Big Stitch Quilting
Thoughts on Big Stitch Quilting from Pepper Cory
Many times I hand sew because I find the rhythm of handling the needle—in, out, back down, in, out while gathering stitches— very therapeutic. The action requires total focus but my hands know more what to do than my brain. After a short while, the work happens without effort. I find myself stitching and my mind wandering. Call it a ‘mental vacation with a needle.’
Pepper Cory with her Big Stitch Quilt
This summer I pieced and Big Stitch quilted a small, simple quilt. After five days of work, it was done and I felt a sense of accomplishment and peace. The small quilt is coming with me to the upcoming Houston Quilt Market. If you’re attending, please stop by and see us—the quilt, me, and all the Colonial Needle family—in booths 1328 and 1329.
The quilt was pieced from 44 different colors (plus white) of the Peppered Cottons line of Shot Cottons from StudioE Fabrics cut into 3″ squares. The threads used to Big Stitch were varying colors of Size 8 Perle cotton by Presencia (found here). For the hand stitching I used the largest needle from the Big Stitch sampler pack by Colonial Needle (found here). I marked the lines to follow with stitches by using a big fat tapestry needle (their tips are not sharp) and scoring the fabric alongside a ruler.
Line marking technique used by Pepper on this quilt.
The quilting covers the quilt in a plaid of different colors of stitching—just the thing for those of us who love to quilt but bore easily when the work is too much the same.
Pepper’s Finished Big Stitch Quilt
Judy Moore Pullen’s Quilt Market Class
Applique and All!
Just when you thought that all forms of quilting have been learned and revisited, yet another tide of applique interest rolls in! We’re lucky at Colonial that we have an applique’ expert on staff. Judy Moore Pullen, a public school teacher for many years, turned her talents to quilting after she retired. Her special love is applique’ and she uses all sorts of fabrics and threads in her work.
Judy Moore Pullen
At the upcoming Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis, Judy is presenting two Take & Teach sessions for Colonial Needle. The first is class #308 called Wool Appliqué–Beginning to Advanced taking place Friday May 18th from 8-9:30 AM (before Market opens). The second is the next day (Saturday the 19th, 8-9:30 AM) and is #408 called Hand Applique’-Tips, Tricks, Tools, and Techniques.
Photos from Judy’s recent Wool Applique Class
Judy will educate you in a knowledgeable and gentle manner and answer your questions patiently. She is simply an excellent teacher. When you come to Market, you might as well learn from the best!
Nothing written about Judy is quite complete without a mention of her beloved pup Sable.
Judy’s pup, Sable!
Pepper Cory’s Spring Quilt Market Class
At the upcoming Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis, Pepper Cory will be talking about taking pride in your work and showing that pride in your store. She chose the common work apron as the canvas for this effort. She’s leading a Take & Teach session for shop owners called “Hand Embroidery for Modern Quilters and Sewists!” that takes place before Quilt Market opens (8-9:30 AM) on Friday May 19.
This apron is a chef’s apron, downloadable free all over the web. It’s super easy to make! This one is lined and features two embroidered pockets. The lower pocket is a sweet little row of flowers stitched in brightly-colored Presencia floss. Click here to see Presencia color options.
Embroidery in Progress!
The embroidery pattern is a heat-transfer from one of the Colonial Pattern Company’s “Stitcher’s Revolution“ series—#SR24 called ‘Flower Power.’ The upper eyeglass pocket is a single posey from the row. Outline Big Stitch quilting over machine stitching completes the embellishment.
Upper Pocket Embroidery Detail
Lower Pocket Embroidery Detail
While both companies are called Colonial something- that’s just serendipity! We, Colonial Needle, are in White Plains, New York while Colonial Pattern is out of Kansas City, Missouri. A link to their website can be found here. The two companies cooperate nicely as they print the patterns while we have the needles and thread to finish them!
The wind was blowing when the pictures were taken but we hope you can see the details!
Pepper Cory modeling her completed Apron
And just in case you need it, a DMC to Presencia conversion chart can be found here!
What do you do when your spool is too big for the spindle?
Thread Travel Hack #1
Advice from Pepper Cory
This is what happens when I travel and must borrow a sewing machine to work while in a motel room. The loaner machine is almost always someone’s vintage Singer Featherweight. It’s a workhorse machine but has only a skinny vertical unmovable spool spindle. Putting a Presencia spool directly on a Featherweight spindle means the spool rattles around the spindle when sewing and can even go flying off!
Note that Presencia, like most machine sewing threads, is wound on tall spools with large holes in the center. The spools are designed for horizontal positioning (laying sideways) on the top of the machine.
Spool Hack Step 1
The solution to the skinny vertical spindle vs the big spool hole is to beef up the spindle thickness. Easy-peasy. Get two drinking straws, one thin and the other slightly thicker. Cut a 4″ piece off both. Slide the skinny straw over the spindle followed by the larger straw. That’s it! Now the spindle is large enough to hold the Presencia spool securely in place. Happy sewing!
Spool Hack Step 2
Spool Hack Step 3
Presencia #40 Weight Sewing Thread
Pepper Cory loves Presenica’s #40 weight thread
If you want an excellent hand quilting thread (strong, color-fast, soft, and non-kinky) consider Presencia #40 weight thread. It comes 500 meters on a spool and in a variety of colors. It also comes in cones for those who need a LOT of thread or are machine quilting.
Presencia Cones on a Rack
I have been using Presencia exclusively for five years and been very happy. Can’t find it locally? Do not despair–you can order as a retail customer straight from the Colonial Needle Company website. The #40 weight 500 meter spools can be found here, and the #40 weight cones can be found here. And don’t forget to pick up your needles while you’re there too. Colonial Needle has all your favorites from John James, to S. Thomas, Richard Hemming, Mary Arden, and so many more!
Our Handy Tape II was featured in FabShop News Magazine!
Handy Tape is a self-adhesive measuring tape that is repositionable. The tape has a 12″ repeat and comes in a 25′ roll. It can be purchased at most specialty craft stores or on our website http://colonialneedle.com
Check out the full article in FabShop News Magaze here
We love when people send us pictures of their finished work!
This comes from our friend, Pat ElBayly
Jacobean Tree stitched by Pat ElBayly
Our “Jacobean Tree” is a counted cross stitch pattern stitched with Presencia floss. Congratulations on completing this, Pat, it looks wonderful!
This piece comes as a kit that includes the 18ct white aida, Mouliné Finca floss, tapestry needle, black & white pattern, and illustrated basic cross stitch instructions. It can be purchased through your LNS.