Feature artist/blog: Sarah Lizzies Handmade

Sarah Lizzies Handmade

This woman is to blame! After stumbling on her blog (via Pinterest) a few years ago, my creativity headed in a whole new direction, my spare time was spent searching for that perfect vintage whatever, my pocketbook began its downward spiral and sleep became random.

Her blog is such a joy to read. I’m thinking that if she stopped being creative with her hands, her words alone would likely pay the bills.

I am in awe of creative “think outside the box” individuals and she’s definitely one of those people! She has a name by the way, it’s Kim. She has no idea I’m featuring her in my blog today. Gosh I hope she’s good with this!

If you have a minute, or two, or ten thousand, click on the underlined link above and spend some time in Tasmania. For the geographically challenged, Tasmania is at the southernmost tip of Australia.

The link is above. For some reason I cannot get the font to be dark blue 😦

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I have been introduced to this island by her blog because not only is she genius when it comes to creativity, she’s a mighty fine photographer to boot.

So, I was afraid of hexagons until I found this picture, the rest is history as they say…

I immediately began planning what would be my first embellished hexagon quilt. In the States (for quilting) we measure hexagon sizes by the length of an individual side. If I had to guess I would say these hexagons might have 6-7″ sides? And just look at those fabulous pillows! Vintage linen pillows!

This picture above was the inspiration for my small piece titled: Basket of Flowers. Thank you Kim! And feast your eyes on this awesome basket in the pic below! Wow!

How many people do you know that wake up one day and say to themselves “I think I’ll cut apart a perfectly good book and paste the pages on a few wall in my home”?

Her garden pictures are sublime, her sense of composition are wonderful and she has taught me about her family, her town, her country, her talents and most of all she has taught me to stretch my creativity.

Thanks Kim!

Happy Quilting and Happy Creating and Blessings,

Rhonda

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***house update: 6 replacement custom windows (ordered months and months ago) were delivered to the house on Tuesday. The window installers came on Thursday. Only 2 were correct… 4 have to be remade… Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and just about everything from that dreadful hurricane has been, well, just crazy!

 

 

Vintage Linens Quilt #2; the final tutorial, Part 5!

Ta-Da! It’s finished!

I’m going to take you through the entire quilt and give you some quilting pointers, some do’s and don’ts based on me getting to know my seam ripper much better. Get ready, there are more than 35 pictures below with lots of words to go with them!

I set out to quilt a theme in this quilt: Hearts and Feathers. I had such fun with this piece for a couple of reasons. For starts, I love quilting feathers and…I honestly didn’t like this quilt top all that much so I wasn’t on pins and needles about getting everything perfect! Now that’s it’s finished, it’s one of my favorites!

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First let me show you how little things can make such a nice difference. Look at the arrows on the pic below. The black arrow points to feathers stitched in the traditional manner and the red arrow points to the feathers stitched with a simple vein in the middle of each individual plume.

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Just this simple addition to the feathers give them depth, definition and character:

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Is the pic big enough that you can see the parallel lines at the outside of the ivory swags? Super simple, very dramatic method of quilting the edge of a piece. Now, don’t get any idea that the parallel lines 1/4” apart go quickly, they don’t but I think they’re worth the time.

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When you’re quilting or telling your quilter what you’d like, keep in mind that seams/fabric changes can be completely ignored when it comes to quilting designs/motifs. See how the hearts below span both the pink polka dot as well as the solid light pink and right above the top heart, notice how the undulating feathers cross over both the ivory with the tiny rosebud and the mint green floral. Don’t ever feel you’re confined by your seams/fabric changes.

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But how did that quilting get beneath the big horizontal ivory linen and crochet piece above?  I un-tacked the corners of the crochet, folded them into the center and quilted underneath. Once the quilting was finished, I folded back the crochet, tacked it back into place. Here’s an example of a don’t: see the horizontal and vertical lines on the hearts in the above pic…had I thought through my process completely I might have realized that diagonal lines would have been a better choice. The quilting lines, as they are, accentuate the fact that they are askew with the fabric seam lines. The top heart lines are ok, the bottom heart lines look wonky.

