Thrift Store Finds

 

Do you like to shop at thrift stores? I grew up with a mom who loves to thrift shop. In fact, I took her for a colonoscopy yesterday and she asked to stop at a thrift store on our way home from the hospital! From an early age I remember getting up early and going to yard sales looking for treasures. After awhile, we would have to have our own yard sale to unload a lot of what we had accumulated to keep from becoming hoarders. It was a lot of fun then and I still enjoy it today! I usually gravitate directly to the book section to look for quilt books. One day recently, I hit the jackpot!

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Just a few of the titles purchased

 

I was able to get a lot of great titles and current books for $0.50 to $1.50 each. I ended up with over 30 new books that day! Apparently a quilt shop had gone out of business and donated the books they couldn’t sell so they were all brand new. I was sad to hear that a quilt shop had closed but happy to be the recipient of such a great find.

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I read quilt books like most people read novels. I will read them cover to cover and it keeps me inspired to continue to be creative. It takes 2 book cases to hold my quilting books but I can’t part with any of them.

Some of my favorite titles purchased that day are:
1. Fresh Pineapple Possibilities by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood
2. Egg Money Quilts by Eleanor Burns
3. Mariner’s Compass Quilts by Judy Mathieson
4. Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts by Bethany Reynolds
5. Quilt Romance by Kaffe Fassett
6. Star Quilts by Fons and Porter

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Favorites!

I doubt I’ll ever get that lucky again but I will keep searching!

Golden Tapestry by Anita Goodesign

I love when I can combine my two favorite hobbies, quilting and embroidery, into one great project. While shopping at my local quilt shop one day I noticed the owner working on an interesting project. It was a tapestry quilt which is done completely in the embroidery hoop. The design is called Golden Tapestry and it’s by Anita Goodesign.

I bought the CD and several cones of thread and headed home excited to work on this interesting quilt. I already had a bolt of off-white fabric that I wanted to use for the background and bought a border fabric that matched the thread for the main design. There are 2 fabrics and 2 thread colors used in this pattern. You start by hooping 2 layers of cutaway poly-mesh stabilizer, then when prompted float your batting and background fabric and the machine does the rest. It bastes the layers together and then stitches the background micro-meander first. Each block is finished with the design being stitched out between the meander stitching.

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When the blocks have stitched out, square them up leaving a 1/2” seam allowance using the basting stitch as your guide and then sew the blocks together sewing on the basting lines.  They need to be pinned very carefully because each block is bulky. I used a walking foot to help guide the fabric through evenly and pressed the seams open to help eliminate some of the bulk.

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I completely finished the first half before starting on the second half

The back is unfinished because it is intended to be a wall hanging and you won’t see it. I serged the edges and used hem tape to hold them to the back of the quilt.

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I love wall hangings and have made quite a few but this one is my favorite. It looks like it was a lot of work when in reality it was very easy. The hardest part was changing the thread on my single needle embroidery machine. I used my Bernina 880 instead of the multi needle machine because I wanted to stitch out the largest design and the mega hoop was the only hoop that I own that would fit the design. I will say that it was a time consuming project but I would get the machine started and then work on something else while it stitched out.

I made this quilt to match the sewing room in my old house. We have moved and it doesn’t match the walls of my new house so I hung it in the upstairs hallway beside the door to my sewing room.

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I recently found another design using the same method in a Christmas pattern. I enjoy Christmas sewing and look forward to making my next wall hanging!

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Two Bargello Quilts

I finally finished piecing the two bargello quilts that I have been working on for quite awhile. The first one, Wind Song, has 24 fabrics and is a king sized quilt. I started working on it over a year ago but put it aside for awhile to work on other projects. IMG_1205

I designated this year to complete most, if not all, of my UFO’s (a hefty aspiration!). Wind Song was on that list and although it was a very easy quilt to put together, the sewing of the strips was very boring and monotonous to me. I hardly ever watch TV but decided to put a television in my sewing room so I could stream shows while sewing. It really helped the time fly by so I was able to finish it quickly.

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I haven’t decided if I want borders on this quilt. On the plus side it would make it a very large king size quilt and it would drape nicely on my bed. I’m just worried that borders will detract from the movement of the quilt top. I’ll have to audition a few more fabrics and see if I can find something I like.

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Wind Song is a pattern that can be found in Eileen Wright’s book Twist and Turn Bargello Quilts which I purchased from my LQS.

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The second quilt is a three fabric bargello I began in a class a couple of months ago and posted about previously (for pattern details, please see earlier blog post on three fabric bargello).

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This quilt is a spin on the 2 fabric bargello quilt pattern. It is a very large throw size and I love how it turned out. I mitered the borders using the focus fabric and one of the insert fabrics.

I am having a hard time trying to decide how to quilt it. I don’t have a computer on my long arm machine and I am limited in my free motion quilting skills. I’ve been practicing some new designs so I will update when I get it quilted.

I’m doing something right now that I have never done before, I am in a test group for a new quilt pattern! It is a lot of fun and very interesting to see how much work goes into a pattern. The designer did not use any quilting software to design the quilt, but did it the old fashioned way through trial and error.  To give you a hint it is a twist on an old favorite, the Dresden quilt. I look forward to sharing it when it is done!

