve mostly depended on two friends that hand quilted infrequently at best. Umm, dare I say that I am totally aware (now) that I learned a few things improperly? Ten years down the road I have some fairly entrenched quilting habits that would not even begin to please the perfectionist hand quilters of the land. Oh, woe is me if they were ever to view one of my quilts up close and personal.*wink Truthfully, I have ceased worrying about all that so much and have tried to embrace what hand quilting does for me on a day to day, month to month basis. The tranquility and peace of mind that results from that little motion of threading a needle in and out of a quilt sandwich is priceless. Many times I have had cause to be thankful for that one moment I put aside my qualms and began learning the art of hand quilting.

Shabby Top + hand quilting = Great Quilt

By Tim Latimer
It has been a while since I posted anything here. I was looking through my picture files today and I came across some pictures of a quilt I finished a few years back. I had a rather shabby antique quilt top (1890). It had been washed a few times and it was rather faded, but I thought it would be worth quilting. So here it is.

The pink and tan fabrics were at one time red (hand dyed) so I imagine when it was new it looked a bit different. I did rather simple hand quilting, just outlining by the piece and then echoing in the triangles.

I used 108" wide brown fabric for the backing (no seams!) and turned the backing fabric to the front to bind it.

I used "Warm and Natural" batting and machine washed and dried the finished quilt. The washing and drying give it that crinkled look.
The end result is a "new antique"
I wasn't sure it would be worth the time to hand quilt the old top but I love the result.

Hand Quilting makes everything look better!
Happy Quilting

Friday, April 6, 2012


 We received a question via email from Stephanie... if you can assist her, please leave a comment below.

It's a beautiful warm sunny day here in the U.K.
I do so appreciate the Hand Quilting Blog! My quilting have definitely improved thanks to all the wonderful examples and useful tips.
A question that I have been pondering - "What is the hand quilters' experience of pouncing?" (How long does it last/what is it like to work with/does it wash out ???)

Happy Easter,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Scrappy trees

In the late 1980s, I happened to see a small tree quilt hanging in a craft store. I wasn't interested in a seasonal quilt but I liked the scrappy trees. I made a quick sketch of the pattern and later drafted it into 7" blocks.

I had a vague idea of using a variety of backgrounds working from light to dark but the need to add sashing changed the plan. I call this "Sunny Glade" and if you look closely, you might be able to find a few Christmas trees among the forest. This quilt is 6'3" x 8'3" and needed to go to the park fence for a photo as there is no space inside, but it has been very gusty and even with many clips, a challenge.

In 1990, as I was finishing this quilt, I was invited to join the Tokyo International Quilters, the first and only real quilt group I have ever belonged to. The left-overs from this quilt are still finding their way into my work.

current project

i've had this quilting design for about 6 years now, i think, saving it for a someday amish quilt.  this quilt is a scrappy pinwheel done in amish solids with gray background.  i assembled it with squares plus this rectangular medallion block just for this feathery urn design.  over the years, it's been in the back of my mind how to transfer the design.  i got a wash-away film, some tulle, some transfer paper and then this delicious tool came on the market.  it's wash away paper that goes in the computer.  since my design was found free on the computer, it was ideal.  you can see in this photo i had about half the design quilted and am now happy to say i've completed the urn, now working on the individual pinwheel squares.  this quilt has a wool batt--myfirst--and i'm using a cotton gray quilting thread.  it's being free-form quilted in the style of antique quilts.  this one is for me and my own use, so i'm just making it in my preferred style.  in fact, i do free form quilting quite a bit now because it does give it an antique look.  once i get it done and have washed off the paper, i'll post a photo of the actual quilting that you can see.  it is sometimes difficult to quilt using a paper like this, and i've found that i can't "travel" my needle too far for fear of leaving long stitches visible.  even so, it's a terrific product and just ideal for this. 

