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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 2 of the IHAN® Machine Embroidery Blog Hop sponsored by Anita Goodesign

Mon., March 18th
Kelly - I Have A Notion SewCalGal
Tues, March 19th
Cindy - Sew Cindy Trish -
Wed., March 20th
Marjorie's Quilting Bee Margaret - The Average Quilter
Thurs., March 21st
Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri., March 22nd
Gene Black - Alabama Artist SewCalGal

Are you Hoppin'?  I sure hope you are :)   I have provided a schedule of blogs that will be posting during this Machine Embroidery Blog hop sponsored by Anita Goodesign.

Changing topics here.....and Update from the Family life of the IHAN® Clan:

A photo montage made by my brother.  He took photos of her grandchildren and made this photo of my mother.
As the regular IHAN® blog readers already know, my mother was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer on Feb. 26, 2013.   There were several flower arrangements, cards and hundreds of phone calls received from family and friends.   In less than  a week, all of her 8 grandchildren had come to town to spend time with their grandmother.  Two had to travel from Colorado and one from upper Michigan.  Her friend of over 40 years flew in and brought her daughter and spent a week with mom.  My 1/2 sister, who is not a blood relative of my mothers, also flew in.  Initially there was lots of activity.  After everyone has returned to their lives, we stay in touch using a website called : LotsAHelpingHands.  If you have never seen this website, it is incredible and I highly recommend checking out their Free services. We are able to keep everyone informed as to her health, procedures, share photos, share important documents and coordinate volunteers is all possible through the LotsaHelpingHands website. 

When my mother was first diagnosed all I could think of was the quilt she had asked me to make for her.  She had selected the fabric (Fandango by Kate Spain for MODA) and I had chosen the pattern (Big Ten by Swirly Girl Designs) but I had not had time to work on the quilt.  I did run home and make this pillow case for her bed at the hospital. 

A dear friend asked what she could do to help and I asked, do you think you could get some help and possible start my mothers quilt for me. 
Within 3 days, the entire quilt was done.  Talk about a "quilting miracle."  Ten very  dear women (Diane, Dale, Sandy, Marty, Carol, Linda, Joan, Nancy, Peggy, and Linda) spent a few days working on the quilt.  Dale then did the quilting using her long arm machine and Diane made the label.  I asked them to please leave the binding for me because I wanted to contribute and the binding is one of my favorite parts.
 I'll never be able to thank these ladies enough.  I could not have finished that quilt and been her to take care of my just would not have been done.  Now this "quilting miracle" covers my mother and keeps her warm. 

My mother has been "card bombed" in the last few days.  On Monday she received 46 pieces of mail and today she received 22.
If someone has to be diagnosed with a terrible life shortening sure is wonderful to have loving, caring and concerned people reach out and share some humor, joy and a tender thought.  Thank you to all of the bloggers who have sent my mother a card.  Each card is a bright ray of love and light that lifts her spirits.  THANK YOU!

Smiles of  Immense Gratitude,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Welcome to the IHAN® Machine Embroidery Blog Hop Sponsored by Anita Goodesign

Hello, this is SewCalGal back as a guest blogger today.  And, Jean is also helping out with this post too!

Kelly has organized a wonderful blog hop this week that we hope you'll enjoy.  Before I share insights with you, I do want to invite you to join us in wishing Kelly a Happy Birthday and hope all her special wishes come true!  SewCalGal and Jean also hope you'll leave a comment on this post to wish Kelly a Happy Birthday too!

happy birthday kelly copy

Time to talk about the blog hop.  Anita Goodesign is the sponsor for this wonderful hop and they have also donated prizes that will be offered on the blogs in this hop. Everyone is invited to join the fun this week and we encourage you to visit all the blogs for inspiration, tips, some tutorials, as well as more opportunities to win a great prize!

