Maxie Makes Subscription Sewing Box - August 2018

Want a peek inside the August 2018 Maxie Makes Subscription Sewing Box?  Click the video below! This month features Bonnie Christine's newest fabric line, Gathered, for Art Gallery Fabrics. We brought a project that was requested several times when I polled earlier subscribers: Paper Piecing! Whether you love it or avoid it at all costs, with the help of my friend, Sarah Overton, you'll overcome any hesitations quickly with her expert tips and attention to detail in her original patterns. This month we make the Tony Danza Mini Quilt!

Just to give you a glimpse of the planning that went into this month's box, one of the first steps I usually take is to create a mock up of the project. The one above, left, was made in EQ8, quilt design software. I imported images of Bonnie's fabrics and and had fun creating with Sarah's block design. With a few final changes, the outcome, right, was fairly predictable!

Maxiemakes

Because Sarah is such a great teacher of paper piecing, I asked her to help with the video tutorial and we had so much fun that day! There were plenty of giggling bloopers, but we ommited them for the sake of respectability.

Join the learning fun! Click here to subscribe! Thanks for stopping by!

Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Presenting the "Hello, Bear Buck Forest" Quilt Kit!

Quilt kits make our lives easy and let us get straight to the fun of sewing! This project was a long time in the making, but today's the day that I can finally say that the "Hello, Bear Buck Forest" quilt kit is ready! The Buck Forest fabric line, designed by my daughter, Bonnie Christine, is now a basic with Art Gallery Fabrics, but it is originally a print from her "Hello, Bear" fabric line. Prompted by my good friend, Linda, I began to think about using Hello, Bear to make Buck Heads and border it all with a Buck Forest print.

Hello, Bear Buck Forest Quilt

The quilt, which is 76" x 84" includes sixteen (16) pre-fused, die cut buck heads, (ready to apply to the background fabrics!), background, sashing, outer border and binding fabrics!

I used Lite Steam-a-Seam2 as the fusible material for each head. This product is re-positionable and very easy to work with. Although touted as "no-sew" on the package, I recommend stitching around each head after fusing in place. To do this, simply drop your feed dogs and work free-motion style with each block individually, before constructing the entire quilt. I recommend a dark thread in the bobbin and top, and I'm loving this whimsical straight stitch, with about 3 rounds to hold everything securely.

Stitching the edges of Buck Forest Blocks

However, I have to share that I found an even easier way to stitch the Buck Heads in place...on my Handi Quilter long arm machine! I simply loaded the completed quilt top without the batting and backing, put dark thread in the bobbin and top, and stitched away!

Stitch Applique´on the Handi Quilter Long Arm!

I may never look at applique´ the same again! I've stitched applique´ on my long arm in the past, but always when loaded with backing and batting, which results in a lot of stitches on the back side of the quilt. Working with only the top loaded prevents any of the these stitches on the back, and allows me to use dark thread in both the bobbin and the top, regardless of my backing fabric color! (This quilt's backing, by the way, is Art Gallery's billowy cotton voile. Soft.)

For the quilting, I chose a free-motion woodgrain design in Superior Thread's clear Monopoly, allowing me to stitch over the Buck Heads without conflicting with the applique´stitches. Straight lines or simple meandering would also be great with that same thread.

So, go ahead, order my kit (here) and whip up a Buck Forest quilt for your own little woodland adventurer!

PS...Want a little back side view of making a quilt kit?

There were so many details to work out in creating this in kit form, and I began with contacting Custom Pro-Dies to make a die that would allow me to cut each buck head accurately and quickly. That required a letter of permission to the die company from Bonnie Christine before they would even agree to make the die. That's right. Bonnie gave me exclusive rights because I gave birth to her.

Even before the die was ordered the quilt and yardage had to be determined. I work in Electric Quilt, so I downloaded Bonnie's fabrics into the program so that I could use the actual fabrics I wanted for the quilt. As soon as the die arrived I began the sample. I fused Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 on the back side of every buck fabric prior to running it through the die-cut machine. The machine will handle about 3 layers, so that required about 5-6 passes to cut sixteen Buck Heads.

After all the Buck Heads were ready, I cut the background fabrics to size and fused the heads in place. I use a steam press in my studio, which makes all the fusing more efficient and it results in a good, strong bond. This is how the rest went:

  • Make the quilt top.
  • Write a rough draft of the pattern as I sew.
  • Stitch the applique´ on my HandiQuilter long arm machine.
  • Reload the quilt with batting and backing. Quilting time!
  • Bind the quilt.
  • Photograph the quilt for the pattern. (This involved a trip to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC!)
  • Edit photos.
  • Figure fabrics for X number of quilts and place an order with Art Gallery Fabrics.
  • Order a boat load of Lite Steam a Seam2.
  • Cut Buck Head fabrics and Steam a Seam to size for each block, 16 per quilt kit.
  • Fuse Steam a Seam to each fabric, one by one.
  • Run fabrics through die-cut machine.
  • Cut fabrics for background blocks, sashing, outer border and binding.
  • Prepare final draft of pattern and order copies.
  • Assemble and package quilt kits.
  • Begin dreaming about the next quilt I'll make...

