Friday, May 18, 2018

Fun With Custom Designed Vinyl

Last week my mom and I hit the road for a little mother-daughter time, traveling to Texas for my niece's graduation and, of course, to spoil the grandkids. One of the highlights (there were several) of our trip was getting to pick up my custom printed adhesive vinyl and heat set vinyl from the design contest I won a couple of weeks ago. So a Mother's Day "crafternoon" was in order since my daughter is the one with a vinyl cutting machine.

Pansy Parade Custom Print Vinyl Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
I really didn't have any 'fantastic' ideas of what I wanted to use the vinyl on, so I decided to cut my business name and some flourishes for tattoos on my sewing machine.

Pansy Parade Custom Print Vinyl Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
It really dresses up the old gal, don't ya think?

Pansy Parade Custom Print Vinyl Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
I'm sure these new tattoos will make sewing even more fun!

Pansy Parade Custom Print Vinyl Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Of course, I had to update my travel mug with a new decal too. Mom dressed up her travel mug too. She used my vinyl and had her initial cut into the center of a circle.

Pansy Parade Custom Print Vinyl Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
We also cut out a decal from heat set vinyl to put on a T-shirt. Now I just have to find a shirt I like. I'm thinking this decal might pop on a heather gray, or even a navy, shirt.

Pansy Parade Custom Print Vinyl Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
In case you didn't see my winning design, called Pansy Parade, that I posted a couple of weeks ago, here it is again.

I'm back home now, laundry is done and everything is put away. I'm working on new designs for a Christmas fabric collection for my portfolio. What are you working on?


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Grandma's Quilts, Afghans & Molasses Cookies

Last week I came across a recipe for molasses cookies and it reminded me of the hubby's paternal grandmother, Verna. Whenever you visited Verna, she had a molasses cookie and glass of iced tea ready for you. Those visits are the only times I can recall that I had molasses cookies, but then again, my memory is not the greatest!

I never thought of Verna as being particularly 'crafty' but for our wedding she gifted us a double-knit hand-tied patchwork quilt that she had made us. As young newlyweds saving up for our first house, that patchwork quilt graced our water bed for the first year or so (wow, that's a flashback to the 70s!). Verna rocked the double knits, wearing a housecoat-style dress made of double knits everyday. Hmmm, I seem to remember a dress she wore made of that green hounds tooth fabric, I wondered if she made her own dresses too?

At one point before I met her, she also made more traditional quilts and this Hexagon Diamonds quilt that she hand pieced (and had someone machine quilt) was handed down to me.

Look at that tiny binding!

In later years, she mostly crocheted afghans. This one, which we've had since the early 80s, has seen many years of use snuggled up on the couch watching TV, hence all the pilling of the yarn. I know nothing about crochet so I don't know the pattern of this, but every afghan that I saw that Verna made was this pattern. She also gifted an afghan to each of my kids when they were young. I stored them away and gave the afghans to them once they graduated college and were out on their own.

Old Fashion Molasses Cookies By Thistle Thicket Studio.
So for nostalgia, I made molasses cookies last week with the recipe I found and they were so good! Nice and soft, just like I like my cookies. So I thought I'd share the recipe here. It may not be the exact recipe that Verna made, but they are pretty darn close to what I remember. 

Old Fashion Molasses Cookies
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Sugar for coating
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter and molasses together. Beat in egg until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, clovers and nutmeg until well combined. Cover dough and refrigerate for one hour. Roll dough into 1" balls (I use a small ice cream scoop). Roll each ball in sugar to coat. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. Note: Recipe adapted from Great Grub, Delicious Treats.

I posted a photo of my cookies on Instagram and was surprised at how many people had never tasted molasses cookies. Of course, there were lots who loved them too. Hope you enjoy the recipe and my little walk down memory lane!


Sunday, April 29, 2018

My First Design Win!

I'm so excited to share that I won my first surface pattern design contest! The contest was sponsored by Texas Vinyl Dispensary and was for a custom vinyl design for print on demand vinyl. My daughter told me about the contest the day before the deadline, so I didn't have a lot of time to come up with a design. And this is my winning design....Pansy Parade.

Pansy Parade - A Surface Pattern Design By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Although I'm not that familiar with vinyl and things you can make with it, I know that the pattern design needed to be small so that after the vinyl was cut the pattern could still be identifiable. I wanted to fill the space with pattern so decided to make a floral design. I am inspired by vintage fabrics and I think this pattern design evokes a 60's retro feel. 

