Saturday, July 31, 2010

Taking some time to tidy things up.

Many of you have noticed that my store-front is now closed.  I have tried to remove all of the front page links but I am sure I did not get all of them.  Don't worry it's not forever and if there is something that you really need just drop me a note and I will make it possible for you to purchase the files. 

Basically it works this way.. I have one month until my kids start back to lessons ( yep, we homeschool) and during that time I will be getting them ready and revamping the store front with new files, links, hints and tips as well as getting my longarm business up and running all while continuing my embrodiery/monogram.  But to do all  that I need to close the store- front to make the changes easy to accomplish. I will still be blogging here and there is a good chance that I will have some cool freebies in the coming days so do check back so you can see the progress!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh gads!  I woke up this morning with a start remembering that I had not picked a winner for the Halloween Fabric giveaway!   Then I had to find the hat.. pulled out the bunny... put in the numbers.. and picked number

That makes Deb the winner of the cute pack of Halloween scraps!

*I actually used the Random Number generator but for some reason  it will not cut and paste into my post.. and the bunny is so much cuter anyway!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I have some class

I am a saver.... like  magpie I have  hard time getting rid of stuff let alone not collecting more and from this I have a rather large stash of scrap fabric.. I have a certain way I store it that we will talk about later but for now just knowing that I can make lots and lots of holiday gifts from that stash is really comforting.

This project comes from the "strip bin" and while I would like to say in made  a real dent in that in you really can't tell I used any and I will have to make trivets for my whole county at this rate.  But look at those colors!.. happy huh?  I like the pop of the black on the colors but if you wanted something that more blended  a soft grey does the trick. 

I will be teaching a class in how to make these this Fall. I  will be teaching the the foundation skills that will move us on to making baskets and purses.. very cool.. yes?  But from that process the students will get really neat trivets, placemats and coasters all from their scrap baskets!

Want to take the class?  If you are in the Chattanooga area I will be teaching it this fall and would love to meet you!  I will be teaching at Chattanooga Sewing  (423) 899-3664 , call them a reserve your spot!

A wee bit overblown...

No need to gasp... I know it's over blown.. and beyond the pale but oh how I do love it!  I happen to have two cameras and while I had made a strap for my trusty Fuji my Cannon was still looking pretty lean and plain so I went the whole nine yards and used some Texture Magic and made this cha-cha camera strap from some of my favorite leftovers of the vintage sheets I used to make the curtains in my office.

The center part of the strap is runched using the Texture Magic and a simple running stitch and the sides are all full and fancy due to using my ruffling attachment for my machine.  I am pondering whipping up a pattern for this.. what say you?? 

I am pretty sure my husband will never be able to use my camera again!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Go Me!

Well I will admit that I obviously did not know what I was getting into since I thought that it might take an hour.. maybe two to get it all folded, bolted and stored back... Ha!

It's done and it looks pretty dang good if I do say so myself.  Where a week ago it looked like THIS  today it's looking a lot leaner, meaner and a lot more organized!

Top shelf  - clothing fabric, most on homemade fabric bolts made from foam core board

Second Shelf - baskets full of sizable scraps and fat quarters sorted by color. ( the other container is all Kaffe Fassette fabrics since I LUV them so much!)

Third Shelf - vintage sheets, muslin and quilt yardage

Fourth- Felt and novelty/freaky fabrics

Fifth shelf- (mostly unseen) large containers with batting and other odd ball items.

Not bad huh???

and YES... I got rid of that UGLY light fixture.  The one I got is school-house style, very simple to the point of plain but a nice relief from the stained glass monster!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


You didn't think I forgot did you? 

One of the best parts about being a designer is playing with lots of fabric but there comes a time when a studio hits a critical mass and you must admit that some of your fabric needs a new home!
So what I have decided to do is after each new collection is " in the bag", the scraps will also  go" in the bag"  and then that bag will go to a lucky reader!  If I have a huge amount of usable scrap of some really great fabrics I might also put a couple scrap grab bags in the shop for sale. 

