Merry Christmas!

I though today I’d post pictures of a few the quilts and table mats I’ve made over the years with Christmas in mind. These are in no particular order:

stitch-connection-quilt

I think I made this about 10 or 11 years ago, I didn’t put a quilt label on the back so I am guessing. The motifs are machine embroidery designs I purchased from  The Stitch Connection and embroidered on my Brother machine. I changed up the borders a bit from the original quilt pattern. What a great project from this equally great company! I machine quilted this project on my domestic Juki using a single poly batt.

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This small quilt measures 9’x12″ and was made as a donation for auction item to support Quilt teacher/designer Ami Simms. She began a program called the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) to raise money to fund Alzheimer’s research. I printed vintage graphics onto natural medium weight muslin fabric and embellished the surface with seed and bugle beads, ribbons, mother-of-pears buttins and small metal charms.  If memory serves me I believe this little piece raised approx. $350.00.

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I started this quilt with a group of friends in the Seabrook, TX area. I’d never worked with a combination of both white and ivory background fabrics. The pattern is from a long forgotten magazine. I fussy cut the star center squares from Christmas/Winter bird fabrics. If you look carefully you’ll see the quilt is hanging a little odd. I was in a rush the evening before “quilt turn in day” for my guild ( Quilt Guild of Greater Houston )show. I frantically got the sleeve stitched on, the label attached just in time to beat the deadline. Imagine my surprise as I strolled through the show and saw my quilt hanging sideways… that’s right, I mistakenly sewed the sleeve down the side rather than across the top.  I finished this quilt in 2013. I machine quilted this project on my domestic Juki using a single batt. It has a tone on tone ivory backing.

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Not really a quilt but rather a felted wool applique table decoration, this pattern is from  All Through the Night, Bonnie Sullivan. If you’ve ever made any if her project then you’ll already know she’s a fantastic artist! For this piece I both felted and hand over-dyed my own wool. I shop resale stores looking for old 100 % wool garments with interesting texture. This mat measures approx. 16′ across. This piece is hand appliqued using DMC embroidery floss.

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visions-of-sugarplums

Another Bonnie Sullivan pattern! I had this piece finished, held it up to show my hubby the completed work and he said to me “What is a Vison?” I had neglected to stitch the second “i” in vision. Luckly I had room to squeeze it in! This piece is also 100% hand felted and hand over-dyed wool from old garments. I machine appliqued this project on my Bernina. It measures approx. 16″ across.

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christmas-tablecloth

And finally, a project started and finished in 2016, this is a quilted vintage Christmas tablecloth measuring approx. 48″x51″. It is double batted and quilted with Glide thread everywhere except on the red border where I used YLI Smoke mono-filament. The backing fabric is 100% cotton bleached muslin. I quilted this piece on my Innova longarm, hand guided free motion.  The piece is completely finished, sadly I can’t find a picture of the finished and bound quilt. Maybe tomorrow…

Hope you enjoyed!

Blessings for a wonderful 2017!

Rhonda

How I create and embellish a Hexagon

The first picture below is how it began, 7 pieces of both white and off-white laces and/or trims and a vintage ladies acid lace handkerchief, layered atop a layer of white cut-away stabilizer topped with white (bleached) muslin. I always mark the top of a hexagon because sometimes when I get well into the embellishing I lose track of what’s up and what’s down.

When you start with an all all white ( or in my case white and off white) the world’s your oyster when it comes to choosing beads, buttons, ribbons, etc. The raw edges are stitched down with a Wing (or Hem Stitch) Needle and white thread. If you’ve never used a Wing Needle, I challenge you to buy one and have a ball playing with both your utility and decorative stitches on your sewing machine! You’ll have a blast! The Wing Needle track is a wonderful guide for bead placement. If you’ll look carefully you can see that I’ve begun to stitch white seed beads at the left center below.

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My collection of beads and ribbons has grown to unusual proportions and I can get overwhelmed sometimes with what to use. I’ve taken steps to solve that problem by creating a “project tray” as I begin to embellish each hexagon. For me it help to narrow down the choices and it gives me a plan forward. I don’t always use everything in my project tray and I often add things as I go along.

The funny caterpillar looking thing in the picture below is actually a string of purple, green and white glass flower heads I purchased at the Houston IQA Festival in 2015. The small plastic bag of pink ribbon roses is straight from the store. They don’t look all that great when you buy them but they are easily manipulated into a “better looking” rose shape with just a needle and thread.

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If I know I’m going to have a ribbon and undulating ribbon streamers on a project I try and do most of my beading ahead of the ribbon. It’s just easier to bead when there’s less for the thread to get caught up in! Thread: I’m a big fan of Nymo. I use either white or off white. I bought a bunch on eBay a few months back, I was disappointed when it arrived as it is tan but I’ve found I can use it easily when I’m working with color.

So…in the picture below you’ll see I’ve added seed beads to the green ribbon as well as ribbon roses to the left of the bow,  green etched glass leaves that I think I bought at Florilegium in Weston, Mo., the glass purple/green/white flower heads (that I gave yellow beaded stamens) and finally, small pearls.