Monthly Mini Quilts

This is an idea that is inexpensive but a little more time consuming, especially because I made 7 sets of 12 quilts at one time for Christmas gifts a few years ago. To make it a quick gift, you could start with one quilt and add to them gradually for each holiday! They were a huge hit and I still look forward to changing my little quilt each month even after using them for several years! The stands are made by Ackfeld and I bought them at my local quilt shop.

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I found them a little cheaper on Amazon (although the price has gone up considerably since I bought mine) but I try to support my local quilt shop when ever I can. If you cannot find them at your LQS, they can be found here. I purchased all of the designs from Embroidery Library (with the exception of the Christmas design) when they were having a 10 for $10 sale so I only have $1 a piece invested in the designs. I had to re-size most of them but it only took a few seconds using the sizing program on my machine. I already had all of the fabrics in my stash that I used for the borders and I used odd pieces of scraps out of my scrap bin for most of the backings (this is why they do not match but luckily you can’t see the back 😉). There is no set pattern, I made most of them the same (small sashing and borders) and simply folded over the top to make the sleeve for the stand.

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Scraps of muslin and polyester used for back of quilts

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A new quilt for each month of the year!

***One little note, the stands come in several pieces and have to be assembled before using. They were very wobbly and flimsy and fell apart every time I changed the quilt. I bought some gorilla glue to use on them and now they are sturdy and hold together perfectly.

Design Credit: Embroidery Library

Christmas Pattern Design Credit: Melissa Lynn Designs

Just FYI: I receive no compensation for clicks to designer’s website or purchase of designs. Thanks!

Why Do You Quilt?

One day while sitting on the beach admiring the ocean my cousin (whom I love like a sister) asked me this question. She wondered why out of all of the hobbies and activities in this world I chose quilting as mine. I was in my early 30’s at the time so it probably seemed like an odd hobby to her being in her 20’s. The answer for me is the same now as it was then; because I love it! It’s a passion not just a hobby! Quilting relaxes me (most days) and keeps me sane. No amount of therapy could do for me what quilting has done. There is nothing more rewarding than finishing a quilt and gifting it to someone who will truly appreciate it. I rarely quilt for money because I don’t want it to turn into a job and have deadlines. Some days I will work in my sewing room for 12 hours straight barely stopping to eat and then other times I have dry spells where I don’t sew at all. It usually doesn’t last long though and I find myself looking through a new book and pulling fabrics to start on my next project. I love knowing that one day when I’m gone, my children and grandchildren will have quilts that I have made to remember me by. Everyone in my house fights over the quilts that my great grandmother made because they are so worn and soft! I can only hope that one day my future grandchildren will do the same!

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Even the cats fight for space on my Grandmother’s quilt!

Finished T-Shirt Quilt

I finally finished my son’s t-shirt quilt last night (remember I am slow at hand sewing). He loves it and can’t wait to use it on his dorm bed.

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View of quilting on back of quilt

Today I had an easy job, I monogrammed towels for him to take to college. He wasn’t excited about me embroidering his towels but I am only putting one small letter (last name initial) on each one so if someone has the same towels, he can quickly recognize his. He will be sharing a bathroom with 3 other young men and I know things will get mixed up!

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I used a satin fill stitch and a basic font in Monogram Wizard Plus called Gregory. I wanted to use a monochromatic thread but the closest I had was lighter than the towels. Not wanting to make a trip to my LQS I decided to use it. I think they look classy and not feminine which is what he was worried about.

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Now I can get back to work on my 3 fabric Bargello quilt. We leave in a few days to take our son to school so I probably won’t have time to get a lot done on it but will look forward to finishing it when we get back from Wake Forest. When that is done, it will be time to start my favorite sewing of the year, Christmas gifts!

T-Shirt Quilt Continued…

I’m still working on the t-shirt quilt for my son. I added the borders and got it quilted over the weekend. I added the binding this morning and now it’s time to hand sew the binding to the back which takes me forever! I am so slow with hand work, I would never have the patience to hand quilt like my grandmother did! The quilt turned out to be 102”x70” which is a good size since my son is almost 7 feet tall (6’8 to be exact and still growing). I loaded it sideways on the longarm machine because it’s much easier to work across a long row instead of starting and stopping constantly.

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I’m not happy with the backing of the quilt but there is nothing I can do about it now. I went to my local quilt shop on Saturday to buy wide backing so I wouldn’t have to piece it (I’m on a very tight time schedule). I guess we had a miscommunication about yardage because when I got home and loaded the quilt on my machine I was short about 15” of backing fabric. I take full responsibility for the mistake because I have been overwhelmed with everything going on trying to get my son ready for school. My LQS is about an hour and a half round trip and it’s closed on Sundays so I went to Walmart and bought a sheet to use for the back rather than waiting and making another trip. I’ve used sheets in the past but to get the color I wanted I had to buy a (more expensive) brand that I have never used before. It has a sateen finish and the tension on my longarm really gave me problems, most likely because the sheet has a very high thread count. I finally worked through the problem using King Tut thread and loosening my thread tension and roller tension. (I have a bad habit of rolling my quilts too tight!) Tonight I have a date with a needle and thread. I’m going to put on a good movie, fix a cup of coffee and start sewing…