Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial - Wool Applique Tips and Tricks and Free Design

Hi everyone -- and welcome to another Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial.

It's been a busy week here in the Finger Lakes, USA - the weather is perfect for lake fun!   Swimming, skiing, tubing and just having fun with our family - there is no better way to spend the summer.

A couple of other fun things going on this week -- first the Throwback Thursday featured tutorial "Wool Lovers Tips and Tricks" was written last year for the Wool Lovers Blog Hop.

This tutorial features Wool Applique Tip and Tricks and includes a free bookmark design for your personal use.  I hope you enjoy reviewing it.

You can see a complete list of my tutorials by clicking the "My Tutorials" tab on my blog header ;)

Next, my blogging friend Carole at
"From My Carolina Home" blog finished a beautiful pillow rendition of my "Spring Basket" pattern and is having a giveaway of Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors on her blog.

These serrated edge scissors work wonderfully on wool.   Hop on over to Carole's blog to see her lovely and creative work and be sure to enter the giveaway - it ends Thursday night, July 17th, so don't delay!!  
Image courtesy FromMyCarolinaHome.wordpress.com
If you're interested in purchasing the "Spring Basket" pattern, you can click on the link on my sidebar to jump to my Craftsy Pattern store.

Stay tuned early next week for my review of Karen McTavish's latest book -- I think a giveaway is in order on that post!!

Happy Quilting!
Hugs,
Karen

PS - If you're on Facebook be sure to follow Redbird Quilt Co .  Thank you!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial, A Good Deal, and UpComing Giveaways...

Summertime in the States... Sew much fun!!  Hope ya'll are enjoying summer vacation.   

For those of you outside of the states enjoying a different season -- good for you!  Here's to finding time to sew. 

We're having fun making memories with friends, family, and grandchildren at the lake.

We're very blessed to have all of our children nearby so they can spend time with us as their schedules allow.  Very thankful for our time with them.

I wanted to share this picture of me with our granddaughters, Emily (16) and Jenna (11).
This year was Jenna's 1st year swimming across the lake - about a 3/4 mile swim. 

We are so very proud of her!  

Grampa, mommy, and the rest of the cheering squad were in the boat spotting us and taking pictures.  We had fun!

I haven't had much time to sew or blog lately but I did do some late night updating of the "My Tutorials" page on my blog header recently.

Click on the image below (or on the My Tutorials tab above), check out the updated page, and please leave me some feedback letting me know what you think. 

If you like a tutorial, feel free to share it on your favorite social media by clicking one of the share icons immediately below the blog post.   This is what the share icons look like at the end of each post.

To be completely honest, I didn't know how to use these icons for the longest time. 

As it turns out, it's really easy to share via e-Mail, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google Plus.  Click one of them on this post and try it out.

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial:

For the next few weeks I'm going to feature one of my previously published tutorials for "Throwback Thursday". 

This week, in anticipation of an upcoming giveaway,  I've decided to share the Quilted Bird Envelope Pillow Tutorial that I wrote in July of 2013.  Click on the image below to review it.

I had a blast making the sweet pillows for my sister and her husband and I hope you enjoy the tutorial and other posts featuring the pillows.

A Good Deal:

As most of you know I am sold on #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread.  I use it for piecing, hand applique, and free motion quilting on my domestic machine.   I came across the best deal this week and wanted to tell you about it.

Our friends over at Green Fairy Quilts, Judy and Clint Madsen,  recently started selling Aurifil Thread.  If you're not familiar with Green Fairy Quilts you need to check out Judy's blog -- she creates beautiful quilt designs and works Free Motion Quilting miracles with her long arm machine. 

Judy is also the Author of "Quilting Wide Open Spaces".


Now back to the thread -- Green Fairy Quilts is carrying Aurifil 12wt, 28wt, 40wt, and 50wt Mako Cotton, AND they are also carrying the 12Wt Lana Wool and 6 strand floss!  WOW....

