Thursday, August 14, 2014

Do you love to attend Quilt Shows ?

I sure do! 

If you're traveling to or live in or around the Finger Lakes Region of New York -- be sure to carve out a couple of hours this weekend to visit the "Quilts, Vines & Finger Lakes Wines QUILT SHOW" being presented by O'Susannah's Quilts & Gifts.
O'Susannah's is a lovely quilt shop located in Watkins Glen, NY, at the base of Seneca Lake (the largest of the Finger Lakes). 

O'Susannah's is not only an award winning, full service quilt shop, it is also home to the most fantastic retreat location in this area, "The Upstairs Inn".  

Wonderfully decorated, large enough to sleep 8 quilters, and setup with all the right features for the perfect quilt retreat, the Upstairs Inn is a great place to escape (especially in the fall when the local grapes are being harvested - ohh the aroma)...  

The image below is the living room at the Upstairs Inn - Isn't it beautiful ?   You can see and read more about "The Upstairs Inn" by clicking here. 

But back to the quilt show -- I entered and attended the 2013 show and there were some beautiful quilts to see -- I added about 30 images to this album on Facebook -- just click the link to see them -- you don't need a Facebook account.  

Here are a few of my favorites:

A Sharon Stroud design -- I'm sorry I didn't capture the quilters name -- all needle turn applique and hand quilted.  SO pretty!
Look at the corner of this mini quilt -- I think the entire mini was less than 12 inches square -- so beautiful!!   Hand applique and hand quilted -- WOW!
 ... and here is another mini -- do you see the pencil in the lower right ?  I put there there so you could get a feel for the size of this quilt.  Teeny Tiny.... Look at the size of those little birds!  Now this is one talented quilter !!
To see more of the quilts from the 2013 show -- click here to view the Facebook Album.  No need to have a Facebook account - you should be able to view the album without one.

Below are the quilts that I decided to enter into this years show...  I dropped them off today.

Wooly Wren --Pattern coming soon!
 Spring Basket -- Pattern available on my Craftsy Store -- click here.
Redbird and Berries in Wool -- cotton version of the pattern is available from the Moda Bake Shop.

The template for the wool version (slightly smaller) is available on my sidebar.
Last but not least...

Redbird Christmas Pillow - pattern available on the Moda Bake Shop  and the Applique Template is available on my sidebar.
This show is just for fun!  No judging going on -- but you should see the talent on display!

Well -- the weekend is nearly upon us -- Our nephew is getting married on Saturday so you'll find me at the Quilt Show sometime on Sunday.  You can get directions and hours by clicking here.

Do you enjoy going to Quilt Shows ?

Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

McTavish Review Winner!

Many thanks to all that participated in the Book Review and Giveaway of Karen McTavish's "Mastering the Art of McTavishing - 2nd Edition - Expanded and Revised" book !
Your feedback and excitement about learning to "McTavish" was amazingly uplifting and encouraging.

Machine quilting is one of my favorite things to do -- and this stitch is so very forgiving -- even if you "think" you can't do it I would love for you to give it a try.

The best tip I would share would be to use a thread that matches your background color, and that is  very fine, so that your backtracking and mistakes are nearly invisible.

Next, use the same color thread in the top and bobbin so that slight variations in tension do not show.

I always turn to Aurifil Mako Cotton 50wt thread for my top and bobbin.  Quilts like a dream!

Use a panel as a practice piece -- if you like it when you're done -- turn it into a wall hanging or Envelope Pillow (as shown below -- see the tutorial here). 
Dense McTavishing makes applique pop -- so it's an awesome background filler on applique quilts.  You can see before and after shots of Winter Apple (by Blackbird Designs) here.
And the movement that McTavishing provides in a quilt cannot be topped.  I love the way it worked out on my Redbird and Berries Mini Quilt -- a free recipe you can download from the Moda Bake Shop (click here).
So don't be shy about giving McTavishing a try -- it's versatile, forgiving, fun and just beautiful!
Now -- on to the winner of the book....   Rafflecopter chose the winner randomly and came up with
Marly !!  Congratulations Marly - I've sent you an email and will ship your book and DVDs out as soon as I hear from you.

** Many thanks to Karen McTavish and On-Word Bound Books for providing a copy of Karen's new book to review and giveaway **

You can order your copy of the book at On-Word Bound Books by clicking here.

Thanks again all for participating -- stay tuned for another upcoming giveaway and more fun!

Have a wonderful week.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday Tutorial: Elmo Cake Pops

Hello dear friends and Welcome to a Throwback Thursday Tutorial.  

This week we're branching away from quilting and sewing to share a sweet treat for the little folks in your life. 

Two years ago our precious grandson Zachary was everything "Elmo".... so for his 2nd birthday party we prepared Elmo Cake Pops - he Loved them!!

Click the link below to review the tutorial for this simple treat...

One more thing... Be sure to get in on the current giveaway!  

You have until the end of day this Saturday, August 9th to enter the giveaway for Karen McTavishes book "Mastering the Art of McTavishing - 2nd Edition".

