Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Rebecca's Ultimate Etsy Gift Guide for Quilters and Crafters

 Hello, friends, and happy Nearly Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States!  Today's post is something I've never done before -- a shopping guide chock full of gift-worthy goodies that I personally would love to find under my tree on Christmas morning.  If you have quilters, sewists, or embroiderers on your shopping list this year, I have some suggestions that are sure to be received with delight.  (If YOU are the quilter/sewist/embroiderer reading this post, you may find a few items for your OWN wish list).  What's more, every item on my list is in stock and coming from a small craft business owner via Etsy -- and none of them contains those pesky microchips that are delaying just about everything else you might want to buy for the holidays this year.

A Few of My Favorite Tools

Each of the items on this list is something I personally own and love, or something I currently have on my own wish list.  Feel free to share this post with others, post on social media or wherever.  Disclaimer: this post does contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking my link.  I do appreciate your support of my wicked thread addiction!  😉

 Beautiful Tools: Where Form Meets Function

The items in this section are a pleasure to own and use because they combine the finest craftsmanship with beautiful design.  Bonus: They make great Instagram props to "style" your work-in-progress photos.

1. Hand Embroidered Felted Wool Pin Cushion from Etsy maker Martha of Quilt Shenanigans.  Who is this good for?  Anyone who does any kind of sewing at all can use a pin cushion, and these must take Martha hours to individually hand stitch and embellish with tiny beads.  Her hand stitching is exquisite, the felted wool is soft and luxurious to the touch, and the pin cushion is well-packed to hold its shape and is stable on a flat surface.  Even the slenderest pins slide in and out with ease, and she has lots of beautiful designs in stock to choose from.   

My New Favorite Pin Cushion, made by Martha of Quilt Shenanigans on Etsy 

2. Handmade, Hand Paired Embroidery Scissors from Maison Sajou.  These are manufactured by a 200-year old company in France, but available in several Etsy shops.  I got mine from Penelope Textiles' Etsy shop.  A few things to know: There are lots and lots of cheap imitations out there for a fraction of the price, but while the mass-produced knockoffs might look just as cute as photo props, there is no comparison to the way they actually cut.  It's like the difference between a Wustof steak knife versus the plastic knife that comes with your takeout order.  The lesser version SORT of cuts, but not cleanly or easily and it's not a joy to use!  Authentic Maison Sajou scissors are individually handmade by French craftsmen, with hand paired blades that are kept together throughout the entire production process to ensure that they match up perfectly. They are sharp, accurate, and cut smoothly and cleanly all the way to the tip (which is absolutely crucial for snipping the inside corner seam allowances in needle turned applique).  Who is this good for?  Anyone who enjoys any kind of hand stitching like cross stitch, embroidery, needle turned applique, or hand quilting would love to receive a pair of Sajou scissors!  In addition to the Hare design that I own, there is also a cute Eiffel tower version, gorgeous Art Nouveau Peacock scissors, and other historic reissue designs to choose from.  Of course, if you just want a cute pair of scissors for a photo prop, those cheaper knockoffs will suit you just fine!

Hand Paired Hare Embroidery Scissors from Maison Sajou, via Penelope Textiles on Etsy

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Megan's Vintage Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons + Curly Weave E2E Equals Magic!

 I don't normally post a client's post before they get it back from me, but my client Megan was so excited by the "teaser photos" I emailed her of her finished quilt that she gave me permission to post them right away.  If she loves this quilt now, I can't wait until she sees it in person because it is just unbelievably soft and cuddly and even more gorgeous in person than it looks in the photos!

Megan pieced this striking quilt using vintage Kaffe Fassett shot cotton stripes (affiliate link -- you can still find these on Etsy!) that she's had in her stash for awhile, and when I saw the pictures of her quilt top I was instantly smitten by the way her unexpected cool turquoise sashing and binding fabric contrasted with the mostly warm, autumnal tones of her striped fabrics. So much energy and life in this pairing, don't you agree?

