Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Text It! Blog Hop - life is short...

Hello BlogHoppers!  I'm Alla (rhymes with Paula).  I love fabric and whimsy and learning new things, so I jumped on the chance to play with wool and applique in ways that are new to me.  Welcome to the "Stay Awake" day of the Text It! Blog Hop.

When I was looking thru Sherri Noel's book Text It! Quilts and Pillows with Something to Say, there were so many projects that appealed to me.  I knew I couldn't make just one.  In fact, I'm working on 3! (I may have a problem with focus.)

But the main one I wanted to share on the Blog Hop was the  Stay Awake wallhanging.  The reason?  This sign on my kitchen door:

It was a phrase my mother often used.  I purchased this decal from the Etsy shop It's Written in Vinyl just after mom was killed in 2015.  Needless to say, I knew which project was first on my list.

Sherri's book encourages you to make the projects your own: there are seven full alphabets included, not just the letters for the words in the book.  Advice: if you do change the wording, some other things might have to change:
  • the amount of wool/fabric needed for applique
  • the size of your background fabric
  • the orientation of the piece
This last change, orientation, came as a surprise to me.  I was placing my words this-way and that on the background, and just couldn't get them to look right to me.  The word "dessert" was just too long; no other words wanted to fit on the same line with it.  So I switched from landscape to portrait.

Behind the Seams: cup applique from the back

For the cup and saucer applique, I used a freezer-paper technique from Jenifer Dick's book The Modern Applique Workbook.  This was a new-to-me technique, but it worked out well.  Just as shown in the Text It! book, the individual pieces are layered--cup over the saucer, cup interior over the cup--rather than being fully separate from each other.  For the freezer-paper technique, I stitched everything down with a narrow zigzag monofilament. Which is another new-to-me technique.  (Don't you love learning new things?!)

I also chose to piece my background, because I really wanted to use this chocolate-bar novelty print for the word "dessert".  But I also totally wanted to use a cream-colored wool felt (this project in the book uses wool for all the letters).  Solution?  Two different fabrics for the background, with the cup and saucer applique artfully spanning the dividing line.

Had so many questions as I worked with wool for the first time.  I discovered: wool felt is not the same as felted wool.  It all worked out in the end.

Since my amazing chocolate-bar-print really didn't show up as well as I hoped, I chose to add a novelty chocolate border.  More is more, I always say.  #maximalist

My final note on construction involves outlining the applique letters.  I used machine blanket stitch on the quilting cotton letters.  Since I have worked on multiple projects from this book, I have ended up using three different sewing machines.  Each of their blanket stitches are just a touch different, requiring adjustments of stitch length and width, and especially tension.  I also learned that there is such a thing as a non-stick sewing machine needle (who knew?), which could have helped with the buildup of gunk on my needle while blanket-stitching around the applique letters.  Advice: choose the sewing machine with the knee-lift when doing blanket stitch around applique!

My whip stitch (before I ripped it out)
For the wool letters, I tried the recommended whip stitch by hand, but didn't end up liking the way it looked.  I think my use of wool felt, rather than felted wool, contributed to this.  I un-stitched, and used a simple running stitch instead.  For thread, I tried cotton sashiko floss.  I had heard some of my wool enthusiast friends talking about how nicely it pairs with wool, and has a matte finish.  It was definitely easy to work with in this application.  I bought mine through Kimonomomo.  (I will be giving away a skein to a commenter on this post; see below.)

Buy the book

Sherri's book is so awesome!  As I said at the top of this post, I'm working on other projects from the book, because they are just so very appealing.  Plus, I've used her alphabets to write messages on other projects I had in the works, too.  If you'd like to purchase a signed copy of the book, you can get it directly from the author at her Rebecca Mae Designs online shop.

Giveaways (win the book?)

  • Book publisher Martingale has generously offered a copy of the book for me to give away to a lucky visitor to this blog (U.S. only).  
  • Aurifil is giving away two spools of thread.
  • I am offering a small bundle of fat quarters of the swirl and chocolate fabrics used in my project plus a skein of sashiko thread.
  • Grand prize: Sherri Noel has a final giveaway bundle available through commenting on any/all of her Blog Hop posts (like today's post)
To Enter:  
Leave a comment below telling me what phrase you'd like to applique onto a quilty project. Winners of the 3 different prizes will be selected by random drawing on March 19th.  (If your comments are set to "no reply" I have no way to contact you and you cannot win.)
If you live in Canada, Joanne is holding the giveaway for the book from her blog, Quilts by Joanne.

Keep Hopping

Sharing posts with me today are:
Becca Fenstermaker  at Pretty Piney
Katie Bock at Sewing with Katie

Thank you JW Marriott dessert bar!
Go show them some love!

Plus, see the full schedule of bloggers at Rebecca Mae Designs. 

The Blog Hop for Text It! started on March 4th and goes through the 16th.  Thanks so much for visiting!


  1. I have always loved that saying. What a cute quilt. I would put this on my quilt. You are my sunshine.

  2. Neat! Love the cup! Thanks for sharing!

  3. My phrase is "be curious". I am in Canada (just mentioning, as some blogs are offering a chance at the thread for us, some not). Thanks for sharing your version of the quilt. Lots of fun.

  4. Love that last pic - looks like a legit dessert bar! #maxamalist hehe

  5. I love this! Also, dessert is my favourite food group :)

  6. " this to will pass" always good in times of trouble

  7. I would put "Quilter's Domain" on a wall quilt for my sewing room.

  8. I have that saying on a pillow a friend gave me, love it on your wall hanging! I’d like to do “Quilting is a work of ❤️!”

  9. This is so fun! I'd like to make a mini quilt that says "Hello Sunshine"!

  10. I love your quilt...great idea with the dessert! I would say "I love you a latte"! I live in the US!

  11. I like the words"truth matters"

  12. Life is short drink wine it ty for

  13. I'd like "Collect experiences, not stuff"! I'm so sorry about your is the 8th anniversary of my mother's "going on before". Your quilt is beautiful and I love chocolate too!

  14. I would send my nies Be Fearless or Failure is not an Option. Jmikebalou (at) aol (dot) com

  15. Good job, Alla! "Life is better with Friends"

  16. I am loving your quote wall hanging quilt! Mine would say "Be yourself, everyone else is Taken" Thank you, Susan

  17. Such a sweet wall hanging! For weddings I love the phrase, “May you always be as happy as you are today”. Thank you, from Texas.

  18. thankful! Nancy A:

  19. Do the think which you think you cannot do ..

  20. Maybe I would make a wall quilt for my sewing room that says "Sew Happy".

  21. This is such a cool idea to add texting or a phrase to a piece to hang! Mine would say "Love Lives Here!".
    duchick at gmail dot com

  22. My mom used to sing a song that went, "It's a lovely day today", and I'd like to put that on a floral quilt.

  23. I love your quilt...always dessert first! Who knows, you could choke on the main meal and die before ever getting to the good stuff ;) I am working on the dear daughter quilt but am changing some of the saying because I am making the quilt for me instead. My favourite saying I changed 1 of them to is “shock everyone”. I am kinda an out of the box person so you never really know what you kight get. I do have an american address and would love to win if I am lucky enough to be drawn.

  24. Your quilt is simply darling. I think I live by that adage! If I had a phrase to put on a quilt, I think it would be “I Tough”. This is what my two-year-old granddaughter says when she gets an owie. It seems to be a good motto for my life, as well.

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  26. Let's see, I could see myself doing a monogram for our family or an Easter or Spring themed wall hanging.

  27. I love your wall hanging. The phrase that I might put on is "Speak Life".

  28. Thanks for sharing your experience with wool felt. I didn't know that there was a difference between that and felted wool either, and I've been collecting some wool felt for a project. And thanks for the advice about eating dessert first! I'd applique "Above all, be kind."

  29. Fabulous project and tips on the wool felt. I would use the phrase "blessed"
    slrdowney at hotmail dot com