Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2015 Entry

I was so excited to see the hand quilting category in Amy Ellis’s Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival. Her blog, Amy’s Creative Side has been sponsoring this festival for several years. She runs the festivals during fall and spring quilt market. There are many wonderful online stores and vendors who offer prizes to the winners. 

I finished hand quilting this single size bed quilt in January, 2015. It took about a year to complete. I worked on it off and on.





Hand quilting is not as difficult as most people think. Once I got the hang of it, I really fell in love with it. It puts me in a very zen mood. It does take a long time to do, and I machine quilt most of my quilts. But I always have one on the side to do by hand. 

I like having something to hand sew when we’re watching TV, or listening to music. And, although it’s a bit cumbersome, it is portable!! I bring it to the pool in the summer, and work on it in the warm sunlight between swimming, reading, and visiting with my friends and neighbors.

The pattern I hand quilted on this piece is called the Bishop’s Fan. It’s one of my favorite patterns. The curves are very gentle, and it softens a quilt that is pieced using all straight seams or is angular. 



I try to make my stitches as consistent as possible. But this is hand work, and it’s not always perfect. The imperfections really do give it a hand made feel. Over the many years I’ve been hand quilting, my stitch length and spacing has soared – practice really helps.

It’s easy to see the fan shape in this photo. I mark the quilt before I begin the sewing using a template bought from a store, and use a number 2 pencil. I wash the quilt when it’s finished, and the pencil markings that haven’t worn off come right out in the wash. 

I used Prescencia Thread 60 wt., hand quilting thread, which is my favorite. I chose a neutral color that would show the stitches and pattern, but don’t scream with color and overshadow the fabrics and distract from the overall pattern of the quilt.

There are many types and brands of “quilting between needles.” I mostly use Colonial Needles, number 10. They also make a hybrid needle, which I use too. The eye is bigger, but the shaft of the needle is skinny, so it quilts through the three layers smoothly and easily.


It’s easy to see the stitches on the front and back in this photo. I love this backing with the little hearts.

I dedicated it to our cat Emma. She sleeps on it when it’s on the couch. We use it too for naps, and sometimes when we watch TV or read.

Check out all the beautiful quilts that other quilters have made. Click this link to link-up up with Amy’s Creative Side Bloggers Quilt Festival, Spring 2015. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The quilts can be entered into one or two of several categories during May 15 – May 21. You can vote for your favorites beginning on May 22. There are many great entries to inspire and delight you, and you’ll enjoy discovering new blogs and quilters.  

http://i2.wp.com/www.cookingupquilts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/BQF.png

Happy Quilting!!

The Roxette Thimble and a Give-a-Way from Colonial Needle

Earlier this week I had a chance to visit with Tom and Jim Collingham at Colonial Needle in White Plains, New York. They showed me their new quilting and sewing thimble, the Roxette, which comes in five playful colors.
 

Each color represents a different size; purple – extra small 4 1/2, pink – small 5, yellow – medium 5 1/2, green – large 6, and blue – extra large 6 1/2. Which colors are the most popular? If you guessed yellow and green, you would be correct, because they represent the most common sizes.


THIMBLE SIZING CHEAT SHEET
MEASUREMENTS – INSIDE RIM
DIAMETER
MM
19
18.5
18
17.5
17
16.5
16
15.5
15
14.5
14
13.5
13
12.5
12
11.5
INCHES
12/16
12/16
12/16
11/16
11/16
11/16
11/16
10/16
10/6
10/6
9/16
9/16
8/16
8/16
7/16
7/16

 

CIRCUMFERENCE MM

60
58
57
55
53
52
50
49
47
46
44
42
41
40
38
36

 

INCHES

2 6/16
2 5/16
2 4/16
2 3/16
2 1/16
1 15/16
1 15/16
1 13/16
1 13/16
1 12/16
1 11/16
1 11/16
1 10/16
1 9/16
1 8/16
1 7/16
CORRESPONDING SIZES
Roxanne
10
9.5
9
8.5
8
7.5
7
6.5
6
5.5
5
4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
Roxette
XL
L
M
S
XS
Raised Edge
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
6
5
4
Magnet Top
L
M
S
S/XS
Ladyfingers
XL
L
M
S
P
Crimp Top,
Dome Top &
Quilting
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4