68 x 78 Shot Cotton Swatches Quilt with Curly Weave E2E Quilting

I was delighted when Megan decided to go bold with her choice of quilting design, playing up the modern vibes instead of going with something "safe."  

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sarah's Chevron Memory Quilt, Lazy Day Quilt Progress + Pineapple Nostalgia Quilt Back from the Cleaners

Good morning and happy Tuesday, friends!  I have so much to share with you today, so let's dive into it.  First up is a lovely, snuggly flannel-backed Chevron Memory quilt that my client Sarah made in remembrance of her grandmother.

Sarah's Chevron Memory Quilt

70 x 90 Chevron Memory Quilt with Filigree E2E Quilting

Sarah pieced this quilt while working through the flood of emotions following the sudden passing of her beloved grandmother, incorporating some of her clothing into the quilt top and pieced backing as well as new fabrics with novelty print themes that reminded her of her grandmother.  We chose the Filigree pantograph design because it reminded Sarah of her grandmother's lace tatting and I knew it would give Sarah the loosely quilted, old-fashioned feel she wanted for this project.

Sarah's Pieced Backing, Flannels and Regular Wovens, with Filigree E2E quilting

Okay, so when Sarah first reached out to me about this quilt, she warned me that it was only her second quilt ever when she started it three years ago, that it was "full of flaws" and learning experiences, etc.  I was bracing myself for there to be challenges for me to work around -- and then this beautifully pieced top and pieced backing showed up in the mail.  

Thursday, November 11, 2021

TGIFF: My Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt is Finally, FINALLY Finished!

Happy Almost Friday, y'all!  I'm hosting the TGIFF Thank Goodness It's Finished linky party this week and I have THREE "Big Quilt" finishes to share with you -- one made completely by yours truly over the past SEVEN years, and two large beauties that I recently had the privilege of quilting for clients.  At the bottom of this blog post you'll find the link up where you can share a recent finish that YOU'RE proud of, whether it's a finished top, a completely finished quilt, a finished garment/bag/home dec project, or just a finished quilt block.  

First, oh my gosh, you guys -- Colleen, are you still out there somewhere???  I have been posting about my progress (and lack thereof) with this monster of a pineapple log cabin quilt off and on since I started it in 2014, and I know some of you longtime readers thought I would never finish it.  One reader, Colleen, used to regularly encourage/nudge/plead with me to finish this quilt, but I haven't heard from her in awhile.  Colleen, if you're reading this right now, THANK YOU for keeping the faith!  

My 120 x 120 Pineapple Nostalgia, 2014-2021

You can learn more about this quilt from this previous post, written when I finished quilting it but before it was labeled and bound.  It was foundation paper pieced on my Bernina 750QE, the logs finish at 3/4" wide, there are 97 pieces in every block and 36 blocks in the quilt, and the batting for my Pineapple Nostalgia quilt is Quilter's Dream Wool to get some loft without weight, since the heavily pieced quilt top weighed a ton all by itself.

Two Very Special Clients' Quilts, and a Movie Star Moves Into My Studio

Happy Thursday, Friends!  I just finished writing a different blog post for TGIFF (Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday) that I've scheduled to publish automatically at 6 PM EST this evening, since that's when Friday begins for those linking up from Australia, so be sure to check back for that one and link up your own finishes, even if it's a small finish like a single block completed.  Meanwhile, I have a couple of extra-special client quilts that I've been wanting to share with you.  

Julie's Vintage Equestrian Applique Quilt Repair

This first one belongs to Julie, whose puppy chewed a hole through all layers of the quilt at the top edge.  These dogs sure do keep me busy, don't they?!  I neglected to get a good "before" phot of the entire quilt before I started working on it, but here's what it looked like when it was nearly ready to go home again:

74 x 84 Vintage Equestrian Applique Quilt, After Repair

Julie cherishes this quilt because her husband had it custom made for her as a surprise gift many years ago.  Their family is involved with equestrian sporting and I believe he may have even drawn the horse silhouette for the applique shapes himself.  He found a quilter to make it and was given a shopping list of how much fabric was needed, then went to the fabric store and picked everything out himself -- hence the assortment of calicos, corduroys, and poly blend fabrics in this quilt.