SHHHH....Kelly here.....
I snuck into this post, those girls thought I had my plate full (I have some of the best friends on this planet) but I just have to share with everyone what I made on Sunday for my Mom.  I choose the "Art Quilts" designs by Anita Goodesign for this blog hop.  
"Art Quilts" a Premium Design Collection from Anita Goodesign

I'll show you more of the designs I'll share my process with you :)
The instructions for these designs come in booklet form as well as on the CD. The instructions were very easy to follow.  The recommended stabilizer is Floriani No-Show Mesh.  I hopped it with some muslin as suggested.
Then I put some batting on top of the No-Show Mesh, the machine basted it in place.  Then I laid the background fabric over the basting stitch lines.  (It doesn't get any easier than this.....really.)  
 Lucky for me, the software  indicates which colors of Floriani Embroidery Thread to use.  I just had to change a few based on the colors of fabric I choose for the appliques.  All of the thread in this design is Floriani Embroidery Thread other than the bobbin thread.
I use Wonderfil Prewound Bobbins when I do machine embroidery....I like the convenience.  Winding bobbins is not anywhere near the top of my list of fun things to do.
The quilting lines were stitched first and then an outline stitch showed me where to place the fabric for the background of the angel's wings.  After they were stitched down, I simply cut around the outline.
Taking photos of every step would have bored you to tears so I've jumped forward a bit.  I used silk for the dress and the skin on the angel.  
Knowing silk can fray, I decided to use some Mistyfuse and fuse the No-Show Mesh to the back of the silk.  I could have used the Fusible No-Show Mesh but I didn't have a package open at the time.  
It always seems that I am stitching a project when the local quilt shop is closed.  I didn't have any flesh colored fabric but fortunately I remembered I did have some small pieces of silk dupioni. 
Believe it or not, I actually got all the way through most of this design without any mistakes....up until step 30 something.  The thread color that was indicated was a dark brown and it said it was for an outline.  Thinking it was for the bird, I just put it in the machine and hit the button. a minute or so I noticed the dark brown was outlining the hair.  I specifically made the angel with red hair and didn't like the dark brown outline.
The most difficult stitches to take out, in my opinion, are machine embroidery stitches.  I used my Famore Seam Rip and Famore Micro Fine Tweezers to remove that dark outline.  Where would I be without those tools? 
Here she is, a beautiful angel holding a dove....sans the dark brown outline!  
As promised, here are the other designs included in the Premium design collection, "Art Quilts."
The designs can be made into greeting cards, wall hangings, post cards, mug rugs or added into quilts....your imagination is really the only limit.

I hope you have enjoyed this little journey with me....I sure had a great time making this angel for my mother.

Now....back to post written by SewCalGal :)

Schedule for this blog hop that will share tips, tutorials, inspiration and oodles of giveaways:

Mon., March 18th 

          I Have A Notion® aka IHAN®- Kelly Jackson


Tues, March 19th

Cindy - Sew Cindy
Trish -
Wed., March 20th

Marjorie's Quilting Bee
Margaret - The Average Quilter
Thurs., March 21st

Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri., March 22nd

Gene Black - Alabama Artist

And, don't forget today is sweet Kelly's birthday.  Happy Birthday Kelly!'s me again....Thanks for the Happy Birthday thoughts....I've been bowled over by people remembering my birthday.  Sure does lift the spirits :) :) :)

If you leave a comment on this post you will have an opportunity to win a Special Edition Embroidery Software from Anita Goodesign.  (Value: $99.95).  Make sure you leave a comment on each of the participants blogs....there will be one winner from each blog!   Please join me in thanking Anita Goodesign for their incredible generosity.



Friday, March 15, 2013

IHAN Followers Are Invited to Celebrate International Quilting Day With IHAN and Hoffman Fabrics

Hi, this is SewCalGal, guest blogging at IHAN today.  While I don't have Kelly's great personality, I'm honored to be guest blogging at IHAN today.  And, even more excited to host a giveaway for followers of IHAN in partnership with Hoffman California Fabrics.

We are all hoping that you'll find time to do some quilting this weekend, to celebrate International Quilting Day on March 16th.

