"She seeks wool & flax, And works willingly with her hands" ~ Proverbs 31:13

September 27, 2017

Double Wedding Ring Signature Quilt {The Making of....Part 1 of 2}

A couple of years ago a dear friend sent her future daughter-in-law love to me with the request to create a signature quilt for her wedding.  I showed her several options with one of them being a the double wedding ring. But, instead of pieced in the traditional manner the arcs would be appliqued to 12-1/2" squares and the guests would sign in the center of the square. 

The advantage to this option was that the arcs created a space for the guests to sign that didn't allow them to write off into the seam allowance where their message would be lost inside the quilt.  Over the years I've found that no matter how many times you tell a person not to write in the seam allowance, even if it's been marked, some of them will still write in that forbidden area. Giving them prepared blocks helps keep the signers contained in the desired area.

As we discussed color options the bride expressed that she wanted it to be pretty, but nothing too foo-foo or frilly so that it would be something that her husband would like and enjoy as well. We choose Pearl White for the background fabric and went with a combination of blues and browns that played well together.

To cut the arcs I used the solid arc template from Marti Michell's Double Wedding Ring Template Set. With careful placement I was able to cut more arc than I imagined I would be able to out the fabric we had. Thankfully being careful gave me extra fabric which came in handy after the wedding when we discovered two of the blocks had been lost or thrown away and needed to be remade.

 I used iron-on Feather Weight Heat-n-Bond interfacing to create the arcs.
(My process described below)

I found that the interfacing was thin enough to cut four layers at a time. I probably could have gotten away with cutting at least two more layers, but I didn't want to risk it.

I cut everything first: 
3" squares for the corners (set aside to be used after the blocks are signed), 
12-1/2" Pearl White squares, 
12-1/2" x 6-1/2" Pearl White rectangles (for border - also used later), 
Arcs in each print, 
Interfacing Arcs.

I paired an interfacing arc with a fabric arc making sure that the rough side of the interfacing was facing the right side of the fabric.

Then it was stitching time to stitch the long edges of each arc, but leaving the two short ends open.  I chose to chain stitch one side of the arc at a time.

Once all of the arc pieces were sewn together I clipped all the seam allowances and then started carefully turning the arcs inside out. If the interfacing was sewn correctly once the arcs were turned the glue of the interfacing is facing out so that it can be ironed to the background fabric. 

Here's a video I posted on the Little Pink Rose Facebook page showing how I went about turning the arc tubes.

 Once all the tubes were turned it was time to start use my flannel design wall and start playing with layout options. Taking pictures of each option and send them off to the bride for her decision/suggestions. I came up with two options 1) random circles all over the quilt and 2) matching prints arranged diagonally across the quilt with the brown and blue alternating every other row.

Random layout

The random layout felt like chaos to me. It didn't give the eye anywhere to rest. 
But the diagonal layout seemed peaceful, even restful. I hoped the bride would choose the diagonal layout, but of course I would do it wever she chose. 

Diagonal Layout

 I was thrilled when she wrote back that she really liked the diagonal layout and chose it.
From there I printed off the picture of her choice so that I would have a master plan to refer to and work from. I marked the rows A-I down the left side of the picture and 1-8 across the top. Since each block was unique and would need to fit in a specific place in the quilt, I would mark the blocks with its corresponding letter and number. This would make things much easier once the blocks were returned from the wedding.

With the layout decision made it was time to start stitching arcs to the 12-1/2" squares. Before proceeding any further I marked a 1/4" seam allowance around the edge of each block with a water soluble pen. This would serve as a reference line for me as I ironed the arcs in place, being sure to work all of the interfacing out of sight. Once the arcs were all ironed in place and laid out on the design wall once again to verify that everything was correct, I used an invisible applique stitch to stitch all of edges down including the short edges. For this step I used Aurifil 50wt. white thread in the bobbin and clear YLI monofilament thread in the needle.

Once everything was sewn in place back up on the design wall all the blocks went.  Now it was time to mark the center blocks for some specific things.

 The center two blocks were going to be hand embroidered with the bride and groom's names and their wedding date. Then the blocks surround those blocks were to be reserved for messages from the bride and groom to one another, messages from each of their parents as well as messages from the Maid of Honor and the Bestman. I made note of whom each of the designated blocks were to be signed by and pinned those notes to the blocks. The rest of the blocks were to be randomly signed by wedding guests at the reception.

At this point the blocks were packed up and sent off with the bride for the wedding day. I sorted out the labeled blocks for their special messages and placed them on the top of the pile, making it all as easy as possible. At this point I was left to work on the embroidery blocks and stitching the arcs to the border rectangles in preparation for the return of the signed blocks. 

Stay Tuned for the Finishing of the Double Wedding Ring Signature Quilt. 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey. 
Happy Quilting & God Bless,

April 10, 2017

A Break from Quilting

A couple of weeks ago our church network held a Women's Retreat that I attended with several ladies from my church. It was s a wonderful time to hear God's Word, connect with one another, catch up with friends, make new friends, and get away from the craziness of our daily lives.

