Sunday, October 15, 2017

HollyAnne-- Signing Off!

Hello again, my friends!

Thank you so much for a wonderful week! I've loved sharing with you, and I hope some of the tips and patterns I've shared have been helpful to you!

If you haven't already, please be sure to visit to find free quilting tips, two free patterns, and more resources.

 You can find me on Instagram @stringandstory -- I hope you'll follow along because my goal is to guide you to quilt with confidence!

Happy quilting!
HollyAnne Knight, quilter 43

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quilts for Cure-- Posted by 2017 Quilter 43, HollyAnne Knight of String and Story

Hello again, Quilty Friends!

I have a story to tell you, but first let's take a few moments to look at some sobering facts: 46 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer today. The National Cancer Institute only gives about 4% of their annual funding toward researching childhood cancers, and as a result there has been almost no progress on treatment options since the 1980s. At least 3 children will DIE today because of the lack of new drugs and therapies. Some cancers, like the brain cancer DIPG have a 0% survival rate. Children diagnosed with DIPG are sent home on hospice for whatever time they have left. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children, and even those who survive are left with lifelong complications and health risks—complications and risks that often claim their lives sooner rather than later.

Two and a half years ago, a beautiful girl named Kylie Myers died from bone cancer. She was 12 years old, and she was one of the most beautiful people I’d ever had the privilege to know. Three years before that, her best friend Bailey Moody had a rotationplasty amputation to survive a very similar bone cancer. Two girls in a small class of about 60 at their school. Cancer is more common than we realize. And its effects are so devastating that they are hard to look at straight on. Have you thought about that? When it comes to really hard things, sometimes the best we can do is kind of scooch up and give them the side-eye before backing away again. We “go gold” in September and donate a dollar at the grocery store, and then we try to forget that something as horrible as childhood cancer exists in our world.

I refuse to forget.
Kylie’s dying charge to her family was to kill cancer. I don’t have to be her flesh and blood to accept that challenge.
Bailey lived—but she lost her leg and her best friend. Those are devastating losses nonetheless.
I taped Kylie’s picture above my ironing board. I make myself look the reality of cancer full in the face every day.
It’s hard.
Somedays I’m not so good at it.
But I try my hardest—for Kylie, for Bailey, for their mamas, daddies, siblings, and for a bunch of other kiddos and families who have captured my heart. Trucker. Abri. Kate. Grant. Katharine. Gayle. And more… Too many more. Too many.
I do my best at staring cancer in the face when I’m quilting. Like the very act of my own love and creativity can somehow beat back the evil of cancer. I’m not a scientist, but I wage my own war against cancer in my sewing room, a war that pushes back against the cold, the fear, the despair, the loneliness, the ugliness of cancer—quilt after quilt. Quilts for children to keep them warm while needles pump poison in the their veins—our pitiful attempts to rid their little bodies of a horrific disease. Quilts to hide under when the big world is so scary. Quilts to bring beauty, color, and cheer to yet another hospital room. Quilts with love in every fiber—love that I truly believe gets passed from me to these children and their families. Through quilting, I fight evil with love.

Bailey and Kylie

I know a lot of other quilters who fight evil with love, too, so I created Quilts for Cure so we can fight together. We aren’t hunting for a pharmaceutical cure—we leave that to Kylie’s Daddy (Mark Myers) and the AMAZING team at CURE Childhood Cancer. Our love and our quilts enter the fray to encourage children and families who are emotionally exhausted by the turmoil of cancer. We are cheerleaders. Our quilts tell a child and his or her family, “WE SEE YOU!” While so many people only give childhood cancer the side eye once a year during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we stare that devil in the face every. single. day and say, “No! You do not belong here, and we are going to KILL YOU!” And our love and our courage gains a little ground in this war.

When I told him about Quilts for Cure, Kylie’s Daddy said that it is good, and it is important for the emotional encouragement of families in the fight. “When your child has cancer, you’re in the fight because you HAVE to be,” he told me. “We’re so tired from our own fight. We need people like [Quilts for Cure] who CHOOSE to be in the fight because you bring fresh energy and hope.”

What will you choose?