The prize for winning is a yard of custom printed vinyl with my design, a yard of custom printed heat set vinyl with my design, and a $50 gift certificate for more product. But really the prize for me is the satisfaction that someone liked my design! A little confidence booster that I may be headed in the right direction as far as my design aesthetic is concerned. It's also rewarding to know that two months ago I didn't even know how to design a pattern and now I've won a contest with my own pattern design. Thank you Texas Vinyl Dispensary for the opportunity and the prizes!

Did you notice my new logo I created for my surface pattern designing? I wanted a cleaner and simpler image and wanted to incorporate my name with the Thistle Thicket Studio name. The background color of the logo can be changed to coordinate with whatever pattern design it accompanies.

I know I haven't shared a lot of my surface pattern designs yet. I'm still working on designs and collections and I'm torn whether or not to share them before making a portfolio and submitting to any companies for licensing consideration. Right now I'm leaning on keeping things secret. But I have completed the Surface Pattern Design Immersion course and I can't say enough good things about it. Bonnie Christine is a fantastic instructor and I'm so happy that I decided to jump in and give this whole design thing a go.


Friday, April 27, 2018

A Yarn Couched Throw

Finally, A Finish!!! I forced myself to sit down this week and sew the binding on my yarn couched throw - and it took me all week to do it. But I'm excited to have it done and ready to gift to someone very special.

A Yarn Couched Throw By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Ever since the new Gammill changeable feet came out, I've been anxious to try my hand at yarn couching. So while we were snowbirding in Texas in February, I picked up some of the chenille yarn that I'd seen someone use on Instagram. By some, I mean a couple of skeins of three different colors. I have way too much because I didn't even use half of the first skein for this throw.

A Yarn Couched Throw By Thistle Thicket Studio.
The couching was fun to do, but it wasn't without issues. About once a row, the yarn frayed and sometimes broke. I slowed my machine down, but I think I should have slowed it down even more. I'll do more experimenting next time.

A Yarn Couched Throw By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Quilt Stats:
  • Quilt Size: 72" x 82"
  • Fabric: 108" wide backing fabric of Drawn by Angela Walters for Robert Kaufman. I used this fabric on both the front and back of the throw and the binding.
  • Yarn: Bernat Big Ball Blanket Yarn in Moss
  • Batting: Hobbs 80/20
  • Quilting Pattern: Paisley Feathers B2B by Anne Bright (computerized pattern)
  • Quilting Thread: Signature 100% Cotton in Parchment
  • Longarm: Gammill Statler Stitcher 30-12
This throw will look beautiful in the neutral color scheme home of it's soon-to-be owner! Now that it's complete and today was the final day of my Surface Pattern Design Immersion course, maybe I can get back to some of my UFOs.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Pared Down List for Q2 Finish Along Goals

I'm in the planning stages of some secret sewing that I'll be working on this quarter for something fun that's going to happen this summer, so I've streamlined my second quarter goals for the Finish-A-Long. I can't share about the secret sewing yet but stay tuned because I think you'll want to join along come June!

But back to my Q2 Goals. Here they are in all their unfinished glory.....

1. Frivols Kindred Quilt: I haven't touched this one in months (as you can see by the date on the photo), so I'm still at the block making stage. 

2. Quilt Guild Row Quilt Challenge: I did get the railroad crossing and star rows completed during Mom's Sisters Sew Weekend back in January, but haven't touched it since. I still have 3 or 4 rows left to make before I can sew the top together.

3. Just The Atoms: Yep, haven't touched this one since last fall. Still in the block making stage for this one too. Maybe this quarter....

4. Modern Marks: When we went to Texas in February, I took my Babylock with me and had it serviced while there. I bought a charm pack of Christa Watson's Modern Marks to test my machine after it was serviced. This was going to be a quick child's quilt to donate to a local child advocacy group, but you guessed it - haven't touched it since returning from Texas.

Sorry this is so short and sweet. I've had some of these on my goal list for so long, I'm sure y'all are sick of seeing and hearing about them! I know I am! My recurring theme of 'haven't touched this' has the MC Hammer song "Can't Touch This" running through my head now!

I'll be linking this post up with the FAL Q2 Goals linky party. For more info on the Finish-A-Long, click here.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Finish-A-Long Q1 Finish - Home Mini Quilts

Once again I only completed one of my goals for the first quarter of the Finish-A-Long, but I guess one is better than none! If you've followed my blog, or any number of other quilting bloggers, you probably have heard of the Finish-A-Long, but if not, you can check out the details here.

I just blogged about this finish in my last post here, but I see that has been a couple of weeks ago! As you can tell, not much sewing (or blogging) has been going on here since I returned home from our month-long vacay to Texas because I've been fully immersed in my surface pattern design class, but that's for another post.

As I said, I only finished one project from my posted goals, which you can see here, so without further adieu, here are my HOME mini quilts.....
Home Mini Quilts Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.