Every year several ladies are asked to share their testimony and bless the group with their testimony of how God brought them to saving faith and how He continues to work in their lives. This year I was humbled to be asked to share how God worked in my life.

Reviewing and writing down what God has done and how He continues to work in my life today was a truly humbling experience. By the time I got up to speak Saturday evening I was an emotional wreck. I was in tears and cried through the first 5 minutes or so of talking. Listening to it later with my husband I was stunned that it sounded as good as it did.

I tried to create a movie file with a photo on the screen while the audio played, but there's a glitch in my movie software so unfortunately we're stuck with just a black screen.  It's just under 19 minutes long and I hope that my openness and transparency is a blessing to you.  I am humbled to now share with you my testimony. If what I've posted below doesn't work for you, please visit this link:
http://www.littlepinkrose.com/testimony.htm where I was able to post the audio in MP3 format.


Thank you for stopping by!

God Bless & Happy Quilting!

March 10, 2017

With Love for Darren {A Finish}

 Last week was my sweet hubbies 50th Birthday and I made his favorite German Chocolate cake from scratch. It was oh so delicious. The frosting was especially yummy and then topping it off with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream....oh my! 

With it being Darren's 50th Birthday I wanted to do something special, I considered ordering a set of books that I thought he would enjoy, but that just didn't seem very special and I put it off. Then a couple of weeks before his birthday I stumbled upon the answer, a quilt of course. 

This particular quilt has a bit of a story. Way back in 2005 Darren's mom unexpectedly passed away during liver transplant surgery.  Because she had hereditary Cirrhosis of the Liver she knew her days were numbered, especially if she didn't receive a liver. She had made it clear to the entire family that when the time came she wanted me to have everything in her sewing room, since I was the only one in the family who sewed. It was such a blessing to receive everything she had collected, but it was an emotional and difficult time. I packed it all including two unfinished quilts, brought it home and didn't think much about it. At that time I was into sewing dresses, clothes and making stuffed animals and doing all kinds of alterations and repairs, but hadn't got into quilting yet.

When I packed this quilt away so many years ago it was folded exactly like it is in the photo above. It really didn't seem like much, just two blue fabrics sewn together and tied. Seemed kind of blah to me and I didn't investigate any further than enough to know that there was no binding on it. So from 2005 to 2017 this quilt along with one other were packed in a plastic tub and moved with us from Independence, MO to Woodbridge, VA to Bristow, VA and finally to Stafford, VA.  I always planned to finish these quilts someday, but you know how that is someday just never seems to arrive. 

Then a couple of weeks before Darren's birthday I was cleaning and organizing my quilting studio, trying to arrange things so I would have the floor space to layout the largest quilt I've ever made and pin it.  Well, in the midst of all this rearranging and cleaning I popped open that tub and pulled out those quilts. The first quilt I pulled out was a Christmas quilt, I'm excited to finish it "someday" hopefully that will be sooner than later. But the second quilt took my breath away. It was so much more than I had dreamed, denim and heavy weight cottons beautifully pieced and tied ready for binding. I knew this is what I needed to give Darren for his birthday.

 I quickly discovered that I needed to make a little fix before I could attach the binding. The backing had slipped when she was tying the quilt, leaving one end with extra backing and the other with a couple of inches where there was no backing. It was an easy fix, I carefully cut off the extra and stitched it to the other end. Then it was time to find binding. There was one little 5-inch piece of binding pinned to one corner, but not nearly enough for the entire quilt. Started digging through my stash and found a dark blue from Moda's Grunge Collection, it was perfect!

After finishing the binding it was time for a label that gave credit to Darren's mom for piecing and tying the quilt and told the story. I'm pretty sure that she had made this quilt with the intention of giving it to Darren, but that's just a gut instinct so I didn't include that on the label. 

 He loved his new quilt! The best part is that it's a queen size quilt with a great overhang so no more wrestling for the blanket, plenty for each of us. I sleep much better under this quilt than our previous one and I'm so glad someday finally arrived. I know it will be treasured and loved as we use it for many years to come.

Quilt Stats:

Quilt Name: With Love for Darren King
Finished Size: 96" x 108"
Pieced and Tied by: Karen Melhan - Silvis, IL
Binding by: Marcia King - Stafford, VA
Fabric: Denim and Heavy weight Cotton
Batting: Polyester High Loft
Tied with Polyester yarn
Given to: Darren King on occasion of his 50th Birthday

Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey!
Happy Quilting and God Bless,

February 27, 2017

Andrew's Graduation Quilt

 It took me more than a year after Andrew's graduation to deliver his finished graduation quilt so it's only right that it took me over a year to do a blog post about it. Enjoy!

A few months before his graduation I showed Andrew a picture of the quilt I was planning on doing  for his graduation quilt and asked him what he thought. He was honest and said it wasn't really his favorite. So I pulled out a binder of patterns I had been collecting and he started flipping through all the options until he found one he liked. He chose the Pattern Layer Upon Layer by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts - a pattern that appeared in the August 2013 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. We switched out the reds in the pattern for a variety of his favorite color green and left everything else the same.