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The tiny sequin flowers that edge the Battenburg lace are from  CCartwrights. The little flower sequins come in a multitude of colors. Hold on to your wallets when you shop at CCartwrights, they have wonderful stuff!

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The small row of flowers in the top right corner (and the pink ones scattered in the project) are from Darice. Sadly I haven’t been able to find them, they’re not producing them in the soft pastel colors anymore. If you find them anywhere, BUY THEM ALL!

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Below you’ll see the embellished hexagon. All that’s left to do is to add a layer of white 50/50 batting and a white (bleached) muslin backing. The backing is cut 5/8″ larger all the way around, the outside raw edge is folded to meet the edge of the hexagon. Press this seam and finally make the final fold over the edge of the hexagon to form a 1/4″ frame around the block.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed! Happy Stitching,

Rhonda

Instagram: @RJCD     Pinterest: RDort1

Retreat-Huntsville!

There’s nothing quite so relaxing as a get-away with 6 wonderful quilting friends! We’re in Huntsville, TX at The Hummingbird Retreat, a fantastic small venue dedicated to quilters. Martha, daughter Angela and granddaughter Amanda are top notch hostesses, making it their goal to see that we are well fed and pampered.

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The individual work stations come with cutting mats, irons, plenty of work space and design walls.

The bedrooms are all equipped with their own bathroom, the beds are comfy and each is adorned with a beautiful quilt.

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There’s a common area with a big screen tv, a wonderful back porch with a view of the livestock off in the pasture and the decor is full of vintage pieces sure to take you back to the 40’s and 50’s!

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Thanks Hummingbird Retreat, we’ll be back!

Happy stitching,

Rhonda

Quilting Vintage

Quilting Vintage… Oh My! by Lori Lee Triplett

Quilting Vintage

Click on the blue link above and scroll down to Nov. 12, 2016 for a great article with two points of view about quilting vintage pieces. I’m honored that she opens up with a picture of my work, this blue and white 1940’s-50’s Bridge Tablecloth will always be one of my favorite projects. Now in a private collection, Rita Carter was kind enough to loan this tablecloth to the Special Exhibit: For the Love of Linens at the IQF Houston last week.

What are your thoughts? Are you OK with quilting these vintage beauties and putting them on display or do you think they should be left in the linen closet?

Pinterest, Instagram and so many web sites have wonderful examples of the move underway to bring the “old” to the forefront with a tribute to those who created before us. I’m a big fan of honoring the original artist by showcasing his/her work in this manner.

Happy stitching, and until my next post, hope it’s a great day!

Rhonda

 

My method of creating hexagons.

I must give proper tribute to Sarah Lizzies Handmade as this blog creator was my inspiration for my hexagon quilt titled “Second Chances”. The minute I read thru her blog and studied her pictures, I knew I was hooked. Her work is wonderful!

I plan to walk you through my method of creating Second Chances, probably step by step so if you’re interested, you’ll have all the tools you need to start.

Here’s a brief list of beginning supplies:

1. White stabilizer, I use machine embroidery cut away, 2.5 weight. In the industry this is known as medium. But then again 2.0 is also labeled medium… Heavy weight is 3.0. I’d caution to go heavier than lighter if you’re not sure.

2. 100% muslin. I used Bleached Muslin rather than natural.

3. A template. I used a rose colored acrylic hexagon template made by Sharlene Jorgenson for Omnigrid. See picture below.

4. A selection of vintage linens, handkerchiefs, napkins, dresser scarves, doilies, trims, laces, buttons, ribbons and beads.

The rose colored template measures approx. 3 1/2″ per side and finishes to a 3″ hexagon. The picture on the right shows a hexagon cut from stabilizer and I’ve drawn 1/4″ lines on all sides. You’ll see when finished my hexagon will have 3″ sides and measure about 5 5/8″ from point to point.

Step 1: From both the stabilizer and the muslin cut a hexagon from each. The stabilizer is the bottom layer, the muslin goes on top of the stabilizer. With a Frixion pen (by Pilot) and a small ruler, draw a line 1/4″ from each edge. This line will serve as your guide regarding placement and embellishment. Everything you want to be visible on your finished hexagon needs to be inside these 1/4″ lines.

Step 2:  Begin choosing the pieces that work well together. Remember, a white piece allows you to dictate the color direction and embellish in any manner you like.  These  yellow embroidered flowers are part of a handkerchief. I placed 5 pieces of laces and trim around the flowers and lightly hand tacked the pieces in place.

Step 3: With a nice selection of beads I began to embellish the trims. The close-up pictures below show the beading detail:

Beading is simply this: threaded needle up through the fabric, pick up a bead or 2 or 3 and send your needle back down through the fabric. I do not knot the thread after each bead, you’re not creating a utility piece but rather a show piece that will be handled with care. Let your pieces help to determine how and where to bead. By following the flowers in the white trim along the left bottom side I was able to loosely mimic the yellow flowers of the handkerchief. In fact I chose to bead all the flowers in one shade of yellow or another to give the piece consistency.