Will you CHOOSE to enter the fight?
Will you CHOOSE to stare childhood cancer in the face and fight back, rotary cutter in hand, with love, joy, and quilting?
Will you CHOOSE to use your hobby and passion to comfort a child who is fighting his or her life?

Fight with me. Fight with us. Together, we will KILL CANCER for Kylie and for every child so that they can live happy, healthy, long, cancer-free lives!

GIVE A QUILT              GIVEFUNDS               GIVE YOUR UFO

(Quilts for Cure is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are tax deductible)

Gold Forever,


Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 Quilter 43: HollyAnne Knight @stringandstory

Hello New Friends!

Welcome back to the 52 Quilters blog! My name is HollyAnne Knight, and I’ll be your “hostess” this week. I’m going to take a few minutes to introduce myself, then I have a couple of action items for you so that you don’t miss out on any of the week’s excitement!

I’m a 25 year old wife to the Hubster (John), mama to two toddlers (Jem and Ian), and pet mama to three absurd cats (Moby, Monte, and Felicia) and a 30 gallon aquarium of angelfish and other Amazon tropical fish. I’ve been creative my whole life, and I have a background in painting, knitting, and preprofessional ballet. I’ve only been quilting about two and a half years, but I’ve jumped in whole heartedly, and I feel like I’ve finally found where all of my creative bliss meets—color, texture, and movement. Most of our mornings are spent at the park, and I love to do the monkey bars and jump off the swings. Two little boys have a lot of energy, so it takes good sunshine and fresh air to wear them out for naps! While they nap/rest/create chaos together in their room in the afternoon, I sew, and I head to the sewing room again at night after they go to bed.

Now, I have some super important links for you so that you can have all the FUN and get all the FREEBIES that I have planned for you this week.
  1. Follow me on Instagram @stringandstory. I’ll be posting different stuff over there all week, plus, you want to be all squared away to stay in touch after this week!
  2. Hop over to and sign up to receive your FREE copy of “3 Easy Tips to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting.” This PDF takes you back to some foundational principles for succeeding when you quilt.
  3. While you’re on my website, go ahead and poke around, especially my blog at I post several times each week, and I love giving tips and inspiring your creativity! Quilting should make us feel confident and joyful, and bringing you closer to or deeper into those feelings is always my goal.

Now, I’ll post more about this in a couple of days, but there’s one more thing you should know about me. I’m also the President and co-founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Quilts for Cure. We raise awareness about childhood cancer and provide quilts to kids currently in treatment for pediatric cancers to comfort and encourage them. You can find out more about us at And, as I said, I’ll post LOTS more in a couple of days.

Okee Dokee, friends! I’m so excited to be with you today! Be sure to check out those action items—especially “3 Easy Tips to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting”!

Happy quilting,

PS If you would like to get to know me a little better while you’re stitching away, hop over to Modern Sewciety by clicking here and listen to my interview.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What an Opportunity!

I have enjoyed my week with you!  I love that the internet enables me to visit and be creative with quilters from around the world. I am honored to have had this opportunity.  A special thanks to Chris who organizes everything and keeps it interesting.

It has been an active week for me. I believe that my husband feels that I am glued to the keyboard right now. It was great to share with you some of the highlights from MQX Midwest in Springfield, Ill.

Be sure to check out the 52 Quilters Instagram account to see the quilts and exhibits that I found fascinating.

Also feel free to follow me on my Instagram account @linda_bratten

This week I was also able to share with you an original pattern, Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins.  Just a reminder that today is the last day to download the pattern for free.  The instructions to use the pattern are in a 2 part blog post and can be found here: Part 1  & Part 2

Be sure to subscribe to the 52 Quilters blog and follow them on social media.  Inspiration is abundant here. 

If you enjoyed the week with me and would like to keep up with my sewing and quilting adventures, check out my website,

On it you will find links to my social media accounts, my blog, and will be able to subscribe to my free monthly newsletter, Linda B Creative.

And one last thing before I go....

Your name was drawn to win the Craftsy class that I was giving away on the Instagram accounts.   I will send you a message on how to redeem your prize.

May your bobbins be full,

Linda Bratten

Inspiring You to be Creative!

