Pine Needles and Beginnings

MarveLes Art Studios Blogs, My Life's Stories 4 Comments

Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts with the passing of our dear Pappa.  Your prayers are treasured, and we have felt them! We miss him terribly, but we have also grown closer to our heavenly Father, and our family, and felt his healing touch through it all in myriad ways.  Heartfelt thanks from us both.

So we are getting back to the ‘norm’ as it’s said – the new normal, I guess you’d say.  While it’s been really good to be back home for the past day, to catch up… sort mail, laundry, dust bunnies, and kitty boxes! Onward and… upward!

Some of you have asked me about ‘how I do what I do’ kind of questions.  One of things that helped jumpstart my own creativity, and the passion and love that I have for machine quilting started… way back when, when these “Pine Needles” patterns, by Montana artist, McKenna Ryan were quite popular, in the early 2000’s.  They were the jumping-off-point for my quilting ‘experiments’ as I look back on it. I have quite a few of them, and I made several of these types of quilts as gifts, and for my sons.

At that time, I was encouraged by the quilting ‘people’ – stores and such, to use invisible thread, and although I faithfully followed the directions, it didn’t take long for me to become bored.  AND… I was none too pleased with the high maintenance of using it, tension and otherwise.  One day, after I saw how I got tangled up in it, (without knowing it) and made a web of invisible thread across my sewing room — I soon left it behind, and so began my interest in using metallic threads…

Since then, however, there are better choices in invisible threads.  My preference, if I use it at all, is Superior Threads, mono-poly. Note to self about labeling, here.  It’s a ‘polyester mono-poly’ – which means it’s a polyester fiber – it will melt at very high temperatures, but not normally at average temps of your iron.  Also, it won’t turn yellow or brittle on you, either.  Superior Threads has truly wonderful videos and great explanations about the difference between ‘mono-poly’, and those labeled ‘polymide’ — which is the chemical name for nylon, or nylon monofilament which are NOT the same thing as polyester monofilament.  Seems like a lot of confusing language to you?  Check it out on their website by clicking here to see the info about this type of thread in particular.

The quilt above is also one of my first ever quilts.  I’m quite fond of it, and I can appreciate looking back on it, and seeing how my quilting has evolved.  As you look at these pics, you will notice I used a metallic thread, instead of invisible thread.  If I’m going to quilt something, nearly 99% of the time I want my quilting to show!  Yes… even though it’s noticably ‘wobbly’ it was great fun for me to make this quilt, ‘way back when!’

 I still have this quilt, hanging in our guest bedroom.  The velvet paw prints were my inspiration that the pattern did not call for.  Yes… it was a bit tricky, as they are velvet, and have a nap, and it was a stretch velvet to boot.  So… gentle with the iron and fusing, which I did at that time because I didn’t know how better to do it.  I’d use a needle board and pressing cloth, and perhaps a bit of a glue stick, too…

 I stippled the background trees with metallic thread (then it was the Sulky brand, cuz that’s all we had).  It broke alot… but I stuck with it.  That’s when I really started learning how to handle it better, using lower tension, and a metallic needle. 

This quilt is a sweet reminder to me of beginnings.  I still enjoy looking at it, at the the tiny little velvet paw prints I painstakingly cut and placed on it.  I dearly love the background fabric, designed by Nancy Crow.  And what I love even more is remembering the sweet time of learning about something I love to do even more now.  Although I’m tempted to go back and ‘fix’ this little quilt… I won’t.  It has more value in it’s originality than anything I could do to it now. 

EnJOY the process!  EnJOY the life we live, today and every day.  Blessings to all of you, my dear blog friends, and to my pen pals.  We treasure your prayers and friendship.

Love and Blessings,

Comments 4

  1. I just love McKenna Ryan and did a block from one of her quilts, of course very little machine quilting then. I bet you can't buy her pattern for $8.50 now. LOL I always learn something from you, thread, etc, but did not know Mckenna Ryan was a MT. girl. Glad you are back and getting settled in.

  2. What a lovely quilt and thanks for the tip about the mono thread. I have one of McKenna's patterns somewhere. I need to find it and add it to my bucket list.

  3. Welcome back! Thanks for the reminder that life is a learning process and our early efforts, although imperfect, helped us along the learning curve~

  4. Welcome back to normal! lol I do luv those paw prints! If we went back to improve all the older things, I'm afraid we'd have no time to move ahead. I'm learning all about threads myself. I couldn't believe the lint my last try produced. Thanks for sharing your experiences. All of them! ;^)

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