This was a fun little project and I'm hoping to make more projects from the book, Spelling Bee by Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet. At least one will surely be on my Q2 goals!
Home Mini Quilts Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.

I'm linking this post up with the Q1 FAL linky party. You can see all the entries at the link up here.

Are you participating in the FAL? What are some of your goals for the next quarter?


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

HOME Mini Quilts

Lori Holt's Spelling Bee Blocks Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.
I received a galvanized metal farmhouse shelf from my mom for Christmas. It has a rod across the bottom to hang things on. The photo on the box showed galvanized buckets hanging from it. Of course I chose to hang a quilt instead. But it needed something more, so I decided to make a set of Spelling Bee (quilt book by Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet) letter mini quilts that spelled "HOME" to hang across it.

Lori Holt's Spelling Bee Blocks Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Of course, the letters were quick and easy to make. I used some of Lori Holt's Modern Mini's fabric to make the letters. Then they sat on my sewing table while the hubby and I spent most of February in Texas spoiling the grandkids. A week ago, I quickly loaded a piece of black and white gingham checked fabric and quilted the blocks. Each has a different design and I was happy with how drastically reducing some edge-2-edge patterns turned out. Unfortunately, the quilting doesn't show up in my photos very well.

Mini Quilt Backs By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Yesterday and today I finished them up by putting on the binding. I think they turned out so cute and I love the gingham check on the back (although no one will ever see it).

Pinecone Sketch By Thistle Thicket Studio. www.thistlethicketstudio.comThe rest of my time has been spent on my classes for Bonnie Christine's Surface Pattern Design Immersion Course. This weekend, our assignment was to sketch using nature and things in our surroundings. As I've said before, I'm not an artist, so this part of the class has been a little scary. But I gave it a whirl. This was my first sketch. I sent a photo of just the sketch to my daughter and mom and asked if they could guess what it was. Each of them guessed a flower on the first try.....BUT both guessed a pinecone on the second try! I was so excited that they could tell what it was.

Black & White Sketches By Thistle Thicket Studio.
And guess what?! I am an artist!!! (Hmmm, I think I'll add it to my Instagram bio. Believe it, Be it! Lol!) I am really happy with how these sketches turned out and can't wait until we learn how to put them into a repeat in Adobe Illustrator. I'm learning a ton and couldn't be more excited as to where this class is taking me. Next - watercolor!


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Embarking On A New Adverture

Excited. Nervous. Scared. Anxious. I had all of those emotions and more as I clicked the button to enroll in Bonnie Christine's Surface Pattern Design Immersion course a couple of weeks ago. I was excited at the thought of finally learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to design fabric. Nervous that I was wasting my money on something that probably won't come to fruition. Scared that I really am not an artist so this dream is really not achievable. Anxious to take on the challenge and prove myself wrong.

Good Day Surface Pattern Design by Thistle Thicket Studio.

The class started this past week and it's been a whirlwind of learning all the ins and outs, functions and abilities, etc. of a computer program I had never even opened up until the class on Monday. Adobe Illustrator is awesome and frustrating all at the same time. Trying to remember everything that I've learned this last week seems daunting, but our instructor Bonnie is a great teacher and soon, I suspect, all these things will become second nature and I'll wonder what was such a big deal about learning it. But, there's also the chance my brain will explode with all this information and there's seven more weeks to go! Here is a little sketch I made while practicing some of my new found skills.

Pillowcases Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.
Needless to say, not much sewing has happened around here this past week. I did crank out four pillowcases last night, though, to turn in today at quilt guild. The guild is going to donate them to a children's advocacy organization that serves abused children in the area. They fill the pillowcases with toiletries and other needed items for their clients.

Well, better get back to my homework. Our assignment for the weekend is to draw lots of sketches to use next week as we start building our surface patterns. I'm sure I'll be sharing more in the near future on my adventures!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

T-Shirt Quilt: First Quilt Finish of 2018

I'm back! Did ya miss me? The hubby and I spent the last few weeks spoiling the grandkids. While there I had technical difficulties with posting on my blog, so finally gave up and decided I'd tackle it when I returned home. It's still acting a little squirrely but hoping it'll work itself out. So, here's the post I tried to share a couple of weeks ago.....

The stack of t-shirts had been gathering dust for years in my sewing room. At least now the stack has been transformed into a quilt and can now gather dust in my daughter’s house instead! Ha! But seriously, I’m happy to be able to mark this one off my to do list.

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I surprised my daughter with this quilt last week. I don’t think she realized I still had some of her old high school & college shirts. She had told me to take them to the thrift store years ago, but I couldn’t give her memories away. This quilt spans from her high school years into adulthood & motherhood as a couple of her son’s baby K-State t-Shirts found their way into the quilt also. 

