Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #2

Hello, welcome to another installment of Thread Talk!

When Diane Gaudynski talked about the Tuscany Wool Batt in her book, I immediately had my local Bernina dealer order some wool batt for me to try. And I was not disappointed! My “Pieceful Garden” is an example of a quilt quilted with the Tuscany Wool batt:

This is what the back looks like – my feathers were all free-handed:

When using batting for quilts, home machine quilters are looking for the batting to be light-weight, and ease of maneuverability under that little neck of our home machine. In my experience, Hobbs‘ Tuscany Wool batting (or wadding for the UK quilters) meets my requirements of those factors. All the pictures you see in this post are quilts quilted with Tuscany Wool batting.

A few points on the Tuscany 100% Wool batting:

1. One question I get asked a lot is whether the wool batt is washable. The answer is yes! Hobbs’ website state that the wool they use for this batting is made with the “very best super wash wool”.

2. Yes, it is breathe-able too!

3. Diane Gaudynski was the one who introduced me in her book to achieve a faux trapunto effect by using the batting. The batting has a good loft, and so, if it is quilted densely around a motif, the motif literally POPS!

[Pretty Pillow in Bernina’s Through the Needle magazine]

4. It is light and airy. So, getting it all under the machine is not un-manageable. And you won’t feel like you are dragging a load if you are working with a bigger project.

5. I love to use wool batt with applique because quilting around the applique pieces also makes my applique pieces pop.

[French Bouquet – a project to be published]

6. Because the batting is lofty, you would want to make sure you have the batting smoothed out very evenly when you are sandwiching your quilt layers or else you will have to deal with quilting down excess lumps here and there. I gently pull the edges when I am smoothing out the batt over my backing fabric.

[The “Swag Motif” in my Ivory Spring quilt is published in Quiltmaker‘s Quilting Motif Vol.7.]

7. If your entire quilt is densely quilted even in your borders, chances are after you are done, your quilt will look a little wonky, and wouldn’t lay flat in some places. What I do is I lay the quilt on the floor, spritz and wet the quilt to shape the quilt, while patting down the quilt to make it lay flat. I let my quilt dry over night, sometimes two days (provided my 17 month-old doesn’t bother it).

8. Whatever you do, do NOT handle the quilt when it is not totally dry. I did that once on a wholecloth I had spent hours and hours and hours quilting to put on the binding because I was running late — BAD IDEA with DISASTROUS result! Don’t ever do it.

[My original quilting motif as appeared in Sentimentally Yours – click here to download the motif for free!]

9. If you are working on a marked wholecloth, don’t spritz the quilt to see what it looks like without the markings while you are working on the quilt. Did that too… same conclusion — BAD BAD BAD IDEA with DISASTROUS result.

[This is actually the back of the quilt of my Song of Williamsburg Wallhanging remix. Click here to see the front. All feathers were free-handed except for the center motif.]

10. I love the fact that my quilt doesn’t turn into a cardboard after it is densely quilt with wool. It is soft, and has a very nice feel to it. So, if you are planning to do dense quilting, you might consider giving wool a try!

I hope you have found this post helpful! I want to thank you for stopping by. A BIG “Thank You” goes to Diane Gaudynksi for her continuing education on free motion quilting using the home machine – she is my heroine and inspiration! By the way, you have her books on order yet?

That’s it for now. Tune in next time when I will be sharing with about the other Tuscany battings! Ta-dah!

Joining the QUILT FESTIVAL Fun

Amy of Park City Girl is hosting her first annual Quilt Festival, and thought I couldn’t miss out on the fun! “Select your favorite quilt, make sure you have a good picture of it and go post about it! It doesn’t matter what size, style, or era it is from – there’s no judging here :) In your post tell your quilt’s story.”


It’s hard for me to have to pick a favorite quilt because all the projects I have worked on end up being special to me in their own way. The most meaningful quilt I have made, however, is my interpretation of Mrs. Susan Nokes McCord “Harrison’s Rose Urn” (circa 1860) for a wholecloth. This is Mrs. McCord’s quilt:


This is my wholecloth interpretation:


Both works are in honor of our 9th President, President William Henry Harrison, also the grandfather of President Benjamin Harrison:


I added an “H” to the urn as a monogram, and a grouse silhouette to commemorate the President’s favorite past time, grouse-hunting. The President named his house “Grouseland” — that’s how serious about grouse hunting! :)



You can see the background stippling compared to the size of a penny:


The quilt top is a cotton/silk blend, quilted with silk thread over a wool batt. Finished size is about 13 inches square:


It won first place in the 2008 Grouseland Festival of Quilts Old Tippecanoe Block Challenge. It is now part of a permanent collection displayed in the Grouseland Mansion. If you are a subscriber to “The Quilter” magazine, you might have also seen it in their March 2009 issue:



Thank you for stopping by. If this is your first visit, I would like you to stay a bit longer and look at my other favorite quilts. Please leave a comment – that way I can visit you back! Have a lovely day!

Dish-aholic Part 5: Sucker for Blue Transferware

Hello Everyone – I hope you have had a splendid week.  Over at my end, I am up to my eyeballs in deadlines!  I was going to do a post on more fall tableware, but I just ran out of time.  Instead, I am going to show you just what a sucker I am for Blue Transferware — especially those made by Spode.

