July 22, 2020

Kimberbell Vintage Boardwalk Quilt

I am so excited to be working on another Kimberbell project, the Vintage Boardwalk quilt.

Kimberbell seems to have cornered the market on fast cute easy to stitch adorable quilts and pillows.  They have tons of other cute things also, but I really like the quilts (wall hanging size) and the bench pillows.

I have made several of these quilts and bench pillows in the past and have learned a few 'tricks' to help me with achieving a nice finish.  I want to share with you one of the most important ones I use in this post.

Warning, this is a very long post, but well worth the read if you are currently or planning on stitching a Kimberbell quilt or bench pillow.

Kimberbell designs have a tendency to use a lot of satin stitch finishes on their applique pieces.  This gives them a cute look, but can be a nightmare when it comes to the fabric puckering if the correct stabilizers are not used.   These stabilizers can give your quilt a 'bulky' look if they are not removed after the applique design is finished.  The instructions give you several different kinds of stabilizer to use depending on the individual design.  Kimberbell seems to be starting to understand some of the problems the designs are having and have now started suggesting that a fusible woven interfacing be ironed on the back of each 'background' piece of fabric.  Plus, you still need to use tear away and cut away stabilizers.

I find all of this confusing and I know it can be very disappointing if even after all of the correct steps are followed you still have a puckered block.  Ironing on the fusible woven interfacing helps, but I don't really want to have to iron stuff on the back of every single block.

I decided to find an alternative way to make these cute projects without all of the stabilizer issues and problems.  I am lucky enough to have a friend, Chantell of  https://www.chantells-creations.com/ who digitizes and her 'specialty' is quilt blocks.  I asked her if she would help me out and make a variety of quilting backgrounds in several sizes.  Lucky for me, she agreed.   I am hoping that she will have them up for sale on her website today or tomorrow, but if she doesn't, you can contact her directly and I know she will help you get them.  The beauty of using these specially created blocks is that once you trim them out they will be the exact size you need for the quilt.  Chantell has now finished the quilting backgrounds that will work for this quilt, you can find them here: https://www.chantells-creations.com/quilts8000/q8021.htm

I do need to point out now that this particular method shouldn't be tried if you are just a beginner, new to your machine, or only have a machine that the biggest hoop is a 5x7.  For this particular quilt you will need a 6x10, 8x8, and 9.5 x14 hoop.  I have stitched all of these designs out on my Babylock Destiny machine.

Here is a sample of how one of my blocks look.  See?  No puckering.  One other thing that does need to be mentioned is the use of the fusible woven interfacing on the back of certain fabrics to help with fabric 'bleed through'.  In this example I did iron it on the back of the yellow fabric because I could see the dark blue fabric through it.

Interested?  It is very easy and the only stabilizer you need is No Show Mesh.  Chantell's background design goes as follows:  Hoop the stabilizer and stitch out the block outline.   This line is important because after you are finished stitching the block, you turn your block to the back and trim it from this line (which gives you a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  You could use a darker color of thread if it helps you see it better.

Next you add the batting and after it stitches down, you trim it.  This keeps any batting from being in your 1/4 seam which keeps down the 'bulk' in your quilt.

Once that is done, you place your background fabric down covering the block outline, and stitch out the quilting portion of the design.

Then you stitch out your applique design.  Super easy once you have done it once or twice.  There are many advantages to using this method.  First and most important, no puckering.  The batting makes for a great stabilizer so no need for any additional stabilizers besides the No Show Mesh.  Second, once you sew all of your blocks together, quilting in the ditch is really all you need to do since all of your quilting is complete (I do add another piece of batting to the back of the whole quilt).  Third, if your block has some special addition, like a bow or drawstring, you can add it now while it is just a 'block' instead of a waiting until it is a whole quilt.  Because I do add another piece of batting to the whole back, any of the designs that wanted you to cut a hole, etc. will still work because the additional back batting covers it.  Your pattern instructions will tell you to wait until the quilt is complete to add the detail items, because they expect you to quilt the whole project after it is put together.  Sewing little buttons on is a lot easier at this stage than it is trying to 'wrestle' a whole quilt.

You will need to use a bigger hoop on these blocks than what is called for in the Kimberbell instructions.  For example the above design needs to be finished at 4.5 x 8.5 which means I had to use my 6x10 hoop so the design would fit in the hoop.

