Ruffle Baby Bloomer Bottoms

Say that quickly, three times :)

Sewing for a little one is so much more difficult when they aren’t on hand for fittings.

Ruffle butt

I have a completely new appreciation for the big boxes of clothes that used to arrive on our doorstep, from hundreds of miles away. Hand stitched clothing, for 5 kids from Grandma Ellis. She was a pretty special lady.

This little linen dress, I plan on embroidering.

Linen baby dress

The linen was left over from a quilt that lives at their house.

Modern quilt

Using fabrics I have on hand, until I get the size perfected, I am testing out sizes to see how weights, and measurements, add up to clothing sizes for this sweet grand baby.

Amelia Jean

Hopefully we will get to try them on, in person, soon!

 WIP
Show and Tell Tuesday
Fabric Tuesday

 

Posted in Design, fabric, Fabric Tuesday, Linkys, Sewing, WIP, WIP | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Answer My Friend is…

(I have edited this post to add, easy access, voting links.)
To vote on the top 25, Viewer’s Choice, click here.
To vote for your favorite hand-quilted, click here.
To see and vote on all the other categories, click here.

“Blowin’ In The Wind”

Welcome to my little part of the world! I hope you are enjoying the Festival as much as I am. Grab a drink and sit back and let me tell you the story of my quilt. Then hop back over and enjoy all the other beautiful creations!

I am a hand-quilter it is what I do. I’ve been hand-quilting for over 35 years. I enjoy the slow pace of stitching love into each quilt and carrying on a tradition passed down to me from my grandmother. For so long I thought there weren’t many of us left. I now know there is a revolution going on and it seems everyone wants to learn. If you are a hand-quilter or think you might want to be you should check out the most friendly Facebook Group I know, Celebrate Hand Quilting. With over 6,000 international members, there is always something to learn, be inspired by and help close at hand.

"Blowin' In the Wind" hand quilted by Sewfrench

Are you familiar with Oakshott cottons? It was February 2013 for me. If you have played with Oakshott you know it is a memorable experience. If you haven’t played with them let me explain. The fabrics are hand-dyed and hand-loomed by master weavers in India. The warp and weft are woven with two slightly different colors, creating an irridescent  shimmer of light and beauty, that does not photograph well. This creates a glimmer, a sheen, almost a sparkle and makes it such a tease!

Oakshott cotton

I played with my collection a long time before I finally decided to cut into it. My plan was to whack up some fat 1/8ths of this lovely fabric to make my version of the 12 Trees Quilt by Helen Howes, for Oakshott. I also shopped for 1/8th yard cuts of different batiks to use as the actual trees. I had a vision that by using batiks my trees would sparkle even more.

As I played around, I began to worry that this beautiful fabric, which feels more like a voile, than my go-to Kona solids, felt a little too fragile to make the queen/king size quilt, I originally planned.

About that same time I came up with the idea of making a special quilt for an annual fundraising auction that is near and dear to our hearts.  This would be the perfect project. I would make a wall hanging that would also be big enough to use as a lap quilt. All the trees would represent the forested area of Northern Michigan where the auction would take place. If you have been followed along you might remember this went by the temporary name of Fundraising quilt.

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by Sewfrench using Oakshott fabrics

I feel like I need to explain why I am still in possession of this beauty and why it took so long to finish. This quilt was put on pause because the fundraising committee decided they were changing their direction and were no longer interested in my quilt being part of their auction.

Right.

I know. It is still painful.

But I picked up the pieces and continued on…

On to *my* quilt.

On the recommendation of my friends over at Celebrate Hand Quilting, I decided to try wool batting for the first time. I didn’t understand all the raves, for wool, until I tried it. It creates the perfect amount of texture. It has enough poof to define your stitches, but not too much. It has a loft similar to a polyester batting but retains, or releases, heat as only wool can.

If you have never hand-quilted with a wool batting, it really makes such a difference. Nice, small, hand stitches are possible and it is like stitching through butter. No wrist and hand pain with this! Your needle just glides through the layers. Between the Oakshott and the wool this was so much easier than any other hand-stitched quilt I have ever worked on. Seriously. If you haven’t tried wool, you should look into Hobbs Heirloom Wool.

And I probably shouldn’t have worried about making a bed quilt with this fabric. Though it comes off as frail, I have no doubt it will hold up well. 100 years heirloom well? Not sure about that. The zero bleeding or fading, of these intense colors, is very impressive, for sure!

