Saturday, August 19, 2017

On the Road: Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK

Follow along on my trip to Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK.

This show was completely busy, as in "no time for restroom breaks or lunch" busy.  I saw very few quilts but I saw thousands upon thousands of quilters, so it evens out.

One of the quilts that I saw was MY quilt:


Victoria Findlay Wolfe thinks that it is her quilt but I quilted this quilt for her and it's my blog, so its my quilt!  Our quilt has traveled the world and been published in this book (affiliate link*).

I was tickled to meet up with my best friend:


Most shows have a theme.  The theme of this show, for me at least, was chocolate.

Pete from Pinhole Quilting brought me chocolates to inspire my devotion and encourage hard work in his stand at the show:


My sister (we think?), Susan Brown, brought me some chocolate, too:


The fabulous Lynda Jackson brought me chocolates as well.  If we look manic, it's because we were running at light speed between the Handi Quilter longarm machines helping all of the quilters:


Since there was no time for lunch, my personal assistant (boss) brought me Dr. Pepper to keep me going:


Yes, I'm horrible at taking selfies.  I'll likely never improve.

I was thrilled to meet with my friend Janet Clare:


Although not shown in the photo, Janet also gave me chocolate and told me that I had to look up the commercial for this treat.


Those are all of the photos I had time to take at the festival.  It was exciting and lovely and I hope
to return here another year!

Stay tuned, though, because my trip didn't end with the Festival of Quilts.  More later!
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*If you purchase something through an affiliate link I may, at no additional charge to you, receive a small commission to keep this blog running.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Quilt Finish: Placemats

Squeal!!!  These placemats make me happier than I can possibly explain:


I recently received donations of dishes from folks who got married in the 60s.  Does it show?

These placemats started when I had some scraps left from my Field of Flowers Cutie quilt:


I took some of those scraps and made miniature blocks using Victoria Findlay Wolfe's Snack Set templates.  Oh how I adore them!  Then I used the rest of the scraps to piece them into placemats.  I loaded my HQ Stitch 710 machine with FabuLux Lullaby thread.  It blended soooo well!!!!  Using Pat Sloan's technique, I stitched a walking foot spiral:


Helpful hint from this machine quilting professional:  properly install your walking foot else your quilting will look all bumpy and uneven from forcing the fabric through the machine (see center of spiral above).  If I can't be a good example, at least I can serve as a cautionary tale.  I left the icky quilting because I'm giving these placemats to my mother-in-law and they will soon be covered in spaghetti sauce.

Recently, I taught at Bits 'N Pieces Quilt Shoppe in Pelham, NH.  While I was there, Nicole showed me how to machine bind in a way that finally (!!!!) clicked with me:


Note:  I think I'm in love with Wonder Clips.  Seriously.

Seriously, isn't this the cutest placemat you've ever seen?


I hope my mother-in-law enjoys these!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1000 Postcards for Peace: Zig Zag Coils

I am getting in the habit of making a postcard most days that I'm home.  I really enjoy playing with thread and small pieces of fabric.  I'm currently having a love affair with my walking foot on my HQ Stitch 710.  This is the last postcard I made before I left for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham:


My friend is going through a medical ordeal and I wanted to let her know that I love her and haven't forgotten about her.  She loves black and white and pink and polka dots.  I thought FabuLux Cloudy Skies and FabuLux In the Pinks were perfect for her and that this card represented some of her favorite things.

I started my love affair with the walking foot when I read Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt book (affiliate*).  I've never played much with my walking foot, but her book has inspired me to do so.  I love trying new things and these postcards give me a small, risk-free project for experimentation.

Have you tried making postcards?  I have kits of stabilizer and envelopes and also a Postcard Trimming Tool in my shop to help you on your journey.
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*Affiliate links mean that if you purchase through this link I may, at no additional cost to you, earn a small commission to help keep this blog running.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MAIL CALL: Flag of England

I'm taking break from mailing Little Boy the alphabet postcards.  Instead, I'm mailing him a travel postcard!

I was at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham last week so I sent Little Boy a postcard of the flag of England.

I guessed at the proportions of the flag, fused it to stabilizer and a backing, and then used my Postcard Trimming Tool to trim it accurately:


I wrote some information about England and the flag on the postcard, put it in its cellophane envelope, and arranged to have it mailed to Little Boy from my town while I was away:


I will resume the alphabet cards once I return home.

What else should I send as postcards to Little Boy?  Eventually I'll run out of the alphabet...