The best part of this is that the entire stock of #Aurifil threads are on sale NOW!!  

I'm so excited because I got ordered two different collections of 12wt Cotton Embroidery threads for an unbeatable price.  Can't wait to stitch some wool with it.

Anyhow - if you're in the market for a collection of Aurifil threads, jump over and get busy.  When you buy a 12 spool collection at the sale price, each spool is less than $8.00 with FREE SHIPPING.  

No kickbacks for me -- just a good thread deal and I wanted to share it. 

Click on the image below to see the awesome collections AND fantastic prices at Green Fairy Quilts.

 

Upcoming Giveaways:   

Some more good news... I've found several excuses to give "stuff" away soon -- so keep an ear to the Blog, Facebook page, and/or Twitter account for your chance to win.

The wonderful folks at On Word Bound Books have provided me with a Review Copy of Karen McTavish's new book: "Mastering the Art of McTavishing - 2nd Edition Expanded and Revised " -- That's all I'm saying for now....  hint, hint.  

You know I love McTavishing -- I used it on this little piece:

I'm really excited to review Karen's new book!

More giveaways ?  I won a Fat Quarter Bundle of beautiful Benartex fabric earlier this year and it needs a home... wink, wink.

Who knows what else might crop up in the coming weeks....

One thing I can tell you is that Commenting or using the Share Icons on the "My Tutorials" OR the Featured Tutorial for the week will increase your odds of winning.

Be sure to follow me here on the blog using the "Follow" buttons to the right
AND
Follow Redbird Quilt Co on Facebook
AND
Follow Redbird Quilt Co on Twitter 

So you don't miss out on any of the giveaways!!

Have a wonderful weekend all,
Hugs,
Karen

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Simple Whatnots... Kim Diehl... Mini Quilts... Fantastic Price!!

Have you heard about Kim Diehl's 
Simple Whatnots Club?

6 Beautiful new Mini-Quilt patterns
A new line of Kim Diehl fabric
for Henry Glass
"Vintage Farmhouse"

Only available at your favorite quilt shops...

 ***

Well one of my favorite local quilt shops is having a fantastic deal on the
Simple Whatnots Club:

16 Yards of Fabric
 -- enough to finish all 6 mini-quilts including backing and binding

6 brand new Kim Diehl
Simple Whatnot patterns
 -- including an applique and pieced version of the Hopscotch Mini Quilt

Here is the Applique Version of Hopscotch -- isn't is beautiful?
Image Courtesy Kim Dieh's Facebook Page
 Here is Idaho Lily
Another one of my favorites!!
Image Courtesy Kim Diehl's Facebook page
AND

A Vintage Farmhouse Panel
thrown in for fun!!
Image Courtesy Henry Glass

All of this for only $160 (plus s/h) at
Sew It Is.
 Where else can you get 16 yards of
newly released fabric,
Plus 6 brand new Kim Diehl
Simple Whatnot patterns,
and
A Vintage Farmhouse panel
for this price?

That is only $10.00 per yard of fabric and the patterns and panel are FREE!!
WOW !

I'm Sew excited - 
I ordered my kit tonight!!

Click here to go to the item at Sew It Is

 If you're a Kim Diehl lover like I am, it's hard to pass up.
Thanks Cindy -- for the fantastic deal!!

Happy Monday everyone...
Karen

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Building Houses - With Needle and Thread

Last week we met for the monthly "Quilting the Garden" applique along hosted by our sweet friend Debbie Wick, and with two other special ladies -- my sister Janet and friend Bonnie.

We meet monthly to drool over Debbie's completed Quilting the Garden Quilt (a design and book by Blackbird Designs) and plan out the fabric and stitching for our own blocks. 

Our versions of Quilting the Garden are being completed with various methods of Needle Turn Applique.    Bonnie uses a back basting method, Janet uses freezer paper templates attached while stitching, and I use a freezer paper marking method. 

