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Hello Friends, Happy Friday!  I hope you have had a good week.  I am honored to be a participant in American Patchwork & Quilting’s 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge blog hop.

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Click here to answer the following questions you might have about the challenge:

1.  What is the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge?

2.  How do I participate?

3.  Where can I access the pillowcase patterns?

4.  How do I proceed after I make my pillowcase(s)?

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The following is the list of 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge blog hop participants:

· Alison Glass
· American Patchwork & Quilting
· Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs
· The Benartex Design Team: Sew in Love with Fabric
· Debby Kratovil
· Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts
· Heidi Pridemore
· How To Sew
· Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom
· Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts
· Karrie Winters of Freckled Whimsy
· Kelle Boyd of Ann Kelle
· Linda Carlson
· Lori Mason
· Modern Quilt Studio
· Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
· Northcott: Patti’s Patchwork
· Shannon Fabrics: My Cuddle Corner
· Tammy Silvers
· Timeless Treasures: Sew Timeless
· Valori Wells
· Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool
· Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring — ME!!

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I used fabrics from Benartex’s Made With Love collection to make my pillowcase. This is a super cute line – you may check out the swatches here.  I won’t spoil it for you — but you have GOT to get a load of the adorable zipper print after you click on the aforementioned link to check out the fabrics.

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Seriously, how can you not swoon with this “buttoned up” paisley print?!

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I chose the Made with Love fabrics not only because the fabrics are just too adorable, but also for the spirit and sentiment the fabrics represent – something made with love to bless someone else.

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Here is the pillowcase I made – using Pattern #10, with the flying geese band! Click here to download the pattern instructions.

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American Patchwork & Quilting is also hosting the first 24-hour sewathon making pillowcases to further the cause of the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge from September 19, 2014 3:00pm to September 20, 2014 3:00pm.  Click here for details on this very exciting event.

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I hope you will seriously consider participating in this worthwhile endeavor of reaching out to those in need.   Most of us quilters are blessed with stashes upon stashes of fabrics, why don’t we in turn bless someone else with a pillowcase (or two, or three, or four) made with love?

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“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”   ~1 Corinthians 13:13 (emphasis mine)

Have a most blessed weekend, Dear Friends.  I shall catch up with you again next week!

Joyce the winner!!!

Hello Friends, I hope you are well.  You have seen Dear Friend Joyce’s version of my Song of Praise pillow here.

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And look at the latest on Joyce’s pillow!!  Joyce’s pillow won first place at her county fair.  Congratulations, Joyce – the honor is well deserved!!

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And a big “Thank You” to Joyce for sharing her work with us!

Curious mind wants to know if you enter your work (quilts, pies, anything) in your county fair…

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely rest of the day.  Hugs to you all.

No longer…

Hello Friends,  I found out last week the magazines The Quilter and Quilt Trends are no longer, effectively immediately,  because the company All American Crafts is no longer.  My Song of Praise pillow was featured in the last issue of The Quilter magazine.  The Quilter has featured many of my designs.  I am sad to see it go.

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I can’t help but wonder what has gone on.  I received word that another quilting publication is going under as well.  What are your thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by – I do apologize for this rather discouraging post, but things are the way they are.   Nonetheless, my hope and prayer is that I will continue to be used to be an encouragement to you all, my Dear Friends!

In my line of work, I often move from turning in one project to working on the next project that has to be turned in.  I had a very brief down time over the weekend where I was able to work on my Plain & Fancy BOM quilt last Friday night!

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This is Block 1 from a while back.  Click here to read more about Block 1.

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And here is Block 2.

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Pretty much, I used the same tricks as I did for making Block 1.  The tricks were described in my Block 1 post.

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Even though I have felt like a loser for not being able to keep up with my BOM, it is nonetheless a great feeling being able to get another block finished for the quilt! It’s back to work-related quilting stuff for me!

If you are working on Plain & Fancy, I hope you have enjoyed the journey!  If you have yet to join in the fun, click here for a list of shops that are carrying the project, or you can see if Fons & Porter has filled up their spots for online signup here.

Thank you for stopping by!  Happy Monday, and Happy Week!

Happy Friday, Dear Friends!  I thought I would close out this week by sharing with you a few free-to-use designs using fabrics from Quilting Treasures’ Hot Little Dish, a newly released fabric line.

First, the wallhanging / table topper:

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Next, the double-sided placemats:

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And the tablerunner:

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These projects are designed with bridal shower gift  and/or housewarming gift in mind!   They are relatively easy and simple to construct, and would delight a bride-to-be starting her own family, or someone who is having a new kitchen makeover!

You have got to check out these Hot Little Dish fabrics.  Click here to view the entire fabric range.

Click here to download pattern instructions for the wallhanging / table topper.

