Quilting and sewing tips and tutorials

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happenstance Quilt Hexies

Here we are in 2017, and no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've fallen off my creative  groove. I guess it's only normal for that to happen now and then. Maybe it's winter.......

maybe it's this darn cold I have......anyway, I'm not going to dwell on it. Instead, I've decided to dive into a project.
Not that I don't have a few in the works LOL don't we all? This bout of doldrums calls for starting something new.
I was pondering a small wool hexi quilt. Hmmmmm, I went into my stash and dug out some pretty pastel colors to help chase away the gray of winter.....
I gave them a quick wash and dry so they'd be ready in the morning.

First I had to get breakfast out of the way so my empty tummy wouldn't interrupt me.
Then I figured I'd fire up the printer to print out a small hexi to make a template. (I really need to get a hex n' more ruler) anyway,  I guess I was on the right track to start with breakfast.
As happenstance would have it......I grabbed the cereal box, and there, right in my hand, was the hexi I was looking for. You just never know where  you'll find inspiration, or tools!
After I finished breakfast, I quickly set to cutting out my hexi's and headed to the studio to play.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

summer delights, summer fresh recipe

Summer continues to bestow us with fresh delights for our table.
It's sweet corn season in Wisconsin and we are making frequent trips to our favorite farm so we can enjoy it while we can. It is absolutely heavenly!

They also had a fun variety of colorful cauliflower...I didn't know it was available in purple now.
How fun!

 and then there are the luscious tomatoes on sale.....

My sister-in-law, Lisa, shared some of her summer squash with us and we found a great recipe for a cold summer salad.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups julienned zucchini
2 cups julienned yellow summer squash
1 cups thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp. dill weed
3/4 tsp. slat
1/4 tsp. pepper

Yield 6-8 servings
In a large bowl toss together the veggies. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake well. Pour over veggies and toss to coat. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
I found this in the Aug/Sept. issue of "Our Wisconsin" magazine. It's tasty and refreshing.

I actually found some remnants of one of my favorite veggie fabrics in my stash and used it up to make some veggie hot pads for the kitchen. I should have purchased more of this fabric.....drat.

I hope you are enjoying the waning days of summer. Soon, a new season will be stepping in.
After living in Florida for 40 years, we are enjoying the change of seasons. Even if it means one of them contains snow.
Though Florida has seasons, they are less distinct. One of the Florida seasons involves lots of tourists, and the other consists of lots of rain, heat and storms.

I am loving the multitude of wildflowers that grace the Wisconsin countryside and all the beautiful annuals and perennials in the garden.
The black-eyed Susan's are bursting in blossom right now. So pretty.
Try to take some time to go out and enjoy the end of summer and all it's delights. 
Plan your stitching projects for nighttime, and the cold that will be settling in eventually.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Free modern table runner pattern - a new felted wool technique with free pattern

Greetings fellow stitchaholics,

Here at last is the free project I promised you.
It uses a new technique I developed for projects using woolfelt and felted wool.

I call it a making a "Wool Smoothie" The free project is a modern table runner pattern and you can find the link for the download below.

If you work with woolfelt or felted wool, you know that the seams can be quite bulky due to the thickness of the material. While that is not always an issue, it can be at times. 
Now there is a fun and easy way around that. 

By using my Whisperlite tracer/foundation as an ultra lightweight base you can "seam" the wool without the bulk. Whisperlite is NOT a fusible product. Ask your local quilt shop if they have it. If not, you can order it with this link, or this link. It's 42" wide and is sold by the yard. You'll love it.

Whisperlite tracer/foundation by Thistledown and Company

The free pattern is for a modern table runner and you can download the PDF by clicking this link.

Table runner by Thistledown and Company


Here are the basics of the Wool Smoothie™ technique.

Cut a piece of Whisperlite 1" larger than the finished project size.
With a #2 pencil, draw a line 1/2" from the edge on all four sides.

Tape the Whisperlite to a flat work surface. * A cutting mat, or cardboard is great. If using a table with a finished surface protect it with cardboard first.

Cut the wool pieces as called for in the pattern.
Using quilter's basting spray (DO NOT use spray adhesive) and working in a well ventilated area with newspaper protecting your work surface, spray one side of the wool piece.

