Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quilt Design with Mirrors - I'm Obsessed

Have you ever drawn quilting designs using a mirror?  I'm obsessed with this technique, especially for whole cloth quilts.
Design 1 Piece

I saw some videos by Sharon Schamber where she described the technique, once you get the concept, it's easy to do...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Heard about IBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers?

Have you heard of the new iBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers? I'm always impressed with anything that will make my blogging better (and easier!) especially when it's targeted at us women.

IBlog says "In every issue, iBlog Magazine offers a deeper insight into the lives of top bloggers and social media experts and chronicles their rise to success. Readers will find epic content that will launch their business past the competition and great features that will address the hardest hitting questions in our industry."

iBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers

The iBlog print magazine first issue will be in December, but their Facebook page is already up and running, with links to good articles and advice.  They're also on Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.  They have some great deals on membership now too.

There are several different levels of membership, and benefits include:
iBlog Social Daily Show - Your blog news daily! (Mon-Fri)Smart Blogging Social Show - Audio interviews - Listen while you work!
Best Business Bloggers Show - Top Blogger interviews weekly!
iBlog Social Scoop Show - Free "Live" Hangouts & Facebook events
Social Media Experts Show - The Best in Social Media Interviews
"The Flip Side!" Show - Fun, Crazy, Fast, Insightful interviews!
iBlog Masterminds - Monthly Expert Webinar Series
iBlog Magazine (Print)- Premiering Dec 2013

I'm really hoping this magazine will be a success, I know I can learn a lot from them!

iBlog Magazine for Professional Women Bloggers


Friday, September 20, 2013

Circles Quilt - Heavily Machine Quilted!

I can't believe I made this quilt in twelve days!  But then again -- that's probably more than 100 hours.  I am a bit obsessive with my quilting, and tend to spend all day in my studio when I'm working on a project I really enjoy.  

Circles Quilt - Heavily Machine Quilted -
Autumn Circles
The beautiful fabric was from The Fat Quarter Shop.  Birch Autumn Harvest, by Jason Yenter.   I love the feel of this fabric!

Birch Autumn Harvest Fat Quarter Bundle Jason Yenter for In The Beginning Fabrics

I used Strips'N Curves acrylic templates for the quilt. I've had these templates for years, and this was the perfect time to use them again. I didn't have much trouble with the curves, and the piecing went pretty quickly.  

Autumn Circles Detail Top Left
I blogged about another similar quilting project, White Wholecloth Quilt where I was excited to use some of Cindy Needham's techniques in a white quilt. (Her Craftsy class  Design It, Quilt It: Free-Form Techniques is excellent!) 

Light and shadow make a big difference in heavily quilted quilts, once I got that from Cindy, my quilts looked a lot better.

Autumn Circles Detail Bottom Left
I used a light weight grey thread in the machine and bobbin, Gutermann Miniking, and quilted on my mid-arm Juki on a Grace GMQ frame.
Autumn Circles Detail Bottom Right
The back was off-white.  If I were to do it again, I'd probably make the back a light blue or grey, but it does show off the quilting!  The hardest part was knowing when to stop!

Autumn Circles Back
I'll be putting the quilt in my Etsy shop Mary Manson Quilts later in the week, but it will be hard to put a price on all that work!

I hope you enjoy my pictures! 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Double Wedding Ring Quilt

I just realized I never finished my blog posts about the double wedding ring bed runner I was making.  I did finish it, and think that the machine quilted feathers really set off the design well.

The original posts were New Way to Paper Piece and Update on Double Wedding Ring Quilt

Even with paper piecing, this was not an easy quilt to make, but I enjoyed making it, and the finished quilt was worth all the effort.

This bed runner was a hostess gift for my aunt and uncle, I hope they enjoy it.  And I hope you enjoy the pictures!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Curtain Rods

For Tuesday's Tip, I wanted to list a a couple of the ways I use curtain rods!

Freezer Paper - Freezer paper has loads of uses, especially with applique and paper piecing.  For machine quilting, you can even iron it down and quilt around it to make your designs.

I put a small curtain rod on the end of my cutting table and put the roll of freezer paper there -- really convenient!

Quilt Frame Tool Holder - it's hard to have a place to keep your tools on a quilt frame that is handy to reach.

I took 2 small curtain rods and hooked them loosely over the rollers on my frame, then duct taped (don't we love duct tape!) a small plastic bin to the curtain rods.  It doesn't get in the way, and I can roll the quilt without dislodging it.

Quilt Hanger - I hung a curtain rod with clip rings, and clipped the quilt on the rod for display.  When I want to change quilts, I just un-clip the current one and clip up the new one. (excuse the bad photo, I was in too much of a hurry)

I've also heard of curtain rods used for:

- Holding rolls of masking or duct tape
- Holding rolls of ribbon
- Holding hooks for rulers or other tools
- Make a quick design wall with a flannel backed tablecloth
- Make a  headboard for a bed with a pretty quilt

Have you heard of other good ideas for curtain rods?  Leave a comment and tell everyone your tips!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vote for your favorite table runner at The Quilting Gallery

The Quilting Gallery's Quilters' Show and Tell contest this week is table runners. There so many beautiful table runners!