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Speaking of quilting, you’ll see when you mix things up you create a quilting visual interest/tension by sometimes staying within a fabric such as the pink heart and the feather wreath to its left.

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The sweet blue ribboned floral bouquet below gets lots of attention with the tiny orange peel background fill.

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Just to add some visual interest I quilted diagonal parallel lines in the pink print fabric below. What the pictures don’t show is that I diagonal line quilted all the plaid fabric also. And how about that beautiful ladies vintage handkerchief? It was the perfect background for a half feather wreath within a half feather wreath.

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See the sweethearts Juan and Juanita below? How could I not quilt hearts on the lower left and right open areas of their block! And can you see I took liberties with the doily and quilted additional vining branches and leaves into the design?

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The medium ivory vertically placed trim next to the turquoise fabric was quilted down on all edges except the left side leaves. I left them free of any quilting.

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I was undecided about whether or not to quilt directly on the laces, trims, crochet pieces and the tatting so I did a variety of things. Some crochet long strips were heavily quilted, all the light weight laces were heavily quilted, the tatting was quilted, the ivory crocheted heart was also quilted but the dark ivory hand crocheted glove was not. I machine (think crazy tiny) zig-zagged the outer edge of the glove and quilted feathers all around the outside. From the front it looked great. From the back it looked awkward…there was this large un-quilted hand on the back of the quilt. 😦 kind of like I forgot to quilt a large area.

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I un-stitched the glove, drew a diagonal grid in the void and quilted a tiny orange peel design.  The blue box below shows the “after”.  Needless to say,  I was much happier!

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How about that “googly-eyed” butterfly! Eyes the size of nickels and 6 antennae! Crazy but I like it! I quilted directly on the butterfly. This block is another good example of quilting straying successfully over fabric seams.

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I’ve got a few cross-stitch pieces in this project. I quilted straight lines along each edge of the cross-stitch so that the flower and leaves puffed out. See how the center veins in the feathers gives them character and depth.

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Such a dilemma with the tatting. I finally decided to quilt directly on and over the tatting and if it looked bad, well, my seam ripper was close by.

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This large handkerchief below was in just OK shape but you’d never know it with all the quilting. Keep in mind when working on a vintage linens project that the quilting can be a wonderful distraction from less than perfect pieces.

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What do you do if you have a nice crocheted edge that you want to stay loose and free of quilting stitches? Home Depot to the rescue with blue painter’s tape!

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Here’s a quick look at a small portion of the back. (The yellow cast in areas of the pictures is just due to my novice picture taking abilities.)

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So what did I do with this “already pretty visually active” quilt top? I  intentionally quilted the living daylights out of it. Does it distract or add visual interest? You be the judge with the before and after pics below.

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If you’re still with me and are making your own Vintage Linens Quilt top, take a chance and quilt your project yourself! It will be a great way to practice and a great memories will be made!

The particulars: Backing fabric is Moda 995211 white, 100% cotton, 120″ wide. This time I used only 1 layer of batting: Hobbs Tuscany Poly, white. The needle thread: Wonderfil Deco Bob color #104, bobbin thread: Guttermann Skala 240 color #800. Total quilting time: 38.5 hours.

Why only 1 layer of batting this time? Remember that I created each block on a foundation of muslin. This is essentially like having a double layer quilt top. It was heavy and I felt like a double layer of batting would be too much.

From tutorial #4 someone asked how I handle all the little tears, shreds, holes, etc. in the vintage pieces. As a general rule I acknowledge I am not creating a utility quilt to be used as warmth on a bed. I make my pieces to be teaching tools as I guest lecture, as examples to accompany my blog posts or as show pieces. Unless the damage is severe I ignore the problem areas and leave them as evidence of their use for which they were created. When it’s time to quilt I specifically use a dense technique where necessary with the idea of further securing the damaged area(s) with the stitching.

So many of you have asked such great questions! Keep them coming! Thank you!! And of course thank you so much for all the kind words about the loss of my youngest sister.

House update: windows are scheduled to be delivered (and maybe installed?) on Thursday! Woo hoo! Progress!

