Mister Blue Bird–a Work in Progress

Bird Project, Sewing

One of my favorite things about Spring is watching for the birds as they return to Minnesota after their winter vacations in warmer states.  I can’t wait  for The Eastern Bluebirds to return to their houses in our garden. So,  when I saw this pattern on Pinterest, I couldn’t resist!  As we plodded  impatiently through our extra-long winter, I stitched a little bluebird for myself!

Bird Project, Sewing

You can find the pattern at Spool HERE or HERE

Bird Project, Sewing

It’s a darling pattern, but I made a few refinements and corrections...

First, you only need ONE Bird Belly:

Bird Project, Sewing

Next,  I made the bird’s head a bit larger and extended it down the back farther.  When stitching the back of the bird’s head, extend the line  as long as necessary to create a very smooth, tapered line—otherwise the head will be lumpy.

Bird Project, Sewing

The final refinement:  the pattern instructs you to stitch from tail to chest.  Reverse that:  sew from the chest point to the tail.  When it is time to stitch the head, begin at this chest point again.  This is important because the chest point is the critical point— where things need to line up perfectly.    By beginning at that point you can control it with more precision.  If the tail is a little off–it does not matter.

Bird Project, Sewing

This is the point where everything must match precisely—start here:

Bird Project, Sewing

Now that I have tested the pattern, I think I shall make a flock of birds:  Baltimore Orioles, Red winged black birds, Blue-jays, Cardinals….

Bird Project, Sewing

Bird Project, Sewing

Maybe I’ll give them wings?   I think I will be spending a bit of creative time in my Sewing NEST!

Tuesday Tutorial-FMQ Spools

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Good morning, Quilters!  I’d like to welcome the many new quilters who have joined our ranks from Facebook!  We are so glad you found our quilting community.  We also would like to welcome the many quilters who have joined us from Spain–Bienvenido!

Every Tuesday we get together for a little Free Motion (and Long Arm) Quilting fun!  I stitch exclusively on a domestic sewing machine (a Bernina 820), but many long arm quilters fill our ranks.

Let’s get started!  Today, we are working on a motif that would look great on a quilt, but also on a quilted sewing bag.  I think it would be perfect to hang in our studios-either by binding it or by framing it.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

This is a “one-pass” pattern–in other words, you never need to stop…one continuous line connects all of these spools and the thread.

Start by drawing (with your fabric marker) two lines or “rails”.   In the sample below, the “rails” are 2 inches apart.

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Begin on the bottom “rail”  and stitch at an angle a few stitches to create the bottom-left of the spool, then stitch a line straight up.  Just before you reach the top drawn line, angle out–This creates the left side of the spool.  (Photo below.)

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Now stitch straight along your top “rail” and finish the spool by creating the mirror image on the right side.  See the photo below:

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

You now have a closed spool.  Stitch  on top of your first few angled stitches.  You should be above the bottom of the rail.  From this point, you can stitch the “thread”…

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

For the basic spool, simply stitch a curved line back and forth up the spool…

When you reach the top of the spool, stitch a few “loop-de-loops” to bring you down to the bottom of the next spool.  You are now ready to begin the second spool.

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

For variety, use The Twist (see tutorial HERE) for your “thread”.

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Or stitch messy overlapping ovals…

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Scallops look rather sweet:

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Another “thread” pattern I like is the diamond…

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Start by stitch a “zig-zag” up the spool…

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Then zig-zag back down the spool by bisecting your  first row of zigzags…

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Be creative.  I’m sure you can come up with many different spools.

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

Add a little handwriting…

Free Motion Quilted Spools, A Tutorial

In no time you will have a mini quilt to share!  Bind this little quilt and use it! (And send me a photo!)

Here’s a little tip from my sister, Teri—prepare a pile of “quilt sandwiches” …Next time you have 15 minutes…you’ll be ready stitch a spool or two!

Check out all the tutorials in the “Quilt/Tutorials” tab above…There are more than 30 Free Motion and Long Arm motifs for you to try!

Stencil Winners!!!

Stencil Winners

It’s Monday, and I have completed the three most important things on my To-Do list and now can move on to the fun things–blogging, quilting, and photography!  You all have inspired me with your FABULOUS Time Management tips.  (If you recall, last week I asked you for time management tips as I never seem to get enough done in a day.)  Your ideas have really helped me get out of my procrastinating slump…I will collate them into a single post for all to read–all the tips were very thought-provoking and motivational!

I chose two winners –one by lottery and the other for submitting the best tip—

Stencil Winners, Stencil

The lottery winner is:  Patricia Phillips.  Her tip was excellent and very timely:  Prioritize.  Family comes before housework.  The dust can wait!

Stencil Winners Quilting

The second winner is Suzy–who really lives by the seaside–(though I don’t think she sells seashells?!)   Suzy recommended the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.  I have only read a few chapters, but I can tell it is going to be a great help to me.  (We will discuss this book more in an upcoming post…)  Please check out Suzy’s blog, Quilted Happiness–she has a great post on color today.

A special mention goes to Helen Ernst, who also recommended Eat That Frog –(her comment came after Suzy’s)  -Be sure to check out her blog HelenErnst@blogspot.com.  She clearly knows something about time management–she cooks, she knits, she quilts, she blogs….

Eat That Frog

Again, thank you all for your fabulous time management tips!  You all deserve a new stencil…

And a special Thank You to The Stencil Company for providing The Madam CJ Walker stencil to our lucky winners today!

Congratulations, Suzy and Patricia!  Please contact me (via e-mail –in the About section)  and I will get the stencils out to you.

To see more photos of the quilt I stitched using the Madam Walker Stencil see HERE.