I know I'm a bit late, but since every quilter likes pictures, I went for it anyway.
Although the border looks scrappy enough, I don't know if the quilt fits the scrappy bill. It's one of my first quilts, some 17 years ago, so I didn't have that many fabrics (at that time)and it still isn't finished. I pulled it out to continue the quilting, since the weather seems to turn to winter again and I wanted something else than big stitch quilting for a change. I'm not the most focused person.
The story I remember mostly of this quilt is the mustard fabric. First I was planning on other kind of yellow, much more pale, but I wasn't very happy with it. Then my husband had to go to Paris for his job. I asked him to go to 'Le Rouvray', a famous quiltstore there. In those days, they gave swatches, which he gave to me (I love those kind of presents). And there the mustard was. I was head over heels in love with it (has happened a lot since) and knew it would be perfect. Lucky for me, he had to go back to Paris 3 days later and that is how the mustard got in this quilt. Side story : the paler fabric I used years later in anther quilt for which it was perfect. It even won a blue ribbon.
Here you can see my Hinterberg quiltstand. As you see, I have my corner between the 2 couches (we are 5) so I am part of the daily life when quilting, which I love. I would like a rectangular frame, but that would mean I have to quilt in my studio. I love my studio and the privacy it has when I need to concentrate on
design and such things, but not to quilt in solitary confinement. So, for now anyway, it's this one.

Star Crazy–Hand Quilting

By: Karen Goad


I have been kind of lax about contributing to the blog lately.  Life kind of gets in the way at times doesn’t it.  I have been busy with hand quilting my Star Crazy quilt.  At times I wish I hadn’t started off way back at the beginning with so much quilting in it – I would be done by now if I had put less effort into it.



This much left to work on before I can crank her down and get started on a new length once again.  The end might be in sight when I crank it down again – or it might take one more time of quilting all the way across – soon though the end will be in sight.


Monday, April 2, 2012

DIY a (inexpensive) home hand quilting floor frame

Dear hand quilting friend, don't worry: you don’t have to be a carpenter, nor an engineer… only a passionate quilter!
You need (see picture above):
Two Ikea ‘Vika Artur’ wooden racks
Two stripes of pine (or similar) wood with a (about) 2” square base, of length you wish (it depends from the size of the quilt, minimum 65 maximum 110”, but check your room measurement in advance, please!)
Thumbtacks with small & large head
Four carpenter’s clamps (medium size)
Some cotton leftovers of heavy quality fabric (you must cut two stripes 12” x  …. “ that’s to say the length of your stripe of wood, less 10”)
Your usual tools for cutting fabric (rotary cutter, mat and ruler) or a pair of scissors

After you cut the fabric stripes the length you need, fold them in half, long right sides together, and sew each one all around with your sewing machine, one short side not sewn. Trim seam allowances at corners, then turn right on the fabric pipes. Press and sew the last short sides. Now you have two double stripes of fabric  and you align them on one side of each stripe of wood, leaving it uncovered at both ends. Fix them in place with large head thumbtacks (one every 10”) and then with the small head ones (one every 10”, alternated) as follows:
Ä  ·   Ä  ·   Ä  ·   Ä
Now you can put the two stripes of wood on the Ikea racks with the carpenter’s clamps; once you have fixed them, you can tilt your frame by rising the rear rack pegs. I find this move very useful, because I can see better my quilting space.

But this is only a preliminary test! Please move your stripes of wood off from the frame. (just a few minutes and you’ll be ready to quilt, no panic!)
Obviously, before you start to use your new frame, you must put your quilt on.
I pin in place – on fabric stripes – the borders of my basted quilt sandwich, and with the help of someone else in the house (my mum is really clever doing this!) I carefully wrap  the quilt sandwich, both sides, till it is the right size to put on the racks’ clamps.

In addition, you can apply a lamp on the back (mine is ‘Tertial’ fom Ikea): a wonderful light for all your nightly quilting necessities!

This is a short tutorial for a speedy assembly; please if you need more information, or want just say your impressions, feel free to leave a comment under this post.
Have a nice quilting life!
with all my love for hand quilting, Sara Casol from Italy