Additionally a bit of exciting news: I have 3 pieces juried into the MQX New England! (I can’t find a full pic right now of the first one.) The show begins the evening of April 11th and runs through the 14th.

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting!

Rhonda

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Vintage Linens Quilt #2, the tutorial continues – Part 4!

I know there are several quilters that are well into the process of creating their own Vintage Linens quilt! Thank you for sending pictures of your awesome progress! Recently Elaine Marie on Facebook asked where I get my vintage linens. Here’s my reply:  “I’m rather addicted to: eBay, every junk store in Houston, every antique mall/store in Texas and sometimes my bffs give me awesome things! It seems that all of my friends know I love vintage linens so if they have the task of cleaning out a relatives home, I am so blessed that they often think of me!”

Below is one of my very favorite blocks in this project.

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The colors of my fabrics and the colors in this vintage doily work so well together!

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This is the first time I’ve chosen to use such big prints and bold colors with vintage pieces. The bold colors lend their own set of problems to making blocks that are so often comprised of white and/or ivory linens.

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The large round doily looks great on the bold floral fabric. Here’s my method for handling the shadowing:

  1. Center the doily on the fabric square (or rectangle).
  2. If you have a crocheted edging such as the pic below, machine stitch along the area where the crochet and the doily fabric meet.
  3. Stitch with a zig-zag or a straight stitch, the choice is completely up to you.

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4. Flip your block over. I’ve done both the zig-zag and straight stitch to show you what each will look like. There’s no need to do both stitches on your own blocks. Mine is just for demonstration.

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5. With really sharp scissors, make a tiny snip in JUST THE BACKGROUND FABRIC.

6. Insert the scissors into the snip. Begin to cut away the background fabric very close to your stitching, about 1/8″ away. Continue cutting all the way around until the fabric behind the doily is removed.

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Below is a picture of what your block will look like, but looking closely…what else do you see that is problematic? Look at all those wispy embroidery floss ends flying all over the place! They will show thru to the front side when your quilt top is placed atop batting! Now’s the time to take care of them but first, give the “end game” some thought. Why are you making this quilt? Will it be a utility quilt used on a bed? Will it be a Show Piece in your home? Will you quilt it very closely or will it have mostly wide open un-quilted areas? Because I quilt the living daylights out of my quilts I already know that once loaded on the longarm, I will closely stitch most if not all the embroidery as though it were applique. I also know I am creating this piece as a teaching tool and it will most likely never be used as a utility piece. Therefore I have chosen to clip most of the floss tails to about 1/4″ and then to press them into the floss of like color.

If this were to be a utility quilt I would need to have knotted the floss tails in some fashion to ultimately secure them because as a utility piece the chances of seeing a washing machine and dryer are highly likely.

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Let me also tell you that many of the linens had small (less than 1/4″) holes/tears in them. For this project I did not take time to make any repairs, instead I did heavy quilting over these imperfections. See the pic below for one example of such a hole:

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So here we are with the body of the quilt finished! Well, finished with the exception of sewing all 9 sections together.

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I chose to do 2 borders, the inner 1″ finished and the outer 6″ finished. The outer border features ivory swags cut from a vintage damask tablecloth with shamrock woven designs. I used Heat ‘n Bond Lite behind the swag, pressed it into place and then with a sewing machine built-in applique (blanket) stitch, I  appliqued each swag and circle to the borders. The ivory swags and the circles are both raw edge. Many of you know I do not like using fusible with vintage linens so why did I use it on the swags? The damask tablecloth was of medium weight. If I had turned the edges under, the bulk would have been awkward. The damask was also very ravelly. The Heat ‘n Bond Lite held the raw edges very nicely until I could get the applique/button hole stitch completed. For this quilt I chose to make the swag circles from the same fabric throughout the border.

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Remember, there’s a very detailed Custom Swag tutorial you can find in my blog post of May 26, 2017. Don’t be intimidated by creating a custom swag border, once you’ve done one you’ll be a pro!

Here’s the quilt top ready to be loaded on the longarm:

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I think there’s one more blog post tutorial about this quilt coming. The final tutorial will detail all the quilting and the tidbits about handling crochet, tatting, laces etc. on your quilt top. I had a bunch of “do-overs” I want to tell/warn you about. What am I doing right now on this quilt? I’ve finished 2 sides of the binding, maybe I will be able to do another side or two this coming weekend. That will leave the sleeve and label for another day.