The first Fresh Thread Scraptastic bag is filled with some really great Halloween fabrics all used in my soon to be released  collection.  The bag is full of  a few partial jelly roll strips, some small yardage ( less than Fat quarter size) and other sundry bits from 5 different fabrics.   If you are a scrap quilter this will be heaven!

Want a shot at winning it?
If so leave a comment making sure that I have a way to contact you and I will pick some time mid-next week!

And since I am such a tease I will leave you with a little peeky shot of the third wall hanging  in the Halloween triptych collection!

With Love from Dee

I just LOVE it when you all send me photos of what you have been doing with my designs and even better when you let me post it up!  Dee was so gracious as to let me see and share what she did with my LOVE design for the jumbo hoop.

Want some love yourself?   Well it's on sale now for less than the price of a Happy Meal.. so come and get it! ( click on the link to the right)

Thanks Dee! It looks... LOVERLY!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Have Been Cheating on My Embroidery Machine

Yep... It seems I am a hussy  who can't just be satisfied with one good machine.. it's seems I need a whole stable to keep me happy.

Please meet Sir Lancelot my new HQ 18 Avante. He is still a bit shy and I won't be talking about him a lot here ..but if you want to know more about this charming fellow you can find me blathering on talking about him over here at

and do check back tomorrow because there is going to be a nifty new giveaway.. and it's FABRIC!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Want another peek?

The machines are moving at a brisk pace here in the studio!  More Halloween fun in the making... got any guesses as to what #3 will be?

Also got this super cool organizer for my Hotfix stuff! 

But now I have a question.. where do you buy your Hot fix stuff?  I have gotten mine form a varied number of places but am still looking for a really good supplier with good prices but most of all good quality.. who do you like?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Spooktacular Peek!

It's not all about quilting and  studio redoing around here at Fresh Thread.. I have in fact been working on a few ideas for the Fall and I am ENCHANTED with this one.. in fact it's SCARY how much I think you are going to like it. A bit of BOO and  bit of BLING makes for a festive Fall that is for sure. Using the biggest of the big when it come to embroidery hoops this one is sure to bring a wicked sweet smile to your face.

Good things come in three's and this is no exception!
Got any ideas???

Friday, July 16, 2010

Step one!

Out with the really icky blinds!(see previous post) and in with some new flat panel custom window treatments!   These are made from some funky retro sheets that I had in my stash.. I love the way the light looks coming through them!  My view from this side of the house is not so great right now so this half panel mod style is just perfect for letting in the light but not the view!  My studio is on the second story from that side so privacy with this style of panel will not be a problem.

The construction was simple.. a top casing with the tension rod slipped inside and another smaller casing at the bottom with a small dowel rod inserted  to keep the fabric nice and flat.   30 minutes of work.. $0.. that is my kind of project!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Studio visit.....

Welcome to my studio, a totally unvarnished look at the space where I spend quit a bit of time.  Right now I am in the middle of redoing the entire room in preparation for a new Longarm quilting machine ( for more about that go to  but things are going pretty slow.   I have about two days to kick it into gear am get it done before the machine frame gets here! (eek!)  Over all the main space of the room is 17 x27ish but broken up in ways that are not overly helpful!

This is a vew from the entryway..  you can see how far I have gotten with the flooring and what I still need to do. To your left you can see my dressmakers dummy ~ Fancy~.. right now the poor thing has purses slung on her.. not very fancy at all!  The open door next to fancy it the cabinet where I keep all my stamping and paper-good supplies ( yep.. I like scrabooking too!)  The long view is straight out to the screene- in porch off our second story deck.

Here is a shot of my paper craft area in an Vintage English kitchen cabinet.. next to that is my 6 needle machine which runs most of the day and sometimes into the night!
Moving right along you can see the blinds that are ready to be traded in for new curtains... I really like having the natural light over my work table but need to work on more "night light" to keep my work space lit up at night.  You can see a bit of my thread.. I have 6 other bins that I still need to buy racks for!
The view out the back door.  Next week the guys should be here to replace that slider with French doors like in the rest of the house.
Panning to the right is the open area that is waiting for the new Longarm. The big open wall will have my design wall in place....what a luxury!

Pan more to the right past the design wall and you get to my "sewing deck". To make more room my other sewing machines have been packed away but I do keep out my serger and my cover lock machine to use with my Bernina 830 ( embroidery module is not on right now)

Extra cart to my right holds all my sewing supplies for the machines.. it rolls so I can take it whereever I need it in the room. Those with eagle eyes will notice that my desk is up high and I use a drafting chair.. that mean my pedal is on the box... pretty sexy huh??

Sneak around the corner a bit and you can see my  design area with my imac and all my books and what not. I have been making the most of this built in since it was here.. but I see a time when I will want to have it removed. And look at that chair.. what a sad looking piece.. I need to do something about that!

My WAY ugly light fixture that must GO! and my pared down fabirc stash..  On the wall is one of my new quilt patternes for the embroidery machine..  Circles of the Sun. It's a whole cloth quilt with reverse applique done in the hoop.
a uhhhh horrifying up close look at my stash.. piles of vintage sheets and who knows what else.. but I have plans... so do check back in to see how the things come along as I update the room!

Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comments! ( just click on the comment link at the bottom of this post if the box has not popped up!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Something old, something new....

Don't you just love it??  It's a vintage quilt square that I have had in my stash for years! It's really a total mess.. not square at all.. wonky seams and cut off points..but you know what?  I think it's beautiful!  I think of the woman who made it.. or maybe it was a girl.. who knows.. Not enough of anything and yet she  did it.. she made that block. She fudged and patched, she stretched and bunched and in the end all these years later it's getting a sashing set from me and  has been quilted into a wall hanging. (I will shoot photos of it when I get it up on the wall). 

 To honor the piece I left it alone as much as possible but did square it up a bit, added the sashing from some nice linen in my stash.  Then I pondered on how to quilt it.  After a while a settled on machine channel quilting the linen part since it was the " new"and hand quilting the "old" block with largish simple stitches that were similar to some that she used in part of a patch job that already was part of the block.

I am VERY happy with how this project came out and to me it's part of my statement about how I view quilting and needlework in general.  I do it for the joy.. not the angst of the perfect seam or the practically blood thirsty competitive nature of today's "high end" quilt world. 
I do it for the joy - the end.

In other news I am making headway on the Bari J fabric project... two 16x70 bench quilts for the big farm table.  I an IN LOVE with the little bird in this fabric and think I will take a stab at digitizing a small bird from a sketch I did based on her fabric.  To that I want to incorporate our family monogram and use it on the head chairs for the table... I will let you know how it goes.

In the mean time keep your eyes peeled... I am going to have a big sale over in the store front as I say goodbye to some of the designs ( they are being retired)

So..what else are you all doing?...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where are the days going?

Woot!... new fabric.. this time Bari J fabric .. a nice big "Fat Roll" of her collection from last year.. this was bought just for making the cushions for my benches at the big farm table.. the colors are just right for the room and I am VERY excited about it.

I have also been all about the bias and the quilt binding for the last few days
Making what could be a chore lots of fun is my Simplicity bias maker.  This fun contraption helps iron bias at the speed of light.  But not just bias.. it can also do single fold quilt binding, which has meant it's gotten a lot of work of late.  It works best on 100% cotton fabrics and I run it on the highest heat setting. It folds and irons all in one step... above I have it shown with the upper heat plate off as I position the fabric getting ready for it's ride through the machine.  I am pondering a tutorial on how to get the most out of this machine... if you think that might be a help to you please let me know!

Oh.. also please note that as Summer comes to a close I am going to be redoing the free files on my sidebar and they might go away for a while or forever so if there is anything you want grab it before it's gone! :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

So you ask about thread...

Today's question from Sewmamasew was about thread... I am a thread user.. like in a big way.. not as big as some but enough to devote major space and dollars to my collection so that at 11pm i don't have to worry about not having the right color for any project I might get a wild hare to begin.

The questions were;

How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?

I buy in bulk 2 times a year.. Regular sewing, machine quilting and hand quilting. I buy the whole color line.. I am freaky like that.

Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?
 Like most things.. it depends, but if i can't match I make sure to go a to a deeper tone since thern you will lnot have "flash" on the seam lines

Do you ever use contrasting thread?
sure.. i use varigated thread often to hilight seam details, but advise my students to start with matching colors which are much more forgiving.

Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?
Yep.. and yes it means I have tons of bobbins. Compounded by the fact that my two main machines take different type bobbins!

What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?
I lay out thread on top of the fabric.. squint my eyes and the thread that disapears is the winner :)

Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?
 Don't buy cheap thread.. just say no!.. if you are starting out and funds are tight.. black, soft white and dove grey.

Can you show us a picture(s) of your thread collection?
I have 500+ spools of thread.. the ones above are from a recent haul of Mettler from the 50% off sale at my local big box fabric shop. They have teh sale 2x a year.. and at that point I buy 2 of every color on the rack.

Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?

No need... I have them all :)

Do you “invest” in thread?

at 500+ spools I think the answer is yes

What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)
uhhhh what don't I have...ohh I don't have much silk thread.. but otherwise I think I have it covered.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Moving Right Along..

Hello, hello.. I hope that everyone is really enjoying their Summer so far.  Mine has been wonderful and  while I am not posting up any new collections right now I sure have not been sitting on my behind!  Lots of things going on... in no particular order....

I finished my king sized Wonky Logcabin quilt for my masterbedroom.  I love it and if i do say so it came out pretty darn well!

There were 30 main blocks and shashing so pretty simple design wise. It was moving around all that fabric for quilting that was a real bear. Soooooooo I decided that i needed one of these!

yep... late this week you will find a brand spanking new quilting machine in my studio.. I can't wait.

But in the mean time I will get a move on quilting my Tour de France challange quilt... what?.. you don't know about the challange?... yikes... well look on the right side of my page.. find the Coffee and Cotton "tour-challange" link and give it a click to learn more.

This is my first piece for the challange..  it's a wonky wheel all done in Kafe Fassett fabrics.  I did the center, off center to give it a sense of movement.. I think it worked!  I have it pinned and ready to quilt but do seem to be a bit stuck at this point since I don't know how I want to quilt it!  I hope inspiration strikes soon!

And since it has been whispered to me that I am no doing near enough embroidery I would like to point to this as evidence that I have not abandoned my machine... my second TDF challange piece uses reverse applique circles  which are made on the embroidery machine to highlight my favorite vintage sheets some of which I am down to mere scraps left and I wanted a good way to preserve them in my mind and heart..

This custom embroidery design will be available in the Fall as part of a new whole-cloth quilt pattern (eeek!)  and for straight embroidery download.  I will also be featuring this technique in a class that I will be teaching this Fall here in Chattanooga.

So there..I am totally not sitting on my butt!  ;-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Here we go......

9 fabrics, and a 9 degree wedge ruler and I am ready to go with my personal Tour de France!
The fabrics are all Kaffe Fassett* but from different lines.  I broke my long standing bad habit of not using soilds by adding 3 solids in shot cotton to this grouping.

Now on to the sewing!

** There are those who are a bit troubled by trying to figure out how to say this most wonderful man's name. 
 To ask him, the man himself says it sounds like "Safe Asset."
So there you go!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Photo Credit.  Me!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

Come ride with me!

Today is the start of the Tour de France, but even better it's the start of the  Quilt challenge in it's honor!  Check out my side bar for info on Ms. Robyn's most amazing quilt challege ever!  I am ploting out a quilt all based on circles... I think it's going to be a whole cloth thing and I think it's going to have some machine embroidery aspects.   I am running a bit late on it all since I got my king sized quilt done yesterday... photos soon! :)