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I cut the largest shirts into 15” finished squares then cut the smaller shirts & logos into sizes, that when combined would create a 15” square. I sashed the blocks with 1” finished sashes, alternating either with black or white. I then added a 4” border, making opposite corner quadrants either black or white. I like the finished effect.

T-Shirt Quilt Back by Thistle Thicket Studio.

For the backing, I sewed several scrap pieces from my stash using blacks, whites, grays, reds & one K-State camo piece. I didn’t have enough scraps so I purchased the scribbly black, white & gray fabric by Kim Schaefer for Andover to complete the back.

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I quilted it on the longarm with an edge-2-edge pattern called Pick Up Sticks by Anne Bright using a variegated gray Signature thread. The binding is a black & white striped fabric.

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I did have a little problem with skipped stitches on one sweatshirt with heavy embroidery. The bigger skips I tried to re-quilt with slightly better results, but left a couple that I didn't think would improve. I don't think anyone will ever notice.

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I had hoped to photograph this quilt out in the Texas wild but the weather was rainy and uncooperative, so I apologize for the rather poor quality of the photos.

Quilt Stats:
  • Quilt Size: 76” x 76”
  • Quilt Pattern: Original design
  • Sashing & Border Fabrics: Moda Bella Solids 9900 98 white & 9900 99 black
  • T-Shirt Backing: Pellon SF101 
  • Shirts: Variety of cotton T-shirts, sweatshirts & nylon windbreakers
  • Backing Fabrics: Various scraps from stash plus yardage of Pattern 8563 by Kim Schaefer for Andover Fabrics.
  • Binding Fabric: Black & white stripe from Lella Boutique’s Olive’s Flower Market
  • Batting: Hobbs 80/20
  • Piecing Thread: Aurifil 2024
  • Quilting Thread: Signature variegated gray
  • Quilting Pattern: Pick Up Sticks by Anne Bright
  • Longarm: Gammill Statler Stitcher


Sunday, January 28, 2018

I'm Not Sewing, I'm Cleaning My Sewing Room!

The hubby asked if I would pick up my sewing projects that have buried the albatross - the hubby calls it a treadmill - that is in my sewing room. I admit the projects have kind of taken over that area of my small sewing room, so I started to organize them a week ago. That lasted all of five minutes when I uncovered a stack of my daughter's high school and college t-shirts that I had planned to make a t-shirt quilt for her someday. Well, I decided that someday was now and proceeded to start another project! The hubby is baffled how cleaning my sewing room always ends with me making a project rather than finishing cleaning. The good news is that I finished the quilt top this weekend! See honey, I did get some cleaning done!!!

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
As you can tell by the dates on some of the shirts, this has been a loooong over due project so it feels good to have the top complete and the stack of shirts gone. 

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
The shirts consisted of maroon, black, gray and white high school shirts and purple Kansas State shirts with a few 4-H shirts sprinkled in. With the variety of colors, I decided to use solid black and white fabric for the setting fabrics. I backed all of the shirts with Pellon SF101 (best I've found for backing t-shirts!) and then cut them out. Most of them were cut in 15.5" squares, with the smaller ones cut to fit into a grid that would end up a 15.5" square. After I figured out my layout - it's kind of like putting a puzzle together, I sashed each block, alternating with either black or white fabric.

T-Shirt Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I hope to quilt this in the next week or so. I plan to quilt it with an all-over pattern because I really don't want to spend a huge amount of time custom quilting it. I am a little worried about skipped stitches on a couple of the puffy rubbery designs on the shirts. Anyone have any tips for quilting through the designs on a long arm? I plan to use a spoon foot and I may put some Press 'n Seal over some of the decals so that the foot doesn't stick and pull the shirts.

Row Quilt Challenge by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Some of you may remember from my last post that I was spending last weekend at my mom's for her annual sister's sewing weekend. I took my quilt guild challenge quilt from last year (a row quilt) to work on. Of course, first order of business after getting set up was to lay out all my rows completed so far to show everyone.

Twinkly Star Blocks by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I didn't get as much accomplished as I'd hoped, but I knocked out one more row. I made my own template to make these little 4" twinkly star blocks, 15 in all. Two and a half more rows to go!

Sisters Sewing Weekend by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Besides sewing, we spent the weekend playing cards, visiting and, of course, eating. I also taught my aunts a little EPP and they made hexie flowers to top their vintage planter pincushions that they made. Here they all are - mom and her 4 sisters (there are two more sisters that couldn't come) with their pincushions. (Mom is second from the right).

Remember, if you have any tips on quilting a t-shirt quilt, please share! Thanks!