Thank you so much for all your kind sweet words about the loss of my youngest sister. The funeral service in Chicago was beautiful. I had a chance to speak near the close of the service and while rather difficult, I’ll be forever grateful I did.

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

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Part 3, Vintage Linens Quilt #2 the tutorial continues…

I know some of you have started your vintage linens quilt tops! I love the pictures you’ve sent! Keep sending pics, keep posting comments/questions! The creative process is amazing!

So remember: you’ve got a plan at this point, you have an idea of what your color scheme might be, you have an idea about the general size of your project and you’ve been scouring your stash, your friends stash, your local antique malls, etc. for wonderful vintage pieces for your quilt. But what do you do when you find something that works… kind of? The colors are right, the motif(s) are right but there’s that thick modern rolled hem all around the outside! You improvise! Today’s post is mostly about improvising with pieces to “make” them work. The luncheon/dinner napkin below is one of these pieces. You’re going to have to imagine it without the blue lines because I forgot to take a “before” picture.

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It’s a lovely light ivory medium weight linen with both dark and light pink hand embroidery. It’s well done, it it perfect in every way except that unsightly wobbly thick machine applied rolled hem. It will be perfect for cutting apart to make 4″ blocks!

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From this single napkin I now have 8 embroidered pieces!

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I immediately head to my repurposed McCall’s pattern drawers to look for trim to cover the rolled hem.

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Auditioning trims, I make a final decision on a machine produced medium yellow/ivory trim. I sew on the trim and then carefully cut away the rolled hem. Important point: if I had cut away the rolled hem first, I would have been left with a fragile bias edge to manage. Don’t make the project harder than it should be!

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Once the new trim is added and the rolled hem is cut away, I position the little piece on a 4″ 1/2 x 4 1/2″ fabric square, machine stitch just above the new trim edge. Now here’s where another problem presents itself. The fabric shadows through the ivory linen, or in other words, I can just barely see polka dots thru the linen. Not a good thing! Flip your piece over to the back side and CAREFULLY trim away the fabric ONLY behind the vintage piece.

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Remember to place your little piece on your foundation fabric and in some fashion, baste around the raw edges. This is one of those times when you’ll be glad of the foundation as the top edge is 100% bias! Here are 4 of my new 4 1/2″ square blocks made from the dinner napkin. For consistency I used the same machine produced trim on each, you may have decided to have vary all of your trims.

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For a little break in the action, here are a few pics of my remarkably clean, non-cluttered sewing room… ha! Yes it’s a giant mess but it’s MY mess! I’ve got my remote control and my can of HEB lime flavored sparkling water so I’m set!

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It’s time to begin laying out your blocks. Refer back to your diagram for placement. Remember to mark (with pencil) on your diagram where specific blocks go, if you’re anything like me you won’t remember within a matter of 30 minutes!

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The pic below will give you an idea of the variety of things you can use in your quilt. You’ll note I’ve used both old and new-ish things.

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Now, here’s a warning of sorts: see the plaid fabric above, the one with the black lines? It is a new fabric, a VERY well known fabric manufacturer. Never in a million years did I expect the black to fade, in fact I never bothered to test it. It fades. I’ve learned my lesson. Test your fabrics, even if it’s just laying them atop a white paper towel and spritzing them with water. If I’d done even just that I would have discovered the fading issue.

I’d love to see pictures of the vintage linen projects you’ve started!

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Now a bit of news from here: sadly my youngest sister passed on Tuesday. We knew it was coming but of course when it happens you’re still deeply saddened. We will be traveling to Chicago on Sunday for a Monday funeral service. I’d so appreciate your prayers for safe travels, for the gathering of the family, for words spoken at her funeral and of course for her sweet husband as he transitions to life without her. God’s plans and timing are perfect and nothing takes Him by surprise. It is in our humanness that we are deeply filled with sorrow at these kind of happenings because we have such a great sense of loss of loved ones.

Blessings to all and until next week,

Rhonda

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