To help inspire and create quilty fun we have a giveaway. One lucky follower of "I Have A Notion" will receive a yummy bundle of Hoffman Fabrics.  SewCalGal refers to these bundle of fabrics as 'Sushi Bundles", as they are a collection of yummy Hoffman Fabrics, in a variety of slices, that you'll not find anywhere else, and they are all quilty edible. And each Sushi Bundle is unique and beautiful.

book review March-002

SewCalGal, IHAN, Hoffman hope you will spend time doing something quilt this weekend.  You may want ot visit a local quilt shop, it might be that you do some quilting at home, or in your sewing room, or you could be lucky to atten da quilt show, take class, or other wonderful opportunities.  We'd certainly love to hear what you are doing to celebrate International Quilt day.

If you want to enter to win this particular bundle of Hofman fabrics, you simply need to be a follower if IHAN and submit your entree thru the Rafflecoptror form.  There are also ways where you can get extra entrie by "Like" Hoffman on Facebook, or "like" IHAN on Facebook.
SewCalGal will pick up the expense of shipping this prize, but only for followers of IHAN, and those that live in the US. If you live outside of the US and want to enter this giveaway,  you need to agree to pay pay postage expenses if you win.

Enter this giveaway thru this Rafflecopter form -  Followers of IHAN Only

This post will be updated late Sunday to announce the lucky winner and SewCalGal will send them an email to let them know too!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and find time to enjoy and create, especially on Saturday (International Quilt Day).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest Blogger Post- Welcome Judy!

Hello IHAN® readers! I have the pleasure of guest blogging here today for Kelly - sending prayers and blessings to you and your IHAN® family, Kelly!
My name is Julia C. Wood (everyone calls me Judy).  After 30 years of living in Birmingham, AL, my husband and I moved to Auburn, AL, just six months ago. We love it here! It's a small town atmosphere with the benefit of the large university. We spend our free time attending football, basketball, and baseball games, not to mention gymnastic meets. There's a wonderful quilting community here, too, so I've made friends very quickly.

Some interesting facts about me:
1.  I have a degree in Engineering, but started quilting when our daughters were young.
2.  I almost always wear glasses, unlike the above photo shows.
3.  I've been a two-time finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, coming within 3 people of winning the million dollar top prize in 2000!
4.  We have two sweet dachshunds.  Yes, I'm a bit doxie obsessed...
5.  My maiden name is Cheape (pronounced "cheap).  Yes, I got teased when growing up!
6.  I love green olives, pistachios, and the color green.  Ha!
7.  I have two blogs. One is greenQuilts (, where I share my current projects and associated stories (plus a bit about the doggies, hubby, and more).  My newest blog is The Hexie Blog (, where I love to share hexie projects you've made.  If you've made a hexie project, let me know!  Email me at!
 My latest book is Quick and Easy Hexie Quilts, written with my good friend, Peggy Rhodes; it will be out very soon!  Q and E Hexies Quilts will be published by AQS; we're in the final editing stage this week!

Our new book teaches a unique method of making hexies - nope, it's not English Paper Piecing, and it doesn't use those plastic templates.  I wish I could share more about the technique, but you find out soon enough when the book comes out!  I can tell you that it's fast and fun and requires no basting!

In addition to teaching a different hexie method, the book has TWELVE patterns for projects!  Most of the projects lean toward the modern quilting trend. Quick and Easy Hexie Quilts is also a wonderful hexie reference - it has helpful charts you'll refer to time and time again.

 My first book was Fabric Photo Play; it came out in 2005, also published by AQS. It teaches my easy technique for making portrait quilts.

Here's one of my portrait quilts of Patches, one of the beloved dogs we had years ago - still miss him!

I enjoyed sharing with you all today and hope you'll come by my blogs to say hello and visit.
Thank you Judy!!! I love hexagons so I'll have to stop over the your other blog and have some fun :)  You are so sweet to be a guest blogger here at the IHAN® blog :)


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Special Request

As most of you know, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  I have been staying with her at the hospital and it has been very difficult for me to post to my own  blog much less read other blogs.  I want to thank everyone who has left well wishes here on my blog and for those who have helped me to keep posting to my blog.  I still have two more very kind people who have written posts and I've not had the time to get them up on the blog yet....but I will.