Mine is Autumn Runner (3rd one on the first row).

Take a look, and vote for your favorite!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting out the Christmas - in September?

It seems so early, it's not even Halloween yet, but I'm getting my holiday items listed in my new Etsy store. This is my first year, so I'm a little nervous about how it's going to go!

Today I thought I'd show off my bed runners. For people who don't want to buy a large quilt, a bed runner is fun, decorative and festive!  Each bed runner is big enough to fit any size bed up to a king size.

Holiday Gifts has patchwork "gifts" with appliqued bows.  I quilted it in an allover holly pattern.

Holiday Squares has pretty green and red squares, quilted in feather designs and motifs.

Modern Stripes has offset stripes.  This was quilted in an allover spiral "ornament" design.

For more details, come visit me at


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - DIY Thread Storage

For today's tip, I'm going to show how I made a great DIY thread storage drawer.

I have a thread hanger on the wall by my small sewing machine, but I needed something for my mid-arm machine that's on a frame.  It needed to be convenient, hold even large cones, bobbins, and keep the thread clean.

The plastic drawers in the photo were next to the frame, and had an empty drawer.  I saw a picture on Pinterest that showed dowels hot glued to a plastic drawer, and that got me thinking -- I could do this!  So I got out an old thread holder, a scrap piece of wood, bamboo skewer, glue gun, electric drill, and a few other odds and ends and started to work.  I was determined to use materials on hand and do it myself!

After several ideas that didn't quite work, I ended up drilling holes in the piece of wood, breaking the skewers in half, and hot gluing them in place if they were loose.  The skewers needed to be long, so the  bobbins that match the thread could go on top of the thread spool. The whole piece was then spot glued into the drawer.

I did use half of an old wooden letter holder (I think that's what it was) on one side, for my really big cones and to fill the space, but a larger piece of wood would have worked just as well.

This is still a work in progress, I may shorten the skewers a little, and it's not the prettiest thing, but when it's filled with thread and bobbins (someday!) it'll look fine, and it works!!

What do you think? Have you made something like this?  I'd love to see pictures!


Monday, September 9, 2013

White Wholecloth Quilt Finished! Help from The Quilt Show and Craftsy

Ever done a whole cloth quilt?  I thought this would be great fun, and a good sample of the work I can do on the wedding dress quilts that I make.   And I finished it!  

Before I show more pictures,  let me describe the process for making the quilt.

Several months ago, The Quilt Show had a series of videos by Sharon Schamber. After watching them, I went to work and designed the pattern for this quilt.  It's a fun creative process, you draw out 1/8 of the design, then copy to make 1/4 of the design (so everything is consistent).  Then enlarge, and mark on each section of the quilt.

But the actual quilting was just not working .. not enough contrast.  I just wasn't happy with it.  so I stopped quilting it.  

Online Quilting Class 

Then I took the Craftsy class Design It, Quilt It: Free-Form Techniques with Cindy Needham.  This was a really good class, the first few lessons covered the basics, a good review for me, and I got a few new tips.  Then the designing started!  After this class, I was able to finish the quilt, and look how it turned out!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New Favorite Fabric!

Yesterday I received a package from The Fat Quarter Shop, and when I opened it, there was the most beautiful fabric!  

Here's a picture of the fabrics -- Birch Autumn Harvest, by Jason Yenter for In The Beginning Fabrics.  Aren't they beautiful?  And the feel of the fabric is wonderful.

There are many more fabrics in the collection, but these were my favorites.  I got 1/2 yard of each, I knew that fat quarters just wouldn't be enough!

This is going to make a really special quilt - I can't wait to get started.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Elmer's Glue instead of Pinning How To

Every Tuesday, I'm going to post a tip --- things that have really helped me, and are easy to do!

Today's tip is about using water soluble glue (I use Elmer's School Glue) to match seams for sewing, instead of pins.

I really have a love/hate relationship with pins.  I know we need them, but they are such a hassle.  Then I remembered seeing an idea about using glue instead of pins.  Here's my adaptation:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Swatch Book and New Quilt Top

I really like solid fabrics.  And Connecting Threads online fabric shop has a great selection of solids, mirage, and basic prints in their Quilter's Candy.  They are good quality, reasonably priced, easy to work with, and pretty!

I bought several charm packs, and some yardage, and went crazy, and created a swatch book.  That way, I'm sure I'm getting the right color when I order.  30 pages later....

This definitely says something about my personality :)  But I love it!

Afterwards, I had a lot of charm squares, and decided to make a quilt with them.  Since they were so many different colors, I decided to try 9-patch blocks alternating with X pattern blocks in a lattice design.

Is it too wild?  I'm still not sure how I feel about it, because its SO different from my usual quilts, but I think when it's finished and quilted, it'll be really nice.  If not, I'll make the 9 patches a solid center section for another quilt, and use the X's with more subtle colors

What do you do with your charm squares?