 

Colonial

(nickel plated)
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
6
5
4
Simons Bros – Sterling
15
14
13
12
11/10
9
8
7
6
7
PONY
12
10
8
6
3
MEASURING THE CIRCUMFERENCE
Measure in metric or inches, but metric is more accurate.
TRADITIONAL THIMBLES
1. Wrap a narrow 1/8” strip of adhesive tape or paper around the first knuckle.
2. Place a mark where the end rests against the wrapped strip.
3. Remove the tape or paper strip from finger and measure its length from the end of the strip to the marked point. Repeat this process a few times until you are consistently getting the same measurement.
4. Select the corresponding size closest to your measurement.
ROXANNE & ROXETTE THIMBLES
1. Wrap a narrow 1/8” strip of adhesive tape or paper around the midpoint between the first knuckle and the nail bed.
2. Place a mark where the end rests against the wrapped strip.
3. Remove the tape or paper strip from your finger and measure its length from the end of the strip to the marked point. Repeat this process a few times until you are consistently getting the same measurement.
4. Select the corresponding size. If your measurement is between two sizes, select the smaller size.
QUILTER’S NOTE 
Fingers shrink after quilting awhile, so buy SNUG fitting thimbles
4/9/2014
4/44/

These colorful, new zinc electro-plated thimbles sell for $19.95. The advantage to using the Roxette, is that it is so much lighter, and it never seems to fall off my finger. My raised edge thimble feels much heavier, which I’ve been using for 20 years. Even though it’s the right size, it often falls off while I’m sewing, which interrupts the rhythm that hand quilters count on and enjoy.

Do you notice the grooves, that keep going over the finger tip area until the lip? Those grooves work in the same way as the top of the raised edge.










The open back pleasantly accommodates long finger nails.

As I mentioned, I have used a raised edge thimble for hand quilting. Generally, I don’t use a thimble for regular sewing, but I know many sewers that do. I used it while hand quilting, and I have to say it is lighter and easier to use than my raised edge thimble. You know how we can all be reluctant to change? Now I’m a convert.


 

Roxanne and her daughter, Deirdra McElroy sold the Roxanne product line to Colonial Needle about 5 years ago. Through a correlative effort between Ms. McElroy and Colonial Needle, the development of this new thimble was invented. In marketing jargon, it’s a line extension from their more expensive line of thimbles, that run from $60-$130. They come in gold, sterling silver, silver plated and bronze.

 


 

The Roxette and the silver and gold thimbles can be found at local, independent quilt shops. 











 

This lovely give-a-way basket, courtesy of Colonial Needle, will go to one very lucky winner. Please leave a comment in my comment box telling us; when purchasing a thimble, how do you pick a size, when you can’t physically try the thimble on? If you don’t use a thimble tells us what your favorite notion is.


This give-a-way ends on Wednesday, April 16 at 12:01 AM. I will announce the winner later that day on my blog. Please leave me your e-mail address, so I can contact the winner.

Happy Sewing!!

A Visit to Colonial Needle in White Plains, New York, Give-a-Way, Part 2

The rest of the Colonial Needle story…. 

Two to three years ago, Colonial Needle acquired the North American Distributor of Presencia America, an outstanding thread manufacturer to their company. Presencia, located in Valencia, Spain is the maker of a wide variety of high quality threads. Below are photos of the threads and a thread color chart. This is what a quilter would use for piecing in their sewing machine. 

They also make this thread in cones for those who prefer that, or are longarm quilters.

I have tried this 100 % Egyptian, cotton thread and do not get lint, or what I call quilt dust bunnies, above the needle shaft or in the bobbin case, which is such a pleasure.

A lot of color choices.  Who doesn’t love that?

Both the embroidery thread and the Perle thread, is also 100% staple cotton. This means it’s not fused, extremely strong, colorfast and shrinkfast. And wait until you see proof below of that later in this post. I was wowed.

The embroidery thread has the same special aspects as the thread described above. It is really bleachfast. 

In fact, Jim and Tom showed me a minor’s jacket that had been through about 50 washings and quite a few bleachings. The ball of thread is three-ply Perle thread. Note the Ralph Lauren Polo Logo is as bright as the day it was new.. 

Now I’ll show you why I was wowed. When I came home, I compared it to other thread I’ve used for machine applique and hand quilting,that has been washed many times. Mine was faded in comparison to the Presencia. Check out the color of the perle thread ball that is the same color used to make that logo.




The interesting thing about the hand quilting thread is that it is thinner, but still 3 ply. Thinner individual threads, are used but into a three ply finished product. It comes in 40 wt., 50 wt. and 60 wt.




The photo above shows the crochet thread above, and the Perle thread I have been referring to. The Perle thread that is 3 is very thick, and best used for using for hand stitching in crazy quilts, or as an alternative to embroidery thread. The 5,7, and 8 is good to use in the top thread in your sewing machine, but too thick for the bobbin.  The 8 is mostly recommended for Sashico.

The 40 wt. is perfect for hand quilting. The 50 wt. is used for machine piecing and machine applique. The 60 wt., is finer, although 3 ply as well the others, and is used for hand applique.

Colonial Needle http://www.colonialneedle.com/offers a wide variety of notions, and other sewing products,including thimbles, felting, cross stitch kits, hoops, pins, measurers and knitting and crocheting supplies. They sell to independent shop owners. 

In Part 1, I promised I would re-post the very help Colonial English Needles chart, and here it is. I also posted it on my pinterest page, http://www.pinterest.com/annieb1971/quilting-tips-and-tutorials/

 

 

The team at Colonial Needle put together in incredible gift basket. I took a few photos so you could really see the variety of products and how much is in this very large and cool basket.



Our cat Biscuit isn’t sure he wants to give it up.  But I know he is convincible. He is a true quilting cat and you will see more of him in posts. His little sister Emma is pictured on the masthead sitting on my quilting basket.  

All you have to do to enter, is subscribe to my blog and like Hudson Valley Quilts and Colonial Needle on facebook, and let me know in my comment box.  

Since we’ve been discussing this unusual cold weather, and this is optional, tell me what city you live in, and how cold it’s been where you live. We are in Ossining, New York and it reached -16 F with the wind chill factor.

I will announce the winner of this gift basket on Sunday, January 12 at 12:01 AM. It will be posted on the blog. But please leave your e-mail address, so I know where to send it.

Stay warm. Happy quilting. Have a great weekend!!


A Visit to Colonial Needle in White Plains, New York, Part 1

In December, I was fortunate enough to spend the morning with Tom Collingham, Vice President at Colonial Needle headquarters,in White Plains, New York. Not only did I learn a lot, which I am excited to share with you. 

Honestly, I also had way too much fun on that very frigid morning, learning about needles, thread and notions. http://www.colonialneedle.com/

Colonial Needle is more than just a needle company, which I never knew. They have an amazing thread division; Presencia, notions and some other surprises to me, which I will get to later, in Part 2 of this post. They sell mostly to small independent shops.

Tom Collingham, Vice President and his wife Jameson, are the third generation of this quality-oriented family business, which is the sole distributor of English needles in the U.S.A.

A little quick history first. Jim Collingham, CEO, and his wife Terry, President, (second generation) are very active in the business too.

The beginning of this story starts in Watertown, New York. (Very, very cold winters. Just below Canada). Mr. Brabant was approached by F.W. Woolworth, and asked if he knew where he could purchase needles for his store. In 1925, Mr. Brabant found a supplier, Colonial Needle, in England and started a needle business in the U.S.

The small business eventually moved to 11 E. 31st. Street in New York City, then to Yonkers in the early 1990’s. Jim worked there after school and during summer vacations. Eventually he bought the entire company, and in 1999 they moved to a larger space in their current building in White Plains, NY.

Throughout the years Colonial Needles acquired Roxanne Needles, S.Thomas, 
John James, Richard Hemmings, and Mary Arden. Interesting fact – Mary Arden was started by William Shakespere’s mother.http://www.colonialneedle.com/html/trade-tools.html 

Colonial Needle offers a wide variety of needles for quilting, sewing, machine quilting, darning, weaving, crocheting and knitting. I enjoyed these displays, which is part of their archives. There’s a lot to be proud of here!!