Blowin' In The Wind hand quilted by Sewfrench

Then came the question of how to quilt it. I knew it would be hand-quilted but struggled with an exact plan. I tried several different ideas, big stitch, outline stitching, stitching in the ditch, falling leaves… Put them in, take them out, try another, take it out….

I finally said stop all this indecisive silliness and decided to go with my very first thought, when I dreamt up this quilt.

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by Sewfrench

Wind swirling around the trees. Trees blowing in the wind.

Freehand style wind blowing through the trees. Seasons of wind and seasons of trees.

I first discounted it because it seemed too time consuming and too *hard*. The time consuming part was actually the indecision, lots of wasted time, there. The hard part wasn’t hard, it was just something I had never done before. I’m traditionally an outline quilter. I had to break a lot of self-made rules to do this!

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by SewfrenchStepping out of your box, taking chances and trying something new is not comfortable. But boy  can it be rewarding. This is now our very favorite sofa throw. :)

Leave me a comment so I know you were here. Thanks for stopping by!!

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by Sewfrench w/Oakshott fabrics

“Blowin’ in the Wind”
Category: Hand quilted quilts
48″ x 52″
An original by: Sewfrench
Inspired by: 12 Trees by Oakshott
Oakshott cotton
Backing and Binding by
Robert Kauffman, shot cotton
Machine pieced
Self quilted in a freeform style
using Aurifil 28wt thread

To vote on the top 25, Viewer’s Choice, click here.
To vote for your favorite hand-quilted, click here.
To see and vote on all the other categories, click here.

May 24-29 – Vote for favorites in each of the categories
May 30 – Winners announced

 Previous Festival entries:

Flower Garden ~ Fall 2009
Mosaic Tiles ~ Spring 2011
Shoot For the Moon ~ Fall 2011
Bubble Quilt ~ Spring 2012
Out of This World ~ Fall 2012
Thousand Pyramids~ Spring 2013
Head Over Heels in Love ~ Baby quilt ~ Fall 2013
Take A Hike ~ Art quilt ~ Fall 2013

 

Also linking up with:
Show and Tell
Finish It Up Friday
A Stitch in Time
TGIFF

 

Posted in 2014 completes, Bloggers' Quilt Festival, Crafting, Design, fabric, Finishes, Photography, Quilt stories, Quilting, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 100 Comments

I Can’t Wait!

It’s almost time for the semi-annual Blogger’s Quilt Festival!!

spring-2014-BQF-Button-300x290

Though I haven’t been very prolific, this year, I do have a finish I haven’t shared. Originally the hand-quilting category was eliminated, but the masses spoke and it was revived. I predict this year will have the largest number of entries, ever! I hope you are as excited, as I am, to see all the quilts this time round!

For now, I am still working on emptying out my scrap baskets. I currently have 5 quilts in progress, straight out of those baskets and here I decided to start another…. A take on the old-fashioned maple leaf quilt. Each square is cut to 5 1/2″. I have about used up all my Kona scraps, haven’t decided if I should dig into my stash or quit now… Deciding on a final size is always the hardest part! (That is exactly why I haven’t finished the 5 I spoke of!)

Maple Leaf quiltP.S. I recently saw someone else making a similar quilt but I can’t remember where I saw it. Remind me if you recognize it, will you, please??

Linking up with:

Fabric Tuesday
WIP
Let’s Bee Social

See you back here soon!

Posted in Bloggers' Quilt Festival, Design, fabric, Fabric Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Linkys, Quilting, WIP | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Some would think I became French when I married…

Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

Reminiscent of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence,  Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull was an enjoyable read.

When asked how she came up with the book’s provocative title, she said – “It’s tongue-in-cheek. It sums up the main theme… expatriates’ struggle with identity and their sense of belonging. On the one hand, after eight years in France, I’ve adopted some French customs and I’ve been very influenced by French ways of thinking. Yet I don’t feel French at all and I know I never will. If anything, as each year passes I feel more Australian. This permanent state of only ever being ‘almost’ French – never ‘entirely’ or ‘completely’ – is really the essence of my book.”

Makes me want to return, but for a much longer time, next time.

Eiffel Tower

Posted in Books, Reading, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It takes some serious pondering to make a great quilt.

Sitting here with my feet in the sand,

Anna Maria Island, FL

thawing my winter weary bones.

