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!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Progress & A Present

I've been stealing a few minutes here and there to sew. I'm working on my quilt guild row quilt challenge from last year. I updated my status on this project a couple of weeks ago here. Since then I've finished two rows! Here's a few of my railroad crossing blocks.....
Railroad Crossing Blocks Made By Thistle Thicket Studio.

And here are my little 2" hearts (although they look a little lot messy with all the untrimmed strings).....
Row of Heart Blocks By Thistle Thicket Studio.

Next row up is the star row. I debated what type of star block I wanted to make and settled on this 4" twinkle star one (I made my own pattern).....
Twinkle Star Block By Thistle Thicket Studio.

I'm hoping to get lots accomplished this weekend. It's my mom's birthday weekend and she hosts a sewing retreat for her sisters and I every year to celebrate. After the stars, I have three rows left: card trick, goose tracks and snail's trail. I'm sure I won't get them all done because there will be lots of card playing and other things mixed in.

Speaking of mom's birthday, here's a little birthday card I gave her. I found this vintage postcard while antiquing in Texas and decided to frame it. Then I decorated the frame with vintage glass, mother of pearl, and metal buttons (plus a couple of other vintage things) since mom collects old buttons. Notice that I even set the time on the watch face to 1:18 - her birth date😊
Framed & Decorated Vintage Birthday Card Created By Thistle Thicket Studio.

Happy sewing everyone!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

My 2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

New year, new hopes to achieve some quilting goals, although I have no expectations to achieve a majority of these goals. Still, joining up with the 2018 Finish-A-Long is at least a motivation to try! Go check out the FAL info page and join me in my attempt to finish some UFOs this year! So here's a list of my first quarter goals - in no particular order.....
2018 Finish-A-Long 1st Quarter Goals by Thistle Thicket Studio.

1. H.O.M.E. Individual Mini Quilts: My mom gave me this cool galvanized metal shelf with hanging rod for Christmas. Thanks to the hubby, the shelf is up and a quilt is hanging on the rod but I'd like to make four mini quilts to spell out 'home' for a little banner to layer on top of the quilt. I originally was going to spell 'howdy' but after measuring the rod, I think there is only room for 4 minis, so I changed my plan. I'm using Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book for the patterns.
Spelling Bee Alphabet Mini Quilts on Thistle Thicket Studio.

2. HOME Mini Quilt: This mini quilt is from Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book also. I think it's so cute and would like to make it to hang on my vintage chippy door that leans against a wall in my living room. It's kind of repetitive with the previous mini quilts I want to make, but that's ok, it will only hang between holidays when I don't have a holiday mini quilt to hang on the door.
Spelling Bee "Home" Mini Quilt on Thistle Thicket Studio.

3. Just The Atoms Quilt: I started this quilt last fall using the scraps I had left from my "Molecules of Moda: Bella Solids" challenge quilt. I don't think this would be too time consuming so maybe I'll get around to working on it some more😏
Circle Blocks by Thistle Thicket Studio.

4. Christmas Fabric Collection: One of my top goals this year is to design a collection of Christmas fabrics that I want to make personalized Christmas stockings for my kids and grandkids. Right now I've just been using some simple knit stockings from Target but that just isn't cutting it. I want to design fabric that will tie my red, green and brown Christmas decorations and my blue and brown living room together so it looks more cohesive. This quarter, I want to get the fabrics designed and printed. I start with small black ink sketches like these that I upload to Photoshop then color and manipulate from there.
Sketches For Fabric Design by Thistle Thicket Studio.

5. Christmas Star Quilt: I made this quilt many years ago and did some basic line quilting on my DSM. The lines are few and far between so I decided I wanted to put this on my long arm and requilt it. I started in July, then broke my elbow and hands. I had to take it off the machine and tossed it in the corner to quilt my Moda Bella Challenge quilt and there it still lies.
Christmas Star Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.

6. Frivols Kindred Quilt: Another project I started last year that got derailed when I fell. I have half the blocks made.
Bonnie & Camille Kindred Quilt Blocks by Thistle Thicket Studio.

7. 2017 Quilt Guild Row Quilt Challenge: I was doing great keeping up on this one until I fell in July. I have started working on it again (I blogged about it last week here), and actually got the heart row completed. My mom is hosting her annual Birthday Sewing Retreat next weekend with her sisters (and me) and this is the project I'm taking to work on.
Quilt Guild Row Quilt Challenge Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.

I know I won't get all of these completed this quarter, especially since we hope to spend some time in Texas yet this winter too. But, at least I have a to-do list lined out and maybe I'll be able to mark one or two off my list!

I'll be linking this post up with the 2018 FAL Q1 Goals linky.


Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year, Old Projects

With the new year, I'm hoping comes new motivation and inspiration. I'm hoping to bring my mojo/sewjo back with a little sewing each day. And I'm hoping to do it with some old projects that have been languishing for far too long. First project up is my row quilt that was last year's quilt guild challenge.

Row by Row Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
It's not that old of a project, in fact we just drew the last row - stars - in November. But, I've had pieces cut out for the hearts and railroad crossing rows that are getting scattered around. So yesterday, I gathered them all up (amazingly, all the pieces were accounted for) and I started sewing them together.

Row by Row Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I'm several rows behind on this project. Everything was going hunky-dory until I fell in July and broke my elbow and hands. Then I got waaaay behind, so I have all six of the last rows to finish. Sure, I worked on it some. Right before each guild meeting, I'd try to make a couple of blocks for show and tell. But then it would get put aside. So here is an inventory of where I'm at: 
  • Rows 1 - 6 complete: 9-patch variation, pinwheels, bear paws, flying geese, bow ties and baskets.
  • Row 7: Snail's trail - two 8" blocks made, five to make.
  • Rows 8 & 9: Card trick and goose tracks: nothing started, need to decide size of block and make all blocks.
  • Row 10: Hearts - twenty 2" hearts are complete, remaining 10 are partially made.
  • Row 11: Railroad Crossing - six 6" blocks are complete, the other six are partially made.
  • Row 12: Stars - nothing started, need to decide type and size of block and make all blocks.

Row by Row Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I'm making each row 60" wide, so I've been making a variety of sizes of blocks hoping that the smaller 2" and 3" blocks will offset the bigger 6" & 8" blocks and the quilt won't become too long. I'm adding a 1" sashing between each row. If I have enough fabric left from my fat quarter bundle of Moda Etchings, I think I'll make a piano key border. I blogged about this project here, here, here and here, so if you want to learn more about it, go check it out.

Row by Row Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
So how are you starting out your new sewing year? With old projects or new projects? How do you find your sewing mojo when it's been MIA?

Wishing you all a Sew Happy New Year!


Monday, January 1, 2018

It's Not Christmas Until The Chocolate Covered Cherries Are Made

Christmas for my family is centered around spending time together, opening gifts, playing cards and eating. One thing that we always have to make for our Christmas sweets table is homemade chocolate covered cherries. It's a recipe my mom started making when I was a child. The duty was passed down to me when I married and now, my daughter also makes them (although she is known for soaking her cherries in alcohol first). I've shared the recipe here on my blog a couple of years ago, but I decided to share it with my family on an original recipe tea towel I designed.

Original Recipe Tea Towel Designed By Thistle Thicket Studio.
I decided I wanted to expand my tea towel designing skills and actually incorporate my own drawings in a festive border. I drew lots of little black and white sketches that I uploaded into Photoshop. I colored the sketches in Photoshop then arranged the elements into a border. I used a couple of different fonts for the recipe heading and another font for the ingredients and directions. When I was happy with the design, I uploaded it to Spoonflower and ordered my fabric. I had the tea towels printed on linen cotton canvas ultra and I love the texture and weight of the fabric.

I'm having so much fun with this whole textile design thing, but I need to come up with new ideas on what to print it on because I think my family may get tired of tea towels for gifts! One of my goals for the new year is to design a collection of Christmas fabrics that I can use to make new Christmas stockings for my family. I have all sorts of ideas in my head and can't wait to start putting it on paper. Do you have any sewing, quilting, designing goals for the new year? Please share!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!