Okay, how many of you have trouble remembering that the higher the number of the eye of the needle, the smaller the eye of the needle actually is? And the shorter the needle? This pop quiz only applies to hand sewing needles.     I do!!

Below is a great visual to keep by your sewing machine.  I had to photograph this in three parts, close-up so you can read it, and it’s still not as clear as I would like. I will find a camera or a scanner that will provide you with the entire chart all on one page, clearer, and re-post. It’s so helpful.

 
The very kind and very smart team at Colonial Needle put together this incredible gift basket. We took a lot of photos, because it is so big that I wanted you to really be able to see all of it. And of course, our other cat Biscuit, Emma is featured on the masthead sitting on my sewing basket, had to check it out and, he loved it.
.                                                                            
                                                                                                           
 In order  to win this beautiful basket, please leave me a message subscribe to this blog, and like Hudson Valley Quilts and Colonial Needle on facebook, and let me know that you did, in the comments box. Also, just for fun, tell me what city you live in and what the temperature is; this is optional. I’ll start. In Ossining, NY it’s 20 F, but feels like 12 F.
Please leave your e-mail address in the comments box, so I can get in touch with the winner. I will also post the winner on my blog on Sunday. This great offer ends on Sunday, January 12 at 12:01 AM.
Look for Part 2 of this post this by the end of the week.                 
In the meantime, for those of you who are feeling and experiencing this extremely cold spell,and icy weather, as we are in the northeast, STAY SAFE, STAY WARM, and QUILT.  Or at least wrap yourself up in a few 🙂

Happy Quilting!!

Happy and Healthy New Year!!

Welcome back!! I am glad I took a little break to be with family, friends, enjoy the holidays, and re-charge my batteries. During the downtime, I had some time to think about my personal and professional goals, especially those related to quilting and my blog.

When I started my blog this summer, I didn’t know any other quilt bloggers, or any bloggers for that matter. I read over 200 blogs before I officially launched Hudson Valley Quilts in late August, with the masthead and background you see now. I set up almost everything, technology-wise, except for those elements. I needed someone who really knew code. Thank you, Courtney. I am very grateful and happy because you made my vision a reality. You did such a beautiful job. 

I met some other quilt bloggers from all over the U.S. and Canada. Everyone was kind, helpful, and most of all friendly. Thank you for your help and suggestions. I hope to get to a few quilts shows this year, (hoping to meet some of you in person). I am especially excited to attend Fall Market in Houston this year, which I had to cancel out of a few days before, due to a fractured sacrum.

Although I’ve been quilting for 20 years, I participated in my first QAL this past fall with Fresh Lemons Quilts, and blogger/instructor Faith Jones. My quilt top is almost finished. I can wait to show it, because I added a few little surprises to make it my own, with the thought that it will go to my cousin’s newborn, due in March.

In 2014, I will be doing lots of interviews, including; fabric designers, authors of quilt books, and other bloggers. There will be quilt book reviews, similar to the one I did about Color Essentials, and some tours of manufacturers in our industry. 

Early this month, look for a post which includes an interview of Tom Collingham, who gave me a tour of the Colonial Needle headquarters in White Plains, New York. It was really fascinating and fun. A member of his staff also gave me an incredible basket of sewing threads, needles, and other notions for a give-a-way.

Other projects that I’ve been planning and prepping for are 2 kings sized quilts, using very cute and fun 1930’s fabrics. Also a very scrappy quilt using charm packs and some of my favorite scraps. 

We still have a little more work to finish the sewing room, but I am in there sewing and finally out of the dining room area. And I promised myself the fabric that isn’t put away will be, by the end of January.

My other immediate goal, besides finishing the quilt room, is to understand the amazing amount of new options and technology in my new Bernina 750. Be prepared for lots of show and tell!!

I think 2014 will be the year of new discoveries, and I can’t wait to share them with you!! Wishing everyone a healthy, and Happy New Year.