If you're interested in learning my method of Needle Turn Applique check out "Teardrops of Love - a needle turn applique tutorial" on my blog by clicking here.
Back to Quilting the Garden -- Janet, Bonnie and I have nearly completed our house blocks so I wanted to share them.

First is Debbie's House block from her completed quilt.  Isn't it beautiful?  Debbie always adorns her blocks with the sweetest embroidery.  Check out the flower box flowers and the sign on the door -- sweet! 

Debbie's quilt recently won 2nd place in the Large Bed Quilts Category at the Sauder Village Quilt Show in Archbold, OH!  Congratulations Debbie!!
Debbie's Completed House Block
Next up is my block -- it's almost done.  I need to finish up the upper flower box and the special window on the front door.   That beautiful pin-stripe background was gifted to me from Debbie - it was her last piece of fabric of this type - really pretty!  Thank you Debbie...
Karen's House Block
Next up is Janet's House Block -- I just LOVE the pink flowers and the paisley eaves on the roof!  Janet has yet to finish up her flower boxes and embroidery but the block is beautiful!  I love how the blue door and blue leaves draw out the blue paisley....
Janet's House Block
Finally there is Bonnie's House Block - I love the background fabric on Bonnie's block - isn't it beautiful?  Combine it with the delicate pinks and blues she used and it all comes together perfectly!!  It's just really pretty isn't it ?
Bonnie's House Block
Check out the embroidery on Bonnie's flower boxes -- SWEET!!   We won't mention who stitched these flowers boxes but I can say it wasn't me (or Bonnie or Janet)!!
If you're interested, you can see the house block being constructed (with some tutorials and other block progress) by clicking here and here.
*
Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,
Karen
PS - Linking up to some great WIP/Fabric linky parties -- check them out on my sidebar to see tons of beautiful and inspirational work!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sharing WIP Like a Proud Momma

Oh I'm having such fun!!   I still have to pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming.... In the last few weeks I started teaching Introductory Wool Applique "Spring Basket" with two different groups and I'm doing cartwheels in celebration!!

Spring Basket Sample by Karen L. Miller ~ Redbird Quilt Co.
Many thanks to the ladies at the New Quilters On the Block Guild in Candor, NY and to the Partners and Students at Quilters Corner in Ithaca, NY for taking a chance on this green instructor!   Thank you ladies -- ya'll are just wonderful to work with...  
New Quilters on the Block - Working Hard

The New Quilters on the Block wanted to learn the basics of wool applique -- knowing that we wouldn't finish any pieces in the 4 hours we spent together.  We reviewed wool preparation, floss basics, Needles: threading - knotting - burying - finishing;  Stitches: blanket, couch, overhand, french knot, and so on...  They did a fantastic job on their quilts -- and Joan came sharing her own overdyed wools with the entire group of 11 ladies (and one lucky instructor)!   We had a fun time!
New Quilters On the Block -- Almost quitting time...

Besides the people, personalities, and comradely -- here are some moments that make this sew much fun....


1.  The "Light Bulb" moment - You're looking in a persons eye -- they're watching the lesson, and listening to what you share, and they sit down and take fabric, needle and thread in hand and "click" -- it works!!  They get it!  WOW - now that is fun!

2. "Individuality & Creativity" -- this is really, really fun for me.  The class comes in with their wools and backgrounds and nobody is exactly sure where they're going.   After 3-6 hours it all starts coming together and everyone is drooling over everyone else's projects.    Oh my that is fun!

Here are some Work in Progress images from Session 2 at Quilters Corner:

My apologies to Ruth -- somehow I managed to get out the door without taking a picture of her quilt -- I promise I'll share in another post.