One thing I noticed is how getting cards has really meant a great deal to my mother.  I'm going to ask each of you to please spread the word that I'm kindly requesting that people send my mother a greeting card.  Please no "Get Well" cards, but any other type of card would be wonderful.  You can share an uplifting moment in your life, a joke, just anything to lift her spirits.  I promise I'll do the same for you and your family....all you have to do is let me know :)

Cards can be sent to:
Olivia Howlett c/o
Henry Ford Hospital Room P623
2799 W Grand Blvd 
Detroit, MI 48202

We are hoping she will be able to go home sometime next week so if you can send a card sooner rather than later, that would be wonderful. 

I have been taking care of myself, so many people have asked.  I'm sleeping when I can and eating well. Again, THANK YOU so very much for all the kindnesses that have been shown....a little goes a long way during times like this.

Appreciative Smiles,

Monday, March 11, 2013

SewCalGal's Favorite Notions at IHAN for Machine Embroidery

SewCalGal is delighted to be a guest blogger today at IHAN.  Over the years, Kelly has given me so many wonderful product recommendations,  that I've grown to trust her advice very much.  I also enjoy asking her frequently that "I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, but I'd like a product to do X....keep me in mind if you find anything".  And, love what she finds for me.  Like my own personal shopper.

As IHAN is hosting a Machine Embroidery Blog Hop next week, I thought I'd take time today to talk about some of my favorite Machine Embroidery Notions.  You may not have an embroidery machine, but many of these notions work well with regular quilting, free-motion quilting, threadplay and more.  I actually started doing machine embroidery many years ago, before I had a computerized embroidery machine.  Now a days, that form of stitching tends to be called Threadplay.

Famore Micro Fine Tweezers 3 1/2 in. A must have tool for quilting, sewing, embroidery enthusiasts as it easily picks up the finest thread. Makes it easy to rip out, including heavy dense stitching of machine embroidery.  But, when you'll also find you'll want an extra pair for you personal tweezing.  Absolutely wonderful tweezers that you just don't find at big box or quiltng stores. Well worth every penny!  Did I say Must Have?
Famore Micro Fine Tweezers 3 1/2 in.-
 Wonder Clips - 50 Count  Wonderful new tool for quilters that helps in a variety of ways.  Perfect for holding down your binding, but also very helpful when doing a machine embroidery project that hangs over your  hoop. These clips help to pin clip your project to secure it from getting caught under the hoop and ripping out stitching!
Wonder Clips - 10 Count-
Famore Titanium Ergo Spring Action Snips  These snips have become my favorite.  They are lightweight, sharp and great for cutting threads (and small fabric cuts).  I keep them close by my machine.  Definitely thinking I need another pair.  Love them!
Famore Titanium Ergo Spring Action Snips-

Floriani has a wonderful line of products for sewing, quilting and machine embroidery enthusiasts.    Great selection of threads and stablizers.  One of my absolute favorite toppers for machine embroidery on projects with texture (e.g. bath towels) is using Floriani Heat and Gone.  
MistyfuseMisty Fuse is a great product for anyone doing applique'.  Kelly introduced me to Misty Fuse and I've found it is also an excellent adhesive when doing machine embroidery applique', especially when the machine embroidery design has a lot of stitching. 
IHAN also has a collection of wonderful Machine Embroidery Designs and other notions perfect for those that enjoy machine embroidery, quilting, sewing, mixed-media arts, etc..


Schedule for this blog hop that will share tips, tutorials, inspiration and oodles of giveaways:

Mon., March 18th 

Kelly - I Have A Notion
Tues, March 19th

Cindy - Sew Cindy
Trish -
Wed., March 20th

Marjorie's Quilting Bee
Margaret - The Average Quilter
Thurs., March 21st

Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri., March 22nd

Gene Black - Alabama Artist

Don't forget IHAN is still in business.  Patience is definitely needed, as orders may take a wee bit longer to ship, but your business is still appreciated.  And, you'll still get Kelly's great Customer Service.