If you haven't already entered, jump on over to this post, read the book review, and use the rafflecoper to register your chances....

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Learn to Machine Quilt - A Great Giveaway...

Hi everyone -- I wanted to take a minute and share with you a Giveaway that the lovely and talented Wendy Sheppard from Ivory Spring Blog has open through end of Day August 6th.

Wendy is giving away one copy of her online "Learn to Machine Quilt" class that is hosted at Annie's.
I was fortunate to enroll and complete this class more than a year ago and it really improved my machine quilting.

Wendy is patient and confident, and her machine quilting speaks for itself.  Here is one of my favorite Wendy Sheppard quilts:
Image Courtesy Ivory Spring Blog
About the class Wendy says: "This class is designed to help beginning machine quilters to get used to moving their quilt sandwiches.  It remains my firm belief that being able to maneuver one’s quilt sandwich is the key to enjoyable quilting on a domestic machine."

You can see samples, read more, and enter the giveaway at Wendy's Giveaway Post.

While you're on Wendy's blog -- if you're interested in machine quilting check out the "Thread Talk" entries on the blog sidebar.  I've learned so much from her awesome FMQ Thread Talk.

Thread Talk

Now be sure to jump over, enter the giveaway (tell her Karen sent ya), and check out Wendy's current Thread Talk post where she answers some questions about the challenges of machine quilting. 

Oh, and don't forget, you have until the end of day this Saturday, August 9th to enroll in my current giveaway for Karen McTavishes book "Mastering the Art of McTavishing - 2nd Edition". 

For those of you that have already enrolled -- thank you for your sweet comments... I know you will love to McTavish as much as I do!!  
Read about and enroll in my McTavish Book giveaway here.

Happy Tuesday...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition Expanded and Revised

Hello everyone and welcome to a book tour and review of Karen McTavish's latest release  "Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition ~ Expanded and Revised" ~ published June 2014 and available for purchase from

Photo Courtesy On-Word Bound Books
You all know that I absolutely love using McTavishing on my quilts -- especially as a background for wool applique.
If you're looking to learn Karen's beautiful signature technique to enhance your quilts, 
this is the book for you!

I received a "review" copy from the delightful Sara at On-Word Bound Books, and couldn't wait to dive into it.  

The book is 128 pages long and includes 2 DVD/Videos (2.5+ hours) with awesome, down to earth, McTavish instruction.

The fun part of this publication is that you receive both the 1st and 2nd Edition DVD/Videos for the price of one book!   If you already own the 1st Edition you'll be thrilled with the new content and teaching approach of the 2nd Edition.

One of the finest things about this book is the inclusion of more than 45 quilts from National and Award Winning quilters showcasing a more modern use of McTavishing on these types of quilts:

Art Quilts and Apparel
As Background Fillers
With Victorian Feathers

There are literally hundreds of full-color, beautifully photographed, McTavished pieces on the pages of the book.   Some were quilted by Karen McTavish...
Courtesy On-Word Bound Books Quilt Artist Jan McTavish - Quilted by Karen McTavish

And some were quilted by contributing quilters and modeled by Karen.  
I think it's awesome to see how other people interpret Karen's stitch.
Courtesy On-Word Bound Books... by Linda Alexander - Modeled by Karen McTavish
On the 2nd Edition DVD/Video, Karen shares a sampler of McTavishing designs that can be used for a more Modern look -- she explicitly shares these McTavishing variations:

Mini McTavishing (my favorite)
Curls and Swirls (my next to do!)
Clam Shell
Motorcycle Flames
Freehand Victorian Feathers (another favorite)

Also included in the DVDs, Karen and the contributing quilters cover McTavishing on Long-Arm machines, Domestic Machines AND via Hand Quilting...  Pretty Awesome!

While watching the videos, I jotted down a few things Karen shared that really hit home:

  • Match your thread to your background fabric
  • Use thin thread -- 50WT or finer - Karen uses silk and nylon (I'm a cotton girl myself ;)
  • Strive to have as few stops and starts as possible!  (Love this)
  • McTavishing is very forgiving -- you can backtrack, sneak around your quilt, and rework areas that need it without it being obvious. 
  • When necessary, picking (ripping) out McTavishing takes forever !!  (I can relate to that statement ;)
  • Think small, be relaxed and do the best you can!
  • There are no rules!!
Wait until you see how Karen Stops and Starts her quilting -- I just LOVE it....   (She does a video of her stops and starts on her Facebook page too-- click here for the video).

I think what I like the best about Karen McTavish is her style -- she has a flair of her own, one that can't be mimicked.   I really enjoy her simple, honest, and laid back approach to sharing McTavishing.  
Image Courtesy On-Word Bound Books - Karen McTavish
What you see is what you get.   

Thank you Karen McTavish.

After reading the book and watching the videos I couldn't wait to get stitching.  I work on a domestic sewing machine -- so I followed the first 10 steps in my "Do You FMQ" Tutorial (see it by clicking here).

I loaded up my #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread  {{*love*}}  with every intention of following the "New" Basic McTavishing instruction,  but found myself falling right into my favorite McTavishing stitches:  Mini McTavishing and Freehand Victorian Feathers. 

