Monday, September 30, 2013

Recreating a Vintage Sewing Box

Front of old sewing chair
Last year, as my mother was moved into a Memory Care Unit for her Alzheimer's. We were faced with what to do with all of her belongings.  Mom was a collector of sentimental things, one of which included a sewing chair she had made for her mother about 50 years before.  The chair was put into items for a garage sale. A young lady brought the sewing chair to me to pay for it--50 cents was marked on the tag.  "I'm sorry, that was not supposed to be in the sale items," I said. She accepted the loss and paid for the rest of her finds.  Something told my heart not to let that sewing chair go.  There were too many memories.

Side of old sewing chair
I brought the soiled sewing chair home and looked it over carefully.  In my mind I could see a new sewing chair and potentially a pattern for it being sold to sewers and crafters who enjoy recreating vintage products. Some months have passed but I've taken the chair apart carefully and reproduced it's pieces.  I am ready to start creating the final product. Below is the old chair, somewhat dilapidated and worn and my new paper prototype for the final pattern.
New sewing chair front--paper prototype

Mom has since passed away and this one of my memories of her.  I do recall her making this sewing chair and also one for herself.  This new chair is going to be done in Kaffe Fassett.  I can hardly wait to get it out to my sample maker to see what she does with the pattern.  

New sewing chair side--paper prototype

Anyone want to make a test Sewing Chair?  I'd be happy to provide the pattern free of charge, all you have to do is provide your own materials, make one then send me the pictures and your comments about how the instructions and the assembly.  You keep the chair! If interested please send me your email address to: and I will send you the PDF version once it is all final.  Please mark your request for the pattern, Sewing Chair Test.

Happy sewing, happy quilting.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Giveaway---From Angela Walters

Hey all, it's not always easy to find one giveaway for the week so to find another is like a treasure chest of gold.  This one is from Angela Walters as part of the launch of her new fabric line, Legacy, being shipped to stores. Go to her blog and watch her video then make a comment for a chance to win.  It's really that easy.

To enter:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Proper Storage of Quilts

Quilts can take hours, weeks, months and even years to create.  This is why it's important to store a quilt properly when it is no in use.  Here are a few simple tips:
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • If you use florescent lighting, filter the light.  Very inexpensive methods for this can be purchased at your local home improvement store.
  • Keep incandescent light at least 12-18" from your quilt.  This lighting is hot and can scorch your fabric.
  • Room Temperature of 60-70 degrees is the best with comfortable mid-range humidity (around 50-60%)
  • Avoid stacking quilts on top of each other is small spaces
  • Never use moth balls or insect repellents around your stored quilts
  • Never use Febreeze or other fabric fresheners on your quilts.  
  • If a quilt is musty when taken out, air it out for a few days on a flat surface, ie: an unused bed and the odors will slowly disappear.
  • Do not store quilts on wooden shelving where the fabric and the shelving come into direct contact
  • Place a small roll of acid free tissue paper at the creases of a folded quilt.
Happy quilting and storing of your precious textile art.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Honoring our Brave Men and Women Who Have Served Their Country

Find out what you can do to honor our military both active and retired, living and deceased by visiting one of the sites dedicated to helping honor our heros:

Freedom Quilts site:

Freedom Quilts on Facebook:

Quilts of Valor site:

Quilts of Valor on Facebook:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Posts Have Been Slow

So sorry for the delay and lack of posts.  Sometimes life gets in the way when other things are planned.  This has been "one of those weeks."  Posts will begin appearing no later than Monday, September 23.  Have a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to and Tips--Select the Right Quilt Batting for your Quilt Project

Making a choice of what type of batting for your quilt project can be very confusing.  Here's a list of quilt battings and some of their qualities that might help you make that all-important decision.