I love it when you learn something, and then are able to continue applying what you learn to other projects.

My past two posts have shared how to use my Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins pattern to thread sketch a wall hanging and then enhance it with mixed media products.

I encourage you to join my Facebook group, Linda B Creative,  where we are working on the same thread sketching pattern, but using a different medium and creating a table runner instead of a wall hanging.

Here is the link to join the group.

I love to look at projects created with my patterns, so if you post them on social media be sure to use the #SewVerySketchy so I can find them.

I also want to share with you that the mixed media element that I blogged about can be used with other patterns like my
Sew Very Sketchy Daisy Delights

The pattern as a thread sketched wall hanging.

The same pattern enhanced with mixed media products.
Or if you have an embroidery machine you can really change the look of a project. This is my In the Hoop Poppy Postcard Pattern.

Standard In the Hoop Poppy Postcard
The same In the Hoop Poppy Postcard enhanced with mixed media!

Does anyone else do this with their projects?  I would love to see examples!

Keep me posted, you can reach me on Instagram at
Facebook at
 and the Facebook group, Linda B Creative,

Sew much fun being creative with you,

Linda Bratten

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins Part 2

In this lesson, I will show you how I use Derwent Intense blocks and pencils to add color to my thread sketched Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins.  Just a reminder you will need to download the pattern for free by October 1, 2017.  Use this link for the pattern.

In my last post I covered how to thread sketch the pumpkin using a free-motion technique on your sewing machine.  So today we will add some color and finish it up.

1. Iron some freezer paper to the back side of the thread sketched piece.  Put the shiny side against the wrong side of the piece and fuse it to the back with a hot, dry iron. This helps to stabilize the fabric as you add color.

2. Next I use the Derwent Intense blocks to "color" in the stitched lines. I start by using a yellow to add the highlights.

3.  Then I use a light orange to blend the yellow into the medium orange.

4. Then I shaded the bottom and the black, segment lines with a dark orange.  On the back pumpkin, I did less of the yellow and more of the oranges and even a brown for the shading.  This created a darker pumpkin behind the lighter one.

5.  Then I used a light green and dark green to shade the stems and leaves.

6.  I also use a pencil to add color to the vines.

7. Next I used clear aloe vera gel to blend the ink without getting it so wet that it runs into the background.  I am using a flat, stiff brush designed for fabric painting.

8. I used a small round brush to blend the aloe vera on the vines
9.  I let the piece air dry, then I heat set the piece using a dry iron and a paper towel to protect the iron. Once it is heat set the ink should be permanent.

10.  You can add the borders (fabric requirements are in the first post) and then layer it for quilting.  On my sample I just free-motion quilted echoes around the thread sketching so it would not detract from the piece.  I also used a "fall cheater" fabric to give the appearance of a pieced border.  Once the quilting is done, I add the binding and it is ready to hang.

If you are a member of the Linda B Creative Facebook Group you can watch a Live video where I demonstrate another method to add color to a thread sketched piece.  In the group we will also be creating a table runner so feel free to join in! 

Enjoy playing with this mixed media project!

Linda Bratten

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins by Linda Bratten Creations

Today I am going to share with you one of my Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins Patterns.  I use this pattern to teach a thread sketching class.  So let's get started!

Supply List

Sewing machine in good working order
Bobbins (with embroidery thread)
Slide on work table and knee lift (if you use one).
80 or 90 top stitch needle
Free motion presser foot
Embroidery Hoop that fits under your presser foot, I like the spring form kind
Small scissors
Seam ripper
Threads: Embroidery thread to thread sketch, I am using a black polyester thread since I will be using mixed media techniques to enhance the project
Fabric: One piece fabric 10"x 10” of a fabric that reads like a solid, I will be using an unbleached muslin.
Stabilizer:  One piece of a medium weight tear away or cut away stabilizer 11"x11"
 Optional: Water soluble stabilizer or water soluble adhesive stabilizer 10"x10"
Marking tool or a permanent marker if using water soluble stabilizer
Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins Pattern, This will be available for free until Sunday, October 1, 2017.  This pattern is for personal use, if you wish to teach it in a class please contact me.