The odds are high that if you are reading this post you also enjoy purchasing items from IHAN and would recommend IHAN to other Quilters.  Still, SewCalGal is curious what is  your favorite product at IHAN that you'd recommend to others?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Update on my Mother

My Birth Family
 My Sister, Tracy, Me, my Mother, Olivia, my younger brother, Matt, and my older brother, Cordie.

Hi Friends,
It seems like I've slipped into a timeless zone where days and nights run into one another and I times passes in a flash.  I've been with my mother around the clock at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield MI since Feb. 26th.  She has been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.  She has been unable to eat for a few months and tomorrow morning the Doctor is going to do a by-pass from her stomach to her intestines so she can eat again and get nourishment. 

I want everyone to know how very much I have appreciated all the e-mails, thoughts and prayers that have been sent.  While it has been a very difficult time, we have also taken time to laugh.
After my mom had to have a NG tube inserted I thought it might be good if she didn't feel all alone with tubes coming from her face.  This is my own personal style of an NG tube...LOL.  She cracked up laughing.....laughter is good for the soul.

I'm grateful for friends who have written blog posts for me.  I"ll be posting them soon.

Still Smiling,
(Lots of tears....but some smiles and laughter too.)


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sewing and Stitchery Expo -- Puyallup, WA Part 2

Ok, so where were we from the last post? Oh yes, I was on the show floor looking around (aka, shopping). LOL!  I was good. I kept to my no new fabric promise. In fact, I only purchased stuff from one booth -- Pendleton Woolen Mills. (I know, I'm boring!)

This was what I got -- three cute little wool zipper pouches and those two wooden things. What are those wooden things? Take a guess and find out at the end of the post. (I gotta hook you into this somehow!)

I'm not much of a show shopper. I like to go to these shows to learn. This is where the event planners bring in the product reps and teachers to educate, educate, educate.

I did stop by a couple of booths and picked up some material to read and consider for later. This card was from a young lady sells a software she developed to make beautiful mosaic quilts. The quilt of a ballerina she had in her booth made me stop in my tracks. It was so beautiful! The card was from Tammie Bowser of the Mosaic Quilt Studio. Her software takes your photos and breaks the photo down to mosaic squares, groups and labels the pattern by color and also allows you to print a shopping list so you know how much of each fabric you need. Then you put these squares together, take a step away and gaze at the beautiful photo quilt you just created. She did a quick demo at her booth of the software and it looked like it would be really fun to use.

A second booth that caught my eye was that for the Pacific Northwest Art School. The pieces they had on display in their booth were amazing. The school was promoting their fiber art workshops. This school is located on Whidbey Island, north of the Seattle area. They offer coursework in areas ranging from painting, mixed media, fiber arts, and photography. Taking a course from them is now on my bucket list for sure!

My time on the floor was short, as it was time for my last class. I signed up for Boutique Buttons, A Designer Detail with Vaune Pierce. Vaune talked about how she creates buttons for her fine children's clothing line. She creates the buttons herself and uses all sorts fabrics. I loved how she uses embroidery to embellish her buttons. Here are some of her buttons. See the cute little "bee" button on the far left? that's a hand embroidered button!

Vaune also showed this beautiful dress, which was featured in an issue of Sew Beautiful magazine. These photos do not do this dress justice. The impeccable detailing in this garment were amazing! I learned one important tidbit in this class. The buttonhole with should equal the width of the button plus the thickness of the button!

I was lucky enough to catch up with an old friend at the show as well. She is from this area and moved back here about eight years ago. We used to work together at a major healthcare company. She now runs an embroidery business of her own (Spangler Stitchin Station) and does various shows here in Oregon. I'm so blessed to have been able to meet with her and see each other after all those years. She was one of the reasons I was so excited to be back in this area! Little did I know she would leave me with two surprises -- a stitched tote bag (which came in handy) and a very useful microfiber hair turban towel. She said her customers really like the turban towel!