Click here to download pattern instructions for the table ensemble.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a most wonderful weekend!  I shall catch up with you next week.

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My 2014 free to use designs:

[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under "FREE PATTERNS" on the side bar.]

January: Midori’s Place using Gramercy by Benartex

January: View on Lexington using Gramercy by Benartex

January: Everything’s Coming Up Rosey using English Rosey by Benartex

February: Verde (Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

February: Verde (Banner/Runner) by Quilting Treasures

March: Hot Topic by Quilting Treasures

March: Poseidon’s Adventure using Neptune’s Dream by Benartex

March: My Cozy Sweater using Palm Springs by Benartex

March: Wild Kingdom using Sew Rousseau by Benartex

April: Fun with Frosty (Quilt & Runner) by Quilting Treasures

April: The First Thanksgiving (Quilt & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

May: Party Poppers using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Sprinkled Sweets using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Dino Craze using 10,000 B.C. by Benartex

June: Monster Mash by Quilting Treasures

June: Santa’s Sleigh using Starry Night by RJR Fabrics

June: Learning is Fun by Quilting Treasures

August: Lovey Buggy using Luvbugs by Benartex

August: Hot Little Dish (Wallhanging/Table Topper & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

It was during my 4 day marathon getting Path of Glory finished that Miss Baby decided to finish up with her stitching primer sampler! I didn’t even employ any stalling tactic because I know a 5 year old just wouldn’t understand the concept of wait when trying to finish up her first stitching project!  

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Upon the completion of her stitching, I gave Miss Baby 7 fabrics to choose for a pillow schematic I drew out…

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Upon decisions made, Miss Baby and I had a “big meeting” (her exact words) about what fabrics were going to go where.   Honestly, I had tried to dissuade her from picking the pink, but am glad she did because I think pink gave a nice contrast in the overall look.

While she was asleep, the sewing elf (aka Mom) whipped up the pillowcase for her to stuff with stuffing the following day.  Ideally, I would have just used a pillow form, but stuffing with stuffing was infinitely more fun for a 5 year old.

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If you are interested to try this out with certain special 5 year olds in your life…

1.  The cross stitch is 11-count Aida needlework fabric.  I couldn’t find a fabric with lower count in my local craft store.

2.  Miss Baby used Perle cotton for the stitching.  I thought having to deal the stranded cotton embroidery floss was a bit much for a first real project.

3.  Finish the pillowcase by sewing strips of fabrics from your stash around the stitched piece to the size of your choice— and you will be the heroine of the day in the eyes of that certain 5 year old!!

Thanks for stopping by, Dear Friends!  I hope you have had a lovely week thus far.  Hugs to you all.

HAPPY LEFT HANDERS DAY, if you are leftie!   So tell me, are you a left-handed quilter?   Till tomorrow, Wendy.

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Hello Friends, I managed to eke out Pathway of Glory in about 4 days!  I quilted the last stitch on the quilt at about 3am this morning. I feel immensely relieved now that the quilt is on its way to the editor.

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I want to thank you all for the sweet notes you had written to encourage me. We are doing well – as I said, I am immensely grateful for the blessings in my life, and I certainly count your friendship as one of the blessings!

I am taking tomorrow off to bake with Miss Baby because she told me over the weekend her Mom “shouldn’t have to work so hard” (her exact words)…. and then after that, I will be working on a rather sweet quilt.

Thank you for stopping by.  Love and hugs to you all.

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Don’t forget – the $5 discount offer for my Learn to Machine Quilt class will expire tomorrow.  Click here to purchase the class (online or DVD format), and don’t forget to enter discount code EZHMQ.

There is only one word I would use to describe these fabrics – glorious!

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These are fabrics from Benartex’s Caryl’s Feather collection!  I am using them for my current quilt.  It is amazing to see how the quilt sparkles with these fabrics. Click here to view the entire fabric range.  The interesting thing about these fabrics is that there isn’t a focal print per se – sometimes, it’s the colors that make the quilt!

So tell me, do you like these fabrics?

My week got off with a bit of a rocky start, but the blessings in my life are far greater than the setback.   By the time you see this post, the quilt is being prepared to be quilted.  So come back again for a sneaky peek!  Have a most blessed week, Dear Friends!

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“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”    ~2 Corinthians 4: 17

“Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by.  Life is like that – one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery.”

~Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

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Yes, our little Miss Baby is not quite that little anymore.  She is officially embarking on her first needlework project.  She has done a few practice pieces here and there.  But this one is the real deal!  Stay tuned for work-in-progress pictures. :)

Curious ear would love to hear about your first crafty project.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a most lovely weekend, Dear Friends!

Hello Friends!  Thank you for stopping by again.  It’s time to announce the winner of my Learn to Machine Quilt giveaway!