Place the spray basted wool pieces onto the Whisperlite foundation as directed in the pattern instructions. Hand press in place. Add several pieces at a time and make sure they are tight up against each other with no spacing inbetween. Make sure you have it lined up properly.

After applying about 1/3 of the pieces allow to dry about 10-15 minutes.
Now either by hand, or machine, stitch along the seams with decorative stitches, such as a fly stitch, a ladder stitch, or any bridging stitch that jumps back and forth between the two pieces. If you are stitching by hand the whisperlite is super easy to stitch through. Of course it's no problem by machine either. The Whisperlite stabilizes the seamless seams without adding bulk or stiffness.  How great is that!

Continue adding pieces and stitching them in place. TA-DA.... Now you have a nice flat, smooth woolfelt table runner, or placemat, or candle mat, etc. because you don't have lumpy, bumpy seams.

The free PDF pattern, and my website have all the details and hints for making this project.
The Wool Smoothie™ technique is also great for crazy quilting, and for making miniature wool quilts too.
In fact, I'll be sharing more free projects using this technique soon.
I hope you have fun making your Wool Smoothie™ table runner.

Stitch on....stay happy

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Felted wool vs Woolfelt® vs wool felt - what's the difference?

Oh gosh, life can sure get crazy. Last post I promised to show you a new technique, and I will share it with you very soon. I will also share a free project.

First, I thought it might be best to explain some basics about the difference between felted wool, wool felt, and Woolfelt®.  They are all very popular for making stitched projects such as mug rugs, penny rugs, table runners and all manner of cute pincushions, dolls, and adorable stuffed toys, etc.

Of course it all begins with these fuzzy sheep.....that's where wool comes from.


So, what's the difference between felted wool and woolfelt?

Felted wool is created by taking a wool fabric item such as wool yardage, a wool blanket, a wool suit, or wool skirt, and transforming it, by "felting" it. The felting process makes the wool dense, similar to felt.
The wool to be felted, must be at least 80% wool, and should not be worsted wool. Worsted wool is designed not to felt.
Once the wool is "felted" the fabric will not fray hardly at all along the edges. You may get a thread end that peeks out here and there, but only a tiny bit. It does vary with how well it was felted, and the quality of wool used. Here, you can still slightly see the weave of the fabric of these felted wool samples.
Felted wool samples

Using felted wool allows you to create raw edge appliqu├ęs. The appliques are finished with embroidery stitches such as the blanket stitch, stem stitch, feather stitch etc. The applique sample below is finished with blanket stitches.

wool applique by Thistledown and Company
felted wool applique

There are many fine purveyors of felted wool, so you don't have to do the felting process yourself.
Personally, I would rather shop for felted wool, than felt it myself.
Here are a few sites to help get your collection started !

Bird Brain Designs
The Woolery
Moondance Color
Week's Dye Works

Now, what about Woolfelt® or, wool felt?
Felt, regardless of fiber content, is made by pressing fibers together using a combination of pressure, moisture and heat to create a bonded felt textile. It is a not a woven fabric like felted wool is.

Woolfelt® is a brand of felt made by National Nonwovens. They make a large variety of dreamy felt with several options of fiber content. They offer 100% Woolfelt, along with blended felts containing wool, rayon, and even bamboo.
Full disclosure......I am a pattern partner of National Nonwovens and receive product samples from them to design with. That said, I do love their products. They have a large range of luscious colors and I love the consistent quality of their Woolfelt®. It's a real delight to work with with.

Wool felt  (not the brand) is any felt made with wool content.

Here is a closeup of Woolfelt®, you can see there is no woven characteristic to the felt and there are no stray threads along the raw edges seen at the right side of this picture below.
You can achieve a felted wool "puffy" appearance with Woolfelt® by washing it in hot water and drying it in a hot dryer. It will shrink and get a more dimensional (puffy) texture. You can also just use it as is, for a smoother, flat, felt texture.

Woolfelt® sample
 I enjoy working with both Woolfelt®, and felted wool. The texture is wonderful, the colors are divine, and it showcases hand embroidery stitches and decorative machine stitching, beautifully.


If you haven't made a project using wool, give it a try. It's very enjoyable to work with.
I have several patterns available that use wool. Jump over to my Etsy site and take a peek.

Baaa-tik pattern by Thistledown and Company

Next post will have a new technique and project for you......no really. 

Keep stitching.....