Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom (aka Anne H), Sweetpea's, lavender bottles and machine quilting recap

Loopers in the Sky with Diamonds, 2005 (Close-up of a block I call July6)

Happy birthday Mom (aka Anne H)! I made this block on Mom's birthday, July 6th,  many years ago so I call this block July 6!

Yesterday two friends and I took her to a lovely plant and gift store in Toronto, Sweetpea's. If you are in Toronto I recommend you drop by for a visit. There are so many lovely items from body care products from Bleu Lavende, unique cards, home dec items including a few locally made quilts, baby and child gift items, perennials for the garden and gorgeous one of a kind floral arrangements! If you've been there you know what a wonderful florist shop it is. It is in the running for best florist in NOW Toronto's Best of Toronto. If you would like to vote for Sweetpea's  you can do so here.

After Sweetpea's we sent for lunch and then to Len's Mills for fabric! What quilter doesn't want fabric on her birthday? Or any other day for that matter? I picked up these three pieces which will be great for fussy cutting.

Mom is out of her cast but in a brace. At least she has use of her elbow which means I can put her back to work! I went out in her garden and harvested a big bunch of lavender so she could make some lavender bottles. She managed to get three made before she had to give her arm a rest.

These are similar but not quite the same as those that I made. But they are equally pretty and they are every big as fragrant!

I've been writing about the way I quilt large quilts on my domestic sewing machine. At the moment I am quilting my Cherry Blossom quilt. There have been some questions about what I do so I thought I would recap my method for machine quilting a large quilt on a domestic machine. This method reduces the bulk of excess backing and backing making it easier to quilt the centre of the quilt.
  1. I pin baste my quilt making sure to avoid pinning over major seam lines.
  2. I attach a free motion foot and I use either invisible thread  (I use Monopoly) or a very light weight thread such as Superior's The Bottom Line on top and in the bobbin I use a light weight thread such as The Bottom Line, Decobob or Invisifil. I used a thread colour in the bobbin to match the top of the quilt for this step.
  3. I stitch in the ditch on all major seams horizontally and vertically. I do not remove the pins from the quilt top. The stitch in the ditch stabilizes all of the blocks on the quilt top and it won't shift or move.
  4. If my quilt has a single border I stitch in the ditch where the centre of the quilt meets the border and I do this all around the quilt. If there are multiple borders I stitch in the ditch for each border. Cherry Blossom has a 1/2" pink inner border so I stitched in the ditch on either side of the pink inner border. I do not stitch around the outside edge of the quilt.
  5. Once the quilt top has been stabilized with stitch in the ditch I can quilt the border. Cherry Blossom has an 8" border with a vine so I drew the spine of the vine with a blue fabric marker, pinned very well on either side of the vine and then stitched the vine with invisible thread. I remove the pins that are close to the vine but leave all other pins in the border. I remove them as I quilt the leaves that sprouted off the vine.
  6. Once the border is quilted I l trim the quilt to remove the excess batting and backing and I bind the quilt.
  7. Finally I go back and quilt the body of the quilt. And since the border is quilted it is flatter which means that the bulk is reduced. Since the quilt is stabilized with the stitch in the ditch there is no problem with the quilt shifting!
The key is to make sure to stitch in the ditch of all major seams. In Cherry Blossom there is no sashing but if there were, I would have stitched in the ditch on either side of each sashing.

I hope that this information has answered your questions but if not feel free to ask! I am more than happy to share with you what I do and how I do it!

Phew! Too much writing! How about some pictures of the four blocks I am working on. They are the corners for the border of a quilt. The applique is going well and there isn't too much left to do. I've been working on this quilt off and on for a year. I'll keep you posted and the reveal will be in the next few weeks!

Finally don't forget to visit Quilting Gallery's Show and Tell. The theme this week is patriotic quilts and I am the guest judge! How am I going to decide? There are so many wonderful quilts! To see all of the quilts and vote for your four favourites go here!

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. Happy Birthday to your sweet Mum! Sounds like you had a blast! :)

    1. Thanks Lia! We had a wonderful day and it was a real tonic for the Mom unit!

  2. Many happy returns to Anne H! Good to hear that her cast is off now :)

    Your applique blocks are really pretty - looking forward to the reveal! Good luck with your judging Karen - I don't envy you the task! Natalie x

    1. Thanks Natalie! I can't wait to finish the applique and start putting the quilt top together! It is chock-a-block with flowers, butterflies, hexagons and stars!

      Judging looks easy but it isn't! I don't want to be influence by the popular vote. I want the quilts and their stories to be factors I consider. It is going to be tough to marrow my choice down to four!