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Thank you ALL for entering the giveaway.  I appreciate all the comments you left.  I am happy to congratulate Claudia D (#91) as the giveaway winner. Claudia, Annie’s will contact you with further information on your free copy of my Learn to Machine Quilt class.

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I am also excited to share with you about a $5 discount for the class Annie’s has offered to my bloggy friends.  The offer is valid for a limited time – between now and 8/14/2014, applicable for BOTH the online class as well as the DVD — content is the same for both the online class and DVD.  You may click here to read more about the class.

Click HERE to sign up for Learn to Machine Quilt class, and do not forget to enter discount code EZHMQ at check out for the $5 discount.

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Jean left a sweet review on the class on yesterday’s post.  She made my day!

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I hope you will let me be your quilting buddy as you embark on your own machine quilting journey by signing up for the class.  Plus, you know where to find me should you ever need help.

That’s all for today.  I am back in panic mode in the frying pan.  You will know what I mean when I post a sneak peek in a couple of days!  Meanwhile, you all take care.

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Hello Friends!  I thought I would spend a few moments responding to the free-motion quilting concerns you shared on my giveaway of my Learn to Machine Quilt post.  You still have till 12am EST 8/7/2014 to enter the giveaway.

1.  Runaway stitches – help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I remember the runaway stitches well, especially during my learning curve stage.  It still happens to me sometimes when my family startles me when I am quilting, or when Miss Baby decides to snuggle right next to me when I am trying to quilt a large quilt.  When runaway stitches happen, I would either leave them be or rip them out depending how bad they are (or how much time I have).

To minimize the running away of stitches, I would mentally brace myself when my stitching comes near a stopping point.  Then, I would slow down my stitching (very important!), and make sure I have my hands well on the quilt sandwich so that my quilt sandwich doesn’t veer in any direction — before taking a few tiny bites to tie off a particular stitching path if I am at a spot where I have to cut off my threads.

2.  Struggling with bobbin tension -help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I am thinking bobbin tension was raised as a concern because oftentimes quilters try to match their bobbin threads with the backing fabric they use, which oftentimes are of different colors they use for their top threads.   They then find out no matter how they tweak the settings (top and bobbin), sometimes, the bobbin threads would still show up on the quilt top.  VERY annoying, I know!

Instead of fighting, I take the easy way out.  I always use the same threads for my top and bobbin threads.  That way, I don’t have to waste my time trying to fine tune fine tuning my settings.  More often than not, my bobbin thread colors do not match my quilt backing fabric.  But the results can be visually striking on the back, as shown below.

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3.  Give your quilting some time to simmer!

French 75 Quilts left the following comment on the Learn to Machine Quilt Class giveaway post.

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Wendy’s 2 cents: Boy, truer words have never been said when it comes to evaluating your own quilting – especially for those who are braving the learning curve stage.  It is true!!!!  I have taught students who start out being really critical of their own quilting, noticing the uneven stitches here and there.  BUT after they have quilted a larger area, walked away, and come back to look at their quilting again – inadvertently, the comments are always, “It looks better than I thought”, or “It is actually not that bad.”  I don’t think that is falsely consoling oneself.  I think when we go back to look at our quilting after it “simmers”, we look at the big picture and are taken by the overall texture reflected by the light from those quilting stitches.

You can be sure I have BAD stitches in the quilting shown below…!  But you tend to see the overall big picture, don’t you?

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4.  Uneven stitching speed – help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  My stitching speed is actually not constant.  The reason being sometimes when rounding a corner or stitching in tight spot, I have to really concentrate – and so I slow down!  So, to those who struggle with uneven stitching speed, I say as long as your stitches are even, it’s okay to vary your stitching speed.  I mean, we don’t drive at a constant speed at all times because there are always unforeseen things on the road, and so we adjust our driving speed accordingly. I think that’s the same concept.  When I first learned how to drive, a friend advised me not to drive faster than I could see.  I have applied that same principle to quilting.  I never quilt faster than I can see!

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5.  Struggling with quilting large scale – help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I actually think it is easier to quilt small on a domestic machine.  But it is possible to quilt large scale if — 1.  You have quilted the motif in small scale, and 2.  You are VERY familiar with the stitching path. Taking care  of those two variables first and foremost will really help in large scale quilting.

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Then, as you quilt, every so often, come out for air and survey the territory on your quilt yet to be quilted, and proceed from there.

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Then, finally, don’t be nervous.  Just…. keep calm, and quilt on!  Don’t you love that mug?  I would love to have one.  You can purchase it here.  Image below is borrow from the purchase link.

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To read previous Q&A posts, click the following:

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Thank you for stopping by!  Stop back by tomorrow for the announcement of the winner of my Learn to Machine Quilt class!  Have a blessed day, Dear Friends.

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