Happy Sewing! Thanks for visiting! God bless, Maxie

Lambkin Goes To Spring Quilt Market!

It's that time again...Spring Quilt Market with all the preparations and excitement for new fabric lines, notions and products! I always anticipate Bonnie's new fabric lines and have the unique opportunity to get my hands on them before they hit the stores! I'm excited to share two little quilts made from the line, with a video, (below) sharing a few of my favorite sewing features on my machine.

Little Lambkin loves it!

Bonnie's newest line, Lambkin, will be released by Art Gallery Fabrics in August, 2017, and it's justifiably as sweet as all her previous lines!

Lambkin Fabric by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics
Both Quilts.jpg

Both quilts are made using the new pattern, Orange Blossom, from Plum Easy Patterns by Bethany Miller. The petals are not fused in place, but sewn! Don't leave, please, I promise this is easy and that you'll love the technique Bethany uses! (I'll link to Bethany's video tutorial at the end of this post!)

Bethany uses freezer paper templates for perfect curved edges and seams. Her pattern is also layer-cake friendly for a scrappy look.

Orange Blossom Quilt by Plum Easy Designs

Let me share with you three of my favorite sewing features on Baby Lock's Destiny sewing machine (These features are available on several other Baby Lock models as well!)

Orange Blossom Blocks ready for assembly!
Orange Blossom by Plum Easy Patterns, made with Lambkin fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

To view Bethany Miller's video tutorial for Orange Blossom Quilts click here! Thanks for visiting today! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Quilting with Clear Monopoly Thread

I love, love, love, quilting with clear Monopoly thread! It solves a myriad of problems for me (no more changing threads for different color fabrics, my boo boos don't show so much...). But, because it is clear, when meandering it can be hard to stay on track if I can't see my previous stitching path. I discovered that if I clip a small light to the quilt surface and point it over the previous quilting and toward the machine needle, suddenly I can see my quilted surface perfectly!

Quilting with the Mighty Bright Light

Working with Monopoly Thread is easy, but most quilters are a little shy about trying it. It's polyester, so there are no issues of longevity or damage to your quilt (as with the older nylon threads). I do not, however, use this in my bobbin because winding it can be problematic. I simply use my favorite bobbin thread to match the quilt backing. I use this thread in both my conventional Baby Lock sewing machine and in my HandiQuilter longarm machine, and both machines are quite happy with it! I decrease my upper tension slightly, and, on my HandiQuilter I skip one of the pretension thread guides. A size 14 needle usually works perfectly, but if I'm on heavy fabrics I might go up one size. Give it a try!

Another tip I can share is that I discovered the Micro Stitch Basting Gun for quilters! Look at the little black tags on the surface of the quilt...I think they look like fleas, but I promise they aren't! No more safety pins and no more hand basting and tangled threads! I love it! Don't have them on my website yet, but if you need one just send me a comment and I'll be glad to get one to you.

Using the Quilt Basting Gun

Thanks for visiting! Happy Quilting and God bless! Maxie

Organization in My Sewing Room!

My sewing room can get in a mess, for sure, but thanks to a good friend things are looking a lot better around here!  Through my quilt shop, I have met some of the most talented people and made some very sweet, creative friends. Meet a very special one today, Mr. Paul Johnson. His wife, Ann, is a prolific quilter/sewer, giving away most of the things she makes to charities and family. I can't say enough about how thoughtful and kind and generous they are.

 Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Sewing organizing tips at maxiemakes.com

Paul happens to love woodworking...and he's very good at it. His finished projects are as smooth as melted butter, and the woodgrain is fine and pure. He loves wood like I love fabric.

For my birthday, Paul and Ann (Ann's part was allowing it to come to my sewing room and not hers!) gifted me with a beautiful 'ladder' for displaying quilts. It lives in my sewing room, and when I'm working on a project that requires sewing lots of strips together I remove the quilts and hang my strips on the rungs! Placing the ladder right beside me at my sewing machine is like having a sewing butler at my side, holding the strips neatly in order for me!

 

Then...just look at this thread cabinet (below, left)! It organizes my embroidery thread cones and keeps them free of dust! The other cabinet holds containers of buttons and other necessities, all handy and harmonized. Notice the yardstick trim and wooden spool knobs on the doors? Perhaps one of my very favorite things is the embroidery hoop organizer placed between the two cabinets. Where else does one keep all those hoops? Oh, and don't overlook the ruler rack on the left wall. Thank you, Paul and Ann!

In addition to the things I've shared today, Paul makes wooden chests with clear sides and tops for storing quilts, custom plastic rotary cutting templates (any shape!), customized wooden quilt hangers, and thread stands for using large cones at your sewing machine. If you're in need of something beautiful to help you organize, just let me know and I'll put you in touch with the Handicrafter!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie