Tag Archives: machine embroidery

A Great Way to Start the Weekend

I just got some good news. I live at the beach but I’m from Utica, NY. I belong to the Mohawk Valley Quilt Club. This weekend is their quilt show. My sister Mary McCorduck is up there now. My hexagon quilt “A Walk in Frida’s Garden” has won 1st Place, Judges Choice & Best in Show.

The blocks are made from one piece of fabric based on artist Frida Kahlo (born July 6, 1907 – died July 13, 1954 in Coyoacan, Mexico), fabric by Alexander Henry. I used the original fabric on the left side only. Printed on the fabric are two quotes made by Frida Kahlo & printed on the fabric in spanish. I machine embroidered them on the borders in english. On the top border, embroidered is “Feet, what do I need them for when I have wings to fly”. She survived a terrible bus accident where she was impaled by a steel post, but was in pain most of her life. The second quote I embroidered along the bottom border: “I Desire to Live, I have already begun to paint”. I had left over blocks, so I reduced their size and appliqued them in several place on the quilt’s edge as if they were spinning off onto the border.

Ribbon Winners

“Remember Me” has won a 1st place ribbon! This quilt consists of Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star blocks and machine embroidered blocks. There are 22 machine embroidered obituaries from my family the McCorducks, Lansings, and Fischers, the oldest is from 1900 (113 years ago).


Eeeeek! An Obituary Quilt?

Every time I mention I’m making an Obituary quilt people shiver. I love my family and my family’s history. Finding obituaries is finding a treasure trove of information. I get really excited when I find information that tells me what they and their lives were like. This is how I remember them, how my children and grandchildren will get to know them.

Remember Me! This was truly a labor of love and a learning experience! I have a tendency to jump into projects feet first and figure out the details along the way. My sister and I had collected so many wonderful obituaries that one day I said “I know, I will make them into a quilt”. I started entering the information into my lettering software and began embroidering them. Some took over 3 hours to embroider. Then I had to figure out how to connect them into a cohesive top. I’m not sure if I was successful or not. I just started playing with them on the design wall, measured the negative space and figured out how to join them. The star blocks are Rapid Fire Lemoyne Stars (my favorite). I know it looks a little weird, but I kind of like the randomness of the top. I had real trouble with the borders. The embroidery shrank up the fabric, so I had to rip out what I could and add fabric to try to square it up. I got one end of the top square but not the other. I couldn’t take off the whole border as part of the embroidery went into the seam. I did not want to start over so I just went with it.

These obituaries start in 1900. That’s amazing, 113 years ago!!!

Obituary Quilt Remember Me



Pattern Inspiration

The Quilt Ninja was born in 2008 When I entered and won First Place in the Virginia Consortium Of Quilter’s (VCQ) Apron Contest. I used Indygo Junction pattern Sewing Smock IJ694, but gave it my own twist by machine embroidering the pockets with quilting designs. I would reach around and grip the ruler from the pocket on my back while simultaneously whipping out my rotary cutter and crying out “Quilt Ninja”! The Quilt Ninja has been my alter ego ever since. This year I remade the vest using the Easy Silhouette Vest IJ730 because I lost 50 pounds.

In 2008 I won first place in the Tidewater Quilters Guild Show, Virginia Beach, VA for Wearable Art. I called it “Head Above Water”. I used the One Block Wonder process for the blocks. I laid down the pattern and designed the blocks over it until I couldn’t see the pattern anymore, then I sewed the blocks together, repined them to the pattern piece and cut out the pattern using Indygo Junction Retro Raglan Jacket IJ764. I thought it looked like water, so I machine embroidered fish swimming on it.

In 2011 I made my “I Love New York” jacket using the Indygo Junction Easy Silhouette Jacket IJ741. I hadn’t lost the weight yet so I enlarged & lengthened it and lined it. I machine embroidered NY items on it such as the Statue of Liberty on the sleeve, etc. On the back I embroidered the Textile Mill behind my grandparents’ house in upstate New York. My tribute to NY.

I guess you can say Indygo Junction Patterns inspire me!

01 Jackie OBrien Sewing Smock Front IJ694

02 Jackie OBrien Sewing Smock Back IJ694

03 Jackie OBrien Retro Raglan Jacket IJ764



06 Jackie OBrien Easy Sillouhette Vest Front IJ730

07 Jackie OBrien Easy Silhouette Vest Back IJ730

Telling Stories with Machine Embroidery

I made this quilt for my sister in 2010. While we were searching for family graves and information we found a story on the Town of Vienna, NY’s website. it was full of information about our ancestors. It contained great stories and Civil War information. It was a treasure trove of information, so of course I put it into a quilt called “Yankees in Tara”.

2010 Yankees in Tara 001_crop

2010 Yankees in Tara 002

2010 Yankees in Tara 003

2010 Yankees in Tara 004

2010 Yankees in Tara 005

2010 Yankees in Tara 006

2010 Yankees in Tara 007

2010 Yankees in Tara 008

2010 Yankees in Tara 009

2010 Yankees in Tara 010

2010 Yankees in Tara 011

2010 Yankees in Tara 012

2010 Yankees in Tara 013

2010 Yankees in Tara 014

Did You Say Obituary Quilt?

Why yes, I did! I started working on this idea 2 years ago but was overtaken by events. My goal this year is to finish the Obituary and Cemetery quilts. My grandmother Bessie was very into family history and geneology. Of course I and my sister took it for granted. When Bessie passed in 1987 all her family knowledge went with her. In the past 3 or 4 years my sister and myself have worked hard to find the secrets of our past. Our hard work has been rewarded. We have many great obituaries, some over 100 years old. So, that is how the idea began. I have typed the obituaries into my lettering software and machine embroidered them. I have 2 more to get done but I ran out of the fabric and black thread today.

In my head I envision the blocks randomly arranged on my design wall. When I get a pleasing design I will measure the negative space and make blocks to fill in and join the obituaries. I’m thinking I will choose one simple block and either enlarge it or reduce it to fit, and stick to a simple color scheme of blue and brown. I’ll keep you informed!