This is Barbara's Spring Basket - she is stitching it onto black wool -- so soft and plush.  Don't you just LOVE that basket and how she cut it on point... the piece is coming together beautifully - I love how she used different color berries for her hyacinth. 
Barbara's WIP
This is Cathy's WIP -- Cathy took a whole different approach with a Gray wool background and a complimentary gray wool basket -- She used buttons for the centers of her mums -- how sweet!  And how about that bird ?  Don't you just love the red breast?   It's fabulous!
Cathy's WIP
Here is Mary Ann's WIP -- Mary Ann had fun with colors that were closer to the original pattern sample and it worked out wonderfully.  Her forsythia are bright and cheery, and the entire piece just jives... I love it!
Mary Ann's Work in Progress
No matter if you're the teacher or the student -- it's just fun to share quilting moments.  If you're a quilter you LOVE to see other people's work....

Here is "the other" Cathy's Spring Basket -- she nearly finished it in our 2nd 3 hour session.  The background is cotton fabric but it comes off plush and full -- and almost looking like green grass.  Cathy went with brights and WOW -- what a fantastic finish.  Congratulations Cathy!
The other Cathy's Spring Basket -- All done except for the quilting
After class Mary Ann worked hard and finished her piece over the weekend.  Here is an image she sent me -- didn't it come out beautifully ?  Way to go Mary Ann !! 
If you live locally and would like to take Introduction to Wool Applique ~ Spring Basket, I'll be teaching it in a 1 day Workshop at Penn Yan Sewing Machines on Tuesday, August 19th from 9am to 3pm.   You can reach the shop by calling 607-243-7879.   

I'll be updating my Facebook Events Page with a complete lineup of classes this week.

If you're not local, a PDF version of Spring Basket is available for immediate purchase and download at my Crafty Pattern Store.

Thanks for stopping by today and sharing in my excitement!!

Hugs,
Karen

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Do you FMQ? The Process...

It's been many, many weeks since I've had my hand at moving fabric around under a needle - I needed the practice, I needed the down time, I just needed to do it!  

This is a sweet little Piggy Growth Chart by The Wonderful World of Susybee and it's a fun way to get those FMQ juices flowing again.   I dove into my stash of beautiful #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt threads and had some fun!!
Here are the steps that worked for me:

1.  Give your machine a good cleaning inside and out.  The Janome Horizon doesn't need to be oiled, so a good dusting did the trick.  I removed the faceplate, swept all around, and discarded those dust bunnies!

2.  Outfit the machine with a Little Genie Magic Bobbin washer -- these little guys are the best.  They help your bobbin thread glide smoothly.  I've never done without one and purchased them originally on recommendation from Leah Day.   Give them a try!

3. Start with a full-up bobbin loaded with Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread.  YOU KNOW I love this thread!  I use the same thread in the top and bobbin and it works out wonderfully.  
4.  Thread, thread, thread -- was fun to open and use a brand new, full spool of Aurifil thread on the machine.  This is Mako Cotton 50 Wt in Color #2423.  Just right for the piggy and the border...
5. Feed Dogs -- to Drop or Not to Drop:
Oh NO!  Now all my secrets are out... this is a sweet little workaround to avoid dropping the feed dogs and setting the thread length to zero.

On the Horizon I find that the machine makes more consistent stitches when I leave the feed dogs UP and the thread length at 2.5.    (Yet another tip from the wonderfully skilled Leah Day).

I tape this little helper down so that my feed dogs don't damage the underside of the Supreme Slider...  PS - I do NOT engage my single hole throat plate on the Horizon as I have a small burr on the underside and it snags and breaks my thread -- I really should have that checked out ;)
6. Insert a new needle --  This time I was running with a  Microtex 80/12 needle.  The Microtex Sharps are fantastic too! Aurifil recommends you use Microtex 80/12 with 50Wt thread - (I didn't realize that).  You can see their recommendations for Mako Cotton 50Wt by clicking here.

7. Supreme Slider & Gloves:  Washed the linty back-side of my Queen Supreme Slider (so it will stick well) and gathered my Machiners X-small gloves.  That slider makes the top of your quilting surface very smooth so your fabric moves easily - it was a great investment ;)

8. Quilting Foot:  Choose and attach your favorite FMQ foot. I normally work with my open foot --if I could only find it (Where did it go ??)