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Summer's End

I'm on a "low-volume" kick and re-creating all of my Cutie Patterns in low-volume fabrics.  I'm really pleased with how Summer's End turned out:


I started piecing this quilt when I taught my Summer's End class at my local quilt guild:


Even though I started it this spring, it looks vintage with all of the traditional cross-hatching and feathering:


Do you like feathers?  I teach feathers in one of my Craftsy classes (50% discount in LINK):


I have no idea where this quilt will find its forever home, but I think I'm going to enjoy keeping it as a sample until then.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Batting Joining Tutorial

I experiment with many quilting techniques when I make my Postcards for Peace.  Since these are experiments, I use mostly fabric scraps.  This way I'm willing to take risks without worrying about 'ruining' good fabric.

When I'm adding machine quilting texture to my postcards, I use a thin batting, typically Quilter's Dream Angel (affiliate link).  I have an abundance of scraps of this flame retardant batting since I am making many, Many, MANY baby quilts during this season of my life.


I trim the batting with a straight edge and stitch it together on my HQ Stitch 710 machine.


To keep the seam from showing through the project, I use WonderFil DecoBob thread in both top and bobbin.


This is an 80-weight polyester thread.  It's strong but thin and doesn't make the seam bulky.

I've tried many different stitches, but I currently use a triple-stitch zig-zag stitch to join the batting pieces.


I prefer a 7mm stitch width and a 1mm stitch length.


As a decades-long machine quilter, I have never been a fan of an automatic thread cutter.  Well, my beloved HQ Stitch 710 machine came with this feature.  I tried it for when I join strips of batting and Oh. My. Heck.  How I love this!


I will still not use it for machine quilting, but it's great for piecing batting.

Once the batting is pieced and cut to a sized that fits my postcard project, I layer it with the top fabric.


I then machine quilt without any backing since this piece will be trimmed and fused to postcard stabilizer, edge-stitched, and then sent out into the world with love.

Do you think about the cost of your supplies when you are experimenting?  Will using scraps make you more willing to take risks?




Friday, August 11, 2017

Simple Pleasures -- Laundry

I have a guilty pleasure.  My guilty pleasure doesn't hurt anyone but most people think that it's weird.  I absolutely love to do laundry.  Seriously -- LOVE!

There are only two people living in my house but since I travel approximately 50% of the time, I still do a load of laundry each day that I'm home.  Super-hubby's clothes.  My clothes.  Sheets.  Towels.  I start each morning with a load of laundry and I actually look forward to it.

This is what greets me when I get home from a trip:


I use Soap Nuts  (affiliate link*) instead of laundry detergent for most loads.  It's natural, less expensive, and since my laundry room is next to my studio, I enjoy the earthy smell of the nuts all day long!

I let my soap nuts dry between each load.  Of course, I use my Hello Kitty china plate that I carried home from Tokyo last year for that task.  When I do a cold-water wash, I need to pre-soak the soap nuts in hot water; fortunately, I have a matching Hello Kitty china bowl for that!

On good weather days, I hang my laundry on the wash line on my deck.  On rainy days, I hang my laundry on a drying rack (affiliate link*) in my laundry room.  In the winter months, I place my drying rack in front of the woodstove for a quick dry with the lovely smell of woodsmoke.  On the rarest of occasions I use my tumble dryer, mostly for sheets and towels in the winter months.  As much as I love to do laundry, I absolutely DESPISE folding laundry from the dryer.  I have no idea why!

Yes, I travel all over the world (I'm in London when you are reading this) and get to do some amazing and exciting things, but when I get home it's all about the simple joys.
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*An affiliate link means that if you click the link and buy the item I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission to help keep this blog running.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

MAIL CALL: The Letter "K"

I have an admission to make:  I am a postcard-a-holic.  I started making postcards for a special Little Man and then started making Postcards for Peace, but now I want to experiment with new quilting techniques and make postcards in every spare moment!

I just finished this "K"


I started this project by rummaging through my scrap basket and diagonally piecing a  6 1/2" string block.  Then I fused a K to the front and threaded my HQ Stitch 710 with FabuLux Neon Lime thread and started stitching the letter down:


The knee lift on my HQ Stitch 710 gets quite a workout when I applique around all of these curves!


I take a few stitches, turn the fabric slightly, take a few more stitches, etc.

Once I finished stitching and fused the block to stabilizer and a backing, it was time to trim the postcards using my new Postcard Trimming Tool:


I will admit that some of my previous postcards for Little Man aren't completely centered.  This new tool helps:


My postcard is a perfect 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" now:

 
I stitched the edge of the postcard using FabuLux Neon Lime and DecoBob 80 weight thread for the bobbin:


The postcard is finished, in the envelope, and ready to delight a Little Man!