This is my “festive” transferware platter – the pattern is officially called “Festival”.  I used to only put it out for the holidays, but I like it so much that I have leave it out all year round.  I just love that majestic look of that turkey, don’t you? :)

This is a Seder or Passover platter that bears the background pattern of antique Jewish filigree.  I am not Jewish, but I have always loved the story of deliverance in the book of Exodus – the things foreshadowed in the event are simply amazing!

This is a smaller platter that shows the “Girl At Well” pattern.  I have always loved this pattern even though this is the only piece I have.   The wholesome beauty of the girl drawing water from the well reminds me of the beauty of serving others:

Soon, it will be the season for this:


Meanwhile, these came in the mail today – my blue ribbon from the Grouseland Old Tippecanoe Block Challenge, a certificate, and a hand-written note from the organizers.  While designing the quilt block, I learned that there are more quilts named after President William Harrison than any other Presidents even though he was only in office for 32 days:

Thank you for coming to my show-and-tell.  I wish you an enjoyable weekend!

I WON!!!!

I received the following comment on my Harrison Urn Quilt Block from Jane in Indiana on Friday —

“I had just come home from the Grouseland Quilt Show because I had won a place in the challenge. And wouldn’t you know, it was your block who beat me!! Congratulations on your first place winning in piecework!! I had placed second in piecework, also!! I was, also, blown away at you work. Beautiful!!! I had consequently found your blog a few days ago and saw your block there. I had to go today to see who beat me, and when I saw that it was yours, I wasn’t really that surprised. Your work is wonderful!”

I was excited and surprised and feeling a bit unsure about the news at the time, because I hadn’t heard anything official from the organizers…

Jane assured me that I had indeed won in emails we exchanged later, but still no official word from the organizers…

Then, this afternoon after we returned from church, a message on the answering machine confirmed my FIRST PLACE win in the Pieced Category at the Grouseland Festival of Quilts Old Tippecanoe Block Challenge held in Vincennes, Indiana on October 10th and 11th, 2009. Later in a phone conversation with Judy Morton representing the organizers, I was told that my quilt block will be displayed in Grouseland, with the possibility of being part of a traveling exhibit as well. I was also told that the winning entries will be featured in “The Quilter” magazine. What an honor this is in my short quilting journey!

Right when I was about to publish this post, I received an email from Jane. She went back the following day and took pictures of my block with the blue ribbon (bottom left corner). Jane had won second place in the “Pieced” Category, and first place in the “Applique” Category (top left corner, and bottom middle are Jane’s blocks – stunning!). Thanks bunches, Jane!

As I let the news soak in, I am thankful for many that have encouraged me beyond measure in my quilting journey:

1. My Lord and King – without Him, I am nothing. Indeed, “I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (Psalm 16:2)

2. My husband – he was the person who had first planted the bug of “you ought to try sewing” in my ear ever since we were newly married eons ago (well, not that looong!). I was an engineering student at the time and later proceeded to work in the field of Chemical Engineering for about seven years, and had NEVER had any interest to sew in my whole life. Nonetheless, he is always supportive in all my learning opportunities. He certainly was and still is in all my heirloomy pursuits — always with constructive ideas!

3. Barbara – my quilting teacher, mentor, close friend who is also a fellow Jane Austen fan. If it weren’t for her teaching me in my first quilt (which is an applique and pieced quilt, can you believe the naiveté for someone who has never sewn?), I wouldn’t have learned the love of quilting. I tell her that every quilt that gets any recognition is a tribute to her.

4. Annelle – my heirloom sewing teacher who is never discouraging in any way. Sharing our love for heirloom together has been an incredible journey.

5. Dan and Rhonda of Rogers Sewing Center – they have been invaluable to me as friends. They have helped and encouraged me tremendously ever since the day I purchase my machine from them. Through the Sewing Center, I have also made many sweet friends with whom I have forged great friendships. There’s just something when I can talk sewing with another person.

6. My sister – very very different from me, but she is never too busy to stop and oooh-and-aaah about anything I make!

7. I am certainly thankful to the bloggy friends I have made through this blog. Thank you for your ever encouraging words about my work. Your comments often brighten my day while I take my breaks from working at my sewing machine. I always make a point to respond to every comment either by email or visiting you on your blog if you have one.

A “grouse-y” sort of Wholecloth!

The Grouseland Foundation issued a Block Challenge (the 2008 Old Tippecanoe Block Challenge) in honor of the 9th President of the United States, President William Henry Harrison. All entries will become the property of Grouseland for use in exhibits and to commemorate the Battle of Tippecanoe in 2011:

Grouseland (the President’s home) was named after the grouse President Harrison enjoyed hunting:

Inspired by the historic quilt “Harrison Rose Urn” by Mrs. Susan Nokes McCord (circa 1860),

I came up with my own version that is adapted for wholecloth, simply named “Harrison Urn”. It was quilted with silk thread over cotton/silk quilt top and wool batt:

The urn bears an “H” for President Harrison:

The silhouette of a grouse is quilted to remember his hobby and Grouseland:

This is an interesting shot from when the quilt was still wet from having the fabric markings removed:

Showing the scale of my background stippling against a penny that is between 1/16″ – 1/8″ apart:

I have always been keen on historically-related events. So, I thought by entering the block, I did my little part in learning and remembering the rich history of this nation.