Types of Batting

Cotton batting - 100% cotton batting is usually 1/8" thick.  It is soft and pliable and usually a #1 pick by quilters.  They typical shrinkage on this natural fiber is 3-5%.  Quilters who are seeking an "archival quality quilt" prefer this along with Wool and Bamboo batting for the natural fibers.
Cotton/Poly Blends are almost always a blend of 80% cotton and 20% polyester. This batting shrinks less when it has it's initial wash.  Many long-arm quilters prefer this batting as it is easy to work with and durable.
Polyester batting is known for it's durability and holding it's shape.  Polyester batting is often preferred for baby and children's quilts because it will endure multiple washings; is warm and light weight; and resists mold and mildew. Polyester batting comes in 1" (10 oz), 3/4" (8 oz), 1/2" (6 oz) and 3/8" (4 oz) thicknesses.  This batting can be used for hand or machine quilting.
Bamboo batting is made from 50% bamboo and 50% organic cotton blend.  Like cotton it does have a 2-3% shrinkage when washed and often used for machine quilting.
Wool batting  is also lightweight and often preferred when warmth is the goal.  It is 1/2" thick, resists creasing,  and holds it's shape well.  Wool batting can be used for hand or machine quilting.
Additional Batting Types
Bonded batting is made with a light adhesive on both sides to hold fibers together to prevent shifting or bearding
Fusible batting has a fusible web so you can baste layers together. 
Needle Punch batting is made by punching fibers together with felting needles and is used typically for apparel and blankets.  It is known for its density and durability.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Studio Space

The new floors are laid and soon my new studio will be in full swing. This is my old living room.  I moved my furniture into what I now call the "great room" (old dining room).  I have some furniture rearranging to do and there is a matter of 12 foot of sewing space which will look out onto the front yard and street and have lots of sunshine.  I need to sew the drop skirts for the sewing space (a beautiful poly-silk with a buffalo check print in taupes and a touch of green and peach).  It will be so nice when the long arm is added and I will have a real cutting table.  Eventually the walls will be painted a latte color.  Here's the beginnings.


Triple Bundle Giveaway - Art Gallery Fabrics - The Creative Blog Today we're giving our readers an opportunity to score big on not just one or two, but THREE FAT QUARTER BUNDLES of our most recent collections starting with Nördika, Tule, and an exclusive bundle of Legacy, which is yet to...

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Good Luck

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hitting a Rough Spot in Designing a Quilt or In Life

We've all had them, those moments when try as we might we can't figure out what's next with a quilt design, following a pattern, or just living life.  You stop and ponder for a moment, do I retrace my steps, do things different and ask yourself how, or do I just step back and wait for the solution to come.  Waiting could take hours, days, weeks and so can retracing our steps or undoing what we already did.  So what's the solution? In all things allow yourself some "oops" time.  That would be time to figure out which way to go or to develop a road map to follow.  Whether it's designing your next quilt, following a quilt pattern, or just navigating through life's twists and turns it's okay to just take time to reflect, take a nap or walk away until inspiration comes back to your heart.

Happy designing, quilting and living life.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

View this Interesting Article--Why Quilts Matter

Why Quilts Matter – Question and Answer with Thomas Knauer, Part 1:

A link to Part 2 will be posted on Sunday, September 8, 2013.

Tip of the Week--Choosing the Right Thread for Your Quilt

Ignorance can be bliss, right?  Not in the world of making a quilt that is archive quality.  This Tip of the Week topic is about using the right thread for the right moment when creating a quilt.

Creating the quilt top and piecing things together.  

This is the foundation and primary focus of your quilt project.  When you join seams you potential create ridges from your seaming and the thread that are holding the pieces together.  For this reason a fine thread is appropriate.  A good start would be a 50 weight thread that will blend into the seams when pressed flat.

In a quilt that is archival quality it is important to use 100% cotton thread as this will out last your polyester threads if you are using cotton for your quilt top.  The polyester can potential wear down the cotton fabric and tear through it.

Quilting the pieces together.

When selecting a thread for the quilting (bringing your sandwich of top, batting and backing together) use a heavier weight thread, say a 50 weight, to create strength and durability in your finished piece.  When doing hand quilting the threads made for this are generally old days women often ran their thread through a cake of beeswax to give the thread strength.  Do not use thread made for hand quilting in your sewing machine.  The coating can potentially gum up your machine, which is not a good thing.

