Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gale's Gallery IV: Quilted Wallhangings Anyone Can Make

As I've said before, I really don't sew...but if you classify it as crafting and durability isn't an issue, I can get by.  It has to be simple though, with impressive results of course!

My first original design was this stained-glass style show Yorkie.  From the collection of Barbara Alexander.

This Yorkie wallhanging was made with the "simple" stained glass technique.  I designed the dog, cut it into parts, then fused it onto black fabric leaving a space between.  Then I stitched the pieces down using decorative stitching where possible.  I added a border, then layered it over batting and a backing fabric. I pinned well and quilted by using black thread and "stitching in the ditch" so you can't see any mistakes LOL!

I added some beads and a bow for some additional accents and texture.  I gave this quilt to my dear friend and Yorkie breeder Barbara Alexander as a Christmas gift.

This one I made for my terrific neighbors Gerald and Diane Graves.   Pattern from Details by Diane.

The Iris wallhanging was from a pattern (ugh--I had to follow directions!)  I took a class at Quilttrends in Columbus, OH because I was determined to actually sew something.  This is my first quilt project that was actually completed.  There are many patterns like this and they are by and are also available at quilt stores.

(I have a large quilt that has taken 8 years so far to finish.  I will see if I can snap a photo of the it in progress.  Another wonderful friend, Kim Nelson has been hand-quilting it for me.  It was not an easy task for many reasons!  Bless you Kim!  When I get it back I will have fun adding more embellishments!)  That can be a post for another day...

I decided to make a couple more wallhangings for gifts that year.  What was I thinking???? I barely got the last one done Christmas Eve afternoon.  This year, I didn't make anything!

Here is my wonderful stepmom Betty with her wall hanging.  However, as you can see below, she made a much more awesome hand-quilted full size bedspread for my daughter Audra out of fabric from clothes she had made her over the years.   

So, Audra and I just finished making Betty some squares so she could have a full size quilt without me actually constructing it....that way I know it won't fall apart!  See below.

These are called "Mary's Garden" flowers that will go on blocks.  I cheated and used non-woven fusible web.  Really easy!  This is really bright so it will look great at Betty's Florida winter home.

Behind the kids is a vintage (60s or early 70s) completely hand stitched quilt by my grandmother Louise Williams.  She used to poke her finger every stitch to make sure it went through.  Yikes!  Each butterfly is different and you are only seeing about a 1/3 of it.

Some good resources are at your quilt shop, library or online.  Try Alex Anderson's "Simply Quilts", "Quilt-In-A-Day" with Eleanor Burns, Fon's and Porter's cable shows if you can find them.  They all have written bunches of books also.

Unlike the knitting rules, I don't have many sewing ones (I'd break most of them anyway.)  My seam ripper is my most used tool:(

Da rules:

1.)  Even if you don't want to rip it out, nothing is a mistake if you can make it part of the design.:) 

2.)  Start small (large projects are hard to sew)  Do as I say and not as I do.

3.)  Seriously, don't scrimp on fabric.  You will regret it.  I only use quilt store fabric and thread that is heavier and colorfast.  A clerk at JoAnn's said instead of raising prices, they just order the fabric thinner.  UGH!  You will pay more, but you will have a better project for sure.  I use my 40% coupons on tools. 

4.)  Always buy enough fabric for your project.  I never learn! 

5.)  Fat quarters cost more than a straight 1/4 yard cut, but straight 1/4's are really narrow!

6.)  Actually read your sewing machine manual.  I keep mine with my machine as I always forget stuff.

7.)  Measure twice, cut once.  Unless you are like me and just never do anything requiring exact measurements:)

8.)  Never use your fabric scissors for anything else!  (Never use hair shears for anything else either!)

9.)  Always unlock your rotary blade before you lay it down and make sure there is something (a thick ruler, etc.) between it and your other hand when you are cutting.

10.) Take a class--that way you might not have to learn everything the hard way. 

11.)  Throw away your thread every few years as it will get brittle and break off in the middle of a strategic spot.  This is hard for me too.  I hate to waste supplies, but it must be sacrificed for the good of your next project!

12.)  You don't need a lot of gadgets, so be careful when shopping to get multi-purpose tools.

13.)  Organize and store your stuff-- I spend more time hunting then crafting as I like things put away.  I also re-buy stuff now and then because I don't see it, then there it is...

14.)  Finish what you start!  No UFO's (unfinished projects)!

Well, I hope this inspires you!  I would love to see your projects!

Quote of the Post:

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." George Bernard Shaw

Until next time,


  1. Beautiful work Gale. Didn't know that about thread going bad. Not that I am going to throw mine away, I'm not wasteful at all, but now I know why some threads keep breaking. Love seeing your wonderful work. Oh BTW, don't ever put your quilts in the dryer. Mine are ALWAYS hung out to dry. Remember the dryer is what is so hard on fabric. I dry nothing but my towels now.
    Cher Sunray Gardens
    Goldenray Yorkies

  2. I like all your quilts but especially love the Iris wall hanging. I would love to quilt and have made an attempt this past year but new did get anything done.


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