9. Needle down position:  Before you start stitching -- engage the needle down position if your machine has it.  This way, whenever you stop sewing your needle will stop in the "Down" position.   
10.  Top thread tension:   Last but not least, up the top thread tension -- this is a MUST DO for me on the Janome with Cotton fabric, Aurifil Thread and one or two layers of batting (cotton/wool).  Works like a charm every time.  
Woohoo!  We're ready to stitch !!

(Note:  This quilt was prepared with one layer of warm and natural batting -- with an additional layer of Wool or Silk batting, the quilting would be a little more defined).

First I wanted to outline all the pigs, then follow their inside features as well, eyes, noses, etc.

On this sweet little growth chart my customer sister told me not to fuss... so I took a few shortcuts.

To start, bring the bobbin thread to the top, take a couple stitches in place and trim threads (do not do this on a show or juried quilt).
Proceed around the piggy , highlighting the piggy features as best you can. 
This top piggy was fun to stitch -- the rounded features of his face and belly screamed spiral!!  I was a little wonky starting out but he's still sweet!!
After outlining the piggies and filling in their features, decide on a background filler (and color).

Use the filler to travel from background component to background component.

I chose to use a quick "loop de loop" and it worked out great.

The Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt in Color 2600 gave the background a bit of sparkle...  Sweet!
While traveling with the background loop de loop I would find myself inching up on a background component (butterfly, bee, etc).

When close enough stitch in the ditch around the item -- then make a few echo stitches to complete the shape.  I love the way stitching the pebbles gives the butterfly movement...
The flower component was fun to quilt!  Start on the perimeter and work your way to the middle with a swirl -- then split the width of the quilting on your way back out.  Be sure to outline the inside and outside of the petals - and echo stitching always makes things look more defined.
The green background spoke of leaves and grass to me -- so I decided to incorporate an Angela Walters design -- I love the way it turned out.
Oh, and that Aurifil Mako Cotton 50 Wt in Color #1231 matched the greenery perfectly!!

I had a tough time deciding what to stitch in the outer border -- so again I let the fabric talk to me and did an outline stitch around the flowers and swirls and pebbles... I think it came out just fine.  Do you like it ?
Here is the status as I head to bed -- I think I need to do something with the green border but my customer sister is telling me not to fuss.  
We'll see what tomorrow brings ;)

You can see other Susybee Growth charts I've quilted here, here and here.

Thanks for stopping by and I would love to hear your feedback.

Linking up to a few of my favorite parties -- check them out on the sidebar and click on over to view the eye candy.

Hugs,
Karen

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Thank You! Bloggers Quilt Festival Results

Many thanks to everyone that clicked through and voted for my two entries in Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival.  Thank you, thank you!

Although neither quilt won in its particular category -- Redbird and Berries tied for 11th place out of 25 quilts in the Viewers Choice category. 

Best of all - Redbird and Berries was one of three quilts tied for first place in the Original Design category !! 

Shucks -- we missed it by a vote!!  
Seriously though -- it made a fantastic showing and I do appreciate all of your votes and sweet comments.   The tie was broken by looking at the click through URL counts and Anne's "Matrix" quilt won that by a long shot!  Congratulations to Anne. 

Needless to say -- I think ya'll know I'm really proud of Redbird and Berries and now you also know why I was motivated and inspired to create it.  If you missed that background you can read it here.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement.

Spring Basket fared pretty well too -- placing 16th out of 50 some entries in the Mini Quilt Category.
I'm off to spend the day with the New Quilters on the Block Guild in Candor, NY today.

They are excited to learn wool applique and will be making Spring Basket!!  It should be a fun time and I'm honored to be working with these lovely ladies.

Have a blessed weekend everyone.  I hope to be doing some quilting on Sunday and can't wait to share it with you.

Take care,

Karen