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At long last, there is an outlet for my sewing mania. We opened the doors of Sew Joan Sew (on Etsy) last month and the orders are trickling in.

Autumn Beauty Quilt

Autumn Beauty Quilt

I’ve posted 4 products, so far, in the shop – including the Autumn Beauty quilt shown above and the Popcorn Bear quilt shown below. It’s an experiment right now, but your support (likes, shares, favorites, etc.) just might grow it into a passion.

Popcorn Bear Quilt – Trapunto!

Visit the shop to see the offerings and be sure to like my facebook page!

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We're about to post products to Etsy!!

Here’s one of the photos from the “photo shoot” that my daughter forced me to participate in. She’s been egging me on to get the products up on Etsy before Christmas. Don’t you love this Noel quilt? One of my personal favorites to quilt.

I saw an ad in the Fons and Porter September/October 2012 magazine for a design frame. Sandwiching my quilt tops is a task I often put it off because I hate how long it takes and how sore my back and knees are by the time I finish crawling around the floor for hours on end. However, before shelling out nearly $300.00 I decided to see if this frame idea was a viable alternative.  I went to Home Depot and bought 1/2″ PVC pipe (5 pipes 10′ long, 4 of which they were kind enough to cut in half and the fifth they cut into 20″ lengths at no charge) and connectors for all the corners. Grand total – less than $20.00 after tax. Here is a picture of what I put together in under 5 minutes.  Ok so it may not be pretty or the sturdiest contraption, but any port in a storm.(I am short so I need the step stool to see over the top).

I have now used the frame to sandwich two quilts. This next picture shows the backing on the frame of quilt #1.

And here is all three pieces on the frame.This is the second quilt I have used the frame for this week. This shows what it looks like from the back and under the frame. My favorite part of this is BEING ABLE TO SEE THE BACK OF THE QUILT. Something you are not able do when it is laid out on the floor and therefore you CANNOT see if you have any bubbles or folds.So here is quilt #2 all sandwiched. I found my husband had more NEW colorful plastic clamps in his tool box so I confiscated them for this quilt. I had much better luck making the backing more taut this time. Still Learning here. Now I am going to go baste it and get it quilted. I am THRILLED! Two Quilts in a week. It is a new record for me. I hope to post more details soon on using this frame and/or making it more sturdy. Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I hope you all have a Quilting Day. Joan

My First Tutorial!

Ok so here it goes. With prompting from family, I am sharing my first tutorial. This week I decided to take a lesson from niece Erika on making baby bibs, which she posted on her sister’s web site Hungie Gungie. Erika does not like to sew but was inspired this summer to make bibs and became the bib making queen.  I decided to make the same style bib and take it one step further by adding an embroidered applique!

I found the bib pattern on Juicy Bits and the cutest little elephant applique download from Hang to Dry and I was good to go. Hang to Dry periodically offers free downloads – and the elephant was free the day I visited! (Lucky me!)

To begin, sew out a test sample of your embroidery. I always use enough material for my test samples just in case it comes out “great” I will be able to use it in a final project. My first attempt is a blue elephant on plain white fabric.  (Always remember – embroidery machines are “color blind”.  You can change all the thread colors amd material colors for applique to your own desires.)

Picture #1

Also by sewing a test sample, you will often find there are steps you can eliminate or make easier. As an example, Hang to Dry has you switching threads from black to white between the “layout” stitch and the “tack-down” stitch. I found it much quicker to just use white/cream thread for both steps and not bother re-threading the machine. Hopefully the next pictures will give you an idea what I mean.

Here in picture #2 I have my chosen fabric hooped with a standard tear-away stabilizer (I used Inspria stabilizer for this). My embroidery machine is the Baby Lock Ellisimo (you will come to know I am a Baby Lock Snob) I just love their machines.

Picture #2

Now if you look real close in pic #2 you can see the outline of our elephant. This is the drawback for not using the black thread which would show better for this picture. But not a problem when you are at your own machine. The next step is to place your chosen applique fabric, large enough to cover all the outline stitches.

Picture #3

In picture #3 the machine tacks-down the material and you trim away the excess fabric, see picture #4 I have clipped very close to the stitches BUT do not cut the stitches. Clipping will be more clearly demonstrated in pictures 6 & 7. PLEASE REMEMBER, ALWAYS leave your project in the hoop when trimming. NEVER UNHOOP until your project is completed.

Picture #4

Next, picture #5, add the contrast fabric for the feet and ears and allow the machine to tack these down.

Picture #5

Now trim away the excess fabric. Here in pictures 6 & 7 I am using Gingher Applique sissors. The large curved side allows extra control to keep me from clipping those tack down stitches.

Finally this is taking shape and looking more like an elephant. Now I let Ellisimo do his thing and sew out all the satin stitches. I just have to be onhand to change the thread.

I will not re-do the making of the bib. As I said in the beginning, my niece Erika does a great job with her tutorial on Hungie Gungie. I will say I used pink flannel for the back of this bib and blue flannel on the first bib. And I used fleece for the middle for “structure” as Erika says. I just like the looks better with a filler. I then used a decorative stitch around the edge to add a little more flare. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. Happy Sewing!!!

Hello world!

My daughter has made me set up this, my very first blog. I haven’t a clue what I am doing. I would much rather be sewing another quilt.

You see quilting has become a passion of mine. I love every step in the process. Cutting the material apart. Piecing it back together. Getting those points to match just right. Then my very favorite part – the “free motion” quilting. To which all my sister’s reply “you’re nuts, that’s too hard”. For me it is the most relaxing part of making a quilt.

I started down this path 3 1/2 years ago when I took 12 quilt blocks, (which I had made some 20 years ago) to my bible study class to ask my friends what I should do with them. I did not have a clue. They in turn took me to the local quilt shop and had me join the Block of the Month Club. And I was completely hooked. It has led me to buy tools and machines I never knew existed. And let’s not even begin to talk about my closet that looks like a FABRIC STORE! One day I may even take a picture of it. We will call it confessions of a fabric-holic.

So this is the beginning. I hope to soon post pictures of my quilts and receive feedback on what I am doing. I am extremely blessed to have the support of my family. They have yet to complain they can’t find the mattress for all the quilts that are on top. They continue to encourage me to grow and for this I am very grateful.

I will return soon. I need to get back to my other machine.

Happy Quilting!