Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's been a year!

I can't believe my blog was a year old a month ago!  I've been so busy, I totally missed it.

Thanks to everyone who's supported me on this journey, a year ago I never thought I'd be where I am now.

Not only have I been a blogger for a year, but I now have a Facebook page and just this week started my Etsy shop!  Any likes, followers and customers would be appreciated :)

But, enough about me ...


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Variegated Thread Lessons Learned

Great ideas for a beautiful quilt don't always work.  I definitely learned the hard way that variegated (multicolored)  thread is not a good idea on light fabric unless you are REALLY precise or have just the right pattern and thread. (See the bottom of this blog for Lessons Learned)

I had made this Spiraling Lone Star Quilt top and blogged about it back in March -- how time flies!

It seemed like a great idea to quilt the white areas in variegated thread.  I had some beautiful thread and it seemed a perfect way to tie the quilt together.  So I loaded it on my frame, worked out a pattern of feathers, drew the stems in, stitched in the ditch around the colored areas, and off I went!  

After the first area was quilted with the variegated thread. I could tell I had a problem!  But I kept going, thinking that I'd get the hang of it, even if I had to rip some out later and re-sew.  (This picture is a little blurry, but believe me, there are lots of "mistakes")

Sadly, this didn't work.  I REALLY didn't want to rip it all out, and I've NEVER thrown a quilt away, but I wasn't sure I could salvage this one.  But I cut the quilted areas off, and separated the left over quilt top from the batting and backing, and put it on my UFO shelf.  Maybe later I'll add the cut off areas again, and try a different pattern or different thread.

I did some experimenting on the top border since I was going to throw it out, so it became a practice area. I practiced with my acrylic templates, some different types of feathers, and an allover pattern.   

 The allover pattern was really pretty, maybe that is the answer for this kind of thread.

Lessons Learned

Lesson #1 - When trying a new thread or technique, make a practice piece.

Lesson #2 - Quilting on a high contrast background shows EVERY mistake.

Lesson #3 - Using a light weight thread for the quilting didn't work, a heavier weight may have covered some of the mistakes better, and the quilting would have looked more decorative.

Lesson #4 - My feather pattern didn't go well with the variegated thread.

Lesson #5 - Stopped as soon as I realize I have a problem, quilting more doesn't solve the problems.

I'd love to hear from you about your experiences with variegated thread!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Please Like Me :)

I've just started a Mary Manson Quilts Facebook page Please take a look, and I hope you will like me :)

We just got back from a wonderful few days at the beach, and I have orders for 2 pillows, a wedding quilt, and a wedding dress quilt, so I'll be busy for a while!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Beach Scene Housewarming Gift

My daughter has bought her first home, and I wanted to make her a house warming gift. She enjoys visiting and going to the beach in North Carolina, and so I made this wall hanging for her...

I based the design on an adaptation of Karen Eckmeier's technique that I saw on an episode of The Quilt Show, and some pictures I saw online.  

I layered the fabrics and cut each seam, then sewed the pieces together rather than top stitch them as Karen does (that worked better for me).  Then I quilted, added embroidery embellishments, fabric painted more blue in the sky and some pelicans, and added the shells.  

I loved the wall hanging so much, I made another one for me!  It's a little larger, but was done in the same way.  I also took some yarn apart and used it for "foam" at the edge of the waves.

The wall hangings went pretty fast, but I have realized I'm not a "random" person, I agonized over which fabrics to use and where to put them!

I'm thinking about doing another one with a night sky and moon.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ah Ha Moment Organizing My Stash

For a long time, I've been trying to find a good way to organize my stash....and yesterday I had an "ah-ha" moment.

As you can see, I have wire shelving in my studio for storing fabric, but nothing to separate the stacks and keep them from falling over. I tried all kinds of things - baskets, clear plastic containers, stacking on shelves, etc.


Yesterday I got some cording from Lowe's, and strung it through the shelves, and have great dividers!  This was so easy, and really works well!  I put my fabric on the shelves by color, with the fat quarters in front, since the shelves are really deep.  I can move the cording along the shelves if I need to adjust the size of the opening, or I can just untie them and move them!

As you can see, I've definitely moved from prints to solids!  And, the blog where I explained my folding technique is here.

Easy, fast, and cheap!!