I combine the two designs in my software, but you can also do that on your embroidery machine.  I just find it easier to combine the blocks before I load them to my flash drive.  By combining them first you can make sure the applique is centered in the middle of the hoop, or if it is one of the designs like the Food Stand or the Bike that needs to be a 1/4 up from the bottom edge of the fabric, you can place it correctly beforehand.

I hope that you understand what I have explained and are excited to give it a try.

Here are a couple other finished blocks for you to see how they look, and for your enjoyment since this post had a lot of words and not many pictures :-)

October 30, 2018

A Little Bit of Halloween/Autumn

I thought I would show you some of my Halloween and Autumn projects that I am currently working on.

Using some of Chantell's designs I made a few mug rugs and a mini quilt.

I also thought it would be fun to join in a Halloween Mystery Sew Along at Fort Worth Fabrics.  The Halloween sew along is finished, but she is currently offering two others:  A Cozy Up Mystery quilt and a Winter Flurry Holiday Mystery Quilt.  I haven't quilted my Halloween one yet, so it's just a quilt top for now.

I also entered a Halloween/Autumn Anita Goodesign contest.  The rules were that you had to use their designs to complete a project by Oct 30.  Some really nice prizes are being offered.  I think they will pick the winners tomorrow.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  They are all being posted on a Facebook page of theirs and you can vote for your favorites by liking (my post) LOL!  

I used three of their designs:  Zipper Bags 123, Entering Autumn, and on the back Autumn Bounty Premium Plus.  I also made my own tassel!  And yes, its completely lined inside :-)

August 16, 2018

Hoffman Fabrics Challenge 2018

I love entering the Hoffman Fabric Challenge. This year, 2018, is the 30th year they have sponsored the challenge.  The focus fabric they choose each year is always beautiful and a delight to work with.  This year's fabric, Shine On!, is one of the most vibrant and colorful ones they have chosen so far.  Just like last year, you could choose one or both colorways of the challenge fabric.  I decided to use both.

Aurifil threads, who sponsors three of the prizes, also designed a gorgeous 12-spool collection of coordinating 50 wt. threads that match the Shine On! fabrics perfectly. 

Another really great idea by Hoffman Fabrics this year was to create and print a panel that had a small piece of each of the challenge fabrics from all thirty years.  This was perfect for an idea I had for the border of my quilt!  I wanted to showcase all thirty years in my quilt without taking away from this years challenge fabric. 

Here are some pictures of my progress on the quilt itself!  As always, I have to thank Chantell and Mia for their hard work and talent.  They seem to always be able to digitize exactly what I sketch out for them.  Let's start with some of the 'border' diamonds.  Chantell digitized these for me.  I made them using pieces of the panel so each diamond has a different challenge fabric from a previous year.   

Next I needed a 'diamond' themed background.  Chantell also digitized this panel for me.  I used some of the other Shine On! collections fabrics for the background and for some of the diamonds.

Mia then digitized 'Lucy' for me.  Lucy is appliqued on top of the panel in four separate hoopings.  I used my Babylock Destiny embroidery machine's cameras to make sure that all the pieces aligned perfect.

I am pretty sure you have figured out the theme I chose by now.  The title of the quilt is 'Lucy in the Sky with 30 Years of Diamonds'.  It is hard to see all of the details in this picture, but there is a lot of bling involved.  There are a ton of rhinestones glued on it in different shapes and sizes which took several days to get them all on.  You also can't see it, but the quilting design is little stars and I quilted it all with several metallic threads from Aurifil.  Here it is!
And the best news?  It WON!!!  1st Place in the 'Best Use of Aurifil' category!!! 

If you want to see some of the other quilts that won, you can go to Hoffman California Fabrics Facebook page.  Another piece of interesting news that Hoffman posted on their Facebook page, was the following statement:

The Hoffman Challenge is in its 30th year and what a blast it has been! We have seen thousands of incredible works of art and enjoyed sponsoring the Hoffman Challenge. We thank you for your contribution to making the Challenge successful and fun.
As Hoffman strives to lead the industry in change and innovation, we have decided to make this 30th anniversary the final year of The Hoffman Challenge as you know it. We have a collective goal to bring you a new and innovated Hoffman Challenge in the future.
Again, thank you for you loyalty and support of The Hoffman Challenge! We hope you enjoy seeing the 2018 Shine On! Projects travel though September 2019, and we look forward to bringing you a new Hoffman Challenge in the future.
Happy Quilting and Sewing,
The Hoffman Family

Makes me think they will not even have a contest next year which would be sad.  Hopefully they will continue with some kind of fun contest for us to enter!