I'm partially through the alphabet and still have to stitch numbers.  I'm already in mourning for the day that I'm out of cards to make and send.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Indescribable Postcard

I'm fully committed to Postcards for Peace but I'm not sure if this latest postcard qualifies.  I made it because it made me laugh and it will make the recipient laugh.

I'm goofy and my friends are goofy and we are even goofier together.  Recently we were acting like a bunch of 12-year-olds and a joke was made that will live on forever in our relationship.  I needed to make a postcard to commemorate that memory.

I giggled from the first thought until the last stitch:


I trimmed the postcard using my Postcard Trimming Tool and zig-zagged the edge with Mudpies FabuLux thread.


I am a proficient machine quilter but I am NOT an expert at machine applique.  I'm better than I used to be but still have a long way to go.  The goal of making postcards is for me to experiment, learn, and in this case.... LAUGH!

The postcard is in its envelope and on its way to my friend.  I don't know that it will bring peace to her, but it will bring love in the form of laughter.

Is that good enough?

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Cutie Quilt: Sweet Tooth

A recent Cutie Madness contender, Sweet Tooth is one of my favorite Cutie Quilts to piece and to quilt.  It's easily strip pieced, and then I quilt ribbon candy in every background strip.


This quilt can be made from a Cutie Pack (16 fat eighths) plus background, border, binding, backing, but I pulled all of these black fabrics from my scrap bin.  They were fun to stitch together.


After the fun piecing comes the fun quilting.  RIBBON CANDY*:


I made this quilt as a baby quilt, but one of my babies (an adult) has claimed this as hers.  Who am I to say no?
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*learn to quilt ribbon candy in my Craftsy class.  50% off coupon HERE

Monday, August 07, 2017

HQ Academy: Quilting Elevated (part two)

I'm slowly going through the photos on my phone and sharing the fun and excitement from HQ Academy in June.

I shared FB Live videos each day.  If you missed them, the videos are archived at "Debby Brown Quilts" Facebook page.

One thing that was fun for me was seeing some of my quilts that I haven't seen in a while.  These are touring exhibits and they were all gathered and hung on the walls for all of the students and faculty to enjoy.

Penny Candy was an antique quilt top that I quilted for a traveling exhibit:


Kansas in August is a Cover Girl!


Purple Plaid Parasols was between the coverss of the same issue:


This Friendship Star challenge quilt was featured in a video:


I'm not sure when these quilts will come home to me, but it was great visiting with them for a short while!

Friday, August 04, 2017

New Obsession -- Bullet Journal!

I have approximately 782 jobs in the quilt world.
Managing all of these different tasks while I am on the road approximately 50% of the time is a huge undertaking.  I will never be as organized as I want to be, but I always try.  I love planners and file folders and label makers and anything that even hints at helping me to become more organized.

I'm heading into a particularly brutal  time of the year.  I will be traveling to teach quilting often and I have several new top-secret projects that I'm trying to complete.  I needed some fun new organization in my life.

Enter, my new planner:


The fabulous Teri Lucas bought this blank notebook for me as a gift.  Inside, I start each day fresh with a two-page spread:


I draw boxes to keep track of various projects on the left page and on the right page I note birthdays, calendar items, and leave room for items left from the day before.  There is enough room to write down memories, new ideas, to-do items, etc.  But it's all a little plain.

So I add some color (affiliate link*):


I have pages for my monthly calendar:


I don't want to shock you, but sometimes I write blog posts and InstaGram posts before I go on a teaching trip.  I've had too many hotel rooms with bad wi-fi and have learned to prepare ahead of time:


 I also have spreads to help me keep big trips organized:


 Yes, I'm on my way to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham!  WooHoo!!

I am a TERRIBLE artist and have absolutely no confidence in my drawing ability, but in my journal I can play around with the lettering and the coloring without worrying about perfection.

I recently read this book (affiliate link*) about Dot Journaling.  It was short and informational and inspirational but if you are looking for some free information, start HERE.  If you have several years to kill, type Bullet Journal into Pinterest and be prepared to be amazed at the artistry and organization you will find.

Are you a journaler?  A planner-type person?  Someone who keeps their life on Post-It notes?  Has anyone tried Bullet Journaling?

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*If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase I may, at no additional cost to you, earn a small commission to help keep this blog running.