When Graduation day came around I had all the individual units pieced. I been hoping to present him with the finished top so that all I had left to do was layer and quilt, but that wasn't the case. On graduation day I presented him with a wrapped shoe box with all those unit pieces stacked up and ready to be finished. He is such a gracious young man, he loved how it was looking so far and of course sent the box back home with me to finish.

Several months later I took all those pieces with me on a quilting retreat and managed to get the center portion pieced. Sadly while I was stitching away my machine quit working and forced me to stop sewing. If it hadn't have been for the machine issues I would have had the borders on it as well. But I had made good progress.

 Once I was back home I sent my machine off to the repair shop and pulled out my back up machine and got those outer borders attached. At this point I decided this was just too small and it needed an additional border to make it fit a double size bed. Which is when I discovered that I didn't have enough of the cream to add the 8 inch borders I wanted to add. So off to the quilt shop I headed praying they had more of the fabric I needed.

After buying everything the quilt shop had and ordering a bit more from an online shop I had enough to make it more of a man sized quilt.

Feathers are one of my favorite quilting motifs, but with this being a manly quilt I needed something less feminine. Open swirls would fit that bill perfectly.

 Of course once the quilting was finished and the binding complete it was time for a photo shoot.

I found the perfect piece of fabric for the backing in the scrap bin at the quilt shop. It was a rather large scrap.

When I finally delivered the finished quilt to Andrew he loved it. He even said it was worth the wait. 

Quilt Stats:

Quilt Name: "Andrew's Choice"
 Finished size: 76" x 88"
Quilt Pattern: Layer Upon Layer by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts
Pattern can be found: August 2013 of American Patchwork & Quilting
Batting: Heirloom Premium Cotton 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil - Leight Beige #2310
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q domestic sewing machine
Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey!
Happy Quilting and God Bless,

February 17, 2017

Radical Rose {Free Motion Quilting}

In June 2015 I had the privilege of Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) this amazing quilt which was appliqued and pieced by a the beautiful quilter Joan. She had taken Aunt 'Reen's class on Modern Machine Applique where she created this amazing beauty, called Radical Rose & Reel.  Joan had also taken my Beginners Free Motion Quilting class and decided that with practice she would one day be ready to do beautiful work, but since that would take time she brought her Radical Rose Quilt to me and asked me to do my thing. She gave me complete freedom to quilt it as I wished.  Talk about pressure! But I was in awe of being given this quilt top to enhance. This was a quilt I desperately wanted to make simply to be able to quilt it and here I was being entrusted with Joan's finished quilt top.

Of course I started with layering the quilt sandwich using my favorite pin anchor Pinmoors.
Then I was off!! I started by out lining all of the applique pieces and both sides of the thin pink border. Once everything was outlined I began doing what I call Free Form quilting.

 What is Free Form Quilting, you ask? 
Free Form Quilting is the swirls, paisleys, pebbles, and so on that I quilt without a predetermined plan where each motif flows into the next. It's my favorite type of quilting to do on a quilt top. I'm always excited to come across a top that calls out for this type of quilting.

 Once the Free Form Quilting was complete it was on to the outer Hour Glass border.
I didn't want to over quilt this outer border, thinking that the center Rose and Reel needed to stay the star of the show. So my original plan was to do a simple Stitch-In-The-Ditch (SID) along all the seams of that outer border. But once that was complete two things were obvious; 1) the SID work caused the white sashing to puff up and draw your attention to them and away from the center medallion and 2) it appeared very plain without any quilting, especially sitting next to all the quilting in the center of the quilt.  I spent several days contemplating what I could do in this border to calm down the puffiness and make it not so plain. Finally I was able to see the solution, Ribbon Candy in the white sashing and graduated loops in the triangles. I was very pleased with how it turned out. 

Testing quilting design with wax paper and a purple air erasable marking pen

Then in September the following year, on my birthday no less,  I received this note and photo from Joan:
 "I wanted to share with you that a wall hanging that I made from a class on modern machine applique by 'Aunt Reen and you quilted won First Place in the Traditional Mixed category. The show was the Coastal Quilters Guild "Harvest of Colors 2016 Show in Santa Barbara, CA. Comments made on the judging form stated "Individualized quilting motifs greatly enhance this quilt". Thank you so much for helping show case my wall hanging. Joan"

So happy for Joan to have received First place and a blue ribbon for her work and honored to have had the privilege of quilting it for her.  Reading the judges words felt pretty good too! 

Quilt Details & Stats:

Quilt Name: "Joan's Radical Rose & Reel"
 Finished size: 42" x 42"
Quilt Pattern:Radical Rose & Reel by Collector with a Needle available HERE
Batting: Quilter's Dream 100% Cotton
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil White #2024
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q domestic sewing machine
 Thank you for stopping by and sharing my quilting journey!
God Bless and Happy Quilting!
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