Whether you are machine or hand quilting the selection of color can make a huge difference in the final quilt.  If you want your quilting to blend, use a neutral color like a light grey or something that is a predominate color in the quilt top and back.  If you want high contrast use a complimenting color thread that will stand out and be noticed for the color it adds to the entire quilt.

Regardless of the type of quilt you are creating, take as much time and effort in selecting the right thread type, weight and color to ensure the best results possible.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lily--Another Quilt Is Almost Done

This is one of my quilt design and it's almost done.  The sides, tops and bottoms will grow with more rows until it's about 65" x 75". Once quilted this quilt is being donated as an opportunity quilt to an organization that is helping a young man go on a mission trip to Costa Rica.  When he leaves the states it is hoped he will be carrying donated fabric and supplies to Mission Covers, an organization that has taught indigenous women to make quilts for sale and for charity.

Quilt Pattern Name: Lily by Jillian Grant for The Quilt Orchard
Fabrics: PB&J coupled with Bella Solids Natural both by Moda
Finished size:  Approximately 65" by 75"
Batting: 80/20 Hobbs
Backing: TBD

The finished top and then quilt will be posted as it makes it's progress toward being completed and shipped sometime in the next week to 10 days.

A Moment of Truth

I've just shared a little insight into my life working full time and also being a quilt designer.  Go to my Facebook page, The Quilt Orchard, and read my entry and LIKE my page.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Surprise Reveal--What Bargaining and $5 will Buy

First the back story.  My friend and I went to pick up my sewing machine at Shawn's Sewing Center in Springfield, MO on Saturday.  It had received it's annual check-up.  Shawn, the shop owner, showed us an old antique sewing machine that had some strange "attachments" added.  He had purchased it with some other things at a sale.  So I had to ask, "Are you selling it?"  He replied, "Are you buying it?"  We talked about it's value and he finally shot, "Make me an offer!"  Jokingly I made an offer, "Five dollars!"  To this Shawn replied, "SOLD!!"

My friend and I laughed and discussed what I would do with my new purchase.  The "attachments" definitely had to go and some updates made.

My $5 surprise is an antique sewing machine someone turned into a a functional lamp.  The original lampshade was something close to hideous.  It was a throw back from the Five and Dime era with little rosettes around the base.  And the crocheted doily is so encrusted with dust that it is stiff. 

The "attachments" have been removed.  In their place is an updated lampshade and a new energy efficient light bulb.  This little relic will be an accessory light in my new studio.  

By the way, according to the shop owner the parts on the machine are worth some money on ebay.  I'm keeping my relic as the back story and memory is worth it.  My friend and I will long laugh about the $5 surprise.

Monday, September 2, 2013

HUSQVARNA VIKING®--Crown Jewels Sweepstakes

Here's a great giveaway I just found.  HUSQVARNA VIKING® has a Crown Jewels Sweepstakes with over $25,000 in prizes.  Enter to win August 19 to September 15, 2013.  Check it out at
Good luck!

Essence of Joy....A walk through the quilt design process

Essence of Joy
The first quilt I designed is named Essence of Joy, often referred to as just "Joy."  It went together so easily from a design perspective.  I made my first sample of the actual quilt then had my best friend and now sample maker create the second sample and test the pattern.  The process of designing quilts and getting designs to market then came to a stalemate as other things got in the way.  Once my passion returned and I started showing the quilt everyone was excited about it and fell in love with it's color and simplicity.  Today, I delivered the elements to my sister-in-law (affectionately called sistah-in-laaaaaaaaaaaaw) for her to make the same quilt for her grandson.  Going over the pattern again I am in amazed that it was so well written--and yes I am tooting my own horn.  I thought it would be the last design I would try to bring to market but it looks like it will be the first.  I am maybe two weeks away from having it ready to sell commercially.

Please share your comments and opinions of this design.