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The picture above is of the hexagon with the finished embellishing. It’s at this point I machine stitch with either a straight or a zig-zag about 1/8″ all the way around the piece.

We’ll talk about batting and the framing of the blocks sometime this month, right now let’s just concentrate on block creation and embellishment.

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Happy stitching,

Rhonda

Cleaning Vintage Linens

Why would anyone take pictures of their soiled vintage linens soaking in water? I think I do it because I’m so amazed at how disgusting the water looks!  I get asked all the time how I clean the little treasures that follow me home from antique shops, thrift stores, etc.

Disclaimer: what you are about to read is how I do it….. Your results may vary.

*** Look your item over thoroughly! If there is ANY black and/or dark grey embroidery floss do not use this cleaning method! Stick with just Biz or OxyClean and be careful!

Step 1:  Read through each of the 6 steps before you begin!

Step 2:  Ingredients-Biz Powder, Cascade Dishwashing Powder. DO NOT USE THE CASCADE THAT CONTAINS BLEACH! -and- 1/2 to 1 gallon of WARM water. Biz Powder can be difficult to find. I have successfully substituted OxyClean Powder and had good results. Update 6/2017: Don’t be fooled by thinking Biz and Oxyclean are the same thing marketed under different names. Biz is an enzyme product and as such is much better suited to cleaning vintage linens. You can find more specific information here. Speaking of substitutions, the other day Kroger had their house brand of dishwashing powder on a ridiculously low sale so I picked up a box. It worked great so I might just start listing any brand without bleach…

Step 3:  In a plastic bin/container/glass bowl first add the 2 powders followed by the water. Stir gently to dissolve the powder. I find the powders never dissolve completely so just stir until you’re comfortable that you’ve got things mixed up.

Step 4:  Begin layering your items on top of the sudsy water. If necessary gently fold them to fit the container you’ve chosen. I usually add as many items as I can to the container, just make sure the top layer can be fully submerged. Throughout the soaking process I gently-and I do mean gently-push down on the soaking items with a long handled wooden spoon just to move the water around a bit.  If you find your items floating to the top you can always keep them submerged by placing a non-metallic dinner plate, bowl, saucer, etc. on top of them.

Step 5:  How long to soak? This is something only you can determine. It’s rare that I soak things for longer than 24 hours. If I am nervous about an item I’ll shorten the soaking time to not more than 3-4 hours.

Step 6:  Rinse and rinse and rinse like there’s no tomorrow! When you think you’re finished, rinse once more in a container of cool water with 1/2-1 cup of white vinegar in the water. The vinegar will cut any soap that the fibers might be holding on to. Very important step! Note: when dry, your linens might retain the aroma of the vinegar for a day or two but it will dissipate.

What’s next? Either put your pieces in the dryer or lay them out flat to dry.

Ok, here are the pictures, like I said, the water is gross!


Happy soaking! You and your nose and your neighbors’ nose will be very glad you took the time!

Rhonda

International Quilt Festival 2016 Houston!

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What a night! I won a ribbon, 3rd Place in the Embellished Category! The presentation was done by a very nice really really tall guy…. I’ll find out his name later… This category has Madeira  as its sponsor, thank you to this generous company! Update: this remarkably tall man is Mr. Steven Jeffery, Madeira Thread, Fenton, Mo.  Madeira

As a side note, check out the orientation of my piece on the big screen…yep, they presented it sideways. Sideways on the web site list of winners also. I got an email from IQA yesterday saying the finally fixed the picture, I’ll check it out later.

It has been such a pleasure standing with this piece and talking with everyone, such kind words from everyone. I plan to dedicate a separate post about this quilt and its step by step creation later this week.

I have 3 pieces hanging at Festival this year, here are the other 2:

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This is My Garden, an adaption of a pattern titled My Primitive Garden by Lisa Bongean, owner of and designer at Primitive Gatherings This piece is wool on cotton hand appliqué. I gathered cotton background fabrics and collectively dyed them all together in the same vat in order to create continuity of color. I shopped resale stores for 100% wool garments, felted the wool and hand dyed each to get just the right color for each piece. The entire project is hand appliquéd and hand embroidered. I quilted this piece on my Innova longarm. This quilt is on display in the Traditional Appliqué Category.

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And finally, this piece is titled Wedgewood. This is now in a private collection but the owner graciously allowed it to be hung in the Cindy Needham special Exhibit titled: For the Love of Linens. What a spectacular Special Exhibit! This piece is a late 1940’s-early 50’s vintage silk-screened tablecloth measuring approx. 51×61″. Several in attendance at Festival have made me aware that this would properly be called a Bridge Cloth. It’s nice to learn something new every day! This was quilted on my Innova longarm, Glide #10000 white thread. For more information about Cindy and her amazing talent go to: Cindy Needham

It’s been a wonderful Festival, I arrive home exhausted every evening but ready to go the next morning! Today I’m slotting an hour or two for shopping, who knows what will follow me home 🙂

Happy stitching!

Rhonda