I guess I've established a McTavishMillering or McMillering style of my own.... I'll let you decide if you like it -- but I'll have to rework on a larger piece to get the feel for "The New Basic McTavishing".

I'm calling this my "McTavishMillering Milkbone" ha ha ha.  It's a 14" x 22" cut of Mini McTavishing and Freehand Victorian Feathers McTavish style.
I started with marking the feather spine (only) around the 14" x 22" muslin.   I used two layers of batting, one Hobbs Heirloom 100% Wool and another cheap medium loft poly.

Of course I always quilt with my favorite thread, Aurifil Mako Cotton 50 Wt (in the top and the bobbin).  I quilted this entire top on my Janome Horizon, using 3 full bobbins, and with NO BREAKS!!  That amazes me!!   I love #Aurifil thread.  
I stitched the inside feathers first, using Karen's freehand Victorian feather "bump back" technique (included in the DVD's), and then I stitched the outside of the feather.   NOTE TO SELF:  Next time leave a little more room around the perimeter of the sample for better control/grip as you stitch. 
I proceeded to McTavishMiller the inside of the feathers, taking care to only start and stop once.   (Well... except I had to change my bobbin twice :)
After that I started McTavishMillering the outside of the feathers and I didn't like it - I felt it needed a small border between the feathers and the McTavishing....  So I picked (aka ripped) out a 6 inch x 2 inch section...

OH MY... I can certainly tell you that you don't want to have to pick McTavishing -- especially Mini McTavishing.   Why, oh why, am I so fussy ??

I picked out the Mini McTavishing to the right side of the feathers below to add some echo stitching:
 Took me at least 2 hours.
So after the picking was done, I echo stitched the outside of the feathers twice and filled with Mini McTavishMillering...

In this picture my spines are still wet from removing the blue water soluble pen marks.  The Clover Eraser Pen that Karen uses on my wish list...  it seems to work like magic!
Generally I like the way it came out -- it was great practice and Karen's DVDs, guidance and encouragement helped bunches!!  On my to do list is to change the Milkbone to feathered hearts -- won't that look sweet ?   For those that don't know what a Milkbone is -- click here ;)
Also next time -- I will try to break my old habits and follow Karen's New Basic McTavishing instructions so the quilt will look like this !!  Isn't it just stunning ??   Love, love, love!!
Image Courtesy On-Word Bound Books

Now for the Giveaway -- Use the Rafflecopter below to gain up to 6 chances to win my copy of "Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition Expanded and Revised".

If you don't have a Facebook account -- no worries - simply use your name and email address to enter.  International entries are welcome!!    

The Raffelcopter will give you one mandatory (blog comment) and several optional ways to win -- try it out!

If the Raffelcopter widget doesn't load right away, refresh your screen and give it a minute -- sometimes it's fussy!!

The Giveaway is open until the end of day, Saturday, August 9th and the winner will be announced on Sunday, August 10th.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

PS.   You can see more of my McTavishing here, here, here, here, here, here, and in this Facebook Album.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday Featured Tutorial: Family Tree and Redbird Christmas Quilted Envelope Pillow

Greetings fellow quilters -- I hope you're enjoying some summer fun or sewing time. 

We're fortunate to have spent the last week with family at the lake.  A few more days before they all head for home, so we'll squeeze as much fun as possible out of our family time together. 

Thanks for your patience with my lack of sewing and blogging -- family fun is the best!

Oh, and those reviews and giveaways I mentioned here -- they're yet to come -- stay tuned.

This week I would like to feature a two pillow designs that share techniques but use unique applique templates. 

Both tutorials include a little bit of piecing, a little wool applique, the fantastic #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50wt Thread for beautiful Free Motion Quilting, and are just fun to make!!

First up is the Family Tree Quilted Envelope Pillow.
This was my first Moda Bake Shop recipe and was the result of my winning some "Family Tree" fabric scraps from the very talented Moda Designer, Deb Strain. 
One thing led to another, I submitted a design to the Moda Bake Shop, and they accepted!! 

Woot Woot!  That started the grand adventure that I am on today.  

I had at least one Quilt Angel providing guidance -- so if you ever have any questions about submitting a design to the Moda Bake Shop, please feel free to contact me so I too can give a helping hand.

You can see the original Moda Bake Shop Recipe for Family Tree by clicking here

You can see the Family Tree announcement on my blog by clicking here.  

As always -- thanks for your continued feedback on my tutorials -- I love to hear constructive feedback from you.

Next up is Redbird Christmas -- Redbird Christmas uses the same design and sewing tutorial as the Family Tree Pillow but features a different season and applique template. 
You can download the Redbird Christmas tree and bird template by clicking here. 

You can read my original blog announcement for Redbird Christmas by clicking here.

You can download the original Moda Bake Shop recipe by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy the featured Throwback Thursday Tutorials this week -- I would love to hear what you think.

I leave you with a picture of our family (missing only 3) that were with us at the lake this week... Lovely bunch of coconuts!!
Enjoy !

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
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!

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