Anna Maria Island, FL

Thinking about it being National Quilting Day and not a needle in sight….

Pondering making a beach quilt and wondering if I should put batting in it or make it as an old-fashioned counterpane/summer quilt…

Anna Maria Island, FL

I would think it would carry home less sand, that way…..
Leaving more for others to enjoy….

Posted in Favorite Things, Quilting, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Stack of Books and a new toy

I recently splurged and bought myself a new light box. I was using a 25-year-old Princesses tracing box until the bulb went out and apparently they are not replaceable. Or I’m not as smart as a 5th grader because I couldn’t figure out how to get the bulb out to replace it.

Then I dug around and found a Lion King one. Same bulky idea, where the top opens to store all your stencils for tracing. This was only about 20 years old. Well, that one didn’t last much longer before it gave up the ghost. That’s when my lightbulb went off and I decided it was time for me to get my very own, grown-up light box.

I studied them all, read all the reviews and finally decided on the Artograph Light Pad Light Box in the 12″ x 9″ size.  After finally deciding on this brand, I struggled deciding which size to order. I let reasoning take over and came to this decision based on most often using the printer, in conjunction with tracing, and with traditional sized printer paper size this would be a perfect fit. And it is. I love this thing!

DSC_4478

It is lean and clean, lights up evenly and is beautifully bright.

DSC_4473I tried many different methods of transferring lettering the lettering and for me, my trusty blue pen, and fonts pulled off the computer, for tracing worked best. And if I was a wiz at identifying the fonts of the book titles I choose, or even a font with similar characteristics, things would be going even faster!

DSC_4474

This project is taking me forever, but I’m learning to embrace it.

Book Quilt

Not really. It is a perfect example of faking it until you make it though. I’ll fake knowing what I’m doing. And liking it. And smile all the while. :)

And two years later, it is still the quilt project I keep coming back to when nothing else is prepped to work on in front of the evening TV.

Kona quilt

I just keep reading and just keep stitching… And adding books than made an impression, on me, as I go.

Books quilt Sewfrench

Linking up with:
Fabric Tuesday
WIP

Posted in Books, Design, fabric, Fabric Tuesday, Favorite Things, hand quilting, Quilting, Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Granny Squares Quilt

When I was in 5th grade one of the things we did at recess was to make granny squares, by crocheting. Rene, who one of my best friends, had a grandmother who was an award-winning crocheter. She taught Rene, who then shared her skills with the rest of us. Not sure who supplied the yarn and hooks, but it sure was fun. Much more fun than chasing boys like some of the girls did. :)

I wish I had kept up the crocheting, but I didn’t. I’ve pretty much forgotten it all… I turned my granny square talents to quilting and have a Granny Square quilt to share. It is finished and gifted. This one went to my youngest sister, Amanda, for Christmas.

Granny Square quilt

I used a Kona Ash gray and two charm square packs of Malka Dubrawsky’s fabric line A Stitch in Color. I just love this line! I bought, and hung onto, this fabric for quite some time, waiting to come up with the perfect project. When I came across the Granny Square quilt, I knew this was the perfect quilt to showcase these fabrics.

The charm packs are 5″ squares, so they just needed to be cut in quarters to make the 2 1/2″ squares used in this quilt.  This saves a LOT of cutting time, lets you get right to sewing. This is one of the very few quilts where I have stuck with one fabric line, for the entire quilt. And because this fabric is so different looking than almost any other fabric out there, I can’t imagine combining it and have it work as beautifully as it does alone.

Granny Square quilt

I opted to machine quilt this one and I chose to do a long stretched zigzag. On my machine, Janome Memory Craft 6600, I set my stitch width to 5 and my stitch length to 4.

Using my walking foot, and putting in some practice, in worked like a charm. This created just the texture I was looking for.

Granny Square quilt

“Granny Squares”
12-25-2013
For my sister Amanda
50″ x 60″
Machine pieced, machine quilted
A Stitch in Color and Kona cotton fabrics
Quilter’s Dream request cotton batting

Linking up with:
Beauty Observed’s So Fun
Finish it Up Friday
Link A Finish Friday
TGIFF
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
A Stitch in Time

Posted in 2013 completes, A Sttitch in Time, Can I get a Whoop Whoop, Crazy Mom Friday Finishes, Design, fabric, Family, Gifts, Linkys, machine quilting, Quilting, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments