Saturday, March 15, 2014

National Quilting Day, March 15, 2014


This year, March 15, 2014, is National Quilting Day! 

"The National Quilting Association, Inc. began sponsoring National Quilting Day with a resolution passed by members attending the 22nd in Lincoln, Nebraska in June 1991. The third Saturday in March is officially designated as National Quilting Day, but over the years, observance of National Quilting Day has unofficially expanded to the whole month of March! This year the twenty third annual celebration will be held March 15, 2014."

 I've spent the past couple of cold, winter months working on quilted table toppers.

They are great little projects that give me a chance to practice my free motion quilting skills upon,
as they are easy to maneuver under my Brother Quattro 6700D machine.


Sue Palumbo, a quilter in one of my quilt guilds (who owns & reps long arm machines) helped me greatly when she told me to "think about making half hearts" while trying to do free motion *feather* quilting.  I had been struggling to make them look nice and that tip really worked great for me.  Thanks Sue!


These are some of the best free motion quilted feathers I have ever been able to accomplish!  I know they are not perfect but they sure are better than my first few attempts.

Of course, the fact that I made 2 of the patriotic colored table toppers and 2 Christmas patterned ones has given me LOTS of practice.  I'm told that is the only way to improve, so I'm working on them every chance I get, along with doodling on a dry erase board, too.


 You can see the quilting better on the back with the following photograph, below.

Some of the designs, like the center wreath motif, were done with my embroidery machine.
The designs were specifically digitized for quilting, meaning they are sparse & usually just one continuous run of stitching.


 The toppers, seen above, were all made from this pattern, called "Happy Holidays" from Atkinson Designs.
I intend to make another one in autumn fabrics, similar to the cover photo, later in the fall.
This size fits beautifully in the center of my octagon glass table in my sewing room and on the coffee table in the great room, as well.


 Now the following project, seen below, isn't for me to keep.
~~insert sad face~~

  It is going into the K.I.S.S. quilt guild auction, to help raise money for various projects & teachers through the year.

It is made from what is called an "Orphan Block".  Someone in the guild...(don't know who)...made this pretty Christmas Dresden Plate Block & didn't want or need it anymore.  Perhaps it was one too many for the quilt she was making?  

She donated it to the "Orphan Block" basket, which is a catch-all for any unused or unwanted quilt blocks.
This year, I was asked to be in charge of an "Orphan Block Challenge"...members were encouraged to pick out some of the "Orphan Blocks" & make something with them, then donate it to the guild's auction in May.  The guild provided extra fabric to add to these projects, but I didn't need any.  
I have so much fabric in my stash, I hope God lets me live long enough to use it all up!!


I carefully removed the Christmas Dresden Plate from the frayed muslin white background fabric & used clear, Mono Poly invisible thread (from Superior Threads) to attach it to some nice, heavier weight, bright white cotton. 

 I did a blanket stitch with my machine around each point & I used just a straight stitch, down the blades of each of the "fans", as they are called, to anchor it securely.

I then cut the white background fabric into a hexagon shape, added a narrow green & gold fabric border followed by a wider red & gold fabric, which matched the backing as well.  I changed the center circle to a matching red one
 ( you know how I ♥ RED!).
I enlarged it a wee bit, too.

DSC_3941 - Copy

After sandwiching it with *Warm & White* cotton batting, I did what is called "echo quilting" in the white area, following the peaks & valleys of the fans. 

 I had drawn a line straight out from each fan point & valley, to the borders with a blue wash-away pen, so I would know when to turn my walking foot, as I got farther out from the points.  I used the edge of my walking foot as the guide for the width of each echo & just kept working my way out & around.

DSC_3942 - Copy

 I thought it was a very effective & yet relatively easy method of quilting the main body of the topper.  It really didn't take that long, either.

I *stitched in the ditch* (between the seams) of the green border then had fun doing some free motion feathers in the red border.  I'm getting more & more at ease with doing them, after all these table toppers!