So, let's revisit that photo from earlier. Have you figured out what the wooden things are yet? I'm keeping a pair as candlesticks. But they started out many years ago as wool bobbins! Yesiree, those are antique wool bobbins from Pendelton Woolen Mills. Aren't those cool? I'm thinking of using a couple pairs in my studio for something fun. (I have a sweet friend who purchased some more for me) I'm so excited to be living near a historical treasure of America. Pendleton Woolen Mills has a great history. I love their trading blankets and plaids.

We all enjoyed a nice fret-free drive home, showing our treasures and skipping the nasty Seattle traffic. And best of all, I got home just in time to get out of cooking dinner! LOL! It was a great way to spend the day.

And sorry I was good. Trust me, there were some beautiful, fabrics out there at the show -- tons of silks, hand painted fabrics, current sellers, and the like. But I was good and stuck to my word. I'm glad I did. I prefer to learn at these shows. That way I can refresh my creativity and start something fun.

I think I'm going to try my hand at making a scarf like one mentioned in part one of this post series. I can't wait!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sewing and Stitchery Expo -- Puyallup, WA

Hello, it's me. Jean(ie) again posting for Kelly. She asked me post about my trip to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA. For those who don't know me, I moved to the Seattle area just over a year ago from a year's stay in Ohio, and before that in Tennessee.

Excuse me for being rude and not introducing myself.

One of our local quilt shops here in Washington's wine country, Gathering Fabric in Woodinville, WA, offered a limo ride to the Expo. I was the first to sign up. Any excuse to avoid the traffic, the long distance from the parking to the show, and going alone. So this was our ride. And our driver took us right to the door. Isn't it spanky?

Let me tell ya something that is going to shock you to your very core. I gave up fabric buying for the Lenten season. Yes, you read that right. So what's a girl to do at shows? Well, I conquered that by signing up for several of the Expo's "One-Needle Seminars". I originally signed up for four, but gave away the tickets for one of them. So, please join me in the three Seminars I took.

The first seminar was with Pam Clarke of Designs with Lines entitled "Borders and Sashing, Machine Quilting Designs".  Pam showed us how she "grids-out" her borders and sashing using her pounce pad and stencils then free-motion quilts the designs using the grid lines as a guide.

Here's an example of sample borders all gridded (is that a word?) out.

Now here it is with the quilting -- using simple lines. How's that for easy??? We also got a free stencil with pretty designs just for attending! How nice is that? Pam Clarke has a wonderful book, Quilting Inside the Lines. Free-motion quilting isn't rocket science, and trust me. She makes it look VERRRRY easy!

This seminar was completely full and I can see why. I came out with a TON of fun ideas!

Next up on the class agenda was a seminar on thread. Those who know me know that I'm a HUGE thread geek -- major huge geek! Lee Fletcher, a national educator for Sulky Threads let a wonderful lecture on alternate uses of thread other than general sewing and quilting. I wish I could have taken a photo of some of the ideas. The handout featured a great tutorial on how to make tassels from thread. But my absolute favorite was a stitched scarf Lee made completely of Sulky brand thread! What she did was take two sheets of water-soluble stabilizer and stitched on a grid using her machine. She used a 60wt poly on the bobbin and a 12 wt on the top. Then accented the scarf grid with metallic and other threads, even using sari silk strips sewn onto the grid using your machine's decorative stitches!

Think about that and all the possibilities! That, my dear, made this thread geek smile. :)

You can see fun project ideas from Sulky here.

By then it was time for a break. I was in the midst of a hot flash (gotta love those), so I ditched my middle seminar (gave the ticket away), and headed out to the show floor for a drink and a short walk.

"Danger Will Robinson!"

Stay tuned to see what happened later (yep, I'm leaving y'all hanging). Did I succumb to the siren song of fabric? Or did I stay steadfast in my Lenten promise? Stay tuned to find out!

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