Detail of the Worst Damage Area

This quilt was made with a wide sashing between the blocks and a narrow, 1/2" finished width outer border in the same fabric that simply wrapped to the back of the quilt and was machine stitched in lieu of traditional binding.

Same Spot On the Quilt, Backing Side

Here's what that section of the quilt looked like after I'd repaired it:

Repairs Completed, All Machine Stitched

My client's budget dictated that all of the machine repairs would be machine stitched for this project.  The binding was damaged and falling off on all four sides of the quilt and would need to be replaced, and finding a suitable fabric was the biggest challenge.  I'd initially told Julie that I'd use a solid red for the binding, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  My goal in restoring a family quilt like this is to have it look as much like it did originally as I possibly can, and although a red binding would look good on the quilt, it would definitely draw your eye and look different to its owners.  I could not find anything like the original ivory/red/blue print calico fabric in any of the local quilt shops I visited, but I did find a red and white polka dot fabric.  I was able to tone down the bright white background of the new fabric to better match the original fabric by coffee staining it before using it to repair the quilt.

Monday, November 1, 2021

November OMMG, Lightning Round: One Million Monthly Goals for Rebecca

 Hello, friends -- I've missed you!  Happy November!  

The longer it's been since writing a blog post, the more I have to share, the longer it would take to write about everything I'm working on, and the less time to get anything finished.  I have a folder on my computer desktop where I keep photos of things I want to post about and if it was a REAL folder, it would be splitting at the seams and pictures would be falling off the desk and onto the floor.  I've been working on so many different quilts for clients lately that I'm dying to share with you, but since it's a brandy-new month I've decided to keep it personal and just share my own projects and plans with you today.  I'll be linking up today's post with One Monthly Goal (as if) and To-Do On Tuesday linky parties in addition to my other favorite parties. 

Deco Quilt-Along: Behind Schedule Already

The Deco Quilt QAL hosted by pattern designer Brittany Lloyd of Lo & Behold Stitchery is running from October 18th through November 29th, and I was hoping to keep up with the QAL schedule to prevent this project from turning into yet another languishing UFO (UnFinished Object) hanging around my studio.  I had a delay with the fabrics I'd ordered online, then when they got here I didn't love some of the colors with the Anna Maria Horner backing print I'd fallen in love with while waiting for the solid quilt top fabrics to show up.  But I finally made it out to a bricks-and-mortar quilt shop about 40 minutes away from me a few days ago, and now I'm happy with my "fabric pull."  (Side note: Pulling Fabric (out of quilt shops) is MUCH MORE FUN than Puling Teeth (out of your face).

My Deco Bed Quilt Fabrics, Revised to Coordinate with Anna Maria Horner Backing Print

Obviously I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation and time if I'd chosen the backing print FIRST and THEN pulled solid fabrics to match colors in the print.  I'll still be using these fabrics more or less as shown below in my original color plan, with that inky dark Kona Solids Indigo as my background fabric.  I love bright colors with dark background fabrics!  

Deco Bed Quilt Will Finish at 102" x 102"

According to the Quilt Along schedule, I was supposed to be Planning the first week, then Cutting and Organizing ALL the fabric for the whole quilt last week, and this coming week is supposed to be making all of the Block One blocks (those are the ones that are like log cabin blocks -- in my version, they will have large dark or medium blue squares and logs of Indigo alternating with either purple or green).  In order to get back on schedule somewhat, and because of my track record in the past when cutting EVERYTHING out first, I think I'm going to just cut and piece as I go along.