To complete the wall hanging you will need the additional items:

Two pieces fabrics 3 ½” x WOF (Width of Fabric usually 40”) of border fabric
                Two pieces fabrics 2 1/2” or 3” x WOF of border fabric for binding
                One piece fabric 17”x 17” of muslin to back the project
                One piece 16 ½” x 16 ½” of low loft batting

The Directions to Thread Sketch the Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins

1. Download and print the pattern.  The download for the pattern is here, Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins by Linda Bratten Creations.
2. To practice the muscle memory to thread sketch this project, put the pattern in a plastic page protector.  Using a dry erase marker, trace the shapes of the pattern.

3. Next transfer the pattern to your 10" x 10" piece of "solid" colored fabric.  I used a muslin for my sample. 

  • There are many ways you can  trace the pattern.  One way is to use a light box and trace it directly on the fabric with a removable marking tool.
  • Another way is to use a piece of water soluble stabilizer and a permanent marker. Trace the design and then pin it to the fabric.

  • The last way is to use a water soluble stabilizer with an adhesive backing.  They often come in 8 1/2" x 11" sheets.  You can use an inkjet printer set on "fast or quick" and print the pattern with your computer directly on the stabilizer.  Trim the stabilizer close to the pattern and stick it to the fabric.  This method will allow you to resize the pattern.                                  
     I will be using the 2nd method of the water soluble stabilizer and the permanent marker technique for demonstrating. 
4. Take your water soluble stabilizer with your design and put it on top of the fabric you want to thread sketch on.  Place your tear-away stabilizer or cut-away stabilizer under the fabric (on the wrong side.  You may want to use temporary spray adhesive to hold the layers in place or other methods to hold the layers together.  Then place all three layers in your embroidery hoop, making sure that the layers will lay flat on your sewing machine bed.  This is hooped opposite of when you hand sew with an embroidery hoop.
I used pins to hold the stabilizer in place, spray adhesive can dissolve water soluble stabilizer.

5. Set your machine up to do free-motion stitching.  Be sure your feed dogs are down.  I also use a Supreme Slider to make a smooth surface for my project to glide on.

6. Every time you begin you will want to pull your bobbin thread to the top.  You do this by holding the upper thread in your left hand and turn the hand wheel toward you with your right hand.  The needle should go in and out of the face plate once.  Gently pull on the upper thread and the bobbin thread will come with it.  Repeat if it didn’t.  This will prevent you from having a thread nest on the bottom of the project.

Once the threads are on top, hold both with your left hand off to the left side—pull enough threads so your fingers are not close to the needle.  Take 3 small stitches to secure the thread.  Clip threads in left hand close to the fabric.

You will also take 3 small stitches when you are done using your thread to tie it off.  Feel free to use your preferred method to tie on and tie off your stitches as you free-motion.

7.You are now read to stitch on the lines.  Consider how you desire to connect the lines, moving from one item to another.  You may want to use the needle down feature as you go to hold your place.

If you are using a spring form hoop be cautious of the handles they can bump the inside of the harp of your machine and give you a bump in your path. 

Remember this is to look like you "sketched" the pumpkins with a pen, so feel free to trace over lines as you travel around the project. Don't worry if you do not trace the pattern exactly as it is drawn.  The pattern will be removed so you only need to be close.

You may need to re-position your hoop as you move around the project.

Please note that when stitching the vines, I echoed back along the path to create the vines.

Also, I didn't trace the veins in the leaves.  I stitch them often, and so I just created my own veins.  Feel free to trace them if you need the pattern.

8.  When you are finished thread sketching, secure your stitches.  Then remove the project from the hoop.  Tear away the excess water soluble stabilizer.

Then use a wash cloth with warm water to remove remaining stabilizer.

9. Turn the project over and trim or tear (depending on your stabilizer) the back stabilizer.  Press your thread sketched pumpkins.

You are now read for the next part of the project.

If you are enjoying this project be sure to sign up for my free monthly newsletter, Linda B Creative and join our Facebook group Linda B Creative.  You can sign up on my website at 

In September 2017, I did a Facebook Live presentation on how to use this pattern in the group.  So if you want to see me demonstrate the process come on over and join us!

May your bobbins be full!

Linda Bratten