I sure hope someone bids on it, come May.


This last little project, which I've given you only a "sneak peek" of, above, will be ready for the auction in May, as well. 

 I need some sunlight to return to Ohio so I can capture some better photographs of it to share.
Stay tuned...there are several other projects to share with you a "Professional Tote" in tennis prints!

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today & thanks for hanging in there with me during my winter doldrums.  That SADD stuff happens every year for me.  I think I need to buy those lights you sit under, to mimic the sunshine.

I'll be joining The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sundays meme &  Marty's  A Stroll Thru Life for her "Inspire Me" party on Tuesday this week. Please stop by their blogs,  to see what fun projects other bloggers have been making.


  1. Wow, Rett! I love these! And that Dresden Plate should go right away at the auction! Can't wait to see the other from the sneak peek. Your feathers look great, too, on the first piece you shared. You have been a busy lady!


    Sheila :-)

  2. Wonderful quilting projects, Rett. You are doing so well with the free motion quilting. The orphan block table topper that you created is sure to win lots for the charity auction!
    Hope the sunshine soon returns for you.

  3. Rett, you do such beautiful work, makes me wish I enjoyed sewing. The Dresden plate topper is beautiful and will go immediately...sure wish I lived in your area so I could bid on it.
    Have a wonderful week.

  4. Rett, you always amaze me with those quilts. I wish I had learned how years ago because I love them so much! I Know someone will bid on your lovely creation.!

  5. Absolutely spectacular!!! I love them all and look forward to seeing the fall one. I can't believe someone didn't want that "orphan" block, you really gave it a great new look! Fun:@)

  6. Your projects are always so very nice and perfect!

  7. Your toppers are really lovely,Rett , and such a great way to celebrate a season. The "largess" of sewing quilts is one of the things that eventually led me away from quilting but these toppers are just perfect little projects. Your feathers look perfect to me and what a great tip! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I'm really impressed with your quilting. I never had much luck with FMQ. The Dresden plate piece is going to be very popular at the auction.


  9. Wow, Rett, your quilting skills are awesome! I have tried some free motion quilting and know how impossibly difficult it is. As you say, its a matter of practice, practice, practice and lots of artistic ability as well. The Dresden Plate is one of my favorite patterns. Beautiful work, my friend. A table topper is the perfect size to learn on. Large pieces are overwhelming.

  10. I don't know how you can stand to give away one of those treasures. They are all fabulous! What talent, you are truly blessed!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day...wishing you sunny days!

  11. Such wonderful talent and I am envious. I don't have that talent or desire....I guess we all have our very own talents. I am sure your table topper will be snapped on immediately. xo

  12. Rett, your work is lovely. I'm always impressed with your quilting projects. I've done some hand quilting, which was not easy, and I can't imagine controlling the long arm to do this large area quilting. You do a beautiful job! Thanks for sharing your projects. I think the orphan block project is a clever idea. Your piece is certain to be a favorite.

  13. I am always just blown away by your skills. Wow! They are all just beautiful. I hope you make the Halloween one too! Isn't that cute? Whatever that cupcake is...I love it. Winter gets to me too and this winter has been so awful. I just wanted to sit and eat carbs! We just got back from a few days in Florida and I couldn't believe how much better I felt just to see green grass, flowers and blooming trees!

  14. They are just stunning! This is on my bucket list of things to dry and learn. I tried it once, but it was horrible! I probably need to take a class. You sure are full of wonderful talents!

  15. Don't worry, Rett...God will give you plenty of time on this earth to finish up all your stash because he sees how much you enjoy making beautiful things to make others smile. I believe that God will reward that in you!

  16. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us, Rett. I'm always in awe of your sewing and quilting skills. I liked getting a sneak peak of your latest project and look forward to seeing the results. xo

  17. Check online for website that offers thousands of embroidery patterns and Designs for machine embroidery digitized by the finest artists in the industry.


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